Zain calls for Notches and Boxx ban in Smash Melee

Smash Bros has a very lively scene given the age of Melee, but there’s still room for development. Even in the last few months, we’ve had new characters rising to prominence in the competitive scene.

There’s still room for change though. Zain has called for big ones in the opening of 2023, asking for a notches and nerf boxx ban.

Controllers are basically always contentious in fighting games. Usually, there are strict rules about just what you can and can’t use. Fans and players still argue about what should and shouldn’t be allowed though, especially in Melee where purists are left with an increasingly dwindling supply of original controllers in a competitive state. A notches and box ban would go even further in limiting the controller pool though.

Zain Calls for Notches and Boxx ban

Zain is a Smash Bros player who rose to amazing heights in 2022. Becoming one of the best Melee players and arguably dominating the entire year with his results. However, the player has some strong opinions which he’s apparently making known this year.

Zain has called for a notches and box ban. These are two elements of controllers which are allowed, but some players aren’t too big on them.


Notches can make particularly techs easier to pull off like shield drop notches. Boxx controllers on the other hand are controversial across all fighting games, but most tend to allow them. They’re maybe worse for Smash with its console roots than something like Street Fighter 6. It’s not just Smash that has this problem.

What’s the Problem with Melee Controllers?

Melee has had a controller problem for a long time. There’s a reason it’s called the controller lottery.

Those who stick with GameCube controllers already have to search a lot to find an exactly perfect gamepad. Between age and manufacturer differences, there’s a pretty decent difference in how one original gamepad performed compared to the other, it can mean more input lag or other problems. Players have to find a perfect controller to compete at the highest level. Mods on controllers and even boxxes take the lottery out of the situation. A notches and boxx ban would increase the “lottery” element of attempting to compete.

The whole situation is similar to one Zain pointed out, Wobbling. However, this was hardly banned in one wave. It took a while of various tournaments banning it before it became widespread. Even now, the ban isn’t exactly universally liked. Limiting controllers even more might push it back to this situation, with different rules for different organizers.

Maybe somebody can make a fake announcement like when wobbling was banned in Tennessee, to get this some traction.

Is a notches and boxx ban going to happen?

They might have big detractors, but it doesn’t seem to be unpopular enough to warrant a full ban yet. These features can have an impact on the game, but it isn’t big enough to institute a game-wide ban on a controller without the lottery aspect.