When everyone first picks up a controller and starts a fighting game, they’re naturally drawn to a character. Maybe first you were drawn to the character with the strongest attacks, the one with a huge sword or maybe the cute character with six jumps; regardless, if you chose that character and stuck with them, that would be your “main.”

A “main” in the competitive fighting game community refers to the character that a player elects to primarily use throughout competition. A player’s main is generally the character that they are going to rely on in a bracket or the character they will most likely be choosing.

Most professional “Super Smash Brothers” players have mains, and sometimes it’s the main that can help to distinguish the player.

In “Super Smash Brothers” a main can also sometimes be telling of a player, their interests or their playstyles. For instance, a person who mains Marth might be a fan of Nintendo’s “Fire Emblem” series or someone who enjoys a playstyle with heavy punishes.

Characters and the gameplay mechanics that are a part of them are a huge part in identifying with what character a player might want to main. Fortunately for many fighting game players, their mains are also brought into new iterations in their series so they can always look forward to new "buffs," "nerfs" or alterations to their character.

Along with playing your main, there comes a sense of identity for players with the characters that they main. Some players may relate to a character’s aesthetic, or be in love with their gameplay and mechanics, but winning or losing with the character can create a more personable experience with the game into which they are putting time.

On the opposite end, there are players who compete and choose their mains based on viability in the meta of their game. Players like “Zero” or “Mew2King” in “Super Smash Brothers,” for instance, have continually played characters based on both their viability and admiration for the character through each new game of the series.

Whether or not you know what character you are maining isn’t necessarily important. One major aspect of a player finding their “main” is through a lot of testing and gameplay with different characters they might be unfamiliar with. Trying out newer and interesting mechanics to a player can add another dimension to the game and help find their new “main.”

UTK Esports is a student organization at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, interested in competing in and promoting collegiate and professional esports. If you have questions or would like to join and compete, please reach out to us at, or follow us on Twitter @utkesports.

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