What does ‘camping’ mean?
Camping is forcing your opponent to approach you through various methods. Camping can be performed with such actions like spamming projectiles on the other side of the stage, or waiting for your opponent at the other side of the stage when you have the lead. Camping is a core mechanic in Smash, especially in tournament play.
Approaching is much more difficult than camping, especially since shielding covers almost any attack, and the player who is approaching needs to plan how to get over his opponent’s defensive walls before reaching him to deliver a hit. Both things are very difficult to do in a tournament environment where it’s harder to trick your opponents. Someone who is camping only has to do two things: Set up defensive walls (projectiles, spacing, etc.) and watch out for the strategies that the other player can execute to get through the walls.
Camping is based around the pressure that the time out rules applies over the players, and the emotions of the other players. The mentality that happens when a player thinks ‘If I don’t approach and gain the lead, I will lose’ affects tremendously how he plays, reacts, and thinks. This directly affects the game play capability of someone a lot. Camping is also much easier and safer than approaching regarding to maintaining the lead. This is because approaching is harder to do than camping. The key factor about camping is that it’s not done with the objective to time out your opponent, but to make your lead a bigger one and thus, make it much harder for your opponent to win. Time outs happen when the player kept his lead all the way to the time limit, and his opponent couldn’t figure out how to get over his defensive walls. This is what makes camping such an effective tactic in tournament play. It’s safer, easier, effective and it allows you to make a small lead a big one, which in the end, allows you to win.
‘Camping is not about timing out your opponent. It’s about making a small lead, a big one and win because of that.’
How to deal with camping
How to combat camping depends completely on what kind you are facing. Lets go over each kind:
Projectile camping: This is the hardest kind of camping to fight since you’re forced to approach, otherwise it’s free damage and pressure for the opponent. The first thing that you need to consider in this situation is if you have a projectile good enough to beat their camping. If that’s the case, then him camping you means free damage for you. Second, you should analyze if you’re losing or not, and by how much. If you’re winning, then you should carefully consider what to do so you don’t easily give the lead to your opponent. If you’re losing, don’t freak out, and carefully think a good plan to regain your lead. Third, you should analyze if you can evade their camping and force them to approach instead. For example, if you’re Snake you can simply crouch below Falco’s lasers and force him to come to you. Depending on what you can do, you can plan how to beat their camping. The most important factor is to not freak out if you’re losing and getting camped. Carefully think about your situation and develop a good plan to counter your opponent’s strategy.
All campers have a pattern. Some will approach to you with a high priority/fast attack when you start moving towards them (Snake or Falco), some players like to shield, others roll, other’s will try to grab your shield approaches, etc. Memorize this pattern and counter it! Remember that he has the advantageous position, so the worst thing you can do is mindlessly approach and fall in their pattern over and over.
Depending on what you can do, you can plan how to beat their camping. The most important factor is to not freak out if you’re losing and getting camped.
This is usually done by characters that are good at holding a spot. Either by their grab game, close quarter combat capabilities, or their superior spacing. Characters like Meta Knight and Ice Climbers are good examples of this. Meta Knight can safely repel enemies from the air, and Ice Climbers have a death-grab game. This strategy requires the character to get the lead and then proceed to hold a spot of the stage and wait for the opponent to approach. This is usually done at the corner of a large stage (FD, PS1), below a platform (BF), on top of a platform (Smashville), places where your options to approach are limited, or are hard for you to approach (Match ups or angles. For example, approaching approaching in the air as Samus vs Marth can be very difficult, or, approaching a King DeDeDe below a platform).
Spot camping can be very hard to overcome. The key point to beat it is that you’re not forced to approach, like when you’re getting camped with projectiles. This allows you to calmly plan a good strategy to approach and regain the lead. Pay attention to how he reacts, memorize his patterns, and get through his defenses! The worst thing you can do against spot campers is to mindless approach and fall in their setups.
If for some reason your opponent is spot camping you, and you have a projectile, make sure to use it for free damage!
The worst thing you can do against spot campers is to mindless approach and fall in their setups. Calmly plan a good strategy to approach and regain the lead.
How to camp
Camping is all about knowing what your opponent can do (Knowledge), match up and stage dependence, and sometimes, even player dependent (Some players are easier to camp, and vice versa).
To camp correctly you need to think as if you were your opponent. What can he do to approach me right now? He’s running at me, what can he do to stop my camping? He is jumping. What is he trying to do? What can he do from there? If you can consistently answer these questions, then you will be able to correctly adapt your camping to your opponent’s reactions and keep camping. Your goal as a camper, is to camp for as long as you can without getting hit. This will allow you to make a small lead a big one! That is the key to successful camping.
To camp correctly you need to think as if you were your opponent.
Camping is a huge strategy at tournament level. It’s your job as a player to correctly use it, or get over it. It’s important that you always ban stages that can help a camper camp more efficiently. This is where match up knowledge is very valuable. Play calm and make smart decisions against campers and do not mindlessly approach. Always have a plan. If you’re the one camping, make sure to ban stages that can harm your camping. Think of what your opponent can do against your camping and react and adapt accordingly so you can hold your advantageous position for as long as you can.
In short, play with a plan, both sides!
I hope that this guide helped you to develop strategies regarding the ‘campy’ side of Brawl and Smash in general. Thanks for reading!