Defensive Exercises & Strategies

The following is an archived post from the Amiibo Dojo. It has been uploaded to the Exion Vault for referential purposes and retains its original publication date; some of the post’s links may not function currently or exist at all.

Thanks to Glenn from Amiibo Trainer for writing this article! You can check out his site, which features an amiibo podcast that runs from Monday to Friday each week, as well as a free monthly guide series, by clicking right here (note: link defunct).

Of all the training I put in with my Amiibos, a lot of time is spent playing defense. You’ve heard the saying, “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” I’ve heard it aplenty. However, I do believe it to be true. When it comes to training Amiibos to be champions, how it plays defense is as crucial as how well it can execute moves.

Defense is the reason why some of my Amiibos have won tournament championships and others have not succeeded in tournament play. When the going gets tough, an Amiibo can rely on its defense to help turn the tables on its opponent. Training defense might sound boring, because we’re used to stylish combos, big hits and eye-opening moments. However, when it comes to winning, defense matters, and teaching your Amiibo defense is an absolute must. We are going to go over that here.

Section 1: Equipment upgrades and bonuses

Thankfully, the game allows us trainers to put a focus on defense even before we begin to train our Amiibos. You can do this by adding points to an Amiibo’s defensive concentration as well as giving it bonuses tailored toward defense.

There is one caveat I want to add to this. Through the equipment upgrades, you are allowed to give your Amiibo 120 points without going into the negative on any concentration, but I do not recommend giving all your points to defense. You want to give it some, but not all. My recommendation is to split the points evenly (40/40/40) or distribute some to the strength concentration (40/80/0 or 60/60/0). By doing this, you’ll be giving your Amiibo some extra power.

Since you are allowed a maximum of three bonuses, have two of them tailored toward defense, although adding all three is a good option as well. Here are the defensive bonuses your Amiibo can have (I’m not adding the negative bonuses because you shouldn’t be worried about them):

Shield bonuses: Easy Perfect Shield, Explosive Perfect Shield, Mirror Shield, Health-Restoring Shield, Improved Shield Regeneration.

Your best option in this group: Explosive Perfect Shield. Not only will your Amiibo block an attack, the explosion will do damage to an opponent.

Percentage bonuses: Improved Trade-Off Defense (30%), Improved Defense After Eating, Invincibility After Eating, Invincibility in a Crisis, Improved Defense in a Crisis.

Your best option in this group: Improved Trade-Off Defense. The other bonuses in this group are all timed and do not last long. However, with the trade-off bonus, your Amiibo will take less damage. This bonus can also be stacked, allowing you to take a bigger risk in percentage but your Amiibo will take even less damage.

Mobility bonuses: Improved Dodge, Improved Escapability, Extended Respawn Invincibility, Improved Air Defense.

Your best option in this group: Improved Escapability. This is a great bonus to counter Amiibos that like to grab a lot. It will take perfect timing for an opposing Amiibo to grab and throw. It’s nearly impossible for an opponent to grab and throw before 75 percent. After 75 percent, it is still a difficult task but not impossible. When it gets late in stocks, you likely don’t have to worry about an opponent grabbing and throwing for the win.

You can opt to go with multiple bonuses in each of the categories for added effect. An Amiibo that has Explosive Perfect Shield, Mirror Shield and Health-Restoring Shield can not only do serious damage, but it can also gain some health back depending on the severity of the opponent’s move.

There’s also the option of Improved Dodge, Improved Escapability and Explosive Perfect Shield. The Amiibo will get an extra moment to dodge attacks, be able to escape grabs and block attacks with a shield that can result in damage. For beginning trainers who are not sure whether their Amiibo can learn the perfect shield timing, they can add Easy Perfect Shield to start and then switch it out later. The more you train your Amiibo to block, the more it will learn the perfect shield timing that it is not needed. You can stack some of the bonuses, but it’s not necessary to stack others. Explosive Perfect Shield, Easy Perfect Shield, Improved Dodge, Improved Shield Regeneration and Improved Escapability do not need to be stacked. You only need one of any of them.

Although invincibility bonuses are great, Amiibos are smart enough that they will avoid attacking an Amiibo that is equipped with that bonus, and it will shell up until the invincibility wears off. It’s not recommended, but I left it there in case you want to give it a go.

My first all-defense recommendation: If you are starting off, the best combination you can go with is Explosive Perfect Shield, Mirror Shield and Improved Escapability. This allows you to do damage with blocking. If the opponent grabs through the shield, you will likely escape and be able to retaliate.

My second all-defense recommendation: Improved Trade-Off Defense, Improved Dodge, Improved Escapability. This will make your Amiibo extremely passive. In going with this setup, you should spend all of your concentration points on strength, possibly extending to 200 points and going minus-80 on speed if you can.

My first hybrid recommendation: As mentioned earlier, you want to have at least two defensive bonuses if you go this route. So one plan I recommend is Improved Escapability, Explosive Perfect Shield, Critical Hit. This is the best combo in the game at the moment, as it covers the three different aspects of an Amiibo’s game.

My second hybrid recommendation: For those who are conscious of their Amiibo’s health, you can go with Health-Restoring Shield, Auto-Heal and Improved Dodge. If your Amiibo blocks an attack, it gets health back. It will also gain health back every 3.5 seconds, and your chances of keeping the health increases because your Amiibo will get an extra moment to dodge an attack.

Section 2: Defensive training exercises

After deciding on the defensive bonuses you want to give your Amiibo, it is time to put it into training to improve its defense. Before we start, I want to give you one note. You have to accept losing. Yes, nobody wants to lose to an Amiibo, and you’ve probably gone undefeated against your Amiibo. However, in training your Amiibo, the exercises I’m going to show you are dependent on your Amiibo beating you up, especially if you equipped it with Explosive Perfect Shield. You losing to your Amiibo will be all for the better because your Amiibo will be improved on defense. In all of these lessons, you’re going to play a timed game, at least 3 minutes, and be on an Omega-style stage or Final Destination. You can choose any Amiibo, I prefer one that has medium to great speed.

Lesson 1: Obvious attacks

For this lesson, we are going to play aggressively. When the game begins, you’re going to run to the edge of the stage. Once you’re there, wait a moment and then do a running attack at your Amiibo. One of four things will happen to the Amiibo: it blocks the attack, it dodges the attack, it gets hit, or it tries to attack you. Ideally, we want the Amiibo to block the attack. However, if it dodges the attack or tries to attack you (with success), that is acceptable. What is not acceptable is the Amiibo getting hit. You will do this as many times as you can during the timed game, and you want to get to a point where the Amiibo knows the attack is coming and either blocks it, dodges it or punishes you. In doing the running attack, you have to make it as obvious as possible you are doing the attack. If you activate the running attack at the last moment, it’s likely you’re going to get the hit on the Amiibo. Even if you do the attack early, that’s fine, we’re trying to get the Amiibo to recognize that it has to do something, preferably block. Ideally, you’re going to do several sessions.

Lesson 2: The Ledge

This is a must-do lesson for anyone that has equipped their Amiibo with Exploding Perfect Shield. I make sure I do this several times before I enter a tournament, as it has proven fruitful. For this lesson, we’re going to play passively.

When the game begins, you can voluntarily retreat to a ledge or have the Amiibo beat you up that you’re knocked off of the stage and you recover on the ledge. If you’re recovering back to the ledge, it is likely your Amiibo will do a move with the hopes of catching The Magic Pixel (the one moment where it can attack you prior to you grabbing the ledge). Most cases, it will not get The Magic Pixel, and you will grab the ledge. When you grab the ledge, do a ledge attack. Your Amiibo should block or spot dodge. If your Amiibo is equipped with Exploding Perfect Shield or Mirror Shield, you want it to block. That way, you will get hit with the explosion and be knocked back. If that happens, you have to recover again and go through the process again. After a couple of ‘successful’ tries, the explosion is enough to KO you.

If your Amiibo is not equipped with either Exploding Perfect Shield or Mirror Shield, you want it to either block or spot dodge. By blocking or spot dodging, it obviously avoids your attack, but it additionally will have the recovery frames to make the next move on you. As you’re still recovering, it will make a move, likely a grab to where it can throw you off of the stage, thus you’ll have to go through the process again. Hitting your Amiibo is not what you want. That means your Amiibo wasn’t ready to defend your recovery. Go through the process until your Amiibo gets into the groove of blocking on your recovery. You’ll know your Amiibo is properly trained when it waits for you to attack recover even after a couple of seconds.

Again, I must stress this, if your Amiibo has Exploding Perfect Shield or Mirror Shield, you must do this. It is one of the best training exercises you can do with your Amiibo, and it has the potential to dominate in a key situation in a game. Even if it doesn’t, this is a really great lesson to get your Amiibo to learn to keep the situation in its favor.

Lesson 3: The Kitchen Sink

This lesson is not as powerful as the other two previous lessons, but it can work. You want to choose a character that has at least one projectile. When the game begins, repeatedly shield as much as you can and throw as many projectiles at it as you can. Your shielding won’t force your Amiibo to shield, but it will send a signal to it that in future games it needs to shield in situations where there is no action going on. The projectiles are a test for the Amiibo, as it will try to block what is being thrown. The Amiibo will eventually break through the projectile wall and come at you, but it will be slowed by its attempts to block the projectiles. When you’re done with all of the training, put your Amiibo into a match to see how he acts against other Amiibos. If all goes well, it will start blocking more and put an emphasis on defense, which is what you want. 

As I suggest to all trainers, your training does not end once you complete the tasks. Amiibo training is nonstop, and there is always something to learn. Feel free to go through the lessons again and continue to teach your Amiibo defense.

Happy training, and I hope to see your Amiibo at a future tournament!

Glenn Cravens is the host of the Amiibo Trainer Podcast, which runs Monday through Friday on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Libsyn (note: some links defunct).


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