Tournament Analysis: AWT #3

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.

I recently entered and won Amiibo Dan’s third iteration of the Amiibo World Tournament. For this tournament, you needed to have a Powersaves or Android device to enter. You’d create a backup of your amiibo using this device (which is stored as a .bin file) and send it to Amiibo Dan. Using his amiiqo device, he’d then be able to scan it into Super Smash Bros. and have the amiibo fight each other. In this article, I’m going to go over how I prepared my Ness for the tournament, and why the odds were against him when the tournament began.

The History of Super NES + Amiibo Dojo

Let’s rewind back to December 2014. It was Christmas Day, and I received my first amiibo: Mario, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi. I could’ve bought them myself, but there wasn’t anything else notable that I wanted for Christmas besides Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I thought amiibo were stupid. I thought I’d use them once and then have them sit on a shelf until the end of time. But at the same time, I wanted to give them a try. I loved Nintendo, and I had a long history with them. “Why not”, I thought.

The first amiibo I trained was the Mario I had received. I named him Jumpman. He was my first-trained amiibo. After feeding him equipment, I was ready to start training him. I wasn’t any good at Super Smash Bros. (and really, I’m still not), so the idea of training a custom fighter to beat up my friends for me was intriguing. I started to become interested in amiibo.

Over the following months, I started to write and release amiibo training guides on reddit. I was the only person in the first half of 2015 who was consistently releasing and updating training guides. I gained quite a following, with over 110 upvotes per new guide. Nothing of mine had ever been so well-received – for the first time, I felt truly welcome in a community I hardly knew. They were so receptive to the content I was producing, and it gave me the motivation to continue.

But at one point, everything went wrong.

Reddit had convinced me that equipment, which I had fed to all my amiibo at the time, was overpowered and that I should reset all my amiibo and train them all without equipment. A lot of people said this, actually. I didn’t agree, but to appeal to the majority, I reset all of my amiibo and trained them without equipment. I enjoyed training vanilla amiibo at first. I wanted them to taunt, do long combos, and go for the disrespect. I trained my Ness amiibo (yes, the same iteration that won the tournament) as a vanilla amiibo with no equipment.

I put literally thousands of match into Ness. I had finished EarthBound for the first time just before snagging a Ness amiibo from GameStop (we could go into the whole ness pre-order story, but that’d take way too long), and was enamored with the game and its characters. I wanted Ness to be a true champion – I wanted him to be able to win tournaments and make me a proud trainer. I wanted him to be able to win in any situation, no matter what it took. “In order to achieve that goal”, I thought, “Ness is going to need to know how to handle every character in the game.” I decided that I would play as every character against Ness in 5-minute matches until he had played against every character. I set this as my goal, and began working towards it.

Weeks later, Ness finally won against Ryu, the final character in the roster list at the time. “But wait”, I was thinking. “If Ness has gone against every character…what about every stage?” You know where this is going – I had my Ness fight on all 40+ stages in the game, 10 minutes per stage. At this point, Super NES (which is what I had nicknamed my amiibo) was absolutely dominating all of my other amiibo. He won against them – none of his opponents stood a chance.

Let’s now skip forward a few months to August 2015. I had over 25 amiibo, all of which were trained to Level 50 without equipment. But…aside from Ness, I wasn’t happy with any of my amiibo. They were all stupid, they didn’t do anything I taught them to. Ness was the only amiibo (who at this point had over 3,000 matches of experience) who mattered to me. He was the only one who was “good” in my eyes.

I was on the verge of quitting amiibo training.

The routine had grown stale and monotonous. I’d train an amiibo up to Level 50 with no equipment, they’d lose to Ness, I’d be unhappy with them, and reset. Over. And over. And over again.

I had begun typing up a goodbye article to post to reddit (this was before Amiibo Dojo was even created, by the way). Halfway through the post, I looked back to December 2014, when I trained Mario. I was so interested in amiibo training. I was engaged by it. I realized – if I could recreate that feeling now, I’d have no reason to stop training amiibo.

I made the decision to give my Ness equipment. I gave him 40 points in attack, 80 points in defense, and 0 points speed. His bonuses were Critical-hit capability, Explosive perfect shield, and Improved escapability. I trained and I trained, and I learned a lot more about equipment. I realized that it added an extra layer of strategy to amiibo training that I really liked. We trained and trained and trained.

We’re going to take a big leap to January 2016. By this point, Amiibo Dojo was fully established as one of the two leading amiibo training sites, other than Amiibo Dan’s. We both had a large number of followers, and the best part was, we were different. Amiibo Dan created YouTube videos about amiibo training, and I wrote text guides about the very same thing. Our methods were different, and we became friends after we connected on Twitter.

It was either the 2nd or the 3rd – I can’t remember – when I learned of Amiibo Dan’s Amiibo World Tournament. “This is my chance to show that Amiibo Dojo is a legitimate resource” – that was my first reaction to hearing about the tournament. I was filled with determination to win my first tournament – so me and Ness trained, and we trained hard. 

Perfecting Ness’ Bonus Effects

Before we go in-depth, let’s go over a few things. First, here’s the bracket to prove that Amiibo Dojo did indeed win. Second, there were 42 entrants in the tournament. And third, here are the rules that Amiibo Dan had put in place for this tournament.

  • 2-stock, 6 minutes.
  • Best 2 out of 3 games.
  • Smash Balls on LOW.
  • Explosive perfect shield bonus is banned.
  • Single elimination

I didn’t hear about the Explosive perfect shield ban until a day or so later. This bonus, as you probably know, creates a damaging explosion that deals 15% and a lot of knockback whenever the amiibo blocks. My Ness’ game revolved around this bonus. He was my most experienced amiibo at the time (and still is), so I knew I needed to enter him. But how was I going to get him ready for the tournament in mere days? Well, I went through a lot of bonus effect and stat changes. Below are some of the setups I tried, but ultimately decided against. 

Set #1: Trade-off Tank

  • 120 Attack | 200 Defense | -200 Speed
  • Critical-hit capability bonus
  • Improved trade-off ability bonus
  • Lifesteal bonus

The idea of this set was to allow Ness to tank a bunch of hits. The improved trade-off ability bonus started each of Ness’ stocks at 60%, but in exchange, his attack, defense, and speed would gradually rise the longer he stayed alive. The +200 defense points complimented this, as he’d be able to take a bunch of hits. Critical-hit capability gives all your amiibo’s attacks a 20% chance of dealing critical damage. This, coupled with Lifesteal (which allows your amiibo’s attacks to restore its HP), would quickly get rid of the 60% given to Ness by the improved trade off ability bonus. For a time, this setup worked. But the -200 points speed really hurt Ness’ mobility and reaction time, so I went against it.

Set #2: Super shield

  • 40 Attack | 40 Defense | 40 Speed
  • Easy perfect shield bonus
  • Improved shield regeneration bonus
  • Improved escapability bonus

Frustrated with the failure of set #1, I moved on to a more defensive setup that also balanced out his stats. With the 40/40/40 stat spread, Ness’ attack, defense, and mobility were all given respectable boosts, which led to him being a very balanced character. I was trying this setup out on Ness because I was very worried about Little Mac. If you don’t know, the Little Mac amiibo is infamous for being the best amiibo in the game. This is because of his ability to get very easy shield breaks on opponents, and because of the raw power and super armor of his moveset. I knew that, at some point during the tournament, I would be running into Little Mac. With this setup, Ness was able to defend well against my Little Mac amiibo. The problem was, with no critical hit bonus, he wasn’t able to fight back – he was only able to block and dodge away until his eventual death.


  • 40 Attack | 40 Defense | 40 Speed
  • Critical-hit capability bonus
  • Improved shield regeneration bonus
  • Improved escapability bonus

This is the setup that allowed Ness to win the Amiibo World Tournament. I merely replaced Easy perfect shield with the Critical-hit bonus. Not only could Ness defend against Little Mac well, but now he could actually fight back. Now that Super NES stood a chance against Little Mac, it was time for me to focus on something that I knew would allow him to win: defense.

Emphasizing Defense

Amiibo Trainer taught me that defense was important. Like him, the reason for my tournament success was because my amiibo was able to block and dodge with impunity. There was one item that was incredibly important in making Ness a champion: Timers.

Now, the idea of using timers in battle was indeed thought up by Amiibo Trainer. Using these timers, I would grab one and my Ness amiibo would slow down, but I would be normal speed. I’d walk up to him and wait for him to attack. When he did, I’d block or dodge, and then use either up smash or PK Fire. These were the two moves I wanted Ness to rely on to win, and if you watched any of the matches Super NES was in, you’ll find that those were the two moves he used most.

I also wanted Ness to be able to use PK Fire to rack up a lot of damage on an opponent in a short amount of time. To do this, I used the aforementioned timers. When a timer would appear, I’d grab it and then mercilessly spam PK Fire towards the amiibo. When Super NES took enough damage, I’d finish him with an up smash.

Using these methods, I was able to perfect Ness’ defense. It hugely paid off in the end: Super NES did not lose a single match.

Super NES’ Genocide Run:

The tournament began on my birthday, January 10th. It was this day that I learned something that made me lose all of my confidence in Ness.

The tourney was to only use non-omega Midgar as a stage.

This shocked me. I had never heard about it. I didn’t get the memo. Ness had never played on Midgar before, ever. He didn’t know to grab the little gems that give you the advantage in battle. Heck, he hadn’t even played on stages with platforms for ages. How was I going to win this?! I immediately assumed that Super NES wouldn’t go far at all.

The first opponent Super NES fought was a Mewtwo named *Mewtube*. Here’s the spread that this amiibo trainer used on their Mewtwo:

  • 38 Attack | 44 Defense | 38 Speed
  • Lifesteal bonus
  • Smash ball gravitation bonus
  • Auto-heal capability bonus

There were a bunch of things wrong with this bonus effect setup, in my honest opinion. The theme of this spread was to have Mewtwo restore as much HP as possible, while remaining a balanced character. Smash Ball gravitation in particular was a big mistake, because the Smash Balls were set to low. This person could’ve replaced that with a game-changing bonus like Critical hit. Something this amiibo was sorely lacking was the Improved escapability bonus, which would’ve allowed it to more easily escape from being grabbed. This left Mewtwo vulnerable to Ness’ nuclear back throw, which led to its ultimate demise.

Ness fought a total of three Shulk amiibo during his tournament run. These Shulks all used the default skin, so it was difficult to tell the three apart. I was able to recall two of the amiibo’s setups, so here they are:

  • 60 Attack | 60 Defense | 0 Speed
  • Lifesteal bonus
  • Critical-hit capability bonus
  • Explosive perfect shield bonus (REMOVED)

This was the first Shulk that Super NES fought, trained by an amiibo trainer named Michael. You’ll immediately notice that it had Explosive perfect shield, which was banned in this tournament. I knew that this bonus was banned, so I did not train Super NES to deal with the bonus. Amiibo Dan, the tournament operator, did not notice that this Shulk had the exploding shield bonus until after the first round between him and Super NES was complete (which Ness won, by the way). The reason this Shulk lost was mainly because Amiibo Dan had to remove the exploding shield bonus. Even with the bonus, Shulk still lost the first of 3 games because he had not have the Improved escapability bonus, which made him vulnerable to Super NES’ back throw. This vulnerability led to this Shulk’s demise. Here’s another setup one of the Shulks had:

  • 60 Attack | 60 Defense | 0 Speed
  • Lifesteal bonus
  • Critical-hit capability bonus
  • Auto-heal capability bonus

This Shulk was built almost identically to the first one, except it had Auto heal instead of the banned Exploding shield bonus. Exactly like the previous Shulk, this one did not have Improved escapability. Because of this, Super NES was able to wipe the floor with him.

  • 60 Attack | 0 Defense | 60 Speed
  • Lifesteal
  • Improved launch ability
  • Improved air defense

Now, Little Mac was a huge problem for Ness during his tournament training. But eventually, me and him overcame this problem. I knew that Ness would be paired against a Little Mac at some point, but I was still nervous at this fight. To my surprise, Ness wiped the floor with this Mac, winning 2 games in a row and the entire set. Part of the problem, was of course, the lack of improved escapability. Ness did indeed finish off this Mac with back throws. However, this Little Mac’s bonus effect setup was lacking. Improved launch ability only works for Mac’s up smash (because improved launch ability only increases power on moves that launch foes upwards), when Mac’s best move is actually forward smash. The critical hit bonus would’ve been a much better option instead of the Improved launch ability bonus. Lifesteal seemed to be smacked on there; there was no other bonus to work together with Lifesteal. Improved air defense was something that proved useless in battle, because Little Mac shouldn’t be in the air in the first place. Little Mac also lacked any defensive boosts, and thus took  more damage from Ness’ attacks. The final nail in the coffin, though, was that Mac’s shield breaks were useless on non-omega Midgar. Whenever Ness’s shield broke, he’d be propelled onto one of the above platforms, while Little Mac remained on the ground. Mac would try to charge a smash attack, but Ness was above him, so he was able to escape the shield breaks unharmed.

The match after the Little Mac one was against another Shulk. I don’t recall its bonus effects, but again, Super NES wiped the floor with him.

After beating the third Shulk, Ness was up against his final opponent: Amiibo Dan’s Dark Lord Ganondorf amiibo. Amiibo Dan was the host of the tournament, and his Ganondorf legitimately made it all the way until it was time for him to face off against Super NES. I’ll admit, I was scared of this amiibo – it seemed like he was winning at first until Ness brought it back and won two games in a row, securing Amiibo Dojo’s championship title. Here is Dark Lord’s spread:

  • 60 Attack | 0 Defense | 60 Speed
  • Critical-hit capability bonus
  • Auto-heal capability bonus
  • Lifesteal bonus

I’ll admit it. I was mortified of this amiibo. This is the legendary Dark Lord Ganondorf amiibo that Amiibo Dan won tournaments with. Its bonus effect setup was extremely smart, and worked with the goal that Dan had set for the character. It was obvious that he wanted Ganondorf to be an aggressive juggernaut that dealt tons of damage. Problem was…during Ness’ training, I focused primarily on getting him to beat Bowser and Little Mac. Had I done enough training with Ganondorf? There were two small gaps in this amiibo that led to its Demise: it had no defense points, and was trained too aggressively.

When I trained Ness, I trained him to block and counterattack, not to randomly throw out hits in hopes of getting a KO. Super NES set a slow place because of his defensive nature that Dark Lord was forced to follow. Thanks to his calm and patient playstyle, he was able to beat this Ganondorf in game 1. In game 2, Ness finished off Dark Lord’s first stock with a super-stylish PK Flash, and the winning kill was a back throw that – you guessed it – could’ve been prevented had this Ganondorf packed the Improved escapability bonus.

Tournament Trends

This was a very interesting tournament in terms of bonuses. One thing I noticed is that at least 5 amiibo had negative defense points. They were all eliminated very quickly, which once again reiterates that aggressiveness is not the way to win games.

There was also a lot of auto heal and lifesteal bonuses in this tournament. Not sure why this was – Super NES didn’t have any healing bonuses. These were just a few things I noticed overall.


My first tournament was not only fun to watch, but it also made Amiibo Dojo even more credible by proving that its methods work when put under fire. You can bet I’ll be entering more tournaments in the future. Will I enter Super NES again? Who knows. Probably not. Now that Super NES destroyed the competition with his back throw, a lot of trainers are going to add Improved escapability to their amiibo in case Super NES were to return. I’m thinking Bowser will be my next tournament champion.

In any case, thanks so much to Amiibo Dan for hosting this tournament. I’ll be coming back in the future. And thanks to you guys for sticking with me this whole time. I’m going to release a championship edition of my Ness amiibo guide, which I did use to train my Ness amiibo, so you can look forward to that. Lucas and Fox guides will be coming soon, as well. And I also ordered Wario, Palutena, Marth, and Rosalina, so new guides are coming! But this week, my schedule’s full. I’ve got finals to do. They’re pretty difficult so far. Chemistry, stoichiometry…ugh. Too much for my brain to handle.






Post a Comment