A complete summary of Ness’s performance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate can be found on the character’s information page. It includes strengths and weaknesses, AI quirks, and an archive of tournament representation and results.
Stats & Spirit Effects
In terms of stats, using a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or a fully defensive one (0 / 4200) are both fine options that work well on the character. It all comes down to your personal preference.
For Spirit effects, there is one that seems like it would benefit Ness: Additional Midair Jump, which functions exactly as its name implies. Unfortunately, when given this bonus, the AI wastes both double jumps to position itself away from the ledge and will recover with PK Thunder 2 anyway. Because of this, Additional Midair Jump is not recommended for Ness. What is recommended on Ness, however, is the Armor Knight build. Armor Knight is a new skill introduced in Smash Ultimate that greatly increases defense and attack but decreases mobility. Fortunately, Armor Knight only occupies two slots, meaning the last slot can be filled by a Move Speed ↑ enhancement. The improved defense is especially beneficial for Ness, as it helps prevent him from being knocked off-stage where he struggles most.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
As mentioned earlier, Ness’s recovery is his greatest bane. During training, avoid off-stage play at all costs. At most, stand at the edge and shoot PK Fire (or PK Thunder) forward. Another note: do not charge smash attacks – instead, use them uncharged – otherwise, the amiibo will overcharge its smashes and leave itself wide open. Here is an individual breakdown of each of Ness’s attacks and how each one should be prioritized during training:
- Neutral attack: A three-hit jab. Inflicts weak damage, but has fast startup. It’s best used at point blank to keep the opponent at bay, but isn’t a move to heavily prioritize.
- Forward tilt: A quick kick that can be angled up or down. Its startup is slow for an attack of its range. Best used when the opponent is about a character length away.
- Up tilt: Much more useful than in Smash 4. It can be used as a kill move at high percentages, but its main draw is that it can combo into an up aerial. Definitely an attack to use frequently.
- Down tilt: Unlike in the previous title, it no longer trips enemies. Its hitbox is very small, and because Figure Players jump fairly often, it rarely connects. Do not use this move.
- Dash attack: Three bursts of PSI are fired at an opponent. It’s kind of situational and leaves Ness vulnerable if he misses the attack. Use it every once in a while if desired; otherwise, avoid this move for the most part.
- Forward smash (Batter Up!): A slow bat swing that can reflect projectiles. It’s difficult to hit an opponent caught in PK Fire with forward smash due to its launch angle, leaving the move mostly outclassed by faster options. Its main use is to reflect projectiles, which the FP knows to do fresh out of the box.
- Up smash (Around the World): A quick get-off-me move that can be used out of shield. Its power has been ramped up from Smash 4, and now serves as a viable kill move at higher percentages. One of Ness’s recommended finishers.
- Down smash (Walk the Dog): A yo-yo attack that covers both sides. Do not use its charging hitbox, even at the ledge. As mentioned before, the amiibo will learn to overcharge its smashes. Otherwise, down smash is a recommended kill move and neutral option.
- Neutral aerial: A diagonal spin with solid range and power. Best used out of a short hop.
- Forward aerial: Hits multiple times. A down throw can lead to a string of forward aerials depending on how the opponent adjusts their launch angle.
- Back aerial: A fast, powerful move that comes as a recommended kill option. Even out of a short hop, it can KO at very realistic percentages.
- Up aerial: Strikes multiple times with good kill power to boot. An up tilt can link into an up aerial. Great combo for a Ness amiibo to learn.
- Down aerial: Mostly useless. Ness should not be going off-stage in any capacity, making its meteor smash capabilities pointless. Avoid down aerial during training.
- Forward throw (PK Throw): High base knockback, but cannot kill at realistic percentages. It can be used at the edge to toss the opponent towards the nearest blast zone.
- Back throw (Reverse PK Throw): Ness’s primary kill move. If the amiibo is at a high percentage, grab it and immediately use Reverse PK Throw without pummeling.
- Up throw: Ness’s AI loves to use its up throw, and for good reason, as it can lead into a PK Thunder juggle. At medium percentages, try using up throw and then following up with consecutive PK Thunder attacks.
- Down throw: Can link into a neutral aerial, forward aerial, and up aerial. Do not use these combos too often, as the amiibo will become too aerial. This means it may go off-stage to use them, which is never a good thing for the character.
- Neutral special (PK Flash): It has been nerfed from Smash 4, and is now 100% useless. Do not use PK Flash at all during training. When the amiibo inevitably uses it uncharged, be sure to move in and punish without getting hit.
- Side special (PK Fire): Ness’s best damage-racking tool. It can link into itself, an up smash, an up tilt, or a grab. It has less ending lag in the air and can be used at the edge to catch opponents who recover high. Spam PK Fire to no end and the amiibo will immediately become stronger.
- Up special (PK Thunder): Unlike in Smash 4, Ness’s AI no longer uses PK Thunder 2 as an on-stage attack. Instead, it will chase opponents with the ball of electricity. Simply put, if your Figure Player is far away, chase it with PK Thunder. It can KO close to the upper blast line, so try to close stocks with this technique as often as you can.
- Down special (PSI Magnet): Ness’s amiibo knows how to use this move already. There is no need to teach its functionality. Only use it to absorb the amiibo’s projectiles and restore health during training.
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