A complete summary of Duck Hunt’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 with Duck Hunt. As long as you go with one of these, the character will yield results.
Duck Hunt does not benefit from the addition of Spirits, though their best bet is Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑. This setup focuses on the character’s powerful and far-reaching smash attacks that the AI prefers to ignore. That being said, Duck Hunt has had minimal representation in what few Spirits tournaments have been recently held, so experimentation is encouraged.
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.
Imagine a Duck Hunt player expertly placing their projectiles across the map, weaving a web of stick-and-carrot stage manipulation all to lure their opponent into a smash attack. Now imagine that same player, except they seem to be completely inebriated. That’s the Duck Hunt amiibo. The AI doesn’t seem to be coherent, it doesn’t display consistent playstyles, and no amount of training seems to be able to fix it. Unlike most Figure Players, Duck Hunt plays best when their Learn button is left on (even past Level 50). The AI seems to place incredible favor towards aerial-focused moves and projectiles, but rarely uses them correctly. To this end, train your amiibo as if you only have smash attacks and tilts, and as if jumping doesn’t exist.
- Neutral attack: Use this move occasionally, but only to build up damage and when comfortably on the stage.
- Forward tilt: Useful on-stage, as it functions as a get-off-me move. It covers opponents on the ledge as well, and reaches far enough off the stage that a frame-perfect player can edgeguard with them most of the time. Use it frequently.
- Up tilt: Under no circumstances should this move be taught to your amiibo. Any use that up tilt has is far overshadowed by up smash.
- Down tilt: A solid edgeguarding move. Use it at the edge for a chance at two-framing the opponent.
- Dash attack: It can be used every once in a while, but the AI doesn’t like to use it very much.
- Forward smash (Zapper): One of Duck Hunt’s most useful moves. Forward smash’s first hit actually tracks the opponent, and the second and third hits line up with this trajectory. Greatly buffed from Smash 4 and the character’s best kill move.
- Up smash: Greatly outclasses up tilt. It hits on the sides, kills, and has greater vertical reach. It should only be used when an opponent is directly above (given the prevalence of strong down aerials).
- Down smash: Use this move in the middle of the stage. It builds good damage but can’t easily kill.
- Neutral aerial: No.
- Forward aerial: The AI seems to understand down throw to forward aerial. It’s difficult to get the amiibo to grab, but this simple combo culd be one of the few useful aerial moves Duck Hunt has.
- Back aerial: A useful KO move, but the AI tends to shy away from it. Don’t worry about this move, as Duck Hunt should be trained on the ground regardless.
- Up aerial (Wild Duck): Largely useless and the AI almost never uses it. Ignore this move.
- Down aerial: Leave it to the AI to learn this move on its own. Its meteor smash functionality is quite useful, but it’s not clear that the Figure Player knows how to use it off-stage. Instead, it tends to dash into a short hop for this move, which is useful for building up damage but leaves the character vulnerable.
- Forward throw: Down throw is better.
- Back throw: See above.
- Up throw: See above.
- Down throw: Useful as a combo starter and can be used either into a forward aerial or forward smash. If you choose to teach this combo to your Figure Player, choose either a forward aerial or forward smash followup — don’t teach it to use both. One or the other.
- Neutral special (Trick Shot): Duck Hunt’s AI likes to use Trick Shot to deal incredible damage to the first fighter it touches… which is usually themselves. The FP will throw this out at random and will use it regardless of whether or not it was trained to. Don’t teach it to your amiibo.
- Side special (Clay Shooting): Duck Hunt’s most successful projectile, but still somewhat unreliable. Like Trick Shot, Duck Hunt will throw this move out seemingly randomly. Not worth teaching.
- Up special (Duck Jump): There isn’t another option available for recovery, and Duck Jump is very useful for that purpose. Unfortunately, Duck Hunt’s AI uses this move on-stage and leaves itself vulnerable. There is no known way to prevent this.
- Down special (Wild Gunman): At best, the opponent takes a small percent hit. At worst, Duck Hunt is interrupted when using this move. More often than not, the worst-case scenario happens. Much likes its other two projectiles, Duck Hunt’s AI throws out this move at random. Don’t bother teaching it.
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