Figure Players have changed a lot since their introduction in Super Smash Bros. 4. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that there are a ton of misconceptions about what you can and cannot teach an amiibo to do. The truth is, the Super Smash Bros. developers haven’t really given us much information to work with. We’ve had to find out a lot for ourselves. Here’s a complete list of everything we’ve found!
As you probably know, an amiibo starts out at Level 1, and can level up all the way to Level 50. Basically, when you play a match against an amiibo, it saves specific data, including moves you used against it and moves it hit you with. It then applies that data to a CPU fighter to create a unique Figure Player. And that CPU fighter’s level is based on – but separate from – the amiibo’s level. For example, a Level 50 amiibo is actually using a Level 9 CPU as a base. The training data it saves – in other words, the moves you teach it to use – are then applied to that base.
This actually explains a few things. Many new trainers want to teach their Hero amiibo to use the Command Selection menu. Hero’s Level 9 CPU doesn’t use it all that often, so even if the Figure Player’s down special value is maximized, it’s only maximized relative to the frequency the Level 9 CPU would use it. Which is why some FPs don’t appear to cooperate when you teach them certain things: because the corresponding Level 9 CPU is coded to avoid it.
Generally speaking, FPs that aren’t Level 50 are kind of stupid, since they’re using a gimped CPU AI. If you notice a flaw in your amiibo before it hits Level 50, it might just be because it’s at a low level. Low-level Figure Players often mess up their recovery. Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with you! Recovery is completely hard-coded, and FPs can’t learn to mess up their recovery. The problem is that they’re not using a Level 9 CPU (which does, for the most part, know how to recover) until the figure reaches Level 50.
Unfortunately, raising a Figure Player to Level 50 takes quite a bit of time. You’ll need to play a lot of matches against it, and this can take several hours depending on the kind of games you play. The most efficient method of leveling up an FP is to face it in a series of timed matches on Ω-form stages. Stock matches will go really fast, given that the amiibo is often helpless to fight back at early levels, so timed games are the way to go. Once the FP is around Level 30, you can switch off its Learning and have it battle a CPU until Level 50. This is safe to do because an FP will have saved sufficient training data to hold its own if you played against it until Level 30. Just make sure you don’t have your FP face a real Level 9 CPU while its Learning is on. You’d prefer to train the FP yourself so you know exactly what you’re teaching it, whereas you can’t control what a Level 9 CPU teaches a Figure Player. It’s important to note that turning Learning on against a Level 9 CPU won’t make the FP act identical to it. It’ll just adjust its move priorities in response to what attacks the Level 9 CPU uses, if that makes any sense!
During training, there are several strategies you should employ that apply to almost every character. Most importantly, never charge smash attacks. Figure Players often overcharge their smash attacks and leave themselves wide open to attacks. If you break your FP’s shield during training, then it’s fine to charge a smash attack, because they recognize that they’re in a stunned state. Otherwise, never charge a smash attack, even if you think it would be advantageous in a given situation. FPs go way too far with smash attack overcharging.
Next up, don’t taunt. There’s a rare issue where a Figure Player will actually freeze – and be completely unable to move – in instances where it would normally taunt. FPs generally taunt after getting a kill or, in extreme instances, after launching their opponent a certain distance away. Freezing was more prominent in early versions of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it’s still a thing now, so please be careful if you are trying to teach your amiibo to taunt.
Another problem many trainers have is that their FPs roll a lot. You’ll have to make every effort to avoid rolling or air dodging during training. It’s not a huge deal if you roll or air dodge every once in a while, but the FP picks up on that and can sometimes take it too far. It’s very difficult to get an FP to stop rolling, so take extra precautions. Don’t roll, even if it means you get hit on purpose. While we’re at it, be careful shielding, too. FPs can parry moves very well, but they generally only parry the first hit of any given move.
This leads us to our next point. You’ll need to hit your amiibo with the moves you want it to use, but you also have to let it hit you. If you play too aggressively and the FP never gets a chance to attack you, it’ll become passive because it thinks all of its moves will fail. Let it hit you with the moves you want it to use more often, and try to avoid moves you don’t want it to use. If this means you have to take it into Slow Smash, so be it! That’s fine too.
One final note here: for the most part, Figure Players benefit from walking more than they do running. Though you can can cancel a dash into an attack, the AI prefers to run up to its enemy, stop, and then attack. Which gives their opponent a chance to strike! Generally speaking, it’s best to only dash when the opponent is far away. Otherwise, take it easy and walk. You’ll have easier access to defensive maneuvers that way, too. Some of our character guides will specifically tell you to walk instead of running — some fighters actually need to walk to reach their highest potential.
AI Flaws & Exploits
There’s some things you just won’t be able to teach your amiibo to deal with, unfortunately. Ultimate’s AI is better than any other Smash title’s AI, but it’s still very flawed. For one, it can’t detect things it can’t see. This might seem obvious, but think of it this way: the Figure Player has to see something with its “eyes” to be able to notice it. Meaning it can’t tell how much damage an opponent has taken, if the enemy’s attack has super armor active (in which case it will try to challenge it and fail terribly), or if team attack is on. And there’s no way around these things: they’re just flaws we have to accept.
As you might expect, a lot of characters have fighter-specific AI flaws. We talk more about those in our character guides, so rather than list them all here, feel free to check out our post on the fighter you’re thinking of. If they’ve got a noticeable AI flaw, we’ll mention it in the guide, so no worries there.
It’s safe to say, then, that the strongest Figure Players are trained to take advantage of the game’s exploitable AI. That’s why you’ve got fighters like Bowser, Incineroar, and King K. Rool at the top of our tier list: their movesets are difficult for AI opponents to deal with. If you’re raising your FP to fight human opponents, though, you don’t have to focus on “AI breaker” moves. In that case, you’re better off focusing on things like grabs and tilts and fast moves. Humans are generally much better at dodging smash attacks and command grabs, which are the go-to options against Figure Players.
Taking advantage of FPs off-stage is also very easy. They don’t defend themselves very well when recovering, which leaves them vulnerable to being gimped. Long story short, if the character you’re training doesn’t have a good recovery, they probably have to stay on-stage. It isn’t worth risking it. Human players who fight the same FPs often will quickly learn that their recovery patterns are hard-coded and thus very predictable. Again, our character guides go into more detail on who should and shouldn’t leave the stage to edgeguard, so give them a look if you have questions.
Let’s talk about combos for a moment, because Figure Players can’t actually combo in the way you might be thinking. For this scenario, we’re going to use Pichu! Pichu is capable of using a simple combo: down throw to up air to forward / back air (depending on the enemy’s launch angle). This combo is hard-coded in Pichu’s noggin. Simply put, if your Pichu amiibo is Level 50, it knows it can use this string. But if you taught Pichu to grab a lot, but to never use its up air, it might not continue the combo after using down throw. In other words, a Pichu will only use this combo if its grab, up air, and forward and back air values are high enough on their own.
As a result, you can’t really teach an amiibo to combo; you teach an amiibo to use a move, and if it has any hard-coded follow ups, it will be more likely to employ them. They can’t improvise combos, and they may not even know they’re performing them in the moment. If an amiibo uses a string of up tilts and then an up smash, it did not use the first up tilt with the intent of finishing with an up smash; it simply decided in a split second’s time that an up smash was appropriate for that specific circumstance.
There are a few instances that appear to be exceptions, though. Joker has many more hard-coded combos than your average Figure Player. His AI actually does consistent dragdown combos, which is really impressive by FP standards! To get him to use dragdown combos, though, you don’t have to perform them yourself, you have to use a lot of up aerials because that’s the move the AI associates those combos with. Hopefully the two examples I’ve provided here help paint a clearer picture of how the AI handles combos.
Thanks so much for reading! With all of that being said, though, this is just a general training guide. And it wasn’t really a guide, per se, it was more of a “general information dump”. If you haven’t read our character guides yet, they’ll give you more specific instructions on training a strong Figure Player! And if you still have questions, feel free to join our Discord server and ask. We’ll be happy to explain whatever it is you’re wondering about!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.