Heavyweights were typically strong contenders in Smash 4 amiibo tournaments. The burly brutes Bowser and Ganondorf ruled the metagame, having claimed title after title with their powerful finishers and rock-solid defenses. As you might expect, their excellent performances quickly cemented them as the titans of the competitive scene. But now, we’ve moved on to Smash Ultimate, and the game has changed. Enter King K. Rool, a heavyweight fiend who puts Smash 4 Bowser and Ganondorf to shame. This crowned combatant breaks the mold of bulky fighters by bringing a unique set of attributes to the table.
King K. Rool’s amiibo figure was released in February 2019 alongside Piranha Plant and the Ice Climbers. His tournament represented exploded soon after his arrival, as trainers were able to unearth a treasure trove of first-place potential right off the bat. King K. Rool began to dominate competitions left and right; between his high durability, damaging attacks, and reliable recovery, it was easy to see why.
Unfortunately for the king, he suffered a large nerf in a game update. Said patch decreased the burial time on his down throw, but the AI never got the memo. It still uses its forward smash as if the patch never happened, and misses every time. K. Rool’s AI likes to use its throws, so it often wastes its time trying to use a combo that rarely connects. This is hard-coded, so you can’t actually train it out of him unless another update corrects the confused AI.
Other than that, though, King K. Rool is incredibly strong, and is in contention with Ness and Ridley for best character in the game. In a way, it’s a good thing that the king suffers from an AI flaw, as he might be too strong otherwise. If you’d like to read more about King K. Rool’s place in the metagame, I recommend reading his wiki page.
For this part, we’re going to assume your King K. Rool amiibo is at Level 1 — fresh out of the box. If you are going to equip it with Spirits, I’d recommend doing so as soon as possible. When a Spirit is used on a Figure Player, its personality and move priorities are shuffled around so severely that its behavior undergoes noticeable changes. Get this over with now so your training counts! In terms of Spirits you could give to K. Rool, here are a few options.
From an objective point of view, there are two setups that make King K. Rool an absolute monster. First is Super Armor which, hence its name, grants its user super armor at all percentages. Next is Armor Knight and Trade-Off Speed ↑, which provides incredibly high boosts to the king’s Attack, Defense, and speed. Keep in mind that Super Armor and Armor Knight are banned from competitive play, so don’t choose those if you want to enter tournaments that allow Spirits.
In case you do want to do that, there are a few other choices you could try out. Physical Attack ↑, Strong Throw, Special-Move Power ↑, Instadrop, and Move Speed ↑ all have some merit to them. It depends on what kind of character you want to train! If you want more information on our ban list, you can read it here.
Regarding stat points, don’t worry about them too much. I’d say 2100 / 2100 is a safe bet, as it perfectly balances King K. Rool’s Attack and Defense. Maximizing his Attack stat is another option, though, even if his Defense winds up negative. Believe it or not, the game doesn’t actually reduce a Figure Player’s stats if they end up negative. In other words, Spirits can only help an FP even if their status screen says otherwise.
This is the case for all fighters, but King K. Rool is best trained via mirror matches. Be sure to play as King K. Rool yourself, even if you aren’t good with him! If you play as another fighter, it isn’t the end of the world, but mirror matching your amiibo will help it to learn more about the character it’s playing as. If you notice your FP doing something you don’t like, don’t worry about it. Problematic tendencies can be patched up even after it reaches Level 50, so keep training anyway.
Most top-tier Figure Players rely on just a few moves to win. This isn’t really the case with King K. Rool. You’re going to have to make use of almost all of his moveset. Let’s start with his neutral options. At close range, you’re going to want to rely on jabs and forward tilts. Try not to grab your amiibo at all, as it can easily fall into its unfortunate AI flaw. In fact, if you can, try equipping yourself with the Bury Immunity Spirit effect and you’ll be immune to your amiibo’s down throw antics!
At a distance, King K. Rool doesn’t have many options. In fact, he’s left with just two: Blunderbuss and Crownerang. We’ve seen a lot of King K. Rool amiibo in tournaments, and we’ve concluded that there are two kinds of them: those who use Blunderbuss to edgeguard and those who go off-stage. You may want to choose which one yours is going to be, because it might be difficult to teach it to use a mix of both. Blunderbuss is great at catching high recoveries and faulty edge getups, and it can even be used on a platform to catch the opponent by surprise. Crownerang can hit enemies off-stage too, but it’s best used at mid-range to rack up damage.
If you’re going to go off-stage, you’re in luck: King K. Rool has a great aerial kit. Neutral aerial deals high damage and has super armor. Be sure not to spam it, though, as King K. Rool’s belly can break if it takes too much damage. Forward aerial can keep opponents away from the edge and a sweetspotted back or down air can KO at low percentages. Up aerial is almost completely useless off-stage, so avoid using that one when you can. Up air can kill close to the top blast zone, though, so that’s a fine usage of the move.
Now let’s talk kill moves, because King K. Rool has a lot of them. Forward smash is incredibly strong, but has a short range, so I’d recommend keeping its usage to a minimum. Up smash runs along the same line, so only use it against aerial opponents. Down smash is the move you should be relying on. It’s got a huge hitbox, belly super armor, and a ton of power to boot. It catches rolls, it guards edges, this move does it all. That being said, don’t spam it, because the attack’s strength will stale and it will lose a lot of its staying power.
Another important move to use is K. Rool’s down special, Gut Check. It reflects projectiles and counters physical moves, making it a neat trump card in a pinch. Only use this every so often, as the AI sometimes becomes counter-happy and other Figure Players see right through it. Interestingly, King K. Rool can counter one of Mii Gunner’s Super Missiles and score a KO with it at under 20%. This means Gut Check improves K. Rool’s matchup against a fellow top-tier, so precise usage of the move is crucial.
Just a few more things here: King K. Rool’s AI tends to aim its Propellerpack too high, so it’ll fly right over the edge and leave itself vulnerable. As far as I can tell, this is hard-coded, so don’t worry about what you can’t fix. Furthermore, don’t try to kill your amiibo off the top with Propellerpack. The FP might be able to do it against you, but it’s not going to be able to do it against another amiibo. Lastly, don’t charge your smash attacks at all. The AI will begin overcharging all of its smashes, leaving itself horribly vulnerable.
I think King K. Rool is a great amiibo for a new trainer to start with. The character fills a lot of niches; it’s great against human players and AI ones, but needs to be trained differently for both. If you want to train a King K. Rool amiibo to beat your friends, take as many risks as you want; if you want to train it to win tournaments, though, maybe play it a little safer. Once again, King K. Rool’s wiki page covers more of his strengths and weaknesses; if you have any more questions, our Discord server is happy to answer them for you. Thanks to Spike for revising a short portion of this guide. Happy training, and until next time!
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