Samus has had a rough life. Not in terms of Metroid lore, but in terms of her history in the amiibo metagame. Super Smash Bros. 4 was certainly a struggle, and Samus was ranked as one of the three worst characters (alongside R.O.B. and Mega Man — all three were robotic, for some reason) on our official tier list. In Ultimate, things are much better for Samus. By all accounts, she’s still not great; if you’re looking to train one though, you’re in luck — it’s easier now than ever before!
Before we begin, this is something that’s probably worth mentioning. If you’re a fan of Metroid, good news: Ridley is one of the best Figure Players available. Of course, that’s bad news for Samus, but if you’re looking to train a strong Ridley amiibo, you can find our guide right here. Now then, moving right along — Samus has many unique strengths that make her a somewhat viable pick. Her moveset is highly versatile, and boasts short- and long-ranged options that support a wide variety of play styles. She’s got a strong projectile (yes, “a” strong projectile — we’ll get to that in a moment), powerful off-stage options, and a rather good recovery, especially for her status as a heavyweight fighter.
Some of Samus’ flaws from Smash 4 are still present in Ultimate, unfortunately. One such flaw is her artificial intelligence, which barely knows how to utilize its Charge Shot. We’ve got a theory on why this is, too. Ultimate’s AI files contain labels for each character’s special moves, and Samus’ Charge Shot is labeled “charge”. Makes sense. But the Figure Player often shoots it uncharged or fully charges it but never fires. It could be that the AI’s goal is just to charge the move, and once it’s done so, its mission is complete. Either way, at the time of writing, Samus’ Figure Player cannot be taught to properly utilize its Charge Shot attack on a consistent basis. Adding to this trouble is her lack of KO ability; she’s forced to rely on off-stage aerials or her smash attacks, the latter of which don’t even work properly half the time. Up smash in particular doesn’t always fully connect, allowing opponents to drop out and retaliate instead of being launched of KOs. Pair this with a slow grab and you’ve got a character that sometimes struggles to seal the deal.
Even so, Samus has an impressive damage-racking ability and a variety of different moves that can help her get enemies within kill percentage. If you’re trying to train a strong Samus amiibo, don’t let her flaws discourage you! Plenty of trainers have found… some success with Samus, and you can too! We’ve got a wiki page on Samus as well, so give it a look if you have a moment.
If you’re looking to equip your Samus amiibo with a Spirit team, I’d recommend doing so sooner rather than later. When a Figure Player inherits a Spirit, its personality and move priorities are changed — and the effect differs depending on the Spirit you give it. At the time of writing, there are over 1,200 Spirits in the game, so it’d be nearly impossible to document the effect of each and every one. In other words: if possible, give your FP its Spirits at Level 1. If that’s not possible, that’s okay too; just be prepared to play a few matches against it to brush up its skills.
Samus is a heavyweight fighter, and heavyweight fighters have it good when it comes to taking advantage of certain bonus effects. Super Armor, Slow Super Armor, Autoheal, and Great Autoheal all work great on Samus. Of course, there’s Armor Knight, too, which can be paired with Trade-Off Ability ↑ for a truly threatening Spirit build.
Most online tournaments keep those bonuses banned, though (with the exception of Trade-Off Ability ↑), so if you’re looking to enter one you’ll have to reconsider. Luckily, Samus benefits from a few other bonus types. Side Special ↑, Physical Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, Fire & Explosion Attack ↑, and Hyper Smash Attacks are all viable options, so mix and match them as you see fit. For stats, anything’s fine, but as with most fighters, a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) is perhaps most optimal.
If your Samus amiibo is fresh out of the box – first, congratulations – they’re a bit pricey these days. Second, you’re going to want to mirror match it until it reaches Level 50. This will take a few hours, so if you burn out by the time it hits Level 30 (give or take a few levels), feel free to switch its Learning off and level it up some other way, whether that’s via amiibo Journeys or fighting CPU players. Emphasis on the “switch Learning off” part, though — as a rule of thumb, only switch a Figure Player’s Learning on if you are the one fighting it.
If you main Samus, you can’t just go all-out against your FP and expect it to do well — especially if you’re going to be sending it to tournaments. An optimal amiibo plays much differently than an optimal player, so keep that in mind if any of the training information here appears… odd. First, when the FP is at low percentage, you should focus on down tilt as a grounded option. It’s fast, spammable, and has a relatively impressive range. It serves as a fantastic damage racker, too, so be sure to place high priority on down tilt during training. Dash attack comes in at a close second, possessing a moving hitbox (which Ultimate’s AI has trouble dealing with for whatever reason) and kill power at high percentages. Up smash does two jobs fairly well: it’s a solid anti-air that can punish an opponent’s landing, and it can KO opponents at realistic percentages as long as they don’t fall out of it.
Down smash can KO, too, and it’s a rather quick finisher at that. Don’t spam down smash, though; Figure Players tend to spam their smash attacks if left unchecked, which can leave them vulnerable if they miss. Forward smash is pitifully weak, but can be used extremely infrequently as a kill move at high percentages. There’s no need to use this move at all, really, but it can do the job every once in a while.
Now let’s talk about Samus’ projectiles. As mentioned earlier, the FP has a lot of trouble with Charge Shot. It will shoot uncharged ones whether you like it or not, and its chance of firing a fully charged attack is concerningly low. Still, if you’re bent on teaching your Samus amiibo to use Charge Shot, make sure to only fire fully charged ones (or attacks that are close to fully charged). And don’t fire them up close, either; make sure there’s a distance between you and your amiibo. Regarding Samus’ side special; unfortunately, she’s no Mii Gunner. There’s a limit to how many of Samus’ missiles can exist at a time, so she can’t just spam them and expect to camp. Even so, if you’d like to use them, do so one at a time from a long distance.
Surprisingly, Samus has a strong off-stage game. If you launch your FP off-stage, chase and attack it with an aerial. Forward aerial is – generally speaking – your best option. It’s got a large hitbox and even larger knockback, making it a prime “recovery-interruption” tool. Back and neutral aerials work too. Down air is alright, but her other options are more consistent.
And finally, moves to avoid! Up air is a big one, as up smash does its job infinitely better despite its flaws. Samus’ grab isn’t so great either, as it has a fair bit of lag if missed. Bomb is alright and can cover a landing in a pinch, but Samus is better off dropping to the stage as fast as possible to minimize the time she spends in midair.
Thanks so much for reading all the way to the end! Or for scrolling all the way to the end. Either way’s good. I’d like to shout out LittleFang for contributing Samus’ training information, which was a big help! He also contributed Dark Samus’ training, so if you want to read the Dark Samus guide (and pretend it’s much different), you can do so here. As always, feel free to join our Discord server if you’ve got any questions. Thanks so much for reading, and good luck with your training!
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