When it comes to amiibo training, we get a lot of questions about Pokémon Trainer. And that’s understandable, because Pokémon Trainer is a complicated character. You’ve got the Super Smash Bros. 4 Charizard amiibo, which scans as Pokémon Trainer in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Then you’ve got the Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Pokémon Trainer figures, and they also scan as Pokémon Trainer in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unfortunately, figurines of the individual Pokémon aren’t standalone characters: they’re still very much controlled by a trainer. In other words, a Squirtle amiibo can still play as Ivysaur and Charizard. Kind of a shame that all four figures are essentially the same, but it makes for an interesting character!
Pokémon Trainer commands Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard. If you’re reading this, you probably have a Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard, or Pokémon Trainer amiibo that you want to train. If you’ve got one of the individual Pokémon amiibo, the character on the figure is the one Pokémon Trainer will always send out first. You can’t change that. If you’re training an actual Pokémon Trainer amiibo, you can choose which Pokémon it sends out first via the character selection screen.
In terms of battle, Pokémon Trainer is a bit disappointing. And a bit difficult to explain! Basically, when you train a Pokémon Trainer amiibo, you’re training the trainer. Kind of ironic, right? The Figure Player’s training is shared between Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard. All three Pokémon will more or less fight the same, just with different moves. For example, if you teach Squirtle use its side special, both Ivysaur and Charizard will also use their side specials even though they’re technically different moves. Pokémon Trainer’s AI is hard-coded to switch Pokémon every so often. This tendency can be minimized, but it can’t be erased. Lots of frustrating traits here, but they actually make for a rather interesting fighter.
Back in Smash 4, Charizard was all on its own, and it was a top-tier fighter. By all accounts, it’s still a top-tier fighter. Except it’s kind of weighed down by Squirtle and Ivysaur, who are weaker and easier to launch. Keep in mind that Figure Players don’t combo well, and they especially can’t purposefully switch their Pokémon with the intent of using a specific move. It’s all random. When they switch, if they switch, and how long each Pokémon stays out. Despite the fact that the Pokémon Trainer amiibo is kind of a conceptual mess, it’s achieved solid results in our metagame.
Armor Knight is absolutely ridiculous on Pokémon Trainer. Of course, it benefits Charizard the most, but Squirtle and Ivysaur aren’t complaining about its massive defensive boost. Pair Armor Knight with Trade-Off Ability ↑ and you’ll have a really resilient fighter on your hands. Super Armor works too, though it’s a risk on Squirtle due to its light weight. Though Slow Super Armor and Autoheal are strong bonuses, they don’t work especially well with Pokémon Trainer.
Aside from the big five (the bonuses listed above), Pokémon Trainer has a few additional options. Hyper Smash Attacks, Physical Attack ↑, and Move Speed ↑ are all solid choices that benefit all three Pokémon. That’s something you’ll have to keep in mind, too. Don’t go giving your Pokémon Trainer amiibo Fire & Explosion Attack ↑, because that’s only useful for Charizard. You can’t control which Pokémon the Figure Player is using, so Spirits should target all three Pokémon instead of a specific one.
Given the considerable weight range of Pokémon Trainer’s three Pokémon, a balanced setup (2100 / 2100) is probably going to be your best bet. You could invest into Attack to beef up Squirtle’s moves, but that’s up to you. Don’t worry if you can’t get an even 2100 / 2100, either — that’s just a ballpark range. Give or take a few points and you’ll be fine.
The amiibo training process is long and difficult. But mostly just long. You’ll want to mirror match your Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard, or Pokémon Trainer amiibo until it reaches Level 50. Or until you’re satisfied with its gameplay, after which you can turn its Learning off and level it up in the background. Try to play as Charizard whenever you can, but don’t make an effort to play as the same Pokémon the FP has out. It won’t even know what Pokémon you’re playing as, just that you’re an opponent who needs to be defeated. Here are some moves to use during training. Please note that this list applies to all three Pokémon and should be referred to no matter which one you’re playing as:
- Side special: It’s good on all three Pokémon, but for very different reasons. Ivysaur’s is probably the least effective of the three. Squirtle and Charizard’s side specials, on the other hand, are moving hitboxes, making them useful tools against other Figure Players. Don’t use side special at the edge – even as Ivysaur – because the other two Pokémon may launch themselves too far off-stage to be able to recover.
- Up smash: A great attack on all three characters. In Squirtle’s case, it’s actually its best move! The hitboxes seems to catch opposing FPs off-guard, giving Squirtle its only kill move in the process.
- Forward smash: Forward smash is a recommended option for most characters, and Pokémon Trainer is no exception. Up smash is generally more useful, but forward smash is a secondary option that can be used instead to prevent staling. During Charizard’s forward smash, it’s rendered completely intangible! It is a bit slow though, so keep that in mind.
- Forward tilt: All of Pokémon Trainer’s Pokémon have solid forward tilts. Ivysaur’s is, again, probably the least effective of the three. Charizard’s base AI knows how to sweetspot this move, which increases its power and knockback.
- Down aerial: A useful landing tool that can spike or rack up damage depending on the active Pokémon. Ivysaur and Charizard’s down airs spike, but don’t go too far off-stage to edgeguard. None of the Pokémon have great recoveries, so they can’t afford to chase opponents far away.
- Neutral aerial: Best used as a landing option in tandem with down air. It’s a rather fast move on all three Pokémon, which helps them keep opponents at a safe distance.
- Grab & throws: All three Pokémon have solid throws. They can’t combo off of them very well, though (save for a simple down throw to forward air), so your best bet is to just toss the FP towards the nearest ledge. Squirtle’s back throw is also ridiculously strong for being such a small Pokémon.
The moves above are essential to Pokémon Trainer’s game plan. There’s a few more moves you could mix in a bit more infrequently, though. Just make sure you don’t prioritize the following attacks over the ones we’ve already discussed:
- Up aerial: Ivysaur’s up air is incredible — Charizard and Squirtle’s are just okay. Don’t incorporate too many aerials, but do use this one for the occasional juggling spell.
- Back aerial: Charizard’s back air is incredible, and Ivysaur and Squirtle’s are just okay. Again, don’t focus too heavily on aerials, but feel free to use this one once in a while.
- Forward aerial: Squirtle’s forward air is incredible… and Charizard and Ivysaur’s are just okay. Pokémon Trainer should remain mostly grounded, but forward air remains an option in case you find yourself in midair.
- Down smash: Quite good on all three Pokémon, but especially Squirtle. Be careful using down smash, though, as Ultimate’s AI tends to overprioritize it for no particular reason. Use forward smash a lot and down smash a little.
- Dash attack: A solid moving hitbox that can be used every once in a while. Probably the least useful move on this list, but a good burst option that can catch opponents by surprise.
In terms of moves to avoid, don’t use Pokémon Change (down special). Using Pokémon Change yourself will encourage the Figure Player to use it more, too. Unfortunately, it’s going to switch every so often regardless, so the habit can’t be curbed. It’s hard-coded. Pokémon Trainer’s AI does switch Pokémon in order to recover more effectively, though. This is hard-coded too, so don’t worry too much about that.
By the way – bonus section here – the Pokémon Trainer amiibo actually lets you choose which Pokémon the FP starts the match with. This doesn’t matter too much, because the AI will switch its Pokémon before long regardless. If you’re still looking for a best option, though, you could go with Ivysaur first. That way the FP needs to use Pokémon Change twice before it gets to Squirtle (who is KOed the easiest out of the three). If you’re using a Squirtle, Ivysaur, or Charizard amiibo, don’t worry — the Pokémon your FP starts with won’t make or break its success.
Thanks so much for reading! Pokémon Trainer is a really confusing amiibo to train – especially if you’re just starting out – so I hope this guide helped point you in the right direction! If you have any questions along the way, feel free to join our Discord server and drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help! Happy training, and until next time!
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