“Kirby Kirby Kirby, that’s the name you should know”, except in this case, he isn’t quite the star of the show. At the beginning of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s metagame, Kirby was overlooked and underrated. It wasn’t until fairly recently that a clear “strongest Kirby amiibo” emerged, causing the character’s tier list placement to shoot up significantly. At the time of writing, no fighter has improved as much as Kirby has. It’s time to take a look at what makes Kirby strong after all — let’s get started!
Thanks to Clockwerk66 for contributing Kirby’s training information! Feel free to check out their Discord server by following this link.
Super Smash Bros. 4 limited Kirby’s potential in many ways. Figure Players in that game were heavily defensive, and as such didn’t use combos, attack with aerials, or go off-stage to gimp. Despite these restrictions, Kirby found his way into mid-tier. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has changed the game for Kirby, though. Aerials still aren’t great, but FPs can now kind of combo and they can definitely go off-stage to gimp an opponent. This opens up a world of opportunity, allowing Kirby to finally make decent use of his powerful aerial attacks. He’s still rather strong on the ground, too; his smash attacks are surprisingly strong and have a bit more range than you might expect. Kirby’s Smash 4 AI was notorious for spamming its Inhale (and using all of its Copy Abilities incorrectly), and thankfully, this has been half-fixed. It’s no longer hard-coded to use Inhale, but will still use just about every Copy Ability incorrectly. Whoops!
Things still get messy when Kirby is taught to Inhale a lot. In the AI’s mind, “Inhale an opponent” and “use a Copy Ability” are the same thing. Meaning it’ll perform both actions with the same frequency. All of its Copy Abilities are hard-coded, too, meaning you can’t change how the AI uses it, only how often. So Kirby pretty much has to forgo Inhale entirely for the best possible results. Moving on to more general problems, Kirby is light and easy to KO, which worsens his matchups against the heavyweight fighters that rule the metagame. His range is a little bit lacking, too, so Kirby has a chance of being overwhelmed by opponents using long weapons. Ironically, one such character is his arch-frenemy King Dedede.
In spite of his quirks and flaws, Kirby has accrued fantastic tournament results and representation. He started off slow, but his game plan has been figured out! If you’d like to read more about Kirby and his place in our metagame, feel free to visit his wiki page.
Kirby benefits from a wide variety of Spirits. But before we talk about which ones, let’s make a quick note. If your Kirby amiibo is fresh out of the box and Level 1, prioritize giving it Spirits now – before you start training – as they scramble FP training data for whatever reason. If your Kirby amiibo is already Level 50, you can give it Spirits anyway, but you might notice it acting strange next time it plays. Fight against it in a few brush-up matches (using the training strategies in the next section) and you should be good to go!
Objectively speaking, Kirby’s best setup is probably Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑. With this build, his attack and defense will increase by a lot, and he’ll enjoy a slight increase in movement speed. If you’re looking to train a Kirby amiibo to annoy your friends, this is the build to use! He’ll be much tougher to KO than usual, not to mention that increased damage output. Great Autoheal is probably a fine bonus to use, too, but a bit less so than Armor Knight.
If you’re training your Kirby amiibo to enter a tournament that follows the Exion ban list, Armor Knight and Great Autoheal aren’t allowed. You’ve still got options, though! Physical Attack ↑, Foot Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Trade-Off Ability ↑ are the next best options. If you’re looking for more niche Spirits, you could try Impact Run, Air Defense ↑, Floaty Jumps, Easier Dodging, or Landing Lag ↓. If you want to train a wild Kirby amiibo, try Instadrop and Impact Run. For stats, the tired old balanced spread (2100 / 2100) works fine on Kirby.
It’s finally time to start training! To train the most effective Kirby amiibo, you’re going to need to play as Kirby too — even if you don’t think you’re good with him! Leveling up an amiibo takes a long time, so when yours reaches somewhere around Level 35, feel free to switch its Learning off. Then you can use Journeys or CPU battles to let your Kirby level up in the background. Afterwards, you can turn Learning back on and play a few brush-up matches!
At low percentages, Kirby boasts a whole bunch of neutral options. Rotate his jab, forward tilt, and grab at low percentages. At 0%, a back throw combos into a back air, and a forward throw combos into a forward air until medium percentages. Down tilt can combo into a forward smash, assuming the victim trips from the first hit. You can also use neutral air once in a while! Its hitbox is kind of strange… but in a good way. And for some reason, Kirby’s Final Cutter move works rather well against AI opponents. Use it infrequently from a distance, aiming to hit them with the projectile rather than the blade (though hitting them with the blade is OK too). You can also use Final Cutter and Stone to land if you’re launched upwards. Don’t go too heavy on Stone, and make sure you’re back to normal before you hit the ground (cancel the transformation with B after connecting the hit). If you can knock your FP high into the air, you can attempt to juggle with with up airs and up smashes. Kirby’s juggling game isn’t very good, though, so it might be best to wait for it to land.
Kirby has a lot of finishers, both grounded and aerial. On-stage, you can try down smash, up smash, and especially forward smash. A landing down air combos into down smash, but don’t use this combo too often; even to AI enemies, landing with down air is predictable and can be punished. When your FP is knocked off-stage, chase it and attack with forward or down airs. Make sure you don’t get attacked while trying to gimp your FP, though, as Kirby’s double jumps can run out and force you to self-destruct with Final Cutter.
There’s a couple of moves you should be avoiding here. The first is Inhale; it’s just a mess and you won’t have much luck teaching your FP to use specific Copy Abilities. Interestingly enough, Kirby’s AI seems to have more of a grasp on the Monado Arts than Shulk. But don’t let that tempt you! The other move to stay away from is Hammer Flip. It’s really slow, and even its incredible power isn’t enough to make it a risk worth taking.
Thanks so much for reading — use the moves we discussed above and your Kirby amiibo should be starting out on the right foot! As usual, if you have any questions during training, feel free to join our Discord server and ask. We’ll be happy to help! Speaking of Discord servers, I’d like to thank Clockwerk66 for helping out with training strategies. You can check out their (unrelated, but still cool) Discord server here. Until next time!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.