Training the strongest Villager amiibo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Way back in 2014 – when Super Smash Bros. 4 was still relevant – Villager was actually one of the first Figure Players I ever trained seriously! I spent hundreds, if not a thousand hours training it, and that training eventually formed the basis of knowledge that would later become the Amiibo Dojo. After training Villager for so long in the previous title, I figured out something important for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: he’s more or less the same, especially in terms of base AI. Today, we’re going to talk about the best training strategies to use on your Villager amiibo. Let’s get started!

Introduction

Villager’s kit is really interesting, especially in the context of Figure Player battles. He’s got more projectiles than your average fighter, but his AI can’t necessarily camp on a consistent basis. So what results is a hybrid playstyle that mixes projectile overload, off-stage shenanigans, and close-ranged combat. On the subject of off-stage play, Villager has solid options; he can launch enemies farther away from the ledge (or KO them outright) with a forward or back aerial, or he can opt to meteor smash them with a well-timed down air.

In terms of flaws, Villager is kind of a unique case. Most Figure Players are held back by AI flaws, but Villager’s flaws are almost entirely based on his character design. His most notable issue is KOing; though his smash attacks deal impressive knockback, they’re difficult to hit. Forward smash drops a bowling ball directly in front of Villager; in addition to having short range, it’s rather slow. Adding to this trouble is the fact that Villager’s AI can’t consistently drop its bowling ball off the ledge. Up smash launches enemies far, but its hitbox doesn’t reliably connect against grounded opponents. Though Villager has a strong back throw, his grab has a noticeable bit of startup. Finally – and this is kind of a specific “weakness” that might not really count – but Villager no longer has access to Timber Counter, a custom move in Super Smash Bros. 4 that granted the sapling the ability to trip opponents. That would’ve been really helpful here.

Villager, Greninja, Bowser Jr. — they can all be categorized under one label: underrepresented. Not sure what it is about Smash 4 newcomers and being underrated, but we can certainly change this! Villager’s tournament results have been alright, but his representation is definitely lacking. If you’d like to read more on Villager and his place in our metagame, have a look at his wiki page!

Spirits

If you’re looking to equip your Villager amiibo with a Spirit team, perfect! If not, that’s fine too – in fact, a good amount of our tournaments are vanilla – if you’re planning on entering one of those (or just don’t particularly care for Spirits), feel free to skip through this section. Keep it in mind in case you ever decide to give it Spirits after all, though.

Villager potentially benefits from a lot of Spirits. If you’ve read many of our character guides, you can probably feel it coming, and you’re right: the best setup for Villager is Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑. This build’s raw firepower can’t be beat! Autoheal and Great Autoheal work too, as Villager can stall for time by shooting extra projectiles.

Of course, tournaments following our ban list don’t allow Armor Knight, Autoheal, or Great Autoheal. Luckily, Villager can make use of a whole bunch of other effects. If you’re looking to buff your FP’s attack power, you could try Weapon Attack ↑! It increases the power of Villager’s forward tilt, up tilt, down tilt (how is the weed a weapon?), dash attack, forward smash, up smash, down smash… you get the point. It buffs a lot of Villager’s moves. Move Speed ↑ patches up Villager’s slow movement speed, allowing him to go off-stage more easily. In order of viability, Hyper Smash Attacks, Air Attack ↑, and Air Defense ↑ are some other Spirits worth trying out.

Training

For this section, we’re going to assume your Villager amiibo is at Level 1. If not, you’re all good; just switch its Learning on and play a bunch of matches using the training strategies below. Generally speaking, it’s fine to turn an FP’s Learning off when it reaches Level 30 (give or take a few levels). Then you can level it up in the background, against CPUs or other FPs, until it’s all done!

Now then, with Villager, you’re going to want to mostly walk. Moving slowly will help your FP’s AI to more quickly react to oncoming attacks. Only run when your FP is far away, and even then, there’s no rush because you can fire off a Lloid Rocket to waste time. When your FP is at low percentages, there’s a few moves in particular you should be using against it. Forward tilt – the umbrella – deals solid damage and knockback and can even KO at the edge, so use this at point black when possible. Down tilt can also be used at close range, while Lloid Rocket should be fired at mid-range to rack up damage. Yeah, Villager really doesn’t have too many consistent damage-rackers. If your FP is in the air, though, attack it with neutral airs! It’s a good move with surprisingly high knockback. Forward and back airs are fine too, just don’t jump too often. Only use aerials against your FP if it’s in the air.

Let’s talk about some more situational neutral moves, then. Good news: Villager’s AI can now properly use Timber, which it wasn’t capable of in the previous title! Every once in a while, you can plant and water a sapling and then attack the FP with the axe. Feel free to chop down the tree, too, but don’t use the move too often. Villager’s AI might start trying to plant a sapling in midair, which isn’t possible. Pocket is a great semi-reflector. At later levels, your FP might start grabbing your Lloid Rockets and firing them back at you! When this happens, pocket that Lloid Rocket and send that one back at it. It’s an easy way to teach your Villager amiibo how to use its Pocket, so be sure to employ that strategy during training!

In terms of kill moves, Villager’s options are limited. The aforementioned forward and down tilts can KO if needed, but often don’t connect or don’t actually kill until really high percentages. Forward smash lacks range (and, as mentioned before, the AI rarely drops it off the ledge), and the AI will spam its down smash if left unchecked, so those two are out. This leaves up smash — use it against your FP when it’s trying to land. Timber can also KO in a pinch, but again, you shouldn’t get your FP using that too often. You should mix in a back throw every once in a while, just note the grab’s startup and don’t use it too often.

Off-stage is a different story, though! If Villager’s enemy is off-stage, he should be too. Go for forward airs, back airs, and especially down airs. Be relentless and try to gimp your FP at all costs! Villager has a slight chance of getting an early stock if he goes off-stage a lot, and this goes a long way in improving his matchups against higher-tiered characters. One final reminder: don’t stand at the edge and use the bowling ball. The AI will use its bowling ball, but not close enough to the edge to have it drop off. That’s kind of sad.

There aren’t many moves to specifically avoid with Villager. This doesn’t really count as avoiding a move, per se, but when firing Lloid Rockets, don’t ride them (by holding the button). Villager can often overshoot its missile and self-destruct since it becomes helpless after getting off the rocket.

Wrap-Up

There’s no doubt about it: Villager’s a tricky one. His options are solid, but punishable if missed, which makes recommending moves tough. Even so, if you use the moves above as intended, you’ll be starting off on the right track! Thanks so much for reading! If you’d like to ask a training-related question, you’re welcome to join our Discord server anytime. Happy training — until next time!

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