Ganondorf is notorious for playing a number of roles in the Super Smash Bros. series; the “newbie killer” and “AI killer” are a few such roles. As you might expect, Ganondorf’s powerful smash attacks are often too much for AI opponents to deal with. This was even true in Super Smash Bros. 4, where he was considered top-tier! Ganondorf isn’t quite there in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but he’s still a high-tier contender with a ton of room to improve. Still, Ganondorf as a high tier? What kind of metagame is this? Today, we’re going to be going over tips and tricks you can employ to train a strong Ganondorf amiibo!
There are a bunch of characters in Ultimate who fit the heavyweight “slow but strong” archetype, but no character fits this description quite as well as Ganondorf. Indeed, Ganondorf deals a metric ton of damage with each and every one of his attacks. His smash attacks are arguably the strongest finishers in the entire game; his forward smash can KO opponents as early as 40% when close to the edge. You can never really count Ganondorf out due to the raw power throughout his moveset! He’s also got two special moves – Flame Choke and Wizard’s Foot – that make his approach a bit better, too.
Ganondorf does have a few weaknesses, though. One of these is that, though his attacks are strong, they’re really slow. He’s easily interrupted by faster characters, and ironically has a poor matchup against Link (who is high-tier and extremely common). He also struggles against characters who can outrange him (as many FPs do), including Ridley and Mii Gunner. Lastly, Ganondorf’s recovery is entirely unimpressive, granting him below-average horizontal and vertical distance while leaving him vulnerable to spikes.
Overall, Ganondorf’s positives outweigh his negatives (never thought you’d hear that, right?), and his tournament results and representation have been strong. If you’d like to read a little bit more about Ganondorf and his (really impressive) position in our metagame, have a look at his corresponding wiki page! Fun fact: Ganondorf FPs are sometimes (but not always) banned in Spirits tourneys!
Ganondorf benefits heavily from Super Armor. With added armor on all his attacks, Ganondorf hardly has to worry about their sluggishness! Slow Super Armor works too, because it only takes up two bonus slots and can be run alongside Hyper Smash Attacks. Armor Knight works too, and can be paired with Trade-Off Ability ↑ for a devastating Spirit combo!
“Big five” aside (not mentioned earlier were Autoheal and Great Autoheal), Hyper Smash Attacks is one of the best bonuses Ganondorf can use, as it makes his already-ridiculous smash attacks downright broken. With this bonus, he can end stocks in just two or three hits. Other choices include Physical Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Floaty Jumps!
Ganondorf doesn’t have much room for patience, and typically wants to close out games quickly. Anything from an offensive setup (3000 / 1200) to a balanced one (2100 / 2100) will do the trick. If you’re feeling risky, you could lean even heavier into attack if you want!
As always, be sure to train your Ganondorf amiibo while playing as Ganondorf. Quite a few trainers seem to start with Ganondorf – as in, he’s the first character they’ve ever trained – so if this is you, feel free to read our general amiibo training guide for additional tips and tricks. Tips and tricks, gotta love ’em. Here are all the character-specific moves to use:
- Forward smash: This move rocks the entire game, and three or four landed forward smashes will close out a stock. Use this move as often as is realistically possible. Since Ganondorf leans back a bit, AI opponents won’t (or can’t) react and dodge like a human player could. Not to mention they can’t tell if Ganondorf is spamming a move. They just try to react to what’s coming, which doesn’t work very well in this case.
- Up smash: Massive hitbox, damage, and firepower makes this an excellent anti-air. Use it against your FP when it’s in the air. You can even punish opponents on platforms!
- Down smash: Only use this move at the edge or after using Flame Choke (which we’ll discuss in just a bit). Make sure the FP prioritizes forward smash instead.
- Neutral aerial: It’s a good landing option that hits multiple times. Use it sparingly (but still kind-of often).
- Forward aerial: This move is deadly, but there are only a few situations where he could theoretically land it. Generally speaking, only use it when your FP is already in the air. You can go off-stage, but only a little bit. Ganondorf’s recovery isn’t strong enough to go too far out.
- Down aerial: An excellent landing option (believe it or not) and a great way of stealing stocks early. Hop over the edge and spike with down air, but don’t go too far.
- Down special: Great for when your FP is far away! It deals good damage and knockback and can even KO at high percentages. AI opponents don’t like moving hitboxes, so you might find your FP getting hit by Wizard’s Foot a lot.
- Side special: Flame Choke’s command grab goes through shields and super armor, and Ganondorf can follow up with a down smash depending on which direction his victim chooses to tech roll.
- Forward tilt: A great neutral option, especially at the ledge! It’s fairly quick, too, and can KO at high percentages.
The moves above are considered high priority. There are a few others that could be considered low priority. Don’t feel like you have to use these, but you can add them to the mix if you want. It’s up to you!
- Back aerial: While this move is potent, Ganondorf typically lacks the mobility to pull it off and it ends up whiffing or being used poorly. You can use it every once in a while if you want, but don’t expect pinpoint accuracy.
- Up aerial: This move is fine, but the more aerials you teach your amiibo, the more often it will jump. Ganondorf wants to stay grounded!
- Grab & throws: It can be used every so often for damage, but it’s outclassed by his high-priority moves (listed above). Not much worth using when it comes to grabs.
- Neutral special: Yes, we all want Ganondorf’s AI to use Warlock Punch! It’s not optimal, but it is flashy. It’s got super armor, so if you really, really wanted to, you could try landing it once in a blue moon. Not at all essential to Ganondorf’s success… and may actually be a detriment to it. Your call here.
There’s one move that you should never, ever use: up tilt. Ganondorf’s AI is hard-coded to use its up tilt way more often than it should, and no matter how far you stray from up tilt, the FP will still use it at the wrong time every once in a while. Try not to get hit by your FP’s up tilts, and don’t use them (even if you’re playing as another character), and you’ll be able to minimize the chance that your amiibo uses up tilt.
Thanks so much for reading! If you’re new to amiibo training and a Ganondorf main, this is probably a great day for you. He’s actually high-tier! Take advantage of Ganondorf’s raw power and use the moves we listed here, and you’ll be well on your way to training the strongest Ganondorf amiibo. If you have any questions during training, feel free to join our Discord server and ask! Until next time — happy training!
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