Back in Super Smash Bros. 4, even alluding to the existence of a “strongest R.O.B. amiibo” was considered impossible. By the end of the Smash 4 metagame, R.O.B. sat at the bottom of our tier list, only being beaten by Mega Man as worst character in the game. Things are a little better for R.O.B. in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but one important factor remains the same between both games: nobody trains this character. Seriously, R.O.B. is one of the least represented fighters out there right now! So let’s talk about everything you need to know to change that.
As mentioned before, things are a little better for R.O.B. in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but not too much better. He’s still considered low-tier… which is kind of strange, because he’s got a lot of unique strengths. For one, he’s a heavyweight fighter, making him extra resilient in battle. He’s got a reliable recovery, strong smash attacks, powerful gimping tools, and useful throws. So what’s the problem here, then?
One of several problems here is that R.O.B.’s AI isn’t all that great. It rarely angles its Robo Beam, doesn’t consistently charge and shoot its Gyro (and then chase and pick it up afterwards), and can’t mash its Arm Rotor for extra duration. And though his finishers are strong, they aren’t exactly easy to land. Off-stage down airs have a moment of startup, which can give an enemy time to air dodge or use an up special to intercept. His smash attacks either have small sweetspots (forward smash is strongest the closer the opponent is to R.O.B.’s eyes, for example), poor range, or a noticeable bit of ending lag. What results is a character that should be good on paper, but falls short in practice.
R.O.B.’s tournament results and representation haven’t been all that impressive, unfortunately. But if you train it in a really specific way (which we’ll talk about in a few sections), you can maximize its potential and help the character get better competitive results!
R.O.B. has an easier time in the Spirits metagame than the vanilla metagame because he benefits from a ton of specific Spirit effects. First, though, if you don’t already know, Spirits scramble FP training data when inherited! So if you want to maximize the impact of your training, give your R.O.B. amiibo its Spirits first and then start training it. Let’s talk about some specific builds you could use.
As a heavyweight fighter, R.O.B. benefits from Super Armor and Armor Knight. In the case of the former, the bonus takes up all three slots. In the case of the latter, Armor Knight only takes up two slots, so pair it with Move Speed ↑ or Trade-Off Ability ↑. R.O.B. greatly appreciates this set’s stat boosts!
Some other options you could try include Physical Attack ↑, Hyper Smash Attacks, Air Attack ↑, and especially Move Speed ↑. R.O.B.’s kind of slow, so a 1.3x movement speed buff is really helpful! For stats, a balanced setup (2100 / 2100) works. We suggest that spread on just about every character, though, so feel free to lean more into attack or defense depending on which you think is more important.
Let’s start with a few “ground rules” of sorts. First up, when training your amiibo, try your best to always face it in a mirror match! This means you’ll need to play as R.O.B., even if you aren’t very good as him. Second, for best results, train your amiibo on an Ω-form stage. You can play either timed or stock matches, but most trainers level up their FPs via timed matches. If you’re happy with the way your R.O.B. behaves when it reaches Level 30, you can turn its Learning off and level it up against CPUs or other FPs. Just make sure it doesn’t face another AI opponent with Learning on.
During these matches, it’s your job to show your FP which of its moves are best. Before we get to that, though, let’s cover movement real quick. With R.O.B., you’re going to want to walk instead of running. Your FP will soon learn to walk, too, and this will help give it time to take defensive action before being hit by an attack. Walking is generally preferred on most FPs (with exceptions made to characters that need to play very aggressively).
Okay, now we can talk moves. When you’re close to your FP, attack it with a bunch of down tilts! It’s a really fast move that can help rack up quick damage, and you can follow up with a forward tilt or forward smash afterwards. Speaking of which, forward tilt and forward smash are both solid damage-rackers, and the latter is capable of KOing at higher percentages. Try to hit your FP with the sweetspot at R.O.B.’s eyes when using forward smash. Down smash works too, as it hits multiple times and has a good bit of knockback. Back to down tilt, though — if you use down tilt too often, R.O.B.’s AI might freeze and just… stand there… until it’s attacked. So do use down tilts, but mix in forward tilts and forward smash too.
Grabs are another important part of R.O.B.’s game plan. Down throw can combo into an up air, and you can follow up with more up airs or even an up smash. Up air and up smash juggles are strong on R.O.B., so make sure your FP knows to do them! Up smash in particular might just be R.O.B.’s strongest grounded kill move, so be sure to give it high priority too. If your FP launches you in midair, you can use neutral air to land. Just don’t use it too close to the ground, because R.O.B. will suffer from the ending lag penalty without producing a hitbox in time. You can also use occasional short-hopped forward airs, but make sure to prioritize your grounded moves more.
Back to grabs, though, all of R.O.B.’s throws have their uses. Down throw combos, as mentioned earlier, while up throw can set up for a juggle or up smash. Use forward and back throws to toss your FP towards the nearest ledge, and then you can go for a gimp! R.O.B.’s forward or down airs are perfect for gimping, especially the former. The latter has some startup, but is really strong when it connects. R.O.B. is free to go pretty far off-stage, too, especially because the AI is generally good about conserving its fuel. Don’t go off-stage so much that you run out of fuel, though. Spend some time on the ground too!
R.O.B.’s special moves can come in handy once in a while. Keep in mind that Ultimate’s AI can’t plan ahead with projectiles, so their use is going to be rather limited. Robo Beam can be fired directly forward from afar to rack up damage; at full power, it deals a good bit of knockback and can even KO at later percentages. You could charge a Gyro every once in a while, and then fire it, but there are risks to doing so. FPs get wonky when throwable items are added into the mix, because they get distracted and want to pick it up even if the opponent is using it as a trap. Gyro is honestly up to you. Whether you decide to use it or not, don’t have your expectations too high!
Also worth noting is that Arm Rotor reflects projectiles and deals decent damage. R.O.B. can use it off-stage to get a KO, but the AI doesn’t like to do this, and risks self-destructing. A very rare on-stage Arm Rotor is acceptable. Another note: the AI doesn’t mash the special move button to get Arm Rotor’s extra distance and power, which is a real shame. It doesn’t even know it can mash it, so there’s no way to teach it! So, quick review: down tilt, forward tilt, grabs, and smash attacks are solid. Off-stage forward and down airs are good. And an occasional special move is alright. That’s our game plan! You’ll probably want to avoid R.O.B.’s back aerial, as it’s super slow. And don’t use up special on-stage to more easily juggle your FP. That could cause some bad habits. In terms of moves to specifically avoid, that’s about it!
Thanks so much for reading! R.O.B. is certainly a finicky character to train. Between strange AI tendencies and a lack of range on certain moves, he definitely struggles in some matchups. If you have any questions during training or just need help with it, feel free to join our Discord server and ask! We’re always happy to help out trainers new and old! And if you want to read more on amiibo training, give our general training guide a look while you’re at it!
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