Banjo & Kazooie, Terry Bogard, and Byleth AI Predictions

Nintendo recently announced the release dates of the Banjo & Kazooie, Terry Bogard, and Byleth amiibo figures: March 26, 2021! That’s not as long a wait as we originally thought, so pretty soon we’re going to be hard at work labbing these new characters for three brand-new training guides!

It’s important to note that preliminary AI for Banjo, Terry, and Byleth already exists in the game’s files, but is only accessible via Switch modifications. We can’t use this AI to make training guides early, because it’s entirely possible that the developers update this AI before the amiibo are officially released. Instead, we’ll have to wait until the amiibo functionality is patched in. We’ll still get the guides out early, so no worries! In the meantime, we’re here today to make a few bold predictions about how these new characters might function. Of course, it’s possible that all of these predictions are totally off-base, but it’ll be interesting to go back and read this post again a few months in the future. Let’s see how accurate these wind up being!

Banjo & Kazooie

Let’s start with Banjo & Kazooie! From what I can gather, Banjo & Kazooie are shaping up to be a high-tier heavyweight fighter. Their forward and down tilts have long reach, so they’ll certainly be solid neutral options. Forward smash is really strong, though it does have a moment of ending lag. Up smash strikes multiple times, so it’ll be a solid aerial punish, but it does lack a bit of range. Rear Egg will be interesting; Snake’s Grenades are known to distract amiibo AI and cause chaos, so maybe spamming Rear Egg will have some merit. Who knows?

Perhaps Banjo & Kazooie’s greatest asset will be their side special, Wonderwing! It can only be used five times per stock, but grants complete invincibility and extreme launching power. As we know, Figure Players can’t tell when their opponent’s attack has super armor, so they definitely can’t tell if they’re invincible. If Wonderwing didn’t have a use limit, Banjo & Kazooie might have been the best character in the game. That’d be quite a metagame, wouldn’t it? Luckily, I still think things are looking pretty good for them regardless.

There’s a few problems I could see the AI having, though. Banjo & Kazooie have solid throws, but their down throw buries the opponent. For a time, King K. Rool was known for charging a forward smash against enemies buried at 0% (which never worked), so hopefully the same isn’t true for Banjo & Kazooie. Another potential issue – albeit a less likely one – is that the AI won’t be able to tell when it’s out of Wonderwings. That’d be a big problem, but I don’t personally think this is going to happen. Joker and Hero, who were recently released as Figure Players, have solid AI, and I feel like Banjo & Kazooie will too. Hopefully.

One last note with Banjo & Kazooie. I don’t think it’s going to be a good idea to go off-stage with them! They’d have to use up a Wonderwing to gain horizontal distance. Shock Spring Jump only gives decent vertical distance, and it slows the duo’s momentum to a halt. Plus, the two don’t have any meteor smashes, so it might just be best to wait at the ledge and fire off tapped neutral specials. Overall, though, I think Banjo & Kazooie are going to be a viable Figure Player. Let’s just hope the AI flaws I mentioned never come to fruition!

Terry Bogard

Call me crazy (or not), but I think Terry may actually be the strongest Figure Player introduced in this batch. Of course, that could wind up being totally wrong, but I have reason to believe this! From preliminary tests performed on Terry’s AI, we know that it’s capable of using its Super Special Moves, Power Geyser and Buster Wolf. It’s also got a ton of combos hard-coded into its AI, which means Terry is going to be dealing a ton of damage very quickly.

Let’s use Joker as an example. Joker’s AI is capable of utilizing dragdown up air combos, but you don’t have to use those exact combos to teach the AI how to do them. Instead, if you hit your Joker amiibo with enough up airs (on their own, without follow-ups), the AI will “autocomplete” the dragdown combos. I’d imagine this would be the same with Terry. For example, if you teach a Terry FP to use a lot of jabs, perhaps it may automatically learn to follow up with Power Dunk. This means it’ll be easier to train a Terry amiibo than it is to actually play as Terry, and I think that might be a relief for some of you. It certainly is for me, because I’m not good with Terry at all!

So, to sum up, Terry’s AI will (most likely) be able to use combos involving all of its special moves as well as Power Geyser and Buster Wolf. That’s a lot of potential for damage and KOs, and I personally believe Terry may became high- or even top-tier. He’s still got strong smash attacks and aerials to use in addition, so this FP is going to have a large amount of potential options. The only issue I can see is that his recovery is pretty bad, but Terry’s AI will more than make up for that weakness with its combos and Super Special Moves. I’m excited for this character — and I hope the preliminary testing we’ve done with his existing AI carries over to the final Figure Player!

Byleth

Byleth seems to be shaping up to be a solid character, too! Their primary strength is their range, which is especially prevalent on their smash attacks and aerials. That forward smash is going to be crazy! In true Fire Emblem fashion, several of Byleth’s attacks – including said forward smash – have sweetspots that deal more damage. I think it’s going to be important that Byleth doesn’t spam smash attacks, though; their forward and down smashes are quite slow, and could leave them vulnerable if they miss. Forward tilt is going to be another important move, and while its range isn’t quite as long, it’s still looking to be a useful neutral option.

Their special moves look like they’re going to be very useful. Failnaught takes a while to charge, so that’s probably only going to be used from afar. Areadbhar (side special) covers a solid range and is somewhat quick. Aymr, though, is going to be interesting. As mentioned before, FPs can’t detect super armor, and Aymr has a lot of that during startup. This couldn’t possibly be true, but if Byleth’s optimal strategy ends up being to spam Aymr to exploit that vulnerability in Ultimate’s AI… good grief.

At this point, it’s hard to tell whether Byleth should stay on-stage or not. That depends on how well the AI recovers; some FPs with tether recoveries (looking at you, Young Link) wait too long to use them and then fall to their death! As I stated in Banjo’s section, though, recent FP AIs have been pretty good, so I don’t see this being much of an issue with Byleth. Still, it might be good to remain on-stage anyway because their down air is really slow and could cause them to fall too low to recover.

The Verdict

Overall, I think these three characters are going to each be strong in their own ways! Unless there are significant AI flaws present, I can’t see any of them falling below mid-tier. Again, though, all of this is purely speculative. In the near future, we’ll have much less speculative and more factual information to report on Banjo & Kazooie, Terry, and Byleth.

While you wait for these new amiibo, why not brush up some of your old ones? All of our character guides are fully updated and accurate, so feel free to read as many as you want! And as always, our Discord server is open for discussion on the new characters. Members are the first to hear about new developments regarding these Figure Players, so be sure to join if you want to learn more — or if you have any questions regarding amiibo training. Thanks so much for reading!

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