As you might (or might not) know, Ness’s amiibo is considered top-tier in the competitive metagame (amiibo-versus-amiibo, that is). It’s tough to accurately rank Raid Boss amiibo in a tier list, but if we absolutely had to, Ness certainly would not be top-tier. This is because he suffers from an unfortunate and rather crippling flaw: a highly exploitable recovery. Still, if you’re determined to raise a powerful Raid Boss Ness amiibo that can beat up your friends, it’s absolutely doable. And that’s exactly what we’re here to talk about today! First, if you’d like to learn more about Ness’ strengths and weaknesses, you can read his wiki page. But if you’d prefer to jump into training instead, then let’s get right into it!
Please note that this particular training guide targets the amiibo-versus-human format. If you’d like to learn how to train a competitive Ness amiibo (amiibo-versus-amiibo), feel free to check out our corresponding guide instead.
For this section, we’re going to assume your Ness amiibo is at Level 1. Most Raid Boss amiibo utilize Spirits to add extra challenge, so I’d recommend giving your FP a Spirit team if you still want to go that route. When an amiibo inherits a Spirit, its training data is automatically adjusted, so your best bet is to give it Spirits before you start training. For more information, check out our full Spirits guide.
The three-slot Super Armor bonus effect makes Ness much harder to gimp, and this helps patch up his biggest flaw (poor recovery). Do note that even with Super Armor, Ness shouldn’t go off-stage, because the armor effect starts wearing off as he takes damage. Another solid option is Armor Knight alongside Move Speed ↑ or Trade-Off Ability ↑. You could also try Great Autoheal to keep the FP healthy, which in turn would make it easier for it to stay on-stage.
If you’d prefer a perhaps more unique Spirit build, there are even more bonuses you could try out. PSI Attack ↑ increases the power of Ness’s entire kit (besides his weapon moves) by 1.1x, which goes a long way in racking up damage. Move Speed ↑ makes Ness even more threatening on-stage, allowing him to close in and attack even faster. Side Special ↑ increases the power of PK Fire by 1.1x, and this effect stacks with PSI Attack ↑. Landing Lag ↓ makes short-hopped aerials a bit safer, as with this bonus Ness will enjoy a reduced landing penalty. For stats, don’t worry about them too much. Just a balanced setup (2100 attack and 2100 defense) works well enough! Another note: try and make sure your FP’s Spirit type is Neutral. That way it won’t lose any Spirit-type matchups should it have to face an opponent with Spirits of their own.
As with all fighters, Ness is best trained via mirror matches. In other words, you should be playing as Ness! Make sure your FP’s Learn button is on, and whatever you do, don’t let it fight another CPU-controlled character with learning on. You want to be in direct control of your amiibo’s training, so only switch its learning on when you’re about to fight it. During training, you may notice your Ness amiibo recover strangely. It likes to waste its double jump and aim at the ledge with PK Thunder, and this behavior is unfortunately hard-coded. This means you can’t change this habit through training at all, which is a bummer. If you’d like to learn a bit more about amiibo training before continuing, have a look at our Raid Boss training guide!
Ness has impressive frame data and big hitboxes, meaning he’s capable of getting up close and personal with opponents. Human opponents who shield a lot need to keep sharp, as Ness can grab them at high percentages and delete them with a back throw. Ideally, Ness’s amiibo will play at mid-range so that he can either fire off a projectile or close in and attack. The AI will always use PK Thunder to recover in the same angle; if you mess up your recovery during training, don’t worry, because it won’t soil the FP’s recovery in any way! As mentioned before, you’ll have to mirror match your Ness amiibo until it reaches Level 50 — and then maybe do some brush-up matches afterward, if you’d like. In descending order of priority, here are all of the moves you should focus on during the matches you play:
- PK Fire: This move obliterates both human and AI opponents alike, and can be very difficult to deal with (even moreso if you use your amiibo online). When you hit your Ness amiibo with PK Fire, attack it with a few more and then move in and attack with an up smash or aerial.
- Grab & throws: Ness’s AI can learn to combo a down throw into several forward airs. It can also use down throw into back aerial at higher percentages. That being said, your Ness amiibo will need to level up past Level 43 (give or take a few) to be able to consistently use these combos. Ness’s back throw is also quite devastating, and serves as one of his strongest kill moves. Make sure you grab your amiibo a lot during training, and focus on down throw and back throw when you do.
- Up smash: It functions as a powerful anti-air and even works out of shield. It’s good at catching rolls, too! When using up smash, never charge it, even at the ledge. Ness’s AI can’t learn to charge its smash attacks at the edge. Instead, it’ll just overcharge all of its smash attacks and leave itself vulnerable. Uncharged smashes only, even if you break your FP’s shield!
- Up aerial: It’s deceptively powerful and great for juggling. At higher levels and past Level 50, Ness’s AI can use this move for dragdown combos (most often into a grab). Fortunately, you don’t have to use dragdown combos yourself to teach your FP to use them. Just use a lot of up airs, and the AI will learn dragdowns on its own.
- Back aerial: A super-strong finisher that Ness should use whenever possible. Remember that the AI can use down throw into back air at high levels, too! As long as the FP knows to use back air and grabs, it’ll figure out this combo on its own.
- Forward aerial: An amazing offensive tool. It can be used while rising or falling to great effect. Forward air is really versatile, so be sure to use a good amount of them during training!
- Neutral aerial: It’s fast, strong, and has a surprisingly large hitbox. Use it as landing option. This also works out of a short hop!
- Neutral attack: A quick attack that can disrupt an opponent’s approach. Use this one as a get-off-me move when your FP gets too close.
- Forward tilt: It’s faster than Ness’s smash attacks and is still quite strong, especially at the edge. Add forward tilt into the mix sometimes too!
- PSI Magnet: It provides a decent interrupting hitbox, and can also absorb energy-based projectiles. This restores Ness’s health, which can be demoralizing for a human opponent!
Very important: don’t go off-stage. When your Ness amiibo is knocked off-stage, just stand there and maybe throw some PK Fires. If a Ness FP leaves the stage, a savvy human opponent will almost always be able to gimp it by predicting its (very predictable) recovery angle. Don’t use PK Flash, either, because the AI can’t charge it! It’ll just use it uncharged and leave itself open to attack. You should avoid down tilt, too, as the AI doesn’t really combo off of it. Two final notes: no smash attack charging (as stated before) and no PK Thunder chasing. In the amiibo-versus-amiibo format, Ness is able to rack up lots of damage by chasing his enemies with PK Thunder. Unfortunately, human players will usually be able to react to this and punish the FP accordingly.
As you can see, Ness’s optimal playstyle in the competitive metagame is much different than his optimal Raid Boss playstyle. So different, in fact, that you can’t really train a Ness amiibo to be good against humans and other amiibo. You’ll have to pick which format you’d like to target! If you decide you’d rather train for online tournaments, you can check out our competitive Ness training guide right here.
Thanks so much for reading! We hope you’ll be able to use this guide to create a super-powerful Raid Boss Ness amiibo. If you have any questions, feel free to join our Discord server and ask! If you’re new to amiibo training, terms like “hard-coded” might seem a bit complicated, and we’d be happy to explain any of these concepts to you as needed. You can also use the contact form to send your question if you’re too shy to join our community. Until next time — happy training!
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