As many seasoned trainers know all too well, Ness is one of the strongest fighters in competitive amiibo matches, and this is thanks to his excellent special moves. Using PK Fire and PK Thunder, he boasts an unrivaled damage output. Once his opponent is weakened, he can move in and KO them with an up smash or back throw. Ultimate’s AI doesn’t know how to react to being juggled by PK Thunder, so it often gives up and lets itself get hit (and eventually KO’d). This works really well for Ness, who has accrued incredible tournament placements as a result. If you’d like to learn more about Ness’s strengths, weaknesses, and matchups, be sure to check his wiki page — otherwise, let’s get right into training!
Please note that this particular training guide targets the amiibo-versus-amiibo format. If you’d like to learn how to train a Raid Boss Ness amiibo (amiibo-versus-human), feel free to check out our corresponding guide instead.
It’s important to note that most competitive tournaments don’t allow Spirits, but in case you find a tour that does allow them, there are a variety of setups you can use with Ness. Before we continue, though, if you don’t have a complete understanding of Spirits, you should read through our full-fledged Spirits guide first.
If you’re entering a tournament that doesn’t follow our official ban list, Ness’s best setup is Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑. If the competition you’re trying to enter does follow our ban list, you should use PSI Attack ↑, Side Special ↑, and Up Special ↑ to increase the power of Ness’s most useful attacks. For stats, they should be balanced between attack and defense; though you can opt to run more attack investment to aid Ness’s PK Fire chains and PK Thunder juggling. As always, make sure your FP’s Spirit type is Neutral so that it doesn’t have to face opponents with a Spirit-type advantage.
In terms of movement, either walking or running works on Ness. Most FPs prefer walking so that they can more quickly access their defensive options, but Ness is an exception. His whole schtick is chasing down opponents with PK Thunder, and he sometimes needs to run across the stage in order for the projectile to be able to hit. Off-stage play should be avoided at all costs, as Ness’s AI will waste its double jump and leave itself vulnerable to gimps. Standing at the ledge and chasing the enemy with PK Thunder (or shooting PK Fire, depending on their position) works out much better, so do that instead. In case you don’t know this already — if you’re not good at recovering with PK Thunder, don’t worry. Ness’s AI will always recover in the same way, even if you mess up your recovery during training. Now then, you’ll want to mirror match your Ness amiibo until it reaches Level 50. If your Ness amiibo is already Level 50, you can still freshen it up. Here are all the moves to use during training, in descending order of priority:
- PK Thunder: It’s actually slightly more important than PK Fire for racking up damage. At low-to-mid percentages, up throw your FP and chase it with PK Thunder until it finally dodges or is KO’d. When your FP is off-stage and trying to recover, chase it with PK Thunder. If it’s high above you, chase it with PK Thunder. In short: if your FP is anywhere but the ground, chase it with PK Thunder. This move is insanely good.
- PK Fire: When both you and your FP are on the ground, shoot PK Fire. Once the FP is trapped, shoot a couple more PK Fires and then move in and attack with an up smash. You can try comboing PK Fire into a grab, but the opponent will sometimes be positioned too high for Ness’s grab to be able to connect.
- Up smash: This is Ness’s best smash attack. Use it when your FP is close to you or right above you. Remember not to charge any smash attacks, as Ness’s AI can’t learn to charge them at the edge for gimps.
- Grab & throws: Use Ness’s back throw to KO at high percentages. At low percentages, any Ness amiibo with a high grab tendency (and is past Level 40 or so) will use down throw to forward air or back air. Don’t use these combos yourself, though; the FP may learn to use too many individual forward airs if you do!
- Up aerial: You can occasionally use an up air to finish off a PK Thunder juggle. Juggle your FP with PK Thunder for a bit, and then, when it’s in kill range, wait until it falls low enough that you can use a full-hopped up air without double jumping. The AI can do dragdown combos with up air too, most often into a grab. Just use up air against your FP and it’ll figure out dragdown combos on its own. How convenient!
- Back aerial: Great for landing and super strong. This move can help Ness out of a pinch, so make sure to use it to secure a landing. That being said, try to stay grounded most of the time. Ness wants easy access to PK Fire and PK Thunder, and using too much back air can make this more difficult.
There are three moves to avoid: down tilt, down air (both on-stage and off), and PK Flash. The AI can’t use any of these moves properly, which makes them subpar in practice. As one final reminder, don’t charge smash attacks and don’t go off-stage. And if you’re new to competitive amiibo training and want to read more about it, check out our general amiibo training guide! Continue using the moves above to mirror match your Ness amiibo until its level maxes out, and you’ll be good to go.
Thank you so much for reading! Ness’s optimal playstyle might sound lame – and believe me, it is – but that’s what the amiibo metagame is all about: being lame! It makes sense, then, that Ness fits right into our tier list’s highest ranks, having established himself as a top contender. If you still have questions after reading this guide (or if you skipped to the end and would prefer to just have a conversation instead), feel free to join our Discord server, where we’ll be happy to help you out in any way we can. Happy training!
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