Mario has always been kind of a strange Figure Player. More specifically, his AI has been wonky since Super Smash Bros. 4. It’s known for being incredibly spammy, though the moves it overuses differ between games. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario’s AI is notorious for spamming its down air, and this issue is often severe enough to deter trainers from raising this character altogether. Dr. Mario is considered the strongest of the duo, so if you’re looking for tournament results, you might want to consider switching fighters. If you want to learn more about Mario’s strengths and weaknesses, you can do so over at his wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
If you’ve found a tournament that allows Spirits, we’ve got some character-specific setups here that you can use with Mario! If you need more information on how Spirits work in this game, be sure to read our full-fledged Spirits guide before you continue. In the meantime, here’s a full list of viable builds:
- Banned bonuses: Super Armor, Great Autoheal, and Armor Knight all work well on Mario; if you decide to use Armor Knight, pair it with Trade-Off Ability ↑ for extra power. Super Armor in particular is incredibly useful on Mario; if he’s launched off-stage with low damage, the effect will prevent his recovery from being interrupted.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Your options here include Physical Attack ↑ (applied either once or twice), Trade-Off Ability ↑, Air Defense ↑, Shield Durability ↑, Critical-Health Stats ↑, and Floaty Jump. Feel free to pick three of these bonuses and mix and match them as you like!
- Raid Boss bonuses: If you’re raising a Raid Boss, you should use a setup of Physical Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Landing Lag ↓. Generally speaking, Raid Boss FPs benefit from mobility-increasing Spirit effects, and that’s exactly what this build focuses on enhancing!
Regarding stat distribution, you should keep Mario’s stats balanced (2100 / 2100). That’s only a ballpark range, though — no need to try and get those specific numbers, just get as close as possible! Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you start training it.
In terms of movement, Mario benefits from walking instead of running. Figure Players raised to dash a lot may run right into opposing attacks, so it’s better to train them to walk instead. As a side note, Mario’s walk animation is surprisingly intimidating in this game, so training your amiibo to walk might give it a bit of personality when it fights! As usual, you’ll want to mirror match your FP until it reaches Level 50. Stay on-stage at all times, as Mario’s recovery is highly exploitable. Here’s a complete list of this character’s optimal moveset:
- Forward smash is one of Mario’s best moves, as it can both rack on damage and KO at later percentages. When using this attack, try to hit with the tip of the fire for maximum damage and knockback. Up smash should be used to catch landings and down smash can see infrequent usage as well.
- Mario has a useful grab game! His down throw can combo into a forward tilt or an up air into up special string, while his back throw serves as a solid kill move at high percentages — be sure to use both of these throws! When it comes to down throw combos, you don’t need to worry about being able to do them on a consistent basis. As long as your FP knows to use its down throw, it’ll be able to use the combos by itself at later levels.
- Down tilt can also combo into an up air to up special string. Forward tilt should also be used at close range or after a down throw.
- Fireballs are actually helpful landing tools! When you’re launched in the air, shoot a Fireball before you land. The AI can combo off of them, but its follow-ups are hard-coded, so your FP will know to do them after it reaches Level 43. It will most often chain a Fireball into a grab.
There’s just one move you should avoid at all costs, and that’s down air. Mario’s AI can become hopelessly spammy with this move, so you should avoid getting hit by it and using it yourself. One of Mario’s hard-coded combos is up throw to down air, and if you get hit by the down air, the AI will use it more often. Try your best to prevent that from happening! As mentioned earlier, don’t go off-stage. Mario’s recovery is unreliable and leaves him vulnerable to being gimped.
Raid Boss Training
A lot of new amiibo trainers start by raising Mario. There are a lot of Mario amiibo figures available for purchase, and that’s probably why! If you’re starting out with Mario, here are a few tips. First, you should mirror match your amiibo until it reaches Level 50, and that means you’ll have to fight it while playing as Mario. Next, don’t charge smash attacks; the FP will learn to charge them in every scenario and leave itself wide open. Don’t taunt too much, and don’t worry about matchup experience against other fighters. When training Mario, it’s important to stay on-stage as often as possible. Human players will be able to easily intercept his recovery, so teaching the FP to leave the stage is a definite risk that might not be one worth taking. Here are all the moves you should focus on:
- Down tilt acts as a combo starter for Mario, whose AI will know to combo it into up airs once its level reaches 43. Forward tilt and neutral attack should also be mixed in at close range.
- Up smash is a great finisher, and it’s super-effective at catching landings. It can also be used when your FP is right behind you. Up air can then be used to juggle, and after using two of them, you can follow up with a Super Jump Punch.
- Forward smash and down smash are a bit slow when compared to Mario’s grab and tilt attacks, so be careful not to leave yourself vulnerable when using them.
- Due to a relative lack of shield pressure, grabs are essential for Mario. The FP will use up throw into down air at low percentages. It can also follow a down throw with up airs or even an up special. Back throw is also a potential kill option! Don’t worry about using combos with throws; though, as long as your FP knows to grab at all, it’ll figure out its combos on its own.
- Neutral air and back air are solid offensive tools. Forward air is strong off-stage, but leaving the edge to gimp human players is just too risky for a Raid Boss. Instead, use forward air just above the ledge for the best possible effect. You can also shoot Fireballs at the ledge to try and gimp the FP if you like.
The only moves you should specifically avoid with Mario are down air and F.LU.D.D.. As mentioned earlier, Mario’s AI can get very spammy with its down airs, much to his trainer’s frustration. His AI is just fine with using F.L.U.D.D.; it’s just that there’s not much of a use for it in the first place. In case you’re wondering about up tilt, the FP doesn’t use it very well, but it’s not necessarily harmful to its success either.
Thank you very much for reading! Mario can be tough to train, and this is because his AI kind of has a mind of its own. If you’re really struggling, you might have better luck with Dr. Mario, who has a different down air (and thus no spamming problem). If you have any questions during your training sessions, feel free to join our Discord server. Once your amiibo is fully leveled, you can send it to a tournament! If you need help doing that, check out our guide! Lastly, we appreciate donations if you like what you read today, and we also have a Patreon page. Until next time — happy training!
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“a certain youtuber… Choctopus? (He’s like the only smash youtuber i watch)”