Mario has always been kind of a strange Figure Player. More specifically, Mario’s AI has been wonky since Super Smash Bros. 4. It’s known for being incredibly spammy, though the moves it spams tend to 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 better of the two, 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.
Super Armor, Great Autoheal, and Armor Knight all work 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 gimped.
Tournaments that follow our ban list usually keep these Spirit effects banned, though. Other options include Physical Attack ↑, Hyper Smash Attacks, and Foot Attack ↑ (which boosts the power of forward tilt, down tilt, and down smash). If you’re training a Raid Boss, you could also use Toss & Meteor, Move Speed ↑, or Landing Lag ↓. The FP’s stats should be balanced, and its Spirit type should be Neutral.
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 too exploitable. Here are all the moves you should use during training:
- Forward smash: One of Mario’s best moves, forward smash can rack up damage and kill at later percentages. When attacking with forward smash, try to hit with the tip of the fire for maximum damage and knockback.
- Up smash: A super-strong aerial punish that can be used several times in a row to great effect! Use it when your FP is about to land or when it’s directly behind you (since up smash’s hitbox starts behind Mario).
- Grab & throws: 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! When it comes to down throw combos, you don’t need to worry about being able to do them. As long as your FP knows to use down throw, it’ll be able to use the combos by itself.
- Down tilt: A quick leg swipe. The AI can also use this move to combo into an up air into an up special string!
- Forward tilt: A fast kick that deals decent damage. Use it at close range or out of a down throw.
- Fireball: They’re actually helpful landing tools! When you’re launched in the air, shoot a Fireball before you land. The AI can combo off of Fireballs, but these 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.
- Down smash: This move can be used situationally. Forward smash and up smash should absolutely take priority over down smash, but it can still be used infrequently if needed.
There’s 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 training Mario. There are a lot of Mario amiibo figures available to buy, 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 rather easily gimp 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 during training:
- Down tilt: This move acts as a combo starter for Mario, whose AI will know to combo it into up airs once it reaches Level 43 (give or take a few levels). Teach your FP to use down tilt fairly often, especially given its low risk factor.
- Forward tilt: It’s a solid neutral tool. It’s a simple move and it can also be angled, so the AI uses it well. Forward tilt also kills at the ledge at high percentages, which can be very convenient!
- Neutral attack: A fast move that should be sprinkled into your Raid Boss’s kit. It doesn’t need to be prioritized, per se, but every Mario Raid Boss should know this move.
- Up smash: Its hitbox starts from behind, making it great out of shield. The AI often turns around instantly to connect up smash’s beginning hitbox. Smart! This move is also a great finisher, and thus should be used quite often.
- Up aerial: Mario FPs will be using this move to combo a lot at low percentages, and to try and KO at high percentages. It’s a useful juggling tool!
- Back aerial: Its hitbox and power are ridiculous, making back air an essential tool. It should be used as a landing option and as an offensive one.
- Neutral aerial: This move does a little bit of everything! It shouldn’t be prioritized, as the FP will eventually learn to prefer neutral air a bit too much, but it is useful in moderation.
- Grab & throws: Due to a 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 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.
- Super Jump Punch: Only use this move to recover or as a combo finisher after one or two up airs. This habit is hard-coded, but just to be safe, use it once or twice for the FP to imitate. Mario’s AI can use this out of a down throw, but it’ll learn to do that by itself. You don’t have to teach it!
- Forward smash: It’s slow and risky, but as long as it’s tempered with his other ground options – including neutral attack, down tilt, and forward tilt – this move is fine to use occasionally. Don’t spam it, though, as it’s easily punishable.
- Down smash: Similar situation to forward smash. It’s faster but weaker and much less safe on shield. Use this one with caution!
- Fireball: If you feel the need to prevent your FP from constantly running off-stage, teach it to throw Fireballs off the edge instead! Otherwise, they’re okay to throw out on stage occasionally, but they can become a bad habit very quickly.
- Cape: Just a quick note here: the FP should automatically learn how to use this move as a reflector by the time it reaches Level 50. No need to teach it!
- Forward aerial: “Look, I get it”. Forward aerials are funny, they’re interesting to watch, and a certain YouTuber has made this move a fan favorite. Mario shouldn’t be going off-stage at all if you can help it, and he certainly has no use for forward air above-stage. That being said, there’s one area where it’s deadly, and that’s just above the ledge, where its launch angle will still KO. Optimally, you’d land the meteor smash only one or two times during training (which would entail going off-stage) and then never leave the stage again. Forward air is far from essential, but many of you Mario trainers probably want to use this move anyway.
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 his success!
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, feel free to join our Discord server. Once your amiibo is fully trained, you can send it to a tournament! If you need help doing that, check out our Powersaves guide or mobile backup guide (depending on which device you have). Lastly, we appreciate donations if you like what you read today, and they’ll help keep the site up and running for years to come. Until next time — happy training!
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