How to train a Ness amiibo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

As seasoned trainers know all too well, Ness is one of the stronger fighters in competitive amiibo matches. This is thanks in part to his excellent special moves — contrary to popular belief, however, PK Fire is not his main claim to fame. It’s actually PK Thunder, which lets Ness juggle opponents and rack on free damage. With that said, Ness does have a few nasty matchups – particularly against Lucas and Snake. As long as Ness steers clear of his poor matchups, he can plow right through unsuspecting tournament brackets. For more information on Ness’ metagame history, be sure to check out his corresponding wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!


It’s important to note that only 40% of tournaments or so allow Spirits. To maximize the number of tours you can enter, you might want to keep your Ness amiibo vanilla. If you do decide that you’d rather go with an optimized Spirit setup, here are a few ideas for your resident PSI powerhouse! If Spirits are confusing to you, we’ve got a full-fledged guide you can read real quick before you continue.

  • Banned bonuses: If you’re entering a tournament that doesn’t follow our official ban list, Ness’ best setup is Super Armor. In tournament matches, his greatest weakness is being knocked off-stage and gimped at low percentages — with Super Armor, that chance is minimized. You could technically run Armor Knight if you wanted, but changing Ness’ movement speed (even the slightest bit) can cause his AI to self-destruct while recovering. It’s best to steer clear of that, so just use Super Armor instead.
  • Tournament-legal bonuses: If the competition you’re trying to enter does follow our ban list, you should use PSI Attack ↑, Shooting Attack ↑, and Air Defense ↑. The former two bonus effects buff all of Ness’ special moves by 1.1x each, which combine for a total strength increase of 1.2x. Air Defense ↑ decreases the amount of damage Ness sustains while airborne by 30%, which gives him an easier time landing after being juggled or launched upward.
  • Raid Boss bonuses: Your best bet on a Raid Boss is the three-slot Super Armor bonus effect we mentioned earlier! As we’ll soon discuss, Ness’ AI is hard-coded to waste its double jump to aim at the ledge with PK Thunder. This leaves your FP vulnerable to edgeguarding, but the Super Armor bonus helps protect it as it tries to recover back. If you’d prefer not to use Super Armor, you could go with a setup including two PSI Attack ↑ effects and then Air Defense ↑.

Generally speaking, a Figure Player’s stats aren’t as important as its bonus effects. In Ness’ case, try to keep his spread balanced (2100 / 2100). Alternatively, you could lean more heavily into attack power (2500 / 1700) to strengthen Ness’ 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.

(Site Image 3) Training the strongest Ness amiibo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Competitive Training

Here’s a brief bullet-point list of all the moves a tournament-viable Ness amiibo should use. If you’re a seasoned amiibo trainer, you can get away with reading this list and not the wall of text below it — but if you’re a newer amiibo trainer, we’ll follow up with a more detailed explanation of this list afterward. Let’s begin!

  • Grab, jab, and forward tilt at close range
  • Equal mix of up tilt, up smash, up air, and grounded PK Thunder to juggle airborne opponents
  • PK Fire and dash attack from a distance. Only use one PK Fire at a time; when the FP takes damage in the flames, walk toward it and follow up with a grab, forward tilt, or up smash
  • Continuously fire PK Thunder at your FP when it’s far away; continue to do so until the FP approaches you or is KO’d
  • No off-stage play. Instead, wait at the ledge and attack with PK Thunder; switch to down smash when the FP reaches the ledge

If you’re a new amiibo trainer, welcome! Let’s go over some basic training concepts real quick before we explain each of Ness’ optimal moves. First, you’ll want to keep running to an absolute minimum. In this game, FPs have a habit of initiating a dash right into an opponent’s incoming attack. In other words, running makes your FP more likely to take damage! As a result, you’ll want to walk as often as possible. Next, it’s best to stay grounded at all times — the only time you ever want to input a jump is when you juggle an airborne FP or while you’re trying to recover back to the stage. If you manage to stay grounded and walk during your entire training session, congratulations — you’re already a better amiibo trainer than most! When you’re ready to start training Ness, scan in your FP and choose to play as Ness yourself as well (we’ll walk you through this, don’t worry!).

At close range, Ness’ best tool is his grab. Importantly, it’s the only move in his arsenal that can’t be blocked. At low percentages, Ness’ up throw has powerful fixed knockback that nearly guarantees the start of a juggling chain. At high percentages, his back throw is an excellent kill move! Go for up tilt, up smash, up air, and PK Thunder — an equal mix of all four. Between these four tools, Ness should have little trouble keeping his opponents airborne, and this is how he racks on most of his damage. His juggling game is so strong, in fact, that it’s made him somewhat notorious in tournaments!

Otherwise, Ness can throw out a forward tilt or three-hit jab at point-blank range. In this game, Figure Players often fail to fully block attacks with consecutive hitboxes, so a full jab combo does a decent job of keeping Ness’ enemy at a distance. Conveniently, Ness is most powerful at a distance, because that’s where both PK Fire and PK Thunder are most useful. When using PK Fire, try your best to only hit your FP with one or two at a time. From there, move in and attack with a forward tilt, up smash, or grab. If you can’t get there fast enough without running, you might consider equipping a Spirit team that has Move Speed ↑. For those privy to amiibo editing, you’re trying to get a low PK Fire value on Ness so that he uses other attacks up close, too. A Ness amiibo that only uses PK Fire isn’t very effective.

PK Thunder, however, is a different story — you want Ness using as much of this move as possible. When a Ness amiibo uses PK Thunder, it will always chase down its opponent with the projectile. When you’re far away from your FP, you’ll want to simply fire off PK Thunder projectiles over and over again, trying your best to hit the enemy each time. At low levels, your FP won’t approach you, and in this case it’s easy to go overboard and use too much PK Thunder. Instead, fire off a few PK Thunders at a distance and then walk toward your FP and use some of your other moves. At high levels, your FP is much more likely to approach you, meaning you can spam PK Thunder from a distance until the amiibo actually does make its way over to you. If your FP absorbs PK Thunder with its PSI Magnet, that’s okay — this behavior eventually becomes hard-coded.

Then there’s Ness’ dash attack. You ought to use this from a distance as well; it strikes enemies multiple times and the last hit deals surprisingly high vertical knockback that can start a juggling chain! Fun fact: in Figure Player code, dash attacks count as a separate category from the rest of their attacks. In other words: if you teach your Ness amiibo too much PK Fire, it’ll forgo its other moves to focus on PK Fire. This won’t happen when you use dash attacks, though. It’s also a good idea to mix in a bit of back air; it’s incredibly powerful and Ness can use it to score a KO in a pinch. A tiny, tiny amount of forward air works too!

You might have noticed that off-stage play isn’t recommended for Ness. Indeed, Ness suffers from an AI flaw that dates all the way back to Super Smash Bros. for Wii U — when he’s knocked off-stage, the AI almost always wastes its double jump to fire itself at the ledge with PK Thunder. This gives opponents a fantastic chance to strike, and there’s absolutely no way to fix this. Even if you give your FP the Additional Midair Jump bonus, it’ll waste that extra jump too. All you can do is keep your Ness amiibo on-stage as much as possible. When your FP tries to recover back, wait at the ledge and chase it down with as many PK Thunders as you can. When your FP gets close to the ledge, switch to an uncharged down smash instead.

If your Ness amiibo hits you with a down tilt or PK Flash at any point, exit the match. At high levels, the AI occasionally stands in place and attacks with several consecutive down tilts regardless of what the opponent is doing. This leaves it extremely vulnerable to incoming attacks and often results in its death. As for PK Flash, Ness’ AI actually lost the ability to charge it in this game (it was able to in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U), which renders the attack pointless. Quick note here: if your Ness amiibo perfect-shields an attack while standing on one of Battlefield’s platforms, it may use an uncharged PK Flash. This is hard-coded, but you’ll still want to try your best to avoid taking damage from it. If this explanation was still a tad confusing to you, please read our general training guide!

Raid Boss Training

Compared to competitive training, Raid Boss training is much more loose. You’re free to run and dash as often as you like, and there’s not necessarily a correct way to raise a Raid Boss. That being said, we’ve got a list of recommendations right here! As with all fighters, Ness is best trained via mirror matches. Training an amiibo with a character you’re not good with is actually much easier than fighting a human opponent with one, so don’t worry too much! Let’s break down our recommendations for a Raid Boss Ness amiibo:

  • At close range, your best options are forward tilt, up tilt, and up smash. All three are best used for anti-air, combos, or general combat. One thing to remember is to never charge your smash attacks — FPs tend to get carried away if they learn to do this.
  • Ness’ grabs are incredibly important. By Level 50, your FP will automatically learn to combo its down throw into either two forward airs or a reversed back air. When grabbing your FP, throw it in any direction you like — don’t worry about combos.
  • PK Fire obliterates human opponents, especially when boosted via Spirits. Shoot one or two of them in a row at your FP, and then run up and follow up with an up smash or forward tilt.
  • You’re welcome to chase down your FP in the air as well — just don’t do it off-stage. Each of Ness’ aerials comes in handy, but his absolute best option is up air. At Level 50, the AI will automatically learn to use dragdown combos using its up air. No need to teach these yourself — they’re pre-programmed. Feel free to mix in some neutral and forward airs too; just a bit less of them.
  • A sprinkle of jab, forward smash, and down smash are okay too — these moves aren’t quite as important as the ones listed above, however. As mentioned earlier, Raid Boss training is much more open-ended than competitive training, so feel free to experiment!

Don’t experiment too much, though, because there are several moves and concepts a Ness amiibo will never be able to master. For one, its AI is hard-coded to waste its double jump and leave itself vulnerable while it charges up PK Thunder. Unfortunately, a smart human opponent can catch on and simply throw Ness off-stage, where they’ll almost always be able to KO him regardless of his damage percentage. That’s why you’ll want to stay on-stage at all costs. This flaw makes Ness one of the weaker potential Raid Bosses available right now.

You’ll also want to avoid using down tilt and PK Flash. As mentioned in the previous section, Ness’ AI uses both of these attacks improperly. It fixates itself on using down tilt for several seconds in a row — even if an enemy is charging up a smash attack right next to him. As for PK Flash, Ness’ AI cannot charge the move under any circumstance. Don’t even try!

(Site Image 4) Training the strongest Ness amiibo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate


Thank you so much for reading! Ness’ optimal playstyle might sound lame – and to be honest, it is – but being lame is what the competition is all about. It makes sense, then, that Ness fits right into our tier list’s higher ranks, having established himself as a powerful contender. If you still have questions even after reading this guide, feel free to become a member of our Discord community — we’ll be happy to help you out! For those looking to enter tournaments with a fully-trained Ness amiibo, check out our startup guide to learn how. Until next time — happy training!

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