Figure Players have changed a lot since their introduction in Super Smash Bros. 4. In that game, the AI couldn’t go off-stage, taunt, dash dance, combo, or camp with projectiles, and we had to learn all of that the hard way. Generally speaking, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s AI is much more competent, but there are still a number of things it cannot be trained to do. If you’re hear to learn about how amiibo learn (and how to train an effective one), you’ve come to the right place. Let’s jump right into today’s training!
As we know, an FP starts out at Level 1, and can level all the way up to 50. There’s more to this than meets the eye, though: FPs actually level up twice, in a way. In addition to having a visible level, they also have an invisible level, so to speak. The visible level is from 1 to 50; it’s the one you’re able to see. As for the invisible level, FPs are essentially CPU fighters that are then altered by training data saved to the figurine. At Level 1, an FP is actually using a “base” of a Level 1 CPU. As its visible level increases, so too does the level of the base CPU. When the FP’s visible level reaches 43, it begins using a Level 9 base CPU. If you’ve read many of our character guides, you might recall them specifically mentioning Level 43. That’s because their base AI becomes fully capable at that level, and thus their built-in combos and behaviors become (mostly) finalized. It’s also important to note that an FP’s CPU level will increase as usual even if its learning is switched off. If you raise an FP to Level 50 with its learning off the whole time, it’ll become identical to a Level 9 CPU of its respective character.
Because FPs use CPU AI as a base, there are some things you can never properly teach an FP to do. At Level 50, each character has a handful of hard-coded combos programmed into their AI. For example, if a Ness FP is taught to grab a lot, it’ll automatically use a down throw to forward air combo because that string is hard-coded into its AI. Unfortunately, this means you can’t really teach an FP to use a combo that has not been specifically hard-coded into its AI. That’s okay though, because some fighters (such as Joker and Terry) have so many hard-coded combos that they’ll probably learn everything you want to teach them anyway. In general, FPs of Ultimate’s DLC fighters are “smarter” than the rest, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to choose a character to train.
If you’ve trained many amiibo before, you might remember having trouble teaching yours to use a particular move. Examples of this could include Bowser and Flying Slam or Pichu with Thunder. This is because certain characters have built-in aversions to specific moves; in other words, their base CPU we mentioned earlier has a low usage rate of the attack in question. Training amiibo is relative; so if a Bowser amiibo has a maxed-out Flying Slam value, that value is only relative to the number of times the base CPU would use it, if that makes sense. Please note that CPU move priorities are frequently changed between game updates, so some FPs may start acting a bit differently in new patches.
When you play a match against your FP with its learning on, it will save specific data. This data includes which attacks you used, which attacks it used, and which of these attacks were successfully connected. The FP also looks for what kind of movement techniques you employ (walking versus running, jumping a lot, going off-stage, etc.) and how often you taunt. We talk about this in greater depth in our amiibo personality guide, but here’s a complete list of every property you can change within your FP:
- Its general aggressiveness and attack frequency
- How often it jumps, shields, parries, rolls, and air dodges
- Whether it walks, runs, or dash-dances to move around
- Whether it goes off-stage to edgeguard its opponent, and whether it uses a meteor smash or a regular aerial to do so
- How often it makes use of hard-coded combos
- How often it goes out of its way to pick up an item, and how often it swings or throws that item away
- Whether it charges its smash attacks before using them
- How often it taunts after a kill or after dealing significant knockback to an opponent
- How often it uses its entire moveset, and which attacks it selects at the ledge
So as you can see, FPs are highly customizable and can be changed in a number of meaningful ways. That being said, FPs do not save matchup experience, so they cannot learn to change their behavior against specific opponents. This, in turn, means that FPs will behave exactly the same regardless of the character they are facing. If you’ve trained a projectile-heavy amiibo, it won’t stop using them even against a foe who uses a reflecting move at a high frequency. Generally speaking, FPs learn more from what they do to you than what you do to them. This means that if a Terry amiibo hits you with Crack Shoot when it’s only Level 10, it’s most likely going to have a problem with using too many Crack Shoot attacks later on. Now that we’ve covered the basics, then, it’s time to talk about the best practices when training an FP and what you should avoid doing at all costs!
As you train your FP, there are several strategies you should employ that apply to almost every character. For the best possible result, you should mirror match your FP until it reaches Level 50 — this means you need to play as the character that is your amiibo. If you’re training a DLC fighter but don’t have the corresponding Fighters Pass, that’s a bit of an issue. As mentioned in the last section, FPs don’t save matchup experience, so your best bet is to mirror match it so that both of you have access to the exact same tools. Assuming you’re able to mirror match it, here’s a list of everything you should keep in mind as you train:
- Keep the FP’s learning on. This is a bit of an obvious one, sorry! If you’re fighting the FP and want its behavior to change, make sure its learn toggle is switched on. You can find this toggle in the settings section of the amiibo menu. Leveling up an FP takes a long time, so if you fight it with learning on until somewhere around Level 30, you can actually toggle learning off. Then you can level it up against CPUs or other FPs so that its level increases, but its training values stay the same. As stated previously, an amiibo’s base CPU will still level up even with learning off, so don’t worry!
- Don’t train your FP against CPUs, other FPs, or in matches with more than one additional player. That is, you shouldn’t do any of these with the FP’s learning still on. If its learning is off, then it’s fine! You want to be in direct control of the moves and behaviors your FP learns, and that’s not possible if you have it fight other CPU-controlled characters with its learning still on. FPs are easily overwhelmed in matches containing more than 2 total players. If there are more than 2 FPs in any given match, there’s a small possibility that they all freeze and just stand there forever. So be careful!
- Walk, don’t run. If you’re training an FP with the intent of eventually using it in amiibo tournaments, you shouldn’t run at all if possible. If trained to dash too often, FPs can get hasty and they’ll occasionally run right into an opponent’s attack. By teaching it to walk instead, it can “think” more clearly and choose to utilize a defensive option such as blocking or dodging instead. Do note; even if you teach your FP to walk at all times, it may still dash to catch up to an opponent who has just been launched far away. That’s fine — as long as the FP walks when it’s close to its enemy, you’re good to go. If you’re training a Raid Boss, you can disregard this particular note and teach it to dash around anyway.
- Be careful going off-stage. Ideally, you’d read this post first, and then move on to one of our character guides. Said guides will tell you if off-stage play is optimal for the given fighter, and which moves you should use when edgeguarding. Remember that FP recoveries are hard-coded; this means you can’t teach one to self-destruct or recover “incorrectly”. It also means fighters like Bayonetta are stuck messing up their recoveries for good — or until a patch fixes their behavior.
- Never charge smash attacks. Not even after a shield break. FPs have a value that determines how long they’ll hold their smash attacks for before using them. Perhaps this is so that they can make use of the Unflinching Charged Smashes Spirit effect? In any case, when using a smash attack, just use it uncharged.
- Be careful when giving your FP Spirits, too. Each Spirit your FP inherits changes its training data. So if you were to train an FP to Level 50 and then give it a bunch of Spirits, its behavior would drastically change — often to something unfavorable. Some Spirits can cause FPs to hold their smash attacks forever, and some cause uncontrollable taunting (including the Meloetta Support Spirit, which is specifically known to do that).
- Don’t taunt too often. Or at least, keep taunting to a minimum. Some FPs go a little crazy when taught to taunt. Kirby, in particular, is known to occasionally stop fighting and just say “Hi!” over and over again until somebody attacks him. If you don’t mind your FP spamming its taunts, though, feel free to go wild!
- Either shield a lot or don’t use defensive maneuvers at all. Many new trainers complain about their FP rolling too often. As a result, you should avoid rolling as you train yours. For good measure, you can also avoid spot dodging, air dodging, and tech rolls as well. If you’re training a competitive FP, you should teach it to shield a lot. You can do this by parrying its attacks (and perhaps using a Spirit team with Easier Perfect Shield bonuses) or just flickering your shield over and over again. If you’re training a Raid Boss, you might be better off taking no defensive actions, as they are hard-coded to an extent (the FP will always use them no matter what, but they can learn to use them even more through additional training).
- Let your FP hit you with moves you want it to use. You might need to do some pause-buffering to make sure you know which move your FP is about to use. By letting yourself get hit, you’re not teaching it to leave itself vulnerable — you’re actually teaching it to use the attack it just hit you with more often. Of course, you should use attacks against the FP too, but letting yourself get hit is just as important.
That’s a lot of instructions to follow, right? It might appear overwhelming at first – and it kind of is – but with practice, you’ll eventually be able to follow all of these rules without even thinking about them! Training a tournament-optimal FP is somewhat jarring if you’ve never done so before, but we’re happy to help! If you have any questions, you can join our Discord server and ask away. Otherwise, let’s continue on to the final section.
AI Flaws & Exploits
There are some things you just won’t be able to teach your amiibo to deal with, unfortunately. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s AI is the strongest in the whole series, but it’s still very flawed. For one, it generally can’t detect things it can’t see. This might seem obvious, but think of it this way: the Figure Player has to see something with its “eyes” to be able to notice it. Meaning it can’t tell how much damage an opponent has taken, if the enemy’s attack has super armor active (in which case it will try to challenge it and fail terribly), or if team attack is on. And there’s no way around these things: they’re just flaws we have to accept. As you might expect, a lot of characters have AI flaws that are specific just to them. We talk more about those in our character guides and wiki pages, so rather than list them all here, feel free to check out our post on the fighter you’re thinking of. If they’ve got a noticeable AI flaw, we’ll mention it on their corresponding pages, so no worries there.
It’s safe to say, then, that the strongest Figure Players are ones who can be easily trained to take advantage of the game’s exploitable AI. That’s why you’ve got fighters like Incineroar and King K. Rool at the top of our tier list: their movesets are difficult for AI opponents to counter. If you’re raising your FP to fight human opponents, though, you don’t have to focus on “AI breaker” moves. In that case, you’re better off focusing on things like grabs and tilts and fast attacks. Humans are generally much better at dodging smash attacks and command grabs, which are otherwise the go-to options against Figure Players.
To summarize this entire post in one sentence: FPs are simultaneously smart and dumb. On one hand, they can utilize hard-coded combos that occasionally end up looking cool! On the other, you can’t teach them how to recover, they sometimes spam moves, and they can sometimes spiral out of control with taunting. Training a strong amiibo requires a certain degree of finesse, and it may take you an attempt or two before you wind up with a good one. Your next step should be to check out our character guides; the general info outlined here will apply to every fighter you can think of. And if you still have questions, feel free to join our Discord server and ask. We’ll be happy to explain whatever it is you’re wondering about. If our guides have helped you out, we’d appreciate it if you take a look at our Patreon page or donation box to help keep the site up and running. Until next time — happy training!
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