Isabelle and Villager are Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s sole Animal Crossing representatives. Between the two of them, Isabelle has seen much more action in competitive amiibo tournaments and is wholly considered the stronger fighter. Compared to Villager, Isabelle is much more consistent, and has access to a variety of useful tools that Villager does not. If you’d like to learn more about Isabelle’s rich metagame history, you can read all about it over at her corresponding wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to Plantasia124 for contributing Isabelle’s training information!
If you’d rather not give your Figure Player a Spirit team, no worries! You can skip right over to the next section instead. Most of the tournaments posted within our Discord server don’t allow Spirits, so if you leave your FP vanilla, you’ll be able to participate in more of them. If you do want to give your FP some Spirits, you should do so while it’s still at Level 1. For more information on why that is, check out our full Spirits guide. In the meantime, here’s a whole bunch of optimal Isabelle Spirit builds:
- Banned bonuses: Autoheal, Great Autoheal, and Armor Knight all work great on Isabelle. Great Autoheal takes up all three Support slots, so if you decide to use this bonus, you’re all set! If you go with regular Autoheal instead, you can use Weapon Attack ↑ to fill the third slot and tack on some extra power. If you use Armor Knight, add Move Speed ↑ or Trade-Off Ability ↑ to the build to give Isabelle a small boost in mobility.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Most competitive Isabelle FPs run Weapon Attack ↑, Air Defense ↑, and Trade-Off Ability ↑. Or they run Critical Healing & Metal alongside either Weapon Attack ↑ or Transformation Duration ↑. Feel free to pick the setup that sounds most interesting to you!
- Raid Boss bonuses: If you’re taking the Raid Boss route, you can use any of the aforementioned Spirit effects — Autoheal, Great Autoheal, Armor Knight, or Critical Healing & Metal. Another option would be Weapon Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Landing Lag ↓, which increases Isabelle’s movement speed and makes her much more threatening against human players as a result.
Isabelle’s optimal stat distribution depends on which Spirit effects you plan to equip her with. If your build contains Trade-Off Ability ↑, lean more into defense (1800 / 2400); otherwise, stick with a balanced build (2100 / 2100). Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you begin its training!
For the most part, an optimal Isabelle follows the rules of competitive training: no running, no taunting, and no charging smash attacks. However, she deviates from the norm by using more jumps and aerials than your average competitive FP. Isabelle’s recovery carries her quite far, so she can afford to go off-stage and aggressively edgeguard opponents with her powerful air attacks. Here’s a full list of moves to use against your FP as it levels up:
- Forward smash is both surprisingly quick and surprisingly strong. Its range works well enough, so it should serve as your go-to grounded kill move. Forward tilt is alright up close every so often, but is outclassed by forward smash and should only be mixed in infrequently.
- Up tilt is Isabelle’s primary anti-air attack. It links into itself over and over again and can create opportunities for up air juggles. Once you hit your FP with one up air, do your best to connect as many additional up airs as you possibly can. Use up smash sometimes too — just make sure that up tilts and up airs take priority.
- Use Fishing Rod, but only from a distance. If Isabelle’s AI casts its line and misses the opponent, it has a chance of standing there until the fishing rod automatically retracts itself. This leaves Isabelle vulnerable, especially if her opponent is directly next to her after the move whiffs. To minimize the chance of this happening, use Fishing Rod somewhat infrequently and only where there’s a short bit of space between you and your FP.
- Dash attack technically has the longest reach of any of Isabelle’s attacks, and should certainly be included in your FP’s moveset. It’s also the only instance where it’s safe to dash or run — in all other cases, just walk instead.
- Forward air, back air, and down air are all excellent off-stage. Use a mix of the three against your FP whenever it’s trying to recover back.
Don’t use down tilt, down smash, neutral attack, or neutral air. Don’t use Pocket either, as the AI will sometimes try it even when no projectile is heading its way. Lloid Trap leaves Isabelle vulnerable during the planting phase, and when the projectile actually connects it’s weaker than an up air. As a result, you should avoid Lloid Trap entirely and just use up airs instead. And that’s just about everything you need to know to create a successful competitive Isabelle FP!
Raid Boss Training
Villager and Isabelle are kind of similar, but make no mistake — you’ll need to play as Isabelle (and not Villager) in order to properly raise an Isabelle amiibo. Unfortunately, she is a rather weak Raid Boss; her AI’s main strength is edgeguarding, and that’s essentially non-viable against human opponents. This is because the FP will often initiate its up special in the same general area when recovering consecutively, which means human players will know exactly when to use a meteor smash to pick up a KO. Isabelle’s AI misuses most of its specials against humans as well, which leaves the character with a dire lack of effective tools. Here are all of the moves you can teach it to use, though:
- Forward air and back air have lots of range and decent power to boot! Use them from a distance for best effect. You can also use them to land, but you’ll need to be careful with the timing — use this move too late and you’ll land before the projectile is actually fired. Neutral air is useful both as a get-off-me move and as a landing option.
- Up tilt is used in exactly the same way as it is in the previous section. Use it over and over again, and then follow with an up air. Up air is also a potent kill move all on its own, especially when used after jumping up from a platform!
- Forward tilt and down tilt can be sprinkled in at close range. If your FP is right next to you and you block one of its attacks, you can respond with a fast forward tilt.
- Additionally, you should use a small number of grabs during your training sessions. Down throw can combo into a forward air and back throw can KO at high percentages. That’s about it.
- You can also throw out a forward smash, up smash, or down smash — all three are fine, but only use them infrequently.
Once again, don’t use any special moves (outside of recovering with up special) and don’t try to go off-stage and edgeguard. If you read the previous section as well, you might be a little bit confused, so let’s clear something up: when training competitive FPs, you should walk at all times. When training Raid Boss FPs, you’re free to run around as much as you’d like. The same movement principles don’t apply to both archetypes of training! For more information, feel free to read our general training guide.
Thanks so much for reading! There are actually several ways to train an Isabelle amiibo — you could train her Super Smash Bros. figurine, one of her Animal Crossing figurines, or even her highly portable Animal Crossing amiibo card (which is compatible with this game)! This means Isabelle is one of the only fighters who can legitimately be trained via an amiibo card. If you wind up needing help during your training, feel free to join our Discord community and ask some questions! If you want to learn how to enter tournaments, check out our detailed guide. We also appreciate donations to help keep the site going, plus we’ve also got a Patreon page you can check out if you have a moment. Until next time — happy training!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.