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 she 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 on our Discord server don’t allow Spirits, so by leaving your FP vanilla, you’ll be able to potentially 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.
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 Autoheal, 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.
Most Spirits tournaments do keep Autoheal, Great Autoheal, and Armor Knight banned, so if you want to enter a tourney like that, you’ll have to look into some other options. For competitive FPs, use Weapon Attack ↑, Air Attack ↑, and Toss & Meteor for best effect. A Raid Boss FP should use Weapon Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Landing Lag ↓. It can also make use of the three bonuses listed above (Autoheal, Great Autoheal, and Armor Knight), as the Raid Boss format generally does not follow any particular ban list. Keep Isabelle’s stats balanced, and make sure her Spirit-type is Neutral.
For the most part, Isabelle’s optimal training 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 gimp opponents with her powerful aerial moves. Here’s a full list of moves to use against your FP as it levels up. Do your best to purposefully get hit by some of these attacks when your FP uses them against you:
- Forward smash: This move is both surprisingly quick and surprisingly strong. Its range works well enough, so forward smash should be your go-to grounded kill move. Isabelle’s off-stage options are mostly superior, though, as we’ll discuss in just a moment.
- Up tilt: Isabelle’s primary anti-air attack. It links into itself over and over again and can create an opportunity for up air juggles. Use up tilt when your FP is either right next to you or trying to land.
- Up aerial: An excellent juggling tool and one of Isabelle’s most valuable moves. Once you hit your FP with an up air, do your best to connect as many additional up airs as possible. When compared to Villager’s version of the move, Isabelle’s up air is much more consistent in its damage and knockback.
- Fishing Rod: Only use this attack 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: This technically has the longest reach of any of Isabelle’s moves, so you should mix it in often. You’ll want to walk instead of run as often as possible, but an exception has to be made when using a dash attack. After using the move, get right back to walking as soon as you can. Dash attack can also be launched off-stage to gimp recovering opponents, though Isabelle’s aerials tend to do this better.
- Forward aerial: Fires a slingshot. This attack has solid strength and above-average range, and thus works excellently off-stage! Use it there often.
- Back aerial: Same as above, except the move is fired in a different direction. It’s slightly stronger than forward air, so you should mix this one in off-stage as well.
- Down aerial: Alternatively, you can just go for a meteor smash instead. Down air’s clean hit will always launch an opponent downward, making this much more consistent than Villager’s version of the move.
- Up smash: It’s rather strong and a decent anti-air, but it’s got a short horizontal hitbox that doesn’t cover any space behind Isabelle. When used incorrectly, it leaves Isabelle vulnerable, so only use this attack sparingly.
- Forward tilt: A decent attack to use up close. Respectable power and speed, but somewhat poor range. Forward tilt is sort of outclassed by forward smash in terms of utility, but should still be used every so often.
There are a fair amount of attacks to avoid using while training Isabelle. Don’t use down tilt, down smash, neutral attack, or neutral air. Don’t use Pocket either, as the AI will sometimes use 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 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 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 needs to avoid its special moves against humans as well, which leaves her with a dire lack of effective tools. Here are all of the moves you can teach it to use, though:
- Forward aerial: Lots of range and decent power to boot! Use it from a distance for best effect. You can also use it to land, but you’ll need to be careful with the timing — use this move too late and you’ll land before the projectile can be fired.
- Back aerial: Same as above, except in a different direction! Use lots of forward and back airs during training.
- Neutral aerial: You can use this either as a landing option or a get-off-me move — or both! It’s mostly useful on its own; Isabelle’s AI cannot combo with neutral aerial very well.
- Up tilt: This move 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 aerial: Whenever your FP is in the air, you should be juggling it with repeated up airs. This move isn’t just good for racking up damage, though — it’s also a potent kill move, especially when used after jumping up from a platform.
- Forward tilt: This move is best used 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.
- Down tilt: Deals good damage and knockback, especially at high percents. Use it to catch rolls and rack on damage!
- Grab & throws: 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 few smash attacks – 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 do not 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 server and ask questions! If you want to learn how to enter tournaments, check out our Powersaves guide or mobile backup 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 want! Until next time — happy training!
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