Donkey Kong has certainly had quite the history when it comes to amiibo training! At the beginning of the Super Smash Bros. 4 metagame, everybody hated DK. His AI just would not learn and it was very difficult to get the character to cooperate. Even so, he ended up finding a unique niche of his own towards the end of Smash 4’s lifespan! Which goes to show that “bad” Figure Players might not be considered as such forever. If you’d like to learn more about Donkey Kong’s metagame history, check out his wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to Riparo for contributing Donkey Kong’s training information!
Not all trainers use Spirits on their FPs, and if that sounds like you, feel free to skip this section! Remember to come back to this section if you do decide to use them. Keep in mind that you can’t erase an FP’s Spirits without resetting its training as well (unless you make use of amiibo Powersaves shenanigans). If you’d like to learn more about how Spirits work in this game, please read our in-depth Spirits guide. Here are some character-specific setups that work well on Donkey Kong:
- Banned bonuses: Donkey Kong is a heavyweight fighter, so he benefits greatly from Super Armor and Armor Knight. You can’t use them both on the same set, though; Super Armor takes up all three Support slots and Armor Knight takes up two (but that extra slot can be filled with Trade-Off Ability ↑). Autoheal and Great Autoheal are okay too, but are still somewhat outclassed by Super Armor and Armor Knight.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Physical Attack ↑ boosts absolutely everything in DK’s kit, making it an easy recommendation. Trade-Off Ability ↑ bolsters Donkey Kong’s attack, defense, and speed stats; and then either Floaty Jumps or Lightweight can be used to increase his recovery potential (though Floaty Jumps generally works better for this purpose). A second Physical Attack ↑ bonus can be mixed in somewhere if you’d like.
- Raid Boss bonuses: If you’d rather go the Raid Boss route, then the aforementioned Super Armor and Great Autoheal Spirit effects work wonderfully! Otherwise, try using a setup including Physical Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Toss & Meteor.
In terms of stat distribution, Donkey Kong can employ a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or perhaps a more offensive one (2500 / 1700). Regardless of the setup you go with, make sure your FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you start its training session! That way it won’t lose Spirit-type matchups later on.
To train an optimal Donkey Kong FP, you’ll need to take your time and walk instead of run! Teaching FPs to walk rather than run makes them “think” more clearly, and that clear thinking can make or break a tournament match. Normally, we’d recommend teaching your FP to perfect shield, but Donkey Kong’s AI likes to use down smash after a parry — which isn’t quite an optimal move. Instead, just shield some of your FP’s attacks without parrying them. Stay on-stage at all times, and use the following moves during training:
- Forward smash is Donkey Kong’s greatest tool and KO move, thanks to its massive range. Hit your FP with forward smashes as often as possible, but make sure you leave some room for its other options, too.
- DK’s forward throw, Kong Karry, is incredibly useful against AI opponents. When grabbing your FP, use a cargo up throw, and then follow up with a forward air or a ton of up airs.
- On the subject of up air, it’s DK’s best juggling tool. When your FP is aerial, you can use a mix of up tilt, up smash, and repeated up airs to attack it.
- Down tilt’s speed is rather high, especially for a heavyweight fighter. Use it up close, and if you manage to trip your FP, follow up with a forward smash. Make sure you let your amiibo hit you with this move sometimes!
- Neutral aerial is your main landing tool. In addition to landing neutral airs, you can also use a landing back air, though neutral air should take priority in this case.
Additionally, you can also use a very small number of Headbutt and grounded Spinning Kong attacks during training, though if you choose to avoid using them, that’s fine too. Don’t use Giant Punch or Hand Slap during training; in the case of the latter, the AI uses it for too long and leaves itself vulnerable. If you’d like to learn more about how amiibo level up in this game, feel free to check out our general training guide if you have a spare minute!
Raid Boss Training
As is the norm for training strong amiibo, you’re best off mirror matching your Donkey Kong amiibo until it reaches about Level 30. Then you can switch its learning off and have it fight a CPU player until it reaches Level 50. And then when it’s Level 50, you can turn its learning back on and make any adjustments you want through additional training. When raising Donkey Kong, don’t leave the stage; his recovery grants him poor vertical distance, and so human opponents will have no trouble edgeguarding DK if he were to go off-stage. Here’s a full list of moves you should use against your FP:
- Down tilt is a grounded hand slap that can trip opponents. If you’re able to trip your FP, you can follow up with a dash attack or forward smash afterward. Forward tilt and neutral attack have solid damage outputs and should be used up close as well.
- Mix in lots of grabs. DK’s AI can’t learn to consistently use Kong Karry to drag opponents off-stage, so you’re best off relegating DK’s throws to simple damage-rackers. At low percentages, you can use an up throw to start an up air juggle. At high percentages, you can KO the FP with a back throw at the edge.
- Dash attack is best used to approach, and only infrequently at that. You might be able to move in and attack with a forward tilt or up tilt after landing a dash attack, too!
- Back air is DK’s best aerial, full stop. This move does it all — use it out of a short hop, to land, and to KO. Up air and up smash (especially the former) should be used repeatedly to juggle and then KO your FP.
You can also add in a little bit of down smash and forward air (on-stage), but these attacks should be prioritized slightly less than the ones listed above. Each of Donkey Kong’s special moves leaves him vulnerable, which makes using them incredibly risky. Even so, you’re welcome to throw in an occasional Headbutt, Spinning Kong (grounded only), or Hand Slap — Giant Punch is the one you’re going to want to avoid at all costs, as the AI often uses it uncharged.
Thank you so much for reading! Donkey Kong’s training is slightly more involved than other characters (some of which you only need to use one or two moves against), so it might be somewhat difficult to train him in exactly the way you want. If you have any questions during your training, join our Discord community! And if you want to learn how to enter an online amiibo tournament, you can learn how via our setup guide. If you like what you read today, please check out our Patreon and donation box to help keep the site up and running. Until next time — happy training!
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