The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate amiibo metagame is unlike any other — it’s one of the only competitive scenes where human players don’t directly compete against each other. Instead, players raise their Figure Players to Level 50 and pit them against each other in hopes of bringing home the gold (figuratively speaking, of course). Though FPs can be used in Battle Arenas, most of the tournaments hosted on our Discord server require trainers to submit their amiibo’s backup file. If that sounds intimidating to you, don’t worry — we’ve got plenty of information on how to do that.
The first-ever online amiibo tournament was hosted by Amiibo Dan (a now-retired amiibo training YouTuber) for Super Smash Bros. 4 in 2015. In that game, Figure Players couldn’t be used online in any capacity — they were only usable in local matches, which meant that official online competitions were impossible. Fortunately, trainers found out that they could use the amiibo Powersaves device to bring FPs’ training files to life on their Wii U consoles to host makeshift tournaments. Before long, this method of competition became popular, and thus the amiibo metagame was born.
When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was initially released in December 2018, Figure Players were also incompatible with online play. This came as a disappointment to dedicated amiibo trainers; luckily, our method of using Powersaves to send .bin files still worked! And so tournaments continued for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the same way they always had. However, a patch for the game released in March 2019 added FP support for Battle Arenas. You might think that the community would instantly switch over to Arena tournaments in response, but this wasn’t the case. In an Arena, there’s no way to check what Spirits your opponent’s FP is using, meaning that they can very easily cheat in vanilla (non-Spirits) tours by giving their FPs a tiny stat boost.
Through .bin file submission, tournament hosts can individually check every amiibo to make sure they’re legitimate and ready for competitive play — this entails verifying the legality of their Spirit team. Thanks to this level of accuracy, file submission tours are still going strong and will likely always be the most convenient way to compete. Now that our little history lesson is over, it’s time to talk about the important stuff: how to retrieve your FP’s training file, and what to do with it afterward.
Retrieving Training Files
You know how each amiibo figure has a Super Smash Bros.-themed base, right? In the interior of that base is a small NFC chip that houses all of the data you’ve saved to the figurine. What we want to do is obtain that file (which won’t have any negative effects on the amiibo — don’t worry) so we can send it to a tournament host! There are a few ways to retrieve this file, and we’ve got individual guides available for each method. You can use amiibo Powersaves, the TagMo app (which is Android-exclusive), or the NFC Tools app (which works on both Android and iPhone devices). Read one of these guides, back up your amiibo’s .bin file, and you’re all set and ready for your next battle!
If the tournament you want to enter keeps Spirits banned, there’s actually a way that you can edit your FP’s training file to remove its Spirits without resetting it. It’s through the SubmissionApp Spirits editor, which can take your .bin file and add or remove any Spirit attributes you like. Editing Spirits onto your amiibo is legal for tournaments, so you don’t have to be concerned about being disqualified for using external software to adjust its setup. If you need some ideas for Spirit combinations to use on your FP, check out our character guides!
New tournament listings can be found exclusively on Exion’s Discord community. Some tournament hosts ask that you send your amiibo’s .bin file via a direct message; others use SubmissionApp to collect entries. In the case of the latter, you’ll be linked to a form where you can upload your FP’s training file and state the name you’d like to use in the tournament bracket. Some tourneys even have prize pools! Wumbo and Splice – two of the metagame’s biggest streamers – often offer monetary rewards for those who win their tournaments. This means that some tours might really be worth your while!
When entering a tournament, you should always read its rules before sending your FP to participate. That being said, most online tours follow similar rulesets. At the very least, Incineroar is generally banned from all competitive formats; Terry is occasionally excluded from tours as well. Both characters are exceedingly strong – moreso than the rest of the cast – and win tournaments much more often than any other fighter. Additionally, some hosts will only allow the entry of certain ranks of characters as per our tier list — the aim here is to encourage diversity and the training of characters who lack representation. In terms of actual match rules, here’s what to expect:
- Vanilla tournaments do not allow Spirit stats, Spirit effects, or any Spirit-type other than Neutral.
- Spirits tournaments allow Spirit stats, Spirit effects, and Spirit-types other than Neutral; however, most do not allow the Super Armor, Slow Super Armor, Autoheal, Great Autoheal, and Armor Knight effects to be used on FPs. The Instadrop and Critical Healing & Metal Spirit effects are occasionally banned as well, though this depends on what the tournament host wants.
- Both kinds of tournaments are usually played exclusively on Ω- and Battlefield-form stages. This is because FPs cannot be taught how to navigate complex stages; they’re even known to self-destruct on stages like Town & City when the floating platforms disappear.
- Each tournament set consists of up to three matches. The FP that wins two of the three matches wins, and moves on to the next round.
- Matches are generally played with 2 or 3 stocks and with a timer of seven or eight minutes.
- Items, FS Meter, and Stage Morph are all switched off.
- Lastly, submitting FPs with training data that has been altered via hex editing or eternal programs is not allowed. Trainers are not allowed to submit .bin files of other players’ FPs under any circumstance.
Hosting Your Own Tournament
Hosting an online amiibo tournament of your very own is quite a bit more complex than just entering one. Essentially, you’ve got two options: host a tour entirely through Battle Arenas (and a Smash tournament registration website like smash.gg) or host a competition our way and run all of the matches on your own Switch console. It’s important to note that Arena tournaments are rather unpopular within the competitive community; its members are spread out across a wide variety of time zones, meaning that some players might not be able to attend your Arena tour because they’ll be asleep! As mentioned before, it’s also impossible to check the Spirit teams of each FP, so if a player tries to cheat it’s very difficult to know for sure.
If you’d like to host a file submission tournament, you absolutely must own an amiibo Powersaves device, as they come with an important trinket that you’ll need access to: the Power Tag. It’s a small round disc that contains a versatile NFC chip inside. Think of it as a blank amiibo figure: using amiibo Powersaves, you can write any .bin file you have to the Power Tag, which can then be scanned onto a Switch console as if it were a genuine figure. Assuming you manage to obtain an amiibo Powersaves and Power Tag, here’s a list of steps you need take to host a successful tournament:
- Decide which ruleset your tournament will adopt. See the “Standard Ruleset” section above if you need ideas!
- Post a message in the Exion Discord server’s tournaments channel, and include the competition’s rules and when the entries are due by.
- To collect entries, you can have players send message you their .bin files through Discord, email, or SubmissionApp. Please note that SubmissionApp cannot be used unless its owner (ammoknight) verifies you as a legitimate tournament host.
- Create a tournament bracket on Challonge or Braacket so you can record the results of each match. If you plan on streaming your tournament to Twitch or YouTube, you’re welcome to advertise your channel on our server — you might even earn a few followers in the process!
- Use your Power Tag to zap the .bin files onto your Switch, host the matches, and then report a winner. Eventually, you’ll get through every match and a specific FP will be declared the winner.
As you can see, a lot of work goes into hosting a tournament! Even moreso if it’s being streamed to a Twitch or YouTube channel with high production values. If you can’t stream the tournament, that’s okay — it’s totally fine to take pictures of the results screen and then upload each image to a channel in our server. Heads up: if you join our Discord community intending to host a tournament, we’re happy to help — mainly because we’re always happy to have more tours to compete in!
With that, we’ve discussed each and every one of the key details you should know before you enter your first online amiibo tournament. Now it’s time to get out there and compete! As mentioned previously, our Discord community posts new listings on a regular basis, and you’re welcome to join as many tournaments as you like! There’s no limit on how many you can enter at once. One final reminder here: you can use the amiibo Powersaves guide, the NFC Tools guide, or the TagMo guide for more information on how to retrieve your amiibo’s backup file. Consider these must-reads!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.