We’re not exactly sure what it is about Super Smash Bros. 4 newcomers, but a ton of them are super underrepresented in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate amiibo tournaments. Duck Hunt is one such fighter, and unfortunately for good reason: their AI is one of the most disappointing in the game. If you’re looking to train a Duck Hunt FP to camp and use its projectiles to their max potential, you may as well forget about it. On the plus side, their wiki page contains information regarding their metagame history, so it’s well worth a look if you’ve got a minute. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to MiDe for contributing Duck Hunt’s training information!
For this section, we’ll assume your Duck Hunt amiibo is starting out at Level 1. If you’re planning to equip it with Spirits, that’s great — just try your best to finalize its setup before you start training. When a Spirit is given to a Figure Player, its personality and move values are shuffled around. Make your training count by giving your FP its Spirits sooner rather than later! For more information, please refer to our full Spirits guide. Now then, here are a bunch of optimal builds you can use on Duck Hunt:
- Banned bonuses: Huge surprise here — Duck Hunt’s best bonus combination is Armor Knight and Trade-Off Ability ↑! The raw firepower Duck Hunt gains from this Spirit setup is unlike any other. 1.15x attack and 1.8x defense from Armor Knight is already significant — couple that with even more buffs from Trade-Off Ability ↑ and you’ve got a really sturdy fighter on your hands!
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Duck Hunt kind of struggles when it comes to tournament-legal Spirit effects; their best moves (forward smash and up smash) are only buffed by the Hyper Smash Attacks skill, which is a bit impractical and difficult to obtain. This leaves Duck Hunt with fewer options; a setup including Physical Attack ↑, Air Defense ↑, and either Move Speed ↑, Trade-Off Ability ↑, or Critical-Health Stats ↑ is about the best you can do here. Alternatively, you can leave the third slot empty and give your FP extra stat points (which would change our recommended stat setup to 2250 / 2250 instead of 2100 / 2100). Critical Healing & Metal works too!
- Raid Boss bonuses: The aforementioned Armor Knight works well on Raid Bosses too! You could also go with Great Autoheal, though that bonus comes with one significant drawback — the FP will recover so much health that nobody will want to fight it! Your other options include Physical Attack ↑ and Move Speed ↑; we’re kind of grasping at straws here, but you can also choose to run two of either Spirit effect on your FP. If only an AI Skill ↑ bonus existed in this game…
Regarding stat distribution, Duck Hunt can either use a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or a more offensive one (2500 / 1700). As usual, you’ll want to double-check and make sure your FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral after you finish its setup; that way it won’t lose Spirit-type matchups when it goes to fight opponents who also have Spirits.
Duck Hunt isn’t all that strong in competitive tournaments. In regard to its projectiles, this character’s AI is old and outdated — with flaws reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. 4’s Figure Players. That is to say, it can’t camp with them or even space them properly. As a result, Duck Hunt is perhaps forever relegated to close combat, which doesn’t line up with the fighter’s inherent strengths. Regardless, the following moveset is about as optimal as it gets for the Duck Hunt duo:
- Forward smash is Duck Hunt’s go-to damage racker and kill move. It strikes foes multiple times and boasts a decent damage output, plus it’s got above-average range. At close range, you can also mix in a tiny bit of short-hopped forward air and back air — when using these moves, press the jump button and then the attack button; if you press the jump and attack buttons at the same time, the FP will register it as an empty short hop.
- Use up smash and up air against your FP when it’s above you. You can also mix in a limited number of up tilt attacks, but generally speaking, you’re going to want to focus on the other two moves in this instance.
- When trained to fight other FPs, Duck Hunt can afford to leave the stage and edgeguard with down air. Depending on your position, you could also use forward air or back air, but down air should be your top priority here.
See? Nice and simple! As a reminder, you’re going to want to teach your Duck Hunt amiibo to walk at all times. This helps it to “think” more clearly, so to speak, and to better prioritize its defensive options when faced with an onslaught of dangerous attacks. Block and parry as often as you like, but be sure to let yourself get hit by the FP’s important moves (which are listed above). For more info, stop by our general training guide!
Raid Boss Training
There’s only one appropriate word to use when describing a Raid Boss Duck Hunt: yikes. As we covered in the previous section, this fighter’s AI cannot properly use its projectiles. It fires them at point-blank range, and will even try to summon a second Wild Gunman when another one is already on the field. In contrast to the competitive version of the guide, you’re welcome to run and dash as often as you want! Just stay on-stage at all times; the Duck Hunt Duo are left incredibly vulnerable while recovering. Here is Duck Hunt’s sad and unfulfilling “optimized” moveset:
- Neutral attack, forward tilt, down tilt, and grabs should all see some use at close range. Duck Hunt’s down throw can link into any aerial move, so use it at low percentages to set up for simple combos. You can also mix in some up throws and then follow up with an up air juggling string!
- Neutral air, forward air, and back air work well for aerial combat. Back air is particularly strong at the tip of the duck’s beak — try connecting with that sweetspot.
- A small bit of forward smash, up smash, and down smash can be mixed in as well, but your top priority should be tilts and aerials. Fortunately, Duck Hunt becomes a whole lot stronger with Spirits equipped, in which close combat works out well enough.
It’s quite a shame, really… you would think Duck Hunt’s AI has the potential to pull off some shenanigans with Trick Shot (the tin can), but that’s not the case. Perhaps it would be the case if Duck Hunt were introduced to Ultimate as a DLC fighter; these add-on characters tend to have more competent AIs than the ones seen in the base game’s roster. Duck Hunt is nowhere near the strongest contender for a Raid Boss, but with enough effort and patience, the duo will (hopefully) turn out decent enough. Best of luck!
Thanks so much for reading — and sorry for disappointing you! Duck Hunt’s training strategies are in complete opposition to their character design, but we promise it’s better this way! If you have any questions you’d like to have answered, feel free to join our Discord community! We’re happy to help you with anything you want (as long as it’s vaguely related to amiibo training). We’ve got a few more helpful links to check out: a tournament entry guide, a Patreon page, and a donation box. Those last two links might be more helpful to Exion than they are to you, though. Until next time — happy training!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.