We’re not exactly sure what it is about Super Smash Bros. 4 newcomers, but many 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!
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 Figure Player inherits a Spirit, 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 Move Speed ↑! 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 a speed boost from Move Speed ↑ 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 relatively few options; a setup including Physical Attack ↑, Air Defense ↑, and 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 Air Defense ↑; 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 fighter’s AI is old and outdated. That is to say, it’s got flaws reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. 4’s Figure Players. Duck Hunt can’t consistently camp or space out its projectiles, meaning that (for the most part) we have to relegate it to close-quarters combat. This is about the best moveset you can use on Duck Hunt, then:
- Forward smash is Duck Hunt’s go-to damage racker and kill move. When using this move, try your best to position yourself in such a way that the attack’s third reticle hits your FP. At close range, you can use forward tilt as a poking option. Feel free to mix in down smash every so often — maybe once or twice per match.
- Grabs are Duck Hunt’s best friend! The duo can combo a down throw into a forward tilt or forward air. On rare occasions, they can string a down throw into a down air at the ledge, too! Fortunately, you don’t need to teach it any of these combos — by the time it reaches Level 50, the FP will have taught itself. The only thing you need to do is grab and use any throw you want!
- When your FP is in the air above you (either from the respawn platform or after taking damage from an up throw), up air is your absolute best anti-air option. Keep your FP in the air for as long as possible by stringing up air into itself. You can use up smash too, but much less often due to its inconsistent nature.
- When your FP is off-stage, follow it! Forward air and back air are your primary gimping tools. Down air works too, but you’ll want to place a higher priority on the first two moves. Mix in some forward and back air as landing options on-stage, too.
- From a distance, use Clay Shooting. It’s just about the only projectile Duck Hunt kind of uses correctly, and it launches opponents in the air if it connects. You could toss out a Wild Gunman once in a blue moon if you really want to, but it can just as easily leave Duck Hunt vulnerable and halt their momentum.
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! Just make absolutely sure to stay away from Trick Shot. If you accidentally use it or get hit by it, quit the match and try again. It messes with Duck Hunt’s AI and turns it into a low-accuracy projectile-spamming fool, which is easily dealt with by high-tier opponents.
With this setup, Duck Hunt can deal respectable damage with their grabs, tilts, and smash attacks at close range. By teaching the duo to target the tip of its forward smash, we’ve maximized the chance that the attack will KO an opponent (as opposed to the foe falling right out of it). Even when Duck Hunt is far away, they can still pose a slight threat by filling the distance with Clay Shooting. Once the enemy is off-stage, Duck Hunt can follow them and seal the deal with one of their aerial moves!
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; Duck Hunt is vulnerable to being gimped by human players. Here’s a list of the moves to use:
- 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! Duck Hunt’s training strategies are kind of in 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). You can also check out our tournament entry guide if you’d like to get involved in competitions. Until next time — happy training!
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