Pac-Man has always been an interesting Figure Player — that’s not necessarily a compliment. Way back in Super Smash Bros. 4, Pac-Man was considered one of the worst fighters in the game. Eventually, a group of dedicated trainers figured out that his three-hit jab was the key to his potential. As fate would have it, that’s what happened in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate too! History is doomed to repeat itself. If you’d like to learn even more about his metagame history, feel free to read his corresponding wiki page too. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
As we’ll soon discuss, Pac-Man’s best move is his forward smash. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single Spirit effect that boosts its power (save for Hyper Smash Attacks, which is sort of suboptimal). Essentially, this means his damage output is 10% less than other fighters, which holds him back in Spirits tournaments. As a result, Pac-Man is much stronger in tours that ban Spirits altogether. Regardless, we’ve attempted to compile some of Pac-Man’s best builds below. If only there was a Ghost Attack ↑ bonus…
- Banned bonuses: Both Armor Knight and Great Autoheal have merit on Pac-Man. If you decide to choose Armor Knight, run Move Speed ↑ in the third slot. You could also go with Physical Attack ↑ to boost the strength of Pac-Man’s forward tilt and dash attack.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: As mentioned earlier, no Spirit effect increases the power of Pac-Man’s smash attacks. However, Physical Attack ↑ does boost his dash attack and forward tilt. Pac-Man’s Fire Hydrant is one of the strongest landing options in the game, and giving him the Air Defense ↑ bonus effect makes him even tougher to contest. At this point, we’d recommend leaving your third slot empty and putting the rest into Pac-Man’s stats.
- Raid Boss bonuses: Equipping a Raid Boss Pac-Man FP is much easier than equipping a competitive one, and that’s because an optimal Raid Boss FP doesn’t use its smash attacks as often. If you’d rather not use the aforementioned Great Autoheal, you can choose a combination of Move Speed ↑, Physical Attack ↑, and Air Defense ↑ instead.
If you followed our recommendation and only gave your Pac-Man amiibo two Spirit effects, then you can focus a bit more on its attack stat (2500 / 2000). Otherwise, a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) works just fine. Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you start training it — for more information, please refer to our full Spirits guide.
As usual, the rules of training a competitive Figure Player apply here: don’t run and don’t charge smash attacks. Pac-Man needs to use several of his moves to stand a chance, and this includes attacking with aerial moves off-stage — more on that in a moment. Read up on Pac-Man’s recommended moves, and then do your best to emulate the usage of each attack:
- At close range, Pac-Man’s best moves are his full three-hit jab, forward smash, and forward tilt — in descending order of priority. Pac-Man struggles against opponents who perfect shield a lot, and teaching yours to rely on its jab helps alleviate this weakness. The first hit comes out on frame 4, making it incredibly fast and excellent at intercepting incoming attacks. Forward smash is Pac-Man’s main kill move, so make sure you mix that in as well.
- From a distance, you’ll need to use tons of dash attacks and a medium amount of grabs. Pac-Man’s dash attack strikes multiple times, allowing him to eat through enemies’ shields. His grab is a tad slow, but gives him access to a powerful back throw at high percentages.
- Generally speaking, when a Figure Player is launched upward, it’s at a disadvantage. The inverse is true for Pac-Man: when he’s far above his opponent, he’s at an advantage instead. That being said, you should still keep him grounded as often as possible; the kind of height he needs to be at an advantage cannot be attained with jumps alone. With that said, any time you’re above your FP, immediately drop a Fire Hydrant. It’s an excellent disruption tool and hits rather hard. You can also mix in a tiny amount of landing down air and neutral air when you get closer to the ground.
- Anytime your Pac-Man amiibo is launched off-stage, follow it and attack it with down airs. Though this move doesn’t meteor smash opponents, it does boast incredible forward knockback that will either KO an enemy outright or launch them too far for them to be able to recover back. If your FP is too far below you when you go off-stage, drop a Fire Hydrant on it instead!
Training a perfect Pac-Man amiibo takes some precision, and there are several moves to look out for: up tilt, up smash, down smash, and grounded Pac-Jump. If you accidentally use any of these moves or get hit by them, you’re better off quitting the match. At high levels, your Pac-Man amiibo might use grounded Pac-Jump at a distance to force opponents in the air; this is hard-coded.
With this moveset, Pac-Man will be able to sort-of contend against shield-heavy opponents with his fast attacks. If he’s launched upwards, he’ll be able to use Fire Hydrant to clear a safe landing and get his head back in the game. If he launches his opponent off-stage, he’ll chase them down and strike with a down air, back air, or Fire Hydrant. It’s also okay to mix in a tiny bit of Bonus Fruit’s cherry and down tilt at the ledge, but you’re generally going to want to get Pac-Man off-stage as often as possible. The AI will KO itself every so often by failing to recover, but that’s life.
Raid Boss Training
An optimal Raid Boss Pac-Man FP plays wildly different than how a human player would. For one, we’re going to be forgoing almost all of its special moves; though Fire Hydrant makes a good landing tool in tournaments, the AI won’t follow up and launch the projectile or take advantage of its water spouts. Instead, we’re going to be relying on Pac-Man’s crazy-fast frame data. Here’s what this character’s optimal moveset looks like, then:
- At close range, utilize a mix of jabs and forward tilts, and then a small amount of grabs. At higher levels, Pac-Man’s AI may try to combo its down throw into a dash attack, which doesn’t always work. You might be better off sticking to up throw and back throw.
- Rising forward air and back air attacks serve as solid neutral tools. Forward air is really fast, and when backed by Spirits, actually deals respectable damage! Pac-Man’s anti-air game is rather lacking, so primarily up air and then a sprinkle of up tilt and up smash should be used to try and fix this.
- Mix in a small bit of forward smash and down smash. They do leave Pac-Man vulnerable if they miss, but they can secure KOs in a pinch.
Overall, you’re aiming for an air fighter with a few grabs and tilts thrown in for good measure. If you do decide to teach your Pac-Man FP to edgeguard, you can so with neutral air, forward air, back air, or down air; basically, any aerial except up air. By the way, if you want to know more about amiibo training, check out our general guide! It’s a great resource for those looking for more information.
Historically, Pac-Man is one of the most overlooked Figure Players in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With the right training, though, he’s a solid mid-tier fighter capable of contending with those who rank below him. If you have any additional questions that weren’t answered here, please direct them to our Discord server! We’ll be happy to help you out. Be sure to check out our tournament entry guide and donation box page as well. Thanks so much for reading! Until next time — happy training!
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