In the context of competitive amiibo training, Pac-Man is an interesting case. Way back in Super Smash Bros. 4, Pac-Man was considered one of the worst fighters in the game. Fortunately, a group of dedicated trainers was able to change this, and by the end of the metagame, he was considered mid-tier! Pac-Man hasn’t had as much character development in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but he’s still a solid contender that can wreak some serious havoc on low-tier tournaments. 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!
Special thanks to Nozomu for contributing Pac-Man’s training information!
Pac-Man suffers from a relative lack of Spirit team options. His best moves – his smash attacks – involve ghosts, and there’s no Spirit effect that specifically increases their power. This means that Pac-Man’s damage output is rather low compared to other fighters, which sadly works to his detriment in competitive tourneys. 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 Trade-Off Ability ↑ in the third slot. Keep in mind that Trade-Off Ability ↑ imposes a 30% damage penalty; if you’d rather avoid that you can use Move Speed ↑ instead.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Trade-Off Ability ↑ helps bolster Pac-Man’s poor damage output — plus it provides him with a bit of defensive cushioning and a sprinkle of increased movement speed. Air Defense ↑ works well here too, as it decreases the amount of damage Pac-Man will take while airborne. Critical-Health Stats ↑ and Physical Attack ↑ are worth considering too; do note, though, that Physical Attack ↑ does not increase the power of Pac-Man’s smash attacks. Finally, Critical Healing & Metal is a great option that grants him extra healing and longevity.
- 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 won’t use its smash attacks as often. The aforementioned Great Autoheal and Critical Healing & Metal bonuses are great here — alternatively, you can choose a combination of Move Speed ↑, Physical Attack ↑, Air Defense ↑, and Landing Lag ↓ instead.
Regarding stat distribution, don’t worry about the particular numbers too much. As long as your FP has stats, you’re good to go. You’re welcome to experiment with any kind of spread you want, but generally speaking, a balanced one (2100 / 2100) works best on Pac-Man. Make sure the FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you start training it. For more information, please refer to our full Spirits guide.
While training Pac-Man, follow these easy rules: don’t run, don’t go off-stage, and don’t charge your smash attacks. Those are the first three steps to training a strong competitive FP. Compared to other fighters, Pac-Man only uses a few of his attacks, which is because his AI misuses most of the ones we don’t mention here. Read the move list below, and then try to emulate the usage of each attack as you train your FP:
- At close range, rely on forward tilt and forward smash. You should only use forward smash when the tip of the ghost will connect; forward tilt doesn’t require any special spacing, though, so you’ll want to give slightly more focus to it. A few three-hit jab combos can be rotated at close range as well.
- Bonus Fruit’s cherry (the uncharged version) should be used at mid-range and while standing at the ledge to edgeguard your FP. Its throw angle makes recovering difficult for certain characters. You should also mix in some down tilt while standing at the ledge.
- At later levels, your FP will occasionally launch you upward. When it does, drop a Fire Hydrant to secure a safe landing. Don’t bother trying to attack the Fire Hydrant to send it flying, though — the FP won’t do this often enough to make it worth teaching.
- Grabs are okay when used sparingly — specifically, Pac-Man’s back throw can be used at high percentages or at the edge to get a quick KO.
Down smash, up smash, and up tilt actually aren’t good moves for Pac-Man to use, so keep them out of your rotation. Instead, use forward tilt and forward smash to punish landings. We mentioned this before, but it’s important: only use Bonus Fruit’s cherry. Pac-Man’s AI usually only uses the cherry regardless, so it should be simple enough to teach!
Raid Boss Training
On the surface, a Raid Boss Pac-Man FP seems to be somewhat messy. The AI can’t properly use its special moves; in fact, it can’t even see its own Fire Hydrant to know to launch it afterward. Despite having what is essentially a set of non-functional special moves, a Raid Boss Pac-Man wins the day by relying on its excellent aerial frame data. He can kind of afford to edgeguard, but it’s still a dangerous endeavor when fighting human opponents. Here’s what this character’s optimal moveset looks like, then:
- Neutral attack, grabs, and a little bit of forward tilt are to be used at close range. 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 missed, but 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.
Pac-Man is perhaps a bit tough to train correctly, but he definitely has the tools he needs to make waves in tournament play. 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, Patreon page, and donation box page as well. Thanks so much for reading! Until next time — happy training!
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