It’s clear that, for whatever reason, the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate developers love Piranha Plant. Despite its status as a downloadable fighter, Piranha Plant’s amiibo figure was released before Young Link, Pichu, Snake, and Chrom, who were all included in the base game. To add to this, Piranha Plant has received consistent representation in our metagame over the years, though it has fallen off a bit in recent times. If you’d like to learn even more about its history in competitive tournaments, you can do so over at its wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to Murbert for contributing Piranha Plant’s training information!
If at all possible, try to equip your Piranha Plant FP with its full Spirit team before you start training it. We go in-depth on this over at our detailed Spirits guide, but Spirits actually change an FP’s personality and move priorities — and the effect is different depending on which Spirit you use. If you’re looking for some bonus-build recommendations, we’ve got you covered! Here are Piranha Plant’s strongest Support skills:
- Banned bonuses: As with most characters, Piranha Plant is strongest with Armor Knight plus Trade-Off Ability ↑. With this, its attack and defense stats will see noticeable increases, turning the potted plant into a fearsome offensive juggernaut. You can obtain Armor Knight from the Halberd Support Spirit, which in turn can be obtained randomly from Funky Kong’s in-game shop.
- Tournament-legal bonuses: If you’re entering a tournament that follows our ban list, then your options include Physical Attack ↑ (applied either once or twice), Trade-Off Ability ↑, Air Defense ↑, Critical-Health Stats ↑, and Move Speed ↑. If you do decide to use two Physical Attack ↑ skills, you can fill the third slot with Toss & Meteor. You could also use a setup involving Critical Healing & Metal!
- Raid Boss bonuses: Each of the Spirit effects listed above applies to a Raid Boss, too! If you really want to annoy your friends, try running Great Autoheal alongside a defensive stat spread (0 / 4200). Otherwise, a setup including Physical Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Shield Damage ↑ works great! Shield Damage ↑, in particular, makes Poison Breath impossible to safely shield.
Piranha Plant’s a versatile fighter, so it can pull off a wide variety of stat spreads. You could pick a balanced build (2100 / 2100), an offensive one (2500 / 1700), or even a defensive one (1700 / 2500). The choice is yours! Regardless of your FP’s setup, make sure its Spirit-type winds up being Neutral. That way it won’t lose Spirit-type matchups against opponents who also have a Spirit team.
If Piranha Plant is not the first competitive FP you’ve trained, then you know the drill by now: don’t run or dash, don’t taunt, and don’t use charged smash attacks. That’s a lot of “don’ts”, but follow those rules and you’ll be off to a great start! As we’ll soon mention, Piranha Plant can afford to edgeguard off-stage, but it’s still a risky endeavor despite its long-distanced recovery. Here’s what this fighter’s optimal moveset looks like, then:
- Forward smash isn’t the fastest move around, but it’s got good kill power and deals high damage. Down smash works at close range too; compared to forward smash, its speed is higher and its strength is lower. For the most part, you’ll want to place a higher priority on forward smash in this case.
- Up smash is Piranha Plant’s premier kill move, and it’s best used when an opponent is right above it. It’s especially effective when used to punish opponents dropping down through soft platforms! Make sure your FP knows to use up smash to intercept its enemy’s landings.
- You can also mix in down tilt and grabs when you’re standing right next to your FP. Down tilt and down throw both combo into forward air at low percentages, while up throw should be used at high percentages to secure a KO. From a distance, you can mix in some dash attacks to approach.
- Piranha Plant’s special moves all serve as helpful neutral options! Ptooie can be used either at a distance or when your FP is right in front of you. Poison Breath, when fully charged, deals a ton of damage — when you’re far away from your FP, you can charge the move and then move in and spit out the poison cloud. Long-Stem Strike has built-in super armor and should also be used from afar. Please note that each of these special moves should only be used infrequently; focus more on Piranha Plant’s close-ranged options.
- If you’d like to teach your Piranha Plant FP to edgeguard off-stage, that’s fine! In this instance, you’ll want it to rely on its down air most of all. You should also teach it to use neutral air when it’s trying to land on-stage.
Overall, Piranha Plant’s optimal playstyle remains grounded and uses its projectiles from afar to bait jumps. Once its foe is airborne, it can then move in and attack or KO with a powerful up smash. Even though Piranha Plant’s recovery carries it far, off-stage play is still risky; the AI often waits until it has reached the bottom blast zone and then initiates its up special. Fighters with strong edgeguarding options – including Zelda and Pit, among others – can take advantage of this by intercepting with a meteor smash of their own. If you’d rather prevent this from happening, then teach your FP to wait at the ledge instead.
Raid Boss Training
We’re very sorry to inform that you Piranha Plant is kind of a lousy Raid Boss. Its basic boxing tools don’t work very well against human players, and the AI’s special-move tendencies often leave it vulnerable (despite the fact that they work well against fellow AI opponents). Furthermore, you’ll have to keep your FP on-stage at all times; when it tries to recover, it initiates its up special in the same general area, which gives its enemies a great opportunity to strike with a meteor smash. Here’s every move you should focus on for this character:
- Your main close-ranged attacks are down tilt and grabs. Both down tilt and down throw can combo into a forward air — it’s very simple (and perhaps unimpressive) combo, but it at least helps to rack on additional damage.
- Forward air is strong all on its own, too: it’s rather fast and has a solid damage output, especially with Spirits equipped. You can also use neutral air right before you land, and then combo it into a grab afterward.
- If you equipped the Shield Damage ↑ Support skill we mentioned earlier, then Poison Breath should be one of Piranha Plant’s primary focuses. Charge it up from a distance, and then release the poison cloud when your FP is right in front of you! Please note that the AI can’t be taught to hold off on using Poison Breath if it’s fighting an opponent with a reflector — so usage of this move is optional.
- A little bit of forward tilt, up tilt, back air, forward smash, and down smash can be mixed in as well. The moves listed above this particular bullet point should be higher in priority, though, so keep that in mind.
It’s certainly a shame that Piranha Plant is a rather poor Raid Boss, but there’s at least one positive takeaway here: the presence of Spirits will significantly increase its damage output, meaning that even a suboptimal Raid Boss can give human players trouble. Even Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s best competitive players are known to struggle against FPs, and this is partially because FPs act much different than humans and thus are difficult to predict.
Though Piranha Plant is located in the higher rankings of our tier list, it is not necessarily easy to properly train. You might run into trouble even after following this guide, as much of Piranha Plant’s success comes from its movement and timing in addition to its move usage. If you’re looking for more help, you’re always welcome to join our Discord community and ask around! If you’d like to learn how to participate in online tournaments, we’ve also got a helpful guide on how you can do just that. Finally, we have a Patreon and a donation box for anyone who wants to help support the site and its content. Until next time — happy training!
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