The term corruptive refers to a specific playstyle designed to cheese wins in Super Smash Bros. 4 amiibo tournaments. The strategy involves training a Figure Player poorly on purpose and then transferring those bad habits to a properly-trained opponent throughout a tournament set.
In Super Smash Bros. 4, there is no Learn toggle (unlike in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate). This means that Figure Players learn and change their behavior after each match, and these changes are usually for the worse. As mentioned previously, players looking for easy match wins in tournaments would train an FP poorly on purpose — and more often than not, the character chosen for this role was Mario (or more rarely, Dr. Mario). The player would teach their Mario FP to spam aerials, grabs, and side specials, and then submit it to a tournament — sometimes, the trainer wouldn’t even raise the FP all the way to level 50.
Let’s illustrate an example of the effect this corruptive amiibo could have in a tournament. Imagine that the corruptive Mario FP enters a tourney match against a well-trained Bowser (which entails grounded, defensive play focusing on one or two moves). In the first game, Mario spams aerials and random special moves, and Bowser is able to block each attack and then respond with a move of his own. He wins the first game, but by doing so, his training data has “absorbed” some of the bad habits the Mario FP exhibited in that match. In game two, Bowser begins jumping around and spamming his laggy aerial attacks, whereas Mario has now learned to play more defensively. Mario wins game two, and goes on to win game three.
Essentially, what you have here is an exploitation of Smash 4’s AI. Corruptive FPs rarely won entire tournaments, but absolutely caused some upsets in brackets by knocking out carefully-raised characters. Mario was chosen as the primary corruptive FP because his aerials and special moves are fairly quick, whereas other fighters who could become “corrupted” have much slower attacks. The corruptive playstyle was controversial among tournament players, though a ban was never enacted because it would be too difficult to determine if an FP was trained with corruptive tendencies on purpose.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, amiibo trainers nearly universally turn their FPs’ learning toggles off when sending them to tournaments. This means corruptive playstyles are no longer possible, which forces players to focus on accurate training rather than cheap wins.
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