Ness is a playable character in both Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Super Smash Bros. series Ness amiibo was first released as a GameStop exclusive on May 29, 2015. He is considered high-tier in Super Smash Bros. 4 and top-tier in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Super Smash Bros. 4
Ness is currently ranked as an A tier character in Super Smash Bros. 4. As one of the most threatening Figure Players available, Ness was once a metagame-defining threat. His powerful back throw was the most reliable finisher in the entire game — that is, until the Improved escapability bonus effect became popular and essentially invalidated the move. FPs equipped with Improved escapability were able to escape grabs so fast that AI opponents often failed to actually throw them until well past 300%. Even without his back throw to rely on, Ness is a powerful contender. Up smash, PK Fire, and PK Thunder 2 are the best tools in his arsenal. It is important to note that Ness’s Smash 4 AI could not chase opponents with its electricity projectile; instead, it would launch itself on-stage, and this proved especially effective against opposing FPs.
Despite being considered a high-tier character, Ness’s matchup spread is somewhat poor. Marth, Lucina, and especially Bowser are difficult for him; they each possess close-ranged moves that are faster than his grounded options (Marth and Lucina’s Dancing Blade and Bowser’s Flying Slam, respectively). This means Ness struggles to make any kind of progress against them, as all of his attacks are outpaced. As previously mentioned, the omnipresence of Improved escapability hinders Ness’s otherwise stellar grab game, as it removes the option of back throw as a safe and reliable kill move.
Overall, Ness is one of the most successful in influential characters in Smash 4, though not to the level of Marth, Lucina, or Bowser. He has accrued excellent tournament results and representation. A large portion of Ness’s results were from Cloud and Super NES, but Supernova, FarmingSim, and DONkLE found success with the character as well. If you would like to learn how to train a Ness amiibo (in Smash 4), check out our tried-and-true training guide right here.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was first released, it was initially believed that Ness had been nerfed from Super Smash Bros. 4. His AI no longer fired itself with PK Thunder 2 (on purpose), removing one of his previously-strong kill options. In Smash 4, the AI was not capable of going off-stage to gimp Ness’s recovery, meaning he would recover safely every time he was knocked off-stage. Ultimate’s AI gained the ability to go off-stage, and so Ness’s recovery became much more exploitable. As a result, Ness’s FP often fails to recover and is occasionally KOed at 10%. Notably, Ridley’s Plasma Breath move gimps Ness FPs at any percentage when used at the ledge, giving him a hard counter. Bowser continues to be a difficult matchup for Ness, and he has gained additional tough matchups including Dr. Mario and Incineroar.
Despite his newfound weaknesses, though, Ness has in fact been buffed for his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Generally speaking, his AI is much more cooperative, and more often uses PK Fire continuously to rack up damage (which takes advantage of the fact that Ultimate’s AI cannot SDI). Furthermore, Ness’s AI now uses its PK Thunder projectile to chase opponents and KO them off the top blast line. Ultimate’s AI has immense trouble dealing with this, and often lets itself get hit until it is eventually KOed. Improved escapability has been significantly nerfed from Smash 4, meaning Ness is once again free to use his back throw. And his up smash has seen a significant increase in kill power. To summarize, almost every aspect of Ness has in fact been buffed, but his recovery is still considered unreliable.
Ness is even more successful in Ultimate than he was in 4, and is considered one of the best characters in the game. Once again, a large portion of Ness’s tournament results come from Cloud and Super NES, though other trainers have been able to achieve similar results. If you would like to learn how to train a Ness amiibo in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, have a look at our training guide by following this link. Please note that this guide targets amiibo-versus-amiibo training; information on Raid Boss training can be found below. An additional long-form essay on training Ultimate’s Ness amiibo can be found here.
Raid Boss Training
If you want to train a Ness amiibo specifically to fight humans (these are called Raid Boss amiibo), his optimal training strategy is slightly different — and this extends to kinds of Spirits he should equip. A Raid Boss’s optimal Spirit setup is always either Super Armor or Great Autoheal, but if you’d like to equip something different, you can use Move Speed ↑, PSI Attack ↑, and Landing Lag ↓. Move Speed ↑ doesn’t aid Ness’s recovery, as his AI’s recovery routing is strict, but on-stage, it does help him overwhelm opponents. Landing Lag ↓ makes his aerials much safer, while PSI Attack ↑ provides a boost to almost all of his attacks. Again, these Spirits are best used if your Ness amiibo is being trained to fight human opponents. If you’d prefer to train a Ness amiibo to fight other amiibo, refer to our training guide instead.
As you’d expect, Ness needs to use a good bit of PK Fire, but his melee options shouldn’t be neglected, either. Ness’s aerials are excessively strong and disjointed, and the AI makes excellent use of their large hitboxes. Unfortunately, the AI can’t charge its up or down smashes at the ledge to gimp opponents, and it should not be trained to go off-stage either due to its predictable recovery pattern. Ness should grab quite often, as his down throw can combo into a forward aerial or reversed back aerial and his back throw can KO. Ness should not use his neutral or up specials at all against human players, as the AI’s usage of them leaves it very vulnerable. His dash attack, while strong, isn’t very good against human opponents and leaves him open to a punish.
To summarize, a Ness Raid Boss’s main moves should be forward tilt, all five aerials, forward and up smash, side and down special, and both grab and jab. For more information on amiibo training, check out our general amiibo training guide. Ideally, you’d want to refer to this page, the Ness training guide, and the general training guide in tandem with each other.
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