The Super Smash Bros. 4 amiibo metagame officially began alongside the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and the first wave of amiibo figures on November 21, 2014. It is considered to have ended on December 7, 2018 with the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch.
Smash 4’s AI was heavily defensive; Level 9 CPU players had a reaction time of one frame and were able to flawlessly perfect shield almost any attack. Figure Players inherited the base AI of Level 9 CPUs and retained their superhuman reaction time; as a result, the amiibo metagame revolved heavily around defensive capabilities and matches were generally slow-paced. A full list of flaws, quirks, and tendencies in Smash 4’s AI can be found here; please note that each one applies to FPs as well (as they inherit Level 9 CPU base AI).
Glenn and his amiibo training website, Amiibo Trainer, were an early advocate for the amiibo metagame and were the first recorded amiibo training website. Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield ruled early tournaments and were often run alongside Improved escapability to great effect. At first, Little Mac was the best character in the game; with the help of equipment, one of his forward smashes could shatter a full shield and then one-hit KO. Given that the AI in Smash 4 was heavily defensive, Little Mac Figure Players trained to forward smash would often win a two-stock game in less than 30 seconds. As a result, the community eventually banned Little Mac, although he would later be reintroduced with a restriction on his Attack stat.
In late 2015, Amiibo Dan and the Amiibo Dojo teamed up to advertise online amiibo tournaments, which had previously been impossible. With the help of Amiibo Powersaves, trainers could send a backup file of their amiibo to a tournament host who would use it on their Wii U console. The first major online competition was Amiibo World Tournament 3.
At this point, there were clearly-established top-tier characters; these included Bowser, Ganondorf, Ness, Rosalina & Luma, Marth, and Link. However, in late 2016, the community banned Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield due to their centralizing nature. As a result, low-tier characters became more difficult to win with; previously, they saw a minor degree of success from being carried by Critical hits and Explosive perfect shield. Without Critical hits and Explosive perfect shield, the metagame actually became more offensive. In the past, throwing out an attack at random meant taking damage from Explosive perfect shield. Without its centralizing presence, it became safe to throw out jabs and tilts whereas they would previously spell doom.
Characters like Link, Pac-Man, and Charizard – who had “good” jabs – became stronger, with Link eventually becoming an S-tier fighter. Ness took a significant hit in viability, and dropped from S rank to A rank; Marth and Lucina became the best characters in the game thanks to their side specials, and Bowser and Ganondorf remained just as strong as before. Marth and Lucina’s side special move, Dancing Blade, was especially effective against Figure Players. Although it almost never got KOs, it racked up damage quick and FPs were unable to block all of its hits. Matches ended up being Marth or Lucina spamming Dancing Blade until their opponent was past 300% damage.
From that point on, the Smash 4 metagame did not change much. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate had been announced, and many trainers temporarily put amiibo training aside so they would not be burnt out when they trained their FPs in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
If you would like to return to the amiibo Wiki, please follow this link to return to its master list.