I have been watching the amiibo metagame for quite some time now, and for most of its existence I chuckled softly to myself. Unlike most other amiibo trainers, during the Smash 4 days I believed strongly in disallowing custom moves, equipment and special effects. I was, and still am, a vanilla player.
This all came to a head when the community discovered that Little Mac, coupled with +200 Attack, +120 Defense and -200 Speed, and the Critical Hit, Explosive Perfect Shield and Improved Escapability bonuses was by far the best option in the amiibo metagame. I saw it coming as soon as I saw the Little Mac amiibo in action, which is why I stuck with vanilla. The rest of the community opted to instead start banning whatever the best option was at the time: first it was Explosive Perfect Shield and Critical Hit, then it was Little Mac, then it was Cloud, and they kept going down the list until everyone got bored and left.
Ultimate may not have that problem, or at least not in the same manner that Smash 4 had. We’ve known about this for a while now, but I haven’t seen anyone write about this:
As we know from watching the November 1st Smash Direct, Spirits now officially replace equipment. Judging from the gameplay footage now available, they even add the special effects that equipment once used. For all intents and purposes, spirits are equipment, and this image indicates that equipment’s functionality has changed.
While we don’t know for certain if amiibo equipment will function the same way it did in Smash 4, such as feeding your amiibo equipment or being able to hack it in, it does seem safe to say that the new stat, Grab, will shake things up a bit. Amiibo never had much use for Speed so long as they were on the ground: it doesn’t matter how fast you are when your opponent is hardwired to perfect shield everything he possibly can. Being able to grab opponents could completely eliminate the possibility of a ground-based dominatrix like Little Mac ever again.
Obviously we don’t have all the information. It’s possible that instead of being able to hack in our amiibo’s stats how we want them, we’ll have to instead put Spirits on them in the same manner as World of Light. We may no longer have a metagame that requires you to edit your amiibo. It’s also possible, even probable that I was correct in my analysis and that custom moves won’t be in Ultimate either, save for the Mii Fighters. Nonetheless, if the metagame were to embrace equipment after a while, it couldn’t look like Smash 4 anymore. That’s a good thing.