The Animal Forest: Villager and his tree

I just finished training Villager, and decided to experiment with some different training methods while I did so. We’re going to cover my observations of Villager first, and then the potential uses of the training methods in a separate post.

What’s different?

Like Greninja, Villager seems to be a capable amiibo with not a lot of obvious quirks or idiosyncracies. He’s far, far improved from his Smash 4 AI as far as I can tell and can even manage to use some of the more advanced parts of his moveset. After demonstrating how to use his down special chain of moves twenty to thirty times over the span of fifteen levels, Villager started to use it himself. He didn’t complete the process until about level thirty, when I let him hit me with a few times. After that point he would occasionally use it and would typically land the tree.

He also knows how to use Pocket, and I got him to pocket an item and throw it back a few times. The only projectile he ever threw back was the piece of wood left over from his tree, but hey, it’s a projectile. It still counts!

The actual training

Starting off, I only used down air and up air on Villager. I noticed that Isabelle seemed to innately know these moves and KO’d often with them, so I wanted to see if they were useful with Villager as well. I’m not so sure that was the best choice, but once I made it I stuck with it. He also innately knew when to use each one: when I was at the top blast zone, he used up air. When I was off-stage he used the down air to meteor smash me. The ability to recognize these situations seems to be a universal AI change in Ultimate.

Once he learned his aerials and the tree, I started to loosen up and use a few other moves here and there. I still mostly stuck with those aerials and tree, but if the situation called for it I’d make use of a different attack as well. Sometimes it was his Gyroid Rocket, or his forward smash for a KO. He picked those up very quickly. Another universal AI change in Ultimate seems to be all-around more human traits, for amiibo. Amiibo don’t do what you don’t teach them to, but do use what you teach them to use. They stick closer to your instructions this time around.

My mistake, and how I fixed it

I realized that I had made a mistake teaching him to use his aerials first at about level thirty-five. Villager was so enthusiastic about his aerials that he would jump around and use them almost endlessly, regardless of his position relative to me. While the Villager would often connect his attack with my shield, about one-fifth of the time he would wildly miss and leave himself open to counterattack. I had to take the rest of my time training him to reiterate the importance of staying on the ground and using his tree. Had I known he would do that, I would instead start the training with the tree and only introduce aerials and jumping at about level thirty.

When teaching your Villager to stay on the ground, there’s a few specific attacks you can use to really hit the point home. These are the ones I used, and in the span of fifteen levels they seem to have been very effective:

  • Tree
  • Forward smash
  • Up smash
  • Up tilt

Your Villager is a smart amiibo, much smarter than his Smash 4 counterpart. He knows all of his moves and how to properly use them much better than any amiibo from Smash 4 ever did, trained or otherwise (no disrespect to any amiibo trainers intended). If you show him how he should use his more complicated moves, he will learn them. If you don’t teach him to use a move, he won’t learn them. I never once used his forward or down tilt, and he never once used them. Trust your Villager amiibo to learn from you this time around, and instead worry on cleaning up the small issues.

What we learned

In conclusion, Villager is pretty smart this time around. His tests against other amiibo will be expounded on in a future post, but in the mean time he seems to be a capable amiibo who holds promise. It could just be my inexperience with Ultimate’s AI: if all amiibo are objectively better, then it would be hard to see how they stand relative to each other until we can train many more than the ones we have already trained. Regardless, he’s a lot more fun to train this go-round and I’m sure you will enjoy watching him develop.



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