If there’s one thing that has become abundantly clear since the release of Ultimate’s amiibo metagame, it’s that Bowser is the best amiibo in vanilla. Not by much, but enough. If there’s another thing that has become abundantly clear… actually, there isn’t. We don’t know much more than that.
Take a look at this snippet of vanilla tournament results from March 27 to present day (those dates were picked because that was everything I could fit on the screen at once):
Do you notice anything, aside from Bowser being a little bit more common than the others? Probably not. While Bowser does get entered by a lot of different trainers who all end up winning, (which indicates a very good amiibo), there’s really not much else you can gather from this list. The full list can be found here, by the way.
While counterintuitive, the fact that we can’t gather anything from this list tells us something: we don’t know anything. We’re five months in to the amiibo metagame, vanilla has been the primary ruleset for about a month, and yet we still have everyone from Bowser to Greninja of all things winning tournaments. There’s nothing concrete about the vanilla amiibo metagame at this point in time, unlike the Spirits meta which has completely died due to the all-too-concrete reign of Armor Knight.
This gives us two really weird situations as far as Ultimate amiibo goes.
First, we have a dead Spirits meta that will probably only be revived if the spirits themselves are nerfed, buffed or expanded on in some way. The addition of Lifesteal as a support spirit could revitalize the meta (barring that, a surge in hacking abilities to allow trainers to add Lifesteal as a bonus, and accomodating ruleset changes to provide for that option), but otherwise there is not much room for growth in the Spirits meta. The skill ceiling is much, much lower than we thought.
Second, we have a vanilla meta that is actually too alive. So long as a Bowser isn’t entered, which is sometimes the case in smaller tournaments, there’s really no telling how a tournament could end up, especially when you take the right-hand side of that chart into consideration. Much of the tournament winners are top tiers, with a few exceptions, but there’s a whole lot of second-placers that aren’t. Except for Link, who we all know is top-tier (looking at you, LWI Leaf).
Just kidding. I’m not convinced either way on where Link stands on the tier list.
So we’re between a basically finished metagame and one that will probably never stop having upsets because so many amiibo are tournament-viable. Compare that with the Smash 4 metagames, where the customs meta had to keep banning options to keep tournaments from having the same results, and the vanilla metagame revolved around who can beat Ness most often. Competitive amiibo never takes the same shape twice, does it?
I don’t know if vanilla amiibo tournaments will always have this problem, or even if it is a problem. Any amiibo being tournament-viable may be a blessing should the hobby become popular at some point in the future. In fact, it’s a bit of a blessing now: if you had asked me six months ago whether I thought an amiibo metagame would have this much strength this long after release, I’d have been doubtful. That simple fact has probably kept a lot of people interested who otherwise would’ve left the scene. It poses a potential problem, though: what if people get bored of unpredictability and leave the scene because of it? It sounds unusual, but think of it like this: if everything is an upset, nothing is.
Man, who knows. I’m just glad that we have a good shot of this hobby still existing in a few years. It was a real drag in the Smash 4 days to have nobody else to play with.
As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t posted much on here lately. I also haven’t put up a Youtube video for about a month. There’s been a lot of life things that have been getting in my way, and while a few of them were resolved lately, one thing has arisen that is of much more importance than amiibo training. Girls.
So we’ll see how much longer this site lasts.