[Insert Rocky Theme here]

Cloud’s Ness, Super NES, has recently claimed his tenth tournament win. This makes him probably the most well-trained amiibo of all time, considering his hefty number of tournament victories in both Smash 4 and Ultimate. While we’re all hoping it doesn’t go to his head, there’s something more interesting and important at play here.


Take note of Ness’ placing on the official tier list. (Bear in mind this list is about three weeks old, and was created to preempt the influx of users from the 3.1.0 update). Ness is middle of A tier, listed as placing lower than Link, Lucas, Lucina, Bowser and more. It’s pretty clear that in just these three weeks, the tier list has been demonstrated to be inaccurate in at least one way.

That’s not to say that the tier list is wildly wrong, or that Ness is necessarily a stellar amiibo. This just goes to show the true nature of tier lists – they’re estimations of the metagame at the current point in time. The fact that Ness is demonstrably better than he was previously considered to be, based on his tournament results and updated stat-keeping, indicates that something very astounding is happening. It’s really quite a fun thing to watch in real-time.

The metagame is changing. Certain amiibo are being considered as more viable or less viable in relation to Ness, now. What if someone discovers that, no matter how hard they try, Cloud, King Dedede and Mr. Game & Watch are hard-countered by Ness? Those characters will win fewer tournaments in the long run, and probably won’t even be entered that often in comparison to characters not countered. That’s not the only interesting thing happening, though.

If you click the link above, and read through the characters, you’ll see that the top six amiibo are all very close to each other, only being about sixty points from each other from top to bottom. You’ll also notice that Olimar is the only amiibo in that group that is also in the S tier on the tier list. Isn’t that weird? He doesn’t fit the picture of a top-tier amiibo. Instead of being bulky and hard-hitting, or having a few highly effective moves, Olimar tends to outsmart and outmove his opponent.

One last comment before we close this.

Each of the top 5 amiibo in the stat records has only 1-2 representatives. That means there’s one or two trainers who have done a good job with that amiibo, and everyone else really hasn’t or at least hasn’t tried. There’s a few possible explanations for this, and they aren’t mutually exclusive:

  1. The scene has so few trainers that just about all amiibo will only have 1-2 prolific trainers
  2. There are so many characters that we can’t possibly take the time needed to train an amiibo to its full ability (the reverse of the above point)
  3. The scene prefers to train lower tiers, or at least prefers to enter lower tiers into tournaments
  4. The first tier list failed to accurately predict the changes of the metagame and thus fell into inaccuracy after the large swath of newcomers from the 3.1.0 update
  5. Most trainers only train the figures they own, and these figures are the cheapest or more ubiquitous

Of these explanations, 2, 3 and 4 seem to be the most likely candidates. They could all be true as well. It’s a very interesting situation, and is reminiscient of Jigglypuff’s situation in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Hungrybox was the only top-level player of that character, but he was good enough that top players began listing Jigglypuff as the best character in Melee. It appears we could be seeing something similar in vanilla amiibo… but five times over.

This all comes to an uplifting conclusion. If one good trainer is enough to make an amiibo top-tier, then you could be that trainer. You might not be the best trainer, or even a good one. Top-tier amiibo don’t necessarily come from top-tier trainers. The next big thing in the scene could be you! Cue training montage!


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