PAL Season 2 Meta – Why Should You Care?

This is a guest post by Spike. Everything in this post is a copy-and-paste from what he sent me.

As you guys might be aware, in the exciting finals set of the PAL Season 2 tournament, the newcomer ToughClaw (CyFyKitty’s Bowser) narrowly defeated good old Super NES (Cloud’s Ness) to take home the #1 spot. This final set showcased the power of Bowser overall, but we already know how good he is. The dive into the data reveals just how interesting PAL’s Season 2 meta was- and it might just help you with your next tournament pick.

Of course, Bowser is rarely going to be a bad pick. Most people just don’t enter him, because a well-trained Bowser is rarely going to lose. However, there were 25 different characters represented in the 32 PAL contenders, with only 3 characters (Link, Lucina, and Yoshi) taking multiple slots. These were the represented amiibo, as follows:

5 Links, belonging to Hartless, Nozomu, ThatMagicStore, MythrilZenith, and Spike

3 Yoshi, belonging to Riparo, Jester, and KingPingu435

2 Lucinas, belonging to AyianaArch and sniper_bano

1 of each other character:

CyFyKitty’s Bowser, Cloud’s Ness, PapaPage’s Samus, Burr’s Pokemon Trainer, Latios’s Pichu, Dreamy Jay’s King Dedede, ZeNo’s Dark Pit, Cucco-Master’s Palutena, Vintro’s Mii Gunner, FULMINIX’s Ike, SteelDragon’s Luigi, Smitty’s Piranha Plant, Fernando’s Dr. Mario, MiDe’s Captain Falcon, Leaf’s Lucas, DarkSearchMan’s Cloud, Clockwerk66’s Kirby, FarmingSim’s Ridley, RC’s Little Mac, Blank’s King K. Rool, the Splice Climbers’s Wii Fit Trainer, and Crazy12Eric’s Shulk.

And likely carpal tunnel after typing all of that.

Interestingly, only 4 entries were below B tier.  Those were Clockwerk66’s Kirby, Burr’s Pokemon Trainer, Latios’s Pichu, and PapaPage’s Samus. Very importantly, the only one that battled their way through the Play-In tournament was the incomparable BRIGHTEYES, Clockwerk66’s Kirby. In fact, Brighteyes was the only amiibo below B+ tier to make it through the Play-In tournament.

So, what does this mean? Well, there were other low-tier entries to the PAL Play-In tournament, such as DONkLE’s Peach, or Mogu Mogu’s Chrom, but they didn’t make it into the Top 12. By far, the majority of people sent higher tiers, because those tend to perform better.

Wait a second! If people wanted to send high tiers, how come there were no Olimars? He’s S tier, right?

Well, yes, he’s S tier- for now. I personally expect him to drop into A or A+ once the new tier list rolls around, but that’s irrelevant at the moment. The big issue Olimar experiences is his light weight. Hitting a Bowser or Ganondorf (another no-show) would probably have ended his run. Even hitting one of the multitudes of Links and Lucinas that infested the bracket could have spelled D-O-O-M.

If we look at the successful Play-In amiibo, only 2 of them are lightweights, and both of them (Brighteyes, Clockwerk66’s Kirby, and Flara, Vintro’s Mii Gunner) use some form of projectile spam to keep opponents at bay. When it comes down to it, sending a lightweight to PAL, or to the Play-In especially, was a risky bet. If we look at the tier list, there aren’t heavyweights (besides Ken, who’s AI is terrible) below B tier. Why? Well, this is the amiibo meta, and complicated combo characters don’t tend to do well. Amiibo who can just destroy with smash attacks are the best by far.

Yes, sitting through this long-winded rant may be worth it to you in the end, don’t worry. To summarize, mostly high tiers did well in PAL and lightweights generally didn’t.

To breakdown the tiers of the amiibo that actually formed PAL, only 3 were S tier. The vast majority came from between A+ and B+, with 65.6% of the amiibo coming from A+, A, or B+.

However, someone reading this is probably sitting there thinking about that old argument that tiers are meaningless. Assuming I lean into their line of thinking, we can look at the division results and see if that’s true.

Okay, this was actually fascinating- of the 2 D tiers and 2 C tiers, both C tiers made it into the top 5, with Brighteyes taking #1 in his division. Then, on top of that, one of the D tiers got relegated, but the other got 3rd! So 75% of the low-tiers actually did okay, with half of them ending up in the playoffs- yes, it IS the training that counts, not the tiers!

Well, hold up there for a second. One of those amiibo was Brighteyes, and one of the others took 5th. So you can’t really jump to the conclusion that tiers don’t matter, especially when none of the S tiers were relegated.

If you look at the amiibo that made it into the playoffs, both low tiers got knocked in their first round, then knocked within 2 rounds of the loser’s bracket. Meanwhile, the S tier won it all. Also, every amiibo that pulled top 6 was B+ or higher (except Brighteyes).

What does this mean? Well, first of all, the meta in PAL is skewed. Most people want to send high tiers so that they have a chance. I myself sent a Link, not because I thought he’d make the playoffs, but because I thought that he’d get top 5 for an entry back next season. The other 4 people who sent Links, and everyone else who sent a high tier, likely had the same line of thought. Yes, I know that some of you are doing this just for fun, and everyone had a different motivator for entering (the prizes, trying to explode onto the scene, just for fun, to try and put a win to your name- the possibilities are thirty-two-fold) but people didn’t send amiibo that they thought would crash and burn. This led to mostly high tiers going there. We didn’t see any F tiers, and very few D and C tiers. The low-tiers that we saw were all very good for a low tier, with 3 of the 4 using some gimmick like Archie’s gimping to win. The high tiers we saw had a widely varying mix of results, from 7-0 to 0-7.

So, really, I should get to the whole point of this article- how should you decide who to send to tourneys? Well, first of all, whoever you want! I’m not deciding for you! If you have an Ice Climbers amiibo (very bottom of the tier list) that constantly SDs by using Down Air off-stage, you can still send it! Low tier amiibo can still perform well- just look at how good all of the Bayonetta, Young Link, and Sheik are doing in Amiibots. However, there are a few factors to take into consideration if you are trying to win the tournament:

  • What’s the expected meta?

This is pretty self-explanatory- if you can see the bracket before you enter, and it’s full of Bowsers and King K Rools, maybe this isn’t the best time to enter your Isabelle and Jigglypuff. You might want to send a counter pick against the heavyweights, like Link (who, incidentally, is never a terrible choice) or Lucas. Likewise, if the tourney is full of ranged amiibo, sending your offstage-based Robin might not work out well either.

  • Is it Level 50 with Learning Off?

If not, you probably shouldn’t send it.

  • What are the tournament rules?

C’mon, people. If it’s a vanilla tournament, sending a Spirits Bowser is pointless. It makes more work for the host, if it slips by you’ve just made an entire tournament of trainers mad, and it’s just a sleazy move. Likewise, you shouldn’t send an amiibo that’s not allowed to a restricted tourney. From the guy that ran locals with over a hundred amiibo (averaging 7 per trainer) be nice to the tournament host. They aren’t doing this for them. They aren’t spending their time, effort, and possibly money for personal gain. No, they do this for us to have a chance to use those little plastic figures that we sink cough, probably more time than we should, cough into to do something fun. So advisory number 3- don’t be that person.

  • Do you think it’s doing well?

If your amiibo constantly SDs or has the freezing glitch, they may need more training. If your amiibo isn’t doing what you want, keep trying! If the amiibo isn’t doing what you want, remember that you can send another amiibo, wait for the next tournament and train them more, or whatever else. There’s no law saying that you have to enter. Keep calm and amiibo on.

  • Does it have a reputation to uphold?

Ii don’t have any official tourney wins to my name, but a lot of people do. Amiibo like Brighteyes, Super NES, Mr. Mallet, Melanie, and Flara have a lot attached to their name. This may play into your decision.

  • Tiers

Tiers factor into a lot of decisions, from new trainers selecting their first amiibo, to veterans picking out their latest monster. Especially if you-re new, you might want to send a simple, easily trained amiibo that does well, such as Bowser, Link, Olimar, or Ganondorf. (Yes, you guys can get mad if your incredibly intricate, art in motion, took-me-6-months-to-train amiibo is on here, but these guys can all do well with little training. Also, I’d prefer not to have anyone bashed for this article, don’t start an argument in the Discord, please.)

  • Bowser

Love him or hate him, people don’t normally send him due to the pure dominance he shows, but people have trained him and he’s good. Just something to keep in mind.

A revision of the tier list will likely come soon, here’s my take on it currently:

With the current data, Incineroar looks to be about A or A- because of his recovery’s downside. Simon looks to be A or A+. A heavyweight with strong smash attacks and good projectile use? Imagine what Wolf and Cloud could have been!

I guess that’s about all I have to say! Thanks to everyone who sent amiibo to PAL, Burr and Splice for running it, all the donors who upped its stakes, all the trainers who make the amiibo community such a thing of beauty, Nintendo (sometimes) for all of the amiibo out there, and the trainers who write all of the articles. Also a quick thanks to anyone who reads this article, along with whoever decided to edit and/or publish it. (Who knows, maybe this never gets published and I’m just the crazy guy behind a laptop screen with little plastic figures looking on.)

Doc’s note: Yeah, well, it’s published now.

Never Stop Training.

-Spike

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