First, I’m going to get credibility out of the way. My Incineroar, Endeavor, was ranked Top 3 in all of amiibo from about January until the rankings were abolished; and has 2 wins, 2 second places, and at least 6 top 3 placements to date. He goes toe-to-toe with Mii Gunners, Ness, and Ridley, all known Incineroar counters. He is, no doubt, one of the best Incineroars. Side B wasn’t the only reason why.
In this short article, I’m going to go over Side B, it’s usefulness, and moves to explore outside of Side B. With Incineroar banned in tournaments, the secrets to him can finally be bared, without ruining the meta.
So, Side B- why’s it so good?
Incineroar’s side B is called Alolan Whip. It involves Incineroar lunging a short distance, grabbing anyone in the way, and then slamming them into a barrier. The move deals decent damage if perfectly timed, the recoil is negated with good timing, and the knockback can be incredible, with the move even killing at higher percentages. In amiibo, Incineroar always times the move perfectly. In addition, other amiibo have issues getting out of the way, leading to Incineroar racking up the damage to the point of KO very early. As icing on the cake, Incineroar can be taught to use down smash at the edge, so recovering amiibo can take more damage- or be KO’ed- just trying to recover.
What’s the “ideal” Incineroar anyway?
It’s not ideal, but the vast majority of Incineroar amiibo spam side B to no end, using down smash at the edge, and never doing anything else. This leads to nearly unwinnable matchups from characters such as Mii Gunner, who can both outrange and interrupt Incineroar’s side B, along with Ridley and Mii Brawler, who have similar side B moves that also outrange (or, in Ridley’s case, interrupt) Alolan Whip. That’s why a lot of Incineroar amiibo lose in tournaments, as running into a Ridley, Mii Gunner, or Ness sends them straight to the loser’s bracket.
Well, can those matchups be negated?
Yes, actually, just by adding a few moves to your Incineroar’s kit. The truly ideal Incineroar amiibo does use a lot of side B, and down smash at the ledge, but also throws in a half dozen other moves, using down air, up air, forward smash, up smash, down B, and forward throw. Let’s take a look.
Forward smash and up smash are both decent kill moves for Incineroar, but they’re both situational. You should only use up smash when your Incineroar is directly above you, and even then, you should only use it sparingly. It’s not a particularly useful move, but it can get KOs that most amiibo are unprepared for. Forward smash is a rare option that shouldn’t be used much on the amiibo, as side B is infinitely more useful most of the time. However, forward smash is a huge asset against Ness and Snake, both of whom can pull off attacks (PK Fire and dash attack) that interrupt side B before it hits them. Forward smash is not a huge deal for Incineroar, but it does help in some matchups, and the amiibo should see it at least once or twice in training.
Forward throw at the ledge is an option to consider. I personally don’t use it, but some amiibo use it, as it deals decent knockback that usually kills amiibo with bad recoveries- including other Incineroars.
Down B is something your Incineroar only needs to see once. Counters are somewhat bad in Ultimate, but, importantly, Incineroar understands that it’s really good against incoming smash attacks. I may have used this four or five times in the hours and hours I trained my Incineroar- don’t overuse it, just use it enough to make sure your Incineroar knows it exists.
Down air is nearly useless unless landing, as it’s risky for Incineroar to use it normally. When landing, most Incineroars use neutral air, but down air deals better damage (albeit with a smaller hitbox), and, more importantly, leads into up air.
Up air is, quite frankly, the most important non-side B move in Incineroar’s kit. This is the move that allows Incineroar’s Ridley matchup to become winnable. If the opponent is in the air, Incineroar can use up air repeatedly to keep them there. It’s like free damage against most amiibo. It’s especially important because Alolan Whip can send opponents straight up. Up air flat-out destroys Lucas, it works as a damage racker against Ridley, and makes the Mii Gunner matchup a good matchup for Incineroar. Jump over missiles, land down air, up air racks up free damage, and bam. All of a sudden, Gunner is at a percent where Alolan Whip KO’s. This move matters more than most trainers realize.
Even the “solved” amiibo aren’t completely solved yet. You can use miniature innovations like this to carve out a niche in the meta. Little changes matter, and who knows- you could discover the next one.
Never Stop Training.