A New Tier List (May Update)

By Spike 

 The last edition of ANTL&RBH (hereto referred to as ANTL) was a while ago. It’s actually been months, and it’s definitely time for an update. However, after this one, I will be making an effort to update ANTL with new editions much more often and consistently. However, it takes hours (we’re talking three or four) for me to write even a short piece on every amiibo in the metagame, so the new ANTLs will focus on metagame trends and changes from the last one. Cool? Okay, then, let’s dive right in!

   Actually, I should probably give you guys the tier list. It’s here. Of course, also the disclaimer that it differs from the community tier list because, well, my opinion is unique. Shocker, I know.

   Shoutout to Untitled1991 for running the Twitch channel Amiibots, featuring nonstop amiibo clobbering each other. Check it out if you want to see a representation of the meta!

   Also, if you disagree with anything on my list, that’s fine. If you have the exact same opinion as me, that’s a little scary. Anyways, this is my opinion, based upon tournament results, personal observations, AI, potential, and, more recently, some direct looks at the metagame in the form of special tournaments meant to find lower-tier amiibo that could beat top tiers. (Spoiler: top tiers are top tiers for a reason.) This is all for vanilla amiibo (no Spirit effects or stats), just so you guys know. In Spirits, any amiibo can essentially do okay.

   As I said earlier, I’m not going to look at every single amiibo, but I am going to look at the metagame and then most of the top tiers, along with a few meta breakers I see that are on their way up.

   Meta Trends:

   First, and fairly importantly, Incineroar has joined Bowser as a banned amiibo. Due to Alolan Whip’s power, Incineroar only had three high-tier counters (and two meta breakers I’ll discuss later) that could consistently beat him.

   Second, and also ban-related, Ness (and, by extension, Ridley and King K Rool in S tier) is beginning to be banned from most tournaments. Though not as dominant as Incineroar, simply because he isn’t spammed as often, optimized Ness is starting to show up more often. As Ness optimization becomes more common, the AI frying power of PK Thunder becomes more apparent. Plus, Ness only has a few counters, the majority of which are “soft” counters, such as Ridley and Lucas. Currently, the only hard counters for Ness are Mii Gunner and Little Mac, both of whom are only seeing sporadic entries. Mii Gunner is even being banned from some tournaments, under the “AI Breaker Clause”, which bans Ness, Bowser, Incineroar, and Mii Gunner, all amiibo that, well, make the other amiibo’s AI act dumb in-match. I expect to see this clause implemented more and more often as the meta develops. I personally support this clause, as it doesn’t involve outright banning characters and allows tournament hosts to have “above-board” tournaments.

   Third, we have a few amiibo that are starting to see more representation, including Donkey Kong, Snake, Ganondorf, and Piranha Plant. All of those amiibo are strong contenders, and I expect to see Ganondorf and Snake at least to rise a tier soon!

   Last, some weaker amiibo are moving towards optimization; Mii Brawler and Isabelle are seeing much more representation and are quickly becoming optimized, while Greninja finally has more representation. After the discovery of the Japanese amiibo meta, where Greninja is A tier, people are beginning to try him out. I’ll be putting out a guide for him soon, so stay tuned!

   Now, the analysis on why certain amiibo are where they are in my tier list. I won’t go over everybody, but I’ll go over the majority of top tiers and any that have had major developments.

  1. Ness. You may wonder why he’s in the Too Plus Ultra tier with Bowser and Incineroar. It isn’t because he’s been banned, but because he’s the best amiibo in the meta right now. He’s extremely good, frustrating to lose to, and spammy, so I’ve put him into the highest tier.
  2. Ridley. With a decline in representation came a better spot in the meta, since Ridley soft counters Ness. However, with a rise in Zelda and Link comes a decreased chance of winning for Ridley, but no matter the style (using neutral B or going offstage to edgeguard) Ridley is a top dog (lizard?) in the meta.
  3. King K Rool, who I fully expect to rise to the top of S tier soon. I know from experience that it is extremely easy to get wins with the King. Actually, both of the Kings, but King K Rool in particular. I wrote an article on how to train K Rool, found here (https://amiibodoctor.com/2020/04/17/how-to-train-the-king-k-rool-amiibo/), and I have to say, he’s just plain good. The article goes into more detail, but a heavyweight with projectiles, strong smash attacks, tilts, and aerials, and a good recovery- what isn’t good in all that?
  4. Zelda- you may wonder why I put her at the top of the tier, above Link and King Dedede. The answer is simple- she’s got an incredibly versatile moveset and an equally versatile matchup spread. Zelda’s odd-she has bad matchups in the low tiers, but fairly good ones in the higher tiers. I expect newer Zeldas to focus more on Naryu’s Love, which can reflect PK Thunder, Kannonballs, Gordo, and other top-tier projectile attacks.
  5. Link, of course he’s high tier. He’s got long reaching smash attacks that are multi hit, a solid projectile in Boomerang, and basically just a solid set of moves. Plus, his AI flaws can be worked around, and one of them- Bomb usage- can be somewhat negated by using neutral air and forward air to gimp instead of Bombs.
  6. King Dedede is debatably the best amiibo below the S tier. However, a lot of that is based upon one incredible specimen. However, King Dedede is still a very good amiibo- forward tilt is amazing, Gordo is solid, down smash is good, and just about every move works.
  7. Mii Gunner. Ew. Just use Missiles, spam them, win. Okay, not completely, because the mediocre and good Mii Gunners differ in how they respond to a close opponent, but Missile spam carries the character.
  8. Pit and Dark Pit are characters I used to think were higher tier. However, they are what I like to call “knife edge” amiibo, meaning that the difference between good ones and bad ones is very, very slight. Plus, the Zelda matchup stinks for Pits, and that’s not good in the current meta.

   From here on, I’m not going to analyze every amiibo, just the ones that I think are relevant.

   Firstly, Shulk. Shulk has almost no representation in the current meta (I send him to almost everything, but I’m pretty much the only rep), but he’s good. Most people place him lower, but I do think that he is at least A tier. Even if all he needs are three moves, four counting up b, his AI is smart (it got buffed at some point and now uses Monado Arts correctly, so don’t teach them to him), and his smash attacks kill early.

   Next, Snake, one of the two lower tier amiibo with decent Ness matchups. Snake is in a state of flux, with several distinct playstyles emerging, and three Snakes in particular looking to prove the character. Quick shout out to Zenabie and SirFuzzyLogik for their work on the character and their collaboration on a Snake guide. Snake has a really good dash attack that completely confuses opposing FPs, a really good projectile, and a double edged sword in Grenades. He’s still being figured out and is likely to rise.

   Also Olimar, who I’m finding is still pretty good. He’s not incredibly high tier (remember when he was S tier?) but he still does pretty well. His light weight is the only thing holding him back, because the likes of Ganondorf and King K Rool happily swat him off the stage like a gnat, but eh. Olimar abuse is legal in Nevada.

   Lastly, Mii Brawler, who is the other anti-Ness low tier. Honestly, you can train him like a mini Incineroar (I highly recommend using Onslaught, you can find the official guide here-  https://amiibodoctor.com/2020/04/29/how-to-train-the-mii-brawler-amiibo-in-smash-ultimate/), and even though he isn’t quite as good as Incineroar, he still puts in work against most opponents. He does have issues with killing heavy opponents, though, so keep that in mind when sending him to tournaments.

   Anyways, that concludes this episode (installment? Chapter?) of ANTL, so until next time, make sure to check back here for the new guides I teased (did you notice them? Hint: I teased three), and, as always…

    Never Stop Training.

                 -Spike

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