The Hero amiibo: How will he perform in tournaments?

The Hero amiibo has not been announced or released. This article is written from the perspective of an educated guess.

I’ve made a speculation video covering the DLC amiibo several months back. While I figure my opinions have shifted a bit from the original video, it’s still worth a watch!

The AI

There is never any way to know for sure how an amiibo is going to play until the AI is patched into the game. No Fighters Pass amibo has had their AI patched in as of 7.0.1. At this point, our best bet is to go off of what we know about amiibo AI in general.

There’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • Amiibo can’t combo (although amiibo that were programmed specifically for Ultimate sometimes have combos built-in)
  • Amiibo often don’t know to shield projectiles, but also don’t know how to use them sometimes
  • Amiibo don’t use counters, or moves that can be charged and then released with a second input (for example, Hero’s Kafrizz)
  • Amiibo will sometimes excessively repeat a particular move, and that behavior will often crush their entire potential. This usually can’t be fixed, just avoided.
  • Amiibo are frame-perfect and pixel-perfect, especially when it comes to recoveries.

Hero is a good fit for amiibo, as far as AI potential goes. He could be quite effective with his Kazap and other wide-reaching moves, especially when taking into account that amiibo have perfect knowledge of their hitboxes. That’s not his biggest strength, though.

Because amiibo are frame-perfect and pixel-perfect, Hero’s Command Selection could be his biggest asset by far: it takes one frame to move the arrow one slot, so in three frames a Hero amiibo can have selected an effective move, on the fourth frame it can bring it out, and then in another few frames the move will have come out. Imagine what that could do with Thwack. Or Zoom. Or Whack. Or Kaboom, or Magic Burst, or Snooze.

We also know from some amiibo AI hacking that not only will the amiibo probably use the menu frame-perfectly (unless Nintendo changes the AI to be slower in the final product), it has perfect knowledge of the hitboxes of each of its moves. So if it uses something, that move will almost always connect. That hacking also indicates that Hero will manage his MP fairly effectively, and not run out. And no, it doesn’t use Kamikaze.

Hero’s AI will probably have some flaws, though. I don’t expect it’ll use Kafrizz properly – for some reason, moves like Charge Shot that get charged, and then released at a later time with a second input just never work with amiibo. They’ll charge it, but never release it. In addition, it may have issues with recovery, as the amiibo could perceivably only charge up to Woosh, or use the move as an attack.

The character

Hero is a killer profile of a good amiibo. He’s a middle-heavyweight with good KO power and the ability to randomly hit Critical Hits. The AI doesn’t have any combo tools to distract him save for up air, and possibly a few loosely-connected hits out of grab. His aerials are large and hit with reasonable power, and his smash attacks hit like a truck, but they’re slow. He’s got plenty of single-hit KO moves.

Hero’s recovery will likely be incredible, second only to Bowser or Olimar. If the AI uses it correctly, or uses Zoom frame-perfectly, gimping Hero might not be much of an option. Taking into consideration the likely outcome that the AI will properly manage MP, it seems doubtful that Hero would have a problem recovering at all.

Command Selection itself may be too much for any one amiibo to contain, but the second RNG element of Critical Hits is absolutely silly. Any match could turn around immediately because of a simple dice roll, regardless of how well the amiibo is trained.

The final probable benefit for Hero is the amiibo innate boost. Amiibo do more damage and take less damage than normal opponents naturally, but it’s unknown how this would affect MP regeneration. If history is any indicator, it’ll probably be a small buff.

Hero’s playstyle likely ought to revolve around simple aggression and just connecting as many hits as possible. He’s got the kit to crush everything with ease, it will all come down to AI.

The issues

Hero is juggleable, and might be threatened by amiibo like Pichu or Sheik. I don’t expect they’ll be a major threat, but Pichu has a tendency to pose a problem to heavies, particularly Bowser.

That’s… really it.

The advantages

Everything Hero touches turns to damage. His aerials deal significant damage, his tilts and smash attacks do too, and his specials are the same story told a third time. Once he’s built up damage, he can kill anything that moves. Hero has all of the advantages, and almost no disadvantages.

The placement prediction

There’s several amiibo tier lists going around, so it’s difficult to determine after-the-fact how accurate this prediction will be. Of course, we’re ignoring any built-in amiibo behaviors that may come packaged with the AI (as is the case with many post-Smash 4 amiibo AIs), as those are unpredictable and completely up to the intoxication levels of the Nintendo programmers. My prediction for the Hero amiibo, in a reasonable and fairly objective tier list, is…

S tier. If Hero has major AI issues, it could take him to B+, but short of something crippling, I think he’s headed for S tier.


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