The Terry amiibo: How will he perform in tournaments?

The Terry amiibo has not been announced or released. This article is written from the perspective of an educated guess based on experience and some opinions from Smash Ultimate amiibo modders.

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, and based on modded versions of Ultimate Terry might have some 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, Samus’ Charge Shot)
  • 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.
  • The characters with built-in combos or special inputs often don’t see that translate to their amiibo AI, especially Ryu and Ken.

Terry might be a great fit for amiibo, as far as AI potential goes. If he can make use of his Go! moves and recover properly, he might not have any major weaknesses that are exploitable by the current high tiers in the meta. Bear in mind that this is all assuming the AI functions relatively normal for an amiibo.

I fully expect Terry’s Go! moves and Crack Shot to be his biggest assets. We can reasonably say based on some pre-release amiibo hacking that Terry uses Go! moves properly, and perfectly. He can put in one of the inputs per second, so that the move comes out in just a few frames. He also knows exactly where the hitboxes are, so if it can connect, it will. Power Geyser comes out quickly and doesn’t appear to have any issues.

In addition, Buster Wolf will most likely be recognized by opponent amiibo as a command grab. Command grabs are an easy path to top tier placements in the amiibo meta, as opponent amiibo simply can’t see them and can’t dodge them. If Terry can use Buster Wolf at frame-perfect levels and the final AI product is similar to what we’ve seen, that could spell doom for even the best amiibo. Even Incineroar.

Terry may face tremendous issues thanks to a unique character trait. Ryu and Ken both face their opponents in 1v1 matches, and the AI doesn’t quite translate it to proper gameplay. With proper training they can be improved, but the face-the-opponent mechanic will always mess with them just a little bit.

The character

Terry has one foot in the S Tier bucket and one foot in the C tier bucket. Terry is a heavyweight with huge KO power, which are typically the ingredients of a high tier powerhouse. He’ll kill you from a mile away with Go! moves, but he’s got to get to near-KO percents to use them. (I expect he’ll be benefited in the Spirits meta).

Terry’s recovery is poor, on the level of Little Mac. While his recovery’s a bit better than Mac and his pixel-perfect placement is a boon to amiibo in general, I don’t expect it’ll benefit him in anyway. Beating Terry will require getting him offstage, and far.

As I said above, Go! moves may be too much for one amiibo. Power Geyser and Power Dunk are both excellent edgeguarding moves that can kill at early percents, and the jab-jab-Power Dunk is built-into Terry’s AI already. Couple Power Geyser, which KOs aerial opponents and opponents on higher platforms already with Buster Wolf, which is Alolan Whip on steroids, and you’ve got what sounds like a glass cannon. The difference between Terry and most glass cannons is that the cannon only gets activated after breaking the glass.

Power Wave might be a buffer against the one thing that could kill Terry – Miissile Mii Gunner. Power Wave clanks the Missile that Mii Gunner can send out, one of the few projectiles that do. Fortunately, Miissile comes out faster than Power Wave and can be repeated more frequently, so I expect Mii Gunner to still be some kind of counter.

Terry’s playstyle ought to revolve around jab-jab-Power Dunk and a lot of Cross Kick. Cross Kick can leap over PK Fire and nullify any neutral game the opponent may have prepared for. If the amiibo can use Cross Kick like a normal side special, I believe it may switch up the traditional amiibo metagame entirely.

The issues

Terry’s recovery is obviously subpar, and gimping or getting knocked too far offstage is a concern. In addition, there’s always the possibility the AI might use moves like Power Dunk when they shouldn’t be used, leaving him open.

There’s also the flaw of having to take 100% damage before he can use his best moves. In amiibo, 100% is usually right around kill percent, so he’s putting himself in danger to take a couple KOs. I will make note that there’s no space in most amiibo AI for “extra” moves like the Go! moves. It’s probable that their usage will be determined by the base CPU AI, and not be trainable to the amiibo itself.

Short of unpredictable AI issues or shortcomings, it’s difficult to see where Terry will have major flaws. It’ll all come down to AI.

The advantages

Terry can kill you from anywhere if he’s at the right percent. He can theoretically beat the two toughest projectiles in amiibo (PK Fire and Mii Gunner’s Missile), and Buster Wolf is basically a very long-distance command grab. Failing all that, jab-jab-Power Dunk is built-in and almost unbeatable.

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 hoping that there are no major AI issues and Terry uses all his moves properly. As Nintendo programs more amiibo, they seem to be getting better and better, so I don’t expect to have major AI problems. I predict Terry will be…

A+ – S+ tier. If Terry has AI issues, he’s A+ tier. If he uses Buster Wolf well and can be taught to spam it specifically, then he’s S+ tier. There’s a real possibility Terry might be the best amiibo in history, even better than Smash 4 Little Mac. But I wouldn’t bet on it.


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