The Byleth amiibo: How will they perform in tournaments?

The Byleth 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). However, for “hold” moves that can be charged but don’t take a second input to release, the AI handles them in unique ways.
  • 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.

I have the highest expectations for Byleth’s AI of all five Fighters Pass characters. Byleth is, for the most part, the perfect description of a moveset that amiibo AI can work with. All their moves are large or very long, repeatable without much concern, and he has good enough KO power to bleed it out and be fine.

As any learned trainer will tell you, amiibo can’t combo except in pre-programmed cases, and those cases are pretty rare. Byleth’s only real combo is down tilt into aerial attacks, and that’s actually not much of a concern: it appears that the Byleth CPU has already had that built into their AI, so even with combos, Byleth still comes out on top.

It is important to note that Byleth has a unique recovery: special move tethering. The only other amiibo that has special move tethering is Ivysaur, who sometimes misses the ledge when using his Vine Whip to recover (the Joker amiibo isn’t out yet either). Given that Byleth has no recovery options besides using the whip, recovery may end up being the AI’s biggest weakness. It would make for an interesting experiment to see if Byleth can use the Up special onstage.

The only other open question about Byleth’s AI that I can perceive is how it will handle Failnaught’s charging system. Similar moves like the Luigi Missile are usually not charged at all or only charged a little bit, so I can see the developers copy-pasting that system into the instructions for Failnaught.

The character

Byleth has an S tier moveset with a C tier recovery, if the AI doesn’t handle it properly. Byleth bleeds KO power from smash attacks, Up air, Failnaught, Areadbhar, and Aymr. Especially Aymr. Super Armor spells great placements for amiibo and is often enough to raise an amiibo entire tiers: just ask Little Mac, who despite having bad matchups against many low tiers still ends up beating heavyweights by tanking hits. A Byleth that uses Aymr could end up doing quite well.

I’ve already mentioned Byleth’s recovery, but it is important to note it can probably make Byleth immune to gimping. The tether itself has ridiculous reach, and it will automatically target and spike any opponent above Byleth in the air, and grant him safe return to the stage. Easy stock.

Areadbhar may also be what sets Byleth apart from even the best amiibo. It’s massive, deals tremendous damage and kills fairly easily. An amiibo that spams Areadbhar will at the very least dominate platformed stages.

Let’s not forget Failnaught. If the amiibo can use Failnaught in a fairly reasonable way, we’re stuck with another Mii Gunner situation, but even worse. Camping at one end of the stage and spamming a projectile that kills at any range across an entire stage is worse than anything you can imagine as far as amiibo spam goes. While the chargeup for it is slow, Byleth could at least get one hit off before the distance gets closed.

Oh and if that’s not enough, there’s also Up air juggles! And the possibility of getting impaled with a Forward or Back air! For brevity’s sake, we’ll move on to the next section.

The issues

Recovery, as we’ve said. There’s also the possibility that he may use Up special on stage for no reason, which is an issue that some amiibo face.

Byleth also doesn’t cover much horizontal distance, and its status as a heavyweight means that he’ll get juggled easily with little way to escape. I wouldn’t be surprised to see opponents like Pichu or Sheik give Byleth a hard time simply because of their juggle ability.

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

The advantages

Everying. Byleth has nearly everything going for it as far as we can tell. There’s really no limit to what Byleth can pull off with this moveset if the AI isn’t horribly broken.

Byleth kills and kills from anywhere, no matter what. He can cover half the effective ground of Battlefield with his Side special, almost guaranteeing a hit. Light characters will be murdered by Byleth, and only projectile characters will stand a chance.

Oh, and Incineroar. Incineroar will do fine.

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 Byleth uses all their 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 Byleth will be…

S+ tier. If Bowser and Incineroar are used as the reference for S+ tier, I predict Byleth will be S+ tier. I could even see them being higher than Bowser and Incineroar if things like Failnaught work properly and can be spammed well.


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