We’re Better Off Than We Were
Historically, competitive amiibo has been a pretty small endeavor. In the Smash 4 days the scene largely consisted of the same fifteen trainers hosting tournaments over and over, and being able to pretty accurately predict the results due to Smash 4’s deterministic metagame.
Ultimate’s in a much better place – thanks to the addition of arenas, a lot of new interest has sprung up in competitive amiibo. My own work here has complemented it to the best of my ability, and as Amiibo Doctor has grown, so too has competitive amiibo as a whole. It’s fair to say there’s about 30-40 very hardcore, active trainers labbing and conducting tournaments very consistently at any time. We’re quite a nice little hobby.
What Do We Need More Trainers For?
But if we’re going to learn more about amiibo and get the most out of these figures, we need more amiibo trainers. A lot more.
I’ve commented on this a little bit in Making a Meta back in 2018, but there’s still a significant amount of research that can be done for amiibo. As it stands today, we have 80+ amiibo in the meta, and 30-40 trainers. If each trainer took two amiibo and gave them a thorough shake on labbing, then we could say that we had a pretty good picture of every amiibo in the meta…
…until a patch came along. Then we’d have to start over to make sure we didn’t miss anything that was added in, because Nintendo never tells us when they update amiibo AI. You can see this if you watch my videos: periodically I’ll state a fact that was true the last time I checked, and then the commenters will correct me because it isn’t true anymore, and nobody found it or shared it since it was patched.
And let’s not forget that different trainers train differently, and that what wins in one tournament may get crushed in another. That’s why I remind trainers that the amiibo that wins a “personal” tournament (where every entrant was trained by the host) isn’t necessarily the best amiibo of the bunch. You can’t assume that you’ve trained everything optimally – that requires validation from amiibo tournaments and from beating other trainers’ amiibo.
So we’re stuck in a bad situation here. Even if one person has all the time in the world to research every amiibo and train them to the best of their ability, that still won’t pick up all the slack on amiibo research. There’s a need for multiple trainers to go at it and put the research to the test through amiibo tournaments so that those mistakes and biases can be accounted for.
There’s basically three obstacles to overcome, then.
- Amiibo have lots of things that still need to be researched.
- Trainers have training biases and flow that can only be corrected by putting their amiibo against other amiibo in a tournament setting
- We don’t have a lot of people to complete #1 and #2
What Can We Do About It?
There’s two communities that serve as the center of competitive amiibo. There’s USAC, which is where the high-level research and Powertag tournaments happen, and SUAL, which is where the arena tournaments happen every week. Those links are invites to their Discord servers.
You can join these servers and start training and researching amiibo – a lot of the questions you’ll ask right off the bat are already answered in the articles in the sidebar, so be sure to do a bit of research before hopping in. I think both of these servers are worth joining, and are the absolute pinnacle of competitive amiibo as it stands today.
In the long run, I’m not sure how we can solve this problem. There’s not a lot of competitive amiibo media out there to introduce people to this hobby, and the regular amiibo content from larger Youtubers is pushing it down even further. The only long-term solution that I can count on is the continued growth of Amiibo Doctor, and whatever amiibo media we support as well. The dream for a long time has been that a larger content creator would shout out competitive amiibo, and several repeated instances have demonstrated that that’s not just a fantasy, but also a very bad option – the larger creators typically show up just to leech free content and labor from competitive amiibo, and then they leave without returning any favors.
So join those servers! They’re worthwhile, and every person counts. You can make an impact on amiibo!