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by Doc – Owner, Founder, Huge Fan of Self-Appointed Titles
In the summer of 2019, I trained the first melee-only Mega Man amiibo. He quickly took several astounding placements in tournaments and has most recently tied for 9th place in Cohost Major, an amiibo supermajor permitting A tiers and below. I don’t enter him often, but when I do he punches well above his tier to this day.
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Mega Man amiibo will always use their special attacks, jab, Forward tilt and Forward air to some degree. You can’t train this out of them, but you can work around them. The AI is already half-programmed and is somewhat deterministic, so these issues are unsolvable.
I should also note for posterity that Down throw -> Forward air is a built-in combo, but it’s not optimal to use.
Your Mega Man should use four moves:
- Up tilt
- Up air
- Back air
- Up Smash
The finished product will use some other attacks no matter what you do, but you should never use something besides these moves. Your Mega Man is going to be what we call “melee-only” – aside from Up air, he shouldn’t have projectiles in his training. This runs absolutely counter to human-played Mega Man, who is a zoning character – and Mega Man was horrible when he was trained as a zoning character. So he’s a melee fighter now.
How to Train the Mega Man amiibo
I typically train with a fairly standard ruleset – Best of 3 10-stock 8:00 matches on Omega stages. No items, no spirits, as is the norm with amiibo training, and play against your Mega Man as Mega Man. It’s all kosher.
Your entire first match should consist of two moves – Up tilt for the first five stocks, and a mix of Up tilt and Up smash for the next five. You’ll want to juggle your opponent a lot – Mega Man is a great juggler, and his kit is well-suited to it. It’s okay to pretty brutal about it.
Be absolutely sure to use Up tilt. Up tilt is by far your Mega Man’s most important move, and you can’t train a successful Mega Man without Up tilt.
In your second match, work in the other two moves. Take advantage of Back air whenever you’re edgeguarding, and use it sometimes when you’re onstage as well, to keep Mega Man from using Forward air more. Use Up air as a juggle move of its own accord – once the amiibo is airborne, no matter what percent it is, you should be landing as many Up airs as possible. The Mega Man amiibo AI doesn’t like Up air, so you have to beat its brains out until it succumbs to Up air. Ideally you should take about seven stocks using Up air in the second match, and the other three should be Back air.
Do keep in mind that when you’re spamming Up air to build damage and get the kill, you should also be trying to fast fall back to the ground and jump again before throwing out the next one. You need to be very fast when you spam these. Mega Man will learn from that playstyle and adopt it to some degree, and it’ll be some great schmovement.
In the third match, you’re going to use all of these moves, and you’ll also spend a lot of time getting hit. If you’re not seeing your Mega Man use these four moves – especially Back air edgeguarding and Up air juggling – you’ve screwed up. Still, turn Learning off after the third match (or throw in a few more 3-stock matches to fine-tune him) and level him up to 50. Then, if the level 50 Mega Man amiibo isn’t using these four moves and staying on his toes by running almost everywhere, start over.
I recommend watching the video that I linked to above and skipping to the end to get an idea of what the optimal Mega Man looks like.
Sidenote on Forward Air and Down Smash
There’s a few Mega Man that have also had good results with Forward air and Down smash. These moves have their own benefits, but I don’t believe they’re as optimal.
Forward air is a good choice because Short hop -> Forward air is built-in, and Down throw -> Forward air is as well. It’s also intended to edgeguard using Forward air, so this isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Mega Man AI. I don’t think it’s optimal for two reasons:
- Forward air isn’t as powerful a KO option as Back air, and can be shielded on stage easily.
- Back air is a multihit move and the amiibo can hit it much better than human players.
Down smash is a more powerful KO move than Up smash, but it has some of the same flaws that Forward air has. It’s almost as good an option as Up smash and comes out almost as quickly, but it’s less consistent of a KO move (unlike Up smash it has sourspots) and is a much smaller hitbox. In addition, it can’t be used to juggle, which has the effect of making Mega Man’s Up air also less useful.
Down air may also have some utility in making a more optimal Mega Man amiibo. I’m not familiar with how the AI handles it post-9.0 patch, but I have a hunch it could be reasonably good in addition to Back air.
Why It Works
Schmovement, baby. It’s all in the schmovement.
Mega Man is actually a powerful melee killer when you make him concentrate on his melee attacks. They’re fast, efficient, and don’t usually leave him vulnerable if he whiffs. His juggle ability is one of the best that any amiibo has ever had, and by spamming the hell out of Up air you also give him an incredibly dynamic and unpredictable playstyle that most types of spam simply don’t have a consistent answer against.
His melee kit really does have it all – edgeguarding, juggling, damage-building, and surprise KOs.