by Doc, Owner, Founder, Wannabe Johnny Cash
Recently, several low tier amiibo have suddenly had good results in amiibo tournaments. If you ask their owners how they were trained, you’ll get two horrible words – “Nothing method”. This is my least favorite phrase in the English language.
The Nothing Method is eactly what it sounds like. You scan in your level 1 amiibo, plug in your controller, set the controller down, get rejected by women, and come back when it’s leveled up a lot. Rinse and repeat until level 50. There is no training involved. It’s horrible.
So why the hell are they placing well in tournaments?
It’s an illusion.
I don’t believe Nothing method is as optimal as it would appear to be. I believe that there’s a combination of a few factors that make it seem as if it’s some new advancement in amiibo training, when it’s really just playing catch-up to where we should’ve been with these amiibo by now.
- These amiibo are underrepped
The amiibo that are playing well with Nothing Method training typically don’t have a lot of previous representation despite having reasonable potential. They’re typically not amiibo that are popular or have a clear “best” amiibo, so when someone places well with a Nothing Method of that character…
This all creates the illusion that someone has suddenly made a breakthrough with an amiibo when really, they’re just entering them and they’re not completely sucking. If more representation was given for these characters, we’d end up with amiibo that are better than their Nothing Method counterparts of the same character.
2. Nothing Method tends to produce a slighty better playstyle than average
Nothing Method amiibo only ever actually act according to the game’s RNG-based move usage, without having been influenced by the player at all. It’s effectively a very long dice roll, because you never know exactly what moves they’ll use first, what’ll hit, etc., so it’s mostly random.
However, they often end up at a similar place to other Nothing Method amiibo of the same character because they have the same learning algorithms. The playstyle that Nothing Method produces is a decent playstyle – it’s unpredictable, it has a lot of variety in its move behavior, and it’s pretty even-handed between aerial and grounded moves. So the playstyles it produces are actually alright, but only a bit above average.
3. You don’t see the ones that got thrown out in most cases
For every good Nothing Method that wins a tournament, there’s several that have been thrown out. Nothing Method are RNG-based, and sometimes the dice just don’t come up the way you want.
4. The best amiibo still aren’t Nothing Method
A Nothing Method Incineroar can’t beat its optimal Alolan Whip counterpart. A Nothing Method Ganondorf will end up spamming Up tilt. A Nothing Method Link will use Bomb a lot more than it should and it’ll lose offensive aerial power. A Nothing Method Bowser will spam Down air. A Nothing Method Mario will just use Up throw to Down air (one of Mario’s worst options, and it’s built-in). A Nothing Method Wario will use Down smash. A Nothing Method your mom will use her new boyfriend to fill her emotional needs before discarding him for another.
Amiibo AI is still screwy and weird, and has glaring flaws in it. While playstyle is still one of the most important parts of any amiibo’s viability, Nothing Method almost completely focuses on playstyle and ignores proper and improper move behavior, good follow-ups, etc. Any AI flaw that exists in the other areas of an optimally-trained amiibo is something that the Nothing Method amiibo will find, and will fall victim to.
If you want your amiibo to truly shine, you can use the Nothing Method amiibo as an example of what amiibo are capable of – but don’t mistake them for being any sort of breakthrough in amiibo training.