What’s the first amiibo I should train?

by Doc, Owner, Founder, First Man to Eat Four Amiibo in One Sitting

So you’re new to amiibo training, and you’ve read this post and this post? Good! I have a few suggestions for your first amiibo to train, so that you properly understand how amiibo AI works and can get a good feel for them.

Each Heading will be an Amazon Affiliates link to an amiibo of that character. If you find Amiibo Doctor useful, please consider making a purchase through those links and supporting us!


Training the Link amiibo is pretty easy to do

Link is, bar none, the best amiibo to start training with. Link is almost always high on the amiibo tier list, so you’ll be ready to jump into amiibo competition as soon as he’s trained. The Link guide details the best way to train a Link amiibo, so hammering those move behaviors into him will consistently make a good amiibo.

Link’s flexible enough that he can pick up just as many bad behaviors as good ones, so you can see the impact that your playstyle is having on him. His issues with Bomb demonstrate how amiibo sometimes just have stupid, unfixable problems, especially when items are involved. His Boomerang spam shows how the amiibo meta is very different than the human meta – in human play, Boomerang spam would never, ever fly. In amiibo play, it’s incredibly effective.


Bowser amiibo training is a good exercise in amiibo AI fundamentals. If you can beat your Bowser amiibo without resorting to Ike/Chrom/Mii Brawler cheese, you’re improving in your understanding of amiibo AI.

“Wait, Amiibo Doctor!”, you say. “Bowser is banned on the amiibo tier list!” Which is a perfectly normal thing for knowledgeable and well-read amiibo trainers such as yourself to say. Bowser still has tremendous usefulness for amiibo trainers, even though you can’t use him in tournaments. In fact, I recommend Bowser second to Link.

Bowser’s dominant in the meta, and is very difficult for amiibo to beat. Bowser will teach you about amiibo counterpicks – right now, only Incineroar is a hard counter against Bowser, and Little Mac is his closest thing to a second counter. He’ll demonstrate for you exactly how useful it is to have massive weight and KO power.

In addition, Bowser only has one real AI flaw – he, like many other amiibo, likes to spam his stall-then-fall Down air. Every amiibo that has one can be accidentally taught to spam it. He can also demonstrate the oldest pre-programmed combo in competitive amiibo – Up tilt repetition. Bowsers can be taught to repeat their Up tilts to juggle an opponent, as can many other amiibo.

Bowser’s performance against other amiibo will also teach you about one of the oddities with how amiibo recognize hitboxes. Forward smash is rarely shielded or parried, because it moves Bowser along with the hitbox. Other amiibo have attacks like this as well: Falcon Kick is the most notable example.


Please, for the love of God, don’t tell me your Joker amiibo is the “strongest”. That’s not even a word that applies to amiibo.

The Joker amiibo is a great place to start training for a couple of reasons. He’s actually pretty bad as far as amiibo go, but his skill floor is pretty high (for a C+ tier, at least). Joker benefits from having a lot of built-in combos, especially ones built around his Up tilt and Up air.

As you train your Joker amiibo, watch for things that he does that you didn’t teach. Using Gun, Up tilt to Up air chaining, and Up air dragdowns are all built into the Joker amiibo AI, and it’s something he can do regardless of whether or not you demonstrate it to him. This is common in amiibo – almost every amiibo has something built into their AI that can happen regardless of whether or not you try to teach it to them.

You’ll also learn that the Joker amiibo simply can’t do combos that aren’t already built-in. If you try to go all MKLeo on your amiibo and teach it combos that humans like to use (that weren’t listed above), it won’t use them. It can’t use them, except in rare RNG situations.

The Joker amiibo also seems to get a lot of love from Nintendo – I can say that the Joker AI in 8.0 is definitely not the same as the 9.0, and it probably got patched again in 10.0, according to labbers. If you trained Joker starting in a previous patch, there’s a good chance his behavior is a little bit different.

Last note on amiibo training

It’s okay to start training amiibo without any of these three amiibo. The first amiibo I trained in Ultimate was Mario, and then I went to Inkling. That was a bad way to start.

Just remember to stick with it, and if you have questions, email them to amiibodoctor@gmail.com. I’ll read them on the next Amiibo Doctor Podcast, which you can find on the Amiibo Doctor Youtube channel.


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