by Doc, Owner, Founder, Man Who Wishes Zero Suit Samus Were a Good Amiibo
Recently, Marss (the Smash Ultimate competitor) trained a Zero Suit Samus amiibo. This event caused me to cry – we just got a Zero Suit Samus amiibo Training Guide up today. Life is nice like that.
I’ve already been asked a few times about some of the things that Marss did in his video, so I’d like to clear them up to prevent further confusion. Obviously Marss isn’t a competitive amiibo trainer any more than I’m a competitive beer pong player, so I don’t blame him for training intuitively. (Frankly, I blame Nintendo for programming amiibo to be so… bizarre.) This post is mostly to stem the tide of misinformed new trainers who will eventually come and ask me questions about this video.
Using Flip Kick
Right off the bat, Marss is trying to train his Zero Suit Samus to play the way he does, which is pretty normal. Unfortunately, amiibo just won’t do it like that – for whatever reason, they can’t play like humans beyond a certain point. A notable example of this is Zero Suit Samus’ Flip Kick, which the AI can learn to spam but often doesn’t attack with. It’s a shame, really – if ZSS were able to use Flip Kick consistently and properly she’d likely go up a tier.
Marss was correct in saying ZSS can’t use Flip Kick to recover… at low levels. Pre-10.0 testing indicated (and this is probably still the case) that it can’t until the AI gets to a certain level. However, as it levels up, it sometimes can use Flip Kick to recover.
Are you Gonna Combo off That?
Competitive amiibo trainers are fond of the phrase “amiibo can’t combo”.
Amiibo “combos” don’t work the way human combos work. When humans combo, they take a number of factors into account, like weight, platforms, knockback angles and many more. When amiibo combo, they have no improvisational ability whatsoever. Instead, Nintendo has programmed in a few pre-determined strings that amiibo have a random chance of performing after the initial move is used. For example, Fox can use Up tilt out of Dash attack, and can use Shine out of Up tilt. So you can have a Fox that uses Dash attack, or he can use Dash attack -> Up tilt, or Dash attack – > Up tilt -> Shine. However, you won’t see Fox using Dash attack -> Shine (unless Nintendo has pre-programmed that combo into the amiibo AI).
Up air chains
Good intuition, Marss. Many amiibo can use Up air chains (it’s a pre-programmed combo). The last testing I conducted indicated Zero Suit Samus could utilize up to two Up air chains with her final AI product. I’d have to check again post-10.0, but I don’t see Nintendo changing that any time soon.
I Need to Teach This Thing How to Taunt, Too
Here’s one of many examples of where Nintendo half-assed amiibo AI. For some reason, amiibo can learn to taunt, and they absolutely shouldn’t. Amiibo have three behaviors that they will use to no end, without concern for impending danger. They are:
- Dash dancing
- Charging Smash attacks
For some reason, when amiibo taunt, they’ll do it even if an opponent is winding up an attack right next to them. It’s a similar situation with Dash dancing and charging Smashes – their AI doesn’t actually know how to use those moves properly, so it’ll just use them and suffer the consequences.
In the early days of competitive amiibo, most amiibo would taunt, and then get beaten by a poorly-trained amiibo who didn’t taunt, simply because the opponent had a “free hit”. We found that out the hard way.
Learning How to Recover
Oddly enough, for as poorly-programmed as amiibo are, they almost universally have perfect recoveries. Amiibo at level 50 always know how to recover properly, save for Ness. In some cases, like the Terry amiibo, they have embarassingly bad recovery AI until they hit level 43.
Teach Her to Footstool
Woah there, Satan. Unfortunately, amiibo don’t actually have any byte data set aside for footstooling. If they could, then we’d have a much more balanced meta. I know, I’m not thrilled about it either.
I mean, you can’t teach it to turbo T-bag, but… yeah, it can T-bag. Most of my amiibo do a little bit of that before I train it out of them.
Now that I reread that sentence, it’s occurring to me… amiibo are weird.
Teaching it Matchups
Wait. No. Hold on.
Amiibo learn from the inputs that you use to attack. If you use Down special, they’ll use Down special, regardless of the character. Competitive amiibo recommends training as their character so that it’s significantly more intuitive for you as a trainer, and so that character differences don’t produce an amiibo that uses moves that would be good on one character but not the other.
For example, say you’re training a Captain Falcon. Captain Falcon’s most useful move is Falcon Kick. If you play as Sheik and use Forward air and Forward tilt strings, he’ll pick up much more Forward air than he should’ve learned, and no Down special (which would translate to Falcon Kick) like he needed.
On top of that, amiibo actually can’t learn matchups – they have nowhere to store that kind of data, and the data that amiibo do have is very compressed and limited.