The Piranha Plant amiibo has been, consistently, an A tier amiibo on the amiibo tier list. Since his release in early 2019, he’s just mowed down opponents like a can of pesticide – yet he gets very little attention in competitive amiibo. Discussions revolve around other high tiers like King K Rool, Zelda, Ness and more, but nobody looks at Piranha Plant. What’s the deal?
Piranha Plant has a Deceptively Useful Moveset
I’ll admit that I was completely shocked when we got our hands on Piranha Plant and he turned out to be a highly competent amiibo. His moveset doesn’t look like something you’d expect would be high tier. Unlike almost everything else in the high echelons of the tier list, Piranha Plant doesn’t exactly scream “heavy hitter”. He’s got a few powerful hitboxes, like his Up smash and Back air, but nowhere near as exhaustive a kit as Zelda, King K. Rool, Snake, Donkey Kong, etc. A lot of his attacks don’t seem to be powerful on their face.
Yet he has two specific moves that I believe differentiate him from other amiibo, and keep him in A tier. There’s other highly useful moves in his kit, but these two are what I think of when I think of Piranha Plant.
Spiky Ball Thing
Sure, call it Ptooie, nerd. This move basically baits an amiibo opponent into attacking Piranha Plant, an opportunity they often take. Then, as the move is designed, they get bonked by a very powerful Spiky Ball Thing. If the amiibo is at KO percent, they’ll usually get knocked out. It’s the perfect trap: whether Piranha Plant is at KO percent or not (he’s a heavyweight, so “or not” is often the right answer) the amiibo AI just can’t resist getting that hit.
In addition, Spiky Ball Thing is a stellar edgeguard move by design. A Piranha Plant that can use this move (or Pointy Pot Thing, also known as Long-Stem Strike) to edgeguard is typically pretty well-prepared.
I don’t have a special name for this one.
Up smash is what you want out of a KO move – it starts with two hitboxes on either side that come out on frame 12, and knock the opponent into a second hitbox that serves as the major KO move. It typically kills middleweights in the high 90s and low 100s percents.
The reason this move is so powerful is that it’s both an incredibly effective juggle move and a KO move. Amiibo that are coming down are going to get caught in this easily, and amiibo that are standing next to Piranha Plant are going to get caught up in it as well. If amiibo are caught in another routine, they’ll only have 12 frames to exit it before they’re basically done. However, there’s a second bonus – it’s absolutely perfect for killing opponents above Plant on a platform. It reaches just high enough that the opponent on the platform won’t recognize the need to parry until it’s too late in most cases.
Piranha Plant also has a Great AI
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that he had an actual, honest to God Neutral air dragdown move in his AI. Piranha Plant will sometimes use a dragdown Neutral air into Up smash, for an absolutely vicious kill setup. It traps the opponent, builds damage, and kills them quickly.
I think that Piranha Plant, while he is situated in the correct tier, just doesn’t get enough love. He was the first high tier to join the game, alongside King K. Rool, and he’s long been overshadowed by his other high tiers.