The Beginner’s Guide to Training the Zelda amiibo in Smash Ultimate

by Leeya and PrinZ, Guest Contributors

Heya!  I’m Leeya, one of the authors of this guide!  I trained two very successful Zelda amiibo, Hilda and AERITH.  I started competitive amiibo in May 2020, where I won my first ever amiibo tournament, PAL Lite Season 3 with Hilda (my very first Zelda)!  From that starting success, I have labbed out Zelda and trained my most successful and popular Zelda yet, AERITH, with multiple tournament wins and high amiibots records, standing at 100% for 10 games, 95.24% for 21 games and 87.8% for 41 games, to name a few. 

Oi oi! I’m an amiibo trainer by the name of PrinZ. I’ve been competing since early May of 2020 and have made some accomplishments along the way. My Zelda (Leeeeeeeya) has made up some of those achievements. Currently ranked 8th on the All Time Rankings. She has two Major wins, two 2nd placements in two supermajors, and a lot of great placements in different tournaments. Currently on amiibots she has a record of 29.28 rating with a 82.35% win rate for 51 total games.

Zelda is the most popular amiibo trained in Smash Ultimate!  With the knowledge of two of the best Zelda trainers in the scene, we hope from this guide you can take your own zelda down a road of staggering success!

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AI Issues

Now, before we divulge all the Zelda training secrets, there are a few AI flaws Zelda has that should be noted.  Zelda’s AI flaws lie predominantly in her struggle to use Down Special (Phantom Slash) and Side Special (Din’s Fire).

Zelda’s Down Special, Phantom Slash, is a move where Zelda charges a phantom that assembles from behind her and slides forward to attack.  There are six general stages you can charge this move to.  A kick, a punch, a sideways slash, an overhead slash, a quick slash and the fully charged phantom slash.  The amiibo does use most stages of the Phantom Slash, however, it can not strategize and optimize the timing of the move in correlation to where the opponent is, in many circumstances.  Using this move does work sometimes, however, the mediocre timing and lack of use of the various Phantom Slash stages makes it generally unreliable.  Another flaw with Phantom Slash is when Zelda gets juggled in the air.  Sometimes she throws out half charged phantoms to no avail, usually costing her high damage and even stocks.  Teaching the amiibo to use Phantom Slash only makes this problem more frequent.  So for now, it’s best to steer clear of down b, as there plenty of more valuable options in Zelda’s kit!

Zelda’s Side Special, Din’s Fire, is a projectile attack where Zelda hits the opponent with a blast of fire that increases in strength the longer ‘B’ is held.  You can also angle the blast to get an accurate hit on the opponent.  Similar to Phantom Slash, Zelda’s fault lies with the optimal timing and angling of the blast.  Usually, the amiibo will either throw out a short or long blast with hardly any angle to follow the opponent.  Another flaw with Din’s Fire is in Zelda’s grab combos.  Sometimes, Zelda will throw out a straight Din’s Fire following an Up Throw, which does not hit the opponent and wastes her opportunity to follow the throw with a move that will actually hit.  The move does work on occasion, but for these reasons, is considerably unreliable and mediocre at best compared to other moves in her kit.

If you have trained your Zelda after 9.0, you might have noticed her excessive use of Down Air onstage.  This leads us to the last major AI flaw.  Her Down Air is much more valuable to use offstage compared to onstage.  She does have a few built in combos such as [Down Air > Up Air, Down Air > Forward Air], however, her use of excessive Down Air onstage prevents her from using her stronger and more reliable built in combos [Down Throw > Back Air, Up Throw > Up Air].  So, definitely do not to get hit by, or hit Zelda with an onstage Down Air!

Overall Playstyle

You might be thinking “Well, what would an optimal Zelda look like?”  In terms of movement, you want your Zelda to have a good mixture of grounded and aerial maneuvers.  Zelda’s kit is great in both senses, so you really want to optimize this.  Zelda’s grounded moves should mainly consist of her forward smash, dash attack, forward and up tilts and sporadic grabs.  Her aerial kit should consist of use of every one of her aerials, though Back Air, Forward Air and Up Air for the most part.  She should also use Down Air offstage a lot, as her recovery is strong and can easily reach deep to spike and gimp opponents.

How to Train the Zelda amiibo

When training a Zelda amiibo, you want to focus on using a few specific moves in specific different scenarios.

When in neutral, use some Dash Attack and some Dash Grab.  Zelda’s Dash Attack has a considerably large and lasting hitbox.  It is pretty strong, with good knockback.  For this, it’s a good tool to quickly catch opponents and follow up with other moves.  In addition, the use of her Dash Attack prevents her from standing idle.  Secondly, Dash Grab.  Zelda is one of the few characters that is good with Dash Grab, with both the speed and range of her grab.  The combos from Zelda’s Grab are explained later in the guide.  However, with both these moves, try not to overuse them.  If overused, Zelda spams them, eventually getting punished for it.

When the opponent is in front of you, be sure to primarily use Forward Smash, Grab and a little bit of Forward Tilt.  Zelda’s Forward Smash is one of her best tools.  It is a multi-hit smash attack, which does great against amiibo because it is hard to parry, it is strong and it connects well.  In the 10.0.1 Smash Bros. Ultimate update, it was buffed to connect even better.  Secondly, Grab. Teaching your Zelda grabs is one of the main things she should learn.  Zelda has a lot of different combos out of grab.  Starting from zero percent, it’s nice to teach this combo a few times:

Grab > Down Throw > Neutral Air

It’s good for racking up quick damage, because Zelda’s Neutral Air is a multi-hit move that connects well, so she can have a good start on racking more damage.  After the opponent has taken some damage, we recommend teaching her primary built-in combos a lot:

Grab > Down Throw > Back Air

Grab > Down Throw > Up Air (Up Air Juggle)

Grab > Up Throw > Up Air (Up Air Juggle)

These are the main combos you want to focus on when training Zelda.  Down Throw hits the opponent on the floor of the stage and the opponent ascends slightly.  Down Throw is one of Zelda’s best throws, because she can follow up with many different moves.  Back Air is a primary follow up after Down Throw for Zelda, because of its launching power and it’s sweet spot on the tip of her feet.  Try landing the sweet spot as much as possible when training her to do this combo.  Up Air is another great follow up after using Down Throw.  Zelda’s Up Air has a great hit box and can easily shoot the opponent up to continue the Up Air juggling.  Up Throw also causes the opponent to ascend, so following up with Up Air is great as well.  Lastly, Forward Tilt.  Zelda’s Forward Tilt is a one-hit angleable move, with high knockback.  It is a good follow-up at low percents and a good gimping and KO tool at higher percents.  Use Forward Tilt very sparingly, since it can be easily punishable (parried, blocked, outranged) and her Forward Smash is a much more valuable tool in comparison.

When the opponent is above you, use Up Smash, Up Tilt and Up Air.  Zelda has quite a few built-in combos with her these moves:

Up Tilt x 3 > Up Smash > Up Air juggle

Up Tilt > Up Air juggle

Up Tilt x 3 > Up Smash

These are all fairly similar, however each is slightly different.  The first combo is arguably her best out of the three.  Zelda catches the opponent with Up Tilt and racks up damage using Up Smash.  Then, she follows up and finishes off with Up Air juggling.  The second combo is also really good, because Zelda quickly props up her opponent using Up Tilt and proceeds to Up Air juggle, which leads to very early KOs.  The last combo is similar to the first but the weakest, because she does not follow up with Up Air.  Whenever possible, always try to follow up Zelda’s attacks with Up Air.

When landing on stage, Neutral Air, Forward Air, Back Air and Up Air are all good tools.  Forward Air and Back Air are both moves Zelda can use to evade getting hit from either side of her.  Neutral Air is good for repelling opponents that are generally around her.  However, Up Air is Zelda’s best landing option onstage.  A lot of the time, it can even catch opponents that are below her and propel them upwards, so Zelda can continue Up Air juggling.  All of these aerials are all great landing options, but whatever you do, do not use Down Air onstage!  As we mentioned in the AI flaw section, post 9.0 (as of 10.0.1), she spams Down Air onstage even if you barely use it.  Yes, her Down Air can lead to some combos, however they are mediocre compared to her Up Air, Forward Air and Back Air combos.  If you do accidentally hit Zelda once with Down Air onstage, don’t worry too much!  Just always try to land with the other aerials as much as possible.

When offstage / approaching the stage from the top, this is the time to teach your Zelda Down Air.  Zelda’s Down Air is her best tool offstage.  She gets a huge chunk of her KO’s from early weak Down Air gimps and sweetspot spikes.  It is also good to teach Zelda a little bit of Forward Air and Up Air if the opponent is too high above to use Down Air.  However, do try to use Down Air offstage as much as you can.  One thing to be cautious of is to make sure you only use Down Air offstage and not anywhere on the stage.  As we mentioned earlier, she will start spamming it there.

When offstage approaching the ledge from the bottom, teaching Zelda to Up Air is a great idea.  A considerable number of Zelda’s unexpected KO’s come from her approaching the ledge from the bottom with Up Air, because a lot of the time, opponents stand waiting at the ledge to gimp.  This tool is used to push opponents away from edgeguarding and for Zelda to have a window of opportunity to take stage control as she makes it back onstage.  However, if the opponent is anywhere below Zelda offstage, definitely squeeze in another Down Air.

At the ledge, it is good to teach Zelda a mix of Back Throw and Forward Smash, with a little bit of Forward Tilt, Forward Air and Up Air.  Zelda’s Back Throw is one of the strongest in the game.  Zelda can use Back Throw for an early KO at ledge, or to send opponents offstage for a Down Air gimp.  Definitely try to use Back Throw at the ledge when possible.  Forward Smash is good for when opponents are approaching the stage, as it can easily connect to rack up damage.  Use Forward Tilt very little at ledge, mainly when opponents are at higher damage to quickly fling them back offstage.  Lastly, if the opponent is approaching from a little above Zelda, catch them with a Forward Air, Up Air or Up Smash.  All of these tools allow Zelda to take advantage of the stage and KO early.

Additional Ideas to Take Note of

  • Training Complications:  A problem with this kind of training method is that it incorporates quite a lot of Grabs and Aerials.  With this, amiibo can start to run, dodge and jump a lot.  If this continues to occur and hinder her performance, do a quick 3 stock battle with Zelda, just walking up to her and doing short hop Forward Air and Up Air.  It sounds a little bizarre, but a lot of the time if Zelda runs and dodges too much, these tools allow her to take advantage of her large Aerial hitboxes and quick out-of-shield options.  If she jumps too much, however, stick to grounded moves for a 3 stock battle.  Forward Smash, some Up Smash (if the opponent is above only) and some Dash Attack.  This allows her to utilize her strong grounded kit and prevents her from excessive jumping.
  • Parrying:  Teaching amiibo to parry in general proves to be very helpful the majority of the time.  Amiibo who parry do struggle against other amiibo who use multi-hit moves, which is one of the reasons why Zelda’s Forward Smash is so valuable to use.  Teaching your Zelda to parry is optional.  It does help her most of the time, because she can parry a move and proceed to her grab combos, however, it is not mandatory.
  • Nayru’s Love:  Don’t worry too much about using Neutral Special (Nayru’s Love), as Zelda is hard-coded to use it often when being bombarded by projectiles.

Why It Works

As we mentioned earlier, Zelda has a great kit in general.  Her grounded and aerial moves combined is what leads her to getting so many wins.  She has both a strong onstage and offstage game, making her a powerful contender in tournaments.  To conclude, Zelda is a very fun amiibo to train!  She can be a little tricky to master, especially after the 9.0 update and her many AI flaws with her specials.  But don’t worry!  Zelda is a top tier amiibo, a reliable pick and very enjoyable to watch!  If training a Zelda seems hard or intimidating, just remember what Zelda says herself:  “Stow your fear!  It’s now or never!”

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