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By Spike, Regular Contributor, Trainer of Amiibo and Pastor of Muppets
I’m Spike, one of the writers here and a fairly good trainer in the amiibo scene, with (as of 1/24/2021) more than 30 tournament wins across various formats with several amiibo. A good number of those wins are due to my Zelda, Royal Fire, who is one of the top Zelda amiibo in the scene and certainly the winningest vanilla Zelda, with a current total of 5 vanilla wins, including Showdown In Japan, a major with over 100 entrants.
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Zelda has a number of notable AI Issues that lead to the need to avoid several moves. First of all, she’s idiotic with her down special, Phantom Slash. Full blown foolish. First of all, it’s a charge move- something that amiibo are pretty bad at using. On top of that, she uses it at less than opportune times, and, just to nail the coffin, it’s slow and easily dodged by opposing amiibo. Don’t use it.
Next, her side special, Din’s Fire. This is also a move she’ll pull out at odd times, and other amiibo dodge it perhaps even more easily than Phantom Slash. Avoid it.
Lastly, her down air is an excellent move- but the AI can easily get into a habit of using it onstage, where it will spam it while jumping around like it’s become a Greninja. It’s not a terrible move at all, it’s great offstage, but while onstage, use it in moderation.
The optimal Zelda amiibo plays like that one really annoying Zelda main at your local tournaments who never does well but always leaves their opponents wanting to toss their controller across the room. Gets you into the air, won’t let you return to the stage, spams up air while you’re in the air, punishes offstage, and never stops moving.
How To Train Zelda
Zelda is honestly one of the easiest amiibo to train and one of the hardest to get right. It’ll likely take you a few tries to create a good one, so mentally prepare yourself. As usual, you should be mirror matching her while training, to avoid any unnecessary screwiness.
Most amiibo tournaments are vanilla, but if you insist on Spirits, add them before training the amiibo- adding Spirits is about the same as randomly selecting values for each move. The best stat spread for Zelda, as with most amiibo, is an even 2100/2100, though there’s something to be said for skewing it a bit in favor of attack and embracing the loose cannon. For Spirits, most tournaments ban the Big 5 (Armor Knight, Super Armor, Slow Super Armor, Autoheal, Great Autoheal), but Armor Knight with Speed Up is likely the best for Zelda. Otherwise, Air Attack Up, Hyper Smash Attacks, Foot Attack Up, Magic Attack Up, Physical Attack Up, and Trade Off Attack are all a mix-and-match set of options.
While on stage, alternate dash attack, forward tilt, and raw forward smash. The sooner your Zelda can get the opponent airborne or offstage the better, so she’s one of the few amiibo where I’ll recommend you not shield. Of course, don’t use spot dodges/air dodges and the like either, as amiibo get weird with them.
If your Zelda ever starts using Din’s Fire, use her neutral special, Naryu’s Love, to reflect it back at her. Naryu’s Love can also be used as a “get off me, punk!” move or while landing. It’s a solid move, and allows Zelda to go toe to toe with Ridley or Mii Gunner, but it shouldn’t be a major priority. If you’re worried that she’ll get gimped by projectiles while recovering- don’t be. The AI uses Naryu’s Love pretty well while recovering already.
Once your opponent is in the air, you have two options- use repeated up airs or stay on the ground and try to chain up tilts or use up smash to rack up damage. I prefer repeated up airs, as after the buff in… 7.0, I think it was, up air is a monster. Huge hitbox, deals respectable damage, and, most importantly, doesn’t normally get dodged by opposing amiibo. However, the up tilt/ up smash route has seen mild success, so it’s up to you.
A note on up air offstage- Zelda will use it while recovering to knock away opponents before using up special. It’s excellent and automatic.
If the opponent is offstage, Zelda should be as well. Down air is great, and the primary source of Zelda kills, but forward air is also a good option and they can be rotated to decent effect.
I didn’t use much by way of throws simply because I don’t play that way normally, but other notable Zelda trainers seem to like them and following up throws with up airs is a pretty spicy strategy.
You can use forward air on stage, and it works. The amiibo can quickly learn to sweetspot the move, and it kills respectably early.
When the opponent is near the ledge, Zelda should use either a raw forward smash or a forward tilt. After buffs, forward tilt kills ridiculously early by the ledge, and forward smash is a multi hit powerhouse of a move.
Quick section for moves to avoid- I’ve already gone over onstage dair, Din’s Fire and Phantom Slash, but also avoid neutral air, down tilt and down smash. None of them are bad, per se, they just aren’t as good as Zelda’s other options.
In competitive amiibo, Zelda is a solid A tier. With a combination of early killing aerials, quick, solid on stage options, and a lightning fast playstyle, she can hold her own against the vast majority of amiibo. She’s both good and fun to train, so go train one.
Until next time,
Never Stop Training.