How to Fix the Amiibo Meta

by Doc, Owner, Founder, Man Who Is Clearing Out His Drafted Posts

Our Limited Tournaments

One of the perpetual difficulties in the amiibo meta is the fact that no degree of counterpicking usually exists in tournaments – this is because most tournaments are run through amiibo Powersaves, which doesn’t happen in real-time, or arena tournaments, where every competitor must be checked for legality beforehand and thus no surprises can be used.

This has led to a generalist-based meta, where the amiibo that do the best against the most opponents end up at the top of the tier list. Prior to his ban, Bowser had an 80% win rate in every set he had ever entered in tournament, and Incineroar has enjoyed similar results over his lifetime. Beneath the S tiers, we see similar results with amiibo like King K Rool and Mii Gunner, who are trained specifically to beat as many varied opponents as possible. Mii Gunner’s Missile-based playstyle is a wall against many, many types of opponents, and that’s the optimal way to train her… right now.

So what would happen if we had the option to counterpick mid-set?

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Matchups in Action

Well, data like this would be particularly useful. This is a massive spreadsheet of all amiibo tournament sets, with records on the overall history between specific amiibo. If you’re on mobile, I don’t recommend clicking that link: just look at this picture for an idea of what we’re talking about.

Even just glancing at this chart, you can already see what kind of value this information would have. If you’re in a set against a Mario and you have the option to counterpick, should you put in a Cloud, or a Link? Cloud has a 68% win rate against Mario, but Link has an 85% win rate. You should opt for the Link.


Suppose your opponent is getting the chance to counterpick after losing a match. You’ve thrown in a Luigi, and they’re counterpicking off of their Ganondorf. You know that their only other entered amiibo is the wildly inconsistent Pokemon Trainer. Should you be worried?

Well, yeah, you have a 40% chance of losing. But it’s still significantly better than having to stick with the same amiibo over and over.

How to Make Matchups & Counterpicks possible

Suppose we’re doing a bin file tournament. Typically, bin tournaments run off of each individual bin file – if Kangoni submits his Snake, then it all depends on how well that Snake does through the entire bracket. It has its own bracket listing.

What if instead, we make brackets based on the trainer, and allow each trainer to submit two amiibo. The first amiibo is what each set starts with by default, a “Prime amiibo” if you will. The second amiibo is the “Pocket amiibo”, which replaces the Prime amiibo if the Prime amiibo loses.

Type Coverage

This option for a second amiibo, a counterpick amiibo, means that we have much more variety in how we can think about amiibo tournaments. Instead of just training an amiibo to be as optimal against as many opponents as possible, we can plan for them to be a pocket. If they’re a pocket, then we can train them to counter whatever has countered our Prime. This allows for almost a “type coverage” of sorts – if our Prime was Little Mac, and we anticipate Mac will be beaten by something that’s either heavy or projectile-based, we can train a Corrin amiibo that is proficient and juggling and using Counter – things that (in theory) would be good against both heavies and projectiles.

At the time of this writing the amiibo meta hasn’t developed enough to allow us to comfortably fit optimal amiibo strategies into one box or another. Do we refer to Link as a projectile-based character because of his Boomerang spam? Do we call him a heavyweight because of his weight? How do you counter a projectile-based character? There’s a lot left to answer. I think this kind of intentional counterpicking allows us to test out our theories and get more involved in the amiibo metagame.


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