by Doc – Owner, Founder, Overqualified to Write Collector’s Guide
Good morning. In this post, I will explain my methods to buying Smash Ultimate amiibo for dirt cheap. I have over 100 Smash Ultimate amiibo figures, and I’ve paid, on average, $7.55 per amiibo, excluding the ones that were gifts. This is how I managed it.
The Harsh Reality of Amiibo Collecting
I hate to tell this to NIB (New-In-Box) collectors, but you’re realistically not going to find anything approximating a new amiibo (aside from reprints) unless it’s just been released. If you’re going to collect amiibo, collect OOB (Out-Of-Box) amiibo. They’re cheaper, they sometimes come “used”, which is rarely a concern, and they’re vastly more available.
You really should consider going for a cheaper, non-figure alternative. We have a guide explaining these here.
Buying amiibo for MSRP
When Should I Buy Amiibo?
For most Smash Bros amiibo, you won’t be able to find them anywhere on shelves ever again. Nintendo has hundreds of amiibo in its history already, and they simply aren’t interested in maintaining stock of them all.
This leaves us with the unfortunate result of having to buy every Smash Ultimate amiibo on Day One. Amiibo sell out very quickly in most cases, so taking a few hours to shop around in-person on the morning of release is often your best bet. You can preorder amiibo, and I’d recommend you do if you don’t mind potentially buying two of each, but if you’re on a budget you’re stuck with having to find them in-person.
Where Should I Buy Amiibo for MSRP?
There’s three stores that have often been very fruitful for me in the United States.Brick-and-mortar locations typically have great amiibo because they get minimal traffic, and still receive amiibo shipments. You’ll want to scout out the kind of traffic the stores in your area receive, versus the size of their amiibo shipments.
These three stores are:
- Gamestop. Gamestop is largely a dead and dying company, and most of its business comes from online orders post-pandemic. Aside from small children or greasy nerds, most people don’t walk into a physical Gamestop location anymore. However, Gamestops often get the largest amiibo shipments available, so when release day comes, humble yourself and wait in line with the small children and greasy nerds. Do it for the amiibo.
- Best Buy. Best Buy is a significantly less dead and dying company, but it’s not really a video game company. Best Buy tries to position itself as a upper-consumer-level technology company, and it succeeds. This gives us the benefit of not having to worry about amiibo selling out – if you can find them. At my Best Buy, they typically go six months before selling out of a reprint, and about a week before selling out of a wave (with the most recent Banjo, Terry, Byleth wave being the exception).
- Amazon. I’ve linked you to a guide that has specific tips for how to get the cheapest amiibo on Amazon that you can, which you should absolutely read. Unfortunately, Amazon places you on the same playing field as everyone else – everything is visually available to every visitor, because there’s no brick-and-mortar location. However, the tips in that guide give you a bit of an advantage – just don’t use them until I’ve collected everything, so we don’t have to compete.
Your Lucky Day – Amiibo Reprints
From time to time the spirit of Satoru Iwata haunts the executives at Nintendo and promises to leave if they reprint some amiibo. This is your incredibly lucky day – it means that amiibo that would otherwise have never seen the light of day are going to be back on shelves again, in limited quantity, for MSRP. If you’re not foaming at the mouth, you ought to be.
Amiibo reprints are sporadic and typically not announced – they just sort of show up. However, some places like Nintendo Wire announce reprints ahead of time, so you ought to check up on them periodically. Amiibo reprints are always a good thing for collectors, because even if you miss the chance to buy them at MSRP their secondhand prices are significantly lower for the next year or so.
Buying amiibo secondhand
As Anakin Skywalker would say, “This is where the fun begins”. There’s significantly fewer rules and advice on how to buy amiibo secondhand, but there’s also much more potential.
You’ve got a few great sources of secondhand amiibo at your disposal.
Grandparents on Facebook Marketplace/Craigslist
Obviously not everyone who falls in this category has two generations of their family. However, the demographic is important – all too often, you see someone who has recently had to sell off the collection of a disappointment of a child, and they’re going to Facebook Marketplace to do it. They typically don’t know what amiibo are (and will sell you Skylanders alongside them), and won’t be able to identify the characters.
However, they’ll sell them for damn near nothing, because they don’t care about the money. I once got away with a box of 13 mostly-Smash Bros amiibo for $20 and a handshake because Grandpa “like[d] that you stand up straight and looked me in the eye.” That’s the real secret to cheap amiibo – good posture.
As always, practice proper “urban sales” procedure. Meet at a public place to make the transfer (QuikTrip is a good place – it has lots of cameras and there’s always people there), pay in cash, keep a weapon in your pocket. Smile, make eye contact and use your manners.
Sometimes grandparents are so out of the loop that they don’t know how to use Facebook Marketplace, and just dump their disappointing child’s toys at the thrift store down the road. These are stores like the DAV, Goodwill, and smaller more local places. Check these place periodically – you can find amiibo for $0.50 in most cases, an absolute steal no matter the character.
…but not eBay. I did a video explaining shopgoodwill.com on the Amiibo Doctor Youtube channel, which I consider to be one of the best ways to get amiibo for cheap.
Look at auction sites for countries with less amiibo. Mexico is a good example of this – in Mexico, you can often get amiibo for relatively close to MSRP. They’ll be imports, and they’ll take forever to get there, but they’re the best option for your money.