by Doc – Owner, Founder, Seriously Hoping Power Creep Doesn’t Enter Amiibo
On the Amiibo Doctor Youtube channel, we have a lot of footage and analysis of modded versions of unreleased amiibo. Pretty nifty, right?
However, this analysis often proves to be only somewhat useful – Nintendo typically patches the amiibo AI before its final release, invalidating some analysis about the AI. Thus, whatever information about the amiibo AI that can be gleaned ahead of time isn’t entirely helpful.
What is helpful is figuring what archetypes of the character will beat the upcoming amiibo, and making educated guesses based on those archetypes. As you can see with a glance at the amiibo tier list, character archetypes are a big, big deal. Heavies are the top, Swordies tend to be around C+ to B+ tier, Middleweights are typically C to B tier, and light or combo-based characters are at the bottom. It’s a rough pattern and is subject to community trends, but it’s a consistent pattern nonetheless.
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The Shoto amiibo’s Nemesis – Waifus
So what will beat a “shoto” amiibo? Just like the other four shotos, (Ryu, Ken, Terry and Inkling), Kazuya automatically turns around, has a ridiculous amount of non-Smash combo moves, and has almost no melee range whatsoever. Kazuya somewhat makes up for his lack of range with his somewhat slow Neutral Special laser and Side Special, which moves very quickly and is tremendously useful against grounded opponents. However, it’s not enough to cover his lack of range.
Author’s note: Yeah, I know Kazuya technically isn’t a “shoto”, because a shoto’s got to have an uppercut, fireball, gi, or whatever. Relax about it.
I think Kazuya will lose very hard to long-range melee attacks, specifically swordfighters. I think we’ll have characters like Byleth, Marcina, Hero, Shulk and others in the running to give him a very hard time. After all, at point-blank range, Kazuya can fend for himself. But if the swordfighter moves to the edge of their functional attack range, Kazuya simply has no options that are fast enough to not be interrupted with a counterattack.
This is especially true against a character like Hero. Hero has a very large amount of projectiles and mobility, and even at point-blank range his Jab 1 with follow-up, and Forward Tilt is faster than most of what Kazuya can throw at him. What’s Kazuya going to do against a Hero that likes Side Special 1?
This doesn’t just mean that a sword in the hand could do well against Kazuya. Any character with fairly long melee attacks can do pretty well against Kazuya – C-stick warrior Olimar, Captain Falcon, and Belmonts all have theoretically good movesets to kill off Kazuya because their attacks reach so far. It’s a fairly large pool to pull from.
Swordies aside, it also wouldn’t surprise me if two other archetypes could give Kazuya a tremendously hard time. I think projectiles and “ninja” characters like Pichu and Sheik could potentially trash Kazuya, but it won’t be as hard of a trashing as what swordies will likely have. Most projectiles aren’t useful in amiibo, and most ninjas are just faster than Kazuya but don’t have the KO output to back it up, so I don’t anticipate that it’ll be a meta breaker.
What’s the Upside?
Kazuya could be a very potent enemy of heavies. Could be.
Consider this: Kazuya is the 8th heaviest character in the game, slightly heavier than Piranha Plant and a bit lighter than Incineroar. His recovery is tremendous, and his Side Special is a perfect antithesis to something like grounded Bowser or Alolan Whip Incineroar. That Side Special will end up requiring follow-ups to be built-in, but if they are…
Here’s the thing. Heavies tend to stay on the ground a lot more than other archetypes. They’re heavier, and naturally fall faster in most cases. Kazuya’s hitboxes are tiny, miniscule, really, and would be easily avoided by a smaller or faster character. However, we’re talking about heavies: heavies are disgusting fatbodies, and they can’t get out of the way in time. Kazuya’s very slight Tough Guy (called Tough Body, but it’s just a 14-knockback unit version of Tough Guy) combined with his mild super armor means that his smashes will often last long enough to connect with the heavyweight opponent, even if they try to counterattack. This is perfect for fighting most heavies, like Bowser and Ridley, at point-blank range.
Go into training mode as Kazuya with your opponent as Bowser, and set Bowser to 100%, in the center of the stage. If you land a sourspotted Forward Smash, it’s still strong enough to send Bowser almost all the way to the blast zone of Battlefield and Final Destination. Might I remind you that Bowser is the heaviest character in the game, that amiibo land sourspots more than sweetspots (the sweetspot kills at 75, if I remember correctly), and that most tournaments operate using only Final Destination and Battlefield.
Kazuya can kill Bowser like nobody’s business. That’s… not something that oughta be overlooked, and we should also test his potency against other top-of-the-meta heavies as well.