by Doc – Owner, Founder, Still Gets Hyped Over Smash 4 Character Trailers
I’ve been training amiibo since the early days of Smash 4 – the very early days of Smash 4. I still remember asking my brother for a ride to Gamestop on release day, which was the night before an all-day marching band festival. I think I spent my 3DS’ entire battery just on Smash that night. I loved training amiibo in Smash 4, going so far as to produce rulesets and stagelists of my own for both 3DS and Wii U versions of the game.
Amiibo training and paraphernalia has been my primary hobby since their release, and that’s only expanded into this website and the Amiibo Doctor Youtube channel. There’s never been anything else in my life that I’ve had this type of relationship with. I’ve been training amiibo longer than I’ve been in higher education, and I’m a semester deep into law school.
So I’m pretty qualified to make this list – the top 5 amiibo in all of Smash. This list ranks, based on official amiibo tier lists and my own curated data from both Smash 4 and Smash Ultimate, the most broken amiibo ever.
#5: Smash 4 Vanilla Ness
Unfortunately, reliable Smash 4 amiibo tier lists have been lost to time (and by time, I mean I accidentally deleted them a few months ago).
Smash 4’s amiibo meta was really, really bizarre. Amiibo didn’t have very functional AI in many aspects – they couldn’t use aerials correctly, couldn’t combo in any real way and didn’t even have proper taunt usage. Amiibo couldn’t taunt unless they had just KOed an opponent! It’s no wonder nobody made videos on them back then.
There was one very odd and specific behavior that most amiibo had: if their opponent had just jumped, the opponent amiibo would immediately use Up Smash to attack them. So as a trainer, you had one option- stay on the ground, and pick the character with the best Up Smash or best horizontal attacks. It was boring as hell.
In vanilla, Ness fit this limitation better than anyone else. My data indicated that his PK Fire spam and Up Smash yo-yo was, without question, the best overall option in the game – in fact, the closest thing he had to a counter was Mario, against whom he went 50/50. It was… pretty funny.
Ness ended up getting banned in the Smash 4 vanilla meta, and deservedly so.
#4: Smash Ultimate Bowser
I’ve made a lot of hullabaloo about Bowser in my content, and that’s for good reason. For a very, very long time he was the best (legal) amiibo in the game. I’d argue that, save for Terry, he’s still the best legal amiibo in the game, or at least running a tie with K. Rool. Terry, Bowser and King K. Rool all float around each other in S Tier, and I expect that’ll stay the case forever unless the tier list committees do something silly.
Bowser was the first amiibo to ever be banned in Smash Ultimate, and it was a big deal. We all pretty much knew he was broken from the beginning, but the community developed a sort of “gentleman’s rule” about avoiding Bowser in tournaments. After several months we grew tired of it, and officially banned Bowser overall (if memory serves, I was the first one to officially ban him in all my tournaments). The relief from the Bowser ban was short-lived, though, as Incineroar released the very next month.
These days, the community is still largely split on whether Bowser needs to be banned, and just how good he actually is. Everyone’s in agreement, though: if you use Bowser in amiibo tournaments, you’re a jerk.
#3: Smash 4 Customs Little Mac
It’s hard to impress me with a “strongest amiibo”. Back in my day, the strongest amiibo you’d see would KO any opponent at 0%. It was a pretty simple formula: Take a Little Mac, give it Critical Hit, Explosive Perfect Shield, I can’t remember the third effect (maybe Improved Escapability to avoid getting grabbed?), and 200 Attack, 120 Defense, -200 Speed. Then teach it to Forward Smash, and only Forward Smash.
Congratulations, you’ve created the most impossible amiibo opponent in the game. Get hit by him once, and you’ve died. Give yourself 200 Defense, and you can handle two hits.
There’s really no counterplay for this, either – Smash 4 didn’t have projectiles that could effectively keep a Little Mac at bay with that kind of Defense stat. His run speed was so high that, even when lowered below 0, you’d still have to drop your wall at some point due to lack of range. And since he was a frame-perfect opponent, all it took was one small mistake to get Forward Smashed…
#2: Smash Ultimate Terry
Terry was part of a wave of 3 amiibo that really scared me for a long time. I figured Byleth would be great because of his wide array of attacks that were unlikely to have AI problems and could cover a swath of the stage at any distance. I figured Banjo would be good because of his (limited use of) Wonderwing, which is about as unstoppable of a move as you could reasonably ask for on a character.
I wasn’t sure how to estimate Terry – his character is clearly in the same vein as Ryu and Ken, who have some of the least functional AI in the game. But at the same time, if Nintendo had wanted to, they could easily make Terry a phenom by granting him combos out of jab. So I took the riskier position and said that he’d probably be a killer amiibo.
Well, I was right. At the moment, Terry is (according to the official tier list) the best legal amiibo in the game. I think that’s a reasonable placement for him, too – although he has minimal physical range his combo setups out of jab are exactly what is needed to counter large, bulky heavyweights.
#1: Smash Ultimate Incineroar
Yeah, big surprise there.
I often compare the Incineroar amiibo to Brawl Meta Knight. Brawl Meta Knight was, without question, the best character in Brawl. His character was, mechanically, vastly superior to anything else that he could face – he could avoid tripping by air camping with his five jumps, he had fast and reliable KO moves and would easily dominate the air over any other opponent.
Incineroar has a similar advantage, but much more consolidated. Incineroar’s Alolan Whip’s mechanics are favored by the nature of amiibo AI itself. Amiibo simply don’t respond to Alolan Whip’s grab hitboxes, so they can’t avoid it. This means that Incineroar almost always connects with it.
Well, if all you have to do with an amiibo is train it to use a single move, what’s stopping you from using it in everything? Nothing, except for the fact that Incineroar was unanimously banned from amiibo tournaments about three weeks after his official release in the game. Short of an AI overhaul from Nintendo, that’s never, ever ever going to change.