Do amiibo play differently in arenas?

by Doc – Owner, Founder, Really Needs to Focus on Writing that Summary Judgement Brief Instead of Playing With This Bayonetta amiibo

It’s a question that I’ve been asked for years at this point – do arenas mess with amiibo AI?


Amiibo opponents do play differently in arenas, and it appears this is the intent of the developers. When arenas were first added to Smash Ultimate, amiibo vs. amiibo matches had no perceptible lag. I theorized that this was because the Switches simply ran the match on one system and “streamed” it to the spectators by sharing the amiibo bin data, match conditions and RNG seed. This allowed the spectators to replicate the match on their end, and it would result in an identical match for everyone because the conditions were exactly the same.

This is actually how Replays work in Smash games as well. Replays are just frame-by-frame recreations of the inputs that the players made during the match, along with identical match conditions and RNG seed. When replays were shared to other systems, it was basically just sending a spreadsheet to another game. That’s also why Brawl match replays were capped at three minutes: that was the maximum file size that could be sent over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to another Wii.

At some point this was changed, and amiibo vs. amiibo matches now function in real-time. It’s not clear why this was the case.

In order to compensate for the change, amiibo AI is somewhat modified when fighting other amiibo online. Many frame-specific combos that can be performed by amiibo offline are no longer possible online, because the developers simply changed the AI to not use it the same way online. If the amiibo did try to use it online, it would be a few frames off, and the amiibo would end up using it unsuccessfully.

The Proof

I’ll give you a concrete example: the other day, I trained a Bayonetta amiibo. Like all Bayonettas, she can use the Ladder Combo to its fullest extent. She uses it cleanly and nearly frame-perfect, which is pretty typical for amiibo who have built-in combos. When she’s offline, you’ll even see mix-ups at the ends of certain moves, like finishing the combo with Back Air in some situations, and Down Air in others.

She can’t do it online. Sure, she’ll use the start of the Ladder Combo, and maybe land a few pieces of it, but you’ll never see a clean Ladder Combo when she’s in arenas. At best, she’ll try to land Heel Slide, and maybe connect with the kick afterwards, but you rarely see anything close to a full Ladder Combo. Don’t even wish for unique variations each time – you won’t get them.

So in short, yes, amiibo arenas do alter amiibo AI.


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