by Doc – Owner, Founder, Been There Since the Beginning
Three and a half years ago, I outlined the elements by which the amiibo metagame develops, in a post called “Making a Meta.” The crux of “Making a Meta” was the outline of how the amiibo meta changes – since amiibo AI itself is effectively set in stone, it’s all up to these four elements:
- Typical organic development (discovery of new information and strategy is usually how metagames develop)
- New amiibo being released
- Balance patches to the game
- Changes to the ruleset
I wrote this post before Ultimate launched, with Smash 4 in the rearview mirror. The Smash 4 amiibo meta had been dead for a long time (it never received as much attention as Ultimate, and the community squandered the expansion opportunities it had), and it looked to me like Ultimate would follow the same development pattern that Smash 4 had:
The Timeline of Competitive Amiibo
Ultimate would start bright and fresh with lots of new attention. Then the basics of amiibo training would be quickly ironed out in the first few months, with further tweaks to come in the years following. Interest in amiibo training would be prolonged by periodic releases of new DLC, and consequently, new amiibo to experiment with. Eventually, the new amiibo would stop coming, and the only final developments in the amiibo meta would come from hard-earned trainer innovation.
When Smash 4 got to that point, just about everyone left. The end result was a few trainers running the same tournaments over and over, predicting full well which amiibo would place well and which ones wouldn’t. It was a pretty bitter and futile situation.
At this point, I think Ultimate is basically at the “Last innovations in training” stage. There’s no new amiibo coming out (save for Sora, who almost certainly won’t play a major role in the meta). There’s no new balance patches. Rulesets have been basically set in stone for a long time, with the only fluctuations being tier placement restrictions. All we have left is the hope that there’s more innovation to be made in the existing amiibo so that there’s some change, any change to keep the metagame alive.
Fortunately, there probably is an innovation yet to be played with: moonwalking. In about half an hour, I’m releasing a video detailing a technique that Hictor the Dragon discovered and first shared in the Amiibo Patients Discord server. I’ve experimented around with it quite a bit, and it seems to be a pretty major upset to the old training styles.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Moonwalking is going to be some sort of major meta-upsetter, or that it’s going to dominate everything about amiibo. I want to be very clear in saying that, while I am optimistic about its results thus far, time will tell. If we’re lucky, Moonwalking should shake up whatever’s left of the amiibo training hobby, and keep us from reaching The End for a little bit longer.
If not, it’s been a blast.
You can watch the video here: