The Expert’s Guide to Training the Palutena Amiibo in Smash Ultimate

by Hictor the Dragon, Guest Contributor

Note from Doc: this Guide goes way more in-depth than most amiibo training guides. Unlike our typical format, this guide follows Hictor’s path as he trained one of the best Palutena amiibo thus far. It’s a bit disorganized and written as it was spoken, so read it carefully to understand what he’s recommending.

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Palutena amiibo attacking opponent.

Slow Motion and Pause Buffering:

One of the big recommendations I would use is this: slow motion Smash and pause buffering. While moving, I don’t like to dash much and if I need to change directions quickly, I can pause and then hold my stick in the different direction. This really helps with certain things like very reflexive reverses and it seems that the amiibo will mimic this to a certain extent.

So to list some of the things I use pause buffering for while I trained Palutena: Down throw to Back air is one; following up roll catches, landings, and spot dodges with neutral attack or tilt was another; however, I found that using some of the follow up attacks and landing afterwards gives just enough time to reverse a neutral attack in. If you are consistent with reversing attacks, I notice the amiibo will do this too. You can even do this real quick with a grab as well.

It seems that reaction time based on your side of training will play a role in how your amiibo will move, but how this exactly works is still not fully explainable yet. To some degree you can drift too if you press back and forth on your stick, but if you pause buffer you can hold the stick in the opposite direction and pause again to repeat this to not accidentally dash. As humans we can make mistakes.

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 Tilt Attack Usage and Dash Attack Usage:

I made sure to focus on F-tilt, neutral attack, and her aerial options. There was a tad Down tilt sprinkled in but only if she failed to land a tech. Up tilt makes a good landing catch tool thanks to it being a multi hit move with a nice lasting hit box. I didn’t use Down air too much since it was the main move to kill offstage and some back air to hit her against the stage. I use Down air more for gimping and some forward air and back air. (If the opponent is at the ledge, make sure to move a little back since it is good to teach the amiibo this, but we wanna go off stage to kill) Since Down air kills off stage, she’ll be using this much more than you think. Palutena is good with her Neutral Air drag down but we don’t want her to spam this so use it like once in a blue moon and make sure to use neutral attack with the pause buffer trick to reverse the neutral if the amiibo is behind you. Some up airplay is fine if your amiibo is above you and throwing in that one up throw to up air is ok too. Dash attack is a good kill option and both dash attack and back air has some frames to stop some attacks too if they connect. I would recommend using a dash attack like once or twice every other battle since we don’t want her to dash much and this can be tricky to balance out; otherwise, a good kill move. (Didn’t think this was too important to add since it should be universal, but make sure the amiibo still lands her F tilt on you since we still want her to attack and use it).

Smash Attack Usage:

Time to mention smash attacks; we must not focus on her smash attacks a whole lot. Out of the amiibo meta, this is something that I recommend a different approach to the standard trained amiibo. I remember using this a bit on the ladder method when my spirit based Palutena used Up Smash too much and just kept on hitting the beam with it to test what would happen. After some refining and parrying the hell out of this Up Smash, I was able to remedy this. I learned that it is ok to throw this attack in roughly once every five or so battles but you must make absolutely sure it connects to the top; I’ve seen Palutena do a knock the opponent up with a landing forward ariel to a perfectly landed Up Smash… just make sure she doesn’t hit you with it. F-Smash is the same and you should only land this once every other battle and only after a parry; i’ve seen the AI use this in a reverse with the drifting to go through a character’s body, or model, and used her F-Smash when the opposing AI used an attack the wrong way. Down Smash is built in to roll catch and also on ledge if an opponent tries to grab the ledge a second time without I-frames… so there isn’t much need to use Down Smash… just parry it if it comes out. 

(If you can land the two frame, then you can use a Down Smash but only as often as you use the Up Smash… otherwise use up tilt and offstage play.)

AI Issues:

One huge flaw is her explosive flame. This is pretty much Ganondorf up-tilt but not to the extreme to Ganon using his. I recommend parrying this and pause; while paused, hold your shield button and unpause. The AI will use this move alright naturally built in but if she hits you with this, it is a pain to fix. Also, never reflect this. Once in a blue moon she will do a parry to explosive flame. Don’t ever use this or get hit by it. If you are a parry master, then parry every hit without it touching your shield; Personally, I went for an interrupt of avoid getting hit.

One other flaw is when you dash grab; never ever do this. For some reason, she thinks her grab hitbox is like her grab hitbox from Smash 4.

Built In Combos:

Palutena actually has quite a few built in combos and most are grab combos. These are the list as following:

  • Down throw to Back air.
  • Down throw to Forward air.
  • Down throw can lead into a Forward Tilt at low Percentages.
  • Forward throw to explosive flame. (Not Recommended)
  • Drag down Nair to Grab
  • Drag down Nair to Neutral Attack
  • Down air on stage can lead to an aerial follow ups
  • Explosive flame to Autoreticle
  • Up air drag downs can lead into a Grab or a Neutral attack, but I recommend using Up air to juggle instead.

AI Quirk:

One interesting quirk about Palutena: sometimes out of a parry she will use up special to escape and get distance from the opponent. I have yet to see an SD and this is rare, but she has a real good hand at using this to get distance.

Neutral Special Usage

Neutral special is a good move to sprinkle in, but try not to let the amiibo land this on you. If you can, parry the three moves consecutively… or you can choose to reflect it; pause until you see the reticle turn red and use counter to reflect. (I only used this when my amiibo failed a floor tech and this was when I sprinkled it in. Didn’t over spam it) If you taught your Palutena to only use Autoreticle on a failed tech and at decent distance, she actually can properly stop herself from using it when the opponent gets close enough. Most other Palutena amiibo I’ve seen cannot get this down properly.

 I played some counter into the mix while testing the theory, but only make sure you land it during this condition: parry the first hit of F-Tilt and during the parry counter. I pause buffer to the start up of the parry and held Down Special just as I pressed start. I also mixed this up with a parry to a parry. Kinda a half and half every so often. 

Reflect isn’t bad if you get the timing down perfectly; do note if you mess the timing up, then you can negatively affect the amiibo to use this move properly. The AI is hardwired to use this properly, but you can somewhat influence how often she can reflect.

A bit of footstool play also can help out Palutena since she has a decent AI to footstool. Like once every so often is recommended to sprinkle in and I’ve seen her take two stocks in under a minute before with gimping. Just make sure to do the pause buffer trick to move back and forth every so often in the middle of battles to encourage this behavior. Also you can use the slow mo with pause buffer to land foot stools easily, but make sure to land them and not miss.

Consistency and precision is key and this type of training will take time, but this is what I did to make my Palutena do what she does now. Hope this helps you out and is fun to test.

Yet another reset Train Test:

I still kept the other back-up save, but this new retrain Palutena shows some promising results. I even experimented with reflect a bit and it doesn’t seem to effect Palu in any negative way. Examples are pause buffering on auto reticle till you see the first moment the target is red and explosive flame staff about to point forward. I focused a bit more on parrying this time around but I still kept moves the same. I landed a bit more two framing this time around. I didn’t turn learning off till level 43 as I heard about Ruffle training his amiibo with parrying till level 50. So it gave me the idea to train my amiibo with this test method till a higher level and it seems that stopping at level 30 isn’t always the best idea for some things but not everything. Counter will jank up if you train past level 50 and the best time to teach it is between levels 1-43. My Palutena is also far more accurate than usual with a hit percentage that goes consistently above 50 percent on average… not bad in my opinion. With this reactive time training, I also learned that Palutena also has a combo that she does more consistently before: Down throw to back air to forward tilt; another one is down throw to forward air to neutral air. It seems that reaction training does help in some way but you do have to be strict with it. She also never SD’s on accident so as long as you always get back on the ledge without dying. This is helpful to know even though you would never think too much about it cause amiibo almost never self destruct.

It seems training past level 50 will jank up the amiibo for some reason.

I also made sure never to fail any techs too. I don’t know if this is important to add, but I think you should know. I used the pause buffer trick to land the tech at the last moment so I didn’t do any dodges during it.

Anyway, I plan to send you the bin and send it on amiibots. I am excited to see the result of this one and I hope this sort of training will help raise her a bit in the roster. She is definitely not a simple character to train by any means but the unorthodox approach has definitely been fun and engaging. I will also post a replay demonstrating what I did during training to show what I did to aim for these results.

Match Up Data:

This is going to vary on how you teach your Palutena. Just like other amiibo, moving hit boxes will always be a challenge to deal with; Parrying does help to an extent and Parrying helps with higher tier match ups as well. Her off stage play will definitely play an advantage in taking out stocks early and she has tools to quickly rack damage at a distance. 

Counters:

I noticed that the Down Special for Palutena seems to be affected by a mix of match ups and reaction time. I don’t know if there is a perfect ratio or playstyle that also may play a role with how the amiibo will counter, but she will absolutely do this well against human players. The amiibo will also use this counter on the frame the opponent uses a dash, jumps, and other forms of actions such as a dodge and attacking; so it isn’t 100 percent perfect, but there seems to be something going on here on the players training side of reaction time. I would definitely explore with the parry to counter method for Palutena since it is easiest and most consistent to test this with. (Counter will also be used when fastfall and instadrop actions.) Counters in general would need more testing with other characters, so I don’t know how this will effect other fighter figures.

Other Notes For Counters:

Now there is something I want to add about counters: I noticed that it isn’t a good idea to train an amiibo to use them once they hit level 50. I have a Palutena who will use counter more reactively and one who will use it about half and half. I have also been training other amiibo with counters and no amiibo is truly the same with their counter, but this rule of training a reactive amiibo is still true for others also. It’s hard to word, but there seems to be a perfect ratio to hit while training in some sprinkling of Down special usage; however, a properly trained amiibo that uses counters will not spam counters.

Some amiibo also have it built in to use counter to land on rare occasions if taught the proper timing. So far this includes Corrin and Peach. I managed to get Palutena to use it reactively along with Incineroar.

It seems that counters built with reflectors do not effect how the amiibo will use them reactively for as long as you get the timing down yourself. 

It actually seems that you can influence how often the amiibo will use it’s reflector and it will use it at the same frame you use it just like counter. However, the amiibo will also choose to parry the projectile over reflecting from time to time. Since I tend to train amiibo to parry a lot, this was very noticeable; don’t worry, teaching both properly will benefit the amiibo compared to harming its results.

Extra Notes on AI:

Palutena kinda has a problem where she will spam one move of any type if left unchecked. I noticed that she had a finicky AI to work with, but this training method helped to make the best use of her moves. Also this time around, another retrain, I used a tad more autoreticle this time but only during a failed tech. This actually had interesting results and helps the amiibo to use this move at a reasonable time, but I made sure to be specific at using it at a distance but not out of range.

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