Why Jab 1 Matters

by Doc – Owner, Founder, Overanalyzer

Back in the day, when Smash Ultimate and Ultimate’s amiibo AI were still in their infantile state, jabbing was simply not a useful tool. Most of the amiibo couldn’t make any real use of it, and even the amiibo that could use it had a variety of better options at jab range. They’d often opt for a Forward Tilt over a jab, or in some cases a smash attack to aggressively get the kill.

Over time, the devs patched in more impressive AI shenanigans, especially with the jab update. The jab update gave us a very small but crucial addition to amiibo AI: they could now use their Jab 1 attack and follow it with something else. Some amiibo, like Ganondorf, obviously can’t make use of this update because their jabs don’t have properties that allow them to follow up. Most characters don’t have that problem, so most amiibo can take advantage of some sort of Jab 1 follow-up.

“Doc, Doc,” you’re thinking to yourself, “why is this such a big deal? Jabs are so short and don’t build much damage at all, and it would be easier to just use the attacks you want to KO with instead of trying a jab.”

That isn’t an unreasonable line of thought, but you’re missing something terribly important: amiibo rarely parry jabs. If you train an amiibo to use both Jab 1 follow-ups and to use its normal multihit jab, you can basically create a very delicately balanced win-win scenario for yourself. If your amiibo jabs and the jab connects, then it can follow up with a KO move. If your amiibo jabs and it gets parried or shielded, then the multihit jabs will slowly eat at the shield, or will keep going until they’re not parried anymore. Either way, your amiibo isn’t at risk.

Make no mistake: getting your amiibo to use both uses of jab is a very delicate balancing act, and most trainers aren’t capable of pulling that off. I’ve only seen a few amiibo that can do both fluidly, and they all were from characters that had infinite jabs. It’s such an advanced training technique that it’s not clear to me we’ll ever be able to truly get it down.

Your best bet is probably to demonstrate Jab 1 follow-ups in training first, and then to use infinite jabs on it at post-50 training. It’s far easier to land infinite jabs than it is to land Jab 1 follow-ups, so you’ll want to take advantage of the less-defensive lower-level AI.

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