Did Items Just Get Viable?

by Doc – Owner, Founder, Spirits Finally Have Some Use

I’ve been Amiibo Doctoring for years, and every time I explain that spirits adjust the training data of an amiibo, I’ve had the same question: “Could you theoretically make the perfect amiibo just by adding spirits?”. For as long as I’ve been Amiibo Doctoring, the answer to that question has been “Probably not, no.”

That might not be the case.

The Link amiibo was famously ruined by the 3.0 patch, which forced him to engage in random behaviors like pulling a Bomb (and playing with it). The “Bomb update” took Link out of the running for a high A+ tier placement and knocked him down to low A+ tier, or high A tier on a bad day. Aside from adding new amiibo, I’d consider this single update to be the most impactful AI change that Nintendo has ever implemented because of Link’s versatile potential being destroyed.

The nerf was caused by the “Item Collector” byte, which is locked to 50 for all amiibo. You can’t raise or reduce the Item Collector byte, and its value of 50 means that amiibo will usually obsess over getting a hold of an item instead of playing normally. Nintendo patched Link so that he had to pull out Bomb and then screw around with his Bomb, the second of which activated the bizarre Item Collector behaviors that amiibo trainers are so familiar with, and messed up his playstyle as a result.

Note: this is a new discovery and my understanding of the mechanics at play are growing with the body of research on the topic.

Hictor has found a way to reduce the Item Collector byte down to 0. Through a specific concoction of spirits, he can lower the Item Collector byte and bypass the lock on the byte. Adding these spirits does alter the amiibo training data, as with any normal spirit, but that can be resolved with post-spirit training. Amiibo editors can then be used to edit the stats and effects off of the Link amiibo so the amiibo is completely tournament-legal in vanilla.

Here’s an Amiibots clip of his Link. Notice how Link will pull a Bomb, throw the Bomb, and then leave it alone. That simply doesn’t happen to normal Link amiibo. Hictor’s been proving the usefulness of this technique with increasingly good Amiibots Link placements – which is an impressive feat, considering his consistent #1 Link amiibo placements over the last few months.

Now that a 0 Item Collector byte can be implemented through “natural”, in-game methods, items might play a real role in the amiibo meta. Banjo could rely more heavily on his grenade if he has a lowered Item Collector value, because he won’t grab his own grenade and explode on it. Snake, meanwhile, had better hope that his opponents have the normal Item Collector value so they will grab his grenades as they explode.

I don’t know how much of a role this will play long-term. Hictor’s been digging very deep into a lot of amiibo, and most people don’t train amiibo to isolate specific behaviors the way that he does. It’s possible that he ends up being the only amiibo trainer who ever makes use of these AI quirks because he’s the only one who will go that deep. Whichever way this pans out, now we know: “locked” bytes can be adjusted with spirits. And that’s a big deal.

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