Amiibo Learning FAQ for New Trainers

This is just a simple, short answer for new people in the scene. Most people haven’t trained an amiibo and aren’t sure how they learn, or what they operate based on, so we’re going to answer some of those questions here. Read through this before you ask your question, please.

How do amiibo learn?

Amiibo are like children: they learn by watching at first, and over time they start to reinforce that behavior by doing it. If you show them what behavior you want them to emulate, and have a rough idea of what the amiibo are actually capable of, then they tend to do it more often than not. Amiibo aren’t perfect AI: they have their own quirks and sometimes don’t understand what you’re doing, and other times they have frame-perfect reaction times. Set realistic expectations for your amiibo and children, and sometimes allow yourself to be amazed.

In a technical sense, amiibo learn from attacks that land or are used often. If you are showing your Link that you want him to use his up smash, you should be playing as Link and landing the up smash. If you screw up or your amiibo starts doing things it shouldn’t do, you can quit the match. Amiibo do not learn anything if you quit mid-match. However, it’s important to not get too complicated, as you have to remember…

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How should I train my amiibo?

You mean specifically what training methods should you use for your specific amiibo? I don’t know. Check the Dojo to see if any training guides for them have been posted, ask in the Amiibo Dojo Discord server for any tips, but otherwise just remember these magic words in every training guide:

An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.

Keep in mind that strongest is a poor choice of words, and that it really should say “smartest” or something similar. The idea is still correct, though.

Can I improve my amiibo after they reach level 50?

Yes, they’ll still learn and change as normal, but this is where the definition of “improve” gets sketchy. See, the only purpose of levels is to increase the natural stat bonuses that amiibo have. Amiibo at level 1 have no bonuses, and no training so they are evidently quite dumb. You would then assume that an amiibo at level 50 would be much smarter, right? After all, they win more often.

They’re not necessarily smarter, though. Through hacking, you can take a very well-trained level 50 amiibo and revert him back to level 1, and the only thing that will change are the stat boosts on the amiibo. They will still function exactly the same way as they used to, despite their level having changed. From this, we know that level isn’t necessarily an indicator of how skilled the amiibo is, just how much time has been put into training it. In this case, the definition of “improve” is “to have better stats.

If that’s the case, then the other definition of “improve” is to have them play better. If you want them to play better, then you simply have to train them better. Keep fighting your amiibo after level 50 and if you’re doing a good job or at least a better job than you were before, they’ll play better.

Do keep in mind that amiibo fight against human opponents differently than they would amiibo opponents. We don’t know why that is or how to solve that difference, so it’s important to have your amiibo fight other amiibo regularly to see how it actually plays.

What personality is best for X amiibo?

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Personalites (also known as styles) aren’t actually useful for anything. Personalities are simply indicators of which ranges specific amiibo data values are in. In other words, it takes a look at all the data values of your amiibo’s training and sorta eyeballs it, and puts a name on it.

To make a long story short, this means that personalities, while being a nice descriptor at the beginning of your amiibo’s life, aren’t actually useful. X personality doesn’t counter Y personality, Y doesn’t counter Z, etc. Instead, you want your amiibo to simply be a smarter amiibo: personality doesn’t really play into that.

Are journies useful for training an amiibo?

Not in the slightest. As with many things, there are many ways to screw something up and only a few ways to do it right. Amiibo are the same way.

You’ll notice that every amiibo training guide on the Dojo states that “An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.” While “strongest” is a poor choice of words (they still deal the same damage), the idea is correct: amiibo perform better when raised under these conditions. Amiibo in general must be raised under a pretty tight set of conditions in order to become competitively viable: otherwise they end up being ineffective or a poor performer. The “mirror match” strategy is the result of five years of amiibo research, and it’s such a useful training technique nothing comes close. Not even journies.

Do stages impact training?

Probably. Let’s say you’re training a Link and you want him to use his Up smash. You can teach your Link (this has been done) to always use Up smash whenever he’s under an opponent who is on a platform. Suppose he learns to do it, and now whenever that Link has an opponent on Battlefield and he’s under a platform with the opponent above him, he will Up smash.

Now that Link is on Final Destination, with no platforms available. Uh-oh.

So, yes, stages impact training. They also impact tournaments. I’ve spent hundreds of words complaining about simple stagelists, and you can read those posts herehere and in the Stages section of here.

Which is better, Spirits or vanilla?

Vanilla: not having Spirits or stat boosts, effects, being Neutral type etc.

Spirits: Having Spirits, stat boosts, effects, type etc.

In Smash Ultimate, the answer is very clearly vanilla. Spirits amiibo are very difficult to train, aren’t responsive, and the entire metagame revolves around Super Armor (SA). When Super Armor is banned, Slow Super Armor is best choice (SSA). When Super Armor and Slow Super Armor are banned, Armor Knight + Move Speed Up are the optimal choice (AKS). With only two exceptions, every amiibo in Spirits has AKS as their best loadout, resulting in some very boring matches. At this point in time, it does appear that a ban on SA, SSA, and AKS might lead to a balanced Spirits metagame. However, that’s a lot of bans and frankly it’d be easier to just go to vanilla. We only have to worry about banning Bowser in vanilla, and that’s a long way off.

How can I enter tournaments?

I recommend the entire guide, but steps 4, 5 and 6 of this guide are basic instructions on how to participate in the more serious amiibo metagame: I’m new to amiibo training! …What do I do?

Keep in mind that most tournaments do not use Spirits, and instead are vanilla tournaments. To that end, you’ll need to have amiibo that have been trained without Spirits on them. Their stats must be 0,0 and they can’t have any effects or typing. There is no way to remove Spirits once they have been applied: amiibo editors are in the works but aren’t at a state where they are widely usable.

As a tournament host, you are free to have whatever ruleset you desire, so if you so choose you can have Spirits, certain effects can be banned, certain stat limits can be set, etc.

How can I dominate online arenas?

The Amiibo Dojo has the official community tier list, located here.

Unlike competitive tournaments, amiibo arenas have no ruleset and no restrictions on hacked amiibo. To that end, if you want to dominate online arenas, simply pick an amiibo that’s at the top of the tier list, put on Super Armor (with few exceptions, Super Armor is the most powerful effect in the game for every character) and train them well. Then go to online arenas and win!

Do keep in mind the typing advantages, and the fact that 6 points of Attack deal the same damage that 4 points of Defense prevent. The typing advantages sometimes turn games into rock-paper-scissors. You can find a full breakdown of the need-to-know information on Spirits at this link.

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If you had a question that wasn’t answered here, head over to the Amiibo Dojo/Exion Vault Discord and ask your question there. If you’d like to get more amiibo and want some inside tips on expanding your collection, move up to Doing amiibo on a dime.

What happens if I have an amiibo I trained in Smash 4 and I carry over the training to Ultimate?

First, your amiibo will be reset to level 12, regardless of its previous level. It can retain the owner and nickname if you so choose, but otherwise everything else changes.

Second, the actual behavior of the amiibo is completely unrecognizable compared to their Smash 4 behavior. In my experience, there’s actually not much difference between a fresh level 1 amiibo and a Smash 4-born level 12, aside from the level itself. I recommend just starting from scratch with your amiibo if you’re new to amiibo training, but if you’re experienced enough with training that specific character then it won’t make a difference in the long run.