Amiibo training is an incredibly interesting, fulfilling and social hobby. It’s built in such a way that you can leave for a year and come back, and you still have about as much of a fighting chance as when you first started. The scene may have changed, the rules may have changed and there could be more characters than when you first started, but your amiibo are still the same personality and will still fight the same way. It’s an excellent hobby for people who sometimes have lots of time and sometimes have none.
The scene is a pretty small scene, though, and that’s because there are some hurdles that have to be overcome before you can participate in amiibo training. If you want to get started as an amiibo trainer, these are the steps to get started.
1. Have an amiibo to train
No kidding. This one is simple: get an amiibo that can be trained in Smash Ultimate (the Smash 4 scene is long dead). It can be an official amiibo figure, amiibo card, NTAG chip or even an emulated amiibo. I have a guide on buying these here, but if you already have one then you’ve already passed this step.
2. Seek out information and what NOT to do when training
As of this writing, there’s about half the cast with an existing training guide on the Amiibo Dojo, but some of them are outdated. However, these principles are the tried-and-true methods of training an amiibo, and they’ll be true no matter who you train.
- Mirror matching is far and away the best way to train an amiibo. They learn from seeing you use their character successfully.
- CPUs and other amiibo are awful as trainers, even if you’re terrible at the character you’re training. Much in the same way a loving parent doesn’t leave robots to parent their child, you shouldn’t train your amiibo using a computer.
- Taunting and dash dancing are really fun to teach your amiibo, but they’ll end up using it more often than they need to. In the long run, they’ll end up only doing those things and it will cause them to lose, lose, lose.
- Amiibo learn from the attacks that work, but they can’t combo, technically. You can teach amiibo to use moves in succession, roughly speaking, but you have to use those moves successfully, over and over, and in that same order for them to understand it. They’re not going to be 0-deathing anyone.
3. Train that amiibo to level 50
I recommend that you play as the same character as them, on 3 stock matches with Learning On, for as long as it takes to hit level 50. Be sure that you play against them on the stages that you think they’ll end up playing on, as well. That’ll end up being about two hours total, so if you absolutely have to cut ninety minutes from your training time then you’re better off going with the first method. I prefer the two-hour method because it’s much easier to train an amiibo before they have the stat boots from leveling up, and they seem more receptive to training when they’re still at a lower level.
4. Submit your amiibo to a tournament
This is where you’ll need either a Powersaves for Amiibo, or an Android phone. I have a basic guide for these here, but that only covers the Powersaves usage, and Tagmo’s installation and usage. If you want a Powersaves for Amiibo, you’ll have to buy one and set it up on your computer. There’s a good video guide on installing it at this link.
Through either of these methods, you’ll want to capture the bin file of your amiibo so you can send it to a tournament. If you need to find a tournament, most of them can be found on the #tournaments channel on the Amiibo Dojo Discord. The Amiibo Doctor will also sometimes have our ASMR tournaments, and those will be announced on the front page and on our Twitter account.
Most tournaments ask that you email your amiibo bin files to them, so name your files something recognizable. I recommend naming them Trainerhandle-amiibocharacter, so you would have amiibodoctor-ganondorf if I were to submit a file to your tournament. This makes things much easier for the Tournament Organizer who has to deal with dozens of bin files each with their own unique name.
5. Train them again and do better the next time, or move on
Remember during your training that amiibo learn to use certain moves because you use them more as well. They really seem to take after moves that are used successfully, and even more so moves that are used for KOs. If you watch your amiibo’s performance in the tournaments it entered and notice that it keeps using certain moves that simply don’t work, stop using those moves. If there’s a useful attack that your amiibo isn’t using and should, start using that move more often.
At this point your amiibo’s success depends on two factors: your training and its inherent ability to fight. Some amiibo just aren’t going to achieve much, no matter how hard you try. This isn’t your fault. Others, though not as many, are so incredibly good regardless of their training that they can win in almost any situation, except when facing another amiibo of the same character. That also isn’t your fault, necessarily. The game programmers put a surprising amount of detail into amiibo AI (going so far as to specifiy specific data changes that each individual spirit in the game will have when applied to an amiibo), so you’re just stuck sometimes. You may have picked an amiibo that just isn’t very good and won’t be good, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with putting time into an amiibo to get as much as you absolutely can out of it.
That’s one of the useful things about doing inter-personal tournaments, actually. You may not be able to teach Greninja to be a good fighter, but somebody else could. Your fighting styles may not suit him well, but if somebody else thinks up a different way to play that character it could affect the amiibo in a positive way. When you use the tournament setting to put up your best amiibo against each other, we get a clearer view of what amiibo are truly capable of.
6. Do a bit of research!
The community has started to write down its discoveries, and that’s taking shape through a few resources. For starters, the Exion Vault (a sister site to the Amiibo Dojo) now hosts the Amiibo Wiki, a smattering of useful information on the specifics of amiibo training as well as information on some of the more prominent individual amiibo in the hobby. There’s also a handy guide on the wacky culture of the Exion Vault/Amiibo Dojo Discord server in the Community Wiki, and a page on myself, the Amiibo Doctor!
On top of that, you have available to you several training guides at the Amiibo Dojo, and more are being written sporadically. There will probably be more in the future. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for information in the #amiibo channel of the Discord server, and to ask for a link to the tournament spreadsheet that I’ve provided occasionally on this blog.
In addition to what you can find on the Amiibo Dojo and Exion Vault, there is the Amiibo Doctor website (obviously) and a plethora of footage available on Youtube. Most amiibo training channels can be found in the Social media accounts to follow page, but many of the channels out there aren’t actually competitive amiibo tournaments. More often than not, they’re all amiibo that one person trained, and don’t necessarily indicate the utility of that amiibo. I recommend starting with the Amiibo Doctor Youtube channel, Amiibrawl, and Exion Vault Youtube channels. These three make a good trifecta of amiibo tournament footage.
Now that you’ve advanced much further into amiibo competitions, you probably have some questions. Continue on to Amiibo Learning FAQ for New Trainers to have your basic questions answered, or head over to the Amiibo Dojo/Exion Vault Discord if your question isn’t addressed here.