Character Guide: Duck Hunt

Table of Contents

  • Section 1: Guide Introduction
  • Section 2: Amiibo Overview / Pros & Cons
  • Section 3: Recommended Equipment
  • Section 4: Leveling up your Amiibo
  • Section 5: Post Level-50 Training
  • Section 6: Conclusion & Credits


File:SSB4 Newcomer Introduction Duck Hunt.jpg

Welcome to Amiibo Dojo’s Duck Hunt training guide!

To start off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this guide – your support is very much appreciated.

These two were the stars of the NES launch title Duck Hunt, way back in 1985. This goofy dog would chase down any ducks hit by the Zapper accessory, but wasn’t shy about laughing at missed shots. In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, these two work as a team to fight. Quack! Bark? Both!

A select few characters rule this metagame: Bowser, Ganondorf, and Little Mac are the most notable examples. If you take a closer look at these fighters and their capabilities, you’ll realize that they mostly rely on a “gimmick” to win matches: Bowser and Ganondorf both possess powerful command grabs that allow them to rack up free damage, while Little Mac can take out full shields in one hit. Compared to characters like these, Duck Hunt is sort of outclassed. They don’t have any fancy gimmicks to rely on, and instead must be trained very carefully in order to succeed. Let’s kick off this guide by outlining Duck Hunt’s in-game abilities – their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies, so that you know what to look for during training!

Please note: Although all of the information in this guide is 100% accurate, it may be revised in the future if there are further game updates to Super Smash Bros.


Amiibo Overview

duckhuntprocon.PNGDuck Hunt is an average fighter, possessing no grand advantages, but no true flaws, either. Their smash attacks hit multiple times, and can even break shields under the right circumstances, but are lacking in the power department. Duck Hunt’s special moves (which are all projectiles, save for up special) are quite good, too, the most notable of which being their neutral special, Trick Shot. It summons a metal can straight from Hogan’s Alley, which the duo can kick around by pressing the button. The amiibo’s AI is absolutely incredible with this move, and can control it even when focused on something else (such as dodging, jumping, or even using a different attack). The remaining projectiles, Clay Shooting and Wild Gunmen, can put pressure on foes and even force them to jump. Finally, Duck Hunt’s recovery is safe and provides acceptable vertical and horizontal movement, but if the duo are knocked too far away from the stage, they may not be able to successfully recover.

As mentioned before, Duck Hunt is not horribly flawed, but they do suffer from a slew of minor issues that hold them back from greatness. None of their throws are very powerful, which limits the usefulness of their grab, and their smash attacks and special move have a bit of ending lag to them. Duck Hunt’s AI also has a few little flaws that slightly reduce the character’s effectiveness: it is known to overuse its aerials, and will sometimes summon or kick its can at inappropriate times.

The Consensus

I won’t sugarcoat it: Duck Hunt requires effort to train, which might be why they’re so seldom seen in tournaments. The key is to teach them to play defense, and establish a balance between ranged and up-close attacks. It’ll take some time, as long as you’re patient and have a desire to win, you’ll do just fine.


Duck Hunt – Recommended Stats & Bonuses

Now that I’ve given you a general outline of Duck Hunt’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to begin the training process by setting them up with equipment! When feeding your amiibo, it’s important that you know what you’re doing – if you carelessly slap random stats and bonuses onto your amiibo, it’s not going to work very well. That being said, feeding an amiibo can be kind of complicated to someone who hasn’t done it before – that’s why this section is dedicated to telling you how to properly equip your amiibo. Here’s my recommended setup for Duck Hunt:

Point Distribution: +90 Attack / +80 Defense / -50 Speed

As mentioned before, many of Duck Hunt’s attacks lack the power they need. This setup sacrifices a bit of speed (which hardly affects their recovery, don’t worry) in exchange for some extra firepower and defense. 

Bonus Combination:

  • Critical-hit capability
  • Explosive perfect shield
  • Improved escapability

Dubbed the “Rock-Paper-Scissors” setup, this is the best and most popular bonus combination. This is because the three bonuses here work together to create a well-rounded fighter with enhanced abilities. The centerpiece here is Explosive perfect shield, which allows your amiibo to damage opponents just by blocking! This capability will encourage your Duck Hunt to use their shield more often, which is a good thing. Eventually, though, opposing amiibo will take note of how often Duck Hunt is blocking, and go for grabs instead of direct attacks. That’s where Improved escapability comes in – with this bonus equipped, your amiibo will be able to escape from grabs almost instantly! Critical-hit capability rounds out the set, giving all of your amiibo’s attacks a 20% chance of dealing three times as much damage as usual! 

If you would like to see some other bonus combinations that work well with Duck Hunt, check out this post, which goes over several equipment setups you can use on your amiibo.

Duck Hunt – Recommended Custom Moves

Duck Hunt has a unique set of custom moves that can give them brand-new options. Even so, not all of them are good trade-offs: a few of their custom moves are flat-out inferior to their originals. To a new trainer (or one unfamiliar with the character), it can be tough to decide which versions to use, so I’m going to list each special move, and which choice will work best for your amiibo.

Neutral special (Trick Shot): Trick Shot

  • In addition to Trick Shot, the default version of the move, there’s also High-Explosive Shot and Zigzag Shot. The former kicks the can only once upon initial activation, but has greater distance and speed, and can’t be controlled – if the button is pressed again, the can will immediately explode. The latter, hence its name, kicks the can in a zigzag pattern, at the cost of damage. Of the three, your best option is the default Trick Shot – the amiibo doesn’t use its custom neutral specials very well, and will do just fine with the regular version.

Side special (Clay Shooting): Clay Shooting

  • There are two custom versions of this move: Rising Clay and Clay Break. The former rises into the air slowly and doesn’t explode, but deals more damage as it travels farther. The latter can be shot at three times with varying accuracy (meaning it won’t always hit), but is much stronger than the default. Your best bet here is the regular old Clay Shooting, as it is the most balanced and useful of the three.

Up special (Duck Jump): Duck Jump

  • Along with the default Duck Jump, we also have Duck Jump Snag and Super Duck Jump. The first one, Duck Jump Snag, deals damage and can even gimp opponents, but has reduced vertical and horizontal distance. Super Duck Jump takes longer to activate, and has less horizontal recovery potential, but goes really high. The best choice is the default Duck Jump; it balances horizontal and vertical recovery and is the most consistent option.

Down special (Wild Gunman): Mega Gunman

  • In addition to Wild Gunman, the default version of the move, there’s also Quick Draw Aces and Mega Gunman. The first is faster and more powerful, but has less range. The latter, Mega Gunman, is the opposite – it takes each summoned gunman quite a while before they shoot at the enemy, but each one is big and can act as a shield of sorts. The best option here is Mega Gunman, as it can help improve Duck Hunt’s defensive capabilities.

If you find that you are missing a piece of equipment or custom move that you want to use on your amiibo, do not fear! I have a free equipment farming guide that you can check out by clicking here.


Now that you know all of your options, it’s time to start feeding your amiibo equipment! Please be aware that, for this part, I’m assuming that you’re going with my recommendations for stats and bonuses. Once you’re ready to begin, open the game, navigate to Games & More, and then to the amiibo section. Scan in your Duck Hunt amiibo, and you’ll see a status screen that details their stats and bonus effects.

There are a few things I want to mention before we continue. First, don’t worry about your amiibo’s current level. If it has already been trained, don’t reset it just to use this guide. Like an old dog can learn new tricks, an amiibo is more than capable of adapting to newly added or changed equipment. It doesn’t matter what level your amiibo is at – the feeding method I’m about to explain will work just fine.

Step 1: Equipping Bonus Effects

The first thing we’re going to do is give your amiibo its three bonus effects. Click the “Feed Equipment” option from the menu, and sort your equipment stash alphabetically. You’re going to be searching for three specific “prefixes” on your equipment pieces: “Critical Hitter”, “Escape Artist”, and “Shield Exploder”. You can look at the image above for a visual example. If you realize you don’t have one of these bonuses, leave one of the slots blank, and you can feed your Duck Hunt the missing bonus later (if you want, you can always check out the equipment farming guide).

Step 2: Rounding Out Stat Values

For many people, this is the most difficult step: rounding out your amiibo’s points. The goal is to give your amiibo 90 points attack, 80 points defense, and -50 points speed. Don’t worry if you end up with, say, 92 points attack, 84 points defense, and -56 points speed. We’re aiming for a ballpark range here.

If you don’t know this already, each piece of equipment has a different color: orange, blue, or green. Orange pieces will increase an amiibo’s attack power, but decrease its defense. Blue pieces will increase its defense, but lower its speed. A green piece will increase its speed, but lower its strength.

Step 3: When Your Amiibo Gets Full

At some point as you feed your amiibo, it’ll become full and won’t be able to eat any more equipment. Normally, you’d have to battle your amiibo to continue the feeding process, but luckily, there’s an exploit of sorts that was brought to light by Amiibo Trainer. If you take your full amiibo into a 1-stock match and immediately run off the stage and KO yourself when the game begins, you’ll be able to feed it again once the match ends. Now, as you may know, an amiibo can’t learn to KO itself – and since that’s the only thing you’re doing in this kind of match, your amiibo learns nothing. It has no effect on its tendencies, no matter how many times you repeat it.

Why is this trick relevant, you ask? Well, when your amiibo does become full (it’ll happen eventually), you probably won’t yet be done adjusting its points. If you were to play a legitimate match with your amiibo at this point, it would start to adapt to its new spread, only for it to be changed again the next round. That’s why we KO ourselves – the match will have ended too quickly for your amiibo to adapt. Oh, and it saves time, so there’s that too.

Completing the Feeding Process

Once your amiibo is all set with its points, bonuses, and custom moves, you’ll be ready to begin your training (or continue it, if your amiibo is already Level 50!) If you run into a problem of some sort that you can’t resolve, I can help you out! Don’t be shy: you can send an email to anytime explaining your issue, and I’ll give you personal advice to correct it. Emailing me is free, and I don’t get annoyed by repeated messages, so you don’t need to worry about that.


Note: If your Duck Hunt amiibo is already Level 50, and you want to further improve their abilities, please skip to Section 5. If your amiibo is not yet Level 50, keep reading this section!

Raising your Amiibo to Level 50

Raising an amiibo to Level 50 is simple in concept, but in practice, it takes a lot of time and perseverance. You will be mirror matching your amiibo until its level maxes out. A “mirror match”, also known as a “ditto”, is when you play as the character that is your amiibo – in this case, you’ll be playing as Duck Hunt. I recommend playing timed matches (3 to 5 minutes will do) on Ω-form stages only.

I want to be as specific as possible in this section so that you know exactly what steps to take here – to help you out, I’ve put together a big list of tips you can use to maximize your amiibo’s potential.

Amiibo Training Tips (Defensive)

As I said before, you should be mirror matching your amiibo all the way to Level 50. I’ve talked about defense a lot in this guide, but you might not know how to properly play defensively. This list of tips will help you – as long as you’re faithful to them, your amiibo will start off strong. 

  • Do not jump or use aerials. I say this very often, but it utterly confuses some people. Many amiibo trainers have aerial attacks incorporated into their playstyles, and can’t understand why they shouldn’t be used. Simply put, in a metagame where shields can do damage, aerials are too big a risk to take. As many tournaments have shown, amiibo who rely on air attacks leave themselves vulnerable, which leads to their demise. If you disagree, and need further convincing, head over to this post.
  • Play defensively. Like I said, a Level 50 amiibo can react within 1/60th of a second (which is one frame). Why throw out attacks when you can just shield instead? In fact, if you followed my equipment recommendation and gave your amiibo Explosive perfect shield, all it needs to do is use its shield. If you can, try to perfect shield your amiibo’s attacks (equip yourself with Easy perfect shield and/or use slow motion settings if necessary) and immediately counterattack with forward smash after the block. This is an important concept that often decides which amiibo emerges victorious.Want more information on why defense is the most effective playstyle? Click here.
  • Don’t make any attempt to combo. At the end of the day, amiibo are beefed up CPU characters. As trainers, we can teach our amiibo a general philosophy to play by – we can’t necessarily teach them to string certain moves together. Additionally, amiibo will not use combos that aren’t coded into their AI (for example, Ness is programmed to use down throw to forward aerial), so even if you do successfully land sweet 10-move combos, your amiibo likely will not learn to do the same. You’re better off focusing on attacking with powerful moves instead of linking several weak attacks.

Amiibo Training Tips (Character-Specific)

In addition to the aforementioned defensive tips, you should be playing be the following ones as well. They’re all about moves, habits, and tendencies that work best for Duck Hunt, and are specific to them as a character.

  • Rely on smash attacks to rack up damage and KO. With Duck Hunt, your go-to move should be their forward smash. It hits multiple times, and is very difficult to perfect shield. Unfortunately, all of their smash attacks hit at random angles and sometimes won’t properly connect, making them somewhat unreliable. Even so, try to get your amiibo to use its forward smash as an out of shield attack.
  • Don’t use projectiles up close – attack your amiibo with them from afar. Duck Hunt’s best close-ranged options are defense and their smash attacks, so when you’re standing right next to your amiibo, don’t throw a projectile – your amiibo could pick up this habit and get punished big time by a powerful opponent. Only use Clay Shooting when your Duck Hunt is far away or is starting to flee from you.
  • Try to keep a Trick Shot can and a Gunman on the field at all times. Duck Hunt can control the stage if they have hazards up. Again, as I just said, don’t use these moves when you’re right next to your amiibo, use them from a distance. Don’t worry about teaching your Duck Hunt to become a pro with its can, it’ll develop this skill on its own.
  • Teach your amiibo to gimp with Trick Shot. Duck Hunt’s can isn’t only good for catching enemies off-guard: if used properly, it can gimp them, too! The attack can even be controlled, which can gimp opponents from far away instead of right at the edge – that’s something not many amiibo characters can do.
  • When grabbing your amiibo, throw towards the ledge. This means you’ll only ever have to use forward and back throws. Duck Hunt’s throws aren’t very strong, but this’ll at least help to rack up damage.

If you started reading this guide with a Level 1 amiibo, it will take some time for it to reach Level 50. If your amiibo started anywhere in between, it shouldn’t take too long depending on how much it was trained prior to this guide. As long as you play by these tips, you will be creating a strong foundation for your amiibo to build on. Keep in mind that you can refer back to this list at any time.

When your Duck Hunt amiibo does reach Level 50, don’t think your training is done. In fact, it will have just begun. When you are finished leveling up your amiibo, we will move onto the most important section in the guide – honing your Level 50 amiibo’s skills and turning it into a true champion!


Post-Level 50 Training

Your Duck Hunt amiibo should now be Level 50, meaning your journey has officially just begun! You see, you can’t take a fresh Level 50 amiibo, enter it into a tournament, and expect it to do well – just like a real player, your amiibo needs additional practice and match experience in order to truly become strong. Here are some tips, tricks, and training methods you can use to further enhance your amiibo’s abilities:

Your Amiibo’s Match Experience

One of the most important things your amiibo needs to succeed is match experience. It needs to know how to handle certain characters, attacks, and mechanics – some examples are Little Mac’s effortless shield breakers, Bowser’s infamous Flying Slam attack, and Lucario’s aura skill. If you have other amiibo, train them up with my guides and have them all fight each other in 1v1 matches. You will want to expose your amiibo to as many other amiibo as you can.

I also have a detailed and in-depth article on your amiibo’s match experience. It talks about the characters you need to prepare for, and the skills your amiibo can learn to overcome any fighter. Follow this link (ha, get it? Since we’re training Link?) if you are interested in reading more!

Defensive Practice

It’s also important for your amiibo to play defense, and my defensive training session outline will help it do just that. It only takes a few minutes, and can be used multiple times in a row to great effect.

As your amiibo plays matches against other amiibo, its defensive capability will wear down over time. To keep your amiibo “fresh” and at its best, repeat the defensive training session as needed.

Amiibo Trainer’s Guides

Along with the Amiibo Dojo, Amiibo Trainer is one of the main amiibo training sites. They have some very helpful training guides (and a long-running podcast, too) that I recommend you use in conjunction with the ones I have here.

First is the Amiibo 15, a 15-minute training session that hundreds of amiibo trainers around the globe have used. Its concept and goal are similar to my defensive training session that I mentioned earlier, and is another great option for quickly improving your amiibo.

And then we have Amiibo Trainer’s monthly guide series. Each month, a new training guide is released that talks about a specific bonus combination you can use on your amiibo, and training sessions that will maximize your amiibo’s use of its three bonus effects. I use these guides as a supplement to my own methods, and I think you should, too.

Going Forward

The road to amiibo superstardom is long and hard, and it isn’t as simple as this guide might suggest. At some point, your amiibo might develop a bad habit. Or maybe you’ll become stumped on what to do next. It doesn’t matter what problem you run into – I’m here to help. If you have any questions regarding amiibo training or the site, you can send an email to If you don’t like sending emails, you can also fill out the Amiibo Dojo contact form or shoot me a message on Reddit or Twitter.


File:SSB4-Wii U Congratulations Classic Duck Hunt.png


Thanks so much for sticking with me to the end! Like the vast starscape of outer space, amiibo training is endless – there’s always a way forward, even if you can’t see it. You’re never truly “done” training. Again, if you run into any roadblocks along the way, I’m here to help you. You can easily ask me a question by filling out the contact form, sending an email to, or getting in touch on Reddit or Twitter.

If your desire to read amiibo training guides and articles hasn’t been entirely fulfilled, there are some more posts I think you might like. The official amiibo tier list ranks every amiibo’s overall capabilities, and you might learn something new if you take a look at it. The FAQ and the Amiibo Dojo forums are other good resources that are worth checking out. Alternatively, you can head to my master list of guides for even more amiibo training methods!


I need to give a huge shout-out to Nickural over at the forums, who did most of the research and note-taking on this character. It was a huge help, and I really appreciate it! Just a few more people to credit, and we’ll be all set! Thanks for reading!


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