There are a few factors that limit the potential of amiibo tournaments: one of the biggest issues, in my opinion, is the presence of Little Mac. Remembered by many to be “broken” in the early days of Smash 4, this character currently exerts a toxic influence on the amiibo metagame- one that discourages a lot of people from playing in it. Today, I’m going to explain to you all why Little Mac was removed from competitive play, and why he’s going to stay banned.
Reason #1: Little Mac requires barely any skill to train.
Forward smash and Counter. Those are the only two moves your Little Mac needs to learn to become strong. Because of this, many novice trainers like to enter this character in tourneys because they lack the skills needed to train other amiibo fighters. The problem is, the people who make this decision usually do good, despite their lack of experience.
The amiibo metagame’s Little Mac problem wouldn’t be as bad if he took time to train and refine, but that isn’t the case at all. You’d probably have no problem leveling him up to 50 and entering him in a tourney right away, with no post-Level 50 training whatsoever (which is essentially required for any other character’s success).
Reason #2: Little Mac’s attacks are strong enough to one-hit KO foes.
Most Little Mac amiibo seen in tournaments have their attack points maxed out to 200. Combined with the Critical hits bonus, one quick forward smash from Little Mac has the potential to inflict over 150%, which is generally enough to one-hit KO most characters.
Here’s a short video clip that helps describe what I’m trying to say here. I decided to put Mr. Dream, my Little Mac amiibo, in a match against Fartacus, my Wario amiibo. Wario starts off the game with a poorly-timed down aerial, and Little Mac proceeds to attack with a forward smash, which deals 195% and instantly KOs Wario. He respawns, only for his shield to be broken by another forward smash. Little Mac charges up, and unleashes another one-hit KO move that inflicted 229%. Tell me – does this sound fun to you? (Hint: it shouldn’t)
Reason #3: Little Mac dismantles defense by breaking shields in one hit.
It doesn’t matter how well your amiibo is trained to play defense (which is currently the best and most popular playstyle used by professional trainers) – eventually, Little Mac will break its shield. Remember how I said one of Little Mac’s uncharged forward smashes can deal around 150%? Yeah, well, imagine that same hit, but fully charged. It’s devastating, and a critical hit fully charged forward smash is enough to one-hit KO any fighter.
I’ve seen many games where Little Mac will break his opponent’s shield, one-hit KO them, only for the foe to respawn and have the same thing happen. He can close out 2-stock games in less than 30 seconds against the right enemy. This is one of the worst parts about Little Mac, and is what discourages people from entering tournaments that allow his entry.
Reason #4: Little Mac can’t be beaten with offense thanks to his Counter.
You might be thinking “okay, so if defensive amiibo have a disadvantage against Little Mac, what about offensive amiibo?”. Aggressive characters who are maxed out on offense do have a better chance of beating him than a defensive character, but a well-trained Little Mac (it’s very easy to train a good Little Mac, if you didn’t get that by now) will be able to use his Counter to one-hit KO opponents who have powerful attacks.
Reason #5: Little Mac’s smash attacks can’t be interrupted.
The game developers of Super Smash Bros. decided to add super armor to Little Mac’s smash attacks. Basically, that means that he can’t flinch while he uses a smash attack. If his opponent is somehow able to react fast enough to use a quick move, it won’t matter – Little Mac’s smash attack will still hit (and do devastating damage) thanks to its super armor.
This also makes it even harder to launch Little Mac off-stage, which is his only weakness. In fact, let’s talk about that one weakness now.
Reason #6: Little Mac’s only true weakness barely holds him back.
You probably know what this weakness is: his recovery. Little Mac’s special moves don’t do much to help him return to the stage, but this isn’t as big a problem as you might think. Like I said before, most tournament Little Mac run 200 points in attack, as well as 120 points defense. Between these two point concentrations, it’s nearly impossible to send Little Mac off-stage: he usually is the first one to deliver a move in games, because his most powerful move (forward smash) is also unreasonably fast. Opponents generally won’t have time to attack Little Mac because they’ll be too busy defending from his flurry of forward smashes. Eventually, Mac’s opponent will make a mistake – they’ll forget to block, or be caught in the air – and they’ll be killed.
And if Little Mac’s opponent does get a hit in? The 120 points defense absorb the damage like a sponge, and Little Mac will be able to get right back into action and deliver more forward smash attacks.
Reason #7: Little Mac kills creativity, and brings nothing to the metagame.
Imagine spending a whole month training an underrated amiibo fighter, such as Kirby or Toon Link. Pouring your heart and soul into their abilities, making sure that they’re as strong as can be. Making them defensive superstars who can block, dodge, and counterattack with perfect accuracy. Honing their skills, perfecting their playstyle, and creating a fighter to be proud of.
And then, on tournament day, some newbie trainer lacking true skill defeats you with a Little Mac that does nothing but forward smash all day. It’s a nasty feeling, and it’s happened to me and many other amiibo trainers.
This is why Little Mac was officially banned from the amiibo game. He’s a broken, overpowered character who carries unexperienced, overconfident amiibo trainers. His shield breaks, one-hit KO attacks, and counter moves don’t bring anything at all to this metagame except for frustration. Some people, me included, become discouraged from training amiibo due to the dominance of this character – why even try to train a unique fighter when it can be killed by a random Little Mac in less than 30 seconds? Why not just enter your own Little Mac at that point?
Winning is not what this metagame is about, and a lot of amiibo trainers have yet to realize that. What matters is being creative in your training, and bringing new and exciting methods to the table. I don’t want to play in a metagame where a character is essentially guaranteed to win. I don’t want to play a metagame where one character can invalidate a month of training in 30 seconds’ time. I want to have fun, enjoy the amiibo game, and connect with fellow trainers. At the end of the day, the amiibo metagame isn’t at its best when everything is left unbanned – it’s at its best when everyone can enjoy it, which was achieved in part by removing Little Mac’s toxic influence.