Amiibo Training Guide: Donkey Kong (SSB4)

This king of the jungle is superstrong, a little scatterbrained, and absolutely nuts about bananas. His adventures usually start with people stealing his hoard of them. As his physique suggests, this Kong is a powerhouse, but he’s got speed to match too! His famous red necktie is adorned with his initials, DK.

Section 1: Character Overview

In the past, nobody paid much attention to Donkey Kong’s amiibo, writing him off as “hopeless” and “a waste of time”. Fortunately, a few dedicated trainers gave him a second chance and were able to discover his true potential, and this significantly expanded his position on the amiibo tier list. Donkey Kong’s biggest strength is actually his grab game – it bypasses Improved escapability, the most common bonus effect in the game, and serves as an excellent damage-racking tool. He has a great jab that can be used repeatedly to great effect, as well as a good set of tilts that perfectly mix power and speed. His smash attacks are among the most powerful in the game, dealing incredible damage with proper timing and spacing. Donkey Kong is also a heavyweight fighter, meaning his in-game resilience is higher relative to the rest of the cast.

Even with his many promising advantages, Donkey Kong isn’t without his flaws. Donkey Kong has a few odd AI tendencies. He has a bad habit of overusing his forward aerial and tends to use uncharged Giant Punch attacks at random. Donkey Kong’s smash attacks may be strong, but this power comes at a price – they’re very slow and leave DK vulnerable if he misses.

The Verdict

Donkey Kong has really come far since the beginning of the amiibo metagame: he used to be seen as a terrible character, but now he has his niche. He may have his fair share of disadvantages, but his pros definitely outweigh his cons.

Section 2: Recommended Equipment

Stats & Bonuses

For more information on equipment – including instructions on how to farm for custom parts – please read our amiibo equipment guide.

Most amiibo tournaments allow and encourage equipment. In fact, over ninety percent of competitions do – but if you’d prefer to forgo custom gear and leave your amiibo ‘vanilla’, you can skip this section. Otherwise, you will need to equip your amiibo with a viable setup of stats and bonuses. The following build has been extensively tested and proven effective:

+100 Attack / +100 Defense / -80 Speed


Custom Moves

  • Lightning Punch: This is a custom move version of Donkey Kong’s neutral special. It isn’t as powerful as the default, but is much faster. Donkey Kong’s amiibo likes to randomly use uncharged neutral specials – Lightning Punch’s enhanced speed will minimize the time he is left vulnerable.
  • Stubborn Headbutt: This custom move version is slower than the default, but deals more damage and has super armor. It can catch other amiibo off-guard, and is even capable of breaking a full shield in one hit!
  • Hot Slap: Hot Slap is a custom move version of Donkey Kong’s down special. It deals fire-based damage and comes out quicker. It shouldn’t necessarily be focused on during training, it’s a good idea to give DK this custom move in case he does decide to use it.

Once your amiibo’s stats, bonuses, and custom moves are refined and ready to go, your training will officially begin! If you encountered a problem while equipping your amiibo, feel free to join our Discord server to ask for help.

Section 3: Training Your Amiibo

Amiibo training is a very specific task, and for the best possible result, you will need to approach it with caution. You can’t just go all-out using combos and aerials: both are seen as “newbie tactics” by competitive trainers. Instead, you should remain grounded at all times, making sure to punish your amiibo for every aerial attack it uses against you. This is true regardless of whether or not your amiibo was fed equipment.

To help your amiibo properly utilize its moveset, you will mirror match it from Level 1 all the way to Level 50. Playing timed matches on Ω-form stages is highly recommended.

Training Tips (Equipment & Vanilla)

  • Neutral options: jab, up tilt, and grab. Donkey Kong’s jab is quite fast and can easily rack up damage on opponents with proper timing. You might notice during training that your DK only uses its cargo throw – this is a good thing, because it’s specifically its cargo throw that bypasses Improved escapability. When grabbing your amiibo, use a cargo down throw when close to the edge, and a cargo up throw when closer to the center of the stage.
  • Main KO moves: forward smash, up smash and down smash. Donkey Kong’s smash attacks are slow and can get him punished, but are immensely powerful when used at the right time. Forward smash is best used when an opponent is about a character-length away from DK, up smash is most effective as an aerial punish, and down smash hits on both sides and can catch opponents by surprise. Make sure that you only use these attacks as KO moves: they’re too slow to function as neutral options.
  • Moves to avoid: neutral special and down special. Although we did make a note to give your Donkey Kong amiibo these two custom moves, you should not use them during training. The reason we gave DK these moves is because he likes to randomly throw out attacks – and these two customs reduce the amount of time he is left vulnerable after using them.
  • Situational moves: Stubborn Headbutt. This move serves as an excellent shield-breaking move, but if an opponent dodges in time, Donkey Kong is left open to punishment.

When your amiibo finally reaches Level 50, its training will truly begin. Just like a real player, amiibo need match experience and practice against different characters. For more information on training your amiibo past Level 50, follow this link.

Section 4: Conclusion & Credits

File:SSB4-Wii U Congratulations Classic Donkey Kong.png

Thank you so much for reading! Although the guide may be coming to an end, your training most certainly isn’t: there’s always a way to make an amiibo stronger, and yours is no exception. If you need additional help, check out the Amiibo Mechanics & Metagame Guide. If you want to ask specific questions, you can also stop by our Discord server.

If your desire to read amiibo training guides and articles hasn’t been entirely fulfilled, there are more posts here that you might like. Amiibo Training Analysis analyzes a specific aspect of the metagame in great detail. Meanwhile, the official amiibo tier list ranks each amiibo’s potential. The FAQ is another good resource worth checking out. Alternatively, you can head back to the master list of guides for even more amiibo training methods!

Thanks to Blue for compiling Donkey Kong’s information. Images are courtesy of SmashWiki and the official Super Smash Bros. website.

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