It’s been a busy E3 for Nintendo: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was officially announced for Nintendo Switch, and it’s shaping up to be the largest, most polished entry yet. And we’re thanking our lucky stars that amiibo training is back and better than ever. Ultimate’s new mechanics and moveset updates will have several effects on the metagame: including two particular characters who we believe will be quickbanned. Let’s get started.
There’s a lot we don’t know about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s very likely that equipment, stat points, and bonus effects are a thing of the past – we’ve seen the character selection screen, and there’s no Custom Characters option in sight. If this is true, amiibo training becomes simpler and more accessible – that being said, it also pushes two particular characters to a new level: Marth and Lucina.
In the current metagame, Marth and Lucina are the best characters. Each can use their side specials, Dancing Blade, to rack up damage on opponents. The move comes out so fast that enemies don’t even have time to react – and in just a moment’s time, they can be brought within KO range. Furthermore, Marth and Lucina’s Counter moves can help turn the tide of battle in their favor.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s presentation revealed that Marth and Lucina’s Dancing Blade attacks are faster. This means that their damage-racking capabilities will be second to none, potentially leading to a quickban when the game releases. There’s no way to know for sure, but that’s what we’re speculating at this point in time.
Lack of Equipment
Now, on the subject of Ultimate removing equipment – this would change the metagame quite a bit. The amiibo game would lose an extra layer of strategy, but it’d be easier to understand and access for first-timers. Furthermore, Little Mac wouldn’t be broken, because there’d be no equipment to make him broken. And since all attacks would inflict less damage without equipment, aerials wouldn’t be quite as frowned upon in the new metagame. Although, if the AI is anything like it is in Smash 4, we should still generally be avoiding aerial moves.
Several mechanics have been changed or updated in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Most notably is the new perfect shield mechanic. In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, a perfect shield is performed by blocking at the right time. In Ultimate, it’s performed by releasing the block button at the right time – kind of like a parry. We’re not sure how well the AI will utilize this function, but if they utilize it well, defense could become even more important.
Another new mechanic is that repeatedly rolling lowers the invincibility frames of each roll. That is to say, rolling becomes less effective if performed continuously. You can’t teach your amiibo to dodge over and over again, or else it’ll tire itself out and get hit.
There’s also a new directional air dodge mechanic. This isn’t super relevant to amiibo, however, as most of the battles take place on the ground. However, if the AI learns to utilize these directional air dodges to improve their recovery, it could bring a boost to their viability.
Lastly, there are now Battlefield-form stages and Ω-form stages in addition to each stage’s default form. This means we’ll have to decide on a new standard stage format – but we’ll hold off on that decision until several weeks after the game’s release.
In addition to the aforementioned changes to Marth and Lucina’s movesets, there are several others we should account for as well. First, several characters have new or revised Final Smashes: Bowser, Donkey Kong, Little Mac, Sonic, and Pac-Man among them. In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, characters like Bowser who transformed for their Final Smash wouldn’t act any differently. Since Ultimate’s Final Smashes are direct and to-the-point, it means each fighter has a useful Final Smash. That being said, this is only relevant for tournaments that allow Smash Balls – they’re rare right now, but maybe they’ll become more common in the future.
As far as moveset changes go, we don’t know much else. But what we do know is quite interesting. First, Captain Falcon appears to have a new forward smash that functions as a sliding punch rather than an elbow attack. Kirby and Wario also have new dash attacks, while Pikachu and Rosalina have new neutral aerials. No doubt we’ll learn more about these updated movesets in the future – and we’ll have a post up explaining all of them.
Every character from past Super Smash Bros. installments is returning. Young Link functions similarly to Link, and appears to have an infinite jab. Wolf is back from Brawl and boasts a quick and powerful moveset. Pichu…well, let’s just say, Pichu’s probably not going to be a great amiibo. If you don’t know, Pichu’s electric attacks harm itself, so the amiibo will probably need three Auto-heal capability bonuses just to offset that damage. That is, if equipment is even in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Snake’s going to be an interesting amiibo as well, but his “viability” (which we really shouldn’t be talking about yet) depends on how well his AI performs. But what I’m really excited about is an Ice Climbers amiibo. I think they’re going to be difficult to train, but we could potentially see cool combos and tricks come from them. Their recovery might hold them back, though, and it’s impossible to tell how the amiibo will handle being separated from Nana.
Here’s a very interesting point. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate allows you to use your amiibo data from the Wii U and 3DS Smash games. So, then, since Pokémon Trainer is back, and Charizard is a part of his team…how is the Charizard amiibo going to work? Can that little chip really manage to effectively utilize three different movesets? In any case, it’s going to be three times as difficult to train the character. In fact, I’d venture to say that the amiibo would act the same (as in, use the same moves) as all three Pokémon, regardless of how effective the moves themselves are. We’ll see. Only time will tell.
Inkling and Ridley amiibo have been confirmed as well. However, we don’t know very much about their movesets, so all we can do is relish over the fact that we’re actually getting new Smash amiibo.
You’d better believe that we’re ready to write a new set of amiibo training guides for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! Our current guide archive is 100% accurate for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. After Ultimate’s release, we’ll create a second archive for Nintendo Switch amiibo training guides. I’m not going to lie – it’ll take some time to get these guides out. We want them to be fully accurate, and do not want to release false information at any point. Here’s the current plan: when Ultimate releases, use the Wii U and 3DS guides as a base for your training while we work on new versions. For new characters, such as the Ice Climbers, Ridley, and Inklings, we’ll roll out preliminary guides as soon as possible. I hope you are all patient with us as we work to release the new guides. Thanks a ton for your support – and I hope you’ll take a look at our training guides to prepare your amiibo for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!