Since the reveal of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, dedicated fans have been analyzing every drop of gameplay, whether it be from Nintendo’s official E3 videos, the character trailers, or hand recorded footage. The data gathered has been used by people in the normal smash to be able to predict a certain character’s viability. However, considering that most footage is from an early build of the game, all of this could be subject to change. But that’s not going to stop us. However, there is not as much to data for things that specifically relate to amiibo, mostly AI. So let’s get the speculation started.
To start our group of speculative articles, why not start with The King of Evil himself, Ganondorf. He was a top tier amiibo in Super Smash Brothers for Wii U / 3DS, mostly due to his strong neutral game consisting of his forward tilt, command grab side-b that can naturally combo into his down tilt, and his amazing kill potential with forward smash and his absolutely insane up smash. However, the King of Evil was cursed with a poor recovery, but has been buffed by an increased jump height. Ganondorf has received quite a bit of change, most notably his aesthetics, changing to his Ocarina of Time look from his Twilight Princess look, and his smash attacks now using a sword, not dissimilar to that of the Space World 2000 tech demo for Melee. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Ganondorf had a set of really good smash attacks in Wii U/3DS that set him apart from the rest of the gang, and with major changes to his smash attacks coming in Ultimate he will likely stand out even more, or at least more from Captain Falcon.
- Up Smash: Up smash was Ganon’s best kill move for amiibo and humans alike, and the developers have somehow made it even better, as it now comes out faster, has more range, and covers his body, in a similar fashion to Ike’s. However, its ending lag has been increased. This makes it an even better kill move and an even better aerial punish.
- Forward Smash: While not as good as up smash, forward smash was still a reliable kill move, although it was easy to punish due to its large amount of ending lag. In Ultimate, Ganon’s forward smash is also similar to Ike’s. It now has increased range and deals more damage at the rare full charge. However, it comes at the cost of major lag increases on both startup and end. The amount of lag could put off use of this move and leave it only as a shield break punish when compared to up smash.
- Down Smash: Down smash was always a strange tool in Ganon’s kit. It had good power and two hits, that would occasionally link into each second. However, it had bad lag that could be punished if either hit missed and the first hit can’t consistently link into the second. In Ultimate, Ganondorf’s new down smash is now significantly buffed, as it has less ending lag and the hit box from the original down smash that would prevent the first hit to link into the second hit was removed. This move could see an increase in use as it is less punishable and can deal much more damage.
Jabs & Tilts
Ganondorf’s jab and tilts contributed to his status as one of the top amiibo, except for up tilt. Down and forward tilt had amazing knockback and damage and didn’t suffer from any major lag. However, up tilt was by far Ganon’s worst tilt, and one of the worst moves in the game. In Ultimate, Ganon’s tilts have received very little change.
- Forward and down tilts: These moves have no known change, and they most likely haven’t changed at all. These move will likely still be used for damage racking and killing.
- Up Tilt: Up tilt has been significantly buffed. It’s lag has been significantly reduced and is now faster than his neutral special, Warlock Punch. It has also been granted an increase in damage and knockback. These changes will significantly increase this moves utility. Before, this move was only used by pure accident, or if you weren’t seriously training, even though it could break shields if it landed. It’s lag was holding it back a very large amount. Even though this move still has a large amount of startup lag, iits now much better if its used on accident or very rarely.
- Jab: The only change that jab has received was the removal of its sourspot. Now its damage is more consistent, so its role will likely remain unchanged.
Ganondorf’s special attacks were really good at damaging and punishing. Warlock Punch could shatter shields and granted the user invincibility frames. Flame Choke went through shields and naturally comboed into down tilt. Wizard’s Foot also dealt good damage and provided a safe approach option. In a similar fashion to the tilts, not much has changed.
- Warlock Punch: Warlock punch only received a buff in damage and knockback. Although it’s slower than up tilt, the invincibility provided still gives it competition. Both moves can also shatter shields, so it will really be up to trainers to decide on which move is better.
- Flame Choke: Flame Choke also received some buffs. It has less ending lag, meaning that it can combo into other moves easier, but as to what is still yet to be discovered. Ganon will also no longer fly off the ledge when used on the ground. However, it has been reported that opponents can mash out of aerial Flame Choke, but whether or not they can mash out of grounded Flame Choke is yet to be seen. This move will have about the same level of usefulness, but that all depends on whether or not one can mash out of the grounded version.
- Wizard’s Foot: Ganon’s down special also received minor buffs. The sourspot located in the foot was moved to the leg, making the damage output much higher because the sweetspot will be much easier to land. This move’s utility also doesn’t change too much, but it will still be a great damage racking move.
- Dark Dive: Dark Dive has an increase in knockback. However, this change barely affects the amiibo metagame as it should only be used for recovery purposes. The only time this move lands is if the opponent is close enough to the ledge to get scraped by the hitbox.
What? Aerials in an article about amiibo? This is sacrilege. Now although aerials are generally frowned upon by the community, amiibo AI will still occasionally attempt to land them. The only notable thing to have changed in Ganon’s aerial kit that has anything to do with the metagame is a decrease in landing lag on all moves. However, most characters have had a similar buff.
Ganondorf was a top tier amiibo in Smash 4, and this status will likely remain the same, unless the AI somehow becomes absolutely terrible. His kit improves greatly by decreasing a lot of lag that left him vulnerable. Another buff was Ganon’s increased jump height, making his recovery even better. This means that Ganondorf’s opponents will have to tear through him and never let him get a move in, or else suffer the wrath of the King of Evil.