Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Updates: Week of August 20

Welcome! To help fill the gap to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s release, we’re going to be starting a new series of posts here at the Amiibo Dojo: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Updates. As the name implies, every week, we’re going to look at confirmed parts of the game and how they might affect amiibo training. The series will only talk about elements that have been confirmed – so none of this is speculation. Without further ado, let’s kick off our first entry.

Gameplay Mechanics

First, we’ll take an in-depth look at changed and updated gameplay mechanics. Thanks to SmashWiki, we have a credible list of them – and we’re going to start from the very beginning of that list.

In one-on-one fights with items turned off, the damage of attacks is increased by 20%.

Here’s an interesting one – to increase the speed of gameplay, the damage of all attacks is increased by about 20% in versus matches. At the time of writing, we still don’t know if equipment is in the game. If my theory is correct, and equipment is gone, then this damage boost is a welcome change. In Smash 4, matches between characters were long and boring without equipment involved. This mechanic update will help vanilla matches play out faster. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be more entertaining, even?

In terms of raw damage, short hop aerial attacks are 15% weaker.

In Smash 4, aerials were the number one way to lose an amiibo tournament. Some characters’ AIs were jumpier than others, however – this resulted in random short hop aerials that could cost the amiibo a stock. Short hop aerial moves are now weaker, which will help discourage amiibo from jumping around and leaving themselves vulnerable. In other words, it’ll make our training just a bit easier.

Rage has been toned down and isn’t noticeable until 120%.

Here’s yet another welcome change. If you don’t know what rage is: the more damage a character takes, the more knockback their attacks receive, up to a maximum extra boost of 15%. As you may know, Smash 4 amiibo are given an automatic boost to their Defense (whether this applies in Ultimate has yet to be determined). This allowed them to survive for much longer than usual; as a result, heavy fighters like Bowser and Ganondorf massively benefited from rage, whereas lighter characters such as Kirby and Pikachu were often KOed before they could apply it to their play. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, rage has been toned down, so heavyweights don’t have the distinct advantage they did in the previous title.

Launch speed has been significantly increased and now stops faster.

This is a more controversial change. When a fighter is launched, the speed at which they are launched has been massively increased. Have you ever punched a balloon? It reels back instantly and then stops. That’s kind of how this knockback works. As far as amiibo go, it’s not going to change much. That being said, it’ll make matches go by faster, and fighters won’t be airborne for as long as they were in Smash 4.

Perfect shields are now performed in reverse.

Here’s a big change. In Smash 4, pressing the shield button right before an attack hit resulted in a perfect shield. They were a pivotal point in amiibo play, often deciding the final stock of each game. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the shield button must be pressed and released just as an attack hits, which makes the maneuver much riskier. However, a successful perfect shield gives its user more time to attack. We don’t know if amiibo are going to be good at this. Even so, let’s remember that amiibo in Smash 4 could react in 1 frame. That means it’s pretty likely that amiibo will pick up on this change relatively quickly. Don’t worry about resetting your amiibo to deal with this change; the base AI will change to reflect this. Each character’s base AI is stored within the game itself, not the amiibo. So keep training to prepare for Ultimate!

 The Final Smash Meter is now available.

As a nod to traditional fighting games, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate introduces the Final Smash Meter. As you might expect, characters can build up power by taking damage. With enough stored energy, they can unleash a weaker version of their Final Smash. This sounds like a fun addition to amiibo tournaments that can give low-tier amiibo a boost in their play. Before we decide on its legality, we have to make sure Marth and Bowser’s Final Smashes (among others) aren’t significantly stronger than the others’. Marth’s Final Smash, Critical Hit, was a one-hit KO in Smash 4, while Bowser’s new Final Smash appears to one-shot its victims as well.

Air dodges can only be performed once in midair, and can be used to support recovery.

In Smash 4, amiibo weren’t the best at air dodging, and, when airborne, were often caught by up smashes. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate mixes things up by re-introducing a directional air dodge that can only be used once before landing or being attacked. Since air dodges can’t be spammed, this makes an amiibo’s aerial defense more important. It also aids fighters with poor recoveries, including Little Mac, Dr. Mario, and Chrom.

Every kind of attack can be performed out of a dash.

Previously, only an up smash or dash attack could be used during a dash. In Ultimate, any attack can be used. This includes jabs, tilts, other smash attacks, and special moves. It’s tough to predict how amiibo will take advantage of this, or if they’ll take advantage of it at all. Regardless, it’s certainly a concept to look into once the game releases this December.

Tether grabs are faster and regular grabs are slower.

Good news for trainers of Lucas, Samus, Dark Samus, and others – their tether grabs are much faster and safer to use in a neutral situation. However, standard grabs are a bit slower, and leave fighters vulnerable if they miss. You’ll need to be careful with your grabs – although, most combos are dead anyway, so they aren’t as useful in the first place.

There are a lot of changes to look forward to in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. There’s no doubt that they’ll shake up the amiibo metagame. There’s a lot more that we don’t know, too: and you can be sure that we’ll be reporting on it. Next week, we’re going to be looking at buffs and nerfs to specific characters. We already covered Ganondorf, so he won’t be included. If you want to read all about his confirmed changes, you can do so here. Until next time – happy training!


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