Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is fast approaching, and as you might have guessed, we’re busy behind-the-scenes working out potential rulesets and tournament guidelines. Of course, no matter what we come up with now, they’ll be changed as the metagame develops. So, then, you may be wondering: how will online amiibo tournaments be hosted in Ultimate? Well, here’s the answer: the same way as in Smash 4. But there’s a bit more to it than that: what if Nintendo adds official online amiibo support? How would that shake things up?
Although the game is less than two months away (at the time of writing, at least), there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. Nintendo could throw us a bone and add official online amiibo functionality, but that seems unlikely. Let’s say they do add such a feature. From my point of view, there are two ways they could go about it. The first and most likely option is that players will be able to connect to an online lobby. From there, they could either battle against friends or tap their amiibo. Unfortunately, if this is the case, tournaments are going to be extremely difficult. In Smash 4, the Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield bonuses were overcentralizing and (arguably) overpowered, and were banned as a result. If Ultimate allows amiibo to be scanned in online lobbies, it would be impossible to check their stats and bonus effects (assuming they’re still in Ultimate, which we also are unsure of) to ensure their legality. Furthermore, we’d have to schedule a time when everybody could connect to the online lobby and scan their amiibo. If this somehow winds up happening, we’re likely going to continue hosting tournaments with NFC backups and Power Tags. More info on that here.
The second (and best-case scenario) option is that Nintendo enables players to send a copy of their amiibo to users online. Think of it as sending replays and screenshots (which you can already do in Smash 4), except with amiibo instead. We could then use these entries in our own games and host tournaments without the need for external editing devices. As great as it would be, it’s extremely unlikely. Amiibo training isn’t the most popular subset of the Smash community, and it’s certainly not high on Nintendo’s list of priorities. In fact, we’re fortunate amiibo training is coming back at all.
In terms of character viability, there’s a few changes we know for sure at this point in time. Ness and Kirby will enjoy significant buffs; Bowser and Pac-Man will become just a bit stronger, and Marth and Lucina will be slightly nerfed. These changes apply to amiibo, by the way – what’s considered a buff for a character in the amiibo metagame may not line up with the competitive Smash scene.
At any rate, the game will be here before we know it. It still seems far off, but time flies. In the meantime, we’ll continue working behind-the-scenes to prepare for the big day. Be sure to keep an eye on the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate countdown here on the site. While you’re at it, keep an eye out for new posts and guides as well! If you want to prepare your amiibo for Ultimate, check out our Smash 4 training guides. Most characters’ data should transfer over just fine. Be wary of Link, Charizard, Ganondorf, and Palutena – whose transitions may be a bit rockier than the rest of the cast’s.