Welcome to the Ness training guide! Ness is our mascot and as such is always close to our hearts, so getting his guide complete was top priority. After we’ve gotten some semi-noteworthy results for him, we’ve decided it’s time we complete this guide!
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Ness has been significantly buffed compared to his appearance in Smash 4. For one, his mobility has been increased: he jumps higher, runs faster, and has a quicker air speed. His jab connects more reliably, his tilts deal more damage, and his up smash (which was one of the weakest smash attacks in Smash 4) is now a reliable KO move. Furthermore, PK Fire has less startup, less endlag, a larger hitbox, and increased damage.
However, despite these buffs, Ness is actually slightly weaker than he was in Smash 4. The updated air dodge mechanics hurt him, as he cannot air dodge incoming projectiles without leaving himself vulnerable. To add to this, Smash Ultimate’s improved AI now leaves the stage to intercept his recovery. Just one hit is all it takes to prevent Ness from returning to the stage. The aforementioned AI tends to grab less, and this extends to Ness, as well. This means the amiibo does not utilize its powerful back throw as often as it should.
Spirit Stats & Effects
Ness, like many others, is lumped into the “Armor Knight” category. He doesn’t have any other supremely good setups and Armor Knight is a nice generalist; when run with Move Speed Up, it’s downside on stage is completely negated, and only results in a slightly worse recovery.
Another potential setup is Instadrop and Impact Run. It’s a fun build centered around aerial moves. Instadrop turns its user’s fast fall into a weak attack that can combo into consecutive hits, while Impact Run allows Ness to combo into a forward aerial or up aerial at higher percentages. It certainly isn’t the most efficient setup for the character (as Ness may self-destruct using Instadrop off-stage), but it’s certainly one to consider.
Other options include PSI Attack ↑, Special-Move Power ↑, Air Attack ↑, Strong Throw, Toss & Meteor, Great Autoheal, and Easier Dodging. In Smash Ultimate, power enhancement bonuses only bring about a ten percent increase, so these effects can be mixed and matched interchangeably. Even so, Armor Knight & Move Speed is likely Ness’ optimal setup.
Many of Ness’ best moves in Smash 4 have become weaker or non-viable altogether. Smash Ultimate changed a lot about Ness, and we’re going to take a look at each of his moves right now.
- Neutral attack: A three-hit jab. Inflicts weak damage, but has fast startup. It’s best used at point blank to keep the opponent at bay, but isn’t a move to heavily prioritize.
- Forward tilt: A quick kick that can be angled up or down. Its startup is slow for an attack of its range. Best used when the opponent is about a character length away.
- Up tilt: Much more useful than in Smash 4. It can be used as a kill move at high percentages, but its main draw is that it can combo into an up aerial. Definitely an attack to use frequently.
- Down tilt: Unlike in the previous title, it no longer trips enemies. Its hitbox is very small, and because amiibo jump fairly often, it rarely connects. Do not prioritize this move.
- Dash attack: Three bursts of PSI are fired at an opponent. It’s kind of situational and leaves Ness vulnerable if he misses the attack. Use it every once in a while if desired; otherwise, avoid this move for the most part.
- Forward smash (Batter Up!): A slow bat swing that can reflect projectiles. It’s difficult to hit an opponent caught in PK Fire with forward smash due to its launch angle, leaving the move mostly outclassed by faster options. Its main use is to reflect projectiles, which the amiibo knows to do fresh out of the box.
- Up smash (Around the World): A quick get-off-me move that can be used out of shield. Its power has been ramped up from Smash 4, and now serves as a viable kill move at higher percentages. One of Ness’ recommended finishers.
- Down smash (Walk the Dog): A yo-yo attack that covers both sides. Do not use its charging hitbox, even at the ledge. As mentioned before, the amiibo will learn to overcharge its smashes. Otherwise, down smash is a recommended kill move and neutral option.
- Neutral aerial: A diagonal spin with solid range and power. Best used out of a short hop.
- Forward aerial: Hits multiple times. A down throw can lead to a string of forward aerials depending on how the opponent adjusts their launch angle.
- Back aerial: A fast, powerful move that comes as a recommended kill option. Even out of a short hop, it can KO at very realistic percentages.
- Up aerial: Strikes multiple times with good kill power to boot. An up tilt can link into an up aerial. Great combo for a Ness amiibo to learn.
- Down aerial: Mostly useless. Ness should not be going off-stage in any capacity, making its meteor smash capabilities pointless. Avoid down aerial during training.
- Throws: Ness’ forward and back throws are the main two to focus on; his back throw is extremely powerful as a kill move and should be taught at high priority. His forward throw should only be used to get the opponent off stage or kill at extremely high percents. His up throw is not that great and his down throw, while a combo starter, is not a good habit to teach.
- Neutral Special(PK Flash): It has been nerfed from Smash 4, and is now 100% useless. Do not use PK Flash at all during training. When the amiibo inevitably uses it uncharged, be sure to move in and punish without getting hit.
- Side Special(PK Fire): Ness’ best damage-racking tool. It can link into itself, an up smash, an up tilt, or a grab. It has less ending lag in the air and can be used at the edge to catch opponents who recover high. Spam PK Fire to no end and the amiibo will immediately become stronger.
- Up Special (PK Thunder): Unlike in Smash 4, Ness’ AI no longer uses PK Thunder 2 as an on-stage attack. Instead, it will chase opponents with the ball of electricity. When the amiibo is off-stage, hit it with PK Thunder. Do not hit the amiibo if it is in freefall; let it be KO’d.
- Down Special (PSI Magnet): Ness’ amiibo knows how to use this move already. There is no need to teach its functionality. Only use it to absorb the amiibo’s projectiles and restore health during training.
If you would like to read more guides, follow this link to return to the master list.