Welcome to the first-ever preliminary Super Smash Bros. Ultimate amiibo training guide! As you might expect, we’re starting with Ness, who is often seen as the mascot of the Amiibo Dojo. A lot has changed in this new chapter of amiibo training, and Ness was affected by these changes in a big way. Let’s take a look at the buffs and nerfs this character has received, and how to take Ultimate’s overhauled AI into account when training him.
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.
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: In the previous title, neutral attacks (also known as jabs) were much stronger. Luigi, Charizard, and Link were strong because they had good jabs. Even though Ness’ jab now links together more reliably, it isn’t a move to focus on. The game has changed.
- Forward tilt: Just like neutral attacks, tilts were something special in Smash 4. But amiibo don’t like to sit still anymore, so you won’t have much of a chance to successfully connect forward tilt against yours. Not something to rely on.
- Up tilt: It was useless in Smash 4, but not anymore! When playing on Battlefield form stages, utilizing a simple up tilt to up aerial combo every once in a while might be a good idea. On Ω-form stages, not reso much.
- Down tilt: Ness rarely uses this in Ultimate. Not much of a point to it.
- Forward smash: It’s a lot more useful than it was in Smash 4. Use it as a kill move every so often, and try to hit with the tip of the bat. If spaced correctly, it can catch your amiibo’s landing, especially if it had air dodged.
- Up smash: Much improved from the previous game. It’s now a reliable KO move, and should be your go-to. It works out of shield, it can catch rolls, and it’s a solid aerial punish. Definitely an attack to focus on.
- Down smash: A situational move that can punish rolls. When your amiibo is recovering, stand at the edge and face away from it. Then charge a down smash. It’s got a charging hitbox now that can intercept opponents.
- Neutral aerial: It’s still best to avoid aerials, but this can be used every once in a while. Only use aerials if your amiibo is in the air, and even then, do them infrequently.
- Forward aerial: It doesn’t combo out of a down throw anymore, so forward aerial generally isn’t very useful.
- Up aerial: It’s no longer the “forehead of justice” from Smash 4, but it hits multiple times and is surprisingly powerful. Use it infrequently when your amiibo is standing on a platform on a Battlefield-form stage.
- Down aerial: Ness amiibo will actually try to gimp their opponents. Even though aerials aren’t the greatest option, a well-timed down aerial can actually close a stock very quickly. That being said, don’t go crazy. Remember that off-stage play is very dangerous to Ness because of his exploitable recovery. Only use down aerials off-stage, and only use them every once in a while.
- Forward throw: Not all that useful, but it’s a good idea to use a forward throw to send your amiibo towards the nearest edge.
- Back throw: Still as strong as ever. Focus on this as a kill move, but keep in mind that amiibo don’t grab as often as they used to.
- Up throw: Pretty much useless. Don’t worry about this one.
- Down throw: Sadly, this is pretty much useless too. It doesn’t combo into much and is outclassed by back throw. Also, don’t pummel when grabbing.
- PK Flash: Useless. Yes, it’s a shame, but PK Flash isn’t as strong as in Smash 4. Ness will now use uncharged PK Flashes at random, so if you use this move to edgeguard, it will encourage him to use the attack at random, which we do not want. Avoid PK Flash.
- PK Fire: Kind of better than in Smash 4. It’s stronger, has less startup, and less endlag, but Ness himself is pushed backwards when he uses it. This makes PK Fire chains more difficult to pull off. PK Fire is still your go-to neutral option, but this time around, only use two or three in a row at maximum. Then close in and use an up smash or grab. Keep in mind that the opponent might “float” a bit if they get hit by PK Fire at high percentages, which means they won’t be in range of a grab. That’s why PK Fire into up smash is generally the most reliable combo.
- PK Thunder: Heavily nerfed from Smash 4. Ness will never, ever fire himself with PK Thunder 2 in this game. Only by accident. Instead, he uses the ball of electricity to chase opponents, which sometimes does more harm than good. He will occasionally “save” an opponent in freefall by hitting them with PK Thunder and allowing them to return to the stage.
- PSI Magnet: It now has a hitbox, but otherwise should be used the same as it was in Smash 4: to absorb energy-based projectiles and nothing else. Also, Ness can learn to absorb the PK Thunder of his opponent and gimp them, but it’s best not to teach him this. He’ll go off-stage against other characters, which can get messy.
Ness’ AI is much different than in Smash 4. These tendencies apply to most Ness amiibo (depending on their personality type). For the most part, they can’t be changed, but they can be discouraged.
First, things we already mentioned: Ness uses PK Flash randomly, which leaves him open to punishment. He doesn’t fire himself with PK Thunder 2, and instead chases opponents with PK Thunder 1. But here’s some more information: if Ness is chasing his opponent with PK Thunder 1, and the enemy is able to recover back to the stage, Ness may accidentally hit himself into the floor, leaving himself terribly open to attack. He may also accidentally launch himself with the move. Furthermore, if Ness’ opponent moves under the stage when he is about to edgeguard with PK Thunder, he will move it in a half-circle around him the wrong way and direct the ball of electricity into the stage to no effect.
One more thing: he no longer uses PK Flash as a “taunt” after getting a KO like he did in Smash 4. Now he can actually taunt, which wasn’t possible back then.
At this point in time, we don’t have any information on recommended equipment. That’s because we’re testing out a vanilla metagame before we move on to Spirits: but rest assured, we will do that in the future. It’s also too early to talk about matchups, but I can say that Ness hates any character that can gimp him. That’s everyone, because every fighter can gimp him now. But he especially dislikes the ones that can gimp him without leaving the stage. Ridley’s neutral special, Plasma Breath, comes to mind as problematic for him.
We’ve still got a lot left to research, and this guide will be updated in the future. This is just to “tie you over” until we have more facts and strategies about amiibo training. When this is updated, we will notify you by posting a message on the front page. In the meantime, I hope this gave you some semblance of direction regarding training your Ness. If you have any questions, join our Discord server. Thank you so much for reading!