In Super Smash Bros. 4, Kirby’s amiibo was rather average. Although Kirby possessed a powerful moveset with high utility, he was held back by short range and several AI flaws. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, amiibo AI was completely revamped. Fortunately for Kirby, this AI update corrected the flaws he suffered from in the previous title. He still isn’t perfect, but he’s been given a fresh coat of paint that makes him well worth training.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Kirby has been substantially buffed from Super Smash Bros. 4. His overall speed (walking, running, and air) has increased, allowing him to traverse the stage faster than ever. In terms of attacks, his jab connects more reliably while his tilts are faster and deal more damage. Kirby’s dash attack has reverted to its Super Smash Bros. Melee incarnation, which is identical to the Burning ability seen in Kirby’s Adventure. It’s faster, stronger, and covers more distance than Smash 4’s iteration. Forward smash has more range, up smash is faster and stronger, and down smash reaches farther. Kirby’s aerials have also seen a notable increase in speed. Perhaps Kirby’s biggest buff is to Inhale; it has more range, less ending lag, and can absorb projectiles. Most importantly, however, is that Kirby’s AI no longer spams Inhale. This removes one of the character’s major AI flaws from Smash 4. In contrast to his many buffs, Kirby has only seen a few minor nerfs. His jab deals less damage, his dash attack has more ending lag, and his grabs are much slower. Kirby’s AI now uses Final Cutter at the edge in an attempt to gimp opponents; this is somewhat predictable, but can actually be corrected by teaching the amiibo to attack off-stage.
Stats & Spirit Effects
Armor Knight & Move Speed ↑ is always an option. Armor Knight increases its user’s defense and attack, but reduces mobility; Move Speed ↑ corrects this by slightly offsetting the mobility reduction. That being said, Move Speed ↑ does not completely negate the speed loss, so Kirby’s recovery will be slightly worsened.
Another viable setup is Instadrop and Impact Run. This setup works particularly well on Kirby; Instadrop in particular can be chained into most of the character’s aerial moves. Impact Run can also combo into a forward or up aerial at certain percentages. Be wary of Kirby using Instadrop to self-destruct off-stage.
Other options include Foot Attack ↑, Air Attack ↑, Physical Attack ↑, Toss & Meteor, and Great Autoheal. In Smash Ultimate, power enhancement bonuses bring a ten percent increase in effectiveness, so skill-based effects may be the better option. At the time of writing, there is no truly “optimal” setup for Kirby, so feel free to mix and match to your liking.
Kirby plays best if he stays close to his opponent and uses several fast moves and combos to rack up damage. He can also afford to go off-stage and gimp enemies, but if the amiibo has Armor Knight, this becomes a bit more risky as his recovery is reliant on jumps. Here is an individual breakdown of Kirby’s attacks and how each one should be used during training.
- Neutral attack (Vulcan Jab): An infinite jab that comes out very quickly. Certainly not a move to focus on; only use it infrequently and at point blank range.
- Forward tilt: One of Kirby’s fastest moves and a great close-ranged “get-off-me” attack. It has surprisingly high KO power and can kill opponents past 130% on the edge of flat stages.
- Up tilt: A great combo starter that can link into itself and lead to an up aerial. Use it to catch landings and to start combos into aerial moves.
- Down tilt (Squish Kick): A crouching kick that can trip opponents. This can then lead into a multitude of options including dash attack or forward smash.
- Dash attack (Burning): One of Kirby’s premier KO options. It’s just a bit on the slow side, but can kill its victims very early at the edge of stages. It doesn’t fall off platforms, so it’s safe to use.
- Forward smash (Smash Kick): Kirby’s strongest non-special move and one of his most reliable finishers. It moves Kirby forward, which helps it to cover additional range. Use it against the amiibo at high percentages.
- Up smash: Kirby’s greatest aerial punish. Use it to catch the amiibo when it is falling from above. Best used on high platforms.
- Down smash: It’s not quite as strong as forward smash or up smash, but it sends opponents at a horizontal angle that can make recovering difficult. Especially effective against characters with poor recoveries.
- Neutral aerial (Twinkle Star): A spin attack that deals moderate damage and knockback. It’s somewhat slow, making it a bit outclassed compared to Kirby’s other aerial moves. Still fine to use, just a bit less than the other aerials.
- Forward aerial: A spin kick that hits three times. It can be used after a forward throw at low percentages, or off-stage to gimp enemies.
- Back aerial: A surprisingly fast backwards kick that can get quick KOs. Kirby’s strongest aerial attack. Should be used rather often.
- Up aerial: It can juggle opponents, especially at low percentages. Up tilt can lead into multiple up aerials. It can also KO opponents if used near the top blast zone.
- Down aerial: Kirby’s most reliable combo starter and gimping tool. It links into literally anything and should be used repeatedly against off-stage opponents. Use this one a lot.
- Forward throw: It can lead into a forward aerial at low percentages. Other than that, it’s somewhat weak and cannot KO reliably.
- Back throw: Can combo into back aerial at very low percentages. It can KO highly damaged opponents at the edge of the stage.
- Up throw (Air Drop): Most effective on stages with raised platforms. Doesn’t have any follow-ups, but can KO at high percentages.
- Down throw: Kirby’s strongest throw – in terms of damage, at least. Use it at low percentages to rack up damage on the opponent.
- Neutral special (Inhale): It’s been notably buffed from Smash 4. Not something to focus on, though, as the amiibo still can’t use all of the Copy Abilities effectively. Only use it infrequently during training.
- Side special (Hammer Flip): Mostly useless unless the opponent’s shield breaks. Kirby’s amiibo does not know to punish a shield break with Hammer Flip; this must be explicitly taught to it.
- Up special (Final Cutter): Kirby’s amiibo uses this a bit too often. Only use it when recovering, and try not to get hit by the amiibo’s Final Cutter in the meantime.
- Down special (Stone): It’s fine to use this move every once in a while when launched far upwards, but don’t use it too often, as it leaves its user vulnerable to being grabbed.