Falco wasn’t great in Smash 4 and was actually fairly underrepresented in tournament play. However, with the advent of Ultimate, Falco has found a viable niche in the form of Instadrop — and even without it, the character has finally achieved the representation it so sorely lacked. Falco has a lot of potential and the changes to amiibo AI have opened up a realm of possibility for him.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Falco received a plethora of various nerfs and buffs from the previous title, but there are too many to name and very few apply to amiibo; his most notable change, however, is that his KO power was generally weakened. On the contrary, with aerials and off-stage combat becoming viable, Falco’s potential in the metagame has increased. He appears to continue the Smash 4 trend of being stronger than his fellow Star Fox representative, although this may change given time. In spite of Falco’s nerfs, the changes to amiibo AI have increased his standings by quite a bit and allow him to contend against high-tier fighters like Link and Mii Gunner.
Stats & Spirit Effects
In terms of stats, using a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or a fully defensive one (0 / 4200) are both fine options that work well on the character. It all comes down to your personal preference.
While Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ works well on Falco, there is actually a more optimal setup available. Falco benefits immensely from Instadrop, which allows him to instantly shoot downwards while airborne to damage opponents. Instadrop is best paired with Physical Attack ↑.
Other options include Shooting Attack ↑, Air Attack ↑, and Hyper Smash Attacks. Instadrop and Physical Attack ↑ is certainly the most optimal setup, and comes highly recommended.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
Falco is mostly an air fighter, as his best approach and KO options are air-based. His grounded game shouldn’t be neglected, per se, but he should definitely prioritize aerials and off-stage play over his slower ground moves. Here is a full breakdown of Falco’s moveset and which attacks to use during training:
- Neutral attack: A pair of jabs that can lead into a flurry attack. It’s good for stunting approaches from the front and can be used if you need a fast move to bail you out.
- Forward tilt: A forward kick that can be angled up or down. It can combo into a down tilt at low percentages.
- Up tilt: An important combo starter that can lead into an aerial. One of Falco’s key grounded attacks.
- Down tilt (Tail Cutter): It can lead into an aerial or KO at high percentages. Use it frequently when grounded.
- Dash attack: It sends opponents at a favorable angle that can lead into an aerial move. Use dash attack to punish landings.
- Forward smash: Especially useful at the ledge, as it can KO early and launch enemies off-stage to set up for a gimp. It’s one of Falco’s most reliable grounded kill options.
- Up smash: Falco’s fastest smash attack. It can KO at high percentages and is another solid grounded kill move.
- Down smash: Doesn’t kill until late percentages, but can be used to rack up damage. It also launches its victims horizontally, which can potentially lead into a down aerial.
- Neutral aerial (Spinning Falco Chop): It can be used after an up tilt or down tilt, but its short range makes it somewhat outclassed by Falco’s other aerial moves.
- Forward aerial: Far more useful than neutral aerial when it comes to combos. It can be used during an Instadrop and is a high priority edgeguarding move.
- Back aerial: One of Falco’s strongest, fastest, and most reliable kill moves. Should be heavily prioritized during training.
- Up aerial: An excellent combo tool that can be used after an up tilt or up throw. It also combos into itself. Use it very frequently.
- Down aerial (Corkscrew Meteor): A satisfying spike that pairs well with Instadrop. It’s Falco’s main gimping tool, so be sure to try and go off-stage to land it against opponents.
- Forward throw: Best used to toss enemies off-stage to follow up with a down aerial. Doesn’t do too much else.
- Back aerial: Somewhat strong and can KO at very high percentages. Aside from that, it can toss opponents off-stage to set up a gimp.
- Up throw: It can combo into an aerial at low to high percentages. Follow up with an up aerial.
- Down throw: Capable of comboing into jab, dash attack, forward tilt, up smash, neutral aerial, or forward aerial. A very versatile throw that should be used often.
- Neutral special (Blaster): It can be used to create space, but isn’t too effective when paired alongside Instadrop. Don’t use it too much if the amiibo is equipped with Instadrop; instead, focus on more aggressive play.
- Side special (Falco Phantasm): Avoid Falco Phantasm for anything but recovery. It’s sluggish and stops if it collides with a shield, which leaves Falco horribly vulnerable.
- Up special (Fire Bird): Recovery purposes only. If you attack with it, the AI will learn to fire itself with Fire Bird at random, which is a very bad habit.
- Down special (Reflector): Helps against Mii Gunner, who would give Falco trouble otherwise. Use it to reflect projectiles, but don’t bother using it as a straight-up attack.
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