Piranha Plant was undoubtedly the most surprising newcomer in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Nobody expected to see a common Super Mario enemy have such a creative and unique moveset, let alone be playable at all. Although Piranha Plant is considered low-tier in competitive Smash, the amiibo game is a different story. Despite its shortcomings, Piranha Plant can contend with the best.
Don’t be fooled by Piranha Plant’s unassuming look – it’s got tricks up its sleeve. Its special moves are among the most unique in the game: each one is essentially a gimmick in and of itself. Ptooie serves as a deadly and surprisingly powerful edgeguard; its angle can be changed to hit and KO recovering opponents. Poison Breath requires charging, but deals a massive amount of damage and functions as a psuedo-stage hazard. Long-Stem Strike is a bit more situational, but can hit enemies from afar and packs solid KO power to boot. Piranha Plant’s up special, Piranhacopter, is nothing short of spectacular; it travels very high and is somewhat difficult to interrupt.
However, Piranha Plant suffers from several notable flaws. Its mobility is far-below average; its walk speed, run speed, and air speed are all among the slowest in the game. Most of its moves – particularly its smash attacks – are riddled with high start-up and ending lag, making them harder to hit and punishable if missed. As a result, most of Piranha Plant’s main KO moves are context-sensitive at best and unreliable at worst.
Stats & Spirit Effects
Piranha Plant is a rather versatile amiibo, and has been seen to perform well with multiple setups. Running balanced Attack and Defense (2100 / 2100) or maximum Defense ( 0 / 4200) are perfectly viable on the character. Keep in mind that an amiibo’s stat total cannot exceed 4,200 if all three of its bonus slots are filled. If a bonus slot is left blank, it can run more stats.
For spirit effects, Armor Knight & Move Speed ↑ comes recommended. The user’s defense and attack will see notable increases that come at the cost of move speed; Move Speed ↑ offsets the penalty. Armor Knight is exclusive to the Halberd spirit that can be found in Funky Kong’s shop.
Great Autoheal is another bonus that works well on Piranha Plant. Its gradual healing adds up over time, which helps keep the character healthy against powerful opponents. Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ is objectively a better build, but Great Autoheal can function better against certain characters.
Other options include Physical Attack ↑, Special-Move Power ↑, Shooting Attack ↑, and Fire & Explosion Attack ↑. 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 Piranha Plant, so feel free to mix and match to your liking.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button set to on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
Piranha Plant plays best if it balances its offense and defense. Using its faster moves (including its neutral attack and tilts) against a prone opponent helps it to rack up damage quickly; on the other hand, staying back and properly spacing Ptooie, Poison Breath, and Long-Stem Strike can keep the character safe from danger. Here is an individual breakdown of Piranha Plant’s moveset and how each attack should be used during training.
- Neutral attack: A short-ranged rapid jab that deals respectable damage. Again, it’s short-ranged, so it’s best used somewhat infrequently and at point blank.
- Forward tilt (Push and Pull): A two-part attack that bites an opponent. It’s the character’s fastest grounded move and deals a good bit of damage. One of its premier grounded damage-rackers, and certainly one to use quite often.
- Up tilt: Not much horizontal range, but it can catch falling opponents and lead into an up aerial. It even serves as a KO move at high percentages, and its speed makes it more reliable than a smash attack.
- Down tilt: A downwards leaf attack that can lead into a forward tilt at low percentages. Use it somewhat frequently to set up combos.
- Dash attack: A reckless pot swing that deals a good bit of damage. There isn’t much use in this one, but it can be used as an aggressive maneuver to force an enemy into the air.
- Forward smash (Prickly Swing): Extremely powerful and can KO under 70% at the edge. However, its ending lag leaves the character vulnerable. Only use it when you know it will connect.
- Up smash: Piranha Plant’s best smash attack. It’s a great aerial punish that KOs quite early from any part of the stage. Out of all the character’s smash attacks, this is certainly the one to prioritize.
- Down smash: A fast pot sweep that strikes on both sides. Best used to catch rolls or cover ledge options. Good to use rather frequently.
- Neutral aerial: Similar to Ivysaur’s neutral aerial, and strikes several times. Not the best aerial in Piranha Plant’s arsenal, but should still be used somewhat frequently.
- Forward aerial: It can combo into itself and gimp opponents off-stage. Piranha Plant’s recovery is top-notch, so going off-stage is usually safe. Can also be used out of a down throw.
- Back aerial (Fire Breath): Really strong, but really slow. One of the laggiest aerials in the game, in fact. It’s fine to use when landing, but do not use it off-stage as its ending lag may result in a self-destruct.
- Up aerial: Not very effective against small characters, but deals solid damage and knockback and can be used out of an up tilt.
- Down aerial (Flowerpot Meteor): It’s a safe meteor smash, except the meteor smash doesn’t always happen due to the attack’s strange hitboxes. Try and connect with the bottom of the pot.
- Forward throw: Inflicts damage. Use it every once in a while to toss an opponent off-stage. Not much use outside of that.
- Back throw: Kind of powerful. Can be used at the edge for a potential KO at high percentages. Otherwise, its use is rather limited.
- Up throw: Piranha Plant’s premier kill throw. Can be used alongside several pummels at high percentages to KO. The Piranha Plant amiibo will try to use up throw to up special at later levels; when this happens, be sure to attack or KO it before it lands, as this combo never works.
- Down throw: A weak throw that can combo into a forward aerial. Don’t focus on combos with this throw, as it can only do so at low percentages.
- Ptooie: Summons a spiky ball with surprisingly potent KO power. It can be held to change its distance and angle. It’s fine to go off-stage and gimp with a forward aerial or down aerial, but Ptooie should be used as an edgeguard as well.
- Poison Breath: Always keep it charged. It’s best placed towards the middle of the stage or near the edge but not directly above it. Inflicts heavy damage to shields. Other amiibo are often able to avoid taking full damage from it.
- Piranhacopter: Recovery purposes only. Piranha Plant’s amiibo will always recover high with Piranhacopter at low levels. As long as you retaliate with an attack, this habit will stop by the time it reaches Level 50.
- Long-Stem Strike: Use it every once in a while to gimp opponents or to attack from afar. Don’t use it too often or else the amiibo will learn to rely on it. Definitely don’t want that happening.