After years of clamoring, Donkey Kong’s arch-nemesis, King K. Rool, has finally joined the Super Smash Bros. series! As many veteran trainers know, the Super Smash Bros. 4 amiibo metagame was dominated by heavyweight fighters — namely Bowser and Ganondorf. We know for a fact that King K. Rool would have been successful in the previous title, but what about in Ultimate, where movement options and mobility are faster than ever before? Fortunately for K. Rool, he can hold his own, and with proper training, can become a force to be reckoned with.
Owing to his large size and iron stomach, King K. Rool is the second heaviest character in the game and is only surpassed by Bowser. In addition to possessing an extraordinarily powerful moveset, K. Rool boasts two projectiles and a great recovery. The king also possesses a fighter-specific mechanic in Belly Super Armor; if his belly is attacked while he is using his forward tilt, up smash, down smash, dash attack, neutral aerial, or down aerial, he will suffer no knockback and only minor damage. This allows King K. Rool to use brute force to intercept enemy attacks and rack up damage or go for a KO. Finally, despite being a heavyweight, K. Rool’s off-stage game is rather potent; his back aerial and down aerial are both spikes which opens potential for early kills.
Although King K. Rool breaks the tradition of heavyweights in several ways, he suffers from many of the same issues. His overall moveset is relatively slow and he can be easily overwhelmed by fighters with faster frame data. If the king’s Belly Super Armor is activated too many times in a row, his stomach will shatter and render him completely immobile akin to a shield break. Furthermore, the amiibo AI is hard-coded to use its forward smash after burying an opponent with down throw past 70%; since amiibo can mash out at maximum speed, they almost always escape before K. Rool’s attack connects. The AI cannot be trained to consistently use a forward tilt or up tilt past 70%.
Stats & Spirit Effects
In terms of stats, King K. Rool is versatile; using a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or a fully defensive (0 / 4200) are fine options that work well on the character. It is worth noting that adding extra defense helps reduce the damage dealt to the king’s Belly Super Armor.
As with all fighters, King K. Rool is perhaps strongest when equipped with Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑. As mentioned earlier, his recovery is reliable and difficult to intercept; thus, the overall mobility decrease this setup brings barely affects it.
Other options include Physical Attack ↑, Strong Throw, Air Attack ↑, and Great Autoheal. In the current tournament environment, which is focused on loading amiibo with defensive boosts, running any of these effects over Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ is not 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.
King K. Rool benefits from an aggressive playstyle — especially one that involves off-stage play. Teaching the amiibo to utilize its dash attack, neutral aerial, and Belly Super Armor attacks in moderation is key, as excessive use can spell doom for the character. Here is a complete breakdown of K. Rool’s moveset and which attacks to focus on during training.
- Neutral attack: King K. Rool’s fastest standard move. Best used as a “get-off-me” attack and is especially effective against quick characters. Use it frequently at close range.
- Forward tilt: A quick clap forward. Can be used at close range and benefits from Belly Super Armor. Can also be used after a down throw past 60% (keep in mind that amiibo mash out at maximum speed).
- Up tilt: One of the king’s quicker moves. Should be used after a down throw at low percentages (and occasionally even at higher percentages), but does not have much utility outside of this combo.
- Down tilt: A somewhat slow stomp that can bury opponents. Can lead into an up tilt at low percentages or a forward tilt at higher percentages.
- Dash attack: A brute-force attack that benefits from Belly Super Armor. Should be used frequently to catch rolls and landings. It can even KO at high percentages!
- Forward smash: Short range, but very powerful. It’s very difficult to hit with due to its sluggishness, so avoid this one for the most part. After using a down throw, don’t attack with forward smash; use up tilt or forward tilt instead.
- Up smash: A quick headbutt that hits the hardest at the very beginning of the move. It can be used occasionally as an aerial punish, but it has short horizontal range and is difficult to connect. Benefits from Belly Super Armor.
- Down smash: King K. Rool’s bread and butter and perhaps his most reliable smash attack. Benefits from Belly Super Armor, covers a wide range, and can even attack enemies hanging from ledges.
- Neutral aerial: A fast stomach attack that benefits from Belly Super Armor. Overall a great neutral option, but use it in moderation so that the king’s Belly Super Armor remains intact.
- Forward aerial: Somewhat fast and can be used as an edgeguard. One of K. Rool’s least useful aerials, but comes in handy in certain situations.
- Back aerial: A powerful spike. When the amiibo goes off-stage, chase it and try to connect a back aerial or down aerial.
- Up aerial: Has horribly high ending lag and isn’t quite strong enough to warrant the vulnerability it brings. Avoid this one.
- Down aerial: The king’s most reliable off-stage move. Try connecting it against the amiibo before it can use its up special to recover.
- Forward throw: Fast, strong, and can combo into a dash attack at very low percentages. Definitely a throw to use every once in a while.
- Back throw: Fairly strong and can be used as a kill throw from the edge of a stage. Highly recommended.
- Up throw: In terms of damage, it is the strongest throw in the game. Doesn’t KO until very high percentages but can be used to rack up damage. Recommended on stages with platforms.
- Down throw (Piledriver): Buries an opponent. At low percentages, follow with an up tilt; at high percentages, follow with a forward tilt. Never use a forward smash, as the amiibo AI will often do so and miss its chance to inflict extra damage.
- Neutral special (Blunderbuss) Fires a cannonball forward. Can be held to suck in enemies or opponents. Best used from far away and at the edge. King K. Rool is better off trying to gimp with back aerial and down aerial, but Blunderbuss is an option as well. Hold the button at the ledge to potentially grab the opponent.
- Side special (Crownerang): A slow projectile with super armor on startup. Use it from a decent distance every once in a while. Not effective as an off-stage gimp.
- Up special (Propellerpack): Use this for recovery purposes only or else the amiibo will try to attack with it and leave itself terribly vulnerable.
- Down special (Gut Check): Reflects projectiles and serves as a counter move. Good to use frequently and helps K. Rool in matchups against projectile-heavy characters such as Mii Gunner.