Super Smash Bros. 4’s amiibo game had an interesting dynamic. It was dominated primarily by heavyweight fighters, namely Bowser and Ganondorf; Charizard, despite fitting the description, fell just a bit short of its top-tiered rivals. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Flame Pokémon has been reunited with Squirtle and Ivysaur, its comrades from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Do they help Charizard reach its full potential, or do they hold it back from greatness?
Pokémon Trainer commands a team of three Pokémon — Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard — and can switch between them using Pokémon Change. Squirtle is the lightest of the group and serves as a fast, combo-oriented character; while its special moves are situational, its smash attacks are surprisingly powerful for a fighter of its size. In terms of size, Squirtle is the smallest character in the game. Although this does mean it is difficult to hit, it also means its range is rather poor. Ivysaur is the middleweight of the group and generally has the most range. Its side special Razor Leaf can rack up damage from afar and close a distance between opponents, while its up aerial and up smash serve as powerful finishers with gigantic hitboxes. Finally, returning from Smash 4, Charizard is the team’s heavyweight fighter. It retains its signature strength and also enjoys a noticeable increase in its mobility and attack speed. All three Pokémon have a solid grab game: Squirtle’s throws are the weakest, but still deal respectabe damage and knockback; Ivysaur’s back throw can KO enemies at the edge while Charizard has kept its strong forward and up throws from Smash 4. Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard can all utilize a simple down throw to forward aerial combo at low to medium percentages to rack up additional damage against opponents.
Training a tournament-winning single-fighter amiibo is a tall order in and of itself; however, training three characters at once is an incredibly daunting task. To make things more difficult, the AI tends to switch its Pokémon incessantly; if left unchecked, it will use Pokémon Change several times per minute. To prevent this from happening, trainers are advised to refrain from using Pokémon Change during level-up sessions. Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard all have different base AI; this AI is then augmented by the training it receives in battle. In other words, the amiibo’s training applies to all three of its characters at once. Playing exclusively as Squirtle will not result in the amiibo’s Ivysaur and Charizard becoming weaker or vice versa.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s AI tends to utilize heavyweight fighters more efficiently than characters of other weight classes; as a result, Charizard is considered Pokémon Trainer’s “best” Pokémon. Its power is fairly consistent across its moveset, and its endurance is the highest of the team. Ivysaur is considered the “second best”, as it has access to a projectile, powerful smash attacks, and a potent meteor smash; Squirtle is considered the weakest due to its light weight and its poor KO options.
Stats & Spirit Effects
At the time of writing, a vast majority of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate amiibo tournaments have enacted a blanket ban on Spirits. Within only a few months of the game’s release, competitions that allowed Spirits became stale; this is because almost every entry utilized heavily defensive Spirits and stats. For more information, check the Spirits & Equipment page.
As with most characters, Pokémon Trainer benefits most from the Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ setup. Specifically, this spread works best on Charizard, whose endurance becomes ridiculously high. Other options include Physical Attack ↑, Air Attack ↑, and Strong Throw.
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.
Pokémon Trainer performs best when it keeps Charizard in battle for as long as possible and refrains from using Pokémon Change. Assuming Charizard is the active Pokémon, it benefits from a punish-based playstyle that capitalizes on gaps in its opponents’ play. Spacing its tilts and smash attacks is very important. Here is a full breakdown of Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard’s individual movesets and how to prioritize each attack during training.
Squirtle should never be voluntary used during battle. Its light weight makes it susceptible to being KOed rather quickly, and its small size and short range forces it to adopt an aggressive playstyle. As mentioned before, Pokémon Change should not be used at all during training. If you are KOed while playing as Charizard, Pokémon Trainer will send out Squirtle. Even though Squirtle is the weakest of the bunch, continue to refrain from using Pokémon Change; instead, play as Squirtle until the match ends or you are KOed and forced to switch to Ivysaur.
- Neutral attack: It can be used at point blank range to rack up damage and comes out on frame 2. Has poor range, but can still be used infrequently.
- Forward tilt: A fast tail swipe that deals respectable damage. It can be used at close range rather frequently when grounded.
- Up tilt: It cannot reliably hit grounded opponents, and thus should be avoided during training.
- Down tilt: Squirtle’s strongest tilt. It can be used at low percentages to combo into an aerial attack.
- Dash attack: Doesn’t accomplish much, but can be used as a mixup option every once in a while.
- Forward smash: Surprisingly strong and has decent range. It should be used as one of Squirtle’s primary grounded kill moves and can be used to read rolls or ledge options.
- Up smash: It’s a bit difficult to connect due to its sweetspot and sourspot. Use it as an aerial punish. If the full attack connects, it can KO enemies past 100% damage.
- Down smash: Fairly slow, but strikes on both sides and packs decent power. It shouldn’t be used as often as its forward and up smash attacks.
- Neutral aerial: A solid combo tool that comes out on frame 4. It can link into itself or be used off-stage to gimp enemies.
- Forward aerial: One of Squirtle’s premier combo tools. It can combo into itself. Use it after a down throw at low percentages to rack up damage.
- Back aerial: Hits multiple times. Can be used infrequently, but is somewhat outclassed by forward aerial.
- Up aerial: Fast, but weak and has short range. It can be used after an up tilt, up smash, or up throw for additional damage.
- Down aerial: Similar to back aerial. It’s weak and doesn’t meteor smash, so it shouldn’t be prioritized during training.
- Forward throw: Solid knockback, but doesn’t actually KO until high percentages. Use it to throw enemies off the edge of the stage.
- Back throw: Squirtle’s strongest throw. It can be used as a kill throw at the edge of the stage at high percentages.
- Up throw: It can lead into a neutral aerial or up aerial at low to medium percentages. Use it to rack up damage.
- Down throw: Leads into forward aerial or up aerial and is flexible in terms of what percentages it works at. Also serves as Squirtle’s primary combo throw.
- Water Gun: Useless. Don’t charge it and don’t use it. It deals no damage and its push effect is not strong enough to get any gimps.
- Withdraw: Don’t use it. It leaves Squirtle vulnerable and doesn’t deal much damage. The AI will learn to use it for recovery purposes only, which works just fine.
- Waterfall: Recovery purposes only! At low levels, the AI will overshoot Waterfall at the edge and recover high. If you’re standing there, you’re going to get hit, so be sure to block it and punish.
- Pokémon Change: Do not use it under any circumstance. The AI switches its Pokémon often enough as-is; if its trainer uses Pokémon Change during training sessions, the AI will learn to spam it.
Similarly to Squirtle, Ivysaur should not be voluntary used during training; that being said, it possesses several potent options that should still be fully utilized. If you are KOed as Squirtle, Ivysaur will be sent out. Continue playing as it until match ends or you are KOed again.
- Neutral attack: A vine whip attack that can be extended into a rapid jab. Good at point blank range, but doesn’t do too much damage. Use it infrequently.
- Forward tilt: Essentially a grounded version of its neutral aerial. Deals good damage and can KO at higher percentages. Use it as one of your primary ground moves.
- Up tilt: It doesn’t have much horizontal range. Don’t use it too often, as it’s difficult to connect against grounded enemies.
- Down tilt: Very fast and deals good damage. It can be used infrequently as a neutral option.
- Dash attack: Has a bit of KO power, but not until very high percentages. It can be used every once in a while, but don’t specifically prioritize it.
- Forward smash: Respectably powerful and can KO opponents at medium-high percentages at the edge of the stage. One of Ivysaur’s most reliable grounded kill moves.
- Up smash (Exploding Flower): It has a fair bit of startup, but has a gigantic hitbox that makes it a great aerial punish. Use it against aerial opponents but keep its sluggishness in mind.
- Down smash: Fairly weak for being a smash attack, but has a tipper at the edge of Ivysaur’s vines. It can be used infrequently, but should not be prioritized over its forward and up smash attacks.
- Neutral aerial: A solid neutral option that hits multiple times. Low ending lag and can potentially combo into another aerial. Best used out of a short hop, but do note that the move has high landing lag.
- Forward aerial: Decent range and can combo into itself at low percentages. It can also be used after a down throw.
- Back aerial: It has acceptable speed and damage, but can’t KO until very high percentages. It can be used to approach but should not be specifically prioritized.
- Up aerial: Huge hitbox and one of the strongest up aerials in the game. It’s a bit faster than its up smash, so rotating up aerial and up smash as aerial punishes serves Ivysaur well.
- Down aerial: A powerful meteor smash with minimal startup. It can be used to go off-stage to gimp enemies, but don’t go too far off stage, as Ivysaur’s recovery is rather poor.
- Forward throw: Doesn’t have any use other than throwing opponents off-stage. It can be used to rack up damage, but can’t KO at any percentage.
- Back throw: Ivysaur’s strongest throw. It can KO opponents past 100% at the edge of the stage, so use it as a situational kill move.
- Up throw: It can combo into an up aerial at low percentages. Use this combo every once in a while to score additional damage.
- Down throw: It can combo into a forward aerial or up aerial, both of which are viable for your amiibo to learn.
- Bullet Seed: Useless. It doesn’t deal much damage, can’t KO, and has noticeable ending lag. Avoid using Bullet Seed.
- Razor Leaf: A potent projectile with low knockback. Use it from afar to rack up damage. Keep in mind that overusing Razor Leaf will cause Squirtle and Charizard to start using Withdraw and Flare Blitz, respectively — so don’t go crazy with Razor Leaf.
- Vine Whip: Vine Whip can be used in combos or to KO, but in terms of amiibo training it should be used for recovery purposes only. Using Vine Whip as an attack will cause the AI to start using it at inappropriate times.
- Pokémon Change: Once again, do not use it. The AI has a tendency to switch to Squirtle at high percentages; this is a poor idea, given that its endurance is among the worst in the game.
Pokémon Trainer’s premier Pokémon. When choosing Pokémon Trainer on the character selection screen, configuring Charizard to be sent out first is an excellent idea. Please note that four figurines function as Pokémon Trainer in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard, and Pokémon Trainer. In the case of the latter three, the Pokémon the figurine represents will be the one the amiibo sends out first. This can’t be changed, so using a Charizard amiibo as your Pokémon Trainer may be your best bet.
- Neutral attack: It was one of the best jabs in the Super Smash Bros. 4 amiibo metagame and retains much of its power and utility. Use it at point blank range to rack up reliable damage.
- Forward tilt: Its sweetspot is the tip of Charizard’s tail. Connect with it to deal increased damage and knockback. Use the move itself somewhat infrequently.
- Up tilt (Wing Thrust): Decent horizontal range that can launch grounded opponents into the air. Charizard can then follow up with another up tilt, an up smash, or an up aerial.
- Down tilt: Doesn’t deal much knockback and is rather slow. Best to avoid it for the most part.
- Dash attack: Decent range and knockback, and can be used as a mixup option every once in a while.
- Forward smash: It’s got a fair bit of ending lag, but Charizard is intangible throughout its duration. Serves as one of its primary kill moves.
- Up smash: Somewhat weak, but can still KO and functions as a solid aerial punish. Use it against aerial enemies.
- Down smash: Deals high damage and knockback and strikes on both sides. Good to use in a pinch, but keep its punishable ending lag in mind.
- Neutral aerial: Does not inflict much damage or knockback, and so should not be prioritized over Charizard’s other aerials.
- Forward aerial: Rather strong and possesses decent range and speed. It can be used off-stage to intercept recoveries.
- Back aerial (Aerial Tail): It’s strongest at its sweetspot (the tip of Charizard’s tail), but is difficult to land. Use it if you think you can connect with the sweetspot. Otherwise, avoid it.
- Up aerial: A formidable kill move that functions most effectively at the upper blast line.
- Down aerial: A clean meteor smash. In Smash 4, Charizard was one of the only amiibo to fully utilize its meteor smash. In Ultimate, Charizard’s AI can learn to spike. Don’t go too far off-stage to gimp, as Charizard’s recovery is unreliable.
- Forward throw: A surprisingly decent kill throw that works best at the edge. Also deals 10%, so it is rather strong.
- Back throw: Not as strong as forward throw, but can still be used to throw enemies off the stage. Charizard can then follow up with a forward or down aerial.
- Up throw: Works best on stages with platforms, but struggles to close a stock otherwise. Use it on Battlefield-form stages.
- Down throw: It can combo into an up smash or a forward aerial at low to medium percentages. In Smash 4, Charizard’s AI had a tendency to stand still after using a down throw; this flaw has been transferred to Ultimate, but it can be fixed with continued training.
- Flamethrower: Mostly useless. It doesn’t deal much damage and has a lot of startup and ending lag. Don’t use it in any circumstance.
- Flare Blitz: It’s really strong, but should not be used. Charizard suffers from 5% recoil damage every time it uses Flare Blitz, so avoid it where possible. Charizard’s AI uses Flare Blitz to recover and will often crash into the edge and then use Fly. It occasionally recovers high with Flare Blitz in an attempt to hit its opponent, so be sure to block the attack.
- Fly: Recovery purposes only. amiibo AI tends to go crazy with up specials if they are taught to use them as attacks.
- Pokémon Change: Do not use it. It replaces Rock Smash from Smash 4, which isn’t too much of a problem for Charizard. As long as you stick to Charizard during training, your Pokémon Trainer will yield results.
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