Training Journal of a Ganondorf Amiibo

22 09 2015

The Nintendo Amiibo figurines have special functionality within Smash Bros. which is that you can supposedly level up and “train” a CPU fighter that supposedly learns and adapts based on the opponents it fights. It is unclear whether Amiibos learn to utilize techniques used against them, learn to counter techniques used against them, have a built-in progression of techniques that they decide to use, or a combination of some/all of these factors. The hypothetical appeal is that each Amiibo can learn based on the opponents it fights and thus will have certain behaviors and tendencies such that 2 Amiibo figurines of the same character could fight differently based on what they have learned and assimilated.

ganondorf-amiibo-pack-shot

My Playstyle:
Ganondorf’s appeal for me is his terrifying power and some of his primary strengths are hard-hitting attacks and very high zero-to-death potential (being able to kill the opponent quickly by landing key attacks even at low percentages). When I play as Ganondorf I am fairly aggressive, pressuring the opponent by trying to keep close to them, bullying them with low-recovery aerial attacks and above-average-range pokes, “scaring” the opponent to discourage them from using risky moves by punishing baited responses and anticipating manuevers, and being able to threaten a kill at virtually any percentage. Following the opponent off the stage when they are knocked off to fish for an instant-kill “disrespect” situation, typically with dair, is also a key component of my playstyle, both for its tremendous payoff potential and psychological damage to the opponent.

Objective:
To train the Ganondorf Amiibo to be a brutal, effective fighter and to determine whether it will emulate elements of my style of play. To try and imprint certain “disrespect” techniques and playstyles on the Amiibo through cruelty and repetition.

Methodology:
Back-to-back 1v1 3-stock matches on battlefield, mirror matching as Ganondorf, playing as ruthlessly as possible. Played for 2.5 hours consecutively, leveling the Amiibo from 1 to 50 in one sitting and continuing to fight against it after level 50. Post level 50, played against Amiibo with different characters to give it exposure to different matchups.

Level 1-4
Pretty stupid. Does not defend or attack effectively.

Level 5-7
Noticing Amiibo is utilizing neutral A jab, ftilt, and dtilt often on offense and defense, like I do.

Level 12
Amiibo taunts when I accidentally die and it is idle on stage, which is a behavior I didn’t teach it (what an asshole).

Level 9-14
Noticing Amiibo is utilizing short hop nair, fair, and uair to approach and as a zoning tool, like I do.

Level 17
Noticing Amiibo is starting to air dodge to avoid getting spiked when it is off stage.

Level 22
Noticing Amiibo is incorporating bair and utilizing shorthop aerials effectively and often.

Level 24
Amiibo is using drop-off ledge uair, as well as edge guarding with dtilt and ftilt which are behaviors I haven’t utilized against it.

Level 30
Amiibo is starting to use down dodges to avoid predictable attack sequences up close and attempting to punish with grab or ftilt.

Level 34
Exchanging lengthy down-dodge/attack sequences on stage against Amiibo. Noticing occasionally trading hits with Amiibo due to doing the exact same thing at the exact same time.

Level 36
Amiibo scored a legitimate kill on me utilizing drop-off ledge uair.

Level 38
Amiibo’s attacks are starting to do noticeably more damage than normal. Fair did approximately 27% damage.

Level 42
Amiibo won a match against me with one stock intact. Noticing Amiibo is punishing me for missing a tech after landing forward B with dtilt, which is a behavior I didn’t show it.

Level 44
When Amiibo successfully kills me, it no longer taunts, and instead turns around and dashes towards the middle of the stage to wait for me to respawn, a behavior that very closely imitates my tendency.

Level 45
Noticed Amiibo is using Usmash frequently outside of its effective range to fish for rolls or approaches, like I do.

Level 46
Amiibo is doing insane damage with its attacks. Sweet spot fair did over 40% damage.

Level 47
Got 3-stocked by my own Amiibo.

Level 48
Amiibo killed me with dair spike when I was recovering for the first time, which was a behavior I was deliberately trying to teach it.

Level 50
Matches against Amiibo are difficult, I rarely win with more than one stock intact. Although the Amiibo plays the neutral game well with a similar playstyle to what I utilize, it still very rarely attempts to go off-stage to gimp or spike, which is a behavior I am trying to teach it by using on it constantly. Amiibo still frequently falls for easy spike setups.

Level 50+
I can not beat Amiibo with characters other than my main (Ganondorf) even on “first contact.” Amiibo is defeating me when I am using characters it’s never “seen” before, as well as giving me trouble even when using Ganondorf.

Results:
With the caveat that the Amiibo can supposedly learn and adapt after level 50 and 2.5 hours worth of fighting experience is a relatively small sample, it seemed like the Ganondorf Amiibo did in fact learn certain behaviors that it was shown. After attaining level 50, the Amiibo utilized attack sequences, tactics, and techniques that are very similar to mine while on stage in the “neutral” game. However the Amiibo still very rarely follows me off stage for a spike/gimp attempt which is the primary behavior I was attempting to teach to it.

Conclusion:
I am impressed with what the Amiibo seems to have learned over the course of its evolution, but it is unknown whether it actually assimilated these aspects of my playstyle from repeated exposure or if those techniques are simply inherent to the way Ganondorf is played effectively, built into its “DNA” out of the box. The way my Amiibo moves and what moves it prefers on stage is positive evidence for its learning abilities, but its shyness in trying to intercept opponents’ recoveries is a point against.

As an aside, I am disappointed that Amiibos apparently get attack power increases at high levels even without “feeding” them equipment to modify their stats on purpose. I would prefer that the Amiibos utilized the same inherent properties of the normal character as-is and had purely skill-based progression rather than the artificial increase in effectiveness via an arbitrary power increase.

I am left intrigued as to the full capabilities and potential of the Amiibo and will continue to research…


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