Announcing ASMR #5: Somebody to Love!

Considering this is a hobby built around teaching $13 plastic toys to kill each other, I think it’s safe to say a lot of us could really use somebody to love. At least, I certainly could. To that end, the theme of ASMR #5 is one of the best songs of all time: Somebody to Love, by Queen.

This will be a pretty normal vanilla tournament: it follows the typical ASMR ruleset and stagelist, located here. Here’s the rundown:

  • Vanilla
  • 3 amiibo per trainer
  • Single elimination
  • Best of 3, but Grand Finals are Best of 5
  • No character bans
  • Send amiibo to amiibodoctor@gmail.com
  • Bins due June 18, I will be checking the morning of June 19th. Final tournament date will be announced from there, depending on life events.

It’s all standard stuff. We’ve been through this before.

icies
HOW AM I SINGLE BUT THE ICE CLIMBERS AREN’T?

The only difference between this tournament and a normal one is that I ask that you send in the amiibo you love most. Not necessarily your best ones or your worst ones, but the amiibo that you love most. Maybe you have a special attachment to your Ryu because it was the last gift your great-uncle gave you before the KGB got him. Perhaps your Mii Brawler is special because Hulk Hogan appeared to you in a dream and told you to buy him, and since you got him he’s been very special to you. It could be as simple as Squirtle being your starter on your very first Pokemon game, so you send in Pokemon Trainer. Just submit the 3 amiibo you love the most.

ASMR change

ASMR #5 will be the last ASMR tournament held, kinda. Most things will remain the same, but I’m going to be changing the name soon. The format will also change somewhat, and I outlined part of the new format in the Wuhu Island legalization post. There’s a bit more to come.

Bottom line, I still consider it the same tournament, I’m just changing the format a little bit and the name will change as well so as to differentiate between the old format and the new.

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New amiibo have been announced!

 

Previously, we’ve had Simon Belmont and Snake amiibo announced, so it looks like this completes the batch! Aside from Piranha Plant, no DLC amiibo have yet been announced, so we still have Joker and Banjo-Kazooie and The Hero of Dragon Quest to look forward to, plus the two remaining DLC fighters! (Geno and Steve, Geno and Steve!)

snakesimon

Currently Pichu and Pokemon Trainer amiibo are up for preorder at a lot of places, and Best Buy tells me they come out July 26. We have a long time to wait before any new introductions to the amiibo metagame, but we also have a whole summer to enjoy what we’ve got! Let’s get together and deepen our understanding of the meta!

Oh, and Link’s Awakening gets an amiibo too.

Wuhu Island – Legalized

This blog has always been a unique voice in the amiibo community for a variety of reasons. Most of those reasons have dissipated since the hibernation of the Smash 4 metagame, but one unique facet of this blog remains firm: Amiibo Doctor recommends a specific and unusual stagelist. I’ve written thousands of words on the benefits of a more refined stagelist over the last year, and I plan on continuing that tradition today.

There are many stages that could reasonably placed into the Amiibo Doctor Stagelist on the side of this website, especially on hazardless rulesets. While many of them aren’t included for some sort of disqualifying feature, such as thoroughly biased blastzones or some sort of stage transformation, there is one specific stage that I’ve been overlooking: hazardless Wuhu Island.

Right now, the Amiibo Doctor Hazardless Stagelist (the stagelist that ASMR tournaments use) consists of mostly medium and small-sized stages, with Mementos, Pokemon Stadium 2 and Dream Land 64 as the largest stages. If you take a step back and ignore Battlefield and Final Destination (as we guarantee those medium-sized stages on the second and third match, but not on the first), then the overall stagelist is biased towards small stages. This keeps the fighters in closer-quarters combat than they might otherwise have.

When fighters are forced to be closer together and have less room, what might the consequences be?

There are two: First, melee attacks become more useful. As opponents are closer to each other, they don’t need as much range to land a hit. Sweetspots become much easier to strike with, and platforms become a more pivotal aspect of the stage. If you want to see what I mean, just try to play Roy on hazardless Smashville versus hazardless Mementos. You’ll notice that you hit a lot more sweetspotted attacks on Smashville than Mementos.

Smashville
It’s a lot closer together, isn’t it?

The second consequence is slightly less major but will greatly affect the viability of several amiibo, both now and yet to come. As characters get closer together, projectile attacks become far less usable compared to melee attacks. Firing off a missile is useless when your opponent is close enough to respond with a parry and smash attack. It’s common sense.

So, having established that the current hazardless stagelist is biased towards melee attacks and away from projectiles, what would the solution be?

Rebalance the stagelist in the other direction with a very large and very open stage: Wuhu Island. Hazardless Wuhu Island is a balanced stage when the rest of the stagelist is taken into consideration. It’s small enough to accommodate some melee attacks (the platform allows for melee moves to be used from below, and the slopes encourage characters to move closer when not trying to recover) but still wide enough to give projectile users a chance to make use of their projectiles. There are many amiibo who benefit directly from being able to safely use projectiles, especially Mii Gunner, Link, King K. Rool, Ness and Dr. Mario, just to spotlight the S and A tiers.

It is for this reason that Wuhu Island is being added to the Hazardless Stagelist on the side banner, and in addition stages will now be given a ranking in order of rough importance in a ruleset – how legal should it be, how important should it be, et cetera. These changes will occur over the next few days, as I will be hyping over E3 tomorrow and for the rest of the week. (Give us Mother 3!)

After this point, all Amiibo Doctor-hosted tournaments will have a set ranking- all stages above that number will be included, all stages below that number won’t be included. This is to allow for less tournament legal stages to be included sometimes, without sacrificing the option for stricter stages. It also provides for a unified system in case a tournament organizer doesn’t want to go through all the clarifications as to what precisely is the allowable stagelist.

Wuhu Island has been legalized! Go enjoy E3, folks.

Why Sheik is a perfect example of the Utility formula at work

formuler
As a refresher, you can read up on the Utility formula’s variables here.

For the last several days, I have been attempting to maximize the utility of a complete and total accident. Out of sheer luck, I taught my Sheik amiibo how to successfully carry an opponent across the stage using a combination of forward airs and forward tilts. I wasn’t aware that the amiibo would learn this, let alone use it effectively (as you can see in the Youtube video that will be linked below, and the eventual followup containing more amiibo vs. amiibo matches with that Sheik).

So I’ve been trying to make this amiibo work, and there’s been some very unusual results. This Sheik amiibo does very well against heavyweights like Bowser and King K. Rool thanks to her almost inescapable forward tilt and forward air combo. Yet, she never wins. For some reason, this Sheik amiibo will almost always take her opponents (at least, her heavyweight opponents: I’ve focused exclusively on heavies) to the very last hit and then get outmuscled by the opponent. I’ve run at least two dozen matches with this Sheik against all three of my Bowsers amiibo, my King K. Rool amiibo and myself playing as heavyweight characters, and she simply never wins but gets incredibly close. It almost seems intentional.

Regardless, Sheik is an excellent example of the Utility formula at work. The amiibo itself is incredibly smart, being able to carry out an eight-move combo off of raw training alone, despite the fact that amiibo can’t think out combos ahead of time. If not for a few small flaws (she has an affinity for running under Bowser immediately after he initiates his down air) I would even be comfortable with the argument that Sheik may have the highest I variable in the game. It’s certainly the highest I variable I’ve ever seen, and it’s not clear to me that this would be exclusive to my training.

61qWAL2v6ZL._SX425_

I’m considering publicly releasing the bin to encourage experimentation with this Sheik, and to demonstrate my opinion on the I variable.

The only thing that’s holding back Sheik is an impossibly low C variable. Sheik has to land five to eight moves to gain even twenty to thirty percent, which holds her back immensely. If Sheik were to receive a buff to a few specific aerials or smash attacks, or both, then she may become an effective niche amiibo.

It’s not clear that, short of an incredible amount of luck and a very untrained Bowser, this Sheik could ever take a match off of Bowser. While it certainly would be possible, the Bowser in question would have to be so poorly trained (meaning a very low Θ) that it simply wouldn’t be a replicable experiment, and the Sheik would have to be at the top of her game. In this case, the character alone is enough to keep Bowser on his throne, no matter how unskilled. Let me explain by using the Utility formula.

A victorious amiibo needs higher variables than their opponent to win, and they must be at least high enough to make up for their other shortcomings against their opponent. If you were to conceptually calculate this Sheik, you’d give it a moderately high I, a near-zero C, and a high Θ. For most tournament-ready Bowsers, you’d assume also a moderately high I, a massively high C (his entire moveset is perfect for amiibo competition, especially in the weight-based metagame) and a high Θ because of their tournament-ready training. We can’t assume anything on the R variable, because that’s determined by the game.

After calculating the two different equations, it seems pretty clear why Sheik can’t beat Bowser. His C variable is too low! It’s self-evident by watching the matches that Sheik doesn’t have the firepower, and the Utility formula provides the conceptual framework for that observation.

If you’d like to see this Sheik in action, a training and testing video can be found at this link.

This post was written in conjunction with the release of the Amiibo Dojo’s Sheik guide, which can be found here.

The 3.1.0 update and how its changes will affect the meta

Aside from the addition of amiibo to online play, the 3.1.0 update buffed and nerfed a few characters. Most of the changes only affect the characters that are top tier in human play, so the important changes to the amiibo metagame are small. Let’s go down the list and discuss the largest ones.

Patch notes are here.

  • Lucina had two minor nerfs, one against her forward smash and one against her forward air. This isn’t a major nerf but many Lucina amiibo relied on those two attacks.
  • Ivysaur and Charizard received minor buffs, although the larger buff was Charizard’s jab. Charizard carries the Pokemon team, so any buffs that affect him affect the Pokemon Trainer amiibo.
  • Diddy Kong as a character received some good buffs. While Diddy is sitting in D tier at the moment, and it doesn’t appear that his AI has improved, the character buffs may help him out somewhat.
  • Olimar’s smash attacks got crushed by the increased vulnerability. They’re no longer very safe for him, removing one of his few KO options. I expect this nerf to possibly drop Olimar half a tier or more.
  • Lucario received even more buffs than Diddy Kong. Lucario, who has just been placed in C tier, is not an amiibo with good AI or tournament results. Most of the buffs are on his KO options and will only get better with his Aura. This could shift Lucario up to B tier if a good trainer took him on.
  • Rosaluma has been made a bit faster and less vulnerable, but Luma has been shifted to be more disposable. Rosaluma amiibo will probably need to be trained to focus on Rosalina instead of Rosaluma.
  • Little Mac has been buffed arguably more than anyone else relevant in the amiibo metagame. Little Mac is at the top of B tier currently, but the improvements to his specials and the added super armor on his Up smash may bring him up to A tier. I personally haven’t had success with Mac but it seems to me that the most important parts of Mac that amiibo rely on have been buffed.
  • Mii Gunner had a very small buff to her Up smash that causes it to hit multiple times more often. It’s small, but Gunner is highly relevant to the scene.
  • Bayonetta had a smattering of relevant buffs, particularly towards her side and up specials which are now safer on a miss. If Bayonetta misses she’ll have an easier time once she’s back on the ground.

That’s about it! The C variable of these characters hasn’t shifted around too much, but a change is a change.

As for the I variable, it seems to me that the CPU AI has changed. I haven’t been able to confirm or deny this as most everyone else is focused on the online additions. If the CPU AI has changed, then the amiibo AI may have changed as well. We’re not sure.