Competitive Amiibo Guide: Link

What’s up, everyone? Arklaine here, this time with a Link amiibo training guide. Thank you for continuing to support Cloud Nine – we appreciate it very much. Also, bear in mind that this is the competitive Link training guide, and not the casual guide – if you’d like to train your Link amiibo without equipment, head on over to the casual Link training guide instead.

In the amiibo metagame, Link is a powerful contender. His strong smash attacks, versatile projectiles, and recovery options make him a flexible fighter who can handle any opponent. Many amiibo trainers have found success with this character in competitive play, and with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to find that success for yourself!

This guide is up-to-date as of version 1.1.6 of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Table of Contents

  • Section 1: Amiibo Overview / Pros & Cons
  • Section 2: Recommended Equipment
  • Section 3: Leveling up your Amiibo
  • Section 4: Post Level-50 Training
  • Section 5: Conclusion & Credits

Amiibo Overview

linkcaxsual.PNGIn contrast to his cel-shaded counterpart, Link is a common tournament pick who possesses certain moves and strengths that help differentiate himself from Toon Link. Link has several unique attacks that can surprise and disorient his opponents. A prime example of this is his jab, which comes out swiftly and hits surprisingly hard. His smash attacks are even stronger – his forward smash consists of two separate hits instead of one, and his up smash (one of the most efficient smashes in the game) hits multiple times while dealing incredible damage all the while. Link is not only threatening at close range, but at a distance as well: he has a wide range of projectiles that allow him to rack up damage from afar and keep enemies at bay. He can even use his arrows to gimp recovering foes! His recovery is also quite good – while his up special doesn’t go very far, his tether recovery is a fast and reliable option. Finally, Link is very resilient thanks to his heavy weight, and this makes him more than capable of stomaching powerful hits.

Unfortunately, Link’s grab is horribly slow, and leaves him vulnerable to attack if missed – and since amiibo usually rely on their grab as a secondary option (and hence use it a lot, regardless of its speed), opponents will have many opportunities to attack. To add to this, Link doesn’t have any kill throws, so when he does successfully grab an enemy, it won’t do him any good. Rounding out his cons is a small problem in his AI – he doesn’t use his Bombs very well. He’ll either toss them upwards to no effect or hold onto them for too long and damage himself with the resulting explosion.

The Verdict

With proper training, Link can work wonders in competitive play; the key is to teach him to play defensively, and strike a balance between melee and ranged attacks. It might take a bit of effort to sharpen his skills, but as long as you follow the information presented in this guide, you should have no problem turning your Link amiibo into a champion.

Link – Recommended Stats & Bonuses

It’s time to begin your journey to train a tournament champion! The first step is to set your amiibo up with equipment, bonus effects, and custom moves. Equipping an amiibo is a bit of a daunting task to first-timers due to its complexities – luckily, this section is dedicated to giving you tips, tricks, and setups for your amiibo’s equipment. Here’s my recommended loadout for Link:

Point Distribution: +50 Attack / +50 Defense / +20 Speed

This setup aims to help Link achieve a balance between offense, defense, and speed. 50 points in attack help Link hit much harder with his jab, smash attacks, and projectiles, while 50 points in defense improve Link’s ability to take hits from powerful amiibo like Bowser and Ganondorf. Combined with his heavy weight, Link will be able to survive such attacks until very high percentages. The remaining points are put into speed since this helps Link maneuver on the ground and through the air a bit faster. Link is quite slow and his jump height isn’t spectacular, so 20 points in speed are more than enough to give him a boost in the mobility department.

Bonus Combination:

  • Auto-heal capability
  • Lifesteal
  • Improved escapability

Being one of the most common bonus combinations seen on tournament entrants, this setup works on almost every amiibo – and Link is arguably one of its best users. Auto-heal capability heals Link for 2% every 3 seconds, which allows Link to passively recover damage while keeping opponents at a safe distance with his jab and projectiles. Lifesteal has a 50% chance of activating with every attack, and heals Link for half of the damage he deals in a single strike. Given the strength of his smash attacks, it’s probable that Link will recover a great amount of health with Lifesteal when moves like his forward smash connect. Last but not least, Improved escapability helps Link escape from grabs and kill throws twice as fast – it’s a must if Link wishes to contend with amiibo like Ness who have powerful kill throws.

If for some reason you’re not confident in the stats and bonuses I’ve recommended, there’s another page here at Cloud Nine that goes more in-depth on several different setups you could potentially use on your amiibo. You can check that out by following this link. Keep in mind that Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield are banned in the online competitive amiibo scene – if you are entering a physical tournament that allows all types of equipment, you should use the following setup:

Point Distribution: +40 Attack / +70 Defense / +10 Speed

Bonus Combination:

  • Critical-hit capability
  • Explosive perfect shield
  • Improved escapability

In case you’re wondering, the online community banned Critical-hit capability because it was too luck-based. It gave its user a 20% chance of dealing triple damage and knockback, which led to KOs as early as 10% off of a single smash attack. The community banned Explosive perfect shield because teaching an amiibo to do nothing but use its perfect shield didn’t require much skill. But most real-life amiibo tournaments (which are rare nowadays) do not explicitly ban these bonus effects, so you’re free to use the above setup, which is undoubtedly the best in the game.

If you plan to enter an online tournament, Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield will most likely be banned. Be sure to carefully read the rules of each tourney before submitting your amiibo – you certainly don’t want it getting disqualified after all of your hard work! If you’d like to learn more about online amiibo tournaments and how to enter them, take a look at this page.

Link – Recommended Custom Moves

  • Boomerang: Link’s side special is actually called Gale Boomerang. Gale Boomerang and regular Boomerang are two different moves. Boomerang, Link’s second custom move option, doesn’t have the wind effect that the default attack has, but deals more damage and is easier to aim. It’s a more traditional projectile and is better at racking up damage from afar. Your Link amiibo with use this move to great effect.

Feeding Your Amiibo

By now, you should know exactly what stats, bonuses, and custom moves you’ll want to equip your amiibo with. Now it’s time to go ahead with your plan and get your amiibo all set up with its proper equipment pieces! Once you’re ready to roll, open Super Smash Bros., navigate to the Games & More menu, and then to the amiibo section. Tap your Link amiibo in (on the Wii U, tap it to the left side of the Gamepad; on the Nintendo 3DS, you must use an NFC reader, which is sold separately; on the New Nintendo 3DS, tap the figurine to the console’s bottom screen), and you’ll see a status menu that details his current stats and bonus effects.

Don’t worry about your amiibo’s current level, or if you have trained him before. Don’t reset your Link just to use this guide – remember, it’s always possible to correct an amiibo’s bad habits. If you’re intending to patch up a Link you had trained before, you can keep on reading this section. If your Link is brand-new and fresh out of the box, you can keep on reading, too. Either way, the feeding method I’m about to explain will work just the same.

Step 1: Equipping Three Bonus Effects

To start off, we’re going to set your amiibo up with its three bonus effects. From your amiibo’s status screen, click the “Feed Equipment” option, and sort your equipment stash alphabetically. You’ll notice that each piece has a “prefix”, and this prefix determines what bonus effect it yields. Here’s a list of some common bonus effects and the prefixes you should search for – find the three bonus effects you’ve decided on from the list below, and then feed them to your amiibo in-game. The three bonus effects I have recommended for Link are underlined.

  • All-Around Trade-off (Improved trade-off ability)
  • Auto-Healer (Auto-heal capability)
  • Escape Artist (Improved escapability)
  • Gluey Edge (Easier edge grabs)
  • Hyper Smasher (Hyper smash attacks)
  • Moon Launcher (Improved launch ability)
  • Nimble Dodger (Improved dodge ability)
  • Perfect-Shield Helper / Perfect-Shield Whiz (Easy perfect shield)
  • Shield Healer / Healing-Shield (Health-restoring shield)
  • Shield Reflector / Shield Counter (Mirror shield)
  • Shield Regenerator / Speedy Shield Recharge (Improved shield regeneration)
  • Trade-off Attacker (Improved trade-off attack)
  • Trade-off Defender (Improved trade-off defense)
  • Trade-off Speedster (Improved trade-off speed)
  • Vampire (Lifesteal)

If you scroll up a bit, you’ll see a visual example image of what the correct menu looks like. If you realize you actually don’t have one of the bonuses you wanted to give to your amiibo, leave one of the bonus slots blank, and you can feed it the missing bonus effect when you get it later on. If you’d like more information on amiibo equipment, including how to farm for bonus effects and custom moves, I recommend you check out this page before moving on.

Step 2: Rounding Out Stat Values

For many, this is the most difficult step in feeding your amiibo: evenly distributing its stat points. If you decided to follow my recommendation, your ultimate task is to give your amiibo 50 points in attack, 50 points in defense, and 20 points in speed. Don’t worry if your numbers aren’t exact – we’re aiming for a ballpark range with your Link’s stats. If you didn’t know this already, each piece of equipment has one of three different colors: orange, blue, or green. Orange pieces will increase an amiibo’s attack power but decrease its defense. Blue pieces will increase its defense but lower its speed. A green piece will increase its speed, but lower its strength. You’ll need to use these equipment pieces to balance your amiibo’s stats to the values you want them to be.

Step 3: When Your Amiibo Gets Full

An amiibo can only eat so much equipment before it becomes full and can’t eat anymore. It’s possible to feed your amiibo more equipment by battling it. You don’t want to formally start your training until your amiibo is complete with the correct stats and bonuses, so if your amiibo becomes full midway through the feeding process, hop into a quick 1-stock match as any character. When the match begins, run off the stage and KO yourself. Your amiibo’s tendencies and habits won’t be negatively affected, regardless of whether it is Level 1, Level 50, or anywhere in between. Your amiibo will then be ready to eat more equipment, and you’ll be one step closer to completing the feeding process. Repeat this step until you have your desired stat spread.

Completing the Feeding Process

Once your amiibo is all set with its stat points, bonus effects, and custom moves, you’re ready to begin training! (Or continue it, if your amiibo is already Level 50 and is using this guide for the first time.) It’s easy to make mistakes while feeding your amiibo, however – and if you run into a problem of some sort that you can’t resolve, you can always hop into the community Discord server to ask us a question.

Raising your Amiibo to Level 50

Note: If your Link amiibo was trained prior to using this guide, do not reset it. This section talks about raising your amiibo to Level 50, but it also contains helpful tips to use when mirror matching your amiibo. They’ll be helpful to you even if your amiibo is already Level 50. You should also take a look at Section 4 of the guide, which instead talks about post-Level 50 training techniques.

The most boring and tedious part of amiibo training, in my opinion, is raising them from Level 1 to Level 50. Aerial training in the competitive amiibo metagame is frowned upon due to how easy an aerial-spamming amiibo is to block, so you can’t go all-out against your amiibo with combos and edgeguards and expect it to become strong. You’ll have to play against your Link very carefully. For this step, you will be mirror matching your amiibo all the way to Level 50. A “mirror match”, known by some as a “ditto match”, is when you fight your amiibo while playing as its character – so in this case, you’ll need to play as Link against your Link amiibo. I recommend playing timed matches (anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes will do, but 5 is generally preferred) on Ω-form stages only.

We haven’t talked much about defense in this guide yet, have we? Well, it’s one of, if not the most important of components towards an amiibo’s success. You see, in the competitive Super Smash Bros. metagame (human players vs. human players), success is all about getting off the strongest combos, playing a good neutral game, and outsmarting and predicting your opponent. But in the amiibo metagame, the key components are defense and counterattacks. To support these components, here is a list of defensive training tips. Be sure to play by them at all times during your training.

Defensive Training Tips

  • Do not jump or use aerials. amiibo can be trained to block incoming attacks within a fraction of a second – faster than any human. If your amiibo is airborne, it can’t block at all, so if it misses an aerial attack, it’ll be left vulnerable to an up smash. Remaining grounded at all times is every amiibo’s best option and safest playstyle. There have been over 100 tournaments thus far, and each one has shown that amiibo who use or rely on their aerial attacks do not perform well at all.
  • Block and dodge attacks as often as you can. Since amiibo can react so quickly, you shouldn’t teach yours to randomly throw out different attacks – instead, its approach should be calm and calculated. During training, block as many of your amiibo’s attacks as you can. After perfect shielding or dodging, respond with a move of your own. When your Link is at low damage, use tilts and jabs more often than smash attacks. When he’s taken a lot of damage, start using more smash attacks than tilts and jabs.
  • Do not make any attempt to combo. amiibo can only use combos that are hard-coded into their AI, and even these combos aren’t very effective tools in the amiibo metagame. Plus, since amiibo can block and dodge with incredible accuracy, combos will usually be ineffective against them. Focus on well-timed blocks, dodges, and counterattacks instead.
  • Don’t be too picky. If you mess up during training, don’t get frustrated and reset your amiibo. In fact, you should never reset your amiibo, because it’s always possible to correct bad habits. If you do make a mistake, shrug it off and just keep going. The level-up process isn’t too important; at the end of the day, it’s the training you execute on your amiibo after it has reached Level 50 that counts.

The defensive training tips apply to any amiibo character. However, there are some tips that apply specifically to Link that you will need to play by to ensure your amiibo’s success.

Link Training Tips

  • Primary damage-racking moves: jab, forward tilt, and Boomerang. Link’s most reliable damage of racking up damage is through his jab – it’s fast, moderately powerful, and has little ending lag. When your amiibo is in close range, quickly jab to push him back. Do this often, and you’ll have a jab-happy Link amiibo in no time. The first two hits of his jab can also lead into a combo with Spin Attack, his up special, which you may see the amiibo try to pull off occasionally, so it’s not a bad idea to use this yourself during training. Forward tilt is a less effective option, but does pack additional power and knockback at the cost of being slightly slower. Link’s AI doesn’t have the greatest grasp on his arrows and bombs, but he can use his boomerang to great effect – almost to a point of spamming. Encourage his use of Boomerang by frequently using your own on him. Try to throw it multiple times in a row!
  • Primary KO moves: forward smash and up smash. When you use Link’s forward smash, be sure to use both hits of it by pressing the attack button twice. His up smash is one of the best aerial punish moves available, so be sure to hit your amiibo with it while he’s airborne. Link’s back throw is also quite strong; when grabbing your amiibo at high percentages, try to KO him with a back throw. Unfortunately, most amiibo run Improved escapability. This means they’ll almost always be able to escape from Link’s clutches before he’s able to use his back throw.
  • Moves to avoid: grab, grab aerial, Hero’s Bow, and Bomb. Link doesn’t benefit at all from grabbing enemies. As mentioned before, his back throw is strong, but it isn’t that strong, so the risk isn’t worth taking. When recovering back to the stage, be sure to only use up special and not Link’s tether recovery – if you do this too often, your amiibo will start using his tether recovery as an attack (this is called a grab aerial). Don’t worry, your amiibo will learn to use his tether recovery on his own. We touched on this earlier, but Boomerang is really the only projectile Link can use right. He almost never uses bombs correctly, and effectively fails at charging up arrows to shoot. Focus on Link’s only other projectile and his sword strikes instead. (On a side note, Link’s AI is always programmed to edgeguard with arrows. It’s still not effective to shoot arrows as an attack, though).

If you started using this guide with a Level 1 amiibo, it’ll take some time for it to reach Level 50. If your Link began his training anywhere in between Level 1 and Level 50, it shouldn’t take that long to level him up depending on how much training he had prior to this guide. As long as you play by the tips I’ve provided, you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong foundation for your amiibo to build on later. Keep in mind, you can always refer back to this list at any time in case you want to mirror match your amiibo to refresh its skills after it hits Level 50.

When your Link amiibo finally reaches Level 50, his real training has just begin. Just like a real human player, amiibo need match experience and practice against different characters, stages, and situations. When you’re all done here, we’ll move on to the most important section of the guide – honing your Level 50 amiibo’s skills and turning it into a champion!

Now that your amiibo has reached Level 50, training is now going to be interesting. It’s time to take off the training wheels and really make him great. I cannot stress how important defense and counterattacks are towards an amiibo’s success, but match experience is even more important. Your amiibo will need to be exposed to many possible situations it could face in a tournament setting.

Your Amiibo’s Match Experience

It’s a good idea to expose your Link to other characters. Each character in the Super Smash Bros. roster has their own unique playstyle and a variety of different moves to use. The most optimal way of doing this is to have your Link fight other amiibo characters. Set the stock to 2, the time to 6 minutes, and have them play three matches. The first character to win 2 matches wins the set, just like in a real competitive tournament! Here at Cloud Nine, we have guides for every amiibo character, so if you have any other amiibo characters left untrained, train them up with their own personalized character guide.

Mirror Matches, Defense, and Counterattacks

As your amiibo’s knowledge of other characters expands, its knowledge of its own moveset diminishes, which means your Link’s fighting skills will wear down. Match experience is great and all, but your amiibo will require your intervention now and then in order to be successful.  Mirror matching your amiibo every so often is a great way to refresh its skills. Remember Section 3 of this guide, where we went over a list of tips you should use as you mirror match your amiibo? I recommend you refer back to that list when you train your amiibo. Always be sure to stay on the ground at all times, and play defensively.

Speaking of playing defensively, now that your amiibo is Level 50, you can put it through some advanced defensive training. The aptly-named defensive training session will help your amiibo to accurately block incoming attacks and then counter with a move of its own with greater precision. It’s also a great way to refresh your amiibo’s skills, in addition to the mirror match above. To keep your amiibo fresh and at its best, repeat both mirror matches and the defensive training session as much as you need.

Training a champion amiibo is definitely not a simple feat, and it’s certainly not as easy as following a step-by-step guide from start to finish. It requires innovation, creativity, and a ton of patience. amiibo are finicky things at times, and yours will likely develop a habit you aren’t so fond of. For example, it might use too many aerials or walk right into attacks. Luckily for you, I’ve set up some resources that will help you to correct these problems. The FAQ will answer most of your questions, but if your question isn’t there, you can either join the community Discord server to ask the community, or you could use the forums instead.

Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end of this guide! It’s been a long read, but you toughed it out – good job! Although the guide may be wrapping up, your training is never done – there’s always a way forward with an amiibo, and Link is no exception to this rule. Again, if you run into any roadblocks along the way, check out either Discord or the forums. (Or how about both?)

If your desire to read amiibo training guides and articles haven’t been completely satisfied, there are some more posts here at Cloud Nine that you might like. The official amiibo tier list ranks every amiibo’s overall capabilities, and you may even learn something new if you take a look at it. The FAQ is another good resource worth checking out. Alternatively, you can head to the master list of guides for even more amiibo training methods!

Credits

I may have tons of experience training Link, but thanks to every one of the other trainers who helped with listing training tips and checking for grammatical errors – you know who you are! All images used in this guide were taken in-game by Cloud.


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