Hey, guys! Arklaine here, and welcome to Cloud Nine’s competitive Link amiibo training guide!
Link is the main character in The Legend of Zelda games. A young boy living in Hyrule, Link is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and Hyrule from the Gerudo thief Ganondorf. Humble to the end, Link is known not merely as a hero but as a symbol of courage, strength and wisdom as well.
This guide is up-to-date as of version 1.1.7 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
In 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 effective aerial punishes in the game) hits multiple times while dealing incredible damage. 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 primary option (and hence use it frequently, regardless of its speed), opponents will have many opportunities to attack. Rounding out his cons is a minor flaw 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.
With proper training, Link can work wonders in competitive play; the key is to teach him to play defensively and to strike a balance between melee and ranged attacks. It takes some effort to sharpen his skills, but as long as you follow the information presented in this guide, you’ll be on the right track to turning your Link into a champion.
Link – Recommended Stats & Bonuses
It’s time to train up your own tournament champion! Let’s begin by planning out what equipment your amiibo will have. To many new trainers starting out their journey, this step can be quite difficult due to the many complexities it contains – luckily, this section is dedicated to providing recommended stat spreads and bonuses for your amiibo. Here is my recommended loadout for Link:
Point Distribution: +50 Attack / +50 Defense / +20 Speed
This setup covers all bases by giving significant boosts to Link’s offensive and defensive capabilities. The remaining 20 points are put into speed, increasing his mobility, jump height, and reaction time.
- Auto-heal capability
- Improved escapability
Being one of the most common bonus combinations in competitive play, this setup works well with just about every amiibo, and Link is arguably one of its best users. Auto-heal capability heals him for 2% of health every three seconds, while Lifesteal has a 50% chance of activating with every strike and heals Link for half of the damage he inflicts with a single hit. Rounding out the set is Improved escapability, enabling him to escape from grabs and throws twice as quickly. This improves his in-game durability by allowing him to avoid taking damage from throws.
If you feel that you aren’t confident in the stat spread and bonus combination listed above, there’s another page here at Cloud Nine that goes more in-depth on several different setups you could potentially use on your Link amiibo, which you can check out by following this link.
If you didn’t know by now, the bonuses “Critical-hit capability” and “Explosive perfect shield” are banned in the online competitive amiibo scene. That’s why these weren’t mentioned at all. While these two bonuses are banned online, some real-life tournaments, which are far and few in-between, don’t ban them. If you’re reading this guide because you want to prepare for a real-life tournament that allows all types of equipment, use this setup instead:
Point Distribution: +50 Attack / +50 Defense / +20 Speed
- Critical-hit capability
- Explosive perfect shield
- Improved escapability
This is, without a doubt, the greatest bonus combination in the game. Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield are incredibly powerful in tandem with each other, as a single perfect shield can possibly inflict up to 45% on an opponent. With this setup, all you really have to do is teach your Link to block with perfect accuracy, and he wins – unless the opponent blocks better. Improved escapability rounds out the set, and it’s just as important in real-life tournaments as it is in the online scene.
Just be sure to carefully read the rules of any amiibo tournament you enter, whether it be online or real-life. As stated before, Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield are both banned in online tourneys, so make sure to carefully read the rules before entering. You certainly don’t want your Link getting disqualified after all of your “hard work”! If you’d like to learn more about online amiibo tournaments and how to enter one, 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
Now you should know exactly what stats and bonuses you will want to equip your amiibo with. 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, boot up your copy of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, navigate to the Games & More menu, and then go to the amiibo section. Scan in your Link amiibo (on Wii U, tap it to the left side of the Gamepad; on the Nintendo 3DS, you must use an NFC reader (sold separately); and on the New Nintendo 3DS, tap the figurine to the console’s bottom screen), and you’ll see a status menu that details its 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.
Step 1: Equipping Three Bonus Effects
We’re going to begin by setting your amiibo up with its three bonus effects. From your amiibo’s status screen, go to 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 bonuses and the prefixes you should search for – find the three bonus effects you decided on from the list below, and then feed them to your amiibo in-game. The bonus effects I recommended for Link will be 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 equipment menu looks like, sorted alphabetically. If you find that you don’t have one of the bonuses you wanted to give to your amiibo, leave one of its bonus slots blank, and you can feed the missing bonus effect later. For more information on amiibo equipment, including how to farm for bonus effects and custom moves, check 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 the recommended stat spread, 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 don’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
Your 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 game 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 this whole process. Keep repeating this step until your amiibo has your desired stat spread.
Completing the Feeding Process
Once your amiibo is set up with its stat points, bonus effects, and custom moves, you’ll be ready to begin your training. (Or continue it, if your amiibo is already Level 50 and will be using this guide for the first time.) It’s quite 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 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 does talk about raising your amiibo to Level 50, but it also contains helpful tips to use when mirror matching your amiibo. They’ll still be helpful to you even if your amiibo is already at Level 50. Take a look at Section 4 of the guide, which talks about additional post-Level 50 training techniques.
Raising an amiibo to Level 50 is possibly the most boring and tedious part of training that you will ever experience. Since aerial training is frowned upon in the competitive metagame due to how easy an amiibo can block an aerial opponent, you can’t go all-out against your amiibo with combos and edgeguards and expect it to become great – you have to play against your Link amiibo very carefully. That’s why, for this step, you’ll 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 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. 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, success is having your amiibo block, then counterattack. To support these components, I’ve put together 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 Link is airborne, it can’t block at all, so if it misses an aerial move, it’ll be left vulnerable to a counterattack. 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, your amiibo’s 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 it’s taken a lot of damage, switch it up – 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 every 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 method of racking up damage is his jab – it’s fast, moderately powerful, and has little ending lag. Forward tilt is a less effective option but packs 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.
- 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.
- Moves to avoid: grab, grab aerial, Hero’s Bow, and Bomb. Since Link doesn’t benefit from using his grab, it’s best to stay far away from it. When recovering, use your up special, not your tether recovery – if you do, it’ll encourage your amiibo to jump around more often, which we don’t want to happen. 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 will 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 too long to level him up depending on how much training he originally had. As long as you play by the tips provided, you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong foundation for your amiibo to build on later. Keep in mind that you can 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 training will truly begin. Much like a real 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 Link amiibo has reached Level 50, things finally get interesting. It’s time to really make him great. Defense and counterattacks are important to your amiibo’s success and all, but match experience is even more important. Your amiibo will need to be exposed to the many possible situations it could face in a tournament setting.
Your Amiibo’s Match Experience
Every character in the Super Smash Bros. roster has their own unique playstyle and a variety of different moves to use. It’s a good idea to expose your Link to as many different fighters as possible. The best 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 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 will diminish – in other words, your Link’s fighting skills will wear down. Don’t get me wrong, match experience is great and all – but your Link 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? Refer back to that list, and also remember to stay on the ground at all times, and to 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 block incoming attacks and then counter with greater precision. It’s also another 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 it’s needed.
Training a champion amiibo isn’t a simple feat, and it certainly isn’t as easy as following a step-by-step guide from start to finish – it requires innovation, creativity, and a lot of patience. Amiibo are finicky things at times, and yours will likely develop a habit you aren’t so fond of; it might use too many aerials or walk right into attacks, for one. Luckily, several resources at Cloud Nine exist to help you to correct these problems. The FAQ will answer most of your questions, but if your question isn’t there, you can join Cloud Nine’s Discord server for additional help.
Thanks for reading this guide all the way to the end! You toughed it out – good job! Though the guide may be wrapping up, your training won’t be done anytime soon. There’s always a way forward with an amiibo, and your Link amiibo is no exception to this rule. Again, if you run into any roadblocks along the way, check out Cloud Nine’s Discord server.
If your desire to read amiibo training guides and articles hasn’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 might 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!
If you noticed any spelling, grammar, or formatting errors while reading this guide, please either join the aforementioned Discord server to tell us about the mistake. Your help is much appreciated – thank you in advance!
All of the images you see in this guide were taken in-game by Cloud.