Welcome to Cloud Nine’s competitive Donkey Kong amiibo training guide! I’m Trainer Blue, and I’m here to teach you how to train your amiibo to its fullest potential.
This king of the jungle is superstrong, a little scatterbrained, and absolutely nuts about bananas. His adventures usually start with people stealing his hoard of them. As his physique suggests, this Kong is a powerhouse, but he’s got speed to match too! His famous red necktie is adorned with his initials, DK.
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 the past, nobody paid much attention to Donkey Kong’s amiibo, writing him off as “hopeless” and “a waste of time”. Fortunately, a few dedicated trainers gave him a second chance and were able to discover his true potential, and this significantly expanded his position on the amiibo tier list. Donkey Kong’s biggest strength is actually his grab game – it bypasses Improved escapability, the most common bonus effect in the game, and serves as an excellent damage-racking tool. He has a great jab that can be used repeatedly to great effect, as well as a good set of tilts that perfectly mix power and speed. His smash attacks are among the most powerful in the game, dealing incredible damage with proper timing and spacing. Donkey Kong is also a heavyweight fighter, meaning his in-game resilience is higher relative to the rest of the cast.
Even with his many promising advantages, Donkey Kong isn’t without his flaws. To begin, Donkey Kong has a few odd AI habits. He has a bad habit of overusing his forward aerial and tends to use uncharged Giant Punch attacks at random. Donkey Kong’s smash attacks may be strong, but this power comes at a price – they’re very slow, and leave DK vulnerable if he misses.
Donkey Kong has really come far since the beginning of the amiibo metagame – he used to be seen as a terrible character, but now he has his own niche. He may have his fair share of disadvantages, but his pros definitely outweigh his cons.
Donkey Kong – 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. Equipping an amiibo is a daunting task to first-timers due to its many components and caveats – luckily, this section is dedicated to providing tips, tricks, and setups for your amiibo’s stats and bonuses. Here’s my recommended loadout for Donkey Kong:
Point Distribution: +100 Attack / +100 Defense / -80 Speed
This spread greatly boosts Donkey Kong’s strength and defense, cementing his role as a powerful fighter who can survive against repeated attacks. -80 points in speed doesn’t hurt Donkey Kong’s recovery, making it a good trade-off in exchange for enhanced abilities.
- Improved launch ability
- Improved escapability
This is a standard offensively-oriented setup that works well with Donkey Kong. Improved launch ability increases the power of DK’s jab, up tilt, and cargo up throw by 30%, while Lifesteal allows him to restore health just by attacking opponents. Improved escapability rounds out the set, ensuring that Donkey Kong is not KO’d by characters with strong throws.
If for some reason you aren’t confident in the bonus combination I’ve presented, there’s another page here at Cloud Nine that goes more in-depth on several different setups you could potentially use on Donkey Kong. You can check that out by following this link.
Keep in mind that both Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield are banned in the online competitive amiibo scene. That’s why I haven’t mentioned them. While these two bonuses are banned online, some real-life tournaments do not ban them. If you’re reading this guide because you want to prepare for a real-life tournament that allows all types of equipment, you should use this setup instead:
Point Distribution: +100 Attack / +100 Defense / -80 Speed
- Critical-hit capability
- Explosive perfect shield
- Improved escapability
This is undoubtedly 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 inflict up to 45% on an opponent. With this setup, all you really have to do is teach your Donkey Kong to block with perfect accuracy, and he wins – unless his opponent blocks better. Improved escapability rounds out the set, and is just as important in real-life tournaments as it is in the online scene.
Be sure to carefully read the rules of any amiibo tournament you enter. Again, Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield are both banned in online tourneys, so be sure to carefully read the rules of each one before entering. You certainly don’t want your Donkey Kong 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.
Donkey Kong – Recommended Custom Moves
- Lightning Punch: This is a custom move version of Donkey Kong’s neutral special. It isn’t as powerful as the default, but is much faster. Donkey Kong’s amiibo likes to randomly use uncharged neutral specials – Lightning Punch’s enhanced speed will minimize the time he is left vulnerable.
- Stubborn Headbutt: This custom move version is slower than the default, but deals more damage and has super armor. It can catch other amiibo off-guard, and is even capable of breaking a full shield in one hit!
- Hot Slap: Hot Slap is a custom move version of Donkey Kong’s down special. It deals fire-based damage and comes out quicker. It shouldn’t necessarily be focused on during training, it’s a good idea to give DK this custom move in case he does decide to use it.
Feeding your Amiibo
By now, you should know exactly what stats and bonuses you want to equip your amiibo with. Now it’s time to go ahead with your plan and get your amiibo all set up with his proper equipment pieces! Once you’re ready to begin, open Super Smash Bros., navigate to the Games & More menu, and then to the amiibo section. Tap in your Donkey Kong amiibo (on Wii U, tap him to the left side of the Gamepad; on the Nintendo 3DS, you must use an NFC reader (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 Donkey Kong just to use this guide – remember, it’s always possible to correct an amiibo’s bad habits.
Step 1: Equipping Three Bonus Effects
First things first – we’re going to set your amiibo up with his 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 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 Donkey Kong 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. If you realize you actually don’t have one of the bonuses you had wanted to give to your amiibo, leave one of his bonus slots blank, and you can feed him the missing bonus effect later. If you’d like 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 his stat points. If you decided to follow my recommendation, your ultimate task is to give your amiibo 100 points in attack, 100 points in defense, and -80 points in speed. Don’t worry if your numbers aren’t exact – we’re aiming for a ballpark range with your Donkey Kong’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 he becomes full and can’t eat anymore. It’s possible to feed your amiibo more equipment by battling him. 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 he 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.
Completing the Feeding Process
Once your amiibo is all set with his 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 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 a question.
Raising your Amiibo to Level 50
Note: If your Donkey Kong amiibo was trained prior to using this guide, please do not reset him. 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 be helpful to you even if your amiibo is already at Level 50. You should also be sure to take a look at Section 4 of the guide, which talks about post-Level 50 training techniques.
Unfortunately, I find raising an amiibo to Level 50 to be somewhat boring and tedious. Aerials are a big no-no in the competitive metagame due to how easy they are to block, so you can’t just go all-out against your amiibo with combos and edgeguards and expect him to become strong. You have to play against your Donkey Kong 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 Donkey Kong. I recommend playing timed matches (anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes will do) on Ω-form stages only.
I haven’t talked much about defense in this guide yet, but it’s one of the most important components of 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 your opponent. But in the amiibo metagame, the key components are defense and counterattacks. 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 Donkey Kong is airborne, he can’t block at all, so if he misses an aerial move, he’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, his 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 Donkey Kong is at low damage, use tilts and jabs more often. When he’s taken a lot of damage, start using more smash attacks.
- 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 he has reached Level 50 that counts.
The defensive training tips apply to every amiibo character. However, there are some tips that apply specifically to Donkey Kong that you will need to play by to ensure your amiibo’s success.
Donkey Kong Training Tips
- Primary damage-racking moves: jab, forward tilt, down tilt, up tilt, and grab. Donkey Kong’s jabs and tilts are all quite fast, and can easily rack up damage on opponents with proper timing. You might notice during training that your DK amiibo only uses his cargo throw – this is a good thing, because it’s his cargo throw that bypasses Improved escapability. When grabbing your amiibo, use a cargo down throw when close to the edge, and a cargo up throw when closer to the center of the stage.
- Primary KO moves: forward smash, up smash and down smash. Donkey Kong’s smash attacks are slow and can get him punished, but are immensely powerful when used at the right time. Forward smash is best used when an opponent is about a character-length away from DK, up smash is most effective as an aerial punish, and down smash hits on both sides and can take opponents by surprise. Make sure that you only use these attacks as KO moves – they’re too slow to function as damage-rackers.
- Moves to avoid: Lightning Punch and Hot Slap. Although we did make a note to give you Donkey Kong amiibo these two custom moves, you should not use them during training. The reason we gave DK these moves is because he likes to randomly throw out attacks – and these two customs reduce the amount of time he is left vulnerable after using them.
- Utilize Stubborn Headbutt sparingly. This move serves as an excellent shield-breaking move, but if an opponent dodges in time, Donkey Kong is left open to punishment.
If you started using this guide with a Level 1 amiibo, it will take some time for him to reach Level 50. If your Donkey Kong 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 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 that you can refer back to this list at any time in case you want to mirror match your amiibo to refresh his skills after he hits Level 50.
When your Donkey Kong amiibo finally reaches Level 50, his training will truly begin. Just 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 him into a champion!
Are you ready for things to get interesting? Your amiibo has reached Level 50, and his journey has just begun. It’s time to take off the training wheels and really make him great. Defense and counterattacks are very important to your amiibo’s success, but his match experience is even more important. Your Donkey Kong will need to be exposed to many possible situations he could face in a tournament setting.
Your Amiibo’s Match Experience
Each 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 Donkey Kong to as many different fighters as possible. The best way of doing this is to have your Donkey Kong 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 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, his knowledge of his own moveset will diminish. That is to say, your Donkey Kong’s fighting skills will wear down. Don’t get me wrong, match experience is great – but your Donkey Kong 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? We went over a list of tips you should use as you mirror match your amiibo. Refer back to that list if you want to. Be sure 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 him through some advanced defensive training. The aptly-named defensive training session will help your amiibo to more accurately block incoming attacks and then counter with a move of his own. 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 his best, repeat both mirror matches and the defensive training session as 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. He might use too many aerials, or walk right into attacks. Luckily, 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 join Cloud Nine’s Discord server for additional help.
Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end! It’s been a long guide, but you toughed it out – I really appreciate that! Although the guide may be wrapping up, your training most likely won’t be done anytime soon. There’s always a way forward with an amiibo, and Donkey Kong 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.