Siliconera already found out that by fighting against an Amiibo in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U you can teach it how to beat you. But it came as a surprise to everyone to find out that a Fox Amiibo called WaveShine nearly won a local Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament that it was entered in as a joke.
It happened over the weekend of November 23rd-24th at a weekly tournament in Richmond, BC called VSB Weeklies, which is hosted by the local FGC (Fighting Game Community) organization Canadian Joysticks. The tournament was held at an arcade and billiards center called ESpot , and it is open to anyone of any skill level.
This weekend was one of the first to have Super Smash Bros. for Wii U as part of the tournament, with other games including Ultra Street Fighter 4, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, and Dengeki Fighting Climax. As it was the new game at the tournament, a “very vanilla ruleset” was drawn up, comprised of three stocks, no items, the timer set to eight minutes, and stages limited to Battlefield, Final Destination, and Smashville, and any other rulings that were agreed upon by both players.
According to tournament attendee Daze Tioseco, who often speedruns Super Mario 64 and plays Smash Bros. on his Twitch channel, Waveshine—the Fox Amiibo—was “just there.” It’s a mystery to him and everyone else at the tournament who WaveShine’s owner and trainer actually is. Rather than have it sitting around doing nothing, another Smash player at the event called TGDHamster came up with the idea of entering WaveShine into the bracket, saying that “it’d be really funny,” so he and a few others chipped in $5 each to make it happen.
The first surprise came as WaveShine knocked out a competitor called “CanErick” in the Losers Round 1 of the Smash Bros. tournament, as Daze captured in a tweet.
It turns out that WaveShine is a level 50 Amiibo, which is the current level cap, that constantly adapts its playing style to outwit its opponent. If a player held back defensively, WaveShine would notice this and start firing lasers from a distance and would reflect any returning projectiles with frame perfect timing. On the other hand, if a competitor played aggressively, WaveShine would perform frame perfect rolls and spot-dodges, and would also run back in to punish any end lag from an attack you committed to with a grab or an up smash.
“It also started punishing unsafe landings and whiffed aerials with up smash, as well as unsafe hits on shield (powershield -> upsmash out of shield) which was devastating,” Daze told Siliconera. “It even learned how to wall-tech off of the stage if it was ever hit into it, in order to avoid stage-spikes and recover. It was a pretty impressive AI.”
And Daze should know considering that he, too, was eliminated by WaveShine in the tournament. In fact, much to everyone’s laughter and disbelief, WaveShine won its way up to the Losers Semi-Finals where it was only knocked out by Firefly, one of the region’s best Super Smash Bros. Brawl players. You can watch the match here (1:33:06). It was Firefly who ended up going on to win the tournament, so considering that, it seems WaveShine ended up outdoing most of the humans players at the tournament.
Given the proficiency of WaveShine in beating human players, learning their fighting styles and adapting to beat them, Siliconera asked Daze whether he thinks we could see more Amiibos in Smash Bros. tournaments in the future.
“Since Amiibos get inherent stat boosts at their max level, I doubt we’re going to see many Tournament Officials allow them to be entered in future tournaments along with humans,” Daze said.
“However, through this, I think that Amiibo-only side brackets and dedicated Amiibo trainers could very well develop into a popular thing. I feel like it really gives players who aren’t all about competing directly against others a new opportunity to become involved with the ever-growing Smash Bros. tournament scene, and I’m all for it. If there is enough interest, I’ll definitely do my best make an Amiibo-only side-event happen on stream at the next tournament. It’s all up to the community to decide!”
Perhaps the future of fighting tournaments will involve human-trained AIs fighting against each other, then. It’s almost like Pokémon is coming true.