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How to power up in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World of Light campaign as quickly as possible

It all comes down to the Spirit Board

Lady Palutena joins Super Smash Bros. Sora Ltd., Bandai Namco Studios/Nintendo

Any game with an economy can be manipulated and leveraged to provide an advantage to the player, and that includes Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s single-player World of Light campaign.

This is how to use the Spirit Board activity to get powerful spirits as quickly as possible. It may not be the most fun way to play, but it’s likely to be the most efficient.

What are spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?

You collect spirits in the World of Light and the related activities under the “Spirits” tab in the main menu, and these spirits each depict one of about 1,300 different characters from games released on Nintendo platforms. Each spirit is unlocked through a fight with a special rule set that matches the character’s theme.

For example, the Pokémon Shedinja is a cicada’s discarded shell. Shedinja has only one hit point in the Pokémon games, but it has a special ability that makes it immune to all attacks that don’t hit it for super-effective damage.

The Shedinja Spirit battle in Smash Ultimate pits you against a Mr. Game & Watch combatant at one health, but with an invincibility buff that sometimes switches off for a short amount of time. You only have to hit him once to win, but you have to do it in that short window of vulnerability.

Primary and support spirits

Winning these battles allows you to collect the spirits, which function as RPG gear. Your primary spirit improves your attack and defense stats, which means you’ll take less damage from enemies while dealing more out when you attack. The higher the numbers associated with your equipped spirits, the better you’ll perform.

Primary spirits also include between zero and three slots for support spirits, which give you perks like an item at the start of a match or an immunity to an obstacle like poison clouds or electrified floors. Primary spirits with fewer slots for support spirits usually have higher stats to compensate.

Spirits come in four tiers: novice, advanced, ace and legend. Higher-tier primary spirits give you more damage and more defense. Higher-tier support spirits give you more powerful perks. The catch is that the enemies you have to battle to get the spirit are significantly harder on higher tiers. You’ll need to finesse your spirit loadout to stack the deck in your favor in order to beat some of the tougher ones.

Optimizing spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Primary spirits come in three categories that operate in a rock/paper/scissors system. Red/attack spirits beat green/grab spirits, which beat blue/shield spirits, which beat red/attack spirits. There are also neutral/purple spirits that don’t have a strength or a weakness against any other spirit type.

You always want to use a primary spirit that has an advantage over the spirit you’re battling, if at all possible.

Primary spirits also have levels, and you’ll want to upgrade your spirit to the maximum level of 99 in order to get the highest stat bonus in battle. Spirits level up when you use them to fight, and they earn experience whether you win or lose. But they get more if you win.

You can also level them up by feeding them the spirit snacks you get as rewards for clearing battles. You will also unlock a gym on the World of Light map where you can drop your spirits off to level up on their own. You won’t have access to them while they level up, however, and it can take a day or more of real-world time before a spirit reaches its maximum level.

Although there is nothing about this in the game’s tutorial, it appears you get a bonus to your attack and defense stats when your character is from the same game franchise as your spirit. Deoxys is a powerful mythical Pokémon, for example, and the Deoxys spirit is a legendary-tier spirit with no support slots in Smash Bros. Ultimate.

It usually has a stat value of 12,704, but it gets a stat value of 13,973 when I use it with Mewtwo. This is higher than the stat value of legendary opponents who usually have you at a numerical disadvantage, even when you have equipped your own legendary spirits.

Advantages of the Spirit Board

You can earn spirits by playing one of two modes: The main World of Light story mode, in which you encounter spirits in predetermined positions on the world map, and the Spirit Board, in which you can choose your battles from among a randomized set of spirits that rotates every five minutes.

The Spirit Board has a couple of drawbacks. The spirit disappears if you fail a battle, and you’ll have to wait until it randomly shows up again to get a second shot at it. Secondly, you have to play a minigame that requires you to time a shot through a gap in a round rotating shield even if you win the battle. Hitting the shield will blast a hole in it, and you’re then given the option of purchasing a second shot for spirit points.

The spirit is lost if you miss a second time, but you’ll still benefit from the damage to the shield if you win the battle a second time and are brought to the minigame for the same spirit. You can also get a Sluggish Shield item that will slow the rotation of a shield, and a Shield Spacer item to increase the size of the gap to make this minigame easier. These items are uncommon, however, so be sure to save them for legendary spirits.

You’re going to want as many Sluggish Shield and Shield Spacer items as you can get
Sora Ltd., Bandai Namco Studios/Nintendo via Polygon

World of Light just gives you the spirit if you win the battle, without the minigame, and you can retry a battle as many times as you like. But you have far fewer choices of which spirits you want to battle.

And choice is a very big deal if you want to rapidly increase your power.

How to quickly get a powerful spirit team in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

You start Spirit Mode with a single advanced primary spirit. I got Agahnim from Link to the Past, who is a blue/shield spirit.

Take your starting spirit to the Spirit Board instead of the campaign, and beat up on some Novice-tier spirits. This will get your advanced spirit to level up a bit, and winning these fights will also award spirit points and snack items.

Use the snacks to level your advanced spirit up to level 99. It will take a few dozen snacks to hit max level, but each fight you win against lower level spirits should award you three or four snacks, so they’re never in short supply. You can dismiss some of the novice-tier spirits you’ve been catching to get more currency if you run out.

You’ll want to look for an ace tier spirit who is the color your spirit is strong against once you get your starting spirit up to level 99. This will give you the maximum advantage possible to fight, and earn a very powerful spirit as quickly as possible.

Ace-tier spirits will come up fairly regularly on the Spirit Board
Sora Ltd., Bandai Namco Studios/Nintendo via Polygon

My advanced spirit, Agahnim, was a blue/shield, I needed to find a red/attack spirit to battle. Ace spirits show up frequently enough that it shouldn’t take long to find a good one.

Farm advanced and novice tier spirits to get snacks to level your initial ace spirit up to 99. You can then use your level 99 red ace to catch a green ace, and use the green ace to catch a blue ace.

It will probably take several hours to get a level 99 ace-tier primary spirit in each color, but you can shred the World of Light campaign on normal mode once this has been accomplished. You can also consider turning up the difficulty level to unlock even more powerful spirits if you’re a good fighter who doesn’t require the numerical advantage.

Alternatively, you can use this foundation to start chasing legend-tier spirits on the Spirit Board, but there are some reasons why you might want to take a break from the board and go into the campaign.

Hunting big game

Collecting a set of aces is something you can do in a relatively short period of time, and it will dramatically improve your progress throughout the Spirit World campaign. Having legendary spirits is better than having aces, but getting them is more time-consuming and much more difficult.

Rolling into the campaign flanked by an army of gods might feel very satisfying, but the process of making that happen is going to be a lot tougher than anything you’d be using your legends to bulldoze past in the campaign itself.

Legend-tier fights are much harder than ace fights, your aces will have a power level significantly lower than the legends even at level 99. Legends also show up much less often on the board, and you should expect to have a much lower success rate at beating them. I can probably catch 10 aces in the time it takes to successfully catch a legend.

You’re going to want to have every advantage when you go into a Spirit Board fight with a legend. That means you are going to need a battle item.

I like to use the Damage 50 Percent item, which starts the opponent off with 50 points of damage, That is, unless they have a lot of minions, in which case I use the Weaken Minions item that makes the minions easier to kill.

You are also going to want to make sure to always have both a Shield Spacer and a Sluggish Shield on hand whenever you fight a legend-tier spirit on the Spirit Board. You do NOT want to win one of these difficult fights and then lose the spirit because you fail the shield minigame. Think ahead.

These items are rare as rewards from Spirit Board battles, but you’ll get access to the Explore activity if you delve into the World of Light campaign. This allows you to send some of your extra spirits to explore a cave, and they will bring back items every six hours. You’ll also unlock shops with frequently rotating inventories that will sometimes sell you these items. You’re going to want to unlock, and make use of, each of these methods for farming Shield Spacers and Sluggish Shields to make your legendary spirit hunting less frustrating.

You may also want to try to tackle your first legends in the campaign instead of on the Spirit Board, since World of Light allows you to attempt each battle as many times as you’d like.

A winning strategy

If you’re getting stuck in the World of Light campaign, I highly recommend using the Spirit Board to flesh out your lineup. There’s no reason to be struggling if having access to relatively common ace-tier spirits will smooth your path. The method above will give you a good framework to spend your time as efficiently as possible, but there’s going to be a fair amount of grinding that’s impossible to avoid when using this strategy.

Legendary-tier spirits are much harder to farm than ace-tier spirits
Sora Ltd., Bandai Namco Studios/Nintendo via Polygon

Hunting legends on the Spirit Board is a tougher project. They’re very satisfying to use, if you can get them, but hunting them is time consuming and sometimes frustrating. It may be better to consider hunting legends on the Spirit Board a post-game activity; a project to undertake when you have resources flowing in from the activities you unlock during the campaign.

Regardless of how you decide to move forward, this basic farming technique will make sure you’re ready for whatever the game throws your way. Good luck out there.

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