Pikachu (SSBM)

From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
SSBM Icon.png
This article is about Pikachu's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For this Pokémon in other contexts, see Pikachu. For information about Pikachu's clone, see Pichu (SSBM).
Pikachu
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Pikachu
PokemonSymbol(preBrawl).svg
Universe Pokémon
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Brawl
in SSB4
Availability Starter
Tier C (9) (North America)
D (10) (Europe)
#default:
A Pokémon that excels at clever fighting.
—Description from Melee's manual.

Announced at E3 2001, Pikachu (ピカチュウ, Pikachu) is a Pokémon and starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Like Kirby and Ness, Pikachu was nerfed from the original to Melee, albeit not as strongly.

Pikachu ranks 9th on the current tier list, in the C tier. This is a noticeable drop from its previous ranking in Smash 64 where it was ranked 1st. Pikachu, while nerfed from the original SSB, is still a potent fighter; it has very good speed and plenty of KO options, as it owns the strongest up smash in the game and a quick semi-spike in its up-air. It also has a very long, safe, and versatile recovery. However, Pikachu is strongly held back by bad range, with its best finishers having hitboxes very close to its body; coupled with sub-par options in the air and a short wavedash, Pikachu overall has a lackluster neutral game and approach.

Attributes[edit]

In general character archetypes, Pikachu generally stands as a small fighter with good speed; Pikachu has medium falling speed, very good dashing speed (fourth highest in the game), high traction and below average air speed. Its average falling speed and high traction gives it a short wavedash; average falling speed, however, also gives Pikachu decent SHFFL potential. Due to its small size, Pikachu is also rather resistant to shield stabbing.

Pikachu's main strength is its fantastic edge game. Its up and down aerials are quick and can easily gimp recovering opponents, as the former acts as a semi-spike when sweetspotted and the latter has decent horizontal knockback, and its forward and down tilts can intercept recovery attempts close to the ledge. Additionally, Pikachu's back throw can easily send opponents off the edge, allowing it to easily set up edgeguards, even at lower percentages. Pikachu, on the other hand, is very resilient to edgeguarding; Skull Bash can give it significant horizontal distance, and Quick Attack moves very quickly, grants good distance, and has very unpredictable paths. Most characters do not have options to cover all of these recovery methods at once, and must thus rely on hard reads, rather than reactions, to properly edgeguard Pikachu.

Pikachu's other strength is its solid punish game; although Pikachu is fast and light, it still possesses several ways to combo and KO opponents. Pikachu's jab is quick and weak, giving it some of the most consistent jab reset followups in the game. Its forward, neutral, and up aerials are quick and can be used for aerial strings or juggling. Pikachu's forward and up smashes are among the most powerful in the game; its up smash, in fact, is the most powerful of its kind at realistic KO percentages, and can be used as a powerful tech chasing tool at all percentages, threatening further up smashes on fastfallers at lower percentages and KOs at medium to high percentages. Pikachu's grab game helps facilitate its punishes; its up and down throws can be used to set up combos, and the former can chaingrab fastfallers and even set up for its powerful up smash at KO percentages.

Pikachu also has a very good variety of special attacks, all of which can be seamlessly integrated into gameplay. Its Thunder Jolt is among the most flexible projectiles in the game, due to its ground-hugging properties; with low knockback and decent hitstun as well, it can set up combos on the ground, and can also interrupt some recoveries. Skull Bash, as aforementioned, acts as a horizontal recovery extender, and can double as a situational offensive attack with high power when charged. While Quick Attack has little offensive application, the ability to change its directions and its speed gives Pikachu a long and unpredictable recovery. Thunder, despite its high ending lag, can act as a combo finisher or as a KO move off-stage.

Pikachu's primary flaw, however, is its poor range. Almost all of its best finishers are very close to its body, making it difficult for Pikachu to secure KOs at times, and forcing Pikachu to constantly approach to keep pressure on the opponent. Additionally, Pikachu's relatively flexible grab and throw game is severely hampered by a very short grab range (the shortest in the game).

However, Pikachu's approaches are mediocre as well, compounding this difficulty in pressuring the opponent. Pikachu is very mobile, and its dash dance is good, but it has a short wavedash and lacks safe grounded moves to use out of it. Its only good approaching options on the ground are down tilt, and the disruptive but highly punishable down smash. This forces it to frequently take to the air and perform either telegraphed Thunder Jolts or neutral aerial crossups on the opponent to gain an advantage, but such tactics are very committal, due to those moves' moderately high ending lags, and Pikachu's average falling speed and rather high short hop. All of these attributes make Pikachu's approaches very linear and predictable, and thus saddles it with a lackluster neutral game, allowing characters with stronger neutral game tools to easily gain openings on Pikachu while it struggles to get openings itself.

Additionally, due to its light weight and below average air speed, Pikachu is very easy to juggle, chaingrab, and combo. Pikachu's hardest top tier matchup, Sheik, can chaingrab it from 0% to 50% in the NTSC version, perhaps higher if the Pikachu player has poor DI. Pikachu is also susceptible to several potentially lethal grab setups, such as Fox's notorious up throw to up aerial, Marth's forward/down throw to forward smash, and Captain Falcon's down throw followups.

Overall, Pikachu is a rather challenging character to succeed with, especially against top-tiered characters. While Pikachu has stellar edgeguarding and recovering abilities, and can harshly punish the opponent once it gets its hands on them, it suffers from poor range and a predictable neutral game. Pikachu players should look to make the most out of the few neutral options they have, and constantly seek mix-ups through conditioning opponents; additionally, they should seek counterplay, and try to bait opponents into going off the ledge, where Pikachu is most comfortable.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee[edit]

Given that Pikachu was considered to be the best character in SSB, it was considerably nerfed in the transition to Melee, much like Ness and Kirby were. Unlike the two, however, Pikachu still remains a viable competitive fighting force. Pikachu's overwhelming advantages from the previous game, such as its consistent combos, powerful finishers, and useful specials, were toned down. However, its grabs have gained more utility and some of its attacks have gained power or unorthodox properties that aid them in edgeguarding, helping Pikachu keep its ground at the top of the mid tier.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change Pikachu received new voice samples that are higher pitched and more energetic.
  • Change Pikachu's taunt was also altered slightly.

Attributes[edit]

  • Change Pikachu is heavier (72.414 → 80), which improving its endurance, but makes it easier to combo. However, this is compensated for its slightly slower falling speed.
  • Change Pikachu is slightly floatier(52 → 1.9).
  • Buff Pikachu dashes faster (55 → 1.8).
  • Nerf Pikachu is more vulnerable to combos and chaingrabs.
  • Nerf The range of its attacks in general has been decreased.
  • Nerf Air speed is significantly slower (37.5 → 0.85) , going from the second fastest in Smash 64 to below average in Melee.
  • Nerf Pikachu walks slower (0.42 → 1.24).

Ground Attacks[edit]

  • Buff Neutral attack can now be reset.
  • Buff Neutral attack is faster.
  • Nerf Up tilt is harder to combo from due to its knockback and the increased falling speeds in Melee, and cannot chain into itself nearly as reliably. Its hitbox is also slightly less disjointed.
  • Buff Forward smash is stronger; going from among the more average-powered forward smashes in Smash 64 to being the fourth most powerful forward smash in Melee.
  • Buff Up smash is significantly more powerful; it is the most powerful up smash in the game and is overall the second most powerful smash attack in Melee.
  • Nerf Up smash sourspot is much less useful.
  • Buff New down smash has more combo potential due to it having lower knockback and sending foes at a vertical-diagonal angle.

Aerial Attacks[edit]

  • Buff New neutral aerial: a somersault. It is more powerful, has faster start-up and is more capable of edge-guarding.
  • Nerf Forward aerial's damage output is lower by more than half of the amount, and other aerials can no longer be used right after it.
  • Buff New back aerial has faster start-up and a longer duration.
  • Nerf New back aerial has heavily increased ending and landing lag.
  • Buff Up aerial can now semi-spike, making it a slightly more effective edgeguarder.
  • Buff Up aerial has less lag.
  • Nerf Down aerial has less combo ability and is more laggy.

Grabs and Throws[edit]

  • Buff Pikachu has been given an up throw and a down throw, significantly improving its grab game by giving it more moves that will potentially lead into combos.
  • Nerf Grab range reduced to being the shortest in Melee.
  • Change Back throw moved to forward throw.
  • Change All throws have electrical properties.

Special Attacks[edit]

  • Buff Thunder Jolt will continue to hug and traverse platforms once it passes the edge of the platform.
  • Change It now has a new special move: Skull Bash. This move functions similarly to Luigi's Green Missile, meaning that it is a decent recovery option that boasts a moderately high attack.
  • Buff Skull Bash gives Pikachu an additional horizontal recovery option.
  • Buff Quick Attack now does damage, and has faster startup.
  • Nerf Quick Attack travels slightly less distance, can no longer be extended by allowing the control stick to snap back to its neutral position, and has had most of its invincibility frames removed. This means it is also much less useful for escaping combos and maneuvering across platforms.
  • Buff Thunder falls faster and a new glitch called ceiling glitch helps with edge-guarding. Also, the blast of Thunder deals more damage.
  • Nerf Thunder no longer has infinite vertical range and now strikes at a fixed height from a thundercloud. It is also much slower and more laggy, which when combined with the generally faster falling speeds in Melee, makes Thunderspiking more difficult to perform and generally much less effective.

Moveset[edit]

Pikachu's aerial attacks

For a gallery of Pikachu's hitboxes, see here.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% An extremely quick headbutt. Does very minimal damage, and has short range. This attack can be canceled into itself with two frames between possible inputs, so it can be mashed for a quick series of headbutts.
Forward tilt   9% Plants itself on its upper paws and kicks its lower paws in front of its body. This move has surprising range, and the hitbox is out for nearly the whole duration of its animation. Can be used as a defensive attack, or for an edgeguard. It is best used as a counter to SHFFLing characters, as it will almost always interrupt their approach. Low damage, low knockback. This attack can be angled up and down.
8%
7%
Up tilt   7% (tail), 6% (tip) Swings its tail above its body in an arc. This attack is hard to set up, as it has low range. The knockback works well for juggling and combos well however, as it sends opponents upward. Low damage, low knockback.
Down tilt   7% Sweeps its tail in front of itself. This move has decent range, low knockback, and low damage. However, it doesn't have a lot of lag and hits rather low. This can be used as an edgeguard against characters with a linear and/or predictable recovery, though there are better options.
Dash attack   8% Jumps forwards, headbutting. While it does have some knockback, it is rather laggy and leaves Pikachu vulnerable (it is particularly easy to shield grab).
Forward smash   21% (early), 19% (clean), 18% (late) Rears back, then ejects an attached jolt of electricity in front from its cheeks. A powerful attack that can evade some attacks with the initial animation. Has decent range. The hitbox is disjointed, which makes it a wise choice for edgeguarding. This attack has transcendent priority.
Up smash   17%-19% (clean), 13% (mid), 7% (late) Does a quick backflip, attacking with its tail. This is the strongest up smash in the game in terms of knockback, is extremely quick with decent range, and is one of the strongest smash attacks. Pikachu's up smash is extremely versatile, whether it be setting up juggles or going for a quick low percent KO. Is also good for shield stabbing. Capable of KOing at 35%-55% when fully charged.
Down smash   2% (hits 1-6), 3% (hit 7) (≈13.83% total) Spins around in place repeatedly, while surrounded with electricity. This is a multi-hit attack that comes out very quickly. Easily used from a successful crouch cancel, and sets up for an aerial at lower percentages. This attack has transcendent priority.
Neutral aerial   12% (clean), 9% (late) Curls up in a ball and does somersaults in the air. This is a versatile aerial, as it does decent damage, decent knockback, and comes out very quickly. A generic use-anywhere aerial.
Forward aerial   2% (hits 1-4) (≈7.46% total) Does a barrel roll in the air, emitting sparks. Hits multiple times with minimal damage. This has more horizontal range than any of Pikachu's aerials. The move, however, has little knockback.
Back aerial   12% (clean), 9% (late), 4% (landing) Spins in the air in a manner similar to its down smash, but without electrical effects. Decent range, damage and knockback, however it lags noticeably if missed, especially if Pikachu lands.
Up aerial   4% Swiftly swings its tail above itself in an arc. Extremely quick with low knockback, this can be used to juggle opponents repeatedly. Also, if hit with the tip of the tail at certain points during the arc, this will send opponents far at a nasty semi-spike angle similar to Sheik's forward aerial. This trajectory can be achieved even at low percentages. This attack makes edgeguarding a breeze against predictable, linear, and/or slow recoveries. An essential attack for controlling the match.
Down aerial   12%, 4% (landing) Does a barrel roll, like its forward aerial, except it is facing the ground. Unlike the fair, this does one hit in the air, and an extra hit upon landing if the animation is still going when Pikachu lands. The aerial hit does decent damage and has good knockback, more so than the neutral aerial. The hit upon landing has far lower knockback and stun. This attack lags significantly more than the neutral aerial however, and has noticeable startup lag.
Grab    
Pummel   3% Zaps the opponent.
Forward throw   2% (hits 1-4), 2% (throw) Places the opponent on its back and shocks them, sending them forward. This throw is multi-hit, and has low knockback. The only use for this throw is to build damage if no other throw setups are available, which is a rare situation.
Back throw   9% Does backwards somersaults with the opponent, then flings them behind itself. Has decent knockback, and is best used near an edge so as to get maximum range from the throw.
Up throw   5% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Places the opponent on its head, then headbutts them upward. This throw can chaingrab fastfallers, and at high percentages it is a useful combo move, as it can easily lead into an up smash or up aerial.
Down throw   5% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Places the opponent on the ground, then jumps on them. This is a good move against lightweights (like Jigglypuff) at low percentages, as it can lead into a up smash for a low percent KO. This throw is more easily DIed than the up throw.
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and headbutts both sides of itself.
Floor attack (back)   6% Gets up and kicks both sides of itself.
Edge attack (fast)   8% Quickly does a cartwheel and attacks with its foot.
Edge attack (slow)   6% Slowly climbs up and whips its tail.
Neutral special Thunder Jolt 7% (ground), 10% (aerial) Pikachu's main projectile. Fires a jolt of electricity forward. It travels forward while bouncing along the ground, and can also travel up walls, below the edge, and along ceilings. If used in the air, it will travel diagonally down instead. Disappears after around 3 seconds. Can be used to gimp certain recoveries.
Side special Skull Bash 4-29% Charges and, when the B button is released, fires itself forward like a missile. When fully charged or close to fully charged, it has KO power. The move can also be used to extend Pikachu's recovery, though it does have some lag. On the ground, the attack has rather high lag and is easy to shield grab (similar to dash attack). Performing the move like a smash attack causes the move the finish charging sooner.
Up special Quick Attack 3% (first warp), 2% (second warp) Moves at warp speed in two directions that can be selected via the control stick. Pikachu's main recovery move, and a quick, unpredictable move at that. The second warp is optional, but if used, the direction must be 45 degrees different than the first direction to work. However, new developments suggest that it may be possible to move in the same direction twice - moving up twice can possibly be performed by tilting the Control Stick left, right, or down ever so slightly on frame 22 or 23. The move can be used to warp to the ledge to set up an edgehog, though if not done correctly, Pikachu will be left helpless.
Down special Thunder 10% (bolt), 17% (blast) Shouts "PIKA!", then a large thunderbolt comes down on Pikachu. The move in general is rather laggy, but if the opponent is hit by the shockwave around Pikachu when the thunderbolt lands on it, it deals massive horizontal knockback. If the opponent is hit by the bolt itself, it deals moderate vertical knockback, which can KO off the top screen (referred to as Thunderspiking - can be set up with an up smash). It is also possible for the bolt to not hit Pikachu, by moving in the air after using the move. This attack has transcendent priority. The bolt can hit up to 4 times (Although it's unlikely), and touching Pikachu himself causes damage for the first half of the attack.

Taunt[edit]

  • Waves at the camera, yelling "Pika, Pika!" The taunt has IASA frames, as it can be interrupted by any attack when Pikachu starts the second wave.
Pikachu-Taunt-SSBM.gif

Idle poses[edit]

Note: According to the debug menu in Melee, Pikachu technically doesn't contain any idle poses. Instead, it will perform both its idle poses in one loop (mostly noticeable when Pikachu is currently holding an item). Both these animations become Pikachu's idle poses in Brawl and in Smash 4.

  • Scratches one of its ears.
  • Looks both sides while twitching its ears.
Pikachu Idle Pose Melee.png

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Pikachu Cheer NTSC Melee.ogg
Pikachu Cheer JP Melee.ogg
Description Pika-Pika-Pikachu! Pi-Ka-Chu!
Pitch Group chant Female

Victory poses[edit]

An excerpt from the main theme of Pokémon.
  • Jumps up and somersaults, then spins around once before happily facing the camera, saying "Pika Pikaaaaaa!"
  • Twitches its ears, then scratches its right ear.
  • Lies sideways on the ground, sleeping.
Pikachu-Victory1-SSBM.gif Pikachu-Victory2-SSBM.gif Pikachu-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Matchups[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
PikachuHeadSSBM.png -2 -2 -2 -3 -1 -1 -1 ±0 Mirror match ±0 -1 +1 -1 ±0 -2 +1 ±0 ±0 +1 +2 +1 +2 +2 +2 +2 +2 ±0

In the most recent revision of the character matchup chart, Pikachu has average matchups all around. It counters six characters, soft counters four, and has even matchups with five, but is in return soft countered by five characters, countered by four, and hard countered by one, Sheik. Pikachu was thought to only do well against characters who lacked the tools to overcome its speed and pressure, such as Bowser and Zelda. However, since it is a light character with a poor approach and a perceived poor range, many considered characters with superior mobility, range, or pressure options, such as Fox, Marth, Falco, and the Ice Climbers, advantageous in their matchup against Pikachu. Additionally, it was a widespread thought at the time that Sheik could chaingrab Pikachu until 90%- a disadvantage that was significant enough to consider her Pikachu's decisive hard counter.

However, as Axe rose to dominance and Pikachu up the tier list, opinions on Pikachu's matchups began to change. Appropriate usages of Pikachu's powerful KOing and gimping options can capitalize on several of the top tier characters who were considered its counters. Additionally, with proper DI, Sheik cannot chaingrab Pikachu as easily as once thought. In return, despite its poor grab range, professional smashers discovered Pikachu's up throw chaingrab on fastfallers on Final Destination, which has greatly improved Pikachu players' counterpicking games. Pikachu's matchup spread is expected by many Melee players to greatly improve in the next iteration.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Pikachu professionals (SSBM)

Active[edit]

  • USA Axe - Widely known as the best Pikachu player in the world, Axe is ranked 9th on the 2015 SSBMRank.
  • USA Anther - Best Midwest Pikachu.
  • USA DJ Nintendo - Fox main with a Pikachu secondary.
  • Denmark Eagle - Best European Pikachu.

Inactive[edit]

  • USA PikaChad - Formerly the Second best Pikachu behind Axe.
  • USA Philly Billy - Notably top Pikachu in Tri-State during the MLG era of Smash.
  • USA Rori - Won MLG Seattle 2004 with Pikachu/Falco, best Pikachu in Northwest when he was active.

Tier placement and history[edit]

Pikachu was originally a low-mid to low tier character; many professionals thought Pikachu's heavy power, speed, and combo ability nerf from Super Smash Bros. was unmanageable, and that it had lost all of its viability in the transition to Melee. Axe proved this thought wrong, however, as he showed how powerful Pikachu was at pressuring the enemy, especially at edgeguarding (due to Pikachu's notorious up aerial semi-spike). He also showed how powerful Pikachu was up close, despite its problems in approaching the enemy efficiently. Axe, and a handful of other dedicated Pikachu players such as PikaChad, eventually brought Pikachu up to the high-mid tiers, where it ranks now in 9th place.

In 1-P Mode[edit]

Classic Mode[edit]

In Classic Mode, Pikachu can appear as an ordinary opponent, as an ally or opponent in team battles, alongside Pichu, Jigglypuff, or Kirby, or as a metal opponent. In Pikachu's appearances, it appears on Pokémon Stadium as a regular opponent, and on Battlefield as a metal opponent. And on team battles, it appears on Green Greens with Kirby.

Adventure Mode[edit]

Pikachu appears in Stage 7 of the Adventure Mode. In its stage, the player must fight eight separate Pikachu's on Pokémon Stadium similar to the Classic Mode's team battle; if Jigglypuff and Pichu are unlocked, they can also appear in the team. In this stage, the only items to spawn are Poké Balls.

All-Star Mode[edit]

Pikachu and its allies are fought on Pokémon Stadium.

Event Matches[edit]

Pikachu appears in multiple event matches:

  • Event 7: Pokémon Battle: The player chooses any character and must defeat Pikachu in a two-stock match on Pokémon Stadium. The only way to damage and KO Pikachu is to use the Pokémon that appear from Poké Balls on the stage, as regular attacks will not harm it.
  • Event 13: Yoshi's Egg: As Yoshi, the player must protect the Yoshi's Egg item from harm for 55 seconds against a team of Fox, Donkey Kong, and Pikachu on Rainbow Cruise.
  • Event 30: All-Star Match 3: Pikachu is the second opponent fought in this series of staged battles. The player battles it on the Pokémon Stadium, which will transition to the next stage if Pikachu gets defeated. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat it along with Kirby, Ness and the Ice Climbers.
  • Event 48: Pikachu and Pichu: The player chooses any character and fights against a team of two Pichus and one Pikachu on Dream Land. The player's main goal is to KO the two Pichus while avoiding Pikachu, who has infinite lives while the player has two and both Pichus have one. The event is played on Dream Land, making it the only Melee event match set on a Past Stage.

Ending Images[edit]

Trophy descriptions[edit]

In addition to the normal trophy about Pikachu as a character, there are two trophies about it as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Pikachu on any difficulty:

Pikachu
It's safe to say that Pikachu is the most famous and popular of all Pokémon. It has electric pouches in both cheeks; when in danger, it shoots electricity at its enemies. Although Pikachu can evolve into Raichu by exposure to a Thunderstone, many trainers like Pikachu so much that they don't let it evolve.
  • Pokémon Red & Blue 09/98
Pikachu [Smash]
While its electrical attacks, such as Thunder and Thunder Jolt, are powerful, Pikachu is at its best speeding around the fray and waiting for its chance to strike. You can control the path of Pikachu's two-directional Quick Attack, allowing you to jump twice. Hold down the B Button to charge up Skull Bash.
  • B: Thunder Jolt
  • Smash B: Skull Bash
Pikachu [Smash]
The angle of the Control Stick controls the direction of Pikachu's Quick Attack. Pikachu will move blindingly fast, and it will also cause damage to any character it runs into. Move the Control Stick during Quick Attack and Pikachu will move in up to two directions. Be sure to check out the ceilings on the level when you use Thunder.
  • Up & B: Quick Attack
  • Down & B: Thunder

Alternate costumes[edit]

Pikachu's alternate costumes in Melee