Pokémon Trainer (SSBB)
Confirmed on the Smash Bros. DOJO!! website on August 13, 2007, Pokémon Trainer (ポケモントレーナー, Pokémon Trainer) is a selectable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. His design is taken from that of Red, the male protagonist of the Generation I Pokémon games and their remakes. Rather than fighting directly as the Trainer, the player instead controls his three Pokémon, Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard, all of which are starter Pokémon; and can switch between the three via use of his down special move, Pokémon Change.
Various accommodations in the background are made for Pokémon Trainer in several stages, where the Trainer stands and commands his Pokémon. In moving stages like Halberd and Delfino Plaza, Pokémon Trainer only appears on the stationary sections. He will move above the pit in the Yoshi's Island Stage when his Pokémon is on the opposite side of the pit (for example, if Pokémon Trainer is on the right and his Pokémon is on the left).
Pokémon Trainer is currently ranked 29th in the tier list, right above the bottom spot of lower-mid tier. Pokémon Trainer's individual Pokémon have their own merits, and the variety in choices helps in preventing hard counters. Pokémon Trainer, however, suffers from severe, unique afflictions that no other character has to deal with. The first is the stamina problem, which, when it occurs, will force the player to fight with severely reduced damage output and finishing ability, or make a Pokémon change that will either give their opponent a free hit or make the player give up an opportunity to capitalize on the opponent's vulnerability. Additionally, when a Pokémon is KO'd, the player is forced to send out the next Pokémon in the lineup. The forced switching from this and stamina leads to two more issues: it prevents the player from only using the Pokémon best suited for the matchup (for example against King Dedede, the player will not be able to just stay on Squirtle, and will be forced to use the other Pokémon who are hard countered by Dedede), and it forces players looking to pick up the Pokémon Trainer to master all three Pokémon playstyles (so instead of just having to learn one character as with anyone else, a player will have to learn three vastly different characters, thus significantly hindering development with the character). Moreover, the Trainer's Pokémon have their own significant weaknesses and flaws. While Squirtle is often considered to be a potentially viable character due to its good mobility, attack speed, and air game, Charizard suffers from extremely slow movement speed and laggy attacks, while Ivysaur is crippled by its abysmal air game and tether recovery, slow and difficult-to-land KO moves, and very short reach on its attacks. Pokémon Trainer's stamina and forced switching problems, combined with his Pokémon's own issues, results in very poor overall matchups. Due to the abilities of TheReflexWonder however, the amount of money the Pokémon Trainer has won in tournaments has been surprisingly high, though when TheReflexWonder is not counted, his tournament results have been near nonexistent.
Pokémon Trainer's unique ability to be three characters in one allows for many different positive effects. For instance, the three separate characters can be used together in conjunction for a powerful effect, especially since altogether the Pokémon Trainer has nine special moves, if Pokémon Change is excluded. Since all the Pokémon have varying weights and sizes, certain Pokémon can be switched to during opportune moments. For example, if the Pokémon has high damage, Charizard can be switched to since it has a higher weight. Squirtle and Ivysaur both are excellent at racking up damage, and the high damage opponent can then be KO'd by one of Charizard's high knockback moves. All of the Trainer's Pokémon experience type effectiveness, however. The invincibility granted by Pokémon Change can be used to avoid attacks on the ground, such as Final Smashes, or cure status ailments. However, Pokémon Change happens automatically after a Pokémon is KO'd. If the player wants to switch back to the Pokémon they were just using they must endure 4+ seconds of Pokémon Change to get back to that last Pokémon in use, and this can be a hindrance, as not all frames of the move grant invincibility, leaving the Pokémon being brought into battle somewhat vulnerable at the end. Also, the move cannot be used in midair or while invincible. Certain Pokémon are bad for certain situations, either forcing the player to use the wrong Pokémon for certain bad situations or go through multiple Pokémon Change uses. Also, after 1 minute and 20 seconds, stamina is brought into play, significantly weakening a Pokémon's moves.
The one thing that the entire team shares is a strong grab/throw game, though each one has different ways of implementing it. Squirtle's grab has roughly average range, but its strength is in grounding an opponent in their shield with an overwhelming attack rate before rushing in for a grab. From there, it has a KO option and excellent setup options with decent damage all around. Ivysaur does things differently by focusing more on tricking the opponent into a grab; Ivysaur has one of the best pivot grabs available and will often have retreated to the edge in the process, and from there has the option to use its powerful back-throw for a KO (or up-throw, should the match-up recommend it). Charizard's long neck can outgrab most of the characters in the game due to owning the second longest non-tether grab range in Brawl (second to King Dedede), giving it good match control options. It also has the option to grab-release, since the spacing will become perfect for a down-tilt , and potentially a KO.
As the Pokémon Trainer is a "three-in-one" character, he has several unique characteristics in battle.
The three Pokémon all share the same damage meter, but they each have their own individual Stamina stat, which makes the Pokémon weaker the longer it has been in action. It is possible to choose which Pokémon the player begins the match with. By clicking on the Pokémon of the player's choice on the portrait (not the icon), the player will start with that Pokémon. Selecting Pokémon Trainer himself makes the starting Pokémon randomly chosen. In battle, the cycle of Pokémon switching goes in the order: Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard. If a Pokémon is KO'd, the next Pokémon in the line will be summoned on the revival platform.
Whichever Pokémon is currently battling will have its picture shown in the bottom of the screen, next to the damage percentage and the series logo. The picture then changes to the newly sent out Pokémon's portrait upon switching. If Pokémon Trainer is defeated when there are 2 or more people/teams still Brawling on the stage, he will remain on the stage, covering his face with his hand.
Pokémon Trainer says a special catchphrase as he withdraws the Pokémon currently on stage. His three possible catchphrases are "Get back!", "Good job!", and "Amazing job!", depending on the amount of time the Pokémon has spent on screen. Pokémon Trainer also says a catchphrase when he releases a new Pokémon from the revival platform; his three possible catchphrases are "Go, _______!", "Hang on, _______!", and "Just a little more, _______!" This references what Trainers say when sending out Pokémon in the Pokémon series games.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Due to the Pokémon Trainer's stamina and forced switching mechanic, that required players to learn three vastly different characters to play the Trainer (thus making the Trainer require drastically more work and effort than any other character to learn and master, for no greater reward), the Trainer has always been an extremely unpopular character in tournaments. Besides the absurd learning curve, the stamina and forced switching mechanics directly brought the Trainer's potential down, and made matchups much harder than they would be otherwise. A significant example is King Dedede, a character Squirtle would go even with or win the matchup against as a solo character, but because of the forced switching to Charizard and Ivysaur, who are hard countered by Dedede, the Dedede matchup turns into a hard counter against the Pokémon Trainer. The Pokémon Trainer was brought farther down by one of his required Pokémon, Ivysaur, being largely considered as a strong candidate for worst character in the game if it was a solo character.
The emergence of TheReflexWonder's tremendous success in his region with the Pokémon Trainer marked a bit of a reversal in the community's view of the Pokémon Trainer however. Many players additionally began thinking that Squirtle was a character with high tier potential as a solo character. As a result, the Pokémon Trainer rose five spots on the third tier list to 27th, formally being out of the low tiers. And in the fourth tier list, the Trainer would rise three more spots to his peak at 24th. Beyond that point though, with the Pokémon Trainer's practically nonexistent tournament results outside TheReflexWonder, general consensus became that TheReflexWonder's anomalous success with the Pokémon Trainer was entirely due to TheReflexWonder's own incredible abilities as a player, rather than the Pokémon Trainer having unrealised potential. This view was farther supported by the fact that TheReflexWonder achieved greater success in tournaments with Wario than he did with the Pokémon Trainer. This resulted in the Pokémon Trainer falling four spots back down to 28th in the fifth tier list, and since then, as the aforementioned view of TheReflexWonder remains strong, while none of the other very few Pokémon Trainer players achieved not even local success, the Pokémon Trainer has hovered between 28th and 29th right above the low tiers on each subsequent tier list.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
After fleeing from Wario, Lucas bumps into the Pokémon Trainer, who advises him to stand back, and proceeds to take on a group of Primids with his Squirtle, which Lucas accompanies to defeat the Primids. After saving Lucas, he goes on his way, but Lucas follows him. As the story progresses, they develop a rather strong friendship. Pokémon Trainer is searching for two Pokémon, Charizard and Ivysaur, that are identified when he shows Lucas their cards. So, he and Lucas set out to find them. Until then, Squirtle is the only choice the player can use and using Down Special will not result in anything except the Pokémon Trainer in the background "flipping" a Poké Ball in his hand twice. Outside of an old temple, they survive a brief encounter with Wario. After venturing deep into the ruins, finding Ivysaur, and battling and capturing Charizard, players will then fight a giant monster named Galleom. When the boss is defeated, it will grab both Lucas and Pokémon Trainer after the fight (fainting the latter), and jump up into the air, revealing an armed Subspace Bomb in its head. Lucas then uses PK Thunder to detach the arm, and they free-fall towards the ground. Before hitting the ground and narrowly escaping the Subspace explosion, Meta Knight grabs them both before collision, in-flight and takes them to Marth and Ike. Later, Pokémon Trainer and Marth watch as Ice Climbers fall from the mountain. As the Shadow Bugs swarm over the cliffs, he joins Marth, Ike and Lucas in repelling the Primids. As he retreats, tossing a Poké Ball from hand to hand, Mario, Pit, Link, Kirby and Yoshi arrive at the Canyon entrance.
Later, he joins the rest of the fighters in their assault on the Subspace Gunship, and is aboard one of the smaller ships when they navigate their way into Subspace. However, upon reaching Tabuu, the leader of the Subspace army crushes all the fighters with his Off Waves. The Pokémon Trainer's defeat from Tabuu's Off Waves in the Subspace Emissary can be considered to be the only time the Pokémon Trainer, himself, is KO'd in the entire game. He is later revived by King Dedede, Ness and Luigi, and can be chosen to fight Tabuu at the end.
In Event Matches