Ivysaur is a playable character in the Brawl mod Project M. Like Charizard and Squirtle, it has been separated from the Pokémon Trainer and so fights alone. It’s down special move, Pokémon change, has been replaced with Seed Bomb and it has also been given significant buffs.
Ivysaur ranks 28th out of 41 on the official tier list, toward the midst of the C tier, roughly the same placement as Pokémon Trainer in Brawl. However, as Ivysaur was considered near-useless as a standalone character in Brawl, this is a significant increase in apparent viability.
In the transition to Project M, Ivysaur was significantly buffed and modified to function as a mid-range zoning and anti-air character. It no longer depends on the Pokémon Trainer, losing its stamina system and crippling weakness to fire moves. It now also fights with self-healing moves and status effects befitting the Grass/Poison typing it has in its home series.
Ivysaur's ground moves have all received buffs. its up-smash remains the most powerful in the game and comes out more quickly, making it a more viable KO option, and its down-smash is a strong semi-spike useful both for relieving pressure and for edgeguarding. All of its other ground moves were reworked for speed and combo potential, and its jab now consists of two strong hits useful for keeping foes at a distance.
In the air, Ivysaur's buffed air speed gives it greater mobility for combos. Combined with its new combo option in neutral-air, its reworked forward-air designed for wall of pain combos, and its back-air – formerly one of the worst moves in the game – which can easily gimp foes offstage, foes approaching from the air are at significant risk of being comboed or simply pushed offstage. Its up-air now shoots it to the ground faster, and its down-air provides enough of a momentum boost to serve as a much more reliable tool for horizontal recovery; when used offensively with Ivysaur's new air speed, they can also serve as a juggling move and an offstage meteor smash, respectively.
Synthesis, its new neutral special, allows Ivysaur to heal itself for as long as the special button is held down, and its slight ending lag can be landing-cancelled. This gives Ivysaur a completely unique camping option, as some characters that rely on projectiles to force an approach can be outplayed if Ivysaur can heal itself quicker than damage can be tacked on. Characters like Falco who have reliable flinching projectiles can still lock down Ivysaur from a distance, but Ivysaur can easily force an approach from slow or non-flinching zoners like Toon Link and Fox, as Synthesis is nearly sufficient to outpace the damage they deal. Even if Ivysaur cannot completely undo damage received while using Synthesis, the move can force an approach anyway because it also charges up Ivysaur's second neutral special.
Once it heals 22 percentage points of damage, Ivysaur's next neutral special will become a one-time SolarBeam, a long-ranged energy beam that travels at a 45º angle from Ivysaur's bulb all the way to the upper blast line on most stages. With a SolarBeam, Ivysaur can deal a powerful finishing blow to opponents otherwise out of reach, and the move's lingering hitbox can stick around if the target airdodges too early. However, a SolarBeam charge can also serve as an effective zoning threat, as the glow of a full charge is easily visible to opponents. As a result, opponents aware of the charge will often try to recover low or approach in ways that don't put them at risk of being hit, enforcing predictable behavior that the player can take advantage of.
Ivysaur can alternatively heal itself and charge SolarBeam through some direct attacks, like its pummel (1%), up-throw (6%), and the sweetspots on its up-smash (9%), up-air (7%), and down-air (7%). The latter four will also flower any opponents they hit, and outside of its up-smash, they can all chain into themselves reliably. Using these moves in quick succession can self-heal Ivysaur at a startling rate while also building the rate of damage the flower deals, often forcing the target to button-mash and remove the flower instead of readying a counterattack.
Razor Leaf was reworked for consistency and combo ability, giving Ivysaur a more reliable mid-range projectile, while Vine Whip's buffed damage and speed let it function as a great KO option out of a down-throw or even to punish foes on platforms. Ivysaur's new down-special, Seed Bomb, is perhaps its best tool to keep foes in the air; as the projectile rises higher, so does its knockback, which serves the same purpose as its forward-air in steadily walling foes to the blast line. Additionally, Seed Bomb has awkward but effective potential for zoning on the ground, as it will stun any foe it lands near, providing opportunities for punishment.
Despite Ivysaur's numerous buffs, it still has some weaknesses from Brawl that can be exploited. Ivysaur's power and flexibility in mid-range situations do not extend to close-range or long-range fights. Ivysaur's moves all have some startup that close-range combatants can take advantage of, especially out of shield, while Razor Leaf and Seed Bomb aren't enough to reach ranged fighters. While previously a middleweight in Brawl, Ivysaur is now a lightweight, worsening its survivability and forcing it to use its self-healing moves to stick around. Its grab, while still as laggy as before, was shortened, making setups off of its throws much harder to achieve. Despite Project M's improved tether recovery mechanics, Ivysaur can still be knocked out of a Vine Whip mid-animation.
However, if players can consistently keep foes at mid-range or in the air, Ivysaur's plethora of combo and KO options can easily carry it to victory.
Changes from Brawl to PM
In Brawl, Ivysaur was tied to the Pokémon Trainer and was considered the worst out of the three Pokémon and it was even considered a contender for the worst character in the game when judged as a standalone character. As a result, Ivysaur was buffed greatly from Brawl to PM. Ivysaur is no longer tied to the Pokémon Trainer and its moveset has been heavily revamped. Many of Ivysaur's biggest weaknesses including its abysmal aerial game and recovery have been greatly improved. All of Ivysaur's aerials have seen many improvements in different areas and its air speed has been increased granting it a much stronger aerial game. Vine Whip is stronger, has more range and it can no longer be edgehogged making Ivysaur's recovery much less exploitable especially when combined with its higher air speed and the introduction of directional air dodging. Many of Ivysaur's attacks have seen either improvements to their speed or power and Ivysaur now has a new very powerful tool in its kit with its Solar Beam which has replaced Bullet Seed. Ivysaur can now synthesise to build up charge for its Solar Beam. It can do this by either using its neutral special to slowly build it up or to land attacks which involve its bulb including its up smash, up throw, up and down aerials and pummel. All these attacks now heal Ivysaur and they all have a flower effect to further increase their damage output (although up smash, up aerial and down aerial require landing a sweetspot to perform this). Once the Solar Beam has been fully charge, Ivysaur can release a devastating beam which deals 25%, crosses the entire screen and has very high KO power giving it incredible KO and edgeguarding potential.
Despite these huge buffs, Ivysaur also received a few nerfs. Ivysaur is much lighter greatly hindering its endurance. Its KO moves including the afforementioned up smash and up aerial are far less consistent due to receiving sourspots (although those moves have seen significant buffs in other areas and they still have excellent KO power when sweetspotted) while moves such as forward smash, forward aerial and up throw have reduced KO potential. This is especially poor as killing was already one of Ivysaur's weaknesses although this is compensated with Solar Beam. Ivysaur's zoning is also weaker in some ways as its back aerial is slower and has less range while Razor Leaf is slower and only one leaf can be out at a time. Lastly as it is no longer apart of the Pokémon Trainer, Ivysaur cannot switch out with Charizard or Squirtle to cover up its poor matchups.
Overall, Ivysaur is far superior to its Brawl incarnation and is significantly more viable in competitive play than the Pokémon Trainer despite still being in the lower half of the tier list.
Grabs and Throws
Changes from PM to P+
Up to date as of version 3.6.
In competitive play
Z-Secret Costume: Vileplume based costume
R-Secret Costume: Cactus/Desert based costume