Olimar (ピクミン＆オリマー, Pikmin & Olimar) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His return to the series was announced in a Director's Room Miiverse post on July 12th, 2013, which also commemorated Pikmin 3 being released in Japan on the following day. Alph (ピクミン＆アルフ, Pikmin & Alph), one of the three leaders in Pikmin 3, was revealed as an alternate costume in a Director's Room Miiverse post on September 11, 2014.
Olimar is ranked 21st out of 58 on the tier list, placing him at the top of the C tier. This is a significant drop from his top-tier placement in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where he was ranked 3rd out of 38. As in Brawl, Olimar's Pikmin possess an impressive level of utility: they grant him respectable KO and damage racking potentials, as Olimar can use them to deal direct and/or indirect damage via his standard moves, and by having the Pikmin latch onto opponents via Pikmin Throw, respectively.
The Pikmin also grant Olimar a potent grab game: each of them function as disjointed grabs; White Pikmin-based pummel is tied with Shulk's Buster-boosted pummel as the most damaging in the game; Blue Pikmin-based up throw is a viable KOing option at high percents; and Red Pikmin-based down throw is a very reliable combo starter even at high percents. Lastly, Winged Pikmin function as a maneuverable, flight-based recovery that can be used regardless of whether or not Olimar has Pikmin, which makes them vastly superior to Pikmin Chain's tether-based recovery.
However, Olimar's active Pikmin count has now been halved from six to three, which severely weakens the camping strategies he relied on in Brawl. The Pikmin themselves have also been weakened in a few, yet noticeable ways. Red, Yellow, Blue, and Purple Pikmin have less hit points, which is further compounded by them and White Pikmin dying faster while separated from Olimar. Each type of Pikmin have also had the majority of their damage outputs lowered, and suffer from somewhat flawed artificial intelligence. Olimar also retains his slow overall mobility; his aerial mobility is particularly problematic, as it renders him susceptible to juggling in spite of his light weight. By extension, his offense is still burdened by slow attack speed and an over-reliance on Pikmin.
Olimar is a lightweight with overall slow mobility. However, his air acceleration and traction are both above-average, while his jump and double jump are both average. Olimar's playstyle is almost identical to how it was in Brawl: he has retained the overwhelming majority of his moveset and animations, yet some moves have been slightly modified. Much like in his home series, Olimar's extremely meager offensive prowess forces him to rely on instructing his multicolored Pikmin to remedy this glaring flaw. As a result, almost all of his moves involve Pikmin; this, in turn, can result in his moveset being useful or useless depending on whether or not he has Pikmin. When Olimar has Pikmin, he possesses arguably one of the most unique playstyles in the game, thanks to the Pikmin functioning as both projectiles and separate characters, much like how Luma functions alongside Rosalina.
When used correctly, the Pikmin provide noticeable and effective benefits: they can easily rack up high amounts of damage in short periods of time, they grant Olimar disjointed grabs by running out to grab opponents at any time, they can carry various items back to Olimar as they run back to him much like in their home series, and they can also help with camping or hindering approaches. Additionally, each type of Pikmin provides unique and useful effects. Olimar's special moves are also heavily dependent on Pikmin, but they are all beneficial nonetheless.
Pikmin Throw enables him to hinder approaches or, with a Purple Pikmin, even stop them outright if they are not shielded. Pikmin Order reorganizes his Pikmin for the proper situation at hand, and thanks to it briefly granting super armor, it can even allow Olimar to briefly tank an attack in spite of his light weight. Lastly, Winged Pikmin are very versatile: they provide a long-distanced and maneuverable recovery that makes Olimar more difficult to KO compared to other lightweights, yet they also allow him to attack while they are carrying him.
With all things considered, Olimar has one of the most damaging playstyles among the cast, as he is able to KO nearly any character in a short period when his Pikmin are utilized wisely. For example, Pikmin Throw allots him a large array of options for offense, as it can both zone and get opponents to KO percents quickly; when the thrown Pikmin are not shaken off, they can rack up 10%-30% in a matter of seconds, forcing opponents to carefully plan their approach. Olimar can also have up to three Pikmin at a time in his lineup, which, despite its aforementioned halving since Brawl, can be hard for an opponent to keep track of, especially with each color boasting unique attributes. Despite being a lightweight, his smash attacks are fairly fast and, while using Red and Purple Pikmin, boast impressive power.
Olimar's disjointed grab range also enables him to disrupt the movements of quick characters or roll spammers. When coupled with his above-average traction, this also grants him an excellent shield grab. Olimar's air game is also quite powerful: neutral aerial is a reliable combo starter when SHFF'd; up aerial is useful for juggling, and can even KO outright while near the upper blast line; forward aerial is useful for approaching and edge-guarding; back aerial is useful for edge-guarding, and can even KO outright while near the edge or the left/right blast line; and down aerial is a powerful meteor smash against aerial opponents during its first frame. However, Pikmin can also double as a drawback: due to being treated as projectiles, they can be reflected, which can sometimes hinder Olimar's offense against characters with moves of this sort.
However, Olimar has noticeable flaws. One of his greatest weaknesses is that he struggles against fast characters, such as Sonic and Captain Falcon. As Olimar is a slow character, they can easily catch up and punish him if he tries to retreat to pluck more Pikmin. Due to all but White Pikmin having less hit points than in Brawl, they are also susceptible to dying faster. Olimar also has poor aerial mobility, as his slow air and falling speeds make him easy to juggle and, when coupled with his light weight, to KO. This is further compounded by his Pikmin-based aerials being burdened with low priority, which makes them extremely difficult to use against edge-guarders.
Another severe flaw he has is his over-reliance on Pikmin, much like in his home series. Without any Pikmin, Olimar's smash attacks, up, down, back, and forward aerials, grabs and side special will simply do nothing, which significantly harms his neutral game because of them being his most effective attacks. This also leaves Olimar with a total of six moves that deal damage: his neutral attack; tilt attacks; dash attack; and neutral aerial. This, in turn, is further compounded by his forward tilt being the only move out of these that has KO potential. As a result, it is crucial that Olimar has at least one Pikmin with him at all times.
Lastly, some of Olimar's useful Pikmin-based attacks have certain drawbacks: his KOing options have very minimal KO potential while using White Pikmin; each of his grabs have noticeably shorter ranges while using Purple Pikmin; up throw has KO potential only while using Blue Pikmin; down throw's combo potential is consistent at high percents only while using Red Pikmin; and Winged Pikmin's recovery potential worsens when they are used too frequently.
Olimar has a few beneficial custom moves. Hardy Pikmin Pluck makes all types of Pikmin more durable at the cost of being plucked slower. Sticky Pikmin Throw has each Pikmin deal less damage and cover less distance when thrown, but they stay latched on for much longer and deal damage at a faster rate. True to its name, Tackle Pikmin Throw makes Red, Yellow, Blue, and White Pikmin function like Purple Pikmin by tackling opponents instead of latching onto them. Mighty Winged Pikmin have reduced total travel distance, but the distance is not affected by the amount of Pikmin that Olimar is carrying. Lastly, Order Tackle has all latched on Pikmin deal damage upon being recalled, which grants Olimar another way to deal damage.
Overall, Olimar still retains many of his considerable strengths in spite of their nerfs, and has even had some traits buffed, mostly in regard to his damage output. While his potential damage output was reduced, a smart player can overcome this, especially with the new mechanics for keeping track of Pikmin, making Olimar a much more reliable character for the player. Olimar's recovery has also been completely revamped for the better, which is generally agreed to have alleviated his other changes. Early in the metagame, Olimar was thought to be one of the worst characters, yet dedicated mains such as Dabuz, ImHip, Angbad, Myran, and Logic have shown that, as in Brawl, he is still a very capable character who retains a very high learning curve.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Olimar has been nerfed significantly in the transition from Brawl to SSB4, with the most glaring nerf being the halving of his Pikmin count from six to three. As a result, this hinders his general damage output, as well as his camping potential especially since Pikmin Throw deals less damage (especially with White Pikmin). Both Olimar and his Pikmin's endurance is also worse as Olimar is lighter and his Pikmin (except for white Pikmin) have less HP and they die faster if they are separated from Olimar. The removal of meteor canceling also significantly hinders Olimar's endurance against meteor smashes. Olimar's smash attacks have seen various downgrades as they can all be reflected, forward smash has a shorter duration and down smash deals less knockback. Up smash however had the largest nerf out of all of Olimar's smash attacks. Not only is it much laggier having increased startup lag and much higher ending lag but it also has decreased range and power significantly hindering its utility. Olimar's aerials also deal significantly less damage with forward and down aerial in particular being significantly weaker. Olimar's grab game was also weakened. His grabs have a shorter duration, considerably less range no longer being the longest reaching grabs in the game and his standing and dash grabs are significantly laggier making Olimar rely on his already nerfed Pivot grab more often. His throws with Blue and especially Purple Pikmin are also weaker hindering his ability to KO opponents with his throws especially relative to the cast. Lastly, Pikmin Order has significantly decreased super armor hindering its safety and versatility.
However, Olimar also received a few buffs: Winged Pikmin largely outclasses Pikmin Chain as a recovery tool due to being much more versatile and the removal of edge hogging immensely aids Olimar. Olimar's white Pikmin have also been improved outside of Pikmin Throw as they have more HP and most of Olimar's attacks with White Pikmin are stronger (although they are still mostly useless for attacking). The removal of hitstun canceling has also given Olimar greater combo potential with moves such as down throw and his new up aerial which is now a powerful juggling tool. Lastly despite his overall damage output being reduced, a fair amount of Olimar's Pikmin attacks (mainly with Red and Purple Pikmin) deal more damage.
Overall while his recovery has been improved significantly, Olimar's other flaws were not addressed and his strengths were significantly toned down making his flaws more detrimental. Despite this, Olimar has nevertheless retained most of his useful options from Brawl and remains an above average character. However, Olimar's buffs do not nearly compensate for his more severe nerfs and the changes to the game's mechanics do not benefit Olimar as much as some other returning veterans, which has led to him to be considered one of the characters to have been the most severely nerfed in the initial transition from Brawl, alongside King Dedede, Meta Knight, Falco and Marth. As a result, Olimar is still a viable character, albeit not to the degree as in Brawl.
Olimar has received a mix of buffs and nerfs from game updates. Update 1.0.4 made Pikmin Pluck unable to be edge-canceled and decreased the amount of damage that Red, Yellow, and Blue Pikmin deal when they latch onto opponents. To compensate for this, White Pikmin deal more damage when latched on, and the latch time for Red, Yellow, Blue, and White Pikmin has increased.
However, Olimar also significantly benefits from the changes to shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1. This is thanks to latched Pikmin becoming better at damaging an opponent's shield, while the low ending lag on his smash attacks makes them even less punishable on shield, thanks to the increased shieldstun. As a result, Olimar is very slightly better than he was during SSB4's initial release.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Like in Brawl, Olimar's placing in SSB4 was one of the most contentious among the cast. At first, players would deem his nerfs as being too harsh for him to even be assessed as a mid-tier character, with some even considering him to be a bottom-tier character. This perception would remain intact for several months until players soon started to demonstrate Olimar's retained strengths, with professionals like Dabuz, ImHip, Shuton, and Soulimar achieving good tournament results. As a result, Olimar was ranked 24th on the first tier list.
Despite this, Olimar's tournament representation and results have never been as bountiful as other characters'. To reflect this, he dropped 30th on the second tier list. After Dabuz and Shuton brought about improvements to Olimar's results, however, he rose to 27th on the third, then to 21st on the fourth and current tier list. Although he is not as overwhelmingly effective as he was in Brawl, Olimar has nevertheless managed to remain a viable pick in competitive play.
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