Olimar (ピクミン＆オリマー, Pikmin & Olimar) is a newcomer and playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He was confirmed on January 09, 2008 on the Smash Bros. DOJO!! website.
Olimar ranks 3rd on the tier list, putting him in the A+ tier. He has one of the best damage racking abilities in Brawl, with his throws, up aerial, forward aerial, and Pikmin Throw being able to deal damage very quickly, and strong KO power without compensating much speed; all of his smashes and his Pikmin-based aerials are powerful when used with Red, Blue, and especially Purple Pikmin. Olimar's grabs are among the farthest-reaching in the game, and all four of his throws can KO when used with Blue and/or Purple Pikmin. Olimar also possesses a strong camping game and can use his long-ranged Pikmin attacks to create a wall that is very difficult for characters such as Donkey Kong to get through; the various types of Pikmin Olimar can use also makes him relatively unpredictable, with the type advantages of each Pikmin allowing for some advantages in some matchups. Olimar's biggest weakness, however, is his terrible and limited recovery (one of the worst recoveries in the game) that is easily edgehogged and provides terrible distance if he does not have many Pikmin with him, as well as relatively poor approach options, due to his limited air and ground speeds, and susceptibility to juggles, pressure, and edgeguarding (which combines with his terrible recovery to give him very poor survivability). These disadvantages put him at even matchups against the likes of many characters who can approach in the air effectively, such as Peach and Ness. However, Olimar has very strong matchups against most characters (possessing only three disadvantageous ones), and has achieved very strong tournament results.
Olimar is a unique character. All but six of his attacks rely on Pikmin to perform, each with unique characteristics and suitability to each type of move. As such, it is difficult to quantify the effectiveness of any particular class of Olimar's moves. In general, the Pikmin can do severe damage if not dealt with, they can block certain moves to halt approaches or recoveries (like Ike's Quick Draw and Ness' PK Thunder) due to the fact they have hurtboxes, they can allow some of Olimar's attacks to continue even if he is hit, and they can combine to become a long tether. In addition, if Pikmin are ordered correctly, Olimar can have powerful throws (using Blue Pikmin), the longest grab range in the game (White or Blue), great aerials (Red, Yellow, and Purple), extremely damaging and powerful smash attacks (Purple), and a highly-damaging projectile in Pikmin Throw (White). Olimar generally has quick, long-lasting attacks, including his useful down aerial meteor smash, and he is one of the smallest characters in the game, a factor that when combined with his Pikmin Order's armor makes KO'ing Olimar no small task. He can also be very difficult to approach if wielding many Pikmin. Finally, Olimar's primary three Pikmin (Red, Yellow and Blue) are each immune to certain types of attacks (flame, electricity, and water respectively), making them more difficult to deal with in certain matchups.
At his purest, Olimar is about damage. Aside from Purples, all his Pikmin can be continuously thrown at the opponent until they are up close, constantly racking up the damage, while Olimar has two Pikmin-less moves capable of sucking in the opponent for more damage in his up-tilt and neutral-air. Pikmin Throw can be the most damaging projectile in the game should the opponent be indifferent or occupied (one White Pikmin can do up to 36% damage when the target starts with low percent and does not knock it off). Also note that Olimar's forward smash, side special, and grab all look similar, making it difficult to tell what he is doing. He can continuously guard himself with long-lasting/reaching moves for the opponent to run into, in their hurry to stop having Pikmin assault them. Olimar is arguably the best shield-grabber in the game, with his grab range being fantastic on all Pikmin except Purples; the range is good enough to make up for the slight lag of the grab as opponents are occasionally too far away to take advantage of the grab attempt (unless they've sidestepped). Olimar is excellent at popping the opponent into the air for aerial damage with his fast, deceptively-ranged (in front) up-smash, best performed with a Yellow Pikmin for max range. From there, he has a long-lasting up-air which serves as both a superb defence above him, as well as an excellent way to harass opponents returning to the ground, and it cancels quick enough to throw up another up-air, an up-smash, or a Pikmin Chain should they be more to the front of Olimar. Like Falco, even experienced players can count on a good Olimar taking the first 50% or so of a stock without a problem, especially if down tilt, Olimar's best setup move regardless of percent, hits.
Olimar's not bad at KOs, either. Rarely can an opponent facing an Olimar predict which Pikmin is coming next, or how, so surprise Purple smashes or Red aerials can cause serious problems. Forward smash in particular is deadly, due to its range, power (especially with a Purple), and how difficult it is to punish, while a Purple up smash can KO in the 80%'s if fresh (while players would prefer to use the up smash early and often for spacing purposes, they will attempt to save it for surprise KOs in doubles). Blue Pikmin horizontal throws, along with Purple Pikmin vertical throws, are also cause for concern due to their KO'ing ability.
Though he has significant strengths, he does have his drawbacks. If Olimar has no Pikmin in his lineup, none of his smashes, directional aerials, grabs, or damaging special moves have any effect, rendering the majority of his moveset unusable until he obtains Pikmin. This problem is heightened as Olimar loses all his Pikmin when he is KO'd, making him predictable for the first few seconds of every stock (save for the first) because most Olimar players will most likely use their invincibility frames for plucking Pikmin instead of attacking. All Pikmin (excluding Blue ones) drown in water deep enough to cover their whole body, which can make him vulnerable when fighting on stages such as Jungle Japes and Summit. As Olimar does not perform grabs himself, he does not gain armor from them (only the grabbing Pikmin does) and so he cannot grab through opponents' attacks, unlike all other characters. He is also a very light and floaty character; his floatiness makes him easy for most characters to juggle, especially since his aerials have unusual priority rules that hamper his ability to counter other aerials, and his neutral air (his only non-Pikmin air attack) is not designed for defense. His mobility is also slow, both in the air and on the ground. Olimar players must also learn what each Pikmin are capable of and must adapt to each one, especially in the middle of a fight - a careless or inattentive Olimar player may miss a sure KO if a Purple smash or grab is out of range or a White Pikmin is used to attack by mistake. Combined with needing to pay attention to Pikmin that do unexpected things due to randomness or glitches, this gives him an extremely high learning curve.
Olimar's biggest problem is his abysmal recovery. Although his double jump is decent, he has poor air speed and relies on a tether recovery. As a result, he is at the mercy of edge hogging, and because the move puts him into the helpless state he must attempt to throw Pikmin to fend off an opponent trying to do so before he attempts to grab the edge - and since the length of his tether is based on how many Pikmin are in his line, this can make the problem worse by hurting how far away he can grab the edge from. It also means that, should the opponent manage to get Olimar down a few Pikmin, he will have much fewer options when put off the stage and have a good chance at being gimped (despite his slightly wider meteor cancel window). Olimar is also on the low end of the weight scale, which reduces the time needed for his recovery weakness to assert itself.
On the whole, Olimar is a highly technical character whose extreme learning curve is rewarded with a very strong moveset and unpredictability. New players will struggle with his unusual mechanics, but those with astute Pikmin micromanagement can turn Olimar into a veritable powerhouse.
Pikmin types and effects
Main article: Pikmin (species)
All of Olimar's Pikmin-based moves and grabs use the next Pikmin in the line to perform the given attack, and the knockback and damage are dependent on the Pikmin type. That Pikmin then goes to the back of the line.
Olimar has a very favorable matchup spread against the majority of Brawl's roster, because he has many distinct advantages over most of the cast. According to the Smashboards Matchup Chart, he has the second highest unweighted total and the third highest weighted total. He is soft countered by three characters, has seven even matchups, soft counters ten characters, counters nine characters, hard counters five characters and has two close to unloseable matchups. Olimar's damage racking game with his Pikmin is formidable, as is his ability to control the stage. His strong camping abilities work well against high-ranking Pikachu, King Dedede and Snake, who are primarily ground based characters. However, characters who have good stage control or excel in the air, such as Ice Climbers, Meta Knight, or Falco, counter Olimar.
Tier placement and history
Shortly after Brawl's release, Olimar was ranked 18th place just one place above the middle, with many players writing him off as another mediocre, gimmicky character who would never make an impact in serious play. This could probably be because many overemphasized Olimar's reliance on Pikmin, stating that it was a hindrance (rather than a boon, as it is often seen today), and failed to get past his relatively high technical and cerebral learning curves. However, as many players began to realize Olimar's strong damage-racking capabilities, camping ability, and disproportionately high KO power for and even beyond his weight class, Olimar's metagame developed further, causing a rise to 10th-11th in high tier by the next tier list. Olimar would maintain similar placings for several years, but as his professionals such as Rich Brown, Brood, Nietono, and Dabuz began doing very well at high-level tournaments such as MLG DC 2010, Apex 2010, and Apex 2012, Olimar skyrocketed to 2nd place right underneath Meta Knight in April 2012. Olimar is currently ranked 3rd on the tier list, after Meta Knight and the Ice Climbers, and is one of the most disliked Brawl characters casual and competitive players alike, having a reputation for being one of the most frustrating characters to deal with due to his powerful camping ability and range, which many smashers find extremely hard to break through. As a result, many Olimar players such as Denti and Logic are among the most disliked players in the community when it comes to playing style.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Captain Olimar's Pikmin are assaulting a large R.O.B., but are unable to deal damage and perish when the R.O.B. spins. Captain Olimar begins to shiver in fear, but a Red Pikmin alerts Olimar to the Blue Falcon speeding their way. Captain Falcon jumps out of the Blue Falcon and then Falcon Punches the R.O.B., causing it to fall backwards in a disabled state. Captain Falcon then slides on the ground to land, killing all the remaining Pikmin bar the Red Pikmin. A leaf blows by as Captain Falcon remains there, striking a pose. The two captains then team up to take on the Subspace Army.
Upon reaching the edge of the Isle of Ancients, they witness Diddy Kong attacking some Primids and rescuing Donkey Kong. Captain Falcon and a reluctant Olimar then decide to join forces with the Kongs, and upon reaching them, the Primids return with backup. Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Captain Falcon, and Olimar manage to fight them off before they see off Falco Lombardi, who had helped Diddy in bringing him to the large Cargo that DK was held on.
The Cargo takes Olimar and his crew inside the Subspace Bomb Factory, and they begin to move through it. They eventually find the Ancient Minister, along with Pikachu and Samus. A hologram of Ganondorf suddenly appears and commands the R.O.B.s in the room to detonate the Subspace Bombs in the room so he could create a large enough hole in space to fit a Subspace Gunship through. The Ancient Minister reveals himself to be the leader of the R.O.B.s and helps the other heroes defeat the Subspace underlings that Ganondorf sent out. Olimar, along with R.O.B. and the rest, escapes from the island before it is sucked into Subspace (defeating Meta Ridley in the process). All of the heroes then unite to take down the Subspace Gunship and enter Subspace. Olimar contributes by putting his ship, the Hocotate Ship, at the heroes disposal. His excellent piloting allows him to avoid the huge ship's turrets until Kirby destroys it. Unfortunately, Olimar and the others were doomed to be turned into trophies by Tabuu.
However, hope comes in the form of King Dedede, who created some badges that revive trophies into the original fighter. Olimar and others are rescued by Dedede and his team consisting of Luigi, Ness (and Kirby). With everyone revived, they are able to take down Tabuu and save the world.
Olimar can perform a glitch with Pikmin Throw in the Great Maze. In the Halberd stage with the elevator, if one throws Pikmin down the hole after one destroys the blocks, they will be stuck in spinning mode and eventually die unless one hits the other bomb blocks.
In SSE, in the first cutscene with Olimar there are no White Pikmin on the Giant R.O.B. In fact, only two White Pikmin appear in the entire SSE.