in Super Smash Bros. Melee
|Other playable appearance||in Ultimate|
|Tier||D (22) (North America)|
H (26) (Europe)
Pichu is voiced by Satomi Kōrogi, who also voiced one of the Pichu Brothers in the Pokémon anime.
Pichu is currently ranked 22nd in the D tier, and is the lowest ranked clone and unlockable character in the game. Pichu has solid overall movement, complemented with some very quick attacks. It also possesses a surprising amount of power for its weight class, with good chaingrabbing ability and a handful of strong finishers, some even more powerful than those of its counterpart, Pikachu. However, all of Pichu's strengths are severely outweighed by its weaknesses. It has abysmal range and very poor endurance due to its light weight, and is unusually prone to chaingrabs itself despite its small size, due to the unusually high amounts of hitstun it sustains as a result of being the game's lightest character. It also takes recoil damage from its electric-based moves, including its own recovery move Agility, further hampering its defensive game. As a result, Pichu suffers from abysmal matchups; it was historically considered to have the worst matchup spread in the game with no winning matchups at all, with this perception only marginally improving after recent metagame developments.
Although it is no longer considered a contender for the worst character competitively, it appears that Pichu was intended to be a sub-par character in general, since its trophy descriptions mention that it is "top of the class in weakness" and it is "best suited for handicapped matches." Indeed, this was confirmed in a development news update, shortly after the game's release.
How to unlock
To unlock Pichu, players have to complete Event 37: Legendary Pokémon or play 200 VS. matches.
Upon completing either criterion, the player will fight against Pichu on Pokémon Stadium, with "Battle Theme" playing.
Pichu, as a character, falls under the archetype of being nimble, yet relatively fragile. Due to its high traction and average falling speed, Pichu has a rather short wavedash; additionally, its quick and low-lag aerials also give Pichu a good SHFFL, much like Pikachu's. As such, Pichu can easily maneuver around stages, with very low landing lag, a small frame and a rather fast dash, as well as decent jumping power, making it surprisingly difficult to hit in the hands of a capable player. However, its poor endurance due to its very light weight ensures that opponents will not have to find too many openings against it to secure KOs.
One of Pichu's main advantages is its perhaps surprising power. While its moveset generally consists of attacks that deal much lower damage and knockback than its clone Pikachu or most other characters in the cast, the few strong moves it possesses can be deadly if utilized properly. Pichu's smashes are all of short range, but all are unusually powerful; its up smash and forward smash contain incredible power, being able to KO characters reliably at as little as 70 to 80 percent, while its down smash semi-spikes opponents and has invincibility frames. Pichu also has decent throws; its forward and back throws can knock opponents off stage or set up combos, while its up and down throws can chain throw fastfallers and tech chase characters respectively.
Pichu's best tool, however, is not its powerful set of smash attacks, but rather its neutral aerial, which is considered the central attack to its metagame. Pichu's neutral aerial comes out very quickly and has very low ending and landing lag, especially when L-canceled. This move serves as a viable approach option, can rack up respectable damage with long strings of just itself, and can create a pseudo-wall of pain if the player is allowed to continue the strings off-stage. Pichu's up aerial complements neutral aerial's utility, allowing it to juggle enemies into the air. Its other aerials are lackluster, but these two moves alone give Pichu quite a force in the air.
Pichu also boasts an excellent recovery. Its up special, Agility, can travel in many different directions and cover very large distances; while Pikachu's Quick Attack is superior in speed and distance, Agility is still a solid recovery tool in its own right. Pichu's Skull Bash also further aids its horizontal recovery, with surprising power and distance when charged; at full power, it deals a massive 39% damage and guarantees KOs at very low percentages. With Agility being able to seamlessly mix up edgeguarders, and Skull Bash's potential strength serving as a direct deterrent to attempted edgeguards, Pichu has one of the best recoveries in the game.
Pichu's greatest flaw, however, is its very poor range. All of its best and most powerful attacks are very close to its body, and it lacks a full set of tools to consistently approach enemies to make use of these moves, making it very difficult for Pichu to KO or even find any openings against its opponents (especially against characters with disjointed hitboxes). Its neutral aerial and Thunder Jolt projectile are among its only reliable options, making Pichu's overall neutral game play very predictable; the latter also inflicts recoil damage to it, making it unreliable long-term. Pichu's grab game is also heavily hampered by its short range, at the third shortest in the game, making it difficult for players to consistently take advantage of Pichu's decent throws. Many of Pichu's poorest matchups stem from it being unable to deal with individual moves of characters (such as Sheik's forward tilt or a large portion of Marth's moveset) because it lacks tools that have enough range to counter the attacks.
Pichu's defensive game is also notoriously poor. Although it has a rather large shield for its size, it is saddled with short tech rolls and a slow, short ledge roll, making it very easy for enemies to extend punishes on Pichu with little that the Pichu player can do to escape. Furthermore, despite being a lightweight, Pichu is also quite vulnerable to combos (some of which are either infinite or zero-death, such as Ganondorf's chain throw) due to its abnormally high hitstun and average falling speed. These traits exacerbate Pichu's range issues; its problems in the neutral game are very reminiscent of Pikachu's, but Pichu is punished harder for losing exchanges by several orders of magnitude, making the risk-reward of its approaching heavily skewed against it in the vast majority of situations.
Finally, Pichu suffers from the infamous recoil damage it receives from using almost any of its attacks involving electrical hitboxes. In several of Pichu's attacks, especially those that involve electricity, at least one percent of damage is directly inflicted onto it; using Agility to recover alone adds four percent to Pichu each time it is used. While most of Pichu's best moves do not use electricity, making this a lesser problem at higher levels of play, the threat of recoil damage further limits the small amount of utility its electric-based attacks have, and there is no way at all for Pichu to avoid recoil when recovering. If players are not careful with balancing Pichu's electrical and non-electrical attacks, the recoil damage can add up quickly, which can be especially crippling to Pichu. With the lowest weight in the game (being lighter than Jigglypuff) and average falling speed, Pichu's survivability is already among the worst in the game, meaning that this extra damage makes it even more trivial for opponents to put Pichu in KO range. Outside of making Pichu even easier to KO, the extra damage taken through recoil also reduces how long it can utilize crouch cancelling.
Overall, Pichu is a very poor character at all levels of play, with its few advantages being thoroughly outweighed by its numerous deficiencies. While Pichu has the potential to pose a threat to the opponent with its speed and power, it simply lacks the tools to put those positive traits to consistent use against competent opponents. The vast majority of the Melee cast can easily outrange and out-punish Pichu in nearly every instance, regardless of whatever trickery the Pichu player may attempt. As such, Pichu is almost never seen at any level of play.
Pichu not only performs significantly worse than Pikachu, but is considered a low-tiered character and sometimes even referred to as a joke character. Pichu inherits Pikachu's range issues, but has very few positive traits to compensate for such problems, and it is generally outclassed in most areas by Pikachu otherwise. The raw power increase on a few of its finishers is not enough to outweigh not only the overall power and utility loss across its entire moveset, but also the added recoil damage on several of its moves that automatically make such moves riskier than Pikachu's. Perhaps the single most negatively impactful change is Pichu's lack of a semi-spike hitbox on its up aerial, which makes it vastly inferior to Pikachu in terms of edgeguarding. Pichu's loss of such an integral edgeguarding tool harms its viability significantly, as edgeguarding is considered one of Pikachu's biggest strengths, and one of the main reasons that it can stand up to the top Melee characters at the highest levels of play.
As a result of its major flaws, it is arguably the worst clone in the game, and overall one of the worst clones in the series.
- Pichu's idle animations, taunt, and victory poses are all different from Pikachu's.
- Pichu can wall jump, aiding its recovery.
- All of Pichu's electrical attacks inflict recoil damage.
- Pichu runs slower than Pikachu (1.8 → 1.72).
- Pichu's fast fall speed is lower (2.7 → 2.5).
- Pichu's traction is higher than Pikachu's (0.09 → 0.1). This makes it easier for Pichu to punish out of shield but it also gives Pichu a shorter wavedash.
- Pichu is significantly lighter than Pikachu (80 → 55), giving it a much lower survivability.
- Pichu's rolls go slightly further than Pikachu's.
- Pichu is slightly smaller than Pikachu, reducing its range and hurtbox.
- Pichu's jab, forward and down tilts have shorter reach than Pikachu's.
- All three of Pichu's smash attacks deal less damage and have less reach than Pikachu's.
- Up tilt:
- Up tilt becomes significantly more disjointed than Pikachu's from the fourth active frame onwards.
- It deals less damage (7%/6% → 6%) and has lower knockback (45 (base)/124 (scaling) → 25/120).
- Forward smash:
- Forward smash strikes multiple times instead of once, and can therefore be SDI'd out of before the final blow connects.
- It is a multi hitting move making it far less reliable than Pikachu's. It also deals less damage (21% (early), 19% (mid), 18% (late) → 2% (hits 1-5), 6% (hit 6), 14% (total)).
- The final hit has increased knockback values (25 (base)/92 (scaling) → 90/140). Combined with the lower damage value, this results in the move's knockback being more base-heavy, improving its KO potential near the horizontal blastline, while worsening its KO potential from further away.
- It causes recoil damage (2%).
- Up smash:
- Up smash is completely different; it hits the opponent with its head. Similar to Mario and his clones.
- Its sweetspot has a much larger hitbox than Pikachu's (2u/3.2u/4.8u → 5.6u).
- It has more startup lag with a shorter duration due to it lacking a late hit (frames 8-17 → 9-11). It also deals less damage than Pikachu's clean hit (19%/18%/17% → 16%) and knockback (40 (base)/110/100 (scaling) → (50/40)/105).
- Down smash:
- Down smash is more reliable due to consisting of a single hit and it is a semi spike (70° → 160°, sending opponents behind it, like the first hit of Ganondorf's down smash). It also has intangibility on frames 7-10 and it deals more damage than the final hit of Pikachu's down smash (3% → 13%) making it stronger despite its decreased knockback (70 (base)/170 (scaling) → 30/70).
- It has one hit and it's non-electrical.
- Its different angle has removed its combo potential. It also deals slightly less damage than Pikachu's (13.83% → 13%).
- Neutral aerial:
- Neutral aerial has less landing lag (15 → 12).
- Forward aerial:
- It has less landing lag (12 → 9).
- It causes recoil damage (4% (1% per hit)).
- Back aerial:
- Back aerial deals less damage (12%/9% → 9%).
- It has significantly less landing lag (30 → 18).
- Up aerial:
- Up aerial has a consistent angle throughout the entire attack (80°/0°/120° → 80°), slightly improving its combo ability against fast-fallers, but entirely removing its gimping ability due to not being able to semi-spike.
- It has slightly more start-up (frame 3 → 4).
- However, its total duration remains unchanged, giving it less ending lag.
- It has a slightly longer initial auto-cancel window (frames 1-2 → 1-3).
- It has significantly less landing lag (26 → 18).
- Down aerial:
- Down aerial has significantly less landing lag (40 → 26).
- It causes recoil damage (1% (aerial hitbox), 1% (landing), total: 2%).
Grabs and throws
- Grab range is slightly longer than Pikachu's, although it is still one of the shortest in the game.
- Pummel and forward throw cause recoil damage (1%).
- Thunder Jolt:
- Thunder Jolt causes recoil damage (1%).
- Skull Bash:
- Skull Bash can be charged for a longer period of time, is more powerful when fully charged, and travels a longer distance than Pikachu's.
- It deals much more damage when fully charged (29% → 39%).
- It has more ending lag than Pikachu's.
- It causes recoil damage (1%).
- Skull Bash can be charged for a longer period of time, is more powerful when fully charged, and travels a longer distance than Pikachu's.
- Thunder's lightning bolt does less damage than Pikachu's and is a multi-hit move (hitting up to 4 times), allowing opponents to Smash DI out of the move.
- Its lightning bolt has a vertical knockback angle unlike Pikachu's (70° → 94°).
- Thunder's discharge causes recoil damage (3%).
- Thunder's discharge does significantly less damage (17% → 13%), and less base knockback (100 → 90). Combined these changes significantly hinders the discharge's KO potential.
- Thunder's discharge hitbox size was slightly reduced (3,000 → 2,800).
For a gallery of Pichu's hitboxes, see here.
|Neutral attack||2%||Does an extremely quick headbutt. Can easily chain into itself, and even infinite against some characters on walls.|
|Forward tilt||↗||9%||Plants itself on its upper paws and kicks both its feet forward. Low range and knockback, though a fast move. This attack can be angled up and down.|
|Up tilt||6%||Swipes its tail above its body in an arc. Very low range and somewhat slow, though sets up for aerial combos and follow ups.|
|Down tilt||7%||Swipes its tail in front of itself. Short ranged, but can act as a good method for spacing.|
|Dash attack||8%||Jumps and headbutts forward. Has some noticeable endlag.|
|Forward smash||2% (hits 1-5), 6% (hit 6), 2% recoil||Launches a short jolt of electricity from its cheeks. Very powerful finisher, KOs at relatively low percentages. Incredible knockback when fully charged, KOs light characters at very low damages near the edge. However, this attack can be SDI'd out of. Has transcendent priority.|
|Up smash||16%||Headbutts upwards similar to Mario's up smash, except that Pichu's head has no intangibility frames. One of his best finishers and one of the strongest up smashes in the game.|
|Down smash||13%||Quickly spins in place. It has more range than it appears and has some invincibility frames at the beginning of the move, as well as being powerful.|
|Neutral aerial||12% (clean), 9% (late)||Curls up in a ball and does somersaults in the air. Notorious for effectively comboing into itself at almost any percent. One of the best neutral airs overall for its speed and combo ability.|
|Forward aerial||2% (hits 1-4) with 1% recoil for every hitbox||Does a barrel roll in the air, emitting sparks. Hits multiple times with minimal damage. Tied with Agility for the most recoil damage in Pichu's moveset.|
|Back aerial||9%||Spins in a manner similar to its down smash. Relatively high ending and landing lag.|
|Up aerial||4%||Swiftly swings its tail above itself in an arc. Can set up many combos on fast fallers. Lacks semi-spike properties compared to Pikachu's.|
|Down aerial||12%, 4% (landing) (1% recoil for both the attack & landing)||Does a barrel roll, like its forward aerial, except that it is facing downwards. Creates a small shockwave that hurts nearby opponents when Pichu lands during the attack.|
|Pummel||3% (pummel), 1% recoil||Zaps the opponent.|
|Forward throw||2% (hits 1-4), 2% (throw), 1% recoil||Places the opponent on its back and shocks them, sending them forward. This throw hits multiple times and has low knockback. Oddly, this is Pichu's only throw that inflicts recoil, despite all of them dealing electrical damage.|
|Back throw||9%||Does backwards somersaults with the opponent, then flings them behind itself.|
|Up throw||5% (hit 1), 5% (throw)||Tosses foe up and headbutts them with electricity. Decent chaingrabbing ability, especially against fast fallers.|
|Down throw||5% (hit 1), 5% (throw)||Places the opponent on the ground, then jumps on them.|
|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 gets up, then flicks its tail.|
|Neutral special||Thunder Jolt||7% (ground), 10% (aerial), 1% recoil||Pichu'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||5-39%, 1% recoil||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 Pichu's recovery, though it does have some lag. On the ground, the attack has rather high lag and is easy to shield grab. Compared to Pikachu's Skull Bash, Pichu's Skull Bash deals more damage and covers more distance when fully charged, but takes longer to fully charge the move and suffers recoil damage.|
|Up special||Agility||0%, 1% (recoil warp 1), 3% (recoil warp 2)||Pichu's primary recovery move. Moves at warp speed in two directions that can be selected via the control stick. The main difference from Pikachu's Quick Attack is that Agility can be used in almost the same direction both times, but it deals no damage, moves slower, and inflicts recoil damage on Pichu.|
|Down special||Thunder||4% (bolt hits 1-4), 13% (blast), 3% recoil||Shouts "PICHU!", then a large thunderbolt comes down on Pichu. The move in general is rather laggy. Hits multiple times and has greater vertical knockback, while Pikachu's Thunder hits once and has greater horizontal knockback. Pichu will suffer recoil damage only if the bolt hits Pichu. Has transcendent priority.|
Note: Just like Captain Falcon, Pichu's taunt will be different depending on which side it is facing, but both taunts finish at the same time and have the same IASA frames, like Captain Falcon (as both of his taunts have 60 frames apiece).
- Left: Jumps up and down four times, while saying "Pichu!"
- Right: Lies on the ground and squirms around, while saying "Pichu!"
|Left taunt||Right taunt|
- Jumps while looking side to side.
- Leans slightly forward while looking side to side for a slightly longer duration, cheerfully twitching its ears while doing so.
- Dances excitedly then jumps around three times in a circle.
- Jumps up twice, then jump up high a third time while spinning and waves at the screen before landing.
- Spins around twice on one foot, then jumps up twice while clapping both its feet.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Pichu has historically been seen as a joke character by the competitive Melee community. From the start, many noted that it was completely outclassed by Pikachu, who was already considered a below-average character at the time. With its poor approach coupled with many attacks that damaged itself, including its own recovery, as well as its terrible overall reach, extremely light weight, and difficulty in putting pressure on the opponent, many professionals doubted that Pichu could ever develop a deep metagame or gain any notable professional players. Because of this, they largely ignored Pichu outside of low-stakes exhibitions. As a result, Pichu's initial placements on the tier list were abysmal. It ranked in the bottom 2, shifting between 25th and 26th (or a tie for one of these positions), for over a decade of Melee's lifespan, competing with characters such as Bowser, Kirby, and Mewtwo for the lowest placement on the tier list.
However, in the twelfth tier list released in 2015, Pichu rose out of the bottom 2 for the very first time. Although it was still considered a very poor character and wasn't used outside of sandbagging, players noticed that whenever Pichu showed up, it had an easier time pressuring opponents than was once thought with its speed and a careful selection of surprisingly good normals. Mew2King, arguably the world's best Pichu player at the time, notably believed that Pichu was far from the worst character in the game, ranking it 19th on his personal tier list. Pikachu's rise in the competitive scene also aided Pichu's ascent out of the bottom tier, as players noted that Pichu shared a few of the tools that ultimately made Pikachu viable in the metagame.
There were certainly detractors to this train of thought that insisted Pichu be put back in the bottom 2 in the next slate, emphasizing its weaknesses that had been known for years. After all, the idea of Pichu, who was designed to be a weak joke character, being anything but bottom tier was certainly a novel concept. However, top professional players universally disagreed, with even the likes of Armada placing it at 22nd on his own tier list. Codeman also began rising to relevance in the competitive scene, giving Pichu legitimate tournament results. Because of this, Pichu rose two more spots in the next tier list published in 2021, cleanly out of the bottom tier. Although Pichu remains a heavily flawed character with sparse results, it is no longer considered even in contention for the worst character in the game.
Most historically significant players
- See also: Category:Pichu professionals (SSBM)
- Codeman - Has taken sets off players such as Wes, and games off players such as 2saint and S2J. Currently considered the best active solo main of the character, and among the very few to reach genuine competitive notability with the character. Placed 65th at Get On My Level 2018 and 49th at Shine 2022, the highest result of a Pichu player.
- ChuDat - Although he never used the character in serious tournaments against genuinely threatening players, he possessed a high-level Pichu, being able to take a set off Plank using the character.
- t0mmy - A notable Pichu player during the MLG era.
In 1-P Mode
In Classic Mode
In Classic Mode, Pichu can appear as an ordinary fighter in one on one battles, as an ally or as an opponent alongside Kirby or Pikachu, as the sole opponent in a multi-character battle or as a metal opponent in the second to last stage. Barring the metal fight, Pichu always appears on Pokémon Stadium, with its alternate music Battle Theme playing; when fought with Kirby it will appear on Fountain of Dreams instead.
In Adventure Mode
In Adventure Mode, Pichu can appear in Stage 7 on Pokémon Stadium, appearing alongside a team consisting of Pikachu and, if unlocked, Jigglypuff. Pichu's theme, Battle Theme can also play on the stage.
In All-Star Mode
In All-Star Mode, Pichu and its allies are fought on Fourside. Unlike normal gameplay, however, Battle Theme plays here.
In Event Matches
Pichu appears in the following Event Matches:
- Event 48: Pikachu and Pichu: In this match, the player must fight against a team of two Pichu and one Pikachu. The goal is for the player to KO the two Pichu in the shortest time possible; Pikachu has infinite stocks, while the player has two and the Pichu have one. The stage used in Dream Land, making the event the only one in the game to take place on a Past Stage.
- Event 49: All-Star Match Deluxe: Pichu is the third opponent fought in this series of staged battles. The selected character battles it on the Pokémon Stadium stage with a stock of 2 while Pichu has 1. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat it and the other five characters one-by-one with the overall time and damage: Dr. Mario, Falco, Young Link, Roy and Ganondorf.
In addition to the normal trophy about Pichu as a character, there are two trophies about it as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star Modes respectively with Pichu on any difficulty:
- (1.0/1.01 NTSC) A baby Electric-type Pokémon identifiable by its big ears, Pichu evolves into Pikachu. It's not very skilled at storing up electrical energy and will sometimes discharge it if jarred. Although it's small, it has enough electrical power to give even an adult quite a shock. It's often startled by its own power.
- (1.02 NTSC/PAL) A Tiny Mouse Pokémon identifiable by its big ears, Pichu evolves into Pikachu. It's not very skilled at storing up electrical energy and will sometimes discharge it if jarred. Although it's small, it has enough electrical power to give even an adult quite a shock. It's often startled by its own power.
- Pokémon Gold & Silver (10/00)
- Pichu [Smash]
- Compared with Pikachu, Pichu is a tad more nimble and a little more difficult to hit. Those are the only two advantages, however, and since Pichu damages itself when it uses electrical attacks, it's best suited for handicapped matches. Even though Pichu's tough to catch, it's easy to throw its tiny frame great distances.
- B: Thunder Jolt
- Smash B: Skull Bash
- Pichu [Smash]
- Pichu is the lightest character in Super Smash Bros. Melee., and it's top of the class in weakness, too! For Pichu, it's all about scampering here and there to pick up items that will help it survive. The first warp in Agility causes 1 point of damage to Pichu, and the second causes 3, so try to limit the number of times you use the move.
- Up & B: Agility
- Down & B: Thunder
- Pichu falls asleep when it crouches, though this is merely an animation and not an actual effect.
- Pichu, along with Ganondorf, Mewtwo, Young Link, and Jigglypuff, are the only unlockable characters in Melee seen in the opening movie.
|Fighters in Super Smash Bros. Melee|
|Veterans||Captain Falcon · Donkey Kong · Fox · Jigglypuff · Kirby · Link · Luigi · Mario · Ness · Pikachu · Samus · Yoshi|
|Newcomers||Bowser · Dr. Mario · Falco · Ganondorf · Ice Climbers · Marth · Mewtwo · Mr. Game & Watch · Peach · Pichu · Roy · Young Link · Zelda (Sheik)|