Pichu (ピチュー, Pichu) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Pichu is classified as fighter #19.
Pichu's voice actress from Melee and the Pokémon anime, Satomi Kōrogi, reprises her role with new voice clips.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
As in Melee, Pichu is significantly lighter than Pikachu, and all of its electric attacks inflict recoil damage. Many of Pichu's attributes, such as its run speed, air speed, fall speed, etc. are now different when compared to Pikachu. In addition, most of Pichu's attack and non-attack animations have been given slight adjustments and overhauls in order to differentiate them from Pikachu's; for example, all of Pichu's smash attack charging animations are now completely different from Pikachu's. Almost all of Pichu's moves are also functionally different, such as down tilt or neutral air, making it even more unique. However, unlike previous clones, Pichu was not given many new unique moves to differentiate it from Pikachu, as the only fully unique moves it has are its forward tilt, up smash, neutral aerial, and edge attack.
These changes give Pichu some new strengths, but also a lot of weaknesses when compared to Pikachu.
Overall, Pichu can kill more reliably than Pikachu and at earlier percentages. Some of its attacks also deal more damage than Pikachu's, but the only ones with a significant difference are its back aerial and the aerial version of Thunder Jolt. Otherwise, the damage output between the two is largely the same or with only a 1–2% difference, while some of Pikachu's attacks, like its dash attack, up aerial and Thunder, are stronger than Pichu's.
Pichu's frame data is also better on average, with its biggest advantages being on its forward tilt, down smash and Thunder. However, there are some attacks like back aerial and Skull Bash where Pichu's frame data is worse, and only Pichu's up and down aerials auto-cancel in a short hop, whereas all of Pikachu's aerials can auto-cancel in a short hop. Additionally, with the exception of neutral aerial, almost every other attack in Pichu's moveset has inferior range to Pikachu's equivalent attacks, including all of its tilts and smash attacks, its up aerial and Thunder.
Pichu is extremely light and is a fast-faller with high gravity, which notoriously makes it much easier to combo and KO. The recoil damage gimmick, while toned down compared to Melee, still makes Pichu's already bad survivability even worse. Pichu is also forced to play very aggressively and cannot camp as well as Pikachu can due to its recoil damage. It also does not have access to Quick Attack either, removing a vital approach and burst option from its arsenal.
Lastly, Pikachu and Pichu's combo games are very different, with Pikachu's being much more diverse. For instance, Pichu does not have access to Pikachu's neutral aerial, which is an incredible combo tool, and Pichu cannot chain four back aerials into each other at low percents to immediately start an edgeguard. Pichu's down throw has less advantage and stops being a combo tool earlier, and its forward aerial has less advantage and hits two times less, making it worse for dragdown combos. Pichu also lacks Quick Attack as a combo starter and its up aerial does not have the weak hit that Pikachu's does, making it impossible to perform up air bridges that carry opponents to the blastzone with Pichu. Both Pikachu and Pichu have loops that use their neutral or back aerials respectively. Even there, Pikachu's version is likely better, because it works on more characters, is more resilient to SDI and is less situational, whereas the only advantage Pichu's version has is that it can rarely transition into a KO immediately. It also deals more damage per loop, but this is not very important because Pikachu can do more loops than Pichu in a row, making the total damage output roughly the same.
However, there are some upsides to Pichu's combo game over Pikachu's: its up tilt and up aerial combo for longer, and it has more combos into Thunder to take stocks. Down tilt is also a better combo starter, but it has very low range, making it hard to use.
All in all, both characters have many upsides and downsides compared to each other. Pichu has earned more successful tournament results so far, but it is debatable as to which character is truly the better choice. Both of them are capable of great results and have fared well in the metagame, and if there truly is an advantage to picking one over the other, it is negligible at most.
Throws and other attacks
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Melee
Since its absence from previous installments, Pichu was infamous of being by far the worst clone character in Melee due to its having the worst matchups in the series and often having players label it a "joke character", especially taking into consideration its bottom-tier placement and low tournament representation. Possibly as a result of this, Pichu has been overwhelmingly buffed in its transition to Ultimate, and is arguably the most buffed character in the game, in a much similar vein to Mario in Smash 4.
Pichu benefits slightly from the implementation of rage, as its electrical attacks can now slowly increase its knockback with the recoil damage it receives from them, and can potentially allow it to escape certain kill confirms that would otherwise KO it. Pichu's recoil damage itself has been somewhat toned down from Melee, making its electrical attacks less of a detriment to use. Its mobility has overall improved as well, as its walking, dashing and air speeds have increased, and its air acceleration has increased substantially. It can also crawl now, enabling Pichu to approach more easily while being able to dodge certain projectiles. Pichu also benefits from the weakening of SDI, as its multi-hit attacks are much more reliable. On another note, while its endurance is still the worst in the game as it is lighter than even Jigglypuff, its weight was nevertheless increased, allowing it to survive a little bit longer.
Despite the many buffs it received, Pichu also received a few nerfs. Some of Pichu's strongest kill options, such as its forward and up smashes, have been significantly weakened in terms of knockback, while its neutral aerial, previously considered by many to be its best move, has also been weakened in both its damage output and knockback. Pichu can also no longer chaingrab with its up throw, greatly reducing its damage-racking potential against fast-fallers. Pichu's own falling speed has not changed since Melee while its gravity has been increased, making it a fast-faller. Pichu's grounded attacks are also less effective for edgeguarding, as its down tilt, down smash and dash attack now send opponents at a much higher angle. Lastly, more of Pichu's moves (most notably its forward tilt and back aerial) use electricity, meaning that more of its moves cause recoil damage. Additionally, unlike other characters, its jumpsquat duration remains the same, while all other characters are now on par with its jumpsquat animation time of 3 frames.
Additionally, all of Pichu's buffs failed to remove some of its glaring weaknesses, with the biggest being its poor survivability. While taking recoil damage allows Pichu to build up rage more easily compared to other fighters, it allows Pichu to be KOed rather easily. Combined with it being the lightest character in the game and its fast falling speed, Pichu is also easy to combo despite having a small hurtbox size. However, this weakness became more exploitable in patch 3.1.0 as Pichu's hurtbox size increased, making it easier to hit as well. Pichu's overall survivability remains among the worst in the game alongside other lightweights like Jigglypuff, Squirtle and Mr. Game and Watch.
Overall, Pichu's buffs greatly outweigh its nerfs. It is no longer an intentional "joke character" like in Melee; instead, it is now a very polarized glass cannon, akin to a min-maxed version of Pikachu. It has a better punish and edgeguarding game, but significantly worse survivability, considerably less range on average, a less reliable recovery due to Skull Bash having more ending lag and Agility dealing no damage (thus rendering it completely useless as an attack unlike Quick Attack, which also removes an approach and burst tool) and fewer non-committal options (due to most aerials not auto-canceling in a short hop and most grounded attacks having way less range). Pichu has achieved very strong results and representation during the early metagame of Ultimate, which has lead to many players viewing him as a top tier character.
However, possibly due to its massive success early on, Pichu was noticeably nerfed in patch update 3.1.0, where its hurtbox was enlarged, its infamous forward tilt has lost most of its KO power, and the recoil damage on almost all of its electric-based attacks was increased. Because of these changes, both VoiD and Nietono - two previously high level Pichu mains - have dropped it in favor of other characters, and while other players such as RFang and NAKAT have achieved respectable results, they have failed to match the same level of success that pre-patch Pichu obtained. As a result, Pichu's overall viability has now become a subject of debate.
Throws and other attacks
Possibly due to its dominating status in competitive play during the early metagame of Ultimate, Pichu has been considerably nerfed via patch updates, particularly patch 3.1.0. Its hurtbox was increased, making it easier to strike him, its forward smash has increased endlag, hindering its safety, its infamous forward tilt has lost much of its KO power, and almost all of its electric attacks deal increased recoil damage to Pichu, noticeably worsening its already abysmal survivability.
Possibly due to these nerfs, two of Pichu's strongest mains - Nietono and VoiD, have dropped it in favor other characters, though he continue to sees play thanks to the efforts of Nakat, blacktwins13, and RFang.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Spring 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.
Classic Mode: Lightweight Fracas
Pichu fights against opponents that are lightweights like itself, on stages that take place in the sky.
Role in World of Light
Although Pichu has been absent from the World of Light opening cutscene, it was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
To access Pichu, the player must enter the Power Plant sub-area and reach it on a platform with the use of two Zapfish, where it can then be challenged and recruited.
Pichu's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Pichu in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video