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Pikachu (SSB)

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This article is about Pikachu's appearance in Super Smash Bros.. For this Pokémon in other contexts, see Pikachu.
in Super Smash Bros.
Pikachu SSB.png
Universe Pokémon
Other playable appearances in Melee
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier S (1) (North America)
? (1) (Japan)
Pikachu's head icon from SSB.

Pikachu (ピカチュウ, Pikachu) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. It originates from the Pokémon series, being its recognizable mascot. Pikachu is generally a light, quick character, which would serve as the archetype for some other lightweight characters in the series. Pikachu is voiced by Ikue Ōtani, who voices it in the anime, and other game appearances.

Pikachu ranks 1st on the tier list, its best placement in the series due to having many overwhelming advantages: its mobility is among the best, with fast walking, dashing, and air speeds, though its falling speed is slightly below average. Pikachu is notable for its amazing offstage and edgeguarding game, with fast and powerful aerials that can also combo well with or without certain other moves, along with a recovery on Quick Attack that covers a long distance while also being unpredictable, as well as having some invincibility frames and the ability to easily sweetspot the edge. While its attacks are generally fast, it has a few rather powerful moves, though its moveset is overall more combo-oriented. This is evident in its solid ground game, with an up tilt that can rack up large damage by chaining into itself and can easily combo into virtually any other move as well, along with powerful smash attacks and an exceedingly powerful back throw. It also has a projectile in its Thunder Jolt, as well as Thunder, which is notable for being able to KO near the upper blast line very early; the Thunderspike technique can easily set this up.

Pikachu, however, is not perfect. It is a lightweight character, allowing for it to be KOed earlier than most other characters, and can also be easily comboed by others. Pikachu also has limited options out of a tech.

Despite this, Pikachu's strengths exceed its weaknesses, and it has held the best tournament results in competitive play, alongside good representation. Pikachu's prowess in Smash 64 is considered undisputed to such a great extent that in the NTSC version of the game, it is considered to have the best matchup spread of any character in the series, with even its worst non-mirror matchup (Captain Falcon) being 55/45, meaning that it holds the distinction of being the only Super Smash Bros. character that is favored in every single non-mirror matchup. Even in the Japanese version of the game, it is still one of only two characters in the series (the other one being Meta Knight in Brawl) to have no disadvantageous matchups, and some of its matchups are actually improved compared to on the NTSC version.


Pikachu's ending picture in Super Smash Bros.
Pikachu using Thunder Jolt in the Smash 64 instruction booklet.

Pikachu is a small, very quick character with fast moves, a great recovery, great finishers, a projectile, disjointed hitboxes, great comboing and edgeguarding abilities, and an exceedingly powerful back throw. Often cited as the main reason Pikachu is first on the tier list is its recovery: it is considered the best, and in many ways the only hard to edgeguard recovery in Smash 64. Its aerial game is very potent; all of its aerials inflict high damage and have good KO potential, and its back and up aerials have large disjoints making them good edgeguarding moves. Going too far offstage while edgeguarding is also not too risky for Pikachu due to its very long recovery. However, Pikachu lacks a meteor smash, unlike most other characters.

Pikachu has a variety of specials. Its Thunder Jolt is a relatively underused attack, but it can be useful potentially for edge guarding and camping. Quick Attack is by far the best recovery move in Smash 64 - as well as traveling a huge distance, it can also allow Pikachu to escape certain situations, and it can be extended so Pikachu does not lose its momentum after the second warp. If used perfectly, Pikachu has the ability to stall on the ledge infinitely, and it will be invulnerable due Quick Attack's invincibility frames. Pikachu's down special, Thunder, is a very powerful move that can be used as a finisher, but it is most notable for the Thunderspiking technique - which involves using it when the opponent is near the upper blast line for a Star KO. This is performed easiest with an up smash.

Pikachu has among the best and most versatile combo ability in the game. It has four great combo starters: up tilt, up aerial, neutral aerial, and down aerial. It also has the second fastest air speed in the game to compliment its combo ability. Its up tilt can be used to combo into itself from low to mid/mid-high percentages, or just about any other move (including a grab). It can start a combo, and can even lead into a KO move such as an up smash followed by Thunder, a grab then a back throw, or a back aerial to set up an edgeguard. The up tilt can also be followed by another up tilt for shield pressure. Its attacks, most notably its forward smash and back aerial, have strange hitboxes, with the forward smash being an excellent finisher, but being very slow compared to Pikachu's other moves. Its combo ability is accentuated by its Thunderspiking ability, as explained above. Due to quick, strong aerials, Pikachu's shield pressure is commonly considered to be the third or fourth best in the game, behind Fox, Kirby, and possibly Captain Falcon.

Isai performing the Greenhouse combo

A well known Pikachu combo is the Greenhouse combo, created by Isai. It can only be performed in the "Tent" section of Hyrule Castle. This example shows Pikachu using multiple up tilts, then a back throw to knock the opponent into the wall, then a back aerial so they bounce off the green wall towards Pikachu, then an up smash followed by a Thunderspike. Pikachu can also use multiple forward and back throws at the wall before using the up tilt.

Overall, Pikachu has excellent matchups and beats the majority of the characters in the game, with only a few even or close to even matchups. The main ones are Fox on Hyrule Castle and Captain Falcon on Dream Land. Every other matchup is at least 60-40 in Pikachu's favour.

The problems Pikachu faces are small, but still noticeable. It is moderately easy to combo, along with the fact it is light weight, despite usually being able to get out of bad situations with Quick Attack. Its up special, despite its invincibility frames and wonderful range, leaves Pikachu vulnerable if it simply warps onto the stage from above the edge due to its ending lag. Even if it is used to escape from situations, it can also leave Pikachu vulnerable if the opponent has a fast enough dashing speed so that they can reach Pikachu before it can act. If one can get over these small issues, Pikachu will be a huge asset.

Differences between game versions[edit]

NTSC-J to NTSC-U[edit]

Pikachu was noticeably buffed in the North American version. Its up angled forward tilt and dash attack are stronger, and forward smash has more range, making it easier to hit with. Thunder Jolt, however, covers less distance, slightly worsening its projectile game although its aerial hit is stronger. Pikachu also benefits from the changes to gameplay mechanics more than any other character, due to the higher presence of SDI allowing it to escape combos easier (despite its forward aerial being slightly less reliable for combos), whereas the removal of momentum sliding makes its mobility one of the best. As a result, despite its worse matchup spread, Pikachu is considered to fare better than in the Japanese version.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Change Neutral attack has decreased base knockback (8 → 4).
  • Buff Up angled forward tilt deals more damage (9% → 11%).
  • Nerf Down angled forward tilt deals less damage (10% → 9%).
  • Buff Dash attack has higher base knockback (20 → 40).
  • Buff Forward smash's late hit's hitboxes have been repositioned and it has gained a third hitbox which reaches further out, increasing its range.

Special attacks[edit]

  • Buff Clean Thunder Jolt deals more damage (8% → 10%).
  • Buff Thunder Jolt has a shorter duration (98/99 frames → 118/119).
  • Nerf Thunder Jolt deals less knockback (30 (base), 50 (scaling) → 50/30 (clean), 20/50 → 10/20 (late)).

NTSC-U to PAL[edit]

Pikachu was buffed again in the PAL versions. Forward smash, down aerial and Thunder all deal more damage making them stronger KO moves.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Buff Up tilt has increased base knockback (10 → 15).
  • Buff Late forward smash deals more damage (18% → 20%).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff Down aerial deals more damage (13% → 14%).

Special attacks[edit]

  • Buff Thunder deals more damage (12% (thunderbolt)/16% (shockwave) → 14%/18%).


For a gallery of Pikachu's hitboxes, see here.

Image of Pikachu from official site of Super Smash Bros.
Pikachu's aerial attacks
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% Pikachu headbutts forward. Can chain into itself or lead into a jab grab.
Forward tilt   11%, 9% (NTSC-J) Pikachu stands on its two hands and kicks its two feet forward. Can be angled up or down. Has unimpressive power/range and moderate ending lag, making it one of Pikachu's least useful moves.
9%, 10% (NTSC-J)
Up tilt   11% Does a tail whip upwards. It can easily chain into itself multiple times or combo into aerials (outside of very low percents), it has a disjointed hitbox and it has low ending lag, making it one of the best up tilts in the game. Has slightly higher knockback in the PAL versions.
Down tilt   12% A tail sweep. It is a semi-spike with good power, low ending lag and disjointed range.
Dash attack   12% Does a running headbutt while falling onto the ground. Can setup edgeguards although it is not particularly powerful. Has lower knockback in the Japanese version.
Forward smash   18%, 20% (PAL late) Pikachu releases a short jolt of electricity from its cheeks. The electrical effect is in 2-D. It has slow startup lag and average power for a forward smash, although it has great range and its hitbox lasts for a long time. Has less range in the Japanese version and even more KO power in the PAL versions.
Up smash   18% (clean), 9% (late) Pikachu flips itself and moves its tail from front to back, hitting nearby opponents. Has decent KO power although nothing too extreme for an up smash. The main advantage the move has is its low ending lag, which makes it safe on shield and allows it to be used as a combo starter. Can combo into up tilt at lower percents, up air at middle percents and Thunder at slightly higher percents to score early KOes. It also has a much weaker late hit, although this can be used to combo at higher percents.
Down smash   16% (front), 13% (back) Does a spinning breakdance attack on the floor. Has two hits and unlike most down smashes, these two hits differ in strength. The front hit deals a decent amount of damage and has incredible horizontal knockback (KOing about as early as Kirby's forward smash) while the back hit deals lower damage and knockback.
Neutral aerial   14% (clean), 11% (late) Pikachu sticks out its foot for about half a second. A very fast sex kick with very low startup lag and below average ending lag. Its only notable downside is its unimpressive range.
Forward aerial   3% (hits 1-7), 21% (total), 6% (landing) Does a drill-like move forward, surrounded by electricity. 7 hits at a rate of 3% per hit for a total of 21%. Can be used as a combo starter.
Back aerial   16% (clean), 14% (late) Pikachu kicks behind itself, its small foot getting slightly larger for a short second. It is somewhat slow although it has great range and knockback (being the second strongest back aerial). A solid combo ender.
Up aerial   10% A flipping upwards tail swing. It has weak horizontal knockback although it is very fast and it has long disjointed range. Can easily combo at mid percents.
Down aerial   13%, 14% (PAL) Does a drill-like like move downward, surrounded by electricity. Knocks opponents horizontally with decent knockback (especially in the PAL versions). Along with Link's down aerial, this is the only down aerial in Smash 64 to lack a meteor smash hitbox.
Grab   Grabs the opponent. Has decent range.
Forward throw   12% Pikachu grabs the foe, flips and releases them. It is fairly standard for a forward throw although it has low ending lag.
Back throw   18% Pikachu puts the foe on its back and releases electricity. This throw would later become its forward throw in future Smash Bros. iterations, but a much weaker variant. Has low ending lag and incredible knockback, being one of the strongest back throws in the game.
Floor attack (front) 6% Kicks on both sides and gets up.
Floor attack (back) 6% Kicks on both sides and gets up.
Edge attack (fast)   6% Is evenly good with other ledge attacks outside of Fox's and Donkey Kong's where it is considered worse.
Edge attack (slow)   6% Slowly gets up and whips its tail.
Neutral special Thunder Jolt 10% (ball), 7% (wave), 8% (NTSC-J ball) Shoots a sphere of electricity diagonally downwards and when it hits the ground, it will turn into a wave. The projectile will wrap around corners, and will snake along walls and ceilings if the corners are not too sharp and the jolt lives for long enough.
Up special Quick Attack 0% Moves in two directions at warp speed. The move lacks a hitbox, making it unable to hit opponents. The directions can be controlled with the Control Stick, with the second warp being optional, though the direction of second warp must be at least 45 degrees different than the direction of the first warp. This is easily the best recovery move in the game due to the huge distance it covers, along with its vast mixup potential. Pikachu is completely intangible during its startup, which both boosts its recovery potential and gives it utility in many other areas.
Down special Thunder 12% (bolt), 16% (blast), 14% (PAL bolt), 18% (PAL blast) Pikachu drops a bolt of lightning from the sky causing vertical knockback to any opponent in the bolt's way. Upon hitting the user, a large shockwave is created with stronger horizontal knockback than the lightning itself. Can stall Pikachu in midair if timed correctly. The move is extremely useful after using an up smash, as it can lead to very early KOes. The move can also be used to juggle opponents near the upper blast zone. Has even greater damage and knockback in the PAL versions.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Releases from a Poké Ball, similar to other Pokémon.
Pikachu's opening animation in Smash 64.


  • Turns to its left, stands on tiptoes, lowers its tail, waves its arms four times, and looks to its left then to its right, accompanied by it saying "Pika Pika!" (the "a" is much longer in the second "Pika").

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description *clap* Pi-ka- *clap* -chu *clap* Pika- *clap* -chu
Pitch Group chant Group chant

Victory poses[edit]

A cover of a portion of the main theme of Pokémon.
  • Sleeps.
  • Scratches right ear.
  • Backflips and spins around (also its character selection animation).
PikachuPose1SSB.gif PikachuPose2SSB.gif PikachuPose3SSB.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Most historically significant players[edit]

See also: Category:Pikachu professionals (SSB)
  • Peru Alvin - One of the best players in the world, won multiple nationals.
  • Brazil Banze - Best player in Brazil. Travelled multiple times to US nationals with decent results.
  • Mexico Dext3r - considered to be one of the best Pikachu mains in North America. Placed 2nd at Operation Desert Smash II. Retired in 2017.
  • Peru Gerson - 2nd best Peruvian after Alvin. Won multiple tournaments in Peru, Brazil (UFSmash 3) and Mexico (Sunset Blast).
  • USA Isai - Considered one of the all-time best players, known for playing random characters, but Pikachu is considered to be his strongest.
  • UK Jam - Best player in Europe, placed 2nd at Hitstun 6 and 1st at numerous EU tourneys like Fête.
  • USA Josh Brody - Formerly known as BarkSanchez. Won multiple nationals since 2019, like The Big House 9.
  • USA KeroKeroppi - After Isai and the Josh Brody the 3rd best Pikachu in the US.
  • Japan Kysk - Best player in the world in 2019. Won GENESIS 6 and Super Smash Con 2019 playing a combination of Kirby, Pikachu & Captain Falcon.
  • Mexico Mariguas - Known for his intricate combo game. Placed 8th on the 2017 64 League Rankings. Inactive since 2018.
  • Japan Maha - 3rd best Japanese Pikachu after wario & Kysk, multiple top placings at Japanese majors including a 2nd place at Japan Smash Cup 2017.
  • USA Sensei - 2nd best US player after Isai in the early era of SSB64. Placed 1st at Smashacre Gluttony. Inactive since 2014.
  • Canada SuPeRbOoMfAn - Widely considered to be the best Pikachu main and one of the best Smash 64 players in the world.
  • Peru Tavomono - One of the strongest Peruvian players, placed top 3 in multiple tournaments in Peru, Brazil (UFSmash 3) and Mexico (Sunset Blast).
  • Japan wario - Best Pikachu player in Japan. Won GENESIS 3, the first tourney in the modern era of SSB64.

Tier placement and history[edit]

Since the beginning of the metagame of Smash 64, Pikachu has been a centerpiece within the metagame, reflected by how it has been always at the top of the tier list across all four editions. In the third tier list, Pikachu even had its own tier at the top of the list; this is no longer the case as of the fourth tier list, though Pikachu is still considered the best character by a significant margin.

Due to the the majority of Pikachu players and the character's dominance, there was discussion in the community of having the character banned in 2017. Such discussions, such as from top Pikachu main KeroKeroppi, thought he should have been banned due to how much flexibility and reward the character offered. SuPeRbOoMfAn even used Pikachu a lot more in tournaments to further support Pikachu’s influence. However, this ban never ended up happening and Pikachu was left to continue to dominate the scene. In recent years, however, Pikachu is considered to have two close-to-even matchups, while in the past, he undisputedly had none. These two matchups that are considered to be managable are against Captain Falcon, who had his arnesal of powerful comboing and finishing moves amped up, and recently Yoshi, due to his parry mechanics and having a few zero to combos on the character. Despite more developed counterplay, Pikachu continues to remain the top character in the metagame.


Pikachu performing a jab grab. The jab just before the grab can clearly be seen.
Pikachu ledge-stalling, making it invulnerable thanks to the invincibility frames of Quick Attack.


Main article: Thunderspiking

This technique involves launching the opponent to the top of the screen and using Thunder for a Star KO. The easiest way to perform this is to use an up smash. At percentages around (possibly a bit below) 100%, up smash combos into Thunder effectively, and at percentages around 140%, an up tilt can combo into Thunder. The technique can be used as a combo finisher (notably at the end of Isai's Greenhouse combo) or just for raw KOing.

Extended Quick Attack[edit]

By allowing the control stick to snap back to its neutral position before the animation of one of the warps in Quick Attack ends, Pikachu's aerial momentum will not be cancelled, allowing it to cover more horizontal distance. This can be used on either warps, and it is even possible to extend both warps, though this runs a high risk of missing the second warp. Extending the move is essential for recovering from a large distance, though the player may choose not to in certain situations, such as landing on a platform onstage on Dream Land to evade the opponent.

Jab grab[edit]

Main article: Jab grab

A technique that enables Pikachu to instantly use a grab while abusing the shield stun of its jab. This can be performed by Mario and Fox to a lesser extent. A highly useful technique in competitive play, due to allowing Pikachu to shield pressure the opponent.


Pikachu can stall on the edge by abusing the invincibility frames of Quick Attack. This is performed by simply edge dropping, jumping, then aiming Quick Attack straight down to regrab the edge. The process can be repeated for as long as one's reflexes allow.

In Single-player[edit]

In the game's Single-player mode, Pikachu is fought on the Saffron City stage.


From the Game[edit]

Mouse PKMN
Height 1'4"
Weight 13 lbs
When several of these Pokémon gather, their electricity could cause lightning storms.
(Pokédex excerpt)

Alternate costumes[edit]

Pikachu Palette (SSB).png
Pikachu's head icon from SSB. PikachuHeadRedSSB.png PikachuHeadBlueSSB.png PikachuHeadGreenSSB.png


  • Pikachu is one of the two only characters in the game to lack a meteor smash, along with Link.
  • Pikachu is the only character in the game whose forward smash with battering items attacks both in front and behind (as it does a spin attack with the item).
  • Most of Pikachu's static and electric effects are rendered in 2D due to technical limitations.
  • In the Japanese version, Pikachu is the only character ranked first in the tier list to have a disadvantageous matchup (against Captain Falcon).