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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.
Pikachu
in Super Smash Bros.
Pikachu SSB.png
PokemonSymbol(preBrawl).svg
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 it is considered to have the best matchup spread of any character in the game, with Pikachu's only potentially difficult matchups being against Captain Falcon and Yoshi which are typically considered to either be even or slightly winning for Pikachu in the North American version of the game.

Attributes[edit]

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

Pikachu is a small lightweight, being the third lightest character in the game although Pikachu's falling speed/gravity are around average overall. Pikachu has great mobility, having the third fastest dash speed as well as high air speed/air acceleration, high jumps and high traction.

Pikachu's high mobility on the ground is complemented with Pikachu possessing a a strong array of ground moves, with the main standouts being Pikachu's up tilt and up smash. Up tilt is a fast, highly disjointed move which can easily chain into itself and other moves beyond lower percents while up smash is a reliable combo starter at lower percents in addition to being very safe on shield and a strong KO move at higher percents. These moves allow Pikachu to have a strong combo game at lower percents and Pikachu can lead into these moves with its aerials. Pikachu also possesses a grab with respectable range and Pikachu possesses a jab grab, allowing it to easily land a grab, especially with its strong mobility. Pikachu's throws are also quite effective. Forward throw has low ending lag, allowing Pikachu to potentially follow up out of it at lower percents while back throw deals very high damage and knockback, making it a very strong KO option. The rest of Pikachu's ground normals are overall more situational although down tilt is a notably solid move with good power, long disjointed range, a low launching angle and low ending lag.

Pikachu also has a very strong aerial game, not only due to Pikachu's fast air speed and high jumps but also because Pikachu has a strong set of aerials. Neutral aerial is a fast, lingering aerial with decent KO power, making it a solid combo starter at lower percents as well as a solid edgeguarding option. Forward aerial can rack up a lot of damage and easily set up followups at any percent, although it is susceptible to SDI. Back aerial is a bit on the slower side but it has great range and very solid KO power, making it strong as either an edgeguarding option or as a combo ender. Down aerial is a lingering aerial with horizonal knockback, which covers Pikachu's entire body and it never gets weaker as it stays out, making it a solid option to either get opponents off stage, edgeguard opponents or even anti air to an extent. Pikachu's best aerial overall however is its up aerial. Up aerial is rather unusual as it has weak, horizontal knockback however, it is very fast, it is highly disjointed and it covers an arc around Pikachu and it is overall an excellent combo and edgeguarding tool, as well as a solid spacing move and anti-air. All of these aerials combined with Pikachu's great mobility and up special give it one of the most devastating aerials games in the game.

Pikachu also has a strong set of specials. Thunder Jolt is Pikachu's weakest special as it is a laggy projectile, but it can be useful for edgeguarding and camping with its downwards trajectory and long duration. Pikachu's down special, Thunder, is a very powerful move which is a projectile with infinite vertical range. Pikachu can easily combo into it with an up smash for a KO at very low percents (with the use of Thunder to KO opponents off the upper blast known being known as Thunderspiking). Thunder not only allows Pikachu to score some very early KOes but it is also not reflectable or absorbable unlike many other projectiles. If the Thunder hits Pikachu, it produces a hitbox with strong horizontal knockback, although this is not utilised anywhere near as much as Thunderspiking.

Pikachu's best special however (and possibly Pikachu's best move overall) is Quick Attack. Quick Attack is completely intangible on startup, it travels a long distance, Pikachu can angle it in any direction and Pikachu has the option to use it twice in a row. This makes it the best recovery move in Smash 64 by far, as Pikachu can travel a huge amount of distance with it, Pikachu can mix it up in a ton of ways and it is generally incredibly hard to intercept both due to the intangibility on startup and its mixup potential. This not only naturally makes it strong when Pikachu is trying to recover from a disadvantageous poisition but this also makes the move strong when Pikachu is in an advantageous position, as it allows Pikachu to go incredibly deep for edgeguards and still safely return to the stage.

The move's intangibility on startup also gives the move utility in a ton of other areas, such as escaping fake combos and as an Out of shield option to avoid shield pressure. Pikachu even has the ability to stall on the ledge infinitely, as Quick Attack can snap to the ledge and due to Quick Attack's intangibility frames, Pikachu can stall at the ledge almost completely intangibly, being the only character in the game who can do so. Quick Attack overall is one of the best moves in the entire game (despite its lack of a hitbox) due to its incredible recovery potential as well as its high utility and mixup potential.

Pikachu's does not possess one single notable strength but rather, a variety of strengths which all work together to make a formidable character. Pikachu has great mobility, a great ground game, a great aerial game, incredible edgeguarding and Pikachu has the best recovery and escape options in the game. Pikachu can easily approach its opponent to start its strong punish game and Pikachu also has the tools to play a more defensive game if it needs to. Pikachu has plenty of strong combo starters and extenders in addition to strong combo enders and raw KO moves Even if Pikachu does find itself in a disadvantageous spot, Pikachu overall has one of the best disadvantages in the game, as it has the best recovery by quite a wide margin and Quick Attack is an excellent tool to escape disadvantage if Pikachu can access it (in addition to being a fantastic move).

Isai performing the Greenhouse combo.

As strong as Pikachu is however, it does have a few weaknesses. Pikachu is very light and it has average falling speed, which makes Pikachu moderately easy to combo and even KO at 0% although if Pikachu does survive, it has a very strong recovery, making it difficult to KO from an edgeguard after a significant combo. Quick Attack does leave Pikachu quite vulnerable if it does not warp to the edge, so it can be quite punishable, especially against faster characters. Quick Attack in general is a very difficult move to master as there are many ways to use it and using it incorrectly can result in Pikachu losing a stock. Pikachu's tech options are also rather slow and punishable and it has a short pivot, making pivoting less useful for Pikachu than for some other characters. These weaknesses however are relatively minor compared to other characters, with Pikachu's strengths far outweighing these weaknesses.

Overall, Pikachu is an incredibly solid character who excels in almost every area, moreso than any other character in certain areas. Pikachu has both strong offense and defence, with Pikachu having great mobility, an all around strong moveset, the best recovery in the game and very strong ways to escape disadvantage. This results in Pikachu having a very strong matchup spread. In the North American version, Pikachu's most difficult matchups are against Captain Falcon and Yoshi. Captain Falcon outruns Pikachu on the ground and he can easily KO Pikachu off of one hit while Yoshi has superior air mobility to Pikachu, in addition to being able to utilise parrying and double jump armor to heavily punish Pikachu. These matchups however are generally considered to be around even or slightly winning for Pikachu, with the general consensus being that Pikachu wins every other matchup in the game, including the Kirby matchup.

As a result of all of these factors, Pikachu is often considered to be the best character in the game and has overall seen some of the highest representation and results in tournaments out of the entire cast.

In the Japanese version, Pikachu has a few differences although none of them are particularly significant, with Pikachu's strongest tools being identical in both versions. Pikachu is still considered to be the best character in the Japanese version although Captain Falcon is considered to have a definitive winning matchup against Pikachu in said version. Pikachu also received some changes in the PAL versions of the game, which buffed Pikachu overall, with Pikachu receiving power increases to some of its more notable moves, including up tilt, forward smash, down aerial and Thunder. As a result, Pikachu is still the best character in the PAL versions albeit to an even greater degree.

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%).

Moveset[edit]

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.
10%
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 lasts 20 frames. This 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.

Announcer call[edit]

On-screen appearance[edit]

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

Taunt[edit]

  • 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").
Taunts-SSB-Pikachu.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
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)

Numbers in brackets indicate position on the 2019-2020 Smash 64 Power Rankings.

  • Peru Alvin (#5) - 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 (#12) - Considered one of the all-time best players, known for playing random characters, but Pikachu is considered to be his strongest.
  • UK Jam (#13) - Best player in Europe, placed 2nd at Hitstun 6 and 1st at numerous EU tourneys like Fête.
  • USA Josh Brody (#7) - Formerly known as BarkSanchez. Won multiple nationals since 2019, like The Big House 9.
  • USA KeroKeroppi (#4) - After Isai and the Josh Brody the 3rd best Pikachu in the US.
  • Japan Kysk (#1) - 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 (#2) - 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 ([[Tournament:(UFSmash 3)|]]) and Mexico (Sunset Blast).
  • Japan wario (#HB) - 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, with his wide array of powerful combo and KO moves, and recently Yoshi, due to his parry mechanics and having a few zero-to-death combos on Pikachu. Despite more developed counterplay, Pikachu continues to remain the top character in the metagame.

Techniques[edit]

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.

Thunderspiking[edit]

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.

Ledge-stalling[edit]

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.

Description[edit]

From the Game[edit]

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

Alternate costumes[edit]

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

Trivia[edit]

  • 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 aside from Mario and Luigi to have a forward smash with battering items that attack 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.
  • Pikachu's Up Special used to be called Agility but was changed to Quick Attack later.[1]
    • However, Agility would eventually be given to Pichu for its Up Special in Melee and Ultimate.

References[edit]