Pikachu (SSB4)

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This article is about Pikachu's appearance in Super Smash Bros. 4. For the character in other contexts, see Pikachu.
Pikachu
in Super Smash Bros. 4
Pikachu
PokemonSymbol.svg
Universe Pokémon
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Melee
in Brawl
Availability Starter
Final Smash Volt Tackle
Tier B (15)
PikachuHeadSSB4-U.png

Pikachu (ピカチュウ, Pikachu) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. Its return to the series was announced during the E3 Nintendo Direct on June 11th, 2013.[1] It was also among the first wave of amiibo that are compatible with SSB4. Ikue Ōtani reprises her role as Pikachu's voice actor, albeit via recycled voice clips from Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Pikachu is currently ranked 15th out of 58 on the tier list, placing it in the B tier. This is a minor drop from its ranking of 8th out of 38 in Brawl, though its status as a high-tier character has remained intact. Pikachu's positives include its fast overall speed, excellent approach, good neutral and combo games, and excellent recovery. However, it is burdened with poor endurance and very unimpressive KO potential. As a result, Pikachu has a high learning curve and minimal high-level representation compared to other high-tier characters, but it has nonetheless achieved notable tournament results, mostly thanks to ESAM.

The competitive community's overall opinion of Pikachu has been volatile since SSB4's release. Initially, it was widely seen as an average character, but after a number of impressive tournament showings by ESAM, including his brief period of retirement having added to the "mystery" of Pikachu's potential, it was seen as a top 3 character by players like ZeRo and ESAM himself. Incidentally, this perception was further cemented after ZeRo and ESAM competed against each other in an extremely close Winners' Finals set at Super Smash Con.

Sometime after this, public opinion on Pikachu's viability swayed again. Many considered Pikachu's ranking on the first official tier list to be far too high, which was reflected with its lower placement within the second tier list due to metagame development, ESAM's inconsistent showings at major tournaments, a dearth of results for Pikachu at national, regional, and even local levels of play, and downloadable content and/or game updates resulting in newfound high-tier and top-tier characters. Although update 1.1.5 nerfed some of Pikachu's most difficult matchups, its current ranking on the tier list is still disputed even after its placement drop, with many players believing that Pikachu should be ranked even lower.

Attributes[edit]

As in previous installments, Pikachu is a small, agile lightweight. It has fast walking and dashing speeds, average falling speed, above average gravity, and fast air acceleration, but slow air speed. Pikachu also has a quick jumpsquat that lasts for 4 frames, average traction, and a relatively long initial dash that lasts for 14 frames. These three particular attributes grant it a moderately long perfect pivot, but also result in its dash dance and fox-trot being slow and extended. Unsurprisingly, Pikachu is also capable of crawling and wall jumping.

Pikachu's arguably greatest strength is its flexible approach. Quick Attack is an excellent mobility option, and due to consisting of two hits, it allows Pikachu to weave in and out of danger, play mindgames, and initiate combos. Quick Attack can also be edge-canceled, granting even faster movement with the aid of platforms. With this technique, Pikachu can chase opponents and maintain pressure without facing significant retaliation. Thunder Jolt is a useful projectile and has good utility for zoning or forcing approaches. When coupled with its fast walking and dashing speeds, short hop, and useful pivot, Pikachu possesses an overall strong neutral game.

Another advantage Pikachu has is its frame data. Most of its attacks come out in 10 frames or less, including its up smash, which is one of its KOing options. When combined with their low damage outputs and knockback, this grants Pikachu a formidable combo game. Up aerial can combo into itself or any other aerial and is useful for juggling. Up tilt can repeatedly chain into itself at low percents, while its low knockback growth allows it to combo into aerials at high percents. Down tilt has a chance to trip opponents, leaving them open to a dash attack or a grab. Pikachu's grab game is also integral to its combo game. Its forward throw can lead into a dash attack or a dashing up smash, while down throw launches opponents directly overhead, which can allow for aerial combos and juggles. At very high percents, both up and down throws are capable of chaining into Thunder, which can KO if its meteor hitbox connects. In addition, Pikachu is notorious for utilizing jab locks more than nearly any other character, as it is able to effectively rack up damage out of forward throw, forward tilt, neutral aerial, and down aerial. By extension, it can potentially KO an opponent using back aerial's landing hitbox to set up a reset, and can guarantee a charged up smash if it hits a jab lock out of down tilt.

Pikachu also possesses a superb recovery and, by extension, edge-guarding potential. Like in Brawl, Pikachu is able to wall jump, while it has two special moves that round out its recovery. Skull Bash, although linear and telegraphed, is chargeable and deals high knockback while not rendering Pikachu helpless. Quick Attack is extremely fast and can be angled in two consecutive directions, which make it a very unpredictable and difficult move to intercept, as well as a favorable recovery option from virtually any position while off-stage. Altogether, these traits grant Pikachu the luxury of going far off-stage and challenging recovering opponents while still being able to recover itself. Its edge-guarding game is further enhanced by its ground attacks and its aerials. Neutral attack consistently hits recovering characters during their 2 frames of edge snap vulnerability, launching them at a low angle with low hitstun that can open certain characters' recoveries to Pikachu's other edge-guarding options. Its forward and back aerials use the auto-link angle, which can be used in two unique ways. Forward aerial can launch opponents downward without a special collision, but much less reliably. Back aerial has multiple hitboxes with very low knockback and moderately low hitstun, so if it trades with a recovering opponent, the opponent will be spiked. Down aerial is Pikachu's most disjointed move downward, and will beat or trade with most up specials, excepting extremely disjointed ones such as those of Mario and Bayonetta. Neutral aerial's clean hitbox is slightly disjointed and useful for covering the edge. Each of Pikachu's smash attacks reach slightly below the edge, which allows Pikachu to KO opponents even if they hang on the edge.

However, Pikachu has noticeable flaws, the most glaring of which is its endurance. While its small size, light weight, and average falling speed make it difficult to combo, these attributes and its above average gravity make it susceptible to KOs. The rage mechanic further exacerbates this problem, since Pikachu's unimpressive KO ability commonly results in skilled opponents being able to survive up to very high percents, while it in turn cannot reliably take advantage of the mechanic due to its light weight. While its impressive recovery somewhat mitigates its endurance issues, Quick Attack is a difficult move to master. When using it for fast movement, inexperienced players can often veer off-stage or angle it the wrong way and miss the edge entirely while attempting to recover, causing Pikachu to fall helplessly and inadvertently self-destruct.

Pikachu also suffers from poor range, as most of its attacks' hitboxes are very close to its body. Despite its speed, Pikachu's aerials have abnormally high landing lag, with its down aerial being tied with Toon Link's for having the highest amount of landing lag of any aerial in the game. When coupled with the previous point, only forward aerial is fairly reliable for approaching and pressuring, which leaves Pikachu susceptible to characters with capable aerial approaches, such as Sheik. This issue is further compounded by its slow air speed.

Lastly, Pikachu's overall damage output is poor despite its powerful combo game, which results in it commonly taking time for opponents to be brought within KOing range. This, in turn, is further compounded by another issue: Pikachu has significant trouble KOing. Its set-ups off of up and down throws into Thunder require reads and proper spacing and timing. Aside from these few situations, it has no reliable set-ups into its KOing options. Up smash has short range, which makes it very punishable. While it has good range, forward smash has noticeable start-up, which makes it unsafe in close quarters combat despite its low ending lag. Down smash is relatively weak and has odd hitboxes, as they do not hit very far in front or behind Pikachu, but have deceptive vertical range. Forward and down smash only hit slightly below the edge, meaning Pikachu will often be forced to attempt to score KOs by using its forward or back aerials' auto-link angles, or launching the opponent away with neutral and down aerials' small and short-lasting hitboxes. Each of these options are inconsistent, and require matchup experience to perform effectively.

Pikachu receives minimal benefit from its custom moves, though they still have their uses. Thunder Wave paralyzes grounded opponents, opening up opportunities for follow-ups at the cost of having much less range. Heavy Skull Bash travels and charges faster, and has immense power if used at point-blank range. Meteor Quick Attack covers less distance, but as its name implies, both of its hits are meteor smashes and deal much higher knockback at the start of each dash. Quick Feet travels farther and has more power, but it loses its unpredictability due to consisting of only one dash. Distant Thunder has more start-up and a much weaker shockwave hitbox around Pikachu, but it has more vertical range, much more power near the thundercloud, and cannot meteor smash. This allows for easier Thunderspiking, which restores most of that technique's usefulness.

Overall, Pikachu is a viable character courtesy of its mobility, frame data, combo game, recovery and edge-guarding potential. While it has a high learning curve, largely due to the skill required for proper use of Quick Attack and its heavy reliance on reads to score KOs, its strengths generally make up for its weaknesses. While Pikachu has low tournament representation, the efforts of a few dedicated mains, such as ESAM, have resulted in it achieving strong tournament results. In spite of this, some players are critical of its high-tier ranking, as ESAM has been the only notable Pikachu main that has consistently achieved impressive placings.

Changes from Brawl[edit]

Pikachu received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to SSB4. The changes to hitstun canceling greatly aid its combo game and grant it a few notable KO set-ups from its throws, while its up and forward smashes have become stronger, with the former having regained some of its power from Melee. Pikachu has also gained access to a new technique know as the Quick Attack edge-cancel, which gives Quick Attack new mobility options when used on edges and platforms. As many of its moves deal electric damage, it benefits from the increased shieldstun. A few of its moves' ranges were increased, such as its forward tilt, dash attack, and down aerial, somewhat mitigating one of its more glaring issues.

However, Pikachu has also received significant nerfs. Quick Attack can no longer be canceled into the ground, making it less flexible as an approach option, and its new Quick Attack edge-cancel technique does not fully compensate for this. Pikachu's grab game, a pivotal part behind its success in Brawl, has been heavily nerfed: its overall grab range is shorter, its up and down throws deal less damage, with the latter's increased knockback growth worsening its combo potential at higher percents, and the removal of chain grabbing removed its forward and down throws' highly damaging chain grabs. While the changes to hitstun canceling have given it new combos, they are nonetheless inferior to its chain grabbing combos in Brawl. When coupled with the reduced damage outputs on most of its attacks, such changes noticeably worsen its already low overall damage output. Although the new edge mechanics supplement Pikachu's already impressive recovery, they also give it a more difficult time while edge-guarding, especially with the improved recoveries of the rest of the cast. The introduction to rage also worsens its already unimpressive endurance.

Although Pikachu was universally agreed upon as being a high-tier character in Brawl, its ranking in SSB4 has received a mixed perception. Players consider it to be either better or worse than it was in Brawl, while others may fall in between and view it as a capable character, but that it should not be ranked so highly in SSB4's high-level play. Despite having a rather small playerbase in competitive play due to its very high learning curve and requiring a degree of technical skill in order to fully thrive, Pikachu is still considered a notable force in the metagame, thanks to players such as ESAM. However, Pikachu's current ranking on the tier list is still debatable among the SSB4 competitive community, due to its below average representation in comparison to other high-tier characters.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change Pikachu's design has changed. It has thicker arms, a thinner torso, slightly larger cheek spots, a slightly smaller nose, and slightly thinner ears. Additionally, the black portions of its ears are more subdued. Lastly, the aesthetic used in SSB4 has resulted in Pikachu having a sleeker design, and the yellow, red, and brown portions of its fur being significantly more vibrant. Altogether, these changes make Pikachu appear virtually identical to its appearance in Pokédex 3D Pro.
  • Change Pikachu is more expressive. It now smiles more often or sports a stern look during certain moves, winces while being grabbed and while hanging on an edge, and sports swirly eyes while stunned.
  • Change Walk's animation has slightly changed. Pikachu now walks in a more slanted motion.
  • Change Down taunt's animation has slightly changed. Pikachu now keeps its eyes open, instead of closing them.

Attributes[edit]

  • Buff Pikachu dashes faster (1.765 → 1.85325).
  • Change Pikachu falls faster (1.5 → 1.55).
  • Change Pikachu's gravity is higher (0.087 → 0.095).
  • Nerf Jump is lower.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Nerf Neutral attack deals less damage (2% → 1.4%/1.2%/1%), significantly hindering its damage racking ability.
  • Buff Neutral attack has slightly improved jab lock potential.
  • Change Neutral attack pushes the opponent away instead of keeping them in place. This improves its spacing ability, but hinders its damage racking ability.
  • Nerf Forward tilt has increased start-up lag (frame 5 → 6) and a shorter duration (frames 5-10 → 6-8).
  • Buff Forward tilt has increased range.
  • Nerf Due to consisting of one hitbox instead of three, up tilt now deals consistent damage (7%/6%/5% → 5%). It also has increased ending lag (frame 24 → 27).
  • Buff Up tilt has decreased knockback growth (124 → 120). When coupled with its consistent hitbox, these changes improve its combo potential at low to medium percentages.
  • Nerf Down tilt deals 1% less damage (7% → 6%), has a shorter duration (frames 7-9 → 7-8) and has decreased range.
  • Change Due to having a clean hitbox and a late hitbox instead of a consistent hitbox, dash attack no longer deals consistent damage (7% → 10% (clean)/6% (late)).
  • Buff Clean dash attack has increased knockback (40 (base)/70 (growth) → 70/90), granting it KO potential. Dash attack also has increased range.
  • Nerf Dash attack has increased start-up lag (frame 5 → 6).
  • Buff Clean forward smash deals 1% more damage (17% → 18%), improving its KO potential. Its hitbox is also larger.
  • Nerf Early and late forward smash deal less damage (20% (early)/14% (late) → 15%/12%) and has decreased range.
  • Buff Forward smash hits twice and has decreased ending lag (frame 50 → 49).
  • Buff Clean up smash has altered knockback (40 (base)/90 (growth) → 50/89), improving its KO potential.
  • Buff Late up smash has increased base knockback (5 → 55) and has an altered angle (40° → 80°), granting it combo potential at medium percents.
  • Nerf Up smash has increased start-up (frame 9 → 10) and ending lag (frame 44 → 45).
  • Change Up smash's animation has slightly changed. Pikachu now slightly curls in its tail at the very end of the backflip, instead of leaving it extended.
  • Nerf Due to consisting of six hits instead of seven, down smash deals 2% less damage (15% → 13%). It also has increased start-up (frame 6 → 8) and ending lag (frame 55 → 66).
  • Buff The weakening of SDI makes down smash significantly more difficult to escape from.

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Nerf Neutral aerial deals less damage (12% (clean)/6% (late) → 8.5%/5.5%), has a shorter duration (frames 3-25 → 3-20), and has decreased range.
  • Buff Neutral aerial has decreased ending lag (frame 40 → 39).
  • Nerf Forward aerial's loop hits deal less damage (2% → 1.7%), which decreases its overall damage output by 1.2% (11% → 9.8%). It also has increased ending lag (frame 40 → 42).
  • Buff Due to it loop hits' angles being altered (361° → 74°/280°), forward aerial is now an unconventional meteor smash. Additionally, its last hit has altered knockback (70 (base)/90 (growth) → 50/150), improving its spacing ability and edge-guarding potential. Lastly, it auto-cancels earlier (frame 35> → 32>).
  • Buff The weakening of SDI makes forward aerial significantly more difficult to escape from.
  • Nerf Back aerial's loop and last hits deal less damage (1% (loop)/4% (last) → 0.8%/3%), which decreases its overall damage output by 2.4% (11% → 8.6%). Its last hit also has a shorter duration (frames 32-37 → 32-33).
  • Buff Back aerial has decreased ending lag (frame 60 → 59) and auto-cancels earlier (frame 50> → 48>).
  • Buff Back aerial now uses the auto-link angle. When coupled with the weakening of SDI, this makes it significantly more difficult to escape from.
  • Nerf Up aerial deals less damage (6%/5% (clean)/5%/4% (late) → 5% (clean)/4% (late)), has increased start-up lag (frame 3 → 4), and deals slightly less shield damage.
  • Buff Up aerial has decreased ending lag (frame 28 → 27) and its angle has been altered (80° → 68°), improving its combo and juggling potentials. Clean up aerial also has increased knockback (40 (base)/60 (growth) → 50/113), granting it KO potential at very high percents.
  • Nerf Down aerial's first hit has increased knockback growth (80 → 84), making it more difficult to connect with its second hit.
  • Buff Down aerial's second hit deals slightly more shield damage and has increased range.

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Buff All grabs have decreased ending lag (frame 30 → 28 (standing), frame 39 → 35 (dash), frame 36 → 33 (pivot)). Dash and pivot grabs also have decreased start-up lag (frame 9 → 8 (dash), frame 10 → 9 (pivot)).
  • Nerf All grabs have decreased ranges.
  • Nerf Pummel deals 0.1% less damage (2% → 1.9%).
  • Buff Pummel's hitbox is larger.
  • Nerf Up throw deals 6% less damage (10% → 4%).
  • Buff Up throw has altered knockback, granting it KO potential at very high percents.
  • Nerf Down throw deals 2% less damage (10% → 8%) and has increased knockback growth (38 → 100). This hinders its combo potential at medium to high percents, yet makes it unable to KO at reasonable percents.
  • Nerf The removal of chain grabbing significantly hinders Pikachu's grab game and damage racking ability.
  • Buff The changes to hitstun canceling improve up and down throws' combo potentials at high and low percents, respectively.
  • Nerf Front floor attack has decreased knockback.
  • Buff Back floor attack has increased knockback and range. It also has decreased start-up lag.

Special moves[edit]

  • Nerf Aerial Thunder Jolt deals 4.2% less damage (9% → 4.8%).
  • Nerf Skull Bash deals less damage (7% (uncharged)/25% (fully charged) → 6%/22%) and has increased ending lag (frame 91 → 97). Uncharged Skull Bash also has altered knockback (15 (base)/90 (growth) → 40/62), hindering its KO potential.
  • Buff Partially and fully charged Skull Bash cover more distance.
  • Buff Quick Attack's first hit has anti-rebounding priority. Its second hit also has increased knockback, improving its combo potential.
  • Nerf Quick Attack covers less overall distance. Its second hit also has increased start-up (frame 30 → 43) and ending lag (frame 9 → 29).
  • Buff Quick Attack has a new technique, Quick Attack edge-canceling, which can be used on edges, moving platforms and tilting stages.
  • Nerf The changes to Quick Attack canceling significantly hinder Pikachu's approach and air game.
  • Buff Thunder has received a hitbox near its thundercloud that deals 6% and is a meteor smash,[2] improving its combo potential. It also has decreased ending lag (frame 79 → 75) and its shockwave has increased invincibility frames (frames 43-50 → 34-44).
  • Nerf Thunder deals less damage (10% (thunderbolt)/17% (shockwave) → 8%/15%), has decreased vertical range and is harder to land, hindering its edge-guarding potential. Its shockwave also has a shorter hitbox duration (frames 43-74 → 34-36) and its new meteor smash hitbox makes Thunderspiking very difficult to perform, hindering its KO potential.
  • Nerf Volt Tackle deals less damage (13% (collision)/25% (discharge) → 1%-6%/8%-19%) and has decreased knockback, significantly hindering its KO potential. It is also slower.
  • Buff Volt Tackle is now accompanied by a small, whitish violet spark of electricity that is analogous to a cursor. This makes it easier to aim. It also has a longer duration.

Update history[edit]

Pikachu has received a mix of buffs and nerfs in updates, but it has been slightly buffed. While update 1.0.4 buffed some of Pikachu's KOing options by increasing their power, it then received only direct nerfs afterward. Update 1.0.6 standardized Pikachu's edge grab animation, making it slower and effectively weakening its edge-trumping ability, while update 1.1.0 removed Thunder Wave's ability to lock and thus its ability to perform zero-to-death combos in custom matches. Update 1.1.5 also removed a glitch where Pikachu could edge-cancel Quick Attack on both versions of Umbra Clock Tower. However, the changes on shield mechanics benefit its electric attacks by making them safer on shield, thanks to their high hitlag. Overall, Pikachu's potency in the metagame has not been reduced.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS 1.0.4

  • Change Thunder is now a single projectile instead of a stream of four separate projectiles, meaning it cannot be absorbed four times (by Oil Panic, for example.)
  • Buff Skull Bash knockback growth: 60 → 62
  • Buff Forward Smash (early) knockback growth: 65 → 73
  • Buff Forward Smash (late) knockback growth: 100 → 102
  • Buff Thunder (blast) knockback growth: 62 → 66

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.0.6

  • Nerf Edge grab's animation standardized. This makes it slower.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.0

  • Change Thunder Jolt and Thunder Wave's projectile hitbox angles have been altered to 0°.
  • Nerf The angle change removes Thunder Wave's ability to lock.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.5

Moveset[edit]

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   1.4% (tip), 1.2% (mid), 1% (base) A headbutt. Due to it coming out on frame 2 and having very minimal ending lag, it is fairly spammable if the attack button is held. It is very useful for jab locking, but can also potentially trip opponents. However, its damage output and knockback are very low.
Forward tilt   10% A two-footed side kick performed from the baby freeze, a variation of the freeze breakdancing move. It deals more damage when angled upward, whereas it has a chance to trip opponents when angled downward.
9%
8%
Up tilt   5% Flicks its tail in an overhead arcing motion. Its fast speed and low knockback make it a very useful combo starter, as it can combo into itself and aerials beginning at 0% and up to medium percents.
Down tilt   6% Lays in a prone position and spins around to swing its tail forward. It can potentially trip opponents, even at high percents. This move can also potentially set up a jablock scenario on unsuspecting opponents at high percents, making it a useful kill set-up. This works between 69-94% depending the opposing characters weight.
Dash attack   10% (clean), 6% (late) A battering ram. Its clean hitbox's respectable damage output and high knockback growth enable it to function as a situational KOing option, as it KOs middleweights at 166% while near the edge. However, it has 33 frames of ending lag, and its late hitbox has virtually no KO potential.
Forward smash   15% (early), 18% (clean), 12% (late) Rears back and then leans forward to discharge a bolt of electricity from its cheeks. It is Pikachu's strongest smash attack, as its clean hitbox is strong enough to KO middleweights at 107% while near the edge. It consists of three hitboxes: its clean hitbox is located at the inner portion of the bolt, its early hitbox is located at Pikachu's cheeks, and its late hitbox is located at the tip of the bolt. Although its late hitbox deals the least amount of damage, it actually KOs earlier than its early hitbox, thanks to its much higher knockback growth. Its late hitbox KOs middleweights at 127% while near the edge, whereas its early hitbox KOs them at 141%. However, due to it coming out on frame 15, it has the highest amount of start-up lag out of Pikachu's smash attacks. It also has 26 frames of ending lag.
Up smash   13% (clean tail), 14% (clean body), 11% (mid), 7% (late) Backflips to strike with its tail. Despite involving its tail, its body hitbox actually deals slightly more damage than its tail's clean hitbox, similarly to how Mewtwo's tail-based attacks function. Its clean body hitbox KOs middleweights at 126%, whereas its tail's clean hitbox KOs them at 135%. Due to coming out on frame 10, it has the lowest amount of start-up lag out of Pikachu's smash attacks. However, it has 27 frames of ending lag, while its mid and late hitboxes have virtually no KO potential.
Down smash   2% (hits 1-5), 3% (hit 6) Performs a modified spinning float, a variation of the float breakdancing move, while discharging electricity. It hits multiple times and is useful for punishing rolls. Due to it coming out on frame 8, it also has the lowest amount of start-up lag out of Pikachu's smash attacks. Although its last hit has extremely high knockback growth, this is offset by said hit's very low damage output, and it does not KO middleweights until 164% while near the edge. It also has 42 frames of ending lag, which is the highest amount out of its smash attacks.
Neutral aerial   8.5% (clean), 5.5% (late) A somersaulting tackle. Due to it coming out on frame 3, it is Pikachu's second fastest aerial. When coupled with its clean hitbox's very high knockback growth, it is a useful edge-guarding option, as it KOs middleweights at 135% while near the left/right blast lines. However, it can also function as a situational on-stage KOing option, as it KOs middleweights at 170% while near the edge. It can be auto-canceled when performed alongside a non-fast-fallen short hop, but has a noticeable amount of landing lag otherwise.
Forward aerial   1.7% (hits 1-4), 3% (hit 5) An electrified, corkscrew battering ram. It is a useful edge-guarding option, as its loop hits have minor meteor smash potential thanks to them launching at 280°, whereas its last hit's extremely high knockback growth enables it to KO middleweights at 131% while near the left/right blast lines. It also has the lowest amount of landing lag out of Pikachu's aerial, which enables it to be used as a set-up into a grounded move alongside a fast-fallen short hop. However, due to it coming out on frame 10, it has the second highest amount of start-up lag out of Pikachu's aerials.
Back aerial   0.8% (hits 1-7), 3% (hit 8), 4% (landing) A series of belly turns, a technique used in parachuting. It hits multiple times and its last hit has extremely high knockback growth, which enables it to KO middleweights at 130% while near the left/right blast lines. Due to it coming out on frame 4, it is tied with up aerial for the lowest amount of start-up lag out of Pikachu's aerials. However, it has 25 frames of ending lag, and the second highest amount of landing lag out of Pikachu's aerials.
Up aerial   5%/4% (clean), 4% (late) Somersaults to flicks its tail in an overhead arcing motion. Due to it coming out on frame 4, it is tied with back aerial for the lowest amount of start-up lag out of Pikachu's aerials. It also has 18 frames of ending lag, which is the lowest amount out of Pikachu's aerials. These traits collectively make it capable of combos into itself or into a neutral aerial. It can be auto-canceled when performed alongside a fast-fallen short hop, although it has high landing lag otherwise. It is also Pikachu's least damaging aerial.
Down aerial   12% (attack), 4% (landing) An electrified, corkscrew battering ram. It is Pikachu's most damaging aerial, and is capable of KOing middleweights at 143% while near the left/right blast lines. Although its landing hit deals much less damage, it has much higher base knockback and knockback growth, which makes it capable of warding off approaches. It can also be auto-canceled from a short hop. Due to it coming out on frame 14, it has the highest amount of start-up lag out of Pikachu's aerials. It has 40 frames of landing lag, which is also the highest amount out of Pikachu's aerials.
Grab   Reaches out. Pikachu's grabs have minimal start-up and ending lag, but are short-ranged.
Pummel   1.9% Electrocutes the opponent. A fairly fast pummel.
Forward throw   2% (hits 1-4), 2% (throw) Places the opponent on its back and electrocutes them. It is Pikachu's most damaging throw and has respectable combo potential, as it can combo into a dashing up smash at low percents, and a dash attack or a dashing neutral aerial at low to medium percents.
Back throw   9% Rolls backward repeatedly with the opponent in tow before performing the tomoe nage, a Judo throw. It is Pikachu's second most damaging throw, and has the highest base knockback out of its throws. However, it has the lowest knockback growth out of Pikachu's throws, which makes it very ineffective at KOing. As such, it is best used to set up an edge-guard. It appears almost identical to the Pokémon anime's depiction of Submission.
Up throw   1% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Places the opponent on its head and then headbutts them upward. It can combo into Thunder at high percents, but DI can make this difficult. Although it has extremely high knockback growth, and the highest amount out of Pikachu's throws, this is offset by its throw hitbox's very low damage output. It is also Pikachu's least damaging throw.
Down throw   3% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Places the opponent on the ground and then performs a senton. It can combo into any aerial at low percents, and into Thunder at high percents, similarly to up throw. However, DI can make the latter combo difficult. Although it has very high knockback growth, this is offset by its throw hitbox's low damage output.
Floor attack (front)   7% Spins around while swinging its tail around itself.
Floor attack (back)   7%
Floor attack (trip)   5% Spins around while swinging its tail around itself.
Edge attack   7% Swings its tail in an overhead arcing motion while climbing up.
Neutral special Default Thunder Jolt 4.8% (ball), 6%/5% (jolt clean), 5%/4% (jolt mid), 4%/3% (jolt late) Discharges a semi-circular bolt of electricity. Pikachu's primary projectile and a very useful move for keeping on-stage opponents at bay and threatening off-stage opponents. The grounded version travels forward while bouncing along the ground, it can also travel up walls, below the edge, and along ceilings. The aerial version travels downward diagonally and in the shape of a ball. Disappears after approximately three seconds.
Custom 1 Thunder Wave 3%/1% (ball), 3%/1% (wave clean), 2% (wave late) Discharges a bolt of electricity that can paralyze grounded opponents, but deals less damage and has much less range.
Custom 2 Thunder Shock 3% (ball), 10% (explosion) Discharges a ball of electricity that moves almost horizontally and explodes as it disappears. As a result, it disappears upon hitting the ground instead of bouncing along the ground.
Side special Default Skull Bash 6% (uncharged), 21% (fully charged) Crouches and then shoots itself forward to perform a corkscrew battering ram, similarly to Green Missile. It is chargeable, and when fully charged, it is strong enough to KO middleweights at 125% while near the edge. Despite its offensive potential, its ability to cover an impressive amount of horizontal distance, especially when charged, and its lack of rendering Pikachu helpless make it more frequently used for recovery. However, it has high landing lag and is very punishable.
Custom 1 Shocking Skull Bash 1.2% (loop), 3% (last) Hits multiple times, with the last hit launching the opponent. However, it deals considerably less damage.
Custom 2 Heavy Skull Bash 15%/10%/5%/2% (uncharged), 32%/21%/10%/4% (fully charged), 6%-0% (running) Grants less distance, but deals more damage near its beginning. If used while uncharged to cancel reeling from an attack's knockback, the distance traveled nearly doubles, and Pikachu retains some forward momentum while falling after the move.
Up special Default Quick Attack 2% (hit 1), 3% (hit 2) Dashes at a blindingly fast speed in two directions that can be selected via the control stick. In addition to being Pikachu's primary recovery option, its speed makes it very useful for mindgames. Its first dash possesses anti-rebounding priority, which means that it will not suffer ending lag if it collides with an attack that does not have transcendent priority. Conversely, the second dash has extremely high knockback growth, which allows it to set-up attacks. Although the second dash is optional, its direction must be at least 30° different than the first dash's direction in order to be used. It also renders Pikachu helpless when used in the air, and each dash greatly expands Pikachu's hurtbox.
Custom 1 Meteor Quick Attack 1% (hit 1), 2% (hit 2) Both dashes have higher knockback at their beginnings and meteor smash aerial opponents. However, both dashes deal less damage and cover less distance.
Custom 2 Quick Feet 5% Deals more damage and covers more distance, but only one dash can be performed.
Down special Default Thunder 6% (thunderbolt meteor), 8% (thunderbolt), 15% (shockwave) Generates a thundercloud to drop a large thunderbolt onto itself. It is laggy overall, although the shockwave around Pikachu is strong enough to KO middleweights at 124% while near the edge. The shockwave also grants invincibility on frame 34-44, which makes it relatively safe against nearby opponents. Although the thunderbolt deals much less damage in comparison, its immediate beginning allows for Thunderspiking. Due to the thundercloud shortening the thunderbolt's length, however, Thunderspiking is both very difficult to land and less effective compared to how it was in Brawl. As a result, Thunderspiking is only effective against opponents that are very slightly above the thundercloud, or when using it alongside a jump in order to surprise them while they are near the upper blast line. It also has a meteor smash hitbox near the thundercloud that launches opponents straight down, which allows for a potential KO combo, although landing it in a favorable position to do so can be difficult.
Custom 1 Thunder Burst 2% (early), 15%/12% (clean) Instead of dropping a thunderbolt onto itself, Pikachu discharges electricity around itself, as if the thunderbolt had struck it. It has more knockback, but slow start-up lag.
Custom 2 Distant Thunder 13%/9%/5% (thunderbolt), 6% (shockwave) The thunderbolt deals more damage and the thundercloud is generated higher, which makes Thunderspiking much easier. However, it cannot meteor smash, and the shockwave deals much less damage.
Final Smash Volt Tackle 1%-6% (collision), 8%-19% (discharge) Performs Volt Tackle, its evolutionary line's signature move. Pikachu surrounds itself in a sphere of electricity and flies around the stage, charging through opponents. Pressing the attack button will cause the sphere to discharge electricity, which deals significantly more damage and has more knockback. Unlike in Brawl, Volt Tackle now emits a small, whitish violet spark of electricity that is analogous to a cursor, which makes it easier to aim its trajectory.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Emerges from a Poké Ball, then briefly discharges electricity around itself.
PikachuOnScreenAppearanceSSB4.gif

Taunts[edit]

  • Up taunt: Huddles down and discharges electricity around itself while saying "Piiiii!"
  • Side taunt: Faces the screen and waves its left paw twice and then its right paw twice while saying "Pika Pika!"
  • Down taunt: Rolls on its back while saying "Pikaaaaa!"
Up taunt Side taunt Down taunt
PikachuUpTauntSSB4.jpg PikachuSideTauntSSB4.jpg PikachuDownTauntSSB4.jpg

Idle poses[edit]

  • Scratches its right ear.
  • Stands up straight, then looks right, and then left, twitching its ears.
PikachuIdlePose2SSB4.jpg PikachuIdlePose1SSB4.jpg

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Pikachu Cheer NTSC SSB4.ogg
Pikachu Cheer JP SSB4.ogg
Description Pi-ka-chu! Pi-ka-chu!
Pitch Group chant Female

Victory poses[edit]

An orchestral excerpt of the title theme from Pokémon Red, Blue and Green Versions, which has since become the main theme of the Pokémon series.
  • Twitches its ears, then scratches its right ear.
  • Jumps up and somersaults while saying "Pi!", then spins around once before happily facing the camera. It appears very similar to its "character chosen" animation in SSB.
  • Sleeps on the ground while saying "Piiika" drowsily.
PikachuPose1WiiU.gif PikachuPose2WiiU.gif PikachuPose3WiiU.gif

In competitive play[edit]

Official Custom Moveset Project[edit]

Character Custom sets available
PikachuHeadSSB4-U.png Pikachu 1311 2311 2312 1312 1313
1331 2313 2331 3311 1321


Notable players[edit]

Tier placement and history[edit]

Pikachu was initially perceived as a top-tier character, thanks to its approach and mindgame potentials courtesy of Quick Attack, its strong combo game and edge-guarding potential, its ability to evade attacks courtesy of its small size and low crouch, and its jab lock set-ups into KOs. As each of these traits were demonstrated very effectively in competitive play by ESAM, Pikachu was ranked 5th on the first tier list. However, there was also a vocal fraction of players who did not agree on Pikachu's initial placement, mainly due to ESAM being the only notable Pikachu player who placed well in tournaments, which was insufficient enough in comparison to the significant results and representation of other well-regarded characters. Other criticisms included Pikachu's lack of reliable KO set-ups, its KO potential in general, the high landing lag of its aerials, and its poor range.

The debate over Pikachu's tier placement would become even more prevalent due to ESAM's results eventually declining due to the strengths of other well-regarded characters, as well as Pikachu's unfavorable matchups against Mario and Ness becoming more apparent. These criticisms were further exacerbated by Pikachu's representation still remaining fairly minimal for a high-tier character, and altogether resulted in its ranking on the first tier list being met with widespread disapproval. As expected, Pikachu's tier placement saw a noticeable drop on the second tier list, where it was ranked 12th. Despite ESAM placing at 3rd at UGC Smash Open, Pikachu's tier placement saw another drop, as it is now ranked 15th on the third and current tier list.

Trophies[edit]

Pikachu
ntsc Recognized the world over, Pikachu is an Electric-type Pokémon that stores energy in its cheeks for use in battle. In Smash Bros., Pikachu is a well-rounded fighter with speedy, powerful electric attacks. Quick Attack can be used twice in a row if two directions are input, one after another.
pal Pikachu is famous worldwide as the face of the Pokémon series. There's a lot of electricity stored in those rosy cheeks, and in this game, that allows for some devastating attacks, like Thunder Jolt. Tip: Input another direction after using Quick Attack to get a second burst. It's top-notch for recoveries!
Game Boy: Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue (09/1998)
Game Boy: Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition (10/1999)
Pikachu (Alt.)
ntsc Pikachu's Thunder Jolt fires off a ball of electricity that bounces across the stage, getting weaker as it travels. It does more damage to enemies in the air. The default down special, Thunder, causes a lightning strike that both shocks opponents and turns Pikachu invincible for a split second.
pal Pikachu's Thunder Jolt fires off a ball of electricity that bounces across the stage, getting weaker as it travels. Airborne enemies will take extra damage from it and get launched further. The default down special, Thunder, causes a lightning strike that both shocks opponents and turns Pikachu invincible for a split second.
Game Boy: Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue (09/1998)
Game Boy: Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition (10/1999)
Volt Tackle
ntsc Pikachu's Final Smash turns its whole body into a powerful ball of electricity that darts around at high speed, tackling opponents. While Pikachu is charging around, press the attack button to unleash powerful sparks. There's also a little ball of light that flies ahead of Pikachu itself. Use that as a guide if Pikachu seems out of control!
pal For Pikachu's Final Smash, it surrounds itself with a ball of electricity and darts around at high speed, tackling opponents. While it's charging around, press the attack button to unleash powerful sparks. You can also use little ball of light that flies ahead of Pikachu as a guide if it seems out of control!

In Event Matches[edit]

Solo Events[edit]

Co-op Events[edit]

  • Pokémon Multi Battle!: Pikachu and Charizard must defeat a team of Lucario and Greninja, and then a team of Pikachu and Charizard each appearing after one opponent is defeated.
  • The Ultimate Battle: Two players select a character and must defeat the entire roster.

Alternate costumes[edit]

Pikachu Palette (SSB4).png
PikachuHeadSSB4-U.png PikachuHeadRedSSB4-U.png PikachuHeadGreenSSB4-U.png PikachuHeadCyanSSB4-U.png PikachuHeadYellowSSB4-U.png PikachuHeadBlueSSB4-U.png PikachuHeadWhiteSSB4-U.png PikachuHeadPurpleSSB4-U.png

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • SSB4 is the first installment where Pikachu's teeth are visible. They can be seen when it is being grabbed by an opponent, or when it is hanging on an edge.
  • When Pikachu is stunned, its eyes appear as swirls. This is a reference to the Pokémon anime, in which Pokémon typically display the same expression after fainting.
    • It is also the second character to have this unique detail. The first was Kirby in SSB.
  • Pikachu knows five official Pokémon moves in SSB4, all of which it can learn legally in the Pokémon core series. In addition to Skull Bash, Thunder and Volt Tackle, it can also use Thunder Wave and Thunder Shock as custom moves.
    • One of its custom moves, Quick Feet, has the same name of an Ability instead of a move, similarly to Victini and Munchlax's Poké Ball effects. However, Pikachu cannot legitimately have Quick Feet as an Ability.
  • Pikachu's official art for SSB4 is almost identical to its official art for SSB. The only difference is that it is standing erect in its SSB4 art instead of slightly slouching to the side.


  1. Nintendo Direct@E3 2013
  2. Pic of the Day: April 3, 2014
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