Pikachu (SSBM)

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This article is about Pikachu's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For this Pokémon in other contexts, see Pikachu.
For information about Pikachu's clone, see Pichu (SSBM).
Pikachu
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Pikachu
PokemonSymbol(preBrawl).svg
Universe Pokémon
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier C (9) (North America)
D (10) (Europe)
PikachuHeadSSBM.png
A Pokémon that excels at clever fighting.
—Description from Melee's manual.

Announced at E3 2001, Pikachu (ピカチュウ, Pikachu) is a Pokémon and starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Like Kirby, Ness, and Yoshi, Pikachu was nerfed from the original to Melee, albeit not as strongly.

Ikue Ōtani reprises her role as Pikachu in Melee with new voice clips.

Pikachu ranks 9th on the current tier list, in the C tier. This is a significant drop from its previous ranking in Smash 64 where it was ranked 1st and is its lowest placement in the series. Pikachu, while nerfed from the original SSB, is still a potent fighter; it has very good speed and plenty of KO options, as it owns the strongest up smash in the game and a quick semi-spike in its up-air. It also has a very long, safe, and versatile recovery. However, Pikachu is held back by very short range, with its best finishers having hitboxes very close to its body; coupled with sub-par options out of its dash dance, a difficulty in dealing with shielding, and a short wavedash, Pikachu must rely on mixups and crossups to approach.

Attributes[edit]

In general character archetypes, Pikachu generally stands as a small fighter with good speed; Pikachu has medium falling speed, very good dashing speed (fourth highest in the game), high traction and below average air speed. Its average falling speed and high traction gives it a short wavedash; average falling speed, however, also gives Pikachu decent SHFFL potential. Due to its small size, Pikachu is also rather resistant to shield stabbing.

Pikachu's main strength is its fantastic edge game. Its up and down aerials are quick and can easily gimp recovering opponents, as the former acts as a semi-spike when sweetspotted and the latter has decent horizontal knockback, and its forward and down tilts can intercept recovery attempts close to the ledge. Additionally, Pikachu's back throw can easily send opponents off the edge, allowing it to easily set up edgeguards, even at lower percentages. Pikachu, on the other hand, is very resilient to edgeguarding; Skull Bash can give it significant horizontal distance, and Quick Attack moves very quickly, grants good distance, and has very unpredictable paths. Most characters do not have options to cover all of these recovery methods at once, and must thus rely on hard reads, rather than reactions, to properly edgeguard Pikachu.

Pikachu's other strength is its solid punish game; although Pikachu is fast and light, it still possesses several ways to combo and KO opponents. Pikachu's jab is quick and weak, giving it some of the most consistent jab reset followups in the game. Its forward, neutral, and up aerials are quick and can be used for aerial strings or juggling. Pikachu's forward and up smashes are among the most powerful in the game; its up smash, in fact, is the most powerful of its kind at realistic KO percentages, and can be used as a powerful tech chasing tool at all percentages, threatening further up smashes on fast-fallers at lower percentages and KOs at medium to high percentages. Pikachu's grab game helps facilitate its punishes; its up and down throws can be used to set up combos, and the former can chaingrab fast-fallers and even set up for its powerful up smash at KO percentages.

Pikachu also has a very good variety of special attacks, all of which can be seamlessly integrated into gameplay. Its Thunder Jolt is among the most flexible projectiles in the game, due to its ground-hugging properties; with low knockback and decent hitstun as well, it can set up combos on the ground, and can also interrupt some recoveries. Skull Bash, as aforementioned, acts as a horizontal recovery extender, and can double as a situational offensive attack with high power when charged. While Quick Attack has little offensive application, the ability to change its directions and its speed gives Pikachu a long and unpredictable recovery. Thunder, despite its high ending lag, can act as a combo finisher in case Pikachu's vertical finishers fall just short of KOing.

Pikachu's primary flaw, however, is its poor range. Almost all of its best finishers are very close to its body, making it difficult for Pikachu to secure KOs at times, and forcing Pikachu to constantly approach to keep pressure on the opponent. Additionally, Pikachu's relatively flexible grab and throw game is severely hampered by a very short grab range (the shortest in the game). Because of this, Pikachu struggles to combat shielding opponents, and must trick opponents by crossing up their shield in order to get an opening out of them.

However, Pikachu's approaches are mediocre as well, compounding this difficulty in pressuring the opponent. Pikachu is very mobile, and its dash dance is good, but it has a short wavedash and lacks safe grounded moves to use out of both its wavedash and dash dance. Its only good approaching options on the ground are down tilt, and the disruptive but highly punishable down smash. This forces it to frequently take to the air and perform either telegraphed Thunder Jolts or neutral aerial crossups on the opponent to gain an advantage, but such tactics are very committal, due to those moves' moderately high ending lags, and Pikachu's average falling speed and rather high short hop. All of these attributes make Pikachu's approaches very linear and predictable, and thus saddles it with a lackluster neutral game compared to the top-tiered characters, allowing characters with stronger neutral game tools to easily gain openings on Pikachu while it struggles to get openings itself.

Additionally, due to its light weight and below average air speed, Pikachu is very easy to juggle, chaingrab, and combo. Pikachu's hardest top tier matchup, Sheik, can chaingrab it from 0% to 50% in the NTSC version, perhaps higher if the Pikachu player has poor DI. Pikachu is also susceptible to several potentially lethal grab setups, such as Fox's notorious up throw to up aerial, Marth's forward/down throw to forward smash, and Captain Falcon's down throw followups.

Overall, Pikachu is a rather challenging character to succeed with, especially against top-tiered characters. While Pikachu has stellar edgeguarding and recovering abilities, and can harshly punish the opponent once it gets its hands on them, it suffers from poor range and a predictable neutral game. Pikachu players should look to make the most out of the few neutral options they have, and constantly seek mix-ups through conditioning opponents; additionally, they should seek counterplay, and try to bait opponents into going off the ledge, where Pikachu is most comfortable.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee[edit]

Pikachu was widely considered to be the best character in Smash 64 due to its great mobility, combo potential, air game and unparalleled recovery in Quick Attack, which served not only as the most versatile recovery move in the game but it was also an amazing tool to escape combos and pressure due to its intangibility on startup. As a result, Pikachu was considerably nerfed in the transition to Melee, with its overwhelming advantages from the previous game, such as its consistent combos, powerful finishers, and useful specials, being significantly toned down.

As with all returning veterans, Pikachu's combo game has been hindered due to the universally decreased hitstun, making its lower knockback moves less effective, and the introduction of DI has decreased the consistency of its combos. However, some of Pikachu's moves have also seen direct changes that nerfed their combo potential. One example of this is Pikachu's up tilt, which deals more knockback at lower percents but noticeably less damage. As a result, it is a much worse combo move outside of very low percents, no longer being to chain into itself multiple times for a high amount of damage.

In general, Pikachu's damage output has been made much lower, with not only its aforementioned up tilt but also all of its aerials and throws receiving a damage nerf. Pikachu has also lost multiple KO options; its throws, back aerial, and down smash, which were all formerly solid KO options, all cannot KO reliably anymore. As a result, Pikachu has to work a lot harder in order to build up damage, and it has to rely more heavily on edgeguarding and landing smash attacks to secure KOs, with the latter's reliability being character-dependent due to Pikachu's lack of universal KO setups. Pikachu's range is also worse; aside from the aforementioned back aerial, the hitboxes on several of Pikachu's other moves have been toned down in size, including its grab, which now has the worst range in the game. This makes it easier for opponents to wall out Pikachu, particularly with shielding, and it means that Pikachu requires more precision in order to approach its opponents and win the neutral.

Pikachu's aerial game has also taken a hit. Pikachu's aerial mobility (both its air speed and air acceleration) is significantly worse, going from among the best to being rather mediocre, and its double jump has been made much lower. This worsens Pikachu's recovery, and hinders its ability to both juggle and escape aerial pressure. Aside from the aforementioned range nerfs, all of Pikachu's aerials are weaker and have lost their extremely lenient auto-cancel windows (with the weakening of L-canceling further exacerbating this) which hinders Pikachu's ability to both space and combo with its aerials. Back aerial, in particular, has changed into a weak (albeit slightly quicker) sideways spin with little KO potential and significantly higher ending lag, going from Pikachu's second best aerial to a practically useless move.

Pikachu's specials are also less potent overall, with only Thunder Jolt being slightly buffed due to its lower lag. While Quick Attack is faster and now has a hitbox, it no longer gives intangibility, covers considerably less distance, can no longer be extended, and can no longer auto-snap the ledge during its teleport, making it now a noticeably worse tool for both recovery and escaping pressure. Combined with Pikachu's worse aerial mobility, Pikachu's recovery and edgeguarding potential are not as effective as they were in Smash 64. Thunder has also been significantly nerfed, as it no longer has infinite vertical range; this, along with the universally increased falling speeds, has considerably hindered Thunderspiking. Thunder is also hindered by DI, which not only makes setups into Thunder less consistent, but also makes it easier to avoid being KOed off the upper blast zone if the Thunder connects.

However, Pikachu has seen some buffs. Pikachu's new up throw is a very useful throw which can easily lead to combos, chain grabs, and KO setups into up smash on fast-fallers. Pikachu's new back throw is also superior at setting up edgeguards despite it being immensely weaker. Pikachu's new side special, Skull Bash, gives Pikachu a new recovery option and can lead to early KOs if Pikachu charges it. Pikachu's forward and up smash are both faster and stronger with the latter in particular now being the strongest up smash in the game although both moves have seen nerfs in other areas. Pikachu's up aerial has also seen some notable changes giving it even more utility than it already had. While it is weaker, has less range, and has much higher landing lag, it now has a different set of hitboxes with different properties with its clean hit being an excellent juggling tool while its later hits are very effective at edgeguarding. Lastly, Pikachu is heavier and falls faster which noticeably improves its endurance (although these traits also make Pikachu more vulnerable to combos and chain grabs).

Overall, Pikachu is considerably less effective with many of its strengths being toned down and its weaknesses being far more plentiful and noticeable. However, Pikachu still retains many of the strengths it had including its solid mobility and its great recovery/edgeguarding potential. Pikachu is now a more well rounded character with clear strengths and weaknesses rather than being a "master of all," as Pikachu still has the tools it needs in order to overcome its opponents, but has to work a lot harder in order to win. As a result, while Pikachu was one of the most severely nerfed characters from Smash 64 to Melee along with Ness and Kirby, Pikachu is still a potent high tier character who can hold its own against much of the cast, unlike Ness and Kirby who are considered non-viable and among the worst characters in the game. While Pikachu's tournament representation is rather small (compared to both its Smash 64 counterpart and many of the characters above it in the tier list), Pikachu has still seen consistent success in tournaments and is still very much a viable character in competitive play.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change Pikachu received new voice samples that are higher pitched, sound less aggressive and more energetic.
  • Change Pikachu's taunt was also altered slightly. It no longer taunts facing away from the screen if Pikachu taunts to the right.

Attributes[edit]

  • Nerf Pikachu walks slower (0.42 → 1.24).
  • Buff Pikachu dashes faster (55 → 1.8).
  • Change Pikachu is heavier (72.414 → 80), which improves its endurance, but makes it easier to combo.
  • Nerf The lower half of Pikachu's tail now has a hurtbox. This makes Pikachu's tail based attacks less disjointed and generally makes Pikachu easier to hit.
  • Nerf Pikachu's air speed is significantly slower (37.5 → 0.85), going from the second fastest in Smash 64 to below average in Melee.
  • Nerf Pikachu's air acceleration is lower (0.055 → 0.05) going from the second highest in Smash 64 to average in Melee.
  • Change Pikachu falls faster (52 → 1.9) improving its vertical endurance but making it more susceptible to combos and chain grabs.
  • Change Pikachu's gravity is higher (3 → 0.11).
  • Buff Pikachu's fast falling speed is higher (83 → 2.7).
  • Change Pikachu's short hop is lower.
  • Nerf Pikachu's double jump is much lower.
  • Buff Forward roll has less ending lag (FAF 36 → 32).

Ground Attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Buff Neutral attack has less ending lag (FAF 34 → 22) and can loop earlier (frame 10 → 6).
    • Change Neutral attack has increased base knockback (4 → 7) and its angle has been altered (361° → 0°).
    • Nerf Neutral attack has a shorter duration (frames 2-5 → 2-3). Additionally, Pikachu can no longer cancel neutral attack into grab.
  • Forward tilt:
    • Nerf Forward tilt deals less damage (11%/10%/9% → 9%/8%/7%) without full compensation on its base knockback (8/6 → 10).
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt has less ending lag (FAF 26 → 24).
    • Change Up tilt deals more knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → (40/45)/124) and has altered angles (87° → 96°/88°). This improves its combo potential at low percents but hinders its combo potential at higher percents.
    • Nerf Up tilt deals less damage (11% → 7%/6%) hindering its KO potential despite its increased knockback.
    • Nerf Up tilt has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 5-14 → 7-14).
    • Nerf The universally decreased hitstun and the introduction of DI have heavily hindered up tilt's combo potential no longer chaining into itself nearly as reliably.
    • Nerf Up tilt's hitbox is slightly less disjointed, hindering its range.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Down tilt has less ending lag (FAF 26 → 19).
    • Nerf Down tilt has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 6-13 → 7-9).
    • Nerf Down tilt deals much less damage (12% → 7%) hindering its KO and edgeguarding potential.
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack has less ending lag (FAF 58 → 50).
    • Nerf Dash attack has a shorter duration (frames 5-19 → 5-16) and deals less damage (12% → 8%) hindering its KO potential.
  • Forward smash:
    • Buff Forward smash has less startup (frame 21 → 16) and ending lag (FAF 62 → 50).
    • Buff Forward smash no longer does consistent damage (18% → 21% (clean)/19% (mid)/18% (late)) with the clean and mid hits dealing more damage improving their KO potential.
    • Nerf Forward smash has a much shorter duration (frames 21-42 → 16-23) and deals less knockback (20 (base), 100 (scaling) → 25/92 (clean), 25/(95/90) (mid), 22/(95/90/85) (late)) hindering the late hit's KO potential.
  • Up smash:
    • Change Up smash's clean hit no longer does consistent damage (18% → 19%/18%/17%).
    • Buff Up smash has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 10-18 → 8-17) and has more knockback scaling (100 → 110) on the sweetspots improving its KO potential (now being the strongest up smash in the game).
      • Nerf However, the 17% sourspot did not have its knockback scaling increased hindering its KO potential.
    • Nerf Up smash's clean hit no longer launches opponents behind Pikachu (95° → 85°) hindering its followup potential while not improving its KO potential.
    • Buff Up smash now has a mid hit for its 4th-6th active frames which deals more damage (9% → 13%) and knockback (10 (base), 90 (scaling) → 30/110) compared to the previous late hit.
    • Nerf Up smash's late hit deals less damage (9% → 7%), deals much less knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → 5/48) and no longer launches opponents vertically (90° → 40°) completely removing its combo potential.
    • Nerf Up smash has slightly higher ending lag (FAF 40 → 41).
  • Down smash:
    • Change Pikachu has a new down smash. It is a multi hit move where Pikachu spins around on the floor generating electricity around it.
    • Buff Down smash has less startup (frame 10 → 7) and ending lag (FAF 54 → 51).
    • Buff Down smash has more combo potential due to it having lower knockback and sending foes at a more vertical angle (361° → 70°).
    • Nerf Down smash is much less reliable due to being a multi hit as opponents can now easily SDI out of it.
    • Nerf Down smash deals less damage (16% (front)/13% (back) → 2% (hits 1-6)/3% (hit 7)/13% (total)) and has much less KO potential as the knockback on the final hit wasn't fully compensated (30 (base), 120/110 (scaling) → 70/170).

Aerial Attacks[edit]

  • Nerf All aerials auto-cancel later (frame 29 → 35 (neutral), frame 27 → 34 (forward), frame 22 → 50 (back), frame 1 → 18 (up), frame 26 → 39 (down)). When combined with its lower short hop, this means that Pikachu can now only auto-cancel up aerial in a short hop. These issues are further exacerbated with the weakening of L-canceling.
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Pikachu has a new neutral aerial: a somersault.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial deals less damage (14% (clean)/11% (late) → 12%/9%) with only the clean hit receiving marginal compensation on its base knockback (15 → 18) hindering its KO potential.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has more ending lag (FAF 37 → 40).
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has smaller hitboxes.
    • Buff Neutral aerial has less landing lag (18 frames → 15).
    • Buff Neutral aerial has more combo potential due to its lower strength, Pikachu's faster falling speed/lower short hop combined with jumps now carrying momentum from a dash.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff Each hit of forward aerial has a longer duration (2 frames → 3).
    • Nerf Forward aerial only has 4 hits instead of 7 and each hit deals less damage (3% → 2%) greatly reducing its maximum damage potential (21% → 7%).
    • Nerf Forward aerial has more startup lag (frame 7 → 10).
    • Nerf Forward aerial has more landing lag (18 frames → 20). When combined with the reduced effect of L-canceling and the reduction of hitstun, this considerably hinders forward aerial's combo potential.
    • Nerf Forward aerial no longer has a landing hitbox.
  • Back aerial:
    • Change Pikachu has a new back aerial: a sideways spin.
    • Buff New back aerial has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 10-21 → 4-37).
    • Nerf New back aerial has increased ending lag (FAF 42 → 60) and landing lag (18 frames → 30).
    • Nerf Back aerial has considerably less range.
    • Nerf Back aerial deals less damage (16% (clean)/14% (late) → 12%/9%) without full compensation on its base knockback (15 (clean), 0 (late) → 20 (both)).
  • Up aerial:
    • Buff Up aerial has less ending lag (FAF 34 → 28).
    • Buff Up aerial now has a clean hit, a mid hit and a late hit each with different properties which gives the move more utility (despite already being Pikachu's best aerial).
    • Change Up aerial's angles have been altered (361° → 80° (clean)/0° (mid)/130° (late)).
      • Buff This grants the clean hit juggling potential and improves the mid hit's edgeguarding potential.
      • Nerf However this also makes the late hit less consistent at edgeguarding and greatly hinders the clean hit's edgeguarding potential.
    • Change Up aerial has altered knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → (100/60/80)/60).
      • Buff This makes it safer on hit at low percents and improves its followup potential.
      • Nerf However, this reduces the move's knockback at higher percents making it less effective at higher percents.
    • Nerf Up aerial deals much less damage (10% → 4%) which along with the aforementioned change to its knockback, hinders its KO potential.
    • Nerf Up aerial has a shorter duration (frames 3-10 → 3-8) and smaller hitboxes giving it less range (particularly in front of Pikachu).
    • Nerf Up aerial no longer auto-cancels throughout its entire duration now having a rather high 26 frames of landing lag.
  • Down aerial:
    • Nerf Down aerial has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 8-25 → 14-26).
    • Nerf Down aerial has more ending lag (FAF 45 → 48).
    • Nerf Down aerial's main hit deals less damage (13% → 12%).
    • Nerf The weakening of L-canceling has noticeably harmed down aerial's combo potential and has made down aerial much more punishable in general (unless Pikachu edge cancels it) due to its very high landing lag.
    • Buff Down aerial now has a landing hitbox. It deals 4% with low set knockback (30 (set), 100 (scaling)) and at low percents, Pikachu can land both the main hit and the landing hit to deal more damage (13% → 15%).
      • Buff The landing hit's low set knockback can be used to give Pikachu consistent followups at all percents if Pikachu edge cancels the down aerial.
      • Nerf The landing hit's low set knockback makes the move very punishable even on hit (especially if Pikachu does not L-cancel).

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Buff Pikachu has been given a pummel, an up throw and a down throw, significantly improving its grab game by giving it more moves that will potentially lead into combos.
  • Nerf Grab range has been reduced, now being the shortest in Melee.
  • Nerf Pikachu's grabs have more startup lag (frame 6 → 7 (standing), 11 (dash)) and ending lag (FAF 16 → 31 (standing), 41 (dash)) much like with most other returning veterans.
  • Change All throws now have electrical properties.
  • Forward throw:
    • Change Pikachu's old back throw was moved to forward throw.
    • Nerf Forward deals less damage (12% → 2% (hits 1-4), 2% (throw), 9% (total)) and its knockback was not fully compensated (80 (base), 70 (scaling) → 45/110) significantly hindering its KO potential.
    • Nerf Pikachu releases opponents from forward throw later (frame 20 → 29) and it has more ending lag (FAF 30 → 44).
  • Back throw:
    • Buff Pikachu has a new back where it rolls backwards. This moves Pikachu closer to the edge which can set up edgeguards.
    • Buff Pikachu releases opponents from back throw earlier (frame 34 → 30).
    • Change Back throw's angle has been slightly altered (45° → 135°).
    • Nerf Back throw deals significantly less damage (18% → 9%) and knockback (60 (base), 80 (scaling) → 75/50) drastically hindering its KO potential.
    • Nerf Back throw has more ending lag (FAF 43 → 50).
  • Edge attacks:
    • Buff Fast edge attack deals more damage (6% → 8%).
    • Nerf Fast edge attack has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 20-25 → 22-24) and has less intangibility (frames 1-21 → 1-19).
    • Nerf Fast edge attack has more ending lag (FAF 50 → 54).
    • Buff Slow edge attack has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 70-73 → 54-59).
    • Buff Slow edge attack has less ending lag (FAF 90 → 70).
    • Nerf Slow edge attack has less intangibility (frames 1-69 → 1-51).
    • Nerf Edge attacks have less set knockback (100 → 90).

Special Attacks[edit]

  • Thunder Jolt:
    • Buff Thunder Jolt has less startup (frame 21 → 18) and ending lag (FAF 64 → 58).
    • Buff The Thunder Jolt will continue to hug and traverse platforms once it passes the edge of the platform.
    • Buff Pikachu can now move freely in the air while using Thunder Jolt.
  • Skull Bash:
    • Change Pikachu now has a side special move: Skull Bash. This move functions similarly to Luigi's Green Missile, meaning that it is a decent recovery option that boasts good KO ability if charged.
  • Quick Attack:
    • Buff Quick Attack now has hitboxes allowing it to be used offensively (although the hitboxes are extremely weak).
    • Buff Quick Attack has less startup lag (frame 21 → 13).
    • Buff Quick Attack has much less landing lag making it less risky for Pikachu to Quick Attack onto the stage while recovering.
    • Change If the control stick is not held when Pikachu performs the first Quick Attack, Pikachu will now always face the direction where it initiated the quick attack.
    • Nerf Quick Attack travels slightly less distance and can no longer be extended by allowing the control stick to snap back to its neutral position hindering its recovery potential.
    • Nerf Quick Attack no longer has intangibility on startup removing its use as a versatile combo breaker.
    • Nerf Pikachu will no lo longer auto-snap the ledge if it Quick Attacks into the ledge from above which along with the previous change, removes Quick Attack's use as a powerful ledge stalling option despite the changes to ledge intangibility.
  • Thunder:
    • Buff Thunder has less startup lag (frame 24 → 20).
    • Buff Thunder's shockwave deals more damage (16% → 17%).
    • Bug fix Thunder has a new glitch called the ceiling glitch.
      • Buff This glitch improves Thunder's edgeguarding potential.
    • Nerf Thunder no longer has infinite vertical range now striking at a fixed height from a thundercloud hindering its ability to Thunderspike especially on stages with high vertical blastzones.
    • Nerf The thunder bolt deals less damage (12% → 10%) although its base knockback was compensated (80 → 100).
    • Nerf The thunder bolt can now be reflected and absorbed.
      • Buff However, this does improve its utility in doubles.
    • Nerf The shockwave has a shorter duration (10 frames → 9).
    • Nerf Pikachu can no longer connect both the thunderbolt and the shockwave.
    • Nerf Thunder has more ending lag when used in the air (FAF 85 → 115) and when the shockwave connects (FAF 68 → 70).
    • Nerf The universally increased falling speeds have made Thunderspiking less effective and they have made Thunder a less reliable juggling tool when combined with its higher ending lag.
    • Nerf The universally decreased hitstun combined with the introduction of DI has not only made Thunder harder to combo into but DI in particular also makes it easier to prevent the thunderbolt from causing a Thunderspike.

Moveset[edit]

Pikachu's aerial attacks

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

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% An extremely quick headbutt. Does very minimal damage, and has short range. This attack can be canceled into itself with two frames between possible inputs, so it can be mashed for a quick series of headbutts.
Forward tilt   9% Plants itself on its upper paws and kicks its lower paws in front of its body. This move has surprising range, and the hitbox is out for nearly the whole duration of its animation. Can be used as a defensive attack, or for an edgeguard. It is best used as a counter to SHFFLing characters, as it will almost always interrupt their approach. Low damage, low knockback. This attack can be angled up and down.
8%
7%
Up tilt   7% (tail), 6% (tip) Swings its tail above its body in an arc. This attack is hard to set up, as it has low range. The knockback works well for juggling and combos well however, as it sends opponents upward. Low damage, low knockback.
Down tilt   7% Sweeps its tail in front of itself. This move has decent range, low knockback, and low damage. However, it doesn't have a lot of lag and hits rather low. This can be used as an edgeguard against characters with a linear and/or predictable recovery, though there are better options.
Dash attack   8% Jumps forwards, headbutting. While it does have some knockback, it is rather laggy and leaves Pikachu vulnerable (it is particularly easy to shield grab).
Forward smash   21% (early), 19% (clean), 18% (late) Rears back, then ejects an attached jolt of electricity in front from its cheeks. A powerful attack that can evade some attacks with the initial animation. Has decent range. The hitbox is disjointed, which makes it a wise choice for edgeguarding. This attack has transcendent priority.
Up smash   17%-19% (clean), 13% (mid), 7% (late) Does a quick backflip, attacking with its tail. This is the strongest up smash in the game in terms of knockback, is extremely quick with decent range, and is one of the strongest smash attacks. Pikachu's up smash is extremely versatile, whether it be setting up juggles or going for a quick low percent KO. Is also good for shield stabbing. Capable of KOing at 35%-55% when fully charged.
Down smash   2% (hits 1-6), 3% (hit 7) (≈13.83% total) Spins around in place repeatedly, while surrounded with electricity. This is a multi-hit attack that comes out very quickly. Easily used from a successful crouch cancel, and sets up for an aerial at lower percentages. This attack has transcendent priority.
Neutral aerial   12% (clean), 9% (late) Curls up in a ball and does somersaults in the air. This is a versatile aerial, as it does decent damage, decent knockback, and comes out very quickly. A generic use-anywhere aerial.
Forward aerial   2% (hits 1-4) (≈7.46% total) Does a barrel roll in the air, emitting sparks. Hits multiple times with minimal damage. This has more horizontal range than any of Pikachu's aerials. The move, however, has little knockback.
Back aerial   12% (clean), 9% (late), 4% (landing) Spins in the air in a manner similar to its down smash, but without electrical effects. Decent range, damage and knockback, however it lags noticeably if missed, especially if Pikachu lands.
Up aerial   4% Swiftly swings its tail above itself in an arc. Extremely quick with low knockback, this can be used to juggle opponents repeatedly. Also, if hit with the tip of the tail at certain points during the arc, this will send opponents far at a nasty semi-spike angle similar to Sheik's forward aerial. This trajectory can be achieved even at low percentages. This attack makes edgeguarding a breeze against predictable, linear, and/or slow recoveries. An essential attack for controlling the match.
Down aerial   12%, 4% (landing) Does a barrel roll, like its forward aerial, except it is facing the ground. Unlike the fair, this does one hit in the air, and an extra hit upon landing if the animation is still going when Pikachu lands. The aerial hit does decent damage and has good knockback, more so than the neutral aerial. The hit upon landing has far lower knockback and stun. This attack lags significantly more than the neutral aerial however, and has noticeable startup lag.
Grab    
Pummel   3% Zaps the opponent.
Forward throw   2% (hits 1-4), 2% (throw) Places the opponent on its back and shocks them, sending them forward. This throw is multi-hit, and has low knockback. The only use for this throw is to build damage if no other throw setups are available, which is a rare situation.
Back throw   9% Does backwards somersaults with the opponent, then flings them behind itself. Has decent knockback, and is best used near an edge so as to get maximum range from the throw.
Up throw   5% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Places the opponent on its head, then headbutts them upward. This throw can chaingrab fastfallers, and at high percentages it is a useful combo move, as it can easily lead into an up smash or up aerial.
Down throw   5% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Places the opponent on the ground, then jumps on them. This is a good move against lightweights (like Jigglypuff) at low percentages, as it can lead into a up smash for a low percent KO. This throw is more easily DIed than the up throw.
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and headbutts both sides of itself.
Floor attack (back)   6% Gets up and kicks both sides of itself.
Edge attack (fast)   8% Quickly does a cartwheel and attacks with its foot.
Edge attack (slow)   6% Slowly climbs up and whips its tail.
Neutral special Thunder Jolt 7% (ground), 10% (aerial) Pikachu's main projectile. Fires a jolt of electricity forward. It travels forward while bouncing along the ground, and can also travel up walls, below the edge, and along ceilings. If used in the air, it will travel diagonally down instead. Disappears after around 3 seconds. Can be used to gimp certain recoveries.
Side special Skull Bash 4-29% Charges and, when the B button is released, fires itself forward like a missile. When fully charged or close to fully charged, it has KO power. The move can also be used to extend Pikachu's recovery, though it does have some lag. On the ground, the attack has rather high lag and is easy to shield grab (similar to dash attack). Performing the move like a smash attack causes the move the finish charging sooner.
Up special Quick Attack 3% (first warp), 2% (second warp) Moves at warp speed in two directions that can be selected via the control stick. Pikachu's main recovery move, and a quick, unpredictable move at that. The second warp is optional, but if used, the direction must be 45 degrees different than the first direction to work. However, new developments suggest that it may be possible to move in the same direction twice - moving up twice can possibly be performed by tilting the Control Stick left, right, or down ever so slightly on frame 22 or 23. The move can be used to warp to the ledge to set up an edgehog, though if not done correctly, Pikachu will be left helpless.
Down special Thunder 10% (bolt), 17% (blast) Shouts "PIKA!", then a large thunderbolt comes down on Pikachu. The move in general is rather laggy, but if the opponent is hit by the shockwave around Pikachu when the thunderbolt lands on it, it deals massive horizontal knockback. If the opponent is hit by the bolt itself, it deals moderate vertical knockback, which can KO off the top screen (referred to as Thunderspiking - can be set up with an up smash). It is also possible for the bolt to not hit Pikachu, by moving in the air after using the move. This attack has transcendent priority. The bolt can hit up to 4 times (Although it's unlikely), and touching Pikachu himself causes damage for the first half of the attack.

Taunt[edit]

  • Waves at the camera, yelling "Pika, Pika!" The taunt has IASA frames, as it can be interrupted by any attack when Pikachu starts the second wave.
Pikachu-Taunt-SSBM.gif

Idle poses[edit]

Note: According to the debug menu in Melee, Pikachu technically doesn't contain any idle poses. Instead, it will perform both its idle poses in one loop (mostly noticeable when Pikachu is currently holding an item). Both these animations become Pikachu's idle poses in Brawl and in Smash 4.

  • Scratches one of its ears.
  • Looks both sides while twitching its ears.
Pikachu Idle Pose Melee 1.gif Pikachu Idle Pose Melee 2.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Description Pika-Pika-Pikachu! Pi-Ka-Chu!
Pitch Group chant Female

Victory poses[edit]

An excerpt from the main theme of Pokémon.
  • Jumps up and somersaults, then spins around once before happily facing the camera, saying "Pika Pikaaaaaa!"
  • Twitches its ears, then scratches its right ear.
  • Lies sideways on the ground, sleeping.
Pikachu-Victory1-SSBM.gif Pikachu-Victory2-SSBM.gif Pikachu-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Matchups[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
PikachuHeadSSBM.png -2 -2 -2 -3 -1 -1 -1 ±0 Mirror match ±0 -1 +1 -1 ±0 -2 +1 ±0 ±0 +1 +2 +1 +2 +2 +2 +2 +2 ±0

In the most recent revision of the character matchup chart, Pikachu has average matchups all around. It counters six characters, soft counters four, and has even matchups with five, but is in return soft countered by five characters, countered by four, and hard countered by one, Sheik. Pikachu was thought to only do well against characters who lacked the tools to overcome its speed and pressure, such as Bowser and Zelda. However, since it is a light character with a perceived poor approach and poor range, many considered characters with superior mobility, range, or pressure options, such as Fox, Marth, Falco, and the Ice Climbers, advantageous in their matchup against Pikachu. Also, Mario can chain grab him with down throws, as can Sheik. In fact, it was a widespread thought at the time that Sheik could chaingrab Pikachu until 90%- a disadvantage that was significant enough to consider her Pikachu's decisive hard counter.

Current metagame[edit]

However, as Axe rose to dominance and Pikachu up the tier list, opinions on Pikachu's matchups began to change. Fox and Falco are now considered soft counters to Pikachu, rather than counters. Pikachu loses the neutral game against them, but still has enough tricks to sneak in openings rather consistently, and can edgeguard them easily with its up aerial sweetspot (the "tail spike"). Additionally, despite its poor grab range, Pikachu was found to have a near-inescapable chaingrab against Fox and Falco on Final Destination, allowing Pikachu players to pick up a rather reliable win in a set if they know how to execute it. Pikachu's matchup with Marth is by far the most optimistic advancement, as he is now considered to win the matchup in practice. Marth's strongest tools, his grab game and edgeguarding, are less effective against Pikachu. He also struggles to hit Pikachu due to its small frame and high speed and lacks reliable KO setups against it, while Pikachu can nearly effortlessly gimp him. Pikachu is also no longer considered to lose to Mario, Dr. Mario, and Luigi, although Mario still has a slight advantage due to his chaingrab.

Sheik and the Ice Climbers are still considered difficult matchups for Pikachu, but with proper DI, they cannot chaingrab Pikachu as easily as once thought. Its matchups against Peach and Jigglypuff, on the other hand, have actually worsened. Pikachu cannot KO floaty characters consistently, as he cannot edgeguard them and lacks reliable setups into his powerful up smash. This is exacerbated against Peach and Jigglypuff, as players now use their aerial mobility to stay out of Pikachu's threat range, meaning Pikachu struggles to find openings against them. Additionally, Jigglypuff is among the only characters that can edgeguard Pikachu effectively. While it may not KO Pikachu immediately through edgeguarding, it can cover all of Pikachu's returning options and send Pikachu back off-stage to repeat the process, accumulating a significant amount of damage.

Overall, Pikachu's matchups have become significantly better since its 2010 perception as a low-tier character. It has very good chances against several of the top- and high-tier characters who were once considered its counters, and only struggles against the floaty characters, who are not quite as ubiquitous as the characters it has improved against.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Pikachu professionals (SSBM)

Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Summer 2019 MPGR, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Melee from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.

Active[edit]

  • USA Axe (#3) - Widely known as the best Pikachu player in the world, Axe is ranked 3rd on the Summer 2019 MPGR. Placed 1st at Smash Summit 8.
  • Canada Rats! - Ranked 3rd on the Calgary Melee Power Rankings.
  • USA Anther - Although better known for his Project M Pikachu, Anther has a formidable melee Pikachu and is currently regarded as the Best Midwest Pikachu.
  • USA BonkCushy - Best New England Pikachu.
  • USA 2Framez - Ranked 6th on the Northeastern Ohio Power Rankings.
  • UK Okameed - Best European Pikachu. 16th in UK Power Rankings
  • USA Kimchi - Best Pikachu Player in Tennessee, ranked 3rd on the Tennessee Power Rankings. Best Pikachu in the south and in contention with Anther for second best Pikachu in the world. Has a win on N0ne
  • USA KL3SHIKUH - Best Pikachu player in SoCal with a local win on Westballz and Squid. Currently experiencing hand problems limiting his potential.
  • USA OkayP. - Best Pikachu player in Utah, ranked 2nd on the Utah Power Rankings.
  • USA Trix - Best Pikachu player in Chicago, recently returned to the game.

Inactive[edit]

  • USA ChuDat - Used Pikachu as a secondary in the early years of Melee. He most notably took a set off Cort and a game from Azen using Pikachu. Now solely mains Ice Climbers.
  • USA PikaChad - Formerly the Second best Pikachu behind Axe. Took a set off Wizzrobe.
  • USA DJ Nintendo - Most notably defeated Hax, n0ne, The Moon and Ryan Ford with Pikachu.
  • USA Philly Billy - Notably top Pikachu in Tri-State during the MLG era of Smash.
  • USA Rori - Won MLG Seattle 2004 with Pikachu/Falco, best Pikachu in Northwest when he was active.

Tier placement and history[edit]

Pikachu was originally a low-mid to low tier character; many professionals thought Pikachu's heavy power, speed, and combo ability nerf from Super Smash Bros. was unmanageable, and that it had lost all of its viability in the transition to Melee. Axe proved this thought wrong, however, as he showed how powerful Pikachu was at pressuring the enemy, especially at edgeguarding (due to Pikachu's notorious up aerial semi-spike). He also showed how powerful Pikachu was up close, despite its problems in approaching the enemy efficiently. Axe, and a handful of other dedicated Pikachu players such as PikaChad, eventually brought Pikachu up to the high-mid tiers, where it ranks now in 9th place.

In 1-P Mode[edit]

Classic Mode[edit]

In Classic Mode, Pikachu can appear as an ordinary opponent, as an ally or opponent in team battles, alongside Pichu, Jigglypuff, or Kirby, or as a metal opponent. In Pikachu's appearances, it appears on Pokémon Stadium as a regular opponent, and on Battlefield as a metal opponent. And on team battles, it appears on Green Greens with Kirby.

Adventure Mode[edit]

Pikachu appears in Stage 7 of the Adventure Mode. In its stage, the player must fight eight separate Pikachu's on Pokémon Stadium similar to the Classic Mode's team battle; if Jigglypuff and Pichu are unlocked, they can also appear in the team. In this stage, the only items to spawn are Poké Balls.

All-Star Mode[edit]

Pikachu and its allies are fought on Pokémon Stadium.

Event Matches[edit]

Pikachu appears in multiple event matches:

  • Event 7: Pokémon Battle: The player chooses any character and must defeat Pikachu in a two-stock match on Pokémon Stadium. The only way to damage and KO Pikachu is to use the Pokémon that appear from Poké Balls on the stage, as regular attacks will not harm it.
  • Event 13: Yoshi's Egg: As Yoshi, the player must protect the Yoshi's Egg item from harm for 55 seconds against a team of Fox, Donkey Kong, and Pikachu on Rainbow Cruise.
  • Event 30: All-Star Match 3: Pikachu is the second opponent fought in this series of staged battles. The player battles it on the Pokémon Stadium, which will transition to the next stage if Pikachu gets defeated. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat it along with Kirby, Ness and the Ice Climbers.
  • Event 48: Pikachu and Pichu: The player chooses any character and fights against a team of two Pichus and one Pikachu on Dream Land. The player's main goal is to KO the two Pichus while avoiding Pikachu, who has infinite lives while the player has two and both Pichus have one. The event is played on Dream Land, making it the only Melee event match set on a Past Stage.

Pikachu is the only character in the Original 12 from Smash 64 which does not have an assigned event match.

Ending Images[edit]

Trophies[edit]

In addition to the normal trophy about Pikachu as a character, there are two trophies about it as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Pikachu on any difficulty:

Pikachu
It's safe to say that Pikachu is the most famous and popular of all Pokémon. It has electric pouches in both cheeks; when in danger, it shoots electricity at its enemies. Although Pikachu can evolve into Raichu by exposure to a Thunderstone, many trainers like Pikachu so much that they don't let it evolve.
  • Pokémon Red & Blue 09/98
Pikachu [Smash]
While its electrical attacks, such as Thunder and Thunder Jolt, are powerful, Pikachu is at its best speeding around the fray and waiting for its chance to strike. You can control the path of Pikachu's two-directional Quick Attack, allowing you to jump twice. Hold down the B Button to charge up Skull Bash.
  • B: Thunder Jolt
  • Smash B: Skull Bash
Pikachu [Smash]
The angle of the Control Stick controls the direction of Pikachu's Quick Attack. Pikachu will move blindingly fast, and it will also cause damage to any character it runs into. Move the Control Stick during Quick Attack and Pikachu will move in up to two directions. Be sure to check out the ceilings on the level when you use Thunder.
  • Up & B: Quick Attack
  • Down & B: Thunder

Alternate costumes[edit]

Pikachu Palette (SSBM).png
PikachuHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadRedSSBM.png PikachuHeadBlueSSBM.png PikachuHeadGreenSSBM.png

Gallery[edit]