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Pikachu (SSBM)

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This article is about Pikachu's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Pikachu.
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 B+ (9) (North America)
D (10) (Europe)
PikachuHeadSSBM.png

Announced at E3 2001, Pikachu (ピカチュウ, Pikachu) is a Pokémon and starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Ikue Ōtani reprises her role as Pikachu in Melee with new voice clips.

Pikachu ranks 9th on the current tier list, in the B+ 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 boasts great speed and an array of KO options, owning 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. This is further exacerbated with its subpar options out of its dash dance, difficulty in dealing with shielding opponents, and a short wavedash. Thus, Pikachu must rely on mixups and crossups to approach and find openings.

Attributes[edit]

In general character archetypes, Pikachu generally stands as a small fighter with good speed; Pikachu has medium falling speed, great 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 edgeguarding 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.

Pikachu also struggles to approach. Although it is mobile, it has a short wavedash and lacks safe grounded moves to use out of both its wavedash and dash dance. Its best approaching options on the ground are down tilt and the risky down smash. This forces it to frequently fight in 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 the moves' moderately high ending lag, Pikachu's average falling speed, and its 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 find 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 40% in the NTSC version if both players execute perfect grabs and DI. Pikachu is also susceptible to several potentially lethal grab setups, such as Captain Falcon's down throw followups.

Overall, Pikachu is a rather challenging character that requires an experienced player to succeed. While Pikachu has stellar edgeguarding and recovering abilities, and can harshly punish the opponent once it finds an opening, it suffers from poor range and difficulty in approaching. Pikachu players should look to make full use of their neutral options and constantly seek mix-ups through conditioning opponents.

Changes from Super Smash Bros.[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. Its 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 its 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 has added utility, as it 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, Pikachu is still a potent high tier character who can hold its own against much of the cast. While Pikachu's tournament representation is rather small, it has still seen consistent success in tournaments and is still very much a viable character in competitive play.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change The graphical upgrades of the Nintendo GameCube give Pikachu a more proportionate build. It is slightly thinner and a larger head.
  • 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.
  • Change Pikachu's red and green party hats are replaced by a red hat based on Ash Ketchum and a green cowboy hat

Attributes[edit]

  • Nerf Pikachu walks slower (0.42 → 1.24).
  • Buff Pikachu dashes faster (55 → 1.8).
  • Buff Pikachu is heavier (72.414 → 80), which significantly improves its endurance.
  • 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.
  • Nerf Pikachu's upper legs and arms are no longer immune to grabs.
  • 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).
    • Buff Neutral attack transitions into itself earlier (frame 10 → 5), allowing it to chain into itself when the opponent is at 0%.
    • Change Neutral attack has increased base knockback (4 → 7) and it launches opponents at a lower angle (361° → 0°).
    • Nerf Neutral attack has a shorter duration (frames 2-5 → 2-3).
    • Nerf The removal of jab grabbing significantly hinders the utility of Pikachu's neutral attack.
  • Forward tilt:
    • Nerf Forward tilt deals less damage (11%/10%/9% → 9%/8%/7%), hindering its KO potential despite its increased base knockback (8 (angled up)/6 (non angled/down) → 10 (all)).
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt has less ending lag (FAF 26 → 24).
    • Buff Up tilt sends opponents at a more favorable angle (87° → 96° (lower tail)/88° (upper tail)).
    • Buff Up tilt deals more knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → (40/45)/124), improving its combo potential and safety at lower percents, while also improving its KO potential despite its lower damage.
      • Nerf However, this also hinders its combo potential at mid percents.
    • Buff The lower tail has larger hitboxes (2.66u → 3.515u/3.515u), and up tilt has a new hitbox on the middle of Pikachu's tail.
    • Nerf Up tilt deals less damage (11% → 7% (lower tail)/6% (upper tail)), noticeably hindering its damage racking potential.
    • Nerf Up tilt has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 5-14 → 7-14).
    • Nerf The upper tail hitbox is much smaller (5u → 3.125u), with the hitbox now failing to fully cover Pikachu's tail.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Nerf Down tilt has smaller hitboxes (2.66u/4.66u → 1.95u/3.12u/3.91u), with the far hitbox also being moved closer to Pikachu (x/z offsets: 3.66/2.17 → 3.91/2).
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack has less ending lag (FAF 58 → 50).
    • Nerf Dash attack has a shorter duration (frames 5-19 → 5-16).
    • Nerf Dash attack 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% (clean/late) → 21% (clean)/19% (mid)/18% (late)) with the clean and mid hits dealing more damage, improving their KO potential.
    • Buff The near and middle hitboxes are positioned further outwards (z offset: 6.66/14.16 → 8.98/15.23).
      • Buff Addditionally, the early and mid hit's near hitbox is larger (2.66u (clean)/4u (late) → 2.89u/4.3u).
      • Nerf However, the mid hit's far hitbox is marginally smaller (4.33u → 4.3u).
    • Buff Forward smash now has transcendent priority, instead of anti-rebounding priority, improving its ability to deal with damaging ground moves.
      • Nerf However, this also removes its ability to cancel out projectiles.
    • Nerf Forward smash has a much shorter duration (frames 21-24 (clean)/25-42 (late) → 16-18/19-21/22-23).
    • Nerf Forward smash deals less knockback (20 (base), 100 (scaling) → 25/92 (clean), 25/(95/90) (mid), 22/(95/90/85) (late)). This hinders the far mid hit's and the entire late hit's KO potential.
    • Nerf The late hit's far hitbox is positioned closer to Pikachu (z offset: 25 → 21.48) and it does not become active as soon (5 frames → 7). This significantly reduces forward smash's range, especially considering the late hit's drastically shorter duration.
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash's clean hit's near hitbox deals more damage (18% → 19%) and has increased knockback scaling (100 → 110), significantly improving its KO potential (now being the strongest up smash in the game).
      • Buff Addditionally, the move now has a middle hitbox, which does not deal more damage but still has higher knockback scaling.
    • Buff Up smash has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 10-18 → 8-17).
    • 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 has more ending lag (FAF 40 → 41).
    • Nerf Up smash has smaller hitboxes (2.66u/5.16u → 1.95u/3.12u/4.69u (clean), 3.33u/5.16u → 1.95u/2.73u/3.15u (mid/late)).
    • Nerf The clean hit no longer launches opponents behind Pikachu (95° → 85°), hindering its followup potential, which is further exacerbated with the universal decrease to hitstun/introduction of DI.
    • Nerf The clean hit's far hitbox deals less damage (18% → 17%), hindering its KO potential as unlike the near hitboxes, its knockback scaling was unchanged.
    • Nerf The late hit deals less damage (9% → 7%) and much less knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → 5/48), greatly hindering its safety on hit.
    • Nerf The late hit no longer launches opponents vertically (90° → 40°). When combined with its reduced power, along with the universal decrease to hitstun/introduction of DI, this completely removes its combo potential, with the late hit now being easily punishable on hit, even at higher percents.
  • Down smash:
    • Change Pikachu has a new down smash. Instead of being a split kick, 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 a longer duration overall (frames 10-13/25-28 → 7-8/10-11/13-14/16-17/19-20/22-23/25).
    • Buff The final hit has a much larger hitbox (4.5u/4.5u/3u → 9.76u).
    • Change The loop hits have altered hitbox sizes (4.5u/4.5u/3u → 4.69u/4.69u/2.43u) and positions, to allow the move to chain into itself from both sides.
    • Change The final hit launches opponents vertically (361° → 70°), improving its combo potential, but hindering its edgeguarding potential.
    • Nerf Due to now being a multi hit attack, Down smash is much less reliable, as opponents can now easily SDI out of it, or even just fall out of it automatically in some scenarios.
    • Nerf Compared to the previous front hit, down smash deals less damage overall (16% → 2% (hits 1-6)/3% (hit 7)/13% (total)) without full compensation on the final hit's knockback (30 (base), 120 (scaling) → 70/170), greatly hindering its KO potential.

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 Pikachu's lower short hop, this means that Pikachu can now only auto-cancel up aerial in a short hop (as opposed to all aerials). These issues are further exacerbated with the weakening of L-canceling.
    • Nerf When combined with the weakening of L-cancelling, this significantly hinders the safety and combo potential of Pikachu's aerials.
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Pikachu has a new neutral aerial: a somersault.
      • Buff This new animation makes Pikachu harder to hit.
      • Nerf However, this also gives the move less range, as the hitbox placements were not adjusted in relation to Pikachu.
      • Nerf This new animation is also longer (36 frames → 39), increasing the amount of time Pikachu cannot grab ledges after performing the move.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has more ending lag (FAF 37 → 40).
    • 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 The body hitbox is smaller (4.33u → 4.21u).
    • Buff Neutral aerial has less landing lag (16 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:
    • Nerf Forward aerial has more startup lag (frame 7 → 10).
    • Nerf Forward aerial has more landing lag (16 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 Each hit of forward aerial deals less damage (3% → 2%).
    • Nerf Due to hitting four times instead of seven:
      • Nerf It has a shorter duration (frames 7-8/10-11/13-14/16-17/19-20/22-23/25-26 → 10-12/14-16/18-20/22-24), increasing its ending lag.
      • Nerf Its maximum damage potential is much lower, especially since each hit deals less damage (21% → 7%).
    • Nerf The far hitbox is smaller (6.5u → 6.29u).
    • Nerf Forward aerial no longer has a landing hitbox.
  • Back aerial:
    • Change Pikachu has a new back aerial: a sideways spin.
      • Buff This new animation makes Pikachu harder to hit.
      • Nerf However, this also gives the move much less range.
      • Nerf This new animation is also longer (41 frames → 59), increasing the amount of time Pikachu cannot grab ledges after performing the move.
    • Buff Back aerial has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 10-21 → 4-37).
    • Buff Back aerial now has a landing hit.
    • Nerf Back aerial has more ending lag (FAF 42 → 60).
    • Nerf Back aerial has much more landing lag (16 frames → 30).
    • Nerf Back aerial has smaller hitboxes (5.66u/5u (clean)/5.16u/4.5u (late) → 3.52u/3.52u (both)) and its foot hitbox is no longer horizontally displaced (x offset: 3.33 (clean)/1.33 (late) → 0 (both)), significantly reducing its 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)). This hinders its KO potential, no longer being one of the strongest back aerials.
  • Up aerial:
    • Buff Up aerial has less ending lag (FAF 34 → 28).
    • Buff Up aerial has larger hitboxes (3u/4.66u → 3.91u/4.69u).
    • 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.
    • 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 the move deal much more knockback 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).
    • Nerf Up aerial no longer auto-cancels throughout its entire duration now having a rather high 26 frames of landing lag without L-canceling.
    • Nerf The far hitbox has been moved slightly closer to Pikachu (x/y/z offsets: 3.18/5/-1.66 → 0/0/0 (clean)/1.17/1.17/0 (late)), giving up aerial slightly less range (particularly in front of Pikachu due to its shorter duration).
  • Down aerial:
    • Nerf Down aerial has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 8-25 → 14-26).
    • Nerf Down aerial has a longer total duration (FAF 45 → 48) and a longer animation (44 frames → 57).
    • 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 (which was unchanged).
    • 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, as both throws can be used to combo and chain grab.
  • Grabs:
    • Buff Grab has a new grabbox inside of Pikachu, giving it more range inside of Pikachu.
    • Buff Gran has a longer duration (frame 6 → 7-8 (standing)/11-12 (dash)).
    • Nerf Grab has a smaller grabbox (4.82u → 3.51u), it has a new animation where Pikachu does not jump forward and it now uses a static hitbox which is not positioned as far out (z offset: 7.03). This significantly reduces grab's range (reaching about half as far), now being the shortest in Melee.
    • Nerf Grab has 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 has a new forward throw, which is heavily based on its previous back throw.
    • Buff Forward throw now has a hitbox from frames 10-25, which occurs 4 times and deals 2% each time (for a total of around 7%). This allows the throw to hit bystanders and it improves the throw's damage racking potential (at least on paper).
    • Nerf Forward throw's throw deals much less damage (12% → 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) but it also has more ending lag (FAF 30 → 44). This makes the throw much easier to DI (especially since its multi hits deal hitlag), as well as giving it more ending lag despite this.
  • Back throw:
    • Buff Pikachu has a new back throw 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), making it harder to DI.
    • Change Back throw's angle has been slightly altered (45° → 135°).
    • Change Back throw is now weight dependent.
    • Nerf Back throw deals much 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).
    • Nerf Fast edge attack has less intangibility (frames 1-21 → 1-19), going from ending while the hitboxes are active, to now ending a couple of frames before the hitboxes become active.
    • 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 Thunder Jolt has a larger hitbox (3.33u → 4u) and grounded Thunder Jolt has gained an additional hitbox, increasing its range.
    • 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.
    • Nerf Thunder Jolt has a shorter duration (119 frames → 99).
  • 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 once Pikachu enters free fall (20 frames → 4), making it less risky for Pikachu to Quick Attack onto the stage while recovering.
      • Nerf However, Quick Attack has more landing lag if Pikachu lands before it enters free fall (20 frames → 24).
    • 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 has more ending lag when finished on the ground (45 frames → 50).
    • 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 and as a defensive Out of Shield option.
    • 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 has slightly larger hitboxes (6.66u (thunder bolt)/11.5u (shockwave) → 7.03u/11.71u).
    • Buff The thunder bolt now uses four hitboxes which are greatly spaced apart from each other (rather than 8 hitboxes lumped on top of each other), giving it much more vertical range.
      • Buff This change also gives the thunder bolt a much longer duration when Pikachu lands the shockwave (3 frames → 31).
      • Nerf However, this also gives the thunder bolt blindspots between its hitboxes.
    • Buff The shockwave deals more damage (16% → 17%), improving its KO potential.
    • Bug fix Thunder has a new glitch called the ceiling glitch.
      • Buff This glitch improves Thunder's edgeguarding potential.
    • Nerf Thunder now strikes at a fixed height from a thundercloud (rather than from the top of the stage) 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 thunder bolts hitboxes no longer have an infinite duration, now only lasting 60 frames.
    • Nerf The thunder bolts hitboxes now shrink when Pikachu connects the shockwave, and when they get close enough to Pikachu.
    • 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 79 → 115), drastically hindering its safety if Pikachu does not land the shockwave (especially considering Pikachu's increased falling speed).
    • Nerf The shockwave has more ending lag (FAF 67 → 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 at least 38 degrees different than the first direction to work. However, it is possible to move in the same direction twice - moving up twice can possibly be performed by pointing the Control Stick at precise co-ordinates[1] for the 2nd warp. The speed Pikachu gets for both warps is based on how strongly the Control Stick is tilted when deciding warp direction. In other words, Pikachu can do shorter warps by tilting stick less. 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]

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Pikachu professionals (SSBM)

Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the 2019 MPGR, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Melee for 2019.

Active[edit]

  • USA Axe (#4) - Widely known as the best Pikachu player in the world. Ranked 3rd on the Summer 2019 MPGR. Placed 1st at Smash Summit 8.
  • USA BonkCushy - Considered to be the top Pikachu player in New England. Has wins over players such as Phish-it.
  • USA KL3SHIKUH - Best Pikachu player in SoCal with local wins over Westballz and Squid. Currently experiencing hand problems limiting his potential.
  • Italy Lele - Best Pikachu player in Italy. Has a win over SchlimmShady.
  • UK Okameed - Best European Pikachu. 16th in UK Power Rankings.
  • USA OkayP. - Best Pikachu player in Utah, ranked 2nd on the Utah Power Rankings.
  • USA Tyler Swift - Best Pikachu in MDVA/Tristate and Zain's training partner. Has a secondary Fox. Tyler has wins over Ginger and multiple other top 100 players.

Inactive[edit]

  • USA 2Framez - Ranked 5th on the Northeastern Ohio 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 Philly Billy - Notably top Pikachu in Tri-State during the MLG era of Smash.
  • USA PikaChad - Formerly the Second best Pikachu behind Axe. Took a set off Wizzrobe.
  • USA Rori - Won MLG Seattle 2004 with Pikachu/Falco, best Pikachu in Northwest when he was active.
  • Canada Rats! - Ranked 3rd on the Calgary Melee Power Rankings. Switched to Falco.
  • USA Trix - Best Pikachu player in Chicago.

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, 2framez, Tyler Swift and Kimchi eventually brought Pikachu up to the high-mid tiers, where it ranks now in 9th place.

In 1-P Modes[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's palette swaps, with corresponding tournament mode colours.
PikachuHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadRedSSBM.png PikachuHeadBlueSSBM.png PikachuHeadGreenSSBM.png

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]