Pikachu (ピカチュウ, Pikachu) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Pikachu is classified as fighter #08.
As in SSB4, Ikue Ōtani's portrayals of Pikachu from Melee and Brawl were repurposed for Ultimate.
Pikachu is a small lightweight, tied with Kirby, Olimar and Mewtwo for the seventh lightest fighter. It has overall good mobility, possessing fast walking and dashing speeds, high jumps, is tied for the ninth highest air acceleration, and has the fourth highest traction, but slightly above average falling speed and gravity and below average air speed. Due to its fast mobility, a good projectile in Thunder Jolt, a good frame data and some of the fastest defensive options, Pikachu has a good approach and great neutral game.
Pikachu has a decent grab and throw game despite its poor grab range. It has a fast pummel and its forward and back throws are good for edgeguarding and up and down throws are good for combos, with the former being able to KO at around 170%. It has a strong combo game, with moves such as up tilt, its aerials attacks and its throws that can start, extend or end combos reliably. It also has a strong recovery: Skull Bash and Quick Attack both travel a long distance and the former does not leave it helpless, while the latter can be angled and Pikachu jolts twice, although it cannot be done in the same direction. This makes Pikachu's recovery one of the best in the game, as its long-distanced and very hard to predict.
Pikachu's biggest strength, however, is its amazing air game and dominant edgeguarding game, with the latter being considered the best of the cast: all of Pikachu's aerials can autocancel in a short hop and its neutral, forward, back and up aerials are fast, all of them expect for the latter are multihits that can combo into each other, with their extremely low ending lag making them excellent for combos, edgeguarding and zero-to-deaths with low risk-high reward, while down aerial can meteor smash in its first two active frames and is fast for its category, while up aerial is good for juggling. Pikachu's down aerial also is its only aerial with over 20 frames of ending lag. As a result, Pikachu has strong zero-to-death potential, and it isn't hard to do so, even against experienced players.
Pikachu is not without weaknesses, however: Pikachu has poor range outside of forward smash and down tilt, with many attacks either having having small hitboxes or the hitboxes are placed too close to its body, thus it fares poorly with characters with long disjointed range and projectiles such as Simon or Young Link. It also has very poor endurance, due to being light and falling faster than the characters around its weight class. It also bears inconsistent KO power: forward and up smash are burdened by several sourspots, with the former being stronger in the mid hit, while its forward tilt, forward and back aerials and its back throw are unfit for KOing until around 150% or above and Thunder, while powerful, is slow and has high ending lag, thus possessing many unreliable finishers and poor KO ability. To make this worse, Pikachu doesn't have setups for its KO moves outside of up throw into Thunder, which is not reliable at high percents. Due to its reliance on Thunder Jolt, it also has a disadvantage against characters with reflectors. It also has a notable disadvantage against Ness, Lucas and Mr. Game & Watch, due to its projectiles being energy-based, they can absorb its projectiles and recover damage.
Overall, Pikachu's strengths outweigh its weaknesses, and is regularly considered a top-tier or even a contender for the best character in the game.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Pikachu has been greatly buffed during its transition to Ultimate. Most of the buffs improve its strengths: its already above-average speed has been increased, many of its moves have less ending lag, and its aerials have drastically reduced landing lag, improving Pikachu's overall comboing capabilities. Its most significant direct buffs are in its already great air game and edgeguarding ability, particularly with its new neutral aerial and altered down aerial, with the former now acting similarly to Mewtwo's neutral aerial and having much more combo potential, and the latter now having a clean hitbox that meteor smashes opponents, further improving the overall utility of both moves, while back aerial is now capable of autocanceling from a short hop and always consistently launches opponents behind Pikachu, making it easier to perform a pseudo-Wall of Pain with the move, and the animation is faster, significantly reducing its ending lag to the point it can now combo into itself several times at low percents, while down throw causes now causes 9 frames of hitlag to the opponent, improving its combo ability, and Thunder Jolt has less ending lag, making it safer to use repeatedly and increasing its utility. Its KOing power, one of its biggest weaknesses in SSB4, was also improved, with moves like dash attack, forward aerial, up aerial, up throw and Thunder now inflicting more knockback and down smash connects better and launches lower. Pikachu also drastically benefits from Ultimate's mechanics, as they make its already-incredible and oppressive edgeguarding as well as its on-stage offense even more effective, especially with the new meteor smash and altered aerial attacks, allowing Pikachu to perform zero to death combos without risk even against experienced players.
However, Pikachu is not without its nerfs, with the most significant being the increased startup and ending lag on its grabs, and the altered knockback of up throw, with it more difficult for Pikachu to combo the latter into Thunder, and the changes to neutral aerial removing its KO potential. The removal of Quick Attack canceling also reduces Pikachu's mobility and approach options. Furthermore, Pikachu also still suffers from many of the same weaknesses that plagued it in SSB4: short range, poor on-stage endurance due to its lightweight status, and limited KOing ability. Outside of that, the nerfs are generally minor and inconsequential.
Overall, Pikachu's buffs outweigh its nerfs, and it is considered to be even better than in SSB4, similarly to fellow top-tier characters Peach and Lucina. While Pikachu is not as common as some other top-/high-tier characters, it has still received above-average results courtesy of players like ESAM. This has led to many top players, such a s Samsora and the aforementioned ESAM, describing it as a top 5 character, and a good amount of them, such as ESAM himself, Pandarian, Dark Wizzy and ZeRo went as far as to put Pikachu as the single best character in the game, and the latter, during the demo, months before the game was released, even said that Pikachu was broken, although this is debatable, with some arguing that Peach, Snake or especially Joker are better because Pikachu lacks the results the they have.
Throws and other attacks
Even though Pikachu is widely considered a top tier character, it has been slightly buffed via game updates. Its grab game was slightly improved, thanks to a faster pummel and larger grabboxes. Although Thunder Jolt's shield damage output was decreased as part of a near-universal nerf to projectiles, this nerf is largely inconsequential for Pikachu.
For a gallery of Pikachu's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Emerges from a Poké Ball, then briefly discharges electricity around itself.
In competitive play
Even before the game got released, Pikachu's buffs to its strengths, including its already excellent edgeguarding game, caused players to think of it as one of the best characters in the game and particularly, ZeRo, who even said that Pikachu was broken during the demo. This perception became more evident especially after the 3.1.0 nerfs to Pichu and Peach, as many top players consider Pikachu to be either the best in the game or among one of the best, alongside Joker and Snake. Despite this, as with Brawl and Smash 4, Pikachu has a relatively small playerbase compared to many other top tiers, with ESAM being the only Pikachu player to have consistently high placements in majors.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Spring 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.
Classic Mode: I Choose You!
Pikachu fights against other Pokémon on various Pokémon stages, with Poké Balls as the only available item. The title is a reference to Ash Ketchum's signature catchphrase in the Pokémon anime, which doubles as the title of the first episode and the 20th movie.
Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Pikachu has Road to Viridian City - Pokémon Red / Pokémon Blue accompany the credits.
Character unlock tree
Pikachu's Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:
Each character can be unlocked by clearing Pikachu's Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Mario's character unlock tree, starting with Sonic.
Role in World of Light
Pikachu was among the fighters summoned to the cliffside to fight an army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Pikachu was present when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. While attempting to run away, Pikachu was noticed by Sonic, who slowed down for Pikachu in an attempt to save it. However, both of them were vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the rest of the fighters, except for Kirby.
Pikachu can later be found stuck on an island that can only be accessed by falling into the current of a waterfall, then the player must confront the spirit of Esna before they can battle to awake it.
Pikachu's Fighter Spirits can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. They are also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Pikachu in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As Fighter Spirits, they cannot be used in Spirit Battles and are purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, Pikachu makes an appearance in a few Support Spirits.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video