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 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 160%. 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. Pikachu's biggest strength, however, is its great air game and dominant edgeguarding game, which is 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 low ending lag making them excellent for edgeguarding and zero-to-death combos without risk, while down aerial can meteor smash in its first two active frames and up aerial is good for juggling. As a result, Pikachu has strong zero-to-death potential, even against experienced players.
Pikachu is not without weaknesses, however, and they are pretty noticeable: for starters, 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, being light and falling faster than the characters whom it shares its weight with, and very 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.
Overall, Pikachu's strengths greatly outshine its weaknesses, and is generally considered among, if not the best character in the game.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Despite being a high-tier character in Super Smash Bros. 4 (ranked 15th out of 55th on the current SSB4 tier list), Pikachu has been noticeably buffed during its transition to Ultimate. 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 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. Pikachu's 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. Its KOing power, one of its biggest weaknesses in SSB4, was also improved, with moves like dash attack, forward aerial, up aerial, down smash, up throw and Thunder now inflicting more knockback. Pikachu also greatly benefits from Ultimate's mechanics, as they make its already-incredible and oppressive edgeguarding as well as its on-stage offense even more effective.
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. 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.
Despite that, Pikachu's buffs outweigh its weaknesses, 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 professionals, such as Samsora and the aforementioned ESAM, describing it as a top-tier character. In fact, Mew2King and ZeRo went as far as to put Pikachu as the single best character in the game, although this is debatable with many arguing that Peach, Snake or Joker are better.
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
After the 3.1.0 nerfs to Pichu and Peach, 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, 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 tournament.
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. 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