Pokémon Trainer (SSBU)
Pokémon Trainer (ポケモントレーナー, Pokémon Trainer) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was officially revealed on June 12th, 2018 alongside his team of Pokémon: Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard. Although Pokémon Trainer lacks a fighter number compared to the rest of the cast, his Pokémon have fighter numbers in his stead: Squirtle is classified as Fighter #33, Ivysaur is classified as Fighter #34, and Charizard is classified as Fighter #35.
The male Pokémon Trainer has new voice clips in all languages he is voiced in, with all of his voice actors from Brawl being replaced (except for his Japanese voice actor, who reprises her role). Respectively, the voice actors for the male and female Pokémon Trainers are:
Unlike Brawl, Ultimate does not have a Korean dub, with Pokémon Trainer instead using his Japanese voice in the Korean versions.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
As one of only three fighters in Ultimate to use the character-swap mechanic (with the other two being with Pyra and Mythra), Pokémon Trainer is arguably the most dynamic fighter in the game, yet also one of the most demanding. Unlike other tag team-oriented fighters, such as Rosalina & Luma and Banjo & Kazooie, the Trainer does not fight directly and instead acts as a commander for his three Pokémon: Squirtle, Ivysaur and Charizard. Although only one of these Pokémon can be present in battle at any given time, they can be swapped out using Pokémon Change in that order. In the absence of a stamina mechanic, players may use any or all of the three Pokémon freely without fear of becoming less effective. However, forced switching remains, with the player automatically switching to the next Pokémon upon losing a stock.
Each of the three Pokémon covers a different archetype: Squirtle is a fast combo-oriented lightweight, Ivysaur is a middleweight zoner, and Charizard is a super heavyweight with raw KO power and atypically fast mobility despite its slow moves. Typically, the most basic game plan is to build damage with Squirtle at low percents, use Ivysaur to outrange opponents and secure advantage state at medium percents, and score KOs and recover more easily with Charizard.
However, the Pokémon Trainer's versatility allows for a multitude of different game plans depending on the player's preference and the matchup. Pokémon Change has been significantly streamlined from Brawl and has been made significantly faster and can be used in the air. This allows for more effective switching in the heat of the moment so that the current Pokémon can be easily removed from the battle and replaced if it is in a situation where its weaknesses can be easily exploited. This also allows for recovery to be extended further; for example, using Ivysaur's Vine Whip to gain a small amount of vertical height, then switching and using Charizard's Flare Blitz and Fly to provide a very extensive recovery. As such, the Pokémon Trainer can adapt to any situation simply by choosing the right creature for the job, providing for a fighting style similar to 3-on-3 fighting games where the player chooses a team of interchangeable fighters that can be exchanged in an instant.
Despite the advantages provided by the Pokémon Trainer's central mechanic, they do not provide for an infallible fighter. Most notable is the very high learning curve required to master the whole party; all three Pokémon have their own matchups and optimal reactions to different situations, requiring a very high level of commitment to become familiar with each of the three, when to switch Pokémon, and what new situations can arise from switching, requiring commitment akin to having three mains at once in a game where even handling two mains can be overwhelming.
Furthermore, each of the three Pokémon is slightly more specialized in their role than other fighters of their class, and therefore has more pronounced weaknesses. Squirtle's KO power and endurance are lacking, Ivysaur's recovery and disadvantage state are both very poor, and Charizard is susceptible to combos and has mostly unsafe moves. Because Pokémon Change operates in a set order (unlike with Monado Arts) and cannot be continuously spammed due to its cooldown, players cannot always choose which Pokémon to use in which situation and can sometimes be rendered helpless in preventing the current Pokémon's weaknesses from being exploited. This is especially notable in matchups such as Pikachu and Mr. Game & Watch, where two of the three Pokémon are at a disadvantage, resulting in strained efforts to use the one optimal Pokémon as much as possible while keeping the other two on standby.
While attempting to "solo main" one of the three Pokémon is possible, it is not recommended in most cases (outside of single-stock modes such as Squad Strike itself, ironically) as players are nonetheless forced to use all three during battle, even while waiting for the cooldown on Pokémon Change. For instance, attempting to "main" Charizard while having little knowledge of Squirtle and Ivysaur will allow opponents to exploit the brief windows where using Charizard is not possible. However, it is entirely possible to centralize a playstyle around one or two preferred Pokémon and to use the remaining teammate(s) to complement them, such as with Tweek (who prioritizes Squirtle) and Puppeh (who prioritizes Charizard).
Overall, the Pokémon Trainer is simultaneously one of the most adaptable, most unpredictable, and most challenging fighters to play in Ultimate. As the only fighter that allows the player to bring three completely different characters into battle outside of modes like Squad Strike, the Trainer can enable many different playstyles depending on the player's familiarity and comfort with each of his Pokémon and its matchups. Thanks to the Pokémon Trainer's reworked mechanics and his Pokémon being buffed to varying degrees (with the most notable buffs being the removal of both the Pokémon's stamina and type effectiveness mechanics), he is universally considered to be far superior than he was in Brawl. This has been reflected by his playerbase achieving very notable results in competitive play, with the unique Pokémon Change mechanic and comparative lack of restrictions allowing for a very open-ended game plan.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Following his status as the second-lowest ranking mid tier character in Brawl, Pokémon Trainer has been buffed significantly in the transition to Ultimate. Notably, both the stamina mechanic and type effectiveness have been completely removed, and Pokémon Change has been granted high utility due to the addition of aerial switching and significantly faster Pokémon switches. As such, switches between the three Pokémon have now become a unique advantage for the Pokémon Trainer alone instead of being a major mandatory commitment, and the Pokémon are now free to fight indefinitely without being limited by Stamina during battle. In addition, Ivysaur, who was previously the worst Pokémon in the party, has been greatly buffed, and the general changes to Ultimate's mechanics greatly benefit Ivysaur and Squirtle. Each of the Trainer's Pokémon is usable as its own character, but as in Brawl, usage of all three for different situations is optimal.
Despite some noteworthy buffs, Pokémon Trainer has also received some nerfs. While the removal of type effectiveness slightly benefits Charizard and greatly benefits Ivysaur, it also greatly hinders Squirtle. Additionally, while Pokémon Change has been greatly improved, it has also received a few new disadvantages as there is now a timer which prevents switching for a couple of seconds (although there are ways to work around this) and it no longer resets stale move negation, effectively weakening the next Pokémon. Squirtle has also been considerably nerfed, and Ivysaur and Charizard have received some nerfs as well.
Nevertheless, Pokémon Trainer has become a significantly more effective character than in Brawl. Despite retaining a high learning curve, Pokémon Trainer has a great playerbase, especially compared to Brawl. While initially overshadowed by widely acknowledged top tier characters such as Peach and Lucina, players such as Wishes, Tweek, Puppeh, Pandarian, and Leffen have been able to take advantage of the Trainer's ability to use three different character archetypes in battle and Ivysaur's overall potency as a character in its own right to obtain significant results.
Unlike his Pokémon, Pokémon Trainer did not receive any buffs or nerfs via game updates. Instead, he received only a number of fixes to both minor and major glitches.
Although Pokémon Trainer is technically a fighter, he stays in the background and does not directly participate in a battle. Instead, he has a team of three Pokémon (Squirtle, Ivysaur and Charizard) that he instructs to fight in a battle. Only one Pokémon is active at once, and all three of them have different movesets and abilities.
It is possible to change which Pokémon the Pokémon Trainer starts with at the beginning of a battle. On the character select screen, Pokémon Trainer has the starting Pokémon's portrait to the upper-right of the portrait. If the Y button is pressed, or if the Pokémon's portrait is hovered over and selected, the starting Pokémon is toggled to the next one. The default Pokémon is Squirtle, who can be toggled to Ivysaur, then Charizard, and then back to Squirtle.
The three Pokémon have separate movesets and attributes. The only moves shared by the Pokémon are their down special move (Pokémon Change) and their Final Smash (Triple Finish). Pokémon Change involves the Pokémon Trainer recalling the currently active Pokémon and sending out the next one to replace it. The order that the Pokémon are changed in is the same as toggling on the character select screen: Squirtle switches to Ivysaur, Ivysaur to Charizard, and Charizard to Squirtle. Triple Finish is a combination attack in which the Pokémon Trainer temporarily brings out all three of his Pokémon to attack simultaneously. The attack boasts a large range and inflicts damage to any opponents caught in it. Once it concludes, the two inactive Pokémon are recalled.
Although he is not directly controllable, the Pokémon Trainer can be seen standing in the background of the stage, commanding the Pokémon and reacting to the Pokémon's situation. Various animations and voice lines differ for the Pokémon Trainer and his female counterpart. The Pokémon Trainer is able to move around somewhat on most stages, running toward his current Pokémon if it is far enough away, and will also turn to face the position of his Pokémon at most times. On some stages, the Pokémon Trainer stands on a special platform in the background instead of standing on a portion of the stage's background. On these stages, the Pokémon Trainer can not move around, but will still turn to face his Pokémon.
Pokémon Trainer does not appear in the background during battles with five or more players, in Squad Strike's Tag Team mode, or on Custom Stages. However, he can still be heard giving commands and the Poké Ball and its energy effects can be seen traveling towards the foreground, implying that the Pokémon Trainer is in the foreground and outside of the camera's view. This also happens in certain single player and co-op modes.
The Pokémon Trainer reacts to various situations and inputs:
Pokémon Trainer sends out the starting Pokémon from its Poké Ball while saying "Go!" and the Pokémon's name; the female Trainer winks and smiles while doing so.
Pokémon Trainer's taunt quotes in each language are:
The male Trainer can say "You all did great!" (よくやったな、みんな！, Good job, everyone!), while the female Trainer can say "Everyone did great!" (みなさんは素晴らしい！, All of you did great!). They will either say a non-specific line, or a Pokemon-specific line. In Team Battles, if there is more than two players on the winning team, the Pokémon will not be present, but this does not affect the Trainer's lines. The male and female Trainers also have variations in their own pose depending on the gender of the Trainer, similarly to the Inklings.
During Squirtle's victory poses, the male Trainer might say "Good job, Squirtle!" (よくやったな、ゼニガメ！ This translates to "Good job, Squirtle!"), while the female Trainer can say "We did it, Squirtle!" (やったね、ゼニガメ！ This translates to "We did it, Squirtle!").
During Ivysaur's victory poses, both Trainers can say "Way to go, Ivysaur!" In Japanese, the male Trainer says がんばったな、フシギソウ！, while the female Trainer says がんばったね、フシギソウ！, both of which translate to "You did great, Ivysaur!"
During Charizard's victory poses, the Pokémon Trainer might say "You did it, Charizard!" (リザードン, あなたは最高です！, This translates to "Charizard, you're the best!"), while the female Trainer can say "You're amazing, Charizard!" (すごいね、リザードン！, This translates to "Amazing, Charizard!").
In competitive play
Reception towards Pokémon Trainer has been positive ever since Ultimate's release. The changes to his infamously counter-intuitive mechanics, specifically the removal of Stamina and type effectiveness, alongside the significantly faster switch time for Pokémon Change, left players excited for the character's return from Brawl. However, players also noted that Pokémon Trainer's playstyle had some detractors due to Ivysaur being overtuned compared to its teammates, while Charizard was considered a very lackluster character, leading to optimal play requiring unbalanced use of the three Pokémon and a more predictable and exploitable game plan. Although the character initially saw average representation due to a high learning curve, players such as Leffen, Wishes, and HIKARU found success at several national tournaments.
However, as more players began learning how to utilize all three Pokémon, Pokémon Trainer saw an increase in representation. This positive trend culminated in an explosion of results during the summer of 2019 thanks to the efforts of players such as Puppeh, moxi, and most notably Tweek, who placed top 3 at several major tournaments including EVO 2019 and Super Smash Con 2019. Following this, Pokémon Trainer would then seen a decline in tourney success, due to buffs to other characters and downloadable content bringing forth a number of viable characters, however despite several of Pokémon Trainer's best players dropping him during this time, new Pokémon Trainer players such as Quidd and Atelier rose to take their place. As a result of his continued success, Pokémon Trainer is widely considered to be at least a high tier character, thanks to above-average tournament representation and overall positive community reception.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
Classic Mode: The Future Champion
Pokémon Trainer's route refers to becoming the Pokémon Champion, which is one of the primary goals in the Pokémon games. Like in Pikachu's route, the opponents are all Pokémon and all Rounds are fought on Pokémon stages. Each Round will start with the Pokémon chosen on the character select screen, regardless of which one was active at the end of the previous round.
Note: Items are disabled in every round.
Completing Classic Mode as Pokémon Trainer has Main Theme - Pokémon Red & Pokémon Blue (Brawl) accompanying the credits that roll every time the player finishes a Classic route, with the selected Pokémon playable during the credits minigame rather than the actual Trainer.
Role in World of Light
The male Pokémon Trainer was among the fighters summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, the Pokémon Trainer was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed its beams of light. Working together with Bowser and his Fire Breath, he sent out Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard in an attempt to fight back against the beams with Triple Finish, but to no avail. All four were vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the rest of the fighters (excluding Kirby).
The male Pokémon Trainer can be found at the southeast near the maze that resembles Pac-Maze. Defeating him also grants access to all of his Pokémon, as well as his female counterpart. Uniquely, the player controls the Trainer instead of his Pokémon on the overworld during World of Light.
While Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard's fighter spirits are obtained by completing Classic Mode as Pokémon Trainer, the spirits for the Trainers themselves are only available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after Pokémon Trainer has been unlocked. Unlocking Pokémon Trainer 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. Unlike most fighters, the spirits for Pokémon Trainer only use their artwork from Ultimate, rather than also having alternative artwork from a previous appearance.
Only the starting Pokémon is shown on the character selection screen; it can be changed by pressing Y or by hovering the cursor over it and selecting it. Each of Pokémon Trainer's alternate costumes references a protagonist from the first seven generations of the Pokémon games.
Fighter Showcase Video