Squirtle (ゼニガメ, Zenigame) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. It is part of Pokémon Trainer's rotation along with Ivysaur and Charizard. Along with the Pokémon Trainer, Squirtle is classified as Fighter #33.
Squirtle is the smallest and lightest out of the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon, with it being tied with Mr. Game & Watch for the 3rd-lightest character in the game. Squirtle's small size makes it a hard target to hit, but also gives its attacks (with the exception of its smash attacks) poor range. Squirtle has decent mobility overall, with average dashing and air speeds, a fast walking speed, very high air acceleration (the eighth highest), high gravity and high jump height, but a below-average falling speed and low traction. Squirtle also has the ability to crawl and wall cling.
One of Squirtle's strengths is its excellent frame data, as all of its attacks outside of its smash attacks come out before frame 10 and generally have low ending lag, also giving it a very strong combo game when combined with the low knockback on some of its moves. Starting with its normal ground moves, the first hit of its neutral attack comes out on frame 2; making it useful as a "get off me" option. Forward tilt is one of its most useful tools; the move's low end lag makes it safe on shields, can lead into grabs at lower percentages, and can set up jab locks or tech chases at higher percentages. Up tilt can combo into itself and set up aerial combos. Down tilt, while slower compared to its other moves (coming out at frame 8), has a bit more range and can be useful in 2-framing opponents. Finally, its dash attack can be used to set up some combos at low to mid percentages due to its low lag and Squirtle's aforementioned frame data.
Squirtle's smash attacks are generally much slower compared to its other moves, but compensate with range and power. The start-up for forward smash is high but the end lag is low, has high knockback (being the strongest of its three smash attacks), and can be used to finish off a jab lock combo. Its up smash comes out slightly faster than forward smash, hits on both sides simultaneously, and covers a decent area above it. Finally, its down smash is its fastest smash attack and has good range overall, making it effective as an out of shield option.
Squirtle possesses a strong aerial game. As one of the only few characters in Ultimate whose all five aerials can be auto-canceled in a short hop, Squirtle has multiple options while in the air. Neutral aerial has very fast startup for a neutral aerial at 4 frames while it can also KO at very high percentages near edges, making it an effective for disrupting combos. Forward and back aerials are good for combos, with the former being good for wall of pain combos, while the latter can set up dragdown combos. Due to Squirtle's above average jump height, up aerial is a very effective juggling tool, while the move has among the lowest landing lag of any aerial attack, at 6 frames, furthering its juggling abilities. Its down aerial is a good landing option that can set up combos at low percentages. To cap, all of its aerial attacks have at most 18 frames of landing lag, making them solid air-to-ground options.
Squirtle also has a very effective grab game. Despite its below average grab length and unimpressive damage outputs on its throws, they all have utility. Its forward throw is very effective for edgeguarding and is strong enough to KO at around 160% with no rage. Back throw is a strong KO throw, being one of the strongest in Ultimate, while its up and down throws are potent combo starters. Its pummel, while relatively weak, is decently fast and easily builds up damage.
Finally, when it comes to Squirtle's special moves, its neutral special, Water Gun functions similarly to Mario's down special. Being a move a pushes away opponents without making them flinch. The longer the move is charged, the higher the push back, making it a useful tool for edge guarding. Its side special, Withdraw, has Squirtle retreat in its shell and move across the stage at high speeds. It is immune to damage while using this move, which can be used as an approaching tool. Finally, its up special, Waterfall, is a multi-hitting move that covers a decent distance, and is useful for ending combos.
However, Squirtle does have some weaknesses. Squirtle's overall damage output is poor, and outside of its smash attacks (which are slow) and its back throw (which can have trouble killing away from the ledge), Squirtle lacks any fast KO options, especially since some of its previous KO options (such as forward aerial and down throw) were weakened, while neutral, forward and back aerials need edgeguarding to KO, up aerial can only do so near the upper blast line and along with forward throw, they require rage to KO on their own, so Squirtle can sometimes depend on edgeguarding to score KOs. Squirtle also lacks reliable KO combos as well, making it very difficult for it to close out stocks on its own. Squirtle's light weight and unimpressive recovery also make its endurance very poor, and it is no longer resistant to fire attacks due to the removal of type effectiveness, further hindering Squirtle's endurance in certain matchups. As previously mentioned, Squirtle has poor range throughout its attacks (save for its smash attacks), and it lacks a damaging projectile, making it very easy for Squirtle to be out-spaced by characters with superior range.
Squirtle's offstage game is also poor. While all of its aerial attacks can autocancel in a short hop, they are all very weak (barring neutral aerial) and do not KO reliably on their own, and lack range compared to other aerials. This flaw is further pronounced with the changes to meteor canceling due to Squirtle's very light weight and fast falling speed, while it lacks a meteor smash of any kind unlike Ivysaur and Charizard. Finally, while Withdraw works well as a recovery option, 50/50 option and mindgame tool, it has a unique flaw: if Squirtle is footstooled during the move's animation, it will be left unable to input any actions for 120 seconds, leaving it extremely vulnerable both in the air and on the ground, requiring caution when using the move.
Overall, Squirtle should mainly be used to quickly rack up damage with its strong combo game while it and its opponents are at lower percents, and Squirtle should be swapped out with Ivysaur or Charizard to close out the opponent's stock and to survive for longer.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Squirtle was previously considered the strongest party member of the Pokémon Trainer's team in Brawl, due to a combination of its quick mobility, fast attacks, and excellent aerial game, which made it a potentially viable contender in competitive play. In the transition to Ultimate, Squirtle has received a mix of buffs and nerfs, but it's unclear if it was buffed or nerfed overall. Unlike the other party Pokémon, a large part of its moveset has been altered as well, receiving several new moves.
Squirtle benefits significantly from the transition from Brawl to Ultimate and the new mechanics, like weakening of hitstun canceling, increased shieldstun and the universally decreased landing lag, with its up tilt, up and down throws, and all aerial attacks having increased combo potential at a wide range of percents, and its fast frame data has been retained and improved, with reduced ending lag in several attacks; this turns Squirtle into a heavily combo-based character, much like Mario and Sheik. Some of its KO options have been improved as well, with its new forward and down smashes having increased range with much lower ending lag, and the former, along with its new back throw having increased knockback. Squirtle's specials are all more effective for punishes and stage control, as Water Gun has less ending lag with a substantially increased push force, Withdraw travels faster and is much stronger on hit, and Waterfall connects much more reliably and has increased knockback. The removal of the Stamina mechanic also eliminates Squirtle's biggest limiting factor from Brawl, as it can now stay in battle for as long as the player wishes with no penalty, provided it is not KO'd. Lastly, like afromentioned, the general mechanic changes to Ultimate heavily benefit Squirtle, as in addition to the weakened hitstun canceling, it is no longer vulnerable to chain grabs or aerial grab release combos, and the increased shieldstun makes several of its attacks safer on shield, most notably its forward tilt and new smash attacks.
However, Squirtle has received some major nerfs. While its grounded movement is technically much faster, it has lost its multiple unique advanced techniques, such as DACUS and most notably shellshifting (due to the change to its turnaround animation), hindering its versatility. Squirtle's excellent aerial mobility has also been toned down (especially when relative to the cast), as unlike most returning veterans, its air speed and air acceleration have been reduced, going from among the highest in Brawl to merely average in Ultimate. Additionally, while Squirtle's neutral aerial, forward smash, and down smash have more range, the majority of its other attacks have less range, namely its neutral attack, all tilts, dash attack, all other aerials except back aerial, grabs, and Waterfall, requiring it to take better advantage of its mobility to land them. Squirtle's overall damage output and knockback are lower, especially in moves such as its forward aerial, up aerial, and throws except forward and back throws (especially down throw, which is no longer one of the strongest in the game), thus losing some of its KO options, while its improved ones remain generally hard to land; as a result, Squirtle mantains a glaring weakness in its lack of KO potential, and now heavily depends on exploiting its greater combo ability and speedy attacks to rack up damage and bring opponents to KO percents. Lastly, the removal of type effectiveness hinders Squirtle more than the rest of its party, greatly worsening its survivability in certain matchups, as it previously had a disproportionate resistance to flame attacks compared to the other Pokémon's respective weaknesses.
Overall, Squirtle's combo game has been improved drastically, giving it an excellent damage racking ability, but its main weaknesses, including its poor range and KO power, have been further exacerbated, resulting in Squirtle being retooled to fit more in line with the speedy, combo-centric playstyle it used to represent in the Pokémon Trainer's team. As of now, it is exactly unknown how Squirtle fares on its own compared to the rest of the cast, although it is generally agreed upon that it is no longer the Pokémon Trainer's best Pokémon by a large margin.
Throws and other attacks
For a gallery of Squirtle's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
During Squirtle's victory poses, the Pokémon Trainer says randomly either "You all did great!" (male)/"Everyone did great!" (female) or "Good job, Squirtle!" (よくやったな、ゼニガメ！), while the female Trainer can say "We did it, Squirtle!" (やったね、ゼニガメ！).
Role in World of Light
Squirtle was sent out by Pokémon Trainer, along with Ivysaur and Charizard, shortly before Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Under Pokémon Trainer's command, Squirtle used Water Gun in an attempt to fight the beams of light, but this attempt failed. Pokémon Trainer, Squirtle, Ivysaur and Charizard were all vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the other fighters, excluding Kirby.
Pokémon Trainer can be found at the southeast near the maze that resembles Pac-Maze. Defeating him allows access to all three Pokémon.
Squirtle's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Squirtle in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion