It is currently ranked number one on the tier list for solid attack power, good combo-ability, a good projectile, and undoubtedly the best recovery in SSB. All of this leads to very favourable matchups; Pikachu is one of only four characters in the entire Smash series to have no disadvantageous matchups (along with Fox, Falco and Meta Knight, and it remains the only one in the series to have no even matchups. The problems Pikachu faces are small, but still noticeable. It is easily comboed, along with the fact it is light weight, despite usually being able to get out of bad situations with its high priority attacks and being able to use its up special move to get away from opponent hits. Pikachu also has low range, especially on grabs. Its up special, despite its invincibility frames and wonderful range, leaves Pikachu vulnerable. If one can get over these small issues, Pikachu will be a huge asset.
Normal Move Analysis
- Neutral attack: Pikachu headbutts forward. 2% per pummel, can chain into itself. It has somewhat low range, the attack direction in front of Pikachu. Without proper directional influence (DI), this may break a shield against a wall.
- Forward tilt: Pika stands on its two hands and kicks its two feet forward. 10% damage. Around the same if not slightly lower range than its neutral attack. Can be slightly angled up or down, though not very noticeable.
- Down tilt: A tail sweep doing 12%, which is normally used against walls/against certain people's recoveries (Fox, Captain Falcon, Samus, etc.) Lower range than it's neutral attack, but usually forces the foe right over the ledge, setting up for an aerial finisher.
- Up tilt: Vertical Tail Lash- 9-11%, a very fun move with very high priority. can combo multiple times without the opponent escaping, simple to combo with up smash and up tilt. Easily leads into powerful neutral aerial.
- Dash attack: Sliding Headbutt- 9-12% damage. Barely used, can be used for finishing occasionally. Very laggy and predictable.
- Side smash: Thunder jolt- 14-18%, very high priority, one of the best killing moves, can be slightly aimed up/down but barely. Pika releases a short jolt of electricity from its cheeks. The electrical effect is in 2-D.
- Down smash: Break Dance- 10-16%, where the forward hit does 16, and back hit does 13. This a less used and slightly less powerful version of the side smash, so it's randomly used (mindgames). However, it is still very powerful.
- Up smash: Flip- 14-18% very powerful, similar to Falcon's but more range, slower, and with more lag, can combo multiple ones with heavy chars also using up tilt and it into aerials and down b, a good killing move, high priority
- Ledge attack: Very quickly and flip kicks. 6% damage.
- 100% ledge attack: Slowly gets up and whips it's tail. 6% damage.
- Floor attack- Swirls around with its foot extended. 6% damage.
- Neutral aerial: Aerial Kick- 9-14% a combo starter for pros, made better by Isai*, a combo starter/finisher and powerful hit box. An easily definable Sex Kick.
- Forward aerial: Aerial thunder jolt- 7 hits at a rate of 3% per hit, a combo starter or finisher. All the hits are awkward to connect, and the finishing hit isn't even that strong. The speed of the move slows as the foe is zapped.
- Back aerial: Back Kick- 11-16%. Pikachu kicks behind him, its small foot getting slightly larger for a short second. Very powerful, a combo ender/starter.
- Down aerial: downward jolt- 10-13%. Uses and general KO-ing conditions similar to Link's down aerial, only much safer to use.
- Up aerial: upward tail- A flipping upwards tail swing. Does 8-10% damage. Knockback angle depends on area of tail, a comboer as well.
- Forward throw: Pikachu grabs the foe, flips and releases them. Average throw power. 9-12% damage.
- Back throw: Pikachu puts the foe on its back and releases electricity. Very powerful. This throw would later become his forward throw in future Smash Bros. iterations. 14-18%
Special Move Analysis
Thunder Jolt is fairly unique for a projectile attack in that it hugs the ground it travels on, bouncing up and down as it moves forward (often over obstacles). When used in the air, a ball of electricity is launched that falls diagonally until it hits a solid object, where it assumes the normal arc form. Pikachu's Thunder Jolt does about 5% damage. When ball-shaped, this attack does slightly more damage. This move is also good for spamming heavy characters and fast fallers.
Quick Attack: After a short delay, Pikachu moves in a straight line in the direction in which the player's control stick is tilted, or upwards if it is not tilted. A tilt of the control stick in a different direction will cause another, similar burst. The high speed of this move renders Pikachu nearly invulnerable, but it is exposed at the beginning, middle, and end moments, when it briefly holds still. Quick Attack requires much practice before players can effectively take advantage of its two-direction functionality.
This attack deals no damage (making it the only special move in the game that cannot affect the enemy). However, it is one of the best recoveries overall. Pikachu is notable for having one of the most diverse recoveries as well. Pikachu has multiple invincibility frames during the beginning and middle. It is possible to attack Pikachu only before and after the bursts. Because of this, Pikachu can ledge-stall indefinitely. The range of this move also allows Pikachu to go far out from the edge to edgeguard. It is also possible to travel with almost no change in direction between bursts. Pikachu can alternate between taunts and Quick Attack, each canceling the other. Finally, it can be used to escape situations.
Thunder: When used, the Pokémon yells as a bolt of lightning drops from the sky, striking the user if its horizontal momentum has not carried it out of the way (and if there is no platform in the way). Upon hitting the user a large shockwave is created with stronger knockback than the lightning itself. The user can act quicker if they are not stuck. This move has seemingly-infinite vertical range and thus can be used to score KO's when an opponent is near the upper blast line. This is called thunderspiking, and can lead to much lower damage kills. As a result, Pikachu players try to integrate it into their combos as often as they can, typically after an up smash. Though the move is powerful, it has considerable ending lag.
An interesting property of this is that if this attack connects with Pikachu in mid-air, Pikachu will bounce upwards a bit. Due to its startup time, it won't aid much in recovery, but is useful to guard break, especially against spikers. If used near the edge of a stage, the Thunder can create a wall of electricity to prevent a recovering opponent (especially if Thunder Jolts are sent out beforehand), best if they try to go for the ledge.
Extended Quick Attack
Pikachu's already long up special move can be extended even farther by letting the analog stick snap back to neutral position before the end of the second quick attack. This could also be used on the first quick attack but runs a high risk of missing the second quick attack.
Launching the opponent straight up (usually with an up smash) and using Thunder (down special move) is called "Thunder-Spiking." Thunder-Spiking is usually used as a combo finisher. Unlike Pikachu's Thunder in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Thunder in Super Smash Bros. has infinite vertical range. This technique allows Pikachu to get a vertical kill at around 40% damage sooner than an ordinary up smash.