|“||Pichu is back after 17 years! Pichu's electric attacks have greater range and do more damage than its other attack types – but they also damage Pichu.||”|
|—Description from the Super Smash Blog.|
Pichu is a veteran fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, first playable in Super Smash Bros. Melee. It was confirmed to return on June 12, 2018 during E3 2018. It remains relatively unchanged from Melee, some of its attacks still cause itself damage.
When unlocked, it is fought at Pokémon Stadium 2.
How to unlock:
Complete one of the following:
- Play VS. matches, with Pichu being the 34th character to be unlocked.
- Clear Classic Mode with Mr. Game & Watch or any character in Pikachu's unlock tree, being the last character unlocked after Mr. Game & Watch.
- Have Pichu join the player's party in World of Light.
- Very effective at dodging attacks.
- One of the smallest hurtboxes in the game.
- Fast running speed.
- Agility is one of the fastest up specials in the game and is directional.
- One of the weakest characters in terms of endurance.
- Much like in Melee, his special attacks still hurt itself.
- During his electrical attacks, it will cause recoil damage.
- Most lightweighted character in the game, which makes him very easy to KO.
- Agility does not damage opponents.
Pichu is a character of extremes. As a clone of Pikachu, many of its attributes are similar, such as its even smaller size and quick mobility, though with a few noticeable differences. Pichu is the lightest character in the game, has fast walking and above average dashing speeds with average traction, above average jumping force, average air speed but being tied for the ninth highest air acceleration, and fast falling speed while being tied for the fifth highest gravity. However, it has the lowest fast fall multiplier in the game, causing its fast-falling speed to be average. Overall, these attributes give Pichu a slightly slower grounded approach than Pikachu, make its aerials not autocancel as easily and makes it more vulnerable to combos, but also gives it a much faster ground-to-air and air-to-ground approach, making its mobility as reliable as Pikachu's own.
The primary difference between Pichu and Pikachu is the former's recoil damage on its electricity-based attacks. All of Pichu's attacks with an electric effect (forward tilt, forward and down smash attacks, forward, back and down aerials, forward throw, and all special moves except Thunder if the lightning bolt doesn't strike Pichu) deal recoil damage to itself, which makes it less feasible for Pichu to overuse these attacks. To compensate for this, many of Pichu's electric attacks have either increased damage, knockback (in some cases both), or versatility. This makes it less feasible for Pichu to overuse these attacks in situations that would require their use for best results, as it could put it in a spot where the opponent may even KO Pichu with a strong enough move. Conversely, it increases the reward Pichu would receive if it can land said moves, and due to these moves increasing Pichu's percentage, this means Pichu can make effective use of rage to KO an opponent with more ease, provided it can survive long enough.
Much like Pikachu, all of Pichu's moveset aspects are solid overall, possessing very fast frame data overall and great utility throughout its moveset. An example of this is its incredibly capable aerial game. Neutral aerial is Pichu's fastest out of shield option, on top of not having much ending or landing lag, making it a viable edgeguarding option. Forward aerial deals the highest damage of Pichu's aerials and has very strong combo potential, while only having decent recoil damage. Up aerial, while being Pichu's least damaging aerial, also retains very strong vertical combo capabilities. Down aerial is Pichu's main move to meteor smash, and the late hit also lasts for a long while, making it another great edgeguarding tool, while also having only decent recoil damage. Finally, back aerial deals less damage than forward aerial, but is also Pichu's strongest aerial, a very good edgeguarding tool, only has decent recoil damage like its forward and down aerials, and plays a major component on Pichu's looping combos; by repeatedly performing a full jump while using a back aerial and comboing into a tilt attack (most notably up tilt) to repeat the process, Pichu can zero-to-death combo the opponent, though the timing for each move is very strict.
Pichu's main (but not sole) ways to set up the opponent into its strong aerial game consist of its up and down tilts, and up and down throws: both tilts are excellent combo starters, with down tilt even comboing into aerials at very high percentages, while up and down throw allow Pichu to pummel the opponent for more damage due to them being followed up from a grab; up throw is also infamous for comboing into Thunder for a reliable KO set-up. This gives Pichu a strong combo game, with many ways to start, extend or end combos much like Pikachu, though due to its moves' nature, Pichu's combo game is usually shorter-lived in exchange for raw damage.
Aside from its up and down tilts, in regards to its grounded game, it also has some interesting and useful options: forward tilt trips opponents at low percentages, can 2-frame, and has above average power at high percentages, making it a very useful set-up tool. Forward smash has the highest power of its standard moveset, lasts for a long while and, due to its multi-hit nature, can KO at an even lower percentage. Up smash is a decent anti-air that leaves Pichu's ears intangible, though it lacks in power. On the other hand, Pichu's neutral attack is mainly used for locking opponents due to its very weak knockback, and dash attack's is mostly used as a fast punish option and its low power can actually allow it to combo, though it can be risky. Its grab game is also decent - while its grabs are short-ranged, they are very fast and have the lowest ending lag in the game. As mentioned above, up and down throws have useful combo potential, with down throw usually reserved for horizontal combos, whereas up throw leads into vertical combos and can lead into Thunder as a KO set-up. Meanwhile, forward throw is Pichu's strongest throw, barely KOing at realistic percentages near the edge, which makes it a passable kill throw.
Pichu's special moveset is also varied and versatile. Thunder Jolt is a useful projectile that can reliably pressure an opponent's shield, on top of dealing low knockback and high damage (especially if started in the air). Its low ending lag also allows it to set-up into Pichu's moves if it lands during its last frames of activity. Thunder is Pichu's other projectile, though the lightning bolt itself doesn't deal much damage. As such, its primary purpose is to use the cloud's meteor smash properties to combo opponents into the shockwave part of the move when the bolt strikes Pichu - this deals the most damage to Pichu out of all its moves if this happens, so it should be used sparingly. Skull Bash and Agility serve as Pichu's recovery moves, and give it an amazing, long-distanced and unpredictable recovery - of the two, Agility deals high recoil damage if both dashes are used, but nevertheless travels an incredibly long distance and is very unpredictable due to each dash being able to be inputted in multiple directions, potentially making Pichu very hard to properly edgeguard or 2-frame. Skull Bash, on the other hand, is mostly used to extend Pichu's recovery, but it also ties in as part of Pichu's "glass cannon" playstyle as it can be charged; unlike Pikachu's own version, Pichu's fully charged Skull Bash deals immense knockback when fully charged, this being Pichu's strongest option out of a shield break.
Thanks to Pichu's attributes, one of its key strengths is its playstyle versatility - depending on the situation, it can make use of its moveset to adapt and play accordingly. Pichu's great mobility, compact size and useful projectile give it an impressive neutral game and make it slippery, allowing it to play defensively, by virtue of using a bait-and-punish oriented playstyle that allows it to avoid the opponent's attacks and gradually poke at them or outright break through their offense. However, if the situation arises, Pichu can nevertheless play very aggressively, as it also has one of the best advantage states in the game by virtue of its raw damage, excellent frame data and impressive combo ability, allowing it to pressure the opponent into commiting and retaliating accordingly, and almost all of its aerials have some sort of edgeguarding potential, which can quickly lead into a lost stock.
In spite of these strengths, Pichu still has a myriad of critical flaws, some of which are shared with Pikachu, but much more pronounced; the most notable of these is its immense frailty. While its offstage survivability is incredible thanks to its recovery's long distance and unpredictability, it has an awful survivability overall due to its ludicrously low weight, resulting in it being very easily KO'd off of a stray hit as long as the move is decently strong, and the existence of rage further pronounces this issue. Its very fast falling speed and gravity also leave it pretty vulnerable to combos (although its neutral air can remedy this issue), meaning that Pichu can also be easily put in KO percentage from one or two combos. Adding insult to injury, the recoil damage Pichu suffers from using its electric attacks can rack up very quickly if it overuses said moves, which is a flaw no other character has at the level of Pichu (some characters have only one move that can deal recoil damage), and can potentially throw it into a much more devastating position if it happens. As a result of all these issues, in spite of its excellent recovery and great mobility, Pichu's disadvantage state is poor, and if Pichu isn't able to KO the opponent, they can easily turn the tables on it, which can easily and quickly lead to a lost stock just as Pichu can potentially and quickly end one.
Another of Pichu's most notable flaws is that while its very small size results in it being slippery, it also results it in having deceptively short range (much shorter than Pikachu), requiring it to be pretty close to the opponent in order to rack up damage, which can be risky. Pichu's mobility, very quick frame data and useful projectile in Thunder Jolt can help remedy this, but the prevalence of many characters with faster mobility and/or disjoints can still give it trouble at approaching, and Thunder Jolt's recoil damage makes it unfeasible for Pichu to keep the opponent away for too much, forcing it to approach and further exacerbating its range issues, despite its reliable moveset. Furthermore, despite its moveset's higher consistency in regards to power, Pichu's range issues mean it can often have difficulty landing its otherwise powerful KO moves and set-ups, as the former aren't disjointed (with the sole exception, forward smash, still having short range), and the latter are very limited, possessing only up throw to Thunder at mid-high and high percentages, and down tilt to down aerial near the edge at mid-percentages. Pichu's edgeguarding ability, while respectable, pales in comparison to Pikachu's due to its attributes resulting in Pichu not having as much air time as Pikachu can, though this is slightly mitigated by its moves' stronger knockback.
Lastly, although its moveset is versatile, a few of Pichu's attacks still lack some notable kind of utility. Down smash, although covering on both sides of Pichu, has unremarkable range, deals recoil damage and unlike Pikachu, sends at a disappointing angle for KOing, with its higher power compared to Pikachu failing to compensate. Forward throw can have difficulty at KOing the opponent at realistic percentages due to the fact Pichu will usually find itself using it to set-up an edgeguard, whereas back throw's sole purpose is shared with forward throw.
Overall, like Pikachu, Pichu is best described as a quintessential glass cannon but sacrifices weight and attack range for more power and speed. While Pikachu can control the neutral game more aggressively and has more flexibility in its combos, Pichu is able to function in a variety of playstyles that range from a defensive, bait-and-punish oriented playstyle to a more aggressive, rushdown oriented one whenever it is needed. However, Pichu's atrocious endurance and recoil damage means that an aware opponent can dominate Pichu just as easily as it can also dominate the opponent. While both characters have similar playstyles, they differ significantly in execution, as Pichu's recoil damage requires the player to make very mindful use of their resources at hand. Regardless, Pichu's pros notably outweigh its cons, and even after the nerfs it received in game updates, Pichu is considered a very solid character in competitive play, with a dedicated playerbase consisting of players such as Nietono, VoiD, RFang, NAKAT, and Blacktwins, and it has amassed some strong tournament results in tournament play.
Changes from Melee
Since its absence from previous installments, Pichu was infamous for being by far the worst clone character in Melee due to its status as an intentional "joke character", largely due to its very low weight, recoil damage and vulnerability to chain grabbing, giving it among the worst matchups in the game and leading to its bottom-tier placement and low tournament representation. Most likely as a result of this, Pichu has been drastically buffed in its transition from Melee to Ultimate, and is arguably the most buffed character in the transition.
Pichu benefits slightly from the implementation of rage, as its electrical attacks can now slowly increase its knockback with the recoil damage it receives from them, and can potentially allow it to escape certain kill confirms that would otherwise KO it. Pichu's recoil damage itself has been somewhat toned down from Melee, making its electrical attacks less of a detriment to use. Its mobility has overall improved as well, as its walking, dashing and air speeds have increased, and its air acceleration has increased substantially. It can also crawl now, enabling Pichu to approach more easily while being able to dodge certain projectiles. Pichu also benefits from the weakening of SDI, as its multi-hit attacks are much more reliable. On another note, while its endurance is still the worst in the game as it is lighter than even Jigglypuff, its weight was nevertheless increased, allowing it to survive a little bit longer.
Despite the many buffs it received, Pichu also received a few nerfs. Some of Pichu's strongest kill options, such as its forward and up smashes, have been significantly weakened in terms of knockback, while its neutral aerial, previously considered by many to be its best move, has also been weakened in both its damage output and knockback. Pichu can also no longer chaingrab with its up throw, greatly reducing its damage-racking potential against fast-fallers. Pichu's own falling speed has not changed since Melee while its gravity has been increased, making it a fast-faller. Pichu's grounded attacks are also less effective for edgeguarding, as its down tilt, down smash and dash attack now send opponents at a much higher angle. Lastly, more of Pichu's moves (most notably its forward tilt and back aerial) use electricity, meaning that more of its moves cause recoil damage. Additionally, unlike other characters, its jumpsquat duration remains the same, while all other characters are now on par with its jumpsquat animation time of 3 frames.
Additionally, all of Pichu's buffs failed to remove some of its glaring weaknesses, with the biggest being its fragility. While taking recoil damage allows Pichu to build up rage more easily compared to other fighters, it allows Pichu to be KOed even more quickly. This is further compounded with Pichu being the lightest character in the game and possessing low falling speed. Finally, despite having a small hurtbox, Pichu is also relatively easy to combo due to its low falling speed.
Overall, Pichu's buffs greatly outweigh its nerfs. It is no longer an intentional "joke character" like in Melee; instead, it is now a very polarized glass cannon, akin to a min-maxed version of Pikachu. It has a stronger punish and edgeguarding game, but worse survivability, less range on average, a less reliable recovery and more committal options. This has led to Pichu achieving very strong results and representation during the early metagame of Ultimate, which has lead to many players viewing it as a top-tier character. In more recent times, however, due to earlier patches granting it nerfs, players such as VoiD, Nietono, RFang and NAKAT, while still placing highly at top-level tournaments, they have failed to match the same level of success that pre-patch Pichu obtained. Nevertheless, Pichu has drastically improved compared to Melee and still boasts an excellent tournament presence.
- Pichu's appearance has been updated to match its appearance in the more recent games in the Pokémon franchise.
- Pichu's still harms himself when performing electrical moves; however this self-damage has been reduced compared to Melee.
- Its down tilt now has an electric effect on the opponents it hits.
Grabs and Throws
- As Pichu was absent since Super Smash Bros. Brawl, its final smash is now Volt Tackle, and its effects are similar to Pikachu's: except Pichu does injure itself when performing the move (10%).
- Agility now can move in only two directions. (it also has an arrow pointing toward the direction he's going)
- Neutral Attack: Pichu delivers a quick headbutt.
- Forward Tilt: Pichu stands on both feet and kicks both feet forward. Has an electric effect that causes recoil damage.
- Up Tilt: Pichu crouches and whips its tail in an arc over its body.
- Down Tilt: Pichu spins around on the ground and attacks with its tail.
- Dash Attack: Pichu leaps forward to attack enemies with a headbutt.
- Forward Smash: Pichu leans forward and shocks the opponent with a jolt of electricity from its cheeks.
- Up Smash: Pichu attacks with an upwards headbutt.
- Down Smash: Pichu quickly spins in place.
- Floor Attack (Front): Pichu attacks with a headbutt on both sides while getting up.
- Floor Attack (Back): Pichu delivers a sweepkick attack that hits on both sides.
- Floor Attack (Trip):
- Ledge Attack:
- Neutral aerial: Pichu curls up and somersaults in the air.
- Forward aerial: Pichu spirals forwards while emitting sparks from its cheeks.
- Back aerial: Pichu spins horizontally multiple times in the air.
- Up aerial: Pichu strikes upwards with its tail while doing a flip.
- Down aerial: Pichu spirals towards the ground while emitting electricity from its cheeks.
Grabs and Throws
- Pummel: Pichu shocks the opponent with electricity.
- Forward Throw: Pichu places the opponent on its back and electrocutes them before launching them away.
- Back Throw: Pichu flips backwards and performs multiple somersaults before launching the opponent away.
- Up Throw: Pichu throws the opponent upward and attacks with a headbutt.
- Down Throw: Pichu drops the opponent onto the ground and jumps on top of them.
|Pichu's Special Moves|
|Standard Special||Thunder Jolt|
|Side Special||Skull Bash|
|Final Smash||—||Volt Tackle|
- Up Taunt: Pichu tries charging up an electrical attack but ends up feeling dizzy.
- Down Taunt: Pichu cuddles up on the ground and says its name.
- Side Taunt: Pichu hops in the air waving its arms and shouting its name.
- Appears from a Pokéball, jumps up, and says it's name.
- It looks to its left and right.
- It looks at its tail.
- Excitedly jumps up and down while spinning, says it's name, and ends holding up it's hand.
- Electrically shocks itself, fell and gets up, says it's name, winks and smiles.
- Jumps up and down 3 times, with the third jump being the highest, says it's name, and poses.
In competitive play
In contrast to its Melee counterpart, where he is considered one of the worst characters in the game, Pichu was commonly viewed as one of, if not, the best characters in the game in the early metagame. This is due to its small size and powerful KO moves, which included back air, Thunder, and its infamous forward tilt. These strengths allowed Pichu to have a strong player base, with players such as VoiD, NAKAT, Nietono, and Captain L performing spectacularly on a national level.
However, patch 3.1.0 increased its size and nerfed the power of its forward tilt, while increasing the amount of recoil on some of its moves. In addition to more people learning how to play the matchup, many players considered Pichu to be inferior to its clone Pikachu, and as a result its results declined, with several of its best players either dropping the character (Captain L) or relegating it to either a co-main or secondary (VoiD). Although future patches reverted some of the nerfs, it failed to change most player's opinions on the character; with continuously declining results both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, most people currently view Pichu as a mid-tier character. Nevertheless, Pichu is considered significantly more viable than its previous iteration.
Classic Mode: Lightweight Fracas
Pichu fights against opponents that are lightweights like itself, on stages that take place in the sky.
Role in World of Light
Although Pichu has been absent from the World of Light opening cutscene, it was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
To access Pichu, the player must enter the Power Plant sub-area and reach it on a platform with the use of two Zapfish, where it can then be challenged and recruited.
- Pichu and Young Link share the longest gap between playable appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series, with seventeen years between Melee and Ultimate.
- One of the poses Pichu strikes in its new taunt resembles its trophy from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
- Pichu is the only veteran previously cut from SSB4 to be absent from the full group artwork version of the box cover.