Character Concept Creator
- Mar 23, 2012
- St. Louis, MO
"The tree branches they carry allow them to focus their powers. Staring long enough at the staff's dancing flames allows them to enter a trance state that gives them glimpses of the future."
#655 - Delphox
#655 - Delphox
"The psychic powers Delphox gains gives them total control of their fire, up to their most devastating technique:
an immense vortex of searing flame that only harms those they wish it to."
an immense vortex of searing flame that only harms those they wish it to."
Delphox is the fully evolved form of Fennekin, the Fire-type starter Pokémon from the Kalos region featured in Pokémon X and Y. A counterpart to the knight-like Chesnaught and the take-a-wild-guess-what-it's-supposed-to-be Greninja, Delphox is designed, both thematically and statistically, to be a mage. Delphox also bears a secondary Psychic type, the first Fire starter in four generations to not become part Fighting.
Even though fire is such a common element among the Smash fighters, it's still barely been explored. All of the current characters who use fire in prominent ways--Charizard, Captain Falcon, Mario, Roy--either wield it in its most basic forms to deal damage, or augment their physical attacks with it to strengthen them. They use fire as a raw, untamed force of nature.
Then you have the spellcasters: Robin and Zelda, although the Mother boys might or might not also count. Fire is just one of several elements in their repertoire, a tool for them to use when needed but not a key part of their abilities. In fact, for most of them, lightning is more prominent in their movesets!
Despite everyone who currently uses fire...there's a whole side to it that Smash has yet to do anything with. Even though fire is still very much a dangerous thing that needs to be handled properly, it can also be much more. Fire can be warm and inviting, a welcome respite to someone sitting in its glow or to a group of companions gathered around, sharing stories. Fire can be elegant, graceful, and in its own way, beautiful, from the way a candle flame dances on the end of its wick to artistic arrangements of fire to brilliant, multicolored fireworks displays (though those are much more beautiful than they are elegant, heh).
There's a lot to the element that we haven't seen yet in Smash Bros...and Delphox is the perfect character to utilize it. A calm, reserved personality and graceful movements could make her fire attacks almost seem to dance. A mastery of a wide range of Fire-typed techniques in the Pokémon games gives her a huge repertoire that allows her to do things with it no other character could dream of. Even her fire itself is extraordinary, augmented by her psychic and magic abilities, and in Smash it could burn in a rainbow of colors (derived from Mystical Fire, Delphox's signature move in the Pokémon games, which is tinted green and specifically described as being different from ordinary fire), giving her powers a distinct and visually commanding appearance in battle!
Meanwhile, have you ever noticed how few mages there are in Smash? The only true examples we have are Robin and Zelda. Ness and Lucas might or might not qualify, as previously mentioned, and Rosalina and Palutena are ambiguous themselves, but for the wide range of possibilities magic provides, Smash has surprisingly little of it so far.
Compare that to all the swordfighters we have: Link, Marth, Roy, Meta Knight, Ike, Toon Link, Mii Swordfighter, Robin (showing up again, being a Magic Knight and all), Lucina, and Shulk. Ten swordsmen (and women) compared to only two straight up spellcasters. Though there are characters that, as mentioned, are ambiguous examples, there are also two more ambiguous swordfighters since Pit and Dark Pit can separate their bows into blades! Magic is highly unexplored in comparison, and so another mage would fit right in as long as their powers were unique compared to the ones we currently have.
That is where Delphox would stand out. Though not the developers' first pick for a Pokémon from the modern games, she is still prominent as a fully evolved starter Pokémon from the newest generation, and generally well-promoted by Game Freak and liked by the fans as much as all three of Kalos' starters are. Though we have mages that use fire, they use it in a supplemental role and not a major focus. Though we have characters that use fire in major roles, they're all physical fighters, not spellcasters.
The niche of a pyromancer is wide open, and with all the ways she can utilize her powers, Delphox can play that role like no other.
And that isn't even getting into just how many forms her fire magic can take...or the psychic abilities she can supplement them with...or the more trickster-esque elements in her repertoire! The creative potential within Delphox's available powers is nearly endless and just waiting to be unlocked.
Her fire magic could serve any number of roles: powerful, long-reaching projectiles, concentrated blasts for long range sniping or to harass opponents who try to close in, long-lasting flames in the style of Arcfire that serve as traps, or even single flames or fireballs for simpler projectiles. Delphox's psychic powers can also serve multiple purposes in ways that are distinct from Mewtwo's, taking the forms of powerful mental blasts, delayed psychic flare-ups, non-damaging attacks that inflict status ailments, moves that disarm opponents or steal items from them, or even something like Calm Mind that buffs Delphox herself! There are even a handful of other techniques to pull from for a moveset, from Lucky Chant (a non-Psychic status buff the entire Fennekin line gets naturally) to the tutorable Signal Beam, Magic Coat, or Wonder Room to even the unconventional moves such as the self-strengthening Howl! And even those don't touch on the physical possibilities brought by the tree branches the species uses as staves!
By mixing and matching all the techniques she has to draw from, Delphox could fit into a number of different archetypes in Smash. She could be a projectile zoner and trapper, casting spells and setting fires to rack up damage as opponents struggle to approach her. She could be more of a hit-and-run specialist, pelting opponents with short or mid-range magic then using her mobility--a fast 104 base Speed in her home games combined with a fox's natural agility--to escape retaliation. She could even be a long range specialist, sniping her opponents with powerful projectiles from a distance then swatting them back once they get close. Or perhaps she'd be a paradigm shifter, playing it safe normally and using her spells to put her opponents in disadvantageous states from a safe distance, then rushing in to pursue them as long as she can hold the upper hand!
Delphox definitely wouldn't rely much on simple hand-to-hand blows, though. Not with some of the worst physical attack power of any starter Pokémon. But that in and of itself is a way of standing out amongst all the physical fighters!
We got Mewtwo already. Why do we need another Pokémon?
As far as the roster goes, it isn't about how many "reps" a series has or "deserves". More than anything, and especially in Smash 4, the newcomers have been compelling characters first and foremost. Pokémon has a massive amount of characters due to its 721 (and counting!) different species, and many of them have high moveset potential due to the massive array of moves (621 so far!) there are in the Pokémon games.
And even then Pokémon now has the same number of characters it had in Brawl while Super Mario gained three. Even the "reps" argument holds no water here!
Getting one or even two more Pokémon characters is possible if future DLC is extensive enough, especially since it's Nintendo's second biggest series and has so many compelling options for characters.
But there are all these other, more prominent characters! There're only so many slots left, and she'd steal one from someone more deserving!
Let's get this out of the way first: the whole "character slot" argument? Completely missing the point. No Smash development team has ever locked themselves to a specific number of character slots, and they've added and dropped characters mid-development throughout the entire series. We even saw it in Smash 4, where Lucina, Dark Pit, and Dr. Mario were upgraded from alternate costumes to clones because they had spare time!
While Sakurai has said his team won't be able to stay a team forever, we've repeatedly seen him err on the side of caution to avoid disappointing the fans. First he said he wasn't sure how much bigger Smash 4's roster would be compared to Brawl's, but we ended up with 10-12 more characters (depending on how many you view the Mii Fighters as), with four more as DLC. Speaking of DLC, he also said it wasn't on his radar...and then it was. Then he said he didn't think they'd be able to make much, but now his team is all in! He's not lying, per se, he's being defensive in case something happens, and as such we probably don't have to worry much about any limit on characters.
And while there're other characters that currently outrank Delphox in popularity while still having the same amount of potential, she still has characteristics the developers looked for in the initial newcomers: uniqueness, moveset potential, favorable characteristics, and enough prominence to be recognized by the majority of Smash fans.
If Delphox can continue to garner support, she'll still have a chance as the characters nominated the most are brought in, rejected, or put on the backburner...because unlike many of them, she has a way in through non-Ballot means.
Read on to see how.
Why Delphox specifically, then, over all the other Pokémon characters?
To be honest, this is where things get subjective. There are quite a few 'mons that would make interesting additions to Smash, and arguing one over the other is pretty difficult.
But regardless of any competition, Delphox definitely has the potential to be a fan favorite, and in a way where she'd feel true to character without resorting to the creative reaches Sakurai has shied away from before!
And with a design that's slowly grown on the fans despite not being what they expected at first, and with an increased role in promotional material showing The Pokémon Company has taken notice, Delphox has become just as worthy of being part of the discussion as Squirtle, Ivysaur, Sceptile, and so many others.
But why do we need a second 'mon from Generation 6, and a second Fire starter?
If we can have four or more from Gen 1, why not two from the most current and relevant generation? Delphox wouldn't feel anywhere near redundant compared to Charizard due to how different they are in build and in how they use their fire.
Is Delphox even popular enough to get a chance?
In short...it's enough. Character popularity isn't the sole deciding factor for making the roster (as we saw with Ridley...R.I.P.). They can't be obscure, of course, but they only need to be well known enough for the general fanbase to recognize them.
And while Delphox can't rival Greninja's popularity (Not many starters can!), all three Kalos starters have been getting plenty of recognition by fans and artists. It's more out of our hands than before not that the Smash Ballot is closed, but the possibility is there...and we have a way in that other characters don't.
Once again...read on.
But Fennekin's already a summon! Doesn't that rule Delphox out?
Not necessarily. We've never seen one member of an evolutionary line be a summon while another is playable, but we've also never seen proof that it can't happen. The situation simply hasn't happened before.
Fortnately, having Delphox playable while Fennekin remains a summon still works! Fennekin doesn't have the spellcaster motif, the Psychic affinity, or much of moveset potential the line gains as they mature, and since most Pokémon characters in Smash represent entire species, they could easily be two different characters, meaning having both appear at the same time is a non-issue!
There are many other characters--and even other Pokémon--with more of a following. As it stands, our chances trend low...or do they?
You see, unlike many others, Delphox has an outside chance of getting added as a non-Ballot character!
Do you remember how Sakurai and his team originally chose Greninja? Pokémon X and Y were still over a year away when they were deciding on potential newcomers, but since they were slotted to be released nearly a year before Smash 4 would be ready, they decided it'd be stranger for there not to be a character from a pair of games that would be recent and relevant yet still have been out for a significant amount of time. They obtained concept art, design notes, and other assets from Game Freak and The Pokémon Company, and decided from there. It was a bold move, but considering Pokémon is Nintendo's 2nd biggest series, it made sense.
...But here's the thing: There's no way Greninja was the only Gen 6 Pokémon they looked at. They wouldn't have put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. There would've been other Gen 6 'mons they considered as well, even if Greninja did end up being the one they eventually chose.
And as a starter Pokémon of the popular Fire type, the first in four generations to not become part Fighting, and intentionally designed to resemble various mages and spellcasters, a character type that is a perennial fan favorite? There's a very significant chance that Delphox was among the ones they considered!
We've seen them use some of the DLC so far to revisit characters and other concepts they cut early in development. If Delphox was among the Pokémon that were passed on in favor of Greninja...there's a chance she might've been brought back for a second chance. And from there? Maybe she's already pretty far along.
Or maybe she's on their radars, but they want to be sure she'd be worth the time they'd have to invest.
Is it a long shot? More or less. It's primarily a theory, an educated guess. What it does mean, though, is that we have a plausible reason to believe that Delphox is one of only a handful of characters that still has something to gain from a growth in support even with the Smash Ballot closed! If you're interested, then making your voice known actually can serve a purpose!