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Generating A Win: An Electrifying Guide to Pikachu

KayLo!

Smarter than your average wabbit.
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Generating A Win: An Electrifying Guide to Pikachu
Note: This guide is VERY outdated. The basics are still useful, but the metagame has changed, and new techniques have been discovered since this was created.

Welcome, fellow Pikas, to Generating A Win, the new SWF character guide for Pikachu. Written and edited by members of the PBR as a collaborative effort, this guide will cover the basic and advanced aspects of playing Pikachu at a competitive level in Brawl. Whether you're new to Pika or fairly experienced, there's guaranteed to be something here for everyone!

Enjoy. :)

RECENT UPDATES:
04.11.09 - Minor wording & formatting changes; added Fino to Credits section; removed boost grabbing; added Z drop > aerial pickup to Minor Techs; added that Skull Bash & tjolt may trip; added when to use fsmash for spacing vs. killing, courtesy of Gallax; added new CG information
03.12.09 - Guide posted! Hooray! Working on getting more pictures; clarified behavior of pikmin vs. tjolt

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
*To skip to a section, Ctrl + F and search for its 4-letter code. For sections mentioned multiple times, you may need to skip forward a little bit.
I. I Choose You, Pikachu! [ARAT]
A Little Background Info [BGNF]​
Pikachu in Super Smash Bros. Brawl [BPKA]​
Why Choose Pikachu? [WHAI]​
Strengths & Weaknesses [PRCN]​
II. Move Analysis [MVAN]

III. Offensive Maneuvers [OFSV]
Approaching [APRH]​
Combos & Pseudo-Combos [CMBO]​
Juggling [JGLG]​
Getting the Kill [GTKO]​
Edgeguarding/Gimping [EDGP]​
Tech Chasing [TCCH]​
IV. Defensive Maneuvers [DFSV]
Spacing & Stage Control [STCN]​
It's Not Camping, It's "Projectile Spacing" [CMPG]​
Baiting & Punishing [BTPN]​
Evasion Tactics [EVSN]​
V. You Must Recover! [RCVR]
DI & Momentum Canceling [DIMC]​
Returning to the Stage [RTRN]​
VI. Past the Basics: Advanced Techniques for Pika [ADVT]
Quick Attack Techs [QATC]​
Advanced Grab Game [GRBG]​
Jab Lock & the 0-Death Combo [JBLK]​
Glide Tossing [GLDT]​
Minor Techniques [MNTC]​
VII. Stage-Specific Shenanigans [STGE]

VIII. Pikachu's Got Mindgamez [MNDG]
General Mindgames [GENM]​
Advanced Movement Techniques [ADVM]​
Playing with Thunder [THND]​
Annoying Your Opponent [ANNY]​
Pika Pikaa~aa! (a.k.a. Taunting) [PKAA]​
IX. Frequently Asked Questions [PFQS]

X. Navigating the Pikachu Boards [NAVG]

XI. Credits [CRDT]

I Choose You, Pikachu! [ARAT]
A Little Background Info [BGNF]

Known worldwide as the popular mascot of the Pokémon franchise, Pikachu has been a starter character in the Super Smash Bros. series since the original 64 version. He made his 1996 video game debut in Japan in Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green, but his rise to fame really began when he starred as the protagonist's very first pokémon in Pokémon Yellow Version (or, in Japan, Pocket Monsters Pikachu) for the Game Boy handheld console. Since then Pikachu has been featured heavily in various anime, manga, advertisements, and video game spin-offs of the main Pokémon series, solidifying his place as the most easily recognizable pokémon of all 493.

Pikachu holds the 25th spot in the National Pokédex, classified as the Mouse Pokémon and having purely electric typing. As a species, Pikachu are characterized by their rodent-like appearance, large black-tipped ears, and lightning-bolt shaped tails (in which females have a small dent). On both cheeks they have red sacs that can discharge electricity at their will, a talent used mainly for battle but that has also been observed in more domestic uses such as roasting berries. They live in the forest and travel in packs, occasionally roaming into areas populated by humans due to their attraction to electrical structures and appliances. When many Pikachu gather, they have the ability to create brief, localized thunderstorms.

Pikachu in Super Smash Bros. Brawl [BPKA]

Much like past Smash Bros. games, Pikachu's playstyle revolves around his speed. His ability to pressure opponents and then quickly retreat lends itself well to hit-and-run tactics, but his unique projectiles, chaingrabs, variety of combos, and Quick Attack Cancel make him a versatile character that can be played in many different ways. Although there are basics to playing Pika, rarely will you find two players who use him in the exact same way.

Pika is one of the few characters in Brawl who has true combos on almost the entire cast as well as chaingrabs on heavies and fastfallers. His range is generally pretty short, but many of his moves come out with little startup lag and have deceptively good priority. For long-range combat, he's covered by two excellent projectiles: thunderjolt and his trademark move thunder. His light weight and small shield mean that staying alive can often be a problem against heavy hitters, but reasonably good aerial movement and fast running speed mean that with proper DI and momentum canceling, Pikachu can usually avoid taking damage and survive until at least the mid-100's.

Edgeguarding has become much easier for Pikachu on the journey from Melee to Brawl. His unique recovery and huge sweetspot on the ledge from Quick Attack allow him to get back to the stage from virtually anywhere, and wavebounced thunders can create an impenetrable wall from the top of the stage screen to the bottom. Super sexy.

Although Pikachu has a few bad matchups, for the most part he goes neutral with the majority of the cast. That being said, he has the tools to defeat any other character (i.e., he has no matchups where he gets completely ***** beyond hope), so with enough skill, creativity, and experience, your Pikachu will rarely have anything to fear.

Why Choose Pikachu? [WHAI]

Besides the fact that he's much cuter than every other character on the roster, there are many reasons to choose Pikachu as your main in Brawl. He's a well-rounded character that has very few major flaws in his game, and any weak points he does have can usually be worked around with enough ingenuity on the part of the player. Even in his worst matchups, he has the potential to win if played correctly.

Pikachu has a moderately high learning curve due to his many combos and pseudo-advanced techniques (wavebounced thunder, QAC, jab locking, etc.), which may discourage players who prefer characters they can pick up and use successfully with little practice. However, for the price you pay in taking the time to learn him, in return you will find that Pika is a dynamic character whose versatile movement options and unique projectiles allow you to really get creative on the playing field. There are so many ways to play him: defensively, aggressively, hit-and-run, campy.... the list goes on, but the moral of the story is that Pikachu is just plain fun to play. If you aren't having fun, there is always something new to try.

Strengths & Weaknesses [PRCN]

Like any character, as much as we love him, Pikachu isn't perfect. He has his pros and cons, and in order to play him well, the player must be aware of them so that they can emphasize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses.

Pika's Strengths:
- Good running speed
- Small size = small target
- Can combo well
- Good grab game
- Good aerials
- Excellent recovery
- Has two great projectiles
- Can effectively edgeguard and/or gimp most characters
- Diverse movement options
- Duck/crawl are somewhat useful
- Very good at annoying the opponent
- Most attacks have little lag
- Has an adorable face
Pika's Weaknesses:
- Light weight
- Small size = small shield
- Short range on most attacks (and short-range sweetspots on longer-ranged attacks)
- Kill moves are somewhat predictable
- Has one of the longest trip animations in the game
Move Analysis [MVAN]
Before getting into anything else, let's cover each of Pikachu's moves. Knowing Pika's moveset is the first step in understanding his metagame, as the usefulness of each move and the various ways they can all work together are the basis of how Pikachu performs against other characters.

Generally, Pikachu has fast, mid-to-high priority attacks with relatively short range. His ground, aerial, and grab game are all considered to be above average, and although his kill moves are sometimes hard to land against a careful opponent, he has a respectable number to choose from.

Each move will appear in the guide like this:

Name of Move
Short Description of Move
Max (Fresh) Damage / Min (Stale) Damage
Frame Data: Startup frames / active hitbox frames / IF frames (if applicable) / cooldown frames
Aerial Frames (if applicable): Autocancel frames / landing lag frames
Range (Short, Mid, Long, Projectile)
Summary

*Note: Frame data is only included for the moves in this guide. For more complete frame data (item throwing, rolling, spotdodging, etc.), visit K Prime's Frame Data thread.

Ground Moves

Jab | Advanced Tech Move!
Pikachu leans forward and jabs at the opponent with his head.
Max Damage: 2% / Min Damage: 1%
Startup: 1 / Active: 2-3 (hits every 5 frames starting from frame 2) / Cooldown: 4-21
Range: Short
Jab isn't a move you'll be using often with Pikachu, but it's not completely useless. It's his fastest attack and will often cause the opponent to trip, which sets them up to be punished by dtilt (preferred) or fsmash. The greatest thing about jab is its super-hax range, pictured above. Most players will expect the move to end at Pikachu's forehead, but in reality it extends pretty far past his hurtbox, making it somewhat disjointed.

One of the benefits of this disjointedness is being able to use jab for guarding the ledge. Though it shouldn't be your go-to for edgeguards and will rarely work on a good opponent, jabbing at the ledge can surprise-gimp some characters with bad recoveries or make them use their second jump. At the least, it will be very annoying, and being annoying is one of Pika's specialties. (Embrace it: it is, in fact, one of his pros!)

Pikachu also has a jab lock. For more details, see section: JBLK.


Forward Tilt | GTFO Move! | KO Move!
Pikachu kicks out with his legs. Can be angled upward (U), straight forward (F), or downward (D).
Max Damage: 10% (U), 9% (F), 8% (D) / Min Damage: 4% (all angles)
Startup: 1-4 / Active: 5-10 / Cooldown: 11-29
Range: Short
Ftilt is the faster, short-ranged, non-disjointed brother to fsmash. It can be angled in three directions, gaining greater damage and knockback the higher Pikachu kicks. (Keep in mind, however, that shorter characters can duck underneath the highest kick.) More experienced Pikas tend to use ftilt instead of dsmash as their GTFO move; although it doesn't provide the same tech-chasing excitement as dsmash, it will reliably knock the opponent far away at mid-high percentages, giving you time to reset your spacing. It also comes out slightly faster.

Additionally, this attack is one of Pikachu's "hidden" kill moves. At around 150%, when fresh, the upward kick will KO most opponents, and its speed and unpredictability as a kill move means that many players will fail to DI it properly.

Down Tilt | Advanced Tech Move! | Combo Starter!
Pikachu sweeps his tail out in front of him.
Max Damage: 7% / Min Damage: 3%
Startup: 1-6 / Active: 7-9 / Cooldown: 10-19
Range: Mid
Dtilt's usefulness is debatable: some players love it, while others rarely use it. It's one of Pika's best options at mid-range, coming out faster than fsmash and having only a little less range (but suffering from much less disjointedness and priority). Much like jab, dtilt will often trip the opponent, which is one of its greatest benefits. At low percentages, it combos into ftilt/fsmash.

Pikasliding [see: MNTC] uses the backward momentum boost you get from using dtilt. Essentially, if you hold back on your control stick after the tail sweep, Pikachu will slide backward, which can lead into some very mindgame-y attacks.

On stages with permanent walls (ex: Corneria, the roof on Delfino, Pokémon Stadium 1, Rainbow Cruise), opponents can be wall-locked with dtilt until 60-70%, assuming relatively good DI on their part. Depending on the height of the wall, if they're forced to come back toward you, you can often finish the lock with a thunder -- if you're lucky, it can even sweetspot for the kill.

Up Tilt | Combo Starter!
Pikachu jumps and swings his tail up above him.
Max Damage: 7%-5% (stronger at beginning) / Min Damage: 4%-2%
Startup: 1-6 / Active: 7-13 / Cooldown: 14-23
Range: Short-Mid
Utilt is without a doubt one of Pikachu's bread-and-butter moves, so it is absolutely essential for new squirrelrats to learn it well! Its range/damage/knockback and speed are better on the side the move starts on (behind Pika), and because Pika hops up during the middle of the attack, it extends pretty far above him.

The place where utilt really shines is in starting/continuing combos. One of Pikachu's most common approaches is a fast-falled (FF) fair, after which you can go into utilt with very little lag if you space correctly. At low-mid percentages, utilt can be followed with uair (or another utilt on heavies/fastfallers), which can then lead into another uair or nair. [For more detail, see section: CMBO.] Apart from fair-ing into utilt, you can also short hop > airdodge (SHAD) through the opponent into it or, less preferably, spotdodge an attack and utilt afterwards. Fun tip from Muhznit: it has more range than dsmash.... on both sides.

Utilt has one other use that makes it one of Pika's favored moves: it sets up for the almighty thunder. Faster and harder to DI than usmash at high percentages, this move was practically tailor-made for thunder setups. Even if you miss the thunder, the opponent will be too high to punish you, making it one of the safest kill setups Pikachu has. [See section: THND for more details.]

Utilt. Learn it. Love it.

Forward Smash | Advanced Tech Move! | KO Move!
Pikachu leans forward and shoots electricity from his cheeks.
Max Damage: 21%-14% (stronger closer to Pika) / Min Damage: 9%-6%
Startup: 1-14 / Active: 15-22 / Cooldown: 23-49
Range: Long
Another of Pikachu's much-debated moves. Some players like to save fsmash for killing, while others prefer to use it for spacing and punishment throughout a match. Some compromise and use it a lot in the beginning of a match, then refresh its knockback later and save it for a KO. It's completely up to you how you use fsmash.... all methods have their pros and cons.

The Spacing Fsmash: As Pikachu's most effective long-range attack, equipped with insane disjointedness and priority, fsmash is a very alluring move. Its only con (and the reason some prefer not to use it for killing) is that it has pretty bad startup lag and is easily predicted by a good opponent. Never fear, though: fsmash is still perfect for punishing whiffed attacks or your opponent's landing lag, and its range and priority mean that if you don't mind staling it, you can outrange some opponents that Pikachu would otherwise have a hard time hitting.

Remember that the sweetspot for fsmash is at Pika's cheeks. Despite its range, the tip is weak in both damage and knockback, although the very tip sends opponents straight upward and can lead into some funky thunder kills at high percentages.... if you're fast enough to chase them.

The Killing Fsmash: Despite the drawbacks mentioned above, some players save fsmash for the KO. In this case, it is very important to remember where the sweetspot is -- you will not kill with the tip of fsmash and probably won't with any part of the move but the sweetspot. This turns fsmash from a long-ranged move into a short-ranged one; however, when sweetspotted, its knockback is excellent. Stutter-stepping [see: MNTC] or punishing landing lag/whiffed attacks are your most reliable options for getting a kill with fsmash.

Up Smash | KO Move!
Pikachu does a flip and swings his tail out in front of him.
Max Damage: 15%-13% (front, stronger closer to Pika), 7% (back of tail) / Min Damage: 6% (front), 3% (back)
Startup: 1-8 / Active: 9-16 / Cooldown: 17-43
Range: Short
Pika's best vertical KO move comes in the form of usmash. The sweetspot is in front and close to Pikachu; although the back of his tail does damage, it has nearly zero knockback, and you can be punished even if it hits. At low percentages, a dash-cancelled ("hyphen smash") usmash can be combo'd into from fthrow. (Put simply, after the fthrow, you cancel your initial dash animation into an up smash.) On heavies and fastfallers, usmash > usmash is a viable combo at very low damage. At high percentages, it can lead into thunder, though it is easily DI'd and therefore requires a bit of chasing.

Usmash is the only attack other than dash attacking that you can do straight out of a run, which is both a gift and a curse. The gift is that it's nice to have the ability to do it; the curse is that if your opponent is within kill range and you're running towards them, it's so so easy for them to predict usmash and shield it. The most effective way to hit with usmash is to hyphen smash into it as punishment or when you think your opponent will least expect it. It's much more surprising and gains more range this way.

Down Smash | GTFO Move!
Pikachu spins in place, surrounded by waves of electricity.
Max Damage: 15% (all hits connect) / Min Damage: 7%
Startup: 1-5 / Active: 6-7, 9-10, 12-13, 15-16, 18-19, 21-22, 24 / Cooldown: 25-54
Range: Mid
Dsmash, unfortunately, is one of the reasons why Pikachu is often considered a spammy character. At first glance, it seems like a godsend: fairly good range, disjointed, crazy priority, sucks the opponent in for multiple hits, eats shields for breakfast, respectable knockback, can be combo'd into..... but there's one thing missing from this equation: DI, or more specifically, SDI. Listen, new Pikas, and listen well: Dsmash is easily DI'd out of. It will never kill a good opponent. The true knockback of this move is in its last hitbox frame, and with proper DI, your opponent will escape before then. Not only that, but the damage you'll deal from the first few hits of dsmash will be very small.

So is dsmash useless? No, but it's really only good for three things: 1) getting the opponent out of your space when you're feeling overwhelmed, 2) annoying the hell out of them, and 3) setting up for a tech chase, further explored in section: TCCH. If someone is hanging onto the ledge past their invincibility frames, dsmash can sometimes stage spike (a weak one), but Pika generally has better edgeguarding options.

Against players who don't DI out of dsmash: It should be noted that because Pikachu is not a widely-used character, you will more than likely find yourself facing players, even good ones, who do not know how to DI out of dsmash. Test their ability to do so, and if it looks like they don't know how to get out of it, you now have yourself a highly effective move to use against them. When all hits connect, dsmash deals considerable damage and will KO, fresh, in the low-mid 100's. It may also send the opponent straight upward, setting up for a thunder kill.

Dash Attack
Pikachu propels himself forward and slams into the opponent.
Max Damage: 7% / Min Damage: 3%
Startup: 1-4 / Active: 5-16 / Cooldown: 17-49
Range: Mid
This is one of Pikachu's least useful moves. At lower percentages, dash attack's pitiful knockback doesn't make up for its massive cooldown lag, leaving you open for punishment. It's very easily shieldgrabbed, doesn't combo into anything, and in any situation where you might find it useful (ex: tech chasing, following up an fthrow), there's probably a better option. Use sparingly.

One interesting thing about dash attack is that if you hit with the middle of Pikachu's back rather than his head, the opponent will be sent backwards instead of forward [see last picture]. Useless but.... interesting?

Aerial Moves

Neutral Air | C-C-C-Combo Breaker! | KO Move!
Pikachu curls into a ball and spins.
Max Damage: 12%-6% (stronger at beginning) / Min Damage: 6%-2%
Startup: 1-2 / Active: 3-25 / Cooldown: 26-39
Autocancels: 35-39 / Landing Lag: 25 frames
Range: Short
Nair, despite its short range, is an excellent aerial for Pikachu. It's fast, and its knockback is strong, making it a great combo ender in the air and one of Pikachu's most reliable KO moves at higher percentages. It can be lead into by fair, uair, utilt, or dthrow depending on your opponent's damage, or if you're hanging off the ledge with an opponent waiting close by to attack you, you can drop, jump, and nair them in the face. Nair is also a certified combo breaker because of its speed, meaning that if you DI away while being combo'd, nair will sometimes come out before your opponent's next move and hit them away.

Always make sure to do a rising nair if you're short-hopping it (inputting it as you jump, no later than the peak of the short hop); like all of Pika's aerials -- minus fair -- its landing lag is pretty bad.

Killing with Nair: Nair's usefulness is a double-edged sword. You'll find yourself using it often during a match, as its speed beats what most other characters have against us in the air, and short hopping it means we can even outpace a considerable number of ground moves. However, if it's stale, good luck getting a KO with it unless you're pursuing your opponent off-stage. Fresh, it will start to kill at around 140% -- even sooner if you're closer to the edge of the stage.

Positioning yourself for an nair kill can be tricky, but its speed works to your benefit. If your opponent attacks your shield and you're not pushed too far back, you can jump and nair out of shield (OOS). If they're a short distance away and expecting a usmash, you can try running up and short hopping an nair instead, which comes out much faster than usmash and leaves you somewhat less open if you miss. QAC > nair can be predictable and easily shielded, but it's a viable surprise option.

Because this move's hitbox is on either side of it, it's especially useful against moves that turn around melee attacks, i.e., Mario's cape and Pit's Mirror Shield.

Forward Air | Combo Starter!
Pikachu surrounds himself with electricity and spins forward.
Max Damage: 12% (all hits connect) / Min Damage: 5%
Startup: 1-9 / Active: 10-12, 14-16, 18-20, 22-24, 26 / Cooldown: 27-39
Autocancel: 1-9 / Landing Lag: 15 frames
Range: Short
Fair is another move you'll find yourself using often. Not only does it have shield-munching properties similar to dsmash (mmm, yummy), but it also has decent priority and when fast-falled starts many, many combos whether you land it in front of your opponent or cross it through their body to land behind them. Note that fast-falling fair is absolutely necessary to start a combo. You ideally only want 2-3 hits to connect, because this is what will give you the frame advantage on which to follow up.

If you land fair in front of the other player, you can follow up with a grab, dsmash, nair, or a reverse utilt; if you land behind them, you give up being able to grab, but it eliminates the threat of getting shieldgrabbed. A slightly more advanced option is to run up and RAR [see: MNTC] an fair so that you can land behind your opponent and still have the option to grab. Refer to CMBO for more details on fair's combo ability.

Outside of starting combos, this move is still pretty useful. It shield-pokes very well, especially if you use it to harass a shielding opponent on a platform above you. If you're on the ledge, drop > jump > fair is an effective way to make them back off the edge of the stage. The fact that it has the least amount of landing lag out of Pikachu's aerials makes it one of the safest to use out of a short hop.

Back Air
Pikachu spreads out his body and rotates through the air.
Max Damage: 12% (all hits connect) / Min Damage: 5%
Startup: 1-3 / Active: 4-5, 8-9, 12-13, 16-17, 20-21, 24-25, 28-29, 32-37 / Cooldown: 38-59
*Landing Hitbox Frames: 3-42 (2-frame hitbox)
Autocancel: 50-59 / Landing Lag: 30 frames
Range: Mid
Pika-copter!!! Bair is hella fun to use, but it suffers the curse of horrendous landing lag unless you immediately input it during a full hop. It goes in somewhat wonky directions even without control stick input, but if you move your control stick back and forth, you can make Pikachu move in a similar back-and-forth fashion -- the benefit of this, you ask? Since bair sucks the opponent in, you can drag them in a certain direction before the last hit, the one with all the knockback, sends them away. They will fly in the direction opposite of the side you started on. (That is, if you want the opponent to go to the left, start on their right side.)

Pika-copter can be RAR'd for an unconventional approach, but he has much better options. Bair can also be combo'd into from dthrow or utilt, but in most cases, continuing the combo with uair/nair is preferable. Exceptions may be when you want to pull them off of a platform or when the opponent DI's too far to one side and you need bair to suck them back in. It also has better priority than uair/nair and deceptively good range that actually extends a bit past Pikachu's limbs [see last picture].

Off stage, if you're both very brave and very talented, bair can drag the opponent underneath the stage and stage-spike them.

Up Air | Combo Starter!
Pikachu flicks his tail above himself in midair.
Max Damage: 6%-4% (stronger at beginning) / Min Damage: 3%-2%
Startup: 1-2 / Active: 3-8 / Cooldown: 9-27
Autocancel: 18-27 / Landing Lag: 24 frames
Range: Short
Uair is a combo move for Pikachu, first and foremost. Its consistently low knockback, speed, and short but still reasonable range make it a very useful "in-between" move in the air -- as in, to be used in-between dthrow/utilt and nair/fair/another uair. (Yes, it combos into itself. How sweet is that?) It can be a combo starter if used out of QAC, but this is somewhat difficult to pull off if you don't have tap jump on.

Uair is a beast against opponents on platforms above you, especially on stages like Norfair, Battlefield, and Lylat that have limited space for the other player to escape without being predictable. It's a win-win situation: if you hit their shield through the platform, you can't get punished; if you hit them, it's a guaranteed combo at lower percentages.

Anytime you're underneath the opponent in the air, uair is probably a good option. It doesn't have the greatest priority, but because it's so fast, it will usually come out before anything the other player has.

Down Air
Pikachu surrounds himself with electricity and spins downward.
Max Damage: 12% (Pikachu), 4% (ground shock wave) / Min Damage: 5%, 4%
Startup: 1-13 / Active: 14-26 / Cooldown: 27-47
Autocancel: 39-47 / Landing Lag: 40 frames (hitbox on frames 1-4)
Range: Short
Dair is one of the few moves whose usefulness may be slightly dependent on your controls: to use this move with no lag from a short hop, you must immediately input it as you jump. Because it has startup lag and auto-fastfalls, your window of opportunity for doing this is very small, and without tap jump on, it is difficult -- not impossible, but difficult -- to do. (To do it with tap jump on, just hit up on the control stick and down on the c-stick at the same time.) Stealing the name "Thunderstorming" from the Ganons, who use their dair in a similar manner, this technique is called Pikastorming. Pikastorming is useful OOS for punishing whiffed attacks. With good aerial movement, you can pseudo-approach with Pikastorming as well, moving backwards as the move comes out so that if it whiffs, you won't get shieldgrabbed.

Outside of this particular manner of using dair, it has limited uses. Coming down from the air with dair is risky because it doesn't outprioritize many utilts/usmashes, so you have a high chance of getting knocked out of it. However, the hitbox extends pretty far up both sides of Pikachu, and its knockback is considerable; at higher percentages, you can jump out after opponents off-stage and dair them to their deaths -- or at least make it more difficult for them to get back. It can also be used from the ledge to push an edgeguarding opponent away, giving you clear space to return safely.

Special Moves

Neutral B: Thunder Jolt
Pikachu shoots a ball of electricity that travels along surfaces.
Max Damage: 9%, 6% (stronger in the air) / Min Damage: 4%, 3%
Startup: 1-18 / Active: 19 (ground jolt lasts 100 frames; air jolt lasts 99 frames) / Cooldown: 20-58
Range: Projectile
Tjolt is unique from other characters' projectiles in ways that can give Pikachu the advantage at times, and in most matchups it will become one of your best friends. The important thing to know is that tjolt should not be mindlessly spammed. Like most other projectiles, it can be easily powershielded (or in some cases, reflected or absorbed) when predictably used, and it has a lot of cooldown lag.

Now that that's out of the way, how is tjolt generally used? Well, first of all, never use tjolt from the ground unless you're far out of the opponent's range or protected by a solid object. The lag will immobilize you, whereas if you're in the air, you can at least still control your aerial movement. Second of all, when you're close to the opponent, nearly always full hop your jolts so that by the time you return to the ground, you'll be free of lag. Thirdly, the last cardinal rule of tjolting is that you must vary your jolt timing. This cannot be stressed enough. If you're tjolting multiple times and they all come from a full hop in the same place, it will be even easier for the opponent to time their powershields and advance on you. Full hop some, short hop some, double jump a couple, move forward for a few and backwards for others -- mix it up! Being unpredictable is one of Pikachu's strong points.

The thing that separates tjolt from other projectiles is that it travels along surfaces, moving around corners and obstacles in the process. This comes in handy on stages like Pokémon Stadium 1 where solid objects will stop other projectiles but not hinder Pikachu's the slightest bit. Tjolt's surface-clinging property is also helpful against opponents who like to abuse ledge-camping; although they can time their invincibility, if you switch up the timing of your jolts, chances are you'll hit them eventually. On short platforms (such as the side platforms on Jungle Japes), Pikachu can tjolt on either side of himself and be completely surrounded by tjolts as they travel around and around the platform's surface.

Tjolt stuns the opponent for a fairly long time, allowing you to follow up with an attack in some cases if you land near them. A popular choice is tjolt > fsmash. Other uses for tjolt include edgeguarding/gimping [see: EDGP], canceling other projectiles, and baiting reflectors/absorbers to punish their lag. With good timing and QA control, you can also tjolt, then QAC in front of the jolt and abuse the hitstun. Tjolt can sometimes trip the opponent as well.

Tjolt's Behavior vs. Other Projectiles:
Code:
Bowser - Fire Breath: Goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Diddy Kong - Peanut Popgun: Tjolt goes through peanuts[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Diddy Kong - Banana Peel: Neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Falco - Blaster: Neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Fox - Blaster: Neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Game & Watch - Chef: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Ice Climbers - Ice Shot: One block cancelled per tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]King Dedede - Waddle Dee Throw (Waddles): Tjolt pushes Waddles back, but they still live; Gordo goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Kirby - Final Cutter: Neither cancelled (at close range, the actual sword goes through tjolt)[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Link - Hero's Bow: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Link - Gale Boomerang: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Link - Bomb: Goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Lucario - Aura Sphere: Both cancelled if AS is weak; strong AS goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Lucas - PK Fire: Fire stopped, but its hitbox still comes out[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Lucas - PK Freeze: Neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Lucas - PKT1: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Luigi - Fireball: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Mario - Fireball: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Ness - PK Fire: Fire stopped, but its hitbox still comes out[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Ness - PKT1: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Olimar - Pikmin Throw: Red/Blue/Purple go back to Olimar; White killed by tjolt; Yellow goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Peach - Turnip: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Pit - Palutena's Arrow: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Charizard - Flamethrower: Goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Ivysaur - Razor Leaf: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Squirtle - Water Gun: No-damage projectile version goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]ROB - Robo Beam: Neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]ROB - Gyro: If uncharged, gyro stopped but *may* remain on the field (whether it does or not seems to be random); if fully charged, goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Samus - Charge Shot: If uncharged, both cancelled; if fully charged, Charge Shot goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Samus - Missle: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Samus - Super Missle: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Samus - Bomb: Bomb stopped, but its hitbox still comes out[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Sheik - Needle Storm: Neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Snake - Hand Grenade: Grenade's momentum is stopped, but it still functions normally[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Snake - Remote Controlled Missile: Goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Toon Link - Hero's Bow: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Toon Link - Boomerang: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Toon Link - Bomb: Goes through tjolt[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Wolf - Blaster: Neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Yoshi - Egg Throw: Egg stopped, but its hitbox still comes out[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Zelda - Din's Fire: Goes through tjolt if Din's explodes; otherwise, neither cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Zero Suit Samus - Paralyzer: Both cancelled[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ffffcc][COLOR=#ffffcc]Zero Suit Samus - Suit pieces: Piece's momentum is cancelled, but it remains on the field
Side B: Skull Bash | Advanced Tech Move!
Pikachu charges up, then blasts forward as a full-body projectile.
Max Damage: 26%-7% (stronger when charged) / Min Damage: 12%-3%
Startup: 1-17 (no charge) / Active: 18 / Cooldown: 19-90
Range: Long
Skull Bash is an interesting move, one that has massive power and knockback but is almost useless offensively. Fully charged, it has the most killing potential of all of Pikachu's moves (even his charged smashes), but its auto-release, predictable trajectory, and bad startup and cooldown lag make it hard to use without getting avoided and/or punished. When it's released, at the point when Pika says "KA!", it momentarily stops all horizontal momentum.

Sadly, this move is really only used for recovery and momentum canceling. [See: RCVR for more details.] Even then, it must be used with caution.... Skull Bash too low and too close to the opponent, and you're asking to get spiked or otherwise punished. However, it's good for giving Pikachu a horizontal boost when you're recovering up high where only fellow Pikas can reach you, and with it you can do some nifty quick ledge regrab tricks [see: MNTC].

A fully charged Skull Bash is your best option for punishing a shield break. Additionally, this move may cause tripping.

Down B: Thunder | Advanced Tech Move! | KO Move!
Pikachu calls down a bolt of lightning from the skies.
Max Damage: 17%, 11% (shock wave is stronger) / Min Damage: 7%, 4%
Startup: 1-42 / Active: ?-? (T1), 43-74 (T2) / Invincibility: 43-51 / Cooldown: 75-78 (with T2), 75-87 (without T2)
Range: Mid/Projectile
"PIKAAA!!!"

Yes, it's the move that's been a trademark for Pika since 64: Thunder. Since there's a whole section devoted to it in this guide [see: THND], we'll just go over the basics here.

Thunder is Pikachu's second projectile, reaching from the top of most stages all the way down to Pikachu, the stage itself, or the bottom of the screen (unless you thunder from very high) if there are no obstacles in its way. "T1" is the thunderbolt itself, and "T2" refers to the massive shock wave that occurs when the bolt hits Pikachu. Pikachu has invincibility frames during part of the shock wave, during which he will receive zero knockback and damage from attacks. Thunder also happens to be crazy laggy, often hitting opponents even when it looks as though the move has ended. T2 has much greater knockback than T1, but T1 easily KOs off the top of the screen.

It's interesting to note that you get more lag when the bolt does not hit Pikachu; however, you have a wall of thunder protecting your back, and characters with reflectors cannot reflect thunder back onto you if you're not directly underneath it. In either situation, thunder has a lot of startup and cooldown lag, so choose your timing and spacing wisely. It's safest to use thunder when the opponent is high above you; in such cases, it's impossible for them to punish you except by reflecting it (the only exception being Lucario's counter). Utilt and usmash are good setups for thunder, as well as uthrow, the last hit of dsmash, and the very tip of fsmash if you're lucky. It's also Pika's main tool for edgeguarding [see: EDGP].

Thunder beats almost every other move in the game once the hitbox is out, but it can be reflected, absorbed, super armored, airdodged, shielded, or countered (in particular, Lucario's counter will teleport him next to you). An opponent can also grab you and absorb T2 with grab amor, but very, very rarely will they risk it. T2 can stage spike or set up for thunair [see: MNTC] but both require a fair amount of skill and perfect timing.

Remember that the bolt travels from cloud to Pika, so the higher the opponent is, the less time they have to react. At higher percentages, being hit into the air will leave your opponent in hitstun long enough that thunder is inescapable.

Up B: Quick Attack | Advanced Tech Move!
Pikachu zips from one place to another at high speed.
Max Damage: 5% (both hits connect) / Min Damage: 2%
Startup: 1-14 / Active: 15-19, 30-34 / Cooldown: 35-44
Landing Lag: 24 frames (normal), 30 frames (close to ground), 15 frames (from QAC)
Range: Long
Quick Attack is Pikachu's recovery move, and it's one of the best -- if not the best -- recoveries in the game. With the nearly unlimited control you have over his "teleportation" and the HUGE sweetspot he has on the ledge, it's possible to return to safety from practically anywhere, even the very, very bottom of Final Destination. After you input up + B, you can direct Pika in any two directions as long as the second direction is at least 38 degrees from the first. In-between these two paths is when Pikachu is completely vulnerable; otherwise, QA has fluctuating, mid-high priority and will pass through most attacks if you really must attempt it. (It's usually safer to just go around if, say, you're being pursued off-stage.)

If you Quick Attack into the ground, the move will cancel itself and grant you a short amount of time during which you can jump or perform an aerial, even if you've already used your second jump. This is called the Quick Attack Cancel technique (QAC for short) and is one of Pikachu's most important character-specific ATs. Opponents can be locked with QAC as well. More information can be found in QATC.

Throws

Grab Pummel
Pikachu shocks the opponent with a zap of electricity.
Max Damage: 2% / Min Damage: 1%
Startup: 1-2 / Active: 3 / Cooldown: 4-18
Range: N/A
Just a pummel. Pikachu has one of the better pummels in the game, as it comes out faster than most, allowing you to build damage quickly and, more importantly, refresh other moves that have staled. In general, the rule is to pummel once per 25% damage on your opponent to guarantee that they won't break out before you throw.

Forward Throw | Combo Starter!
Pikachu tosses the opponent onto his back, shocks them, then throws them off.
Max Damage: 11% / Min Damage: 4%
Startup: 1-10 / Active: 11, 22, 33, 44, 58 / Cooldown: 59-71
Range: N/A
Pikachu's fthrow is one of his two most often used throws. It launches the opponent up and in front of you, and at lower percentages it can combo into a dash-cancelled usmash. It also allows you to chaingrab the following heavies and fastfallers if you buffer dashes in-between grabs:

*Original testing by Ruuku
Bowser: 0%-60%
Captain Falcon: 0%-60%
King DDD: 0%-60%
Donkey Kong: 0%-60%
Falco: 0%-60%
Fox: 0%-50%
Ganondorf: 0%-60%
Ike: 0%-60%
Link: 0%-60%
Sheik: 0%-70%
Snake: 0%-60%
Wolf: 0%-60%

Back Throw
Pikachu rolls backward and throws the enemy behind him.
Max Damage: 10% / Min Damage: 4%
Startup: 1-36 / Active: 37 / Cooldown: 38-59
Range: N/A
Bthrow is a very unique throw. Pikachu rolls backward before tossing the opponent, but if he hits the edge of a platform or the ledge, the roll will be finished in place. This makes bthrow a good setup for edgeguarding if you happen to grab someone with your back to the ledge. At very high percentages, it can kill, especially on stages with close side blastlines (ex: Corneria) or on the few legal stages with walk-offs.

Down Throw | Combo Starter!
Pikachu throws the opponent onto the floor and slams down on top of them.
Max Damage: 10% / Min Damage: 4%
Startup: 1-12 / Active: 13, 26 / Cooldown: 27-48
Range: N/A
This is the second of Pika's two most frequently used throws. Dthrow can start combos at low percentages, sending the opponent more or less directly above you (and slightly to the side depending on their DI), which allows you to utilt or uair them.

Dthrow is also imperative to Pika's grab game because it can chaingrab a large number of the cast. There are two types of CGs you can do with dthrow: buffered and unbuffered. For more information on buffering and the difference between these two types of CGing, see GRBG.

Buffered Dthrow CG Combos (Original Testing by Michael Hey, K Prime, The Truth!, RPK, & ESAM)
Diddy Kong: 0%-21% + regrab (fthrow > dthrow > grab)
Donkey Kong: 7%-26% + regrab (dthrow x2 > grab)
Falco: 0%-100% + regrab (fthrow x2 > dthrow x13 > grab)
Fox: 0%~100% + regrab (dthrow x14+ > grab)
Ike: 0%-62% + regrab (dthrow x9 > grab)
King Dedede: 0%-77% + regrab (fthrow x2 > pummel > dthrow x3 > pummel > dthrow x4 > grab)
Link: 0%-41% + regrab (dthrow x5 > grab)
Lucas: 5%-33% + regrab (dthrow x3 > grab)
Meta Knight: 0%-52% + regrab (dthrow x7 > grab)
Sheik: 0%-105% + regrab (fthrow x2 > dthrow x14 > grab)
Snake (ver. 1): 0%-83% + regrab (fthrow x2 > pummel > dthrow x3 > pummel > dthrow x5 > grab)
Snake (ver. 2): 10%-90% + regrab (fthrow > pummel > dthrow x10 > grab)
Snake (ver. 3): 0%-90% + regrab (fthrow to ledge > dthrow to 90% or below (must begin dthrow by 30%))
Squirtle: 3%-22% + regrab (dthrow x2 > grab)
Wolf (ver. 1): 0%-115% + regrab (dthrow x3 > pummel > dthrow x14 > grab)
Wolf (ver. 2): 0%-115% + regrab (dthrow x3 > fthrow > dthrowx13 > grab)

*Note: Not all of these CGs start with dthrow; however, they all center around buffering dthrow at some point.

Unbuffered Dthrow CG (Original Testing by Ruuku)
Captain Falcon: 0%-80%
Fox: 0%-70%
Sheik: 0%-60%
Wolf: 0%-30%

*Note: Sheik and Captain Falcon can DI towards you and footstool out of the unbuffered CG on the first throw, so this is not a true chaingrab on them. However, many opponents don't know this, so it's worth trying if you can get the grab. Otherwise, use the fthrow or buffered dthrow CG.

Up Throw
Pikachu headbutts the opponent into the air.
Max Damage: 10% / Min Damage: 4%
Startup: 1-13 / Active: 14, 21 / Cooldown: 22-40
Range: N/A
Uthrow isn't very useful, as utilt and usmash leave the opponent in hitstun for a longer period of time and are therefore more effective thunder setups. Nearly every opponent will DI uthrow, and unless they're at a low percentage, they'll be sent too high to be combo'd without using your second jump. There are nearly always better options out of one of Pikachu's other throws.

Other Moves

Get-Up Attack (From Back)
Pikachu swings his foot out on either side of himself.
Max Damage: 5%
Startup: 1-12 / Active: 13-? (back), 18-? (front) / Cooldown: ?-49
Range: Short
There's pretty good range on this attack since Pika's foot grows slightly larger. As far as get-up attacks go, it's fast, but if your opponent is shielding, roll away instead.

Get-Up Attack (From Belly)
Pikachu swings his head out on either side of himself.
Max Damage: ?
Startup: 1-16 / Active: 17-? (front), 23-? (back) / Cooldown: ?-50
Range: Short
This version of Pika's get-up attack is a little bit slower, but it has about the same range. Rolling is probably better, but if you can intercept your opponent's attack, it has enough knockback to get them out of your space.

Get-Up Attack (Trip)
Pikachu swings his tail out on either side of himself.
Max Damage: 5%
Startup: 1-18 / Active: 19-? (back), 31-? (front) / Cooldown: ?-49
Trip Length: 29 frames (regular), 44 frames (banana)
Range: Short
This attack is slower and has slightly less range than the normal get-up attacks.... Pika's entire tail doesn't seem to be included in the hitbox. Not your best option, especially against Diddy.

Ledge Attack (<100)
Pikachu quickly pulls himself onto the stage, hitting forward with his tail.
Max Damage: 8%
Startup: 1-21 / Active: 22-? / Invincibility: 1-20 / Cooldown: ?-53
Range: Mid
This attack has pretty good range, and it's very fast, but it has a lot of cooldown lag. If it's shielded or whiffed, it's easily punished, and you'll get sent right back off the stage. It can be used to interrupt laggy attacks if you've used up your ledge invincibility frames or to punish those who tried to attack from the edge while you still had them.

Ledge Attack (>100)
Pikachu slowly climbs onto the stage and sweeps his tail forward.
Max Damage: 10%
Startup: 1-54 / Active: 55-? / Invincibility: 1-59 / Cooldown: ?-69
Range: Short
Slow, easy to see coming, and very short-ranged. Don't use it.

Offensive Maneuvers [OFSV]
Don't let the cute face fool you: it's the adorable ones you gotta watch out for, and Pikachu is no exception. Beneath his cuddly exterior lie some powerful moves, and when they're combined with his speed and ability to combo most characters, Pikachu becomes a force to be reckoned with on the Smash field.

Approaching [APRH]

Some characters have trouble approaching the opponent; however, Pikachu is not one of those characters, as he has approach options both on the ground and in the air. The key to success in this area, as with most others in Brawl, is to keep yourself as unpredictable as possible. Never advance with the same thing over and over; although some are safer than others, every approach can be countered in some way.

On the Ground

Because Pikachu has good running speed, he can quickly approach by dashing toward the opponent and perfect shielding any projectiles. Unlike slower characters, Pika will rarely have to suffer an overwhelming number of projectiles before he gets to his target, making it extremely hard for most opponents to stall his approach by camping (especially since Pika has an excellent projectile of his own that cancels many others).

Once you get to your opponent, you have two options based on what you predict they'll do.

If you think they'll attack, you can shield or powershield their move and grab them. From there, Pika has several combos out of fthrow and dthrow at low-mid percentages [see: CMBO], or at higher percentages, you can get in a few pummels before throwing them in any direction. Another option is to attack them out of shield (OOS), especially if their attack pushes you back a little bit. Nair and dair are Pika's best options OOS -- nair is for close range and high knockback, while dair can be aimed a bit farther and deals greater damage.
If you think they'll shield, Pikachu, like any other character, can short hop > airdodge (SHAD) behind the opponent from a run.... and with moderately good air speed, SHAD'ing is a breeze for Pika. When they put up their shield, expecting an attack, reverse grab them; if they end up attacking anyway, you can still grab, or you can punish with any number of Pika's moves.
From the Air

In the air, Pikachu's fairly high jumps and reasonable air speed allow him to jump into the air a great distance from his opponent and come down nearby, often with an fair. Or, when you want to mindgame your opponent into doing something punishable, you can mix up your approach by short hop > fast-falling -- without attacking -- just outside of your opponent's range to trick them into thinking you'll attack. Then, punish their reaction.

When the time comes to truly strike, Pika has many options from the air:

Fair is Pikachu's main approach and can set the opponent up for heavy damage, especially if they're in the low-mid percentages. Fair is a multi-hit attack, every hit but the last leaving Pikachu with a 2-frame advantage due to the opponent being left in hitstun. The key to fair approaches is to make sure to fast-fall your fair -- 2-3 hits connecting is ideal, as you will land and be ready to attack before the opponent can get out of hitstun, land, and put up their shield. (Keep in mind that it is possible for the opponent to DI up and jump out of fair; however, they have less of an opportunity to do so with fewer hits of fair connecting.)
Once you've landed your fair, quickly follow up with a grab, utilt, dsmash, nair, or usmash depending on whether you're going for a combo (low percentages) [see: CMBO], damage (mid percentages), or the kill (higher percentages). It is recommended that you try to land behind the opponent with your fair to eliminate the chance of getting shieldgrabbed, though you sacrifice being able to go into a grab with this method.
If you want to land behind the opponent and still have the option to grab, you can a) jump backwards toward the opponent and hit the c-stick forward (not recommended, as it makes it obvious what you're doing), or b) RAR [see: MNTC] an fair to land behind them.
Thunder Jolt approaches should also be implemented often. This is performed by full hopping or double jumping thunder jolts as you approach the opponent. If you time it well, tjolts can serve as a distraction so you can get into your ideal position near the opponent or catch them off-guard with an attack or grab as they shield/spotdodge your projectile. Even against opponents with reflectors, this approach can still be effective due to its mindgaming properties; most reflectors have a lot of cooldown lag, so bait one with a tjolt while approaching (making sure to jump over the reflected jolt), then punish. Against Ness or Lucas, you can begin each of their stocks with this approach since you don't need to worry about them recovering health while they're at 0%. Against Mr. Game & Watch, however, it is advised that you use this approach very infrequently or not at all. The exception, of course, is if his bucket is already full (which it should never be :().
Quick Attack Cancel (QAC) approaches are less frequently used than tjolt approaches, as they can be easily shielded and punished if the opponent expects one. Do not abuse QAC offensively.
First, make sure you are familiar with QAC. [See: QATC] This means understanding the timing for QAC, whether you're advancing across the stage or spacing so that you QA through your opponent. When you're ready to go in, QAC into or past the enemy and pop up with a rising nair/uair, or jump and come down with an fair.
You can even try combining two or three different approaches with this tech. For instance, QAC around the opponent and end the approach with a tjolt, firing it off first, then following up with another QAC, coming down on them with an fair out of that one. QAC's success as an approach lies in its surprise factor, so use your imagination and be as unpredictable as possible.
Another viable approach is Pikastorming. Pikastorming is easy to perform for those with tap jump on (hit up on the control stick and down on the c-stick at the same time), but for those with it off, it may be slightly more difficult. Dair must be performed as you short hop, but timing it so that it doesn't fast-fall takes a lot of practice. Once you get it down, however, Pikastorming is a great approach, allowing you to move toward the opponent, dair, then move back out of shieldgrab range and land without lag. It works best against characters without disjointed hitboxes or a lot of range.
The Reverse Aerial Rush (RAR) technique [see: MNTC] isn't a trick that Pikas use frequently, but it does have a few applications for approach. Bair is a high-priority move that multi-hits for moderately high damage, and when it's input on a full hop, you eliminate its landing lag. Though you normally have better options, RAR'ing one of these can be an unconventional approach. Uair is another good choice for this particular tech, though you must be careful to land it behind your opponent, as it's fairly easy to shieldgrab. If it hits, you can string it into a second uair or nair.
Combos & Pseudo-Combos [CMBO]

Now that we're familiar with Pikachu's moveset and how to approah, it's time to learn the basics of his combo game. Blessed with a large number of flashy attack strings that can make the opponent look out of his league, Pika is one of the few characters in the game who has true combos on a majority of the cast. Let's not get hasty, though -- this is still Brawl, so apart from a few real combos, Pika mostly has potential "pseudo-combos," a.k.a. strings of attacks that will probably connect but can be fairly easily DI'd out of.

The Basics of Combo'ing

Pikachu's combos can begin with his fair, grabs, QAC, and more, but there are a few general points to keep in mind.
  • When executing a combo off the ground, know that any aerial except dair can follow a utilt at low percentages (and mid percentages on heavies). Once the opponent's gotten some damage on them, uair and bair become your only true follow-ups. Some options (uair, uair, uair!) are better than others, but it's good to know that you do, in fact, have options.
  • Heavy characters and fastfallers can be juggled more easily than lighter/floatier characters, and they'll find it far more difficult to DI out of any of your combos. (This is part of the reason why Pikachu is notorious for ****** the heavies!) However, it is also important to note that, against all characters, many combos will only work or simply work more reliably at a certain range of percents.

    For example, at the very beginning of your opponent's stocks, fthrow > usmash and dthrow > utilt/usmash work every time against the majority of the cast, but once they've accumulated some damage, it becomes very easy to DI out of these combos.
  • Some combos require a little bit of maneuvering and aren't quite as simple as they seem. Though they're usually listed as just a string of moves, sometimes there's a run or a jump or turning around involved -- for the sake of new Pikas, we'll try to note any especially tricky moments, but practice really is the best teacher.

    It's recommended that you try everything in Training Mode before bringing it to a real match so that performing the moves together fluidly and effortlessly becomes second nature. When you hesitate or have to think about what you'll do next, it gives the opponent time to escape, and many combos have strict timing that don't allow for this.
Getting into More Detail....

Pikachu's range of combos can be split into three categories: low-percentage, mid-percentage, and KO setups.

Low combos generally work on all characters at minimal damage (up to ~30%) and on heavier characters until slightly higher percentages. Their purpose is to quickly build initial damage on the opponent with attack strings that are nearly inescapable. Mid combos are self-explanatory and serve to rack up extra damage, often including a lot of grabs so that Pika can utilize his pummel. At this range, combos become “pseudo-combos,” as the opponent suffers little enough hitstun that they can usually DI away between attacks. Likewise, KO setups are rarely guaranteed, but they make landing Pikachu's fairly predictable kill moves a little bit easier.

Pikachu's most common low-percentage combos are:
Dtilt > Ftilt/Fsmash
Fthrow > Dash-Cancelled Usmash
Dthrow > Usmash
Dthrow > Utilt (x2 on heavies/fastfallers) > Rising Uair (x2 if possible) > Nair
Usmash x2 (heavies/fastfallers only)
Dthrow > Utilt > Uair/Nair > FF Fair > Grab/Utilt/Dsmash
Pikachu's most common mid-percentage combos are:
FF Fair > Grab > Pummel x2 (or x3) > Throw
FF Fair > Reverse Utilt > Uair (optional) > Uair/Bair/Fair
Fthrow > Running Usmash (for missed techs)
Utilt > Jump > Uair > FF > Jump > Uair > Double Jump > Nair
QAC > Jump > FF Fair > Grab/Utilt/Dsmash
Pikachu's most common kill setups are:
FF Fair > Usmash
FF Fair > Rising Nair
Utilt > Thunder
Usmash > Thunder
Uair > Nair
QAC > Uair (optional) > Nair
At nearly any percentage, FF fair can lead into a grab, utilt, dsmash, nair, or sometimes dtilt or usmash.

These are not, of course, the only combos Pikachu can pull off. If you would like to try more, visit SilverSpark's combo thread.

Don't be afraid to make up your own, either! Pikachu is extremely versatile, so there may be even more combos out there yet to be discovered.

Juggling [JGLG]

Juggling isn't one of Pikachu's offensive strengths, but he can still do it to some degree depending on the character he's facing. To clarify, juggling is exactly what it sounds like: it's the act of keeping your opponent in the air above you, making it impossible or at least very, very difficult for them to land. Once the other player uses their second jump, they're especially susceptible to juggling, because their only means of getting to the ground become a) attacking on their way down, b) drifting back and forth and hoping to outmaneuver you (very unlikely with Pika's running speed), or c) using some sort of teleportation move (ex: MK's cape, Zelda's up-b). This whole process is easier when they're at a moderately high percentage.

Pikachu's main juggling moves are uair, thunder, uthrow, and utilt. Usmash is a semi-option, but it's really too slow for juggling, and you'll want to keep it fresh for the kill anyway. Utilt is your setup for juggling. Heavies/fastfallers can be hit with it twice (a mini-juggle) at low percentages, and at mid-high damage, it will begin to send them high enough to attempt a true juggle.

Once they're in the air, uair is going to be your main tool because of its speed; even if the opponent decides to try to dair their way through you, uair's hitbox will often come out before theirs, sending them back up again. Its only problem for juggling is that it has fairly low knockback, so at lower percentages, it won't effectively juggle heavies/fastfallers. If it looks as thought the opponent is going to land back on the stage before you can use another uair (if, say, you had to return to the ground to get your second jump back), run up and grab them out of their landing lag, then uthrow them back up. If they come down with an attack, attempt a shieldgrab.

People hate being above Pikachu, and the reason for this is one of your best juggling assets if you use it accurately: thunder! T1's mostly vertical knockback will keep opponents in the air, and if you can keep hitting them with it, they'll eat a lot of damage in the process and possibly die if they're caught too close to the top of the screen. Smart opponents will be able to get by without much trouble, but if you vary your timing, utilize QAC > thunder, and predict airdodges well, you just might pull off an epic juggle.

One stage where juggling is easy is the air stage on PS2. With QAC, Pikachu can get to the ground whenever he needs to in spite of the low gravity, but other characters will usually end up stuck in the air and fairly vulnerable. Thunder and uair to your heart's content.

When juggling, it's important to know your opponent's moveset. If they have a strong dair, especially one with a pushback effect on the ground (ex: Toon Link, G&W's key), juggling may not be advisable. If you want to attempt it, bait their dair, then punish the landing lag with a uthrow. For characters with teleportation moves or dairs that get them to the ground quickly at an odd angle (ex: ZSS's dair, Zelda's up-b), predict where they will land and similarly punish them with a grab.

Overall, juggling shouldn't be one of your main priorities, but if you think you can pull it off, go for it!

Getting the Kill [GTKO]

Even though Pikachu has a lot of killing power, getting that kill can be hard sometimes. He has a bunch of kill moves: Skull Bash, fsmash, dsmash, usmash, utilt, up-angled ftilt, nair, dair, and thunder. Some, like thunder and Skull Bash, are ridiculously overpowered but slow at the same time. Others, like dair and ftilt, can kill at high percentages, but they can only do so near the edge.

  • Starting at around 40%-50%, you can get kills with T2 and fully charged Skull Bashes. With proper prediction you can land a thunder on the edge over someone, easily killing them around 40%. A fully charged Skull Bash will KO as well, but it will rarely hit unless you first break the opponent's shield. These kills are highly situational and require a bit of a mistake on the part of your opponent.
  • At 70%, dsmash comes into play. If they don't DI out of it before the last hit and are sent straight up, their hitstun will last long enough that thunder will kill. This is rare at high-level play, though, since most people can easily DI out of dsmash.
  • At 90%, one of Pikachu's most reliable kill moves come into play: utilt/usmash > thunder. Usmash is easy to DI; you'll rarely get thunder off of it. Utilt, however, seems to catch people off-guard. Note that the different sides of utilt have their own unique knockback patterns, but if you take the time to learn them, you can pull off some impressive thunder kills. If they go off to a side, you can jump, drift, and thunder, or you can dash, jump really fast, then thunder. Even if the opponent goes pretty far to one side, you can catch people at a surprising distance from the utilt.

    At lower percentages, people can avoid the thunder, but once you reach about 110%-120%, the hitstun becomes so great that they can't do anything about it. Even better: thanks to hitstun preventing B moves until you regain control, it hinders reflectors and absorbers depending on how much damage the opponent has taken (higher damage = longer hitstun).
  • Once the opponent reaches 100%, a fresh dsmash alone will kill most characters if all hits connect.
  • At ~100%-120%, fsmash and usmash become kill moves, the former a little before the latter. Usmash is ideal for quick punishment, as there are many attacks that Pika can shield, then counter with a hyphen smash. (If they're sent straight up, throw in a thunder just in case.) Fsmash has considerable startup lag and a short-ranged sweetspot, but if you hit with it, fresh, its knockback is enormous. Its slow startup means that it too is best reserved for punishment, either out of a powershield or after an opponent's whiffed attack. It can also punish landing lag if the other player lands near you.
  • One thing to note is that around 130%, a tipped fsmash, which sends people straight up, can have enough hitstun that you can run > jump > thunder for the KO.
  • Nair and utilt are kill moves starting around 140%. Nair is highly effective when done OOS. It's incredibly fast and can punish most moves since it comes out after only 2 frames. You can also run up and SH > nair into someone, or, if your opponent likes to ledge hop, you can run and SH > nair right as they come up and hit them with it. Being close to the edge has the added benefit of reducing the percentage at which nair kills.

    Keep in mind that although nair can kill early, most opponents will DI it pretty well, somewhat limiting its potential.
  • At 150% comes ftilt. While ftilt normally has low knockback, if angled upward it becomes a surprising killer. It can kill DDD (with no DI) at about 150% on Final Destination. This move has very short range, so you have to get in their face or punish a close-range attack with it. Lucky for us, people tend to miss the DI on ftilt because of its speed and unpredictability as a KO move. If by chance your opponent lasts this long, never forget about ftilt.
  • Last but not least, at around 160%, dair kills when you're close to the ledge. Hopefully you can get a KO by this point, but if not, dair is a new option. Autocanceled dair OOS (inputting it as you SH for no landing lag, similar to Pikastorming) works really well.
Edgeguarding/Gimping [EDGP]

Pikachu is a fantastic edgeguarder, possessing an arsenal of techniques you can employ to keep the opponent from returning to the stage. Since the combination of Skull Bash and Quick Attack allows him to return from nearly anywhere, there will rarely be a character you won't feel comfortable pursuing off the stage in order to abuse their inferior recovery. (Exceptions to this rule are G&W, MK, and ROB.) Even if you can't necessarily chase someone off the ledge, thunder is a powerful edgeguarding move that you can use to defend the edge from the safety of the stage.

Thunder Jolt
The simplest attack Pika can use against opponents recovering from down low is thunder jolt. In the air, it carries greater knockback, and it's especially useful against characters with multiple jumps; though it won't gimp them, it can make them use up their jumps so that they're forced to up b or otherwise rush to the ledge to avoid taking more damage. (It also has that annoyance factor that we love.)
Characters with ballsy recoveries (i.e., Link, Ganondorf, and sometimes Lucario and Ike depending on their distance from the stage) can be gimped by a mere tjolt. Kinda lame but oh-so-satisfying.
Dair/Nair/Bair
If your opponent has a predictable recovery, you may be able to drop or jump off the ledge and nail them with a dair or nair for the kill, depending on their damage. Even if they aren't KO'd, the high knockback of these moves may push them far enough away that they can no longer recover.
If the opponent is recovering fairly low, you can also drop off the ledge with a bair. This is a little risky, but since bair allows you to drag the opponent in a certain direction, there is almost no chance of them making it back after they're caught in this move. Pikachu, however, can safely return without worrying about being edgeguarded himself.
Thunder
Undoubtedly, as you've probably guessed, Pikachu's greatest edgeguarding attack is his infamous thunder. This massive beam of pure energy is one of the best edgeguarding tools in the game. Smart opponents will not attempt to recover high due to Pika's thunder; therefore, you can wait at the edge and watch how they return, planning your thunder method accordingly.
One option is ledge hopping a thunder. To perform this, simply tap your jump button as you're hanging onto the edge and use thunder immediately. If you don't use up all of your invincibility frames while you're on the actual ledge, they will carry over into the ledge hop, which means you will have a few frames before thunder where you're invulnerable. Nice, but hitting with it requires your opponent to practically run straight into the thunder, which probably won't happen unless you're really quick to snap onto the ledge.
Most of the time, you'll want to thunder a bit more aggressively. After sending the opponent flying off-stage, jump out, wait for the opportune moment, then use your double jump. Now immediately thunder as you rise. If you timed it right, your opponent may fly right into it, but if not, you can usually pull off a second or even a third thunder. Since T2 stops vertical momentum as it hits you, you should still be able to QA to safety.
Visuals are always better than reading a description, so watch the thunder sections in 5ive's Video Guide [see: PFQS] to get a better idea of how double and triple thunders work.
When Not to Use Thunder......
The bane of thunder edgeguarding is a reflector or absorbing move. For characters who have reflectors, you can create a thunder wall without T2 using two different methods: 1) wavebounce thunder so that you end up back on the stage, or 2) jump off-stage, then jump back and thunder on your way in. Wavebouncing is faster and less predictable but slightly harder to pull off. In either case, if thunder is reflected, it won't hit you. Using thunder on Ness, Lucas, or G&W (unless his bucket is full) is not recommended.
Tech Chasing [TCCH]

Pikachu doesn't have any guaranteed tech chase setups like Ganondorf and Snake do, but if by chance your opponent misses a tech and ends up on their back, Pika is speedy enough to move in and punish. This will happen less and less at higher levels of play, but there are instances where even the best players will occasionally miss their tech, especially on stages with lots of solid walls, à la the windmill on PS1.

Setting Up a Tech Chase

Pikachu's setups for tech chasing are limited, and most require a ceiling or wall of some sort. Lacking either of the latter, dsmash is a great way to set up tech chases against opponents who tend to miss techs more often. Since the direction you're sent when you DI out of dsmash is hard to predict, if it flings the other player out at a low angle, there's a good chance that they'll miss their tech and end up on the ground. If you really want to annoy them, you can chase them and punish with another dsmash, which can start the whole process all over again.

If you have walls to work with, moves with high knockback are more likely to result in a missed tech, because the other person will have less time to react. PS1's windmill is a good place to abuse, as are the wall on Corneria and the right side of the ship on Rainbow Cruise.

The ceilings on Luigi's Mansion are tailor-made for setting up a tech chase, because you can utilt/usmash/uthrow your opponent against them multiple times, and they're almost guaranteed to end up on the ground at some point. Added bonus: they'll be right near you, so it's easy to go into a QAL or, if they have enough damage, a jab lock.

These are your best bets, but there are many situations in which your opponent may hit the ground. At high percentages, most moves will end with the opponent on the ground if they allow themselves to land that way, but good opponents almost never will.

How to Punish a Missed Tech

When your opponent lands on the ground, they have three options: they can get up without attacking, get-up attack, or tech roll. The first and last choices have a few invincibility frames, and get-up attacks have a hitbox whose size and duration depend on the character. Regardless, all are punishable, and they'll always be vulnerable for at least a short period of time. On top of that, less experienced opponents tend to repeat the same thing (always get-up attacking, always rolling in a certain direction, etc.), so if you can predict them, capitalize on that.

  • If your opponent just gets up (which they will usually only do if you're far away), you can attack or grab them right after their invincibility frames. Pretty simple.
  • If they get-up attack, depending on its range, you can do a few things. Short-ranged get-up attacks can be waited out and punished with an fsmash/dtilt, while longer-ranged ones might require that you run in and grab instead. If it has weak knockback, you can just shieldgrab, but some get-up attacks -- Ike's, for example -- will push you back out of reach. Ike is also a good example of a character whose get-up attack has a sizeable pause in-between each side that it hits on. If you're standing on the "second" end, you can grab while their hitbox is on the opposite side.
  • Tech rolling is a 50/50 thing, as you can guess.... they can roll forward or backward. Many people will always roll in a certain direction, be it always rolling to the left, always rolling away from you, always rolling to the ledge, etc. and so forth. Observe what they do the first time they have to get off the ground and use it to your advantage as much as you can. If they switch it up, though, you'll just have to guess.

    An exception is when they're near the ledge, since their options become severely limited. They can't roll off the edge, so they'll either have to roll in place or roll into you, minimizing the distance to which they can escape. Grab or attack when the roll ends.
Before the other character can even get off the ground, you can QAL or jab lock them if you're fast enough. QAL can be escaped with good DI, but a perfectly-executed jab lock is guaranteed if your opponent is at or above ~70%. See QATC and JBLK for more details.

Defensive Maneuvers [DFSV]
Being aggressive during an entire match is the best way to get punished, so it's good to know and learn Pikachu's defensive options. You must know how to best avoid taking damage and how to react when the flow of a match is against you, because Pika is super light and can't take many strong hits -- and hey, sometimes it's nice to just sit back and let the opponent fall into your furry little t-rex arms.

Spacing & Stage Control [STCN]

Spacing and stage control are somewhat of an issue with Pika. Spacing heavily relies on tjolt and fsmash, while stage control can depend on your usage of QAC and thunder. Some moves are worthless for spacing but great for stage control -- and vice versa -- but overall Pikachu can space and control the stage pretty well if you know what you're doing.

Spacing with Pikachu

When spacing with Pikachu, you must first know which moves are great for spacing and which ones are not. If you know which ones are good, you will automatically know that the others are not. Simple, yes? The moves that are ideal for spacing are:

  1. Fsmash
  2. Ftilt
  3. Dtilt
  4. Tjolt
Now, there may be some bickering about whether or not ftilt and dtilt are good for spacing, but other than fsmash, they are our greatest physical assets. Fsmash has the range of Marth's sword, lacking only the tipped sweetspot. Ftilt is a surprisingly quick means of attack with relatively good knockback. Dtilt comes out quickly as well, but it has the benefits of possibly tripping the opponent, starting locks against walls, and smaller knockback if that's what you want at the time. Despite being a low-priority projectile, tjolt is still an effective spacer, because it forces the opponent to stop momentarily so they can shield/dodge/jump/attack to avoid damage.

The thing to remember about spacing with fsmash is that using it to space means that you will most likely not be using it as a kill move; it will be too stale. Therefore, you must know before you even start a match whether you're going to use your fsmash to space or to kill.

For example: a match vs. Mr. Game and Watch. G&W does not have great range, and getting close to him is a good thing for Pika. Because you won't need to particularly outrange him, saving fsmash for the KO would be a better choice in this match. Ftilt would be better for spacing here. A character who you should use fsmash as a spacing tool against is ROB. His ground and aerial game both outrange Pikachu, and it's hard to get in close to him, so fsmash is perfect for spacing in this matchup.
Characters against whom you should use fsmash for killing are: G&W, DDD, Falco, Fox, Yoshi, Sonic, Olimar, & Diddy
Characters against whom you should use fsmash for spacing are: ROB, Marth, MK, Zelda, Snake, Charizard, DK, Bowser, Ike, Link, TL, Peach, Wario, Luigi, Lucas, Ness, Wolf, ZSS, & ICs
Characters against whom either option works are: Samus, Captain Falcon, Sheik, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Jigglypuff, Ganon, & Pit

*Note: Keep in mind that these are just suggestions. Always adapt your fsmash usage to fit your playstyle and that of your opponent.

Spacing with ftilt and dtilt is elementary. If the enemy is close enough to use them and you want to knock them back, use your ftilt or dtilt. The only thing that really needs to be mentioned is that ftilt has greater knockback than dtilt and is almost impossible to follow up on. Dtilt has less knockback, but it still sends the opponent a fair distance back and may also trip them.

Tjolt's spacing benefits should be obvious. Though it has a lot of cooldown lag, if you full hop or double jump your jolts, you can still control your aerial momentum and have only regular landing lag when you hit the ground. If you need to jump away from your opponent to reset your spacing, tjolting as you retreat can make sure they won't follow -- they'll either get hit or have to shield/jump/spotdodge.

Stage Control with Pikachu

This section could be 15 pages long if it analyzed each stage, but there is already a stage-by-stage discussion in this forum, which can be found here: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=211090.

If you want to learn how to control the stage with Pikachu, then you must learn which parts of the stage are susceptible to being controlled and which moves are great for controlling them. The other thing about stage control is that it also depends on which character your opponent's playing. If you're playing against someone without a projectile, you have a better chance at controlling the bottom part of the stage. If your opponent has awesome aerials (ex: Marth's fair or Zelda's uair), they will be able to control platforms better than you. Perhaps the best example of stage control is Snake. He can plant his C4 and/or dsmash anywhere and effectively control those parts of the stage.

We'll describe how to control the stage on a move-by-move basis.

Thunder:

Using thunder to control the stage is a key part of Pika's game and very, very important in general. Thunder allows you to control the air directly above you. It's super effective against characters who have a high recovery (such as Snake, ROB, or Sonic), because you can control the edge of the stage with thunder if they try to recover from above. In some cases, they have no choice but to pass above you and put themselves at risk.
Thunder is also great if the character you're fighting against loves to attack you from high above -- for example, Toon Link or Sonic. Being able to condition them to not attack you from above takes away some of their best aerial options and forces their playstyle to be more one-dimensional. One-dimensional = more predictable = bad for them, good for you.
Thunder also shines in stage control on stages in which there are high platforms above Pika: stages like Rainbow Cruise, Pokémon Stadium 1, and Pokémon Stadium 2. Frigate Orpheon doesn't have high platforms, but it is another thunder-friendly stage. On RC, you can control the movement of the opponent above you while the stage is changing. A thunder from that close to the top of the stage will most likely kill them, but even if it misses, they'll be unable to reach you in time to punish. On PS1 and PS2, you can control the stage with thunder when you're hiding next to the rock wall on the earth stage (PS1), when they're on top of the windmill on the water stage (PS1), or when the air stage (PS2) decreases gravity and your opponent is stuck above you. One last thing worth mentioning is that on one of the transformations on Delfino Plaza, you have three columns and water below you. During this part of the stage, you can ledge hop thunders like crazy there, and those are great for controlling the stage.

Quick Attack Cancel:

You may ask yourself, "How could I possibly control the stage with QAC?" This is a very simple question to answer, actually, if you stop for a moment and think about it. Out of QAC, you can thunder or jump and go into any aerial. This means that if you opponent is in the air somewhere and you want to surprise thunder them, you can QAC underneath them and immediately thunder. Condition your opponent to fear this, and you have successfully been able to control the air. If they're on a platform somewhere, you can QAC below the platform and jump > attack from below. This is really effective since it happens almost instantaneously, allowing you to control their use of platforms.
Simply put, QAC allows you to quickly teleport to any part of the stage whenever you want. Granted, it is punishable, but the point is to make your opponent hesitate before going somewhere, not necessarily to hit them. If that's not stage control, nothing is.

Those are the main stage-controlling moves other than tjolt and uair. Tjolt has already been somewhat explained, but it's pretty self-explanatory. If your opponent doesn't have a projectile to counter your jolts, you can somewhat control their movement along the bottom of a stage; they will always have to shield, spotdodge, attack, or jump over your tjolts unless they want to get hit. Uair can make your opponents cautious around platforms, because it's a quick move that can harass platform campers from below and cannot be punished while they continue to stay on the platform.

Truthfully, stage control is not one of Pikachu's main priorities in a match (better left to characters like ROB, Samus, and Snake), but when you can take over a part of the stage, that's just one more advantage for you. Do it when you can, but never sacrifice a more important part of your game for it.

It's Not Camping, It's "Projectile Spacing" [CMPG]

When many people think of Pikachu, they immediately think of camping or spamming, which is very unfortunate. Pika actually has very good close-range game, but it's true that there will be times when you need to back off and slow the pace of a match, or you may just want to deal some damage without the risk of being punished, especially against characters with long range and disjointed hitboxes. (Martha! :mad:)

The first thing that must be understood about Projectile Spacing (we Pikas don't like the term "camping") is that it depends on your tjolt usage. You have multiple options when using tjolt: you can SH it, full hop it, double jump it, or use it from the ground. Each way has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is imperative that you know the pros and cons of each method. The good thing about the tjolt overall is that it will travel the length of the stage you are on. It can even wrap around the stage's edge, which comes in handy in various situations.

The Grounded Tjolt:

Advantages:
1) Tjolt comes out faster than the time it takes to SH, then tjolt
2) Sends out more jolts in a shorter amount of time than SH'ing them
Disadvantages:
1) Cannot tjolt enemies who are pressuring you from the air
2) Usage on platforms is limited
3) Does not allow you to space yourself more appropriately if you enemy is advancing and avoiding your tjolts well

The SH'd Tjolt:

Advantages:
1) Allows you to defend against opponents who like to combat you in the air
2) Can mix up the timing of the tjolts
3) Platform usage is not as limited
4) Spacing your approaching opponents is possible
5) Options out of the SH tjolt are less limited
Disadvantages:
1) Leaves you open to attack from below
2) Sends out less tjolts per amount of time than a standing tjolt spammer
3) Still suffers from lag once you hit the ground

The FH'd Tjolt:

Advantages:
1) Free from lag once you hit the ground
2) Can easily hit most aerial opponents
3) Maximum platform usage
4) More time in the air allows you the most opportunity to space during cooldown lag
5) Options out of the FH tjolt are much less limited
Disadvantages:
1) Sends out the least amount of jolts per amount of time
2) Although the best option, repeated use becomes predictable

Tjolt is a great projectile, but Pikachu must endure a lot of cooldown lag after using it, so it's important to time and space your jolts well. The strategies of when to use each are very easy to understand.

The Grounded Tjolt

As you can probably guess from reading the advantages for using each type of spacing technique, the grounded tjolt is ideal when you want to send a lot of tjolts in your enemy's direction -- in other words, when you want to slow down their approach or keep the pressure on them. This is useful for when…

… you want to really slow down your opponent and/or hopefully get a few free hits in on them.
…the time of the match is drawing to a close and you want to keep them at bay for as long as possible.
… they're hanging on the ledge and you're afraid of getting close. For example, MK is very hard to edgeguard, so you can back off and keep sending tjolts so that MK will have to come up and off the ledge and attempt an approach.
… you're at a higher percentage and do not want to be killed. When fighting a character who has a terrific KO game on the ground (ex: Snake), you can assault them with jolts from a standing position if you're far away.

Now, you would not want to use this when…

… you are on a platform. It leaves you open from underneath and the tjolt will travel only around the platform you are on. The one exception is that if you go to the edge of the platform and use it, you may be able to send a tjolt off that does not follow the platform and does hit the ground beneath you.
… the enemy is attacking you from above.
… the opponent has a long-range projectile as well, ex: Pit, ROB.

The SH Tjolt

When you switch to SH'ing your tjolts, your options become a little more open. Basically you use it when…

… you want to change the timing of the tjolt.
… your opponent is attacking you constantly from the air, and a standing tjolt won't work. For example, Kirby likes to travel in the air. Most of the time, a tjolt will not hit Kirby unless you jump up and over them so that the jolt will hit them before it hits the ground.
… you want to follow up the tjolt with some form of attack or defensive maneuver like QAC.

You would not want to use the SH tjolt when…

… you are fighting a character who can punish you while you are in the air but still low to the ground (ex: Snake's mortar slide).
… your opponent is close to you. You'll still have landing lag when you hit the ground, which they can punish if they're within a short enough distance.
… your opponent has a reflector. You'll more than likely get hit by the reflected jolt.

The FH & Double Jump Tjolt

These two types of tjolt go hand-in-hand since they both put you high above the ground while the jolt comes out, and you have the benefit of being free of lag once you hit the ground. Use them when…

… your opponent has a reflector. At close range, even if they reflect it, your jump will go over the reflected tjolt, and you can punish the cooldown lag that most reflectors have.
… you want to perform an action as soon as you hit the ground. From a full hop, tjolt's cooldown lag will have ended by the time you land.
… you want to further vary your timing from grounded and SH'd tjolts.
… your opponent is high in the air.
… you need to shoot a tjolt onto a platform that's far away or some height above you.
… you're retreating. Being in the air for the duration of cooldown lag allows you to be in control of your momentum the entire time.

Do not use them when…

… your opponent is close to approaching you. They'll be able to powershield the jolt and punish your landing.
... you're fighting Diddy Kong. He'll throw a banana peel underneath you, and you'll trip when you land.

Baiting & Punishing [BTPN]

Baiting and punishing with Pikachu is all about mindgames. It's making your opponent think you'll do something, waiting for them to react accordingly, then punishing their reaction based on what they've done. There are several ways to achieve this.

Tjolt spamming is an excellent baiter. Many players expect Pikachus to spam tjolt, so when they see you doing so, they'll get comfortable and probably fall into a pattern in order to avoid them. They may spotdodge them all, they might stand still and shield, or they may try to advance while powershielding -- whatever their reaction, watch what they do. Plan which tjolt will be your last, then quickly follow it up with the punishment of your choice: if they shield, grab them. If they spotdodge, wait for the spotdodge to end and attack them as they come out of it, preferably with a combo-starting move. If they jump, grab them as they land.

This can even work on characters with reflectors. Many reflectors have a considerable amount of cooldown lag, so if you tjolt from a full hop a short distance away, you'll be in the perfect position to grab or cross-over fair your opponent after they reflect. The reflected jolt will travel underneath you since you'll still be in the air.

Believe it or not, something as simple as running straight at your opponent is another good baiter. Instinct says that when someone is running toward you, they're going to attack, so most opponents will either try to counterattack or throw up their shield. The catch is that you don't attack. Shield instead (slightly out of shieldgrab range unless you want to grab them), and watch what they do.

Repeat this later in this match (doing it twice in a row would be too predictable), and based on what they did before, react accordingly. If they attacked, shield the attack and punish with nair or dair OOS; if they shielded, grab them from the front or pivot boost grab them from behind. Chances are that their instincts will take over now that time has passed, and they'll very likely repeat whatever they did the first time you pulled this trick on them.

You can bait whiffed attacks and shields with empty short hops. When Pika jumps, it's usually to approach with an attack or tjolt, so the opponent will be conditioned to that and 80% of the time will put up their shield. Tjolt your way into close-mid range, then SH > FF without attacking. Watch them put up their shield, expecting an attack, then boost grab or run > grab depending on how far away you are.

SHAD'ing was covered in the section on approaching [see: APRH], but baiting and punishing are the roots from which it came. The reason why it works so well is that it baits the opponent into reacting to what they think will be an attack -- or, after your numerous tricks so far, possibly a shield. You capitalize on this by doing neither on top of landing behind them, which is a vulnerable place for many characters.

A really fun way to bait an opponent with Pikachu is to make it look like Pika is susceptible to attack when you really know that he's not. For example, when you're falling towards the stage and the opponent thinks they have you trapped, just wait until they are about to attack, then jump out of your freefall. If you are close enough to the stage, you can QAC to the ground and enjoy your free meal.

There are so many different methods of baiting. Some were mentioned above, but there's plenty of room to come up with your own. Brawl is a very defense-oriented game, so baiting is essential at times when you can't rely on a combo or tech to win a particular matchup. Never feel guilty about baiting. If you have to do it, do it, and reap the benefits with pleasure.

Evasion Tactics [EVSN]

Pikachu is probably one of the easiest characters with whom you can evade attacks. In addition to the normal methods of evasion (shielding, spotdodging, rolling, and airdodging) and Pika's great running speed, we have the oh-so-popular QAC to make us even faster. When it comes to simply not getting hit, Pika can be an expert in this field.

First of all, we have Quick Attack Cancel. This is hands-down our best tool for evading. We can effectively get around an opponent without getting touched, and besides that, QAC comes out almost instantaneously. When platforms are thrown into the mix, we can vary our movement to a greater degree and become even more unpredictable. QAC'ing away and tjolting covers your butt and gets you out of most opponents' range at the same time; in fact, unless they have a projectile that eats jolts, it's a fail-safe retreat once the QAC starts.
Regardless, we must consider Pikachu's options outside of QAC, because like any technique, it can be countered even as an evasion tactic. (Pikachu, say hello to Toon Link.) What would we do if we didn't have QAC? How do you evade an enemy without the use of QAC?

The definition of evasion is avoiding getting hit by your opponent. The basic tools of evasion for every character are rolling, spotdodging, shielding, and airdodging.

Rolling grants you invulnerability and moves you from one place to another at the same time, but Pikachu's roll isn't that great. It's short and easily punished. Use sparingly, and definitely do not use it when you could easily walk or dash out of range.
Spotdodging is useful if you want to evade a grab, but it has a set length, and multihit attacks can still catch you as you come out of it.
From shielding you have more options (you can spotdodge and grab from your shield), and it takes only 1 frame to put it up. The downside is that Pikachu has a small shield to match his small size, so if you keep it up for too long, attacks will begin to hit through it….. and in the worst-case scenario, your shield will get broken, leaving you completely helpless for a long time. Another small annoyance with shielding is that if a strong attack hits your shield, you'll get pushed back, which can eliminate your chance to punish at times. Note that if you powershield an attack or projectile (shielding right as the attack/projectile hits you), you suffer no lag and can do whatever you want out of it.
Airdodging is basically the aerial version of spotdodging. You're completely invulnerable while in the airdodge, but you can be grabbed or attacked as you come out of it. If you airdodge into the ground, you'll still have landing lag, but it'll be proceeded by a few frames of invulnerability, and you can input any move to be performed on the first available frame. This is one version of buffering, explained in more detail in MNTC.
Ducking and crawling are very situational, but Pika's body is small enough that he can duck/crawl underneath some attacks, including Fox & Falco's lasers, Pit's unaimed arrows, and Zelda's usmash, just to name a few.

Evading with Pika also means learning how to save your second jump. Jumping can save you from getting hit from an attack, but using your double jump too soon can lead to your being vulnerable from below. Save your second jump if at all possible. Doing this will enable you to avoid projectiles and attacks from uairs or utilts/usmashes. As mentioned before, it can also help you bait an enemy into thinking that you're vulnerable.

You Must Recover! [RCVR]
Wise words from Sakurai, right? Even the noobiest Brawler knows that you lose a stock when you cross over any of the four blastlines (top, bottom, both sides) of a stage's screen, so when you're sent off stage, it's imperative that you get back to the ledge or onto the stage itself. For Pikachu, this is absolute cake.... he beasts pretty much every other character in terms of recovery.

DI & Momentum Canceling [DIMC]

Pikachu is a very light character, and as such, he tends to get sent flying easily. Luckily for us, that doesn't mean he dies easily, because his recovery is one of the best in the game. The different parts of recovery that will be covered are Directional Influence (DI) and momentum canceling.

Cross-Section of a Hit

Before we talk about DI, let's first take a look at what happens when you're hit. When you get hit in Brawl, you go through a few phases. First, the hitbox of the attack makes contact with your hurtbox, and you enter a stage called hitlag. During this stage, you and the character who hit you are locked in place and don't move, though you may jiggle a bit. While you're in hitlag, the hitbox of the attack stays out; after hitlag ends, you're sent flying and enter hitstun. During this time, you cannot change your momentum, but you can input certain moves to break out of hitstun (covered in more detail in the Momentum Canceling section). After hitstun is broken, you can start controlling your momentum as you normally would.

Directional Influence

Directional Influence, or DI, is a property in Brawl that allows you to control the direction you are sent flying after a hit. DI is input during the hitlag phase of the attack, and there are multiple ways to properly do it.

First, there's regular DI. This is where you hold a direction with the control stick as you are getting hit, and it will affect your momentum. This is the simplest way to DI.
The second way is called Smash DI. This is where you tap the c-stick in a direction when you are hit.
The third way is called Tap DI, which is tapping the control stick a direction when you are hit.

Any of these methods will work for single hit moves. For multi-hit moves, however, rapidly tapping the control and c-sticks will force you in a direction. A prime example is Pikachu's dsmash. This move grabs you and knocks you back and forth before the final hit sends you straight up. It is, however, possible to break out of it early. You can a) simply hold up (regular DI), and you will get out of it near the end, or b) rapidly tap both sticks straight up, which will cause to pop out in 1-3 hits.

Note that you can DI out of every multi-hit move in the game. The really hard ones, especially for Pikachu (since he falls faster than the average character), are Zelda's usmash and MK's Mach Tornado. For both, you need to get the initial hit DI'd straight up, after which you have a good chance of escaping out the top of either move. Once you are stuck, though, it is VERY hard to get out of them.

So now that we know how to DI, let's talk about where to DI. The ideal way to DI is perpendicular to the base path of travel. Your overall goal when getting hit is to angle your path into the upper corners so that you'll increase the path length and time you have for momentum canceling or just plain surviving. The basic rule is that if you're going to get hit horizontally, DI up; if you're going to get hit up, DI towards the side.

Momentum Canceling

Momentum Canceling is when you use a move to regain control when you are sent flying, then use another to slow/halt momentum. First off, when you're sent flying, you can use an A attack or airdodge during the time after hitstun but before you can control your momentum. B moves won't register, and no control stick inputs will affect your momentum. After you finish your airdodge or A move, you will regain the use of your B moves, and you can start to change your momentum.

Obviously, your priority is to get the first part done as fast as possible. For all characters in the game, even though you can airdodge earlier then you can do an attack, there is an attack that will end sooner. There is also the side benefit of being able to fast-fall an aerial (which slightly slows horizontal and really slows vertical momentum), which you cannot do with an air dodge. For Pikachu, the best thing to do at this point is to fast-fall a uair, because that is Pika's fastest aerial in terms of duration.

Once you've done your A move, you can then slow your momentum, jump, or use a B move. Jumping or using a momentum-changing B move has a penalty in Brawl's programming that pushes you away, often referred to as an "unfriendly momentum" penalty. (Some characters have a B move which breaks this rule, ex: G&W's bucket.)

Pikachu doesn't have a perfect momentum-stopper, but we have one that is a lot better than any other option: uncharged Skull Bash, which will stop all horizontal momentum after it is fired, i.e., when he says "KA!" The unfriendly momentum penalty for Skull Bash has a vertical component and a horizontal component, but it is unlikely that it will ever kill you. In any case, it's the best option Pikachu has and will save you when doing nothing would have led to death.

After you come out of Skull Bash, you can come down to the ground however you like. Keep in mind that you should only fully momentum cancel if you're close to dying off the sides of the screen. If the attack that hit you was of only moderate knockback or if you were sent vertically, you should perform the uair to get out of hitstun, but you should not use Skull Bash. In the first case, you will end up too close to the stage, and the opponent will be able to punish Skull Bash's massive cooldown lag; in the second, Skull Bashing after a vertical hit is unnecessary and may kill you.

As a quick overview, this is what you should do when you get hit with a possible KO move:

Horizontally
1) DI upward
2) FF uair as soon as you can
3) Skull Bash (uncharged) towards the stage*
*Skip step #3 if you are nowhere near the side blastlines
Vertically
1) DI sideways
2) FF uair as soon as you can

Returning to the Stage [RTRN]

Once you've done your super-fancy momentum canceling, it's time to get back to stage! There are two basic ways to do this: you can recover to the ledge, or you can recover directly back onto the stage. Pikachu is very adept at recovering both ways. Let's start up high.

Recovering from Up High

When recovering from up high, you have the most options. There are a few things people will do: use a vertical projectile; stay on the ground and wait; come up with an attack; or come up with no attack and wait for your airdodge.


  • [*]For a vertical projectile, depending on how much lag time there is, you can either drop real fast and attack, or you can airdodge through it.


    [*]If they stay on the ground, they're either a noob, and you can attack at will, or they're waiting for you to land. A lot of faster characters will try to grab/attack your landing animation, as no matter how you land, you will always be vulnerable for at least 2 frames.

    If you see the opponent waiting for you, drift around a little as you fall, then QAC away. You can mindgame them into thinking you'll land on one side, then land on the other and punish any whiffed attacks or grab attempts.


    [*]If your opponent comes up with an attack, either outprioritize it, hit first, or just airdodge through with a fast-fall, then punish as they land.


    [*]If they try to bait an airdodge, you can attack them.
Keep in mind that good players will use a variety of these options on you, so always be alert. If you're really uncomfortable landing straight down, you can always QAC at an angle into the ground to get away. You can also go for the ledge.

Recovering from the Middle

If you're around the middle area, you have to be careful. While your options aren't limited, you're in a good position for people to come out and get you. As you come in, watch what they do. They will either wait for you on the stage, wait and then ledgeguard as soon as you QA, or come out to get you.

  • If they do happen to come out after you, QA through them if they don't have good timing, or you can go around them if they do. A good Pikachu will rarely be gimped, especially since we can QA through most attacks before the hitbox comes out.


    [*]If they ledgeguard, you have a couple of options. Firstly, you can Skull Bash into the ledge for a potential stage spike. This is very risky if they have a spike, because they can ledge hop and spike you with relative ease. The better option when you think they're going to ledge-guard is to QAC onto stage, then reverse tjolt behind you so they can't follow you.

    Another good thing you can do is to drop down so that you can angle your QA to skim the ledge. If they don't ledge grab, hooray! -- you get to grab the ledge. If they do grab the ledge, you will go right by it; in that case, just input the second part of QA into the ground, and you're set.


    [*]If they stay on the stage, just go for the ledge. If you're feeling confident, you can always QAC through them, but if they throw out an attack, you could run right into its hitbox.
Recovering from Down Low

If you DI badly and are sent really low, you can still make it! Skull Bash to try to position yourself underneath the ledge, then QA up at a slight angle away from the stage, then up at a slight angle towards the stage. Even at the bottom of the blast zone, you can still grab the ledge, partly due to Pikachu's huge sweetspot on the ledge. Go a little above it, and you can land on stage. Most people won't expect you to recover from down low and won't attempt a ledge-guard. Silly people.

As a last-ditch attempt, if they keep pushing you off, fully charge a Skull Bash and go under the stage if you can, then QA up to the other side. This is really helpful if your opponent is reading your recovery well.

This isn't a complete list of what you can do. Experiment and figure out what works for you, as there are many different levels of comfort off the stage. On a final note, when recovering, ALWAYS input the second part of QAC. So many Pikachus (both good and bad) fail to do this and end up getting ledgehogged. Even if you go for the ledge and they grab it, you can go straight up past them and use your aerial momentum to land safely on the stage.

Getting onto the Stage from the Ledge

One awesome thing about Pikachu is that his sweetspot for the ledge is huge, so it will beat out most attempts to ledgehog unless they go early. Once you get onto the ledge, Pikachu is not short of options. He can do what all characters in the game can do from the ledge: get up, ledge attack, roll, jump, ledge hop, or drop.

The first four are the basic things you can do.

  • Get-up attack is nothing special, though the normal version (less than 100% damage) is fast and has decent horizontal coverage. Use sparingly, as it is easily shieldgrabbed, and the lag afterwards is more then enough for people to come in and punish.
  • Pikachu has a bunch of good ledge hop options. He can use fair to push them away or use nair for strong knockback. You can also drop a dair on the opposite side of your opponent and knock them off the ledge depending on how far they're standing from you. Uair will also suck them off the ledge sometimes.

    If they're hanging near the edge and just waiting, you can ledge hop thunder. This can really push them away and possibly kill at high percents, but don't do this too often, because it's very punishable. If you miss, always nair right as thunder ends. It will sometimes hit them as they try to punish you.

    Yet another option you have is ledge hopping a tjolt and either landing on the stage or staying off and tjolting some more. This can be very effective at pushing them back enough to let you on safely. Lastly, you can just ledge hop QAC back onto stage. This is another very effective choice, as you can easily vary the timing, height, and angle of getting back on.
  • Quick Attack allows you to pull mindgames from the ledge in the form of dropping down and QA'ing back to the ledge. This is very safe, especially if you always input the second QA to prevent yourself from getting ledgehogged.

    One little trick to know is that while you have invincibility frames, you cannot grab the ledge, so you can quickly drop down, QA up, then use the second part to QA down onto the stage. This can put you in position to attack someone semi-close to the ledge, and it's hard to see coming, especially if you do a bunch of normal drop-down QA's first. Get a rhythm going, let the opponent get used to your pattern, then QA onto stage. Surprise! If there are any platforms, you can also QAC onto the platforms and then go wherever you want from there. Just remember to watch where you QAC, as you will always experience more landing lag than usual coming out of it.
 

KayLo!

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Past the Basics: Advanced Techniques for Pika [ADVT]
We've pretty much covered the basic points of Pikachu's game, meaning that if you've mastered everything in the guide so far, your Pika is probably decent. Unfortunately, just knowing the fundamentals isn't enough at the very top levels of play, so let's begin to explore the more advanced things Pikachu can do.

*Note: Pika-specific ATs are in yellow

Quick Attack Techs [QATC]

Quick Attack Cancel (QAC) -- This is the bread and butter of Pikachu's ATs. Basically, if you Quick Attack into the ground or a platform at a downward angle, you're granted a brief window of time in which you can jump or perform an aerial (though out of them all, only the ground shock wave of dair will have time to come out). The jump you perform is a "second jump," so you can't short hop it, but you can attack, airdodge, or even do another QA! This is Pikachu's fastest way of getting around and can be essential to a top-level Pikachu's game.

Pikachu has many options out of QAC. One very effective use is when you QA through your opponent, you can jump, uair, and start comboing them from there. You can also QAC > dair, and it will send out the shock waves from the dair, which can catch your opponent off-guard. Another of the more common uses for QAC is QAC > thunder, which will stop your momentum dead in its tracks and unleash the deadliest move in Pikachu's arsenal: THUNDER. Can be very deadly.

Play around with QAC in Training Mode and learn to perfect your control over it before attempting to use it offensively in a real match. Its effectiveness comes from its unpredictability, because honestly, it's easily shielded or outprioritized by other moves if you use it to approach too often. (Zelda's usmash, anyone?) It should mainly be used for maneuvering around the stage, retreating (in such cases often ending with jump > tjolt), or confusing the hell out of your opponent.

It must be noted that normally when you QA, there is landing lag (24 frames vs. a normal 2-frame landing). However, with QAC, the lag is saved until the next time you land without an attack. Let's say you QAC 3 times in a row for fun, then land with an nair at the end. The next time you land normally, there will be lag from the first QA, so make sure you don't get punished for it!

Quick Attack Cancel is demonstrated in Part 1 of 5ive's Pikachu Video Guide.

Quick Attack Lock (QAL) -- Quick Attack is one of two of Pikachu's attacks that can truly lock. At any percentage, Pikachu can QA through an opponent who didn't tech, and they will pop up, exactly like a jab lock. However, QAL'ing is much harder than any other lock. To do it, you must QA through your opponent one way, then QA back the other way.

This is much easier said than done. One way to do it is to QA down-left, then roll your finger to the up position (with tap jump on) so that Pika jumps, then press B at the upward position on the analog stick, and finally move down-right, back through the opponent. Repeat in the opposite direction so that you continue QAC'ing back and forth through the opponent. Keep in mind that with DI on the opponent's part, it is extremely difficult to keep them in the lock, so you will need to adjust the lengths of your QAs to keep them in it.

If you get your opponent to ~70% with QAL, you can stop, turn around, and go into a jab lock (see: JBLK). That's right: you can QAL into a jab lock! Not only that, but if you get too close to the edge, you can QA back through your opponent and start jabbing the other way. This takes very precise timing, but it's definitely worth it, so make sure to practice. If your opponent hits the floor without teching and you use this AT, you can get a guaranteed kill if you jump on the opportunity.​

Advanced Grab Game [GRBG]

Chaingrabbing (CGing) -- Pikachu has the 4rd best CG game in Brawl, beaten only by DDD, Falco, and the ICs. His fthrow CG works on all of the cast at very, very low percentages, excluding Marth, Pit, Kirby, MK, G&W, Luigi, Ness, Lucario, ZSS, Lucas, and Peach. To do the fthrow CG, simply fthrow your opponent, buffer a dash, then regrab them.

The following characters can be fthrow CG'd to a fairly high percentage:

*Original testing by Ruuku
Bowser: 0%-60%
Captain Falcon: 0%-60%
King DDD: 0%-60%
Donkey Kong: 0%-60%
Falco: 0%-60%
Fox: 0%-50%
Ganondorf: 0%-60%
Ike: 0%-60%
Link: 0%-60%
Sheik: 0%-70%
Snake: 0%-60%
Wolf: 0%-60%


Pikachu also has an unbuffered dthrow CG on fastfallers. This one's even easier: you just dthrow, regrab, and dthrow again. Here's the list of characters who can be CG'd by dthrow this way:

Unbuffered Dthrow CG (Original Testing by Ruuku)
Captain Falcon: 0%-80%
Fox: 0%-70%
Sheik: 0%-60%
Wolf: 0%-30%

*Note: Sheik and Captain Falcon can DI towards you and footstool out of the CG on the first throw, so this is not a true chaingrab on them. However, many opponents don't know this, so it's worth trying if you can get the grab. Otherwise, use the fthrow or buffered dthrow CGs.

You think the CG shenanigans stop there? Oh no, my friend! Pikachu's dthrow has excellent vertical range, so if you buffer a grab out of dthrow, it's possible to regrab characters on whom the regular, unbuffered dthrow CG does not work. Many of Pikachu's buffered dthrow CGs require some setting up or pummels to control dthrow's staleness, but it's well worth it to be able to CG characters such as MK and better CG characters like Falco, Wolf, and DDD.

Buffering is further explained in MNTC. If you're having trouble with the timing of these CGs, remember that you have approximately 10 frames at the end of dthrow to input the next grab; visually, it's about halfway through the dthrow animation when Pikachu curls into a ball and starts to fall. Also, one of the biggest mistakes people tend to make is holding the grab button -- don't hold it, tap it! Otherwise, you'll shield instead of grab.

Just practice until it becomes second nature. For more information, visit the Chaingrab Confirmation Thread.

If you need a visual aid, ESAM's video demonstrates a few of the buffered CGs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v8Myoltijo

Buffered Dthrow CG Combos (Original Testing by Michael Hey, K Prime, The Truth!, RPK, & ESAM)
Diddy Kong: 0%-21% + regrab (fthrow > dthrow > grab)
Donkey Kong: 7%-26% + regrab (dthrow x2 > grab)
Falco: 0%-100% + regrab (fthrow x2 > dthrow x13 > grab)
Fox: 0%~100% + regrab (dthrow x14+ > grab)
Ike: 0%-62% + regrab (dthrow x9 > grab)
King Dedede: 0%-77% + regrab (fthrow x2 > pummel > dthrow x3 > pummel > dthrow x4 > grab)
Link: 0%-41% + regrab (dthrow x5 > grab)
Lucas: 5%-33% + regrab (dthrow x3 > grab)
Meta Knight: 0%-52% + regrab (dthrow x7 > grab)
Sheik: 0%-105% + regrab (fthrow x2 > dthrow x14 > grab)
Snake (ver. 1): 0%-83% + regrab (fthrow x2 > pummel > dthrow x3 > pummel > dthrow x5 > grab)
Snake (ver. 2): 10%-90% + regrab (fthrow > pummel > dthrow x10 > grab)
Snake (ver. 3): 0%-90% + regrab (fthrow to ledge > dthrow to 90% or below (must begin dthrow by 30%))
Squirtle: 3%-22% + regrab (dthrow x2 > grab)
Wolf (ver. 1): 0%-115% + regrab (dthrow x3 > pummel > dthrow x14 > grab)
Wolf (ver. 2): 0%-115% + regrab (dthrow x3 > fthrow > dthrowx13 > grab)

Pika has a Wario-specific dthrow CG (until 120%) that is very situational, as it only works on the edges of certain platforms on certain stages when Pikachu is facing in a certain direction.... yeaaah. It's not worth going into detail about here, but you can find more information in its original thread.

Original thread: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=219183
Discovered by TheHulk, Confirmed by Stealth Raptor

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJPjX7hY-jU
Performed by Stealth Raptor

There's also a new dthrow CG on the ledge that works on heavies and fastfallers, guaranteed at least on Fox, Falco, and Wolf until 100%+. It is extremely hard to pull off, but the benefit is that you can fthrow CG into it. Look towards the bottom of the Wario CG thread for more information.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16xJrnVOrm0
Discovered & Performed by K Prime


Pivot Grabbing -- Pictured above. While dashing, at any time you can mash the control stick in the opposite direction and hit Z (or whatever button you use to grab). Your character will immediately turn around, and their pivot animation will cancel into a grab that looks slightly different than normal ones [see picture above] and has a little more range.

Pikachu's pivot grab doesn't gain as much range as some other characters', but it can be useful for mindgames, ex: running away from or through the opponent, then surprising them with a pivot grab. Though not guaranteed, it can also be useful for continuing an fthrow CG if you're dangerously close to reaching the ledge: after you throw your opponent (make sure there's enough room for you on the other side), run past and pivot grab them from behind.

Pivot Boost Grabbing -- This is basically a combination of pivot grabbing and boost grabbing (canceling your dash attack into a grab). While running, press the c-stick down, press Z, and jam the analog stick backward all at the same time. This will result in Pikachu turning around and sliding, dramatically increasing his grab range. An even better option than a regular pivot grab, this is also good for when you want to start or continue an fthrow CG but are too close to the edge.

Jab Lock & the 0-Death Combo [JBLK]

Jab Lock -- Pikachu is one of the characters in Brawl who has a jab lock, which can be initiated when your opponent is knocked to the ground and doesn't tech. While they are laying on the ground, you must single jab > move forward slightly > single jab > move forward slightly > and so and so on, and they will keep popping up but remain unable to do anything. Without practice, you will probably end up ftilting, so be sure to practice, practice, practice.

Pikachu's jab lock starts at ~70% on most characters, so don't try it before then. At the end of the lock (the end of the stage or whenever you stop jabbing), the opponent's character will automatically stand up without attacking, so you can finish with whatever you want, including a fully charged fsmash or thunder.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R-LIyGnzxs
Discovered & Performed by Stealth Raptor; Further Testing by K Prime (setups) & ESAM (QA > reverse jab lock)

The 0-Death Combo -- Now that both QAL and Pika's jab lock have been explained, we can get into his 0-death combo. Before you get too excited and start calling Pikachu broken, know that it is highly, highly improbable that you'll be able to pull this off completely in a real match, especially against a good opponent. Not only is it difficult to keep QAL going for long periods of time without messing up, but it can be DI'd out of if you aren't varying the lengths of your QAs.

The initial setup for this combo is the Footstool Combo, a 100% successful combo that is guaranteed to lead into QAL. Note that there is not a variation of this for the floatier characters in the game, meaning that the 0-death combo will not work on everyone. It does NOT work on: Samus, Zelda, Lucario, Jigglypuff, Kirby, Marth, G&W, Luigi, Toon Link, or ROB. See the original thread for more details.

Original Footstool Combo thread: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=182126
Discovered by ESAM, Partial Credit to Tommy G & Gonzo

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2PPUh5if2U
Performed by ESAM

Once you've gotten the opponent to about 70% with the Footstool Combo, you can end the QAL and start jab locking them. Remember that if you get too close to an edge, you can QA through the other player, turn around, and jab lock them the other way until they are well within KO range.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP0JwYgGuTA
Performed by ESAM

Glide Tossing [GLDT]

Glide Tossing is only possible when you have an item, so you might be wondering why it's useful in singles play. We'll get into its uses soon, but trust and believe that it really is a good skill for any Pikachu to know.

While holding an item in your hands/paws, you initiate a roll, then press A or move the c-stick in any direction to throw the item. The roll will cancel, but you will keep the roll's momentum as you throw the item. The timing for Pikachu's glide toss can be tricky, and depending on when you cancel the roll, the distance his glide toss goes can vary from very short to just about half the distance of FD. The "sweetspot" that gives you his super glide toss is the first frame of his roll; if you cancel in the frames after that, you get his shortest distance; in the frames after those, his second-shortest distance; and so on and so on until you reach his second-longest glide toss.

Ok, so I tested this at 1/4 speed again. I suspected it before but Im pretty certain that its true now, Pikachus glide toss sweet spot is done at the initial frame of the roll. I've tested this with other characters so far and havent found any so far to have an initial frame sweet spot

....

Pikachus
(sweetspot)(shortest)(normal)(long)(second longest)

....

Having the initial frame sweet spot is pretty cool for a few reasons. One it makes it relatively easy to do (not much harder then an IC chainthrow). Secondly, it completely seperates pikachus longest and second longest glide toss. Although the more i test it the more I realize pikachus second longest glide toss is very poor in comparison.
If you can't seem to get his glide toss down, observe what Pikachu does when you attempt it. If he does a regular standing toss, you're throwing the item too soon. If he rolls but does not throw the item, you're not throwing the item soon enough. Keep practicing, and pretty soon it'll become second nature!

Now, why is glide tossing useful? Even though standard singles play doesn't include items, there are times when there will nevertheless be items on the field. The following matchups are very likely include items at some point:

Zero Suit Samus - Suit pieces
Wario - Bike pieces (if his motorcycle is broken)
Snake - Grenades
ROB - Gyro
Peach - Beam Sword or Bomb-omb
Link - Bombs
Toon Link - Bombs
Diddy - Bananas​

Characters against whom glide tossing will make you life a lot easier are Diddy Kong and ROB. (ZSS is sort of included in this, but since Zero Suit players are usually better at controlling her suit pieces, it's advised that you simply throw them off the stage.) If you happen to catch ROB's gyro or pick it up after it stops spinning, it's a high-knockback item that can even KO near the edge at very high percentages. Additionally, many robots rely on using both of their projectiles together, so having their gyro used against them will seriously depress them. Diddy Kong's bananas are the reason why the matchup can be super rough for Pika (hella long trip animations ftl), but if you can glide toss, you can turn his biggest asset into a tool to break his momentum -- and we all know Diddy thrives on momentum.

Lastly, Pika's glide toss is just plain adorable. If anything, do it just to watch him slide across the stage.... so cute!

Minor Techs [MNTC]

Reverse Aerial Rush (RAR) -- While running, move the control stick in the opposite direction, then immediately jump. The result is your character being in the air facing the direction opposite of the way you were running (i.e., if you were running left, you will end up facing right). It's a fairly simple technique, but with it you can vary your approaches by SH/FH'ing bairs or SH'ing reverse fairs, which can lead into combos.

RAR'ing reverse fairs is especially useful when you want to land behind your opponent, because unlike regular cross-over fairs, you can follow up with a grab while still being safe from shieldgrabs. Not an amazing tech for Pikachu but still nice to know.

Buffering -- Buffering isn't a true AT, but it comes in handy very often and is instrumental in several other techniques, such as Pikachu's fthrow and dthrow CGs. Before certain actions end (landing, airdodging, attacking, etc.), there is a small amount of time in which you can input your next move, whether it be an attack, a jump, a dash, or whatever.

This does not shorten cooldown lag at all, but it makes sure that the follow-up action will be performed on the first available frame (including any IASA frames of the move before it) -- to put it bluntly, it covers for the human lag in your fingers. This is useful in various situations; for instance, if you notice an opponent going for something, you can buffer an airdodge or a shield. Timing is key for this to work, but it's something you'll just have to practice and become familiar with.

Quick Ledge Regrab -- Again, this is not really an AT, but it's useful enough to know. This tech occurs when you let go of the ledge, much as if you were going to ledge hop, but you regrab the ledge by using a recovery move. There are a few ways for Pikachu to do this. You can press back, then quickly Skull Bash back, and you will regrab. Alternatively, you can fall down and QA back to the ledge. Pikachu is the one character that can be really creative. You can drop down, QA up-right, then QA left and regrab the ledge.... or you can go down-right, then up-left and regrab. The sky is the limit, so be creative and use whatever you like best.

Wavebouncing -- Wavebouncing is when you use a special with a reverse momentum boost. The easiest way to do this is to set your c-stick to special (referred to as "b-sticking") -- not recommended for Pikachu in general, but it helps to at least see what the technique looks like. With b-stick, if you are moving left in the air and continue holding left on the control stick, then press down-right (7 o'clock) on the c-stick, Pikachu will use a thunder but quickly reverse his momentum to the right.

Without b-stick, you must thunder, then quarter-circle turn your control stick. Example: if you're moving right in the air and you press down-b (thunder), you must quickly rotate the control stick from down to left, and you will do the momentum reversal. Keep in mind that you have to do this fairly quickly, so practice it in Training Mode. It's very useful for mindgames with thunder placement, and it makes thunder edgeguarding a lot easier and less risky.

Pikasliding -- When you dtilt with Pikachu, the end of the tail sweep gives you some backward momentum. If you jump, you will be moving slightly backwards, and if you hold back on the control stick as dtilt ends, you can slide along the ground and perform any ground move, including smashes, tilts, and shielding.

Fsmash gives you the biggest boost, but any of Pika's moves will receive a slight one. This can really catch the opponent off-guard, especially if they assume you're out of range and catch a surprise sliding fsmash to the face. The distance Pikachu travels is pretty far depending on the angle of your control stick and how long you hold it, so play around with it and get comfortable with the timing.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qnr7P5Ms9A0
Performed by K Prime


Stutter Stepping -- Pictured above. Though the only smash attack you can perform out of a run is usmash, any character can cancel their initial dash animation with an fsmash by stutter stepping. It's very easy to do: tap and hold forward on your control stick, pressing A a split second later so that your dash is cancelled and Pikachu begins charging his fsmash. Let go of A whenever you want to release the attack.

This tech can be performed backwards as well, in which case you tap back on the control stick first, then cancel the dash by tapping and holding forward + A. Pikachu will step backwards and fsmash forward.

Depending on how long you delay hitting the A button, Pika can make a tiny hop or a large one, but as you can see in the pictures above, it's possible to cover a more than reasonable amount of distance with just one step. (He has, in fact, one of the better stutter steps in the game.) This is especially helpful for Pikachu because of the close-range sweetspot on his fsmash; sometimes stutter stepping will turn a tipped fsmash into a sweetspotted one, and the ability to charge it means that you can occasionally hop forward and charge while waiting to punish an opponent's landing lag. (Beware aerials with high knockback, however, lest you suffer from Smash-Charge Vulnerability.) It may turn out to be the difference between merely sending someone off-stage and completely KO'ing them.

Z Drop > Aerial Pickup -- Have you ever grabbed an item, such as ROB's gyro, and then thought, "Darn, now all I can do are B moves"? Fear not: it's possible to do aerials even when you have an item in your hands! To perform this tech, simply hit Z to drop the item, then immediately input an aerial (using either the control stick + A or the c-stick). Pikachu will perform the aerial and simultaneously pick up the item from the air.

Note that this only works when Pikachu is falling or at the peak of his jump. If you attempt to Z drop > aerial while he is rising, the item will fall as Pika continues to rise, and it will be too far away to be picked up again.

These are just some of the ATs and tricks that Pikachu can do. To research more, check out the Comprehensive Guide to ATs in the Brawl Tactical section and SilverSpark's Pikachu Tricks thread.


Stage-Specific Shenanigans [STGE]
Though legal stages are supposed to be free of overwhelming stage hazards or properties that give ridiculous advantages to certain characters, there is no such thing as a perfectly balanced stage in a diverse game like Brawl. (The most neutral stage in the game is probably Smashville.) Especially on counterpick stages, there are usually things that Pikachu can abuse to give himself the edge over his opponent.


Wall Jumping -- Pictured above. Pikachu is one of the characters in Brawl who can wall jump, which means that after his first or second jump, if he's next to a wall, pressing the jump button will cause him to launch off the wall's surface. After a wall jump, you can still use your second jump if you haven't used it yet. It is not possible to QAC into a wall jump.*

Since wall jumping gives you a momentum boost away from the wall, you can use it for surprise attacks on occasion. If your opponent tries to edgeguard you on FD, you can drop straight into a wall jump from the ledge and will spring toward them, free to do an aerial of your choice. You can also use a wall jump to save yourself if you're caught under the ledge at a bad angle, though QA's flexibility makes this less useful than it could be.

It's also just... fun.

*Note: There is a glitch on FD where occasionally you will not go into a helpless state after QA and will be able to wall jump or QA again. This may look like QAC > wall jump, but it's not, it's just a glitch that happens completely randomly on this stage.

Wall Locks -- Pikachu has two moves that can lock against walls, though neither are infinite. Dtilt can lock opponents until ~60%-70% depending on their weight, fall speed, and DI skill, and holding jab can do the same, but it's less effective and more easily DI'd. Rarely will opponents allow you to catch them with this, but if they aren't aware that Pika can lock, it can be a nasty surprise for them. Against taller walls, your enemy will be forced to jump towards you, so you can end the lock with a thunder or any other attack that will intercept them.

Stages with permanent walls are: Corneria

Stages with temporary walls are: Delfino Plaza (roof and street levels), Pokémon Stadium 1 (fire and rock stages), Pictochat (certain sketches), Pirate Ship (underneath ship when it crashes), Pokémon Stadium 2 (ground stage), and Rainbow Cruise (right side of the ship and certain parts of the upper levels)


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbEN4gQhRG0
Performed by Muhznit

Keep in mind that many character have wall locks of their own, so when trying to set one up, be careful not to get caught in one yourself.

Walk-Offs -- Though stages with permanent walk-offs are banned, some legal stages have brief transformations that have them anyway. When there's a walk-off nearby, there are a few ways Pikachu can take advantage of it, mostly requiring that he get a grab on the opponent.

If the other character is one that Pika can CG and they're at a low percentage, you can fthrow CG them right off the stage for an early kill. This requires knowing your fthrow CG timing by muscle memory, because you probably won't be able to see what's going on near the end. Pikachu's bthrow is also a powerful tool at a walk-off, because he rolls backward before throwing the opponent, and it has moderately good knockback for a throw.

If they don't die when you knock them close to the blastline, you can always thunder. Most of the time, either the bolt or T2 will hit, and the fact that they can't see where they're going works greatly in your favor. Once they hear the "Pikaaa!", it's probably already too late.... *Evil laugh*

Stages with temporary walk-offs are: Castle Siege (statue and "in-between" transformations), Delfino Plaza (street and plaza levels), Green Hill Zone, and Yoshi's Island (Pipes)

Auto-Landing/Platform Canceling -- On stages with platforms that move vertically, you can perform an AT known as platform canceling. As the platform moves up, you jump, then press down on the control stick when Pikachu is about level with the platform. Quickly release, and you can perform any action right away, including smashes.

The benefit of this is that you can jump onto a platform without landing lag and catch your opponent with a surprisingly quick attack, but the downside is that it's somewhat difficult and only useful on a few stages (luckily, most of them are common). Also, it's sometimes hard to tell if a platform is moving up while you're in the middle of a match, especially on Lylat.

Stages that this AT works on are: Smashville, Lylat Cruise, Yoshi's Island, Halberd, Delfino Plaza, Rainbow Cruise, Frigate Orpheon, and Pirate Ship

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK16zTBzIQQ
Performed by Candy & Gonzo

Dive -- Very situational, but when Pikachu is in the water, he can QA straight out of the water. Unlike most recoveries, however, he can also direct his up b downward, meaning that he can actually dive under the water as far as QA can reach. There's no real use for it, but it can help you avoid notorious water spikers like Ike and Ganondorf. The only legal stages with water are Delfino Plaza and Pirate Ship.


Pikachu's Got Mindgamez [MNDG]
Unlike Melee, Brawl is a game that revolves a lot around mindgames since the game itself lacks significant depth. The term "mindgames" is one you've probably heard thrown around often, and you might be wondering by now what it means. Its definition varies sometimes from person to person, but in general, the word mindgames refers to the thought processes of individual players during a match, including their ability to predict and outsmart the other. Disregarding character matchups (for example, in character dittos), if two players are equally matched in tech skill, the player with better mindgames will win. Put simply, he -- or she! -- will ultimately out-think his opponent.

General Mindgames [GENM]

It's hard to teach something like mindgaming skill, because it's something that will really only grow with time and experience versus many different players. However, there are some basic things to watch for when you're a match, and if you get into the habit of observing them now, it'll be much easier to make it second nature in the future.

First and most importantly, you must train yourself to look for patterns in your opponent's playstyle so that you can predict them and capitalize on that predictability. Good players will know to vary their actions as much as possible, but certain characters, especially those in the lower tiers, may only have so many options in particular situations, such as when they're recovering or trying to approach.

For example: Link. We all know how crappy Link's recovery is. If the other player DI's badly and ends up low to the stage, he only has two options: depending on how far away he is, he can tether or up + B. That's about it. Mind you, this type of predictability is not the player's fault, but you can still capitalize on it -- in this case, by tjolting or thundering in Link's recovery path with the intent to gimp him to his death.

Sorry, Link!

No matter the level of play, people are still people, and instinct is sometimes stronger than wisdom. Even excellent players occasionally fall into habits and tend to react one way more than others when placed in a particular situation. At the beginning of a match against someone whose playstyle you're unfamiliar with, it can be beneficial to play defensively and observantly for a little while, watching what they do when you throw some of Pikachu's more common moves at them. A few things you can do are....

  • If they lack a projectile, camp for a while and see how they deal with projectile spam: can they consistently powershield (in which case you'd probably want to limit your tjolting later in the match), or do they tend to avoid jolts in punishable ways, like spotdodging or jumping?

  • Dsmash is another move you might want to throw out early in the game, just to see if they know how to DI out of it.... you'd be very surprised how many people don't.

  • If they like to attack from above (Sonic's spring > dair, for example), you can start to condition them out of that by thundering whenever they go above you. Even if it doesn't hit, it'll train them to stay out of the air, which limits their options.

  • Very simply, you can run up and shield slightly out of their range. When an opponent sees you running toward them, their first thought is usually that you're going to approach and attack, and they'll act accordingly by either attacking as well (hoping to outrange or outprioritize you), shielding, spotdodging, or moving away. Keep in mind what they do, then use that information against them by later approaching in the same way -- but instead of shielding this time, get ready to counter whatever they did the first time.

  • Spam. It sounds silly, but if you use one move three or more times in a row, spacing it so that you're just out of their attack range, an opponent who doesn't know you will probably assume you're a noob (or crazy....) and try to punish you.

    For instance, you can QAC > thunder several times at a safe distance from the opponent, making it look as though you're just showing off your fancy moves. When they've fallen into some semblance of a pattern trying to punish you, QAC again, but this time jump and catch them with an fair or a rising uair/nair. I bet they were expecting a thunder, weren't they? :lick:
The last basic part of mindgaming is to always remain unpredictable yourself. With Pikachu, this should be too easy; he's one of the most unpredictable characters in the game, having a fair amount of options in most situations, not to mention speed, flashiness, and QAC on his side. If you can at all help it, never ever ever do the same thing more than two or three times in a row (the exception being if you're baiting a reaction), because there is nothing in this game that is truly unbeatable. Anything you do can be countered, and a smart opponent won't hesitate to punish you.

There will be times when a more experienced player will make you feel as though they're psychic, reading everything you do ahead of time and seeming to know what you're going to do even before you know what you're going to do. Remember this: nobody is psychic. You're either being predictable, or they're tricking you into things, but the solution is the same: MIX IT UP! Even if something doesn't go by the rules, it may be what surprises your opponent and gets them out of your head.

Advanced Movement Techniques [ADVM]

Everyone knows about the standard ways you can move in Brawl, which are walking and dashing. Every character has one running speed (though their initial dash animation is usually a bit faster), but a walk can be done at various speeds depending on how much you tilt the control stick. Pikachu is also one of the few characters who can crawl, which decreases the height of his hurtbox and can help him avoid certain moves and projectiles. You can only perform certain ground moves directly out of a crawl, including fsmash and dtilt.

In most cases, walking, running, and jumping are the only movement options you'll need outside of perhaps QAC, but occasionally changing up the way you move can produce some interesting effects and mindgame your opponent.

Circle Dashing -- Circle dashing pretty much just involves dashing as soon as you land on the ground. To truly perform what the term refers to, SH with backward momentum, dash forward with only Pika's initial dash animation, SH back again, rinse, repeat. If you do this a few times, then end with one of your dash-canceling options (stutter stepping, hyphen smashing), you can catch the opponent off-guard.

Watch @ approx. 1:55 in this video to see Pika's circle dash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08orVEALkr0

Dash Dancing -- Dash dancing is harder now than it was in Melee, but it's still possible. Quickly move your control stick back and forth from one side to the other so that Pika runs back and forth in place with only his initial dash animation. With the tripping mechanic in Brawl, this may end up failing hard, but you can use it to confuse your opponent and make them unsure as to which direction you'll end up going. If they try to get close enough to punish whatever you'll do, end a dash in their direction with a grab or usmash.


Foxtrotting -- To foxtrot, repeatedly flick your control stick foward so that Pika hops forward in a string of his initial dashes. Can be used for mindgames, and anything you can do out of a dash/dash-cancel can be done out of a foxtrot.

Beginning of video only: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVTQ0T-73oc

Pivot Walking -- Sometimes referred to as "doop walking," pivot walking is achieved by holding A, walking, and repeatedly pushing your c-stick (must be set to smash) in a back-up 45 degree angle. Pikachu will spin around and around but move forward at the same time, and he can perform any move that can be done out of a normal walk, even charged smashes. Pretty useless, but it looks hilarious.

Pikachu's pivot walk is demonstrated @ 2:15 of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dAJY2XSdks
Discovered by Doopliss_Swe, Performed by Havokk

Crawl Dashing -- To crawl dash, start by walking forward or landing from a forward jump, then start a backward crawl and release it. Pikachu will slide a short distance, and out of this slide, he can do anything. Pika's slide isn't too significant, but the "crawl dash landing" version (the one you do as you land from a jump) can occasionally surprise your opponent.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL4DFxJLO5M
Discovered by TAneverdie33, Performed by God-is-my-Rock

Quick Attack Cancel -- Perhaps the only advanced movement option that's actually useful, QAC allows Pikachu to reach any part of most stages within a very short amount of time. At max distance horizontal, QAC covers over half the span of FD; on stages with platforms, the nearly unlimited number of angles in which you can direct QA allow you to fully control which platforms you teleport to and where on them you will land. Far from being a great offensive move, QAC should mainly be used for movement, either to retreat or to confuse your opponent and bait a mistake out of them.

Playing with Thunder [THND]

Thunder begins as Pikachu raises his hands to the gods and calls for their aid! The mighty Thor responds, creating a highly charged cloud above Pikachu's head and sending a massive bolt of lightning straight down towards him. If it hits, the electricity flows through Pika's body, exploding outward in a violent force, leaving him unscathed.

Pikachu's thunder is a very awesome move. It consists of a thunderbolt that comes out of a cloud high above the stage and travels straight downward. The bolt itself (T1) does 10% damage and seems to have a slightly larger hitbox around it when the last part moves through. If it hits Pikachu, he flares up in a surprisingly large hitbox (referred to as T2; it can even hit taller characters through platforms), does 17 damage, and deals tremendously strong knockback, only slightly weaker than a fully charged Skull Bash. Thunder has a lot of potential when used correctly and is a great mindgaming and edgeguarding tool.

The Physics of Thunder

Though it doesn't look like it, the thunderbolt itself counts as a energy projectile in that it can be absorbed or reflected. Still, even then, nothing short of solid ground will impede it. The bolt itself does vertical knockback with a slight push away from it, so if the opponent is DI'ing even slightly towards the lightning, they will get sent straight up. If that happens, there is a small window of time in which Pika can jump and hit them again with thunder.

T2 deals ridiculously strong knockback. It throws the opponent out at approximately 30 degrees, which can be lethal if they fail to DI correctly. An interesting thing to note is that when thunder hits Pikachu, its cooldown time is reduced, and there are only 4 frames during which your opponent can come in and hit you. Unfortunately for them, this requires that they get close, and many players will not risk going anywhere near a thunder explosion; if they're too fast, they could get hit by residual thunder even after the move looks as though it's done. Near edges, thunder sometimes knocks you up in the air when it hits you and can help distance you from people trying to punish it.

There is a very interesting quirk about thunder when it hits the ground. Right where thunder hits the ground, it takes on a weird property of doing multiple hits. Normal thunder deals a single hit that is normally straight up, but at the base it seems to hit again before the opponent goes anywhere. This can lead to some interesting things. (Note that if Pikachu is too far to one side of T1, he will not recover in time to do anything out of the cooldown lag.)

For example, if you thunder with the intent of getting T2 but somehow get lightly tapped away, thunder will hit the ground, and you can sneak in a bunch of moves, including jab, dsmash, or even a grab! The bad news: it seems to be
random when it works. It's good to always keep an eye out, though, because you can do some sexy things if you react quickly enough. There is currently some testing going on with regard to this phenomenon.

Thunder Tricks

A somewhat reliable combo that relates to thunder's unique multi-hit physics is the awesome spectacle of thunair. Thunair is a multi-hit thunder that holds the enemy in place, allowing you to follow up with nair.

Why thunder hits multiple times is unknown, but in the case of thunair, it happens when someone has invincibility frames during T2, then gets hit by T1 immediately afterwards. As thunder does its multiple hits, it slows down the thunderbolt, prolonging the duration of the attack. In the meantime, Pikachu's cooldown lag ends, and he can perform nair, which comes out after only 2 frames. It's a frightening spectacle that will make your opponent fear thunder like the plague.

One of the best ways to set this up is to time thunder so that it hits you right as the enemy's invincibility frames end. This is highly situational, though, and you will be lucky to pull it off.


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wtrdY5-jOw
Discovered & Performed by Stealth Raptor

Another fun quirk is what we refer to as the Thunder Matrix. This uses a mechanic in Brawl dictating that when an attack hits somehting, its hitbox remains activated for an extended period of time. (For a visual example, have Captain Falcon or Zelda fair one of the statues on Castle Siege, then have someone else run into it. It will hit at sweetspot power.)

If an attack hits thunder at the right time, it seems to briefly freeze Pikachu in midair; additionally, during the entire time that Pika is frozen, T2 is still active. This extended T2 hitbox can be prolonged to insane lengths by using moves like Mario's F.L.U.D.D. and Squirtle's Water Gun, but it can be achieved to some degree by any attack as long as it hits thunder within the right time frame.


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3xzQvawR7E
Discovered & Performed by Legendary Pikachu

Edgeguarding with Thunder

Thunder is a very good edge guarding tool. Its vertical stretch forms an impenetrable wall, and the explosion itself, if it hits off the edge, can kill as early as 30%! The purpose of thunder is to keep your opponent off the stage. It can do this in a few ways: it can hit them, knocking them up and outward, starting the whole process over again; it can force them to wait until it ends; or they can collide with T2, which is usually a guaranteed KO. Even if you instead only manage to hit with the bolt twice, at that height, the second one will sometimes kill off the top.

If your opponent waits for the first thunder to go by, evaluate their position and recovering ability.

  • Fast recoveries can squeeze by in-between thunders, but if they have a slow float or can glide, they will most likely be coming in at about the level of the stage. In such cases, you can jump and use an aerial, another thunder, or QA to the ledge and attack from there.

  • If they're a fastfaller or have a bad recovery, they will be coming up from down low. If you're feeling flashy, now is the ultimate opportunity to go for thunair. To attempt one, aim a thunder so that T2 hits you at around the time they should be grabbing the ledge. You'll either get thunair or hit them off the ledge, which will either stage spike or bounce them well away from the edge.

  • If the character has a very predictable vertical recovery, ex: Link, and they have to recover from very low, you can drop a thunder so that it hits you below the ledge and prevents them from getting through you. This can also work on some tether recoveries. Another way you can edgegaurd with thunder is to jump off the ledge and thunder, or you can wavebounce it so that the thunderbolt skims the ledge. If you manage to hit the enemy on the side away from the ledge, it's an almost guaranteed stage spike.

While thunder can be useful as an edgeguarding tool, it's pretty predictable, and smart players can avoid it consistently. Make sure to vary how you edgegaurd, or they will get by you every time.

Thunder on the Stage

Thunder has a few applications on stage. One that carries over from the last section is ledgeguarding -- one method for the ground and another method for the air.

First, the ground one: if the opponent grabs an edge, they will be watching you and deciding what they should do based on your position. A once-only trick you can do is sitting by the edge.... and thundering. That's it, just a regular thunder. People who haven't had this happen before will generally stay on the ledge, but T2's hitbox is more than large enough to hit people hanging on the ledge, and it will probably kill them.

Note that while you may get this off once, the opponent will -- should, anyway -- wise up and drop down or roll past you next time.

Another good trick is to time thunder during your opponent's get-up attack. They will knock you away, but the thunderbolt will still hit them and do more damage to them than they did to you, and as a bonus, it will knock them off-stage again. It may also hit them if they ledge hop an aerial, though in this case, the trade-off may not be in your favor.

Away from the ledge, there are still a couple of situations where you can use thunder. Some characters will like to stay above you, but you can quickly cure them of that habit by chasing them with thunders. If someone is coming down to land and looks as though they may land near you, throw out a thunder; it will either hit them, or they will bring up their shield and get pushed far enough away that they can't punish you. Believe it or not, thunder can also deal some punishment of its own if you time it correctly against incoming grabbers and attackers.

It's possible to mindgame people into thunder. A vast majority of smashers overestimate the cooldown on thunder and assume that it's easily punished after T2 hits (when in fact, as you know by now, they really only have 4 frames of opportunity). As you come out of the lag, you can grab or spotdodge > attack. Either is highly effective, yet despite this, some people will try to punish again and again. (Note: this is not recommended against characters with large, disjointed hitboxes or strong projectiles.)

Thunder in the Air

Thunder is even more effective in the air than it is on the ground. The physics of thunder in the air allow for some interesting things to happen. For instance, if T2 hits while you are in the air, you pop upward while rolling over and can then do whatever you want.

For some reason, people seem to think that you will fall helplessly to the ground after an aerial thunder, and they'll stand underneath you with an fsmash charging. It's too easy to land behind them and punish. Smart people will use aerials and knock you out of thunder, so if you see them coming, don't try to land. Instead, use nair or dair out of thunder's cooldown lag, and you can usually hit them first.

Near the ledge, you can use thunders in the air against opponents attempting to get back onto the stage. If they really like getting up or ledge attacking, you can jump and land thunder right on their head -- and you know what T2 means.... easy KO.

If you're feeling threatened at any point in a match and want some breathing space, jumping and leaving a wall of thunder behind you is a great way to momentarily slow the opponent down. It's pretty much a ceiling-to-floor shield and can allow you to reset the pace of the match. If you're sent up high from an attack and being pursued, a very effective strategy is to wavebounce thunder so that it puts the bolt between you and them, plus your momentum will be turned away from the threat.

Most of all, have fun with thunder. It's a move every other character hates and yet secretly wishes they had, so why not make them jealous?

Annoying Your Opponent [ANNY]

Pikachu.... is one of the most annoying characters in the game, haha! This section will cover a few of the basic reasons why he is annoying, plus how to use these tactics to make your opponent.... well, extremely annoyed.

Why would we want to do this to our fellow smashers, you ask? It's simple, really: when a player is annoyed, they don't think as clearly and are more prone to making mistakes (which is sure to make them feel even worse). Their aggravation distracts them from gameplay, and a small part of them becomes obsessed with eliminating the annoyance as quickly as possible. As a result, they get hasty, and hasty often equals carelessness. Pikachu profits.

Annoying by Nature?

To be honest, Pika has ways to annoy the opponent by just being himself. One thing that really ticks other players off is that he's a pretty small character, and bigger characters usually have attacks that aim around the area of Pika's head. When he crawls, dashes, or ducks, he can actually avoid a large number of moves that extend horizontally (even moves that look low, like Falco's reflector).

Take King Dedede, for instance. D3 players will usually aim for a pretty low area, but they'll be careful not to aim too low so that they can avoid landing lag. If DDD tries to aim at Pikachu's head with dair or bair, guess what? You can easily duck under the attack. Just make sure that afterwards, you either punish him (or whoever you've just annoyed) or otherwise escape to safety.

Another way Pikachu annoys an opponent by just being the way he was designed is by being fast. Pika has one of the faster running speeds in the game; combined with QAC, he can pretty much make it to any part of a stage in the blink of an eye. This means that slower characters will either have to outcamp him or chase him around, neither of which will make them very happy. In most cases, Pika will be able to pull off an excellent hit-and-run game against these slowpokes, moving in for combos or quick damage-racking, then darting away again. This is not as annoying as it is frustrating for an opponent, but the effects are pretty much the same.

It could also be said that because Pikachu is a pokémon, he's adorable and has a fairly high voice, which could annoy some people. ....This... probably won't help in competitive play at all, but if your opponent is already getting mad, Pika's taunts will surely make them go off.

Pushing All the Wrong Buttons

Now that we've gotten the not-so-competitive aspects out of the way, we can get serious. First off, Pikachu can chaingrab a handful of characters in the game. To some players, this can be extremely annoying, even to the point of their not wanting to play, haha! These players tend to fall into three categories: they're somewhat casual players; they just started getting into competitive play; or they main Fox. However, not too many people actually enjoy being chaingrabbed, so really, even if they're a very competitive player, this can get annoying to them. Always remember which characters Pika can CG and put this into practice when you can.

Pikachu's annoying streak continues with thunder jolt, which can be spammed for your opponent's maximum displeasure. The fact is that spamming (and camping in general) is really annoying, especially to players who try to be aggressive in Brawl or who fail to be a better spammer than you. What makes tjolt spam even worse for the other player is the fact that Pikachu has QA and can camp from the ledge.

Ledgecamping is one of the most aggravating tactics you can use in Brawl, but whether you like it or not, it's pretty effective. Pika can pull off ledgecamping with ease, jolting once per ledge hop and abusing the ledge's invincibility frames in-between. Good opponents will eventually manage to break you out of this pattern, but one thing's for sure: they'll be very annoyed.

Another bonus of tjolt spam is that it works well with Pikachu's smashes, all of which can keep the opponent at bay and set them up for another barrage of projectiles. When you camp, your opponent will likely try to approach unless they have better camping options (ex: ROB, Toon Link, characters with reflectors or absorbers).

This is fine: if they try approaching from the air, you can usmash, then follow up with an attack or use the opportunity to run away. If they try approaching from the ground, fsmash has long enough range to keep most characters at bay so that you can camp some more.

Even if they do make a successful approach, they'd better prepare to start back at point A, because Pikachu's last smash is the most annoying of all: the dreaded dsmash. If they DI, they'll be flung to the side; if they don't, they'll be sent straight upward. Either way, they'll be far enough away that the camping can continue. Isn't that annoying?

If you thought any of that was bad, well, the best was saved for last. Pikachu's #1 most annoying trait of all time is.... *drumroll*.... Quick Attack! Recovery-wise, the fact that it makes Pika nearly ungimpable can annoy some players, especially those who rely on edgeguarding as a major part of their game. There is something worse, though: QAC is one thing that no other character in the game can do, and with it, Pika's maneuverability becomes unmatched. You can escape from opponents pretty easily and start any camping technique you want, or you can QAC into an approach, seeming to come out of nowhere with an attack, which will really upset your opponents after a while. The unpredictability of QAC is what makes it the ultimate tool of annoyance for Pika.

Don't forget that we also have QAL and the 0-death combo, both of which are top tier when it comes to irritating the enemy.

Pikachu has so many different ways to be annoying, it really seems endless. His annoying details make up just one part of his mindgame potential, but this one part can assist the rest of them and his game in general. You don't want to use all of these tactics at once, of course. Always make sure to play smart, but also try to be a little annoying.... you just never know how well you'll do against an agitated opponent instead of a focused one.

Pika Pikaa~aa! (a.k.a. Taunting) [PKAA]

Now that we've gone over the keys to Pikachu success, there's only one thing left to explore in detail, and that's how to taunt properly. With the techniques outlined in this guide, you're officially guaranteed to pwn your opponents, but no victory is complete without the perfect taunt -- it's the icing on the cake of a stage spike, a sweetspotted thunder KO, a 0-death combo, or whatever other amazing shiz your Pika is sure to pull off at one point or another. Failing to taunt after a good kill is like catching a fully charged Ike fsmash to the face.... it's just wrong.

Like any character, Pika has three taunts assigned to the d-pad buttons. All of them are good, but for the most part, sidetaunt and dtaunt are superior to utaunt. (Utaunt is the most bada** of the bunch, however, so if your Pika fits that description, utaunt might be best for his personality.) In particular, dtaunt is one of the best taunts in the game, and it has the added bonus of changing Pika's hurtbox in a way similar to ducking or crawling. If someone aims a projectile or an attack at Pika's head and you dtaunt, you can actually dodge it -- just by taunting!

Those three are great and all, but for exceptionally good kills, you want to be a little more creative and a little more subtle. Using the game's standard taunts is just so.... obvious. One way to really make it clear that you're taunting without actually taunting is to slow walk. That's it, just slow walk across the stage. Pika transforms into a mini t-rex, adorably waddling along at his own casual pace, and it really sends the message to your opponent that you don't give a crap what they do because you're dominating them anyway. Crawling achieves the same effect, especially if you crawl backward or forward against the ledge so that Pika crawls in place.

QAC is also a great taunt, but you have to make sure that you can do it well.... messing up your QAC while trying to taunt with it is pretty tacky. If you're not too confident in your skills, just QAC in place -- easy, but it'll still look flashy and tauntish. If you're a master at the technique, however, feel free to zip around the stage at a variety of angles, showing off your fancy, unique AT that, despite being easily countered, makes the opponent look inferior.

Though risky, breaking your shield at the ledge is possibly one of the most annoying/insulting taunts for you opponent to endure. Make sure you break it at the very edge so that you fall off and sweetspot the ledge; if you land on the stage, you'll be helpless and probably eat a fully charged smash, Warlock Punch, etc. Then they'll be taunting you.

Flashing is something Pika can do easily, and it's the very definition of flashy -- minimally technical, useless, looks cool.... in other words, absolutely perfect for taunting! When fair hits the ground in its beginning frames (frames 1-9), it autocancels, but the sparks from the move's animation still come out. If you're quick enough with your fingers, you can string these autocanceled fairs together, creating sparks around Pikachu as he moves across the stage but produces no hitbox.​

Other options for taunting are dash dancing, standing on the edge in Pika's "I'm tipping over!" animation, multiple dsmashes in place, dtilting back and forth, or short hop > FF repeatedly. Pikachu has a lot of flashy moves, so pretty much anything you use several times in a row will look like a taunt... play around with his moveset and come up with something unique! That way, when someone sees that particular taunt, they'll think, "Da*n, I just got pwned by ______."


Frequently Asked Questions [PFQS]
If you're new to Pikachu or to Brawl in general, you'll probably be interested in visiting our forum's Q&A & FAQ thread. If you have any Pikachu-related questions, no matter how small or silly you feel they may be, posting them there will guarantee that you'll get a timely answer from one of the more experienced Pikas in our community.

There are, however, some questions that are most commonly asked, so we have the answers to those ready at all times:

Should I play with tap jump on or off?

Having tap jump on or off is a matter of personal preference. Anther has tap jump on, Stealth Raptor keeps it off and uses X/Y to jump, and K 2 keep it on but uses L to jump. None of them have trouble jumping out of QAC, nor do any of them have trouble utilting. You will learn to not accidentally jump while utilting or running around with practice and muscle memory. Some find it easier to jump out of QAC with tap jump on, but once again, it's completely personal preference. Try out both ways and see which works better for you.

What are Pikachu's best and worst matchups?

Pikachu is the fourth best chaingrabber in the game behind King Dedede, Falco, and the Ice Climbers. He's also one of the better gimpers/edgeguarders in the game. As a result, his easiest matchups revolve around his amazing dthrow and fthrow CGs. Currently, Pika's best matchups are Fox (0-70% dthrow CG), Sheik (0-60% dthrow CG without DI), and Captain Falcon (0-80% dthrow CG without DI). Pikachu also does really well against CG-able characters with poor recoveries, such as Link, Ganondorf, and Ike.

Pikachu has a hard time dealing with high-priority, disjointed hitboxes. Characters who can outspace him often find themselves with the advantage. Pikachu's four hardest matchups are Meta Knight, Marth, Mr. Game and Watch, and ROB. None of these characters can be CG'd, and all of them can outprioritize and outrange Pika with their mostly disjointed moveset.

To learn more about Pikachu's matchups, see Gallax's Character Matchup thread.

What are Pikachu's best and worst stages?

Pikachu's CGs, extremely fast QAC, and ground-hugging tjolt form the backbone of his game; however, he's also a highly versatile character and therefore can perform well on many different types of stages. Final Destination and Smashville are both long and flat, perfect for CG'ing and tjolt camping. If he's being outcamped by one of the few characters who can beat him in a projectile war, he can quickly close the distance between himself and his opponent with his fast running speed and QAC. Stages with irregular terrain and walls also compliment Pikachu's moveset. Tjolt's surface-clinging property allows it to travel up walls and around obstacles to hit the opponent, while traditional projectiles like lasers and arrows cannot do the same. Pokémon Stadium 1 and Corneria allow Pika to camp without fear of being outcamped. PS1 and Corneria also have walls, against which Pikachu can dtilt lock or jab lock his opponent. With its six ledges, Norfair can be an extremely good stage if the player is accustomed to fighting on it.

Pikachu enjoys killing vertically with his usmash and reliable thunder setups. Stages like Luigi's Mansion and Jungle Japes have extremely high ceilings, a shared attribute which takes away two of his best killing moves and therefore makes them bad counterpicks for him. Stages with close blastlines don't necessarily hurt Pika as much as they help others, as his great recovery and gimping game don't reach their maximum potential on stages with really tight death zones.

You can read about stage choices in more detail at K 2's Stage Discussion thread. It's currently in progress, and there are still many stages to be analyzed, so be sure to check back often.

Should I spam tjolt/thunder/QAC/dsmash? They seem like really good moves.

No move should ever be spammed. Spamming is mindlessly using a move over and over again. Firstly, dsmash is easily DI'd out of, and if your opponent manages to shield the whole move, they have plenty of time to punish you. Thunder has a bit of cooldown lag and leaves you vulnerable, especially if you don't sweetspot it. QAC can get intercepted and out-prioritized if your opponent manages to predict which direction you'll QA. Tjolt has some startup and cooldown lag that can be punished if you're too close to your opponent, and jolts can be powershielded.

Each of these moves has a specific purpose that makes the move very good, but if you try to use them at the wrong time, you will get punished. Dsmash is a GTFO move with quick startup time that can set up a tech chase. Thunder is a great edgeguarding tool and an amazing vertical finisher. QAC is highly versatile and can be used for recovering, comboing, setting up a kill (QAC > nair), mindgaming, or retreating. It can also be used for approaching as long as you don't become predictable with it. Tjolt has the unique characteristic of following the ground. The lag can be somewhat negated by full hopping the jolt.

What are some good secondary characters for a Pikachu main?

These summaries were copied in large part from the Pikachu Secondary Discussion.

Snake
vs. Marth (55:45)
vs. MK (45:55)
vs. G&W (60:40)
vs. ROB (40:60)


Snake has been voted by the Pika community as the best secondary for Pikachu. Snake beats G&W really, really badly, he goes fairly even with Marth and MK, and he gets countered by ROB and DDD. Pikachu can handle DDD easily, but they both seem to have a bit of trouble with ROB, which is the only hole in this defense. However, that's not a huge problem since an MK counter is vital due to MK's popularity at tournaments. ROBs, on the other hand, are not very common.

Playing Snake will teach you to utilize your tilts, to optimize your return to the stage, and to properly react out of your shield. Snake is a brute powerhouse with tilts that do 21% and an aerial that does 28%. He has multiple kill moves, but his most used (and easiest to land) is his utilt, which KOs midweights in the lower 100's. The problem with learning Snake is that he has very slow aerials, which is almost unbearable for many Pika players since we tend to rely on aerials more than tilts. Snake also has a high learning curve, meaning he takes a long time to master.​

Donkey Kong
vs. Marth (50:50)
vs. MK (45:55)
vs. G&W (50:50)
vs. ROB (50:50)


DK is theoretically our best secondary (excluding MK), leaving no bad matchups between himself and Pikachu. He fairs well against MK with his long reach and strong kill moves, and going even is the closest you'll get to an MK counter. He also doesn't take too long to learn, which is a plus.

Some of DK's highlights are his really good bair, long-ranged tilts, and great grab game. DK can greatly help Pikachu out, but they are very different. Pika is a fast, nimble combo'er with an annoying projectile and an amazing recovery; DK, on the other hand, is rather large, clumsy, and projectile-less, and he has a terrible vertical recovery. He's similar to Pika in that both have good aerials, a good grab game, and reliable KO moves.​

Zero Suit Samus
vs. Marth (50:50)
vs. MK (45:55)
vs. G&W (45:55)
vs. ROB (60:40)


ZSS goes even with or has a slight disadvantage against Marth, MK, and G&W, but she beats ROB. (There are some board discrepancies on the matchup ratios, but they're fairly accurate.) One thing to beware if you choose to pick her as your secondary is that she has a HUGE learning curve. It takes a long time to get accustomed to her moves, recovery, and playstyle.

Zero Suit has incredible range on her moves, and she can stun opponents with her dsmash and neutral b, allowing her to pull off some nice combos. However, the thing that really sucks about ZSS is that she doesn't have reliable KO moves. Her main killers are side b and bair, both of which don't kill until well past 120%. Contrary to popular belief, however, she is not easily gimped. Her high second jump, down b, and up-b boost will usually ensure her recovery back to the stage.​

Meta Knight
vs. Marth (65:35)
vs. MK (50:50)
vs. G&W (60:40)
vs. ROB (60:40)


MK is.... well, MK. He destroys all of Pikachu's hard matchups, beating out Marth, G&W, and ROB by at least 60:40. He goes even with himself, obviously, but this may actually present a problem at tournies since an MK main will usually beat an MK secondary. (If you get good enough at MK dittos, though, you'll have nothing to worry about.) MK is really easy to learn, so if you need a quick fix for your bad matchups, MK is your man/puffball.

MK has fast, lagless attacks, an amazing gimping game, a great grab game, godly recovery, and extremely reliable kill moves. His playstyle is very similar to Pikachu's, so there will be little to adapt to if you choose him. There's hardly anything wrong with MK, but one problem is that almost everyone who goes to tournies has tons of experience in the matchup.​

Who is the best Pikachu player?

Anther.

What are some videos I should watch?

Though some Pikas will simply say "Anther" in response to this question, the truth is that there are several good videos you can watch to get an idea of what Pikachu can do. One of the first things you should watch is 5ive's Official Pikachu Video Guide, which provides visual demonstrations of just about every important aspect of Pika's game. It's also very well edited and put-together, so it's actually pretty enjoyable to watch.


As far as gameplay videos, there are a few that really showcase Pikachu's abilities at a high level of play.
  • K Prime (Pikachu) vs. Espy (Sonic) 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdh_iQI2euk
    Excellent DI in this one. On his first stock, Prime lives until 281%. (Beware crappy video quality.)

    K Prime (Pikachu) vs. Espy (Sonic) 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRVxi7l2Eu0
    Jab edgeguarding makes an appearance and leads to a gimp on Sonic's last stock. (Again, ignore the crappy video quality.)

  • Anther (Pikachu) vs. AlphaZealot (Diddy) 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pti3l-kgHV8
    Diddy Kong gives Pikachu a lot of trouble. This video is a very good example of how to use his bananas against him or otherwise maneuver around them.

  • Anther (Pikachu) vs. Overswarm (MK) 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXUn1tPrqG8
    Since MK is one of Pikachu's worst matchups and at the same time the most popular character in the game, watching Pika vs. MK matches is important. This video is a good study in how to avoid MK's most common moves, especially Shuttle Loop and Mach Tornado. There's also a good deal of stage shenanigans (bthrow ftw).

    Anther (Pikachu) vs. Overswarm (MK) 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjUh3npiydA

    Anther (Pikachu) vs. Overswarm (MK) 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrMNH0D_Cd8
    More stage shenanigans, lol.

  • ESAM (Pikachu) vs. Nick Riddle (ZSS): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dC8sugbBBA
    Good use of combos and getting inside the opponent's range. ESAM also does a great job returning onto the stage from up high and avoiding getting juggled.

  • BadNewsBear (Pikachu) vs. Sudai (ROB) 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3m7ZC7jSpDI
    This is a pretty old match, but it's a good example of how to deal with a character who outranges and outprioritizes Pika -- the reasons why ROB gives us so much trouble.

  • BadNewsBear (Pikachu) vs. Bwett (Yoshi) 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjyPDW3YHUQ
    Demonstrates how to use dsmash when the opponent doesn't DI out of it correctly. Also shows why ledgecamping is hard to pull off against Pikachu.
To find more good matches you can watch, visit our Volt Tackle Videos thread or search on YouTube. People are always attending tournaments and getting new videos, so this list will change with time.


Navigating the Pikachu Boards [NAVG]
If you're reading this guide, you're probably new to the Pikachu boards, so before anything else: welcome! The community here is generally very friendly, and we love to see new Pikas join us and contribute. Looking through everything can be a little overwhelming, so here are some of the basic threads you should visit first:

Pika Q&A and FAQ Thread: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=208871
Maintained by K 2
Here, you can ask any Pikachu-related question, and a member of the community will provide an answer. Don't be afraid to ask anything as long as it has something to do with Pikachu or at least Brawl.​

Character Matchup Thread: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=174335
Maintained by galax1117
In this thread, you can view the character matchup chart and the threads related to characters we've covered so far. Note that this is not where you post about each matchup -- that's what the individual threads are for.​

Official Pikachu Stage Discussion Index: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=211090
Maintained by K 2
This is where we discuss how Pika performs on stages that are legal in singles play, including counterpicks.​

Official Pikachu Critique Thread: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=224342
Maintained by Kitt22
If you have recent videos of yourself playing and would like to have your playstyle critiqued, here is where you post them. Wifi videos or videos of you completely owning your opponent are not recommended, as those are very hard to critique.​

Pikachu Secondary Discussion: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=217015
Maintained by K 2
This thread is complete so far. It describes in detail the best secondary characters for a Pikachu main.​

High Voltage Clan Social Group: http://www.smashboards.com/group.php?groupid=797
Maintained by Stealth Raptor
High Voltage is the forum's Pikachu clan, which you are encouraged to try out for. Even if you're not officially in the clan, the social group is a place for us to hang out and talk about anything, even if it's not Brawl-related.​

The Pikachu Archive Thread: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=211446
Maintained by K 2
There are a lot of really good threads that eventually get pushed off the first page, making them hard for people to find. The archive thread gathers them all in one place so that you can find any significant topics with ease.​

The Ultimate Secret to Mastering Pikachu: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=221415
A must-read.​
Credits [CRDT]
This guide wasn't written by just one person alone. Though the actual content was written by members of the Pikachu Back Room, there were many contributors who helped make this guide possible by pioneering new topics in the past, coming up with the best title ever, or badgering one lazy editor until she stopped procrastinating and actually did some real work on this. >.o

Thank you so much to everyone who helped out! If I missed anyone, please let me know so that I can add you.

Special Thanks to.....
Mister_E for Approaching, Combos & Pseudo-Combos, and Edgeguarding/Gimping
K 2 for Frequently Asked Questions and his stage discussion thread
ESAM for Past the Basics: Advanced Techniques for Pika
Stealth Raptor for Getting the Kill, You Must Recover!, Playing with Thunder, and constant <333s
Dream Land Works for Annoying Your Opponent, the Static-Intense Pikachu guide, and being my loyal puppy ;)
Galax1117 for Defensive Maneuvers and his character matchup thread
K Prime for frame data and being awesome in general
Xiivi for the guide's amazing title
Muhznit for his Move Analysis thread
SilverSpark for his Pikachu combo thread and Pika Tricks thread
5ive for his Official Pikachu Video Guide
Fino for pointing out some minor errors
My fellow Pika Xat chatters for distracting me (:mad:) but also providing lots of moral support.... (CCC) (hello)
Flizzz for asking me a million and one times when this would be done :p
Unknown Pixiv.net artist from whom I stole the title image..... sorry I can't read Japanese and properly credit you.... *whistle*
PokeRemixStudio on YouTube, whose music got me in the mood to write about a pokemanz for hours at a time
The Pikachu community as a whole, for whom this guide was created

 

Dream Land Works

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Mar 11, 2008
Messages
367
Looks good. I will have to read through this whole thing. I some more Pikachus can fill in the gaps of their style thanks to this guide so that Pika can win more tournaments :chuckle:.
 

KayLo!

Smarter than your average wabbit.
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
15,480
Location
Philadelphia, PA
3DS FC
3497-1590-7447
Hehe, late night Xat crew comes to support. <333

Yeah, it's a LOT of text, but I think the content is really good.... there was no way around it being wordy, lol.

If you guys see anything that needs to be fixed or added, let me know! I edited everyone's sections the best I could, but there's always the chance that I missed something. Sometimes it was, like... 5 AM... and I was half asleep.... =X

Glad you guys got a good first impression!

P.S. I hate my internet.
 

Ussi

Smash Legend
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
17,154
Location
New Jersey (South T_T)
3DS FC
4613-6716-2183
I had a dream you finally posted the guide today. My instincts are spot on :0

Amazing guide took my phone 1 minute to load.
 

KayLo!

Smarter than your average wabbit.
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
15,480
Location
Philadelphia, PA
3DS FC
3497-1590-7447
I stopped reading when you said tjolt makes olimar's pikmin go back to him...

L2guide

I demand this be re-written. False guide is false :p
*I'll read other stuff laterz


~Fino
Oh really, then what do you say? When I tested it in 1v1 mode, the blues, reds, and purples cancelled the tjolt and went back to him; the whites died; and the yellows are immune to electricity, so they kept going. Granted, pikmin usually arc over tjolts anyway, but I was testing what happens when tjolt actually hits other projectiles.

If you know differently, do tell. If you're just being you, then please don't.
 

Stealth Raptor

Smash Legend
Joined
Apr 18, 2006
Messages
15,088
Location
Kansas City, Kansas
First off, Pikachu can chaingrab a handful of characters in the game. To some players, this can be extremely annoying, even to the point of their not wanting to play, haha! These players tend to fall into three categories: they're somewhat casual players; they just started getting into competitive play; or they main Fox.
This made me lol hard.
 

gallax

Smash Hero
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Apr 2, 2008
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Location
Orlando(UCF), Fl
holy h3ll. this is an awesome guide. bravo.

and kaylo. i was thinking that i could provide a list of who you should space with the fsmash with and who you dont have to use the fsmash for spacing. give me like 2 days and i can get it to you.
 

Xiivi

So much for friendship huh...
Administrator
Premium
BRoomer
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somewhere near Mt. Ebott
Nice work, glad you guys finally got this done after me watching you work on it for so long. :)
Also top tier title. ;)
 

Sei Shin Casios

Smash Cadet
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
34
omg, this is amazing ;)

realy good work, i just got to read the first part (up to def moves),but it was fun to read it and i learned some new stuff.
im going to finish reading this tomorrow, thx a lot!
 

KayLo!

Smarter than your average wabbit.
Joined
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holy h3ll. this is an awesome guide. bravo.

and kaylo. i was thinking that i could provide a list of who you should space with the fsmash with and who you dont have to use the fsmash for spacing. give me like 2 days and i can get it to you.
That'd be awesome, Gallax.

In fact, if anyone wants to add anything to their section, I'd be happy to edit it in.


Remember, it's not stalling, they're just well spaced jolts.
ITS NOT CAMPING/STALLING ITS SPACING!!!!!a
Da*n straight. ;)

I hate camping >_> I have to play aggressive.
Lol, like the guide says.... there are times when camping is almost necessary. Being aggressive is fine, but there are definitely characters against whom you have to play very defensively in order to have a better chance of winning.

Besides, there's always a middle ground. If you're really fast at resetting your spacing and the momentum of a match, you may only have to retreat & jolt a few times.... just a brief "mini camp."


Nice work, glad you guys finally got this done after me watching you work on it for so long. :)
Also top tier title. ;)
The title is pretty kicka**, not gonna lie. Good job, Xiivi. :p

omg, this is amazing ;)

realy good work, i just got to read the first part (up to def moves),but it was fun to read it and i learned some new stuff.
im going to finish reading this tomorrow, thx a lot!
I'm glad you liked it! I know it's very long, but it's good to hear that it's not a dry or boring read.

Aack, makes me realize how little I know about Pikachu. D:
Lol. But once you read it, you'll know just about everything! :bee:
 

M15t3R E

Smash Master
Joined
Sep 15, 2008
Messages
3,061
Location
Hangin' with Thor
How wonderful a feeling it is to see your hard work be presented to the general public. I'm ecstatic about it.
This is now truly the best character guide on SWF. Good **** to all of us Pikas.
 

KuroKitt10

Smash Journeyman
Premium
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
233
Location
Oregon
****in' amazing good job guys. This is not only comprehensive, it's well written, and very well organized. It's a pleasure on the eyes, and easy to find information!

Huge success for the pika boards, guys!

Meow!
 

Kroova

Smash Rookie
Joined
Dec 6, 2008
Messages
23
Holy crap. This is insane. Great job, everyone who worked on it.
Thanks a bunch!

Now if only I could get some vids recorded.
 

Zylar

Smash Ace
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
688
Location
In your homez, playing your Wiiz.
I was so excited for this guides release that when I found out that it was here I didn't stop reading until just now. Learned a lot, and even the old stuff was good as a reminder. Lol.

Good shiz, Klo. :D

Tomorrow I'm gonna practice circle dashing or w/e. ^^
 

Piman34

Smash Lord
Joined
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Phoenix, Arizona
3DS FC
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So a question about SHAD: is it basically the same buttons as a JCgrab in melee? But yeah great guide, and a good read I enjoyed it!
 

*Mari*

Banned via Administration
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
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OMG awesome guide really, havent finished reading yet.. but still, I like what I read! =D
 

Fino

Smash Master
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
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nxt to Dphat wit all dem azn biches
YOUR GUIDE IS WRONG!!!

Big baddie stealth... what you going to do here? Stop Q.Q'ing

consider yourself lucky you weren't at gig, and aren't going to the nakacon tournament tomorrow


~Fino
 

[FBC] ESAM

Smash Legend
Joined
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Messages
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Pika?
Fino..how about you leave the pika forums. If our guide is wrong, what do you care? It's not like its hurting you. GTFO and stop bugging her.
 

gallax

Smash Hero
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
5,643
Location
Orlando(UCF), Fl
so its seems that most pika players that i talked to use their fsmash to space and rarely save it for killing. this is fine, but i think a master of pika should know when to use for killing. i stand firm next to gaw for saving it for the kill.

some characters in which i think it should be saved for the kill are DDD, falco, fox, yoshi, sonic, olimar and diddy.

i would definately agree 100% with using it for spacing against rob, marth, mk, zelda, snake, Charizard, DK, bowser, ike, link, toon link, peach, wario, luigi, lucas, ness, wolf, zss, and IC's.

for those i have not mentioned like samus, CF, sheik, PT, jigglypuff, ganondorf, and pit i really dont know cuz i think they could go either way. none of them are a must need spacer or save for killer.
 

lmntolp

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Jul 28, 2008
Messages
190
Location
Maryland
Wow this is great. Now I have a bunch of things in mind I could practice.
Also, skull bash can trip with low charge. it's not very useful, but it can happen.
 

stealth3654

Smash Lord
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
1,204
Location
GA
One way to really make it clear that you're taunting without actually taunting is to slow walk. That's it, just slow walk across the stage. Pika transforms into a mini t-rex, adorably waddling along at his own casual pace, and it really sends the message to your opponent that you don't give a crap what they do because you're dominating them anyway.
This really made me lol :laugh:

Great guide! Easy to read, nice colors, organized, and overall just great :)
 
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