1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Welcome to Smashboards, the world's largest Super Smash Brothers community! Over 250,000 Smash Bros. fans from around the world have come to discuss these great games in over 19 million posts!

    You are currently viewing our boards as a visitor. Click here to sign up right now and start on your path in the Smash community!

  3. Use the Smashboards Store to get awesome Smash stuff and support the site, like a Nintendo Controller or the Wii U - Gamecube adaptor ! Check out the inventory in our store and support Smashboards with your purchase today!

Pikachu Guide - 2011

Discussion in 'Pikachu' started by N64, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    How to Win Without a Thunder Stone
    A Guide to using Pikachu in Super Smash Brothers Melee
    by player N64

    Table of Contents

    • Introduction - [INT0]
    • Mindset - [MST0]
      a. Base Objective - [MST1]
      b. Offensive Objective - [MST2]
      c. Defensive Objective - [MST3]
      d. Overall Objective - [MST4]
    • Knowledge - [KNW0]
      a. Basic Moveset - [KNW1]
      b. Advanced Techniques - [KNW2]
    • Application - [APP0]
      a. Offensive Options - [APP1]
      b. A Quick Note on Comboing - [APP2]
      c. Defensive Options - [APP3]
      d. Edgeguarding - [APP4]
      e. Recovery - [APP5]
      f. Bringing These Tools Together - [APP6]
    • Matchups - [MCH00]
      a. Bowser - [MCH01]
      b. Captain Falcon - [MCH02]
      c. Donkey Kong - [MCH03]
      d. Dr. Mario - [MCH04]
      e. Falco - [MCH05]
      f. Fox - [MCH06]
      g. Ganondorf - [MCH07]
      h. Ice Climbers - [MCH08]
      i. Jigglypuff - [MCH09]
      j. Kirby - [MCH10]
      k. Link - [MCH11]
      l. Luigi - [MCH12]
      m. Mario - [MCH13]
      n. Marth - [MCH14]
      o. Mewtwo - [MCH15]
      p. Mr. Game & Watch - [MCH16]
      q. Ness - [MCH17]
      r. Peach - [MCH18]
      s. Pichu - [MCH19]
      t. Pikachu - [MCH20]
      u. Roy - [MCH21]
      v. Samus - [MCH22]
      w. Sheik - [MCH23]
      x. Yoshi - [MCH24]
      y. Young Link - [MCH25]
      z. Zelda - [MCH26]
    • Wrap Up - [WRP0]
      a. List of Terms - [WRP1]
      b. FAQ - [WRP2]
      c. Don't Steal Plz & Thanks! - [WRP3]


    Introduction - [INT0]

    Welcome to the Pikachu guide for Super Smash Brothers Melee, by player N64. I am Andy Rhoades, a.k.a. N64, and over the course of this guide it’s my job to teach you everything you need to know to be successful as a competative Pikachu player in SSBM. My hope is that this guide can assist all readers, whether you’re a Melee veteran interested in adding Pikachu to your roster, or you’re completely new to SSBM as a game. While I feel it’s worth everyone’s while to at least skim through every section, the table of contents included at the start of this guide can help you skip to whichever sections you need information from.

    Before reading further, I do want to give you an idea of the layout and why I believe it will be the most beneficial to you. As you can see from the table of contents, this guide is divided into five sections after this introduction, and each is important to playing Pikachu. The first is Mindset. This will cover how you need to approach playing Pikachu specifically in a competitive Melee environment. Second is Knowledge. This will cover understanding Pikachu’s moveset and options in most situations. Third is Application. This will integrate what was described in the Knowledge section and go into many of Pikachu’s common combos, setups, and general playstyles. Fourth is Matchups. This will cover matchup-specific information and will be the largest section, as a lot of your strategy will change depending on that character you’re facing. Last is Wrap Up. This will include general or additional information like general terms.

    So, here we go!


    Mindset - [MST0]

    Base Objective: Victory - [MST1]

    When playing, you have an objective that you are trying to accomplish. This may seem pretty obvious, but it’s important to recognize and understand. Your objective in Melee is to kill your opponent 4 times before they do the same to you. You accomplish this by knocking them off the top, side, or bottom with enough force to outright kill them, or sending them off the edge and preventing their return to the stage. Each character has their own sets of tools that make them good or bad at each of these, and it’s important to understand how Pikachu specifically gets his kills and avoids getting killed, thus accomplishing his objective.

    When reading through this entire guide it’s important to be asking yourself: How is this going to help me accomplish these objectives? How can I use this to put me closer to victory?

    Offensive Objective: Racking up kills - [MST2]

    Pikachu has two main attributes that stand out when it comes to killing an opponent. First, he has the strongest upsmash in the game. Combined with thunder, this can allow him to kill characters off the top of the screen faster than many other characters. Secondly, his uair’s knockback properties combined with his ability to chase opponents far off the edge to ensure a kill (along with a few other things like bthrow) makes him pretty good at gimping opponents.

    What Pikachu is generally not very good at is doing damage. This means it is advantageous to look for opportunities to gimp your opponents or otherwise finish them off at as low a percent as possible. Racking up damage when you can is good, of course, but if you’re unable to gimp and you do end up steadily racking up damage, usmash becomes a kill option and your edgeguarding game becomes steadily easier to use as their damage gets higher.

    You will need to do some damage throughout the match, of course, and how Pikachu usually does this is through air combos and a hit-and-run playstyle. His air-to-air game is decent, so trying to knock your opponent into the air and then rack up damage as you prevent them from returning to the ground is pretty crucial. You almost always want to be below your opponent, as it is where Pikachu is most threatening.

    As you rack up damage, you’ll likely be taking damage yourself, and as the next section will get into, Pikachu is frail.

    Defensive Objective: Surviving - [MST3]

    As important as getting kills is, you must stay alive to do so. Pikachu is really light, has a pretty punishable tech, and has the smallest shield in the game. He’s frail, just reiterating, so you need to be relatively terrified of the damage your opponent can do to you. To avoid dying an early death, you need to recognize the tools you have to stay alive.

    Mainly, Pikachu is incredibly mobile. He has a good dash speed, great dashdancing game, great jump speed, and relatively small body size. Once you get hit, you’re in trouble, but you have enough mobility to make it tough for the opponent to get that first hit. Use your mobility to weave around your opponent’s attacks and punish his overextensions. Your other great option is having one of the best recoveries in the game. If you do get hit, try to avoid dying straight out, but know that if you get knocked off the edge and don’t immediately die, you can usually get around your opponent’s edgeguarding and recover.

    Overall Objective: Hit and Run - [MST4]

    What this means for Pikachu overall is that you need to play a very opportunistic hit and run tactic. Weave your way in, do your damage, set up your gimps, and get out before the opponent can retaliate. There is still plenty of room to be more aggressive or defensive to your liking in this, but not recognizing and using Pikachu’s strengths is a bad idea.

    That’s your objective. Be mobile. Be uncatchable and be deadly. Next section should help you understand how to do this.


    Knowledge - [KNW0]

    Basic Moveset - [KNW1]

    Credits to Stratocaster and StandardToaster for the images. If you want more information (such as frame data) visit his smashboards post.

    Every move Pikachu has is useful. Some of course are much better than others, but you should know that there is a situation for every single move to be used. So, lets understand what every move does and when it should be used.

    Neutral A (Jab)
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu quickly juts his head forward a short distance, doing little damage and almost no knockback. Repeatedly jabbing can be done incredibly quickly. There are few situations where Pikachu’s jab is useful, however. It comes out quickly, and you can rapid jab with it pretty easily, but the lag after it is pretty long, meaning it won’t combo into anything. You won’t often be able to use it to apply pressure on your opponent like most characters do, but you can use it occasionally as a “get off me” escape move by rapidly jabbing until your opponent is pushed far enough away that they can’t apply pressure to you before you’re able to shield, roll, or otherwise safely get out. It’s important to note that some chars have moves fast and strong enough to beat your first jab, and some have moves with long enough range that with good reactions they can still reach you and punish the lag after your last jab. The only other real use for it is the occasional opportunity to jab-reset. Overall this move shouldn’t see much use, as it’s often too easily punished and doesn’t often set up anything useful for him.

    Ftilt
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu stretches his hind feet out in front of him, doing slight damage and some knockback. This is one of Pikachu’s better moves. It’s relatively quick, has decent range, and can beat or at least trade with a lot of moves. Its main use, however, is for edgeguarding. With correct angling of the control stick, you can angle Pikachu’s ftilt up or down slightly. If you stand a little bit away from the edge, you can do a down-angled ftilt at the edge, and your ftilt will hit below the ledge while leaving you safe from most recovery moves with a hitbox. This effectively prevents most characters from sweetspotting the edge if you space and time your ftilt correctly. In addition, this can often lead to edgeguarding opportunities, by either chasing an opponent off the edge after you prevent their sweetspot, or simply ftilting until they die if their character doesn’t have a recovery option to get around it.

    Dtilt
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu swipes his tail in front of him, doing slight damage and little knockback. This move doesn’t really fit well into Pikachu’s game, though it will see occasional use. It reaches further than most of Pikachu’s moves, and still comes out relatively quickly, which is good, but its damage and knockback are pretty lackluster overall. It doesn’t lead into anything for Pikachu, and mostly is just useful as a poking move to either force your opponent into their shield temporarily or just tack on a small amount of damage. Using it often, however, becomes pretty predictable and punishable. Use it occasionally so that your opponent has to respect it, but it won’t be a core of your gameplay.

    Utilt
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu carries his tail over his head in a small arc, doing small damage and knocking them upwards slightly. This move is weird and rarely sees more than 2-3 uses per match. Its main drawbacks are its short range and relative slowness. It hits in a short arc and stays out for about a second and a half, which can be easily punished if dodged. Its knockback is at a good angle; it sends them up slightly and leaves them in stun long enough for you to combo off of it. Its slowness can be beneficial, as you can catch downdodges or delayed approaches with it on occasion, but again it’s pretty punishable if it misses or gets shielded, so it’s generally just too risky to use.

    Fsmash
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu stretches a little forward and sends out a ball of electricity a short range in front of him, doing decent damage and good knockback forwards. This is Pikachu’s furthest reaching ground move and it does enough knockback to send the opponent off the stage and mid-high percents, but it has a pretty slow startup and lots of lag after. It’s relatively safe if the opponent blocks it, as it has good shield push and shield stun, but it’s easily punishable if it’s dodged. Generally usmash is the better option as it’s faster, a little safer, and will almost always kill earlier, but the slightly better range on fsmash can come in handy.

    Dsmash
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu spins around for a couple seconds catching anyone near him in a lightning attack, doing moderate damage and decent knockback upwards. This move is useful occasionally to catch downdodges and tech options, as it stays out for a couple seconds hitting multiple times. If it is avoided, however, it is easily punished. Its knockback is useful for setting up combos at low-mid percents. Generally you should use this sparingly, but it can come in handy on occasion.

    Usmash
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu does a backflip swinging his tail up in front of him, doing good damage and great knockback upwards. This is Pikachu’s main kill move, and is pretty safe on block, somewhat safe on whiff. It’s quick and has a little lag, but if you hit with it it’s definitely worth it, so don’t be afraid to throw it out every so often if you’re fishing for a kill. This move will kill light characters at absurdly low percents and will kill most other chars below 100% on most stages. If you usmash a char and it’s not quite enough to kill them, you can jump in the direction they fly and combo into Thunder (downB) which will very often give the extra bit of knockback needed to kill someone off the top. Use this move often.

    Dash Attack
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu lunges forward headbutting his opponent, doing poor damage and knockback. This move comes out quick and has decent range, but it’s extremely laggy and unsafe. You should almost never use this move.

    Nair
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu spins in air hitting anyone he runs into, doing decent damage and knockback. This is Pikachu’s main aerial for doing damage. It comes out quick, stays out just long enough, recovers quickly, and has decent knockback. It’s a pretty safe aerial with decent rewards. If you hit with it at the start of its animation it can send the opponent relatively far, while if you hit later in the animation it will have a small knockback but can sometimes lead into combos. Use this a lot in your hit-and-run tactics to get in, do some damage, and force your opponent into the air or off the stage.

    Fair
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu electrifies the air around him, doing small damage and knockback for a short time. This move is one of his worse aerials, but it definately has its uses. It comes out as fast as nair, has slightly more range, and keeps your opponent close to you rather than knocking them away. This means it can be good for interrupting things and generally tripping up your opponent. If they expect it, many characters can punish the extremely short stun time from this move, but if you throw it in occasionally you can use fair to lead into grabs or other moves. I like it as an air-to-air, as you can travel through them with fair and set up a doublejump rising uair -> combo. Use it when you want to set up another move, like uair or usmash, but aren't in quite the right position.

    Dair
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu spins upside down and shocks the area around him, doing good damage and knockback. This moves comes out a little slow and is slightly laggy though, so it’s not as safe as nair. It can occasionally be used to end combos, and is otherwise useful in a few situations such as dealing with crouchcancelling characters, but generally nair is a better option. If you hit the ground with it, there will be an additional hitbox which has almost no knockback and isn't really useful for much, so try to avoid that.

    Uair
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu does a frontflip in the air, swinging his tail over his head in an arc, doing little damage and decent knockback. This move is horrible for damage, but it’s one of his best moves because of its knockback. I will go into much more detail in the Application section, but depending on which part of the tail you hit with, you can pop the opponent up and set up combos, or spike them either forwards or backwards to set up edgeguarding opportunities. It’s pretty quick and safe and can offer good rewards, so overall it’s a great move to use.

    Bair
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu spins around horizontally, doing good damage and decent knockback. However, this move is incredibly laggy, and its knockback becomes pretty terrible if you don’t hit with the start of it. This makes it a pretty terrible move overall. It’s occasionally good for ending combos, and its hitbox can be awkward enough that people unfamiliar with it can still get caught by it, but don’t rely on it.

    Neutral B (Jolt)
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu spits out a jolt in front of him that follows terrain and does a little damage and stun to whoever it hits. As far as projectiles go it’s not great but not bad. You can use it to help cover your approaches or snipe people who are off the edge, but it’s a little too laggy to use as a consistent projectile like most characters.

    Forward B (Skull Bash)
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu charges up and then shoots forward a good distance hitting anyone in his path, doing decent damage and knockback. This move is far too slow to use offensively, so its only real use is to help your recovery if you are knocked far off the stage.

    Down B (Thunder)
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu calls thunder down in a straight line from the sky, doing decent damage and knockback to anyone it hits. It will come down in a line from wherever Pikachu called it. If it hits Pikachu, and additional hitbox is created around Pikachu that does good damage and high knockback. This move is really slow and incredibly laggy, however, especially if the lightning connects with Pikachu. Your main use for this move will be after landing an usmash at mid-high percent, as it will combo and will probably be the only time you’re able to connect with it. You can use it if your opponent is trying to recover high above you, but after the first or second time you use it like this your opponent will be weary of it.

    Up B (Quick Attack)
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu quickly jolts forward in two directions. After hitting upB, you can angle the stick in a direction to choose the first direction he goes, and then quickly choose another distinct direction and he will fly in that direction afterwards. There is a hitbox on his upB but it does almost no damage and has almost no stun or knockback. This move is used almost primarily for recovery, but it’s a really good recovery move.

    Grab
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Pikachu has the shortest grab range in the game. His throw options against most characters are pretty decent though, so getting a grab can be quite beneficial. To help getting a grab, be sure to use his good dash speed and general mobility options to assist in getting grabs.

    Fthrow – Pikachu puts the opponent on his back and shocks them before throwing them forward a short distance. This is probably Pikachu’s least useful throw, but if you manage to grab the opponent facing the edge it can set up an edgeguarding opportunity. It’s a little too laggy to be useful and doesn’t really lead to anything otherwise, so only use it for positioning really.

    Bthrow – Pikachu rolls backwards a short distance and then chucks the opponent behind him. This has decent knockback and mainly is great because of the distance he rolls before throwing it. Think of it like Ken’s bthrow in the SF games, it’s great for positioning. Use this if you ever grab an opponent with your back anywhere near an edge. Even if you’re not near an edge, it can throw the opponent to the edge and force them into a position where they don’t have much space to use. Great throw overall.

    Dthrow – Pikachu throws the opponent downwards, where they hit the ground and bounce away a bit. Heavier characters and characters at low percents will hit the ground and be forced to tech, creating a techchase opportunity, while other characters can jump out. It’s an alright throw, but usually bthrow or uthrow will serve you better.

    Uthrow – Pikachu throws the opponent upwards a short distance. This isn’t usually that great, but it can lead to combos and most importantly puts the opponent above you. On heavy characters you can chainthrow them until high percents if there aren’t platforms in the way, or force them to tech and potentially techchase them if there are.

    Advanced Tactics - [KNW2]

    There are a few things specific to Pikachu’s moveset that you should understand as well. This is in addition to general Melee ATs like wavedashing. Some of these will be much more useful than others, but it’s good to at least be aware of all of them and what Pikachu is capable of. Now, to start off, probably the most important:

    Uair Hitbox Properties

    Understanding how Pikachu’s uair works is crucial to his gameplay. Good uair usage nets kills and sets up almost everything scary Pikachu has. So, how does it work? Pikachu’s uair has three distinct hitboxes that come out one after the other as his tail swings around his body. Each hitbox covers a different area and has a different knockback trajectory. Thus, getting the right hitbox to connect depends both on your positioning and timing. The best way to get used to it is just practice with it and get a feel for it.

    The first hitbox comes out almost immediately and covers a large portion behind Pikachu from around the base of his tail to the top of his head. This hitbox knocks the opponent straight upwards. This part is great because of the speed it comes out, and it leads to a lot of Pikachu’s combos. For instance, if you shield an opponent’s attack with your back to them, you can jump and uair as soon as you leave the ground, and it will often catch them and send them upwards. You can then double jump and connect another aerial, or land and try to grab the opponent if they’re a fast faller, etc.

    The third hitbox covers a large arc above Pikachu's head. This knocks the opponent down and away from you in a pretty steep arc. Depending on which direction they are from you when the move connects, this will either send them behind you or in front of you. Getting it to connect exactly when you want it to can be a little tricky, though, as hitting them the wrong way will knock them onstage rather than offstage for an edgeguard. It sounds simple, but you really have to get a feel for this move before you'll be comfortable connecting the spike/reverse spike how you want. Utilizing this is a huge part of his gimp and edgeguarding game.

    The fourth and final hitbox is the least useful, but still can set up some advantageous situations It covers a small area directly in front of Pikachu and knocks the opponent up and slightly over behind Pikachu. The knockback isn’t that substantial, but it stretches out further forward than the rest of pikachu’s aerials and you can occasionally combo it into another uair or usmash if the opponent DIs poorly.

    Angling UpB, Understanding its Hitboxes and Hurtboxes, and SWD

    As stated earlier, there are two parts to upB. Each of these parts can be angled in one of 16 cardinal directions (imagine any circle cut into 16 equal sized slices). The only catch is that you can’t go the same direction twice (except in rare, mostly useless instances). The only part that is required to do is the first, and if you don’t input a direction for it you will simply go up. If you collide with any terrain on either part, you won’t go the full distance of that part, but you can still do the second part if you collide with terrain on the first part.

    It is possible to sweetspot the edge with upB. You simply have to pass close to the edge (the window is pretty large) during any downward angle'd upB. Be sure, however, to not be holding down when your character reaches the edge, or you will simply fall through as you would if you were any char holding down as you passed the edge.

    As far as recovering on to the stage with upB, you generally want to try to end your upB so that your character is very slightly off the ground. If you’re too high, there will be a little lag, but if you land on the stage by colliding into it with your upB, there will be a ton of lag. This applies as well to colliding with the stage with the first part of your upB and then using the second to go straight left/right so you don’t get any height.

    Now on to upB’s hitboxes and hurtboxes. Its hitbox is pretty easy to explain. On each part of your upB you basically become a hitbox which does a little damage and has almost no knockback or stun. This doesn’t make it an offensive option, but its good to know it has that. For instance, you can use it to go through someone jumping out to try edgeguarding you, thus putting you on the stage and in a position to edgeguard them. It won't beat out anything, though, the actual hitbox is tiny. The hurtbox on it is pretty awful at parts though. After each part of the upB, Pikachu’s body stretches out extremely far vertically and then horizontally for a couple frames for some reason. What this means is for an instant your hurtbox is HUGE and you can get hit by stuff from ridiculously far away. Although this is rare as you’re only like this for a couple frames, it can be pretty surprising when it happens if you’re not used to it. Also anyone who’s familiar with it can potentially use it to their advantage when edgeguarding you. It’s important to note that if you sweetspot the ledge from above, this doesn’t happen as it will cancel the upB animation before these hurtboxes come out.

    Somewhat related to this is Pikachu’s SuperWaveDash (SWD). It is called this because, when executed correctly, Pikachu will slide incredibly quickly and pretty far across the stage while remaining in his neutral animation (meaning you can do tilts, smash attacks, etc. while sliding). To do this, you need to collide the hitbox on the second part of your upB with a move of equal strength while on the ground. This cancels each move, but Pikachu’s momentum from the upB is conserved, propelling him forward. Things it will work on include, but are not limited to, most low damage projectiles like Link’s Boomerang and Pikachu’s Jolt (but note it doesn’t work on Fox/Falco Lasers), most characters’ jabs, some tilts, and Fox/Falco’s Shine. Generally it’s too difficult to set up as you have to predict when they’re going to throw out something (it’s kinda slow to just throw out) and if it doesn’t work you’ll be in a ton of lag from the upB. It can be neat to do once like every few matches as a random surprise though. Not that useful, but cool to know about.

    Rapid Jabbing in a Corner

    This isn’t really an AT, but it’s somewhat Pikachu specific and useful to know about. In a few configurations of Pokemon Stadium (and some other tournament banned stages) there will be places where you can rapidly tap A and keep your opponent constantly stunned. Normally the pushback from jab would eventually knock your opponent far enough away that it would no longer combo, but if there is a wall to both your and your opponent’s backs (or a ledge to your back), like on the branch of the tree in fire transformation or in the cave on the rock transformation, then you can’t be pushed back far enough for it to stop comboing, and your opponent will be constantly stuck in hitstun. Note that this only works in these specific locations, if your opponent is too small then jab will not reach far enough to keep them in hitstun, and if they are a light enough char then they will eventually be able to smash DI up and jump out. It’s definitely not something to rely on, but if you get it early in a transformation it can easily lead to 200%+ in damage.


    Application - [APP0]

    Ok, now that you know the basic tools Pikachu has, this section will tell you how to put them together to accomplish the objectives we talked about in the first section. Namely we’ll go into when and how you should be offensive and defensive, how to rack up damage, how to edgeguard, how to recover, some general combos and most importantly how to use all this to win. All of this is dependent on your own playstyle, so it’s fine to play very aggressively or very defensively or do things you don’t see other Pikachu players do often, but you can’t just play Pikachu any way you want and expect success. Pikachu still has his strengths and weaknesses, and using these to your advantage is what’s most crucial.

    Pikachu is Fast

    Pikachu is incredibly mobile, I know I keep mentioning it, but it’s one of the greatest assets to Pikachu’s game. It allows him to quickly close or create space between him and his opponent. This means you can threaten to get in on your opponent pretty quickly, and can chase their defensive/evasive options more easily than other chars. You can also relatively easily get away from your opponent and reset the situation if you need to, or just create that extra bit of space to cause your opponent’s attacks to whiff. Use this.

    Offensive Options - [APP1]

    Pikachu can be an offensive terror, but you need to know when and how to get in. Your offensive options on their own honestly aren’t that good, but again Pikachu’s speed is a great help, and once you’re in you often have a number of options to keep the pressure on. First, lets go into what your offensive options actually are.

    Nair is probably going to be your most common approach option. Dash forward to short hop nair is quick, covers a decent distance, and is usually easy to follow up. It will trade with a lot of things and is rarely ever beaten cleanly. If you space it well, it’s also safe if shielded and can allow you to put on some decent shield pressure. Ideally you want to hit the top of their shield about 3/4ths of the way through your jump, so you land just a little bit behind your opponent. From this position it’s very difficult or impossible for your opponent to retaliate, while you have the option to escape and reset the situation or continue to apply pressure.

    Other aerials are situationally useful for approach. Dair comes out a little slow but has good priority and is one of your only tools against crouch cancelling characters. It doesn’t create followups, but it can go through a lot. Fair catches a lot of moves and can pull people into Pikachu to apply pressure, but is pretty easily crouch cancellable and can often be punished at lower percents. Uair is great for approaching from below, but is pretty awkward and gimmicky in other approach options.

    Tilts can also be helpful in your approach. Dtilt is pretty quick and covers a good range. It’s useful for throwing out to trip up your opponent, put them in their shield, or at least force them to adjust their movements around it, which can help you get in. Ftilt is also useful as it beats or will clank with some defensive options from your opponent. It’s punishable but not easily if you whiff with it, but hitting with it can put your opponent on the defensive and clanking with it has at least moved you in a little bit.

    Jolt is a decent asset as well. If there is plenty of distance between you and your opponent you can full hop forward and jolt at the top of your jump. You’ll land at about the same time as your jolt, and can use it as a hitbox in front of your approach. This forces the opponent to either avoid it, shield it, try to attack through it, or get hit by it. Avoiding it limits their mobility options. If they jump, you can chase them into the air, which Pikachu excels at. If they roll through it or downdodge it, there’s often time to punish this with a grab, dsmash, or other option, especially if you predict it. If they shield it, you can choose to either apply shield pressure or grab them. Some moves will cleanly beat it and still hit you, though, so recognize your opponent's options. For instance, almost anything Marth does will 'eat' the jolt and continue through to you.

    Fake approaches are also pivotal to approaching. Fake an approach, let your opponent’s defensive option whiff, and then actually approach during their lag. This can be done in a number of ways. You can use Pikachu’s excellent dashdance, variations of dashing forward and wavedashing back, and jumping forward and then double jumping up/back/around to change your trajectory. These tools can keep your opponent guessing and cause them to react too hastily to a perceived threat, allowing you to get in.

    Once you get that hit, you need to get as much out of it as you can. This involves knowing what you can combo with it and when you have to back off.

    A Quick Note on Comboing - [APP2]

    Combos are going to be very matchup-dependant, but there are a few commonalities across characters. Generally, if you hit with a rising uair (its first hitbox) you can combo it into something. On lighter characters this may only be another uair, but on most characters you’ll get at least a nair, and on heavy chars you can hit with almost any aerial, usmash, or even grab. The best thing about hitting with rising uair is that it puts the opponent above you, so even if you aren’t able to get a damaging combo out of it, you either force the opponent to tech on a platform and risk you chasing their tech, or jump away from you and risk you uair spiking them out of their second jump.

    You can usually combo after nair as well. Often this will be from following their trajectory and forcing the tech-or-jump decision and punishing appropriately. In certain situations, you'll actually be able to combo before they can jump. Pikachu’s ground and air mobility are fast enough that you can stick to opponents pretty well and react to their decisions, making your offense that much scarier. This applies for other moves as well. Tripping them up with tilts, spiking them towards the ground with uair, landing a dmsash or usmash, these all put the opponent on the defensive and may not lead to true combos but will often create situations where with good reactions you can land a more solid hit to combo from.

    Usmash is also a good combo starter, though mostly on fastfallers. At higher percents or on more floaty opponents you can combo it straight into a thunder (after jumping towards the direction they DI), which will often kill. There’s much more to all of this, but I will address character-specific combos in the matchup section.

    You can’t always be on the offensive though. It’s important to know what defensive options you have and when to use them.

    Defensive Options - [APP3]

    When an opponent is moving towards you, you have to react. Your options are to avoid, shield, or try to intercept. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, risks and rewards.

    First, lets talk about avoiding their approach. This works to Pikachu’s strength, mobility. You can dash away, wavedash back, jump away, or downdodge/roll through it. Dashing away quickly creates space. Thanks to Pikachu’s good dash speed and decent dash dance maximum distance, you can successfully avoid many attacks and dash back in during your opponent’s lag to put them on the defensive. The main limitations to this option are that it doesn’t avoid all approach options, namely horizontal projectile approaches, and that it depends on the amount of space you have behind you. If you can’t dash away very far, you may not be able to completely avoid some approaches. If you’re unable to punish their approach after your dash, then you’ve avoided one approach but now you have less space to move around in general.

    If you jump away, you create a situation similar to dashing away, except it affects your spacing and punishing options differently, and can avoid different attacks. Jumping better avoids attacks with short hitboxes, such as Marth’s dtilt or the previously mentioned horizontal projectiles, and can allow you to follow this with a falling aerial for pressure or a punish. The main issue with this is short hopping won’t get you over most attacks, and full hopping to fastfalled aerial is often too slow to punish with Pikachu’s short range below him on his aerials. It also obviously won’t dodge all attacks, and sometimes you’ll have to guess at what the opponent is going to do, so guessing wrong and jumping could mean eating a smash attack or aerial.

    Your third avoidance option is downdodging or rolling away from the attack. Pikachu’s roll and downdodge aren’t great but aren’t bad. Rolling away isn’t significantly punishable by most characters, but characters with quick runspeeds that expect you to dash away or roll away can chase and catch the end of your roll with decent reactions. Similarly, if they expect you to downdodge they can easily wait for it (if they haven’t already thrown out a laggy aerial or something similar) and punish you in the lag afterwards. Because of this you need to not overuse it or become predictable. Successfully downdodging an attack can allow you to get a grab or usmash, leading to combo opportunities.

    The second of your general defensive options is to shield their approach. For Pikachu this is rarely an ideal option. His shield is terrible, one of the worst in the game, getting poked pretty easily. On the other side of this, his options out of shield are actually pretty decent. You can grab out of shield (just keep in mind his super short grab range), upsmash out of shield, immediately nair or, more commonly, uair out of shield, or of course roll/jump away. The main things to use from this are usmash and uair. Each comes out pretty quickly and hit a decent distance ahead and behind him respectively. Usmash can lead to combos or outright kill depending on their percentage and fallspeed. Uair leads to combos or, at worst, gets them above you where Pikachu wants them. For these reasons shielding is a bit higher risk and higher reward than some characters, so being careful specifically for Pikachu to watch how much you rely on shield and make sure to keep it as close to full size as you can.

    The last option is to intercept their approach with an attack of your own. Pikachu doesn’t have many good moves for this, as most of his are relatively short range, but he does have options. If he approaches with an aerial, your best options are probably usmash, immediate uair, or nair. Usmash will trade with a lot of aerials, but the kill potential of usmash makes this worth it at mid to high percents. Nair will also trade with some aerials, but will still kill or set up edgeguarding opportunities at high percentages. Just make sure that you can survive the trade as well, and know that other aerials (ex. Marth’s anything, Jiggs’s bair, etc.) will cleanly beat it. If you want your best option for beating an aerial (and some other approaches), then you need to immediately uair with your back to your opponent. Uair’s hitbox behind and above Pikachu is pretty decent, and it can beat many other short-range aerials.

    Your other interception options are pretty situational or lackluster. Dsmash hitbox is a little weird and can beat out some unexpected things like Falco’s dair. It lasts a while though, so you can be relatively lenient on the timing with it. It is pretty easily punishable if they expect it, especially because of its poor range, and can be a little awkward to follow up though, so use it sparingly if at all. Ftilt and dtilt can also be ok on opponents dashing in, but don’t expect it to beat out much. It’s mostly just to catch someone if they’re dashing in for a grab or close range move. Fsmash is slow so needs good prediction skills, but can be a decent move for characters that like to wavedash in or have predictable ground approaches. If you hit with it, the damage and knockback are pretty good and can put you in a decent position.

    So far all of this talk has been on-stage related. So, lets go into what to do when one of you is off the stage. Lets talk about how to edgeguard and recover.

    Edgeguarding - [APP4]

    Pikachu has some pretty unique and useful edgeguarding tools, and is overall great at edgeguarding almost all characters. He can cover a variety of recovery angles and has the potential to kill off the stage at very low percentages with the right set up.

    One of the main things to get used to with Pikachu’s edgeguarding is that you can afford to chase people far off and/or below the stage, hit them with something, and still make it back thanks to his long upB range. His aerial mobility and speed lets you do this quickly as well, often allowing you to wait until the opponent commits to a few recovery options/paths before you have to jump out and still have the ability to stop him. For a lot of characters with short recoveries or few recovery options, this means you can chase them out and hit them with practically anything, then upB to the ledge, and they’re dead. Pretty much all his aerials are useful in some way for edgeguarding, as well.

    Most often, you’ll want to hit with uair if possible when edgeguarding. This requires you to be below your opponent (even if only slightly) so it can be infeasible if the opponent recovers from too low, but it covers a lot of other options. If you ever see the option to land a spike with uair while the opponent is already off the edge, do it. This relies on you being comfortable with uair’s hitboxes, but it’s extremely rewarding as its trajectory is ideal. If you catch someone already off the edge and uair spike them, it will kill practically everyone at any percent. And if it doesn’t kill them (hi jigglypuff) you at least greatly limit their remaining recovery options. This should deter characters from trying to recover over Pikachu, as correct reaction from you means certain death for them, but fortunately Pikachu also has answers for characters that want to recover low.

    As mentioned earlier, Pikachu can afford to chase off the edge pretty far. This means you can jump out at an opponent while he’s about level horizontally with the stage and force him to make a choice. Either he uses his jump to avoid you (which you can punish by uair spiking him if you expect it), try to beat you with an aerial (which can either hinder his recovery, or may trade with your aerial and push him far enough that he can’t recover anyway), or fastfall below you and hopefully still have enough length on his recovery to make it back.

    When you do jump out at him, your best aerial options if you can’t line up uair are to nair or dair. Nair is pretty safe and comes out quickly, but its knockback if you don’t hit with the start may not be enough to outright kill (and some characters can get out of hitstun and successfully recover still before Pikachu at lower percents). Dair is also useful, but it’s slow to come out so you have to be sure of where they’ll be. If you do hit with it, however, it does more knockback than nair. Fair can be useful on occasion off the edge, but usually it’s just to set up another aerial. For instance, lets say a Peach is floating a bit far off the stage looking for a way to safely get back. You jump out and she floats back a little bit to dodge your nair. You fair instead, reaching slightly further and knocking her out of her float, and then double jump and uair spike her, ensuring her death. You can also run off the stage and dair or nair to try to beat or at least trade with some vertical recoveries. On some stages you can even fastfall this and still make it back thanks to upB.

    Jolt is also an alright projectile for edgeguarding. It’s fairly slow, but moves at a diagonally down direction, where most people will want to recover. Because of its somewhat slow speed it can be kind of awkward to get around. The knockback on jolt isn’t that great, but you can catch someone’s jump with it or just limit the space they can use to recover. Another use for it is to just jolt into the stage, and the jolt will bounce down following the side of the stage, potentially catching recoveries. Again, jolt’s knockback isn’t so great, so if it hits someone’s upB in this way it will mostly just mess with the spacing of their next upB and not outright prevent them from recovering.

    Sometimes you won’t have the time or positioning to effectively chase someone off the stage, however. While on the stage, you still have a few other edgeguarding options. If you want to hit people who are trying to sweetspot, you can stand about one Pikachu body distance from the edge and do a down-angled ftilt as your opponent upBs. This will beat a lot of options with correct spacing, and while the knockback isn’t great it can help give you time to more properly edgeguard. Fsmash can be an ok option, but you have to be sure they won’t sweetspot.

    Ledgehogging is also of course useful, so don’t forget that either. In addition to just wavedashing backwards off a ledge to grab it and ledgehog, Pikachu can also use his upB to quickly reach the ledge from much further inwards on the stage. To do this, you need to be a proper distance in from the ledge (it’s fairly lenient), start your upB straight outwards so it sends you off the stage but right next to the ledge, then angle the second part back toward the stage but also slightly down, and then be sure to let go of the stick just as the second part comes out and you should zip to the ledge and grab it, successfully ledgehogging. If you’re too close to the ledge when you start your upB, Pikachu will be too low from the second part of upB to snap to the ledge, and if you’re too far you won’t be able to make it off the stage. If you continue holding down after your upB, Pikachu will pass by the ledge (as with anyone holding down while passing the ledge) and die. Because of how fast this comes out and how far in from the stage you can do it (and since it’s pretty unique to Pikachu), it can bait people into thinking they can quickly get to the ledge before Pikachu is able to position his edgeguarding options. It’s good to be comfortable with using this tool.

    You have a few other edgeguarding options, but they’re pretty situational and matchup dependant, so I’ll go into them in the matchup section.

    Recovery - [APP5]

    On the other side of this is recovery, or more specifically, avoiding your opponent’s edgeguarding options while still making it back to the stage. This is another of Pikachu’s strengths. While he’s relatively light and can be vulnerable to dying early off the top or sides, as long as you’re able to DI and survive you will rarely be unable to make it back to the stage, and often do so safely.

    This is because of Pikachu’s relative floatiness and the range on and versatility of Pikachu’s upB. His upB has two parts which each can be any of 16 cardinal directions around Pikachu. The best thing you can do to make good use of Pikachu’s recovery is to practice using upB in as many different directions as you can. Being accurate with this allows you to do a number of things. First, you can avoid projectiles and opponents who come offstage to edgeguard you, and still make it back to the stage. You can do this by either angling your upB around their edgeguarding attempt, or by stalling your recovery and letting yourself fall fairly far below the stage (to mess up their edgeguarding timing and force them to recover themselves) before you use your long upB to make it back. Play around with upB, exercise your options, get used to recovering to the ledge, to the stage, to platforms, as many options as you can think of. Being able to recover almost anywhere and through a variety of paths makes edgeguarding Pikachu extremely difficult for pretty much anyone.

    The only other things to note about Pikachu’s recovery are using jolt and forwardB. If you have enough height while drifting towards the stage, you can send out a jolt or two to help protect the ledge. You can either line it up so that it hits the stage and bounces a little forward to force someone to shield or avoid it (instead of trying to edgeguard you), or so that it hits the edge and forces someone trying to ledgehog you to get off the ledge and allow you to upB to it. ForwardB is useful for getting a little extra distance out of your recovery, but you have to know when and how to use it. When you forwardB, you get the most distance if you mash forward (as opposed to just holding forward). Don’t charge it at all, charging doesn’t improve its range as far as just floating forward would. Also generally the sooner you can do it in your recovery the better, as it takes a while and doing it too late will either limit your recovery options too much or be easy to punish.

    Bringing These Tools Together - [APP6]

    Now that I’ve told you what you can do, it’s a bit up to you to decide when to use these tools. Pikachu can be played in a few different ways, and as long as you pay attention to his strengths and weaknesses and know what he’s capable of, your playstyle will decide how you play him. There are a few guidelines I can give, but play around with these options and adapt it to how you like to or think you should play the game.

    Pikachu has a little trouble getting in on opponents, and at times can have difficulty getting out of pressure. He’s incredibly mobile (have I said this enough yet?) and has a ton of pressure tools, so getting the most out of your opportunities is important. You can use this in a very aggressive style to rely on overwhelming your opponent and not letting him set up his game plan. You can use it for a very defensive style where you try to bait your opponent into overextending, and punish him hard for it. You can play safe and go for guaranteed damage off hits and rely on his superb upsmash for kills. You can be risky and go for flashy off the edge kills or gutsy punishes. All in all your style will be a combination of these, and other, elements. Just remember the obvious goal: take all your opponent’s stock before they can do the same to you.
     
    #1 N64, Oct 13, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
    CptJPuff likes this.
  2. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    Matchups - [MCH00]

    CharacterName - MatchupScore (Pikachu on Left)

    Bowser - 65:35 - [MCH01]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Speed advantage
    +Easy to combo
    +Limited recovery

    Disadvantages:
    -
    UpB can be difficult to deal with
    -Difficult to kill without gimping

    General Strategy:
    The general strategy in this matchup is to use your overwhelming mobility to approach Bowser at angles/timings that he'll have difficulty responding to, comboing him handily, and repeating until he's high enough percent that a strong hit will kill. Since he is so large and heavy, you can be pretty creative with your combos, and generally get some good damage in. Just make sure that you don't overextend, because if he trades hits with you in the air then he'll almost always come out ahead off it. Bowser wants to trade hits with you. Much like against Ganon and other hard hitters, 3-4 solid hits from Bowser can be lethal, especially on smaller stages. You can often play this matchup fairly patiently, watching for openings, and then getting in to capitalize for some damage and either killing him (if viable) or resetting the situation.

    Approaching:
    Treat approaching Bowser like approaching a fortress. It's probably not going to move much, even if you hit it, and if you hit it wrong you'll end up hurting yourself. You don't really need to 'catch' Bowser with your approach like you would some faster characters, but that doesn't mean you can just barrel in. His main defensive options against your approach will be fair and upB out of shield. Fair comes out quick (for Bowser at least) and covers the area in front of him well, but doesn't have the greatest range in front of him and leaves him open for a very short period if he misses. UpB oos comes out instantly, will beat everything but your fsmash, and hits all around Bowser. This means you generally want to avoid landing next to Bowser unless you're positive you'll hit him before he can shield. FOrtunately, he usually can't get much out of UpB, but it will put you in an awkward position, or outright kill you at higher percents.

    If you're having difficulty getting around his shield->upB, you can poke at his shield in a number of ways. Jolt works alright, as Bowser has to double-jump to get over it, and otherwise has to shield it or roll through it, and his shield won't last forever. Dtilt can also poke at his shield a bit. Fsmash can be decent too, as he can't really punish you if he shields it. He can still roll through your fsmash though, so watch out for that. The main thing to do if he's relying too much on shield->upB, though, is just grab him a lot. After a few grabs he'll either start upBing early in anticipation (which you can then bait out and punish), or he'll stop shielding as much.

    Combos:
    There's nothing too specific combo-wise, or more accurately there's just too much to list. Bowser is big and heavy, hit him a lot. If you can get him towards the edge during your combo, then great. He doesn't handle uair spikes too well. Your main objective, however, will usually be to just rack up damage. Getting a clean combo-starting hit on Bowser can be a little tough at times, so get as much damage in as you can before he can get out safely. Usmash->aerials works well. Usmash->usmash works at lower percents. He can't maneuver much when he's in the air, his second jump is pretty bad, so know that while comboing. Just make sure he can't fair you (or claw you i suppose) during your combo and you're golden.

    Killing:
    Bowser can take a while to kill. He's somewhat susceptable to uair spikes, but he generally prefers to stay low to the ground, and getting him up above you can be awkward at times. Most often you'll just have to rack up damage with extensive combos and then hit him with an fsmash, usmash, or strong aerial. Just be patient, get damage where you can, and you'll eventually be able kill him with a strong hit. It's difficult for Bowser to put pressure on you, so don't feel rushed to gimp him or kill him early, just stick to your plan.

    Edgeguarding:
    Edgeguarding Bowser is pretty straight forward. The most difficult part is hitting him hard enough to send him off the stage. Once he's off, he doesn't have much to mix up his recovery. You can usually safely chase him off the edge (if he's particularly high offstage watch out for him to fair you), but generally just ledgehogging with be enough. His upB will stall him a bit as he recovers, so time your ledge-roll well if you're ledgehogging.

    If he does get the ledge, watch out for his <100% getup attack. It's not particularly damaging, but it covers a large area and you can't really contest it. If he does get to the ledge under 100%, just let him have it and throw jolts or something till he gets on stage.

    What to watch out for:
    As I mentioned a bit, the main things to watch out for are his upB out of shield, fair, koopaclaw, and uair. UpB oos isn't too bad to deal with. If you see him relying on his shield a lot, just poke him or grab him enough that he stops. For fair, just learn where it hits and either rush in below it for a usmash, come in above him with a dair or something, or fake an approach to bait the fair then punish him after. Koopaclaw is mostly an issue if you end up relying on your shield a lot, so just be weary of it. Uair is slow but very lethal. It's pretty telegraphed, so just watch for it and avoid it.

    Otherwise there's not too much. His <100% getup attack from the ledge is pretty good, but not really dangerous. His ftilt is ok for stopping pressure. His bair can be useful if a bit slow. His dsmash can catch you if you're near him, but leaves him pretty open if it misses or you shield it. Just mainly try not to be near Bowser unless you're already pressuring/comboing him. He does have tools to deal with close-combat, and he still hurts, so play hit and run.

    Recovering:
    Bowser doesn't have much to stop your recovery. He doesn't really have ways to prevent you from getting the ledge besides ledgehogging. On stage he's pretty slow so you can generally upB to a higher platform and be safe. If you do recover to platforms, just watch for him to try to predict where you'll land and uair you. If you're forced to either go for the ledge or close-to-the-edge-but-on-stage, be ready for him to potentially ledgehog->koopaclaw when you land on stage and just throw you off again. Otherwise, just recover as far from Bowser as you can and you should be alright.

    Final Notes:
    Bowser doesn't have much to deal with your hit-and-run maneauverability, so use that as much as you can. If he corners you on one side of the stage he can put some decent pressure, but generally you can just nair out or even upB away to get some space, and then find an opening to get back in on your terms. Just be aware of his defensive options and look for openings, get him to commit to aerials with fake approaches to create openings if you need, then punish him with brutal combos. Repeat that till he's above 100%, then look for solid hits to kill. Never trade if you can avoid it, just get in, do damage, get out, etc.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Large stages are probably your best bet. Pokemon Stadium is probably the best, as Bowser can have difficulty traversing some of the transformations, the stage is large enough that you can create space with Bowser when you need to, and the ceiling is pretty short so you don't have to rack up as much damage to kill him off the top. FD is probably also a decent stage just because it's large enough and the blast zones are still close enough that you can kill him somewhat early. Dreamland is also a decent option, just be aware that unless you gimp Bowser it's going to take foreverrrrr to kill him on that stage.

    You'll probably want to ban Yoshis, it's easy to just die at super low percents to a stray fair/upB etc., and Bowser has some fortress/ledgehog/getupattack shenanigans there that can be difficult to deal with unless you've played the matchup a fair amount.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Captain Falcon - 45:55 - [MCH02]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Heavy, so he's combo bait
    +Susceptible to edgeguarding
    +Uair really hurts his game

    Disadvantages:
    +Med. weight, so you're combo bait
    +Kills you quickly
    +Matches your mobility

    General Strategy:
    What a fun and hectic matchup this is. You both are really, really good at killing eachother, so single hits will easily turn into stocks. This means you should never count yourself out, and also never get too comfortable with a lead. The basic plan is to always be moving, weaving around his movements, and looking for combo setups while avoiding his. As with most matchups, you want to stay kinda low to the ground, aiming to lure falcon into a position above you. Fortunately he'll probably be jumping a lot. Unfortunately he'll be throwing out hitboxes the whole time and just making it as difficult as possible for you to get near him.

    Approaching:
    Captain Falcon's main methods of keeping you out will be his dash dance game combined with shffl aerials and grabs. He's looking to get you to commit to an approach, then dash away and either grab or dair you. When you don't commit to an approach, he'll shffl nairs and uairs as he dashdances to create a hitbox wall. He's looking to get a hit to trip you up, and then catch you as you're repositioning. Generally a good time to dash in and get an approach is just after he lands from an aerial, when you sh through him with a nair. His options at this point are to either shield, dash away, or jab. Nair will beat the second two options, and put you in a good position on the first. If he does shield it, follow up with an immediate rising uair (combo if it hits, jump away if it doesn't) or dash dance to create pressure. Falcon likes jumping a lot, but you want to avoid aerial confrontations. Taking him on air-to-air is pretty risky, because pretty much every aerial he has will beat yours, and his fair will kill you pretty early. Get under him when you can, dashing in as he jumps or shffling an aerial into him as he lands, and then following up with a uair.

    If you can corner him near the edge of the stage, he loses much of his mobility and his viable escapes can become pretty predictable. When cornered his options are to sh a nair/fair/dair into you from the short distance he has, dash up and try for a grab, or try to get over and around you. Each of these gives you time to react, and will come from a predictable angle, since he doesn't have much space to move around. Bait out one of these options and punish him.

    Another thing to keep in mind while approaching C.Falcon is that his dashdance game is pretty good. He can use his fast dash speed quickly create distance and mess up your spacing. Don't be too eager to get in if it looks like he'll have room to dash away from your approach and punish you. You can deal with this by overshooting your approaches, trying to push him towards an edge, and maintaining proper spacing with your own dashdance (which is almost as good).

    Combos:
    Captain Falcon is combo bait. Being a fastfaller combined with his large frame means you can get ridiculous combos off of one hit. Rising uair leads into pretty much whatever you want. You can land and usmash or grab, do another uair into aerial, or just chain uairs until you hit the top platform. If you get a usmash on him, you can often chain that into another usmash or grab at lower percents, or an aerial at higher. It's hard to say specifically what to look for, because you have an answer to about any DI he decides to do. If he DIs to a platform, you can land and usmash/uair, or techchase him if he lands as you get there. If he DI's towards an edge, knock him off with a nair/bair. If he DIs up (doesn't DI), keep chaining uairs. As far as going for damage or positioning, either is fine. Going for damage works because of just how devastating your combos can be if you want them to last. Going for positioning works as well, because C.Falcon gets pretty limited by not having much room to move, and he is possibly the easiest character for pikachu to edgeguard.

    Killing:
    Since he's a fastfaller, it will be difficult to get kills off the top. You can still manage this, because of how damaging your combos can be on him, and comboing into usmash is a possibility. It's generally much easier to kill him off the side. Falcon's recovery is pretty limited, so try to get him off the stage with either a uair or a solid hit after you've racked up some damage. Once he's offstage, you have a number of edgeguarding options.

    Edgeguarding:
    There's only a couple things to watch out for when edgeguarding C.Falcon. First, his upB is a grab with a hitbox directly in front of him. This means if you're chasing him out with an aerial or standing by the ledge trying to intercept his upB, avoid approaching him from directly in front. Either get below him for a uair spike, or hit him from above (still trying to position so you knock him away from the stage). The other thing to watch out for is that C.Falcons will walltech if you give them the opportunity. Be ready for them to, or avoid hitting them into the stage.

    Otherwise, C.Falcon's recovery is pretty punishable. Chasing him off the stage with aerials is fine, just watch for him to fastfall to try to avoid you, and remember to not approach him from an angle where he can grab you with his upB. You can also wait by the ledge and ftilt it. As long as he goes for the ledge (it will be pretty obvious if he doesn't), this will hit. Just watch for him to tech it if he's hugging the ledge (at which point you can ftilt again if he normal wallteches, or chase off with an aerial if he walltech jumps). Also if he does make it to the ledge while you're standing near it, be ready to shield and/or get the hell out of there. He can immediately jump from the edge into a uair or fair, which hurts and safely gets him back on the stage. His upB is a little laggy if he lands on the stage, so often just ledgehogging him and then dashing onto the stage to grab->bthrow resets the edgeguard, so do this if you're either not confident in your ability to edgeguard him otherwise, or can't get to the edge in time to set up anything else.

    What to watch out for:
    Even though you have plenty of tools to scare C.Falcon, he has just as many to scare you with. He can kill you in 1-2 combos, has the speed to keep up with and catch you, and the ability to beat you in the air. His speed means he can also avoid your approaches and create the spacing he wants much of the time. It's important to not get impatient in this matchup and end up playing in his rhythm. The biggest things to recognize are probably his ability to heavily punish you for seemingly minor mistakes (increasing the risk for your actions in general) and his ability to close distances very quickly. Don't let your guard down in this match, and be mindful of any risks you do take.

    As far as specific things to watch out for, his fair (the knee) is terrifying. It will kill you at surprisingly low percentages. It can be combo'd into from a dair, dthrow at higher percents, and other aerials if you DI poorly. It comes out quickly and it hurts, always be watching out for it. His other aerials are all pretty decent as well, and serve different purposes. Bair covers his retreats pretty well, and you can't really beat it, so just avoid it. If he's retreating with bairs though, use the created space to follow him and force him towards the edge. His nair acts as a lingering hitbox, trying to catch you and force an action from you. It extends fairly far in front of him, but he'll usually do it from a stationairy or slight retreating short hop. If you position well, you can upsmash his legs, or you can wait it out and try to get in afterwards (the timing is pretty tight). His uair comes out quickly and covers a large arc around him, don't try to beat this either. His dair is his only real option when he's above you, and it can create combo or techchase opportunities if it hits. Your uair can beat it (your uair is faster), but he'll generally be using it to either hit you as dash up to him (for a grab or usmash), or on your shield in the hopes of you trying to jump/shieldgrab out of it. When you recognize these situations where he can dair you, it's relatively easy to avoid it by either not letting the situation occur or dashing away before his dair comes out.

    You also need to watch out for his grab. Though he usually can't directly get more than a uair out of it, it will put you in a tight situation. After he dthrows you (make sure you're DIing away), you can either jump or tech. Jumping uses up your double jump and lets C.Falcon chase you with an aerial. Teching lets him techchase you (your techroll is slow, and his runspeed is fast). Neither option is very appealing, so try not to get grabbed. The easiest way to avoid this is to not stay on the ground much, and respect his dash-grab speed.

    Recovering:
    Recovering against C.Falcon is generally pretty straight forward, but the main issue is because of the knockback and hitlag of his fair, you will often be recovering from far off the stage. This limits your recovery options. His best edgeguard is usually edgehogging you, and then dashing onto the stage to try to punish where you recover to. You want to take advantage of this by recovering as far into the stage as you can, or stalling your recovery to try to fool him into getting off of the ledge early as you go for the ledge. If you recover onto the stage near the ledge (generally as your only option), he will jump from the edge and nair you, so be ready to DI it. Otherwise it's pretty straight forward. He can jump out to aerial you pretty quickly if you float in too close to the stage before starting your upB, so keep a little distance before starting your upB. If he does go for this, you can fastfall and uair him if you react in time, pretty much ensuring his death if it reverse spikes.

    Final Notes:
    Again, this is a pretty hectic matchup. Be mindful of your positioning, and try to ensure that you have more room to move around than he does. It's important to press your advantage whenever you get it, and take advantage of C.Falcon's weaknesses in this matchup (his fastfalliness and poor recovery). It's equally as important to respect his aerial priority and recognize how hard he can punish you for mistakes. If there's one matchup you want to absolutely avoid getting hit in, this is probably it.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Fountain of Dream is the classic playing-against-Falcon counterpick, and it's a decent option if he doesn't ban it. The platform heights really mess with his aerial game, and it's a decent stage for Pikachu anyways, so it works out well. Final Destination is also alright because C.Falcon can be chainthrown there. Falcon generally does alright there, however, and a lot of C.Falcon players are very used to the stage, so only go there if you're comfortable chainthrowing and think you'll have oppotunities to grab him. Lastly, Dreamland is a decent counterpick as well. It extends how long you'll live, and since you won't likely be killing him off the top anyways, the high ceiling doesn't matter that much.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Donkey Kong - 55:45 - [MCH03]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    He's large and heavy, so combo bait
    +Susceptible to gimps
    +Generally slow movement

    Disadvantages:
    -Bair is tough to deal with
    -Punishes hard

    General Strategy:
    At first this might seem like a matchup similar to Bowser, and to an extent that's true, but DK trades a bit of bulkiness for speed and range. He's still pretty immobile, but he controls the area around him fairly well. Dtilt and ftilt cover the space in front of him, bair does a decent job of stopping aerial approaches, and uair is a monster at controlling the space above him. Don't come at him from above.

    With that in mind, the main idea is still the same. You'll be using your mobility to your advantage, trying to bait out moves, and jump in in the gaps between them. You can also pressure DK's shield pretty well as long as you know what areas he can cover with oos options. Or you can play a defensive game, as he has some difficulty dealing with jolt, and has kind of awkard approach options in general. Just know that if he does catch you, especially with a grab, it can lead to some serious damage.

    Approaching:
    The main two things to watch out for while approaching are his bair and grab. DK is a little slow to turn around, so as you're approaching you can see which direction he's facing and know what you'll have to watch out for. You can afford to eat a few bairs before things get dangerous (as they won't kill till high percent and don't lead into any combos directly otherwise), but DK's grab is very scary. From grab he can get a cargo->uthrow into uair, which kills you at higher percents and just leads into 1-2 more uairs (or more depending on platform positioning and whether or not you lose your jump), which is a lot of damage. There is also the threat of uthrow->DK punch if he has it charged.

    So, this means your main priority while approaching is to make sure you don't land where he can shieldgrab you. He has a fairly large grab range, so err on the side of caution. As usual your best approach is nair. You do have other options, though. Nair is good because DK doesn't really have an answer for it if he's facing you (and you angle it so that you'll land just behind him). He has to shield it or try to beat it with upB (which won't work if you hit his shield low enough). And once he shields it, his fastest response is bair oos, which you can dash away before it comes out, then dash back and usmash (or other punish) him. If his back is to you, he can intercept nair with bair (with a retreating, stationary, or approaching shorthop to help position against your approach). To get around this, either bait it out and dash under him, or full hop nair to get over his bair and hit him in the air.

    I mentioned you have other options as well. Dashing in on DK is actually pretty effective. You can often dash under his bair and his other defensive options aren't particularly threatening (outside of grabbing you first). You also can get some good punishes off of your grab (which I'll get into in the combos section), so going for dash grab is worth it. Fair is actually a decent approach as well (as long as you land behind him) because it can shieldstab DK somewhat easily, and he doesn't have a good way of punishing it. Jolt is ok for helping your approach. He can ftilt it occasionally, but usually he'll just have to shield it, letting you grab him or just apply more shield pressure. It's also worth noting that DK's shield is pretty big but not particularly great, he tends to get shield-stabbed, so any shield pressure is good. Lastly of note, dashing up and stoping just short of his shieldgrab range and then fsmashing is also an ok option. He can beat it with tilts if he reacts fast enough (has to be practically instantly), but otherwise he can't punish it oos. If he expects you to fully dash in instead and goes for a grab, or if he tries to tilt too late, he'll get hit. He may try to dash oos -> grab you after though, so make sure you dash away after if he shields.

    Just whatever you do, don't approach him from directly above. You won't likely beat his uair, which can start a uair combo chain on you. And even if he doesn't have enough time to uair, he can upB on the ground and the strong initial hitbox (right where his head is) will beat whatever you have and has the knockback to kill you at high percents.

    Combos:
    DK's big and heavy, so you can do some pretty elaborate/interesting combos. Uair is strong, as it often is, as a combo starter. It's especially brutal because it can shieldstab DK's weak shield, and unless you're directly behind or above him he doesn't have much to contest it in the air. It hits DK upwards, and being above pika as DK is really rough. There's nothing too specific as far as other aerial comboing goes, just know you can hit him with pretty much anything as long as you don't end up above him during the combo. His uair comes out fast and hits hard, avoid it.

    One quick thing of note, grab->uthrow->dair works on DK until pretty high percents. It also usually puts you in good position to follow up, oddly enough. You can't truly combo it into something else, but you end up on the ground (the dair will auto-cancel, so no lag) with DK just getting out of hitstun still above you. This means he can choose to land right next to you and risk getting grabbed again, or double jump and risk getting uair spiked or otherwise knocked off the stage without his second jump. Uthrow->usmash also works at low perfects, if you prefer that.

    Killing:
    DK is combo bait, but you need to take advantage of that to kill him. He's heavy, so outright killing him from knockback is a tall order. You can uair spike him, which generally works pretty well because his upB doesn't have much vertical gain, but it can still be a little tough to edgeguard him. Good DKs don't often have much reason to use their double jump in the matchup (outside of uair comboing you), so they'll often have it to help them recover. Also while their upB is pretty limited vertically, it carries him pretty far horizontally and lasts a long time. This can make it a little difficult to contest offstage, and pretty hard to ledgehog (it will often hit you on the ledge or hang him in the air long enough to outlast your ledgehog roll unless you do it perfectly). He can also choose to recover to the stage if he thinks you're unprepared to deal with his upB at that height.

    If you're able to knock him off stage and then get into position to spike him while he's already offstage, he's very probably dead. If you can't get below him, either try to ledgehog him, or just throw hitboxes at the ledge, as it can be kind of difficult/awkward for DK to sweetspot. Down-angled ftilt is particularly useful for this, as its hitbox is out long enough to contest his upB positioning, and it can be very difficult for DK to get around this. Fsmash also works well if he looks like he's upBing a little high, but know that if he's juuuust low enough, it won't hit and he'll still grab the ledge, so greater risk and greater reward. Lastly, if DK is still alive at 90%+, usmash will start to kill outright, and at even higher percents fsmash starts becoming a decent kill option (as DK can't often punish it).

    Edgeguarding:
    I got into it a little bit in the previous section, but the main difficulty in this is just understanding how to deal with his upB's hitbox. It can be difficult to ledgehog, as I mentioned, so it's generally better to contest it (with ftilt or fsmash from the stage, or a strong aerial like dair or the strong hit of nair offstage) or uair spike him so low that he can't recover with it. Once he's offstage, he can't really contest you with any aerial except maybe bair, so don't worry much about bullying him offstage. DK doesn't fall very fast, so he can usually afford to hold his double jump to avoid your edgeguarding trajectory, so account for that when chasing him. Your best outcome is to get below him and successfully uair spike him while he's offstage, as that is almost surely a kill.

    What to watch out for:
    Uair, grab, and bair are the main things to watch out for. Bair is the least threatening, but it will probably give you the most difficulty. It will be the main impedeing factor for you being able to approach DK. You can get hit by it a few times though and be fine. Just get used to the area it covers and the situations the DK is using it in, and either bait it out or try to dash under it or approach over it. Grab and uair are much more punishing. Don't get shieldgrabbed. Don't approach so that you'll end up in front of a shielding DK. Don't approach from directly above DK. Grab is brutal because it leads to uair, and uair hurts because it also leads to uair, which also leads to uair, and so on. There will be a nice few percents where uair doesn't combo into uair any more, after which it soon will just lead to death.

    There are a few other things to watch out for which are, generally, less dangerous. DK's charge punch is probably the most dangerous of these. He will rarely have it fully-charged (which is when it's actually scary), so you don't need to worry too much about it, but just be aware of it as an option when he has it. It will, of course, beat out anything you have, comes out fairly quick, and has good range. The most common way he'll try to hit you with it, though, is with grab. So again, don't get grabbed. And if you do get grabbed, be ready for the cargo->uthrow and try to DI up and slightly behind him so that you stay above him as well as possible. It makes the uair followup easy, but punch is going to kill you long before uair will. Otherwise, just keep punch in mind if he has it charged.

    The other things to watch out for are ftilt/dtilt and his fair. Ftilt and dtilt are both fairly quick and cover the area in front of him. They don't do much damage and don't lead to much, just DI away and tech in place or tech away if you need to if you get hit and you'll be fine. Fortunately, you can still nair approach over them, and if he does them he is both stationary and facing you (so can't quickly bair your approach). If they whiff, you can safely nair in and land behind him. For his fair, just watch for it. It's slow and powerful, so you can beat it by either avoiding it (so try to keep it in the back of your mind while dashdancing just out of range of him and such), or hitting him before it actually comes out. Treat it like Doc's fair, or like a slightly slower Ganon fair. Just don't be overzealous in trying to hit before it comes out unless you know you can.

    Recovering:
    There's not much special about recovering against DK. Go to the ledge or go far away. The objective is to not get grabbed out of your landing lag if you're forced to go for the stage. The only real other notable thing is if he has a fully charged punch (or is able to charge one while you're recovering). He can use it to cover a bit more area, and will probably kill you if it hits. So prefer the ledge if possible, and then watch out for it as you go from the ledge to a more comfortable spot on stage.

    Final Notes:
    If I haven't beaten it to death yet, avoid grab and uair, and learn how to get around bair. Use your mobility to get around him. Force him to guess when you're going to approach, and dash in grab or jump in nair after he guesses wrong. Use jolts if you need. Fsmash is often ok for pressure if he's grounded and it would hit his shield. Go combo crazy, just watch out for uair/bair to come out and end the combo short. Uair spike him, then uair spike again if possible or keep putting ftilt/fsmash hitboxes at the ledge. Watch out for punch if he has it charged. That's about it.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    I like FD in the matchup, as you don't have to worry much about getting uair->chained up platforms. To be honest, though, all of the larger stages are probably fine. I would avoid Yoshis and FoD simply because DK can stand in the middle of the stage and threaten a large area above and behind him with jump bair and uair, and you'll die very quickly to stray hits. Take him to a larger stage where you can use your mobility and get space when you need it.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Dr. Mario - 40:60 - [MCH04]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Poor recovery
    +Less mobility

    Disadvantages:
    -Chainthrows
    -Can cape your recovery
    -Punishes you hard
    -Plenty of good defensive options

    General Strategy:
    This matchup will be a lot of creating your own openings and correctly punishing Doc whenever he's a little bit out of position. He has better options than you while on the stage and will want to stay close to the ground to utilize his decent tilts, jab, and grab game. Doc will often be content to throw out pills from a relatively safe distance and use them to either hinder your approach or facilitate his own. If he does get in and you're not in a great position to retaliate, he can force you to shield or take action out of your shield by jabbing you, threatening to grab you, or dsmashing you which is safe from the right distance. Where he's at a disadvantage is when he's in the air, especially if he doesn't have a jump, and you're under him. Pikachu's uair will go through pretty much everything of his and his recovery is one of the worst in the game, so uair will play a big roll in killing or at least threatening Doc.

    One main thing he has trouble with, though, is your mobility. Use it to get in, get out, and push him around. If you can get him in the air or in a position where his options are limited, it can be pretty easy to push the advantage and get him off the stage.

    Approaching:
    The objective of approaching is to put pressure on Doc and force him to take damage, or avoid damage but put himself in a dangerous position where you threaten to spike or usmash him. If he tries to beat your approach it can lead to some short combos on him. If he tries to avoid it's often possible to follow him with your superior speed and knock him offstage. That's the plan, but of course Doc will make it difficult. The first important thing to understand about approaching Doc is how to deal with pills. Pills are one of his main tools for controlling space. Pills come out in a downward arc and bounce a set distance forward before disappearing. Their bounce arc is high enough that with proper timing you can dash under them, but by then Doc will have recovered from the lag of sending out the pill (though without much time to reposition or otherwise respond to your approach). This can still be useful for getting in close and trying to beat his defensive option. Ideally you want to be dashing in as he's jumping to throw the pill (thus getting under him), or intercepting him with an aerial. This takes prediction more than reaction though, so it isn't as reliable. If you don't want to guess as much, you can beat them outright with nair. This commits you to nair a little early, but you can still go through pills with it and get a weak nair hit on Doc, potentially resulting in a better position or short combos. As well, jolts can do alright against pills. Jolt travels farther and stays a little lower to the ground, so it will either cancel out with the pill or they'll miss eachother and your jolt will reach where Doc lands (while his pill won't reach you with decent spacing). Of course, he can do the same to you (run under / jump over as you jolt and punish you) if he's close enough and expecting you to jolt. He also can cape jolts, but cape has decent lag to it so if you're spaced well and expect him to cape, you can jolt and jump over the caped jolt to punish him with a nair or otherwise apply pressure.

    The other part of getting in on Doc is avoiding his quick ground options. The main three you have to worry about are his jab, dsmash, and grab. His grab range isn't that great, but jc grabbing makes it better and he can do a lot of damage out of a grab. His jab comes out quick and recovers pretty quick, which can set up a number of things. If his jab connects, he can dsmash you right afterwards or dash forward and try to grab. If it gets shielded it can set you up for a grab that's difficult to avoid. If it whiffs, he can just throw out another jab or dsmash, wavedash away, etc. And dsmash comes out quick and does a good amount of shieldstun and pushback so it can be hard for Pikachu to punish. These options are pretty scary if you're standing or shielding near Doc and don't have a hitbox coming out. Pikachu's usmash will beat jab, beat grab if done first, and often clank with dsmash, but is easily punished if it whiffs or is shielded. Pikachu's dtilt can work alright as you can do it from just outside his dsmash range and can catch Doc if he's trying to close that short distance, but you can't follow it up with a whole lot. Your own grab will be difficult to land (due to these options) but worthwhile if you land it. The best option, however, is probably to sh nair him. The best thing he has against this is his utilt, which is just slow enough that he has to guess a little bit to properly stop your approach, and if he whiffs it there's just enough time for you to run in and grab or usmash him. If he hits utilt there's not a whole lot he can follow up with, but it gets you away from him and lets him throw more pills and keep keeping you out. Try to figure out his patterns, fake approaches and get him throw out whiffed utilts and dsmashes, and make the most of the times you get in. Approaching Doc is tough, but with good reads and positioning you can turn a successful approach into a kill at pretty much any percent.

    Combos:
    Doc is a wierd combo weight/size. It can be difficult or just feel awkward to combo him effectively, but often your objective during a combo will be more about leaving him in a bad position rather than racking up damage. Look for opportunities to move him towards the edge (preferrably off the edge) or up above you. If he's above you, he's succeptible to tailspikes sending him off the edge. Doc's recovery is pretty bad, so ending a combo with anything that will knock him off the edge threatens to take his stock. This can be as simple as rising uair -> tailspike uair, or hitting with anything to send him into the air (usmash, uair, uthrow, etc.) and wait for him to jump in an attempt to escape the combo, then following this and tailspiking.

    If you do want to rack up damage, however, the most damaging combos are like rising uair->dair/nair, uthrow->nair, usmash->thunder, and very occasionally nair->usmash. He's somewhat close to sheik combo-weight, but is just light and small enough that most things won't quite connect. Most of your combos will actually be knocking him into the air and following/abusing his somewhat poor aerial mobility.

    Killing:
    Pikachu's two main killing methods are through usmash or uair spiking. In this match, uair spiking will likely be more common or easy to accomplish thanks to Doc's poor recovery. Of course, the Doc player will be aware of this and, as mentioned before, will likely be trying to stay close to the ground to avoid opening himself up to this option. Usmash is still viable. Doc is about in the middle of the cast floatiness-wise, so a usmash->thunder at 80+% can result in a stock on most stages. The issue is racking up damage on the hard-to-approach hard-to-combo Doc, and also getting in close enough to Doc to usmash him after he whiffs something (or guess right an usmash him trying to grab or something). Uair kills on the other hand can be accomplished at pretty low percents with proper edgeguarding, but it relies on you getting Doc into the air or off the stage somehow. What this means for your strategy is that if he's sticking close to the ground you need to be punishing this with well spaced fsmashes, poke dtilts, jolts, and threaten to grab or usmash him. If he's staying close to the ground, throw out ground level stuff like this that's difficult for him to get around or racks up decent damage on him, and then usmash him when the opportunity arises. How he gets around this is to either outplay you on the ground, or jump over your stuff. If he jumps over, start doing short aerial combos on him and push him towards or off the edge.

    Edgeguarding:
    Once he's off the edge, don't be afraid to jump out after him. If you manage to hit him after his second jump and send him any distance away from the stage, he's probably dead. If you can get below him, uair will beat his upB, if not you can usually trade with dair or, if you're feeling brave, bair. And trading with his upB usually kills him. Jolts can get in the way of his recovery, but usually he'll just drop below them and double jump upB hug the stage to get to the ledge. Your ftilt will beat his upB, but only if you space properly to him. If he hugs the stage with upB, you have to be far enough away before the ftilt that his upB won't hit you. If he upBs further out from the stage and 'magnetizes' to the edge, you have to be standing further forward or otherwise your ftilt won't reach far enough to hit him. It can be effective, but generally just jumping out and hitting him ensures his death.

    What to watch out for:
    This section is going to be big, heh. Mainly, this is going to be one of those matches where you absolutely don't want to get grabbed. At mid percents he can start chainthrowing you with dthrow. At higher percents he'll dthrow->fair you and you'll be on your next stock. Combine with this that he has a number of things he can do to convince you to shield or otherwise immobilize you and go for a grab. Pills can shut down some of your movement, jab can trip you up and lead to grab on shield or hit. Dsmash comes out quick and hurts, so you can be tempted to shield a lot of things when he's in close. The most obvious way to deal with this is to stay in the air as much as possible to avoid getting grabbed. Shffl nairs work pretty well, and other aerials and jolts can give Doc reason to try to intercept you or take damage. If you draw him into the air though, now you have less to fear from his defensive game of grabs, jabs, and dsmashes. Another quick note about countering his jab is that if he's going for jab->grab a lot you can crouchcancel the jab and often usmash him as he dashes forward to grab. You can also try to smashDI the jab up, which prevents dsmash from connecting afterwards and allows you to jump before he can grab you.

    Doc's air game is alright, but it's kind of akin to Ganon's. Mostly what he'll be trying to hit you with in the air is retreating fairs or bairs. His uair can beat some of your options if you aren't spacing for it (you usually want to approach him in the air from either below or in front and slightly below him), so watch out for that. His dair is also ok in that its hitbox stays out for a while and can be difficult to punish, but you shouldn't mind trading with it. With his fair and bair, he's baiting you into trying to approach with your best approach option (an aerial) and beat it cleanly with his. To deal with his, be a little cautious with approaching and if you think he's going to retreating aerial, fake your approach and then try to either punish the lag of his fair or just push him back a little bit so that he's now closer to the edge. If he continues to do this, he'll run out of stage and has to worry about any whiffed aerial resulting in him getting tailspiked off.

    Another notable thing to be watching out for is his cape. He can cape jolts, and he can cape your recovery even if you sweetspot. Be weary of this when spacing with jolts, and especially when recovering. he does kind of have to commit to it, as it's a little laggy, so recovering around it if you expect him to cape will generally give you enough time to reposition before he can chase your recovery with anything else. He can also cape thunder, but if you're tight with the timing you'll almost always be able to connect usmash->thunder before he'll be out of hitstun from the usmash. If not, just don't run back into the thunder and you're fine.

    Recovering:
    As I just mentioned, watch out for cape. That should be the main thing on your mind while recovering, otherwise it's pretty straight forward against Doc. His pills can trip you up a little bit, but if you see him throw a pill and you're close enough to the stage to upB to the ledge, use that pill lagtime to get there before he can cape. If he's ledgehogging you, watch out for him to drop from the edge and double jump into either bair or cape. He doesn't have much else he can do offstage to stop you, as he risks not being able to recover from it, and pills have a pretty slow and avoidable path (and don't do much if they hit anyways as long as you aren't double jumping into them). It's mostly a guessing game of whether or not he'll cape, so do your best to leave as many recovery options open as you can. If he thinks you'll be recovering to the stage, you can get the edge. If not, go for the stage and try to get as far in (as far from him) as you can when you land. If you guess wrong, you'll either get caped or probably punished hard (grab, fair, etc.). Use your versatile recovery to keep him guessing as to where you'll go.

    Final Notes:
    This matchup is tough. Doc punishes you pretty hard and can be difficult to get in on. What will swing the match in your favor is if you're able to create openings and take advantage of them to the fullest. You have the mobility on him, and if you can get around his spacing tools it will be easy to set the flow of the match. Get him into the air, get him off the stage, punish his poor recovery, and repeat. If he plays to prevent this, space and punish his defensive plays with your slightly better pokes and hit-and-run until any usmash will kill him and any solid nair, fsmash, or bthrow will send him off the edge. Don't be overly aggressive and fall for retreating aerials or dashdance grabs, but also don't let him just set up his pillwall and keep you out. Use your mobility.

    Oh yeah, and DON'T GET GRABBED.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Large stages generally work to your advantage. Dreamland and Battlefield work alright, as the relatively far sides allow you to live longer while providing little benefit to Doc's poor recovery. Pokemon stadium can also work well as the transformations generally favor Pikachu, and usmash kills become a greater threat. Avoid small stages, Doc kills too fast.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Falco - 35:65 - [MCH05]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Easy to combo
    +Uair destroys his recovery

    Disadvantages:
    -Lasers hinder your mobility
    -Great aerials
    -Great rushdown game

    General Strategy:
    The Falco matchup can feel like one of the most difficult matchups for Pikachu, until you get in on him. His lasers interfere greatly with your mobility (on of your greatest assets), his aerials cleanly beat yours, and he has the capacity to combo and techchase you for damaging punishes. What he constantly has to worry about, however, is leaving you room to get in. You combo him well and you edgeguard him well, so this will be another match of looking for that rare opportunity to get in, and then make the most of when you do get in.

    Approaching:
    Falco doesn't really have a need to approach you, because of the strength of his lasers and defensive game. To get around lasers, you'll need to be patient and shield them as you slowly approach, or jump over them. Approaching Falco from above isn't often a good idea though, so just focus on getting around lasers up to the point where you're close enough to shorthop an aerial into him, instead of trying to come down on top of him after jumping over a laser. Once you get close enough, he can't safely laser anymore. Chase him with an aerial if he does still try to laser, but otherwise look out for him to use a defensive option.

    Generally the 3 things for him to do from this position are to approach you first, try to create more space, or hold his ground and try to anticipate and intercept your approach with a hitbox. If he approaches you, you have a few options. First and probably worst (but requires the least reaction) is to shield. The issue with this is that his approaches are generally safe on shield thanks to shine. He can just aerial your shield, shine, and then either jump out or try to grab you. Shine puts enough shieldstun on you that you can't punish these options (unless he jumps behind you, then just fullhop uair him). You also risk getting shieldstabbed. If you don't have time for anything else, though, it's better than getting hit. Your better options are to avoid or try to beat his approach. You can avoid with a dash backwards if he shorthops/dashes towards you, or forwards if he fullhops/comes from above. As you avoid his attack, be thinking about what you can counter with. Fsmash is good and safe but a little slow. Usmash is great for starting combos, but requires precise spacing and timing. Rising uair can lead to good rewards, but can be a little awkward from this position. Nair is the most reliable but least rewarding. Use what you think will hit, keeping in mind his percentage.

    If he holds his ground, try to outspace him with dtilt and fsmash, or try to dash in just as his defensive option is ending. If you choose to close the distance, though, be weary of shine. Just know that if you bait out shine, he has two options right after shine, to either jump or wavedash out of it. If he jumps, you're now below him and can chase him into the air with uair. If he wavedashes towards you or in place, try to hit him with something. If he wavedashes away, use the opportunity to apply pressure to him. Lastly, if he tries to create distance, chase him. Push him towards the edge, that's where you can really put him at a disadvantage.

    Combos:
    Falco falls into the normal-weight fastfaller category, which means you can get some pretty damaging combos on him. Chain uair, usmash into aerials, chainthrow him (on Final Destination), uthrow into combos, etc. What you really want to look for though, is to end your combo with something that will leave Falco either off the edge or near it. Uair spike him there, end with a nair/bair, or hit him into the stage near the edge and then be ready to techchase. If he techs away from the ledge, dashgrab him and bthrow him to the edge. If he techs in place, ftilt or nair him so he flies off. If he techs towards the edge, he's doing your work for you, apply pressure and threaten to spike him off.

    Killing:
    As I've mentioned, he's pretty susceptible to uair spike because of his fallspeed and short distance on upB. His recovery is also pretty short and generally limited, so you'll get most of your kills from edgeguarding. You can also successfully edgeguard him at pretty much any percentage, so focus more on pushing him towards the edge than racking up damage. The only exception really is on Final Destination, where you can potentially chainthrow him until usmash will kill. While getting a grab on Falco is difficult, successfully getting one can lead to a stock. Either Falco lets you chainthrow him with uthrows until 100%, where you can usmash after the last throw and kill him, or he DIs continuously to one side, putting him off the edge with the last throw.

    Edgeguarding:
    For sake of simplicity, I will suggest you read the edgeguarding section in the Fox matchup, as there are many similarities. The only things that really differ in the Falco matchup are as follows. Falco's upB is a little shorter and doesn't have a starting hitbox (in the stationary part of his upB). This means it's a little easier to intercept it, and he has to be closer to stage to actually recover with it. Another difference is that his overB meteorspikes, so if you miss your edgeguard and get overB'd, be ready to quickly recover back to the stage. He can also dair you if you go out to edgeguard him, which pretty much ensures his own death, but is a true spike so can kill you too. Just look out for it if he's at high percentage and you're at low-med percentage when edgeguarding him. For the rest, check the Fox matchup edgeguarding section.

    What to watch out for:
    Ok, there's a lot to be weary of in this matchup. First, which I mostly went over in the approaching section, is his lasers. Lasers travel quickly in a horizontal line across the stage, do minor damage, and have a short hitstun. If he lands as he's doing an aerial laser, he has 0 lag. This means he can constantly shorthop lasers at you from distance with minimal risk, while hindering your mobility and slowly racking up damage. He can also approach with a laser to help cover his approach and put pressure on you. The best way to avoid this is to, well, avoid it. Shield lasers, jump over lasers, go to platforms and then drop down through them if he jumps up to follow you with lasers. Get into the range where lasers become risky for him.

    Next you'll need to watch out for his good aerials. Falco has decent mobility, and can approach you or retreat from your approach with a nair, bair, or dair. Nair and bair come out quickly and will beat most of your aerial options thanks to their slightly larger range. If you can meet him in the air so that you're slightly above him, Dair is Falco's stable aerial, has a ton of priority, is great for approaching you, can lead to damaging combos, is a true spike, and is just really really good. The only thing you can really beat it with is uair, but you need pretty precise spacing and timing. Try to hit with the outer edge of your uair, as dair will beat it otherwise. You can also try to trade with a usmash or dsmash, but these options are risky and unreliable.

    Along with his aerials, you'll need to watch out for his combo potential and be aware of what it can lead to. His typical pillar combos work decently well (dair->shine->dair->etc.) and he's looking to put you in one of two main situations. Either he carries you over to the edge with his combo and is looking to dair you off the stage (which can negate your great recovery if you die off the bottom while still in hitstun), or he's looking to dair you onto the stage/a platform and force you to tech. Your tech is pretty mediocre, so if he reads it correctly he can land an fsmash for big knockback, or another dair to start the combos again, or another option (he has plenty). If it looks like he's trying to carry you to the edge with a combo, gauge it and decide whether you need to DI inward to avoid a dair off the edge, or if you can DI out far enough that he can't chase you with dair. If you're forced to tech on the stage, either tech in the direction that gives him the least options or the direction you think he won't suspect.

    The last main thing to worry about is shine. Shine can be pretty difficult for Pikachu to deal with since he has to be at close range for many of his tools to work. It's especially annoying because Falco can use it immediately after landing with anything to make that option safer with little risk. If you shield any aerial of his, he can shine your shield and jump away or wavedash back to prevent you from punishing it. Or he can try to shine in place and grab you. It sets up his pillar and many of his combo options. It's really good and annoying to deal with. Probably the best way to deal with it is to not be next to him almost ever. Shine doesn't reach very far, and with proper spacing you can uair, usmash, or hit him with a number of other moves that will reach slightly further than shine. Being close to Falco is fine, being directly next to him is problematic. If you do end up having to shield something, wait for the shine to come out and then roll away. It can be difficult for Falco to punish this, though it generally doesn't help your position much, it is better than getting shined.

    Recovering:
    Falco can't chase you off the edge very far, but he can still try to intercept you close to the stage. He will be looking to dair you as you quickattack in. If he commits to jumping out and dairing you, there will almost always be a path around it with your upB, react to his movements and avoid him. If he stays near the edge then you have to play the guessing game of whether or not he'll try to ledgehog you, and recovering to where he won't be. Just remember that if he's ledgehogging and you upB to the stage, he can jump from the ledge and dair as he returns to try to intercept you. Your best bet is generally to try to get to the ledge asap before he can get the proper positioning for a dair (one that won't force him to suicide as well). If you do get hit close enough to the edge, you can tech against the wall and upB again, but this relies on you either getting hit when you're right next to the ledge, or in a way that the dair sends you towards the stage.

    Also watch for him to shoot lasers at you as you recover if you were knocked out far enough. While they don't really hurt your recovery much, they're free damage that you don't need to be taking, so generally try to avoid them if possible.

    Final Notes:
    While playing against Falco you will be fighting to maintain your mobility and not get pulled into playing his game. Your objective is to get around this, push him towards the edge if possible, and get a solid hit in. Once you have him on the backfoot, it's much harder for him to play the zoning game that he wants to. Move around his defensive options, close off his movement options, and apply pressure. Almost any time you knock him off the stage should result in a kill. That threat alone should be enough to force actions from him if you push him towards the edge. Take advantage of this to make him whiff attacks, try to jump over you, or otherwise get out of a bad position, and punish him for it.

    Patience is also very important in this matchup, as it's difficult to get in solidly and being too impatient will just result in Falco building up damage on you. Damage you can't really afford to take in this matchup. Steadily make your way in, be weary of him intercepting your approach, bait something out or catch him not respecting your approach, and then jump in. Once you're in, stay in as long as you can and rack up whatever damage and gain any positional advantage you can. Also, don't be discouraged if you get behind, you can kill Falco at such low percentages that comebacks are very possible.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Final Destination is a pretty solid counterpick since you can often kill him from a grab, and your combos are a little more reliable. The stage can also work against you, however, as lasers are a little hard to avoid. Otherwise, if you're having trouble dealing with lasers, small stages like Yoshis Story are nice. If you feel like you're dying too quickly, Dreamland can also be useful, since you benefit from the far edges much more than him. About any stage can work against Falco, as long as you recognize what issues you're having in the matchup and counterpick accordingly.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Fox - 35:65 - [MCH06]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Easy to combo
    +Susceptible to tailspike
    +Chainthrowable on certain stages

    Disadvantages:
    -Faster than you
    -Better approach than you
    -Is basically a better version of you

    General Strategy:
    Fox is one of the best characters in the game for good reason. His toolkit can be overwhelming. It's your job to not get overwhelmed, try to turn the momentum in your favor, and then absolutely abuse your position while you do have the momentum. Fortunately, Pikachu has to ability to switch momentum to his favor off of a single hit. What is going to be most difficult to deal with in this matchup is Fox's speed. Pikachu is used to being the fastest and most mobile in his matchups, and uses this to his advantage. That isn't the case here. Fox is fast. Fox has good aerials. Fox can kill you really quickly. But what you do have in this matchup is your punish game. Pikachu can punish Fox really hard due to his weight and fastfalliness. Whether you win or not will rely largely on being patient and punishing as hard as possible when you do get in. Don't get discouraged if it feels like you're being overwhelmed and unable to get in, a single hit that you follow up correctly can instantly swing the game in your favor.

    Approaching:
    Ok. Approaching is going to be tough. Fox's dash speed is one of the best, allowing him to often dodge your approaches, dash back in, and punish you. He can also just beat out your approach with usmash, utilt, and quick aerials. But you still have to approach him. His laser is an excellent projectile for slowly building up damage, forcing you to either approach or steadily take laser damage until you're in kill range. Given this, how should you approach? What you'll want to do is primarily play a spacing game, trying to stay just within distance to jump at him with an aerial, but not close enough that you can't react to his approaches. Staying below him is preferable, as with most of your matchups, and being above him is especially dangerous due to his uair. If you are below him, watch for any opportunities to rising uair him, as this is your main combo starter. If you're on level with him, stay about 3-4 Pikachu's away, stay mobile, and watch what he does. If he tries to approach you with a jump, either dash slightly away and rising uair (it will often beat his aerial), or dashdance out of the way and either usmash or grab him. Grab can be kind of risky because he can often shffl aerial in, and then shine->jump/wd back to cover his approach, but a well spaced usmash should beat this out. Grab will often lead to better combos though, so use what you think will work.

    The other advantage of being at this distance from Fox is that you still can approach him if you catch him off guard, and you disuade him from just lasering as he pleases. If he chooses to short hop laser, he potentially leaves himself open to your approach. Just know that there's a very small window for you to punish this, so usually you have to predict it more than just react to it to be able to punish properly. Your main punishing tools are going to be nair and usmash. Nair is your safest approach and primarily will trip up Fox and force him to tech. Following this tech will help you keep on pressure and land a grab or uair, just be weary of his 1frame shine. Usmash will knock him into the air, which is where you want him. You can also try throwing in dash up -> cc dtilts, as Fox has difficulty beating this cleanly, it can interrupt his dashdance game, and it's a bit difficult for him to punish on reaction. Use it to trip him up and set up moves you actually want to hit with to start combos.

    Jolts can be useful as a means to prevent Fox from dashdancing and force him to commit to options. When you jolt, however, you're taking a bit of a risk. If you jolt from too far away, it's difficult to capitalize on it. If you jolt from distances where you can capitalize, you risk Fox dashing in and punishing you while you're still in jolt animation. If you do send a jolt his way unpunished, it limits his options and helps you approach. Use it sparingly in this matchup, but if you expect Fox to just wait for your approach, toss a jolt his way to complicate his defenses.

    Combos:
    Fortunately with the right setups, Fox is very easy to combo. Most combos are going to start with a grab, uair, or usmash. From grab you have a number of options. Most obvious is your uthrow chainthrow on him. This works on Final Destination, and on the highest platforms of other stages, anywhere where you're on flat ground and there are no platforms directly above you. Simply uthrow, follow his DI, regrab, repeat. You will need to dash and JC grab if he DIs far to one side. This works from about 10% to a little over 100%, or as soon as he DIs towards an edge. At 100% you can usmash after the uthrow instead for a kill. If he DIs off the stage, he leaves himself open for you to follow and nair him, or uair spike him if he double jumps. From a grab you can also bthrow or fthrow. Bthrow will often get him off the stage, and you can chase out with a nair or other aerial. Fthrow doesn't combo into anything, but at lower percents it can take him by surprise and let you land a usmash or other attack if you're quick enough, and at higher percents it will force him to tech, leading to a techchase punish.

    Rising uair leads to a bunch of options. At about any percent you can double jump and uair him again, sometimes being able to follow up with yet another uair or nair. At low to mid percents you can rising uair, fastfall and land again, and then turn around and grab him out of the air while he's still in hitstun, leading to your choice of throw. You can also do this and turn around usmash instead. Uair to pretty much any aerial works at almost any percent. You can also use uair to carry fox up to platforms above you, and then either let him land and follow his tech option, or sometimes land and grab/usmash him at higher percents. Uair to fsmash will also work occasionally, which can really screw with his DI if he expects you to uair or usmash him.

    Usmash also combos in this matchup. Usmash can combo into a grab at very low percents, another usmash at low to mid percents, and a nair or uair at mid to high percents. At about 70% he starts being difficult to chase after a Usmash, but you can always combo it into thunder for a little extra damage.

    Killing:
    His being a fastfaller may deter you from going for vertical KOs, but due to the ease of comboing him this actually is still a decent option on any stage that isn't Dreamland. Gimping is prefered in this matchup, but if you don't find the opportunity to then it is quite possible to rack up enough damage on Fox to kill him in other ways. Chainthrowing can lead to a fatal usmash if he isn't able to DI towards a ledge (which then puts him in danger of being edgeguarded). Otherwise, get the most out of the combo opportunities you get, while trying to finish combos with something that will send him offstage if possible. If you're not in a position to chainthrow, Bthrow is amazing for setting up edgeguard situations on Fox. Just get him off stage. Edgeguarding Fox can be difficult at times, but at the very least it can help you rack up a little more damage on him making him easier to finish off. And at best, you successfully edgeguard him and he loses a stock. In this matchup, don't feel pidgeonholed into focusing on killing him a certain way, just focus on doing damage to him and forcing him towards the edge.

    Edgeguarding:
    Fox is susceptable to your your edgeguarding game, but he still has a number of options in varying his recovery to get around you. The best way to think about edgeguarding Fox is to recognize all of his options, and try to cover as many of the safest ones he has from his position. We'll go through the most common ones and what to do about them. The simplest is merely to doublejump back to the ledge. This of course requires Fox to have his double jump and be below and fairly close to the stage. Depending on how much time you have before he can jump, you have a few options. If you're not next to the edge, you can upB ledgehog from the stage. Just be sure to drop and aerial Fox (hitting him so that his trajectory is away from the stage) if he starts his upB after being ledgehogged. If you're closer to the stage, a down-angled ftilt will prevent him from sweetspotting, and you can follow this by continuing to ftilt his followup upB, or by chasing him out with an aerial. Another option if you have time is to just run off the edge and fastfall an aerial. This will intercept his jump and knock him away, but is the slowest option of the 3 unless you're already standing on the edge (from, say, a bthrow close to the edge).

    Next to recognize is his overB. This sends him straight horizontally towards the stage, and can be varied in distance. It has a hitbox and can also be ledge-cancelled at certain distances, so it's a fairly versatile recovery move. There are 3 heights it will most commonly be used at, though, and from a few distinct distances (depending on stage). Fox will use his second jump to position himself at one of these points, so watching where he jumps to can be a bit of an early, if only slight, indicator of if he's going to use it or opt for another option. The first of these heights is ledge-sweetspot level.. For this, either edgehogging or down-angled ftilting the ledge will beat it. Second, he can overB at stage-level, hoping to hit you with its hitbox or at least force you into your shield if you don't expect it. You can beat this with a number of options (ftilt, usmash, or fsmash are probably your best on-stage options), but the timing is pretty tight, and messing up this timing means you'll get hit. You can also shield it and try to shieldgrab/usmash oos, but if he varies the distance on it then this won't work. The last common height is first platform height. This height allows him to get over your on-stage options and avoid hard punishes that may kill him. Your best options against this are to beat his overB with an aerial (preferably a uair spike), or at least hit him with a quick nair as he recovers from the landing lag of overB. Be weary, however, as at certain distances he can ledge-cancel his overB off the inner edge of platforms, meaning he'll have no lag afterwards, will fall off the edge of the platform, and be able to protect himself with a double jump and/or aerial. You can still contest this with your own aerial, or a quick usmash as he falls from the edge, but generally your best option is to intercept his overB before he gets to the platform with it.

    Fox's upB is also pretty versatile. It has a standing hitbox which can at least trade with your aerials, making effective edgeguarding difficult. It goes a decent distance in whichever direction the Fox chooses, will auto-sweetspot the edge if used at a downward angle, and can 'ride' up the sides of the stage from below. What makes it risky, though, is its startup. At the beginning of the move, Fox hangs out in one spot for a second before propelling himself forward. This helps you position your edgeguard against it, assuming you're able to. On stage, most of the same rules apply as with his overB. Just recognize that Fox isn't locked into going only horizontal, but his upB is much slower and gives you time to adapt. If you think he'll go for the edge, down-angled ftilt is your most reliable option, just adjust the timing to match his approach angle. If you expect him to aim for the stage or a platform, intercept with a smash or aerial depending on his height. Knowing all these on-stage options is important, but what will really give you effective edgeguards is to take risks, predict him, and go offstage to hit him with an aerial before he gets anywhere near the stage again.

    Once you're comfortable with the angles Fox can recover from, start trying to predict how he will recover given where your knockback sent him. This takes a combination of again understanding the options Fox has and also recognizing any recovery habits your particular opponent has. With this information, you can jump out after Fox and make things very scary for him. Ideally, you're looking to uair spike him and then upB back to the stage for a ledgehog, as this generally guarantees a kill. If you can't get the position for that though, hitting with any aerial (except bair, you'll die) can still be enough to kill, or at the least will rack up a little damage and force him to upB potentially allowing you to continue your edgeguard. You don't have to outright kill him with your first hit off the edge, it's often enough to hit him with what you can, get back to the ledge, and then either drop off and hit him again or punish him when you force him to upB onto the stage from an awkward angle.

    There are a couple minor things to be aware of with edgeguarding Fox that I haven't gone over so far. For most situations, the previous paragraphs are enough. Fox does have a couple other situational recovery options though. First, if he's below the stage and close enough to it, he can walljump off the stage to aid his recovery. Treat this as just another double-jump with a fixed trajectory, and watch for him to walljump->overB sweetspot the ledge. He can also airdodge after his doublejump/walljump to try to get around your edgeguard attempt, but it's a little laggy and he's helpless until he lands after it. This is punished by just waiting and then doing whatever you want to him after the dodge. Last to note, on your side, is the use of jolts in edgeguarding. Jolts can be helpful in preventing Fox from using certain recovery options, but jolting is laggy enough that you often commit yourself to an on-stage edgeguarding option afterwards (if there's time for any at all) if you throw one out. I find it most useful to throw a jolt after the initial knockback of whatever sent them offstage, do a safe edgeguard of their remaining options, and then follow that up with an off-stage aerial to stop their second recovery attempt. For instance, I'll catch a Fox with a grab, Bthrow them off stage, neutral jump and jolt out after them, and then watch what they do. If they jump forwards or straight up and try to overB, the jolt will hit them. If they jump back and overB, I recognize that they jumped back and beat their overB with an ftilt or quick aerial. If they jump and upB, I try to predict their recovery angle and either ledgehog if they go low, ftilt if they go at stage-height, or uair spike if they go high. If my initial hit isn't enough to kill them, I'm pretty assured that they'll have to upB, where I can just jump out after them and finish them off with an aerial.

    What to watch out for:
    Fox can be a little overwhelming to face at times, but there are still holes in his approach and ways to avoid some of this safer pressure. First, as I mentioned earlier, it's important to realize that he is essentially as fast and maneuverable as you. Simply dashing away from his approaches will not always work, as he can dash to follow you. On the other end, he can use this speed to avoid your approaches as well, so you'll often have to overshoot with your aerials to catch him. Coupled with this is a set of good moves that that will commonly beat yours. There's a lot to watch out for, but a few common aspects you should recognize first. Just remember all of this is improved by his speed, and you need to respect how fast he can close or create distance.

    One big thing to recognize is his aerials come out quick, have good priority, and generally hang out for a second or so. You generally don't want to challenge them head on with anything but uair, and even that can be risky at times, as trades aren't worth it. If you can avoid them, however, he still has a little lag and a predictable trajectory afterwards. With shffl'd aerials this window is even smaller. It's a delicate balance trying to avoid his aerials while still being close enough to punish them in time. There's no simple trick to it, just recognize how far his aerials reach and try to predict his movements. Fortunately getting in once or twice on Fox can be enough to take a stock, so be patient.

    Shine can also be difficult to get around, especially since Pikachu often has to get pretty close to do damage. It comes out instantly, so it can cover him pretty easily. After Fox shines he's a little limited in what he can do (either jump or wavedash out), but both options are still pretty safe, so it's important to be on point with your punishes and hit him in the lag of his previous move before he can shine. Shielding his shine won't allow you any punishes, you have to avoid it. If it does hit, proper teching is difficult unless you predict the shine, so try to predict it. Teching away is the most difficult for him to punish, but still mix things up occasionally. Getting shined off the edge usually isn't too much of an issue, as your recovery is amazing, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't avoid it. Even if you can still make it back after, it limits your recovery options making you easier to edgeguard. Its one weakness is its relatively short range. You can't easily abuse this, as Pikachu's limbs are small and flimsy, but your tilts, usmash, and uair will still reach further at the tip of their range. Narrowly avoid and counterattack is your gameplan.

    Killing you off the top is Fox's gameplan, and he was two main ways of doing this. First is upsmash. your upsmash is stronger than his, but his is better. It kills you earlier because you are significantly floatier. Its hitbox is slightly better and remains strong throughout the whole hitbox arc. It hurts, don't get hit by it. Shielding it is fine, if you trust your shield. Avoiding it is better, but it comes out pretty fast and reaches relatively far in front of him, so that's difficult. Just watch out for it, because he's definately watching for it. He can very rarely combo you into it, so he's going to get it off of a techchase, beating out one of your approaches, or throwing it out 'randomly' in hopes of catching you (i.e. right as you jump/drop your shield). It's one of his laggiest options though, so if he whiffs you need to punish. If you think he's looking for a usmash, bait it out by faking an approach, holding your shield longer than usual, or otherwise doing something that looks punishable by usmash but isn't. The other thing to avoid is his uair. Usually this will come after a uthrow, but he can also use it any time you are above him (like after a usmash). You can smash DI the first hit, though, to avoid dying to it. The timing is pretty tight, but if you smash the control stick in the opposite left-right direction than Fox is travelling right as the first uair hitbox connects, you'll move away far enough for the second hitbox (the one that would kill you) to whiff. For instance, after a uthrow, if you DI left he'll be forced to jump up and slightly left to chase you, where you smash DI right and avoid the second hit. If he hits with only the second hitbox though, while easier to avoid, you can't smash DI it and hope to live.

    Recovering:
    Successfully recovering against Fox will rely on spacing before your upB, and proper prediction. His only projectile won't hinder your recovery, so all you have to watch out for offstage is for him to try to jump out an shine you. Thanks to the distance on your upB you can hang back and either upB past him as soon as he jumps out, or upB to the stage or ledge from a safe distance. If you do this, however, the end of your recovery is easier to punish. If he doesn't chase you offstage, he'll generally be ledgehogging you, and from that distance you don't have many options of where to upB to, allowing Fox to use his speed to get on stage and potentially punish you in your landing lag. If you choose to DI closer to the stage before your upB, your options improve but you risk him jumping off or dropping from the stage and hitting you with an aerial or shine. Fortunately, this is also risky for him, as catching him with a uair spike as he jumps to intercept you will almost guarantee his death. If he's jumping out towards you, dissuade him from doing so with uairs. Then, when you recover with upB, do it from an angle where you can either go for the ledge, or far into the stage, or to a platform. He can't punish all 3 from one position, so he has to play a guessing game.

    Final Notes:
    Fox is a scary opponent, but it's a very winnable matchup. He has the speed to keep up with you and moves that will beat yours in a head on confrontation. What makes it doable is how hard you can punish him when you do get a hit in. Pika can kill Fox off of one grab or well placed uair, so be patient and look for your openings. Always always be aware of his threats, try to avoid things rather than shield them, and be quick with your punishes. Get him off the edge whenever you can, it's a huge momentum shift in your favor. Yeah. It can be overwhelming, but just stay calm, look for openings, punish hard, and don't give up. Coming back from being down 3 stock in this matchup can definately happen, so never count yourself out.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Counterpicking Fox can be difficult because many of the stages you like, he likes as well. Dreamland and Final Destination are probably your best choices. Dreamland makes upsmash kills more difficult for both parties, but you're less likely to die off the side while still threatening to kill Fox through gimping his recovery. Final Destination is good because of your chaingrab, and leading into it will become a priority. Small stages can be kind of a coinflip, as it's very easy for each of you to die.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Ganondorf - 50:50 - [MCH07]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Mobility advantage
    +Susceptible to gimps/edgeguarding

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Hits hard
    -Has good aerials

    General Strategy:
    The Ganon matchup is one where not getting hit is of utmost importance. His combos on you are awkward, if possible at all, but he doesn't need to combo you. If he hits you with fair like 3-4 times, you'll die. Unlike most of the other big-heavy char matchups, Ganon actually has some decent mobility options, mostly due to wavelands. He backs this up with an array of good aerials, giving him control of the space around him. Even when you're able to get in on him, you have to avoid his grab. Ganon chainthrow you up to around 70%ish, and even if he's not comfortable chainthrowing he can just dthrow->guaranteed aerial. Which, if you'll remember, hurts a lot.

    You still have the speed and mobility advantages, so use them. You will often get to determine the engagements, so it's up to you to recognize when it's good to approach and when you need to get the hell out of there. Pick your fights, don't overextend, and above all don't get hit. Ganon hurts!

    Approaching:
    The main things you'll be watching out for when approaching are fair and bair. Both hurt. Bair comes out pretty much instantly, and retreating bair covers your usual nair approach trajectory. Fair is a little slower, but again retreating fair can beat your nair if you jump as he does. It also covers a little larger area than bair, stays out very slightly longer, and is a little easier for ganon to follow up with positional advantage. So, when approaching you'll mainly be concerned with getting in while avoiding both of these tools.

    The main way is to bait out his aerials with fake approaches, and then really approach as he lands. You can also use jolts to help your approach. When you do go in, nair as usual is often your best option. Dash grab is also decent, if more risky. It will usually pay off more, however, as uthrow leads into a lot of combos. Whatever you go in with, I can't stress how important it is to avoid fair/bair. You cannot afford to get hit by many.

    Combos:
    Along with the other big-heavy chars, Ganon is combo bait. Uthrow->dair works, uthrow->usmash at low percents works, and aerials chain to aerials because he's big and heavy. Just hit him a lot. While comboing him, make sure to watch out for bair and uair. They both come out pretty quick, and can thus end your combo if you give him space to throw them out. Bair hits behind him and uair covers a large arc infrontof and above him. Bair also really hurts, so be pretty cautious.

    He's also pretty susceptible to techchasing, so if you do get a knockdown know that you can often follow his tech and followup with a grab, usmash, or at worst nair.

    Killing:
    Ganon's recovery is not great, so you'll be primarily looking to tailspike him and then edgeguard. This is also easier than other options because he's unlikely to die outright from nair, and getting close enough to connect with usmash is dangerous due to the presence of bair/fair. You still want to tack on damage as it will make uair more deadly and, in the case the it doesn't connect, other kill options viable eventually. If you do end up getting him above 80-90% and want to look for usmash kills, be weary of his aerials and throw in grabs with your dash approaches to make him weary of shielding.

    Edgeguarding:
    Edgeguarding Ganon is similar to Falcon, except he's a little floatier. His upB travels in a similar pattern to Falcon's, so down-angled ftilt is often enough to keep him off the edge forever. You can also chase him off the edge with aerials if you're comfortable with that, just know that his downB hitbox spikes and that he can uair you without losing much height to potentially stop you from aerialing him and still get back. If you do hit him while offstage, though, he's probably dead. Also still watch out for his upB. It is a grab, and can thus beat out whatever you're doing if you end up directly in front of him.

    What to watch out for:
    As I've mentioned, his aerials are scary. Fair is a little slow, but covers a large swath in front of him and hurts a lot. Bair is quick but leaves him little followup. Uair isn't as painful, but it covers a large area in front and above him, and can lead to another aerial if you DI poorly. He often doesn't have a good way of setting these up, though, so watch for him to use them as a counter to your approach. Also try avoid getting stuck on platforms above him, as he can poke with uairs.

    Ganon's waveland options give him some mobility as well. The most dangerous is waveland to grab. Grab gets him a chainthrow, or minimally a dthrow->aerial. If you get grabbed, try to keep mixing up your DI so that it's difficult for him to follow up all the time, and be ready to survival DI the coming aerial. Waveland -> immediate uair gives him an approach option. Wavelanding off platforms also gives him quick aerial options.

    Lastly, he can downB on stage as a surprise landed attack with decent knockback. It's not a really big deal, as it's easily punished if he misses or you shield it, but just be aware that he has it.

    Recovering:
    Going for the ledge is pretty safe usually. He can't chase you very far offstage with aerials, but he can stick out bair/fair over the ledge for if you don't angle/time your upB right. If you land on stage close to him, expect to get aerialed. Worst case, he'll get a dair, which will often lead to fair, and that together does a loooooot of damage, so try to avoid that while recovering if possible. He can also try to hit you with a reverse uair to semi-spike you (he thinks he's pikachu!). Just do your best to avoid him offstage by staying well away, then upB to the ledge if it's open or the stage if it's not.

    Final Notes:
    Don't get hit. Ganon hurts. Pick your approaches carefully, get him offstage, then edgeguard. Dash out and create space when you need it. Mix in grabs occasionally to keep him weary of shielding, and for big-damage combos. Mainly, just try not to get in his rhythm and make your approaches predictable. If you do, you'll start getting hit. Also don't miss your edgeguards. If he's off the stage, he should die.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Large stages are your best bet. Go to either Pokemon Stadium or Dreamland. They give you enough room to get around and away from Ganon when you need to, and have large enough blast zones that you won't die as early to his stuff. Since you'll very likely kill him via edgeguarding anyways, the blast zones don't help him too much. Naturally, you'll want to ban either Yoshis or FoD, and strike the other.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Ice Climbers - 20:80 - [MCH08]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Somewhat easy to seperate Nana, easy to kill her once she is alone
    +Easy to edgeguard

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Death by grab
    -Have amazing shield pressure on you
    -Ground mobility is threatening
    -Can kill you early with smash attacks

    General Strategy:
    Hoo boy, this matchup is rough. The name of the game is to not get caught. Play as if getting caught on the ground is death, because it probably is. If you get grabbed, you lose a stock. If you get stuck in your shield, you're likely to get grabbed or eat a smash attack. Play like the floor is lava. Be in the air, shffling aerials and otherwise staying away from ICs, as much as you can. With their good wavedash range, jab, and desynched icicle support they're able to get in on you quick from the ground and threaten to grab or smash attack you. As I mentioned, getting grabbed is effectively death. ICs don't even need to wobble you, they can also dthrow->dair->regrab chain you until you're high enough to die to charged smash attack. Also shielding attacks is very tempting because getting hit by wavedash->double dsmash hurts a looot. Be very weary of it though, as they can just jab your shield instead and there's enough shieldstun for them to potentially grab you. If you really want to shield, you'll probably have to roll away immediately if you get jabbed, and just run away if you shield the dsmash/fsmash.

    The second objective after not dying is to separate Nana and Popo. Nana is dumb and easily tailspiked off once they are separated, but getting them separated initially can be tough. Uair does a decent job, especially if they're at different percentages. Dsmash is really good, but incredibly risky (probably risky enough to avoid using altogether). Nair can be ok, and is probably what you'll be hitting with anyways, so get used to following it up. Another interesting option is backthrow and forward throw. Backthrow rolls you away and tosses nana behind you (likely offstage) and can be tough for popo to follow up with unless he reacts instantly with a wavedash forward. And if you grab popo, then nana won't punish it, and you can just kill her. Fthrow can beat out dsmash oddly enough if you time it right, and separates them slightly off of it. Once they are separated, KILL NANA. This is one of the only times I will use all caps. Kill nana. The matchup goes from impossible to slight advantage pikachu as soon as nana is dead. Kill her. She is very susceptable to tailspikes. Knock her offstage, wait for her to doublejump, then spike.

    Once nana is dead, getting grabbed isn't nearly as scary. Popo can still solo dthrow chain you for a while, but you can escape it by DIing up and slightly behind him and then mashing jump. Smashes also aren't as damaging. Just kill nana.

    Approaching:
    The main difficulty in approaching ICs is their wavedash distance. They can use it to very quickly change their spacing with you and make your approach under or overshoot drastically. If you overshoot, keep dashing away and set up your next approach. If you undershoot, watch out for the coming punish, and try to do what you can to avoid it. One way to get around this, though risky, is to do super deep shffl nairs. Start your shorthop close enough to the ICs that even if they wavedash away they'll still get hit near the end. This does mean that you'll end up initially dashing very close to them and they can move forward and intercept you, but if they aren't watching for it you can get in pretty quick (and they could think you're dashing in for a grab, which wavedash back would avoid).

    Once you are jumping in, ICs don't have much to directly contest you. Retreating bair is ok, and if he's far enough away his smash attacks can beat it, but both are risky for ICs. He's mainly looking to avoid it or shield it. You don't need to really try to bait anything in this matchup, just catch him. Focus on your spacing. Jolts can be ok to help keep ICs in place, but be weary of him wavedashing under it and punishing you as you land, so use sparingly or at very far distances.

    Combos:
    Comboing is a minor point in this matchup. ICs are about medium weight, maybe a little floaty, so kind of awkward to combo. Combo them how you would combo Mario, mostly. The main 'combo' that you need to do, though, is whatever kill nana. Hit her offstage with a nair or uair, wait for her jump, then uair spike her again. Once she's dead, simple combos on Popo are enough. Try to lead him towards the edge, as you're likely to kill him offstage, but mostly get in some damage on him and leave him either offstage or up in the air. Single IC doesn't have much to threaten you with from above.

    Killing:
    As I just mentioned, killing off the side of the stage is probably your best bet, but both are viable. You're very likely to kill nana off the side (though if she keeps staying alive for whatever reason, usmash becomes viable because she'll just run into it trying to get back to popo). The reason usmash isn't as viable on Popo is that it's just very dangerous getting close enough to Popo to go for usmash. His dsmash comes out faster than it, and hurts. He can also shield it -> wd forward -> grab you. He dies to usmash fairly early, just know the risks of using it.

    Conversely, edgeguarding solo ICs is fairly easy. His recovery options are limited, you can pretty much always just stand right next to the ledge and react to what ICs does. If he tries to just jump to the ledge, ftilt him and he's forced to then overB or die. If he overBs, follow him and fsmash/usmash him.

    Edgeguarding:
    I went into edgeguarding a little already. Ftilt is really strong against solo Popo. If both ICs are offstage, though, things get a little more difficult. Their overB gets considerable height, so it's a little harder to follow. It does mean you can potentially uair spike them out of the end of it, though. They also get upB as an option, which makes Nana a practically unbeatable hitbox. Just try to follow Popo and spike him / knock him away, then kill Nana before he can get back. Ftilt is still strong, though, so don't worry about following ICs offstage too much.

    What to watch out for:
    Grab and smashes. Don't get caught on the ground. The main thing you'll actually be watching out for is ICs positioning. If he's within wavedash range of you, be terrified and either reposition or approach. You want to not get caught.

    ICs don't have much to contest you in the air. His bair is ok, but kind of short range and doesn't hit tooo hard. Uair makes approaches from above difficult, and can prevent you from getting down from above ICs easily, He can use it to poke through platforms too. Icicles are a little annoying and can work to try to lock you down, but just stay aerial and run away from them or jump over them as you approach.

    Recovering:
    Landing on stage is terrifying against ICs. They can cover so much distance with their wavedash/waveland onstage that your survival options are pretty much limited to either the ledge or a platform. If you can keep both options open, though, you're pretty safe. ICs will at most get like a uair on you if they ledgehog->waveland onstage as you go to a platform. If you are able to get the ledge instead, wavelanding on and jumping towards the center of the stage is pretty safe, but just jump recovering from the ledge is easier and also pretty safe.

    Final Notes:
    It should be pretty apparent by now, but don't get caught on the ground. You want to avoid getting grabbed and avoid getting stuck in your shield. If you can stay in the air, it's hard for ICs to get much damage on you. Their aerials aren't great, they're looking to just win the ground game. That means if you can get them into the air and stay below him, you're in advantage. Most likely, you'll be looking to separate ICs though and kill Nana. If you do get them separated, make sure Nana dies. If you take some damage because of it, that's ok. You need to kill Nana. Once Nana is dead, the matchup still is a little hazardous, but it's really a lot less scary. When it's down to just Popo, you can afford to play a little more aggressive, get a little damage on Popo, and look to knock him off the stage for an easy edgeguard.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Final Destination is probably the scariest stage in the matchup, as there's nowhere to escape to. Just one long platform for ICs to wavedash around and assert ground dominance. Ban it. Yoshi's Story is also pretty scary, because it's so small that poor DI on a downsmash can kill you at like 40%. There's also little room to get away from ICs. On the other hand, any stray hit on Nana can put her in position to be spiked. Regardless, you should probably strike either it or FoD because of their size. For counterpick, any of the other options are legitimate. Dreamland is nice if you want to live as long as possible, and Pokemon Stadium is nice for low ceiling kills if you're comfortable usmashing ICs while still being a big enough stage to avoid ICs. They also kind of struggle on some of the transformations. Lastly, Battlefield isn't a bad choice if you're comfortable there, it's just likely that Dreamland or Stadium will give you greater benefit.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Jigglypuff - 35:65 - [MCH09]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Dies early to usmash

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Bair spacing is difficult to deal with
    -Hard to combo
    -Difficult to edgeguard

    General Strategy:
    While this matchup might look simple on paper, it's rather difficult. The two things you have going for you are the power of your usmash and your versatile recovery. The problem in the matchup is getting in on jiggs and doing any damage. Her bair is a monster of aerial control, and she has enough aerial mobility to stick out a bair, fair, or occasionally nair while still being pretty safe. Getting through this can be particularly tough for pikachu. Once you're in, you often get just an aerial, maybe two, and jiggs is knocked far enough away that you can't follow up. She's also fairly difficult to edgeguard, as her multiple jumps, floatiness, and ability to stall with pound make it possible to avoid your edgeguarding attempt while still being easily able to get back.

    So what's the plan? You still have to get in somehow and do some quick damage, and then hope you can catch her with a usmash. There isn't really a solid way to do this. You have to play pretty patient in this matchup and approach at angles that are awkward for her to cover. Also, trades can be ok for once. Trading with her bair isn't often that great, but pretty much any damage you can do to her is valuable.

    Approaching:
    How to approach jiggs? Be patient and be aware of the space you have. The two things you'll be paying attention to the most are any openings in the jiggs' defensive game, and how much space you have to move around. You want to avoid getting cornered, as getting around jiggs when you have little space to work with is pretty dangerous. Watch for her to try to inch closer to you with aerials and restrict your movement. If she's approaching a bit, it's a little easier to catch her with an aerial or jc usmash. If she's only defensively throwing out aerials, be a little more cautious with your approach. Any clean hit you take not only gives you some damage, but gives her an opportunity to either techchase you, pressure you in the air, or restrict you to small area of the stage.

    Look to get at her at awkward angles or timings. Her bair covers a HUGE range behind her, but if you can get over it with a full hop and come down with a dair or nair you might hit her head where the hitbox doesn't cover. If you're on a platform and she's eager to wall you out, try dropping down as you see her jump and try to dash under her. You're not going to outright beat bair, try to get around it. If she's throwing out things other than bair, usmash her. Usmash will at worst trade with fair, nair, and dair. And jiggs doesn't like to trade with usmash at all. Fsmash can be alright too if she's trying to do cute fade-away aerials in front of you.

    The last note I'll make on approaching is, if you have the center of the stage, you don't really need to approach in this matchup unless you're down a lot in percent. Control the center of the stage, and look for trades or worthwhile approaches as she tries to take it back. If she has the center of the stage, be patient and try to threaten an approach enough that she either backs off (where you start gaining control of the center) or moves forward to preempt you (and you can either look for trades or get out of the way and try to approach from above/below).

    Combos:
    This section is going to be short. You can't combo Jiggs. She is stupidly floaty and has decent aerial mobility. Just hit her once or twice and then put yourself in a good position to control most of the stage.

    Killing:
    Usmash is the obvious killmove in this matchup, and it's obvious to both of you. If you can get it, great. Usmash kills super early. If you can't (which is entirely reasonable against a good Jiggs), look to fsmash a fadeaway aerial of hers, or just hit her enough that strong nair or dair will kill her off the side. Edgeguarding jiggs is doable, but usually a long and hazardous process, so don't rely on it.

    Edgeguarding:
    As noted, edgeguarding jiggs is tough. She can literally stall off the stage forever if the opponent chooses (and has the tech skill) to do so. She doesn't move through the air particularly quickly, so you can still catch her, and if you do hit her with something strong while she's offstage she is light enough that she'll potentially die. Just know that she isn't really giving up any recovery options to avoid you if you jump out at her. Jolts can make her recovery slightly more awkward, and it is still important to threaten sh nair offstage, but you generally want to just hang out near the edge and make her have to guess a little to get back.

    Ledgehogging and then drop->dj nair can work ok (or uair if she tries to go a little above you) can work okayyy, but she can usually just hang out near the edge and poke at your spot with distanced aerials until you get off the edge (or get hit). Tilting/fsmashing the ledge can also be ok if the jiggs dips up too close, but again she can just kinda hang out until you do something and then either hit you just after it or grab the ledge while you're move is in lag. There's plenty of stuff that can work, but they usually won't vs a competant jiggs. Don't feel bad, that's just how it is.

    What to watch out for:
    Bair. Other aerials. Her air control is absurd, combat it at your own risk. Other than that, the main thing to watch out for is anything that will set up rest. Uair, utilt, weak nairs, techchases, be weary if you see yourself in a situation where any of these may end up in you getting rested. You have the issue that most of your hitboxes are pretty much directly on your character, so in order to do damage to her you have to get really close, and that's where getting rested becomes entirely possible.

    If you do get rested, try to react to it asap and if you're anywhere higher than like 10-20%, just DI to the side. The rest will kill you, DIing up just means you'll fly off the top and take much longer to die. Which in turn means you'll spawn later. Which then means you don't get to usmash her and either kill her or do a good chunk of damage that, as noted earlier, is really hard to get otherwise. If it's going to kill you, let it kill you, and then kill her back in her sleep.

    Recovering:
    Jiggs can actually edgeguard you, and it's annoying. Be especially weary of forwardBing to help your recovery. ForwardB sends you a set distance where you can't do anything during it or for a short bit after it, so if jiggs jumps out after you you'll be helpless and get bair'd and probably die. Unless you absolutely need it to recover, or jiggs is so far away that she couldn't possibly punish you for it, don't use it.

    Otherwise, save your jump and watch how she comes out to you. Fast fall if you need to get below her (and can still upB to the stage), jump when you expect her to try to intercept you with an aerial. As soon as you're around her, upB to the stage asap, just get to the stage. If you're close enough, just upB around her, just remember that your upB freezes you in place for a very short period before you zip away. You can also try upBing through her, but use this mostly as a surprise tactic. If she throws out a fair or bair as you upB, it will beat your upB and then you're probably dead.

    Final Notes:
    This match is difficult. While it seems like you have the tools to deal with jigglypuff, it turns out her absurdly strong aerial presence is just too much to deal with most of the time. Be patient. Control the center of the stage when possible. Approach from awkward angles or at times when she can't stuff it with fair or bair. Always keep an eye out for usmash opportunities, but know that there are not likely to be many. Be careful recovering against her. Be threatening when edgeguarding her, but don't commit yourself unless you think you for sure have a good read on her. Chip away with single hits or short bursts until she's high enough for strong nair to kill (or usmash if you're lucky). Again, be patient.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Dreamland should immediately be gone. Strike it, ban it, throw it into a fire. Pokemon Stadium or Yoshis are your most likely counterpicks. Pokemon is nice because of the low ceiling and the transformations generally benefit you more than her (she can have a bit of a hard time traversing them). Yoshis is nice because she'll actually die at a reasonable percent without having to land usmash, but it can also be tough to control space on. The stage is so small that jiggs' aerial pressure just covers so much area. If you think dealing with that is worth it for a chance to kill her with nair under 100%, pick Yoshis. If not, probably go Stadium.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Kirby - 65:35 - [MCH10]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Mobility advantage
    +Easy to edgeguard

    Disadvantages:
    -Bair walls decently
    -Crouch game can be tough to deal with

    General Strategy:
    There isn't a whole lot to the Kirby matchup once you understand his hitboxes. He doesn't have a lot of range, doesn't have a lot of mobility, and generally doesn't do much damage. Understanding his hitboxes is important, though, because he can still wall you out and pika can never afford to take too many hits. Use your mobility. Watch for holes in his bairs/dtilts/utilts. Recognize that he can crouch under a number of things. Then get in and do work. Kirby is a little floaty and awkward to combo, but for once you win the neutral game, so don't feel pressured to get the most off each hit. Also grabbing him doesn't generally accomplish much, and is risky against his crouch, so you don't really have to bother unless he's really really relying on shield.

    Approaching:
    Treat it like a less scary Jiggs. If Kirby thinks you're trying to get in, his go-to is usually bair. It's not as broken as Jiggs' is, but it will still beat your approaches. His other big option is to duck. Kirby ducks super low, and he can downtilt out of it (which is one of his better moves), or just grab you if you whiff something on him. Dsmash blows this up, usmash and dair are pretty good too. Just hit him with a hard enough attack that will hit fairly low to the ground if you see him going to crouch a lot. Jolt works pretty well to facilitate your approach. Kirby's initial jump isn't really fast or high enough to get him over it easily, his oos options aren't great if he has to shield it, so his best bet is often to try to stop it with his own hitbox, like bair. In that case, he's stuck throwing out a move and you can get in right after it.

    Combos:
    Kirby is a bit awkward to combo, but the general slightly-floaty stuff works. Nair chains, uair->nair, uair dj dair, etc. Just rack up some damage, Kirby is pretty light and will die to a stray nair or usmash early.

    Killing:
    Usmash works well, Kirby's hitboxes aren't that great so you're likely to have more opportunities to connect with a raw usmash than in most other matchups. Nair/dair will kill somewhat soon as well, Kirby isn't that heavy. He's also pretty easy to edgeguard once you get used to it. He has plenty of jumps, but his aerial mobility is actually pretty bad, much worse than jiggs'. If you get him offstage, it's often enough to just pressure the space above the stage (by standing near the edge and threatening to jump off nair/uair) if he tries to recover high, and just ftilting the ledge if he tries to recover low. You can literally ftilt him until he dies if he recovers low, Run off dair also works and can get the job done quicker. Once you recognize how poor his aerial mobility is, how few options he has, edgeguarding him is pretty straight forward.

    Edgeguarding:
    Yeah, as I just mentioned, abuse his lack of mobility. Hit him offstage, ftilt the edge, throw jolts, etc.

    What to watch out for:
    His bair is still decent. His dtilt, fsmash, and dsmash (to a lesser extent) are also not bad, especially out of his crouch. His uair is a kill move, but it's kinda slow. Be careful contesting it. He can chase you offstage a little and threaten bair or dair, even if he's a bit slow at it. He can also kirbycide you (neutral B -> jump offstage) if he gets a stock lead, but you can mash out fairly easy if you're ready for it, and still often recover if he gets offstage before you get out. It's pretty easy to avoid too, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

    Recovering:
    Watch out for bair. Dair can also be scary, so don't start your recovery too close to the stage if it looks like he's going for it. Just upB around him if he jumps out at you, he's pretty slow. You also don't have to worry too much about recovering onstage if need be, kirby doesn't have particularly good punishes. Just don't get bair'd while offstage mostly.

    Final Notes:
    Overall it should be a pretty easy matchup. You're faster than him and as long as you don't just run into his moves, you'll be fine. Pika still doesn't like taking damage, and Kirby's hitboxes aren't atrocious, so respect them. Rack up damage where you can, then look for nair/dair or usmash opportunity. If he's offstage, take away his options until he's out of jumps, then ftilt/ledgehog him to death.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Larger stages are likely better, as you can use your mobility advantage to greater effect. Probably ban Yoshi's or FoD and take him to wherever else you prefer.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Link - 50:50 - [MCH11]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Speed
    +Mobility

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Strong Projectile game
    -Nair is really good

    General Strategy:
    Link is pretty good at picking a spot and establishing it as "his". He does this using primarily his projectiles and strong aerials. He isn't particularly fast on the ground or in the air, but he's pretty tough to pin down and get in on. His nair lasts forever and pretty solidly beats your nair. His boomerang and bomb gets in the way of your everything. His jab keeps the space right in front of him pretty safe and can prevent you from pressuring him well. If you get him in the air or offstage though, he's pretty helpless. Be patient, stay close enough that he has to worry just a little about throwing projectiles (you can jump around bombs or come in with nair as he's pulling a bomb), but not so close that he just jabs at you and can threaten with nair. You want to try to threaten just outside of his shorthop nair range. Once you're in, get him in the air or offstage. Make him flail, take the stage from him, and don't let him re-establish control. Link really needs to have a moment to breathe to set up his defenses. If he doesn't have that, he has to hope to be able to nair out or catch you with dair (which really hurts, but leaves him open to pretty much any punish on whiff).

    Approaching:
    Getting in on Link can kind of feel like Peach. He's got bombs and boomerangs to throw at you, he can contest you as you jump in with his nair or jab (or other less safe but more rewarding options), and if you don't approach he can just slowly creep in while threatening with projectiles and take space from you. The difference, though, is you can actually combo Link and do some nasty stuff if you do get in. It's a lot about just recognizing what areas he can cover and get in through the gaps in spacing and timing. Projectiles you need to avoid or back off if they connect. Bomb will tack on a bit of damage and sometimes lead into a nair/fair, so be ready to DI that if you get hit and see him jumping towards you (though if he's a little slow you can contest him with uair or jump/airdodge out). Boomerang does less damage but can lead to similar stuff. If you get hit, most of the time you'll want to just back off and look for another opening. His nair has a pretty good hitbox and covers a good distance in front of him and a little behind. And, most notably, it stays out for the entire animation. Even when he pulls his footbox, the hitbox is still there. He can also nair doublejump nair to just put up a wall. Your rising uair or late hit uair can beat it, but that's about it. Respect it. This means you'll likely have to get in under him (by dashing under him) or over him (where nair doesn't cover). But, you can't come in from directly above, because he has uair. Link's uair comes out on frame 5 (i.e. FAST) and beats everything. This is Marth-aerial levels of beats everything. Don't contest it, he won't get much out of it besides damage, but just don't mess with it. You can't afford taking damage. As for other stuff, your nair is still probably going to be your way in, just try to line it up so that you come in on the top of his character. That's a kind of awkward position for him to defend from, his boomerang doesn't have enough initial height, nair doesn't cover that high, uair covers a little too high, and his other options are just awkward/slow. Jolt can also be somewhat useful. It won't really beat anything, but he can't easily avoid it so it can at least temporarily lock him down so you can get the positioning you want.

    Combos:
    Combos on Link are fairly straight forward, you just have to know your limits. His nair comes out quick to break things up, and his dair is a little slower but a lot more painful. You want to focus more on keeping him in the air and out of his comfort zone than racking up a ton of damage. Link has trouble getting down safely, try to keep him up there. Rising uair him up, nair or dair if you need some damage, and eventually look for a uair spike to send him offstage. If you can get his second jump, great! Spike him. If not, just keep juggling him until he takes a ton of damage or finally decides to try to double jump out. If he gets down, don't sweat it, just try to stay in enough that he doesn't have time to pull a bomb or get the stage position he wants. Keep the pressure on while you can and look for your next opportunity to get him in the air.

    Killing:
    You're most likely to kill Link off the bottom. He's fairly heavy, so you'll have to rack on plenty of damage to get a kill off the side, and while he dies somewhat early to usmash it's going to be tough to get a usmash in with his projectiles and nair keeping you out on the ground. If you do land a usmash (like after a nair or something) go for thunder and you can net an earlyish kill. Otherwise, look for opportunities to get him off the stage. Pikachu edgeguards Link pretty well.

    Edgeguarding:
    Jolt messees with grapple character recoveries, it's a pretty safe option to throw out against offstage Link. If you successfully snipe his grapple, grab the ledge just as he upBs, and then either roll up if he can't reach the stage, or wait for him to land and then waveland/aerial onstage in his landing lag. His upB will stall him at its peak for a little bit, so be on point with your invulnerability timing. Your other option is to chase him offstage with an aerial. He can't defend himself offstage very well unless he's particularly high up, and if he's high up then just hang below him and threaten uair spike. Any uair spike on him offstage should kill him. Nair and dair will probably also kill him if he's below the ledge. Just watch for / try to cover his air-dodge -> grapple option and ledgehog his upB, and he's a dead Link.

    What to watch out for:
    The most painful stuff is dair and uair. Also his grounded upB, which he can do out of shield. Don't contest those pretty much ever. If you shield or avoid grounded upB, run in for a punish (nair, grab, usmash should all work). Otherwise you should be looking for gaps in his nair/jab/projectiles fortress. Also I should note his grab is ranged (it's a grapple) and it comes out pretty quick. Hella laggy, so punish it on whiff, but keep it in mind. You can't just run up and shield his option for free (and I don't think you'd get much out of that anyways). He isn't guaranteed anything off grab till higher precents (where it leads to a lethal dair), but it's still damage and can get him positional advantage. Link chips away at you, and then looks for a strong hit once you're at 80%+ to secure the kill. Once you're that damaged, watch out for dair, uair, and grounded upB. Otherwise, play your obstacle course game.

    Recovering:
    Recovering against Link isn't too bad if you can sweetspot upB. He doesn't have anything that his sweetspot, and if he takes the ledge then you can fairly safely go the the stage. If you can only barely make it to the stage, he can double jump dair from the ledge to kill you, but otherwise he doesn't have a decent followup to you going to the stage. Otherwise, watch out for his bombs/boomerangs to harass you as you come back. They won't do enough knockback or really set up anything, but they will rack up damage and make your positioning awkward. He's likely to stay on stage (he can't really come out at you with anything strong enough to matter and still make it back), so just avoid the projectiles and either sweetspot ledge or go as far in to the stage as you can with upB, and you should be fine.

    Final Notes:
    It's all about getting Link out of his comfort zone. Get him in the air, get him offstage, don't let him set up. When he is set up, be patient. Threaten approaches, shield/dodge his projectiles, and respect his space. If you see an opening, take it, but every time you unsuccessfully get in is just more damage. He's going to chip away at you until he can land a strong hit, and he has some good options to kill you outright once you're damaged. Once you are hurt, watch for uair, dair, and grounded upB. Respect his space, he controls it. You have a good mobility advantage, try to take exchanges on your terms. Put on safe pressure, while respecting his space. Really, respect his space. He has the advantage in neutral, it's up to you to find your opening and get him in the air, where you are heavily favored. Be patient and keep at it, and don't give up. You can combo/juggle Link, and you can get some gimps with the right opening, it's always possible to come back against Link.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    At this time, I don't think there's a really solid pick/ban choice against Link. Big stages give him more space to set up and throw stuff, but it also gives you more room to run away and bigger blast zones mean you'll live longer while he's fairly unaffected by blastzones in the matchup (you'll edgeguard him the same either way). On smaller stages he can't run, but you can't either, and he can cover a lot of the stage with projectiles and nair. You'll also die sooner. Personally, I'd try to take him to Pokemon Stadium or Battlefield. PS is nice because of the low ceiling and you'll traverse the stage transformations more easily than Link will. Battlefield is nice because it makes his grapple recovery much less versatile. Really, just figure out what you had the most difficulty with in the first match, and counterpick based on whether you felt you needed more space to run or wanted less space to give him less options.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Luigi - 40:60 - [MCH12]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Has horrible recovery
    +Not much aerial mobility
    +Light and floaty

    Disadvantages:
    -Huge priority on aerials
    -Lots of ground mobility
    -Plenty of finishers
    -Plenty of good defensive options

    General Strategy:
    This matchup will be all about punishing positional mistakes and knowing exactly when Luigi is and isn't vulnerable, and reacting appropriately. Luigi has huge priority on a lot of his moves and will beat you if you try to contest them. In a game of trading blows he wins easily, but where he struggles is in recovery, his lack of aerial mobility, and his floatiness. This is what have to punish, and fortunately you have tools to do so. Look for openings, get him off the edge, and make sure he doesn't make it back. If you can't accomplish this before he gets to 70-80%ish, upsmash becomes a kill option, if a bit of a risky one.

    Approaching:
    There won't be much opportunity for traditional approaching against a decent Luigi. With his excellent wavedash he has a lot of ground mobility, which makes it easy for him to wavedash back out of your approach almost regardless of how you angle it, and wavedash back in (if necessary) and punish you. If you ever whiff an approach, he can often dsmash you, short hop into a quick aerial, or occasionally even upB you. He can also beat aerial approaches with fair, dair, or nair, which all have good hitboxes and hurt. His fireballs are pretty bad, so you don't have to worry much at all about them while approaching, you just have to worry about the wall of priority he can quickly create around him and his slippiness on the ground.

    This doesn't, however, give him free reign to just sit and throw out moves. His aerials have good priority, but there's also a bit of lag after them. His wavedash is really good, but there's still a short interval at the start of it where he can't do anything. He also can't cover a lot of distance with wavedash if he runs out of platform/stage room in the direction he wants to go. There are holes in his defense that you need to bring out and take advantage of. Fakeing approaches can be pretty valueable in this matchup, as causing him to whiff something opens up small options for you. For instance, if you jump forward and then waveland back before you reach him and he falls for it expecting you to commit to the approach, he'll likely do one of two things as mentioned before. If he wavedashes back, then you remain out of lag and far enough away that he can't punish you, but now you've pushed him closer to the edge so he has less room to work with. If he jumps and throws out an aerial, then you can either punish the lag of that aerial with a nair if you're close enough, or just move close enough that he feels threatened. If he's in the air and you're out of range of his fair and dair, then there isn't much he can do to you from that position because of his lack of aerial mobility, while you threaten to jump forward and immediately nair, or usmash him before he lands, at any point. If he does nothing or throws out a defensive aerial before you do anything, you get a free punish on that. If he then double jumps to reposition himself, you can uair spike him. Off the stage without his double jump is a dead Luigi.

    Combos:
    Comboing Luigi is difficult to impossible because of how fast his nair comes out and how it beats almost everything. For this and other reasons, you want to end combos pretty early and safely on him and try to end the combo with something that will send him close to or off the edge of the stage. You want to gimp him, building up damage on him is secondary. He's pretty light and floaty as well, so simple uair->nair or uair->uairspike combos are about as much as you'll get.

    Killing:
    Gimp him. Force him towards the edge by getting him into the air, finding holes in his defense as outlined before, and then knocking him towards the edge with a nair or uair. Throwing out fsmash is also pretty safe as long as you don't completely whiff. It has good range, will beat him if he tries to wavedash in and do something, and most importantly has the knockback to send him off the stage at low-mid percentages. If he shields it, it also has the shieldstun and will push him back far enough that he can't really punish it. Your main priority is to get him off the stage, pretty much regardless of what his percentage is, and then edgeguarding him which should relatively easy.

    KOs off the top are still possible once he hits 70%ish on most stages Due to his ground mobility, having a usmash whiff or get shielded lets him get free damage on you, and kill if you're at higher percentages. Use it sparingly and don't make it obvious that you're going for it, but use it if the opportunity presents itself. It's pretty much always ok to trade usmash with one of his aerials, it will trade.

    Edgeguarding:
    Luigi's recovery can be a bit awkward, but it's pretty bad and punishable. First off, you need to understand his recovery options. He's floaty, so he can get some distance from just holding forward as he falls. He can also forwardB, which gives him a little distance. 1/7th of the time this will misfire, giving him a lot more distance and speed as well as a lot of knockback if he hits you. Watch out for this, but it's generally easy to counter (while powerful, its hitbox isn't that good and can be cleanly beaten by just an ftilt, or you can shield it and punish its lag) if you anticipate it. He has an alright second jump that mostly gives him vertical distance, and he also has one downB which turns him into a hitbox and gives him a small amount of vertical and horizontal distance (but mostly just stalls his recovery). Lastly, his upB goes only vertically, making it generally easy to edgehog. Because each of his options are relatively short and linear, it means it can be very difficult to recover if he's sent below the stage at a diagonal angle from the ledge. Which is exactly where uair spike will put him.

    For general edgeguarding, get a good understanding of what his recovery options are, wait for him to commit to one, and then try to punish that. If he overBs from too high/too close to you, you can easily uair spike it (as long as it doesn't misfire). If he tries to get under the stage and recover from directly below, you can edgehog (normally, or with a surprise upB ledgehog from the stage) relatively easily. Just watch out for him to delay his upB by downBing first and wear out your ledge invulnerability or bait you into rolling onto the stage too early. Jolts can be useful for catching him off the stage, but due to his floatiness he'll usually just use them to get a little height and then forwardB again hoping to misfire. Generally it's best to chase him off the stage yourself.

    What to watch out for:
    The main things to watch out for in this matchup are his aerials and his wavedash. In the air, his moves beat yours. If you can get under him, your uair will still go through anything he has and due to his floatiness he can't easilly fastfall onto you with something, but from about any other angle his aerials win. Don't try to contest them unless the reward greatly outweighs the risk (i.e. you're at very low percent, are pretty sure you can trade your dair with his whatever, and you know it will kill him). His wavedash is also pretty scary, as it allows him to cover a lot of ground quickly and he has decent options out of it. Wd into ftilt covers a huge area and can put good pressure on you. Wd into dmash is pretty quick and does good damage, while wd into fsmash is a little delayed and can catch you if you're expecting ftilt/dsmash, and also does good damage. He can also grab you if you try to shield as he comes in, which leads to usually dthrow->aerial.

    Recovering:
    Recovering against Luigi isn't too bad as long as you don't make any huge mistakes. If he kills you it will generally be from the sheer knockback of his moves, rather than from edgeguarding. He can't really chase you off the edge due to his poor recovery, fireballs are awful for edgeguarding, and the only things he has that reach below the ledge are aerials. Just remember that if he's on the stage, he can wavedash to the ledge pretty quickly from a good distance. If he's ledgehogging, he can wavedash a good distance onto the stage and catch you if you try to recover there. It's generally pretty safe recovering to platforms, the most he'll get on you is usually an aerial that you can DI and stay on/near stage at low-mid percents (which is better than losing a stock to edgeguarding).

    Final Notes:
    Take him to the air where he's least mobile, use your mobility to fake approaches (and keep him on his toes with occasional real approaches) and force him to commit to options, and then use these created openings to push him off the stage. Uair makes this matchup doable for you, I can't stress its importance enough. Use your aerial mobility to keep the momentum on your side, as if you let him set up his game then you'll find yourself with increasingly less space from his wall of aerials and quick ground approaches. If he does get in on you, try to get to the air and escape to platforms until you're in a better position to move around and create openings yourself. Be mindful of his nair, as it can quickly turn momentum in his favor. Don't get greedy with combos, just do a couple of hits and try to force him towards the edge, racking up damage is secondary. Focus on gimping him and respect his aerial priority, and you make this matchup that much easier.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Dreamland, Pokemon Stadium, and Fountain of Dreams are all decent counterpicks against Luigi in my opinion. Dreamland is big, which gives each of you decent room to move around, but the large blastzones extend Pikachu's life noticably while not doing much for Luigi. Pokemon Stadium allows for earlier usmash kills, and also the transformations tend to favor Pikachu more than Luigi. Fountain of Dreams is a little risky, as Pikachu will die sooner, but the unique slidiness of the stage makes it easy for many moves to push Luigi towards the edge on hit or shield.
    [/COLLAPSE]
     
    #2 N64, Oct 13, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
    CptJPuff likes this.
  3. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    *Continued Matchups Section*

    Mario - 40:60 - [MCH13]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Poor recovery
    +Less mobility

    Disadvantages:
    -Chainthrow
    -Can cape your recovery
    -Good crouchcancel game

    General Strategy:
    This is a tough matchup. To an extent it's similar to the Doc matchup, of course, but there are a number of notable differences. You still need to be terrified of getting grabbed. He has the same chainthrow, and can finish it with fsmash. Then you're on fire and possibly dead. His projectile isn't as big of an issue, he can't use it too well to approach or stop your approach, but it still gets in the way and puts on some damage. His defensive game is pretty strong, with ftilt/utilt, retreating bairs, and jabs/grabs/dsmash to catch you. This is another matchup where you want to do whatever you can to get below him. His dair is decent, but your uair beats it clean and just puts him in an awkward spot. His recovery is slightly better than Doc's, but you can approach it the same way. Spike him, ledgehog him, use your ledge invulnerability when he upBs, and he's dead. You want him offstage, that is your main goal.

    Approaching:
    You can fight with Mario in the air decently. His bair is ok and his dair can create a weak aerial wall against you, but both are beatable and generally don't get much for Mario. Fighting him on the ground is worse, though. Getting grabbed is scary. Be super careful if you're approaching him on the ground, watch out for dsmash/fsmash to catch you on the way in, and jab->grab if you do get in. Come in via the air if possible, and then dip back out if you don't connect. Mario has some mobility, but he can't often chase you unless you miss an lcancel or something. Hit and run, stay aerial, and look to hit/throw him into the air. Grabbing him is obviously very risky, but if he's used to just shielding your approaches, a grab->uthrow can be very useful.

    Combos:
    Mario is kind of awkward to combo. I'll copy the Doc section for this, it's pretty much the same:
    It can be difficult or just feel awkward to combo him effectively, but often your objective during a combo will be more about leaving him in a bad position rather than racking up damage. Look for opportunities to move him towards the edge (preferrably off the edge) or up above you. If he's above you, he's succeptible to tailspikes sending him off the edge. Mario's recovery is pretty bad, so ending a combo with anything that will knock him off the edge threatens to take his stock. This can be as simple as rising uair -> tailspike uair, or hitting with anything to send him into the air (usmash, uair, uthrow, etc.) and wait for him to jump in an attempt to escape the combo, then following this and tailspiking.

    If you do want to rack up damage, however, the most damaging combos are like rising uair->dair/nair, uthrow->nair, usmash->thunder, and very occasionally nair->usmash. He's somewhat close to sheik combo-weight, but is just light and small enough that most things won't quite connect. Most of your combos will actually be knocking him into the air and following/abusing his somewhat poor aerial mobility.

    Killing:
    Because of how scary it is to be close to Mario on the ground, and how bad his recovery is, you'll mostly be looking for uair spike kills (or just edgeguarding kills in general). As always, if you see usmash opportunity off of a techchase or something, go for it. Usmash->thunder works except in very specific percents. If he's just high enough percent that he doesn't die outright from the usmash but flies far enough (with DI) away he can actually cape before you can jump far enough and chase with thunder. This generally isn't much of an issue (you should go for it anyways unless you'll end up offstage from the jump), but just know it isn't always guaranteed. Anyways, back to how you'll probably actually be killing him, edgeguarding.

    Edgeguarding:
    Same as doc:
    Once he's off the edge, don't be afraid to jump out after him. If you manage to hit him after his second jump and send him any distance away from the stage, he's probably dead. If you can get below him, uair will beat his upB, if not you can usually trade with dair or, if you're feeling brave, bair. And trading with his upB usually kills him. Jolts can get in the way of his recovery, but usually he'll just drop below them and double jump upB hug the stage to get to the ledge. Your ftilt will beat his upB, but only if you space properly to him. If he hugs the stage with upB, you have to be far enough away before the ftilt that his upB won't hit you. If he upBs further out from the stage and 'magnetizes' to the edge, you have to be standing further forward or otherwise your ftilt won't reach far enough to hit him. It can be effective, but generally just jumping out and hitting him ensures his death.

    What to watch out for:
    Don't get grabbed. Watch out for his crouchcancel game. Fsmash/dsmash have a lot of range. But mostly, don't get grabbed. It's the easiest way for him to get damage, even without the chaingrab. Challenge him in the air if possible, especially if you can get below him. Similar again to the Doc matchup, but instead of a brutal fair you have to watch out for his usmash. He can angle it slightly up and it works as almost a streetfighter-esque anti-air. Also it hurts a lot. His uair can be a bit annoying, he'll tend to chain it a couple times and either end with nair or just take stage and reposition. His fireballs aren't too bad, but they do take away an avenue of approach for you. Try to get over them when possible. Lastly, he has a cape and it's annoying. It can make your recovery unsafe, reflect jolts, and just generally be an annoyance. Keep it in mind.

    Recovering:
    Cape will likely be the main thing on your mind while recovering. Stall as you can and make him guess, he has to be pretty on point to successfully cape you, especially if you start the second part of your upB far enough away and sweetspot the edge from above. You can generally go low if need be, fireballs aren't too annoying (but still avoid them). He might try to come out and bair you, upB around him quickly and take the ledge if he tries this (and then edgeguard). If he takes ledge, go to the stage, ideally to a platform. If you land on stage he can potentially waveland grab you, or dsmash/fsmash if that makes more sense. If you get to a platform though, there's not much he can do outside of like uair or mayyybe bair.

    Final Notes:
    This matchup is tough. Mario punishes hard. You want to get below him, and turn that into getting him offstage. Don't don't don't get grabbed. Use your mobility to be elusive. Respect his crouchcancel game a lot, always keep it in mind when he's at lower percents. Make the most of your edgeguards, don't let him back. This is a match where you have to be on point the whole match. You'll get a number of opportunities to get in, and it's quite possible to get quick gimp kills, but if you mess up you will get punished hard. Be mobile, be clean, abuse his lack of mobility. Don't. Get. Grabbed.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Large stages generally work to your advantage. Dreamland and Battlefield work alright, as the relatively far sides allow you to live longer while providing little benefit to Mario's poor recovery. Pokemon stadium can also work well as the transformations generally favor Pikachu, and usmash kills become a greater threat. Ban FD, you need the platforms much more than he does.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Marth - 45:55 - [MCH14]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Your speed helps get around his defenses
    +Potential for quick kills through uairs or usmashes

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Greatly outranges you
    -Has damaging combos
    -Potential for quick kills with tippers

    General Strategy:
    Marth is a unique matchup in that his sword limits many of your options and can kind of force you into one playstyle to be successful. He'll rely a lot on outspacing you and poking at you from a distance, keeping you out while building up damage. His pokes and dash game can put a lot of pressure on you from a distance where you have few options for retaliation. If he catches you shielding, his grab outranges most of your options and his throw mixups can make you have to guess (or react extremely fast) on your DI, and result in a damaging combo or tipper fsmash if you DI wrong. He'll also be looking to get you above him, where you literally have nothing that beats his utilts, uairs, and fairs. These tools also reach far enough to go through the lower platforms on stages, so getting around them and back to the ground can be difficult.

    What you do have is your movespeed and nair. Marth has a lot of difficulty dealing with your shffl nairs. This approach comes out quick enough and, if you can get proper spacing so that you land behind him, is pretty difficult or impossible for him to punish. Once you do get a nair on him, you have the ability to stay on him and prevent him from recreating the distance he needs to use his excellent range well. His weight and size make quick combos possible, and he's light enough that you can knock him off the edge at relatively low percentages and threaten edgeguards, while he's also floaty enough that usmash starts being a kill option at as low as 70% (stage dependant).

    Approaching:
    Approaching is going to be a focal point in this matchup. You have to approach. If you try to harass him with jolts, he can negate them pretty easily and close the distance with you at the same time. If you stay back and try to bait his approaches, he can just poke with fairs and tilts from a safe distance while using his dash or normal walk to pressure you towards the edge, leaving you little opportunity to punish anything. You have to be the aggressor if you want to apply any sort of pressure and do any damage.

    Now, this doesn't mean you should charge in at any chance. Marth still has the tools to stop your approach if he expects it. You also have a limited number of approach options that are viable in this matchup, so you'll mostly be looking for particular spacing and timings rather than mixing up your approach. Look for an opening and shffl nair into him, that's generally your best option. You'll usually want to do this from just far enough away that you land a little behind him. This way, if he shields it he doesn't have a punish out of shield (if you immediately rising uair and then double jump out, he can't follow you with anything). If he tries to dash away, your nair will still catch him. And if you hit him, this leaves you in a good position to chase him into the air, or at certain percentages/DI you can usmash him out of the knockback from nair.

    As far as timing goes, it's a combination of prediction and reaction. If he predicts your approach he can intercept your shffl with a number of options (ftilt, fair, utilt, fsmash, sometimes grab, etc.). But if he guesses wrong and whiffs with one of these, you can shffl in right afterwards with proper positioning and connect with nair while he's still recovering from the animation of his move. His moves may have range, but the hitboxes don't remain out for very long, so you'll be looking to get in right after he swings. You can also jump in on him if he doesn't expect you to approach, as he doesn't have a really quick defensive option other than shield (or an extremely risky reverse upB) and thus can't really intercept your approach by reaction only. Look to catch him off guard if you can.

    Combos/Pressure:
    Now, if you do get in, try to stay on top of him. Marth is pretty comfortable at about a sword's length from you, but gets pretty uncomfortable once you're just inside or just outside of that. From outside of that you threaten with shffl nair, and from inside your options become better than his. Once you're inside this range he has to worry about usmash, rising uairs, grabs, tilts, basically everything you have. Again, since he doesn't have a quick defensive option, he's relying on his range more than his speed to build up damage on you. When you connect with an approach, follow him into the air, follow his techs, and try to rack up some damage or gain a good position before he can regain the space he wants. If you're able to knock him off the edge, do so. Marth has a decent recovery, but his recovery paths are fairly predictable and interceptable, and if you hit him while he's off the edge he's generally dead.

    As far as actual combos go, the most you'll get is rising uair->aerial, or nair->nair, or nair->usmash occasionally. What you do have, however, is the ability to put a ton of pressure on him from below. While he's above you in the air, he is in a terrible position. Your uair will go through everything of his with proper spacing. If he decides to come down with an aerial, he has to commit to it and leave himself open to you doding/shielding it and punishing, or just beating it with uair. He's going to have to get down to the same level as you, so do what you can to get in some damage or force him to be near/off the edge when he does come down.

    Killing:
    You're probably more likely to get kills off the edge, but off the top kills are also possible in this matchup. Keep an eye out for either. As I've already mentioned, Marth is a bit light and susceptible to your uair, so you'll be able to knock him off the edge with it at relatively low percentages. Edgeguarding Marth can be tricky at times, but you definately have the tools to do so. As far as off the top kills go, Marth has a number of slightly laggy attacks that, if you can dodge, are punishable with usmash. If you get him to fsmash or aerial your shield from close enough, usmash out of shield will hit. If you shield a reverse upB, you should be able to usmash if he returns to the stage, or punish with an aerial if he lands on the platform (potentially into usmash). If you downdodge a grab, dashattack, aerial, almost anything that puts him close to you, you'll often have time to usmash him before he can shield. If you get him to tech with a nair or uair, you can techchase into usmash. There's lots of ways you can set one up, so keep an eye out for them.

    Edgeguarding:
    As with all matches, the key to edgeguarding Marth will be to recognize his recovery options and the recovery tendencies of the player. Marth's upB is an upward slash that goes mostly vertical but also slightly horizontal and has a decently long hitbox over his sword in front of him. It has a good amount of lag if he lands on the stage after it, so usually he'll be looking to grab the edge. He can also stall a little bit with his overB. He's floaty, so he can cover a good amount of horizontal distance while falling. Lastly, he can fair as he's coming towards the stage if he expects you to jump at him and, if his timing is right, outrange your aerial, knock you away, and make his recovery easier.

    Bringing this all together shows us a few things. First, if Marth doesn't die off the side blastzone, he'll likely be able to get back to the edge due to his floatiness and upB distance. Next, he'll recover from below and try to leave himself the option of going for the ledge if it's open, or the stage if you're ledgehogging. Also, since he can overB repeatedly to stall his recovery, timing your ledgehog can be difficult. If you're able to ledgehog and he goes for the stage, you can jump on and grab->bthrow him or usmash him while he's still in landing lag from upB. Otherwise, your best bet is probably to chase him off the edge. Jolts don't work that well, as he can overB or fair through them without really affecting his recovery negatively. Ftilting the edge doesn't work because his upB hitbox will outrange and beat it. You can fsmash the edge if you expect the Marth to be a little hasty, because if he doesn't sweetspot right your fsmash will hit (and probably kill) him, but that's not guaranteed. Your aerials are the most reliable though. While he can intercept you with fair, if you fastfall below him as he recovers and double jump into a uair (so that you're positioned where his fair won't hit) he now has to try to avoid that or die. You can also just run off the edge as he gets in position to upB, and fastfall a nair or dair. At worst you'll trade with his upB and put him in a much worse position than you. He can avoid both of these by trying to recover high and airdodge to the stage, but if you pick up on this you can change your jump arc offstage and still uair spike him, or just jump at him, wait for the airdodge, and then double jump aerial him after it.

    What to watch out for:
    Marth is really good at controlling space. It can be difficult to approach him, and even more difficult to stop his approaches. You need to be very conscious of space when playing against Marth, always allowing yourself enough space to move around and also having a plan to get to a better position if you are cornered. First, you need to recognize just how far each of Marth's common moves reaches, so that you know when you are unsafe. Next, know Marth's movement options and the player's movement tendencies so that you can recognize when he's in a position to approach you, when you can get around him if you need to, and how to chase him when you're applying pressure. Lastly, understand what Marth sacrifices when he chooses a move, so that you can properly bait and punish options from him.

    Something I haven't touched on much, but should definately be noted, is Marth's grab. Marth's grabrange is huge. You can rely on your shield occasionally to block moves you don't think you'll be able to avoid (or don't react quickly enough to) but if you make this a habit then Marth will just start grabbing you when he approaches. While he doesn't really have anything that directly combos from his throws, they will often put you in a very bad position. If he throws you and you tech, with correct tech/roll prediction he can often tipper fsmash you. If he throws you and you DI away and jump, he can either aerial you or sometimes fsmash you just as you jump. If you DI inward, he can then sometimes combo from the throw before you're able to jump out. For most of these options he has to predict correctly first, reactions alone aren't enough, but regardless it puts you in a bad position. The best option is to not leave yourself open to grab in the first place, but if you do get grabbed then play the tech roulette and try to go where you don't think he'll expect, there isn't a consistently safe DI option.

    Recovering:
    Recovering against Marth generally isn't too bad. He can cover a lot of area quickly with his sword, but for you you'll probably be recovering to one of two spots almost every time. You'll either go for the edge, or land on the stage close to the edge. If the ledge is open and he won't be able to get to it before you can, sweetspot it with upB and there's not much Marth can do. If he's ledgehogging or in a position to quickly get to the ledge (and you think he will) then upBing to the stage is relatively safe. If he ledgehogs and you recover to the stage, the most he can do is jump aerial you for minor damage or wavedash on and grab you. If he throws you off the stage again, you've got plenty of room to double jump and upB around him to somewhere on the stage, while still leaving the ledge open as well.

    Marth can kind of chase you off the stage, so be aware of it, but he won't often. Just start your upB far enough away from the stage that he can't reach you by jumping out with an aerial, and you can avoid him. If you do end up close to the stage before starting your upB, just try to upB around him and he'll find it difficult to intercept you. If you can do this and get to the ledge, you can now use your ledgegrab invincibility to threaten him and prevent him from recovering. Uair spiking him after he's used his second jump offstage is a guaranteed kill.

    Final Notes:
    Fighting Marth is about controlling space, identifying openings in his movements and poking/approach options, and staying on top of him once you get in. He doesn't have a projectile, so don't worry about dashing out and collecting yourself if things aren't going your way, but be weary about giving up too much space without a plan to get around him, as you can easily get cornered on the edge of the stage and take unnecessary damage trying to get out. And conversely, if you get a hit on him, don't let him get out to collect himself when possible. Marth doesn't really have defensive options when someone's on top of him (that aren't risky at least), so making the most of when you get in will be important. Chase his techs, chase him into the air, push him towards the edge where you threaten to spike him off. Marth also needs space to move around, so if you corner him near the edge, know that he's going to want to get out, either by hitting you, rolling behind, or jumping over. You have options for all of these if you recognize the position he's in and react accordingly. Let him sweat, put him on the defensive, and this matchup gets a lot easier.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    I generally avoid small stages with low platforms against Marth. Yoshis Story and Fountain of Dreams can be really rough when you have such little room to work with and always have to worry about being poked by Marth's utilt and fsmash when you're on platforms. Battlefield can work alright if you like the stage, but for me it seems like the middle ground of the neutrals. Pokemon Stadium can go back and forth. You have plenty of room to move around and the ceiling is low, but the default platform height is problematic and the transformations can put you in a great or terrible position depending on where you both are when they come up. I personally love Final Destination in this matchup because of the lack of platforms to worry about and abundance of space. Lastly, Dreamland is probably the most solid option because it is the largest stage and more likely to help you stay alive than it will Marth.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Mewtwo - 60:40 - [MCH15]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Large, comboable
    +Few good defensive options

    Disadvantages:
    -Reach advantage
    -Difficult to edgeguard

    General Strategy:
    Ok, pretty much the only thing Mewtwo has on you is range. Tilts, bair, and uair will all get in your way as you try to do stuff. But it isn't actually too bad, because Mewtwo won't often get much out of these options besides keeping you out, and they are awkward/slow enough that he can't rely on them a whole lot. You're going to get in, and Mewtwo has a huge hurtbox for comboing/juggling, so you can definately rack up some damage on him. His recovery is pretty good, but you can still take away his options when he's off the edge and at least make it difficult for him. He's also light and a little floaty, so usmash kills off the top or nair/bair/dair kills off the side are entirely doable. Just DI pretty much everything of Mewtwo's away, and be relentless when getting in, and you should do fine.

    Approaching:
    You have to approach Mewtwo, or he'll charge up shadowball and as we all know from pokemon that move actually hurts. He has utilt to stop aerial approaches, dtilt to pester you on the ground, and ftilt to try to cover somewhere inbetween. He can also retreating bair if you try to overshoot, or uair if you try to come from above. Again, though, none of these (except dtilt) really lead to anything for him. They kind of knock you a little bit away and he's unlikely to be able to follow up with anything if you DI away. They don't do a lot of damage or have a ton of knockback either, so for once you actually can afford to take a fewwww hits trying to get in. Just keep at it, mix up your approaches, fake approaches if you can to get him to whiff, and then get in. The only one you really want to watch out for is dtilt. It's pretty quick and recovers quick, and can lead to fair (which does hurt) or other quick combos from him. It only hits along the ground though, so your usual aerial nair approach is pretty safe.

    Combos:
    Mewtwo is huge, and his body flails around when he gets hit, so comboing him is entirely possible. You'll probably want to do quick combos and keep him in the air if you can. He doesn't want to be above you, but know that his upB can get him down pretty safely, so don't rely too much on juggling. You want to get damage on him mostly, and then end with him in the air / offstage. Once your combo ends, stay close enough that you threaten to hit him, but far enough away that you can follow his upB past you and either directly punish or apply pressure to him as soon as he lands. Getting damage is most important, though, as you're most likely to kill him off the sides or top than with edgeguarding.

    Killing:
    Edgeguarding Mewtwo is problematic, so look to other ways to kill him most of the time. Rack up damage, then look for usmash. If it gets later (100%+ on mewtwo) start looking for dair/bair or even later a nair to kill. Mewtwo is pretty light.

    Edgeguarding:
    If he's offstage, you of course want to make it difficult for him to get back. He's fairly floaty, his double jump covers a large area, and his upB is pretty quick and ambiguous, giving him plenty of options. Your best bet in edgeguarding him is to hit him as he starts his second jump (it's a little slow) and then ledgehog (and punish him onstage if he can make it to the stage). If he gets back, keep on the pressure. You want damage, and you want to stay in on Mewtwo where he has difficulty getting the space he wants.

    What to watch out for:
    Mewtwo's heavy hitters are shadowball and fair. They're not the most influential moves, but you can't afford to take more than a couple each stock. His tilts can trip you up and dtilt can set up fair or a quick combo. He does have the range advantage on you, so you need to give it a little respect. Taking damage isn't as awful as some matchups here, as he has to fish for a couple particular kill moves on you, but still avoid it where you can. Once you're in, stay in while respecting his fair (it's quick) and being prepared for him to upB out of pressure. Lastly, watch out for grab at higher percents. He doesn't get much out of it combo-wise, but at higher percents (around 100%ish) his uthrow kills. He has a decent grab range, and can get grab out of dtilt as well, so just watch out for it, he'll be looking for the chance.

    Recovering:
    Mewtwo is one of the few characters that can pretty safely chase you off the edge. He'll be looking to bair you 90% of the time offstage, and it has pretty good reach and knockback, so be weary of that, especially when you overB to help you recover. He can jump out, throw a couple bairs, and then double jump -> upB back to the stage/ledge before you can make it back, so be careful. You'll often have to go to the stage because he can get to the ledge via upB so quickly. Once you're on stage, though, he generally doesn't have too hard of punishes. Just be weary of bair and be careful going to the ledge, and you should be fine.

    Final Notes:
    Fighting Mewtwo if you're not used to him can be kind of awkward. He flails his tail around, has an odd projectile, is difficult to edgeguard and is actually ok at edgeguarding you, and has a difficult-to-react-to upB that can get him out of trouble. He's not that threatening, though, as long as you're watching out for his big hitters (and also not getting hit with like 20 uairs by making bad approaches). Respect his dtilt, respect his fair when comboing/pressuring him, and respect his grab once you're at higher percent. Don't get complacent recovering against him, and be careful edgeguarding him. You want to rack up damage, keep the pressure on him when you get in, and look for strong hits later on. Usmash is great, strong aerials are good, just hit him hard.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    You probably want small blastzones, which generally means a small stage. Pokemon Stadium is good, Yoshis Story is good, Final Destination can be ok. Anywhere where his good recovery isn't as impactful and you can kill him quickly is good. Consider banning Battlefield or Dreamland. He lives super long on Dreamland, and has some shenanigans on Battlefield (which aren't bad if you're used to / expect them, but they can really trip you up if you're not).
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Mr. Game & Watch - 55:45 - [MCH16]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Very light
    +Poor shield
    +Linear recovery

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Hits hard
    -Has good aerials

    General Strategy:
    Game and Watch is kind of a glass cannon. Or at least, he is made of glass. He'll die to your usmash at like 70%, and it's entirely possible to kill him with aerials early too. His shield is not great (possibly the worst in the game) and his recovery, while long, is somewhat limited. What he does have, though, is good hitboxes, especially on his aerials. Fair is a pain to deal with, it comes out quick and covers the area in front of him where you want to be. It also hurts. Bair also beats a lot of things and is out long enough that he doesn't need to be as precise with it. His nair has a Huge hitbox and packs a punch, but is somewhat slow. Mostly, be careful fighting him in the air. On the ground, he has dtilt, and that's almost all he needs. It comes out quick, lasts decently long, reaches a good distance, and recovers pretty quick. At lower percents it sets up his fair (or possibly nair), and at much higher percents it kills. He's somewhat mobile too (not as much as you, but enough that he can be hard to pin down). He dies so quick though. Look for quick hits where you can, go for damage, and then fish for usmash or a strong aerial to end it.

    Approaching:
    Approaching G&W is tough. His fair and dtilt beat out so much. If you come in at a high angle (like a full hop nair or something) it can be kind of awkward for him to cover, but you're also unlikely to get any followup from it. You might have to play a bit of a range game if aerial approaches aren't working. Your dtilt has about as much range as his, so even though he gets more off his you might have to use that some. Also, fishing with fsmash occasionally can be good, as it outranges his dtilt and shorthop fair. Otherwise, try to find gaps and nair in, etc. You can't take too many hits, but any damage on him is great. Use your mobility advantage, use pokes or jolts if you need to, and try to rack up damage. If you can get him to shield, great! His shield sucks, pressure it and try to shieldpoke. Also if you can trade your usmash with his dtilt/fair, then that's often a good trade for you. Really, trades in general aren't too bad in this matchup (which is rare).

    Combos:
    Normal mid-floaty combos on G&W. Rising uair->nair is fine enough, running nair->usmash, etc. You don't need to do a whole lot of damage to G&W before he gets into kill range, it's mostly just important to not give him breathing room, or get him offstage if possible. G&W does a decent job of keeping you out, so end your combos in a way that lets you stay in his face if you can.

    Killing:
    In this matchup, just kill him with whatever makes sense at the time. He's pretty light and a little floaty, so he can die off the side to a strong hit and also somewhat early to a usmash. His recovery covers a lot of vertical distance, but it's not particularly versatile, so edgeguarding him is effective as well. Just build up damage and stay in on him as much as you can, then finish him off with whatever you think is most likely to hit.

    Edgeguarding:
    Edgeguarding G&W can be a little intimidating at first, but he's actually pretty limited in his options. First thing to note is can defend himself decently offstage. Mostly with his exceptional fair (or sometimes bair), he can intercept your edgeguard if you jump off after him. If you're very predictable, he can even nair you (which hurts a ton). Fortunately, you have ways to pretty much cover anything he does regardless. If he hangs back (or is knocked far away) you can hang out on stage and either ftilt the ledge or just ledgehog (with proper invuln timing).

    What to watch out for:
    At low percent, you're mostly watching out for fair and grab. Fair is his big hitbox/damage/stayawayfromme move. He has other things to mix it up, but fair is often his best option. Respect it. Try to get around it, or rush in before it, don't contest it directly. He may also throw out (usually retreating) bairs. This is an attempt to catch your approach and put you in an awkward position where with no DI he can followup with fair, and with decent DI and a double jump you're "safe" but G&W ends up in a better spot on stage (below you). Just DI away, get back to the ground, and recoup. These will most likely be done to keep you out rather than to approach. If he does approach with fair or bair, you have options. Dashdancing away works fine, as you can get in with a usmash or (at worst) it will set up your nair pressure. Shield->oos option can also be ok.

    Recovering:
    Not a whole lot to recovering against G&W. If you don't sweetspot, then he can dtilt you easy (or plenty of nastier stuff), but sweetspotting should be easy enough. He doesn't have much to contest you offstage, just don't leave yourself open to him jumping off -> fair. It has some decent distance to it, but if he misses he's in a pretty awkward spot. Sausages can be kinda annoying offstage I suppose, but they're pretty slow and don't really get him much (unless you were already in a bad spot).

    Final Notes:
    G&W can feel like a pain to approach. He covers the space around him decently both in the air and on the ground. If you're getting hit by fair a lot, don't worry. That's most of his game, if you can focus on that while also abusing his weaknesses, you're good to go. His shield sucks, look for opportunities to shieldstab. He's light and somewhat floaty, fishing for usmash can be pretty decent. Calmly ftilt his recovery (or fsmash if he's not great at sweetspotting it), or chase him offstage (while respecting fair) and punish his few recovery options. DI away pretty much everything that won't kill you. Otherwise, respect his fair. It's like pretty good and stuff.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    You probably want platforms and a little space. I'd avoid Yoshis and probably FoD if possible. You mostly just want enough room to move around and not feel like his fair covers everywhere. If you're not feeling pressure, small stages might be ok because he'll die sooo fast. You just die quickly too. I'd try to strike to Battlefield or Dreamland, or FD in worst case. Counterpick to either PS, Dreamland, or Battlefield. Space to move around, survive hits, and recover (which he has difficulty doing against you) is good.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Ness - 65:35 - [MCH17]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Easily gimpable/punishable recovery
    +Few approach options
    +Short range on most things

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Has a few good kill options
    -Gimmicky! Can be difficult getting used to his movement/options

    General Strategy:
    Ness is an odd character. Being a character who can doublejump cancel (djc), his movements can be a little awkward and it's easy to run into his aerials if you're unaccustomed to it. Once you know what to expect from him, your main objective is to force him towards the edge where you're more threatening, and knock him out of his second jump whenever possible. There will be opportunities for this, as again he'll often be djcing his aerials, but Ness is a character you won't often want to trade with. His bair primarily will outprioritize you, do a lot of damage, and kill you fairly early. Getting hit by his uair or dair is also not pleasant, and fair is just hard to get through because of its duration and hitbox. If you do hit him out of his second jump, though, and get him offstage, his recovery is often very easily punished. So get him to get in the air (he'll often be there anyways, as his aerials are generally better than his grounded options), hit him out of his second jump, and finish him off for an early kill. Repeat till victory.

    Approaching:
    Now, obviously, Ness is not going to want to let you do any of the above. When I say he'll be in the air often, I mean he'll usually be doublejump cancelling aerials fairly close to the ground while moving in and out and occasionally throwing out other moves (fsmash, grab, etc.) if he thinks you'll approach where he can catch you with something. As always, it's important to know when and where you can get in. Let's go through what to look out for when approaching, and how to get around it. The first thing to note upfront is right after he lands from an aerial, there isn't much he can immediately do to protect himself. Fsmash is strong and reaches far (for Ness) in front of him, but it's a little slow and doesn't cover much above him. Utilt is decent for stopping aerial approaches, but it can still trade with your nair and doesn't cover in front of him (so you can run up and upsmash him if he guesses wrong on you jumping in). So if you space yourself out of his aerial and approach as he lands, he generally has three options: shield (and possibly roll/dodge), dash attack towards you, or jump back again and aerial again. If he shields, apply pressure. If he dash attacks, shield->grab or shield->usmash. If he tries to djc again it will often be slightly too slow and punishable if you space well enough. If he aerials in his first jump, it will come out slightly faster but commits him to the upward motion of the jump for the duration of the aerial, which means you can now dash under him which is exactly where he doesn't want you to be.

    In general, you'll want to approach Ness pretty cautiously, taking less risks than usual. His fair deals well with your nair approaches, and getting hit by any other of his aerials will hurt. Ness, however, has a bit of trouble approaching in this matchup. While his aerials have good priority, they are lacking in range. His grab range is as bad as yours, his projectiles are pretty lackluster, so he's mostly relying on his djc game and his dash attack to apply any pressure. He'll often be looking for you to overextend or approach recklessly, and punish you with a bair or bat to the face. Take your time in approaching, try to bait him into reacting prematurely to your approach, and then punish him or apply pressure and force him closer to the edge. If he shields, dash up and threaten to grab him, or usmash him if he thinks of dodging. If he jumps into the air again, dashdance outside of his aerial's range and move in to pressure him back. If he keeps moving backwards, he'll eventually reach the edge and have to approach or get around you. If he moves forward with an aerial it's easier for you to nair him or space him out and usmash/fsmash/ftilt as he lands. If he does nothing, then by all means jump in on him. Recognize when he wants to approach and when he's looking for you to approach and react accordingly. Don't be trying as often to get something started in this matchup, abuse Ness's limited options to apply pressure, control space, and force him to make the mistakes.

    Combos:
    Most of your 'combos' are going to come from catching Ness out of his second jump or threatening to do so if he tries to jump out of your combo. When he's in the air, his bair, nair, and fair all come out fairly quickly, but he doesn't have a good way to deal with you being directly below him. His dair is pretty slow and has a long duration, so it's pretty unreliable (but will still hit you if you aren't looking out for it). His second jump causes him to stay in the same spot for a few frames at the start before he moves upwards, so it's easy to hit him as he's trying to jump away. Uair juggling is perfectly fine in this matchup, especially if he doesn't have a jump, You can also chain nairs together fairly often. As long as you combo from slightly below him and are watching for him to aerial or airdodge, you can keep him in the air for a while and rack up some damage. Your primary goal, however, will be to get him off the edge.

    Killing:
    Kill him off the side. If he gets up to like 80%+ you can start looking for upsmash to kill, but it will be much easier to get him off the edge and not let him back.

    Edgeguarding:
    Pika eats Ness's recovery. In order to upB back towards the stage, Ness has to stay stationary for a couple seconds as he directs an orb of electricity in an arc around himself and ultimately propel him towards the stage. If he gets hit out of this or the orb hits anything else before hitting Ness, he's dead. This means you can either jump out and uair spike him as he's effectively stationary in the air or just run into the bolt of electricity before it gets back to ness, and then upB back. Since your upB distance is absurdly long, Ness can't upB far enough away from the stage that you're unable to get out and stop him and still make it back. If you don't have enough time to get to him, though, simply edgehogging at the right time will often kill him anyways (or force him to upB above the stage, where you can ledgehop a uair and send him back off again, or jump on the stage and grab->bthrow him off).

    If you knock him off and he still has his second jump (and is close enough to make it back with that alone), look for him to doublejump towards the stage and then airdodge whatever he expects your edgeguard to be. Simply waiting this out and then hitting him after it will often be enough to send him offstage where you can now prevent him from upBing back.

    What to watch out for:
    Aerials. Fair is a wall of "No". Bair comes out pretty quick and HURTS. Uair covers approaches from directly above him (which you won't often be doing anyways). Watch out for the occasional dash attack to come out as it will reach further than his other options. If he dashattacks your shield, though, usmash out of shield deals with that well. He won't often be going for grabs because his grabrange is as bad as yours, but if you're at high percentages he can kill you with a backthrow.

    The only other thing I should really note is the yo-yo glitch. First, it's important to understand that this particular glitch is difficult to set up and so situational that it will be very rare for you to see it actually done in a match. It will kill you if you don't know about it though. So, the yo-yo glitch occurs when Ness hits you with a particular single hitbox of his upsmash (where he throws a yo-yo out in front of him and then arcs it up and back over his head). When you're hit by only this particular hitbox it places a hitbox that stretches from where you were hit on the stage to Ness. This hitbox lasts until Ness 'recalls' it, or you walk over where you were initially hit. If Ness does any attack while this hitbox overlaps your character, you'll be hit by the attack regardless of how far away Ness actually is. Ness can also attack a move's hitbox to himself by landing as he's doing either uair, dair, or hitting himself with his upB. The next time your character comes in contact with Ness, you'll get hit as if that attack had hit you. Confusing? Yeah. What it effectively means is if you get hit by a single hitbox of his usmash and Ness starts trying to get around you, hit him asap and please kill him for being silly. If he does an aerial/upB as he lands soon afterwards, SHIELD when he comes up to you. Or get hit by it and pat him on the back, because the glitch is pretty silly.

    Recovering:
    There's not a whole lot to recovering against Ness. He can't really chase you off the edge, he doesn't have a hitbox to throw over the edge and prevent you from grabbing the edge (besides maybe a very well timed dair, which is just super awkward), and he doesn't have enough aerial mobility to really cover your upB options to the stage. Just go wherever he isn't and you should be ok.

    Final Notes:
    In this matchup Ness is mostly looking to wrack up damage with aerials, punish your approaches, and then finish you off with bthrow, bair, or fsmash. Approach cautiously, understand his movement options, and pressure him towards the edge. Once off the stage, he shouldn't get back often at all. Dash dance a lot, while watching out for his dashattack. Abuse his short range. Don't get yo-yo glitched (they LOVE pulling that off).

    Stage Counterpicks:
    To me, this is mostly up to preference. Smaller stages are scarier for both you and Ness, as he can kill you earlier, but he's also always closer to the edge and thus in danger himself. Stages with larger sides can be nice to give you the benefit of having a longer recovery that Ness won't himself be able to benefit much from.

    You know what, scratch that, counterpick Yoshi's Story and let Ness kill himself trying to recover with shyguys flying around.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Peach - 35:65 - [MCH18]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Dies early to usmash
    +Can avoid her edgeguard game
    +She's relatively slow

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Incredibly difficult to approach
    -Allaround good priority
    -Can damage and poke your shield easily

    General Strategy:
    Peach is a defensively strong character. She protects herself with turnips, a strong downsmash and dash attack, and high priority aerials from her float. If she catches you in your shield, she can also use these tools to apply immense pressure and threaten to poke or break it. Dealing with this is going to be a constant positioning battle. In order to come out ahead, you'll need to stay mobile and stay a step ahead of her. Use your speed to get in when you see an opening, hit with an aerial or two, and then force her into the air if it's an option, or just get out otherwise. You have tools to scare her, but they rely on finding exploitable openings to use. And if the Peach player is any good, these openings will be few and far between.

    Approaching:
    Peach is possibly one of the most difficult characters for Pikachu to approach. While floating, she can instantly nair or bair your approach, threaten you with a hard hitting fair, or throw a turnip if she has one in hand. On the ground she can dash attack to contest you, crouch cancel your aerial into a damaging dsmash, or relatively quickly get into a float and perform one of the previously mentioned options. Fortunately, committing to one of these options will leave an opening (thought pretty small) if it whiffs, so varying your approach timings will be quite useful to getting in. Be aware that the same isn't true if you shield her options, as she'll recover before you get out of shieldstun.

    What you want to try to do to get in is bait out a defensive option from her, and then get in while she's lagging or out of position. If you shield her dashattack, you can usmash her out of shield. If you can get her to whiff a dsmash or floatcancelled aerial, shorthop into her with a nair, or fsmash her from just out of range. The timing on punishing her aerials is really tight (or non-existant in some positions), so be careful. Make sure that when you do get in and punish, you're accounting for two things: her pretty low lag on aerials, and her ability to crouchcancel your aerials at lower percents and dsmash you. This makes your punish positioning and timing a little awkward, but doable. If you punish with an aerial, you want to start your shorthop pretty close to her so that if she crouchcancels it you'll land far enough away that she can't punish you. If you punish with fsmash, you want to make sure you start it pretty early (you'll have to predict more than react most times), so that she isn't able to shield it.

    Be patient, and use your patience to your advantage. If you rush in too much, Peach will throw out aerials and quick counter options to stop you. On the other end, if you don't approach often enough she'll feel comfortable pulling turnips, which makes things much more difficult. You can punish her as she pulls a turnip, however, if she gets too comfortable. As with all matchups, positioning will be key. You want to stay in the range just outside of her dash attack. From here you can dash towards her to fake an approach (and get her to whiff a defensive option as i mentioned earlier), dissuade her from pulling turnips by being able to get in quickly, but still outrange her immediate offensive options.

    Combos:
    Peach can be a little awkward to combo, but mostly because of the speed and hitbox of her nair. It's great for disrupting your combos, watch out for it. She's a little floaty but has a decently large hitbox so there's a little room to be creative. Uair->aerial works, Usmash->aerial works at lower percents, uthrow (if you somehow get a grab) can sometimes set up an aerial. You can also nair through her, and if she doesn't CC it, you can land a usmash at mid percents.

    Killing:
    Peach is susceptible to kills off the top and bottom of the stage. I'll cover killing her off the bottom in the edgeguarding section. Just know that if you knock her off the stage, she can recover from just about anything if you don't stop her.

    Killing off the top is sometimes more reliable. Peach is very light, but the difficulty will landing a usmash on her with her excellent defensive game (and that she'll be specifically looking out for your usmash). You can sometimes combo into it right after a shffl nair, but this is a little DI dependant. Otherwise, look to either beat/trade it with one of her float aerials, usmash out of shield if she dash attacks your shield, or catch her after she whiffs an attack.

    Edgeguarding:
    Her vertical recovery is pretty limited, so getting a good tailspike or two into ledgehog can take a stock. What she does have is an excellent horizontal recovery and the ability to stall and vary her recovery decently to mess with your edgeguard timing and spacing, or wait out your ledgehog invincibility. Her upB will also beat out about anything you try to stop it with (most ftilt distances, aerials, jolts, etc.). Additionally, if she's far above the stage when she's knocked off, she can float above your edgeguarding options (thunder will still reach her, but if she's watching out for it it's unlikely to land). This all makes edgeguarding her a little difficult, but rewarding if done right. Jolts can interfere with her floating back to the stage. You can also jump out and fish for uair spikes if she's far off the stage, as even if you miss, you can upB back to the ledge before she's able to float to it. Just be careful of her hitting you with an aerial as she floats forwards.

    What to watch out for:
    Most of what you need to watch out for is the priority and relative safety of her aerials, as well as her crouchcancel game. Don't be overly aggressive and try to rush in, watch for any openings and try to create opportunities by faking approaches. If she's playing aggressively, you can stop her approaches with usmash, or just dash away to recreate space. Relying on your shield in this matchup is pretty scary, but necessary at times. Use sparingly, rely more on your mobility for defense.

    Also be watching for her downsmash. It is notorious. If you're ever next to Peach, she can pretty safely dsmash. If you shield it, it will eat your shield or possibly shieldpoke you (after sufficiently eating your shield). If you get hit by it, it can rack up decent damage. The best way to deal with it, if you think you're going to get dsmashed, is to start DIing up. This will likely get you out of it after the first hit, minimizing the damage and keeping your shield healthy. Never ever crouch cancel it, you'll make pikachu cry.

    Turnips are also an issue. If you are able to close the distance as she pulls one, then that's a fine opportunity to do so. When she already has one, though, it can help her either get in or keep you out, and there's not a lot you can do about it other than trying to avoid it. You can catch it if you feel confident doing so, but honestly Pikachu doesn't benefit much from holding a turnip, so it's usually not a big loss for Peach. Of course, also be very weary of the special turnip pulls, stitchfaces, bobombs, etc. They hurt.

    As a last note, if Peach is on a platform, it's tempting to jump at her with an aerial. Don't. She can catch you with dsmash, and because you're coming from below it's going to deal a good chunk of damage. If you really want to hit her, short hop uairs below her so they skim her skirt and your hurtbox doesn't actually get close enough to be caught by her dsmash.

    Recovering:
    As long as you know what to look out for, recovering against Peach is generally pretty easy. She'll do one of three things. She'll either stay on the stage and throw turnips at you, hover right above the ledge, or float out and try to intercept your recovery with an aerial. The first is pretty easy, if a bit annoying, to deal with. Just dodge turnips with your fastfall, double jump, and changing your fall angle. Then sweetspot the ledge. If she's floating near the ledge, then she's leaving open the options to try to intercept you with an aerial, or drop down and ledgehog. In this case, it can be a bit of a guessing game, but if you want to be safe just recover above her and as far in as you can. She won't be able to punish you with much, if anything. If she comes out to try to hit you with an aerial, just hold back and upB around her.

    Final Notes:
    Most of this match will be using your mobility to maintain the spacing you want, and then looking for small openings to get in, before you take too much damage in the process. Patience will be key. If you give her too much space, she'll throw turnips at you all day. If you let her get in too close, she'll pressure you with dsmash, aerials, and grabs. Your are faster than her, however, so it's up to you to maintain the spacing you need.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Avoid Dreamland, Peach lives way too long there. Small stages like Yoshis Island and Fountain of Dreams are fine, just recognize that maintaining that ideal distance can be more difficult, and she can cover a lot of the stage with her dsmash and aerials. Pokemon Stadium is probably your best bet if she doesn't ban it. The low ceiling allows for early usmash kills, and the transformations generally help you more than they do her.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Pichu - 70:30 - [MCH19]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Better killing power
    +Slightly better range
    +Pichu is easy to techchase

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Pichu is a small target
    -Difficult to edgeguard

    General Strategy:
    This is likely to be a pretty fast-paced frantic match. Pichu and Pikachu obviously have a number of things in common, but most notable will be their mobility and need to get right in on top of their opponent to do damage. This means a couple of things for you. First, you don’t have to worry so much about projectiles or spaced stilts/aerials keeping you out. Pichu is going to want to get in, probably with a nair or some quick attack shenanigans, and get momentum going for him. Knowing this, you can kind of wait for it or play a little more of a spacing game than you’re used to, and try to beat out his approaches with uair or trade with usmash or other hard hitters. For once, Pikachu actually comes out ahead most often in trades, so don’t be afraid to contest things. The other thing to note is that momentum can be pretty important in this match. Both Pikachu’s and Pichus techrolls are awful, they both have pretty poor shields, and relatively weak defensive options in general. Getting a hit may not lead to a combo, but it can definitely lead to techchases and general heavy pressure options.

    Approaching:
    Pichu doesn’t have a lot to defend himself with. He can dash out of the way or try to beat your approach with a nair, but as long as you’re careful to not be too predictable with your approaches, you should be fine. If he contests you with a move, you’ll usually be fine with taking a trade. If he successfully dodges and is able to punish your whiff, then it’s likely you were either too predictable or spaced things poorly. Be mindful of his runspeed and size when approaching, the biggest thing is going to be just catching him. Nair and fair are pretty good for this, as they come out pretty quickly and can be used for decent reach. Jolt is also ok to use as it at least limits where Pichu can be, making him easier to hit.

    Combos:
    Once you get that hit, keep on him and get what damage out of combos you can. Pichu can be kind of awkward to combo, due to his relatively light weight and tiny body size. You can still treat him like any relatively mid-floaty char and get stuff like rising uair -> nair or late nair -> nair/usmash. Uthrow will lead to at least uair, and more likely nair or bair. Dthrow will often force tech options at lower percents, and Pichu’s tech is terrible enough that you can usually follow and get another grab or usmash on him with decent reactions. The important thing is to rack up damage in about any way you can, because he reaches kill percent pretty quickly.

    Killing:
    Because of Pichu’s relatively light weight and excellent recovery, you’re often going to want to try to kill him off the top. Usmash->thunder works at around 65-75% on most stages. If he gets much higher than that, aerials and fsmash will start outright killing him off the side, so don’t worry too much if you can’t land that mid-percent usmash. The best way to set this up is to either force Pichu to tech and punish, or try to bait out a smash of his (usmash or dsmash) and dash in after for the jc usmash. You can also usmash straight out of shield if he aerials your shield, so don’t forget that option.

    Edgeguarding:
    Pichu has at least as good of a recovery as Pikachu, so edgeguarding him is often a very difficult task. Uair spiking him limits his recovery options, but unlike most characters he can still recover after an offstage uair. You want to limit his recovery by throwing out jolts, ledgehogging to remove the ledge as an option, and all your normal stuff, but know that he can often recover to a platform or much further than other characters. You kinda have to just watch how he’s recovering and see what options he’s leaving for himself (and which ones you leave him), then predict what he will do. Chasing him off the edge is rarely a good idea, as he has a lot of leniency in his recovery and can almost always avoid your edgeguard on reaction and get around you.

    What to watch out for:
    Pichu is quick, and while he has to wait a little longer to kill you than vice versa, he still can punish many of your whiffs and rack up the damage needed to kill you. What you’ll mainly be watching out for are his nairs out of quick short hops towards you, and his quick smashes. Pichu can cover a pretty large range relatively quickly, so you have to react to it fast. Your uair can beat his nair, but you can also trade with it with your own nair, usmash, sometimes dsmash, or almost anything given prediction. As I’ve said, trading is usually advantageous to you, especially if you’re already ahead. His smashes can also be pretty decent, since you have to get on top of him to do damage as well. His usmash will beat or trade with a lot of your approaches, and his dsmash has surprising horizontal range. You need to give these some respect, you can’t just approach half hazardly and expect him to have nothing to stop you with, but they’re still relatively short range and if you can bait either out from him, it’s a relatively easy punish.

    Recovering:
    Pichu doesn’t have much in the way of edgeguarding, so as long as you’re tight he shouldn’t really be able to stop you from getting back. If he’s ledgeguarding, try to get to a platform is possible, as his worst punish of that is probably a nair. If he’s hanging out on the stage, you’re pretty safe to upB to the ledge, and as long as you sweetspot it at a downward angle, he can’t catch you with anything. If you don’t sweetspot though, you’ll probably get fsmashed. Just watch where he is, recover to where he isn’t, and there’s not much he can punish you with that’s worth worrying about.

    Final Notes:
    Respect his speed and mobility while abusing your slight range advantage, don’t be afraid to trade hits, and be looking for usmash or fsmash once he gets to kill range, and you should do ok. If you’re having trouble hitting him, feel free to use some moves with decently large hitboxes (for Pikachu at least) to catch him and slow him down, like uair, fair, dair, dsmash, etc. You want him to stop moving and either shield or be forced to trade hits, ultimately leading to the momentum being in your advantage.

    Stage counterpicks:
    Many of the stages Pikachu likes, Pichu likes as well, so it’s fine to just go where you’re most comfortable. Your usmash is a little better than his, so you can consider some low-ceiling stages like Pokemon Stadium or Yoshi’s Story, just know that a lower ceiling for you means a lower ceiling for him as well, so make it count.

    [/COLLAPSE]
    Pikachu - 50:50 - [MCH20]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Pika
    +Pikachu

    Disadvantages:
    -Pikapi

    General Strategy:
    The matchup is unfortunately no a particularly interesting or (imo) fun one. Despite you both being awesome individuals for playing pikachu, you don't get to show off many sweet combos or slick edgeguards. Pikachu's main tools don't work particularly well on Pikachu, so it turns into just a slugfest. The main gameplay revolves around controlling tempo with uair and nair, or favorably trading their uair/nair with your usmash/fsmash/dair. Accumulate damage with solid hits and short juggles while avoiding damage yourself, then look for that strong hit (likely with usmash) to kill. Gimping pika is pretty rare, and edgeguarding him is difficult at best. Stay mobile, be patient, and focus on every interaction. You just want to come out ahead on damage.

    Approaching:
    Approaching pikachu is a bit of a dance. You're both very mobile, so a good way to make approaching easier is to ensure you have more space to work with than your opponent. Nair is good because of the space it covers, and it will knock them offstage or at least away from the middle, giving you stage control. Dash up options (grab/usmash) are more viable the less space he has to run away. As well, taking away his space can incentivize Pikachu to try jumping over you to get more space. If he does this, harasss him with uairs, stay below him. Threaten the sapce in front of him, look for any opportunity to get a positional advantage, then try to be ready when he feels caged and either comes at you or tries to get around you.

    Combos:
    Pika is awkward to combo. He's a little light and pretty small, so catching up to him after a hit can be tough. Focus on strong hits and good exchanges. Low percent usmash->usmash can work. Uair->aerial is decent (try to connect dair or bair if possible). You just want damage. As you know, pika can die outright fairly early, so focus on damaging your opponent, positional advantage is a little less important. Another thing worth noting is pikachu's poor techroll. Knock him down (nairs are fine, or uair spikes into the stage) or get him to tech on a platform, then try to follow and punish.

    Killing:
    You're looking to kill Pikachu outright. Edgeguarding him is a pain. Off the top and off the side kills are both viable. Usmash will provide the earliest kills, but you can't easily combo into it, and trying to land raw usmash on a mobile Pikachu is risky. Fsmash and dair/bair (eventually strong-hit nair) will kill and are easier to land, but you will need to rack up more damage first. Look for opportunities for early usmash kills, but don't let it limit your chances to do more damage.

    Edgeguarding:
    Pikachu as you know has a great recovery. Chasing him offstage rarely amounts to much, but you can still limit his options. Ledgehogging forces him to recover to the stage, and you're still quick enough to maybe be able to punish that. Downangled ftilt also prevents non-sweetspot recoveries. Generally though, don't expect to excel at edgeguarding him, just try to make it difficult/risky, and then control the stage and limit his options from the ledge.

    What to watch out for:
    Watch out for pretty much everything I've told you to do so far. Usmash and fsmash are scary. Don't be above Pikachu. Stay mobile, try to not get cornered. Avoid bad trades.

    Recovering:
    Just sweetspot or go to the stage. If Pikachu thinks he can chase you offstage like he does other characters, upB around him and take stage control.

    Final Notes:
    With proper DI (usually up/away) Pikachu has a difficult time comboing you, and your excellent recovery makes gimps difficult. Focus on racking up more damage than your opponent, look for usmash kills, and try to avoid your opponent doing the same to you.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Go with whatever you're comfortable with.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Roy - 60:40 - [MCH21]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +Poor recovery
    +Few punishment options
    +Mobility advantage

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Good range
    -Potentially strong KO power

    General Strategy:
    First I should mention, the advantages/disadvantages above is a little misleading, as it was kind of difficult for me to bulletpoint it. Roy has the range advantage on you. The problem for him is he can't actually do a lot with this range. He mainly wants to keep you out, which won't work forever, and unlike most other characters he has a difficult (if even possible) time converting from stray hits into actual damage on you. He'll get the most value out of his grab range (which is excellent) and dtilt (which sets up short combos). Otherwise, he can't expect to get much off hits if you DI away on pretty much anything else.

    Next, the 'potentially stong KO power' basically just means if he gets a close-range fsmash on you you can still die super early. The thing is, though, that's about all he has that kills, and he has difficulty actually setting it up. None of his aerials have particularly strong knockback, nor his tilts, so his KO moves are effectively fsmash (tough to land), dsmash (easily punishable if shielded/dodged), and third hit of his overB (you shouldn't get hit by this). Roy is relying on mixups, hard reads, and/or you messing up to land kills.

    Now that we're past that, the matchup itself is as you'd probably expect from the previous paragraphs. Roy wants to keep you out until he hits a weak aerial or gets a grab or a dtilt, then wants to stay on you and look for an opportunity to fsmash/dsmash you. He only wants to be close when he is at an advantage. You, however, want to approach on your terms, and similarly make sure Roy can't get away while you look for a usmash or option->edgeguarding opportunity.

    Approaching:
    The main thing which will give you difficulty approaching Roy is his CC game. He can CC dtilt or CC grab you. Dtilt sets up all he wants. He generally won't get much damage off of it, but most often he will dtilt->uair and stay below you, threatening more uairs to juggle. Roy wants to stay below you, uair beats your everything, and as long as you're in the air above him he doesn't have to worry nearly as much about your approach. If you end up above him, focus on getting down, avoiding uairs/fairs/utilt/etc. Just get away and on level ground. His CC->grab (or just normal grab as you rush in) also puts him at advantage. His followups off throw depend on your DI, but it's kind of a guessing game. You want to DI away, but his mixup is fthrow or bthrow. If you guess wrong (and end up DIing towards him because you thought he'd bthrow when he fthrew) then he can regrab or dtilt (which puts you in the previous situation). Just do your best to guess, then doublejump away.

    So what's useful for combatting his CC? A few things. Occasional jolts can be ok. He can cancel them with his sword, but you can approach with the jolt and unlike Marth if he eats the jolt with an ftilt/fair and still hits you, the ftilt/fair is going to do like 6% damage at the tip and lead into nothing, so you can take the risk. Downairs are also decent at breaking CCs at mid percents. Empty jumping in and doing an immediate rising uair is also good, it will break CCs and lead to combos. Run up grab is a strong option too. Run up usmash, dash dance fsmash, also both good options. You want to hit him hard or grab him. You can still nair some to keep him honest, and it isn't too risky as his punishes usually aren't that great.

    Combos:
    Roy's not too difficult to combo. Direct combos aren't too necessary on him, you mostly want to just juggle him. Roy does not like being in the air for very long. His aerials are pretty bad for avoiding being juggled, his doublejump doesn't go very far, and he should honestly be terrified of being uair spiked (especially if he doesn't have his jump). You want to focus on getting him in the air, with a rising uair, usmash, uthrow, etc, and then don't let him down. More rising uairs are good, nairing with him is good. Pressure him and try to get him to double jump, that is what you are looking for. Once he's double jumped, do absolutely whatever you can to knock him offstage. Uair spike, nair, even bair, whatever you can. Roy's recovery is one of if not the worst in the game.

    Killing:
    As mentioned, Roy dies pretty easily to edgeguarding. He's about middle of the pack in weight, so knocking him offstage isn't incredibly difficult either. Look for opportunities to, they will often result in quick kills. If damage keeps building up, usmash becomes an option as well. Roy has a fairly high fall speed, though, so usmash probably won't kill until around 85-90% before the usmash on most stages. And getting that close to him can be a little risky. So, mostly, try to get him in the air, then offstage, then edgeguard.

    Edgeguarding:
    Roy's recovery is pretty pitiful. Usually edgeguarding him is as simple as ledgehogging, due to his fallspeed and fairly short upB. If you get your ledge invuln timing right (which isn't toooo tough) he's likely to be dead. He doesn't have much to mixup his recovery as forwardB doesn't stall him much at all. If he can actually get back to the stage, you have to do a little guessing occasionally, but it's often fine to just jump up from the ledge once he lands on stage and bair/nair him off (if you can get to the other side of him) or grab->bthrow him and repeat. You can also chase him offstage with an aerial instead, since he doesn't have much ability to avoid you, and any aerial you hit with offstage will kill him. Getting him offstage can be someone difficult, but once he's out there it should be pretty straight forward keeping him there.

    What to watch out for:
    Although Roy is considered to lack killing power and decent offensive options, don't underestimate him as he can get in and kill you quickly if you aren't paying attention. His fsmash and dsmash are "hard to land" not "impossible to land", so keep vigilent. DI his combos away and don't panic if he gets next to you, you don't want to downdodge or try to jump away and eat a hilted fsmash to the face. His grab range is huge, and although he doesn't get anything guaranteed from it, it is damage and he gets a mixup off of it. DED, his overB, can also trip you up, slowing you down and letting Roy get the dtilt/grab/uair pressure that he wants. Just make sure to be a little careful when you're approaching him, and get away and reset if you get tripped up. You only want to be close to Roy when he's in hitstun.

    Recovering:
    Not too much to say about recovering against Roy. Sweetspot the ledge, or go onstage if he's ledgehogging. He doesn't really have great options from the ledge, but you still have to shield/downdodge as soon as you can if he tried to waveland on and fsmash when you go to the stage. Otherwise, just follow those two things and you should be fine.

    Final Notes:
    You want Roy in the air. Stay away from as best you can until you get an opportunity to put him in the air. Then keep him there. Rack up damage, knock him offstage, edgeguard safely. Play safe, take your time, repeat. Watch out for the big hitters in fsmash and dsmash, and DI everything else away. Slow and steady is fine here, you're playing opportunistic.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Large stages like Dreamland and Stadium are your friend. Having space to run is great, and Roy is dead as soon as he's off the edge anyways, whereas you can live that much longer. Avoid small stages like Yoshis and FoD for similar reasons.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Samus - 45:55 - [MCH22]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Gimpable recovery
    +Early off-the-top KOs

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Strong ground game
    -Difficult to pressure safely

    General Strategy:
    The main difficulty you're likely to have against Samus is dealing with her CC and other deensive options. Her main plan against you will be to missle if she has space, stay grounded and poke at you if you're fairly close, and CC->option or shield->upB if she expects/reacts to your approach. her missle game means you need to approach her at some point, sooner rather than later. Once you're in, as with most matches, it's crucial to not let her get space. If she gets a little room that's fine, especially if she's in the air, but try not to give her enough that she feels comfortable throwing out more missles. Getting in on Samus, however, requires a bit of finesse.

    Approaching:
    I mentioned Samus's CC game is strong, because it is. She is pretty heavy, and CC->dsmash or CC->fsmash are both viable options that hurt. She's not particularly fast, her roll is atrocious, and her aerials aren't particularly great (especially combined with her floaty jump), so she has to rely on CC and/or intercepting you with tilts/smashes for defense. Approaching Samus is difficult, and really it is what you should focus most of your effort on figuring out, because it is vital to your success. So then, what works? Nair can still be ok, but you have to be smart about it. Aim to not land anywhere near her with nair, try to pass through the top of her hurtbox/shield with it, this will keep you safe from upB oos and her options out of CC. Watch out for her wd towards where you land to catch you with a smash/tilt as you try to jump/dash away, just shield->rising uair if she does this.

    If your nair actually connects and she doesn't CC it, it may be a little tough to follow up but you'll have the opportunity to keep her pressured and hopefully in the air. Otherwise, dair, uair, and dsmash all work well against her CC. Grab of course also works if she starts relying on it too much and doesn't react to you dashing in. Once she gets to fairly high percents your strong-hit nair will also break her CC, so keep that in mind. I would advise against tilt/smash (besides dsmash) on the ground until she's at higher percent, and even then it's risky because her ftilt and fsmash will often straight out beat it.

    Combos:
    This is another matchup where keeping her in the air is probably more important than getting guaranteed damage. She does have some threats, though, so it can be a bit trickier than some characters. Her dair is a little slow, but it has a good hitbox and damage, and will stop your pressure (and set up her own followup if it hits you while you're grounded). Her nair is quick and covers a decent area (but your uair should beat it from below) and she can fastfall it to try to make her descent safe. She can also bomb to shrink her hurtbox temporarily while producting a (somewhat minor) threat. There's a little guesswork on your end, but luckily you have better odds than her. Your uair will beat nair and dair (unless you're late with it) and will often trade with bomb. You can also just stay where threaten uair and fairly easily avoid dair and bomb on reaction and get a punish in their lag. Avoiding/punishing nair is a little more difficult but still doable sometimes. Punishes you are looking for are nairs/uairs that will send her offstage, or usmash (oos if need be) or fsmash.

    Killing:
    You're most likely to kill her off a usmash or edgeguarding sequence. Off-the-top kills are viable because of how floaty she is, and will get the job done a lot lot sooner than off-the-side KOs. Usmashing her on the ground can be difficult and risky, but if you can get her in the air as described in the previous section and make her feel the need to get back to the ground, you'll often find opportunities to dodge her option and dash back in for a usmash, or at worst trade with it as she comes down.

    Edgeguarding:
    Killing her outright off the side is unlikely (but possible if you just can't get other options to work), but fortunately you edgeguard Samus particularly well. Your best friend in this endeavor is jolt. Jolts wreck her normal bombjump recovery, can interrupt her grapple, and can also hug the stage and intercept her grapple-retraction. Whenever she's more than a little offstage, throw jolts. Get as much height as you think you need via jumps and platforms and try to send the jolts out so they will intercept her, and just keep throwing them. If they hit her, great. If they hit a bomb, great, that prevents her from gaining any distance from it. If she airdodges up/forward and grapples only to get hit by a jolt, great. Jolt makes Samus's normal recovery options a lot less useful (and a bit risky honestly) and reduces her to just double-jump and upB most of the time. Ftilt beats sweetspot upB. Fsmash beats non-sweetspot upB (which can happen given the amount of issues your jolts should be giving her positioning during recovery). You can also just ledgehog->ledgeroll her upB after removing her grapple as an option. Jolts are borderline unfair against Samus's recovery, abuse them and then respond appropriately to her remaining options.

    What to watch out for:
    Your main two liabilities in this matchup are Samus's strong CC game and your crummy shield. We talked bout some ways to get around her CCs, but there's not much you can do to get a better shield. Samus likes to stay grounded and poke shields with jabs, ftilts, and utilts before dsmash or fsmashing and potentially shieldpoking the remains of your already tiny shield. You're going to have to shield things in this matchup, but try to keep those situations to a minimum, and remember you do have lightshield. Keep constant track of how strong your shield is, you may have to back off and throw jolts/dodge missles for a bit if it gets too low. Just keep in mind, then, that missles can shieldpoke too, and this is especially threatening at higher percents. Otherwise, it's important to note she has a grapple grab which is a little slow (and pretty laggy) but has good range. You should be trying to avoid shielding things anyways, so hopefully this isn't much of an issue. If you're getting grabbed, you're probably staying on the ground too much. Her upB oos is also pretty strong. It's not too threatening, but it can beat out your usual shield pressure (aerial->rising uair) while tacking on a little damage and being somewhat difficult to punish. It also shieldpokes pretty easily, but shielding/dodging it and trying to hit her as she lands is your best response. Lastly, be mindful of her chargeshot. You're a little small, so not super easy to hit with it, but it does do good damage and knockback. You don't have to play super defensive around it, but recognize when she has it and when there's openings to throw it out, and try to always have a plan of avoiding it. You may have to approach your pressure a little bit differently, but don't let it completely shut down your playstyle. If you get hit, you get hit, but you still need to stick to the game plan.

    Recovering:
    The biggest threat Samus has against your recovery is missles. Specifically, be very careful where/when you overB offstage, as missles beat it free and will likely kill you. To a lesser extent, be careful on your upB angle so it won't intercept missles either. Getting to the edge/stage shouldn't be too difficult. She'll likely opt to utilt or edgehog. If you sweetspot correctly, utilt won't hit. As usual, if the edge isn't open, you want to get as far in to the stage as possible, or better yet to a platform. If you land onstage watch out for her waveland onstage->dsmash which will send you back offstage. DI accordingly if you can't shield/avoid it. If you do get to the ledge, watch for missles and her utilt/ftilt/fsmash to try to prevent you from getting back onstage. Try to shield or dodge them, go over her if you have to, use some ledge-invuln if you can, find the gaps.

    Final Notes:
    Get around CCs, hit her hard or in ways that are un-CCable. Don't rely too much on your shield, but recognize it as an occasional option. Don't give her too much space, and be ready to deal with missles if you do. Keep her in the air when possible. Look for opportunities to land usmash at 70%+. If she ever ends up offstage, impede her recovery with jolts, take away her options, then cover the edge. Be careful during your recovery. Focus on control, don't over-extend or under-pressure her. Be just out of reach but close enough to strike.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Stages against Samus kind of depend on what you're having trouble with, but you probably want to avoid small stages. You just die too fast on Yoshis and FoD, and your edgeguarding proficiency doesn't come into play as much there. Pokemon Stadium is good if you can get opportunities to upsmash somewhat often. Just know that she can get some scary missle cancelling going with the platforms if you give her enough space. Final Destination is also ok, but it can make avoiding missles more difficult while giving Samus even less reason to be in the air. Dreamland is decent if you really want the space and survivability, but know that you'll likely have to rely on edgeguarding more than off-the-top kills.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Sheik - 20:80 - [MCH23]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Can punish her limited recovery

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Range disadvantage
    -Chainthrow
    -Decent cc game

    General Strategy:
    This is considered one of Pikachu's worst matchups, but it's entirely doable. you just need to follow this mantra: Don't Get Grabbed. Getting grabbed once is bad, twice is a list stock. Even without the chainthrow, Sheik can rack up a good 40% off one grab, ending in fair (which can kill as early as 70%). Don't get grabbed.

    There are a number of ways she is going to try to grab you. first worst mentioning is trying to get you in your shield. She can accomplish this with her strong tilts, short hop fairs, needles, and threat of dash attack. The best thing you can do to avoid this is always have a plan when approaching her and don't put yourself in a situation where shielding is your only option. Second way is to trip you up with jab, needles, and ftilt. This can lead directly to a grab, or just put you on awkward footing so that you miss your inputs or panic roll/dodge or just can't figure out how to get away in time before her grab comes out. Try to avoid these, and be ready to try and jump or dash away if they connect/get shielded. Third, she can just dash up and grab. Recognize this as an option. Downdodging it leads to the most punishment options, but is also risky. Dashing away works if you dash away soon enough. Mostly, just try not to remain in a spot where she can dash grab you for very long at all. And lastly, she can shieldgrab you. Make sure your pressure is safe, don't get shieldgrabbed.

    When you're not focusing on not getting grabbed, you'll be looking for opportunities to get your offense going. Pikachu has a tough time getting in on Sheik, but his punish game is actually pretty good in this matchup. She'll be trying to keep you out with ftilts, fairs, bairs, needles, dsmash, and threat of grab. That's a lot of stuff, but none of it (except long range needles) is actually safe.

    Approaching:
    So how do you get through all that stuff? Find the gaps, as usual, and space well. Her ftilt is probably the most difficult to punish, but you can still get in with a nair between the gaps with a nair, or outspace it with dtilt or fsmash. Also it means she's stuck in one place. Dash away -> dash back can be good against fair and dash attack approaches. Dashing forward just as shejumps can work as well (but requires a bit of prediction) as you can usmash or rising uair. You can also full hop and come down with a nair, which is a little more awkward for shiek to deal with on reaction. Shielding occasionally is also ok, if a bit risky. It works especially well if you've demonstrated that you can dash away -> dash back punish, so sheik will feel like she has to reach a little further to catch you, where you shield and either grab or usmash oos her.

    Getting in on sheik will require some of this bait-and-switching. You want to train her into thinking you favor one line of defense, and then mix it up and punish her for it. If she doesn't extend, dash dance punish her (with either dash up grab/usmash or shffl in). If she does, shield/dodge it and punish her. If she doesn't approach, dashdance and threaten nair. You want to stay mobile, recognize when you're in danger, and react to sheik's movements. Sheik doesn't want you to be mobile, it forces her to make guesses on when you'll come in, and her safer options to keep you out don't net her much. She wants to corner you, control your options, and lead to that grab or ftilt that results in big damage.

    Combos:
    Sheik is actually a decent weight for some simple combos, especially with the size of her character model. Nair->usmash works. Rising uair -> nair/bair/dair works. Usmash->usmash works at low percents. Uthrow -> aerial works. Her tech is also not super great, so techchase grabs are an option. In the air she can bair/fair/uair if she's let out of stun, so make sure to be tight with your strings. End the combo with a strong hit or a uair spike to send her offstage.

    Killing:
    Both usmash kills and edgeguards are good options in this matchup. Sheik's recovery is a little tricky, but it's not actually that great. You want to send her offstage, take the ledge, and punish her when she's forced to upB to the stage. If this doesn't work out, at higher percents start looking for usmash (probably out of a techchase).

    Edgeguarding:
    You have many options while edgeguarding sheik. She doesn't have any tools to stall her recovery, but her upB does have invuln frames and she can be somewhat maneauverable with it. As well, she can pretty safely protect herself with fair/bair while recovering, or throw needles at the ledge if she's high enough. Your objective, however, is to hit her far enough offstage that she is forced to use upB, so you may have to chase her off with an aerial to make this happen. She doesn't want to have to rely on upB, as you can punish it pretty hard. Time your ledgegrab so that you can stay invulnerable for the duration of her upB (to avoid getting hit by the 'poof' hitbox) and take away the ledge as an option. If she has to upB to the stage she has considerable landing lag, where you can waveland back onstage and punish her with usmash (if she's high enough % to kill), aerial her (making sure to send her offstage again), or grab->bthrow. Repeat as best you can until she is dead.

    What to watch out for:
    There is a lot. Grabs, of course, are your biggest concern. Don't get grabbed. Ftilt is also scary, because it leads to damage, but it's risky for her as well (just nair her after). Fair and bair are pretty good for walling you out, just be patient and look for a way in. Needles can be a big issue too. Long range needles aren't too bad (the damage will add up quick though), but the close range ones are scary. Dropping down with angled needles sets up a lot for her. If you can't avoid them, you're forced to shield as she approaches (you can downdodge 1 or maybe 2, but if she has any more stocked you will get clipped at the end of your downdodge) which then puts you in a horrible situation. You immediately have to decide if you want to downdodge, roll, or counter with a grab/usmash oos. IF she's slow, grab/usmash will connect, but if not they'll get stuffed (usually by her grab). Downdodge/roll are obviously both risky, but you don't have great options from that situation. If she has needles stocked, be very weary of her using them to approach in this way. Just try not to be at that angle from her, you have no positional advantage there. Dash forward looking for pressure, or dash away and reposition. Lastly, recognize dsmash as an option for her. It has a good hitbox, will do work on your shield if you try to shield it, likely catch your downdodges, and is kind of awkard to punish (especially out of shield). If it whiffs though, you can punish with fsmash or a dash in grab/usmash (but the timing is pretty tight).

    Recovering:
    Pretty standard recovery here. Needles are a little scary, but they won't often lead to much, they just mess up your positioning. Be careful about her chasing you offstage with aerials. It's a little risky for her, but her bair has good reach, and either it or fair will kill you. Just stay back a bit out of range if you see her come out after you. You can either try to upB around her, or wait for her to have to get back to the stage (likely before you especially if you save your second jump as you should) and then recover as she does. She might be able to get a punish on you onstage, but you also might survive instead of eating an offstage aerial.

    Final Notes:
    Don't get grabbed. Stay mobile, you're most threatening to Sheik when you're moving around and threatening to come in. Watch for her aerials, watch for needle approaches, and see if you can find a way to get in. Make sure your punish game is tight, any mistake will lead to you getting grabbed or knocked away. You want to make the most of every time you're in, sheik won't give you many opportunities and you can be damn sure she's going to punish you hard when she gets in on her terms. Bait her to overextend trying to catch you, then punish her for it. Abuse her recovery, hog the ledge and send her back offstage over and over until she's dead. Chase her offstage if you need to, but be weary of her aerials. Be a little careful while recovering yourself. Just, mostly, stay mobile and don't get grabbed.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Final Destination is gone, never ever go there ever. Yoshis is probably the next worst, as you don't have much room to work with, but it also means it's easier to get Sheik offstage and potentially lead to edgeguards. It makes the match higher risk/reward. Dreamland could be good, but there's the potential for being grabbed in the middle of the stage, which hurts. Personally, I like FoD or Stadium for counterpicks. The platforms on FoD help with chainthrows, and it's a little small but you still should have room to move. Stadium is roomy and has its low ceiling, and the transformations can be beneficial as well (just be careful chasing sheik around them, she is good at denying areas).
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Yoshi - 55:45 - [MCH24]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Gimpable recovery
    +Limited options

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Can get out of juggles & pressure
    -Hits hard

    General Strategy:
    Yoshi is kind of a weird character if you're not used to fighting him. He has tools that no-one else in the cast does, and it can be jarring if you're not ready for them. He also has a few glaring weaknesses, and the majority of your strategy will revolve around taking advantage of these. We'll cover the weaknesses first. He effectively doesn't have an upB. This means if you tailspike him (or otherwise hit him offstage) after his second jump, he is dead. This is the main thing you want to be looking out for, though decent Yoshis will give you few opportunities to take advantage of this. To counteract this weakness, Yoshi has superarmor on his second jump, meaning he can take a hit (unless it is particularly strong) and it won't interrupt his jump. He will generally use this to take the damage of your attack and then immediately nair you, which works as a trade damage-wise but will put him in a better position (since he won't suffer any knockback and you will). Be careful of this in the air. Yoshi doesn't mind trading with you, he's pretty haeavy and you're not.

    Yoshi also can't jump out of his shield. Once he's in his shield, he can either drop it normally (a little slow and limiting), grab, or roll away. To somewhat compensate for this, he can't be shieldstabbed. His shield will break like everyone else's if it blocks enough hits or is out too long, but it doesn't shrink before then. As such, there's little point trying to shieldpoke or catch him trying to do something out of shield. He is still grabbable, and your pressure itself shouuld be pretty safe. Just watch for his shieldgrabs and try to predict his rolls to get grabs yourself.

    Lastly, I will briefly talk about parrying, which is specific to Yoshi. With perfect timing, while Yoshi is on the ground, he can completely negate an attack of yours and likely counterattack you while your move is still out/lagging. This requires frame-perfect timing on Yoshi's part, and will result in him getting hit or stuck in his shield if he mistimes it. If you're getting parried a lot, you're being too predictable with your approaches.

    Approaching:
    Approaching Yoshi is actually a little scary. His options are a bit limited, but they're fairly effective. His ftilt is deceptively large and can semi-wall you out. CC->dtilt is a good option on the ground for him. He can doublejump nair you using his superarmor. His fsmash is similar to yours (reels back then hits hard), so wd back fsmash can catch yoour undershot nairs. His shield is limited, but he can still shieldgrab. And, lastly, he can parry you if he predicts correctly.

    You'll want to mix up aerial and grounded approaches a lot. Your shffl nair is still your quickest way in (and thus hardest to react to) but you won't likely be relying on it much. If he gets comfortable CCing it or shielding it, start jc grabbing him instead. If he tries to stop you with ftilt, dtilt, or fsmash, you can come down on him at a steeper angle (with a dair or nair), or stop short and fsmash him instead. If he's relying on doublejump superarmor for good trades, try to either bait it out (then juggle him offstage) or hit with a multi-hit move like dsmash. If you see the opportunity

    Combos:
    Comboing or juggling Yoshi is pretty necessary. The main one single solitary thing you need to be mindful of when comboing Yoshi is he can doublejump nair at any time that he's out of hitstun to absorb your hit with superarmor and knock you away. This immediately ends your advantageous position and likely gives Yoshi stage control. You want to avoid giving him this opportunity. Get a feel for how much hitstun your moves do, and try to be out of reach of his nair when this ends. You can still be close enough to treaten him, like below him where jump->uair will connect. Uair will outrange his nair if you hit towards the edge of it, so use that to juggle him until he feels compelled to doublejump away. Then try to follow him and knock him offstage. If you've gotten him to doublejump already, then his last tool for survival is his airdodge. If you sniff that out and hit him as it ends, Yoshi is dead.

    Killing:
    As mentioned, killing Yoshi with a successful edgeguard is your best bet. Hit him offstage after he's expended his double jump and he's done. This is especially useful as it doesn't rely much on his percentage, and other methods of killing him can take longer. Usmash has decent KO power on him, but it's difficult to land raw usmash on him, and comboing into it usually results in him getting out of hitstun just before it connects, so he absorbs the hit and nairs you. Knocking him far offstage is difficult due to how heavy he is, and chasing him offstage doesn't accomplish much if he still has his doublejump. Go for the gimp kills if you can, fish for usmash if that isn't working, and attrition him down as a last resort.

    Edgeguarding:
    This is pretty easy if he doesn't have a jump, and kind of awkward if he does. If he doesn't have a jump, you generally have to just ledgehog. He can still airdodge for a little distance, so be ready to hit him after if that will give him just enough room to land onstage. Don't let him land though. If he does have a jump, remember that he can superarmor through whaveter you send at him. If he's at high enough percent, you can break his superarmor with a strong attack (dair/fsmash/usmash). If not, he'll probably make it back, but you can still edgehog to remove the edge as an option. This forces him to recover to the stage, where you can chase him on to do more damage or set up another edgeguard.

    What to watch out for:
    If you're not used to fighting Yoshi, you may need to continuously remind yourself of his unique options. Be especially careful fighting him in the air. You need to fight him there, it sets up your kills, but getting superarmor->nair'd will immediately switch the momentum in his favor. On the ground, his cc game is still fairly strong due to his weight and strong dsmash. His shield is limiting, but remember you can't shieldpoke him, and he can still grab out of shield (and you don't want to get grabbed). Grab leads to dthrow->fair->techchase->option which hurts.

    Watch for him to try to wall you out with ftilts and dtilts. Approaching him from above is also scary because of his uair, which has a good hitbox, juggles at low percents, and kills at higher percents. Watch out for his fair as well, it acts similar to a more brutal mario fair. Its a little slow, but the hitbox is huge, it will spike you in the air (potentially leading to a techchase on stage) and set up combos if it connects on the ground. Avoid it. Lastly, remember that he can parry while he's on the ground. This shouldn't happen too often due to the preceision required of the Yoshi player, but if it does then you are being too predictable with your approach. Mix things up.

    Recovering:
    The main annoyance in recovering against Yoshi is his egg-throw. He can lob out eggs with pretty good control which have large hitboxes on their ending explosion. If one hits you, DI away to avoid any followup (like fair) and then (re)position your upB. Eggs are more annoying than actually threatening (they are unlikely to lead to a kill), just try to avoid them and keep your cool if you get hit. Try to sweetspot the edge (to avoid getting hit by dtilt, which is potentially lethal), but know that he can ledgehog very quickly if he needs to. Recovering to the stage is usually ok, unless he predicts it an stays onstage to set up a punish. Just watch his movements, choose accordingly, and be prepared to alter your upB angle quickly if need be.

    Final Notes:
    Yoshi can be awkward to fight, but you should approach it like any other matchup. Identify his weaknesses (lack of upB, limited options out of shield, etc.) and abuse them. Identify his strengths (strong cc, superarmor in air, parrying, etc.) and avoid those as much as possible. Getting into a rhythm against Yoshi can be tough with his unique options, but the more you play him and keep in mind what he can do, the more natural it will become. Getting damage is good, but remember your most effective means of killing him, juggling him offstage, isn't as reliant on percentage. Always always keep an eye out for risky double jumps by him, that's your opportunity. Be weary of him otherwise, Yoshi hurts. He's going to kill you by racking up damage, do your best to avoid taking any.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Large stages are your friend here. You die too quick on small stages. Large stages also give you more room to move around, which you probably want more than Yoshi. Dreamland and Stadium are good for these reasons, with the (somewhat) added benefit of a low ceiling on Stadium. Final Destination can also be decent because it lowers Yoshi's mobility greatly and gives him less options for escape in the air.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Young Link - 55:45 - [MCH25]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +
    Gimpable recovery
    +Dies early

    Disadvantages:
    -
    Strong projectile game
    -Forces you to approach

    General Strategy:
    I hope you like being aggressive, because you'll likely be chasing Ylink for the majority of the match. Fortunately, you are quick enough to catch him and keep on him. Doing this without taking damage, though, can be difficult and frustrating. Ylink excells in his projectile game and his mobility while doing so. He'll be running away while throwing bombs, boomerangs, and arrows. He wants to keep you out until one of these connects, then that is his ticket to get in and do some quick damage or land a strong kill move, and then get away and throw more things. The difficult part of this matchup is not giving him enough space while still successfully navigating his obstacle course. Be safe, but stay aggressive.

    Approaching:
    As mentioned, you will be approaching Ylink often. The bulk of the matching will be determined by how good you are at getting past his projectiles wall and how good he is at keeping you away. Bomb and boomerang are his main projectile tools while nair, uair, and dsmash are his main tools for getting you off of him. Boomerang is fairly quick and he can aim it up or down in a small angle in front of him. It travels out and back, being a boomerang, so be mindful of the return path as well. It doesn't do much damage, but it will keep you out Ylink wants, and it can occasionally set up for bomb or nair or put you in an awkward defensive position. Bomb is a little scarier. He can only throw it straight up or down, out at a shallow angle, or gently drop it. Each has its uses, but most often he will just throw it at you in that low arc. Bombs are larger than boomerang, making them more difficult to avoid, and have more hitstun giving more opportunity to follow up with damage or positional advantage. He is vulnerable for the short moment where he pulls out the bomb, so if you can stay close enough it becomes a bit of a risk for him to try to pull one. Once he has it in hand, though, be careful. You can try approaching at angles awkward for bomb throw (mostly the diagonals), but Ylink is mobile enough to often reposition and throw as you approach, so you have to be pretty quick and precise. Otherwise, try to bait out the bombthrow and approach right after.

    Once you get past Ylink's projectiles, you still have to deal with his aerials. His most useful is nair. It comes out quick, has a decent hitbox, hangs out there, and then recovers quick. It's a pretty good 'get off me' move that gives him space to throw more stuff. He also has uair which makes the area above him a no-fly zone. Don't challenge uair, you will lose and at higher percents it will kill you. Dair is Ylink's strongest kill move, but it's pretty risky without a setup. Its hitbox isn't that great and it's pretty laggy, but it kills. You can potentially beat it with uair, just make sure to hit with the edge of uair, or it could trade (which is almost always bad).

    Combos:
    YLink is a little difficult to combo much due to his size. You'll mostly want to focus on juggling him, keeping him off the ground. He has tools to get out, though, so be weary whenever he is out of hitstun. His nair comes out quick and is pretty safe. Dair is more risky but it has a ton of knockback and enough priority to trade at worst with everything but properly spaced uair. If he has a bomb, he can also use that to escape being juggled. Knocking him to the ground can be beneficial at times because his techroll is somewhat easy to follow and punish.

    Killing:
    If you can catch Ylink, he's actually not too difficult to kill. His recovery is a bit short, so tailspikes are viable. He's also pretty light and a little floaty, so strong aerials and usmash are great tools as well. Juggles lead to aerials knocking him offstage, followed by edgeguarding if necessary, and knockdowns lead to techchase usmash. Just hit with whatever presents itself and follow up accordingly.

    Edgeguarding:
    Ylink's recovery is pretty short, and it's possible to ledgehog->ledgeroll his upB with proper timing. He can also hookshot recovery, but you can snipe it with jolts or just hit him out of his airdodge because of how close to the stage he needs to be for his short grapple to reach. Watch out for the potential boomerang/arrow/bomb to trip you up if he's high up enough to throw them and still recovery, otherwise focus on threatening the airspace in front of the ledge, ledgehogging him, and then punishing him as he lands if he's able to make it to the stage.

    What to watch out for:
    Projectiles and aerials make up most of the matchup. You want to keep Ylink on the backfoot as often as possible so he can't start pulling bombs and setting up his projectile dominance. Keep the pressure on while still respecting his defensive options (mostly nair). Watch out for cc at low percents. Mostly, be careful but try not to give him much space.

    Recovering:
    You have to play some more obstacle course while recovering, but it's difficult for him to actually edgeguard you unless you get hit by a bomb close to the stage. Use fastfall and doublejump to avoid as best you can, then sweetspot upB to the ledge. It may take a little getting used to the angles he can throw stuff and drop bombs, but once you're used to it and keep an eye on him it's not too threatening. If you do get hit by a projectile, DI away and he's less likely to be able to follow it up with an aerial safely.

    Final Notes:
    Avoid projectiles, keep pressure on him so he can't throw as many. Respect his nair and dair. Convert offstage hits into edgeguards. Techchase to usmash. Don't get hasty, but maintain pressure, take away his options, and punish his attempts at escape.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    I think this is mostly up to preference and determining what you're having difficulty with in the matchup. Large stages give both of you more room to move, which is probably slightly advantageous to Ylink, but you also live longer. Small stages can make Ylink feel cramped, but a bomb->dair will kill you pretty early. If you're really having trouble with projectiles, go to Yoshis or FoD. If you're dying super early, consider Dreamland or Stadium.
    [/COLLAPSE]
    Zelda - 60:40 - [MCH26]
    [COLLAPSE]
    Advantages:
    +She's pretty immobile
    +Light, and has an abusable recovery

    Disadvantages:
    -Fair and bair punishes extremely hard and can kill you quickly

    General Strategy:
    The objective in this matchup is pretty straight forward. Don't get kicked. Zelda's fair and bair both do good damage, have good reach, and a ridiculous amount of knockback. Fortunately, while this isn't all of her game, it's a significant portion of it and it is still avoidable and punishable. Her fsmash can also be an issue, but we'll address that later. Beyond that and fsmash, there isn't much Zelda has to scare you with. At all times, you should be thinking "if I approach this way, can she kick me?", "if I try to escape/reposition, can she kick me?", "if I choose this move, can she kick me?" etc. Pretty much the only time you want to risk getting kicked is if you think you can trade with your usmash and she's at a percent where usmash is lethal. Most of this matchup explanation will be about various ways of dealing with kick while trying to accomplish your goals. Don't get kicked.

    The next thing to worry about is her fsmash. It's basically comparable to your dsmash, except slightly stronger, reaches further in front of her, and is pretty difficult to impossible to punish on block. You can still punish it if she whiffs (with your fsmash if you're in front of her, or whatever you want if you get behind her). Her dash attack is a decent disruption tool, but it's easily punishable if you shield it. Nair has a decent hitbox, but is awkward and doesn't really lead to much for her. Her dsmash is a decent tool to get you off of her, but it's also pretty short range and thus easy to outspace. Her tilts are slow but somewhat useful. Her projectile is terrible. Her grab is super slow, and generally her shield pressure (outside of fair/bair) is pretty weak, so you can afford to shield as long as fair/bair hasn't eaten it recently. Mostly the rest of her moves serve either situational uses, or are there to try to get you to forget about fair/bair for a second, so she can continue trying to kill you with those.

    Approaching:
    As with everything, your main concern while approaching is whether or not she can intercept you with a fair/bair as you come in, or fsmash you. The safest directions to approach Zelda are generally from mostly above or below her. Zelda has limited mobility, and if you're approaching from directy above or below her then she often won't have time to position to where fair/bair can intercept your approach. She is then limited mostly to uair or dair (which are both pretty weak) or usmash (which can beat your approach, but has a pretty lengthy animation that basically guarantees you being able to get in from another direction if she whiffs, so it's risky for her). She is still relatively slow and often has to commit to her moves, so use this to get the position you want and find openings.

    Combos:
    Combos on Zelda are fairly non-existant. She's just too floaty. Her aerial mobility is pretty terrible though, so if you hit her into the air with something you can often get under her and just not let her down, 'juggling' by nature of giving her few escape options and predicting the ones she tries. Shffl nair -> usmash is possible at low percents. Uair -> uair is about all you'll really get otherwise, but again the objective is to just get her into the air with you below her.

    Killing:
    Zelda dies relatively easily if you get in. The issue is getting in. She's very floaty, so usmash kills very early. If she avoids or shields your usmash, it's a free kick, so this can be a risky option. She also can be easy to edgeguard, depending on where offstage she is. She has a lengthy but limited recovery, so often with patience and correct positioning on your part she's forced to at least take damage and often risk outright dying if she has to upB to recover.

    Edgeguarding:
    Her upB has a short pause at the start and then teleports her a good distance in a straight line. She generally won't use this unless she expects you to jump out to edgeguard (where she'll try to upB past you) or it's her only way to recover. Usually she'll instead use her floatiness to get close to the stage, and then double jump and/or airdodge to get around you. Because her options are a bit limited in this way, you don't really have to chase her off the edge unless you're sure it will result in a kill. If you stay near the edge as she's floating towards the stage, you can steadily watch her approach often cover all her recovery options with reaction alone. If she's recovering from below, she can't sweetspot with her upB, so you can punish with whatever you want (usmash/fsmash/ftilt/etc.) if she tries to. Unless she's too far away, though, she'll likely try to doublejump and/or airdodge to get to the ledge. For this, you can either run off aerial to intercept her, or just ftilt the edge and be ready to ftilt again if she airdodges the ftilt. Repeat as necessary. If she grabs the edge though, be very weary about hanging around, as she can ledgehop fair you. If she goes for the stage or a platform from below, she has enough landing lag that you can pretty much always punish her as long as you react to the upB.

    If she's recovering from above, she has a few more options. She can upB from various heights/distances and leave herself multiple potential destinations. This makes it difficult for you to cover all of them (though you should still be able to at least get a nair on her with proper reactions). She can also fair you as she's recovering if you try to intercept her, or airdodge through your edgeguard attempt and be able to float down to the stage. Your best bet in dealing with this is position yourself close to the edge and apply pressure. Your safest bet is to just be in position to react to her recovery, but it can also be the least rewarding. With your speed, and the somewhat lengthy windup on Zelda's upB, just jumping out at her can be very scary for her and force her to take preemptive action (i.e. starting her upB super early, or airdodging early), so you can predict this and empty hop out and double jump punish her after her airdodge, or jump out and jump back to punish her as she lands from her early upB.

    What to watch out for:
    Kicks. Fsmash is also annoying. While I mentioned you can shield most of her arsenal, this only works as long as your shield is very healthy. Mostly, you'll want to use your mobility (and her lack of mobility) to avoid and pick your openings. Getting used to the range and speed of her kicks and fsmash is most crucial. Learn where the unsafe spots around her are, and then work around that and try to get her into the air.

    Recovering:
    I've never had much issue recovering against Zeldas. If she wants to edgehog, she has to be pretty deliberate about it and as long as you aren't super far away from the stage you can just upB to a platform and avoid her. If she doesn't, sweetspot the edge. If you can only barely get to the stage as she's ledgehogging, be ready to DI her ledgehop kick. Otherwise, you're pretty safe as long as you do one of those two things.

    Final Notes:
    Don't get kicked! Use your huge mobility advantage. Don't get overzealous about chasing her down (which will result in you geting kicked). Keep her above you whenever possible. It's fine to play the match at your own pace, unless you're on a small stage Zelda doesn't really have much ability to chase you around.

    Stage Counterpicks:
    Dreamland and Pokemon Stadium are probably your best bets in this matchup. They give you plenty of room to use your mobility and get away from Zelda when you need to. They also have fairly large side blast zones, which helps surviving the inevitable kicks.

    [/COLLAPSE]
     
    #3 N64, Oct 13, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
    CptJPuff likes this.
  4. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    Wrap Up - [WRP0]

    Anything else you should need to make things make sense is here. At the moment this is just a List of Terms section, but I will probably add a FAQ section or anything else I can think of or gets suggested. Otherwise, that's it! The rest is up to you. Practice, watch match videos, practice, consult others, practice, and also practice. This guide is just a source of information (and I hope a good one!), so it's up to you to take what you want from it and make it work for you. Good luck!


    List of Terms - [WRP1]

    These definitions cover most advanced techniques and abbreviations you might not be used to that I refer to in this guide. They were taken primarily from the SSBM Compendium Of Knowledge on Smashboards. Credit goes to AlphaZealot and various other contributors listed there. I suggest you check it out if you haven't already. I may have tweaked some definitions slightly, and added a few.
    http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=42749

    Crouch Cancelling (CC) - If you crouch while your opponent is hitting you, you will get knocked back a short distance, and if the attack is weak you are unfazed and can counter attack.

    Dashdance (DD) - Tapping the joystick back and forth quickly to keep turning around in the opening dash animation, used as a fake-out tactic because you can dash in either direction at any time.

    Directional Influence (DI) - Will alter your trajectory to help you survive better. Easiest way to do it is to just DI everything that sends you in a somewhat horizontal direction upwards and DI upwards-sending attacks in the same direction as the opponent is facing (or the opposite if they hit you with the back of the attack).

    Edgeguarding - The act of keeping your opponent from returning safely to the edge upon his recovery.

    Gimp - Kill an opponent by getting them offstage at relatively low percentage, and successfully edgeguarding them.

    Hitbox - The area that an attack covers and can deal damage.

    Hurtbox - The area of a character that can be hit by the hitbox of an opponent's move.

    Jab Reset - Hitting an opponent, who is already knocked down, with a weak attack, forcing them to into getup animation.

    Jump Cancel (JC) - Hitting jump to cancel a character's dash animation. This can be followed by an upsmash or grab, which will cancel the jump animation and do the move. This allows you to an upsmash or standing grab (safer/better for many characters than their dash grab) from a dash.

    Spike - Sending opponent offstage at a steep downward angle. Can make it very difficult for some characters to recover.

    Sweetspot - For recovery, getting to the edge so that none (or as little as possible) of your character model is hittable by an opponent's onstage move.

    Wavedash (WD) - Jumping, and then immediately airdodging into the ground at an angle. This causes your character to 'slide' a short distance along the ground in that direction and leaves them in neutral animation allowing you to follow up with any attack, jump, or other action you can do from a neutral stand.


    FAQ - [WRP2]

    No questions yet!


    Don't Steal Plz & Thanks! - [WRP3]

    Of course, if you take sections of this guide for any future productions, please credit me (or those I've given credit to) and this guide. Thanks!

    As well, there are a few people I would like to thank. First, directly related to the guide, I'd like to thank Soju, PikaChad, and Axe for their constructive criticism while making this. In general, though, I want to thank anyone who inspired me to play Melee, and specifically Pikachu, and kept me playing all these years. There are far too many to list, but I'm dedicating this guide to you and the Melee community in general. You guys are awesome.
     
    #4 N64, Oct 13, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
    CptJPuff likes this.
  5. dmac

    dmac
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Messages:
    2,773
    Location:
    St, Joseph, MO
    oyajiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
     
  6. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad
    Expand Collapse
     

    • Moderator
    • Premium
    • Back Roomer
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Messages:
    24,185
    Location:
    Oakland, CA

    oyajiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
     
  7. DerfMidWest

    DerfMidWest
    Expand Collapse
    Fresh Eskimo

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    4,063
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    nicely done.
    Read the Pichu/Pika matchup thingy... I pree much agree with that stuff.
    it really is a silly matchup. For Pichus, its like playing a bigger clunky version of ourself... but it kills faster.

    Pichu's upsmash is not that much worse than Pika's though... (its still worse, but its not a bad move) so I wouldn't count on a low ceiling being an insta-win. His thunder is also good against Pika due to Pika's weight. UpSmash -> thunder on Pika leads to faster kills for pichu and he can also use thunder to edgeguard you.

    Pika's real advantage in the matchup is Pichu's over-relience on edgeguards and gimps.

    Just don't let pichu grab you, because then he can do stuff. Iirc, we can chaingrab you for a bit, but I forget the percents. Also dthrow -> upsmash is good against pika.

    Also, Pichu has a little fthrow semi-chaingrab on pika... many pichus won't do this though. Basically, if he starts chainign fthrows together, he's trying to get you off the stage can nair or dair you. Just jump out of the fthrows and then like... smack him or something. but if you jump out at him it allows him to upsmash or uair you if he reacts quick enough.

    Keep his agility ranges in mind while fighting him. He can be pretty mobile. He's also capable of getting all over the place from the ledge. So be careful when he's on the ledge. You probably want to be right next to the ledge actually... all he'll be able to do it nair back to the stage or agility somewhere away from you where you can't punish you, so standing right near the ledge is pretty safe... mostly. sometimes he gets weird shield pokes with uair and such.
     
  8. Rikana

    Rikana
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,125
    You forgot to mention Fair in the basic moveset.
     
  9. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    Gosh, you're right. Thanks for pointing that out. Just editted and fixed that.

    Let me know if you guys see any other mistakes. :)
     
  10. Rikana

    Rikana
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,125
    Np. I'm trying to learn how Pika works in Melee at the moment. I don't plan to main him in Melee but I'm currently working with Project:M (a hack for Brawl to play like Melee) and I'm wondering what you would alter about Pikachu to make him better?

    Right now, Pika in Project:M is pretty much back to his Melee self and kept his Brawl specials because they're better. Some changes he has that make him better at the moment are:
    -quick attack cancel: as long as you make quick attack on to the ground before the animation ends you end up with no lag. you can do instant wavelands and uairs out of it because you're in the air for a really really short frame span.
    -jolt: you can auto cancel with a full hop without fast falling. if done fast enough, you can use 2nd jump to do X aerial or another jolt. you can also waveland out of it. its really hard to do consistently. you can also force getup at a really far distance and catch up. if youre doing it as an approach, you can run at the same speed as the jolt on ground for safety.
    -bair: its smash64 bair
    -wavebounce: its a brawl mechanic we kept. I may have gotten the wrong term though. after using your special in the air, you have a very small frame to change the direction of where your character goes (horizontally at least). So for example, thunder. Unlike melee where you can run into the opponent and do an extremely reckless and unsafe thunder, or as an edgeguard.. but dunno who would do that, you can use your momentum to run forward, thunder, and reverse the momentum right after you activate downB which brings you back on stage rather than going further away from the stage.

    But his approach game is still relatively the same. From my experience so far, I still have to rely on being a bit campy and dash dance a lot to look for an opportunity to run in with a nair.
     
  11. iRobinhoood

    iRobinhoood
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    Atl North
    I never noticed this thread, ily <3
     
  12. iRobinhoood

    iRobinhoood
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    Atl North
    Please, bump, continue matchups.
     
  13. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    Planning on using winter break to get a bunch of these matchups done, but i'll be hanging out with family so we'll see how that goes.
     
  14. McNinja

    McNinja
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    518
    Location:
    Florida
    If I could put in a request, I really help with the fox matchup and the marth matchup.

    :phone:
     
  15. indigestible_wad

    indigestible_wad
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,073
    Location:
    Scappoose, Oregon
    Do you have matchup ratios for characters?
     
  16. Griffard

    Griffard
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    748
    Location:
    Geneva, IL/New Orleans, LA
    Just saw this thread, very cool stuff. Would love to know what to do on the falco matchup.
     
  17. iRobinhoood

    iRobinhoood
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    Atl North
    I also await this extensive write-up ;)
     
  18. silentSWAG

    silentSWAG
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,031
    Location:
    South Park
    nice job n64
     
  19. Spyro

    Spyro
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    639
    Location:
    Gallatin,Tennessee
    I would like to know why this has not been stickyed yet, the other Pikachu guide is soooooooo outdated.

    O and N64 you did an awesome job on this ;).
     
  20. soju

    soju
    Expand Collapse
    SD God

    • Premium
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,186
    Location:
    Being a Scrub
    I would also add to the falcon tidbit that he needs a lot of mobility to do anything. If you can shut falcon out and not give him space to regroup, then it should be an easy match. I had an ultra long write-up for falcon as well, but the browser refreshed so that's the biggie from it.
     
  21. Dark Hart

    Dark Hart
    Expand Collapse
    Rejected by Azua

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    11,251
    Location:
    Death Row, North Carolina
    On the real though

    Any tips on approaching a Marth? Once I get in I can usualy handle myself, but That sword ****s with me. Plus I feel like he doesn't have to approach mousachu mcpointy ears

    :phone:
     
  22. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    Honestly, Marth is probably my worst matchup. But nair is really good in this matchup. Shffl nairs from the right distance can be pretty hard for Marth to deal with. Since you can close the distance very quickly, Marth has to often predict your approaches rather than react to them. Just be super fast dashin around Pikachu, jump in with nairs, and then if one hits you have to stay on top of him. As long as you're on top of him, he has a rough time regaining control.

    And you're right, Marth doesn't really have a need to approach you, unless you give him one. If you're dashing around just outside his range he has the option of either letting you do so and get the proper spacing to nair into him, or approach you to try to catch you.

    This is a good set to study the matchup a bit imo (there may be better, this is just first I found and it seems pretty good):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkjvcf3YaDM

    Edit: Oh yeah and soju, I think you're right about that, I'll add it in somewhere later.
     
  23. Dark Hart

    Dark Hart
    Expand Collapse
    Rejected by Azua

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    11,251
    Location:
    Death Row, North Carolina
    Thanks

    I maybe have some vids from a tourney this weekend of that match-up ^_^
     
  24. ~Tac~

    ~Tac~
    Expand Collapse
    One day at a time.

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    884
    Location:
    Knightdale/Raleigh, NC
    NNID:
    Kamidachi
    Switch FC:
    SW-6745-2861-2990
    I've been playing a lot of good pikamarth matches lately with a good friend and if needed, I could help with the matchup.

    And @Lucas - That sword ****s with me too, once he gets under you, it's just disgusting to get out. They can just spam whatever direction he comes in at and be perfectly safe if they have decent timing. Don't get hit applies mad hard.

    You have vids from NCSU on this matchup? O:
     
  25. soju

    soju
    Expand Collapse
    SD God

    • Premium
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,186
    Location:
    Being a Scrub
    Marth is pretty much a huge waiting game until someone lands a hit, Marth just has the advantage because he is better at getting that first hit and can capitalize on a single hit a lot more then Pikachu. My suggestion, is pick either or, a big stage with platforms, basically dreamland, and use jolts and run around and be annoying till he messes up then do your pika thing, or go small stage with platforms, preferably Battlefield, and just keep on him with insane pressure. Marth can't do a lot when your up in his face so try and time in between his attacks because in the end he isn't like Metaknight and have a hitbox out at all times, try timing after his fsmashes which are the easiest then as you get more comfortable with the matchup you'll learn what you can do.
     
  26. dkuo

    dkuo
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,465
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    • Dd/wd space so that you can react fast enough to a sudden approach, but try to push yourself to be as close to Marth as possible. There are a lot of ways you can mixup your spacing game.
    • Against Marths who like to use attacks to zone out Pikachu's approaches, wait for Marth to do an attack so that you can run in with a nair to punish lag (becomes much easier if you're dd spacing optimally)
    • If you aren't confident that you'll be able to punish lag in a specific case, you can approach with shield during Marth's lag and punish him after he hits your shield again (wd oos > punish, or usmash oos). You want to time this so that the moment you stop in shield is as close to the end of Marth's aerial lag as possible so that there's less time for him to react. Very effective against fsmash-happy Marth's, easy wd-oos to punish. Ease up on this if he starts grabbing you out of your shield approach, but don't be completely discouraged from it as it's still a solid mixup. Similarly, be wary of shield breaker if your shield is low (still punishable if shielded though lol)
    • At low percents you can cc a lot of Marth's things, esp. aerials. Part of why run>dtilt is a nice surprise approach...it also causes a sudden stop in your spacing which can throw Marth off a little, and there's also the possibility of ducking under his aerials. Not as effective against grounded Marths.

    Some other stuff but I have to leave class, I'll update this later <_< anything in specific you need help with?
     
  27. soju

    soju
    Expand Collapse
    SD God

    • Premium
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,186
    Location:
    Being a Scrub
    Running dtilt is nice until marth realizes he can dtilt you 3 times while your crouching but still it's fairly amazing to just throw in from time to time since it can a lot of times connect into a shffl'd nair or dsmash, and IMO shield approach with Pika is a really risky thing, I'd either A. Run up SH airdodge right in front of him B. Run up fake an approach with a WD back shffled nair. The only times you really should CC something from marth is when he's in the air, he can give you a lot of damage while hes on the ground.
     
  28. dkuo

    dkuo
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,465
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Yea, primarily use cc/dtilt on Marths who do shffl-heavy spacing...

    I find Pika's shield oos game a lot more reliable than I assumed it to be initially...as long as you don't get stuck in it under pressure it's a lot stronger than people give it credit. As long as you make sure they can't react to it + don't abuse it so that Marths start waiting for it. You can space shielding farther if you think the Marth is beginning to watch for it to give yourself more time to react.

    Idk about airdodge being safe, maybe with some very convoluted timing...can work as a mixup though. Airdodge is very underrated in melee in general.

    Fakeout approaches are good but I assume them to be a more 'general' mixup not unique to Pika v Marth. It is very good against Marth though. Personally, I like sh waveland as a fakeout, looks very slick with Pika lol.
     
  29. Pogogo

    Pogogo
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Journeyman

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    321
    My experience vs marth. If you're going to be hit make sure you crouch. Ftilt for example really fs u up if you do not crouch but you are fine if u do. Don't get tippered. DI. Make sure you get on dat ledge. That's it.
     
  30. dkuo

    dkuo
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,465
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    I think it's useful to add (although it's not something you run into a lot) that uair has surprisingly long landing lag for how quick it is. Something to keep in mind for falling uair - you absolutely want to lcancel it.

    Also FH dair is pretty good anti-shffl. Might just be me though, have to see if other people agree.
     
  31. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    what do you mean by anti-shffl? It's kinda slow to try to use against people shffling aerials into you (though the payoff for hitting it is pretty good). Or do you mean just not shffling the dair? In that case yeah it's alright since it auto-cancels, but it still has the issue of being slow. Decent hitbox (for pikachu) with good damage and knockback, but it can slow you down and be a little telegraphed, while pikachu relies on staying speedy and mobile.

    I personally love the aerial and use it more often than I probably should, but I see its main uses being:
    1. Against crouch-cancels, since it will start knocking down opponents pretty early while they can crouchcancel almost anything else you have and punish you.
    2. For edgeguarding. It can beat some chars' upBs, or at least trade, and will usually kill the other char. You don't have to worry much about it being slow (assuming you have time to set it up) since they'll be spending time recovering and you can predict (or make a decent guess) which recovery trajectory they'll take.

    The uair comment is good. You want to lcancel every aerial heh, but it is indeed important to note that uair is quick but a little laggy.
     
  32. dkuo

    dkuo
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Lord

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,465
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    What I mean is, when you know an opponent is going to do a sh approach towards you you can just do a full jump dair where you think they'll be. I find it useful to shift momentum in situations where an opponent is putting on constant shffl pressure. Also good if you know someone's going to chase you into the air. Kind of Ganon-esque guesswork, if that makes sense.

    I agree that Pika relies on staying speedy, but sudden changes in your character's pacing can also throw your opponent off. Lots of people are constantly watching out for typical spacing-based approach punishes like dd spacing, run/wd, jump/waveland etc, but a lot of people will shffl instinctively when they see you commit to an approach. Again, idk how effective it is but it tends to pay off whenever I try it out, and it's still something I'm trying to get into practice. If I get some examples recorded I'll post them here.
     
  33. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    Ok finally finished the Marth matchup, after a couple of weeks leaving it unfinished.
    What should i tackle next?

    edit: also dkuo, ok i gotcha. I agree that dair is pretty neat and useful! It's just goofy enough to be awesome.
     
  34. DerfMidWest

    DerfMidWest
    Expand Collapse
    Fresh Eskimo

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    4,063
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    do Zelda pl0x.
     
  35. proxibomb

    proxibomb
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Clown

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2014
    Messages:
    558
    Location:
    Tazmily Village
    3DS FC:
    2277-6659-0568
    NNID:
    mgblue90
    Pika's so fun to use. The combos are freaking insane. Great guide!
     
    #35 proxibomb, Aug 27, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  36. MettaMatt

    MettaMatt
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Queen Creek, Arizona
    What is everyone's take on using Pikachu in a somewhat bait-y kind of way? I've been working on a strategy to be able to play with the opponent's game by mainly avoiding him.
    I feel like it could work and leave room to punish the opponent at the most opportune times, just haven't put it into practice competitively yet.
     
  37. N64

    N64
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Champion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,158
    Location:
    Stalking Skler
    Pikachu can bait pretty well yeah. He has the speed for it, and has moves that are fast enough (rising uair, usmash, nair) that he can almost always punish on an opponent whiffing something.

    You do have to mix it in with actual pressure, though. If you rely too much on baiting, your opponent is likely to be much more slow, methodical, and safe in his neutral game. You have to make him feel the pressure; make him feel like if he isn't aggressive, you'll get an opening and put him on the defensive.
     
  38. PonderousSealion

    PonderousSealion
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2014
    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Great guide! One thing that might be worth mentioning is pikachu's awesome pummel, being disjointed and whatnot.
     
  39. CannaSwiss

    CannaSwiss
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    I could use some advice on approaching ICs. Played one yesterday, when I would deep nair in they would wave dash back and still hit me with f smash, and if I approached from the otherside they just did retreating bairs.
     
  40. NastyNard

    NastyNard
    Expand Collapse
    Smash Cadet

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    26
    Just a minor correction: I noticed in the AT section on Uair that the 2nd and 3rd hitboxes are referred to as the "third" and "fourth" hitboxes. Not a huge deal, but it's confusing at first (it definitely had me thinking I had missed something haha), and it sticks out in such a well-written guide.

    Also, I just wanted to comment on how super impressed I was by this guide! It's definitely one of the top 3 I've encountered on Smashboards, and it's great to see someone actually commit to doing write-ups on each matchup when so many authors seems to give up after only doing a few. It's unfortunate how incomplete or out of date most guides still are considering the age of this game, so you deserve a big shout-out for the work you put into this.
     
    #40 NastyNard, Jun 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015

Share This Page

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)

We know you don't like ads
Why not buy Premium?