Before we begin, join us in a moment of silence for the loss of custom moves — because Pikachu was their biggest beneficiary in Super Smash Bros. 4. In that game, it couldn’t make any tournament progress unless it spammed its custom down special, Thunder Burst. This move was removed in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and now Pikachu is stuck with regular old Thunder. If you’d like to learn even more about its metagame history, feel free to check out its corresponding wiki page. Otherwise, let’s jump right into today’s training!
Special thanks to LML123 for contributing Pikachu’s training information!
If you’d rather not equip your Pikachu with a Spirit team, that’s no problem! Go ahead and skip this entire section. If you are a Spirits trainer, then it’s time to get into the good old Spirits lecture, which goes something like this: “if you’re planning on giving your Figure Player a Spirit team, we recommend doing so at Level 1. More information can be found at our full Spirits guide.” Something like that, anyway. That aside, here are all of Pikachu’s optimal builds:
- Banned bonuses: Autoheal, Great Autoheal, and Armor Knight all have some merit on Pikachu. It’s rather light, so it appreciates the recovery granted to it by healing bonuses. If you do decide to use Armor Knight, fill the third slot with Trade-Off Ability and then run a more defensive setup — 1900 / 2300 works great!
- Tournament-legal bonuses: Pikachu’s entire moveset is buffed by a combination of Physical Attack ↑ and Electric Attack ↑, so stick both of these Spirit skills on for a bunch of extra power. For the third slot, you can use Air Defense ↑, Critical-Health Stats ↑, Shield Damage ↑, or Shield Durability ↑. These bonuses are listed in descending order of viability, which means Air Defense ↑ is generally best here.
- Raid Boss bonuses: The aforementioned Spirits all work well on a Raid Boss — these include Great Autoheal, Armor Knight, Physical Attack ↑, and Electric Attack ↑, among others. You could also go with Critical Healing & Metal, which activates once per stock and makes Pikachu extra difficult to beat! Pair that with Electric Attack ↑, Move Speed ↑, and Transformation Duration ↑ and you’re good to go!
In terms of stat points, a balanced build (2100 / 2100) is an excellent choice for the Mouse Pokémon. As mentioned earlier, if you decided to use the Trade-Off Ability ↑ Support skill, you’ll want to use a more defensive spread instead (1900 / 2300). Make sure your FP’s Spirit-type is Neutral before you begin its training routine!
Training a Figure Player is a long and difficult endeavor. Well, it’s mostly just long — not so much difficult. Pikachu’s excellent recovery affords it the opportunity to edgeguard off-stage, so be sure to follow your FP and attack it as it tries to recover back. Just like (almost) every other competitive FP, Pikachu benefits from walking over running. Perfect shield and parry as often as possible and you should be good to go! Here is its most optimal moveset, then:
- Forward smash and forward tilt are best for close-range situations. Forward smash has a ton of range, but doesn’t have the multi-hit properties that Pichu’s version of the move boasts. Down tilt works in this instance too, but less so than forward smash and forward tilt. When using down tilt, combo it into a dash attack.
- Grab rather often up close, too. Pikachu’s AI is hard-coded to use a down throw into an up air and then a forward or back air — fortunately, you don’t have to teach this. When you grab your FP, use a regular back throw or down throw (without following up afterward).
- A mix of dash attack and Thunder Jolt should be used from a distance. Thunder Jolt is in the same category of projectile as the Ice Climbers’ Ice Shot and Terry’s Power Wave; it slides along the ground and forces the opponent to block or jump.
- Up tilt, up air, and a bit of up smash can all be used to juggle. You’re going to want to place the most focus on up tilt and up air when juggling — up smash is low priority in comparison.
- Pikachu’s down air is an excellent edgeguarding option off-stage. Ultimate’s developers gave this move a meteor effect for some reason, which gives it the potential to close out stocks early; forward air can occasionally be used to gimp as well, but down air is generally the superior choice. Neutral air and back air can be used to secure a safe landing on-stage.
You’ll want to avoid using Skull Bash as you level up and train your FP. You may be wondering what the deal with Pikachu’s Thunder is here — the AI will only use the move if the opponent would get hit by the cloud hitbox, so it isn’t consistent enough to be worth teaching. As a side note, if you’re new to amiibo training and want to know more about it, check out our general training guide!
Raid Boss Training
Pikachu is best trained via mirror matches, so you’re going to have to play as Pikachu (and not Pichu) even if you aren’t very good with it. We do advise that you teach your Pikachu FP to avoid edgeguarding its opponents; it’s already going to be powerful on-stage thanks to its Spirit team, and we don’t want it to risk being KO’d early via a meteor smash while recovering. Despite that, Pikachu is a decent Raid Boss (and a rather inexpensive amiibo figure to purchase). Here’s what an optimal Raid Boss Pikachu looks like:
- Down tilt is best used at close range and can trip opponents or combo into a tilt or aerial. Grabs work great here too; Pikachu’s AI can actually use its down throw to lead into an up air and then a forward or back air (depending on its position). Furthermore, Pikachu’s back throw drags enemies backward before launching them, which makes it especially effective at the ledge.
- Forward tilt and up tilt are solid options you can use at close range as well. Up tilt combos into itself, and then into an up air! Up tilt and up air are Pikachu’s best anti-airs, but up smash can be worked in every so often.
- Neutral air, forward air, back air, and up air all excel at air-to-air combat. Although infrequent, the AI can use its neutral air to perform dragdown combos that lead into a tilt or grab.
- Forward smash, up smash, and down smash should be sprinkled in as well. Just a little bit, though — not too often.
Steer clear of Pikachu’s special moves; its AI is not very good with them. It sometimes uses Thunder Jolt at close range, and it will only use Thunder if its opponent would get hit by the hitbox located in the cloud. It’s hard-coded to use Skull Bash to recover; do your best to avoid getting hit by it.
Thank you so much for reading! Despite being semi-clones of each other, Pikachu and Pichu’s optimal training strategies are rather different. If you’d prefer to read Pichu’s training guide instead, you can do so right here. Please direct any and all questions to our Discord community — we’ll be happy to help you out! We’ve also got a tournament introduction guide if you’d like to learn how to compete. If you liked what you read today, Exion also has a Patreon page and a donation box with special benefits. Until next time — happy training!
If you would like to read more amiibo training guides, please follow this link.