Pikachu has charmed fans and given a jolt to opponents for nearly 20 years—whether in the Pokémon TV series, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, or Pokémon video games, Pikachu has always been there as a stalwart companion for any Pokémon Trainer willing to take on the challenge of becoming the very best.
Section 1: Character Overview
As you may or may not know, combo-oriented characters like Sheik and Fox do not necessarily translate into strong amiibo. Unfortunately, Pikachu is no exception. Training this Pokémon isn’t a lost cause, though: Pikachu has access to Thunder Burst, the strongest custom move in the game. It’s powerful, strikes multiple times, and hits through shields. Thunder Burst is so good, in fact, that it’s the only reason Pikachu is considered mid-tier instead of low-tier. This is going to sound silly, but a well-trained Pikachu amiibo only uses Thunder Burst.
Removing Thunder Burst from Pikachu’s kit results in an entirely unimpressive character. Its smash attacks are slow and easily whiffed, and its light weight means its defenses are lacking. Pikachu’s AI is somewhat strange: it often uses Quick Attack to traverse the stage, and may accidentally self-destruct in the process.
Pikachu is viable as long as it has access to Thunder Burst. Even if the move is available, there are still several hurdles you will need to overcome: most notably, Pikachu’s AI. It might give you some trouble at first, but as long as you keep at it and continue mashing ↓ and B, it’ll all work out.
Section 2: Recommended Equipment
Stats & Bonuses
For more information on equipment – including instructions on how to farm for custom parts – please read our amiibo equipment guide.
Most amiibo tournaments allow and encourage equipment. In fact, over ninety percent of competitions do – but if you’d prefer to forgo custom gear and leave your amiibo ‘vanilla’, you can skip this section. Otherwise, you will need to equip your amiibo with a viable setup of stats and bonuses. The following build has been extensively tested and proven effective:
+100 Attack / +100 Defense / -80 Speed
- Quick Feet: This is a custom move version of Pikachu’s up special. It only moves once, but travels much farther. Quick Feet isn’t essential to the character’s success, but reduces its chance of self-destructing when recovering.
- Thunder Burst: You may not know this, but Thunder Burst is actually a really good custom move. Rather than calling upon a projectile thunderbolt, Pikachu itself will explode with a burst of electricity. This attack pierces shields and is extremely strong to boot. Once again, it’s absolutely essential to Pikachu’s success.
Once your amiibo’s stats, bonuses, and custom moves are refined and ready to go, your training will officially begin! If you encountered a problem while equipping your amiibo, feel free to join our Discord server to ask for help.
Section 3: Training Your Amiibo
Amiibo training is a very specific task, and for the best possible result, you will need to approach it with caution. You can’t just go all-out using combos and aerials: both are seen as “newbie tactics” by competitive trainers. Instead, you should remain grounded at all times, making sure to punish your amiibo for every aerial attack it uses against you. This is true regardless of whether or not your amiibo was fed equipment.
To help your amiibo properly utilize its moveset, you will mirror match it from Level 1 all the way to Level 50. Playing timed matches on Ω-form stages is highly recommended.
Training Tips (Equipment & Vanilla)
- Main move: Thunder Burst. If your amiibo is at low percentage, use Thunder Burst. If your amiibo is within KO range, use Thunder Burst. If your amiibo is above you and about to land, use Thunder Burst. If there’s one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that you should be using Thunder Burst.
Training Tips (Vanilla-Only)
- If you did not feed your amiibo equipment, it’s a good idea to teach it to grab, pummel, and throw its opponents. When grabbing your amiibo, throw it towards the nearest edge. This means you will only need to use forward and back throws. In the equipment metagame, Improved escapability renders most grabs and throws useless. Without the presence of this bonus, your amiibo is free to use its grab as often as it pleases.
- Neutral options: forward tilt, up tilt, down tilt, and neutral special. Pikachu just isn’t the same without Thunder Burst. If you want to give it a shot anyway, try using its tilts as neutral options. They lack power and range, but they’re fast. Thunder Jolt is somewhat useful from a distance, and can also be used to gimp recovering opponents.
- Main KO moves: forward smash and up smash. Forward smash is Pikachu’s strongest smash attack, but it’s also one of the character’s slowest moves. As a result, up smash should be your go-to. Although it isn’t quite as strong as the aforementioned forward smash, it’s much faster and thus more reliable.
- Moves to avoid: jab. Pikachu’s jab is fast, but its range and damage output are absolutely pitiful. For once, spamming jab will get you nowhere (unlike Luigi).
When your amiibo finally reaches Level 50, its training will truly begin. Just like a real player, amiibo need match experience and practice against different characters. For more information on training your amiibo past Level 50, follow this link.
Section 4: Conclusion & Credits
Thank you so much for reading! Although the guide may be coming to an end, your training most certainly isn’t: there’s always a way to make an amiibo stronger, and yours is no exception. If you need additional help, check out the Amiibo Mechanics & Metagame Guide. If you want to ask specific questions, you can also stop by our Discord server.
If your desire to read amiibo training guides and articles hasn’t been entirely fulfilled, there are more posts here that you might like. Amiibo Training Analysis analyzes a specific aspect of the metagame in great detail. Meanwhile, the official amiibo tier list ranks each amiibo’s potential. The FAQ is another good resource worth checking out. Alternatively, you can head back to the master list of guides for even more amiibo training methods!