Given that Pichu is Pikachu’s baby form, it would be safe to assume that Pichu is the weaker Pokémon. Despite being the lightest character in the game (not to mention that using its attack deals recoil damage), Pichu is actually just about on par with its evolved form. Many characters’ amiibo are viable in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Pichu’s is no exception.
Pichu is one of the smallest fighters in Ultimate, and it’s got speed to match. Its mobility is well above average and it can zip around the stage with relative ease. Its attacks are just as quick, with almost all of them (bar forward smash and Skull Bash) coming out incredibly fast and with minimal ending lag. Its down throw can combo into an aerial at low percentages, and its smash attacks serve as strong finishers. Pichu’s recovery is fast and safe, and it can almost always return to the stage with a well-timed Agility.
However, Pichu is plagued with several flaws, the most notable of which being its weight. Pichu is the lightest character in the game; heavyweight fighters Bowser and King K. Rool are able to abuse this by KOing it in just a few hits. Pichu also takes minor recoil damage from some of its attacks. Between its weight and its recoil, it has to play very carefully, as any attack could spell doom. Pichu also has a bit of trouble KOing its opponents; although its forward smash is extremely strong, it has noticeable startup lag and poor range. Range is an issue on many of Pichu’s moves, which forces it to play aggressively even though it cannot afford to take a hit.
Stats & Spirit Effects
Pichu’s immense frailty can be cushioned with the aid of stats and spirit effects. Running maximum Defense (0 / 4200) is highly recommended, although running some Attack investment as well may not be such a bad idea. As Pichu has a sufficient Defense stat, its exact spread can be mixed and matched to its trainer’s liking.
There are two main options in terms of spirit effects. The recommended route involves Great Autoheal for obvious reasons; it helps offset Pichu’s recoil damage and works well alongside maximum Defense. Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ increases its defense as well, but does not address the issue of recoil damage.
Other potential options include Physical Attack ↑, Electric Attack ↑, Air Attack ↑, and Instadrop. Running any of these bonuses over Great Autoheal may be risky, however, as their minor damage increases simply do not compare to passive healing.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button set to on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
Unlike all other characters, Pichu cannot throw out attacks at random, as each one causes recoil damage regardless of whether it hits or not. As a result, its trainer must be highly accurate during level-up sessions. Only use electric attacks when they are going to connect; otherwise, wait for the right time to strike and stick to non-recoil moves. Here is an individual breakdown of Pichu’s attacks and which ones to focus on during training.
- Neutral attack: One of the fastest jabs in the game, but it can’t link into itself too many times and its range is absolutely pitiful. It’s fine to use it every once in a blue moon, but don’t go overboard.
- Forward tilt: One of Pichu’s best moves. It does inflict recoil damage (0.7%) but serves as a surprisingly potent KO move at high percentages. It’s fast and has deceptive range and power, making it a great neutral option.
- Up tilt: Pichu’s premier combo starter (at least, the AI’s premier combo starter). It can link into itself or into an up aerial at medium percentages. Good for racking up damage. Doesn’t inflict recoil.
- Down tilt: It can combo into an up tilt at low percentages. Otherwise, it can be used as a quick “get-off-me” move. Does not inflict recoil damage.
- Dash attack: A jumping headbutt that deals respectable damage. In terms of viability, it’s about average. Use it if the situation calls for it, but don’t go out of your way to attack with it. Doesn’t inflict recoil.
- Forward smash: Quite powerful and a good KO move, but has a fair bit of startup lag and poor range. Use it infrequently when directly next to a damaged opponent. Inflicts 1.5% recoil.
- Up smash: A curved headbutt. Not Pichu’s strongest move, but can be used in a pinch as a decent aerial punish or as a KO move at higher percentages. Does not inflict recoil damage.
- Down smash: Spins in place and strikes multiple times. Can be used to catch rolls or cover edge options. Also serves as a decent KO move at later percentages. Inflicts 0.8% recoil damage.
- Neutral aerial: Fast, decently strong, and doesn’t inflict recoil damage. Use it out of a short hop fairly often to rack up damage.
- Forward aerial: A forward corkscrew that can combo into itself. Can be used to gimp opponents, but don’t go too far off-stage. Inflicts 1% recoil.
- Back aerial: An electrical spin attack that can drag opponents along with it. Can be used to gimp. Inflicts 1% recoil.
- Up aerial: A quick tail sweep with somewhat minor damage and knockback. Can be used out of an up tilt, and doesn’t inflict recoil.
- Down aerial: A fast meteor smash that can be used to gimp enemies. It inflicts 1% recoil damage and has noticeable landing lag.
- Forward throw: A throw that sends the opponent forward. It inflicts 0.5% recoil damage, and is the only throw to do this. Best to avoid it.
- Back throw: A backwards rolling throw that launches enemies. Doesn’t combo into anything or have any notable kill power.
- Up throw: A quick headbutt-throw that launches the opponent upward. Doesn’t accomplish too much, but can potentially lead into an up tilt or up aerial.
- Down throw: It can combo into an aerial at low percentages. Follow up with a neutral aerial or an up aerial for best effect, but don’t focus on throw combos.
- Neutral (Thunder Jolt): Can be used to gimp or attack from afar. Inflicts 0.4% recoil.
- Side special (Skull Bash): Use it for recovery purposes only. When fully charged, it is extremely powerful, but other amiibo will rarely be hit by it. Inflicts 1.5% recoil.
- Up special (Agility): It doesn’t deal any damage, so it has to be used for recovery purposes only. Inflicts 2% recoil with each use, so try not to get knocked off-stage too often.
- Down special (Thunder): The AI doesn’t like using this off-stage, so use it on-stage to catch aerial opponents. If they are meteor smashed into Pichu when it performs a thunder burst, the enemy will suffer a lot of damage and knockback.