12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character Guide: Pikachu Author: Cero (AscendedPikachuZero) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org AIM: APZ AGS001 ICQ: 309423811 Wii FC: 1888 4269 3779 0326 Brawl FC: 4339-2139-4482 This guide is only to be used with the permission of the owner, even though I tend to give that out easily. If I find out you stole this guide or edited it to plagiarize, I will find you, and I will torture you with the first non-organic +666 Flagpole of Violation I can lay hands on. There is no price for knowledge, but if you must steal this guide, then do the human genome a favor, find a nice injector of .50-cal aspirin, and become an hero. Now.  Table of Contents  Why Pikachu? [1.1] How to Access Pikachu  Pikachu's Characteristics  Pikachu's Attacks  Pikachu and Items  Pikachu VS (Characters)  Pikachu VS (Bosses)  Food For Thought Section 1: Why Pikachu? Pikachu has gone through some changes since appearing in SSB64 (that's Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64, for the uneducated). Regardless, Pikachu has been my main throughout the series, and Brawl is no exception. However, Big N (that's Nintendo) and Masahiro Sakurai in particular saw it fit to set the switch on Pikachu to 'Evil'. Not evil as in Bowser and Ganondorf, mind, but its attacks have changed in ways that intimidate more effectively than they did in Melee. I am reporting my findings in this guide. Make like the Other Brother (that's Mama Luigi to you!) and embrace the dark side, beyotch. Section 1.1: How to Access Pikachu Pikachu is available at the start of the game, and any attempts to ask how to get him will be treated as a joke. If you must seriously ask this question, then you, my friend, are ready to become an hero. In Subspace Emissary, he joins up with Zero Suit Samus after being exploited in a draining device by the R.O.B. squad. Once let loose, it seeks revenge for being involuntarily used as a battery, Ridley be damned. Pikachu's Characteristics Pikachu is considered a lightweight by game mechanics; fast, weak, easy to knock off. Don't let that fool you; it's anything but weak, as this guide is about to show you. Pikachu is pretty quick on its feet, and can outpace a number of characters on many an occasion, though it's not the fastest by any means (Sonic, I'm talkin' 'bout you). This allows it to access some items faster than normal and pull out of dangerous situations expeditiously. Pikachu's gravity in general is weaker than most characters, leading to a slower standard fall than most. This gives adept players time to plan a reprisal for enemies on the ground or deal with other airborne threats. Coupled with Quick Attack, this gives it one of the greatest and most versatile recoveries of any non-flier (I said ONE OF, not THE GREATEST, so stop bugging me about Peach, Mikey!). One of the new elements to Brawl is crawling. Pikachu's small profile can be made even smaller to avoid narrow projectiles and those that fire high without compromising mobility too greatly. Even nastier, Pikachu can still attack even in this state, but is confined to a crouch attack in this case. Raygun spammers beware. It was annoying to see Pikachu unable to wall jump while Pichu got away with it in Melee, especially given Pichu was the game's equivalent to Dan Hibiki. With Pichu now gone, Pikachu can wall jump, but each wall jump gives diminishing returns until you actually land. It can't wall grip, either, but that's not so bad considering the options at your disposal. Pikachu's grab range kinda bites, given its forelegs are so stubby. Of course, not many players use grabs in an attempt to be professional, given the official stance is that throws are underpowered in this game. Regardless of whether that's true or not, don't forget you have that option open, especially the Flagpole Grab - run at an enemy, then turn around and grab them, and you'll grip the enemy with a greater range than normal. This helps offset the crap grab range somewhat, but it's no Clawshot. Still, the less people use throws in the professional scene, the less prepared they'll be for one if it's put to use. A true master never forgets ANY of the tools at his disposal. Pikachu's Attacks Neutral A: Headbutt Pikachu thrusts its head forward to damage the enemy. It's weak but quick, so it can be used for some short-term damage feed. RAPID-FIRE: The attack fires off rapidly if you hold the attack button, so now you can use it to pin your unsuspecting foe against a wall. This works well in team matches with a projectile fighter so long as friendly fire is off; even with it on it still works to suppress the enemy, but you need to dodge your friend's attempts to help. Dash: Tackle Pikachu runs forward and mashes the enemy with its head. Nice to maintain an offense while keeping mobile. Just be sure to get back moving to deny the enemy a reprisal. Forward A: Double Kick Pikachu plants one forepaw on the ground and strikes the enemy with both hindpaws at the same time. This is a little more powerful than the basic attack with a bit more damage to boot, but it's got nothing on a good smash. Keep in mind you get the Tackle if you're dashing and the Double Kick if you're not. Crouching A: Tail Sweep Pikachu sweeps its tail along the ground. Not much, but it's your only attack when crawling, and Raygun wielders will have a hard time nailing something so close to the ground as it is. Use it wisely, or your enemy will wise up and nail you hard for it. Ascending A: Tail Swing Pikachu swings its tail above it, swatting opponents striking from on high. A good substitute for the ascending smash, but you need to raise the control slowly so you don't jump - provided Tap Jump is set to ON. Forward Smash: Thundershock Pikachu lets loose a jolt of electricity to nail enemies in front. This is a particularly deadly move, as it blows away enemies at reasonable percentages if they touch your nose. Still, even if they're hit by the spark, it's nasty enough to earn a decent frag. SEMI-MELEE: Due to the disjointed hit box, this attack has more range than newbies give Pikachu credit for. Don't kid yourself, though; you cannot outrange even Toon Link's sword without some help (and yes, I mean items). Descending Smash: Spark Vortex (aka Electric Flower) Pikachu spins around on the ground, striking enemies with an electric force emitted from one hindpaw and its tail. Enemies hit by this attack are drawn in and scattered about after it ends. If you want to build damage in melee range in a hurry, this is your bread and butter. The damage is a little weak, so don't abuse it. Charged up, this can KO enemies straight up for when Iron Tail is impractical. Ascending Smash: Iron Tail Pikachu flips backwards in place, slamming its tail into the enemy on the way. While not the best smash available to Pikachu, a charged Iron Tail to enemies in front is deadly at moderate percentages. Enemies elsewhere have much less to worry about than you'd expect, so try not to miss. Neutral Aerial: Forward Flip Pikachu spins forward in place rather quickly to damage enemies around it. It's actually pretty powerful for a standard aerial, but not too much. Don't forget you have it, though Forward Aerial: Electric Drill (Lateral) Pikachu drills forward and zaps the enemy on the way. It's weak, but multihit, and builds a moderate amount of damage for a non-smash. There's little force, so expect a reprisal if you're not quick. Reverse Aerial: Rapid Spin Pikachu flattens out and spins, damaging enemies with limbs and head. Multihit with minimal force, so use this if you're pressed for options. Ascending Aerial: Reverse Flip Pikachu flips backwards in the air, using its tail to inflict damage on the enemy. While its tail velocity determines which way enemies will fly, don't kid yourself into thinking this is a Meteor Smash. Pikachu doesn't have an aerial Meteor Smash. Descending Aerial: Electric Drill (Descending) Pikachu drills downward with its head, zapping enemies on the way down. Unlike its lateral counterpart, there is reasonable force and no multihit quality. Be aware that you are vulnerable if you whiff on a grounded enemy, as Pikachu needs time to straighten itself out. Grab Attack: Spark Pikachu will zap the enemy in its grip. Nothing too big. Forward Throw: Electric Chair Pikachu flips the enemy onto its back and fries him before throwing him or her off. Reasonable force for a multihit attack. Reverse Throw: Rolling Throw Pikachu rolls about with enemy in tow before kicking him off. Moderate power for a one-hit attack. Ascending Throw: Air Serve Pikachu will ram the enemy skyward. Useful for setting up an Iron Tail or Spark Vortex; at higher percentages this can chain into a Thunder surprise. Descending Throw: Slam Pikachu will lay the enemy on the ground before pounding on it from above. Chains into Spark Vortex quite easily. You probably noticed the vertical throws have chaining qualities; use these to help build damage before the big finisher. Neutral Special: Thunder Jolt Pikachu unleashes a spark that slinks along the ground, damaging the first enemy it makes contact with. It lacks power, but its versatility is the killer. EDGE PUNISHER: Once Thunder Jolt makes contact with a surface, it will travel along it until it runs out of juice. This is a nice way to kick someone off a ledge, especially in team matches where your friend finds they need it. WALL PUNISHER: Pikachu cannot grab walls, but there are characters that can (Diddy and Lucario come quickly to mind). Thunder Jolt slinks along any solid surface, so if they're hugging the wall and you're above them on the same surface, throw a Thunder Jolt their way to knock them off. TERROR WEAPON: Some arenas have niches in the walls they can use to temporarily hide from most forms of aggression. Pikachu's Thunder Jolt WILL reach them down there, cutting down on the places in which they can hide. Making an enemy feel unsafe wherever they are is great psychological warfare. TRAP BUSTER: Since Thunder Jolt slinks along the ground, it is great at defusing Motion Sensor Bombs and Snake's Claymores, as well as remote-detonating Smart Bombs and Blast Boxes. Nothin' says loathin' like blowing up an enemy near a conveniently-placed powder crate. Of course, you can use it to remote-detonate Gooey Bombs planted on the ground by mistake in case its thrower failed to stick someone. COUNTERMEASURES: Thunder Jolt is an energy projectile. Mirror techniques, the Franklin Badge, and Lylatian reflectors will throw it back your way, and Mr. G&W can trap it with Oil Panic. Furthermore, the PSI boys can drain it with Magnet. This has creepy implications in team matches where Friendly Fire is on; paired with G&W, you can quick-charge Oil Panic to rape your foes, and enemies who dodge Thunder Jolt on its initial pass might not be aware of the reflector ally on the other side. PSI boys can heal without the aid of food or Hearts in these kinds of matches, so if Friendly Fire's on and you're paired with one, spread the love. I said it before, I'll say it again; Pikachu is one evil rodent. Lateral Special: Skull Bash Pikachu rears back and charges energy before springing forward, smashing the enemy headfirst. Not too powerful for a quick attack, but given time to charge it's a killer. It does have implications in recovery, but I'd use it more for offense; however, if you need to close the distance don't forget you have it. Ascending Special: Quick Attack This is arguably one of THE best recovery abilities for a non-flier in the game, up there with Peach Parasol. Pikachu jolts in the direction you hold the Control Stick; shift it to any other direction more than 45 degrees during the jolt and you'll do it a second time. While Pikachu is not invulnerable in transit, it's hard to nail even if you see it coming, and the implications are limited by your imagination. GODDAMNED PIKACHU: There are hollow (drop- and jump-through) and semi-hollow (jump-through only) platforms in Brawl. The semi-hollow platforms tend to be main platforms in substitute for a completely solid platform, but the difference is that semi-hollow main platforms are harder to edgeguard. A crafty Pikachu player will exploit this knowledge and return to the semi-hollow main platform with a Quick Attack from below. This technique will frustrate edgeguarders to no end, as they will have a harder time trying to guess which way you'll come from. Halberd is a good stage to practice this on; the main platform is semi-hollow during the tour around the actual ship. AN HEROICS: This attack actually does damage compared to alternatives like Wings of Icarus and Extreme Speed. Watch for explosives and traps when doing it to avoid becoming an hero, as this will actually set them off. It's hard to be a badass freakin' Pikachu if the only one you're owning is yourself. Descending Special: Thunder Pikachu emits a heavy static charge to summon a thunderhead high above the battlefield, which drops a bolt onto Pikachu. The bolt and thunderhead do some damage and send the victim roughly straight up, while the burst - that is, the shockwave emitted when the bolt strikes Pikachu - blows them away with greater damage. TRAP BUSTER: Thunder can set off traps above Pikachu without having to adjust your position. Just watch the proximity before trying it; if it's too close to Pikachu when you try this, either right above its head or next to it for the burst to affect, then congratulations, you are now dining in Hell. TERROR WEAPON: Thunder can inspire some true terror with proper placement. Few rookie players will expect the thunderhead to cause damage, but it does. If the enemy is high enough in the air to be hit by the thunderhead, they will get nailed; furthermore, if they are up there from heavy damage, then they will get to know the stratosphere on a first-name basis. TERROR RETARDANT: Nothing says 'Rookie Pikachu' like Thunder spam. Don't drop it just because you can; know the placement of the attack and use it strategically. Spamming Thunder at every opportunity is the fastest way to look like a noob, and no self-respecting Pikachu wants that kind of image, Leeroy (no offense to the original intended). COUNTERMEASURES: It's odd, I know, but Thunder is an energy projectile, too. That means it's susceptible to Cymul plating, Lylatian reflectors, mirror techniques, and the Franklin Badge. Furthermore, PSI boys can Magnet it for some quick health. In a Friendly Fire team match, you can use this to heal Ness and Lucas a little more efficiently, but a bit more slowly, than Thunder Jolt. No wonder the two love him so much! Final Smash: Volt Tackle Pikachu rolls up into a gravity- and terrain-defying ball of electric death before soaring around to bring the pain. Direct contact provides multiple jolts, while pressing an Attack button causes a single strong jolt to throw the enemy away. There's a brief pause between these high-power pulses, so don't mash. QUIRKY MOVEMENT: Volt Tackle is comparable to Super Sonic in that it's slower and has a longer turning curve; furthermore, the ball oscilattes every so often, which makes controlling it tough. A few uses should give you the hang of controlling this hateful force of nature. TERROR WEAPON: Nothing says 'good old-fashioned nightmare fuel' like having a rampaging ball of death chasing you wherever you go. In the air, on the ground, behind a brick wall; there is nowhere to hide from this attack. Most players facing Super Sonic would hide between two solid walls to escape the Chaos Emerald-powered behemoth; against Volt Tackle such luxury is a joke. Only End of Day and PK Starstorm can inspire the same degree of terror, but those are just blanket attacks instead of electric death with an IQ. TIME'S UP: Whereas Super Sonic races on at high speed all the way to the end, Volt Tackle loses much of its speed and its noncorporeality in the last couple of seconds. This is the game telling you that your time is almost up, and you need to get your ass back to terra firma in short order lest you become an hero. You have a jump and Quick Attack to pull this off, but don't push your luck. Pikachu and Items Smash Ball: See Volt Tackle for further information. To actually get the ball, you just need to be clever and ruthless. Thunder is good at nailing it high without having to leave the ground, and Pikachu has enough attacks, both on ground and in-air, to blow it open. Just be sure to blow your opponents away before swooping in for the kill, or someone else is going to grab it, and you sure don't want to choke on a Triforce Slash or Great Aether, do ya? Assist Trophies: You can grab these whenever, but be quick about it. Also, you are temporarily vulnerable once you get it, as you have to hoist it aloft before it will unleash whoever's inside. You need some sense and arena awareness to work around the goddamned Nintendog, however, and the Devil is fun for absolutely nobody who doesn't possess arena awareness. Poke Balls: Grab one and throw it to the ground to unleash some havoc... or not. Goldeen is the everlasting dud, Electrode may fail at life sometimes, and Munchlax chews up every item that it lays eyes on. Everyone else is good, so ask yourself if you feel lucky. Crates: If you're feeling lucky, grab one up and throw it. Some of them roll, and some are lined with C4, so be careful before trying to use one against a foe. Don't try to move while carrying one; you're not Donkey Kong. The same principles apply to barrels. Capsules: Like Crates, but much lighter. It's best you throw them instead of attacking them, unless you do so at a safe distance. They may be lined with C4, too. Blast Box: You can throw them to rearrange their positioning, but do NOT attack one with anything other than Thunder Jolt or a projectile unless you have some uncontrollable urge to Mc****ing kill yourself. Sandbag: BEAT ON HIM!: He drops various items when you bash him, but be careful with area attacks; sometimes he drops explosives which result in an heroics. Recovery: Guard them if you have a teammate who needs one more than you, otherwise snag as many up as you can. This goes for everyone. Dragoon: You have some speed and a measure of power; use it to get to the parts first. For those times when someone else grabs a part, bash it out of them or KO them to force it to drop. If you complete the Dragoon, try not to whiff. Size Play: Super Mushrooms and Reverse Thunderbolts enlarge those affected by them; everything else shrinks. It's all luck with this, but if you shrink, get clear and harrass until you normalize. If the opposite happens, unleash the nightmare fuel. Warp Stars: Watch the terrain near your preferred landing site when you grab one; you want to nail your enemies, of course, but Blast Boxes will make an hero out of you even with this bad boy. Starman/Power Star: Blank check for anarchy without a Final Smash. Go nuts! Metal Box: The downside is that you fall faster, which makes it harder to recover. Normally, this is a bad thing, but Pikachu's great recovery options plus light weight and weak gravity negate that, so grab it, damn you! Bunny Hood: This gives you speed to compete with Sonic and jump heights to rival Meta-Knight and Dedede. You fall faster, though, but that's not so bad. Superspicy Curry: This entree from the Fire-Breathing Diner causes you to spew flames as long as it affects you. Use it to pin opponents, but watch for Blast Boxes and explosives lest you pwn yourself hard. THE WORLD!: The Stopwatch can slow down you, your opponents, or everyone. If you slow down, slow your match tempo to compensate and try to predict how the enemies will move. Otherwise, tear them to shreds, complete with a complimentary WRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! to really drive them crazy. Melee Weapons: Pikachu used to be able to 360 swing his weapon in Melee; not so in Brawl. Keep this in mind and time your swings, especially with the Homerun Bat. You don't want to whiff because you thought you'd nail someone behind you. Hammers: Chase your enemies mercilessly when carrying one, and mash the Attack buttons to levitate with the Golden Hammer, squeaky or otherwise. Of course, if you have a squeaky hammer, you'll know immediately to run for shelter when hitting someone. If the hammer head ever falls off of your hammer, find shelter; if it drops off someone else's, kill them with it! Gunslinging: Pikachu, like everyone else, can move and fire with Fire Flowers, Ray Guns, Super Scopes, and Cracker Launchers. Keep this in mind when packing heat so you don't get hosed, and watch for reflectors. Super Scope: Pikachu carries the Super Scope above its head when firing and in its mouth at all other times. Only attempt rapid fire against large enemies and charge shots at all other times; you want to make every shot count. Cracker Launcher: Pikachu loses ALL mobility save for a single jump with this behemoth, so if someone knocks you overboard, better to dump it and recover than try to get revenge. Launchers come back; lives do not. Explosives: If you must detonate an explosive remotely, Thunder Jolt is the way to go. Remember where the Proxies are placed so you don't wind up becoming an hero, and try to tag an attacking enemy with them for added insult to injury. If a Gooey Bomb is stuck to you, pass it to them and get clear; if you're facing a Lylatian, Falcon, or Sonic, don't forget to dodge as they are faster than you. Throwing Items: Just throw and forget it took no skills that aren't aiming. Hotheads can be amped with electric attacks before throwing them, so do that. Traps: Pitfalls can be very nasty against a weakened opponent, as it throws them through hollow platforms and ensnares them in anything else to set up for a Thundershock. Banana Peels are always embarrassing to touch, Bumpers can throw you helluva far, and Unira really hurt. Placement is key at all times. Soccer: Smash attacks really power up the soccer ball, but watch where you're aiming if you're going to use it. The Spark Vortex adds on the pain to low- damage opponents, so keep that in mind. Team Healer: The CPU uses this as a weapon, but you should use it for its true purpose and lob it at a teammate. Watch for enemy interceptors, however.  Pikachu VS (Characters) Note: I will NOT factor items into these matchups. Use them as needed. Mario Mario is the average character; he's not strong or weak in any department. He's got more weight and durability than you, but his speed starts to suffer as a consequence. His cape can reflect Thunderjolt (and Thunder, if timed REALLY well), and he has some melee options to work with.as well, but so do you. Get in there and mix it up rather than harrass at long range, and watch out for the fireballs on the approach. Mario is now equipped with F.L.U.D.D. compared to Melee, and a good Mario player will try using that to lock out Skull Bash as a recovery technique. Be thankful you have Quick Attack, as he's thankful you can't fry him through that. Peach Unless you have her at high percentages or a narrow threshold, horizontal ejection for the Mushroom Kingdom's Bubbles is a bad idea. Sure, they nerfed her space jump, but she still has her float AND her parasol, and both of those can make up the loss of height on their own. She's not going to go quietly with her smashes, despite the reduced damage of her descending smash, and she's got Toad as a counter device. And those vegetables, on top of hurting, can be used to harrass (and counter-harrass) Pikachu. The best way to win is to play crafty, utilize grabs, and force her straight up, as her aerial options suck at anti-ground. That, and you've got Thunder. This may sound like I'm hating on Peach, but she actually has some deadly implications in competitive play, and can prove to be a terror against the likes of the Lylatians and other 'high-tier' characters (remember, tiers were invented for wannabe competitive players to stroke their egos with - yes, I went there). For those who don't agree with me, I present Exhibit A: Mikey Lenetia. Bowser Bowser is brutishly slow with a horrible vertical recovery, but as the Colonel put it, that's because he's the heaviest fighter BY FAR. He's going to take work to bring down, but it is possible. You just have to rely on dodges a bit more, along with hit-and-run tactics. And whatever you do, if you see a Bowser Bomb coming, either Quick Attack or dodge if you're anywhere on the descent to ground zero. Bowser can now aim his breath upwards to mitigate some attempts to harrass with aerial Thunder Jolts. This is why you need to get in there and play defense; he can cut off your attempts to feed him damage from afar. Speaking of, stay clear of the edges; Bowser's lateral special is a grab attack, and if you're losing a match he's liable to use it, clutch your little body in his arms, and commit Bowsercide (that is, he plummets both of you into the void). Donkey Kong DK has some serious range with his attacks, up there with our good friends Link and Ike. Much like the latter, he has no ranged options, so you can do to him what you can't viably do to Bowser and harrass with Thunder Jolt. Again, defense is a good idea, as a good DK player has a Giant Punch, fully charged, waiting to feed unsuspecting foes a mountain of hurt. He's still a heavy, so get in there, mix it up, and keep yourself dodging to avoid some of the worst, especially Headbutt. If DK headbutts you into the ground, you will be eating fist in VERY short order. If he's a grabber, hit and run works deceptively well, especially if it means avoiding Donkeycide. Like Bowsercide, he can grab you and drag you with him into abyss, so be careful of that option. Diddy Kong Whereas DK has brute force and great reach, Diddy has speed on his side. There are some crucial differences between chimp and mouse, however; first, as the folks on 1UP's GameVideos point out, Diddy's cartwheel has zero cooldown, meaning that if you get nailed a good Diddy will chain with something annoying or nasty. Rather than block, it's a good idea to roll and counter from another angle or, in what some would consider a failure in logic, Quick Attack through and disrupt before countering. It's going to be a battle no matter how you look at it, and Diddy certainly has his nuisance factors with quick attacks, chain capabilities, banana peels, and other such things. One thing you have that Diddy doesn't is good recovery. The Rocket Barrels require some time to charge and aim to get back on, meaning you can prep for an immediate reprisal in the event he pulls it off. Yoshi Yoshi still has the same flaw he had throughout the Smash Bros. series; he has no third jump AT ALL. The second jump compensates with some sick air time, but that is just another reason for Thunder deployment. Get in there and shred him with everything you have, and edgeguard mercilessly if you think he's gonna try to come back. Of course, Yoshi still has some nasty melee options to him, and being dropped in an egg is as embarrassing as losing to Dan Hibiki. But the one thing that's most dangerous is the short jump; if Yoshi does that, then dodge immediately, as I'd wager dollars (or your local currency) to brain cells he's going for a Flutter Kick, and that hurts, tough guy. Wario Fatty is certainly a wild one to deal with, and Pikachu is going to have to play a mixed offense game to shut him down. To your credit, unless he's packing a Smash Ball, his recovery options suck. His motorcycle isn't gravity-proof, his ascending special doesn't give him too much height, and his descending special takes profane amounts of time to charge, so edgeguard like a monster and beat his wide ass to next week. Of course, one of the things that he's got going for him is that his attacks are deceptively fast, so harrassment will mess with a Wario player's mind while he gets into range (he can chomp Snake's grenades but not live electricity), and a quick smash game will shut him down and give him second thoughts about ticking you off in the first place... provided he doesn't get a chance to counter. If you're trying to recover and he jumps to you, air dodge and Quick Attack back ASAP, or he may attempt Waricide with his bite attack. Link O how the mighty have fallen... Link used to be one of the high-tier characters from Melee with his nasty attacks and ranged options, coupled with that goddamn Master Sword, and Pikachu didn't have much to really do about it. Then again, that was then, this is now, and Link's starting to feel the weight of all his gear. Doesn't make him less dangerous, but it does mean you have more control over the situation with your speed. And get in there you must, because arrows, the Gale Boomerang, and bombs are still Thunder Jolt retardant. Remember that Link is a heavy, but he's got that Clawshot to aid in lateral recovery. His Splitter Stab is useful for countering Thunder AND he can adjust it in case you try to bomb away, so pick your road wisely. Zelda Whereas Link took a bit of weight training classes to handle his new equipment, Zelda hijacked a shipment of Lon Lon Grade A and has amped her game as a consequence. She's somewhat light, but her attacks have that deadly punch to them that was missing in Melee. Nayru's Love retards Thunder Jolt (and Thunder should she get lucky), so melee is a must, especially given she's learned how to quick-detonate Din's Fire between Melee and Brawl. Her Lightning Kick (both forward and reverse) are still as deadly as ever, like the Rising Knee, but the hit box for sweetspotting is still dreadfully small and momentary, so dodge it and you effectively take most of the sting out of the attack. Try to aim for the skyline; Farore's Wind has all the reach it had in Melee, and given the new edgegrab properties you might not be able to edgeguard as effectively as you might think. Keep in mind that unlike Samus, Zelda can switch to Sheik freely. It's telltale when this happens, so get up to her face, charge the smash of your choice, and blast her hard before moving to the next section. Sheik Compared to Zelda, Sheik actually lost some efficiency. A true Zelda player can use both forms effectively, but this means you have to worry about the mechanics of both personae, especially given players have less incentive to stay as Sheik the entire match like they did in Melee. Still, that doesn't change the fact that the skyline's the goal; it just means you have to play melee a bit more readily, as it's harder to run when your enemy isn't wearing a clumsy dress. Sheik's needles come in numbers, meaning they can damage AND retard Thunder Jolt simultaneously. The chain helps with retardation, but it's slower and is better used tying you up, so watch the approach. Sheik's Double Kick is her most dangerous asset; it hangs you on the first kick and blasts you on the second, but if you sidestep the first then the attack is wasted, meaning a nice counter opportunity is in your hands. She can change back to Zelda on a whim, but like the transition to Sheik it's telltale and leaves her open. Go in and punish, then return to the Zelda section. Also, unlike Samus, she can START as Sheik without any special input, so expecting to always fight Zelda is a bad idea. Samus Samus with the Chozo Power Suit is a ranged specialist; she will throw missiles and charged beam shots at you with minimal hesitation, meaning Thunder Jolt goes from offense to defense. Use them to retard the projectiles as you approach, and once you're in mix it up with the best of them. Samus has Morph Ball Bombs to chase you off in a flash, but not many players utilize it that often. In my personal experience, the best way to attack Samus is from above, as her ability to attack enemies above her flat-out sucks. Screw Attack can chase you off, but that is the kind of opening YOU want. If Samus grabs a Smash Ball and uses it, avoid the resulting energy blast by going above (or below, terrain permitting) and behind her and go right to Zero Suit discussion. She can perform a taunt chain to drop the Power Suit without access to Smash Balls, but this is one-way and not everyone has the dexterity for it. Zero Suit Without the Zero Suit, Samus loses much of her weight and some of her force, but the attack speed and Paralyzer more than compensate. The Paralyzer will stop not just your attacks, but you in general if it hits, and this can lead to some nasty chain attacks. Retard that at all costs and move in for the heavy offense. Samus can perform a combination dodge at will with her descending special, but it's telegraphed by the aerial flip used in the ability. Roll backwards and have a counter waiting when she lands. And don't kid yourself into outranging that plasma whip; that thing has longer reach than friggin' Ragnell! The Smash Ball causes Samus to restore the Power Suit in a maelstrom of energy, and she will try to get you mixed up in that wild energy given half a chance. Repulse her at all costs and hope your attacks dislodge the Smash Ball, or you will certainly feel it. Regardless, refer to the previous situation once the command resolves itself. Pit Pit's recovery is just as annoying as Pikachu to some, and I believe it. He can come back from the maw of defeat like it's nothing at all, and his attacks have a slight bit of force to really piss you off. He's got projectile retardant in the Angel Ring and Mirror Shield, so you have no choice but to mix it up. Fortunately this is Pikachu's strong point, so use that and pummel him back into obscurity. The ideal goal is to send angel-boy crying all the way back to Palutena and blast him into orbit, but knocking him on a one-way trip into the horizon works, too. If he starts coming back from that, you can edgeguard in the air with knowledge that he gets three flaps plus one use of Wings of Icarus before his sandals must touch terra firma. Utilize this knowledge if you intend to send his toga-clad butt back to the Underworld. Ice Climbers One Ice Climber is moderately tough and pathetic at recovery; two are a pain and able to return from near-defeat. They cover each other real well and in many cases the synch is nasty to deal with. Since they work as a pair, the goal is to divide and conquer. Trapping attacks, Thundershock, aerials, the works; anything to split them up and take them out. Alternately, if you think you can't do that well enough, you could just screw it all and aim for the skyline. Regardless, if you pop the partner, the player is much easier to handle, so edgeguard mercilessly. Kirby Kirby's a flier; an entity capable of floating up into the air more than twice. Such mobility makes it easier for him to recover from a particularly bad situation, but his weight is completely lacking. He has zero projectiles barring the shockwave from Final Cutter, but that is remedied in his favor if he inhales you. Deny him that chance as you mix it up, and a little harrassment never hurt. While he has Stone to drop on you like a literal rock, that shouldn't divert you from this deadly game of soccer; he's the ball and the skyline's the goal. Be aware of Kirbycide at higher percentages for both of you; he may inhale with the express purpose of dragging both of you to your deaths. Button-mash your way out of THAT if he even tries it. Meta-Knight The antihero of the Kirby series can be summed up in three words: high-speed attacks. He can swing Galaxia extremely fast, giving you a hard time in delivering an offense of your own. Furthermore, his cape can change into a pair of bat wings, meaning he's a flier just like Kirby on top of that. But what he's got in those fields, he loses out on in weight and power. You can outrun him, but save that for when you're getting thrashed or need to play head games. Spark Vortex, Thunderjolt, and Thunder are your best friends. Note that he can use his cape to warp as a defensive maneuver, so watch for when he does that and get back in there. Pikachu's lack of a strong horizontal projectile means that you have to face the sting sometime. King Dedede Wow... a heavy that's also a flier. I never thought I'd live to see the day... ...excuse me on that. Anyway, Dedede's got a lot of annoyance factor with his flight capabilities and high jump, and some serious power to back it up. Fortunately for you, that hammer is still unwieldy even if he can swing it like it's a bamboo staff, so play defense and counter every opportunity you get, preferably with Spark Vortex. Air games are bad, given he has some strong aerial along with his high jump to screw up Thunder, so if he's at high percentages try a Thundershock to eject him instead. Normally I don't advise aiming for the sides with fliers, but with Dedede I have to make an exception. If both of you are at high percentages, be especially careful of Dedecide; he'll try to inhale you and drag you both to Jagged Rock Junction Kirby-style. Olimar Olimar is a midget, even by Pikachu's standards, and has some relatively weak attacks on his own. The thing that makes him deadly is his arsenal of Pikmin, and both a good player and a CPU will yank some recruits at any given opportunity, so you won't cut those off for long. While killing them does mitigate some of his offensive options, he won't be without them forever. Also, perform a Spark Vortex whenever he tries to have them mob you with his lateral special; not only does it cut the damage, it kills them, too. The other neat trick Olimar has is that he can use his Pikmin as a rope to grapple the edge of the stage. It's great, but by no means perfect. Have Pikachu edgehog rather than edgeguard if you can take some punishment; your recovery options are better, and by doing this you take away the stock he was trying to save in the first place. Beyond that, standard melee procedures and aim for the heavens if you don't want to block that chain. Fox You cannot outrun a Lylatian. It's that simple, so if you don't see anything when I mention Fox and his buddies, now you know. Instead, use their high- speed, low-power attacks as a chance to go in there and mix it up! If you must use electric attacks, stick to Spark Vortex and Thundershock, as Thunderjolt and even Thunder can be reflected. Furthermore, Thundershock is extremely viable as Lylatians have some high gravity, and their fast fall means that either a booster pack or a high-speed dash is their main method of recovery from horizontal ejection. There are differences between them, however. For Fox, his blaster is a vulcan model, which means a high rate of fire with flinch-free shots, and this will add up if he goes rapid-fire on your ass. You can use the opportunity to crawl up and punish him, which will chain into Spark Vortexes and Thundershocks. Don't forget to edge-guard mercilessly, and watch out for the occasional shine (that is, he snaps on his Reflector in melee range and repulses you). One last detail: in Melee, the Lylatians were notorious for wavedashing, which is a short jump followed almost immediately by an air dodge along the ground. Back then, it made you almost godlike; nowadays it makes you a joke. If someone playing a Lylatian tries to wavedash in Brawl, show him how much of a failure he is making himself out to be. Pikachu "To defeat yourself, you must know yourself." Truer words have never been spoken. This is basically a match between the more skilled and more adaptible Pikachu player. Know well that you can aim either way given your enemy's weak gravity, so take your pick and survive. Charizard Another heavy flier. but he doesn't have the mobility Dedede does. He makes up for it in sheer, head-crushing power. Rock Smash is a BAD thing to be near, but it doesn't have much for range. Flamethrower behaves like Bowser's Fire Breath, and it decays over use as well, but it still works as Thunder Jolt retardant. Melee is your best option. It still has some powerful attacks, but you have quicker ones, and if you can get yours off first you can chain things quite quickly to cut his power edge. Its grab range is better than yours, so pull away if the shield goes up to avoid a reprisal. If for ANY reason you happen to be close by when Charizard is switched out, charge a Thundershock next to the ball and drop it when Squirtle emerges. Then move to the Squirtle section. Squirtle Squirtle's a lightweight, just like you, but don't give it any slack, its attacks have deceptive range. Its Water Gun behaves like Mario's F.L.U.D.D., so pay it no mind. Its other attacks are dangerous, but Withdraw can catapult it into oblivion if the player is inattentive. Of bigger note are the smashes; all of them have some range to them and all of them will leave a mark on you if they hit. Water Gun can retard Thunder Jolt, so get in there, mix it up, and give absolutely no mercy. Again, if Squirtle is pulled out, charge a smash and nail Ivysaur as it comes out if you can get in range. Then switch to Ivysaur strategy. Ivysaur Ivysaur has a bit of range on you, so you're going to have to get in there and negate most of that. Bullet Seed is anti-air, so get in from the ground quickly. Ivysaur doesn't have much attack speed, so once you're in, it's best to rip it up with all the tricks at your disposal - Spark Vortex and grabs are good, but others work, too. Like the others, if it tags out, blast Charizard as it emerges, then go to Charizard's section. Ike There's something you need to know with Lords; you cannot outreach them. Ever. Unless you have the Beam Sword, but I don't want to include items in strategies given that they may not always be available. Nothing Pikachu does has longer reach than Falchion or Ragnell, and the instant you delude yourself into thinking such is the instant you get owned. The readily-available Lord in Brawl relies on brute force along with that reach, meaning that if you slip up a few times too many, you are going to blast off like Team Rocket. However, despite their formidable reach, Lords have zilch for native ranged offense, meaning harrassment with Thunder Jolt is recommended if you must play at a distance. You still have to play a melee game, though, as that is where most of Pikachu's power lies. Grabs are going to be your friend as Lords possess a counter stance, so break up the action with an occasional grab and brutalize them. Defense is more important with Ike because of all that power, but the slow rate of attack is something to be thankful for. Ike does have Quick Draw to close the gap horizontally, but he has no real vertical approach options barring Aether; that brings him right back down if he blunders, however. This means he will use the technique more appropriate to his return, so if you get him off the sides edgeguard mercilessly but carefully. Lucas PSI boys have Magnet at their disposal, which kicks harrassment to the curb before the match even starts. The ranged options are just as disruptive, meaning you have your work cut out for you getting in melee range. Still, once you're there, go to town and start your owning. Just stay in melee range because they will return to harrassment given half a chance. The boys do have some differences, however. Lucas' Freeze pretty much does what it says; encase Pikachu in a solid chunk of ice. Still, he needs to get it in position, so get in there and shred some ass. Thunder hits multiple times for unwanted damage, and Fire has the explosive force of Din's Fire. Lucas will try not to rely on his horizontal smashes, as the stick can't match a good bat and he's got deadlier options in the vertical game. The ascending smash takes a while to boot up, but once it launches it will hurt, so nip that **** in the bud before he can do that. Also, if he aims low, get behind him and counter ASAP. For all that force, he is a lightweight, so aim for the skyline. Your cheeks will thank you for it. Luigi The Other Brother is similar to Mario in many ways, and yet different in a few others. He wisely chose to leave the Poltergust at home, instead opting for the Luigi Cyclone. The Green Missile is his horizontal recovery, and there's still a chance of misfire, meaning great distance and heavy damage if it lands. The Super Jump Punch is pathetic, but if he nails you at ground zero it stops being funny. Regardless of all this, get in there and mix it up, because his fireballs are Thunder Jolt retardant. This is one of the few times I will ever discuss items, but this is essentially important. No matter what happens or how tough he will try to make it for you, it is your obligation to deny him the Smash Ball. Letting him open the Negative Zone is going to be your downfall unless [A] he's on your side in a team match, [B] he's busy dealing with his other opponents or [C] his player is a total idiot, because this gives him a big wide opening for Fire Jump Punches, and I explained how unfun those are to take. Ganondorf There's a reason the Gerudo bastard was stuck with the Power piece; he hits like a Mac truck on 'roids. This even applies to his basic attacks, so a war of attrition is nothing short of suicide. To pay for it, he's slow as all hell; he runs as fast as YOU walk. The name of the game is hit and run, and that includes Thunderjolt harrassment, the occasional Spark Vortex and Thundershock reprisal, and dodges galore. To further piss you off, he has some devastating ATS (air-to- surface) attacks, which links with his high gravity to make Thunder a bad idea at any reasonable percentage. When the time comes to eject him, aim for the sides without regrets. If you're recovering, play defense and Quick Attack back as soon as possible to prevent any attempts at Ganoncide. Toon Link Toon Link is basically a smaller, faster, lighter Link. His bomb blasts are bigger, but it's the difference in attacks that make him a bit more aggravating to deal with. His ranged weapons are still Thunder Jolt retardant, so you'll have to get in there and mix it up. Traps and smashes are good to work with when building up damage. One thing of note is that unlike normal Link, Toon Link's Skull Splitter goes straight down. This is begging for a Thunder reprisal. Of course, you have to catch attempts in advance and plaster him as necessary; if he starts it you may be too late to punish it, but if he drops alongside the bolt go ahead and follow up with the smash of your choice. This battle comes down to tenacity, knowledge of the enemy, and a fair bit of head games. R.O.B. Stuttering Craig, Handsome Tom, I hope you two are happy. R.O.B. is back and, yes, he even shoots lasers out of his eyes. Those lasers have some force, but due to reactor constraints he needs to charge between shots. He's still got melee options like you wouldn't believe, so mix it up carefully. The gyro is a pain to deal with, as well, but unlike most projectiles you can use it against R.O.B. as well. Like many others, the best option is hit and run, mixing in some traps, Thunder, and other heavy attacks to wear him down and blow him off. Sides or top, it doesn't matter, but he does have some nasty ATS options, so keep that in mind. And try not to get above him; nothing burns like thruster fire. Speaking of thrusters, R.O.B. has limited energy for those as well, meaning he needs to remain grounded a bit to refill them. If you force him off the sides, edgeguard mercilessly to run that all down and send him burning all the way to the scrap heap in Hell. Falco The next Lylatian on the list has a higher jump than Fox, and his blaster is a handgun model; this means he loses the rate of fire and gains shocking force. His booster is weaker than Fox's, which means he'll try to dash onto the stage unless he's losing altitude, which he will given his high gravity. His shine has a greater reach, as he kicks the reflector forward once it's online; it's tethered and will shut down after a brief moment, but the danger's still there. Otherwise, the same Lylatian strategy works; avoid electric specials and mix it up in melee range! Wolf Out of the Lylatians, Wolf is the heavy, so treat him as such but stay in melee range. He's got some actual force behind his attacks, but his blaster loses in speed and range. To compensate, his dash actually elevates him somewhat, giving him a bigger window before he loses too much altitude. His booster has a quicker startup than either Star Fox, meaning you have less of a window to prepare for that. He doesn't have the shine reach that Falco does, meaning you can separate yourself from him a little if you need to Thundershock. The goal's the same, though; aim for the sides, not for the top. Captain Falcon "Just can't get out of bed in the morning? Need an extra boost of energy to win? Well, I'm here to tell you about an energy drink with enough Vitamin C and antioxidants to blow your goddamn head off! FALCON PUNCH!" ...OK, I'll stop. Still, avoid the punch like it's Barney the Dinosaur. Falcon's a speedster, second only to Sonic, and unlike the hedgehog he's got brute force on his side, too. The only problem is that his attacks are a bit slow and his recovery options suck gigantic portions of ass. Knowing this, some harrassment works, but be prepared to mix it up and get him off the edge as soon as possible. Edge guard from the platform cautiously; you don't want to get nailed by his oh-so-predictable specials and much less the damn knee. If you must fight him off the edge, use aerials rather than specials; your recovery's better than his, and you don't want to choke on that. Of course, a high-% Falcon player may attempt Falconcide, but dodging mitigates that as well as it does Ganoncide. Lucario Lucario plays different than a number of enemies you've encountered, even in Melee. People complain that he's a replacement to Mewtwo, but if a fourth installment comes along we may see how truly different they are. Back to Brawl; the one most important thing to do is to kill him quickly. You see, Lucario's damage output is proportional to the damage he's already taken, so to avoid the nastiest he's got to offer you have to bust him before he gets too high. Double Team is a counter technique like the Lords', but rather than blast you in the face he sweeps you off your feet. Counter-happy nuts deserve paws to the face, and that means the grabs are your friend. Aura Spheres, Focus Palm, and his smashes are Thunder Jolt retardant, meaning you must play melee if you want to win. The game is hit and run with a healthy dose of psych warfare, and given the nature of Aura, every blow you make must be thorough and decisive. Jigglypuff If there was a specialized air superiority fighter, this is it. Jigglypuff, the original Balloon Pokemon, is actually faster in the air than on the ground. What that means is that Jigglypuff's weight is next to zero, meaning, once again, the best way to erase it is by knocking it into orbit. Even though Pikachu is quite small, that is no excuse to be caught sleeping; Rest is killer even at low percentages, and you don't want to risk getting nailed by THAT. Marth The other Lord relies on speed and grace; there's a sweetspot at the tip of Falchion that provides greater damage than the rest of the blade. Knowing this, be careful of counters and mix it up mercilessly. Also bear in mind that Marth's lateral special is a multihit combo rather than a rush like Ike. Avoid it when he pulls it out and, if he's not paying attention, ream him for it. Ness The other PSI boy is more tactical compared to Lucas' brute force. His vertical smashes involve a multihitting yo-yo with moderate knockback whereas the lateral hits with killing force. Fire goes from a blast to a napalm trap, and Thunder is a single-hitter; this even applies to the lethal Cannon. That doesn't change the name of the game; aim for the top, mix it up, and deny him a ranged opportunity. And watch out for Flash; rather than immobilize you, it kills. Mr. Game & Watch The more things change, the more they stay the same. G&W hasn't changed that much from Melee, and that makes him all the nastier. Oil Panic kills Thunder Jolt harrassment, so don't even bother. Instead, get in there and rearrange his 2D face with everything in the goddamn book. Judgment's still as nasty as ever, especially if he gets a 9. One thing they did change was his Fire recovery technique; rather than a straight rise and drop, G&W actually had the brains to bring a parachute this time, which slows his descent considerably like Peach Parasol. He can also cut this into a Key Smash to counter Thunder, so try to sidestep and counter once he lands, preferaby while he's pulling the key out of the ground. Snake Out of most of the heavies with their slow, brutish attacks, Snake is an anomaly that poses quite a threat as well. First, he crawls, meaning projectiles are less effective but Thunder Jolt is prime. Second, he can set up a claymore as a proxy, which Thunder Jolt also defuses. Snake players attempt to be calm, collected, and crafty with the toys at their disposal. Third, his rockets are player-guided, meaning that to disrupt them you need to blow up the rocket or endanger Snake. Lastly, the C4 is a Gooey Bomb that Thunder Jolt cannot defuse, meaning you need to pass the bomb before he blows you up with it. Defeating Snake requires head games; playing them with him while enduring and disarming his. Keep calm, focus on the prize, harrass as needed, and aim for the sides, as he's got ATS to torture with and Cypher's vertical recovery outstrips the horizontal. Unattentive Snake players can get Cypher hung up below a solid platform; take this opportunity to laugh a bit, as he's pretty much a dead man. Sonic There's no outrunning this guy, so flight as an option is stupidity. Fortunately his attacks don't have too much force behind them, so you can take the fight to him competitively. Every attack you have is your friend, but the most effective are the trapping attacks, namely Spark Vortex. You want to build his damage as fast as he is and blow him off the side, as he can punish poor Thunder aim with his descending aerial. Just be careful, as his neutral special is both an attack and a recovery technique as long as he's above you when it launches.  Pikachu VS (Bosses) Master Hand The original Smash Bros. boss is back for a third run, and his game is still the same as it ever was. That doesn't mean he's been working his tricks; he just applies them a little differently. The best ways to punish him are aerial attacks (most any will do), the ascending smash, and, of course, Thunder. It's just watching his attacks that makes the difference. Finger Bullets: Jump into the air, come back down quick, and crawl. You get a free attack after he whiffs his shot, which he will since he can't realign himself with you in time. Slap: He takes a little more time in winding this up, but it's enough for an observant mouse to dodge. Reprise once he gets back in position. Swatting: He takes some time in winding this up, too. Get behind him, harrass, and reprise something fierce when he returns. Finger Lasers: Dodge until you get under his wrist, then get up there and bash him in! Triple Poke: Master Hand will aim a finger and chase you. Time it a few seconds before rolling away to dodge the worst of it. Finger Walk: Master Hand will drop onto index and middle finger and walk across the stage. He may even flick you if you're too close. You should be able to endure this unless it's on a higher difficulty, since this comes out quicker than you may notice. Ground Slap: He'll coil up into a fist and hover before slapping the ground. Get in the air near him to effectively avoid this attack, but dodge to be sure. Don't forget to reprise as he's shaking it off. Ground Punch: See above; it's the same principle. It's just the condensed profile makes him easier to hit. Drill Thrust: He'll fly up and then back down on you with great speed, his fingers curled up to represent a drill. You can Quick Attack away from this, but don't do anything that isn't Thunder Jolt until the hand comes to a complete stop. It won't KILL you, but it will hurt. Glider: Master Hand spreads his thumb and pinky out before taking off; unlike Melee you do NOT have the telltale exhaust to warn you this time. He will loop in the background twice before ramming you fingers-on, so dodge at this time and try not to be at his rest position if you plan on surviving. Far Fist: Master Hand will fly up and try to punch you from the background. Get airborne, roll around, Quick Attack if you must, but goddamn it, avoid that **** like it's Barney and make him pay for it on his return to the arena. The only time I would advise anyone to stay in that path is if they happen to be a Lord. Far Slap: Same as Far Fist, but he tries to slap the ground instead. The dodging method is the same; just don't be too close to ground zero. Once you dodge successfully, punish him. Crazy Hand Crazy Hand was introduced as Master Hand's counterpart in Melee, but both brothers have fallen on hard times, as they are no longer the menaces they once were, that title having instead gone over to many bosses in Subspace Emissary. Many of his attacks are the same as his brother's, so I'll cover the ones that are different, as well as the tandem attacks. Finger Bombs: Crazy Hand floats in the middle of the screen and drops bombs from his fingers. It's best to just stay clear. Spider Walk: Crazy Hand will float up before running across the field on all digits. You can attack the wrist without penalty... if you're lucky. Tantrum: Crazy Hand will lie down and then roll around like he's having a fit. If you can stay clear of the quake range, counter with Thunder Jolt. Wake-Up Call: This is a tandem attack, meaning it only works when both hands are active. They will sweep around slowly and put you to sleep on contact, then clap six times to pile on the damage. Ironically, the higher your damage is, the less at risk you are to this attack, so don't lose faith. Knuckle Sandwich: Another tandem attack; they will meet in the middle before curling up and punching into each other. Unlike the last one this is meant to kill, so get airborne to dodge it. The Press: Master Hand will signal to Crazy Hand to punch, and then it happens. Like Knuckle Sandwich, this is made to kill, so dodge it by getting above Master Hand. Petey Piranha Petey is a simple boss with only two attacks. When fighting him, the cages are less defended than the body, so aim for one and stick with it. Don't try to be a hero and save both; it's just not possible. Cage Sweep: Petey will sweep a cage along the ground. Jump to dodge and attack his head as a counter. Stomp: Petey will jump into the air and come down hard. Stay clear of him when he does this and attack when he lands. Rayquaza The Sky High Pokemon was brought low, and it's certainly pissed about it. Feel free to work off its rage. Iron Tail: Rayquaza will swing its tail along the ground. Get high to avoid it. Dig: Rayquaza will go underground before attempting to plow you skyward. Get clear as it breaks out from underground. Fly: Rayquaza will float in the air before attempting to smash into you from above. Move away before this happens. Dragon Pulse: Rayquaza will charge an energy ball in its mouth to fire at you. If it's low, jump over; if it's high, fall back. Tackle: Rayquaza will rush to the other side of the screen. Get above it to avoid the worst. Take Down: Rayquaza will fly up offscreen before trying to smash into you from the sides. Roll through it to avoid this attack. Dragon Rage: Rayquaza will roar a bit with a spark in its eyes before an explosion rocks the ground beneath you. Get in the air to dodge this, Outrage: Rayquaza will fly in a loop before lightning zaps you. There's no force behind this attack, but it's impossible to dodge. Porky Ness' next-door neighbor. This is his Mother 3 incarnation, after he lost his mortality due to constant time travel. His machine is what does the work, but you do NOT want to risk a melee with it at any cost. Porky Bombs: Porky's machine will shoot out Porky bots which attempt to kamikaze into you. Thunder Jolt will cause them to trip and detonate prematurely, but make certain you're clear when they blow. Porky Beam: Porky's machine will fire a lazer around the arena in an attempt to zap you. Do your best to dodge this weapon. Porky Rush: Porky's machine will hop up and try to ram you. GET THE HELL ABOVE IT AT ALL COSTS! Porky Laser: Porky's machine will get airborne and try to zap you from above. Fake it in one direction and run in the other to dodge this, Porky Jab: Porky's machine will jap repeatedly in one direction with one of its many legs. If you are under the offending arm, roll behind the machine and reprise without risk. Galleom This thing is a brute! Big as all hell and with strength to spare; the best way to fight it is at range. Stomp: Galleom will try to stomp you into the ground. Just get clear. Faint: Galleom will try to faint on top of you. Given his size advantage, this is a deadly attack, so get the hell away! Spin: Galleom will fake out a High Jump to perform a ballerina spin. Stay clear if he stays low for too long. Thruster Slam: Galleom will spin around before slamming the ground before him, launching a deadly shockwave at you. Get away and get airborne to dodge this. Double Slam: Galleom will smash his fists on both sides of his body. Stay clear. Drive-By: Galleom will change into his tank form and try to run you over. Get over him, then move around until he returns. You do NOT want to be crushed! Rockets: Galleom will fire rockets from his back in tank form. Try your best to dodge them rather than get close; you do not want to risk a drive-by. Mortars: Galleom will fire mortars from his back. Try to stay clear of them. Tantrum: Galleom will stomp across the arena and try to smash you. Air dodge through him and you should be clear. High Jump: Galleom will boost into the air and come down with crushing force. Just run towards his launching point to avoid this attack. Ridley Samus' eternal nemesis. Players whine that he isn't playable; seriously, how the **** is he supposed to work as a playable character? Sure, Metroid as a series is underrepresented, but there may be a good reason. Anyway, he's airborne, so the best way to deal with him is in the air. Loop: Ridley will swoop in a loop in front of him. Nothing to fear. Rush (Lateral): Ridley will turn and fly away only to rush at you moments later. An air dodge is your best bet. Grind: Ridley will grind along the ground and attack you. It's not too powerful, so don't fret if you get nailed once or twice. Smash: Ridley will launch straight up and come back down to flatten you. Just keep moving away from where he lifted off to avoid the worst. Rush (Background): Ridley will go into the background, then swoop in and try to ram you. Air dodge just before you think he'll nail you; sometimes a sense of fear is a good thing. Tail: Ridley will grind his tail along the ground to rack up heavy damage. Get above it and beat the hell out of him. Wing Gust: Ridley will flap his wings to push you away. Fight the wind and get in there! Duon This is one of the hardest bosses you will face. Defense is your friend, as well as recognizing the call signs. Attack when you think you can and dodge like a fiend the rest of the time. Spin: Duon will spin around where they are. Run the hell away, as it has suction force to rack up damage. Jump: Duon will jump into the air after a lengthy pause. Run to where it used to be to be the safest from this attack. Laser Sweep: Duon (Pink) will fire lasers from one arm. It's hard to see coming, so try to dodge it by knowing where it will sweep. Laser Barrage: Duon (Pink) will spam lasers in front of it. Get to the air, but don't forget to dodge on the way down. Burst Beam: Duon (Pink) will fire lasers from the cone on its head. Try your best to dodge the shots. Missiles: Duon (Pink) will fire missiles from its shoulders. If you can, get in front of it to lure the missiles into hitting the bastard. Pink Rush: Duon (Pink) will rush at you. Get above it when it does this. Axe Head: Duon (Blue) will swing its head down to you. Get clear of this; I only advise sticking around if you're a Lord or an Aura wielder. You're neither. Carpet Bomb: Duon (Blue) will fire multiple bombs from its shoulder. Use Thunder to defuse a few if you want, but don't be where they are when they land. Stalker: Duon (Blue) will roll up to you before slashing in your face. Jump in and dodge back as bait. Sonic Slice: Duon (Blue) will perform a high-powered slice in front of it. Get clear, as this is quite the telegraphed attack. Blue Rush: Duon (Blue) will rush at you. Get above it when it does this. Meta Ridley Ridley after cybernetic enhancements, as seen in Metroid Prime. You are fighting atop the Falcon Flyer for this one, so mind your step. In Subspace Emissary, you have two minutes to kill him and force the shutters open before a Subspace Cluster Bomb vaporizes the lot of you. In Boss Battles, you can take your time. Still, it's best to kill him quickly. Wing Grind: Meta Ridley will grind its wing along the Falcon Flyer. Get airborne to dodge and reprise on its way back. Talon Grind: Meta Ridley will grind its talons on the Falcon Flyer. Again, get airborne to dodge. Fireballs: Meta Ridley will launch fireballs along the back of the Falcon Flyer. Try to be behind his head to dodge this, else roll around. Mega Fireball: Meta Ridley will launch a large fireball onto the Falcon Flyer. Get to the far front or the far back to dodge this. Smash: Meta Ridley will smash the back end of the Falcon Flyer. Get airborne to dodge the attack and to avoid dipping off the bottom of the screen. Body Slam: Meta Ridley will go off the top of the screen and then come down hard. You MUST jump to avoid being knocked off the bottom. If you have a Trophy Stand and Meta Ridley is critically injured, this could come down to a game of chicken; you better not miss, and it's the only safe way to get the trophy without falling offscreen. Grapple: Meta Ridley will grapple the back of the Falcon Flyer and drag it down. Either get in its face and Thundershock it off or get to the front to avoid going offscreen and Thunder Jolt it. Tabuu If this boss has not killed you at least once, either you are [A] a goddamned liar, [B] haven't gotten to him, in which case you should stop reading, or [C] that damn ****ing good. For the rest of us, the game is about defense. You need to attack him between whatever salvos he throws at you and either block or dodge like a madman the rest of the time. Explosive Teleportation: Tabuu may occasionally explode when he's warping about. It's impossible to really tell what he's using before it happens, but if you see explosions where he warped from, then stay clear until he's done. Spearhead: Tabuu metamorphs into a spearhead and lunges straight ahead. To avoid, either dodge or just don't be on the same horizontal plane as him when he flies. It's simple enough. Finger Bullets: Tabuu will fire down a salvo of bullets that are difficult to block and cause damage rapidly. It's OK if you get showered by this; it's NOT OK to get nailed by the fireball he throws afterwards. For best results, just don't be diagonally below and in front of him when he stops firing finger bullets. Crescent Slash: Tabuu will gesture before gliding across the arena floor to gut you. Just jump over this. Chain Reaction: Tabuu will send a series of sparks outward, and from those sparks will come a series of explosions. Just try to give the sparks a bit of distance. If you're lucky enough to get behind Tabuu at this time, it's a good chance to strike. Repulsor: Tabuu will let loose a trio of sparks and an electric field. Just keep your distance. Black Dragon: Tabuu will summon a dragon head. Count two seconds (less on higher difficulties) before jumping and you should clear the laser. Quick Attack should keep you out of range until the laser disperses. Buzzsaw: Tabuu will throw a bladed disc across the arena. Jump to dodge, but don't forget it's a boomerang. You do have a brief moment to add some damage, but make it quick. Gravity Cage: Tabuu will swoop across the field in the form of a pair of golden brackets; air dodge to avoid this lest he ensnare you and follow up with a heavy slam that will most likely end you. Shadow Blast: Tabuu will throw shadows of himself all over the arena. It's hard to avoid this, but do your best and focus on what's coming at you. Sonic Slicer: Tabuu will emit shockwaves in the air in front of him, each striking with razor-edged brutality. If he does this in front of you, you may be in trouble. Otherwise, just stay clear and Thunder Jolt until he's done. Eye Beams: Tabuu will expand himself before showering the field with eye beams. Get under his chin before he fires and Thunder like mad. Thunder Jolt works, too, but you have to be facing him. Stasis Chain: Tabuu will prep a golden spearhead in his hand before throwing it out, attached to the same energy chain that was used to control Master Hand. Get airborne and air dodge this at all costs if you even think you see it coming; being caught by this thing is more than likely the end of you. Off Waves (AKA Red Rings of Death, Negative Shockwaves, and a whole bunch of other nasty words): If there's one attack that's caused more controversy and internet rage than anything else in the history of Smash Bros., it's this one, and for good reason. This attack basically hits the ENTIRE SCREEN, and the mere touch of it will erase you before you realize how screwed you are. Do not even ATTEMPT to attack in this phase; rather, hold the shield button and tap down on the Control Stick whenever one of the waves is launched. Put a half-second and no more between each dodge attempt and you should be alright. You CAN roll the last wave if you think you can dodge it that way; if anything it'll allow you to get yourself in a better position to stage a counterattack once he's back on the field.  Food For Thought Small For Balance By now, everyone has the impression that Pikachu is an evil little rodent. Of course, 'little' is relative to its size as judged by humans, and that doesn't stop it from terrifying or driving into blind rage enemies to which it commonly comes up to their knees. We're all familiar with how Chucky of Child's Play is a terror to full-grown adults, and Pikachu is cut from a similar mold in Smash Bros., but this is using canon sizes. Other Pokemon are aware of this; it comes from the same world they do. But others... Pikachu, like all rodents, has a reasonably strong IQ (silly humans cannot measure it as well as they like), some strong fangs, some major speed, and an overriding sense of survival. Coupled with its electric powers, it already goes from being a minor nuisance in Pokemon to a fearsome foe in Smash Bros. battle. The only way Pikachu could be more terrifying is if it had the size advantage; thus empowered it would go from small, scurrying pestilence to Smash Bros. competition to a cosmic horror not unlike a small-scale Cthulhu. For a short- term fix we have mushrooms and other sizeplay objects, but there's not much for long-term nightmare fuel against the likes of Bowser and Ganondorf. That doesn't mean Pikachu isn't such a mind-breaking terror, however. Kirby is supposedly eight inches in Dream Land canon, and Pikachu is twice that. Meta Knight is about Kirby's size, and Dedede is considerably larger. Regardless, sic a bastard Pikachu on Dream Land and watch the resident sanity start to collapse. Hocotate has it even worse. At only two inches, Olimar is the bravest resident of the lot and yet to him Pikachu is nothing short of a lightning-wielding angry god. Without a large army of Pikmin or other military hardware available, an actively malicious 'chu would rampage across Hocotate, smashing houses and inspiring mind-numbing panic to all its residents. Cults would form around this scurrying god, complete with sacrifices and general fear of avoiding its wrath. The only thing that explains all these horrors away is that the competitors are all trophies and not sized to scale. The actual characters doing some dimension- crossing would cause hallucinogenic atrocities that outdo the premise of the Mario series on any given day. My Stance On Tiers and Competitive Play Lakitu: I'm sorry, but no clone characters will be returning. Marth: Wha...? I'm not a clone! He's a clone! Roy: Nuh-uh! You're a clone of me! Lakitu: Actually, neither of you will be returning. Marth: WHAT?! But I'm a top tier character! Ganondorf: What the hell does that even mean?! Marth: I don't know, but I'm a top tier! Ganondorf: I think you mean top queer. Lakitu: Actually, we just did. We replaced you with Ike. He's got his own moveset. Marth: DAMN! *leaves with everyone except Ganondorf* Ganondorf: So... am I still in? I mean, I AM the Lord of All Evil. Lakitu: But you were a clone of Captain Falcon. Ganondorf: *draws sword* Well, what if I bring my sword?! Lakitu: If you do that and get your Twilight Princess outfit, I'm sure we can work something out. Ganondorf: *sheathes sword* Damn straight you will. (Quoted from 'Smash Kingdom') OK, enough with that. Let's stop butchering words for a moment: I hate tiers, and everyone who thinks they exist in Brawl deserves to be shot. Before you argue with me, think for a second: how many tier lists are consistent across the board, anyway? Each character has its own merits and flaws, and there's no way to deny that at all. What differentiates Brawl from the others is that there's a much stronger balance than in 'traditional' fighting games (*cough*Street*cough* Fighter*cough*), and that no character is truly better overall than any other. So why do tiers even exist? It's simple: self-congratulatory ego-stroking. People push tiers because they want to make themselves feel good by shoving their views down other people's throats, and unfortunately for the easily impressed, there are those out there that will take anything they hear as gospel without trying to research it for themselves. This would be acceptable in a conventional fighter because, as I said earlier, there is a more definitive series of power groupings, and some characters are built to be harder, better, faster and stronger than others. The problem with such a mentality is that Brawl has a stronger sense of balance between the characters, and when you throw items into the mix it comes down to arena awareness and player adaptability, not which character is heavier or stronger or has a more prehensile ****. And that brings me to my next point: competitive play. I play Brawl to kick ass, take names, and - something a number of people are missing out on - enjoying myself in the process. And shouldn't that be what gaming is about: having fun? Brawl is meant to be played however you want to play it, but when real-world money gets involved - and this is the part that rages me the most - it becomes serious ****ing business; for some, a little too serious. The whole problem with competitive Brawl is that it's far too serious, and somewhere in all the metagame raging and tiers and "No Items Fox Only Final Destination" garbage someone forgot to include the fun. What's even worse is that some people are so hooked up on this banality that they try to shove it all down other people's throats like it's some sort of gospel, which can only work to inhibit the enjoyment of everyone involved. Furthermore, the whole need to limit the randomness of Brawl is crippling in itself because all you're playing on is just a mere fragment of what the game is all about. Such a narrowminded view cuts out a majority of what makes Brawl great, because it IS the randomness that breaks the monotony of these cheesy stripped-down matches, but also because it forces weaknesses that exist outside this horrible narrowminded view. To take a quote from ScrewAttack's Iron Man of Gaming, the best Brawl player isn't good under one condition; they're good under ALL of them. You heard me right: the best Brawl player can find a way to win no matter what's thrown his way. Explosives? No sweat. Recovering enemy? Work the damage back up. Final Smash? Nothing too serious. Furthermore, to be that kind of good, you need to at least learn to take defeat in stride: a wise man finds fault in himself, while a fool finds fault in something else. That's why it's essential to at least enjoy yourself in a match; that way you CAN take defeat in stride instead of whining about some ridiculous extraneous situation. OK, so the above is personal conjecture, but at least now you know how I feel about all this. What I expressed is all personal opinion, so if you have a problem with it, that's OK. What matters is that you don't try to force your views on others, because that is what kills games in the end.