Trainer’s School: Blastoise Character Guide

The Shellfish Pokémon arrives as DLC

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This is part of a series of written guides on Pokkén Tournament Deluxe for Nintendo Switch. I’ve always loved this game and I’ve wanted to give back to the community and generate more interest in it. I’ll be creating more guides like this in the future and I hope this gets new players invested in the fighting game that taught me about fighting games. These character guides are meant as surface-level breakdowns of each of the playable Pokémon in the cast. If you would like to try out Pokkén Tournament Deluxe, and learn more information about the game, be sure to check out the community Discord! Access to the character-specific Discords will help you find any information that isn’t listed in this guide, and you can also ask the players there for specific advice.

The eleventh Trainer’s School character guide is the first guide to focus on a character who was added to Pokkén DX after its launch. Blastoise, the Shellfish Pokémon, is widely recognized as the Pokémon Blue version mascot, alongside fan-favorite- and fellow Pokkén contender- Charizard. The Water-type turtle Pokémon was added as the second and last character to the DX roster, bringing with him a strong moveset revolving around the massive cannons in his shell. Blastoise is a Power-type character with an incredibly tricky kit- while he has several different projectiles and zoning tools, he can also retreat into his shell for both defensive buffs and unique offensive tools.

Blastoise: Overview

Playstyle: A zoner at face value, but Shell Fortress Stance and other tools make him dangerous at a close-to-mid range too.

Values: 660 Hit Points, 720 Shield Health, 200cc Synergy Gauge

Poké Moves: Water Gun (Duel 5A, Field n.A) which can be cancelled into Dark Pulse (5AY,) Dragon Pulse (5AX,) or Aura Sphere (5AA.) Rapid Spin (Duel 6A, Field f.A,) Water Spout (Duel 4A, Field b.A,) Withdraw (]A[,) Bubble (j.A,) Hydro Pump (Duel only, 8A,) Water Pulse (Duel only, 2A.)

High Stance: Blastoise blesses Africa with Rain Dance, which heals his dark green health.

Low Stance: Grants counter armor against high-hitting moves on frame 5. Blastoise can only crouch highs completely while in Shell Fortress Stance.

Unique Features: Duel Phase j.Y’s trajectory can be changed by holding 4 or 6. Water Spout’s damage scales with Blastoise’s HP- the more damage he’s taken, the less damage Water Spout does. While Withdraw immediately enters Blastoise into Shell Fortress Stance, several of Blastoise’s moves can also be cancelled into Shell Fortress Stance using R. Cancelling into Shell Fortress Stance will often make the cancelled move safer on block or hit, or even both. However, only Withdraw will grant Blastoise the Defense buff associated with Shell Fortress Stance. With a positive buff active, Water Pulse is granted bonus damage and counter armor. In combo notation, Shell Fortress Stance is written as SFS. SFS can be jump or dash cancelled, but Blastoise is otherwise immobile and cannot block or Burst. Blastoise has three moves out of SFS: SFS.Y, SFS.X, and SFS.A Rapid Spin. Jumping out of SFS is invincible against low-hitting moves.

The following moves can be cancelled into SFS.

  • Field: n.Y, s.Y, j.n.X
  • Duel: 5Y and 5YY, 8Y, 5X
  • Poké Moves: Water Gun, Rapid Spin and SFS Rapid Spin.

Remember as always to consult the frame data sheet for specific moves and their properties.

At a distance, Blastoise relies on his various Water Gun followups, Water Spout, and Bubble to shoot down or wall out his opponents. Should he manage to get in with Rapid Spin or need to keep his opponent off of him, he can cancel his moves into SFS to make himself safer. SFS will also allow him to extend his combos, buff his Defense, and provide him with additional armor that will allow him to survive at close range. While his opponents are forced to block moves like Water Spout, he can follow up on the frame trap with his Water Pulse command grab. Blastoise himself is very tanky, being the only character who has the maximum amount of both HP and Shield HP, and highly mobile with a very fast CADC and the SFS dash cancel. All of these traits combined make Blastoise a very tricky character with a playstyle that belies his appearance.

Field Phase

Blastoise’s Field Phase can potentially surpass that of other zoner/setplay characters.

Field Phase is valuable for Blastoise, as he gets a lot of space to maneuver and thus can use the projectiles in his kit to their fullest potential. B.Y, j.Y, and Bubble will be the main tools you use to limit your opponent’s movement. B.Y will lay droplets that your opponent will be forced to navigate around, while j.Y and Bubble will hamper forward and aerial progress. Should your opponent be hit with Bubble, they will be trapped in the projectile, Age of Super Heroes!Thanos-style, and will be stunned in the same way that shocking attacks like Rotom affect the opponent. This will let you close in with a Homing Attack or shoot them with more projectiles if you’d rather stay at a distance. Blastoise also has two powerful aerial moves that can be used in different situations. J.b.X is faster at i27, but j.n.X is a typical ‘aerial Homing Attack’ that can also be cancelled into SFS, granting counter armor until Blastoise lands. Both moves are +4, so their main advantages are contextual and range-specific. On the ground at close range, you can also rely on Rapid Spin to armor through your opponent or f.Y to trigger a Shift without getting right up in their face.

Blastoise’s more useful, high-damage projectiles are Water Gun and Water Spout, and are especially strong when dealing with opponents at a mid-to-far range. Water Spout is +8 on block and is a high-damage counter pierce, meaning it will stuff reckless approaches and is also an excellent okizeme tool. Water Gun’s utility comes from the various options you can cancel into, which can all punish CADC approaches in different ways. Aura Sphere can be fired upward by holding back while pressing A, meaning it can be used as an anti-air; Dragon Pulse will punish opponents who let go of CA too early or force them to continue blocking; Dark Pulse is a counter pierce that will shut down CADC entirely. It’s important to mix up the Water Gun followups so you don’t become too predictable, but Dragon Pulse and Dark Pulse will probably be more useful to you since players will rarely try to jump over Water Gun anyway.

Duel Phase

Blastoise is typically doing more damage from afar, even when in Duel Phase.

Blastoise’s gameplan involving his projectiles is more or less the same in Duel as it was in Field with the obvious caveat of the 2D plane. That is, you will likely continue to use Bubble to stun your opponent and Water Gun followups to make your opponent’s approach more difficult for them. The main issue, however, is when Blastoise approaches his opponent or vice-versa, as the Shellfish Pokémon suffers from subpar frame data. Blastoise unfortunately has no i11 move outside of SFS.Y, not even on 2Y, which means he has no universal throw crush and will almost always lose to his opponent in situations where he’s -4. Furthermore, many of Blastoise’s moves, with the sole exception of the i15 2Y, are i19 or slower, so his close-quarters pressure will almost always lose to faster opponents in a trade scenario. This means that mastery of SFS cancelling into SFS.Y is essential in order to beat throws and stay safer at close range. Remember that 5Y, 5YY, 8Y, 5X, Water Gun, and Rapid Spin can all be cancelled into SFS.

Fortunately, Blastoise’s Duel Phase gameplay is enhanced by his access to new projectiles and Water Pulse. 6Y and 6X are both mainly used from afar. Both are -12 and have different properties. 6Y is faster and will trigger a crumple on hit, allowing you to go for okizeme options like Bubble, meaty Water Spout, or Withdraw. (In fact, even outside of 6Y, those are all decent options to go for on a knockdown.) 6X is slower but will launch your opponent and leave them open for combos (which we’ll discuss later.) Water Spout and Water Pulse are also your main combo tools for the aforementioned reason, and make up the crux of Blastoise’s main frame trap. (A frame trap is a situation where, if your opponent mashes out of blockstun or hitstun, they will get hit by the next move you throw out.) Since Water Spout counter pierces, your opponent must block through it. However, since you’re +8 on block, this makes your normally unsafe or less-safe moves, well, safer. If your opponent tries to mash or grab you after blocking Water Spout, you can just hit them with any of your Y moves. If they try to armor after Water Spout or continue holding block, you can throw them with Water Pulse and earn a combo. Furthermore, if you have a buff available, such as the Defense buff from Withdraw, you will get bonus armor on Water Pulse, which may even allow you to throw an opponent mashing out of block.

Remember the rest of your options as well. Rapid Spin is your main reversal tool and is likewise as unsafe in neutral as most reversals are, but you can mitigate that somewhat with SFS cancelling. SFS.X is also an anti-air reversal that is equally unsafe, but has no armor on it. 8Y on anti-air hit can also let you score a decent combo, and Hydro Pump is an anti-air projectile that can often be more reliable than the anti-air trajectory of Aura Sphere. Remember not to use Rapid Spin as a reckless approach, instead forcing your opponent into range of 6X or Water Spout with heavy projectile usage.

Synergy Burst

Burst Mode activation transforms the Water-type into the powerful Mega Blastoise, a tank-like monster with even more powerful cannons that augment his firepower. Blastoise has a 200cc Synergy Gauge, but since he spends a lot of time in a single Phase and may not always be winning Attack Triangle scenarios, he may build Burst slower than other characters. At a 14 second duration, however, Mega Blastoise is still a very valuable tool that can be used to enhance his overall ranged pressure. Blastoise gains the following enhancements while in Burst Mode:

  • SFS.Y becomes a larger projectile.
  • Duel Phase j.Y likewise becomes a single large projectile instead of the two water drops.
  • f.Y becomes more plus on hit and block.
  • b.Y gains a third bubble trap.
  • Water Pulse deals additional damage and will always have counter armor.
  • Water Spout will no longer deal damage scaling negatively with Blastoise’s current HP.
  • Dark Pulse becomes a laser.
  • Dragon Pulse, Aura Sphere, and Hydro Pump deal additional damage.
  • After a Water Gun followup, you can perform an additional followup attack (5AA, 5YA, 5XA.)
Destructive Cannon is genuinely one of the coolest super moves in the genre.

In general, Mega Blastoise’s buffs allow him to zone more effectively. All of his enhanced moves are various projectiles, with an emphasis on Field Phase-specific moves and his Poké Moves. F.Y and b.Y are more effective now at keeping opponents away, and all of your more useful Poké Move projectiles will do far more damage. There is a non-zero chance that your projectile block pressure will completely whittle down your opponent’s block, making their own defensive plays riskier. Being able to rely on Water Pulse armor all the time also makes that grab much more useful, which in turn makes the Water Spout frame trap even more terrifying. Mega Blastoise’s Burst Attack, Destructive Cannon, is one of the most impressive cinematics in the game. The i15 forward-charging attack is invincible on frame 8 in Field Phase, on frame 6 in Duel Phase, and will pierce counter armor. Furthermore, the charge is +4 on block, meaning you can still earn a throw afterward. Like many forward-trajectory Burst Attacks of its kind, it’s very much punishable on whiff, however, so take care when using it.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Blastoise is unfortunately considered to be one of the worst characters in the game. While he may be a very powerful zoner with a unique stance-based playstyle, this mechanic bloat makes him very tricky and difficult to grasp. Furthermore, despite the fact that SFS is obstensibly designed to keep Blastoise safe at close range or to bolster otherwise unsafe blockstrings, his options in SFS are very limited. Since his frame data is very poor and he relies a lot on setups with projectiles or Water Spout, his neutral game is also rather abysmal. Blastoise mainly has to rely on his innate armor, tanky system stats, and keepaway zoning in order to play defensive. That being said, between moves like Dark Pulse, Dragon Pulse, Hydro Pump, and Water Spout, it will be very difficult for rushdown characters or opponents who rely on quick armored movement to get in on you, such as Blaziken and Scizor. Of course, it will be very difficult for you to challenge those faster characters up close. Blastoise is also exceptionally powerful in Field Phase since he has more space to move around and utilize traps, and dash cancelling SFS makes him surprisingly mobile. This also lets him move forward or retreat in Duel should he choose to, but in general his options in close-quarters suffer. Effective use of the character relies extensively on mastering SFS cancelling.

Support and Cheer Pairings

Fortunately, many of Blastoise’s weaknesses can be mitigated by effective Support usage. Emolga-Fennekin can provide you an additional projectile or a powerful invincible reversal for use in close-range, depending on which one you need. Umbreon is likewise a valuable reversal option, and it’s also paired with Espeon if you find that you value the health refill instead. Frogadier’s projectiles are another zoning tool that can also cover your approach or let you set up other options in neutral. Sets like Yveltal-Latios are also very useful in order to increase your setplay options and force your opponent into situations where they’re more likely to make a mistake that you can punish. Standard and Support are more reliable when starting out with Blastoise, but you can transition into Special once you’ve gotten the hang of him and play more aggressively.

Target Combos

These are some easy combos that you can get started with right away- they are bread-and-butter combos, not necessarily the most difficult or the most optimal. If you want to learn more about what your character has to offer, I suggest exploring the longer combo guides found in the Pokkén character Discords, as they will often be the most up-to-date with the current version of the game. The sample combos in the tutorial mode are also very good at helping you figure out your character’s combo theory.

Blastoise’s juggle combos require precise timing and rely on using SFS.Y and 4Y > 2Y loops to extend the combo. Most of the time, you will earn a combo after launching your opponent with 6X, Water Spout, or Water Pulse, or after anti-airing them with 8Y. Since these combos are rather difficult, I will provide only a few simple target combos, and then one combo that provides an example of the SFS.Y and light attack extensions. If you ever feel like you’re going to drop something, remember that the Water Pulse command grab combos into Water Spout for decent damage and PSP. The tricky part about these combos is usually either landing the 2Y carry or cancelling into and out of SFS.

Here is the full 6X 5A 6RY 2Y 4Y 5Y W! 8[A] combo. Although I whiff the first hit of 2Y here, it’s possible to confirm both hits and still get the carry.

(At the furthest range 6X hits) 6X 6X 4Y 8XX

4A 8YY~5R SFS.X

6X 5A 6RY 2Y 4Y 5Y W! 8[A]

Conclusion

Blastoise is a powerful zoner with a unique stance system that gives him additional offensive options and high-commitment movement. In Field Phase, the Shellfish Pokémon uses his Y projectiles in tandem with his Water Gun and Water Spout moves in order to harass opponents. Upon the transition to Duel, Blastoise mitigates his otherwise poor frame data with the safety of SFS and can use Water Spout as a powerful frame trap. Mastery of Withdraw and SFS cancels is important in order to excel with the character, who normally suffers up close and in neutral without it. SFS is also crucial when learning Blastoise’s high damaging combos. Mega Blastoise enhances his special projectiles to a huge proportion and provides him with a spectacular Burst Attack cinematic as well. While most consider Blastoise to be a very weak character, this is mainly because his innate options can be difficult to get the hang of and his frame data is poor compared to other characters. His matchup spread can be evened out with the right Support Set, as long as it can grant him breathing room in neutral and enhance his setplay.

With the Blastoise guide finished, we are halfway done with the Power-type characters; with the next guide, we will be halfway done with the entire Pokkén cast. The next character guide will focus on Chandelure, the fifth-generation Ghost/Fire Luring Pokémon!

Written by

Nathan “Lite the Iron Man” Dhami can be found on Twitter (@LiteTheIronMan,) on Twitch (twitch.tv/litetheironman,) and at your local.

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