Learn about the Blaze Pokémon’s burning-hot kicks
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.
We’re finally getting into it! This week, I’ll begin doing entry-level character guides on every playable Pokémon in Pokkén DX. I’m going to start with the Standard characters, working my way from the top-left corner of the character select screen. The inaugural guide will be on Blaziken, the Blaze Pokémon!
Despite Blaziken appearing in early promotional screenshots for Pokkén, he didn’t appear in the arcade version’s initial roster, instead being added to the game in an update a month after launch. First seen in the generation-three games, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the Hoenn dual Fire-Fighting type Pokémon is number 257 in the Pokédex, which is the exact amount of hits that his Gatling Flame Kicks Burst Attack deals to the opponent. In the mainline RPGs, Blaziken is renowned for powerful attacks like Blaze Kick and Sky Uppercut, and his Speed Boost Hidden Ability and Mega Evolution make him a devastatingly fast sweeper character. Blaziken carries these signature traits into his fighting game debut, being able to overwhelm the opponent up close with high-speed kicks.
Playstyle: Basic, pure rushdown.
Values: 600 Hit Points, 600 Shield Health, 150cc Synergy Gauge
Poké Moves: Heat Wave (Duel 5A, Field n.A,) Blaze Kick (Duel 6A, Field f.A,) Blaze Kick -> Flare Blitz (Duel 6AX, Field f.AX,) Brave Bird (Duel 4A, Field b.A,) High Jump Kick (Duel j.5A, Field j.n.A,) Sky Uppercut (Duel only, 8A.) All moves can be enhanced for an EX version with a hold input [A.]
High stance: Counter armor against mids on frame 5.
Low stance: Counter armor against lows on frame 5. Does not crouch highs.
Unique features: EX Poké Moves that cost HP, an airdash with three directions (Duel j.9R, j.5R, j.3R, Field j.f.R, j.n.R, j.b.R) After Burst Attack, Mega Blaziken will receive a Speed buff.
Remember as always to consult the frame data sheet for specific moves and their properties.
Blaziken thrives in the up-close-and-personal range. His pressure, especially with the extremely good frame data on his EX moves, is nigh unbreakable and will likely result in either your counter armor pierced or your block broken. Blaziken’s Field Phase projectiles aren’t very strong, and his only Duel Phase projectile is Heat Wave, meaning he doesn’t have any useful mid-to-long range tools. However, his airdash, his fast ground speed (combined, of course, with good CADCs,) moves like Brave Bird, and the red armor on EX Flare Blitz allow him to close the distance and enter close quarters.
Blaziken’s Field Phase is probably one of the worst in the game. He doesn’t have access to many strong projectiles, which means that moves like n.Y, j.YY, and f.Y won’t destroy other characters’ projectiles and are generally unsafe to throw out. On the other hand, his Tatsumaki-style b.Y can eradicate projectiles but is liable to get punished if used incorrectly or if your opponent closes the distance. This generally means that against zoners or even characters who simply have more diverse Field Phase options, poking with fireballs will not be enough to get in on your opponent. He also doesn’t have any moves in Field that are faster than i15 besides his grab, so if something he does is unsafe on block or whiffs, he can’t do much other than resort to Blaze Kicks.
Blaziken’s best tool in Field Phase is thusly the player’s patience. You have average shield health and excellent mobility. Walking and blocking, and careful usage of CADCs, will be your safest approach options on the ground. Blaziken’s air options in Field Phase, namely his j.X Homing Attack and airdashes, are good mixup tools, but remember that you can’t block in the air and relying too much on these options will get you anti-aired. J.[X] is especially useful, however, since it will counter pierce and trigger a Phase Shift if you catch an opponent being too reliant on their CA. Remember also that you still have access to excellent Poké Moves in this Phase, although it might be best to conserve the use of EX versions so you don’t do too much damage to yourself. The Blaze Kick series is his fastest Poké Move at i15 and will invariably leave him safe, especially if enhanced. Using Blaze Kicks and Homing Attacks to score a knockdown after getting around projectiles safely is the key to winning Field Phase as Blaziken.
Of course, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t rely on your projectiles or your ‘bad moves’ either! It just means that whiff-punishing or waiting for the right opportunity to strike with something like j.YY or j.s.Y is better than spamming them. Blaziken’s air fireballs in Field are better than his ground options, so if you can jump over a slow-moving projectile and counter it with j.s.Y, you’ll have earned yourself a Phase Shift easily.
Blaziken throws off the weights in Duel Phase. If Blaziken successfully won Field, he likely scored a Shift and a knockdown that also left him extremely plus, meaning that he can continue acting and applying pressure to his opponent. Still, that doesn’t mean you should just be throwing around your big EX Poké Moves willy-nilly. Blaziken generally wants to use his extremely quick and safe lights to get a quick confirm into EX Blaze Kicks -> EX Flare Blitz, since moves like 5Y and 2Y come out fairly quickly and can be special cancelled. Your safest and easiest poke is 2Y, since it’s i11 and leaves you even on block. On hit, you can easily confirm into EX Blaze Kicks- in fact, you can even mash Y and get the easy Poké Combo for it.
This doesn’t mean his other moves don’t have uses, of course. Your main goal is to do whatever you can to confirm into your bread-and-butter 5YYY 6[A][X] combo, and a lot of your normal moves are special or jump cancelable. Of particular note are 8Y and 8X, which can be airdash cancelled as soon as Blaziken is in the air. (Keep in mind that 8X is safer on block and can also be airdash cancelled before the hitbox comes out.) Airdash j.Y is i11 and even on block, which means you can continue the pressure from the air by landing and hitting 5Y. If 5Y hits their block, you can still jump cancel and escape a potential punish with your airdash to reset the situation. 8Y and 8X are also both very strong antiair options, as is Sky Uppercut- but since Sky Uppercut functions like a traditional dragon punch, it’s absurdly unsafe outside of a combo extension.
If your opponent happens to get away from you, Blaziken may have a harder time approaching in Duel than he does in Field, especially against zoners. The methodology to get back in is generally the same, but remember that you can’t sidestep in Duel, which means that winding around moves with Homing Attacks is also not an option. Once you do manage to get back in, however, your opponent has to start eating your pressure again. Even though moves in this game have high, medium, and low properties, mixups revolve around the Attack Triangle rather than directional blocks, and Blaziken’s ability to counter pierce with fast red armored moves means he can cover most of these options. If your opponent doesn’t have a fast or powerful enough anti-air option out of block, they generally can’t do much. Once you earn a wallsplat, you can keep the damage going with EX Sky Uppercut or take the opportunity to debuff them with EX Heat Wave, which will lower their Attack stat.
Blaziken has the potential to build Synergy quickly, and since popping Burst will heal back some of your dark health, it’s better to use it rather than hold onto it. Mega Blaziken gets the following properties:
- The HP spent on EX moves is reduced by half.
- CA becomes a mid and has an extended hitbox.
- 2Y, 5Y, and 5YY gain additional hits. 2Y in general becomes a better poke with more hitstun, a bigger hitbox, and an earlier special cancel window.
Mega Blaziken’s Burst Attack, Gatling Flame Kicks, is i15 and invincible from frame 5 onward. It’s +4 on block and a counter pierce, and as mentioned previously, Mega Blaziken will receive a Speed buff after the animation plays. The properties of this Burst make it very dangerous to contest up close, unless you use something like a Burst with similar invincible properties that has a more active hitbox. If the Burst Attack is somehow interrupted, like if Mega Blaziken is hit before he’s able to use it, then the Speed buff won’t activate. Use Gatling Flame Kicks as a reversal option, as a combo ender on wallsplat, or if you catch your opponent mashing something unsafe.
Strengths and Weaknesses
It might feel like I’m overstating it, but Blaziken’s most powerful matchups are against characters that have a hard time keeping him away once he’s in their face. Likewise, Blaziken does poorly against pure zoners who can keep him from approaching. Since Blaziken has a very specialized moveset and lots of characters have some way to make his mid-to-long range presence difficult, he’s often considered to be a mid-tier or lower. Blaziken can frustrate characters like Darkrai and Scizor, whose zoning options and anti-airs can’t effectively stop his more high-pressure options like EX High Jump Kick or Flare Blitz. Likewise, Blaziken can go even with characters like Gardevoir and Weavile who do have solid anti-air options and traps that can impede his stellar movement, but have poor reversal options that can’t negate his block pressure. His worst matchups by far are against characters who can compete with everything that Blaziken has to offer. Pokémon like Mewtwo, Sceptile, and Braixen, who all have excellent mobility, keep-away tools, and who excel at every range, can often run circles around Blaziken. Since his gameplan is fairly linear and he has very few tools in his kit that he can use to keep up with these characters, it makes Blaziken’s flaws more glaringly obvious.
Support and Cheer Pairings
Blaziken likely won’t ever use anything other than the Support Cheer, since his Synergy needs are naturally covered by his small meter and the fact that he doesn’t have any difficulty in filling it. The Support Cheer also means that he’ll always have an assist call on deck for when he needs it most. Blaziken’s most preferred Supports are Pokémon like Cresselia and Espeon that will heal back the damage spent on EX moves, but he also has some other choices besides them. Rotom/Togekiss is an excellent pick where both of the Supports are useful in their own ways: Rotom will anti-air and debuff any opponents who try to jump in- or away- from Blaziken, and Togekiss will heal you while also buffing your Speed, enhancing your movement further. More specialized Supports include Emolga, who will debuff the opponent while firing off Shock Wave instantly, and Pachirisu, who will completely eradicate zoning temporarily and let you get in with less fear. Your preference for defensive Supports who can keep you in the game or offensive Supports that can limit your opponent’s movement options is something that you’ll develop over time after experimenting with various options.
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.
5YYY 6[A][X] W! 8[A]
5[A] 2XX 2Y 6[A] 6[A]
Blaziken’s more complicated combos involve things like airdash cancelling 8Y and 8X, but these are still useful tools to learn in order to get the most out of the character’s damage and mobility. You can also sometimes use ]X[ to end a combo on wallsplat, which is generally its only use since it leaves you knocked down. (Remember, release ][ moves are performed by holding the button down, then releasing it once you see the glowing ring around your character.) I’ll provide an example of a combo that brings all of these things together.
8XR j.X 5YYY 6[A][X] W! ]X[ For this combo, I would recommend continuing to hold X after using Flare Blitz, then letting go of it once you start glowing and earn the wallsplat.
Blaziken is a fast, highly specialized rushdown character whose EX moves make up the core of his gameplan. This makes him highly fragile, but he can also be incredibly devastating if he manages to get in. Field Phase is mainly spent bobbing-and-weaving until Blaziken can score a Shift, which will often result in a huge advantage that he can carry into Duel. In Duel, Blaziken will use his incredible speed and aerial mobility to close the distance on his opponent before overwhelming them. Mega Blaziken is a very useful option that provides him with an invincible reversal super and greatly increases his mobility and durability. While he has other options that mesh well with his kit or can cover his weaknesses, generally Blaziken prefers healing Supports that can restore health lost to EX moves.
The next character guide in this series, as we move down the list of Standard-type Pokémon, will be the series mascot, Pikachu!