Trainer’s School: Braixen Character Guide

The Fox Pokémon has a sunny disposition and immense firepower

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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 fifth character guide in the Trainer’s School series focuses on Braixen, a Fire-type Pokémon from the generation six RPGs. Braixen is a member of the base Pokkén roster, unique in that she is not the fully evolved form of her species, standing in on behalf of Delphox. In spite of this, Braixen still wields Psychic-type moves like Psybeam even though she hasn’t earned her dual typing just yet. The Fox Pokémon’s witchy magical girl abilities make her into a very unique zoner that flies around the stage, and her innate ability to reduce her Support Pokémon’s cooldowns means she can always have a valuable assist at the ready.

Braixen: Overview

Playstyle: A pixie-like zoner who can summon her Supports faster than the rest of the cast.

Values: 540 Hit Points, 600 Shield Health, 150cc Synergy Gauge

Poké Moves: Psybeam (Duel 5A, Field n.A,) Fire Spin (Duel 6A, Field f.A) Fire Blast (Duel 4A, Field b.A, Sunny Day (]A[,) Flame Charge (j.A,) Flamethrower (Duel only, 8A) Light Screen (Duel only, 2A)

High Stance: Charges Support Gauge- reduces the charge time for a Support by about 50%. (Farfetch’d, a 30sec Normal Charge Time support, will be up in about 15 seconds if High Stance is held uninterrupted.)

Low Stance: Invincible against Highs on frame 1.

Unique Features: Braixen has a multi-directional airdash (in Field, j.f.R, j.b.R, and j.s.R- in Duel, j.6R or j.4R.) Psybeam and Fire Spin can be charged by holding the button. Psybeam and Fire Spin’s trajectory in Field can be changed by holding either 7 or 9 (forward and to the left/right) while charging/casting. Fire Blast, Flamethrower, and Light Screen can be cancelled into Sunny Day by pressing B after the move comes out, even on whiff. Normal grab will also trigger Sunny Day automatically. Braixen’s Support meter will fill faster as she attacks, even if the attack whiffs. Sunny Day will fill the Support Gauge and enhance the next Poké Move. A second stack of Sunny Day will provide an Attack buff and an even larger Support Gauge fill (but will still only enhance one Poké Move.) Certain moves that are special move cancellable are also Support cancellable- press L to call a Support immediately after the move lands.

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

Braixen is a small and fragile character, but she is very effective at punishing her opponent’s approach and can quickly escape pressure up close with her movement options. Nearly all of her special moves, like Fire Blast and Flamethrower, and even most of her normals like 4Y and 6Y, are strong projectiles that can frustrate your opponents or open them up if they mess up their approach. Moves like Psybeam and Fire Spin can force your opponent to slow down their approach or block on wakeup. You can zip away from trouble with Flame Charge or your airdash, and if they get hit you can pick up a decent combo after. Furthermore, Sunny Day and your passive Support meter gain means you can call your Supports more frequently than your opponent. This advantage can be used to help you out of tight spots, extend combos, or cover any of your other weaknesses.

Pause! Sunny Day is really important!

Here are two combos that wouldn’t be possible without special moves enhanced by Sunny Day.

It cannot be overstated that Braixen’s gameplan relies heavily on you calling for Sunny Day as frequently as possible. Braixen is a resource character in the same way that Scizor, who relies on gathering Swords Dance stacks, is a resource character. Her damage output relies on spending Sunny Day stacks to either get more raw damage and PSP, or to change the properties of a move so that different combos are possible. The double-stacked Sunny Day can likewise provide Braixen with an Attack buff that can often offset the severe damage scaling that certain combos which rely on Support cancelling can suffer from. The advantage provided by accessing Supports more frequently is also very obvious- even if you aren’t using a Support midcombo, you can generally gain access to buffs, debuffs, and moves that will make your opponent’s life hell.

Remember to practice the release version of Sunny Day ]A[ by holding the input and then letting go once Braixen starts to glow after casting a move like CA, Fire Spin, and Psybeam. Also remember to go for the Sunny Day followup after Fire Blast, Flamethrower, and Light Screen by pressing B right after. This can be earned even on whiff, so using it at long-range to continue earning Sunny Day stacks while zoning your opponent can be very useful. It also means that you’ll likely have a stack on deck once they get in on you, which will give you the ability to escape their pressure or punish them easier. In short- take every opportunity to build your Sunny Day stacks!

Field Phase

Braixen can afford to play a fairly patient- and annoying- Field Phase.

Braixen will play a pretty safe zoning game in Field. Many of her projectiles on Y have super fast startup- none of them being slower than i19 besides the charged b.[Y]. The s.Y series of fireballs into Psybeam will probably be one of your go-to moves early on, since it’s fast and lets you bob and weave around your opponent’s pokes on reaction. You can change the direction you’re running in before the second Y input of s.YY by tapping that direction. The wand-boomerang f.Y move is also pretty good at catching CADCs at a distance, since the returning hitbox will catch them once the armor frames have ended. You can also use your b.X as a feint at close range to avoid approaches, which will trigger a crumple on hit (but will be hugely minus on block, so don’t try it raw in neutral.) Once you’ve earned this crumple, you can begin your setplay with a plethora of your other moves, such as Fire Spin, Psybeam Setup, or b.[Y]. Forcing your opponent into a situation where they can be thrown will guarantee you a free Sunny Day stack on Shift. Fire Blast is also a crucial move since its power increases at a full range, although avoiding it in Field is a fairly easy knowledge check.

Braixen is usually not the character who has to approach in Field, but if she is, she still has a lot of powerful options. Braixen can airdash in any cardinal direction in Field, and Flame Charge will always propel her forward. You can also do any of your aerial options out of your airdash, which makes your Field jump-in options a little bit safer and harder to anti-air compared to most of the cast. Retreat with airdash and then fire j.Y to make chasing after you dangerous; zoom back in with j.n.A to launch the opponent and catch them when they fall with f.Y, or just set up your oki again. J.X is also one of your most deceptively powerful moves. The uncharged version is faster and only -4, but the fully charged version is actually a whopping +12, making it an incredibly great move to punish whiffed anti-airs. As always, remember your other main movement techniques in Field, such as CADCs and Homing Attack Cancels.

As an addendum- you can actually ‘aim’ both the charged and uncharged versions of Psybeam, Fire Spin and the b.Y projectile in Field. This is mainly useful to catch opponents who are approaching from the sides at a distance. The input for this is the same as explained in the Unique Features section above, which means for b.Y you will immediately have to make the diagonal motion after pressing Y. The motion is also easier to buffer for the charged versions because of this.

Duel Phase

If you earned a Shift, you likely did it at a mid-to-far range, meaning you have some breathing room in order to set up your projectile gameplay again. Most of the same principles for Braixen’s gameplan in Field apply here, with the obvious caveat that your opponent will no longer be able to sidestep your projectiles and must approach you head-on. You also now have access to more tools, namely Flamethrower and Light Screen, that can augment your gameplan in Duel. Flamethrower is a reliable anti-air, and Light Screen will eradicate projectiles and provide you with 10 frames of counter armor on startup if you need a reversal in a pinch. Light Screen is slightly more reliable than most reversals we’ve discussed previously, such as ExtremeSpeed, since it’s i11 and only -12, but remember that it can still be grabbed and anything faster than i15 can punish you. Because it’s i11, the Light Screen > Sunny Day followup will probably be what you use to get a Sunny Day stack in neutral apart from the ]A[ input. Otherwise, you should be gathering stacks off hit-confirmed Flamethrowers and Fire Blasts.

Fire Spin pressure on knockdown is fairly strong.

Fire Spin is probably your most reliable okizeme option. It forces them to block forever on wakeup, and if they mash on a Sunny Day-enhanced Fire Spin you can usually earn a combo off 6Y. Likewise, if you’ve got them in the corner or you’ve knocked them down up close, the baseball swing of 4[Y] will give you similar utility in both pressure and combo potential. 2Y is as always the go-to throw crush button, which is particularly important for Braixen as you can get a special move into Sunny Day after punishing a throw attempt on your wakeup or on their approach. 4X and 6Y have the same overall functionality as their Field b.X and f.Y counterparts, so you can use them in the same scenarios. You also have excellent antiairs all around on 8Y, 8X, and Flamethrower, some of which can lead into even more damage via combo potential or reset situations. 8X in particular will cancel into Flame Charge when mashing 8XX (but you should get used to the cleaner 8X j.A input anyway) and lead into your bread and butter, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

Veteran Braixen players, and intuitive newbies who remember the beginning of the guide, will notice so far that I’ve barely talked about Support Cancelling. Support Cancelling is a valuable technique in both Phases, but I want to save that discussion for the later sections when we actually go over combos and Support picks. It still doesn’t hurt to have a reminder that your Support usage will probably be higher than most characters, due to the meter build on Sunny Day calls and your passive meter gain on things like High Stance and simply using attacks. Support Cancels can make using your Support safer and more optimal, but never be afraid to call it if you have the opportunity.

Synergy Burst

Braixen’s Synergy Burst keeps it simple, with a 14-second duration, a 150cc meter size, and the following minor changes:

  • Her Pokémon moves are always enhanced as if she has a permanent Sunny Day stack. This also means that using Sunny Day in Burst will always provide the Attack buff as if you had two stacks.
  • J.Y can be cancelled into airdash after the fourth fireball.
Psyfirecracker can punish bad approaches very effectively.

The main draw here is the ability to always have Sunny Day on deck and to draw additional power from further stacks quicker via the Attack buff. The change to j.Y is also nothing to sneeze as, since it essentially means you can airdash up to three times: Jump and do an airdash, perform descending J.Y, then airdash again, then use Flame Charge. It can be pretty tight, but it gives you nigh unmatched aerial approach- and retreat- options. Braixen’s Burst Attack, Psyfirecracker, is a conical laser beam shaped like a baton streamer that counter pierces, is invincible on frame 9, and will max out your Support Gauge on hit. Being -8, it’s designed specifically for use at range in order to stuff approaches, although it is possible to confirm a combo into it. If the Burst Attack lands but doesn’t KO, you can immediately begin setting up the rest of your gameplan again with the bonus Support meter.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Braixen is a high tier character, and the unique synergy (lowercase S) with her Supports means that she can frequently access game changing tools that cover most of her major weaknesses. Those weaknesses are, of course, her fragility and inability to pick fights face-to-face. Any scrambles at the close-to-midrange will consist of Braixen either fleeing completely with airdash back into j.Y, or some feint with j.A, 4Y, or 4X that will give her a short combo into a knockdown situation. This means that while she has several options to punish approaches, she can be hurt fairly badly in situations where she is forced to approach herself or where her opponents can successfully navigate her zoning and pressure her. A matchup like Blaziken or Machamp can be highly volatile in this way, for instance- ideally, neither of these characters should be getting in on Braixen, but if they somehow manage to land a hit on her, it’s over. Scizor is a very difficult matchup for Braixen due to his own set of armor, projectiles, and movement options that can invalidate nearly all of her zoning. Even with Supports that counter pierce, Scizor can remain safe with his Hover Dash or by simply staying comfortably out of range and blocking.

Support and Cheer Pairings (featuring Support Cancelling!)

Much like Sunny Day and the passive Support meter gain, Support Cancelling is another property unique to Braixen’s system that makes her a major threat. Several of Braixen’s normal moves can be cancelled on hit or block into a Support call by pressing L immediately. The frame data sheet and the ingame move list will tell you which moves can be Support Cancelled. This can have a wide variety of uses, many of which depend on what move you’re cancelling or which Support you’re calling. You can perhaps be making a Support call safe: for instance, summoning Eevee off a 5X launch rather than calling it in neutral. You can also use it to extend combos: maybe you have Rotom instead, and you call it in that same situation in order to land the Speed debuff and keep the juggle going. Support Cancelling can even be used to make the blocked normal safe: if you’re about to be punished for mashing 5YYY on block, simply call Fennekin in. Support Cancelling can be performed off several moves in both Phases, and learning which moves are cancellable will immensely improve your gameplan as Braixen.

Here are simple examples of Support Cancel using the Emolga-Fennekin Set, which is currently my go-to Braixen Support Set.

I will provide an example of a combo that requires Support Cancelling in the Target Combos segment below. In general, most Support calls will ramp up the damage scaling on your combo, meaning they’re mainly for earning a debuff and a reset rather than big damage. (Unless, of course, you’re already a highly optimized Braixen player.) In fact, the ingame combo trial routes have you use Farfetch’d to practice with because of this: its damage scaling is fairly low relative to other Support calls at the expensive of being a pure combo extender. If you have an Attack buff up- fairly easy to earn as Braixen- you can even mostly offset that damage scaling when calling Farfetch’d in the middle of a combo. If you’re like me and you prefer to lock your opponent down, you can use Emolga or Rotom to debuff your opponent’s movement after a launcher so that they have a harder time approaching you in the reset situation. You can also use Enhance Supports like Eevee as previously mentioned in the middle of a combo in order to buff or heal yourself. As far as Cheers are concerned, Support seems like the obvious choice in order to make sure you can call it as frequently as possible, but if you want to mix in some more Synergy gain, you can take Standard or Special instead.

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.

Braixen does not seek out combo opportunities, but she can earn them off a punished approach or an okizeme situation. The string you are likely going to want to become the most familiar with early on is 6Y 2Y Flamethrower > Sunny Day, since you can confirm it off several routes:

8X EXj.A 6Y 2Y 8AB

4[Y] 6Y 2Y 8AB

EX6A 6Y 2Y 8AB

5X Emolga 6Y 2Y 8AB or 5X Rotom 8X EXj.A 6Y 2Y 8AB

Here’s a clip with examples of all four of the listed routes.

Get comfortable with confirming it off those options, as it will give you a decent chunk of damage, a guaranteed Sunny Day stack, and allow you to set up your zoning gameplay again. You can do research or experiment with various Support-oriented combos based on your playstyle and which Sets you prefer.

Conclusion

Braixen is a small, fragile zoner who flies back and forth across the stage in order to force you to approach her all while casting large and dangerous projectiles. The meat of her gameplan revolves around using Sunny Day during any possible opportunity in order to boost her damage and reduce the cooldown on her Support calls. She can then Support Cancel her moves in order to make herself safer, buff herself, or extend a combo into a favorable position or a debuff. Her gameplay largely remains the same in both Phases. In Field, Braixen has a little bit more room in order to aim her projectiles and trap you as you approach with moves like her s.YY and Fire Blast. In Duel, her same projectiles are more frustrating as they cannot be sidestepped, meaning you have to be more aware of getting caught in her 6Y, Flamethrower, Fire Spin, and so on. Burst Mode mainly just increases your damage output and allows you to continue playing the same game you had been playing before. Your Supports will change depending both on the matchup and what you personally value, but Braixen’s innate system mechanics mean you will get far more mileage out of them than the rest of the cast. Pick a Cheer that allows you to begin the match with a full gauge for your favorite Support call.

The next guide in the Trainer’s School series will be about one of the four Pokémon added to the arcade version prior to the release of DX- the Emperor Pokémon, Empoleon!

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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