Trainer’s School: Pikachu Libre Character Guide

Get pumped with this cosplaying Pikachu’s pro wrestler spirit

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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 sixth generation of Pokémon RPGs reintroduced players to the Hoenn region, and with it, the novelty of Pokémon Contests- extravagant fashion shows that serve as an alternative form of competition for Trainers who are less battle-motivated. Players could partner up with Cosplay Pikachu, a fashionable female Pikachu who can change outfits on the player’s whim. It would seem that, upon donning the Pikachu Libre outfit, this Mouse Pokémon found joy in the thrill of pro wrestling and ditched the Contest circuit for the Ferrum League. Thus, Pikachu Libre is now a part of the Pokkén Tournament roster, and is also the subject of the fifteenth Trainer’s School Character Guide. Unlike her male counterpart, Pikachu Libre is a Speed-type character with a highly momentum-based playstyle. Befitting the luchadora mask, Libre also has a variety of powerful throws.

Pikachu Libre: Overview

Playstyle: Pikachu Libre is not a moveset clone of Pikachu. Rather, she is a rushdown-grappler hybrid who wins the adoration of her crowd upon a successful Phase Shift, granting her enhanced properties.

Values: 570 Hit Points, 600 Shield Health, 100cc Synergy Gauge.

Poké Moves: Double Team (Duel 5A, Field n.A,) Quick Attack (5AA/n.AA, during Quick Attack,) Discharge (Duel 6A, Field f.A,) Spark (Duel j.A, Field j.n.A,) Wild Charge (Duel only, 2A,) Flying Press (Duel only, 8A.)

High Stance: Charges the Support Gauge.

Low Stance: Invincible against high-hitting moves on frame 1.

Unique Features: Depending on the Phase, Double Team can be cancelled into different options. In Field, inputting R and either left or right will let Libre take the place of one of the afterimage clones, and the move can be cancelled into n.Y, or Homing Attack. In Duel Phase, Double Team can be cancelled into 5Y or 5X. In both Phases, it can be cancelled into a jump, dash, or Quick Attack. Double Team is also projectile invuln on frame 5 and completely strike invuln on frame 22. In the air, pressing j.R will cause Libre to do a Midair Dodge, letting her aerial backdash. This Midair Dodge can be cancelled into Spark. Electroweb will debuff the opponent’s Speed for 11 seconds. Wild Charge deals 20 recoil damage to self.

Pause! Pikachu Libre’s crowd mechanic, and wall jumps

Whenever Libre earns a Phase Shift off of a special move or a throw, the crowd will cheer for her, and she will earn one stack of enhancement. The duration of this enhancement differs depending on the exact move used to Shift: The enhancement from normal throw will last for 12 seconds, whereas the enhancement from a special move lasts for ten. Any subsequent enhancements will refresh the duration of the buff while also adding an Attack buff, which also has a variable duration depending on how the Shift was earned. Attack buffs earned from special moves will last five seconds; a Field Phase throw’s Attack buff lasts for eight seconds; a Duel Phase throw’s will last for six. Libre can also earn an enhancement for 5.5sec whenever 8XX lands on hit or on block, although she cannot earn an Attack buff stack in this way. While enhanced, Libre gains access to EX versions of her special moves- you can view their specific frame data bonuses on the appropriate sheet.

Enhanced Libre can also do a forward airdash after the initial Midair Dodge backdash by holding the input- j.[R]. You can change the trajectory of the airdash by holding either 8 or 2 for up or down respectively. This EX Midair Dodge can be cancelled into all aerial moves. Libre also has a unique property against the wall- she can wall jump if one of her moves puts her into contact with it. Wall jump heals ten points of dark green health and grants a five-second-long Defense buff. This wall jump must be performed against the actual wall of the stage- you cannot wall jump from the TV screen’s borders. To wall jump, simply continue holding the input of the last button you pressed that put Libre against the wall. In both Phases, Libre can wall jump using Midair Dodge and Quick Attack, and in Field Phase, she can wall jump with b.Y and s.Y. Wall jumps can also be cancelled into aerials.

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

When players refer to Pikachu Libre as a ‘momentum-based’ or a ‘snowball’ style character, they are specifically referring to how much more powerful she can become relative to the rest of the cast based on successfully winning in certain situations. To clarify: everyone in the cast gains benefits from winning Attack Triangle exchanges or scoring a Phase Shift, namely bonus damage, recovery of lost HP, and additional meter. Libre takes this concept and cranks the dial well past eleven. Many of her special moves are command counters or throws designed to allow her to circumvent the Attack Triangle, and on a successful Phase Shift, those same moves become extremely powerful. These wins will also drastically fill Libre’s already small Synergy Gauge, allowing her to rely on Burst even if she’s in a dominating first-round situation. Continuous wins will allow her to refresh her old buffs, stack new buffs, and she will even pass debuffs onto her opponent, making it difficult for them to compete with her. Combine all of that with unique aerial movement that can allow her to escape pressure and earn rare crossups, and Libre becomes an even bigger threat who can be difficult to stop once she gets going.

Field Phase

Double Team into Quick Attack will let you quickly skip through your opponent’s hitboxes.

Pikachu Libre is fast and tiny, so getting in on her opponent isn’t a big deal. Apart from her system options, Double Team into Quick Attack will essentially let you bypass most options at range. You can simply ignore most projectiles (and even some physical attacks) with Double Team, and then dive right into your opponent with Quick Attack. Quick Attack itself also avoids projectiles, but it’s -8, so it carries risk if your opponents are expecting it. That being said, you have more options in Field out of Double Team than you do in Duel- you can trade places with an afterimage, jump away, or even Homing Attack. (If you’ve been paying attention this whole time, you’ll also remember that you can Homing Attack into Perfect Block, and therefore you can Perfect Block out of Field Phase Double Team.) On the other hand, if you’re cornered, you can use Midair Dodge- perhaps in conjunction with a wall jump- to escape pressure and then turn the situation around with your own cross-up.

Of course, Libre has other projectiles in Field that she can’t access in Duel, so if she should need to, she has access to some of those tools. B.Y and j.Y, alongside both the charged and uncharged versions of Discharge, are probably going to be your more valuable projectiles when it comes to limiting the amount of space your opponent can move in. S.Y is a useful sidestep projectile as always, but the s.YY string is very slow and probably not as great of a pressure tool as other characters’ versions of the same string. N.Y and f.Y are both very fast (i15 and i19 respectively) and the f.Y fling is only -4, making it a very useful aggressive option.

Duel Phase

Libre can chase her opponent all the way around the stage.

If Pikachu Libre is succeeding, she will be rapidly transitioning back and forth between Field and Duel, earning enhancements, buffs, and meter. This aggression is further enhanced by the fact that Libre innately has very strong and fast tools, especially while in Duel. Very few of Libre’s moves are worse than -8 on block, and several of them are special cancellable. Furthermore, with 8XX, you can even access your enhanced state in Duel without scoring a Shift, which can be helpful if your buff runs out or if you entered the Phase at a disadvantage. You can also access 8XX during your 5Y… string- after confirming 5YY, continue the string by pressing XX to score a knockdown and guarantee a short buff. J.Y and j.X are also both very fast aerials that are relatively safe on block and will let you confirm into a 5Y starter on hit. We will discuss some more articulate combos later, but you can often get by with an aerial confirm into 5YYXX, reset the situation on knockdown, use Discharge or something safe and fast like 2Y for okizeme, and repeat until you can confirm into another special move. (2Y is also a very powerful i11 special cancellable throw crush.)

You also now have access to Wild Charge and Flying Press, the former being a powerful horizontal armored reversal (that is not actually a throw, and a whopping -16 to -20 on block!) and the latter being a decently fast and powerful anti-air that is also remarkably safe on block (+4 to +16.) EX Flying Press will stun your opponent, so any situation where you end in EX Flying Press should immediately be followed up by Electroweb, so you can earn some bonus damage and pass on a Speed debuff. The cross-up hit of Spark and EX Discharge also stun your opponent, as they did in Field Phase, but since EX Flying Press is more reliable as a stun option off of a combo, you will mainly earn Electroweb from the latter. Many of Libre’s other moves are also very good, but discussing them is mainly going over their use in combos rather than in neutral, so we’ll look at them later.

Synergy Burst

Pikachu Libre’s Synergy Burst is another runner up for one of the best Burst Modes in the game. The main reason it’s so good, despite only providing a very minor enhancement aside from the system Burst buffs, is because she can access it so freely due to how quickly she builds her meter. Feel free to go into Burst whenever you want to as Libre, because there’s a very real change you’ll earn most of that 100cc meter back by the end of the round. If you continue dealing a ton of damage and winning exchanges you’ll often even extend the duration of your Burst past the normal 12 seconds. Pikachu Libre gains the following buff while in Burst Mode:

  • Pikachu Libre is enhanced for the duration of Burst. This also means that any Phase Shift which would normally result in an enhanced state simply gives you the Attack buff for free.

The only thing that Libre’s Burst really does is re-emphasize the threat that she already is. Having access to EX moves for a longer period increases her damage, aerial movement, and provides her with even more innate buffs. This can be even more dangerous as you continue to stack debuffs on your opponent, making it even harder for them to compete with your hyperaggression. Pikachu Libre’s Burst Attack, Thunderclap Press, is an i11 counterpierce that is invincible from frame 5. On a successful hit, Pikachu Libre will hit her opponent with a powerful crowd-pleasing rope-dive. Should they survive, you will grant yourself an Attack and Defense buff that lasts for 11 seconds, which will hopefully allow you to finish them off once Burst ends. On the other hand, it’s still -8 on block, so be careful about using it recklessly. Try confirming into it off a stun move as you normally would off Electroweb.

Strengths and Weaknesses

While I personally would not classify her as a top 5 character, Pikachu Libre is certainly a contender for Pokkén’s top-tier. Her health is a little lower than average, but her damage output and ability to snowball is massive. Tools like Wild Charge and Double Team > Quick Attack allow her to get in on opponents that she may need to chase down, while tools like Midair Dodge and wall jumps allow her to escape. On top of that, she’s very quick with relatively decent frame data. Unfortunately, as is the case with most rushdown characters, while her exceptional mobility may allow her to get in on some characters, it also means that a savvy opponent with equally good mobility can force her to waste her time (and buffs) approaching. Croagunk and Weavile are both examples of characters with annoying projectiles that can hang out in the air and make it hard for Libre to get in. This is compounded by the fact that Libre has little to no projectile game outside of Discharge. This also means that matchups with other top tier characters who likewise have powerful mobility, such as Mewtwo and Sceptile, can be pretty aggravating.

Support and Cheer Pairings

As Libre, you can often rely on a variety of Supports, either to extend your pressure or to address potential weaknesses in certain matchups. For the above problem matchups, for instance, taking Rotom will limit your opponent’s aerial mobility and escape options while also providing you with a free stun into Electroweb should they take the leap anyway. Frogadier and Emolga are also very good projectiles that you can use to cover your approach in neutral. Libre players will also often use Mimikyu to cover their approach, provide them with armor, and force a blockstring and severe debuffs onto their opponent. The other part of that Set, Mega Rayquaza, is also a Support that Libre can rely on very cheaply given her massive meter gain. Since you aren’t hurting for Synergy too much, you can probably favor Support Cheer over the other options, but as always, Special Cheer is a great boon to a snowball playstyle.

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.

These two combos are examples that end in Electroweb.

Libre can get combos started off various moves, such as 6XX, the 8/9Y launcher, and the crumple effect from a fully charged CA. I already gave you a very preliminary string earlier that you can follow in a pinch in the Duel Phase section above: j.Y or j.X > 5YYXX, then repeat into j.Y or j.X > 5YYY 8A 2A. The following combos will be a little bit more complex and will involve various starters.

j.Y or j.X > 9YY 5X 6Y 8A

[CA] 6XX 6Y 8A 2Y 4A

(Against the wall) 8YY W! 8YY 2Y 4A

You can often take out the aerial or the CA starter from Libre’s combos, but since those are some of her safest combo starters, I have included them in the notation. Other moves such as 5X are mainly used to extend juggle combos, although the 5Y… pickup after a 5X can often be very tight. Again, feel free to default to the basic string if you’re having a tough time picking up these combos.

Conclusion

Pikachu Libre is a pint-sized wrestler with the heart (and toolkit) of a champion. Her speed, maneuverability, and enhanced state allow her to apply a ton of pressure up close as she searches for big damage into a throw. In Field Phase, Libre has a few additional options alongside her Double Team that allow her to bridge the gap between she and her opponent. In Duel, Libre can extend her access to her enhanced state and continue pressuring her opponent at close range using powerful special moves such as Wild Charge and Flying Press. Libre will continue re-buffing herself with enhancements and the wall jump buff while debuffing her opponent using Electroweb. In Burst Mode, Libre will maximize the efficacy of her enhanced moves and use her powerful abilities to close in before slamming her opponent with Thunderclap Press. Libre is a contender for Pokkén’s top tier, but can struggle against opponents who excel at controlling the pace of the match. Supports such as Rotom and Mimikyu can help even the odds in her favor.

That’s it for the fifteenth Trainer’s School character guide! The Speed-type category is the smallest in the game’s roster, with only four Pokémon belonging to the group. The next character in the guide will thusly put us at the halfway point for our coverage of the category. Next week, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most devious characters in the roster: Croagunk, the Toxic Mouth Pokémon!

Another Trainer’s School, another ragequit clip.

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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