Trainer’s School: Scizor Character Guide

The Pincer Pokemon will pierce right through your defenses

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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 ninth Pokkén character guide is also the first guide on the Power Pokémon archetype in the roster. Power-type characters are invariably high-damage characters who can win exchanges off a single hit, and often have a highly specialized moveset that allows them to earn that hit. Scizor is no exception to this: the Pincer Pokémon is an oppressive opponent with unique movement options that allow him to play at any pace. The Bug-Steel dual-type first appeared in the generation two RPGs as an evolution of Scyther, a mantis-like Bug Pokémon. Scizor would eventually carve out a competitive niche in the RPGs using Swords Dance and its Technician ability to bolster the efficacy of Bullet Punch- something that its appearance in Pokkén DX pays direct homage to with its special moves.

Scizor: Overview

Playstyle: A fast bruiser with unique movement that lets him punish bad options and close the distance.

Values: 600 Hit Points, 720 Shield Health, 200cc Synergy Gauge

Poké Moves: Swords Dance (Duel 5A, Field n.A,) Metal Claw (Duel 6A, Field f.A,) U-turn (Duel 4A, Field b.A,) Aerial Ace (Duel j.A, Field j.n.A,) Bug Bite (]A[,) Bullet Punch (Duel only, 1/2/3A,) Bullet Punch X-Scissor (during Bullet Punch, X,) Bullet Punch Bug Bite (during Bullet Punch, Y+B.) Swords Dance adds followup attacks to Swords Dance, Metal Claw, U-turn, Aerial Ace, and Bullet Punch that can be performed with a second press of A, as long as you have one stack of Swords Dance. (For the sake of clarity and convenience, I will refer to Swords Dance-enhanced versions of moves as EX moves and Swords Dance Followup as Swords Toss.)

High Stance: Provides counter armor against special mids on frame 5.

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

Unique Features: Scizor can only have two stacks of Swords Dance at once (one pair of swords is one stack.) Swords Toss, Bug Bite, and 4X/4[X] can be dash cancelled with R + a directional input. X-scissor has a just-frame that launches the opponent; press X again right before the jaws of the scissor close. Bug Bite steals buffs and Synergy, and heals 20 points of dark green HP. Stolen buffs will always have an 11-second duration. Scizor can slide around while charging CA. Scizor can Hover Glide in the air by holding R, and can use this to cancel aerials. Scizor’s forward dash is called Hover Dash and can be continued by holding the direction, written in numpad notation as h.(button) or 66(button.) Hover Dash can eradicate projectiles: the full list can be found here. Scizor can dash cancel Hover Dash by inputting the opposite direction out of a dash; this is called Hover Turn.

Here is the full list of options that Hover Dash can be cancelled into:
-Grab
-CA
-Empty option back into neutral position (simply press R)
-Support call
-Burst activation and Burst Attack
-Jump
-Any special attack
-In Field only: f.Y and Homing Attack
-In Duel only: h.Y and h.X (h.X’s animation is identical to 6X but is i15 instead of i19 and does more damage.)

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

Intuitive readers will have surmised that Scizor’s gameplan revolves around having Swords Dance up and getting in on the opponent with Hover Dash. Using Swords Dance is essential for Scizor’s damage output and increasing his options in any given situation. Hover Dash and Scizor’s unique CA allows you to get more mileage out of CADC than any other character in the cast, by converting any armored attack or dash-cancelled mixup into an aggressive situation. Hover Dash also lets Scizor completely ignore certain zoning options, which can then open his prey up to a big punish. Even at a long range, Scizor can use EX Bullet Punch to convert into a combo or dash cancel Swords Toss into pressure. Even when pressed into a defensive position, he can last longer than most with his high-strength block and powerful U-turn reversal.

Field Phase

Opening up your opponent with a powerful charged projectile will give you the opportunity for knockdown pressure (or Swords Dance if you’re more patient.)

It will be tempting to begin the Phase, especially at the start of the game, with Swords Dance, but raw Swords Dance stack is very easily punished despite the counter armor. Instead, opening with a sidestep projectile and then going for a stack after they’re knocked down or forced to block is safer. Once you have at least one stack of Swords Dance up, the Swords Toss projectile will have more utility as an armored dash-cancellable projectile while also letting you keep the initial stack. Using Hover Dash and CADC around the arena in order to push in and earn a Shift will be your main gameplan. Moves like f.Y, EX Metal Claw, and Homing Attack will serve you well up close. When pressured, you can usually try to block your opponent and then react with U-turn, which can often also catch aerial approaches.

One of Scizor’s most useful moves in Field is n.Y, which fires odd staple-like projectiles onto the ground. This is Scizor’s main okizeme tool and Field Phase trap. In neutral, it forces opponents to navigate around the staples or use their own option to clear them; in a knockdown situation, they can only block or CA, which opens them up to the threat of a grab or more pressure. After layering down one set of staples, you can press n.Y again for a second set, and then cancel into f.Y or Metal Claw for close-range pressure on their block. Scizor also has other powerful moves in Field like s.[Y], which combos into itself, and b.Y/b.[Y], which can catch approaches and avoid some moves. Be careful with using these moves recklessly, especially the charged variants, as they’re much easier to punish. If your opponent is themselves being careless with the zoning they put out, you can often rush in with Hover Dash and close the distance, ignoring whatever projectiles you just armored through.

Pause! Using CADC Hover Dash effectively

Hover Dash and its projectile invulnerability is one of Scizor’s best anti-zoning tools, but trying to remember what moves you can avoid with it is a pain, especially when starting out. Furthermore, you can’t armor through more powerful projectiles, such as Chandelure’s 6[Y] and Mewtwo’s Hyper Beam. Some projectiles that you can armor through may also linger for a while and catch you even if you try to Hover Dash through them, like Emolga’s Shock Wave. This is why it’s preferable to augment Scizor’s Hover Dash with CADC, since you can just armor through anything that won’t counter pierce, push onward, and punish your opponent for zoning or poking at you. Since Scizor’s CA lets you move during its charge and Hover Dash can be cancelled immediately into a plethora of options, you can punish more options than most other characters can out of their own CADC. (Incidentally, since it functions similarly to other game’s systems like the Third Strike parry and Baiken’s Azami, some Scizor mains often refer simply to CADC Hover Dash punish as a parry, or as CAHC- Counter Attack Hover Cancel.)

Emolga can be negated by Hover Dash, but only with certain timing and at certain distances.

When you’ve gotten a bit better at the game, you can feel free to study and memorize what projectiles Hover Dash will armor through at your own pace. At a beginner level, however, it’s best to simply master parrying and remember which projectiles will counter pierce you. Since you have substantial Shield Health, you can just block any moves you can’t parry and often come out perfectly fine. Scizor’s options are such that a beginner or a mid-level player can immediately get mileage out of how good they are, and those same tools will only get better as you learn how to use them more effectively.

Duel Phase

Scizor can completely ignore certain elements of other characters’ setplay using Hover Dash.

Scizor will trade moves like b.Y/b.[Y] and the n.Y staples for more aggressive options that let him press the advantage in Duel Phase. If you won the Phase and earned the Shift, regardless of the distance from you to the opponent, now is the perfect time to earn at least one Swords Dance stack. If your opponent is forced to approach you and has no long-range tools, you can even earn a second stack or keep them away with Swords Toss, and then dash cancel into a rushdown. At a distance, you can also use Bullet Punch to keep your opponent away, and EX Bullet Punch will let you convert into a basketball combo (more on that in the relevant section.) 1A Bullet Punch and 2Y into Metal Claw are also your ideal throw crushes and can likewise convert into combos and major damage on crit. Scizor unfortunately has very middling antiairs with almost no conversion opportunities, but you can still try to catch opponents with U-turn and 8Y. U-turn is an absurdly powerful reversal, but it’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Over-reliance will just get you thrown, so you should likewise try to throw opponents who attempt to bait U-turns by approaching you with block.

At a close range, Scizor’s frame data is rather average, but most of his moves are somewhat unsafe on block. Because of this, Scizor relies very often on ending blockstrings out of 5YY or h.Y with EX Metal Claw in order to reset situations in close quarters, since the pushback will make you safe despite being -4 and you can catch opponents trying to mash out of block. 5X is i19, so it’ll lose to faster moves, but it’s -4 and a decent combo starter. J.Y is likewise even on block and i11, and will convert into 5YY on hit, but it leaves you open to antiairs. In general, this means that a parry string into EX Metal Claw is often your safest and best bet. On a knockdown, if you can afford to sacrifice earning a Swords Dance stack for some more damage and pressure, go for 4X/4[X]. When timed well, meaty 4X/4[X] will beat every normal option except block, in which case it’s still +4 and lets you continue your offensive pressure. After conditioning your opponent to block it, you can practice dash cancelling it into a grab, earning yourself a Shift and a guaranteed Swords Dance stack. Remember also that your dash cancels can take you forward and backward, meaning you can fade away from bad situations and reset positioning if you need to.

Synergy Burst

Scizor’s Burst Mode transforms him into the powerful Mega Scizor, granting him a more robotic, mecha-like appearance and several additional buffs. At 200cc and a 14 second duration, Scizor’s Synergy Burst can actually be accessed fairly often if you win your parry exchanges frequently and earn Bug Bite often. Mega Scizor gains the following unique properties:

  • h.Y, 2Y, 5Y, and 8Y all gain two additional hits. 2Y and 5Y gain better frame data that essentially makes them safer and better combo starters.
  • n.Y sets down a doubled amount of staples.
  • Bullet Punch will now always launch the opponent on hit instead of only launching on crit- this means that Bullet Punch Bug Bite will always be real.
  • Bug Bite deals additional damage.
  • Scizor will gain two stocks of Swords Dance every time.
  • Aerial Ace now has hitstun on the first hit.
Iron Meteor Dive is a flashy Burst Attack that is best used as a punish rather than as a raw intimidation tool.

Mega Scizor’s enhancements allow him to play even more aggressively, making any successful parries more terrifying. Being able to gain two Swords Dance stacks with every press of 5A also means that your special moves are essentially always enhanced- it also means you can exit Burst Mode and still be terrifying due to having full stacks. In essence, your main gameplan simply becomes more effective and more threatening in Burst Mode. Mega Scizor’s Burst Attack, Iron Meteor Dive, is a direct shoutout to Turn-A Gundam. Iron Meteor Dive travels in an upward arc and is i15, -8 on block, invincible from frame 5, and will counterpierce. You can use your Burst Attack to catch opponents at a distance or as they jump, especially since many opponents are often especially vulnerable in the air. However, being -8 and also having to drop down from the sky after the animation ends means you’re easily punished on block, so be sure you use your Burst Attack with care.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Scizor is fairly powerful at every range. Against rushdown characters like Blaziken, with few projectile options, Scizor can simply keep those characters out with Swords Toss and Bullet Punch. Against (some) zoners, such as Suicune, Scizor can likewise just parry and Hover Dash through their projectiles and take them on up close. The rest of the cast thus falls somewhere between- as long as the player understands the opponent’s gameplan, Scizor can easily dissect the matchup. Scizor’s main struggles are thusly against characters who have projectiles that Scizor is forced to block, like Chandelure and Gardevoir. Since he also doesn’t have many good anti-airs that lead to good opportunities, Scizor can likewise find matchups like Weavile and Gengar pretty difficult, since those characters can use Icicle Crash or general intangibility to camp and punish his options. Still, it’s less that Scizor will outright lose in these matchups and more that he will have to rely on simpler system options like blocking instead of his generously powerful parry. Patience is a virtue that Scizor players must learn.

Support and Cheer Pairings

Rotom-Togekiss and Snivy-Lapras will both cover Scizor’s major weakness- lack of a good anti-air. Rotom will make jumping a major threat and lock down that option entirely, while Snivy will provide Scizor with additional armor and can lead into a basketball combo on anti-air hit. The Togekiss Speed buff from Tailwind is also nice to have and can make approaches more threatening. Emolga also grants Scizor a fullscreen counter-piercing projectile, which can let him combat bad matchups against characters that have their own long-range counter-pierces. Standard and Special Cheer will give Scizor a healthy access to both meters, which are equally valuable to him.

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.

Scizor’s main bread-and-butter combo has actually been discussed in a previous Trainer’s School guide about reading numpad notation and all of the elements that go into combo labbing and creation. There are several ways to confirm into it, but essentially it relies on EX Metal Claw and ends in Bullet Punch Bug Bite. This is a fairly easy combo to score on the ground and will grant you health, Synergy, and any buffs your opponent may have, so it’s never bad to go for it. Since 5YY and hY into EX Metal Claw is a safe blockstring, it’s also easy to fish for.

5YY 6AA 6YX 4Y 2Y 1A Y+B or h.Y 6AA 6YX 4Y 2Y 1A Y+B

Here is a much shorter bread-and-butter you can go for if you don’t have a Swords Dance stack:

5YY 1A:X or h.Y 1A:X (You don’t need the just frame, but it’ll do more damage and earn a launch if you get it, which can lead to more opportunities for damage and Shifting against the wall.)

Here are three examples of basketball combos with Scizor. They are performed in the same order as the notation below. Not shown is the anti-air Snivy combo.

Scizor’s most unique and powerful combos are his basketball combos, more formally referred to as groundbounce combos. After a launcher such as EX Bullet Punch or 5X, Scizor can press the button again (i.e. 5XX or 1AAA) to immediately follow his opponent into the air. Scizor can then perform an air combo with j.YYX and cancel the second divekick hit of j.X with Hover Glide j.R. This will bounce the opponent off the ground and let Scizor j.YYX again or end the combo with EX Aerial Ace. Scizor can earn up to two groundbounces in a single combo before Phase Shifting, but due to PSP and damage scaling systems in Pokkén, it’s often more optimal to go for just one. Learning how to optimize the hits of j.Y and EX Aerial Ace will let you squeeze out more damage before Shifting. You can also earn a groundbounce combo after an anti-air Snivy hit, by jumping into the air and timing the j.Y accordingly. Here are examples of each groundbounce combo with the appropriate notations:

(With two Swords Dance stacks) 1/2/3AAA j.R j.YYXR j.YYAA

(With one Swords Dance stack) h.XX or 6XX j.R j.YYXR j.YAA

(With one Swords Dance stack) 5XX j.R j.YYXR j.YYAA

Basketball combos take a bit of trial and error to perform, but are the main application of Scizor’s Hover Glide and will provide you a lot of damage, so take the time to practice them. As soon as Scizor is in the air, you have to hold Hover Glide throughout the air combo, and when you want to cancel the divekick hit of j.X, you have to tap R again and then continue holding it for the rest of the combo. Once you get a feel for the multihits of j.Y and EX Aerial Ace, as well as the Hover Glide Cancel timings, it should be pretty simple.

Conclusion

Scizor is a fast character whose unique movement options and powerful special moves allow him to open up his opponents at any range. Every scenario revolves around using Scizor’s CADC, Hover Dash, and Swords Dance-enhanced moves to earn damage. In Field Phase, he can limit his opponents’ movement with the n.Y staples hazard, while earning Swords Dance stacks and rushing in or staying away. In Duel Phase, Scizor can make more effective use of his parries to charge in and deal damage, or he can keep away with Bullet Punch and Swords Toss. While in Burst Mode, Mega Scizor’s gameplan remains mostly the same, but is made even more threatening due to more Swords Dance stacks, safer frame data, and the powerful Iron Meteor Dive. Scizor’s major weaknesses- a lack of a good anti-air and an inability to deal with fullscreen counter-piercing pressure- can be mitigated by patience and a good Support Set.

This concludes the Scizor guide! It feels really good being able to impart so much valuable knowledge about a character that has earned me several wins in and out of bracket over the past few years. From here on out, every character guide will be about characters I don’t play, but that doesn’t make the knowledge in them any less valuable. The next guide will focus on Pokkén’s quintessential grappler, the iconic Superpower Pokémon, Machamp!

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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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