The Pokemon Trainer Field Guide
A Synthesized Guide to Pokemon Trainer in Super Smash Bros Ultimate
by @gg_contrary and the Pokemon Trainer Community
Trainers leave home at about the age of ten, sometimes accompanied with a starter Pokémon obtained from a Pokémon Professor. It just so happens that you acquired three—Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard! Many will travel around one or more regions, doing such things as gathering information for a Pokédex, perfecting their technique, collecting Gym Badges, and working to become a Pokémon Master. No matter what their specialties or aims, there is one code that they all follow—when two Trainers make eye contact, they must battle!
Pokemon Trainer is arguably the most unique character in the game, boasting three distinct movesets and, as a result, three complementary playstyles. While they are one of the most complicated characters in the game, they also have the most tools for dealing with the challenges of the Smash Ultimate roster. Squirtle is a dexterous, agile, combo fiend; Ivysaur is a zoning, edge-guarding, grappling beast; and Charizard is a fast, flying, smashing monstrosity. When working together, there is no opponent they can’t overcome! A critical hit! It’s super effective!
This guide draws from a variety of sources, including my Sheik guide (the Sheikah Encyclopedia), 検証窓 and their frame data table, Oak's Lab Document, the Pokemon Trainer Discord, Smashboards, Smash YouTube, and direct input from ranked Pokemon Trainer players. My goal is to make the Pokemon Trainer Field Guide the definitive online resource for Pokemon Trainer in SSBU, providing basic information for beginners alongside more niche information for established players in the competitive scene.
I’d really appreciate a follow and signal boost on Twitter, especially if you need any more information or want to contribute. If you’re feeling extra generous, feel free to donate to my personal Venmo (@GG_No_Re), as this took hundreds of work hours! I intend on sharing this work with the Smash community as a whole, and I welcome criticism, advice, and information! Good luck and have fun!
While this guide is intended to help players of all levels and backgrounds, this is primarily intended for players that understand the basics of the game. Those that need a primer for fighting games should check out beginner guides, such as my Fundamentals of Smash Theory Guide or IzAw’s Art of Smash videos. While many advanced techniques will be mentioned, I’ll link external resources (e.g. My Smash Corner or Beefy Smash Doods videos) when possible.
This guide is incredibly in depth, but… if you’re looking for a fast summary of their gameplay, look to sections 1.8, 2.8, 3.8, and 4.1. This is great for refreshing your game plan if you’re already familiar with the character.
Certain techniques will be mentioned so frequently in this document that abbreviations and jargon became necessary for the sake of brevity. These include:
* AC - Autocancel: A specially timed aerial move that ends without any lag
* Combo and String: True follow-ups and mixed up follow-ups, respectively
* DC - Dash Cancel: Halting your skid animation when running with an attack
* DJ, FH,SH- Double Jump, Full Hop, and Short Hop: Types of jumps
* Early / Late Hit: In moves with multiple phases, these describe the order
* FAF - First Actionable Frame: The first frame of free control after a move
* FF - Fast Fall: Pressing down mid-air to accelerate your character downwards
* IRA - Instant Reverse Aerial: The fastest possible turn around aerial.
* L. / R. or Landing / Rising : Moves used while landing on the stage or mid-jump
* MU - Matchup: The specific situation of one character versus another
* OOS - Out of Shield: Options used after blocking
* PC - Pivot Cancel: Cancelling a turn around animation with a sliding move
* RAR - Reverse Aerial Rush: Cancelling a turnaround with a jumping B-Air
* Sour (Spot): A hitbox with low knockback relative to others in the move
* Sweet (Spot): A hitbox with high knockback relative to others in the move
This guide is made for 1v1 itemless gameplay, and, as such, lists options and damage specifically for that format. Move properties will be given in the following format:
Early: 8.4%, 7.14% on SH, Frames 5-6, FAF 36, Lag 6, AC: 1-4, 35>. Shield Safety: -3.
In order, this identifies: the move’s hitbox, the damage it deals while fresh in a Singles match, the damage after the 0.85 Short Hop multiplier (for aerials), the starting frame of the hitbox, the first actionable frame after move completion, any landing lag that occurs when the move does not autocancel, auto-cancel windows for aerials, and the amount of frame advantage a move has when used on shield. Special properties will be listed afterwards in written text. More technical information (e.g. knockback values and damage scaling) can be found via Kurogane Hammer and other online resources.
An outline of the entire document is included to the left to ease navigation. The primary chapters and subsections of the document are given and can be accessed at a click. Flavor text is used throughout to keep the read interesting, but clarity is prioritized. I highly recommend playing or labbing as you read; this helps you process and memorize the actual applications of techniques in real time.
Chapter 1: Squirtle
Image result for squirtle smash ultimate
Squirtle is the smallest and most evasive member of the trio, providing bait-and-punish and rushdown elements to the Trainer’s option set. His small hurtbox, great frame data, and solid speed make him very difficult to hit, but he’ll die somewhat early and will likely have trouble killing without a hard read. He’s essential to most MUs at low percents.
SH Air Time
Soft Landing Lag
FH Air Time
Hard Landing Lag
SH FF Air Time
FH FF Air Time
While he mostly wants to keep moving to land grabs and aerials, Squirtle’s normals are largely designed to create disruptions and reversals. They won’t contest disjoints very well, but they are fast, safe, and get the job done against most characters.
Jab: Fake Out
A very fast, low, fairly damaging series of jabs. As it's his fastest move, it'll primarily be a get-off me tool and frame trap option. Its best use is as a Jab Lock. It is often outclassed by F-Tilt due to the hitbox size differences, but should always be kept in mind.
Jab 1: 2.4%, Frame 2-3, FAF 17. Cancels to Jab 2 on Frame 5. Shield Safety: -11/-12.
Jab 2: 1.8%, Frame 4-5, FAF 25. Cancels to Jab 3 on Frame 10. Shield Safety: -17/-18.
Jab 3: 4.8%, Frame 5-6, FAF 32. Shield Safety: -21/-20.
* Primarily used for interrupting slower attacks, interrupting OOS options on frame advantage, and resetting neutral.
* Could be mixed up into a slightly more committal option like grab or tilt.
* Squirtle's height makes this basically hit any grounded opponent.
* Jabs can lock an opponent after missing a tech, but Dash > Jab 1 is the most consistent for the first and second reset. Finish up with a combo starter (like Dash Attack) at low percent, a D-Tilt for another tech chase at mid percent, and F-Smash or U-Smash at higher percents. As with all Jab Locks, the initial lock window is 25 frames after hitting the ground, but grows to 38 frames for additional follow-ups.
Dash Attack: Surf
A low, charging drop kick, guided by a tide of rushing water. In conjunction with his decent run speed, this solid combo starter is splendid for punishing landings and whiffs.
Early Hit: 9.6%, Frames 8-11, FAF 36. Shield Safety: -16 to -14.
Late Hit: 8.4%, Frames 12-17, FAF 36. Shield Safety: -16 to -11.
* At low and mid percents, this can link into U-Tilt and DI-dependent aerials
* Dash Attack > U-Tilts / U-Air > U-Airs > Waterfall is a fantastic whiff punish
* Since this move causes Squirtle to pancake, it can be used to avoid high attacks
F-Tilt: Tail Whip
A very fast, low-profile tail slap that has the most range of his normals. It can be angled. This is tied for being his fastest tilt and is probably his best grounded neutral tool. Zip in and out with F-Tilt to condition, and then punish commitment with combo starters.
Hit: 6%, Frames 5-7, FAF 18 . Tail Intangibility Frames: 1-8. Shield Safety: -6.
* Below is a list of F-Tilt Frame Advantage and the true Follow-Ups at point blank range on Mario (without staling, rage, or SDI). Safe F-Tilt spacing limits useful frame advantage, as extra time must be spent for movement.
* 0% - 3f: Jab
* 3.8% - 4f: Walk > Jab
* 8.8% - 5f: F-Tilt
* 13.8% - 6f: Grab
* 17.8% - 7f: Walk > Grab
* 23.8%- 8f: Dash Attack
* 28.8% - 9f: Dash Grab
* From Frames 1-8, Squirtle's tail is intangible, making F-Tilt a pseudo-disjoint. As such, using this out of a Dash Cancel or Pivot Cancel is very effective.
* F-Tilt has very little knockback and is safe on block when spaced, forcing opponents to pick a defensive option on both block and hit. You can opt for Grab against slower Attacks and Shield, Dash Attack against retreats, and F-Air against jump. The most common option tends to be Shield or Retreat, as F-Tilt spam can eat poorly timed jumps.
* F-Tilt starts forcing low techs around 80%, while leads into ea