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RickyThe3rd

Empoleon vs Pikachu (Notes)

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:Empoleon: and :ShadowMewtwo:  player, @Corgian, recently gave his thoughts on the Pikachu matchup in the Emp Discord. I'm pasting his exact text in attempts to start putting more matchup knowledge on the forums! If you have anything to add about how to fight Pikachu as Empoleon feel free to reply to this thread! \o/
 
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Before anything, I'm going to be 100% clear. Empoleon has counterplay options against some of Pika's kit, but this MU is hard. You have to be patient and watch what your opponent is doing.
 
Just some general things that are nice in this MU:
1. AJ has low-invulnerability, which allows you to use AJ to hard punish tbolt call with AJ, train yourself to react to the start of thunderbolt. It also allows you to avoid Pikachu 2Y pokes as well as a call out. Pay attention to where your opponent uses their 2Y, and you can start getting free damage in these scenarios.
 
2. Pikachu cannot Volt Tackle (8A) out of Rock Smash. Not really that important, but it should make you feel more comfortable in the MU. That said, against all characters make sure you're mixing up your follow-up options. If you need to know what mixups are good, feel free to ask.
 
3. Pikachu will often go for thunder cancel mixups above your head knowing you really don't have that much to hit him up there. That's fine, don't contest him use this opportunity to AJ out of a bad situation, like if you're in the corner. Empoleon doesn't really have that great of defensive options, so you're better off just leaving the problem area entirely.
 
4. When you're going for your jY bubbles in duel make sure you're moving left and right while you're using jY. jY has air control properties and maintains momentum from when you jumped, as well. This is something you should be doing regardless of MU, but if you jump in place against Pika, you're at risk of getting thundered and you're an easier target for electro ball.
 
5. 2[X]4 is +8 on Block, and Pikachu doesn't have that many tools to catch you while you're sliding away. Use this to your advantage. Hydrocannon laser is your fastest option out of retreating slide, bubble will eat armored options, and you can do a jump forward jY out of the backwards slide and by frame neutral on your opponent's block. If Pika has full meter, which yes, Pikachu will, it's a good idea to simply use X to fast slide away after touching Pika's shield as it will allow you to escape the burst wave, meaning Pikachu won't be able to reset its PSP on you.
 
6. If Pikachu goes for the thunder pillar (bY, I think?) in field, charged or uncharged, he's punishable by ice beam on landing. If you didn't punish him for it and he's farther than midrange, side-dash to remove the tracking on it. If he's closer than midrange, either walk towards or away from it and shield. Pika has some dumb setups out of the thunder pillar so changing the positioning and timing of the move can mess up the Pika's timing. DO NOT COUNTER THE THUNDER PILLAR. DO NOT DEFOG THE THUNDER PILLAR.
 
7. Playing around Pikachu in burst is difficult if you don't have your own Burst. I personally recommend using Eevee in this MU, since it'll make your basic tools ignore Burst Armor. Having access to AJ is really nice to have and same with jY because it will allow you to waste more of his meter. The less time he remains dominant in burst the better of a time you'll have. Just remember, you're an Emperor among Penguins and this is a disgusting rodent. He owes you respect, make him give it to you.

 

The reason I said that last bit is because as I mentioned earlier, Empoleon doesn't really have that great of defensive options. You have to be completely aware of when Pika's turn is over, and take complete advantage of your window to turn things around. If you play scared against Burst Pika, you'll get steamrolled.

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Old post but it's worth noting that pikachu totally can 8A out of rock smash if done out of either lvl 2 aqua jet or regular defog. Since both are normally -12, it's a free punish or free synergy.

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