Another Pokemon has joined the roster for the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and it’s a Pokemon that competitive players likely know very well. Incineroar joins Decidueye as the only other playable Generation 7 starter Pokemon in a fighting game (sorry Primarina).
With how dominant Incineroar has been in the competitive Pokemon VGC scene, many are wondering if he’ll live up to his reputation as he joins the immense Smash Bros. cast. Let’s take a look at Incineroar’s potential competitive impact, as well as what he brings over from his home franchise.
Most Pokemon introduced into the Smash franchise represent attacks they can use in the Pokemon games in the form of their “special” moves.
Incineroar’s neutral special is Darkest Lariat, a move that sees Incineroar become an unstoppable tornado. This is Incineroar’s signature move in the Pokemon series, and it’s pretty faithful to the way Incineroar aggressively spins towards his opponents in the video games.
His side special isn’t necessarily a move straight out of Pokemon, but it captures Incineroar’s pro wrestler shtick. This attack allows Incineroar to grab his opponent and toss them into a set of wrestling ring ropes, allowing Incineroar to unleash a powerful attack once the thrown opponent bounces back.
The attack Incineroar uses is based on timing, and depending on how well it’s timed, it can either turn out to be a “Back Body Drop”, a powerful “Lariat”, or a complete fail. Depending on the result of each of the attacks, it could be interesting to see how Incineroar players strategically time this move depending on their desired play.
Incineroar’s up special is Cross Chop, an attack not unique to Incineroar in the Pokemon games, but one it is capable of learning through level-up. This attack is the epitome of style, and has a very high-risk, high-reward outcome. This attack sees Incineroar rise into the air and dive down onto his opponent. If done correctly, this attack could score some serious damage, but you’ll need to be careful near the edge of the stage as this attack could send you straight down to the blast zone. As an up special, this doesn’t look like the best recovery option for Incineroar, but it could lead to some insanely disrespectful kills if executed correctly while guarding the edge of a stage.
Finally, we have Incineroar’s down special: Revenge. Again, another attack not unique to Incineroar, but it’s another move that functions similarly to its source. In Smash Bros. Ultimate, Revenge acts as a counterattack for Incineroar (similarly to how Revenge works in the Pokemon games as a move that does more damage if the user is hit with an attack before using it) that also gives him a significant power boost if executed successfully. Many other characters in Smash have counters like this, but Revenge’s secondary effect is unique to Incineroar.
What do the Pros Think?
Of course, immediately after Incineroar was announced, pro players in the Smash scene were eager to get their thoughts out about this new fighter.
Renowned Smash player Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman analyzed Incineroar’s full move set even going down to potential frame data for the character. Without getting too technical, Zimmerman saw potential for Incineroar’s ground game, but found his landing lag for his aerial attacks to be a bit disappointing. He seemed to be a fan of Incineroar’s Revenge, even calling it (potentially) one of the best counters in the game.
One of the best Super Smash Bros. Melee players of all time, Adam “Armada” Lindgren, put out a video with his thoughts about how good Incineroar could be in doubles. As competitive Pokemon players know, Incineroar has dominated the doubles VGC metagame for the past two years, so obviously Incineroar’s doubles viability in Smash could be of some interest. Like Zimmerman, Lindgren seemed to be a fan of the Revenge mechanic since it could be activated courtesy of a teammate since competitive teams matches in Smash allow teammates to hit each other. Lindgren also saw potential in Incineroar’s powerful throws which could also be good combo set-ups for teammates. Incineroar’s weak recovery was also a talking point for Lindgren, but he believes that while Incineroar’s recovery could be weak in singles, in doubles, a partner could assist Incineroar in getting back to the stage safely and avoid being edge-guarded.
Incineroar is definitely one of the most unique fighters to appear in the roster for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and a lot of Pokemon fans are excited to try him out. We’ll likely have to wait until the game’s release to see just how good Incineroar matches up against the massive Smash Bros. cast, but for now, we’ll have a ton to say about Incineroar in competitive Pokemon as he continues to be a staple in the metagame.
Images from Liquipedia, Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, Nintendo, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.