Nantendo here! This Dream Smashers guest article was written by Munomario777 with input by yours truly. The best place to find Munomario777 is on Smashboards in the Make Your Move thread so if you have any questions for him then hit him up there.
Pokémon is a series which needs no introduction. Being an icon of gaming since the Game Boy days, this monster-catching franchise started as one man’s childhood-inspired project, and ended up as a smash hit which is still going strong to this day, with the recent announcement of Pokémon Sun and Moon in celebration of the franchise’s twentieth anniversary. In Smash, this franchise is well-represented, from fighters to stages to the Poké Ball item. In the newest games for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, there is a wide variety of Pokémon available to choose from: Water-types, Fire-types, Psychic-types, Electric-types, et cetera. However, there is one classic type missing: Grass-type, making up one-third of the starter Pokémon throughout the series along with Water and Fire. Combine that with a lack of Gen III representation, and the obvious choice is clear: Sceptile.
Who is Sceptile?
Photo: Smashified Team
Gimmick: Trap character
Niche: Grass-Type Pokemon
Sceptile is a Grass-type Pokémon debuting in Ruby and Sapphire – one of the three starters, in fact. Since its debut in 2002 (2003 outside of Japan), it’s been leaf-slashing its way into trainers’ hearts around the world. Its signature abilities include using the leaves on its wrists like blades for slicing attacks, agilely leaping across trees, and using its special relationship with the jungle to its advantage in battle.
Importance to Series & to Nintendo
Being a starter Pokémon, Sceptile is one of the more well-known of the bunch. Not only that, but Sceptile has had prominent roles in games since then, with the recent Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire bringing the third generation back into the spotlight. Furthermore, Sceptile is featured as a playable Pokémon in the fighting game spin-off Pokkén Tournament for the Wii U. It’s only natural that the next step would be an appearance in Smash Bros. – Sceptile is also one of the more popular picks out of the entire Pokémon franchise among fans. Furthermore, Sceptile is the perfect choice to complete the trifecta of starters in Smash – we’ve got Charizard as a Gen I Fire type, and Greninja as a Gen VI Water type. A Gen III Grass type is the perfect way to complete this trio!
How will Sceptile play?
Photo: TheAnvil (Original), Nantendo (recolours)
Popularity and history with Nintendo, however, can only get a character so far; what does Sceptile bring to the table in regards to gameplay? Sceptile brings a new style of fighting to the world of Smash, using its Grass typing and relationship with the plant life to great effect in battle. Sceptile fits the archetype of a trap character, a character who uses set-ups around his environment to help ensnare and damage his opponents, but puts a new spin on things in comparison to fighters like Snake. Its stats spread, however, may lead you to think otherwise: Weight: C Height: B+ Ground Speed: B Aerial Speed: B+ Falling Speed: D+ Jump Height: A Misc. Abilities:* crawl, wall-jump, wall-cling *e.g. crawling, wall-jumps, or unique things like Peach’s float Sceptile excels in terms of mobility, its lightweight Grass-type body being both a blessing and a curse. It boasts great agility, with its dashing speed, aerial speed, and jump height allowing it to get around the stage with ease. In return, however, Sceptile is lightweight for its height, and floaty too – vulnerable to juggles and easy to KO. Another boon to Sceptile’s stats, though, is its nice ability-spread. It has a crawl which brings it very low to the ground, as well as a wall-jump and a wall-cling as an extra form of recovery or stalling.
Sceptile’s traps all involve the use of the seeds that grow on his back. Using the vines from these traps to ensnare opponents, Sceptile can use it to continue a combo as well as just wail freely on opponents. He also has the ability to absorb health from his opponents with his traps, a common trait found in Grass-type Pokémon.
Sceptile emerges from a Poké Ball and strikes a pose, accentuated by a little “burst” of plant life appearing around it briefly.
Sceptile’s idle animation is taken straight from its home series. (Also, it is mirrored when facing left, like most fighters without a weapon.)
Sceptile just steps forward, maintaining the same pose as its idle animation. Its steps are light and quick for its size.
Sceptile’s dashing animation resembles that of a velociraptor, its tail and head nearly parallel to the ground. The animation, like its dashing speed, is very quick.
Sceptile’s jumping animation is nothing special, similar to Mewtwo’s. Its midair jump is of course rather different, a somersault if you’re jumping forward and a backflip if you’re jumping backward.
Neutral Attack: Leaf Blade / Leaf Storm
Sceptile slashes twice with its leaf blades as they glow green, and then turns around and hits the foe with its tail. If you tap the button repeatedly, the tail will glow green and create a whirlwind of leaves around it for a rapid jab. The finishing move has it turn around again for a final, more powerful Leaf Blade strike. The jab is pretty quick and has nice range thanks to the leaf blades.
Dash Attack: Leaf Slice
While dashing, Sceptile stops moving its legs and enters the pose seen above, during the side-on view. The near-instant attack has it slash forward with its leaf blades whilst dashing, covering an impressive amount of space with the attack. It’s a good, quick dash attack, nice for approaching and attacking quickly from a distance. It deals moderate knockback at an upward angle, and at low percents it’s possible to follow up on the attack.
Forward Tilt: Tail Whip
Sceptile spins around swiftly and attacks with its tail. The attack has decent speed and power, and boasts great range – its tail is also invincible during this attack, making it an excellent poking tool. It can also be angled up or down.
Up Tilt: Tail Whack
In a manner similar to Yoshi’s up tilt, Sceptile turns around, enters a semi-squatting pose, and whacks upwards with its tail. Like in the ftilt, Sceptile’s tail is invincible during this attack. It covers a big area, but its long duration means it may be punished on whiff. It deals decent damage and moderate upward-forward knockback.
Down Tilt: Double Swipe
From a low crouch, Sceptile swipes both of its arms in front of it, close to the ground, using its leaf blades for a bit of added reach. The motion is reminiscent of Bowser’s down tilt, but a bit faster. It deals good damage and has nice reach – from a standing position, a down tilt reaches far beyond Sceptile’s front. Its low body also allows it to evade some upward-aimed attacks. By the way, Sceptile’s low crouch allows a plant to almost entirely conceal it, so dtilt becomes a much sneakier option!
Forward Smash: Brush Stomp
Sceptile lifts its foot up during the charge for this smash attack, a green glow appearing a platform’s distance away from Sceptile. Sceptile then stomps its foot down onto the ground when the charge is released. This hitbox is a very weak one, but the real focus is the bunch of shrubbery that appears ahead of Sceptile as it stomps its foot, as signified by the green glow. It deals nice damage, but is rather telegraphed and requires rather precise spacing. The plant will linger for a couple of seconds, but the hitbox won’t – although like the Leech Seed plant, you can still knock foes into it to deal additional damage. Also shared with that plant are the Agility and crouch interactions, the former allowing you to use Agility to follow up on the smash attack at lower percents. It also slows down foes. This plant however can only take one attack before withering away, barring no-flinch moves like Fox lasers, which take a few hits. Also, pressing dspec will not have it grab; that’s only for the Leech Seed plant. Overall this is a good long-range move, playing into Sceptile’s powerful ability to control space and also to surprise its opponent.
Up Smash: Vine Pillar
Sceptile crouches down and then lifts its hands into the air, not unlike Lucas’ up smash except Sceptile doesn’t turn to face the camera. When it lifts its hands, it summons a bundle of vines that reach as high as Sceptile itself up from the ground; this move also shares the green glow from fsmash. It’s pretty slow to start, but has nice KO power – it hits right in front of Sceptile, by the way, so it’s a nice close-range move unlike the forward smash. The vines act like the forward smash shrub for the most part, although it only lasts for a second (the fsmash one lasts for two or so). In return, however, it’s easier to make use of with Agility since it’s right next to Sceptile. It also grants more height, as Sceptile will go to the top of the plant before launching. Thus, you can more easily follow up on the vertical knockback!
Down Smash: Double Shrub
Ah, the good old dub’ shrub. Sceptile will hold its arms on its chest in an X, facing the camera as two green glowing spots appear to its left and right, before thrusting its arms down to either side. This creates two shrubs to either side of Sceptile, identical to the fsmash ones other than reduced damage (compensated for by the presence of two shrubs rather than just one). These shrubs are also made closer to Sceptile, about half a platform away. They deal diagonal knockback up and toward Sceptile – so the one on the right launches up and to the left. This allows you to use one to launch the foe, and then use Agility on the opposite shrub for a follow-up attack!
Neutral Aerial: Leaf Storm
Sceptile outstretches its limbs as a cyclone of leaves surrounds it. The move acts similarly to Mewtwo’s neutral aerial, but has a disjoint and more range at the cost of slightly reduced damage. It’s a nice, quick get-off-me move, good for escaping pressure and retaliating against foes who try to approach. However, it has sizable ending and landing lag, so using it to escape pressure may have some risk to it.
Forward Aerial: Leaf Blade
Sceptile leans forward in midair and slashes forward with the leaf blades on one of its hands. The motion is similar to Mewtwo’s fair, but the leaf blades add a lot of range to this move at the cost of having more ending lag and less kill power. It’s a good spacing tool, but cannot be used to finish off a stock as effectively as some.
Back Aerial: Spinning Slice
Sceptile spins around quickly, attacking behind it with an outstretched Leaf Blade. It has nice range, reaching almost as far as its tail, and is pretty quick too. It also has nice KO power, but has a bit of ending lag to compensate.
Up Aerial: Tail Flip
Sceptile performs a backflip, attacking with its tail. The move is similar to Mewtwo’s, but it’s a bit slower – in return, it deals more damage and has more reach. This move is good for following up after using the plant to attack, such as after hitting a foe into its passive hitbox, or after the foe escapes the plant grab. Also, Sceptile’s tail gains invincibility during the attack.
Down Aerial: Tail Slam
Sceptile turns around swiftly while lifting up its tail, and then slams it straight downward for a meaty, long-ranged spike! It’s a powerful attack to be sure, but even a late hit has nice reach and moderate knockback for spacing. It however has some considerable landing lag, so it’s best to use a full-hop with this move.
Sceptile has a very standard grab, using both hands. Its speed and reach are both pretty good – for its dash grab, it dives forward for a lot of reach at the cost of ending lag as it regains its footing. Its pummel has it summon thorned vines from the ground to poke the foe; if you’re near a plant, it’ll pitch in too, adding damage to each pummel. As an aside, it’s possible to grab a foe while they’re still being held by the plant!
Up Throw: Leaf Storm
Sceptile leaps into the air while grabbing the opponent, spinning around in a cyclone of leaves and diving down. It’s a good KO throw, and has more launching power than the likes of Kirby or Charizard’s up throws. However, it won’t go up off the top of the screen, so it can’t take advantage of platforms quite as well.
Forward Throw: Vanishing Drill Kick
Sceptile leaps into the air and disappears, before reappearing with a flurry of rapid kicks. It’ll fly backward from the recoil of the final hit. It deals nice damage, and can KO at higher percents. It cannot be used to combo however, except by using a distant plant’s grab perhaps.
Down Throw: Tail Slam
Sceptile lifts its tail up and slams it down onto the opponent whilst spinning around a bit. It deals a bit of knockback, good for getting a follow-up.
Back Throw: Sceptile Spin
Sceptile spins around similarly to Mario’s back throw, throwing the foe behind it. (Sceptile turns around after the throw finishes.) The knockback isn’t good for finishing off a stock, but its angle and distance are perfect to either knock a foe into your Leech Seed plant, or to use a smash attack to follow up on the throw!
Neutral Special: Bullet Seed
Sceptile leans forward and, after a brief bit of startup, spits seeds out of its mouth rapid-fire. It begins with the same reach as Charizard’s Flamethrower, but over the same amount of time, it’ll deteriorate to that move’s minimum range. It will however recharge over time, again like Flamethrower. It’s faster to start and end, making it a nice combo tool or long-range poke, and can be angled up or down. However, it covers a thinner area in terms of height (whereas Flamethrower’s fire spreads out, the seeds are concentrated like Mii Gunner’s forward smash), and deals a bit less damage. In midair, the seeds are shot downward at an angle, similar to the gif above, and cannot be aimed.
Custom 1: Economic Bullet Seed
This custom move makes the move deal half as much damage, but it uses only half of your fuel – so its range goes down only half as quickly. Visually, it has fewer seeds put into each use of the move. This move allows you to use Bullet Seed a bit more often, but makes it less effective as a result. (Its healing capabilities, which will be explained in the next move, are also halved when using this custom, just like the damage.)
Custom 2: Concentrated Bullet Seed
This custom makes you spit out all your seeds at once in a very brief spurt. It can deal a lot of damage and knockback if it’s charged all the way, but it can’t be sustained, and using the move puts you back at zero charge. This version also has more startup lag, but adds a finishing move to Sceptile’s arsenal that has considerable range. It’s almost like a scaled-down Wario Waft in a way.
Up Special: Agility
Sceptile leaps into the air at high speed while leaving green afterimages, a similar distance to Marth’s recovery move. It can be angled in any direction that isn’t downward, similarly to Pit’s up special move, and also has similar lag. Sceptile only deals weak damage for most of the jump, its leaf blades remaining at normal size, but at the peak, they grow for a more damaging hit, but it’s pretty hard to land since it requires precise spacing and the move is too telegraphed. This move will, as may be expected, leave Sceptile in special fall. Sceptile’s agility is boosted when in its natural habitat – it can leap between trees with ease. In Smash, this is represented by a unique interaction between Sceptile’s plant and its up special move: if you use Agility while standing inside a plant, the plant will give you a boost and nearly double Agility’s distance and speed! It’s amazing for comboing and mobility. Also, the slash at the end of the move is increased significantly in power, now being a potent combo finisher, and this version won’t leave Sceptile in a helpless state. This also, as a bit of an easter egg, works with the plants from up taunt, although this isn’t very useful since you do have to go through the taunt animation.
Custom 1: Vanishing Agility
Sceptile will vanish during the duration of the jump, between the startup and the ending. The weak slashes throughout aren’t present, though, and the strong one at the end is weakened and can’t KO until super-high percents. Your recovery is a lot safer now, but it’s also weaker when used for offense. You can however put the vanishing to good use when getting past an opponent’s attack.
Custom 2: Agility Glide
Instead of slashing, you’ll spread your leaf blades out like wings to glide Brawl-style. The move deals no damage at all, but the glide is of course a boon to recovery. Your glide attack also has power matching the old slash at the top – even being powered up by a plant – but its startup lag makes it harder to use to seal a stock. This version is also noticeably slower during the leap.
So something unique is going to happen with this edition of Dream Smashers. While we came to an agreement over the majority of the moveset, the implementation of Sceptiles gimmick was something that we contested about for weeks. Being stuck in a never ending time loop began to become frustrating for both of us and so we came to the agreement that we would include both of our ideas and let you, our readers, decide which one makes the most sense to you both for Super Smash Bros and for sceptile. Let us know in the comments below which one you prefer and why.
Down Special: Leech Seed
Sceptile takes a yellow seed from its back and throws it straight down, with moderate starting and ending lag. Hitting a foe with this deals a little bit of damage and knockback as well as planting a small plant on them to leech a bit of life, acting like a Pikmin. When it’s knocked off by the opponent, it falls to the ground, where Sceptile can eat it to gain the health that the plant leeched from the foe. Hitting an opponent will not stop the seed from falling. Once the seed hits the ground, it will grow into a thorny plant about ⅔ as wide as a Battlefield platform. If you hit a foe into it (or when it first appears), it can deal a bit of damage to potentially extend combos. The plant only lasts as long as Villager’s tree, and can be attacked in a similar way. Once it’s gone, there’s a brief delay before you can make a new one.Pressing dspec again will have your plant extend a long vine out at the nearest opponent, with quite a lot of start-up lag. Its range is similar to most tether grabs. Note that Sceptile is free to move during this, like Duck Hunt’s can shooting. It’ll then grab onto the foe, sucking the life out of them and refilling its own like Robin’s Nosferatu. Sceptile can attack the foe until they break out, but it acts like a Yoshi egg in that your attacks deal half damage and no knockback.
Custom 1: Leech Seed Bomb
When the seed grows, it explodes. This can damage foes within a bigger radius and deals more damage – it can even KO at higher percents! It also will not damage Sceptile, so it can be used to deter foes who come near. The explosion, however, leaves the plant / vine visibly singed, so it stays around for significantly less time having been damaged by the blast. It can also explode on impact with an opponent while the seed flies through the air, but will not leech health and thus cannot heal Sceptile.
Custom 2: Leech Seed Toss
The seed is tossed forward in an arc, with a trajectory similar to a fully-charged grenade from the Mii Gunner. It can be placed further away, but in a pinch, you can’t use it as quickly since it is so far away. Another benefit is the ability to throw it onto a distant foe, creating the Pikmin-like plant from a distance!
Side Special: Leaf Tornado
Sceptile spins around, firing a projectile of spinning leaves. It travels rather slowly, although a tad faster than in the gif, and deals multiple rapid hits, carrying the foe along for a short distance before dealing upward knockback after a few hits and a bit of damage. Holding the control stick angles it up or down like Toon Link’s boomerang, although this will not return back to Sceptile. This slow-moving projectile acts as a trap of sorts, able to block off space and intercept approaches. It also works great when edgeguarding, and can keep foes in place for a follow-up attack, but it can only reach about half of Battlefield’s length, and only two can be onscreen at a time.If it hits the Leech Seed plant, the Leaf Tornado will swirl around it for a moment, causing foes who touch the plant to take damage like a Lucario charging its Aura Sphere. Shooting a Bullet Seed into the Leaf Tornado, even if it’s circling a plant, will boost its damage as the seeds are added into the mix; more seeds = more power. Finally, using Agility into the Leaf Tornado will cause the leaves to briefly surround Sceptile, adding an extra, wider hitbox that pulls foes into the main event. This is especially potent if you’ve powered Agility up with the plant! However, the strategy can become predictable.
Custom 1: Leaf Cyclone
The tornado is now a cyclone, stretching as tall as an uncharged Ore Club projectile. It’ll now deal stronger upwards knockback, now able to KO at higher percents, and covers a higher area. However, it cannot circle a plant, deals only one hit (losing its ability to lock foes in place for combos), is slower to fire, cannot be angled, and only one can be onscreen at a time.
Custom 2: Magical Leaf
Sceptile now scatters a handful of leaves, and they fly through the air as if picked up by a breeze. These leaves are faster, moving at the speed of an uncharged Aura Sphere, and will home in on foes like a Samus missile. However, they only deal a bit of flinching like an uncharged Sheik needle, and can be beaten out by most attacks. Good for harassing foes from a distance and forcing a reaction.
Down Special: Grass Knot
For me the down-special should be a trap that is used to hold opponents in place. Working similar to Snake’s C4, you would throw the seed down on the spot and it would stay underground. The indicator is a mound of dirt so that it is not completely unfair for opponents (like with a pitfall). When the player wants to activate it they will press the down special button and vines will sprout from the ground, ensnaring opponents. The opponent can struggle to break free but the idea is that Sceptile can wail on them and use it in a combo while they are trapped. Once the opponent is broken free or if the Sceptile user misses, the plant will disappear allowing Sceptile to throw it again. If opponents attack this mound it can be destroyed and only one can be placed at a time.
Custom 1: Thorny Vine
The first custom for this move would be a thorny vine. Rather than grab an opponent it shoots straight up and sends opponents upwards into the air, dealing piercing damage.
Custom 2: Buried Seed Bomb
The second custom would be exactly like Snake’s C4. Sceptile would bury one of his seed bombs which he could remotley explode from a distance.
Side Special: Leech Seed
This move involves Sceptile throwing a Leech Seed in a Pikmin-style arc. If it hits an opponent then a plant will grow on their head like Lip’s Flower and it will damage them while healing Sceptile. After a short while it vanishes. If the plant misses however then it grows on the ground instead and creates an area of effect. Anyone in this AoE takes damage but it does not heal Sceptile. This would also be where Sceptile gets his boost for his agility move. The Leech Seed plant will die after a timer but can be destroyed with attacks. Only one can be placed at a time so using side special again while the Leech Seed is already out will cause the original to vanish.
Custom 1: Seed Bomb
Sceptile’s first custom attack is Seed Bomb. If this seed hits opponents then it explodes like one of Link’s bombs. It cannot be caught either but is small and can be dodged. If it misses and hit the ground then the plant grows bigger until it explodes. This explosion is much bigger than if it hit opponents.
Custom 2: Worry Seed
The final custom for Sceptile is Worry Seed and cause opponents to trip. If it lands on opponents then it will cause them to randomly trip for a short time. Anywhere between 1-3 times. If it misses and hits the ground then it acts like Villager’s Trip Sprout custom.
Final Smash: Mega Sceptile
For its Final Smash, Sceptile temporarily transforms into Mega Sceptile! It lasts as long as Mega Lucario, and has super armor too. Sceptile’s moves are increased in power and range, and even its plant gains a green glow and extra overall effectiveness! (Namely, more durability and extra reach / leeching power on its grab.) Mega Sceptile also creates foliage wherever it steps, meaning it can use the powered-up Agility, plant crouch, etc even when away from its plant. Also, instead of Bullet Seed, pressing B will give you a one-time-use move: the Tail Torpedo! You’ll launch your tail like a rocket, and it’s a super-powerful projectile that explodes on impact and travels quickly. It’s a great finisher, but using it will end the Final Smash early – be careful when you use it!
Sceptile poses with its tail, moving the tail in front of it as it turns around. (For reference, Sceptile would be facing right in the image above.)
Sceptile lifts its arms into the air as plant life surrounds it, sprouting up momentarily from the ground before disappearing briefly after the taunt ends. As a bit of an easter egg, this plant life acts like a smash attack plant, but the taunt’s duration and the plant’s incredibly brief existence keep this from being a viable tactic by any means.
Sceptile stands on one foot and strikes a pose, facing the screen. Its leaf blades grow for this taunt – while this deals no damage, it does give you, the reader of this article, a good idea of what they tend to look like in other attacks.
Victory Pose 1
Sceptile’s victory pose is taken straight from Pokkén.
Victory Pose 2
Victory poses include stomping on the ground and creating a burst of plant life around him.
Sceptile leaps high into the air from the background and lands, striking a cool pose, in the foreground.
Sceptile, of course, uses the standard Pokémon fanfare for his victory theme:
And there you have it: my Sceptile moveset! Sceptile’s playstyle is that of a ranged trap fighter, with reach on attacks and long-distance hitboxes as well as projectiles and traps to keep foes away. It’s a big target and a light one for its size, so it’s easy to combo, juggle, and KO relative to some other fighters. Also, Sceptile is not very effective up close, since it struggles to escape pressure. However, it compensates for this with a good ranged kit, traps, and powerful combos and setups utilizing its unique plants. Sceptile is more than prepared to take on the best that Smash has to offer, and will really help Smash “grow” into new territory in terms of fighting style! Enjoy this moveset? If so, why not check out Make Your Moveover on Smashboards? It’s a contest where we make movesets such as this one, and with years’ worth of move-setting development and refinement, there’s a lot of quality movesets to read! You can also throw your own hat into the ring by sharing your own moveset ideas, and you can get good feedback on them too. We always love it when new people join the community
If video game historian was a career that would be my goal in life. I have spent a lot of my life studying various histories and so I am super familiar with sourcing, which is pretty essential for this site and just a good thing to do in general so you do not spread lies. I have a huge fascination with the old days and ips with Nintendo. There is so much potential for old franchises like Balloon Fight, Marvelous, Nazo no Murusame Jo and more to come back in the modern age. At least Smash celebrates those games! My focus for source gaming are the Dream articles and working on Project Omega. I hope you enjoy reading my work.