- This article is about the special move in the Super Smash Bros. series. For the PSI ability in the Mother series, see PK Thunder.
PK Thunder (PKサンダー PK Sandaa) is a Special Move in the Super Smash Bros. video game series. It is a projectile attack performed by the Up B combination in all Smash Bros. installments. PK Thunder can be used in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee by Ness, Super Smash Bros. Brawl by both Ness and Lucas, and in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U by Ness and Lucas.
When performed, a bolt of lightning is sent in a direction controlled using the Control Stick. If the move hits a target, it deals about 8% damage, and Lucas's has the interesting effect of knocking the opponent in a direction opposite that of the lighting's direction; in other words, the thunder knocks the opponent in the direction it hit from. Ness's PK Thunder hits people straight up in the air. However, using the PK Thunder will result in its user being unable to move and vulnerable to an opponent's attack, seeing as how the Control Stick is being used to guide the PK Thunder.
PK Thunder has many interesting properties. If the tail, rather than the head, of the PK Thunder hits the opponent, it will deal less damage and stun the opponent less, but also will continue to fly. This is known as a "tail whip". If Ness is hit by an opponent while using the PK Thunder, the thunder will cease to be in his control and will travel in a straight path until it expires. The uncontrolled thunder can hit anybody, and not just Ness's opponents. This means that one can actually use the PK Thunder as a barrier, using the tail to intentionally block oneself from flying off the screen after being hit. This is called a "PK Thunder Barrier."If Ness's PK Thunder successfully hits an opponent, it disappears immediately after, while Lucas's PK Thunder goes through enemies after dealing damage, and is capable of scoring multiple hits. Since Lucas's PK Thunder does not disappear after hitting an opponent, it can be used as a Wall of Pain technique.
The PK Thunder can also break Smash Balls, making it a good choice of attack if a Smash Ball has appeared on the stage, a long distance from Ness or Lucas.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, Rosalina can use her Down Special to pull in almost any projectile, including PK Thunder which is more effective against Ness. While Rosalina can pull in Lucas's PK Thunder, his PK Thunder can easily stun opponents meaning when Rosalina pulls in this projectile, Lucas will take stun damage from his own PK Thunder and can use it again which makes it a bit harder for Rosalina to interrupt his move. But when Rosalina pulls in PK Thunder and the beginning, she has a chance to perform a footstool on Lucas.
"PK Rocket" (PK自爆 PK Jibaku) is the term used for Ness or Lucas hitting himself with his own PK Thunder move, while still having control over it. The Japanese developers of the series gave it an official term, "jibaku," meaning "self-destruct" or "suicide bomb," a fitting term for a tactic that essentially turns Ness and Lucas into human missiles.
When performed, it will transform Ness or Lucas into a human projectile, which will move in different directions depending on which part of the body is hit. If the Ness or Lucas make contact with an opponent, he will deal a good amount of damage and knockback, although the Super Smash Bros. version is considerably stronger than the Super Smash Bros. Melee equivalent. Lucas's version of the attack hits multiple times, while Ness' deals one, strong blow.
PK Thunder is also Ness and Lucas's main method of recovery, given that it launches them fairly far in a straight direction. It is interesting to note that Lucas's PK Thunder covers more ground than Ness's, so Lucas's is slightly more effective. While using the move, the user will fall much slower. Unfortunately, using this in a pit means it is hard to stretch the PK Thunder around to bump the character up.
CPUs playing as either Ness or Lucas are also programmed to use this strategy.
- In EarthBound and Mother 3, this move is actually not realized by Ness and Lucas, but by Paula Polestar, Poo and Kumatora respectively. A possible explanation for this discrepancy is offered in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, which states that Paula and Kumatora may have taught each of them the technique for their appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series.
- In Brawl, any level CPU Lucas or Ness will use PK Thunder 2 in a vertical angle, regardless of the need to do it horizontally, and only level 9 CPUs in Melee recover with PK Thunder. Similarly, in Super Smash Bros., Ness CPUs will always aim the move at about a 20° angle, only useful for horizontal recovery.
- In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, Lv.9 CPU Lucas uses PK Thunder to launch himself on-stage at CPU levels 1 to 9, while Ness uses it at CPU levels 6 to 9.
- In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Figure Player's Ness and Lucas also use PK Thunder on-stage to collide into opponents. But often times, Lucas's A.I will misuse it and accidentally launch itself off-stage leading to an SD.