Published on June 4th, 2013 | by Crow27
Danger! Danger! High Voltage! An Overview of Electric Pokemon in VGC
Hey Nugget Bridge! The lead-up to US Nationals has put us in an article slump so I’m here to hopefully help spark some articles with a type overview. This time I’ll be looking at my second favorite type: Electric (I promise it’s a lot more serious than the Poison type overview).
If I had to choose what I thought was the best typing for a Pokémon to have was, I’d say Electric. Why? Because the Electric type has a ton of stuff going for it. First off, it only has one weakness: Ground. This means that the type is almost always a boon for a Pokémon when it is part of a dual typing. The boon is especially prevalent when a Pokémon also has a ground immunity, providing resistances at the cost of no weaknesses. Second, it has strong offensive coverage. While Electric only hits Water and Flying super effectively, both are two of the most common types in Pokémon. Water and Flying may not be super common in the metagame, especially with the shift of dedicated rain to a more versatile rain, but both are common enough that Electric moves are worth using. It should also be noted that Electric and Ice form the BoltBeam combo, which hits 5 of the 17 types super effectively, with Ice covering Electric’s one weakness. Of course, there is one downside to Electric offensively and that is unfortunately also its one weakness defensively; Ground types are immune to Electric moves. Despite that, Electric Pokémon provide two important resistances: Electric and Steel. While resisting Electric is probably better left to the ground types, resisting Steel is something that I feel is fairly important in our current metagame. Not many things carry a steel move, but with all the steel Pokémon running around to counter dragons resisting it won’t hurt.
Let’s start things off with the big man himself, Thundurus. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, chances are you already know Thundurus and his main uses in our current format. But what makes it so good that we keep using it? Quite simply, the answer is Prankster. Prankster Thunder Waves slow down opposing rain teams and scarf Pokémon; Prankster Taunt shuts down Breloom, Amoonguss, and Pokémon trying to set up Trick Room; Prankster Swagger… does what Swagger is meant to do; etc. While other Prankster users have access to some, if not all, of these tricks, Thundurus does it while generally being bulkier and much more of an offensive presence. Despite bulky Prankster Thundurus being the Thundurus you see 90% of the time, this year we have seen the success of a few other types. Choice Specs Thundurus has seen some use, most notably on Zach’s Winter Regional winning team. And then there’s Thundurus’ new trick, Thundurus-T. By sacrificing some speed and attack, Thundurus gains an extremely impressive base 145 special attack. He also trades his Prankster ability for Volt Absorb. Thundurus-T is typically choiced, either with a Scarf to gain a speed boost without having to worry about being paralyzed, or Specs to boost its high special attack even higher. I’m personally not convinced that either of the choice items is the best way to run Thundurus-T and I await for someone to figure out something better for it. Until then Thundurus will see more use than Thundurus-T because Prankster is simply too strong of an ability to give up for higher special attack and an immunity to Electric attacks.
Next on the list of “most common Electric Pokémon” is Rotom-A. There will be no talk of normal Rotom here because 1) it’s not common and 2) every experience I have had using it has just been flat out awful. I love your resistances normal Rotom, but you’re just so bad. If anyone can actually make it good I’ll make them a medal or something. But back to Rotom-A! I really like the idea behind the Rotom formes; it shows just how valuable changing one move or a secondary type can be. Rotom-Wash is the forme you’ll be most likely to see. It has the best typing defensively and the best matchup against rain and sand of the Rotom formes. It’s been around a bit less since the advent of Technician Breloom though, but no other Rotom forme has stepped up to take its place yet. I believe the current Rotom-Wash of choice is still Specs (pun totally intended), but Rotom-Wash is one of those Pokémon that likes holding a variety of items.
Rotom-Heat is next in the Rotom forme lineup and to be honest I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of the little oven. I think Rotom-Heat has a good niche in the metagame right now, resisting and beating the Breloom + Tornadus combo. Fire isn’t the best secondary type, especially for an Electric Pokémon, but don’t be surprised if you see more Rotom-Heat in the near future.
Rotom-Mow has always been the awkward middle child of the Rotom formes to me. This probably seems weird if you’ve read my grass type overview where I really champion the grass type. I feel it plays more like an Electric than a Grass which is why I find it so awkward; it has the grass type which is wonderful right now, but doesn’t have the bulk I expect from grass Pokémon. Instead it is mainly an offensive powerhouse that’s firing around Thunderbolts and Leaf Storms — which is more along the lines of what most of the Electrics do. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great option if you want to try to nuke rain or sand, but I always feel he’s outclassed whenever I try to use him.
Rotom-Frost would be next on the list, but I’ve really got this love/hate relationship with Ice Pokémon. I guess I’ll say Rotom-Frost has STAB BoltBeam and leave it at that.
If you were expecting me to talk about Rotom-Fan (I always thought it was called Rotom-Spin, but turns out it’s Rotom-Fan. Makes sense, but man…), sorry, because it’s not happening. I don’t think it’s worth discussing at all.
You’ve probably noticed by now, but it seems like all the most used Electrics have an immunity to ground. As I said previously, being able to take advantage of the benefits without having the weakness is a huge boon. Zapdos is no different, but it has certainly fallen from its old spot as most used Electric Pokémon in VGC. Why? Because Zapdos and Thundurus largely fill the same role — oftentimes with Thundurus doing a better job. However, there are still a few reasons to use the gen 1 bird! Zapdos gets Heat Wave which is potentially a better spread move than Discharge and is known for dealing good damage to the many Steels in the game. Zapdos also gets Tailwind. The Tailwind vs Thunder Wave debate is something I’m undecided on. Thunder Wave is usually better in my opinion because it not only makes you faster but has a chance of stopping the opponent from moving. Despite this, the times when Tailwind is better, it is significantly better. Notably, Tailwind allows Zapdos to function much better than Thundurus as a speed control Pokémon in hardcore sand matchups. When not using Tailwind, true to Electric form, Zapdos has also been known to run Choice Specs.
If Pokémon were real, Eelektross would have my vote for most terrifying Pokémon. Seriously have you seen this guy? He’s a FLYING LAMPREY WITH CLAWS. Unfortunately, Eelektross is much less terrifying in our current format. Like the previously discussed Pokémon, Eelektross has a ground immunity (in the form of Levitate), but even this cannot save him from obscurity in the metagame. Eelektross simply doesn’t have the bulk to survive in today’s bulk-driven metagame or the offensive presence to make up for it. There are a few things that make Eelektross potentially useful though. The diverse movepool is probably the biggest selling point here: Eelkross gets Thunderbolt (duh), Flamethrower, Grass Knot, Superpower, Acrobatics, Giga Drain, Crunch, Aqua Tail, and Dragon Claw just to give you a potential idea of his coverage. Combine this with low speed and Eelektross can become tempting to run as a Trick room Pokémon. Another cool option Eelektross gets is Super Fang. I’ve said this before but I really like Super Fang so I’ll mention it whenever I get the chance. Two more defensive options Eelektross has are Light Screen and Coil. Coil is neat because it boosts accuracy, and move consistency is always a plus. However I’m not sure what Eelektross wants to boost the accuracy on. Maybe Thunder? Light Screen (along with Reflect) is something that I’m really surprised we don’t see more of in our metagame. Sure it does reduce as much damage as it does in Singles, but it can still turn OHKOs into 2HKOs.
Raikou is the first Pokémon in this article to actually have a ground weakness, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s bad. Raikou has always had some interesting options, but only recently came into the spotlight by making Top 4 in Korea. What makes Raikou stand out from other Electric types? His stats, for one. Raikou has 115 base speed, which outspeeds the majority of the metagame. While this isn’t the fastest Electric Pokémon get, Raikou has the bulk and power to better make use of that speed than others. Usually Raikou takes advantage of this using Snarl — which lowers the opposing side’s special attack and lets him + his partner survive better — especially in a special attack-driven metagame. A key note here is that Snarl does a number on Latios, hitting it for Super Effective damage, but more importantly softens Dragon Gem Draco Meteor before it can go off. While we’re talking about what Raikou does for teams defensively, I want to touch on Raikou as a screener. Because he is faster than the majority of Pokémon you’ll see, you can get off a screen before most attacks. This can let you save bulk EVs and let you allocate them to a different defense, speed, or attack, making your Pokémon more efficient overall.
Despite Raikou often sticking to Thunderbolt and Hidden Power for offense, there are some other nifty attacks to use. Aura Sphere gets a mention for being a Fighting move that will never miss, as does Weather Ball for weather utility and general coolness factor. Unfortunately both of these attacks come at a pretty steep price; you have to use an event Raikou that is in a Cherish Ball and shiny — so it’s a big tip off to your opponent. In addition, you also have to run a Rash nature meaning you will not be able to outspeed Timid Latios. Raikou’s preferred item of choice is the Shuca Berry. I’d probably stick to Shuca Berry myself, but Raikou’s stats lend him to being successful with Life Orb, Leftovers, or a choice item as well. Maybe you can use a Choice Scarf with the event Raikou so you can take advantage of his event moves without the speed drop.
All right, now we’re getting into some more fun Pokémon! Electivire is one of those Electric Pokémon everyone wants to use, but knows is awful. And I can’t really argue against that; Electivire is such an underachiever… but I like him so I’m gonna talk about him anyway. The best thing about Electivire is his insane coverage. He can easily hit 13 types for Super Effective damage. Maybe with a Life Orb or Expert Belt he can actually get OHKOs instead of falling short of expectations. A Shuca Berry might be a better option since Electivire excels in getting 2HKOs. Motor Drive is a cool ability; if you can get two boots off of it you can outspeed Kingdra in rain and Excadrill in sand. Electivire has almost no chance of stat boosting without Motor Drive as he is limited to Barrier and Meditate. With the current popularity of Breloom you might also be able to get some use out of Vital Spirit, Electivire’s other ability. Not much else to say about Electivire; he’s a cool Pokémon, but he’s really not that good.
Finally, we’re to my dark horse pick! The entire Magnemite line is often overlooked in VGC, but believe me, Magneton is a serious player. What makes Magneton so great you ask? First off Magneton has a higher speed than his cousin Magnezone. This small speed increase actually is a huge boon to Magneton, putting it on par with popular Pokémon such as Politoed, Hitmontop, Breloom, and Metagross. Magneton’s next strength lies in its ability to use Eviolite. The defense boost will actually allow Magneton to take a hit or two, or ideally completely wall specific Pokémon. And of course, completely walling specific Pokémon is what you want to aim for with Magneton. Which leads us to the third strength of Magneton – Magnet Rise! Yes, there’s a few Pokémon that can make use of this, but Magneton is one of the best. If you can use Magnet Rise you can pretty much wall dedicated sand teams and a majority of ground type Pokémon. Magneton also gets 3 great abilities – Sturdy, Magnet Pull, and Analytic. Sturdy’s probably the least useful in my opinion, but could be used for a surprise KO on something like Terrakion or Landorus-T. Magnet Pull is much more useful, as it allows you to trap steel types and use them to setup. You’re probably outspeeding Metagross so it becomes Magnet Rise fodder. Scizor will fall pray to either a Hidden Power Fire or to a Thunderbolt or two while struggling to hit you back. If you have a Breloom or Fake Out Pokémon, Excadrill either has to Protect, faint, or flinch while you can set up a Magnet Rise. Finally there’s Analytic, which is the ability I tend to use the most. It lets me invest more in my defenses as long as I’m ok at moving last. Usually the boosted defenses let Magneton get off more hits at a greater damage output in the long run. The chances of you actually seeing someone use Magneton? Slim to none. The chances of Magneton top cutting a major event? Even lower, but I encourage you to at least try it out!
The Shocking Conclusion!
Yeah, the title of the conclusion is an awful pun, but I’ve been resisting the puns so far. That said, my current thought is that I’ll just put as many electrical puns in here as possible. I hope this article has been an illuminating read and maybe turned you on to a different Electric Pokémon. Disagree with something I said? Think I should’ve included a Pokémon I didn’t? Spark up a discussion in the comments!