- 30% chance to paralyze when struck by a contact move.
- When hit with an Electric-type move, Special Attack is boosted by one stage. All Electric-type attacks are drawn to this Pokemon.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
With its signature item, Light Ball, Pikachu might seem like an incredibly dominating threat with offensive stats rivaling some Ubers; however, there are far too many things holding Pikachu back from being effective. Pikachu's main downfall should be fairly obvious: its bulk is absolutely pathetic—even lower than the likes of Haunter or Kadabra. While Pikachu can mitigate its frailty somewhat with Substitute, Encore, and its ability, Lightningrod, its second downfall isn't as easy to overlook. The very Light Ball that makes Pikachu viable is also what makes it so limited; as Pikachu needs its Light Ball to not be complete dead weight, it is unable to use any other item, including Life Orb and all Choice items. Thus, Pikachu will not hit as hard as you might think it would: traditional powerhouses greatly depend on the boosts these items provide, while Pikachu has to do without. Successfully using Pikachu will require massive amounts of team support and top-level prediction.
Pikachu's absolutely pathetic defenses make a Substitute set its best option. Thanks to its good speed, immunity to Electric-type attacks (including Thunder Wave), and access to Encore, Pikachu can find some opportunities to set up a free Substitute. Substitute helps ease prediction for Pikachu and allows it to dodge priority attacks while it hits the opposing Pokemon. However, keep in mind that even with Encore setting up a Substitute is not easy due to basically everything being able to cripple it in some way. Thunderbolt is Pikachu's main STAB move, while Hidden Power Ice provides it with BoltBeam coverage, allowing it to get around Grass- and Dragon-types that would normally wall it. Encore is chosen in the final slot to give Pikachu an easier time setting up Substitutes; by Encoring an Electric-type attack or a support move, such as Eelektross's Thunderbolt or Regirock's Stealth Rock, Pikachu can set up for free and begin hitting the opponent with powerful attacks. However, Pikachu can forgo the use of Encore for a Substitute + 3 attacks set, using Grass Knot to OHKO Seismitoad and 2HKO specially defensive Regirock. Grass Knot also hits Camerupt harder than any other move on this set.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Static is an inferior ability to Lightningrod, but it might have to be used in order to give Pikachu access to moves that are incompatible with its Dream World ability, such as Focus Punch. Volt Switch is a fantastic move for scouting, but it's generally better used by Choice users, such as Rotom-S and Raichu. Pikachu can try a Nasty Plot set, but it doesn't have the bulk to make good use of it, leaving it prone to being revenge killed by nearly any Choice Scarf user. Knock Off is a great move, especially with all of the Eviolite Pokemon that are popular in NU, but Pikachu generally doesn't have room for it. An Agility set can work, but Pikachu's power isn't as amazing as it might first seem, and Pikachu risks being OHKOed or statused by anything it can't immediately OHKO. A physical set with Volt Tackle, Pikachu's most powerful attack, sounds decent on paper, but Pikachu isn't going to last long, as it will quickly kill itself with that awful base 35 HP stat. Other options for a physical set include Brick Break, Fake Out, and ExtremeSpeed, but note that ExtremeSpeed isn't legal with Lightningrod.
Checks and Counters
Pikachu is afraid of anything faster than it with a powerful STAB attack, such as Swellow, Jynx, and Primeape. Every common Choice Scarf user in the tier can also outspeed and OHKO Pikachu if it's not behind a Substitute. Priority users, particularly Gurdurr and Linoone, can really hurt Pikachu if it isn't behind a Substitute. Sucker Punch is also a threat, but it's not usually a reliable way to kill Pikachu, as most tend to hide behind Substitutes or Encores. Due to its massive Special Defense, Probopass doesn't really care about an unboosted Pikachu's attacks, except for the rare Hidden Power Ground, and it can OHKO Pikachu with Earth Power. Camerupt is in a similar situation, but both Pokemon must be wary of being Encored into the likes of Stealth Rock or Thunder Wave. Seismitoad also completely walls any Pikachu that is not running Grass Knot.