Of all the Pokemon introduced in BW, Galvantula was one of those that caused the greatest stir, both before and after the game's release. In many ways, it is easy to see why. Galvantula's unique typing of Bug / Electric gives it a powerful offensive STAB combination, and its Compoundeyes ability allows it to abuse a more accurate STAB Thunder with few drawbacks. Base 108 Speed and base 97 Special Attack further supplement its ability to fire off strong, fast attacks.
However, with all positives must inevitably come negatives, and for Galvantula these can be quite severe. While its typing is good offensively, it is quite poor defensively, with particular emphasis on an annoying weakness to Stealth Rock. This is further aggravated by Galvantula's low defensive stats, which together ensure that it will not last for very long. To make matters worse, its movepool is quite limited, necessitating the use of low Base Power moves such as Giga Drain and Hidden Power for coverage. Galvantula is certainly a force to be reckoned with, but don't expect it to take your opponents by storm.
By far Galvantula's most interesting option is the combination of its ability Compoundeyes and STAB Thunder, which, when combined with the power of Life Orb, does a minimum of 72% to 248 HP Scizor, which is even more than Choice Specs Jolteon's Thunderbolt. Bug Buzz complements Thunder, covering the Grass-types who resist Electric-type attacks, notably Celebi. It also gains super effective coverage on other Pokemon who can take Thunder, such as Hydreigon, Latias, Latios, and Tyranitar, giving Galvantula reasonably comprehensive coverage in two moves. In practice, Timid Life Orb Bug Buzz OHKOes Hydreigon, thus dealing with this and other dangerous threats that think they can take a Thunder. This gives Galvantula a further advantage over other offensive Electric-types.
Between Bug Buzz and Thunder, Galvantula can generally cover most Dragon- and Grass-types very effectively, which means that the common headache for other Electric-types about whether to run Hidden Power Ice or Hidden Power Grass does not apply, as the Grass-type move is greatly superior. In addition, unlike most Electric-types, Galvantula has access to Giga Drain, meaning it does not have to run Hidden Power Grass at all. With Giga Drain, Galvantula can beat many enemies that are immune to Electric-type attacks, namely Ground-types and Lanturn. With Life Orb, standard Gastrodon is OHKOed and specially defensive Lanturn is 2HKOed with Stealth Rock and Spikes.
In the last slot, you can cover specific threats that Galvantula's more general attacks miss out on, principally Grass-types not hit super effectively by Bug Buzz. Hidden Power Fire deals with Ferrothorn, whom Galvantula will otherwise have immense trouble with, and is common enough to warrant a dedicated moveslot. With Hidden Power Ice, Galvantula can hit Gliscor for super effective damage, and also get a stronger hit on Dragonite and Salamence, though be advised that Galvantula can hit both of these threats for good damage with neutral STAB moves regardless. The biggest advantage to Hidden Power Ice is that Galvantula can run a 31 Speed IV, letting it tie with Infernape and Terrakion, which is always useful in a pinch. Alternatively, Galvantula can run Volt Switch over one of its coverage options, as the ability to scout the opponent may be more appealing to you than coverage on certain specific opponents.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Galvantula can act as a potent scout and revenge killer thanks to its high Speed and reasonable power, thus making it an ideal candidate for a Choice Specs set. The biggest advantage Galvantula has in this department is its access to STAB Volt Switch, which allows Galvantula to scout out the opponent's team and deal some hefty damage at the same time. Another advantage is that, for an Electric-type, it gets surprisingly good coverage between its STAB and coverage moves. STAB Thunder hits like a truck with Choice Specs slapped on, so much so that it can OHKO non-bulky Dragonite with Stealth Rock and 2HKO 4/0 Tyranitar. Once again, Bug Buzz is a nice secondary STAB move, and Hidden Power rounds off Galvantula's coverage by hitting those Pokemon that its STAB moves do not. Hidden Power Fire hits Magnezone, Ferrothorn, and Forretress for super effective damage, whereas Hidden Power Ice hits Gliscor, Golurk, Nidoking, and the common Dragon-types for heavy damage. Hidden Power Ice is preferred, as this lets Galvantula run a 31 Speed IV, allowing it to Speed tie with Terrakion and Infernape. Nonetheless, both moves are perfectly usable.
As this is a Choice set, Galvantula cannot change moves, and so it makes a rather tempting invitation for enemy Landorus and others to try to get a free switch. This is especially dangerous to Galvantula as a Ground-type switch-in will prevent it from escaping with Volt Switch, and will thus mess up its scouting endeavor. Remember to use Team Preview to look for any Ground-types or dangerous setup sweepers on the opponent's team, and plan your moves accordingly.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Charge Beam is slightly more reliable for Galvantula than for most other Pokemon, owing to the fact that Compoundeyes makes it 100% accurate. However, Galvantula is generally too frail to try to set up on its own. The same can be said for Agility, as, though it makes Electro Ball more powerful, achieving 150 Base Power on all Pokemon slower than standard 8 Speed Scizor after a boost, it doesn't really have the ability to sweep teams and is difficult to set up. Galvantula also has a pretty decent physical movepool as well, though its Attack stat is lackluster. X-Scissor and Wild Charge are available for STAB, while Pursuit and Sucker Punch can also be used. Sucker Punch is useful in its own right for priority on mixed sets. Lastly, Thunder Wave is always available to slow down a revenge killer on the switch, though Galvantula benefits little from this, as it is pretty fast in its own right. Also, Thunder has a nice 30% chance of paralysis regardless.
Checks and Counters
Dedicated special walls inevitably come top of this list. Blissey and Chansey can take literally anything Galvantula throws at them, before either crippling with Thunder Wave or just beating Galvantula down with Seismic Toss. Both also have reliable recovery to offset any damage taken. Porygon2 and Snorlax also work, but take heavy damage from Thunder. Ferrothorn is also significantly specially defensive, and resists Thunder as well as being neutral to Bug Buzz, but it must watch out for a surprise Hidden Power Fire.
In terms of pure resistances, Gliscor and Magnezone are the most notable Pokemon who resist the attacking combination of Bug / Electric, and all are more than capable of taking Galvantula down. However, they should be wary of Hidden Power. Generally speaking, the easiest way to get rid of Galvantula is to play to resistances, and then get in a faster revenge killer to deal with it. Remember that Galvantula is not as powerful as it would like to be, and most bulky Pokemon can take a Thunder and then remove it. Galvantula is already frail, and the combination of entry hazards, Life Orb recoil, and other passive damage means that it will almost certainly be finding itself very low on health very quickly, so be sure to capitalize on this as much as you can. However, keep in mind that Galvantula has nifty resistances to Mach Punch and Bullet Punch, so don't go throwing Conkeldurr or Scizor at it prematurely.