Throughout each generation and metagame, Raikou has been a stellar Electric-type that possesses above-average power, excellent Speed, and respectable bulk. The VGC 2012 metagame continues this trend, as Raikou is still more than capable of being a dominant threat. The Crown Raikou event blessed it with new moves such as Weather Ball and Aura Sphere; however, Raikou can only use a Rash nature with these. While this does provide Raikou with extra power, it also prevents Raikou from outspeeding Pokemon with base 100 Speed, as well as Garchomp. On top of this, the drop in Special Defense leaves it more vulnerable to powerful special attacks. Non-event Raikou is viable as well, however, forgoing Weather Ball and Aura Sphere for Speed and bulk. Raikou can be a very effective Pokemon in VGC whichever way it's utilized, and it should never be underestimated.
Raikou is one of the few viable Electric-types in the VGC metagame. Thunderbolt, Hidden Power Ice, and Aura Sphere provide phenomenal coverage in VGC, allowing it to strike the majority of the top threats for super effective damage. Thunderbolt is Raikou's main STAB move, and will significantly damage any target that does not resist it. Hidden Power Ice is the preferred coverage move as it allows Raikou to OHKO non-Yache Garchomp and severely damage most other Ground- and Dragon-types. However, it should be noted that Garchomp will outspeed Rash Raikou, which is where Air Balloon comes into play. If Gastrodon and Swampert are nuisances, Hidden Power Grass is viable as it deals a large amount of damage to them both. Aura Sphere is a very reliable Fighting-type move that allows Raikou to massacre Tyranitar, dent tanks such as Blissey and Snorlax, and consistently damage evasion abusers. Thunder and Rain Dance work well with each other as they enable Raikou to utilize its strongest STAB move that also has a 30% chance to paralyze its target. Protect allows Raikou to protect itself from harm for a turn, possibly while its partner takes out a threat. Rash Raikou would certainly make better use of Protect as the Speed drop enables threats such as Latios, Garchomp, and Terrakion to get the drop on it.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
A bulky set is viable considering Raikou has respectable HP and Defense stats. With a Modest nature and a spread of 252 HP / 64 Def / 60 SpA / 84 SpD / 48 Spe, Raikou survives a Dragon Gem Draco Meteor from Latios and a Fighting Gem Close Combat from Hitmontop. ExtremeSpeed can nab surprise kills on weakened or frail Pokemon. If your team struggles against bulky Psychic-types, such as Cresselia, Latias, and Gallade, Shadow Ball can be used to dent them, but it lacks significant coverage otherwise. Weather Ball is an excellent move for Raikou that allows it to function on any weather team. On rain teams, Raikou can wield an improved Thunder in addition to a 150 Base Power Water-type Weather Ball. Weather Ball Raikou is also great on sun teams that have problems getting past Water-types.
An Electric Gem is useful for boosting Thunderbolt's power for one turn to deal massive damage to the target. Shuca Berry is also a good choice that allows Raikou to survive at least one Ground-type move, and is a bit more reliable than Air Balloon, which loses its effect if Raikou takes damage from an attack. Reflect and Light Screen are two interesting moves that Raikou can use to support itself and its team, and its Speed will allow it to set up either screen before your opponent can make a move the majority of the time. Dual screens Raikou should use a Timid nature and an EV spread of 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe. Discharge is a nifty option to possibly paralyze both opponents, but it only works effectively if Raikou's partner is immune to it or uses Protect that turn.
Checks and Counters
Because of the drastic loss in Speed caused by using a Rash nature, Raikou is now outsped by a number of Pokemon, most notably Garchomp, which can take it out with a powerful Earthquake. Additionally, the drop in Special Defense will put Raikou in danger of powerful special moves such as Draco Meteor, Hydro Pump, Fire Blast, and others. If Raikou lacks Air Balloon, it will be more susceptible to Ground-types. Amoonguss is another good counter as it can sponge most of Raikou's attacks and put it to sleep with Spore.
Raikou obtains Volt Absorb through the Dream World. This ability is much more useful than Pressure in VGC, as it allows Raikou to recover health when hit by Electric-types moves. In particular, it works especially well with a Discharge-spamming partner. However, it should be noted that Crown Raikou is incompatible with Volt Absorb.