Raikou

Pressure
Enemy attacks lose one extra PP. Increases wild encounter rate.
Volt Absorb
Heals 25% HP when hit by an Electric-type attack.
Type Tier
Electric UU
Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
90
- 165 197 -
Atk
85
94 105 137 150
Def
75
85 95 127 139
SpA
115
121 135 167 183
SpD
100
108 120 152 167
Spe
115
121 135 167 183

Overview

If you think Raikou is now considered less of a threat due to dropping from BL to UU this generation, you couldn't be more wrong. Its wide offensive movepool with coverage options such as Aura Sphere, Extrasensory, and Hidden Power, as well as access to Calm Mind all contribute to give Raikou a huge recognition in the tier as a powerful and versatile sweeper, having the ability to sweep through entire teams if you are not properly prepared to face it. Moreover, as a consequence of being considered as a legendary Pokemon, its defensive stats of 90 / 75 / 100 are not bad either, and that will result in a much easier time sweeping or taking a somewhat weak neutral attack.

It's not all roses and candies for Raikou though. Special walls such as Snorlax can ruin its sweep, and fast Ground-types such as Choice Scarf Flygon and Choice Scarf Krookodile can absorb an Electric-type move and OHKO with Earthquake. Using the event moves, namely Aura Sphere, forces Raikou to run a Rash nature, therefore reducing its speed to 329, outpacing only up to base 100 Speed Pokemon by the minimum margin. Even though Raikou has its flaws, it should never be underestimated, as with the proper support, it can shred teams apart easily.

Name Item Ability Nature

Substitute + Calm Mind

Leftovers Pressure Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Calm Mind
~ Thunderbolt
~ Hidden Power Ice
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Raikou's famous SubCM set returns for another round of pulverizing opponents in the BW2 UU metagame, and it is as good as ever. With Substitute, Raikou is provided with a pseudo immunity to status conditions that make it much less useful and can set up Calm Mind multiple times with ease on weak attackers such as Ferroseed, eventually amassing a gigantic Special Attack stat. Once it has set up, Raikou can go to town with its access to a powerful STAB Thunderbolt and great secondary coverage option in Hidden Power Ice, a combination resisted by only Rotom-H, Magneton, and Lanturn.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Life Orb

Life Orb Pressure Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Thunderbolt
~ Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Grass
~ Extrasensory
~ Calm Mind / Volt Switch
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Isn't it great to have a fast Pokemon that hits hard without having to be locked into one single move? Well, if you answered "yes" Raikou is the perfect Pokemon for you! With its blistering Speed and above average Special Attack stat, Raikou is sure to pack a punch and stick around on your team for a while. Thunderbolt is a very strong and reliable STAB move that hits extremely hard with the Life Orb boost and it's the move you will probably be using the most. Hidden Power Ice gives Raikou the famous pseudo BoltBeam combo and annihilates Flygon and Gligar, whereas Hidden Power Grass OHKOes Swampert and Rhyperior, both being top checks to the thunder tiger when it is not packing a Grass-type move. Extrasensory is there specifically for Roserade, Nidoking, and Nidoqueen, while dealing a lot of damage to the roaming Fighting-types in the tier. As for the last slot, Raikou has two very valuable options and the choice depends on the way you want to use it. Calm Mind provides Raikou an easier time sweeping by not only raising its Special Attack, but also raising its Special Defense, which allows it to set up on special attackers with ease and sweep. Volt Switch, on the other hand, helps Raikou to get away from a difficult situation, netting some good damage while scouting and gaining offensive momentum.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Specs

Choice Specs Pressure Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Thunderbolt
~ Volt Switch
~ Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Grass
~ Extrasensory
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Being one of the fastest Pokemon in the tier plus having a fearsome Special Attack stat, Raikou is an excellent user of Choice Specs. When equipped, it boosts Raikou's Special Attack stat to 493 right off the bat, allowing it to wreck havoc as soon as it comes in. Thunderbolt is a menace to everything that does not resist it or is immune to it and is Raikou's strongest move. Although it is not its strongest move, Volt Switch is an amazing choice as a secondary STAB move as it not only allows Raikou to get out of a sticky situation but it also deals a powerful blow to the opponent in the process. To prevent Raikou from being walled by Ground-type Pokemon, Hidden Power Ice or Hidden Power Grass are required, the former dealing with potential Flygon switch-ins and Gligar whereas the latter deals with Swampert and Rhyperior easily. As for the last slot, Extrasensory is Raikou's best way to deal with Roserade, Nidoking, and Nidoqueen, all of which are able to take any other of Raikou's moves and put it to sleep with Sleep Powder or retaliate with Earth Power, respectively.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Pressure Rash / Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Thunderbolt
~ Volt Switch
~ Hidden Power Ice
~ Aura Sphere / Extrasensory
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Gifted with a very promising Speed stat, Raikou can certainly make good use of it when equipped with a Choice Scarf. Thunderbolt is Raikou's strongest and most reliable STAB move and it is very useful to clean up late-game once Ground-types are out of the picture. Volt Switch allows Raikou to make a quick getaway when needed while dealing a very respectable amount of damage in the process. Hidden Power Ice makes Raikou an extremely good Choice Scarf Flygon and Gligar revenge killer, as Raikou outspeeds them and OHKOes Flygon whilst taking out Gligar in one shot after Stealth Rock. Raikou can run either a Rash nature when paired with Aura Sphere to hit Snorlax, Weavile, and Krookodile or a Timid nature when paired with Extrasensory to hit Roserade, Nidoking, and Nidoqueen, although the former is preferable. However, take into account that Raikou outpaces Pokemon with base 100 Speed with a Rash nature whereas it ties with Pokemon with base 115 Speed when running Timid nature while also having the ability to outspeed Modest Kingdra in the rain.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Raikou's movepool might not be gigantic, but it still provides some additional moves to consider. Shadow Ball might seem like a good coverage option to hit Psychic- and Ghost-types, but most are hit hard enough by Thunderbolt anyway. Charge Beam can be used on the Choice set to give Raikou a way of boosting its stats, but it takes two boosts for it to hit harder than unboosted Thunderbolt, and even then, special walls such as Snorlax stop Raikou comfortably. ExtremeSpeed can pick off frail or weakened opponents, but it won't be doing much otherwise with Raikou's poor Attack stat and also forces Raikou to sacrifice a nature that boosts Speed, one of its biggest assets. Raikou can also help a teammate set up by running Reflect and Light Screen. A RestTalk set with Calm Mind and Thunderbolt can also be used to help Raikou have an easier time setting up due to its overall good bulk, but it is completely walled by Ground-types and is a bit unreliable. Its movepool even includes Rain Dance and Sunny Day; Raikou can thus set up weather easily with its high Speed, although Uxie outclasses it with its superior bulk. It should be noted, however, that Raikou can exploit either weather very well thanks to its access to a perfectly accurate Thunder in the rain as well as Weather Ball. Finally, Thunder Wave combined with Raikou's high Speed allow it to spread paralysis, but this job is generally better left to bulkier teammates.

An especially notable option is Roar, which Raikou can use alongside Calm Mind to accomplish a couple different things. The first of which is winning Calm Mind wars by setting up a few times then using Roar, which leaves your opponent in a tough spot, having to deal with a boosted Raikou with an unboosted Pokemon. The second is the weakening of its counters, all of which happen to be vulnerable to Spikes, which Raikou is commonly paired with.

Checks and Counters

Despite Raikou's power, there are several reliable checks and counters to it. Sets lacking Hidden Power Grass are walled cold by Swampert: it is immune to Thunderbolt and sponges even boosted coverage attacks with ease, while OHKOing with Earthquake. Snorlax is able to take boosted Aura Spheres easily with its excellent Special Defense and can OHKO or 2HKO with Earthquake or Return, respectively. Specially Defensive Rhyperior is also able to defeat Raikou with Earthquake, especially if it lacks Hidden Power Grass, although it can also take one if it is unboosted. Fast Ground-types such as Choice Scarf Flygon and Choice Scarf Krookodile make great checks to Raikou too, as they can switch into Thunderbolt and OHKO with Earthquake, although they will still get wrecked by Hidden Power Ice. Powerful Choice Scarf users like Heracross can also easily revenge kill Raikou with a super effective Earthquake after Stealth Rock or one layer of Spikes. Bronzong can also take some of Raikou's hits and retaliate with Earthquake. Raikou is also vulnerable to all forms of entry hazards: Stealth Rock and multiple layers of Spikes severely limit its ability to switch in, while Toxic Spikes can cut short its sweep.

Unreleased

Raikou receives an excellent hidden ability in Volt Absorb. This enables it to switch into Electric-type attacks and heal off any damage taken from entry hazards as well as handing it a nifty immunity to Thunder Wave. Although currently unreleased, Volt Absorb will be the ability of choice on all of Raikou's sets except for the Substitute + Calm Mind set, which appreciates the ability to stall moves such as Stone Edge out of their meager PP in conjunction with Substitute. However, note that Raikou might be unable to use the fourth generation event move Aura Sphere with Volt Absorb.