Azelf

Levitate
This Pokémon is immune to Ground-type moves.
Type Tier
Psychic OU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
75
- 291 354 -
Atk
125
257 286 349 383
Def
70
158 176 239 262
SpA
125
257 286 349 383
SpD
70
158 176 239 262
Spe
115
239 266 329 361

Overview

Azelf's movepool and Speed make it one of the most consistent leads; it can almost always lay Stealth Rock while preventing your opponent from doing the same. Furthermore, it has the offensive prowess to score a kill later in the match as well. The dual screen variant is also the best at what it does: setting up heavy offense teams perfectly. In addition, Azelf's excellent combination of Speed and power, both physically and specially, make it a potent offensive threat as well. Nasty Plot further boosts its attacking potential by instantly doubling its Special Attack, and even counters should tread carefully around the threat of Trick and Explosion. Despite its frailty, Levitate provides Azelf with sufficient opportunities to switch in. On the whole, Azelf is a frightening offensive threat, held back only by its lackluster typing; ignore this harmless-looking pixie at your peril.

Name Item Nature

Standard Lead

Focus Sash Naive
Moveset IVs
~ Stealth Rock
~ Fire Blast / Psychic
~ Explosion
~ Taunt
28 SpD
EVs
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Azelf is one of the most common leads, and rightfully so. With Focus Sash and its high Speed, Azelf will nearly always manage to lay Stealth Rock, stop the opponent from doing likewise with Taunt, and then hopefully take out a member of the opponent's team as well with Explosion.

Stealth Rock is the basis of this set, as it allows Pokemon such as Lucario to achieve the OHKOs or 2HKOs they need to sweep; it also greatly reduces the staying power of opposing Dragonite, Gyarados, and Zapdos. Taunt prevents slower leads from setting up Stealth Rock, and also stops non-Choice Scarf Roserade and Smeargle leads from putting Azelf to sleep. Fire Blast hits many common threats which aren't hurt by Explosion, such as Scizor and Jirachi. Flamethrower can replace Fire Blast should you prefer reliability, but the loss of power means that Azelf won't OHKO Metagross leads. Explosion allows Azelf to go out with a bang and heavily damage everything that doesn't resist it. Psychic can be used over Fire Blast for a reliable and powerful STAB option, but Explosion often works fine for such purposes.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Colbur Berry Lead

Colbur Berry Jolly
Moveset IVs
~ Stealth Rock
~ Taunt
~ U-turn
~ Explosion
29 SpA
EVs
8 HP / 140 Atk / 144 SpD / 216 Spe

This set takes advantage of Azelf's reasonable bulk to negate the need for a Focus Sash, which allows it to use a Colbur Berry to defeat the Machamp and Tyranitar leads that plague other lead Azelf sets.

The moveset is fairly self-explanatory. Stealth Rock is extremely useful to rack up damage from turn one, and Azelf excels at laying it down. Taunt allows Azelf to prevent slower leads from laying down hazards of their own, and can be used mid-game as well to prevent opponents from setting up on Azelf. U-turn enables Azelf to scout while dealing fairly significant damage to Starmie, Tyranitar, and opposing Azelf. Explosion lets Azelf go out with a bang and OHKO nearly all foes that don't resist it; it also deals significant damage to Pokemon such as Skarmory and Heatran, whom Azelf cannot otherwise threaten.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Dual Screens

Light Clay Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Reflect
~ Light Screen
~ Taunt / Stealth Rock
~ Explosion / Stealth Rock
252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

With Reflect and Light Screen, Azelf is a potent support Pokemon; its combination of high Speed and access to Taunt and Explosion make it one of the best dual screen supporters. Azelf's Speed almost always affords it one turn to place screens or use Taunt in the face of opposing Taunt or status users. All in all, this Azelf makes for one of the most effective leads for a hyper offensive team.

Reflect and Light Screen are the main focus of this set, as they double your team's Defense and Special Defense respectively. Taunt prevents the opposing team from setting up Stealth Rock, which can help the likes of Gyarados, Kingdra, and Dragonite capitalize on screen support even more. Finally, Explosion allows Azelf to ruin a troublesome wall or get a sweeper in scot-free. Stealth Rock is an option in either of the last two moveslots if your team doesn't already have another user of the move.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Physical Choice

Choice Band / Choice Scarf Adamant / Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Zen Headbutt
~ Ice Punch / Fire Punch
~ Explosion
~ U-turn / Trick
252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Physical Azelf, unlike other Azelf sets, can be a powerful scout with a boosted U-turn or an effective revenge killer with a Choice Scarf Explosion or Zen Headbutt. Choice Band gives Azelf added physical strength, while Choice Scarf allows it to function as more of a revenge killer that outspeeds +1 Kingdra and Gyarados, and by extension almost any other boosting sweeper, to eliminate them with a powerful Explosion or the appropriate attack.

Zen Headbutt is Azelf's main form of offense, as it provides Azelf with a powerful STAB hit against anything that doesn't resist it. Ice Punch takes down Dragons, while Fire Punch gives coverage on Steel-types who would otherwise switch in with impunity; watch out for Flash Fire Heatran, however. Explosion allows Azelf to deal heavy damage on its way out. Even Jolly Choice Band Explosion deals an average of 77% to standard Skarmory, but beware of Ghost-types. U-turn allows for scouting while dealing a hefty amount to Weavile and Tyranitar that attempt to switch in and Pursuit. Trick can cripple switch-ins such as Bronzong.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Nasty Plot

Life Orb / Expert Belt / Leftovers Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Nasty Plot
~ Psychic
~ Flamethrower
~ Grass Knot / Hidden Power Fighting
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

After a Nasty Plot boost, few foes will be able to take an attack from Azelf; its combination of high Speed and Special Attack makes it a potent sweeper under the right conditions. Psychic provides STAB; with a Nasty Plot boost and a Life Orb attached, it 2HKOes Snorlax and 3HKOes Blissey. It is also Azelf's most powerful move against most Pokemon as it attempts a sweep, and at +2 OHKOes common Pokemon such as Kingdra, Gyarados, and standard Rotom-A. Flamethrower gives Azelf important coverage on most Steel-types that resist Psychic, such as Skarmory, Bronzong, Metagross, Jirachi, and most importantly, Scizor. The last moveslot provides further coverage; Grass Knot for bulky Ground- and Water-types, as well as Tyranitar, or Hidden Power Fighting to hit Heatran and Dark-types immune to Psychic, including the aforementioned Tyranitar.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Life Orb

Life Orb Naive
Moveset EVs
~ Psychic
~ Flamethrower
~ Grass Knot / Hidden Power Ground / U-turn
~ Explosion
40 Atk / 252 SpA / 216 Spe

Azelf's Speed, power, and coverage make it an excellent late-game cleaner. Like any late-game sweeper, Azelf finishes off whole teams once they are weakened and faster Pokemon are taken out or paralyzed. Psychic is Azelf's main attack; it deals a hefty amount of damage to many common offensive Pokemon and takes them out after they have been weakened. Flamethrower provides coverage on common Steel-types, such as Skarmory and Jirachi, while Grass Knot hits bulky Water-types and Tyranitar hard. Specifically, it lands a 2HKO on Tyranitar and OHKO on Swampert, but Psychic will in fact hit Vaporeon than Grass Knot will. Hidden Power Ground takes out Heatran, who otherwise completely walls this set; alternatively, U-turn allows Azelf to do some scouting, and does some damage to Tyranitar, who is a common switch-in to Azelf.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Special Choice

Choice Specs / Choice Scarf Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Psychic
~ Flamethrower
~ Grass Knot
~ Trick / U-turn / Explosion
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

A Choice item makes Azelf a more fearsome attacker without any prior setup being necessary. However, with Azelf's Pursuit weakness, note that locking it into a move—especially Psychic—can be dangerous. Psychic is Azelf's main STAB and best option against most Pokemon; to illustrate, Choice Specs Psychic always OHKOes 4/0 neutral Rotom-A after Stealth Rock, while Choice Scarf Psychic 2HKOes it. Flamethrower provides Azelf with coverage against Steel-types that resist Psychic; Choice Specs variants easily OHKO standard Skarmory, while Choice Scarf variants land the OHKO more than half of the time after Stealth Rock as well. Grass Knot hits Tyranitar that try to come in to Pursuit Azelf. Choice Specs Grass Knot deals a minimum of 63% to 164/0 Tyranitar, but Choice Scarf Azelf only has a 60% chance to 2HKO with Stealth Rock damage.

The last moveslot allows Azelf to deal with Pokemon who otherwise stop this set. Trick cripples bulky Pokemon that dislike not being able to switch moves, and also rids Azelf of its Choice item, which lets it clean up more easily at the end of the game. U-turn enables Azelf to scout switch-ins while dealing light damage. It is especially helpful against Tyranitar and Weavile, as it not only hits both super effectively, but also allows Azelf to escape Pursuit. Explosion allows Azelf to go out with a bang and OHKO both Blissey and Snorlax.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Thunderbolt is useful, particularly to hit Gyarados and Togekiss, but Grass Knot hits most of Thunderbolt's targets just as well, while also denting Tyranitar. Shadow Ball gives coverage on fellow Psychic-types, such as Cresselia. Hidden Power Ice is viable, but only for Flygon and Dragonite, but the former is already heavily damaged by Psychic. Signal Beam provides coverage on both Dark-types and other Psychic-types, but the sharp decrease in power against Tyranitar compared to Grass Knot hurts its viability. Taunt or Safeguard can be fit onto the Nasty Plot set to prevent status; of the two, Taunt is generally superior as it also stops the likes of Baton Pass Celebi and Calm Mind Blissey from setting up. Safeguard, however, lasts longer than Taunt and is the better team support move. Azelf's leading capabilities can also be put to use in setting up Rain Dance or Sunny Day on weather-based teams. Magic Coat is an option on the lead set to bounce sleep back at Roserade, Smeargle, and Breloom. Finally, Protect can see use on the Life Orb set to decrease the amount of prediction required when facing Choice Band Scizor.

Checks and Counters

Spiritomb is probably the most solid counter to Azelf as it is immune to both Explosion and Psychic, and also has a multitude of super effective STAB options—namely Sucker Punch, Shadow Sneak, Dark Pulse, and Shadow Ball—with which to threaten Azelf. Heatran has an immunity to Fire-type moves in addition to resistances to Psychic and Explosion, while Tyranitar can take anything but Nasty Plot-boosted Grass Knot and Hidden Power Fighting, then eliminate Azelf with Pursuit. Weavile outspeeds Azelf and can OHKO with Choice Band Pursuit or Night Slash, but it fears a predicted Flamethrower. Nonetheless, note that 36/0 Azelf will survive Jolly Choice Band Weavile's Pursuit. Scizor can similarly switch in on anything but a Fire-type move and threaten Azelf with Bullet Punch and Pursuit.

Paralysis is particularly crippling to Azelf. Blissey and Cresselia take Azelf's attacks with ease while threatening with Thunder Wave; however, both fear Explosion and Trick. Azelf's fellow pixies, Uxie and Mesprit, perform a similar function but take more damage from Azelf's attacks, while Togekiss only fears the uncommon Thunderbolt. Snorlax can take Azelf's assaults and threaten to KO it with Crunch or Body Slam.

Lead variants have their own counters to go along with their different goals. Faster Taunt users, such as Aerodactyl, can keep Azelf from using Taunt or Stealth Rock; Choice Scarf Jirachi can also beat Azelf if it gets the Iron head flinch. Finally, Occa Berry Metagross and Tyranitar can keep Azelf from doing anything but laying Stealth Rock by taking it out before it can make a second move.