- Enemies' contact moves can paralyze them.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
The poster child of the Pokemon franchise is, quite disappointingly, not as great on the battlefield as Ash makes it out to be. While in the anime Pikachu is able to withstand assaults from the mighty Dragonite and electrocute even the ferocious Rhydon (aim for the horn!), Pikachu would be lucky to withstand a rain-boosted Surf from Luvdisc in the real game. Pikachu does wield a lot of power while holding a Light Ball, and has quite the extensive movepool, but that power is easily mitigated by its rice paper-thin defenses and sub-par Speed. Using Pikachu demands an incredible amount of prediction, skill, and some serious cojones. Fortunately there is quite honestly nothing more satisfying than destroying your opponent with the annoying rodent.
Substitute is one of Pikachu's best moves to utilize, because it eases prediction and protects it from priority attacks. Thunderbolt is Pikachu's main STAB attack, and it will hit a lot of Pokemon hard coming off a whopping 398 Special Attack stat. Hidden Power Ice hits Grass-type Pokemon that resist Thunderbolt for super effective damage, but Grass Knot is a fine option to hit some Ground-type Pokemon that would otherwise be able to survive a super effective Hidden Power and smash Pikachu with Earthquake. If Hidden Power Ice is used, Pikachu loses to Rhyperior and other Water / Ground-type Pokemon, while Venusaur and other Grass-types will easily defeat Pikachu if Grass Knot is used. Encore is a great option in the final slot, capable of granting Pikachu the free turn it needs to set up a Substitute, or allow other sweepers to set up, gaining momentum against the opponent's team. However, Focus Punch is also a viable option as it is very unexpected, and can easily deal large amounts of damage to bulky special walls, such as Chansey and Registeel, that Pikachu often lures in.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Pikachu can utilize Nasty Plot to double its already gigantic Special Attack. After this boost, Pikachu reaches a Special Attack stat of 796, more than enough to obliterate the entire UU tier. This firepower coupled with Pikachu's decent Speed allows it to sweep given the chance. Your choice of Substitute or Encore will allow Pikachu to set-up more easily, either by switching on a recovery move in the case of Encore, or forcing a bulky Water-type out in the case of Substitute. Thunderbolt is Pikachu's STAB move of choice, wrecking anything that does not resist it after the boost. Hidden Power Ice is used over Grass Knot on this set because of the better type coverage it provides; with Grass Knot, Pikachu will be walled hard by all Grass-types, while a boosted Hidden Power Ice can OHKO offensive Venusaur even without Stealth Rock, as well as many Ground-types that would otherwise give Pikachu trouble.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Pikachu has many other options, though most are not worthwhile. Surf can be used instead of a coverage move, hitting Pokemon such as Steelix, Aggron, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, and Camerupt for super effective damage. Volt Tackle is a powerful STAB attack, but with a pitiful uninvested base HP stat of 35, recoil moves are going to be wearing out Pikachu extremely quickly. Brick Break can be used to 2HKO Chansey, but Substitute and Focus Punch usually accomplish the same task, and Brick Break misses out on 2HKOes against Clefable, Registeel, and Lanturn. Agility can be used, but Pikachu already outspeeds most of the Pokemon it needs to. Even after an Agility boost, Pikachu will still be extremely vulnerable to priority attacks, making it a somewhat redundant option. Quick Attack can be used for priority, but Pikachu will almost always appreciate a coverage move more. Pikachu also has access to Wish, Teeter Dance, Knock Off, Thunder Wave, and Toxic, which are all good moves; however, Pikachu's poor defensive stats mean that it cannot make good use of them. Finally, Pikachu has access to Magnet Rise, but it is almost completely useless because even resisted attacks will be able to 2HKO Pikachu anyway.
Checks and Counters
Prediction is the key to defeating Pikachu. Everything with more than 90 base Speed can be called a check, because any Pokemon that outspeeds it will most likely be able to OHKO Pikachu before it can retaliate. Dugtrio is a great counter, being able to switch in on a predicted Thunderbolt or Encore, trap Pikachu, and OHKO it with Earthquake. Special walls such as Clefable, Chansey, and Registeel usually do well too, but should be wary of Focus Punch, which will 2HKO all of them. Finally, specially defensive Venusaur and Lanturn can act as counters quite well; Lanturn takes almost no damage from Grass Knot, while Venusaur does not take a lot even from Hidden Power Ice.