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
Electric
Level 5 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
90
- 25 28 -
Atk
85
13 15 18 19
Def
75
12 14 17 18
SpA
115
16 18 21 23
SpD
100
14 16 19 20
Spe
115
16 18 21 23

Overview

Raikou was a staple in GSC, as well as the premier special attacker in ADV. But ever since DPP, it has been a good Pokemon, just not one that stood out. With Raikou's Dream World ability, Volt Absorb, however, it can serve as one the best Thundurus checks in the metagame. While Jolteon might give Raikou competition, Raikou's superior bulk and access to Calm Mind allow Raikou to differentiate itself from it. With base 115 Special Attack and Speed, as well as a workable movepool, it's hard to go terribly wrong with Raikou. Take advantage of Raikou's strengths and it will not disappoint.

Name Item Ability Nature

SubCM

Leftovers Volt Absorb Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Calm Mind
~ Thunderbolt / Thunder
~ Hidden Power Ice
128 HP / 52 SpA / 76 SpD / 252 Spe

The old standard from ADV returns for another round in DW OU. With Raikou's superior Speed and good special bulk, it is arguably the best Thundurus check in the metagame. Raikou is completely immune to Thundurus's Electric-type STAB moves as well as paralysis through Prankster Thunder Wave. Unlike Jolteon, however, Raikou can shrug off a Focus Blast from the thunder genie a lot more easily while immediately threatening to deal a large amount of damage with its own Electric-type STAB or simply to set up Calm Minds.

The idea behind the set is to switch into something Raikou can force out, such as Lightningrod Zapdos or bulky Water-types, set up a Substitute, and proceed to gather Calm Mind boosts. The other option is to set up Calm Mind boosts on relatively weak special attackers as they become increasingly unable to break Raikou's Substitutes. Thunderbolt is Raikou's main STAB option, although Thunder can easily replace it you're using Raikou on a rain team for the extra power and paralysis chance. Hidden Power Ice boasts the widest coverage alongside Raikou's STAB, as well as the ability to KO dangerous threats such as Garchomp, Salamence, Landorus, and Dragonite.

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

Offensive Calm Mind

Life Orb / Air Balloon Volt Absorb Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Calm Mind
~ Thunder / Thunderbolt
~ Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Fighting
~ Extrasensory / Shadow Ball
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

This set takes full advantage of Raikou's excellent offensive stats. Its base 115 Special Attack and Speed stats, as well as access to Calm Mind and good coverage, simply beg for an offensive sweeper set. Calm Mind allows Raikou to boost its Special Attack to high levels. A boosted Thunder will dent virtually everything that doesn't resist it, while Hidden Power Ice maximizes coverage. Thunderbolt can be used instead of Thunder if not using rain, while Hidden Power Fighting is usable as it is Raikou's best weapon against Tyranitar. Keep in mind, however, that Hidden Power Fighting requires Raikou to use an imperfect Speed IV, which means it must forfeit the Speed-tie with Starmie. Extrasensory is used in the last slot because Raikou's movepool doesn't contain much else, though it can be helpful to OHKO Toxicroak, which gives rain teams a lot of problems. Alternatively, Shadow Ball hits Latias and Latios harder, and should be used alongside Hidden Power Fighting.

You might wonder why Raikou is not running any of its DPP event moves, namely Aura Sphere and Weather Ball. The reason is simple: event Raikou must use a Rash nature. While the event moves give much better coverage than the listed options, Raikou needs a Timid nature to be successful. Without it, Raikou gets outsped by Thundurus, Latias, Latios, Landorus, and Keldeo, which it cannot afford. The event moves are also incompatible with the Volt Absorb ability, which takes away Raikou's excellent ability to check Thundurus.

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

Choice

Choice Specs / Choice Scarf Volt Absorb / Pressure Timid / Rash
Moveset EVs
~ Thunder / Thunderbolt
~ Volt Switch
~ Hidden Power Ice
~ Shadow Ball / Weather Ball
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Raikou's high Speed and Special Attack, as well as its access to Volt Switch, naturally suggest a Choice set. With Choice Specs, Raikou will severely hurt anything that doesn't resist its STAB moves, while with a Choice Scarf, it becomes an excellent revenge killer, reaching 541 Speed. While Jolteon might seem better at this role, Raikou's bulk once again saves the day; the ability to switch into any of Thundurus's attacks is a major advantage for Raikou. Raikou is also more powerful than Jolteon and has access to better coverage moves. Thunder and Thunderbolt are Raikou's main STAB attacks, while Volt Switch allows it to keep momentum for the team. Shadow Ball enables Raikou to hit Latias, Latios, and Celebi for super effective damage. If outspeeding Thundurus and other Pokemon between base 101 and base 113 Speed is not important, Weather Ball is an incredible move in both rain and sun that greatly improves Raikou's coverage.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Raikou's movepool is pretty barren. Aura Sphere is probably the elephant in the room in terms of other moves that Raikou can run; with a Rash nature and a Calm Mind boost, it will deal huge amounts of damage to Tyranitar. However, Raikou will not be able to make full use of its excellent Speed. ExtremeSpeed is another event move that Raikou was given, but it is better off doing other things, although the chance to pick off weakened Dugtrio that try to revenge kill Raikou is interesting. Raikou can use Charge Beam to finish off a weakened Pokemon and gain a Special Attack boost at the same time, but Calm Mind is superior the vast majority of the time. Raikou can also run other Hidden Power types, although Hidden Power Ice is superior in most situations. Hidden Power Grass allows Raikou to destroy Gastrodon, Swampert, and Quagsire, Hidden Power Water destroys Excadrill in the rain, and Hidden Power Fire gives Raikou a weapon to use against Ferrothorn. Furthermore, Raikou can run a Calm Mind + RestTalk set, but it is way too easy to wall. It also has other support moves such as dual screens as well as Roar, but again, Raikou's niche is generally not one that should focus on supporting.

Checks and Counters

Sand inducers, namely Tyranitar and Hippowdon, and sand sweepers, such as Excadrill and Sandslash, are Raikou's biggest enemies. Tyranitar's massive Special Defense allows it to tank anything Raikou throws at it—apart from boosted Aura Spheres—and retaliate with Crunch or Stone Edge. Hippowdon can take a hit and OHKO with Earthquake, while Excadrill and Sandslash outspeed and OHKO with their own Earthquake. Excadrill is especially threatening because it takes a pittance from Hidden Power Ice. Choice Scarf variants of Garchomp and Landorus can also outspeed and revenge kill Raikou. Blissey and Chansey grow bored with Raikou's attempts to get past them, as they can simply Seismic Toss the saber-toothed tiger to oblivion while recovering off any damage with Softboiled. Gastrodon, Quagsire, and Swampert also wall Raikou if it lacks Hidden Power Grass. If Raikou is not holding an Air Balloon, Dugtrio can easily trap and OHKO it with Earthquake. Toxic Spikes are also annoying for Raikou, as they severely undermine its good bulk; Tentacruel, Roserade, and Forretress are the main users of Toxic Spikes to watch out for.