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Alakazam (Analysis)

Discussion in 'Uploaded Analyses' started by AccidentalGreed, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. AccidentalGreed

    AccidentalGreed HOMERUN, CABRONES
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    Okay, cool, this just got released, so I'm calling this (I apologize in advance if this isn't the correct course of action). I'm not making any major adjustments until Pokemon Online implements the new Pokemon, so stay tuned and inform me if I miss anything new. If Alakazam turns out to be unviable even after Magic Guard, then that's that.

    Status: Done

    QC Approvals (3/3): (PK Gaming) (wilson46) (Setsuna)

    GP Approvals (2/2): (V0x) (Zystral)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    It was only a matter of time, my dear sweet Espeon

    [Overview]

    <p>Although its previous tier placements may indicate otherwise, Alakazam has always been a Pokemon with purpose, earning high praise in UU and deemed "usable" in OU. For the most part, it exceeded most of its Psychic-type brethren and performed extremely well as a single offensive threat, but even that wasn't enough to receive recognition in the higher tiers. Even today, Alakazam suffers from poor defenses, fewer notable resistances in comparison to fellow special sweepers Latios and Starmie, and one less STAB and a smaller movepool to abuse. The fifth generation, however, provided it with a small form of salvation in Psyshock and, more importantly, a new ability: Magic Guard.</p>

    <p>Though Alakazam's flaws are several, its arguably most dangerous and defining attribute is its ability to overwhelm the opposition. Excellent type coverage is difficult to ignore on something as naturally powerful as Alakazam, which sports the second highest Special Attack stat in OU. Alakazam's special attacking prowess is further enhanced by Magic Guard, which, by granting it an immunity to all forms of passive damage, makes Alakazam one of the most dangerous Life Orb or Focus Sash abusers in OU. Perhaps what makes Alakazam so fearful is that it can abuse this power effectively with its base 120 Speed, which surpasses most of the unboosted metagame where slower threats lurk (think Latios). A Pokemon with this much offensive potential is certainly one to consider on your team, and, furthermore, one to be wary of.</p>

    [SET]
    name: Substitute + 3 Attacks
    move 1: Substitute
    move 2: Psychic / Psyshock
    move 3: Focus Blast
    move 4: Shadow Ball
    item: Life Orb / Focus Sash
    ability: Magic Guard
    nature: Timid
    evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>Using three attacks has been one of Alakazam's defining points, and this has only improved in the generation shift thanks to the utility of Magic Guard and popularity of slower Pokemon in the metagame. The mere presence of Alakazam often forces the opposing Pokemon to switch out in fear of a strong attack, or perhaps stay in hopes of bringing in a counter safely. Substitute takes advantage of this opportunity and subsequently allows Alakazam to scout the opponent's response and protect itself from status, support moves, and, most importantly, revenge kills from Choice Scarf users and priority users. If Alakazam manages to keep its Substitute or Focus Sash intact, it is also likely to KO the next target it faces, making it an extremely dangerous special attacker indeed. Between Focus Blast, Shadow Ball, and Alakazam's chosen Psychic-type attack, almost no team is safe from taking heavy damage.</p>

    <p>The choice between Psychic and Psyshock may be frustrating at first, but due of the popularity of physically defensive threats such as Gliscor and Rotom-W, Psychic is often the preferred choice. If you feel you already have these types of threats covered, Psyshock can be used to check special walls, especially Blissey. The item choice also depends on what Alakazam is targeting specifically. Life Orb should be fairly obvious for the power boost and Alakazam's immunity to its recoil. However, Focus Sash should always be considered for an important reason: thanks to Magic Guard, Alakazam is also immune to entry hazards, sandstorm, and hail, so it will never be OHKOed with Focus Sash. With this in mind, Alakazam can function on your team as not only a great attacker, but as a deterrent against setup sweepers, including but not limited to Dragon Dance users, Baton Pass recipients, and weather abusers. By then, these threats will usually have fainted or sustained enough damage for your own priority user to take advantage. While this conflicts with Substitute, there will always be times when Alakazam will not require a Substitute.</p>

    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>Simply maximizing Speed and Special Attack with a Timid nature will suffice. If the increased power is relevant to you, the Modest nature is optimal, allowing Alakazam to speed tie with positive-natured base 105 opponents. Consequently, doing so will leave Alakazam vulnerable to to a host of faster threats, especially Terrakion, Latios, and Choice Scarf Tyranitar. While other sweepers may lower themselves to a speed tier to invest the extra EVs into HP, bulk isn't particularly relevant to Alakazam, so doing that is not recommended.</p>

    <p>Be aware that Alakazam will mainly function as a revenge killer or check at any part of the game, and if holding Focus Sash, it can eliminate or weaken any enemies before fainting. Therefore, it will fit on any offensive team that requires specific threats, such as fast weather abusers, to be eliminated. Due to its frailty, Alakazam will likely also attract revenge killers, mainly priority users such as Scizor and Mamoswine. While Focus Sash and / or Substitute eases this setback somewhat, alternative methods of eliminating these threats are highly advised. For example, Nasty Plot Infernape and Lucario would appreciate Alakazam's ability to eliminate faster attackers, and they can switch into certain priority with ease. Other teammates, such as Chandelure, Scizor, and Rotom-W, can keep up the offensive momentum while beating opposing revenge killers and defensive Pokemon.</p>

    [SET]
    name: Offensive Calm Mind
    move 1: Calm Mind
    move 2: Psyshock / Psychic
    move 3: Focus Blast
    move 4: Shadow Ball
    item: Life Orb / Focus Sash
    ability: Magic Guard
    nature: Timid
    evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>Although Alakazam naturally packs power, it often lacks the strength to break through dedicated defensive threats such as Ferrothorn and Blissey, without prior damage. Calm Mind alleviates this concern somewhat, boosting Alakazam's already fantastic Special Attack and decent Special Defense stats to more than decent levels. Additionally, Alakazam doesn't have to function with a Calm Mind boost, as it is still capable of dishing out heavy damage with its great coverage. Please keep in mind that this Alakazam should function primarily as an attacker, because its natural frailty and low HP may hold it back, even in the face of special attackers. Psyshock is more advisable on this set than Psychic, allowing Alakazam after a boost to more easily power through the likes of Blissey, Chansey, and other special walls. Otherwise, resistant or immune targets are punished by the appropriate coverage move.</p>

    <p>As for items, Life Orb further amplifies Alakazam's power, regardless of whether it uses Calm Mind or not, so it isn't too reliant on the Special Attack boost. Focus Sash, however, grants Alakazam more leeway in attacking, and also aids Alakazam in gaining a boost if it absolutely needs one.</p>

    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>Despite this set including Calm Mind, Alakazam isn't exactly intended to sweep after a boost (as, evidently, it can do so without one) so the same teammates mentioned previously still apply. Dual Screen support can also provide Alakazam with more opportunities to set up a Calm Mind and protect it from revenge kills. However, be warned that most dual screen users are Psychic-type, which can lead to a fatal type overlap with Alakazam. Ideally, Alakazam should also be paired up with other offensive teammates to deal with certain threats beforehand. Scizor, Lucario, Infernape, and Chandelure are notable out of many due to their ability to force out counters and sponge priority moves aimed at Alakazam.</p>

    [Other Options]

    <p>Although Substitute and Calm Mind are listed as main options, other support moves or coverage attacks can replace either of these moves to fend off certain threats. Encore is particularly notable above all others for its great payoffs; Alakazam can use Encore on a slower foe using a non-attacking move, likely forcing it to switch and stacking entry hazard damage on the switch-in. A speedy Encore also provides an opportunity for a fellow teammate to set up and sweep while the opponent struggles to gain momentum. Psych Up is also usable with Focus Sash for enabling Alakazam to steal Speed and Special Attack boosts from boosting sweepers, including but not limited to Quiver Dance, Calm Mind, and Dragon Dance users. After any given boost, Alakazam can defeat the opposing sweeper and execute a sweep of its own. Other attacks than can replace Substitute include specific Hidden Powers and Energy Ball for threats with 4x weaknesses (mainly Gyarados, Dragonite, and Gastrodon). Alakazam can, however, overpower these threats with entry hazard damage and its STAB attack.</p>

    <p>The advent of Magic Guard pretty much rules out any good reason to use Choice items and Alakazam's previous abilities, as both are outclassed by Life Orb and Magic Guard itself, respectively. Other than the coverage moves listed above, Alakazam does offer a number of colorful options within Magic Guard's legality boundaries. Particularly, it can use crippling item and / or move combinations, including Substitute + Encore, Disable + Substitute, Calm Mind + Encore, Calm Mind + Recover, and Flame Orb + Trick. While these combinations are useful in their own ways, they are also circumstantial; be braced for disappointment if things don't go according to plan.</p>

    <p>As for other support moves, Alakazam has access to Dual Screens and weather-inducing moves, although in the latter's case, Rain Dance is only remotely useful for setting up for Swift Swim users. Conversely, weather does mostly nothing for Alakazam itself, so use Sunny Day or Rain Dance (with Focus Sash) only if your team has trouble with specific types of weather-oriented teams. Similarly, other field support moves, such as Trick Room and Gravity, are optimal, though it finds little use for these outside of dedicated team support.</p>

    [Checks and Counters]

    <p>The best way to get by Alakazam is simply by exploiting its frailty, eliminating it before it does major damage. Attempting to outrun Alakazam is a challenge due to its base 120 Speed, so foes will typically resort to Choice Scarf and priority users, mainly Scizor and Mamoswine. Sets utilizing Focus Sash or Substitute, however, thwart such solutions, while bulkier opponents will struggle against sets with boosting moves or items. The most general counters are those that Alakazam can't 2HKO instantly; Jirachi is a common example of this, capable of setting up with Calm Mind or threatening with paralysis. Both Sableye and Spiritomb are immune to Psychic and Focus Blast, and only neutral to Shadow Ball, giving them time to KO Alakazam before being KOed themselves. Other examples of bulky and powerful Pokemon that could take down Alakazam include Scizor, Metagross, and Bronzong. If Alakazam lacks Psyshock, it has obviously trouble getting past special walls, though at this point, we've reached the bottom of the barrel. Generally speaking, if Alakazam can't immediately outspeed or eliminate a threat, you can expect the frail magician to go down quickly and quietly.</p>
  2. Seven Deadly Sins

    Seven Deadly Sins ~hallelujah~
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    Needs the following set:

    [SET]
    name: CounterSash
    move 1: Counter
    move 2: Psychic
    move 3: Shadow Ball
    move 4: Focus Blast / Hidden Power Fire / Encore
    item: Focus Sash
    ability: Magic Guard
    nature: Hasty
    evs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

    Also possibly slash Encore onto the last slot of the other set.
  3. scarletnova

    scarletnova

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    Slash Sash on the Attacker set, it can check just about any sweeper with a Sash
  4. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck i am woodchuck
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    haha brilliant
    perhaps now a Sub + LO set is viable?
  5. pie cream

    pie cream

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    Maybe mention sub + disable? choice sounds n ice (probably OO at best if at all).

    I also think that psychic should be slash to hit things like conkelherp harder.
  6. iDunno

    iDunno

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    I haven't played in a while, but I would imagine that Toxic Orb might be a good candidite for AC? It's always good to evade potential Prankster TWaves, I would think
  7. AccidentalGreed

    AccidentalGreed HOMERUN, CABRONES
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    Unless by some luck breeding miracles happen, Alakazam can't use Counter with Magic Guard (found out on the suspect thread).

    I did implement Focus Sash and Encore in the main set, though, so thank you.

    Hm. I think Substitute is best in the AC because there's just too many usable options in the last slot. I get what Alakazam's trying to achieve with it, though.

    Sure.

    Prankster users with status moves aren't very popular in the current metagame, so I don't see too much use for Toxic Orb outside of preventing status. I'll AC it, though, just because of that.
  8. Omicron

    Omicron
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    Maybe mention Calm Mind somewhere? Also, I HATE YOU AG I WANTED THIS
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    Oh well I'm sure you'll do an excellent job ^_^
  9. breh

    breh ● ︿ ●
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    Ok, I'm not much of an OU player, but I don't suggest slashing LO on the set. If you do so, it's an ever so slightly faster version of latios that sucks a lot more. while that speed is pretty cool (no speed tie vs. 110s as well as outspeeding starmie and the genies), it seems to pale in comparison to the wonder that is focus sash. With it, things like scizor cannot come in to revenge you; at that, things like excadrill cannot sweep without breaking zam's sash first. focus sash makes zam really cool; life orb makes it pretty meh.
  10. AccidentalGreed

    AccidentalGreed HOMERUN, CABRONES
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    Aw. Sorry buddy. Too good to pass up though, so...

    Anyways, mentioned.

    @Breludicolo

    Yeah, I've thought of this when I made up the set. The lack of Life Orb recoil is too good to pass up for starting players, though Focus Sash makes Alakazam one of the safest Pokemon in OU. Both deserved to be mentioned, and I'll investigate the primary slash when I get the chance to test Alakazam.
  11. Aeromence

    Aeromence

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    would subCM be viable? it avoids the real status like Paralysis, and get great coverage in 2 moves, whether it decides to use STAB or not. still not sure if it's bulky enough, but at least the sub helps with pursuit
  12. PK Gaming

    PK Gaming Pursuing My True Self
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    Please, please, please remove HP Fire from the main set before I have aneurism. Its awrul and it barely accomplishes anything. Its AC material at best. The main set should look like this imo:

    name: Substitute + 3 Attacks
    move 1: Substitute
    move 2: Psychic / Psyshock
    move 3: Focus Blast
    move 4: Shadow Ball
    item: Life Orb / Focus Sash
    ability: Magic Guard
    nature: Timid
    evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

    Subsitute is pretty standard fare. Alakazam has shit defenses, and substitute gives it protection + the ability to scout ahead. Psychic replaces Psyshock as the main slash due to its noticeably higher BP, which helps it against Gliscor, Hippowdon and even Conkeldurr. Psyshock is pretty useful against Blissey / Chansey, but they're aren't too common (especially Chansey) you can mention HP fire and encore in AC.

    Feel free to add a Calm Mind set and a Choice set.
  13. Omicron

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    PK, there's almost no reason to use Choice Specs because Life Orb grants nearly the same power boost, has the freedom to choose moves, and there's no recoil thanks to Magic Guard... Maybe a Choice Scarf set would be viable, but there really isn't an advantage other than outspeeding some scarfers and tricking Blissey etc.

    But I do agree with the addition of a CM set :)
  14. AccidentalGreed

    AccidentalGreed HOMERUN, CABRONES
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    If PK's okay with it, sure.

    I also changed the main set for Substitute, though IMO there should be some kind of main attacking set for any "fourth option". There's pretty much many ways to play with this thing (Encore, Four Attacks, Substitute, CM).
  15. PK Gaming

    PK Gaming Pursuing My True Self
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    QC APPROVED (1/3)
  16. TheMagicStik

    TheMagicStik

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    Why is focus sash used on a sub set.... doesnt make sense >.<
  17. AccidentalGreed

    AccidentalGreed HOMERUN, CABRONES
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    Well, that's what I'm going to explain when I get to writing this up. There's times when Alakazam won't need to use Substitute, and a common scenario is this: You've got a boosted Salamence or Excadrill sweeping your team. And you have a full health Alakazam available to dispose of it. This is one of many times you'll be happy you had Sash and not Life Orb. Of course, this is situational, but nifty.

    Yes, using Substitute makes it useless, but again, you're not using Substitute all the time. Alakazam is mainly investing its time attacking threats, using Sub if necessary. Of course, you may also replace Substitute with another move as pointed out in AC. I'll let other QC members be the judge of this.
  18. TheMagicStik

    TheMagicStik

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    Yeah I think Sash should be AC on the Sub set, although it kinda gives it a dual purpose kinda thing. Also I think Psyshock should be the primary attack on both, the calm mind set for sure, maybe the sub needs a little extra power but the ability to have an attack that can beat other calm minders and bliss is too good to pass up on.
  19. AccidentalGreed

    AccidentalGreed HOMERUN, CABRONES
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    Sure. Psychic is more usable on the main Special Attacking set where pure power is most necessary (especially when Psyshock fails to KO threats such as Gliscor and even Dragonite), but Psyshock is inherently better on the Calm Mind set. That'll be the case on the analysis, unless somebody advocates a certain Hidden Power.
  20. Pocket

    Pocket Apo, the astronaut's best friend >:3
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    Probably wont deserve a main slot, but I believe HP Ice pairs well with Psyshock, allowing it to take down many physically bulky mons that Psyshock fails to maim/kill, namely Haxorus (58% chance OHKO), Dragonite, Gliscor, Landorus, Tangrowth (20% chance OHKO), and Hippowdon (2HKO).

    Not to mention Ice is a great offensive typing for a revenge killer to have. HP Ice definitely will not remove Focus Blast or Shadow Ball, but it would be a good option for an all-out attacking Alakazam - probably more worthwhile than HP Fire, since HP Fire fails to 2HKO Jirachi (37-43% to 252 HP / 240 SDef Jirachi).

    PS - this was calculated with Life Orb / no SR.
  21. bluemon

    bluemon

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    you should mention hp fire in ac for incoming scizors.
  22. Husky

    Husky

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    I kinda miss a SubEncore set, which also helps to cause many switches if used right. I played it like this:

    name: SubEncore
    move 1: Substitute
    move 2: Encore
    move 3: Psychic
    move 4: Focus Blast / Shadow Ball
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Magic Guard
    nature: Timid
    evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe


    The only disadvantage it has is, that it has to chose for just 2 attacks, which restricts its coverage a bit.. Psychic is obviously needed, but whether you want Focus Blast or Shadow Ball for coverage is up to you, as both are helpful against some top tier Pokemon. I prefer FB though, as Tyranitar, Ferrothorn, and Scizor are so damn common these days.. Latios and Reuniclus are the only reasons to run Shadow Ball but Specs / CM sets are easily stalled out with Substitute and Encore. Gliscor, Dragonite, Thundurus, Rotom-W, etc. all take more damage from Psychic anyways.
    Psyshock can be used if you want to hit special walls harder, but usually Sub+Encore is more effective to beat them.
    This set of course needs support via Stealth Rocks, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes so residual damage helps to score more KOs.

    Sadly, I have no battle logs to show its effectiveness, but I used it for a while in wifi battles, when BW came out and I know what I'm talking about here. If you think it's too much of a gimmick tho (for whatever reason) then I've said nothing.
  23. AccidentalGreed

    AccidentalGreed HOMERUN, CABRONES
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    Well, alright. If you can't show logs, that is fine. I'm unfamiliar with that set, so explaining how it works in a typical situation would help. Granted, being on paper won't get it on immediately.

    Also, I'll mention Psyshock + Hidden Power Ice when I get to writing this.
  24. Omicron

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    Actually I really hate Hidden Power Ice... I'd rather have Sub / FB / Psychic / Shadow Ball any day over it... I would restrict it to an OO mention if you REALLY hate dragons that much.
  25. No Luck Involved

    No Luck Involved

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    CM + Recover is a fantastic stall breaker. It makes better use of MG than gimmicky Sash sets.

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