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Alakazam (Analysis)

Discussion in 'Uploaded Analyses' started by bugmaniacbob, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. bugmaniacbob

    bugmaniacbob Floats like a Butterfree, stings like a Metapod
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    Status: Skeleton, awaiting QC approval.

    As much as I hate increasing the OU backlog when we're both so close to clearing out the subforum and so close to GenV OU, if stuff like Nidoqueen is getting an OU analysis I don't see why this beast shouldn't.

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    QC Approved (4/4)

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    GP Approved (2/2)

    Read me for a more thorough bit of reasoning

    [​IMG]
    http://www.smogon.com/dp/pokemon/alakazam
    ---------------------

    [Overview]

    <p>Alakazam's back, and he's angry. Four generations have passed since Alakazam's glory days in RBY, and each one has brought something new to spite it, while giving it almost nothing back in return. GSC's special split not only ruined Alakazam's special bulk but also made Snorlax a more potent foe, as well as adding Blissey and Tyranitar to the fray. ADV added abilities, which essentially improved every Pokemon in the game except Alakazam, and also gave us Choice Band to increase the strength of the physical attackers that Alakazam hates. But it was DPP that gave Alakazam the final push into obscurity—the introduction of Choice Scarf to undermine Alakazam's godlike Speed, the physical/special split to make both Pursuit and the elemental punches physical, and of course the rise of the ubiquitous Technician Scizor, in which Alakazam has at last met its match. But we can go even further than that: for the first time since its introduction, Alakazam was close to being outclassed by a non-Uber Pokemon. Azelf has slightly lower Speed and Special Attack, but an arguably better movepool, which most notably includes Nasty Plot. While its old rivals Gengar and Starmie can still get by on their slightly larger movepools and better typings, Alakazam lacks the necessary traits to be a special sweeper in this new DPP metagame. Primarily, it lacks notable resistances, priority moves, and usable setup moves. Furthermore, it is as frail as a glass thimble, its STAB is resisted by half the OU metagame, and it just isn't half the threat it used to be.</p>

    <p>However, we cannot be so hasty as to condemn it to disuse. While the metagame seems to have surpassed it, Alakazam still has everything that made it so good back in the day: its titanic base 135 Special Attack stat, the highest of any non-Uber Pokemon, backed up by its equally impressive base 120 Speed stat, which allows it to outrun nearly the entirety of the unboosted OU metagame. Matched with plenty of little tricks to annoy the opponent continuously, which Alakazam is infamous for (such as Encore, Trick, and Taunt), so much raw power is begging to be used, and when played correctly, Alakazam can become as threatening as any offensive Pokemon. He may have fallen from grace, but popularity is by no means a definition of power.</p>

    [SET]
    name: OU Offensive
    move 1: Psychic
    move 2: Focus Blast
    move 3: Hidden Power Fire / Signal Beam
    move 4: Substitute / Encore
    Item: Life Orb / Leftovers
    Nature: Timid
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>While Alakazam has lost its popularity as an offensive Pokemon, it does not mean that Alakazam lacks the potential to be a threat. It is still one of the strongest special attackers in the game, and thanks to its high Speed stat, it can actually outrun Jolly Choice Scarf Tyranitar, unlike its fellow Psychic-types Starmie and Azelf. This means that not only can it bypass an otherwise rock-solid check to Psychic-types, but it can also act as an excellent lure, removing these problematic Pokemon with a combination of Substitute and one of its coverage attacks.</p>

    <p>Substitute enables Alakazam to scout its opponent, and thus allow Alakazam to hit its switch-in with the appropriate attack. This also allows it to block status attacks from Blissey and escape from Pursuit traps set by opponents such as Weavile and Scizor. Alakazam has a tendency to force plenty of switches, making it relatively easy to get a Substitute up; however, remember that Alakazam will be losing a great deal of health to passive damage, so Substitute should generally be used sparingly. Psychic is a good, reliable STAB, which has the power to 2HKO just about everything that does not resist it, besides Blissey and Snorlax of course. Focus Blast is necessary to get rid of the Dark-types who are immune to Alakazam's STAB attacks, as well as the Steel-types who can cause problems. It easily OHKOes Tyranitar and Heatran with Life Orb, and does a fair amount to Blissey and Snorlax. However, many of the common Steel-types of OU, such as Scizor, Metagross, and Skarmory, are only neutral to Focus Blast, and given how dangerous these Pokemon are to Alakazam, it becomes necessary to have a way to beat them too. Hidden Power Fire easily OHKOes Scizor and also gets a clean 2HKO on Jirachi, Celebi, and Metagross with Life Orb. On the other hand, Signal Beam is worth considering, since it enables Alakazam to hit Psychic-types, such as Starmie, Azelf, and Celebi, and also allows Alakazam to get a more reliable hit on Dark-types. Unfortunately, the loss of Hidden Power Fire is a crippling blow to Alakazam's effectiveness against Steel-types, particularly Scizor, Jirachi, and Metagross.</p>

    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>If you dislike Substitute's residual damage, there are a number of other options that are worth mentioning in the last slot. Encore and Taunt are both useful stall-killing moves that can hinder any secondary attacks that the opponent may try to use. Protect can be a useful option to predict an attempt at trapping by Choice-locked Scizor, enabling you to plan your next move accordingly. Lastly, if you cannot decide between Hidden Power Fire and Signal Beam in the third slot, you can also choose an offensive route and use both attacks on the same set, with all four moveslots dedicated to attacking moves. You could also run Shadow Ball in the third slot, not only for coverage on Psychic-types but also to smack Ghost-types super effectively, enabling Alakazam to OHKO Choice Scarf Rotom-A with Stealth Rock support. Remember that without Substitute or Protect, Alakazam is much more susceptible to revenge killing. If you do not mind losing out on a bit of type coverage, you can drop an attack and run Encore in the third slot. This allows you to more easily take advantage of Encore with lower risk, as Alakazam can now Encore attacking moves with the protection of Substitute. Be aware that the loss of a third attack massively reduces Alakazam's type coverage and therefore its offensive capabilities, which can be troubling if you are worried about Scizor and Metagross.</p>

    <p>Generally, in terms of EVs and nature, the best thing to do for Alakazam is to first maximize its Speed and Special Attack, as these are really the only two stats it will be using. A Timid nature is recommended as Alakazam simply cannot afford to be hit first by anything. The remaining EVs can just be pushed off into HP. However, with the IV drop from Hidden Power, you cannot tie with other base 120s. Therefore, you may wish to lower your sights and hit the next-lowest Speed benchmark. Timid and 228 Speed is advised as a minimum to beat out Jolly Choice Scarf Tyranitar, who is the biggest threat you will face in this area. For the item, Life Orb is highly recommended as the item of choice despite Alakazam's weakness to passive damage, as it gives Alakazam the power necessary to OHKO dangerous threats such as Tyranitar and Heatran. On the other hand, Leftovers is useful to offset Substitute and residual damage, but the loss in power is quite crippling.</p>

    [Team Options]

    <p>Entry hazard support is extremely useful to wear down counters as they switch in, especially as Alakazam will be causing a lot of switches. Toxic Spikes support is particularly useful in order to break down any walls that may try to stall you out, such as Blissey. With this in mind, Forretress is an excellent choice to pair with Alakazam as it can come in on various Pokemon that Alakazam dislikes, such as Weavile, Scizor, and Tyranitar, and has access to all three entry hazards, making Forretress customizable to your specifications. It even has access to Rapid Spin, which helps Alakazam sustain less damage while switching in and out. Skarmory works similarly, but it lacks Toxic Spikes and Rapid Spin in return for Roost. On the other hand, if you are hoping to run Alakazam on a more offensive team, Aerodactyl and Azelf are both excellent choices to set up a fast Stealth Rock, and Roserade can do the same with Spikes and Toxic Spikes.</p>

    <p>If you think Alakazam is going to provide any kind of defensive help whatsoever, then you're much mistaken. So, good teammates will be those with offensive synergy with Alakazam, or the ability to take on and beat each other's counters. For Alakazam, Steel-types are generally the biggest obstacles to overcome. Thus, a Steel-trapper such as Magnezone or Dugtrio can therefore be a powerful ally. Magnezone can destroy dangerous Steel-types such as Scizor and Jirachi locked into their STAB moves with ease, thanks to its STAB Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Fire. However, beware of Steel-types that also have super effective STAB moves, such as Lucario and Heatran. Dugtrio is much weaker both offensively and defensively, but can also trap Tyranitar and Blissey into the bargain. If you are not looking to trap these foes, Swampert is a good choice, as it can take on both Tyranitar and Metagross and also check Scizor to an extent. Heatran works in much the same way but forfeits the ability to beat Tyranitar in exchange for the ability to maul just about every Steel-type that exists. Lastly, you will also want some physical offense on your team, for Blissey if nothing else, and a way to beat down Pursuit-users. Thus, Fighting-types such as Machamp make good partners.</p>

    <p>On the other hand, there are many ways in which Alakazam can actually support the team offensively. For example, Substitute Alakazam makes an excellent lure for many problematic Pokemon such as Scizor, Tyranitar, and Heatran, all of whom are OHKOed by one of its coverage attacks. Non-Choice Scarf Jirachi and Celebi can also be removed by the same principle. With this in mind, you can elect to use a setup sweeper that will benefit from the weakening of these Pokemon. For example, Swords Dance Breloom greatly appreciates the removal of all of these threats, and it can also support Alakazam through Spore and being able to frighten away Blissey. This is further accentuated since Alakazam forces a lot of switches, weakening your opponent's team if you have entry hazards down. Dragon Dance Gyarados is another good option as a late-game sweeper since it can set up on a Choice-locked Scizor's Bullet Punch and Jirachi's Iron Head. Similarly, Tyranitar and Lucario can set up very easily on Choice-locked Pursuit. Lastly, Tyranitar or Scizor can be a helpful ally to an Alakazam running Encore; should you manage to Encore a non-offensive move such as Blissey's Softboiled, the aforementioned Pokemon can take the opportunity to trap it with Pursuit. Tyranitar and Scizor are also helpful in beating Psychic-types such as Starmie who may cause Alakazam trouble.</p>

    [Optional Changes]

    <p>Alakazam is nothing if not versatile, and it has a massive number of tricks up its sleeve that can be very appealing in OU. Taunt and Encore have already been mentioned, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Alakazam is the fastest user of Reflect and Light Screen in OU, and as such can easily set up both with the help of Taunt. Trick is an excellent move and is useful on Choice sets, though this is no longer Alakazam's trademark, as Rotom-A does this better, plus it makes you Pursuit bait for Tyranitar and Scizor. Thunder Wave is another useful move to support the team with, though because of Alakazam's blistering Speed, it rarely has much application. Knock Off is much the same, but as fun as it may be to deprive Scizor and Tyranitar of their Choice items, generally it is not worth the moveslot. Of all the field effects it gets, Gravity is perhaps the most notable, improving the accuracy of Focus Blast and supporting the team.</p>

    <p>On the offensive side, Calm Mind is an interesting setup move that can be useful on Alakazam's sweeper set in place of (or even in addition to) Substitute, but sweeper Alakazam is generally stopped too easily by pseudo-hazers and Blissey to be used effectively. Lum Berry lets you absorb status attacks, which are pretty crippling for Alakazam, but the loss in power from Life Orb is considerable. Lastly, Recover can offset lost health from Substitute, Life Orb, sandstorm, and other residual damage, but generally this compromises type coverage and that moveslot has many, many better choices for it.</p>

    [Counters]

    <p>One of the biggest reasons for Alakazam's fall was the fact that the metagame it abided in included everything it couldn't handle, revolving almost entirely around Dragon- and Steel-types and powerful physical attackers. While this is no longer entirely the case, there are still plenty of annoying opponents knocking about. Of all its potential counters, Blissey is by far the most solid, as it is able to take even a Choice Specs Focus Blast with ease, and can recover its health with Softboiled or Wish. However, Alakazam can employ a number of tricks to beat its number one "counter", including Trick, Taunt, Recover, and Encore, so be on your guard. Snorlax can also take most special attacks and has access to Pursuit and Return. However, Life Orb Focus Blast has a chance to 2HKO with a little residual damage.</p>

    <p>In terms of the ubiquitous Steel-types, Scizor is a massive problem for Alakazam, which is never a good thing. If Scizor switches in and Alakazam does not have a Substitute up, it essentially traps Alakazam entirely – if Alakazam stays in it gets KOed by Bullet Punch, but if it switches out it can be KOed by Pursuit. Furthermore, Scizor can also use U-turn to annihilate Alakazam and escape from its counters all in one stroke. Similarly, Choice Scarf Steel-types such as Jirachi and Heatran can switch in to revenge kill, but risk a super effective attack on the switch, or from behind Alakazam's Substitute.</p>

    <p>Without Shadow Ball or Signal Beam, Starmie effectively walls Alakazam to high heaven, between Recover and its attacking options. Weavile is another nasty threat, as it is immune to Psychic and is one of the few Pokemon naturally faster than Alakazam, allowing it to OHKO Alakazam with Pursuit regardless of whether it stays in or not. Tyranitar also deserves a mention in this regard since it can act as a last-minute check if Focus Blast misses. Alakazam will generally faint the moment it is hit by anything, so if you have a faster Pokemon, they will almost always be a viable revenge killer, though Pokemon actually faster than Alakazam are few and far between outside of Choice Scarf users.</p>

    ---------------

    Post-critique changes:

    - EV shuffle on Dual Screen set
    - Merged Life Orb and Encore sets
    - EV shuffle on Offensive set
    - Hidden Power Fire / Signal Beam on Offensive set
    - Added comments relating to Substitute + Encore on Offensive set
    - Removed Dual Screen set
    - Wrote up analysis
    - Grammar check 1, thanks to Eraddd
    - Grammar check 2, thanks to Aeron Ee1 (Overview)
    - Grammar check 3, thanks to Echo.
    - GP Grammar-Prose Check #1, thanks to Oglemi
    - GP Grammar-Prose Check #2 (collective check stamp)
  2. comatthew6

    comatthew6 Uther's Noble [Ball]Sack
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    I'm not so sure about the lead set. Alakazam has frail defenses and loses to Aerodactyl 100% of the time if it doesn't have Psychic. It also cannot touch things like Heatran and Celebi, and though it blocks Infernape's Fake Out, U-turn still does quite a bit of damage. Inner Focus does prevent Jirachi from doing whatever it wants, but again, U-turn. Finally, Swampert still does quite a bit with Earthquake, especially if you use Taunt first (69.7% - 82.2%, which is a 2HKO THROUGH Reflect).
  3. Seven Deadly Sins

    Seven Deadly Sins ~hallelujah~
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    http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77540

    Read it, love it. Alakazam has... issues. Major irreconcileable issues. At the very least, the OU substitute set has been rejected multiple times (MetaNite even tried to PM us and make us approve it after our rejection), and Encore and Lead are iffy as well, mainly due to Alakazam's general frailty. I'm not rejecting this outright, but I'm mighty close.
  4. EonADS

    EonADS

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    Maybe try a more offensive set for the lead, Something like...

    Alakazam @ Focus Sash
    Nature: Hasty
    EVs: 4 Hp / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    Ability: Inner Focus
    -Psychic
    -Signal Beam
    -Counter
    -Taunt / Encore / HP Fighting?

    This way, it can at least beat all Infernape, most Metagross, Celebi, Azelf, Machamp, and Jirachi, and can at least do something to Heatran if it has HP Fighting. Overall, I think that's more effecient than trying to do something Azelf does infinitely better. Alakazam is one of the few Pokemon that can actually beat Machamp leads with a single attack, and take on Metagross at the same time thanks to Counter.
  5. bugmaniacbob

    bugmaniacbob Floats like a Butterfree, stings like a Metapod
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    That's peculiar, I got 55-65% damage from Swampert's Earthquake last time I checked, but then I've been fiddling about with the EVs a bit.

    Neither Infernape nor Jirachi can OHKO with U-turn. Alakazam can get up both Reflect and Light Screen against both, assuming they don't switch to Scizor with U-turn (and even then, Scizor is rarely going to lock itself into Bullet Punch so early in the game). As far as Heatran and Celebi go, Alakazam is essentially a suicide lead, so not doing anything to them is irrelevant. It can take 3 hits from both thanks to Light Screen, and Celebi cannot OHKO with U-turn. Thus you have time to set up Light Screen, Reflect, and to trap them with Encore as they kill you.

    Aerodactyl is a big problem, it's true. But then Azelf has that problem as well, and it has a dual screen analysis regardless. It's a pretty good strategy and if you want to use it, Alakazam is the fastest user of it, making him at least one of the most valuable, not to mention access to Taunt/Encore/whatever.

    As far as I'm aware, reading that thread, the OU Substitute set has been rejected once, and one of the arguments for its rejection was 'well Gengar can do it better'. I could perhaps argue that it isn't outclassed for xyz reasons, but as it stands I believe that whether or not a Pokemon is outclassed is not grounds for dismissing a set, and so I'll leave it there.

    The other serious objection to offensive Alakazam was its inability to switch in, due to general frailty, susceptibility to entry hazards and other passive damage forms, and the like. Firstly I could draw a comparison to certain on-site Pokemon that are both very similar and share a number of problems associated with Alakazam. Life Orb Azelf, for instance. Or, for that matter, Life Orb Gengar. Both fragile, both supposedly able to run through teams, both have difficulties with passive damage, and both if let out too early have problems obtaining vital OHKOs and 2HKOs. Alakazam's a pretty good lategame cleaner itself. What's the difference? Essentially, access to Explosion and access to Levitate. The premise is the same. Come in somehow - these opportunities present themselves - either scout or fire off attacks. Alakazam can do that. I've found that if you can use Substitute effectively, Alakazam makes a pretty good lure for a lot of Steel-types, a lure which also happens to function independantly.

    So, what can Alakazam switch in on? Weaker special attacks are pretty good, and they're also fairly common on defensive teams. Mainly stuff like bulky Water-type Surf or coverage moves. Not great, obviously, but for a frail Pokemon, it's pretty good, considering that it is taking slightly less damage from neutral attacks than other fast-but-frail Pokemon such as Infernape, Gengar, Azelf - of course, it doesn't have their resistances. But personally, I never found switching Alakazam into defensive teams difficult. His health depleted rapidly, but he is usually able to get a pretty good amount done as long as you don't spam Substitute against these teams. Against offensive teams, while it's nigh-on impossible to switch it in, that is true of a lot of Pokemon, and Alakazam is excellent at regaining momentum when you need it, as it will pretty much scare anything it switches into.

    I guess if you're really worried about sustainability, Leftovers would be the better option, but then Alakazam isn't really meant to stick around. Still, makes me wonder whether a set in the vein of LO Aerodactyl would work with Taunt and Recover. I doubt it, but still. Back on topic, I would argue for LO Alakazam's inclusion fundamentally because he is rather like an LO Azelf or Starmie with a few different tricks and perks. I like the fact that ScarfTar doesn't beat it. Yeah, he can't really switch in, but even if I'd rather use one of the other two (and I would usually), he isn't outclassed and can be effective in the right circumstances, just like the other two.

    On the subject of the Encore and DS lead sets, Alakazam pretty much deserves a set for both (my rationale here) as both are universally accepted as popular and prominent strategies, and Alakazam, by virtue of its Speed stat, is one of the very best at both. If you want me to provide more reasoning I will.

    I fail to see how Azelf does dual screen leading 'infinitely better'. Alakazam is faster and thus has the bonus here of getting both screens up against Jirachi, Infernape, and opposing Azelf, which Azelf itself cannot boast, and can still get them up against just about every lead bar Aerodactyl. In return, Azelf has U-turn and Explosion. But there's certainly no outclassing.

    I'm pretty sure an offensive lead set was brought up in the past and rejected, and to be perfectly honest I really have to agree with the decision. Alakazam just doesn't really 'do' that much in the lead position when he isn't supporting the team directly.
  6. Megan_Fox

    Megan_Fox

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    I've always thought that Alakazam should have an OU analysis, infact I brought up the idea in the past but it wasn't too popular. I believe you're right when you say "whether or not a Pokemon is outclassed is not grounds for dismissing a set", and I dont think Alakazam is any exception. Furthermore Alakazam definitely does work in OU and in certain situations, it can sometimes work even better than Azelf due to Higher Speed, 10 more Base SpA, Focus Blast and Encore. If Azelf gets a Life Orb set, I don't see why Alakazam wouldn't.

    So for me, I think the actual sets are the only concern so ill address them. The DS lead looks ok, ill test it out though. For the first two sets, couldn't they just be merged? they look relatively similar to me and as I see it, some stuff are interchangeable (Life Orb set can use Encore, Encore Set can use Life Orb, neither set HAS to have sub, Leftovers can be used on the Life Orb set) etc etc
  7. panamaxis

    panamaxis Allons-y!
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    Isn't Focus Blast a much better option than Signal Beam?
  8. Aerodactyl Legend

    Aerodactyl Legend

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    Merge the first two and it looks pretty good to me.
  9. Seven Deadly Sins

    Seven Deadly Sins ~hallelujah~
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    I absolutely oppose Substitute sets (not because it's a bad gengar, but just because it's "bad" due to its frailty and generally questionable type coverage), but if they MUST be there, I absolutely disagree with having more than 1 substitute set. The only Substitute set I will support EVER is this one:

    [SET]
    name: OU Substitute
    move 1: Substitute
    move 2: Psychic
    move 3: Focus Blast / Encore
    move 4: Hidden Power Fire / Encore
    Item: Life Orb
    Nature: Timid
    EVs: 28 HP / 252 SpA / 228 Spe

    Lefties is questionable as hell on something that has that much power and only 55/45/85 defenses, and Encore, while interesting, really cuts down on its type coverage to the point that it has severe issues with some notable Pokemon.

    But seriously, I find Alakazam incredibly underwhelming in OU. It beats Azelf "slightly" in terms of speed and power, but loses horribly in terms of reliable type coverage (fuck focus blast) and also has terrible defenses in general. Considering that Azelf's LO set is questionable anyway, and it also has Explosion... Alakazam has significant Blissey issues (lol2hkoed by blissey at <80%), and cannot 2HKO with Focus Blast even after SR. It absolutely relies on a 70% accurate attack to hit basically everything likely to switch into it, and can't really survive any notable attacks. The big problem is "when is it going to switch in" (in OU, that's probably going to be damn close to never against any decently offensive team), and once it's in, "what does it do?" The answer to both of those questions is not especially good for Alakazam.
  10. Banedon

    Banedon

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    Somewhat random thing here (I don't play OU) ...

    Doesn't 258 HP and 259 HP both give a Life Orb recoil of 25 damage / attack? In which case, it doesn't matter whether you have 258 or 259 HP right?
  11. shrang

    shrang Go to your room
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    It matters that you have slightly more HP than you would have, not that Alakazam can enjoy that comfort anyway. I'd just prefer 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe to be honest. Alakazam's bulk so shitty that the extra HP won't help him anyway.
  12. Rising_Dusk

    Rising_Dusk
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    While this is great and all, it isn't because Alakazam is outclassed that it doesn't have an OU analysis, it's because the metagame is so hostile toward Alakazam that it simply doesn't fare well in its own right. Pretty much the only thing it can accomplish at all is "sweep" or "kill stuff", and with its total inability to switch in (something frail OU threats like Gengar have a better time with) it really cannot accomplish the only thing it is intended to do.

    I absolutely agree with SDS here and think that this should be rejected. Having tried it myself in an attempt to find some way for it to work, I can confidently say that not only would I want to use other, better Pokemon for the job, Alakazam doesn't even perform the job remotely well enough in its own right to get a writeup. We shouldn't just give a Pokemon an analysis because it has some great sweeping stats or it can hit really hard, we have to be practical and analyze how it gets into the position to hit hard and whether it can even abuse those sweeping stats. Alakazam fails at both of those admirably.
  13. Setsuna

    Setsuna Prototype
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    I still stand by past decisions that I've made regarding Alakazam -- Substitute / LO sets shouldn't be onsite, in my opinion.

    Alakazam has a great Special Attack and Speed stats, plus a few good moves, that's good and all but is not enough reason to make it have a few OU analysis on the site. One of the biggest problems about Alakazam is its inability to prevent entry hazards from touching it, plus its overall frailty which basically impedes it switch in on repeated attacks every so often. Given this scenario, if Alakazam were to finish off some Pokemon, it would have to perform a double switch or wait for something in its team to get killed in order to switch in safely. It's a pretty sad reality, yeah, and even after having been able to switch in without major risks, or without taking any damage in return, things won't necessarily be easier since most Pokemon just need to hit Alakazam once (factoring in SR and previous LO damage) or twice in order to KO it... Stall-based teams can make use of their stalling capabilities (Roar, Protect, bulkiness) to get rid of Alakazam slowly; smart players can rely on priority moves, switch-ins, or simply faster Pokemon in order to finish it off, etcetera.

    Really, I can see the appeal of this Pokemon, though I firmly believe that OU isn't a place where it can go in and expect to be good, good enough to warrant a few paragraphs of descriptions and analysis.
  14. Seven Deadly Sins

    Seven Deadly Sins ~hallelujah~
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    You know what? I'm just going to go on record and say it. I don't think Alakazam deserves an OU analysis, for the reasons I and others have previously stated here and other places.

    QC REJECTED 1/3

    Also, if this analysis DOES end up going through, consider this to also be a specialized rejection for each specific set, simply for set culling purposes.
  15. panamaxis

    panamaxis Allons-y!
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    perfect example of what I've talked to Setsuna about in the past, I honestly can't believe you guys don't want this to go up there. There are a TON of people that rely on scarftar to take on alakazam-esque threats, between protect and high speed alakazam can get past the two things people use to defeat these type of pokemon.

    Are you really going to tell me it will hurt smogon more to have these sets on site then not have them up there?

    Really?

    (Note: this is not an approval of all sets at this current time)
  16. Megan_Fox

    Megan_Fox

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    yea, i agree with Pana and still believe what I said before. I'll just point out the two large reasons as to why I think it should have an analysis


    • Scarf Tyranitar- Pana already brought this up. While Scarf Tar normally checkmates Glass cannon sweepers such as Gengar, Azelf and Starmie, Alakazam can outspeed and KO it without issue
    • In extension, its Speed allows it to outspeed Starmie and Azelf, something that can really hinder Azelf who speed ties or Gengar who is outspeed by them
    • Access to Focus Blast. yes, I know its inaccurate and such, but it's still an attack Azelf wishes it had. Why? Well Focus Blast gives Alakazam the ability to bypass Heatran, the most used Pokemon in this Metagame. While Heatran walls Azelf without a problem, Alakazam can easily OHKO it. Focus Blast is also able to OHKO Tyranitar, something Azelf can not do
    • Additionally, the other two things (although minor) are its access to Encore and 10 more base SpA than Azelf.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm more than aware of Alakazam's problems but if I wanted a Alakazam/Azelf like Sweeper, I would choose Alakazam > Azelf if i had issues/worries of opposing Scarftars (Tyranitar in general really) or if I couldn't get past Heatran. And IMO, that makes it worthy of having an analysis.
  17. bugmaniacbob

    bugmaniacbob Floats like a Butterfree, stings like a Metapod
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    Okay, I was going to write a long post for all those people who seem to think that Alakazam's competitive troubles mean it does not deserve an analysis in its own right for that tier, but I never got round to it because of issues IRL. I think Megan_Fox has pretty succinctly summarised why Alakazam has merit over other threats that supposedly outclass it and yet have analyses in their own right, so I won't delve too long on there. I'll just shell out my numerous reasons why I feel Alakazam is worthy of me giving up my own free time and life to write about, and that’s as much as I can do.

    1. Competitive Viability

    Okay, M_F covered this pretty thoroughly, but I still want to go over a few points very briefly. Alakazam is limited in what it can accomplish but then most Pokemon are. At any rate, all this argument accomplishes is to tell us why Alakazam is no longer OU. It takes too much passive damage, and then it dies. The punishment it takes is roughly equal to that which it gives out, more or less consistently. It is extremely useful against both stall and offensive teams, in its own way – it is fast enough to act as a revenge killer against offensive teams, actually regaining momentum, and pushing back, even if it cannot switch in. The opportunities present themselves. And at the same time, it actually has the power and type coverage to break stall teams, a combination rarely seen on any Pokemon. Really, the only Pokemon on stall teams who isn’t 2HKOed at least by Alakazam is Blissey, and this is especially relevant with Choice Scarf Tyranitar’s popularity on stall teams – where Gengar and Starmie would fall, Alakazam has a 70% chance to succeed. Really, if you can get rid of Blissey Alakazam can almost single-handedly dismantle stall teams, which is a significant achievement. Alakazam is a Pokemon that works well against almost all team types for different reasons – I suppose the same could easily be said of Gengar or Infernape.

    I won’t exaggerate, however. This is about as far as Alakazam can really go. It’s not OU for a reason. Even so, it is used a significant amount, though I dare say that means little. Still, there are other Pokemon worth mentioning about here. Take Rhyperior, for example. It’s certainly viable, and has that immense power, as well as security against certain threats (where for Alakazam it is Speed, for Rhyperior it is sheer defensive stats). Yet again, you are weak to many common Pokemon and where Alakazam has frail defensive stats, Rhyperior has a typing that almost guarantees that its opponent will have a super effective move to throw at it, at least. As the analysis says, “It needs a good deal of support to truly shine”. The same sort of story applies with Heracross and others. Alakazam is more the supporter than the sweeper, yet it can do both at the same time, and can adapt its role when in play rather than before. It ‘works’, though I am bad at drawing comparisons, and can only draw evidence from the usage stats. On the other hand, I am here speaking almost entirely about the offensive set, as I do not believe that the dual screen set represents any of the problems mentioned above, especially considering the principles and specific niche that Alakazam occupies in this environment.

    2. Educational Purposes

    The point of this section is more on the fundamental aspect of analyses, rather than true competitive reasoning. Why exactly are we writing analyses? I’m guessing it isn’t entirely for our own gratification, or simply to make the site ‘look good’. Although judging from a number of people these reasons would seem entirely appropriate, I find it almost perverse to be dedicating our own free time and energy to write simply to give an outward impression of knowledge. I don’t necessarily have to write for Smogon. I could be doing any other number of worthwhile activities. But I do it anyway. Why? Well, I enjoy writing immensely, and I also value the practice it provides in prose and structure. But I also find satisfaction in the thought that I am writing this for the benefit of others, people who I have never met but nevertheless wish to learn about a subject that I (forgive me for my seeming lack of modesty) know a fair amount about. Personally I have always thought that this was the whole point of writing analyses, to help others, as there didn’t really ever seem to be any other reason for it. In their entirety they are hardly helpful to those who already know a lot about the game, who are more likely to casually glance over the set if they encounter a Pokemon they are unfamiliar with. So it is those who don’t know who stand most to benefit from this writing. Which brings us on to the essential point.

    Alakazam is and always has been a popular Pokemon, and I don’t think anyone in this thread could possibly deny that. Running off the last set of shoddy data (if we will assume the metagame to remain static after the introduction of a new generation), it is notable that Alakazam is in the top 50, is the second-most used UU (after Heracross), and was used in total more times than many supposedly very popular sets of prominent Pokemon, such as Choice Band Tyranitar. Yes, if you used weighted statistics this value would probably correct itself. But then again, we echo the fact that it is those who know no better who are running Alakazam, the very people we want to help. People who like running their favourites competitively. The same people we write analyses for, who like to run Spinda or Unown or something. They still have analyses regardless, but who would ever use them? Well, people who like them, for a start. Even if we make little girls cry by being mean about Butterfree, there is still a high demand for popular (and dare I say, competitively viable) Pokemon to receive OU analyses, especially when that analysis is substantially different from a set in a lower tier.

    Just looking at the stats, we can see that there is a significant correlation between sets used frequently and sets that are arranged so in Smogon’s Alakazam page. For example, Choice Specs Alakazam is almost unanimously put down as a poor set by competitive players, due to the ease of Pursuit-trapping and switching in on its STAB. So why is it the most-used item of all the possible items Alakazam could use? Why is Choice Specs still the most popular set? Possibly it is a spillover from the old pre-Platinum OU. However, looking at the item list alone, we see that the most popular item is Choice Specs, followed by Life Orb, followed by Focus Sash. And in Alakazam’s UU analysis, the set order follows almost exactly thus. First Choice Specs, then sweeping sets, then lead sets.

    Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Correlation does not imply causation, post hoc, whatever. It’s not even particularly relevant. But it does at least show us that Smogon’s current Alakazam information is insufficient for the casual player. Choice Specs is not a good idea in OU, and neither are certain moves advised. Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, and even Energy Ball are not necessarily as useful in OU as they are in UU, yet something like Hidden Power Fire, which I would consider almost mandatory on any OU Alakazam set, is much, much less commonly seen. It would be useful to have this information on-site for anybody who wishes to use Alakazam in OU, or indeed if they happen to find themselves playing against Alakazam in OU. Plenty of people have lost Tyranitar or Scizor this way. This is a pretty good reason, I feel, to have an OU Alakazam analysis.

    3. Consistency

    This is more a personal appeal than a dedicated argument, but essentially this line of thought centres on ‘what could this possibly do to harm the site at all’. I understand that many people will have concerns about this analysis due to how controversial it is, and worry about how allowing a potentially useless analysis on board will go against Smogon’s competitive nature, especially if the information turns out to be useless. But on the other hand, I don’t see how this can possibly cause any negative backlash or drop standards at all. It’s an OU analysis for a Pokemon who is actually used often in OU, something Smogon currently lacks. Furthermore, it’s an interesting Pokemon with a lot of cool options that is actually quite effective in the right situation, in the same way as Honchkrow or Umbreon would be.

    Again, I’d like to draw one’s attention to numerous already on-site analyses. Gengar has a near-identical Sub+3 attacks set which also happens to be the first on the page, also has a pure LO, and of course the MYSTICgar set. All of which are very effective, I’m quite sure, yet many of the problems experienced by both Alakazam and Gengar are mutual. In the same way, we have DS and LO Azelf already on-site. Both Azelf and Alakazam have their own share of advantages and disadvantages compared to the other.

    So in summary – please don’t reject this purely on ‘slippery slope’ grounds. From many of the above posts I gather an attitude in which anything ‘close to the edge’ is not being given the benefit of the doubt – even an entire analysis.

    -----------------

    Yeah, I think that’s everything – oh, and before I forget, I also merged the first two sets to something that may be more… appeasing. Certainly Substitute + LO is a bad idea when taking residual damage into account, but then again Alakazam’s power is one of its main attractions over something like Gengar, so it is generally best to capitalise on that. I wasn’t entirely sure what to suggest other than Substitute, not for lack of options but for overflow of them (Alakazam has really bad 4MSS). In the end I slashed Encore in simply because it is one of Alakazam’s main attractions over something like Azelf or Gengar, though it is usually less effective than on a set with Substitute also, but losing coverage is crippling to Alakazam’s offensive ability. I then stuck a wealth of other options into AC, namely Protect, Taunt, Signal Beam, and Shadow Ball.

    Oh and I couldn’t find that old QC rejection stamp so I made my own for the OP.
  18. panamaxis

    panamaxis Allons-y!
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    Btw, what's the deal with the 28 hp EVs on the first set, isn't it worth potentially tying with hp fire sceptile and opposing alakazam?

    lol

    Excellent post Bugmaniacbob, I completely agree
  19. Megan_Fox

    Megan_Fox

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    Yea great post and very thorough as well.

    I agree with Pana about the speed. Also, I would consider slashing Signal Beam with HP Fire. HP fire's only use is that it OHKOs Scizor and also has 100% accuracy (as opposed to Focus Blast's 70%) but I think signal beam could be just as good of an option since it allows you to hit psychic types such as Starmie, Celebi, and Azelf who otherwise resist Psychic + Focus Blast.
  20. bugmaniacbob

    bugmaniacbob Floats like a Butterfree, stings like a Metapod
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    I guess in hindsight those 28 HP EVs aren't really making any sort of difference to be honest, I doubt they'll make much impact wherever they are put but maximising the only stats Alakazam will ever have need of is probably the safest option. I made the recommended spread 4/252/252 and added a note in AC about alternative EV spreads.

    As far as Signal Beam is concerned, I have slashed it with Hidden Power Fire. While I personally would never be without Hidden Power Fire considering its value against Scizor and Forretress, not to mention Metagross, Jirachi, Bronzong, and Skarmory. Still, if you aren't particularly concerned about Steel-types or have a Magnezone in tow, I can definitely see the advantages and attraction of Signal Beam, so I have no qualms whatsoever in slashing it. Though, I would prefer if HP Fire was kept as the primary option.
  21. panamaxis

    panamaxis Allons-y!
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    Isn't this irrelevant seeing as you outspeed it anyway? HP fire as the primary option is fine by me. That being said...
    [​IMG]

    Or

    Approved (1/3)
  22. Megan_Fox

    Megan_Fox

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    looks like QC is split on this one..Looks good to me, only thing i can think of is maybe considering mentioning Encore as an option instead of HP Fire / Signal Beam. Sub Encore seems viable to me; you encore the opponent then set up a sub as they switch out.

    [​IMG]

    Or

    Approved (2/3)
  23. bugmaniacbob

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    Cool beans, made the recommended changes.

    1 more QC stamp or 2 more QC rejections?
  24. Philip7086

    Philip7086 Myuu
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    I'm not a fan of the dual screen set, so I won't approve that one, but I think the offensive set is fine.

    [​IMG]

    Or

    Approved (3/3)
  25. Setsuna

    Setsuna Prototype
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    Even though I'm not a fan of Alakazam in OU, I can see the appeal of it, like I said in my previous post in this thread. I'm gonna go and reject the DS set, but the Offensive set has my approval.

    You're good to go now.

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