While often overshadowed by bulkier and more versatile special sweepers in the newer generations, Alakazam fulfills a very important role in RBY, working as an effective special wall with Recover while being able to put pressure on its opponents with its limited but powerful special offense. Access to Thunder Wave coupled with high Speed and its ability to force plays with a powerful STAB Psychic makes Alakazam one of the best paralysis spreaders in the game. In addition to coming from a 368 Special stat, Psychic also makes great use of Alakazam's high critical hit rate, which, along with Psychic's 30% chance to lower the Special stat of your opponent, makes Alakazam very difficult and tricky to deal with at times; this often forces predictable and defensive plays that the user may be able to capitalize on. At the very least, Psychic's ability to force opponents out, even the number one special wall, Chansey, should let Alakazam keep spreading the ever dominant paralysis as long as what switches in has not already been paralyzed.
Alakazam is kind of a "jack of all trades" Pokemon. Often, it's used in the lead position with the mere objective to take sleep. In part, because common sleepers have no other way around Alakazam; in part, due to its ability to wake up late in the game in some scenarios. While others would argue about Chansey instead, Alakazam is actually the Pokemon that most gears RBY towards stall. While it doesn't accomplish much against opposing Alakazam, Chansey, or Starmie, they can't do much back either apart from a freeze from Starmie or Chansey. Thunder Wave, however, often acts as a deterrent for Starmie, who due to its different defensive uses, generally hates getting paralyzed much more than Alakazam does. In addition, Psychic's ability to force Chansey out after a couple of Special drops may let Alakazam paralyze or hurt whatever switches in, or at least give the user the possibility to change momentum by going on the offensive with a physical sweeper such as Rhydon or Snorlax against a weakened Chansey. However, Psychic's low PP means that Alakazam will risk running out of Psychics if abusing this strategy. Nonetheless, Alakazam is still capable of stalling Chansey out of PP one-on-one, assuming that Alakazam hasn't used much of its own PP beforehand. For this reason, Alakazam often works as a backup defensive alternative to your own Chansey when it comes to taking on opposing Chansey.
Alakazam shares with Chansey some of its walling capabilities. Alakazam works as a great wall to Exeggutor, and while not as effective as Chansey, Alakazam also makes for a good answer to other specially based Pokemon such as Lapras and Jynx, thanks to its great Special and Speed stats. Alakazam is also a great Gengar counter due to Psychic's ability to 2HKO it, and maybe even OHKO with a critical hit, and Alakazam is one of the few Pokemon able to outspeed Gengar. Alakazam's main advantage over Chansey comes from its powerful STAB Psychic, which will at least 3HKO any physical sweeper brave enough to switch into or take on Alakazam.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Alakazam has a very limited movepool and it's advised to stick to the options above. Kinesis is mostly useful for dealing with Chansey. It could make it easier to switch in a physical sweeper after some accuracy drops, and can even work as a way to reduce Chansey's chances of scoring a freeze. Accuracy drops will disappear by just switching out, however, but this switch may let Alakazam paralyze something else. Kinesis could be useful in some last Pokemon scenarios as well. Counter could sometimes be useful, but Psychic will still hit pretty hard against what Counter is meant to hit anyway; counter can work against Seismic Toss from another Alakazam too, however. Mimic could give you an Ice-type move from Chansey or Starmie with some luck, but that's really about it. All in all, neither Counter or Mimic are generally worth wasting a moveslot for.
Checks and Counters
Chansey, Alakazam, and Starmie are all able to easily sponge Alakazam's Psychics initially and shrug them off with Recover or Softboiled. However, Alakazam and Starmie should watch out for Seismic Toss. Chansey and Starmie also have the possibility to go for the freeze via Ice Beam or Blizzard. All three are obviously susceptible to being paralyzed, so, in this sense, Chansey is usually the best choice, as it doesn't care much about paralysis. Chansey isn't scared of Seismic Toss either thanks to its stellar HP.
However, resorting to only one of them tends to not be enough. Because of Psychic's ability to score a Special drop, they may eventually not be able to shrug off Psychics well. After two Special drops, even Chansey is 3HKOed by Psychic, which means that a single full paralysis could put Chansey at risk of being KOed. For this reason, having another backup Pokemon that can take a Psychic well is recommended. These include any of the Psychic-types, such as Exeggutor, Slowbro, or Jynx, apart from the aforementioned Starmie and Alakazam. In addition, these Pokemon don't care about paralysis as much as physical sweepers such as Snorlax or Tauros do. Slowbro's ability to set up Amnesia against Alakazam is noteworthy. Unless Alakazam is packing Seismic Toss, it will almost always be forced to switch out, if not always, thus giving Slowbro a free turn to set up its Amnesia or Thunder Wave.
Alakazam has, after Jynx, the lowest defensive prowess in OU. A STAB Body Slam from Snorlax or Tauros will usually 2HKO it, while Rhydon and Golem's Earthquake and Persian's Slash will do around 70%. The problem is, however, that Alakazam can outspeed and 3HKO all of these Pokemon with Psychic, even having a chance to OHKO Golem, Rhydon, and Persian and almost OHKO Tauros with a critical hit. You will have to paralyze Alakazam in order to apply this strategy. A predicted Recover could be the best moment to switch in a physical attacker, although Rhydon and Golem can also switch into Thunder Wave. If Alakazam is behind Reflect, however, it's extremely risky to go in offensively, because you will pretty much always need a critical hit to succeed. Switching the physical sweeper into the predicted Alakazam switch-in is required to deal with Reflect Alakazam this way.
Lastly, if Alakazam is becoming really tough to deal with, you can also try to Explode on it. Even if Alakazam is behind Reflect, all Explosions (except from Gengar) will generally hit Alakazam hard enough to lower it to the point where any STAB non-Psychic-type attack will finish it off. You will have to watch out for Alakazam switching out after the Explosion and recovering damage later on against Chansey or a Psychic-type, though. Lowering Alakazam first to around 60% or 70% is the safest route to ensure the kill.