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Not much can be said about Zekrom's history because it is a new Pokemon. Along with Reshiram, it was among the first of the 5th Generation Pokemon revealed, after Zoroark. Soon after, it was rumored (and eventually confirmed), that both Reshiram and Zekrom are Dragon-type Pokemon. On May 31st, 2010, two weeks prior to the official revelation of its type, Shoko-tan mentioned on her blog on how she loved Electric-type Pokemon and wanted to get Zekrom as a result. The thought of a Dragon/Electric Pokemon excited people due to the coverage granted by its STABs. The effectiveness of the combination was most prominently displayed by Latias and Latios in the 4th Generation, where they could pummel through a majority of the Uber metagame with Dragon Pulse and Thunder. And of course, who wasn't excited for an Uber Pokemon that could very likely OHKO Kyogre?
The first quality you might notice is Zekrom's typing. Dragon/Electric is awesome offensively, resisted only by Nattorei, Doryuuzu, Magnezone, and Steelix. The last two are almost nonexistent in the Uber metagame, especially Steelix, while Doryuuzu is moderately frail and can't take on Zekrom's powerful attacks repeatedly, leaving Nattorei as the only issue. However, Zekrom does have ways to deal with it, which I will get to later. In the meantime, Dragon/Electric hits many Ubers super effectively, including the omnipresent Dragon-type Pokemon (bar Dialga), Kyogre, Lugia, and Ho-Oh. Zekrom's typing isn't too shabby on the defensive side of things, resisting Water, Fire, Electric (4x), Steel, Grass, and perhaps most notably, Flying, which is not resisted by any other Uber except for Dialga and a few Arceus forms. Not much actually uses Flying-type attacks in Ubers, but Ho-Oh can do serious amounts of damage with Brave Bird if it is unresisted. On the sour side of things, Zekrom's typing leaves it vulnerable to three very common attacking types in Ubers: Ground, Ice, and Dragon.
But of course, what is Dragon/Electric useful for if it does not have other traits to back it up? Zekrom boasts a massive base 150 Attack and a great base 120 Special Attack, along with extremely powerful moves such as Outrage, Draco Meteor, and Lightning Strike, its signature move. Lightning Strike is a physical Electric-type attack that sports an incredible 130 Base Power and a passable 20% chance of paralysis. Its only downsides are the accuracy (though 85% isn't bad by any means, but it is a tad inaccurate), and the low PP of 5 (8 with PP Max). Zekrom's other stats are decent as well, possessing 100/120/100 HP/Defense/Special Defense and a passable base 90 Speed.
Take note of Zekrom's downsides, including its common weaknesses and moderately slow Speed. Its movepool is also very lackluster for an Uber Pokemon, but thankfully Zekrom learns just enough courtesy of its STABs and good overall raw stats to make it up.
Zekrom is perhaps one of the trickier Pokemon to differentiate from the other Dragon-type Ubers, particularly Rayquaza and Dialga. With that said, however, Zekrom can run a few sets that stand apart from the other Pokemon in the Uber metagame.
Zekrom is an excellent mixed attacker with Life Orb, courtesy of its impressive offenses and access to extremely powerful moves such as Draco Meteor and Lightning Strike. It possesses the ability to annihilate Blissey, Evolution Stone Chansey, and Ho-Oh, and threaten Lugia, something that other mixed attackers can only hope for. With the raw strength and the lack of severe drawbacks behind Lightning Strike, Arceus that take neutral (or super effective) damage from it will have an extremely hard time setting up and stalling Zekrom out. Draco Meteor leaves a serious dent on Groudon switch-ins and Focus Blast, though unreliable, can 2HKO Nattorei and Bulk Up Dialga. The lack of a Fire-type attack hurts Zekrom somewhat, but between the excellent coverage in its STAB moves, it usually won't care too much. Haban Berry is an option over Life Orb and allows Zekrom to bait other Dragons into their demise, but Zekrom loses a rather nasty amount of power in return.
Zekrom's most powerful set is the Choice Bander. This is due to the sheer damage output granted by its sky-high base 150 Attack and access to extremely powerful and complementary STAB moves, namely Lightning Strike and Outrage. Under the influence of Choice Band, Lightning Strike can leave scarring dents on even resistant Pokemon such as Dialga. To give you a picture of its power, Lightning Strike from Adamant Choice Band Zekrom does a very nasty 40.8%-48.3% to Max HP Dialga. However, as tempting as it is to fire off Lightning Strikes indiscriminately, it leaves Zekrom very vulnerable to Ground-type Pokemon such as Groudon and Garchomp. Starting out with Dragon Claw is often the safest choice. Sometimes, however, Dragon Claw's power may not be sufficient, so Zekrom might have to resort to using Outrage. Despite getting locked in (further worsened by Zekrom's middling Speed), the raw power of Outrage is tough to deny, able to 2HKO even the most defensive Groudon.
Zekrom can also use a Choice Scarf set to patch its middling Speed and act as a revenge killer. Although at first glance it may seem outclassed by Garchomp, Dialga and Palkia, it has a few qualities that set it apart from them. Its increased physical strength and access to Lightning Strike allow it to pummel through Mewtwo and Kyogre with ease, while posing a threat to Lugia, a common counter to most Choice Scarfers. It is also capable of 2HKOing 4 HP / 0 Defense Arceus with Outrage or Lightning Strike, while Garchomp, Dialga, and Palkia can be potentially walled by it. Zekrom also has access to Volt Change, which can be quite handy at times for keeping momentum and escaping from Wobbuffet, but must be wary of Ground-type Pokemon switching in and rendering the move useless. Speaking of Ground types, Groudon remains a large issue, as Outrage is only capable of 3-4HKOing it, while Groudon can OHKO Zekrom with Earthquake.
Let's recap Zekrom's flaws: It has a rather middling Speed, weaknesses to some of the most common attacks in the Uber metagame, and an extremely limited movepool. Despite its strength, Zekrom may find itself struggling to get past several Pokemon.
Nattorei is a very large threat to Zekrom, due to its high defenses and a rare resistance to both of Zekrom's STAB attacks. Nattorei can cripple Zekrom with Leech Seed and/or Thunder Wave, while setting up Spikes. Iron Thorns will also take a nibble at Zekrom's HP whenever it uses a contact move. However, Nattorei needs significant investment in its physical bulk in order to avoid being 3HKOed by Choice Band Lightning Strike or Outrage. Nattorei must also be wary of Focus Blast from the mixed set. A common threat to Zekrom is Groudon, who packs massive physical bulk and STAB Earthquake to annihilate Zekrom. However, Groudon needs to be wary of its powerful Draco Meteor and Choice Band Outrage, as both will 2HKO Groudon with ease. Ground Arceus, though somewhat rare, is perhaps the most devastating threat to Zekrom, being bulky enough to take a hit and fast enough to outrun and OHKO Zekrom with Earthquake or Judgment.
Prediction can take care of the mixed set. You can lure Zekrom into using Draco Meteor on an unintended target, leaving it powerless on the special side of things. At -2 Special Attack, Zekrom will struggle to get past Groudon and Nattorei. As stated previously, Zekrom has average Speed and can be revenge killed by the likes of Rayquaza, Garchomp, and Palkia, keeping it from steamrolling through teams.
Zekrom isn't exactly easy to fit in unfortunately, due to the presence of other Dragon-type Pokemon such as Dialga and Palkia who have admittedly more abusable resistances. As such, fitting Zekrom onto your team requires a good assessment of its roles, which are checking Ho-Oh and Heatran, and killing defensive Kyogre, as well as wallbreaking and acting as an excellent Groudon lure. If your team requires most of these, Zekrom will fit in and serve well.
As with just about every Pokemon in the game, entry hazards are important when using Zekrom. For instance, with the mixed set, Zekrom can KO Defensive Groudon using Dragon Claw + Draco Meteor with just one layer of either Toxic Spikes, Spikes, or Stealth Rock (though the last one requires Zekrom to have heavy investment in both Special Attack and Attack). The same Groudon is guaranteed to be 2HKOed by Choice Band Outrage after Stealth Rock damage. With one layer of Spikes and Stealth Rock, Zekrom can 2HKO specially defensive Nattorei with Lightning Strike + Focus Blast, as well as OHKOing physically defensive ones with Focus Blast. The same entry hazard setting also enables Zekrom to 2HKO specially defensive Nattorei with Choice Band Lightning Strike.
Since Zekrom is a grounded non Steel- or Poison-typed Pokemon, it is vulnerable to Spikes and Toxic Spikes. Toxic Spikes is especially bothersome and it gets in the way of its wallbreaking, so Rapid Spin support from Forretress and Doryuuzu is helpful.
Zekrom is blessed (and cursed) with the fact that it does not rely on the weather to inflict severe damage on targets where its Dragon-type attacks won't fare as well. Being resistant to Fire- and Water-type moves also helps.
With Zekrom's weaknesses, a good amount of defensive backups are needed to keep it alive. More than one Pokemon is required to absorb Dragon-, Ice- and Ground-type attacks. Groudon is a great teammate as it can take on physical Dragon- and Ground-type attacks, while setting up Stealth Rock to aid Zekrom. Furthermore, Groudon can utilize Thunder Wave to help make up for Zekrom's lackluster Speed. Groudon appreciates Zekrom's ability to take on defensive Kyogre, Ho-Oh (since even with Stone Edge, Groudon isn't a reliable way to defeat the flaming phoenix and can sometimes fall to Ho-Oh's strong attacks and stalling capabilities. It also helps to note that Groudon's Drought boosts the strength of enemy Ho-Oh, allowing it to wreak havoc on sun teams), and to an extent, Shaymin-S. Spikes-laying Pokemon such as Nattorei, Skarmory, and Forretress aid in Zekrom's killing power and can take a few Dragon-type attacks. Skarmory gets a particular nod as it is also immune to Ground-type attacks. Finally, there is one Pokemon in the game that resists all of Zekrom's weaknesses, Bronzong, making it an excellent teammate.
As mentioned before, Zekrom is an amazing Groudon lure. Pokemon such as Ho-Oh and Kyogre would love to see opposing Groudon gone. Zekrom's Electric resistance also helps to an extent, as both of these Pokemon are weak to Electric-type attacks.
Although Zekrom is perhaps not the most dangerous Uber Pokemon to come out, it is definitely something to note — whether you are facing one or are making a team. But enough reading this article—Zekrom is aching to enter the battlefield and impress (and hopefully not fail) you with its power and might.
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