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Alakazam is definitely an "ugly duckling" Pokemon. You have to endure painful hours of Abra with Teleport, and then after you finally get your precious Kadabra, you need to trade it, meaning to get the mustached marvel, you either need to have 2 consoles or "friends".... Sucks doesn't it? Well, the kids that could afford 2 consoles or had friends got to use Alakazam! Alakazam has a pair of bad-ass spoons, and a mustache which is on par with its incredible offensive stats. In RBY, Alakazam was a force to be reckoned with, but ever since then, it's been nothing but bad news, because every new generation brought more problems for it to overcome and almost nothing new to play with. Recently, Alakazam has been shamefully sitting in the UU tier, safe from Tyranitar, Blissey, and Scizor. After years of suffering, though, Game Freak finally gave Alakazam a break, handing it arguably one of the best abilities in the game! With Magic Guard, Alakazam can avoid entry hazard and weather damage, use a Life Orb without suffering from recoil, or use a Focus Sash to give itself a second life! Our mustached marvel can finally hold its head up high, and be proud of the fact that it brings so much terror to its tier, even if that tier is UU...........................
It's no secret that Alakazam boasts amazing Special Attack, and in earlier generations, that was all it needed. However, as each generation went by, the game became more and more diverse and eventually its offenses alone weren't enough. Abilities really trolled Alakazam hard as they only made it more useful in-game. Those generations spent dreaming for something more payed off, however, because Alakazam was finally blessed with Magic Guard and can strike fear in the eyes of its opponents once more. While Magic Guard is usually seen as an amazing boost for defensive Pokemon like Clefable, it is also the ultimate offensive tool. Alakazam can use a Life Orb without any recoil, which is almost like having Choice Specs without being locked into an attack. No Life Orb recoil means that Alakazam isn't worn down fast, and it is also oblivious to entry hazards, weather, and status damage from Toxic or Will-O-Wisp. What does this mean? It means that Alakazam is a royal pain in stall's ass! Alakazam can take advantage of Magic Guard in a different way, by using a Focus Sash too. Being immune to entry hazards and weather means that Alakazam basically has a second life when equipped with a Focus Sash, and can become the ultimate revenge killer. With all the Magic Guard hype, it's easy to overlook Alakazam's fantastic movepool. Psychic, Shadow Ball, and Focus Blast have perfect coverage, and let's face it: Alakazam wouldn't be sweeping any time soon with a horrible movepool, would it?
Alakazam is a bit of a glass cannon; it comes in and hits like a truck, but will be KOed by anything that isn't piss weak. The only thing difficult about Alakazam is finding a time to switch it in, because of its weak defenses. Once you do that, the fun begins. Since the hardest part is getting in to attack, the best course of action is to either lead off with Alakazam or try double switching. Both are risky, but even if you don't want to play it risky, you can always bring it in after something is KOed. People commonly send a hazard Pokemon like Roserade or a weather Pokemon like Abomasnow out first, and these are Pokemon that Alakazam will mostly OHKO. Because Alakazam OHKOes so many Pokemon, leading with it immediately puts the pressure on the opponent. If you have an advantageous lead match-up, immediately use Substitute, anticipating a switch. Even if the opponent switches to a resist, Alakazam will most likely 2HKO the switch-in thanks to its amazing 3 move coverage (barring Escavalier). If you're successful, your opponent won't be able to take out Alakazam without losing at least one Pokemon. Alakazam can also take advantage of the abundance of Roserade and Hitmontop and use them as an opportunity to cause terror. Roserade commonly switches in on bulky Water-types in an attempt to set up, and if you use this to your advantage by switching to Alakazam as Roserade comes in, your opponent will be in serious trouble. Hitmontop is in the same boat, as it can only hit Alakazam with Sucker Punch, which can be blocked with Substitute. Also, make sure that Pursuit users are eliminated before you try to sweep. Having a Substitute up when you kill something is OK though, because you'll have a free shot at the Pursuiter, or in the case of Escavalier, it's a get-out-of-jail-free card!
After hearing me ramble on about how amazing Alakazam is, you might be a bit discouraged, but you shouldn't. Alakazam is amazing, but it's not unbeatable. It is extremely difficult to play around, because it isn't worn down by residual damage. However, a well-placed switch can send Alakazam to its grave. One effective strategy is to switch to Sableye as it uses Psychic (and break its Substitute at this point, if necessary), and then switch to Stoutland to take the incoming Shadow Ball. Is it just me, or are mustaches dominating UU? Krookodile can switch into Psychic and get a sneaky OHKO with Pursuit, but it'll be in trouble if Alakazam decides to use Substitute. Some Pokemon can hard counter Alakazam on their own. Escavalier, Spiritomb, Sableye, and Snorlax can all take care of Alakazam before it does too much damage, but just make sure to keep them at full health if you see it in Team Preview. You might think that having to dedicate a whole Pokemon to countering Alakazam is a bit far, but it's extremely advisable if you don't want to lose the majority of your battles. Besides, the aforementioned Pokemon have plenty of utility outside of cock-blocking Alakazam. You should also bear something in mind; if an opposing Alakazam seems like it isn't hitting that hard, then it probably has a Focus Sash. If this is the case then you should break its Focus Sash ASAP, because it might otherwise prevent a Pokemon like Stoutland or Krookodile from pulling off a sweep. This is also an important point to keep in mind when revenge killing Alakazam, because the aforementioned Pokemon will be OHKOed by Focus Blast if Alakazam has a Focus Sash instead of a Life Orb. That is, if Focus Blast doesn't miss.....
Alakazam doesn't fit onto teams, teams fit onto Alakazam! Alakazam won't have much trouble fitting onto many teams due to its great offensive capabilities and glorious mustache. It can sweep effectively without any support, so it can be easily slotted onto any kind of team. Still, if you want Alakazam to be the pivotal Pokemon on your team, then there's a few things that you'll need to consider:
One of the best things about Alakazam is that it doesn't take entry hazard damage. This means that it can't be worn down and can switch in as many times as it likes, and it can also always keep a Focus Sash intact if it chooses to run one. On the offensive side, Alakazam obviously appreciates entry hazards to weaken opponents, which helps it to gain KOs that it wouldn't normally get. Stealth Rock stops annoying Pokemon like Darmanitan from switching in and U-turning to scare Alakazam away by punishing them every time they switch in. With Roserade being everywhere, Spikes are very important, and it's easy to get a few layers up, which will go a long way when sweeping with Alakazam. Another factor that aids Alakazam's sweeping capabilities is weather. Weather is almost like a hazard in itself, chipping away at the opponents health, or cancelling out Leftovers recovery at the very least, while Alakazam gets away squeaky clean! If you manage to get a few layers of hazards up, and weather in play, then you'll find that Alakazam will sweep much more smoothly.
Alakazam can tear through the bulk of UU with a stroke of its mustache and a flick of its spoons, but has problems with bulkier Pokemon. The best course of action is to set up a plethora of entry hazards to soften up the bigger targets, so they become less of a problem. Roserade and Hippowdon are both perfect at this. The former can take advantage of bulky Water-types and set up Spikes while healing off any damage taken with a combination of Rest and Natural Cure, while the latter can tank almost any hit and set up Stealth Rock as well as summoning sandstorm, which is also helpful for wearing down opponents. Faster Pokemon like Jolteon, Crobat, Stoutland, and anything with a Choice Scarf can outspeed and revenge kill Alakazam, because it's lighter than air. A Pokemon to eliminate these Pokemon is an advisable teammate. Stoutland is a perfect example, because it outspeeds all of these fragile Pokemon and can KO them with ease! Alakazam's biggest concern, however, is its hard counters. Snorlax, Sableye, Spiritomb, Escavalier, and Pursuit users such as Krookodile usually switch into Alakazam with a grin and a huge middle finger. An extremely effective strategy in crippling these Pokemon is to use a lure, such as Mismagius with Substitute and Will-O-Wisp. After seeing Mismagius use Substitute, the opponent will go to their counter, only to be slapped in the face with a crippling burn. Luckily for Alakazam, the two have very similar counters.
Alakazam is so powerful and easy to use that it just isn't funny. There's almost no reason not to use him. Seriously, if you aren't using Alakazam, you're doing it wrong... Just remember to pair it with something to take its counters out of the picture before you bring it out, and you'll be sweeping in no time!
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