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Electric is a type that finds itself sorely underrepresented in most metagames. On the one hand, Thunderbolt is one of the most useful coverage moves that many Pokemon can carry, and Pokemon such as Starmie and Jirachi heartily appreciate the coverage that it grants them. On the other hand, many Electric-types have large flaws that make them difficult or impossible to use in the higher tiers of play, such as Luxray's lack of movepool and middling Speed, or Lanturn's lack of reliable recovery. However, with the rise of Rotom-A, as well as the increased utility of Electric's resistance to Steel, Electric finds itself making a strong comeback in Platinum.
Offense is where Electric-types truly shine, especially in OU. Zapdos, with its 125 base Special Attack an 100 base Speed, hits like a truck with its STAB Thunderbolt. On top of that, Platinum gave it a powerful Heat Wave, which hits Grass-types and Steel-types harder than Hidden Power Ice or Thunderbolt respectively, allowing it to use Hidden Power Grass to hit Swampert if necessary. It can also Roost off Life Orb damage, or use Choice Scarf to be a powerful revenge killer.
While Rotom-A is most known for its defensive stats, it is still a top-notch offensive threat. 105 base Special Attack backed by a powerful STAB Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball lets Rotom-A hit foes hard, and 86 base Speed is quick enough to outpace many threats, especially with a Choice Scarf equipped. Rotom-A also gets a couple toys to play with, depending on which Forme its user chooses to use. Overheat hits Steel- and Grass-types like a truck, providing Rotom with high hit-and-run power when equipped with a Choice item. Leaf Storm does the same to Ground-types that can switch in on Rotom-A's Thunderbolts with impunity, and also heavily damages the omnipresent Tyranitar. Finally, Hydro Pump hits Ground-Types and Tyranitar hard as well, though it loses power against Swampert.
Zapdos makes a top-notch bulky attacker for many teams. Between 125 base Special Attack, 100 base Speed, and solid defenses, Zapdos easily has the stats to come in repeatedly and threaten teams. Its offensive movepool is small but effective, with the standard offensive set comprised of Thunderbolt, Heat Wave, Hidden Power Grass or Ice, and Roost. It can utilize a Life Orb to boost its damage output while easily healing off the damage with Roost, or it can use a Choice Scarf to become an efficient revenge killer or scouter with U-turn. It can also baton pass Agility with its respectable bulk, or use it to attempt a sweep on weakened teams.
Magnezone, with its 130 base Special Attack and Magnet Pull ability, is such an effective Skarmory counter that Skarmory, a top-notch wall, gives up its much-needed Leftovers 42.7% of the time simply to get away from it. It also serves as an effective tank, with more resistances than any Pokemon in the game, and 70/115/90 defenses that let it use those resistances to its advantage. It's used most often with Choice Scarf, which lets even a slow base 60 Speed Pokemon like Magneton outpace everything short of +natured base 115 Speed Pokemon. Finally, it can pack a punch on its way out with a strong Explosion, even off of its 70 base attack.
Jolteon continues to shine, as its base 130 Speed is always a blessing with threats such as Bulky Gyarados or Adamant DD Gyarados. Jolteon can stand out as either a Life Orb sweeper or as a powerful Choice Specs user, since its already top-notch Speed allows it to sweep many teams without a Choice Scarf user. It can also scout with dry Baton Passes, or use that Baton Pass to pass an Agility along to other team members.
Last, but not least, there's Electivire, which continues to hold on in OU despite the massive criticism that it receives. That said, it's not a bad Pokemon in the least. Its huge movepool gives it impeccable type coverage, and 123/95 offenses let it hit hard both physically and specially. On top of that, 95 base Speed gets it up to a fair clip, and it can use its Motor Drive ability to score a free +1 Speed Boost. Mixed variants are especially threatening, though they have to choose between between hitting Latias reliably with Ice Punch and hitting Salamence reliably with Hidden Power Ice.
Despite the fact that Electric-types boast three resistances to only a single weakness, the high distribution of Earthquake makes it iffy to use Electric-types defensively. Combine that with the general lack of Flying and Steel-type attacks, and Electric's resistances are rarely used to their fullest potential. For this reason, it's no coincidence that both of OU's premiere Electric-type defenders boast an immunity to Ground through either their secondary typing or ability.
Rotom-A is Platinum's biggest contribution to OU defense. Between a resistance to 3/4 of the common Scizor's movepool, its sparse weaknesses, and ability to beat most Rapid Spinners easily one-on-one, Rotom-A is a key way for stall or balance teams to handle many threats and keep hazards on the field. It also has a huge movepool, with offensive and defensive options out the ears. The only real downside is its tendency to be Tyranitar bait, but its superior Speed and access to Will-O-Wisp allows it to cripple Tyranitar on the way out, something Dusknoir is unable to do.
On the other hand, there is Zapdos. Between 90/85/90 defenses, resistances to Bug-, Fighting-, Grass-, Steel-, and Flying-type attacks, and only two weaknesses, and access to Roost, Zapdos can be an effective defensive threat. The most common defensive set is a set involving Substitute, Roost, and Toxic in tandem to stall opponents out. By using Substitute, Roost, and Pressure in tandem, Zapdos can often stall many opponents out of whatever super-effective attack they carry for Zapdos, especially Stone Edge with its meager eight PP. Zapdos can also phaze with Roost or paralyze opponents with Thunder Wave or Discharge.
It's impossible to mention Electric-type offense in UU without mentioning Raikou. Returning to UU after its brief stint in BL, Raikou can utilize its fantastic 115 base Special Attack and Speed to put the hurt on slower teams. Its movepool may be small, but often Raikou needs little other than Thunderbolt and Hidden Power to do its job effectively. Shadow Ball and Extrasensory can provide some coverage for sets that have empty moveslots, but they are rarely necessary. Moveset-wise, Raikou has a couple offensive options to choose from: it can use Calm Mind to boost its Special stats, becoming a powerful attacker with nigh-impenetrable defense on the special side, or it can use Choice Specs to simply blow holes in opposing teams that its teammates can walk through.
Electrode technically counts as an offensive "threat", but its main job is to prepare the field for the rest of its team. Being the fastest Rain Dance user in UU, Electrode is the most common lead for Rain Dance teams. Between Taunt, Rain Dance, and Explosion, Electrode can be a reliable lead for the extremely threatening Rain Dance teams.
Magneton's solid defenses, 13 resistances, and base 120 Special Attack make it easy to switch in and use to hit opposing teams hard. Magnet Pull finds less use in UU due to the most common Steel-types (Steelix and Registeel) being able to easily defeat Magneton one-on-one, but it can still function effectively with a Choice Scarf to counter or revenge kill many top threats in UU.
Rotom may not be the defensive behemoth that its big brother is in OU, but it can be just as effective offensively. 95/91 offenses are effective, and its dual STAB can threaten opponents more effectively than a mono-Electric-type. It also has three immunities to take advantage of, which makes Rotom much easier to switch into opposing teams than other Electric-types.
Manectric may be NU, and comes off as a low-rent Raikou, but it has one massive advantage that it can boast: Access to Flamethrower and Overheat. Its base 105 Special Attack are solid, and it can use Flamethrower or Overheat to hit Steel- and Grass-types hard. This gives Manectric the ability to use Hidden Power to cover other threats, resulting in vastly superior coverage for it. In the case that Raikou gets banned, Manectric can easily pick up the slack and more.
In UU, defensive Electric-types are essentially limited to Lanturn alone. Lanturn's Water/Electric-typing and access to Volt Absorb allows it to switch into a wide array of threats. Most notably, it possesses resistance to BoltBeam, which is one of the most potent offensive move pairings in the game. Thunder Wave and Discharge give it the ability to spread paralysis, which it can use for Parafusion with Confuse Ray or to support its team. It also has access to Heal Bell via the tutor from HeartGold and SoulSilver, which gives it an additional way to support teams.
There are plenty of defensive Electric-types in NU, but the only one that really stands out is Luxray. 80/79/79 defenses aren't exactly stellar, but combining Electric's resistances with Intimidate can result in an effective way to switch into many physical threats. However, its inability to utilize its base 120 attack effectively hurts its case a lot, but base 95 Special Attack can help make up for it.
ThunderPunch - 75 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - 10% Chance to paralyze target
ThunderPunch is now a major piece in any physical attacker's arsenal, now that Diamond/Pearl has given it the ability to deal physical damage. Metagross is its most effective user, using it on Agility sets to eliminate the troublesome Gyarados that walls its other attacks. Its distribution is also fantastic, as essentially anything with arms receives it through the Platinum move tutor.
Thunderbolt - 95 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - 10% chance to paralyze target
Featuring reliable power and accuracy, Thunderbolt is an effective weapon in the arsenal of any Pokemon with access to it. Forming half of the legendary BoltBeam coverage, Thunderbolt is widely used by many special-based Pokemon, such as Latias and Starmie, to provide powerful coverage on opposing Water-types that fill the metagame.
Thunder - 120 Base Power - 70% Accuracy - 30% chance to paralyze target, Has 100% accuracy in rain
Thunder provides 25% more power at the cost of 30% accuracy. Outside of Rain, Thunder is always an inferior choice. However, in rain, Thunder is a powerful move that boasts 100% accuracy and a 30% chance to inflict paralysis on opponents. Thunder finds its most common usage in Ubers, where Kyogre provides permanent rain, and is the most common reason to carry an Electric-type attack in Ubers.
Discharge - 80 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - 30% chance to paralyze target
Discharge trades power for the ability to inflict paralysis, and is often used on defensive Electric-types such as Rotom-A and Zapdos to provide paralysis support while still hitting opponents. It is also found on other Pokemon that receive it, such as Porygon2.
Charge Beam - 50 Base Power - 90% Accuracy - 70% chance to increase Special Attack by one stage
Charge Beam is often used as a last-ditch boosting move for Pokemon that have no other boosting options, such as Rotom-A. Its power is often nearly negligible, as it is slightly more than half the power of Thunderbolt, and rarely deals effective damage to the opponent. Still, Charge Beam can be useful for some Pokemon, and provides many Pokemon with an alternative boosting option.
Magnet Rise - --% Accuracy - Makes user immune to Ground-type moves for the next five turns
Magnet Rise is an interesting move, but often the sacrifice of an entire turn AND a moveslot is too high a price to pay, especially since Magnet Rise only lasts for five turns. Still, some Pokemon can take especially good advantage of it, such as Magneton trapping a slower Steel-type Pokemon with Earthquake such as Steelix or Registeel.
Thunder Wave - 100% Accuracy - Paralyzes the target
Paralysis is one of the most effective status ailments in the game, and Thunder Wave is the most reliable way to put it out. This move gets absolutely fantastic distribution, as not only does every single Electric-type learn it, but also many non-Electrics such as Celebi and Regirock. Paralysis absolutely cripples powerful, fast sweepers, so it can be an asset to both offensive and defensive teams. Remember, a paralyzed Salamence isn't sweeping any time soon, even if it does have a DD or two under its belt.
Electric is an interesting typing. Defensively, it packs numerous resistances with only one weakness, but since that one weakness belongs to the most common move in the game, Electric-types are often left in the dust defensively. However, they excel offensively, with reliable STAB, solid movepools, and often above-average Speed stats. When it comes down to it, Electric has always been one of the best offensive typings in OU since RBY, and it will continue to be one for generations to come.
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