Type Analysis: Electric

By PK Gaming. Art by Bummer.
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Art by Bummer


They're swift, flashy, and extremely stylish: in the realm of Pokémon, Electric-types are as cool as they come. In competitive play, Electric-types usually have high Speed and Special Attack, but they also tend to have meager defenses. They're strong against two types, Water and Flying, and weak to only one, the omnipresent Ground. On the offensive side of things, being super effective against only two types might seem off-putting, but the popularity of both Water and Flying means that Electric-types are never without utility. On the other hand, being weak to a single type might seem like a good thing, but considering how many commonly picked Pokémon pack Ground-type moves, that means that to an Electric-type, their kryptonite is everywhere. In short, Electric-types have always specialized in extremes. Some of the very best Pokémon in the game have been Electric-types, and some of the very worst have been Electric-types as well. It's all or nothing—flash or short-circuit.

Electric-types throughout the ages

In RBY, Electric-types were powerful, yet niche. They were fast and strong but could do very little against Ground-types. Or at least that was the case until a recent discovery changed things. With the nerf to Body Slam, those Ground-types that held Electric-types back have started to lose their appeal, giving Electric-types in RBY a chance to truly shine.

In GSC, Electric-types were easily at their peak. Zapdos and Raikou were considered by many to be the most dominant Pokémon in the metagame after Snorlax. Powerful, versatile, and fearsome, they were threats that every team had to account for if they wanted the best chance at seizing victory. Outside of the legendary Electric-types, Jolteon had a solid niche as a Baton Pass user, and Pikachu was effective if you wanted to make your opponent laugh until they timed out.

ADV was where things took a turn for a worse, as Dugtrio was granted an ability that would ruin most Electric-types: Arena Trap. Ground-types were always the natural enemies of Electric-types, but Electric-types found solace in the fact that they could always switch out if things got too rough. But now, Dugtrio could switch into their STAB moves of choice to trap and effortlessly KO them. Only Zapdos, which just so happened to be one of the most dominant Pokémon in the game, and Jolteon, via Baton Pass, could really escape its wrath. That said, Electric-types like Raikou still managed to hang on as solid threats in spite of Dugtrio, and Magneton's newly acquired Magnet Pull, which allowed it to trap and KO most Steel-types, was a nice boon.

Things started to look good again for Electric-types in DPP. The nefarious Dugtrio had started to lose its appeal in standard play, and Rotom-A (one of the most powerful and influential Pokémon ever to grace OU), which became a premier representative of Electric-types, was introduced. Furthermore, Zapdos and Jolteon stayed as strong as ever and retained their relevance in the competitive zeitgeist. Sure, Electivire ended up being a disappointment and ultimately even a bit of a joke, but as the first serious physical Electric-type, it wasn't a completely terrible effort.

While BW saw Zapdos and Jolteon take hits in effectiveness, Rotom-W was graced with a type change that turned it into one of the most dominant Pokémon in the game overnight. But it was the introduction of Thundurus that really took Electric-types to the next level. With stats in all the right places (with emphasis on that obnoxious base 111 Speed stat), a stellar movepool, and a terrific ability in Prankster, it was the closest approximation of a perfect special attacker to ever exist in standard play. It was ultimately banned from OU, and that would have been the end of it, until BW2 came along and provided the genies with alternate formes. Thundurus got a second chance at being in OU with its new Therian forme, which was even more powerful than its default forme at the cost of some points in Speed. Thundurus-T was a powerful threat that always worth considering, as it could completely swing games in its favor with a well-timed Agility or wallbreak like nobody's business with its Nasty Plot set. It's worth noting that BW introduced the most Electric-types out of any generation, with Zekrom (a solid Uber Pokémon), Eelektross (a niche, yet interesting Electric-type with no weaknesses), Zebstrika (a zebra), and Stunfisk (an abomination). BW also introduced Volt Switch, the special equivalent of U-turn. This aggravating move ended up creating an entirely new strategy (VoltTurn), and Electric-types had carte blanche on that move.

Electric-types in ORAS

Though not quite as dominant as they were in GSC, Electric-types are certainly regarded as one of the most powerful types in the standard metagame. The fast-paced nature of the metagame suits them well, as Electric-types love getting the drop on opposing Pokémon with their high Speed and powerful STAB moves. Resistance to key moves such as Brave Bird, Bullet Punch, and various Electric attacks give them utility beyond offense, and several of the most dominant Pokémon are weak to Electric. However, Electric-types are not without roadblocks: a plethora of Pokémon that resist Electric-type moves are a problem for one, particularly Hippowdon, whose immunity to Electric and great bulk in addition to reliable recovery make it a prime counter for nearly every Electric-type. Fortunately, Electric-types have a tendency of being able to break through their supposed checks and counters with their coverage moves. Some of them, such as Rotom-W and Mega Manectric, can use their primary coverage moves to power through their biggest checks, and of course, Hidden Power Ice grants Electric-types nearly flawless coverage (though the nerf to its Base Power has lessened its effectiveness significantly). With the exception of a few select examples, Electric-types aren't the sturdiest Pokémon in general and have difficulty switching into battle. Overall, their specialized stats and typing generally make them an asset for any team.

A closer look

On the upper end of OU, we have Thundurus: pretty much the gold standard when it comes to offensive threats thanks to its near-perfect arrangement of stats in conjunction with its movepool. If that wasn't enough, it can also function as a top-class disrupter with Prankster. Ironically, despite being a significant source of competition for most of its kin, its very existence in the metagame increases the desirability of other Electric-types, as their immunity to Thunder Wave and resistance to its primary STAB move make them viable checks to it. As for Mega Evolutions, we have Mega Manectric, whose Speed, coverage, and extremely handy ability in Intimidate make it one of the most well-rounded Pokémon in the metagame. It's weaker than your average Mega Evolution, but its value lies in its ability to perform multiple roles in a single match. It can check some of the most dangerous Pokémon in the game with its ability, swing momentum onto your side when given the opportunity, sweep late-game when teams have been sufficiently weakened, or even act as an emergency check to physical attackers. The next Electric-type worth mentioning is Rotom-W, a veritable superstar of a Pokémon that's been dominating since DPP. Its incredible combination of type, moveset, and ability allow it to be thrown on pretty much any team without decreasing its potency whatsoever. Though nowhere as essential as in BW, its ability to deal with a myriad of dangerous threats and avoid ceding the momentum still makes it one of the most valuable Pokémon in the game.

Magnezone goes about things differently from most other Electric-types. It's slower, beefier, and frankly ugly as sin, but it has an awesome ability in Magnet Pull ,which makes it THE de facto Steel-type killer. Considering that Steel-types like Skarmory often make up the defensive backbone of teams, Magnezone's ability to trap and KO them can make it one of the most dangerous Pokémon in the game. Magneton also manages to see use as an alternative to Magnezone with its higher Speed. It can outspeed faster Pokémon with Choice Scarf while still trapping Steel-types, making it a bit more effective against offense. Though seemingly unimpressive in comparison to Mega Manectric and Thundurus, Raikou manages to stand out from the other similarly offensive Electric-types with its access to Calm Mind and the fact that it frees up the Mega slot. It makes good use of its Speed, which lets it act ahead of common threats, though it's ultimately held back by its meager movepool. Zapdos functions similarly to Rotom-W in that its spread of stats, moveset, and typing make it a solid answer to some of the metagame's biggest threats (in addition to being a nifty Defog user), but it's more limited in what it can do.

On the lower end of the OU spectrum, we have Thundurus-T. It boasts tremendous power, but its Speed just doesn't cut it, and it can be quite unwieldy at times. Having to compete for a team slot with the Golden Boy of OU, Thundurus, doesn't help either, though it manages to stand out in a select few situations (for one, its niche using a Double Dance set, is uncontested). Mega Ampharos is an interesting choice, provided your team isn't pressed for a Mega Pokémon; its unique typing, bulk, and access to Mold Breaker make it a slow yet powerful wallbreaker with decent defensive utility.

Electric-types versus the World

In case you didn't know by now, Electric-types are super effective against two types, and their STAB moves are resisted by four. While four might seem like an average number in terms of resistances, in practice, a significant portion of the metagame resists Electric. To be more specific, there are various Pokémon that are immune to Electric, such as Excadrill, Garchomp, and Hippowdon; resistant against Electric, such as Mega Altaria, Latios, and Ferrothorn; or special tanks that can shrug off Electric-type moves pretty easily, such as Chansey and Tyranitar. What this means is that it's relatively easy for a team to deal with Electric-type moves. Fortunately, Electric-types have their ways of mitigating this problem using coverage moves. Ground-types like Garchomp and Landorus-T can take on Electric attacks all day, but they're not too keen on taking a Hidden Power Ice to the face. Similarly, Tyranitar and Ferrothorn can easily get in the way of Electric-types, but even they will crumble to a well-timed Focus Blast or Overheat. Unfortunately, Electric-types' coverage moves tend to have limits. One such prominent limit is Hidden Power Ice's low Base Power, which prevents it from being maximally effective against Pokémon that are weak to it. For example, Latias and Hippowdon are technically weak to Ice, but they are more than capable of easily taking multiple blows from Hidden Power Ice from even the strongest of Electric-types. Similarly, Focus Blast (poor accuracy) and Overheat (limited distribution and stat-decreasing recoil) have flaws that prevent them from being solid coverage moves as well.

If that was all there was to Electric-types on the offensive side, they wouldn't be anything to write home about, but in practice they manage to stand out for a few key reasons.

For one, Electric is effective against several key Pokémon in OU: Manaphy, Azumarill, Keldeo, Gyarados, Talonflame, Tornadus-T, Skarmory, Slowbro, and Starmie are just some of the staples of OU that are vulnerable to Electric-type attacks. Furthermore, some of the sturdiest Pokémon in the game tend to be vulnerable to Electric-types in one way or another as well, either through direct weakness, like Slowbro and Skarmory, or via coverage moves, like Landorus-T and Ferrothorn. Electric-types are also effective against common defensive cores; once the Electric-type check has been removed, it's easy for Electric-types to cleave through teams like a bolt of lightning splitting the sea.

Notable Moves


All in all, Electric has consistently been a type with clear advantages and drawbacks. Though they possess the ability to dish out some serious damage in any given match, there's also a chance of getting completely stopped cold before they can so much as generate a spark in equal measure. They tend to be fragile and difficult to use at times, but their speed and power have demanded respect for generations and will likely continue to do so for generations to come.

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