Alakazam (Tradebacks OU) [QC 1/2] [GP 0/2]

Plague von Karma

Banned deucer.

Alakazam received some serious upgrades in Tradebacks OU, possessing the elemental punches to give it coverage outside of Seismic Toss. However, its usual roles remain: Alakazam is a strong lead, revenge killer, and paralysis support guru, all thanks to its formidable Speed allowing it to outrun even Persian, which also gives it a fantastic critical hit rate. Indeed, Alakazam's offense allows it to close out end-games very quickly if left unparalyzed. With effectively no weaknesses thanks to its type being the best in the game, Alakazam is also strong defensively; it stonewalls Pokemon like Chansey with startling efficiency and cancels out opposing Psychic-types like Starmie, Hypno, and opposing Alakazam. These traits culminate to form a strong, multi-faceted threat that can be used at any stage of the game with few truly losing matchups.

However, Alakazam is not flawless, as its defensive bulk is very poor. If paralyzed, while it's an amazing sleep blocker thereafter, it's also very vulnerable to Pokemon like Snorlax and Tauros, which eat it alive. Furthermore, Psychic's PP only goes so far, and this is what defines Alakazam: It must be used conservatively. Alakazam has a very difficult time breaking past the mandatory Chansey without a mix of full paralysis, critical hits, and Special drops, and even if it succeeds, due to PP, it's not going to sweep thereafter. Alakazam also finds itself cancelled out by opposing Psychic-types that are only concerned by Seismic Toss, which, similar to Chansey, often goad it into prolonged interactions that leave it with little attacking PP thereafter.

name: Standard
move 1: Psychic
move 2: Seismic Toss / Thunder Punch / Ice Punch
move 3: Thunder Wave
move 4: Recover

Set Description

Alakazam's Psychic is nothing to scoff at, dealing massive damage to anything that doesn't resist it, with Special drops that turn 3HKO ranges into 2HKOs frequently. For scale, Psychic can potentially 2HKO Rhydon, Persian, and even Tauros if a Special drop is at play. Alakazam's Speed makes its Thunder Wave largely uncontested in many instances, forcing slower Pokemon like Starmie and Gengar out if they wish to remain threatening later. Recover's 32 PP gives Alakazam formidable longevity, ensuring it can remain offensively threatening for formidable periods of time.

The choice of coverage for Alakazam in Tradebacks OU requires a good bit of forethought. Seismic Toss remains its most consistent option: its consistent damage and the low HP of opposing Alakazam and Starmie means it should win most interactions against Psychic resists. It also makes Exeggutor far more inclined to Explode if even one connects, as it lacks recovery. Thunder Punch allows Alakazam to be far stronger against Starmie, 2HKOing it with even a tiny bit of prior chip damage. It also improves Alakazam's matchups against Vaporeon, Lapras, Cloyster, Articuno, and Aerodactyl. Ice Punch functions similarly, improving Alakazam's matchups against Exeggutor, Rhydon, Dragonite, and Aerodactyl. It also lets Alakazam fish for freeze against Chansey, which acts as another out when being walled. However, if running the new elemental punches, Alakazam will always lose to something unless it drops its trusty Thunder Wave: running Psychic + Thunder Punch means it loses to Exeggutor, while Psychic + Ice Punch means it loses to Starmie and gets set up on by Slowbro and Vaporeon. Simply put, they improve its consistency in some matchups but forfeit others, so they should be used in cases where a less consistent but more potent Alakazam is affordable.

Alakazam makes for a strong lead, as it can paralyze virtually any other before they can make a move. Gengar, Persian, Starmie, and more tend to be forced out; if it isn't for the Thunder Wave, it's for Alakazam's devastating Psychic. This is usually to Chansey, which absorbs Thunder Wave well and can threaten with Sing thereafter, so context clues may be necessary to decide on the appropriate course of action. If faced with a sleep lead like Gengar, Jynx, or Hypnosis Persian and Rapidash, then Alakazam is content with taking sleep, as it can easily wake up against opposing Psychic-types like Exeggutor, Hypno, and opposing non-Seismic Toss Alakazam. Chansey is also relatively easy to wake up on if it lacks Seismic Toss. Given its speed and power, Alakazam is also usable in the back as a strong late-game cleaner. The elemental punches let Alakazam excel here so long as its teammates remove the checks it's weaker against. Starmie makes for a strong partner here, making use of the coverage Alakazam lacks to form a concentrated offensive core with a hell of a backbone. In the case Alakazam is used in the back, it should avoid paralysis in most situations, though defaulting to strategies involving status absorption is acceptable if the game state dictates it. An open, adaptive mind is essential for succeeding with Alakazam.

Other Options

Alakazam's movepool is deeper than it seems, making customization very possible. Generally, Psychic and Recover should never be dropped, as they are the roots of its power and longevity. Sets using two of Seismic Toss, Thunder Punch, and Ice Punch are possible if dropping Thunder Wave, but this significantly reduces its threat level against Pokemon like Tauros, which become capable of trading hits with it once the set is revealed. All things considered, Alakazam's single coverage moveslot is the most droppable, and anything further than that is ill-advised.

Barrier is a significant upgrade to the classic Reflect Alakazam set from regular RBY OU, letting Alakazam stack Defense buffs and reapply the Speed drop from Thunder Wave paralysis. These traits make it a lot stronger against Pokemon like Snorlax long-term, and because it can reapply the paralysis Speed drop, its own paralysis-absorbing antics are far more effective. However, all of this comes with a crucial caveat: it has to drop its coverage, leaving it with just 16 attacking PP in Psychic, which is generally undesirable in a metagame with high bulk and lots of recovery. If its checks are removed, though, Barrier Alakazam can spark end-game scenarios that are very difficult for opponents to dig out of.

Counter gives Alakazam more utility against opposing Seismic Toss Alakazam, severely damaging it if it lands. It also has utility against Pokemon like Snorlax, which can't OHKO Alakazam without extremely strong attacks like Hyper Beam. Outside of this, bringing in Alakazam after a Pokemon like Tauros has KOed something to threaten paralysis and instead go for Counter allows it to severely damage a switch-in, possibly even land a free KO.

Checks and Counters

**Physical Attackers**: Alakazam's squishy defensiveness makes it highly vulnerable to physical attacks if paralyzed. Tauros, Persian, Rhydon, and Snorlax all mortally threaten it on this front, especially if switching in on a recovery turn. If Alakazam has taken even minor damage, all of these Pokemon are capable of threatening it with a KO.

**Psychic-types**: Because it conventionally relies on Psychic, Alakazam tends to find itself in awkward situations against opposing Psychic-types, with them sort of cancelling each other out. While its elemental punches can allow it to specialise in defeating Starmie, Slowbro, or Exeggutor quickly, it can still find itself walled in various situations, and prolonged interactions involving Seismic Toss can result in it being messed up by repeated full paralysis. Surf variants of Starmie can be particularly dicey, with critical hits dealing massive damage. Plus, if the opposing team has more than one Psychic-type, or a Chansey to go with it, the opponent can mitigate Special drops from Psychic by switching between them.

**Chansey**: Chansey is a royal pain for Alakazam, healing off any damage Alakazam dishes out thanks to its monstrous Special bulk and access to Soft-Boiled. In lead situations, Chansey also likes to switch in on turn 1 to take paralysis and put Alakazam to sleep as well. However, even with just Psychic, Alakazam can force its way through with a mix of critical hits, Special drops, and repeated full paralysis, albeit with a significant hit to its attacking PP. If running Ice Punch, Alakazam is more than happy to take paralysis and fish for a freeze, which can potentially be game-winning on its own.

**Exeggutor**: Exeggutor resists Psychic and is willing to at least take paralysis if it means putting Alakazam to sleep. If Alakazam isn't running Seismic Toss or Ice Punch, Exeggutor also shrugs off any damage taken, giving it more opportunities to incapacitate Alakazam. Furthermore, Stun Spore + Headbutt variants are very capable of cheesing Alakazam in general, or if it switches out later, leaving it ruined by paralysis for the rest of the game.

**Slowbro**: Slowbro would love nothing more than to trade a Thunder Wave with Alakazam, set up Amnesia to reapply the Speed drop from paralysis to become faster, and than just blow past and deal massive damage to the opposing team. If Alakazam has Thunder Punch, it can often win out short-term with a 3HKO or win out later with critical hits. Seismic Toss also works for forcing Slowbro to Rest after two hits, which leaves it open for a stronger attacker to come in and defuse the situation.

- Written by: [[May, 236353]]
- Quality checked by: [[Torchic, 43049], [, ]]
- Grammar checked by: [[, ], [, ]]
Last edited:

Plague von Karma

Banned deucer.
Implemented a point from DMs with Torchic about switching between Psychics/Chansey to get rid of Special drops with little punishment. Ready for the next QC from someone!


I did it again
is a Site Content Manager Alumnusis a Senior Staff Member Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
May isn't around anymore, so moving this to Lock/Outdated Analyses. Feel free to reserve this one! Thread has been updated to reflect this.

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