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Pikachu is the mascot of Pokemon and glass cannons alike. With Light Ball, few Pokemon on traditional offense teams are able to reliably switch into it. It threatens the tier's numerous Water- and Flying-types, and, unlike other Electric-types like Ampharos, it has Surf to 2HKO Ground-types like Nidoqueen and Piloswine. Pikachu's Speed is quite good too, surpassing threats such as Qwilfish, Kabutops, and Gyarados while tying with Mr. Mime. As a result, Pikachu is one of the scariest Pokemon to give free turns, possibly only being outdone in this regard by the dominant Scyther. However, its atrocious bulk leaves it taking heavy damage from almost every attack and OHKOed by any STAB Earthquake. While Pikachu is very powerful, it can fail to significantly damage threats like Hypno, Chansey, and Ampharos, which can threaten it in return. It faces competition from other, more reliable Electric-types such as Electabuzz, which has much better bulk and Speed. Pikachu‘s reliance on Light Ball also means Thief completely ruins it, and, while its Speed is good, it's slower than threats like Dodrio, Scyther, and Haunter. Pikachu is inconsistent, but it is still capable of destroying teams.
move 1: Substitute
move 2: Thunderbolt / Thunder
move 3: Surf
move 4: Hidden Power Ice / Swagger / Sing
item: Light Ball
Substitute makes use of Pikachu's good Speed and punishes foes for using Sleep Talk or trying to pivot around Pikachu's attacks. Thunderbolt gives consistent damage and threatens Flying- and Water-types such as Scyther, Slowbro, Slowking, Blastoise, and Qwilfish. Alternatively, Thunder is incredibly powerful and has a chance to OHKO Slowbro, 2HKO Mr. Mime, and even 2HKO Hypno after Spikes, but its lower accuracy combined with Pikachu's fragility makes it quite risky. Surf crucially 2HKOes the very common Nidoqueen as well as Piloswine and Sandslash, three usually big roadblocks for Electric-types. Hidden Power Ice hits Grass-types such as Bellossom, Victreebel, and Vileplume, which otherwise wall Pikachu. Swagger synergizes very well with Substitute and other status conditions from teammates, letting Pikachu potentially break through certain foes it normally struggles to. Sing is also an option, and it can be game changing if it hits a foe such as Chansey or Quagsire, but it does have very poor accuracy. Pikachu is tough to switch in, often requiring carefully switching in on double switches or non-attacking moves.
Pikachu is generally tough to fit onto teams due to its flaws and inability to break through certain foes. Its best fit is on offensive teams. Nidoqueen is a very good partner for Pikachu, as it can switch into and threaten most of Pikachu's usual checks such as Chansey and Ampharos, while Pikachu can threaten Water-types that trouble Nidoqueen. Spikes support from Qwilfish is also very useful, maximizing the pressure Pikachu exerts. Other powerful offensive Pokemon such as Scyther, Mr. Mime, and Haunter work with Pikachu to overwhelm opponents and fit well on offensive teams. In addition, Mr. Mime can cripple one of Pikachu's answers with Thief or Hypnosis, while Haunter can remove one of Pikachu's checks with Explosion. Rapid Spin support from Blastoise or Graveler is useful for removing Spikes, seeing as Pikachu can't hold Leftovers and will get worn down quickly by Substitute. Light Screen and Reflect support brings Pikachu into battle more easily, so Pokemon such as Hypno work well with it. Pikachu's bulk means it's not a good option for switching into STAB Surf from Water-types, so Pokemon that can come in and threaten them such as Mr. Mime, Ampharos, and Bellossom make good choices.
Encore is a very useful option for stopping setup sweepers and providing useful utility in general with Pikachu's good Speed, but it is unfortunately illegal with both Surf and Substitute. Pikachu can change its Hidden Power type, with Hidden Power Fire hitting Magneton hard and Hidden Power Grass OHKOing Quagsire, but these are usually less useful than Hidden Power Ice due to lower DVs and losing out on heavy damage against Gligar and Jumpluff. Thunder Wave can be used to spread paralysis, but Pikachu should largely be used to attack, and you're better off using a better paralysis spreader such as Jumpluff or Hypno. Pikachu can run Attract over Swagger; it should change its gender to female, since most Pokemon are male for higher Attack DVs. Unfortunately, this makes Attract fail against Nidoqueen and Chansey.
Checks and Counters
**Ampharos**: Ampharos completely walls Pikachu thanks to its resistance to Thunder and great bulk, and it's also able to set up Light Screen for its teammates to switch into Pikachu more easily. It also runs RestTalk most of the time, meaning Sing won't do much to it.
**Specially Bulky Pokemon**: Chansey's huge special bulk makes it a very reliable Pikachu answer, and it can threaten Pikachu with Present. Chansey does have to be careful of a potential Sing, though. Hypno has a low chance of being 3HKOed by Pikachu's Thunderbolt, and it can either set up Light Screen or cripple Pikachu with Thunder Wave. Hypno is potentially 2HKOed by Thunder after Spikes, though, and Pikachu can break through variants without RestTalk.
**Ground-types**: Quagsire solidly checks Pikachu as long as it's not running the uncommon Hidden Power Grass, since Quagsire is a Ground-type not weak to Surf and OHKOes Pikachu in return. However, it is crippled by Sing. Nidoqueen, Sandslash, and Piloswine are also able to pivot in and OHKO Pikachu with Earthquake, but they are all 2HKOed by Surf. Generally, Ground-types don't have the longevity to check Pikachu long term with Spikes up.
**Grass-types**: Bellossom, Vileplume, and Victreebel resist Thunder and Surf and can threaten Pikachu with status and their attacks, but they are shaky checks due to their weakness to Hidden Power Ice. Jumpluff can ruin Pikachu with paralysis or sleep and use Encore to disrupt it before and after it uses Substitute, but it's hit very hard in return and is less consistent at switching in than other Grass-types.
**Thief**: Pikachu relies entirely on Light Ball to be viable, so Thief from Pokemon such as Mr. Mime, Scyther, and Electabuzz invalidates it.
**Faster Pokemon**: Pokemon such as Dodrio, Scyther, and Haunter don't want to switch into Pikachu, but they make effective revenge killers. Dodrio almost OHKOes Pikachu with Double-Edge, Scyther deals heavy damage with Hidden Power Ground, and Haunter can hit hard with Psychic while also threatening an OHKO with Explosion, or Destiny Bond if Pikachu is behind a Substitute. Electrode and Electabuzz resist Pikachu's Electric-type attacks and threaten it in return, with Electrode notably being able to set up Light Screen and threaten an OHKO with Explosion.
- Written by: [[Holly, 508601]]
- Quality checked by: [[Earthworm, 12510], [Century Express, 234737]]
- Grammar checked by: [[Finland, 517429], [CryoGyro, 331519]]
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