**art by me**
Raikou is one of the premier Calm Mind users in RarelyUsed thanks to its great stats and decent movepool, allowing it to take on a multitude of threats. Its great Speed means it can outpace most of the biggest threats in RarelyUsed, including Ninetales, Espeon, and Virizion, and Speed tie with Zygarde-10%. Its amazing Special Attack, powered up by Calm Mind as well as Z-Moves, allows Raikou to punch massive holes in just about everything in the tier for neutral damage with just Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Ice as well as its various coverage options like Aura Sphere, Extrasensory, and Shadow Ball. Its good bulk also allows it to be an effective user of Substitute, which can allow it to safely set up. Raikou is also a very versatile and unpredictable Pokemon; it can also be a decent wallbreaker with Choice Specs, a revenge killer with Choice Scarf, or a pivot with Assault Vest and can utilize many different Z-Crystals with its Calm Mind sets. However, while Raikou has decent mixed bulk for an offensive Pokemon, its noticeably lower Defense stat means that it's vulnerable to being revenge killed by Pokemon like Choice Scarf Tyrantrum, Assault Vest Machamp, Arcanine, and especially Ground-type coverage move users. Despite Raikou's high offensive stats, its damage output is rather unimpressive without a boost or a Z-Crystal, which can potentially leave it walled by common special walls such as Florges, Snorlax, and Goodra. It is also prone to being worn down by entry hazards and Toxic, which can shorten its sweep and reduce the number of times it can use Substitute. Despite these few shortcomings, Raikou is still unparalleled as an Electric-type in RarelyUsed.
name: Substitute + Calm Mind
move 1: Substitute
move 2: Calm Mind
move 3: Thunderbolt
move 4: Hidden Power Ice
evs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Substitute gives Raikou a safety net against incoming attacks and status conditions so that it can set up with Calm Mind. Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Ice combined give Raikou perfect coverage to hit everything in RarelyUsed for neutral damage. Hidden Power Grass can be run instead to hit Pokemon like Rhyperior, Seismitoad, and Gastrodon much harder, but forgoing Hidden Power Ice does make Raikou struggle against Grass- and Dragon-types such as Shaymin, Goodra, and Dragalge. Raikou can still set up against Roserade and Venusaur if they switch into a Calm Mind, however.
Timid is the preferred nature so that Raikou can be as fast as possible with maximum Speed investment. Pressure combined with Substitute can give Raikou an edge in PP stalling wars. Leftovers provides passive recovery that can help keep Raikou healthy as well as compensate for the HP lost from using Substitute.
Raikou can perform its role all throughout a match. In the early stages of a battle, it can scout the foe's set by setting up Substitute. Late-game, after its checks and counters have been softened or taken out, Raikou can clean up with Calm Mind. Make absolutely sure Raikou is healthy when it is ready to begin sweeping. Poison from Toxic puts it on a timer and limits the number of times it can use Substitute. Unlike all-out offensive Calm Mind sets, this Raikou can set up Calm Mind in front of Toxic users such as Registeel, Bronzong, and Mandibuzz thanks to Substitute. Keep in mind that Hidden Power in general is a weak coverage move and can do lackluster damage to its target, whether it's against Rhyperior, Seismitoad, or Shaymin, so make sure that those Pokemon are weakened first. To bring Raikou safely into battle, bring it in via a pivot, on an aggressive double switch, or after a partner has fainted.
Pivots like Flygon, Mandibuzz, and Forretress can help bring Raikou safely into battle. Forretress can also set up Spikes so that Raikou can net KOs it couldn't before. Pokemon such as Mega Blastoise, Shaymin, and Donphan can help keep Ground-types in check. Donphan and Mega Blastoise can also clear entry hazards away for Raikou. Raikou also appreciates Grass- and Dragon-types checks as partners. Salazzle, Gardevoir, and Florges are good examples of Pokemon to pair with Raikou in this regard. Physical wallbreakers such as Zygarde-10%, Metagross, and Machamp are also good partners for Raikou because they threaten the special walls that can stop Raikou from sweeping. A cleric or Healing Wish user like Vaporeon, Shaymin, or Gardevoir can heal Raikou in case it has been poisoned or taken damage prior from when it's ready to sweep.
name: Calm Mind + 3 Attacks
move 1: Calm Mind
move 2: Thunderbolt
move 3: Aura Sphere
move 4: Hidden Power Ice
item: Fightinium Z
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Calm Mind can turn Raikou into a potentially threatening late-game cleaner. Thunderbolt is Raikou's most consistent STAB move, dealing decent damage to a wide number of targets. Hidden Power Ice allows Raikou to hit Pokemon that resist Thunderbolt such as Roserade, Virizion, and Zygarde-10%. Hidden Power Grass can be run instead of Hidden Power Ice to deal more damage to Pokemon like Rhyperior and Seismitoad, but this can make Raikou struggle against Pokemon like Roserade and Dragalge. Aura Sphere does more damage to Pokemon like Registeel, Snorlax, and Rhyperior. Hyper Beam paired with Normalium Z can be run instead to deal massive damage to anything that doesn't resist it, ideally Grass- or Dragon-types like Virizion, Venusaur, and Goodra.
Fightinium Z turns Aura Sphere into an All-Out Pummeling that can OHKO Rhyperior and Tyrantrum, 2HKO Registeel, Metagross, and Snorlax at +1, and deal 50% to Bronzong at +1. Because Aura Sphere is an event-exclusive move, Raikou is nature locked to always be Rash. Timid should be run instead if Raikou chooses to run Normalium Z + Hyper Beam so that Raikou doesn't miss out on outspeeding Espeon or Virizion. Maximum Special Attack and Speed investment allows Raikou to hit as hard and fast as possible. Keep in mind with Rash that Raikou is outsped by Pokemon such as Zygarde-10%, Virizion, and Lycanroc-D, but it still can outspeed Ninetales. Pressure is Raikou's only ability, but this set can utilize it by winning PP stall wars with the foe.
Raikou can either help its team break down walls early- to mid-game or set up and clean late-game once faster threats such as Virizion, Espeon, and Zygarde-10% are gone. Raikou should never directly come in on any attack, since it needs to be healthy as possible when it is ready to sweep. Instead, bring it in on an aggressive double switch or with the help of a slow pivot like Forretress and Tsareena. Raikou should set up on Pokemon that are of no threat to it such as Slowbro, Porygon2, and opposing Raikou. It can aim to set up on Scald users like Milotic or Slowbro, as being burned is less detrimental to it than being afflicted by Toxic. Try to save Raikou's Z-Move for a target that resists its BoltBeam coverage; All-Out Pummeling should aim to dent Snorlax, Registeel, and Rhyperior, while Breakneck Blitz should be used against Pokemon like Shaymin, Virizion, and Goodra. Raikou should not be afflicted with Toxic because the residual damage adds up over time, shortening the amount of time that Raikou can sweep.
Raikou needs a partner that can deal with Ground-types, as they stop its sweep short. Pokemon such as Shaymin, Virizion, Seismitoad, and Tangela fit this role excellently. Entry hazard setters such as Roserade, Necrozma, and Golisopod make Raikou's sweep much easier. Araquanid can also be beneficial; since this Raikou is outsped by Pokemon that Timid variants outpace, having Sticky Web to slow down these Pokemon should be considered. Healing Wish users like Gardevoir or clerics like Florges can keep Raikou healthy so that it can continue to function throughout the game. Heal Bell users in particular help cure Raikou of potential status conditions like Toxic. Pokemon such as Arcanine, Barbaracle, and Nidoqueen appreciate Raikou's ability to beat bulky Water-type Pokemon. Physical wallbreakers such as Machamp, Bewear, and Virizion can help Raikou by threatening or weakening the special walls that can prevent it from sweeping through the opposing team. Physically defensive Pokemon like Slowbro, Tangela, and Donphan can help Raikou take on attacks that are aimed at Raikou's lower Defense. Donphan can also help Raikou by keeping hazards off the field with Rapid Spin.
One of Raikou's strongest attributes is that it is incredibly versatile with many viable options. Other Z-Crystals such as Ghostium Z, Psychium Z, and Electrium Z, in conjunction with Shadow Ball, Extrasensory, or Thunderbolt, can also be used to power past certain Pokemon such as Metagross, Bronzong, Virizion, Venusaur, and Dragalge for much more damage than usual. The Z-Move is incredibly flexible and can be crafted to fit Raikou's team. Raikou can utilize Choice Specs to become a powerful wallbreaker with immediate offensive pressure. Choice Scarf is also appealing so that Raikou can outpace the entire unboosted metagame and pivot with Volt Switch. Assault Vest is another viable alternative so that Raikou can function as a pivot that can survive special attacks from Pokemon like Mega Blastoise and Noivern. Keep in mind that these options forfeit the wallbreaking power that Z-Crystals can provide. Raikou can use Weather Ball if it is paired with a weather setter like Ninetales or Vanilluxe so that it has a better matchup against specific targets: Ninetales can help Raikou beat Grass- and Steel-types by turning Weather Ball into a Fire-type attack, and Vanilluxe turns it into an Ice-type move that can beat Grass- and Dragon-types. However, Weather Ball is heavily reliant on weather being set up, making it a rather inconsistent option, and like Aura Sphere locks Raikou into a Rash nature. Life Orb can give Raikou a little extra power on top of Calm Mind boosts, but it does cut into Raikou's longevity.
Checks and Counters
**Ground-type Pokemon**: Ground-types such as Zygarde-10%, Rhyperior, and Flygon are immune to Raikou's STAB attacks and threaten to revenge kill it with their own STAB moves. However, none of them want to directly switch into a Hidden Power Ice or Grass, and they can fail to revenge kill Raikou if it is behind a Substitute.
**Physical Attackers**: Raikou's Defense is considerably lower than its Special Defense, which can make it vulnerable to physically offensive Pokemon that can take a Thunderbolt such as Tyrantrum, Toxicroak, and Assault Vest Machamp.
**Special Walls**: Specially defensive Pokemon such as Registeel, Snorlax, and Goodra can take any of Raikou's moves and can retaliate against it from there. However, Registeel and Snorlax do not want to take a boosted All-Out Pummeling from the Calm Mind set.
**Entry Hazards and Toxic**: Raikou is vulnerable to residual damage from all entry hazards and poison from Toxic, which can cut into its health and not allow it to sweep as well as at could at full health.
**Faster Threats**: When running Aura Sphere, Raikou is forced to have a Rash nature. This can make it miss out on outspeeding threats that a Timid Raikou should have no trouble with, such as Espeon and Virizion. Regardless, Timid Raikou is still outpaced by Salazzle and Choice Scarf users such as Tyrantrum, Drapion, and Toxicroak.
- Written by: [[JustoonSmitts, 239732]]
- Quality checked by: [[zizalith, 410251], [Averado, 490096], [roman, 396169]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216], [Estronic, 240732]]
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