Raichu & Friends

Hello Hat Lovers!

Today I’m going to talk about Raichu and some partners that work well with it. Before generation six Raichu was a terrible Pokemon, however Raichu’s base speed was boosted to 110, putting it above all the base 100s and Garchomp. Tony Cheung used a Raichu to win Washington Regionals, and Barry Anderson used a Raichu to win the Nugget Bridge Invitational. I played around with Tony’s Raichu/Gengar team a bit after Washington Regionals, and after US Nationals I revisited the team with Kangaskhan as an alternate Mega as seen in the Umbreon Team. I found that the Gengar side of the team wasn’t performing as well as the Raichu + setup side so I focused the team exclusively on having Raichu supporting an attacker. Over time I’ve been changing up what I was using on the team, but the theme to my teams has always been Raichu & Friends.

Raichu’s base stats are: 60 / 90 / 55 / 90 / 80 / 110 and serve as a testament to GameFreak not caring about efficient base stat distributions in generation one (seriously what move was Raichu going to use with that base 90 attack stat? Give me some passable bulk!) These stats allow Raichu to score OHKOs (when using super effective moves and getting a Lightning Rod boost), survive at least one hit (often using a Focus Sash to do so), and out speeding most of the metagame. Raichu’s stats aren’t very good, but what it lacks in BST it makes up for in utility.

Raichu’s two main moves, Fake Out and Encore, serve to disrupt opponents while Raichu’s partner does what it wants. After that we have Thunderbolt, Volt Switch, Hidden Power Ice, Protect, Feint and Fling. Thunderbolt and Volt Switch are Raichu’s strongest moves, which one you use depends on your preference. Hidden Power Ice is useful for 2HKOing Garchomp, Protect is good if you aren’t channeling your inner Alex Ogloza, Feint gets through Protect and Fling can net you a second pseudo-Fake Out if you need another turn to set up.

Raichu’s only (viable) ability is Lightning Rod, which draws in Electric attacks away from their intended target and gives Raichu a boost to it’s special attack. The most common item on Raichu is Focus Sash, and I would avoid straying from it unless your team has a specific reason not to.

Raichu Sets:

Raichu @ Focus Sash
Ability: Lightningrod
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Encore
– Fake Out

This is my goto Raichu set. Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Ice have good coverage that allow Raichu to threaten a couple Pokemon like Talonflame, Gyarados and Garchomp as well as doing some chip damage against most other Pokemon. If you use Barry’s Raichu which had 36 HP and 220 SAtk you guarantee that Mega Kangaskhan’s Sucker Punch never OHKOs you.

Raichu @ Focus Sash
Ability: Lightningrod
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SAtk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature
– Volt Switch
– Encore
– Fake Out
– Protect

This set is used in conjunction with Mega Gengar. If you’re going for Perish Trap you’re going to need Protect, and Volt Switch has utility with Shadow Tag.

Partners:

Being a support Pokemon only, Raichu is defined by it’s partners. Raichu brings plenty of disruption to the table but you’re going to need something to take advantage of that disruption if you want to get anywhere. Raichu partners often carry a set up move they can use to take advantage of Fake Out turns and turns where the opponent is forced to switch. Since Raichu doesn’t threaten many Pokemon its important that its partner can put pressure on its opponents. Here are some Pokemon that either I’ve used or have done well with other players.

(Mega) Gyarados

c738f-gyaradosDragon Dance Gyarados is the most obvious partner for Raichu. Lightning Rod takes care of Gyarados’s biggest weakness and Raichu’s disruption gives Gyarados a chance to use Dragon Dance. Gyarados even aids in its own set-up by providing Intimidate support.

Gyarados has the option of Mega-Evolving, but it doesn’t need to in order to be threatening. I’ve tested Mega Gyarados when I found I wasn’t bringing my other Mega Pokemon very often and I really didn’t like it. Water/Dark is pretty mediocre typing compared Water/Flying when you have Electric redirection.

Azumarill & Tyranitar

67c3b-azumarill

Barry Anderson used an Azumarill and a Mega Tyranitar alongside his Raichu in the Nugget Bridge Invitational. These two don’t have to go together but I don’t have much experience with them outside of playing his team so I’m going to lump them in together.

Azumarill also appreciates being safe from Electric attacks, and with Fake Out support it gets the turn it needs to use Belly Drum and become a huge threat. Once Azumarill is at +6 attack it can terrorize the field with Aqua Jet while Raichu punishes Protect, or Raichu can switch out in favour of a Pokemon like Amoonguss.

Mega Tyranitar has an easier time setting up Dragon Dances with Fake Out support, and is pretty scary once it gets a boost or two because you can even use Talonflame or Sucker Punch to keep it in check due to Tyranitar’s typing. Mega Tyranitar is an incredibly bulky Pokemon and is an absolute monster once its gotten a Dragon Dance and is dropping Rocks all over your field.

Mega Gengar

313e3-mega-gengar

Tony was able to win Washington Regionals with Raichu and Mega Gengar. Raichu’s Fake Out makes it safer for Gengar to use Perish Song. Raichu’s Encore works extremely well with Gengar’s Disable and Shadow Tag, shutting down foes while waiting for them to perish. Raichu can use Volt Switch to enable Gengar to switch out and come back in on the same turn, keeping it away from attacks aimed at it while still maintaining Shadow Tag. The strength of this combo is that if the opponent makes a mistake you can punish them extensively for it, though the duo have a hard time winning games when your opponent knows what they’re doing.

Mega Kangaskhan

713ff-mega-kangaskhan

Mega Kangaskhan is another Pokemon that appreciates a fast Fake Out. I’ve never liked using the standard Jolly Kangaskhan because when you face other Kangaskhan you still have a speed tie and need something to tip the matchup in your favour anyways. Having a Fake Out user that is always faster then other Kangaskhan is a huge boon.

After one Power-Up Punch Kangaskhan can start OHKOing most Pokemon in the game. Raichu also shuts down Aegislash, which normally walls Kangaskhan. If the opponent leads Aegislash I’d Fake Out the partner and Sucker Punch Aegislash. If Aegislash attacked it took a ton of damage from Sucker Punch and is now in KO range from Thunderbolt. If Aegislash set up a Substitute you can Encore it and force it to switch out.

Mega Charizard (X/Y)

1fb51-mega-charizard-x

Charizard-X has a couple qualities that distinguish it from other Dragon Dancers. Since Charizard is a Fire type it can’t be burnt, meaning Rotom is useless against it. Charizard is also faster then other Dragon Dancers, being able to reach 140 speed without taking investment away from attack. This means Charizard gets ahead of Mega Manectric, Aerodactyl and Mega Gengar after one Dragon Dance. Charizard also hits harder then Gyarados or Tyranitar because Flare Blitz is stronger then Waterfall or Crunch and it has Tough Claws to further boost its attack power. A +1 Flare Blitz can OHKO most Pokemon in the game. The downside to Charizard is that it has less bulk then Gyarados and Tyranitar and also takes a ton of recoil form Flare Blitz. Even when you set up Charizard can destroy itself if it needs to use Flare Blitz instead of Dragon Claw.

de4d2-shiny-mega-charizard-yI’ve also been toying around with Charizard-Y. Since Charizard-X seems like the obvious Mega given the Raichu support I wanted to see if I would catch people off guard. Raichu still protects it from Electric attacks and can Fake Out Pokemon like Garchomp and Kangaskhan before they can target Charizard. I found Charizard-Y to be pretty underwhelming, and just like in Washington it seemed more effective to just have a Charizard-X.

Since its not immediately obvious which Mega I’m using there is a greater potential for opponent’s to misplay. Mega Charizard X beats many of Mega Charizard Y’s counters and vice-versa.

Conclusion

At this point in the season, its safe to say that Raichu is my Togekiss of VGC 2014. Throughout the season I tried a lot of different teams and Pokemon trying to find something I really liked. At the start of the season I tried a lot of things and never found anything I really liked. During the second set of Regionals I found Venusaur which worked great until the metagame became unfavourable towards it. After I stopped using Venusaur I couldn’t find anything I liked until about two months ago when I started using Raichu again. Since that point Raichu has become a staple for me and since I will almost certainly not be going to any of the Fall Regionals using the VGC 2014 ruleset there isn’t any motivation to build a team without it.

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