Raichu

Raichu, The Mouse Pokémon. It can loose 100,000-volt bursts of electricity, instantly downing foes several times its size. Its tail discharges electricity into the ground, protecting it from getting shocked. It turns aggressive if it has too much electricity in its body.Careless contact can cause even an Indian elephant to faint. If it stores too much electricity, its behavior turns aggressive. To avoid this, it occasionally discharges excess energy and calms itself down. Scorched patches of ground will be found near this Pokémon's nest. This Pokémon exudes a weak electrical charge from all over its body that makes it take on a slight glow in darkness. Raichu searches for electricity by planting its tail in the ground. It also glows in the dark. If the electric pouches in its cheeks become fully charged, both ears will stand straight up. ť

Overview

Raichu has always been a bit of an insignificant contributor to competitive battling. It's received some move-pool additions this generation, but it's still held back by its average stats, average move-pool and general all-round “average-ness.” Raichu is built in the mould of a sweeper, although it doesn't really possess the raw power to make this a noteworthy pursuit. Nasty Plot is the best thing that's happened to it in this regard; but nevertheless, it remains firmly anchored in that area between Underused and Neverused, with little hope of ever breaking out of those environments. It's a perfectly usable Pokémon, but it's far for exceptional.

Ability

Static: has a 30% chance to paralyse the opponent when Raichu is hit with an attack that's defined as requiring 'physical contact' (such as Ice Punch or Return). Raichu's so-so defensive stats make this ability fairly unnoticeable, but at least it isn't useless.

Move Sets

Nasty Plot Sweeper

- Nasty Plot
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Grass Knot / Encore
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Grass Knot / Encore
Item Attached: Life Orb / Focus Sash
Ability: Static
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Spd / 252 SAtk
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)

I don't think this move-set takes much explaining. It's all about the raw power of Nasty Plot, and Raichu shouldn't have too much trouble getting one of these active. Obviously, Thunderbolt is a necessity, as the main beneficiary of that raw power. Importantly, you need to back that up with some moves to cover the bunch of Pokémon resistant to Thunderbolt, although sadly, you can't handle every opponent that can stand in Thunderbolt's way.

Hidden Power [Ice] is one of the forerunners here. It takes out (most) Ground types, catches a super-effective hit on Grass types, but you lose out against Lanturn and Steelix sadly.

Grass Knot tends to outmatch Hidden Power [Ice] against Ground types when it comes to power and catches a super-effective hit on Lanturn, but you lose out completely against Grass types.

You could take a combination of both but one more move merits a mention. With very few resistances, Raichu doesn't have an easy time buying itself the time to Nasty Plot. Encore is one of a few ways that it can force that time however. By switching into slower Pokémon using non-offensive moves, Raichu can Encore them the next turn and force them to repeat that non-offensive move (usually forcing a switch, but if it doesn't, Raichu can still boost with impunity).

Your final decision comes to item choices. Life Orb is great for adding to that raw power. Losing 10% HP per attack is always a problem but Raichu is fortunate enough to not be weak to Stealth Rock, and without Sandstream and Snow Warning running rampant in the UU and NU tiers, the damage can add up but not as heavily as it would in the Standard tier. Focus Sash is another usable option if you can keep your HP at 100% (remember, take even the slightest touch of damage and Focus Sash is rendered useless), and it spares you relying on Encore to get a free turn of Nasty Plot boosting.

Sub-Punch

- Substitute
- Focus Punch
- Volt Tackle / Thunderpunch / Thunderbolt
- Grass Knot / Encore
Item Attached: Leftovers
Ability: Static
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spd / 4 SAtk
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)

Sub-Punch makes for a fairly effective combination in Raichu's hands. In particular, Focus Punch is useful for thwacking Clefable, Probopass, Regice, Cradily and the like. A STAB move is needed to back up that Focus Punch threat. Volt Tackle is the more powerful option but the recoil can be quite painful when you consider that Substitute eats up 25% of your HP. Thunderpunch is significantly weaker but is your next-best physical choice. Alternatively you could go up the special route and take the consistent Thunderbolt, although splitting EVs between both attacking stats might be required.

The last move-slot is mildly filler, but both are very useful. Grass Knot's main attraction is for taking out Claydol and other sturdy Ground types. Encore serves a similar purpose to the one it serves in the Nasty Plot set, buying Raichu a free turn to safely throw up a Substitute.

EVs and Nature:

Nasty Plot Sweeper
It's the basic 252/252 spread, with the usual “do I go with power or speed?” nature question. Raichu is in the 100 Base Speed tier, which is a very populated one; in fact, that general area is very populated. The difference between 299 Speed and 328 Speed is pretty vast, making Timid preferable - but Modest can be considered.

Sub-Punch
You'll probably want to go with at least 252 Attack EVs, which should safely edge all of the aforementioned Focus Punch targets (Clefable, Regice et al) into 2KO range. Adamant can be skipped. In fact, it may be worth going for a Speed boosting nature for the same reasons as above, with the excess EVs going into Special Attack (assuming you're running any special moves).

Other Options

Surf, Focus Blast, Counter, Reversal, Thunder Wave, Toxic, Wish, Protect, Light Screen, Magnet Rise.

Surf is a good move (though maybe outmatched in value by Grass Knot) but it's a gift move from PBR. This means a couple of problems. For a start, all PBR Pikachus are Hardy natured; and unlike breeding, you can't easily access good IVs. Finally, the biggest problem is it clashes with Raichu's egg moves and Pichu pre-evolution moves (including the all important Nasty Plot).

Focus Blast is useful for the same reasons as Focus Punch. Super-effective hits on Clefable, Probopass, Regice, Cradily et al. The major negative is the unreliably 70% accuracy, and whilst it should be able to get OHKOs with Nasty Plot's backing, that accuracy makes it very risky and exposes you to something potentially crippling (such as Thunder Wave or Earth Power).

Raichu has Counter and Reversal, making the Counter-Sash-Reversal combination usable; although lacking the tough punch of a high Base Attack or STAB.

Thunder Wave and Toxic can cripple some opponents (Toxic being particularly favourable for its disruptive effect on sturdy Ground types), but much of Raichu's focus relies on direct attacking; or using non-offensive routes to open up opportunities for direct attacking; and neither of these statuses help either of those causes.

Wish is a good team supporting move, although again, Raichu isn't really built in the mould of one. Wish-Protect also provides Raichu with its only “reliable” healing combination.

Light Screen is a similar “good team supporting move” that doesn't fit Raichu's build.

Magnet Rise is a gimmicky way to get around Raichu's Ground weakness. There's opportunities where it could be worthwhile (such as catching a Band-equipped Pokémon off-guard), but in general, there's too few move-slots to spare for something gimmicky.

Countering Raichu

Raichu's big problem is type coverage. It's usually relying on a two-pronged attack and there's always something that can take it on; and when it throws on a third attacking move it starts to lose the utility that makes it stand out from other similarly built Pokémon. It all depends on the move-set, of course, but as a consequence, Raichu is quite containable. Probopass and Bastiodon can effectively wall the Nasty Plot set. The iffy status of “what's Underused and what's Borderline?” may rule it out at a later date, but Regice and to a lesser extent Registeel can also function as counters. In the absence of Grass Knot, Quagsire, Lanturn, Whiscash and Gastrodon can also contain it.

Matched up against the Sub-Puncher, Nidoqueen, Nidoking, Venusaur and Vileplume are also fairly well off. The question of “are they BL or UU?” springs up again but Uxie and Spiritomb can also work out. “Original” Rotom is usually classified as UU and is also effective, although it would be outmatched at the walling duty by the “Machine Form” Rotoms. In the absence of Grass Knot, Claydol is a very effective counter.

Locations in Games

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald

Evolve Pikachu

Colosseum/XD

Trade from RSEFRLG

Fire Red/Leaf Green

Evolve Pikachu

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum

Evolve Pikachu

Animé Appearences

Raichu has had a fair few Animé Appearences. First, it was seen under the control of Lt. Surge in his gym battle against Ash. After that, during his travels, Ash met many trainers whom used a Raichu and battled a few of them with his Pikachu. Other appearances are cameos.

Episode 14: Electric Shock Showdown!
Episode 28: Pokémon Fashion Flash!
Episode 40: The Battling Eevee Brothers!
Pikachu's Summer Vacation
Episode 71: Lights, Camera, Quacktion!
Episode 75: Bad to the Bone
Episode 92: Stage Fight
Movie 2: The Power of One
Episode 110: Pokémon Double Trouble
Episode 141: Mild 'n' Wooly
Episode 148: Tricks of the Trade
Episode 171: Beauty and the Breeder
Chronicles 1: The Legend of Thunder
Episode 244: As Clear As Crystal
Episode 367: Lessons in Lilycove
Episode 399: Deceit and Assist
Episode 492: Cooking Up A Great Story
Episode 542: Pika and Goliath
Episode 556: Camping It Up

 
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