Skip to main content

Pokémon Review: Raichu and Arbok

In between "Pokémon" journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a pharmaceutical chemist and campus manager.

Pichu, Pikachu, and Raichu

Pichu, Pikachu, and Raichu

History (Raichu)

Pokémon's most popular creature, Pikachu, evolves into the stronger Raichu via Thunder Stone. Raichus have been long-proven to be electric powerhouses; in both the anime and the games, Lt. Surge uses his to great effect.

But is Pikachu's final form really that strong? Does it have a place in modern competitive battling? Today we'll examine the strengths and weaknesses of this electrifying rodent, then do the same with Poison type Arbok!








Type and Stats

Type: Electric
Base Stat Total: 475 (485 in Gen 6)

Electric types enjoy having three resistances with only one weakness: Ground. Avoid those Earthquake attacks and you should be fine.

Contrary to what some think, Raichu doesn't specialize in Special Attack. Its Attack and Special Attack are equal, but Speed is actually its highest stat. Raichu is fast and can attack with either direct or indirect attacks, but be aware of its dangerously low Defense.

485 is a solid score; I just wish Raichu focused on one of its attack forms rather than dabbling in both. Still, it has more versatility than most Electric types.




1. Static: When hit by a physical attack, 30% chance to paralyze the foe.

My favorite of Raichu's abilities, this makes opponents think twice before taking advantage of Raichu's lowest defense. They'll have to either target its superior Special Defense, or risk getting paralyzed.

2. Lightning Rod: Draws electric attacks to itself in Double and Triple Battles. In Gen 5, also gives immunity to Electric techniques and raises Special Attack by one stage when hit by one.

An interesting ability that can help protect Pokémon that are severely weak to Electric (like Gyrados) in Double battles. But for most encounters, I'd recommend Static.

Some of Raichu's best attacks

Move/ TypePower/ AccuracyEffect

Nuzzle/ Electric

20/ 100

Deal light damage and paralyze foe.

Thunder/ Electric

110/ 70

10% to paralyze, always hits in rain weather condition.

Surf/ Water

90/ 100

No extra effect. Yes, some Pikachu can actually learn this attack.


Raichu learns no moves leveling up; make sure you have all the attacks you want from the Pikachu stage before you expend your Thunder Stone.

Pikachu will, of course, learn several potent Electric attacks and a few moves to compensate for low defenses. Double Team raises evasiveness while Light Screen weakens Special Attacks.

Through TMs and Move Tutoring, Pikachu gains access to a few more elements, like Bug, Grass, Steel, and Dark. Also, Pikachu obtained in special events can learn some weak Psychic moves as well as the attack Fly, and Water-type Surf (useful against Ground types, who are immune to Electric).

Overall, I'd give Pikachu's family an average score for moveset; it can learn many Electric attacks as well as certain elemental and defensive moves, but would still benefit from more options.

Alolan Raichu

Alolan Raichu

Alolan Raichu

Type: Electric/Psychic

Ability: Surge Surfer: Doubles Speed while the battlefield has the Electric Terrain condition.

Raichu can fight in either his pure-Electric form or his Electric/Psychic Alolan matchup. Getting some Psychic STAB is nice, but adding the element gives additional weaknesses to Bug, Ghost, and Dark types, so it's often not worth the risk. Surge Surfer is a nice way to drastically boost Speed, and I like that Alolan Raichu slightly reduces attack in favor of Special Attack, but normally, I'll take his original mode.

Shiny Raichu

Shiny Raichu


Type: Electric

  • Ability: Static: 30% chance to paralyze contact attackers

Raichu is an aggressive Pokémon, having strong speed and solid stats in both attack scores. Its his physical Defense that's weak, so he can fall quickly to aggro sweepers, but his pure Electric type helps, as it means he's only weak to Ground.

All in all, his 485 stat total is decent if not overwhelming. A solid choice for the main adventure, but there are better Electric non-legendaries available.


Overall Score: 6/10

Raichu's stats are a bit lower than I'd like, and their distribution is questionable. Still, its type only has one weakness, it can learn a fair amount of attacks (especially when counting special events), and Alolan Raichu offers additional versatility.

You may not see it too much in top-tier play, but Raichu has some tricks up its sleeve, with more to come in the future. Heck, there's some merit to keeping Raichu in the Pikachu stage, both for the boosted stats of Partner Pikachu (in Let's Go: Pikachu) and the Light Ball held item, which doubles a Pikachu's Attack and Special Attack.

Champion's Quiz: Raichu and Arbok

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. How does Pichu evolve into Pikachu?
    • It evolves at level 10.
    • It evolves at level 16.
    • It evolves through the powers of friendship.
    • It evolves when you use a Thunder Stone.
  2. Name the two attacks the original Raichu trading card had.
    • Quick Attack and Thunder
    • Quick Attack and Thunderbolt
    • Agility and Thunderbolt
    • Agility and Thunder
  3. According to Pokemon Y, Raichu's electricity can reach how many volts?
    • One thousand
    • Ten thousand
    • One hundred thousand
    • One million
  4. The Kanto Pokerap. You heard, you loved it. Where was Arbok in it?
    • He was first.
    • He was last.
    • Kanto Pokerap? Is that the thing with Digimon?
  5. What move of Arbok's makes Pokefans speculate that it was based on the mythical basilisk creature?
    • Glare
    • Crunch
    • Spite
    • Torment
  6. What Dragon move can Arbok learn through TM?
    • Dragon Fang
    • Dragon Tail
    • Dragon Breath
    • Outrage
  7. Get this and I'm impressed. According to Pokemon Yellow, how many variations of Arbok's belly patterns are there?
    • Two
    • Four
    • Six
    • Ten

Answer Key

  1. It evolves through the powers of friendship.
  2. Agility and Thunder
  3. One hundred thousand
  4. He was last.
  5. Glare
  6. Dragon Tail
  7. Six

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 2 correct answers: Rank 1: Team Rocket Grunt. Keep trying!

If you got between 3 and 4 correct answers: Rank 2: Rookie Trainer. Not bad.

If you got 5 correct answers: Rank 3: Gym Leader. Well done.

If you got 6 correct answers: Rank 4: Elite 4 Member. Great job!

If you got 7 correct answers: Rank 5: Champion. You really know your Pokemon!

Ekans and Arbok

Ekans and Arbok

History (Arbok)

Ever since we were kids, we delighted in the "secret" of Ekans and evolution Arbok (hint: read their names backward). We laughed as Jesse of Team Rocket routinely lost battle after battle with her poor serpent.

But does this snake harbor enough power for competitive use, or it just another slot taken up in your PC? Let's find out!










Type and Stats

Type: Poison
Base Stat Total: 438

A pure Poison Pokémon, Arbok enjoys having only two weaknesses, but five resistances. A solid start, but then you get to Arbok's stats, and... nothing really impresses. Heck, 438 barely outclasses Raticate, and (unlike Raticate) Arbok's stats are fairly evenly spread, making nothing stand out. Attack and Special Defense are a bit higher, but honestly, Arbok doesn't do much of anything very well.

Ekans evolves into this serpent at a mere level 22, often tricking new players into thinking another evolution is coming... but as is, it never will. Arbok severely needs a third form if it ever hopes to become competitive.




1. Intimidate: When Arbok enters the field, lowers the Attack of opponent's by one stage.

Time for some good news. Arbok has several useful abilities to choose from. Its first guarantees a free attack cut whenever Arbok is switched in. Helpful, although beware Pokémon who rely on Special Attack.

2. Shed Skin: 30% chance to cure Arbok of Status conditions at the end of its turns.

An awesome ability that usually allows Arbok to shake off debuffs within a turn or two.

3. Unnerve: Makes opposing Pokémon unable to eat its held berry.

An interesting ability. Very situational, but if you know you're up against berry-holders (a title that places fear in the gods themselves), unnerve really messes with their strategies.

Some of Arbok's best attacks

Move/ TypePower/ AccuracyEffect

Gunk Shot/ Poison

120/ 80

30% chance to Poison.

Coil/ Poison

Affects Self

Raises Attack, Defense, and Accuracy one stage.

Acid Spray/ Poison

40/ 100

Lowers opponent's Special Defense two stages.


Despite Arbok's lackluster stats, it learns some pretty cool attacks. You'll mostly get Poison and Dark attacks, with a few more options available through TM; thankfully, with the few elements it can learn, Arbok has access to some amazing moves.

Coil raises three stats at once, Acid Spray reliably inflicts minor damage while harshly lowering Special Defense, and Gunk Shot piles on the hurt while poisoning adversaries. If you like the Stockpile, Spit Up, and Swallow attacks, they're also here.

Shiny Arbok

Shiny Arbok


Overall Score: 4/10

Arbok's got three decent abilities to pick from and develops very powerful techniques. Unfortunately, its low stats simply hold it back from serving as the powerhouse it would otherwise be. I'd love to see a third form for Pokémon's oldest snake; but for now, Arbok's just another Pokedex entry filled up.

Your Thoughts

Agree with my points? Think I did a spectacular job, and that I'm very handsome? Feel free to share your thoughts in the poll, and I'll see you at our next review: Fearow and Sandslash!

© 2016 Jeremy Gill


Flash on June 02, 2017:

That Arbok art is sick!