Pokemon Review: Raichu and Arbok
Pokemon'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
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 Pokemon that are severely weak to Electric (like Gyrados) in Double battles. But for most encounters, I'd recommend Static.
Deal light damage and paralyze foe.
10% to paralyze, always hits in rain weather condition.
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.
Type: Electric/ Psychic
Ability: Surge Surfer: Doubles Speed while the battlefield has the Electric Terrain condition.
Hard to judge the usefulness of this before the game releases, but it seems a like a great way to ensure Raichu moves first.
By the time Alolan Raichu is out, I'm probably gonna forget to come update this section and it'll be really awkward for us both. But for us 2016ers, we do at least know the basics of Alolan Raichu. It's a dual Electric Psychic type, with a new ability, Surge Surfer. As of right now, it seems likely it'll keep Raichu's base stats, but maybe the future will surprise us.
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 upcoming Aloloan Raichu will surely add more options for utilizing this Pokemon.
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.
Champion's Quiz: Raichu and Arbok
Ever since we were kids, we delighted in the "secret" of Ekans and evolution Arbok (hint: read their names backwards). 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
Base Stat Total: 438
A pure Poison Pokemon, 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 Pokemon 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 Pokemon 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.
Gunk Shot/ Poison
30% chance to Poison.
Raises Attack, Defense, and Accuracy one stage.
Acid Spray/ Poison
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.
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 Pokemon's oldest snake; but for now, Arbok's just another Pokedex entry filled up.
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!
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