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Top 10 Z-Moves in "Pokémon"

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

Using Z-Attacks in Pokémon

Introduced in Sun and Moon, Z-moves are powerful strikes that each trainer can only use once per battle. Each of the 18 types has a generic Z-move (which fluctuates in power based on the move it upgraded from), but some Pokémon enjoy exclusive Z-attacks.

To use one, the Pokémon needs to hold a corresponding Z-Crystal item, meaning you're sacrificing its held item slot, but their strength more than compensates—which reign supreme? These are the ten best Z-moves in Pokémon!

Extreme Evoboost

Extreme Evoboost

10. Extreme Evoboost

Type: Normal

User: Eevee

Damage: N/A

Upgraded from Last Resort, Partner Eevee's signature Z-move doesn't deal damage. However, it does increase Eevee's core stats—attack, special attack, defense, special defense, and speed—by not one but two stages each.

So while it may lack the immediate oomph of other Z-moves, Extreme Evoboost offers a great setup for long matches.

Let's Snuggle Forever

Let's Snuggle Forever

9. Let's Snuggle Forever

Type: Fairy

User: Mimikyu

Damage: 190

A buffed version of Play Rough, this move has no secondary effect, but its strong damage and competitive type provide a tempting Z-move for Mimikyu, especially considering Fairy's general lack of high-power strikes. Like other damaging Z-attacks, it also has perfect accuracy, so you don't have to worry about missing.

8. Oceanic Operetta/Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike

Type: Water/Ghost

User: Primarina/Marshadow

Damage: 195

Primarina and Marshadow each have a unique move with no additional effects, but a fierce 195 damage. Neither element holds a clear offensive advantage over the other, making the moves even, and like other Z-moves, they'll also receive a boost from STAB (same-type attack bonus).

7. Searing Sunraze Smash/Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom

Type: Steel/Ghost

User: Solgaleo/Lunala

Damage: 200

The generation 7 legendaries each wield their own brutal Z-attack, only differing in element and range. Solgaleo's move is Steel (not the best offensive element) and hits for physical damage, while Lunala's is Ghost and strikes with special.

Both also have the small bonus of ignoring enemy abilities that could impact damage, like Prism Armor and Shadow Shield.

6. Pulverizing Pancake/Catastropika

Type: Normal/Electric

User: Snorlax/Pikachu

Damage: 210

Classic Pokémon Snorlax and Pikachu each wield a physical-hitting powerhouse move that has no extra effect, but cranks out 210 damage. While I generally prefer Electric over Normal on offense, Snorlax's higher attack stat means he'll probably deal more damage per hit.

Light That Burns the Sky

Light That Burns the Sky

5. Light That Burns the Sky

Type: Psychic

User: Ultra Necrozma

Damage: 200

A superior form of Photon Geyser, Light That Burns the Sky compares Necrozma's attack and special attack stats, dealing damage with whichever is superior. This makes the move hard to weaken; foes have to reduce both of Necrozma's offensive stats or the technique will just switch to the other.

Keep in mind the enemy's defense isn't compared (in some cases, it's actually better to use your inferior attack stat if it hits the enemy's weaker defense), but that's a small nitpick on a devastating technique.

Splintered Stormshards

Splintered Stormshards

4. Splintered Stormshards

Type: Rock

User: Lycanroc

Damage: 190

While a bit weaker power-wise than previous moves, Lycanroc's unique attack has two things going for it. One, it removes any terrain effects, cleansing the field of opposing setups. Two, it has the Rock-type, easily one of the best offensive elements in the series.

10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt

10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt

3. 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt

Type: Electric

User: Pikachu

Damage: 195

This exclusive Z-move requires an event-distributed cap-wearing Pikachu (Original Cap Pikachu, Partner Cap Pikachu, etc). Compared to Catastropika, the move deals 15 less damage—but its critical hit ratio is increased by not one but two stages!

So you've got a 50% chance for a critical, dealing 1.5x damage and scoring a whopping 292½ hurt. And where Catastropika hits for physical, Volt Thunderbolt uses special stats, another factor to consider when picking one over the other.

Genesis Supernova

Genesis Supernova

2. Genesis Supernova

Type: Psychic

User: Mew

Damage: 185

Mewtwo has both mega forms, but only Mew enjoys this awesome attack. Compared to other Z-moves, Genesis Supernova only lands decent damage, but its secondary effect creates Psychic Terrain for five turns, just like the move of the same name.

Psychic Terrain prevents damage from increased-priority (fast) attacks and boosts the damage of Psychic moves by 50%. So you've not only scored a massive blow, but buffed Mew's Psychic damage for the following turns.

Clangorous Soulblaze

Clangorous Soulblaze

1. Clangorous Soulblaze

Type: Dragon

User: Kommo-o

Damage: 185

Compared to prior moves, Soulblaze dips in power, and its Dragon-type only hits one element (other Dragons) for super-effective damage. However, the move also increases Kommo-o's core stats by one stage each!

This gives half of Evoboost's upgrade while actually hitting for some hard damage, making it a well-rounded attack that energizes Kommo-o's already-intimidating stats. Now, the move uses special damage and Kommo-o has a slightly better physical attack, but that's a nitpick for the best Z-move yet.

Z-Move Advantages

In addition to their devastating power and effects, Z-attacks enjoy a few special privileges. First, they automatically hit (even against accuracy/evasion changes) unless an opponent is in a semi-invulnerable state from moves like Fly or Dive. Next, Z-moves can't be fully blocked by shields like Protect and Detect. Instead, they drop to 25% power (still a big decrease, but better than nothing). Finally, Z-attacks ignore disabling effects from moves like Taunt and Disable, making them difficult to shut down.

While Z-moves didn't reappear in generation eight, new Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokémon have similar techniques. But for now, as we await Nintendo's next set of Z-moves, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next Pokémon countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill


yay on June 23, 2020:

I also like Gaurdian of Alola. Dealing 3/4 of the opponent's health can severely cripple them, and still poses a threat when protected, reducing the target's HP by 3/8.