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 Alakazam Analysis

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PostSubject: Alakazam Analysis   Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:12 pm

Alakazam
Synchronize
When statused, the enemy is also statused. Can pass nature to wild Pokémon.
Inner Focus
Prevents flinching.
Type Tier
Psychic OU

Name Item Ability Nature
Trick Specs
Choice Specs Synchronize Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Psychic
~ Focus Blast
~ Signal Beam
~ Trick / Hidden Power Fire
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Alakazam's Trick set has gotten a couple upgrades from ADV, namely Focus Blast and Choice Specs. And with amazing Speed the highest Special Attack stat in OU, Alakazam is truly a force to be reckoned with. Choice Specs boosted Psychic coming off of base 135 Special Attack is nothing to scoff at, dealing massive damage to anything that doesn't resist it. And while Psychic unfortunately is resisted by quite a few OU Pokemon, Focus Blast is here to pick up the slack. Between Focus Blast and Signal Beam, Alakazam can easily 2HKO anything with resistance to Psychic, including Tyranitar, Celebi, and Metagross. Even the now-standard 148 / 0 Blissey can be 2HKOed, though in most cases Stealth Rock is required, and any Blissey running extra Special Defense will be out of Alakazam's reach. Signal Beam hits both Dark- and Psychic-types very hard, allowing Alakazam to take down Celebi, Weavile, Starmie, an Azelf in a single hit, while Cressilia and Tyranitar are easily 2HKOed. Hidden Power Fire can be used to OHKO Scizor switch-ins and deal reasonable damage to Metagross, Bronzong and Jirachi.

Even if Alakazam struggles to reduce Blissey's HP, it can still deal a significant blow with Trick. With Blissey locked into its attacks and without Leftovers reovery, it should be fairly easy to pick off with the rest of your team. Trick also deals a huge blow to Tyranitar switch-ins, which usually do not run any Special Attacks.

Name Item Ability Nature
Choice Scarf
Choice Scarf Synchronize Timid / Modest
Moveset EVs
~ Psychic
~ Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Electric
~ Focus Blast / Signal Beam
~ Trick
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
With a Choice Scarf equipped, Alakazam will easily outrun almost everything in the game, allowing you to prevent Speed boosted Pokémon from sweeping your team even without a proper check for them. Timid Alakazam outspeeds both Gyarados and Tyranitar after two Dragon Dances, and Salamence after one; and although Alakazam cannot use both hidden Power Ice and Electric on the same set, it does have other options. Psychic is Alakazam's most powerful STAB attack, dealing up to 60% damage to 4 / 0 Salamence, often enough to take it down between Stealth Rock and some other residual damage (e.g. Sandstorm or Life Orb recoil). If Tyranitar is not a problem, or if you wish to forgo trick, you can run both Hidden Power Ice and Shock Wave to handle both Salamence and Gyarados with the same set. Signal Beam can also provide decent coverage, usually netting both a OHKO on Celebi after Stealth Rock damage and a 2HKO on Tyranitar with the same condition.

Trick is a very important move on this set, as it allows Alakazam to deal a major blow to Blissey, Snorlax, and Latias (which is usually not 2HKOed even after Stealth Rock damage). It is also a general help against stall teams, since in that matchup the extra speed is likely useless and being locked in to an attack can give the opponent a chance to set up Spikes or use Rapid Spin.

Timid is the recommended nature to outrun Gyarados and Kingdra after two Dragon dances, as well as slower Choice Scarf users such as Gengar and Infernape. However, if the drop in power is concerning, Modest Alakazam will still outspeed any Dragon Dancer with only a +1 Speed boost.

Name Item Nature
Substitute + Encore
Leftovers Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Encore
~ Psychic
~ Signal Beam
24 HP / 252 SpA / 16 SpD / 216 Spe
Encore is an unique move and can be used to allow Alakazam to set up a Substitute. This can also work effectively as a lead, allowing you to Encore Stealth Rock or another support move and then Substitute as your foe switches. If you do opt to use this as a lead, Inner Focus is the recommended ability, since it will allow Alakazam to bypass the flinch from Infernape or Ambipom's Fake Out.

Probably the most frequent use of this set is to set up a Substitute on a statu user and then Encore it the next turn. But the usefulness does not stop there. With good prediction, Alakazam can switch into opponents using Calm Mind, Substitute, or another support move and Encore them. Pokemon like Suicune, Jirachi, and Breloom suddenly become much less threatening, as you switch to a physical attacker or use Substitute yourself while they use the same move over and over. Additionally, Baton Pass teams are severely crippled by Alazakam.

Psychic is Alakazam's STAB attack, and Signal Beam is used on this to hit both Psychic and Dark-type foes. Substitute protects Alakazam from Weavile and Tyranitar, who will likely switch in and try to use Pursuit. The EVs allow Alakazam to make four Substitutes, and Leftovers will allow it to make a fifth if it does not take any extra damage. Special Attack is maxed, and the Speed EVs and nature provided generate 363 Speed, which will outrun Pokemon with base 115 Speed. The surplus is put into Special Defense.

Name Item Ability Nature
Dual Screen
Light Clay Inner Focus Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Reflect
~ Light Screen
~ Encore / Taunt
~ Psychic / Taunt
252 HP / 40 SpD / 216 Spe
Alakazam is the fastest user of the Dual Screen strategy in standard play, and this gives it a distinct advantage as a lead. With base 120 Speed, Alakazam can set up screens in the first few turns, likely before the foe will be mounting any kind of major attack. This makes it much easier to set up your sweepers, or to give a Pokemon time to set up stat boosts for a Baton Pass.

Alakazam has clear advantages over other Dual Screen leads such as Azelf. First off, it has Inner Focus to get the jump on Fake Out leads such as Infernape, Weavile, and Ambipom. Secondly, it outspeeds Azelf and possesses the rare move Encore, which will prevent almost any set up attempts from your opponent. Psychic can be used in the last slot to get rid of Gengar and not waste Alakazam's impressive Special Attack. Still, it is sometimes useful to have both Taunt and Encore, in case you do not want your opponent to use an entry hazard, a status attack, or a Speed boosting move.

216 EVs in Speed lets you outrun non-Scarf zelf; maximum HP is used to better survive attacks; and with 40 EVs in SpD, Alakazam has a decent chance of surviving Timid Gengar's Shadow Ball. For an idea of it's bulk, after a Reflect, Alakazam will survive Choice Band Tyranitar's Pursuit if it does not switch, as well as Weavile's Night Slash.

Name Item Nature
Substitute + Calm Mind
Leftovers Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Calm Mind
~ Focus Blast / Signal Beam
~ Psychic
152 HP / 176 SpD / 180 Spe
Alakazam does not have access to Nasty Plot like some of its peers, but with base 135 Special Attack, Calm Mind provides more than enough power. Alakazam can easily set up on any Blissey without Seismic Toss, Celebi, Cresselia, and more. Substitute blocks status, and Calm Mind boosts both Alakazam's offense and its defense. Eventually, Alakazam's Substitutes will be nearly unbreakable by Special Attacks, and you can start sweeping. Psychic and Focus Blast is walled only by Psychic-types, while Psychic and Signal Beam is walled only by Steel-types.

With the given Special Defense EVs, Alakazam's Substitute will survive a Grass Knot from Celebi or an Ice Beam from Blissey or Cresselia over 95% of the time. This allows Alakazam to use Substitute without fear of it being broken before it can Calm Mind a few times.

Name Item Ability Nature
Offensive Calm Mind
Life Orb Synchronize Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Calm Mind
~ Psychic
~ Focus Blast
~ Signal Beam
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
While the previous set attempts to set up a Substitute and use Calm Mind as many times as possible, the goal of this set is to sweep with only one or two turns of set up.

The boost provided from Calm Mind and a Life Orb is 1.95x, essentially giving Alakazam over 700 Special Attack after a single stat up. When this immense power is paired with Alakazam's high Speed, stopping it can be a major pain. Simply bring Alakazam in on something it can scare off, Calm Mind on the switch, and start bringing the pain.

Even with the Life Orb and a Calm Mind boost, Alakazam can only muster 59% to Blissey with Focus Blast. You will have to either remove it or weaken it beforehand if you want to have any chance at getting a sweep.

Other Options

Alakazam gets Knock Off, Thunder Wave, Snatch, Recover, Recycle and more. Due to his frailty, they are usually better used on another Pokémon, unless you have a very specific purpose in mind. As far as offensive options, Alakazam gets a few notable moves. Charge Beam and Shock Wave are his only Electric attacks. Charge Beam can be used over Calm Mind on the offensive set, but generally Calm Mind is the superior choice. Grass Knot and Energy Ball are his options for Grass attack. Shadow Ball hits Ghosts and Psychics hard, but generally Signal Beam is recommended for hitting Psychics, as it allows you to hit Dark-types without relying on Focus Blast. Signal Beam is also better because it makes a good move for situations where your opponent has both a Celebi and a Tyranitar (for example) and you need something that will hurt both. Hidden Power Fighting can be considered over Focus Blast if you are worried about the latter's accuracy; however, the damage output will be disappointing against Tyranitar and Heatran.

Ignore any physical attacks in Alakazam's movepool. Even though he gets some nifty moves like the elemental punches, his Attack is so low that it'd be a waste of your time to try using it, even with significant EV investment.

EVs

On offensive sets, you should always give Alakazam a Timid nature, 252 Special Attack EVs, and at least 216 Speed EVs. This will allow Alakazam to outrun any base 115 Speed Pokemon, and since Alakazam is fairly infrequent in OU, this should be enough. If you are not worried about outspeeding Azelf and Raikou, you can give Alakazam 180 Speed EVs, which will outrun Gengar, Latias, and defensive Starmie (which typically has 352 Speed). Although tempting, a Modest nature is generally a bad choice, as there are a great many Pokémon sitting between 339 and 372 Speed which Alakazam cannot afford to be hit by.

Opinion

Alakazam is among the fastest and most powerful Pokémon in the game, sporting the highest Special Attack (tied with Porygon-Z) and one of the highest Speed stats of all the Pokémon allowed in standard play. Combined with its acceptable attacking movepool and fantastic support movepool, it can either ravage through teams or set field effects to aid its teammates in sweeping.

The transition from ADV to D/P gave Alakazam some new tricks, but it really could have used more. Alakazam still has terrible defenses and HP, leaving it prone to being heavily damaged by even relatively weak attacks. This may seem like a nonissue considering its high Speed, but the popularity of both Choice Scarf and priority attacks make either bulk or good typing a must for sweepers, and Alakazam sadly has neither. Additionally, the split in physical and special attacks means that Alakazam cannot use the elemental punches in this generation, and the 70% accuracy Focus Blast is not enough to make up for the lost coverage.

Counters

Blissey is generally a good counter to Alakazam, soaking up even super effective Focus Blasts with ease, but tread carefully as Trick and Encore can be an annoyance. Snorlax is in a similar situation, and even has Pursuit; however, it can be 2HKOed by a Choice Specs Focus Blast, so it be careful if you do not know the set. Heatran can switch into anything but Focus Blast, which will still only 2HKO if Heatran invests in HP and Special Defense or if Alakazam is without Choice Specs.

Steel-types like Bronzong, Scizor, Jirachi and Metagross are excellent Alakazam counters. Hidden Power Fire will wear them down quickly, but it is absent from most Alakazam sets, so you should not worry about it too much. Other Psychic-types are decent choices, as they resist both Psychic and Focus Blast, but if you switch into a Signal Beam it could hurt quite a bit. Latias can safely switch in to anything except for Signal Beam, and it usually will not mind being Tricked Choice Specs. Spiritomb is probably the best Alakazam counter there is, with immunity to both Psychic and Focus Blast and access to both Pursuit and Sucker Punch.

Alakazam is easily revenge killed, because anything he cannot kill in one hit will severely wound him. If Weavile or Tyranitar switch into a Choiced Psychic, Alakazam is as good as gone, as Pursuit will OHKO. Scizor can switch in on just about anything besides Hidden Power Fire and OHKO Alakazam with either Bullet Punch or Pursuit. Dugtrio can easily trap Alakazam and OHKO with Sucker Punch, or go for a Speed tie with Earthquake.

Thunder Wave will effectively ruin Alakazam as it relies on its high speed to be effective.
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