Electric is often considered the fourth starter type thanks to Pikachu not only as the mascot of the franchise but also being available as a starter in a variety of ways in the Pokemon series. However, the Electric type has not received the same love as the other starter types over the years until this latest generation.
For the longest time the Electric typing was pigeonholed into one set mind of thinking. If it’s an Electric type, it goes fast and hits hard specially. A few pokemon strayed from this cookie cutter philosophy and found a niche as a utility pokemon (like Raichu in VGC) but the physical attackers were either lacking in other stats or just had an underperforming move pool. Looking at you Luxray and Electivire.
Now in the Sun/Moon era the Electric type got a lot more pokemon that promote some diversity that make it a fun type to use, with the ability to vary its playstyles.
Electric as a type has a lot going for it across the board in battles. In regards to its defensive abilities it has only one weakness (ground) and resists attacks from three other types (one of those being other electric attacks). It lacks a bit offensively in the type chart, only hitting two types super effectively, and not only being resisted by three, but being completely neutralized by ground types. However, Electric pairs well with Ice (creating what some call BeamBolt coverage for Thunderbolt and Ice Beam) to help make up for offensive ineptitude on the type chart.
With new generation 7 mechanics meaning thunder wave can’t miss for electric users, the type saw a tiny buff in this regard. Plus, all electric types are by default immune to paralysis. Electric as a type also has access to a pretty wide range of abilities that can help in different situations in battle. One of the most notable of abilities is levitate, which when paired with a mono-electric type pokemon makes it completely absent of weaknesses.
By The Numbers
# of Pokemon with this type (Includes Mega, Alolan and Multi-types): 62
# of Fully Evolved Pokemon (Includes Mega, Alolan and Multi-types): 41
2x super effective against: Flying, Water
2x resisted by: Dragon, Electric, Grass
Ineffective against: Ground
2x weak against: Ground
2x resistant to: Electric, Flying, Steel
Immune to: None
- Mega Manectric
- Tapu Koko
- Alolan Golem
Physical – Wild Charge, Thunder Punch, Thunder Fang
Special – Thunderbolt, Thunder, Charge Beam
Status – Thunder Wave, Magnet Rise
Gigavolt Havoc (Standard)
Z-Thunder Wave (Guaranteed paralyze if used by an electric type and +1 Special Defense)
Z-Magnet Rise (Pokemon is immune to ground attacks and +1 evasiveness)
Z-Electric Terrain (Electric Terrain is set and +1 Speed)
Catastropika (Pikachu exclusive/Volt Tackle)
Stoked Sparksurfer (Raichu-Alola exclusive/Thunderbolt)
10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt (Pikachu-Ash exclusive/Thunderbolt)
Type in OU
As electric type pokemon are unable to be paralyzed which preserves their natural speed and often hit hard specially (average special attack stat over 100) with moves like Thunderbolt and other coverage options, they make ideal sweepers in most tiers. They do need assistance in removing their checks and counters, namely Ground types and Walls (usually special based, but sometimes physical based too)
In the Gen 7 OU metagame the only electric type currently in the OU tier that fits the mold of sweeper is Xurkitree. This is partially due to the popularity of Electric’s only resistance (Ground) being very common in the tier with the likes of Landorus-T and Excadrill among others being devoted checks to electric types and their attacks.
The utility electric type pokemon provide whether it be speed control with Thunder Wave or other non-offensive advantages they can gain make them a very usable type in OU.
In standard play, there are currently five major Pokemon that see usage: Zapdos, Xurkitree, Tapu Koko, Magnezone, and Rotom-W.
The original awesome electric type. Flying type meant it was immune to ground attacks so the only way it could be hit super effectively was attacking its flying typing with rock or ice type moves. Even back in generation 1 when Zapdos was introduced it was a monster and it still finds itself in the OU (OverUsed) tier today in Smogon.
With the ability to play bulky (90/85/90) defenses, or go all out and attack hard (125 SpA and 100 base speed) Zapdos sees a lot of versatility as an electric type, if even a fraction of pokemon in this type had the stat distribution Zapdos had, electric might not have had such dark times in previous generations, but Zapdos being a legendary pokemon in games obviously helps in the overall strength it has been graced with.
Most sets will run Zapdos bulky in either the physical or special defense category and allow its natural power to do damage when necessary. It also has access to Defog (via gen 4 HM) making it a great utility pokemon on teams (provided you aren’t concerned about removing hazards you had already set). Toxic and Roost stalling can also be run with Zapdos’ bulky sets.
On the offensive side STAB Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Ice create a great coverage set hitting over 400 different pokemon super effectively (of the 900+ different pokemon when type combos are considered). Heat wave can also be added for coverage as well.
More than just a pokedex helper in Generation 7 Rotom sees a lot of use across the different monotypes it can fit on, and luckily for Electric all of its forms share this type. Rotom can have dual typing of Water, Fire, Grass, Ice, Flying, and Ghost all while retaining Electric as its main type. All of its stats are the same (50/65/107/105/107/86) except for its Ghost typing (50/50/77/95/77/81) which is just worse in every way unless you are struggling to find a ghost type in a very low usage tier.
Even though Rotom’s HP stat is abysmal it still has great bulk with matching 107 stats in the other defensive categories. When looking across its different forms, Rotom-Wash (Water typing) is considered the best as it has only one weakness (Grass), unless a mold breaker is able to get through its levitate ability. However, Heat form is also viable in some circumstances, particularly on more offensively inclined teams.
With this bulk and only one weakness Rotom-W can be a great utility pokemon to pass status with access to Will-O-Wisp, Toxic, and Thunder Wave. It also gets other moves like Trick (to pass items that may annoy your foe, like a Toxic Orb or a Choice item of the wrong attacking stat) and Pain Split to give it somewhat reliable recovery when healthier pokemon switch in and try to clean it up.
On the offensive front outside of Hydro Pump (its form specific signature) and either Volt Switch or Thunderbolt there isn’t a lot to pick from. Rotom is one of those pokemon that broke away from the fast special attacking cookie cutter of the electric type and was able to succeed in doing so, it can still hit hard especially against things it is super effective against as base 105 Special Attack should not be taken lightly. Whether you are building mono-electric, mono-water, or just an overall good team. Rotom, and especially Rotom-Wash should be considered for all the different things it can possibly do on the battlefield.
Magnezone (and to some extent Magneton)
The Magnemite family finally showed its ultimate form in generation 4 when Magenzone was introduced as a way to evolve Magneton into a more powerful being.
Magnezone is part of the OU scene for one reason: Magnet Pull. Magnet Pull traps fellow Steel type pokemon in battle, and when Magnezone can run Thunderbolt and Hidden Power Fire, pokemon like Ferrothorn, Scizor, Celesteela and Skarmory are all on notice because they can be hit super effectively with those moves and can’t run away from the fight. Magnezone is a good teammate to its sweepers and late game cleaners by removing some common problems for them. This is especially important in an OU metagame where more than 20% of the OU tier is steel type.
Magneton is an option worth considering if you need to outpace a few key threats. Slapping a Choice Scarf on it allows to outspeed and KO some threats that Magnezone cannot with a scarf.
Despite the Prankster ability getting a slight nerf in generation 7 (moves that receive the priority boost used against Dark-type pokemon fail) Thundurus still uses that plus its wide move pool to a great advantage in the Electric type family.
Like Zapdos, Its dual Electric/Flying type means it has to be hit on the Flying side to be hit super effectively. It’s somewhat frail defenses appreciate this (79/70/80), but the ability to guarantee paralyzing a pokemon (non-Dark pokemon) with Prankster Thunder Wave is something no other pokemon can do.
Offensively, Thundurus has access to STAB Electric and Flying, plus Focus Blast and Hidden Power on the special side. What often gets overlooked with this pokemon is its ability to go mixed or even all out physical. 115 base attack compared to base 125 special attack is not too far of a drop off and given the lack of quality physical attackers in the Electric type, it is certainly worth a look. Knock off for item control and even Superpower (if Focus Blast’s dismal accuracy frightens you) are both great options to run on a Thundurus.
Thundurus-Therian has a niche it can fill over Thundurus-I if you so desire. Volt Absorb as an ability versus Prankster can come in handy to absorb incoming Thunderbolts and the special attack and Thundurus-T is 145 compared to 125 on Thundurus-I making it hit even harder. Because of the jump in special attack it loses 10 points in speed and physical attack so it fails to outrun as much as it did in this form and loses the potency of a mixed attacker.
One of generation 7’s newest and best pokemon, Tapu Koko brings the ability “Electric Surge” to the party, making it the lone passive setter of Electric Terrain currently in the metagame. Electric Terrain not only prevents your pokemon from falling asleep (making Koko immune to both paralysis and sleep while terrain is up) it gives Electric attacks a 50% boost. And given that Electric pokemon already receive a STAB boost on their electric attacks it makes Tapu Koko a great partner to many electric types.
Back to Tapu Koko however while you may be tempted to follow the cookie cutter hit hard and fast (130 base speed) consider that its physical attack stat is 115 compared to 95 on the special side. While its move pool gives it more options as a special attacker Tapu Koko learns Brave Bird (for pesky Grass and Dragon types that resist Electric) and can still fill out a VoltTurn team because it can learn both U-Turn and Volt Switch, making it just as, if not more viable, as a physical attacker.
The last and possibly scariest Electric type pokemon covered here will be the UB-03 or the Ultra Beast Xurkitree. All Ultra Beasts possess the ability Beast Boost which jumps their highest non-HP stat +1 for every KO they score. While most Ultra Beast allow some flexibility in what stat you can choose to receive this moxie-like boost. Xurkitree is so far gone in the Special Attack stat it is impossible to boost something else and still have Xurkitree be viable.
Xurkitree’s base stat line reads 83/89/71/173/71/83. You read that right, 173 base Special Attack giving it the 6th highest Special Attack base in the game.
When we realize that Xurkitree is the embodiment of hit hard specially, all it needs is to go fast to make its mark on any battle it enters.
With a choice scarf boost (or even a Z-electric terrain move) offering +1 Speed once it racks up one or two kills Xurkitree is almost impossible to take down without priority or some lucky miss.
Xurkitree can utilize coverage in Energy Ball, Dazzling Gleam, and Hidden Power (usually Fire or Ice). Combine three of those with Electric STAB and there isn’t anything it can’t hit on normal effectiveness in most circumstances.
Type in Mono
As the theme of this piece suggests, prior to generation 7, Electric did not have a lot of diversity. A mono-electric team struggled to tear down effective special walls and if it was out sped by something it was usually game over as the bulk just wasn’t there on most pokemon.
Golem was one of several Kantoan Pokemon to receive a new Alolan form this generation, and what a welcome change it has been. No longer plagued by the terrible Ground/Rock typing, Alolan Golem’s Rock/Electric typing makes it the first truly useful Physically based Electric type. Alolan Golem is also blessed with three great abilities: Galvanize changes Normal moves to Electric and compounds them with a 20% boost, meaning Alolan Golem always has an incredible nuke on hand in the form of Explosion; Magnet Pull can make use of being able to trap the omnipresent steel types; and Sturdy means it can act as an effective lead to set up Stealth Rock. Air Balloon is a great item for Alolan Golem to avoid its 4x Ground weakness. While Golem-A sees little usage in OU, it is a staple in Monotype due to its ability to set rocks and act as a rare physical attacker on mono electric.
With Rotom-W, Golem-A and Zapdos providing good defensive/utility work, and the plethora of good attackers (mostly special but a few physical as we’ve covered) and you can mix and match a very good team of six. While there may not be as many viable pokemon in the electric type to choose from, the options that are there are formidable and certainly make Electric a better type than in previous generations.
Type in Other Metas
Other Metas are tricky for Electric types. While Xurkitree might be able to hold its own in Ubers, the only default Uber Electric Types are Zekrom and Arceus-Electric. Conservatively, Arceus has about six other forms that suit it better over Electric, and Zekrom while being the only pokemon with STAB Electric attacks is nerfed by the presence of Primal-Groudon and its ground typing
In lower tiers like UU and RU there are pokemon that can fill the special attacking and utility roles of old that Electric was known for, but if it ventures too far from that it faces a fork in the road. It will either elevate to stardom (like Rotom-W) or fall to obscurity (like Electivire and its terrible movepool). Long story short, if an electric type is found in a lower tier there’s a good chance it’s going to hit specially or be providing some sort of minor support to the team’s true all-stars.
There is a subset of Electric pokemon called “PikaClones” that have shown to be very useful in very niche situations. While Raichu is actually an evolution of Pikachu, it fits that PikaClone mold with its usefulness as fast support in VGC, and unfortunately not much else.
Another VGC legend is the Pachirisu of 2014, where a bulky Pachirisu played by eventual world champ Se Jun Park could absorb attack after attack using Follow Me and allowing its teammate on the field to set up and finish off the game and win. While it should be mentioned these are both VGC and therefore double battles they do show that Electric pokemon as support are very useful and shouldn’t be overlooked.
The newest of the Pikaclones, Togedemaru, is similarly pathetic, but has some utility as a physical attacker. Its good Steel/Electric typing and access to Iron Barbs mean that it could potentially cement itself as a threat in lower tier play.
Tips and Tricks
A strategy often overlooked is the VoltTurn strategy that is using the moves U-Turn and Volt Switch to apply pressure to your opponent by being able to both switch out to an advantageous pokemon and hitting with chip damage, sometimes super effectively. Most Electric type pokemon can learn Volt Switch and some (like Tapu Koko) can also learn U-Turn, making mono-Electric teams very likely to have VoltTurn components. Electric types in non-mono tiers also are key cogs in most VoltTurn cores.
Despite Electric’s new found popularity it still rises to a mid-level monotype at best. Its lack of diversity in filling certain roles may hold it back from a teambuilding perspective but the options available in certain roles are nothing to sneeze at. With its wide range of great special attackers there seems to be an electric attacker available no matter what usage tier or banlist you are playing and of course never underestimate the power of good support, because a team needs to have diversity and finally in generation 7, Electric as a type gets that diversity.