black flowers blossom
Alakazam's great typing and stellar base stats give it the most threatening Psychic in the tier and more Speed than every viable Pokemon bar Jolteon. Even with Stadium's changes, it maintains a 19.1% critical hit rate; in conjunction with paralysis and Special drops, this allows Psychic to eventually break through even Chansey and Psychic-resistant foes. Alakazam has exceptional moves in Thunder Wave and Recover, granting it considerable utility against most threats. Alakazam can serve as a status spreader, special wall, and potential sweeper; its Speed allows it to use Substitute to block Thunder Waves and preserve its sweeping potential. It can also function well when paralyzed, as it becomes a reasonable status absorber. A paralyzed Alakazam has its limits, however—physical threats like Snorlax and Tauros can outspeed and 2HKO it or set up Substitute to thwart its Thunder Wave. Alakazam faces another obstacle in the pervasive Rest Exeggutor, which can stall out its Seismic Toss and threaten it with Stun Spore and Double-Edge. Nevertheless, Alakazam is an extremely common sight thanks to its versatility and support capability.
move 1: Psychic
move 2: Thunder Wave
move 3: Recover
move 4: Seismic Toss / Substitute
Psychic is a threat to any non-resistant Pokemon—even Chansey cannot withstand extended exposure if it is paralyzed. Thunder Wave is irreplacable, as paralysis is what allows Alakazam to break down Chansey and opposing Psychic-types. Unlike in RBY, however, Substitute blocks Thunder Wave, making it a risky move if Alakazam is paralyzed itself—fast physical users like Tauros, Persian, and Kangaskhan become much more threatening if given the opportunity to set it up. Recover lets Alakazam heal off damage, but can invite in physical attackers if Alakazam is paralyzed. Seismic Toss is strongly recommended, as it allows Alakazam to pressure opposing Psychic-types effectively while saving Psychic PP, but Substitute can be used instead to protect Alakazam from status moves and critical hits, making it an effective late-game sweeper if opposing Psychic-types are removed. Chansey cannot break Substitute in one hit without Seismic Toss, so Alakazam can pressure BoltBeam Chansey safely. Furthermore, Substitute can help Alakazam PP stall some foes more effectively, as Alakazam won't be vulnerable to secondary effects from damaging moves when using it. Unfortunately, Substitute Alakazam itself is much easier to PP stall by switching between Psychic-types and Chansey to waste PP.
Alakazam is better used in the back, but as a lead it sports fair matchups against Chansey and the rare Jynx, as it can paralyze them with Thunder Wave and then proceed to pressure them with Psychic or Seismic Toss. Unfortunately, Exeggutor is the most common lead and fares well against it, as Exeggutor can scout for Substitute with Double-Edge and hamstring it with Stun Spore when it is forced to use Recover. Snorlax performs well against Alakazam too; Body Slam 2HKOes and threatens paralysis simultaneously. Alakazam can choose to take paralysis and become a decent status absorber, providing an avenue to protect teammates like Reflect Chansey from paralysis so it can switch into and wall Snorlax for Alakazam. However, this forfeits its excellent Speed. Unparalyzed Alakazam can revenge kill fast offensive threats like Tauros, Zapdos, and the rare Persian, threaten them with Thunder Wave, and act as a sweeper.
Psychic's ability to break past paralyzed Chansey can provide an opportunity for Alakazam to paralyze a Pokemon when Chansey switches out or use Seismic Toss to pressure paralyzed Psychic-types as they enter. In an Alakazam mirror match, the typical strategy is to paralyze the opposing Alakazam, use Seismic Toss to chip it down, and switch out to a physical attacker when it is expected to use Recover. Unlike in RBY, Special drops from Psychic no longer reapply the paralysis Speed penalty, so there is little reason to waste Psychic PP in the mirror match. The threat of Thunder Wave puts pressure on fast Pokemon, such as Starmie and Tauros, to switch out to a paralyzed teammate or Chansey to absorb it. While this means Alakazam will rarely paralyze multiple Pokemon, it can use Psychic or Seismic Toss instead to pressure and potentially overwhelm these status absorbers as they come in, or it can switch out to a physical threat that can deal significantly higher immediate damage to them, like Snorlax.
Alakazam works well with teammates that can deal with other Psychic-types and Chansey. Zapdos' STAB moves 2HKO Starmie, Slowbro, and the omnipresent Exeggutor; Zapdos also 3HKOes Chansey and opposing Alakazam. In return, Alakazam can threaten Rhydon and take Psychic and Ice-type moves for Zapdos. Tauros and Persian can threaten most of Alakazam's walls, though care must be taken with them, as they despise being paralyzed. Notably, Persian 3HKOes Exeggutor with Slash, allowing it to switch in on its Rest and KO it or force it out. Alakazam returns the favor by providing valuable paralysis support and dealing with Gengar. Alakazam also appreciates teammates that can switch into physical attackers. Cloyster walls Snorlax and Tauros lacking Thunderbolt, 2HKOes Exeggutor with Blizzard, and leaves Starmie in OHKO range with Explosion. Gengar is another excellent partner, as it can wall Snorlax and Tauros should they lack Earthquake. Offensively, it carries a strong Thunderbolt to hit Starmie and Slowbro, and its Explosion can be used to deal significant damage to Chansey.
Reflect is a shaky alternative to Substitute; its benefits are outweighed by the fact it doesn't protect Alakazam from critical hits or status. Counter theoretically allows Alakazam to surprise physical attackers, but mechanics changes in Stadium reduce its utility. Alakazam's low HP also means it will rarely OHKO attackers and risks Body Slam paralysis, neutering it.
Checks and Counters
**Physical Attackers**: Once Alakazam is paralyzed, Snorlax, Tauros, Rhydon, Persian, Kangaskhan, and other physically potent threats can switch in on Recover and threaten Alakazam. None of these like taking Psychics, though, and most despise Thunder Wave. However, attempting to paralyze physical Pokemon is risky once they are already in, as they can potentially block it with Substitute and become even more difficult to stop.
**Psychic-types**: Exeggutor and Slowbro both check Alakazam; Exeggutor can threaten it with Double-Edge and Stun Spore, while Slowbro can set up Amnesia freely. Both also carry Rest to thwart Thunder Wave and heal off Seismic Toss. Despite this, Seismic Toss will eventually force them to use Rest, providing opportunities to pressure them with other attackers. Starmie and opposing Alakazam can also hamstring Alakazam with Thunder Wave, stall it with Recover, or force it to Recover and switch to a physical attacker, potentially catching Alakazam as it fully paralyzes. However, this comes at a cost, as Starmie and Alakazam will almost certainly be paralyzed in the process.
**Chansey**: Chansey's special bulk and access to instant recovery in Soft-Boiled allows it to sponge multiple Psychics from Alakazam, giving it room to use Thunder Wave or inflict chip damage so a physical teammate can switch in on its Recover. With some luck, though, Alakazam can break through paralyzed Chansey, particularly if it is already chipped prior to switching in. Chansey especially has trouble against Substitute Alakazam if it lacks Seismic Toss, as none of its other moves are capable of breaking Substitute in one hit.
- Written by: [[Mikon, 535276], [Sabelette, 583793]]
- Quality checked by: [[Torchic, 43049], [Ctown6, 509438]]
- Grammar checked by: [[Reece, 540842], [Sabelette, 583793]]