Raikou is simply one of the best attackers in the game. Raikou’s best moveset is also one of the most powerful Electric sets in the game — Thunder Shock and Wild Charge — and it also has enough bulk to make it a good generalist Pokemon. Raikou was initially designed to be a bulkier and less damaging version of Zapdos, but because Zapdos got Zap Cannon instead of Wild Charge, it was enough to make Raikou more powerful, while also being bulkier.
Though only two types are weak against Electric, which are Water and , those two types are common enough for Raikou to see usage. Water type is the second most common type for defenders, with notable Pokemon such as Wailord, Gyarados, Vaporeon, Lapras, Walrein, and Slowbro, with Gyarados even having double weakness to Electric type. As for , it is one of the more common type for Legendary Pokemon, granted most of those Pokemon have a second type that resists Electric as well.
Unfortunately, Raikou was only available for a limited time, and like most Legendary Pokemon, you’ll most likely need Rare Candies to power it up, but other Electric types like Jolteon pale in comparison with Raikou’s raw strength that it’s definitely worth the candies and dust. Good thing, like the Legendary Birds, Raikou returns as a Research Breakthrough as well.
The current top Electric Pokemon only consists of Raikou, Zapdos, Jolteon, and Ampharos, and some might argue even Lanturn or Electabuzz. Raikou clearly stands out by being both stronger and bulkier, even if Zapdos technically has a higher Attack stat.
Its main strengths are:
- It is able to learn Thunder Shock and Wild Charge, one of the best Electric moveset in the game, having both the raw power and maneuverability one can only dream of.
- Don’t get me wrong, he’s still considered an attacker, but it has decent enough bulk for it to survive long enough in the battle to leave a bigger dent on the opponent.
- It only has one weakness, which is Ground, and while four types resist Electric types, two of the types are not really common defenders (Grass and Electric), the other surprisingly almost always pairs up with types that are weak to Electric (Dragon), and the last one is Ground type, which is the sole weakness you would not really use Raikou on.
However, its main weaknesses should be mentioned too:
- Because Ground types are also immune to Electric moves, Raikou is easily exploitable. Once there’s a Ground type opponent, Raikou can’t do anything against the opponent.
- Because it’s a Legendary Pokemon:
- You can’t place it on gyms, limiting its use. It’s too bad because it can learn Volt Switch, the best defensive Fast Move in the game.
- Powering it up means you’ll use Rare Candies unless it’s available as a Raid Boss or a Research Breakthrough.
Best Raikou movesets
|Role||Quick move||Charge move|
|Gym offense||Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
|Volt Switch Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
|PvP (speculative)||Thunder Shock Electric||Thunder Electric|
Best Raikou moves in Pokémon GO
In reality, there is no such thing as a bad Raikou Pokémon GO moveset. However, some movesets are more viable or commonly used than others. The following Table compares the cycle DPS (with STAB) of every single moveset that Raikou is able to learn. Keep in mind that some movesets might not top the DPS charts but could be good to use in certain scenarios!
|Fast Move||Charge Move||Cycle DPS (STAB)|
|Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric||22.91|
|Volt Switch Electric||Wild Charge Electric||21.67|
|Thunder Shock Electric||Thunderbolt Electric||21.36|
|Volt Switch Electric||Thunderbolt Electric||20.28|
|Thunder Shock Electric||Thunder Electric||19.7|
|Volt Switch Electric||Thunder Electric||18.62|
*Keep in mind that STAB cycle DPS calculations just compare the different movesets and they are not Pokémon-specific
- Thunder Shock is the best Fast move, having a faster EPS while still having almost the same DPS as Volt Switch. It also has a lower cooldown, making it easy to dodge attacks
- Wild Charge is the best Charge move, and actually pairs very well with Thunder Shock, being a 2-bar Charge move while having enough cooldown to insert in-between the defender’s Fast Moves. Thunderbolt is also a 2-bar Charge Move with almost the exact cooldown, but has lower damage.
- Volt Switch is a great defensive Fast Move, but sadly Raikou can’t be placed in gyms because of its status as a Legendary Pokemon. It may have a passable Cycle DPS but since it has a very large cooldown, Thunder Shock outclasses it in every way.
- Thunder is a great move for PvP once it rolls around, because it has a very narrow dodge window. Other than that, it has an abysmal DPS. Wild Charge is far and away better.
- Again, Thunderbolt is almost exactly the same as Wild Charge, but 10 damage lower, so TM it away. If you don’t have a TM, you can settle for this move until you have the TM to change it.
Raikou Counters in Pokémon GO
|Pokémon||Fast move||Charge move|
|Groudon Ground||Mud Shot Ground||Earthquake Ground or Solar Beam Grass|
|Rhydon Ground Rock||Mud Slap Ground||Earthquake Ground|
|Golem Ground Rock||Mud Slap Ground||Earthquake Ground|
|Flygon Ground Dragon||Mud Shot Ground||Earthquake Ground|
Groudon is the best Ground type attacker in the game. It has a massive 270 Attack and a beefy bulk of 251 Defense and 182 Stamina. It can totally shutdown Raikou with its Electric resistance and STAB super-effective Ground Moves. Even Solar Beam does well vs Raikou.
Rhydon and Golem also does well against Raikou for the same reason. Even if they are a notch weaker than Groudon, it’s not to say they’re bad against Raikou. Their immunity to Electric and STAB super-effective Ground moves can still obliterate Raikou. You can actually use them if you plan on saving Groudon for another opponent.
Flygon has the distinction of having an immunity AND resistance to Electric moves, lowering Raikou’s damage output to 43.7%, even with STAB, while also returning super-effective STAB damage. Even with its subpar offenses and bulk, it is more effective than using Golem on a Time-to-Win standpoint.
Other viable alternatives
|Pokémon||Fast move||Charge move|
|Sandslash Ground||Mud Shot Ground||Bulldoze Ground|
|Donphan Ground||Tackle Normal||Earthquake Ground|
|Nidoking Poison Ground||Fury Cutter Bug||Earthquake Ground|
|Latios Dragon Psychic||Dragon Breath Dragon||Dragon Claw Dragon|
|Exeggutor Grass Dragon Alolan Form||Bullet Seed Grass||Solar Beam Grass|
Raikou’s exploitable Ground weakness is so bad, even low tier Ground types are viable. This means Sandslash, Donphan, and Nidoking are valid counters against Raikou when you don’t have access to the supreme counters.
Latios and Alolan Exeggutor are fully-evolved Dragon types that resist Electric types successfully, with Alolan Exeggutor having double resistance because of its Grass typing. Use their best DPS moveset when fighting against Raikou. Speaking of Grass, you can use your best Grass attackers like Venusaur and Regular Exeggutor for their resistance to Electric moves
|Sunny||—||Boosts super-effective Ground type moves|
|Rainy||Boosts its Electric type moves||—|
Viability in raids
Raikou is a great Pokémon in raids. While it has advantage to a couple of Legendary Raid Bosses, most of them are in Generation I and II, limiting it’s use on future Legendary Raids. Here’s a list of Legendary Raid Bosses which it is one of the top counters:
|Raid Boss||Fast move to use||Charge move to use|
|Articuno Ice||Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
|Moltres Fire||Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
|Suicune Water||Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
|Ho-Oh Fire||Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
|Lugia Psychic||Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
|Kyogre Water||Thunder Shock Electric||Wild Charge Electric|
Still, it’s natural power, decent bulk, and great offensive and defensive typing makes it one of the best Generalist in the game. Because it only has a single Ground type weakness, there are only a few situation in which it does not take super effective damage from the Legendary Raid Boss. Notable Legendary Raid Bosses where you can use Raikou as an attacker are:
Other than Ground types, you should stay away from Raid Bosses that does resist Electric type moves like Latios and Latias, unless it has a secondary type that is weak to Electric typing like Zapdos and Rayquaza. There are better counters for the raid bosses listed above, but Raikou can easily fit an empty slot in your offensive line-up because it has maneuverability to dodge Charge Moves. Give it a chance if you don’t have better specialist Pokémon for a specific matchup!
Raikou is the best Electric type attacker and a great Generalist Pokemon. It’s moves Thunder Shock and Wild Charge is both best DPS wise and maneuverability, making it a good attacker that can easily dodge Charge Moves. Being only weak to Ground gives it a lot of neutral matchups. It’s lone weakness might be easily exploitable, but since it can’t be a defender given its status as a Legendary Pokemon, it’s less likely to be used in a situation where it can be beaten.