Dataminers recently reported that Abra Community Day could feature an Alakazam with Counter Fighting as the event exclusive move. Of course, this info is not endorsed, or confirmed, by Niantic and can change at any moment, but I’ve decided to take a look at the impact of this potential addition on Alakazam’s performance in Trainer Battles.
Let’s see how Alakazam stacks up if equipped with Counter, instead of Confusion or Psycho Cut, both of which are Psychic fast moves. PvPoke was used extensively for this analysis. Acronyms for Leagues will be used extensively, so remember that
- GL stands for Great League,
- UL stands for Ultra League and
- ML stands for Master League.
How does Alakazam perform today?
Honestly, quite terribly.
Alakazam has incredibly low HP (91 HP in GL), doesn’t have a good second type and is often easily countered by popular picks in every league. Alakazam is weak to Bug, Dark and Ghost attacks, all of which are common and well represented across all three leagues.
Alakazam’s recommended move set is Psycho Cut Psychic as fast move and Psychic Psychic and Fire Punch Fire as charge moves. Shadow Ball is sometimes recommended over Psychic, but that only applies for Master League.
In GL, its greatest threats are Umbreon, Zweilous, Foretress, Sableye, Togekiss and Alolan Ninetales. With such a wide variety of counters, PvPoke ranks Alakazam as 409 out of 550 Pokémon.
In UL, its greatest threats are Giratina, Heracross, Hydregion, Alolan Muk and the surprisingly common Sceptile. Ranked as 228 out of 341 Pokémon, Alakazam doesn’t shine there either.
In ML, Alakazam is absolutely wrecked, as its up against both Giratina forms, Togekiss, Darkrai, Mewtwo and even Genesect. There’s not a lot of wiggle room here, and a strong Psychic type is already available via Mewtwo or Armored Mewtwo. Ranked as 133 out of 253, Alakazam is still not good.
Does Counter improve Alakazam’s performance?
Yes, having Counter would improve Alakazam’s performance, but not enough to make a significant difference. Having Counter improves Alakazam’s viability primarily against Steel and Normal types, so essentially here are the Pokémon Alakazam will be better against:
Alakazam with Fire Punch was already a viable counter to Registeel, but Counter makes the process easier. Previously, you needed ~4 Fire Punches to win, since Psycho Cut did remarkably low damage as a fast move. Counter improves upon that and you need just two Fire Punches to burn Regi’s shields and get on with the combat. Unfortunately, your Alakazam will be left at 55 HP afterwards (in GL matchups). The HP situation improves dramatically in UL and ML.
Overall, this is good, Alakazam can be used as a Registeel counter effectively, especially in higher leagues.
Skarmory doesn’t resist Fighting moves, giving Alakazam just the sliver of hope to win. You will need Fire Punch for this to work, as Skarmory resists Alakazam’s Psychic moves. But alas, Alakazam can win if you’re both on 1 Shield, but will lose if both of you have 2 shields.
Bastiodon will win if both Alakazam and Bastiodon have no shields, but in any other scenario, Alakazam barely wins the match up despite its low HP. Bastiodon has a double weakness to Fighting moves, which makes things much easier for Alakazam.
Alakazam can’t win these match ups no matter what, but it manages to deal more damage to Snorlax and Lapras before fainting. I’m including this example to illustrate that some match ups are simply too hard for Alakazam regardless of it’s move set – the HP simply isn’t there.
Well… With or without Counter, Alakazam is somewhat doomed in Trainer Battles. Its simply too squishy and its HP is limiting its performance. There are better options out there, and despite Alakazam’s undeniable popularity among Gen 1 fans, I have to say this: save your Stardust for something better.
No matter where you compete, the fact that a simple Altered Giratina (or Togekiss, or Lapras, or Snorlax) can rock you like a hurricane (shameless Scorpions reference) is not a good place to be. Remember that in most match ups, even if victorious, Alakazam wins with ~50% HP missing.