Welcome back PUCL to another Pokemon of the Week. This week we will be testing the greatest intelligence ever seen in the Pokemon world, Alakazam. The classic Red and Blue powerhouse, it has been around since the start and its mind has only been expanding since then. Yet to be surpassed by human or Pokemon intelligence alike, we are going to try and find what makes Alakazam so Special.
Description: The Psi Pokemon
Type: Psychic [Mega: Psychic]
Abilities: Syncronize / Inner Focus [Mega: Trace]
Hidden Ability: Magic Guard
Competitive: [Smogon OU] [Smogon UU]
Evolution: Abra -> Level 27 -> Kadabra -> Trade -> Alakazam -> Alakazamite -> Mega Alakazam
Origin: If you say the names of the evolution line out loud you will hear the common magician’s phrase Abra Kadabra Alakazam, popularized by the late Houdini. Alakazam in based on a magician or illusionist that claims to be capable of bending spoons, see David Blaine. If you extrapolate from its previous evolutions you will also see that it resembles a fox.
Original Appearance: Pokemon Red and Blue
Dex Entry [Moon]: Its brain cells continue to increase in number until its death. The older the Alakazam, the larger its head.
Looking at Alakazam’s stats and typing it is easy to see exactly the role it was meant to fill, a fast Special Attacker. That of course means that while its Special Attack and Speed are through the roof, it is otherwise frail. Back in Generation 1 it was well known that Psychic was a broken type since there were only two moves, Twin Needle and Pin Missile, that were super effective against it. On top of that the Special stat counted for both Special Attack and Special Defense so Alakazam had additional bulk thanks to its massive Special. This all combined with its pre Physical/Special split move pool to make it one of the strongest Pokemon in the original games. I know I had a level 100 one that I ran through the Elite Four singlehandedly many times just for fun. I think during that time I might have had too much of a good thing because ever since Alakazam has fallen off my radar and now I am excited to find out what he has been up to.
Alakazam may have three abilities but Magic Guard is almost strictly the best one, allowing it to avoid damage from status conditions, entry hazards, and Life Orb. One thing to note here that was also brought up on the podcast is that the Synchronize ability makes it such that a wild Pokemon will have a 50% chance to have the same nature as yours, this is essential when hunting for perfect IV Pokemon. Abra is a very common choice for a Synchronizer. I know I have a box with each nature of Abra in it just for this purpose. When Alakazam mega evolves it gets the ability Trace which is one of the most fun to make plays with in competitive battles. Getting immunities such as Water Absorb or Levitate, debuffs like Intimidate, buffs such as Sheer Force, and even heals like Regenerator and Natural Cure can make any match up unique.
Alakazam is a generation 1 Pokemon so it has an extensive move pool. It has almost all the coverage in you could want…on the Physical side which unfortunately is just about useless do to its measly Physical Attack. Being as smart as Alakazam is means it has learned how to manipulate its opponents with many of the trickster moves such as Disable, Taunt, Encore, Knock Off, Thief, Snore, Trick Room, Recover, Swap moves, and more but its poor survivability certainly lowers their effectiveness. The core Special coverage comes from the deadly trio of Psychic/Psyshock, Shadow Ball/Signal Beam, and Focus Blast with extra support from Dazzling Gleam, Energy Ball, and Hidden Power Fire. Mega Alakazam has a base Special Attack of 175 so if any of these moves are super effective against you, you are in for a bad time.
Like I said before Mega Alakazam was designed for one role and that comes through in its lack of unique sets. It is best with max speed and max special attack with a Timid nature for even more speed. Of course Magic Guard is necessary for the pre mega form so that Stealth Rock doesn’t cause you to take damage when switching in. From there you want to add the coverage moves of your choice and use it as a late game sweeper when your opponents Pokemon have been worn down to be KO’d by a single hit and there is no Priority left to threaten you. The Smogon set runs Substitute / Taunt which is meant to deal with offensive switch ins with Sucker Punch and bulky stall Pokemon respectively.
In UU normal Alakazam has more room to shine. I was hoping it would have a viable Recover/Calm Mind set but that is just overly optimistic for how frail Alakazam is. Instead it makes use of the synergy between Magic Guard and Focus Sash to be a difficult to counter threat. Since Focus Sash will not be broken by rocks it has the freedom to switch in repeatably as a revenge killer without being in danger of being OHKO’d itself. This set runs the same Special coverage moves as Mega Alakazam and Smogon adds an emergency Thunder Wave option for when its offensive usefulness runs out. I do think this is the set to run Recover on if any because once you take out your target and are down at your Sash you can start to heal back up on your opponents less threatening Pokemon. However, it would take some testing though to see if this is viable. Alternatively, if you want to hit harder you can use Life Orb instead and make use of its synergy with Magic Guard. This set being more offensive can run Calm Mind to secure the sweep or Encore/Taunt to prevent opposing sweepers from setting up in the late game.
In the VGC Alakazam is outclassed in almost every way by Tapu Lele. It does have one advantage in that it has access to so many supportive moves. I know we just saw a Speed Swap Emolga/Snorlax combination win a Regional so there are quite likely many strategies with Alakazam and Swapping moves that just haven’t been looked at yet and I encourage you to experiment with them. Giving an ally Pokemon Magic Guard with Skill Swap always has its uses for example.
For my fun set of the week I really wanted to build a defensive Alakazam with Encore, Calm Mind, Psyshock, and Focus Blast/Dazzling Gleam but I still think it is too frail to make use of those moves. Instead we are going to try a combination between Tapu Lele and Mega Alakazam to create an extremely hard hitter. The goal is to make use of Psychic Terrain with a Terrain Extender Tapu Lele. From there we want Alakazam to be able to hit everything with a Psychic attack so we will give it Miracle Eye to nullify those pesky Dark types. Now we can spam a boosted Psychic/Psyshock for massive damage. I need to play around with the remaining moves to see if Calm Mind is needed to make sweeping truly possible or if more coverage is still the optimal way to go. The best part here though is that Psychic Terrain nullifies Priority, specifically Sucker Punch, so the majority of your counters are hampered. The problem is that Focus Blast is still needed to hit Steel types, which means Miracle Eye becomes kind of pointless, but it was the move I was trying to build around so I am going to try it anyway! Maybe you could remove Focus Blast and pair it with a Magnet Pull Magnezone to take out the Steel types before your sweep.
This week on Game Corner we had a very close race, SumtimesIFly came in second with 100 points but Alakazam managed to take home this weeks prize with 10000000 points.
Try again next time SumtimesIFly, see you later.