Alolan Raichu: A Nightmare Cup Trainer Battle Evaluation

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Surf’s up, trainers! The Nightmare Cup is here for the month of May, and having only access to Psychic, Dark and Fighting type Pokemon, the pool of Pokemon isn’t as big as usual but there are some great, inexpensive options. Alolan Raichu is one of those top tier choices, not only for your poor Stardust but for it’s incredible damage output.

How to Acquire

This Psychic and Electric-type is easily available from Tier 3 Raids and can be soloed with a reasonably high team of counters, see full raid guide here! Coming in under 1500 CP, Alolan Raichu can be powered up to 1500 for a small amount of stardust. On top of that, it has a stardust cost of 10k to unlock a second charge move! This is what Great League PvP players dream of when it comes to a budget tournament Pokemon.

The Moveset

Alolan Raichu has one of the best coverage for the Nightmare Cup. Because of the typing allowed, its Electric moves will be doing heavy neutral damage to most of the meta and super effective damage in some key matchups. Spark, with 2.00 DPT (Damage Per Turn) and 4.00 EPT (Energy Per Turn), is a fast move geared to spam charge moves. Pair that EPT with Thunder Punch and Wild Charge, things start to get scary!

Thunder Punch, 55 damage and 40 energy cost, is perfect for shield baiting. What is shield baiting? It’s when you charge your pokemon’s energy up to the point of a bigger move, but use the lower energy cost move. In this case, charging up to Wild Charge but using Thunder Punch. This will cause your opponent to think that it may be Wild Charge so they shield, which means you save energy and bait out a shield! What makes Thunder Punch so great is the fact that, if unshielded, will still hit hard!

Now Wild Charge is just scary, you’ve been warned. Wild Charge, 90 damage and 50 energy cost, can nearly 1-hit KO a Fighting Pokemon like Hitmonchan, do ⅔ of Skuntank’s health and obliterate Poliwrath. Pair that damage with only 50 energy cost and you have a wrecking ball of damage sparking out of this seemingly adorable flying rodent.

The Enemy

With all the greatness that Alolan Raichu brings to the Nightmare Cup, it will still have nightmares of its own. They take the form of the Dark-type Pokemon, like Alolan Raticate and Umbreon, who will be doing super effective damage to Alolan Raichu. Not a lot of hope in site when Dark moves start flying your way, but that’s not the end. Shiftry with its fast move Razor Leaf (yes, it’s back), will destroy our little sparky surfer. Spiritomb will be the thing of nightmares with it’s Ominous wind spam for possible stat buff while doing super effective damage to Alolan Raichu. Drapion will farm energy while shrugging off damage, watch out for that Bite! Finally Claydol will be a huge threat as it will resist all of Alolan Raichu’s moves due to its Ground typing. In summary, if it looks like it could go creep in the night, best get your Alolan Raichu out of there!

The Neutral

Now that we have gone through the nightmares, we see light at the end of the tunnel. There is a big group of Pokemon that Alolan Raichu can win against, based on shielding and energy. But remember that it has the capability of shield baiting very well with Thunder Punch! If you take advantage of that, without resulting too predictable, you’ll be set for success. Alolan Raichu can mostly tie with the Fighting meta, Pokemon like Hitmonchan, Toxicroak and Gallade. It also does well against Skuntank with Poison Jab doing heavy neutral damage to it, but be sure to shield that Crunch! The key to all these wins is actually having shields to protect it while landing a Wild Charge or baiting shields out with Thunder Punch, since it’s a fragile Pokemon that will not withstand too many hits.

The Victories

We’ve made it to the promised land. Alolan Raichu will dominate the Pokemon discussed in this section, with ease. Starting things off we have Xatu, a very strong threat for the Nightmare Cup, against which it will not even need Wild Charge, as Thunder Punch will do 93 Damage on its own! Poliwrath will be another easy win as it’s weak to Electric-type moves. Alolan Raichu also does very well against Pokemon like Hypno (as long as you don’t take a Shadow Ball) and Bronzong, some of the top Psychic Pokemon for the Nightmare Cup. Last but not least, Alolan Raichu dominates Wobbuffet, the peskiest Team Rocket star.

The Playstyle

Alolan Raichu needs to be played correctly to get its full potential. Shields are your friends, hold them close and use them on it, because most of the time if it doesn’t shield it’s bound to go down quickly! The goal of having it in your team is to burn the opponent’s shields and if they don’t, they’ll feel the wrath of our sparky surfer.

That makes Alolan Raichu a great lead with its many solid neutral matchups; however, if you find yourself matched against a Pokemon from the Enemy section, best get out of there quickly and have a back-up plan already in mind. On the other side of the battle, bringing in an Alolan Raichu to an enemy Pokemon who has no shields is just prime time sweeper time - especially if you manage to farm some energy beforehand.


Alolan Raichu is the most cost-effective and solid pick for the Nightmare Cup, and its unique coverage could very well make it an optimal choice for many competitive teams. Its ease of access allows it to be readily available for everyone and its speedy, massive neutral damage is a threat to be reckoned with. Look out for those Dark-type Pokemon, but also try to lock yourself in a positive matchup, since when it wins with health to spare, Alolan Raichu is likely to become a threat to the next Pokemon coming in too, being able to chunk down its HP with the quick Thunder Punch or making it burn shields. Remember to have at least one shield ready for your Alolan Raichu and have fun sweeping teams who come ill-prepared! Good luck in your Nightmare Cup Tournament!

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