After day one of the Pokémon World Championships, which was a veritable bloodbath, it became obvious that the tournament had one unexpected contender for biggest threat: Raichu. Even though the Video Game Championship series is solo affair, one group of players forged the same path to victory on the back of a team featuring Raichu's new adorable Alolan form.
Alvin Hidayat, Rajan Bal, and Robbie Moore all represent Smogon, one of the largest online communities for competitive Pokémon battling in the world. The first two made it to the second day of competition by earning at least five wins, and Moore was just a single game away from doing the same. However that wasn't the surprise. After the first day was over, it was their team lineup that was the focus of conversation.
Their team of Tapu Koko, Raichu, Metagross, Salamence, Snorlax, and Clefairy raised eyebrows when it first debuted, but after seeing it plow through the first few rounds, several opponents became weary of facing it. So once we made it to the end of the day, players knew they had to figure out a game plan for dealing with the team or risk being caught off guard.
According to Kotaku's breakdown, here's how the Raichu-led Pokémon force dominated the competition:
"First, by setting up Electric Terrain with Tapu Koko, Raichu gets a massive speed-boost thanks to its Surge Surfer ability. Then, by using its unique Z-move, Stoked Sparksurfer, it can do huge damage and have a 100 percent chance to paralyze its opponent. It also has access to utilize moves such as Fake Out and Encore which can stop opposing Pokémon in their tracks. Finally, with addition of Hidden Power Fire, the combo works as a perfect answer for the ever-deadly Kartana.
Meanwhile, Metagross and Salamence make for another deadly duo thanks to the synergy between Bulldoze and the Weakness Policy item, which boosts the holder's damage output two-times when hit by a super effective attack. Snorlax and Clefairy round out the team, using the redirection and the damage-reducing Friend Guard ability to help Snorlax deal devastating damage after maxing out its Attack with a Belly Drum."
This unconventional but brutally effective hit squad is quite possibly the most threatening lineup of the competition so far.
Now to see how Raichu fairs on day two.