Tapu Koko

Tapu Koko, The Land Spirit Pokémon. This guardian deity of Melemele is brimming with curiosity. It summons thunderclouds and stores their lightning inside its body. It confuses its enemies by flying too quickly for the eye to follow. It has a hair-trigger temper but forgets what made it angry an instant later.

Overview

Hello everyone and welcome to our latest addition to the Pokémon of the Week saga. This week we'll be telling you a little bit about Melemele's islands very own guardian Tapu Koko. It's one the first Pokémon you see once you embark on our latest adventure in this universe, and it literally saves you and Nebby from falling to your doom. Talk about making an entrance. Besides the cover legends I can't think of a 'mon more iconic to Gen 7 and Alola than our friend Koko to be honest. On the competitive side of things it has a fantastic ability which activates Electric Terrain immediately when Koko is chosen for battle. Which powers up all Electric moves by 50 percent. I can't stress to you enough how amazing and perfect that ability is. Koko's SpA power is good, but it's not the greatest so it takes your otherwise average Thunderbolts and boosts their power to incredible heights. It's also very fast outspeeding nearly all non Mega Evolutions that aren't wearing a Choice Scarf, and it's movepool is just diverse enough to take on most things in the metagame. I do wish it had a better physical movepool since it's Base Atk power is much higher than its SpA, but overall Tapu Koko is easily my favorite thing to come out of Gen 7 so far.
Positives
+ Fantastic Ability in Electric Surge which brings forth the Electric Terrain when your Tapu Koko is sent in to battle without you having to waste a moveslot.
+ Because it's half Fairy Type it gets some very useful resistances to Dark and Fighting Type Moves, and full Immunity to annoying Dragon Type Moves.
+ Amazing Base 130 Speed.
+ Solid Base 95 SpA.
+ High Base 115 Atk stat as well.

Negatives
- Despite having a higher Atk than SpA, it's physical movepool is extremely shallow and lacking overall.
- Doesn't have superb coverage options in general to be honest, but they can get the job done most of the time if you them wisely.
- A little frail for a legendary which limits its options a bit, and makes it hard to switch in on much.

Abilities

Electric Surge: Activates Electric Terrain for 5 turns when the Pokémon enters a battle. Which means you get a 50 percent powerboost to all Electric Moves, and it prevents 'mons from falling/staying asleep. As long as they're on the ground that is. In addition to that 'mons with the ability Surge Surfer have their Speed doubled so it pairs really well with things like Alolan Raichu. Plus because it's free and activates Electric Terrain automatically when you switch Tapu Koko into battle you don't have to waste an extra moveslot. This is a fantastic ability.
Hidden Ability (Not Available):
Telepathy: Prevents damage from team-mates during Double and Triple battles. It's currently unavailable, but even if it was Electric Surge should be your ability of choice. It offensive power boost to Tapu Koko's electric type moves is just too good to pass, and with the added team support it's almost a no brainer.

Movesets

A Watchful Protector

- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power Ice
- U-turn
- Volt Switch
Item Attached: Magnet
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs and Nature:
252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 Atk
Timid Nature

This is likely the set you'll see most people using. With Magnet + the Electric Terrain boost + STAB means you're looking at some freakishly powerful Thunderbolts and Volt Switch pivots without the recoil/diminishing returns that goes along running items like Life Orb. Hidden Power Ice will help you 2HKO special defense oriented Zygrardes and 1HKO Landorus-T after Stealth Rock damage. U-turn is a must because otherwise Dugtrio says hi and then proceeds to stomp all over your strategy for the match. Plus it's good for scouting and wearing down Koko's common checks.

Cuckoo For Koko

- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam
- Grass Knot
- Hidden Power Fire
Item Attached: Expert Belt / Choice Specs
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs and Nature:
252 SpA / 252 Spe / 4 Def
Timid Nature

This is what I've been using. The first slot has to go to Thunderbolt obviously because it's you're most powerful viable stab move, and it's also going to hit really hard thanks to the boost from Electric Terrain. Dazzling Gleam is your secondary stab, and it'll help you take out unwanted guests like Kyurem-B and Latias/Latios. Grass Knot is there to take care of party crashers like Gastrodon and Hippowdon. Last but not least we have Hidden Power Fire to wreck things like Magnezone, Ferrothorn, and Excadrill. Also just as a side note I much prefer Expert Belt over Choice Specs on this set because of the lack of recoil and power boost from hitting your enemy's mons super effectively. Plus if you play your cards right you can trick your opponent into thinking you're running Choice Specs once they realize you're not running the standard offensive pivot or calm mind sets and maybe even get in a surprise KO or two. However that's just a personal preference of mine. Choice Specs is probably more consistent. Anyways I had a lot of fun with this set, and I'll hope you at least try it.

Other Options

- Taunt: It's a solid other option that can help you cripple your enemy's more defensive 'mons. However you're much better off just pivoting with Volt Switch or U-turn and chipping away at their HP, and then sending out something that can overpower your opponent's walls immediately if at all possible.
- Calm Mind: I'm really just a not a fan of Calm Mind sets on Koko. It's not bad by any means considering Thunderbolt + Hidden Power Ice is great coverage, but it's just vulnerable to too many things for my taste because you're forced to rely on that coverage way too heavily Then you're last free slot almost has to be Roost because Tapu Koko isn't the bulkiest 'mon in the world and it will definitely need the help in the longevity department. It's just not reliable enough in my opinion
- Roost: Only take this move if you end up running a Calm Mind set after all to help keep you alive.
- Leftovers: Only take this item if you end up running a Calm Mind set after all for passive recovery to help you set up and possibly sweep a little easier.
- Electric Seed: It raises your Def by 1 stage as soon as Electric Terrain is activated. It's had some success on bulky Calm mind sets.

VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options

Tapu Koko was one of the most hyped Pokemon leading up to the 2017 VGC season, and so far, it has not disappointed. With its base 130 speed that makes it one of the fastest Pokemon in the format and a great offensive typing, Tapu Koko has had a lot of success early in the circuit. While its high physical attack is not utilized as much due to a shallow movepool and the presence of Intimidate on so many teams, Tapu Koko's special attack is still solid, and its electric moves really can pack a punch thanks to its ability. Koko is great as a lead, or late in a game to clean things up, and has been very useful in taking out bulky Pokemon like Celesteela (especially in the first few weeks of the season) and Tapu Fini, who has come on more in recent weeks.

Melemele's Guardian

-Thunderbolt
-Dazzling Gleam
-Discharge
-Protect
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature

One of the most common sets in the format, but a very strong one. A Timid nature with maximum speed utilizes Tapu Koko's blazing speed, and max attack with a Life Orb makes it hit very hard. Electric Surge is the only ability available, but a great one for Tapu Koko in increasing its electric attacks, and can support the team by doing the same and preventing anything on the ground from falling asleep.

Thunderbolt is Tapu Koko's strongest reliable electric attack, and combined with the STAB, Life Orb, and Terrain boosts, it can really put a hurt on opponents. Dazzling Gleam is Koko's only fairy move, and although it doesn't hit as hard as say Tapu Lele's Moonblast, it can still do solid spread damage. Discharge is necessary to work around Lightning Rod Pokemon that may try to keep opponents like Celesteela safe, and even with the spread damage, it can hit pretty hard thanks to Electric Terrain. Protect is a necessity on most Pokemon in doubles to stall out opponents' speed control, absorb double targets, or even lesson the damage from an incoming Z move.

Tapu Rooster

-Thunderbolt
-Discharge
-Dazzling Gleam
-Hidden Power Fire / Hidden Power Ice
Item Attached: Choice Specs
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature

Similarly to the Life Orb set, this set with Choice Specs aims to hit as hard as possible. The Specs sets is even stronger though, and does open up another moveslot for a 4th move since Protect is not needed. Once again the spread aims to hit hard and fast, but a Modest nature can be used over a Timid one to further maximize damage output, especially since there are only a couple Pokemon (in particular, the no-so-common Salazzle) that will outspeed Koko if it was Modest instead of Timid. Speed-tying Aerodactyl or other Tapu Koko is good, but should it not be as important to the team, Modest can really make a difference in battle.

Thunderbolt is still the best electric move, especially with the Electric Terrain boost. Discharge is very strong spread damage, and helps get around redirection or Lightning Rod. Dazzling Gleam, its best fairy STAB, can especially hit Pokemon like Garchomp (expecting to safely take an electric move) on the switch-in, threatening the KO on the next turn. The final slot can be a few things, but Hidden Power Fire or Ice are the best options typically. HP Fire can OHKO any Kartana that is not holding a Focus Sash. HP Ice can OHKO non-Assault Vest Garchomp and Salamence, which Dazzling Gleam cannot achieve with spread damage, and also just provides good coverage alongside Thunderbolt.

Bird Hands

-Thunderbolt
-Hiddern Power Ice / Dazzling Gleam
-Taunt
-Protect
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature

While not as common as the first set, this one adds some utility to Tapu Koko's role on a team, while still being able to be a threat. The spread remains essentially the same, though there is not as much diversity in moves. Thunderbolt is still the preferred electric move. Hidden Power Ice compliments electric attacks very well, but Dazzling Gleam is still a good alternative for a secondary STAB and spread move. Taunt is the main difference of this set. Tapu Koko's incredible speed makes it one the fastest Taunt users, and sometimes an unexpected one as well. Koko's Taunt can shut down certain setup strategies by pulling a surprise Taunt on boosting moves or setup strategies like Porygon2's Trick Room. Protect is arguably the best move in doubles still.

Wait...it can fly?

-Wild Charge
-Brave Bird
-U-turn / Dazzling Gleam
-Protect
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs and Nature:
252 Atk / 252 Spe / 4 HP or 4 SpA
Jolly / Hasty Nature

While nowhere near as common as the special set, a physical one still looks pretty good theoretically. With a higher attack stat than special attack, Koko's Wild Charge should do even more damage than a Thunderbolt. Unfortunately for Tapu Koko, it did not receive Play Rough, so it does not have a good physical fairy move, and Intimidate from Pokemon like Arcanine is very common. Combined with a shallow movepool physically, it has limited potential, but can still be fun to try. The EV spread maximizes its ability to hit fast with strong physical moves. The last 4 EVs and nature depend on whether you choose to run Dazzling Gleam as the 3rd attack or not. A Naive nature is fine as well on the Dazzling Gleam set, but Hasty ensures that an opposing Porygon2 with Download will receive an attack boost instead of a special attack boost. A way to decrease the opponent's physical attack like Intimidate or Aurora Veil can help make up the difference.

Wild Charge hits very hard in electric terrain, and Brave Bird is another strong physical attack, particularly against grass type opponents. U-turn is on the set mostly for utility on getting damage off and switching (and there are few other options), but Dazzling Gleam ensures that Koko can still hit with a fairy move. Protect is again very important on a doubles set.

Other Options & Team Ideas

-Focus Sash has decreased in usage since Tapu Koko appreciates the damage boosts, but still can be a good alternative to ensure that Koko gets an attack off.
-The Fairium Z crystal is a good item choice, as Twinkle Tackle does ensure the OHKO on Garchomp.
-The Electricium Z crystal allows for a one time nuke with Gigavolt Havoc that hits incredibly hard in Electric Terrain.
-Thunder is a stronger option than Thunderbolt, but should really only be used on rain teams.
-Grass Knot provides some similar coverage to its electric attacks, but will allows Tapu Koko to deal with Gastrodon quickly.
-Volt Switch is typically only able to fit on a Choice Specs set if you don't have access to HP Fire or Ice, but is good for getting off damage and switching for momentum.
-Z-Mirror Move is very niche but really cool to pull off. On a physical set with Mirror Move, Protect, Wild Charge, and typically Brave Bird, Tapu Koko can use Protect on its first turn. The following turn, it can use the Z version of Mirror Move to get a +2 boost to its attack, and also fire off the Z attack of whatever attack it is "mirroring."
-Nature Power is a cool tech that gives Tapu Koko access to Moonblast in Tapu Fini's Misty Terrain (as well as Psychic or Energy Ball in the respective terrains of Tapu Lele or Tapu Bulu).
-Sky Drop is not particularly strong, but can take a threatening opponent into the air for a turn while you switch Koko's teammate into something to put you into a better position, or help you set up.
-While maybe not quite as useful as Taunt, Roar is another option. Taunt will not stop Z moves from being used, so Porygon-Z and Eevee can still get their respective boosts even if Taunted. Roar, however, will allow those moves to be used, but then immediately phase out their boosts.
-Speaking of boosts, if you want to copy a boost that your opponent has, Tapu Koko gets access to Psych Up, and can really throw a wrench in Evoboost strategies.
-Quick Attack is not that strong either, but is Koko's only priority attack.
-Nature's Madness has some use in taking any opponent down to 50% health. Guardian of Alola, the Z move of Nature's Madness, is uncommon but also can help deal 75% damage to bulky Pokemon, while Tapu Koko's teammate deals the remaining 25% damage.

-Garchomp, particularly with Groundium Z, is one of the most common and best Tapu Koko partners. Garchomp's ground typing makes its immune to Discharge, while it also can deal huge damage to opponents with its ground Z move and coverage moves like Poison Jab or Fire Fang.
-Other Pokemon immune to electric attacks so you can spam Discharge work well next to Tapu Koko. While not as good as Garchomp is in general, Krookodile, Alolan Marowak, Gastrodon, Mudsdale, Pikachu, Togedemaru, Lanturn, and other Pokemon allow for a variety of strategies next to Discharge spam.
-Intimidate can be very important to prevent an opposing Garchomp from being able to OHKO Tapu Koko with Earthquake. Arcanine is the most popular one in the format, but Gyarados is also useful and can safely switch in on an Earthquake.
-Alolan Raichu reaches insane speed levels in Koko's Electric Terrain thanks to Surge Surfer, and its electric attacks appreciate the boost as well.
-Speaking of electric-type Pokemon, really any teammate with electric moves appreciates the boost from Koko's terrain. Xurkitree in particular can deal huge damage if you use it well.
-Rain support from Politoed or Pelipper allows you to throw up massive Thunders. Pelliper deserves a special mention since it gets access to Wide Guard, which can let you safely use Discharge, and also protect Tapu Koko from opposing spread moves.
-Tapu Lele works very well as a teammate on the Taunt set to counter Porygon2's Trick Room since Fake Out from Pokemon like Hariyama or Smeargle won't work. Tapu Koko appreciates any other Pokemon or strategies to prevent or counter opposing Trick Room as well since it is so fast and does not have the best bulk.
-Any teammates to chip away (or even OHKO) at Garchomp to put it in Dazzling Gleam range work well next to Tapu Koko, and anything to deal with Alolan Marowak, who walls Tapu Koko, can also be important on a Koko team.

Countering Tapu Koko

Well you won't need to be an Ultra Beast to stand up to Tapu Koko. It has quite a few answers that can deal with it. Alolan Marowak is immune to your Electric moves entirely, and it has little to no trouble switching in to your other coverage moves. It's also vulnerable to other Electric Type 'mons as well because they benefit from the Electric Terrain as well and they resist your stab moves. Any set that's not running Hidden Power Fire is going to have lots of trouble with Magnezone. Raikou is naturally pretty bulky and can take your stab and your coverage moves with ease and start setting up on you. Ground Types are probably going to be your biggest headache though. Hippowdon and Gastrodon will easily destroy any set that isn't running Grass Knot for coverage, and special defensive Excadrill can stand up to Hidden Power Fire variants. Don't forget about Bulky Grass Types though because short of running a mixed set with Brave Bird you're not going to do enough damage to things like Mega Venasaur and Amoonguss, but it's recoil is too high of a price to pay in my opinion so you're better off getting of there if you run into either of those mons. In short most of our friend Koko's counters are heavily defendant on what coverage moves it's or isn't packing at the time, so play it carefully and you should be ok.

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Not in game

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Not in game

Colosseum/XD:
Not in game

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Not in game

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Not in game

Black/White:
Not in game

Black 2/White 2:
Not in game

X/Y:
Not in game

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Not in game

Sun/Moon:
Ruins of Conflict

Animé Appearences

Tapu Koko has made several appearances in the anime. In these appearances, it appears as the guardian of Melemele Island who sense strength in ash and bestows upon him a Z-Ring and an Electirium Z.

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
944 Alola to New Adventure! Alola! New Islands, New Pokémon!! Pics
945 The Guardian's Challenge! Enter the Guardian Deity Tapu Koko! Let Us Attempt To Master Our Z-Move! Pics
952 TBC The Totem Pokémon is Gumshoos! Pics
953 TBC Will the Z-Move Work?! Challenging the Grand Trial!! Pics
962 TBC Intense Electric Shock Training! A Rematch with Tapu Koko!! Pics

 
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