Zeraora, The Thunderclap Pokémon. It electrifies its claws and tears its opponents apart with them. Even if they dodge its attack, they’ll be electrocuted by the flying sparks. It approaches its enemies at the speed of lightning, then tears them limb from limb with its sharp claws.
The newly arrived mythical Pokemon Zeraora was blessed with some interesting traits, despite not being an outstanding Pokemon. Between an excellent Speed stat of 143, decent mixed stats of 112/102, access to an expansive movepool consisting of Close Combat, Knock Off, Grass Knot, Fire Punch, Hidden Power Ice and a strong STAB on its signature move, Plasma Fists, Zeroara seems to have everything it needs to succeed. Thanks to its blistering Speed, Zeraora can easily outspeed numerous threats like Tornadus-Therian, Weavile, Mega Lopunny and Ash Greninja, making it very threatening to offensive builds. However, while Zeraora can run multiple sets like Mixed, Choice Band, Bulk Up, Work Up and others, Zeraora sometimes suffers from 4 move slot syndrome which makes it easily walled depending on the coverage move it misses. Zeraora also struggles to heavily damage bulky Grass types like Tapu Bulu and Mega Venusaur that can heavily cripple or KO Zeraora in return. Dedicated walls like Clefable also gives Zeraora a very hard time due to Zeraora's offensive stats and damage output being average at best compared to other Electric types like Tapu Koko. However, underestimate this thunder cat at your risk and you might end up losing more than your tongue.
Volt Absorb The Pokémon heals up to 1/4 of its maximum Hit Points when hit with Electric-type moves. - Good for Switch Ins and in Double Battles, but it's very situational. Zeraora's Plasma Fists move though can turn this to an advantage
THUNDER, THUNDER, THUNDERCAAAAAATS!!!!!
- Work Up
Work Up transforms Zeraora into a potent sweeper that is able to OHKO and 2HKO anything that does not resist its moves by raising its Attack and Special Attacks to respectable levels combined with its god-tier Speed. Plasma Fists is Zeraora's best STAB and it completely obliterates Celesteela, Toxapex, and Tapu Fini after a boost. Fire Punch is the preferred option on this set as it allows Zeraora to shred both Mega Scizor and Ferrothorn into ashes after a boost with Stealth Rock damage. Hidden Power Ice rounds the set OKHOing both Landorus-Therian and Zygarde after a boost, preventing them from walling this set.
Maximum Attack investment allows Zeraora to hit as hard as possible. 192 EVs in Speed are dumped in order to outspeed Mega Lopunny while the rest is dumped in Special Attack to bolster Hidden Power Ice as much as possible. It's worth mentioning that Z-Work Up grants Zeraora an extra boost in Attack in addition to the +1 boosts gained in Attack & Special Attack already. At +2 Attack, Zeraora can easily OKHO Amoonguss after Stealth Rock damage with Fire Punch and OKHO defensive Heatran with Plasma Fists (Which is why Close Combat is not needed on this set). On the other hand, a well timed +1 Gigavolt Havoc allows Zeraora to muscle past Magearna, Mew and Clefable at the cost of being helplessly walled by Tangrowth and have a harder time dealing with Amoonguss.
To further illustrate this set's potential, you can check some damage calculations below:
+1 252 Atk Zeraora Gigavolt Havoc (180 BP) vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Magearna: 352-415 (96.7 - 114%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock
Volt Absorb is Zeraora's only ability and it allows it to recover health every time it switches into an Electric-type attack. It's worth mentioning that Normal moves will transform into Electric type attacks at the end of the turn if Zeraora uses Plasma Fists first.
- Plasma Fists
A mixed set takes advantage of Zeraora's decent 112/102 offenses and coupled with the power of the Life Orb, it can pose a serious threat to numerous Pokemon, despite being an inferior mixed attacker compared to Tapu Koko. Plasma Fists are Zeraora's best physical STAB and it allows it to OHKO bulky Water types like Tapu Fini after Stealth Rock damage and heavily dent Celesteela. Close Combat is Zeraora's best option against Steel types like Heatran and Ferrothorn OHKOing and 2HKOing them respectively. On the other hand, Fire Punch is an option that still wrecks Ferrothorn but it allows Zeraora to 2HKO Mega Scizor and Tapu Bulu. Hidden Power Ice rounds up the coverage and allows Zeraora to destroy Landorus-Therian after Stealth Rock damage and it hits Zygarde for heavy damage. Finally, Knock Off is an option to OHKO both Latios and Latias if they are holding any removable items. Grass Knot is another option on the last slot to obliterate Mega Swampert & Quagsire if your team requires it.
204 Attack EVs guarantees that Zeraora will almost always 2HKO max HP Magearna and OHKO Tapu Fini and Toxapex after Stealth Rock damage with Plasma Fists. 192 Speed EVs allows Zeraora to outspeed Mega Lopunny and the rest is dumped in Special Attack to bolster Hidden Power Ice's damage output on Landorus-Therian as much as possible. Life Orb is the preferred item as it allows Zeraora to push its damage output to higher levels. A Hasty nature is chosen as Zeraora will appreciate being able to take Greninja's Water Shuriken in a better fashion as it is able to revenge kill it.
204 Atk Life Orb Zeraora Plasma Fists vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Magearna: 165-195 (45.3 - 53.5%) -- 91.8% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock
The PURR-fect Murder
- Plasma Fists
AWith the raw power of a Choice Band, Zeraora can raise its Attack to a respectable level and dish out pain with the appropriate coverage move. Plasma Fists becomes a very powerful STAB move capable of obliterating Magearna, Toxapex, Skarmory, Celesteela and Clefable to smithereens. Close Combat is preferred on this set for its ability to OHKO Heatran after Stealth Rock damage while 2HKOing Ferrothorn as Zeraora will be more of a hit-and-run Pokemon with a Choice Band. Fire Punch is a valid option if you prefer to toast Tapu Bulu and Mega Scizor on the switch-in. Hidden Power Ice rounds up the coverage and 2HKOs Landorus-Therian preventing it from walling this set completely. Finally, Volt Switch is the preferred move to regain momentum on predicted switches. Knock Off is a valid option for Zeraora as it can remove valuable items like Assault Vest from Pokemon like Tangrowth, Amoonguss and Magearna.
Maximum Attack investment allows Zeraora to hit as hard as possible. 192 EVs in Speed are dumped in order to outspeed Mega Lopunny while the rest is dumped in Special Attack to bolster Hidden Power Ice as much as possible on this set. A Hasty nature is chosen as Zeraora will appreciate being able to take Greninja's Water Shuriken in a better fashion as it is able to revenge kill it.
Other Options and Partners
· Zeraora can use a Bulk Up set similar to the Work Up sets alongside a Z-Crystal, however, without a boost on Special Attack, Zeraora fails to OHKO both Landorus-T and Zygarde making it prone to have its sweep ended.
VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options
Much like Singles, Zeraora has a difficult time standing out among the best in Doubles as well. Tapu Koko gives it tough competition in Doubles though that doesn't mean it has nothing of note to offer. Numerous support moves and blistering Speed are enough to set it apart from just being a worse Tapu Koko, the most notable trait being a very fast Fake Out. It's still not a very powerful threat though, and even without Tapu Koko around it wouldn't have an easy time standing out as a top threat. However, that doesn't change the fact that Zeraora has enough tools to try and form a niche, even if it isn't particularly outstanding at it.
- Fake Out
There isn't much that Zeraora can do that Tapu Koko or Mega Manectric can't already accomplish, though a full support set offers some unique utility for it. Fake Out is the defining feature of any Zeraora set in Doubles, boasting the fastest Fake Out in the game. Snarl provides some damage control, also further allowing Zeraora to tank special hits well. Knock Off may seem less useful in a metagame with so many Megas and potential Z-Crystal users, though the ability to remove berries is always useful. Alternatively Hidden Power Ice can be used to snipe Landorus-T, though it has little utility otherwise and only 2HKOs at best. Volt Switch rounds out the moveset to allow Zeraora to pivot out quickly in a bad matchup, or otherwise keep up the pressure with its Speed.
Assault Vest is used to give Zeraora some extra pivoting utility so that it can switch in more easily and pivot out after a Fake Out. A Timid nature is used with full investment in HP and Speed rather than Special Attack and Speed, because Zeraora cares more about maximizing its bulk than the amount of damage it's doing. However, the given spread can be adjusted based on how much power or even physical bulk might be desired.
Other Options & Team Ideas
- A pinch heal berry such as Wiki Berry can be used over Assault Vest if the extra healing and Protect option is desired. Likewise this makes Taunt a viable option to deal with Trick Room.
Countering Zeraora will greatly rely on the moves that it is running, however, due to Zeraora's average offensive stats, there are a couple of Pokemon that can wall it. Clefable is one of its best counters thanks to Unaware nullifying the Work Up boosts while having Protect to potentially scout for the Gigavolt Havoc. Both Quagsire and Gastrodon have nothing to fear to whatever Zeraora throws at them unless it runs Grass Knot as a coverage move. Mega Venusaur hopelessly walls Zeraora thanks to its typing, great defenses and Thick Fat (which removes its weaknesses to Fire & Ice), unless it runs Z-Bounce, which is a very rare move regardless. Amoonguss, Tapu Bulu and Tangrowth are Pokemon that can relatively check Zeraora very well, however, they can be defeated by boosted Fire Punches if Zeraora is further boosted with Z-Work Up. Zeraora's bulk is average at best and powerful priority moves from the likes of Ash Greninja and Zygarde can easily hurt the yellow cat if weakened. Also, Mega Alakazam and Mega Aerodactyl are able to outspeed it and heavily dent it with Psychic or OHKO it with Earthquake. Faster Choice Scarf users like Garchomp and Landorus-T are also able to outspeed it and kill it with a swift STAB Earthquake. PS: Thank you cyandigo for the great ideas on the titles of each set!
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