pokebeach.comHey guys! Today I want to take a look at Raichu from HeartGold & SoulSilver. He has, in my opinion, the cutest artwork in the entire set – but how does he measure up as far as playability? Let’s take a look.
Raichu’s pre-evolution is the lovable Pikachu. There are four Pikachus in the format – one from HS, one from UD, a promo, and the secret rare from Black & White. These Pikachus have 60, 50, 70, and 60 HP, respectively. They all have one Retreat Cost, Fighting weakness, and the standard Lightning type. The HeartGold & SoulSilver Promo Pikachu is the bulkiest, with 70 HP – quite good for a basic – which automatically sets the promo ahead.
The secret rare and the promo both have attacks that grab energy from the discard pile, which is nice, considering Raichu discards energy with its attack; however, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have the need to attack with Pikachu. I’d play the promo if you have it, since it has the most HP, though it’d be fun to use the secret rare to distract your opponent with epic shininess. The Pikachu used doesn’t matter much and is really a matter of preference.
Now on to Raichu himself. Raichu has 90 HP – average for a Stage 1; a nasty Fighting weakness, meaning it’ll be 1HKO’d by Donphan Prime; and a nice free retreat. His first attack, Iron Tail, is nothing much – for one C energy, you get to flip a coin until you get tails, and do 30 damage for each heads. I guess it’s OK for the cost, and the Victini from Noble Victories would help a bit, but this attack is probably not going to be of much use.
Raichu’s next attack is called Thunderbolt. It does 100 damage and costs 2 Lightning energy. This would normally be a great attack; however, you have to discard all energy attached to Raichu. This is really annoying, because it’s hard to pull off Thunderbolt on two consecutive turns. The next turn, you could use Iron Tail; that’s probably how the card was designed to function, and it could work, but it’s not optimal.
pokebeach.comHow could Raichu work in this format? It would need to be able to attach two Lightning energy in one turn. Thankfully, Lightning has some of the best energy acceleration in the format – the Pachirisu/Shaymin engine. After using a Thunderbolt, you’d just get the energy back with Trainers such as Energy Retrieval, drop it with Pachirisu, and move it to Raichu via Shaymin’s Poké-Power, Celebration Wind. Next turn, use Super Scoop Up and/or Seeker (or just drop another Pachirisu and Shaymin), lather, rinse and repeat.
The goal of such a deck (RPS?) would be to get out a Raichu to attack as quickly as possible, and Thunderbolt every turn for six quick KOs. There’s also the option of donking with Pachirisu. In theory, it should work very well, but, unfortunately, this deck has a few weaknesses.
The first is Donphan, a speedy attacker that can KO Raichu for one energy. Also, at 90 HP, Raichu is just too fragile to withstand attacks late game by heavy hitters such as Reshiram and Zekrom. The only way to counter these weaknesses, really, is to a) outspeed your opponent or b) run a backup attacker like Zekrom or Tornadus. If you manage to pull this deck off, however, it could be fun and speedy.
In conclusion: Raichu may not be a broken card in this format, but it could work fairly well as a fun league or BR deck. In addition, since Raichu comes in the HeartGold/SoulSilver trainer kit (albeit with different artwork *sniff*), it can be fairly easy to build for a newer player (the Pachis and Shyamins may be hard to get, but a deck for a little kid wouldn’t need them).
Is Raichu HS playable at all? What do you think? See ya later this week with another Card of the Day!