Raichu (HeartGold & SoulSilver HS 10) – Card of the Day

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!

Reader Interactions

21 replies

  1. Lee

    One thing to point out: With Victini, Raichu offers a decent although flippy counter to Yanmega as it only takes one energy of any type and two heads (which you will get two shots at) to OHKO the format’s most popular card with Iron Tail. On top of that, he can retreat for free once the bug is dead!

    • Dakota Streck  → Lee

       Even if you get two shots at it, it’s still a 50/50 shot at OHKO on Yanmega.

      Great review, very informing and well written!

      Frankly, I’m not sure where Raichu would be played. In a speedy Zekrom deck, you have Zekrom, so Raichu would just slow you down. Even if he was a basic, it still doesn’t do anything the deck can’t pretty much already do.

      Another deck I thought about using it in is a Magnezone Prime build that has multiple Pachirisu/Shaymin, but then I thought “Magnezone does the exact same thing- chucks 2 Energy for 100”. This isn’t a horrible card, but it’s too fragile and Zekrom/Magnezone do anything it can do (IMO better).

      Side Note: If you just want a cheap deck for league, you could do a lot worse though

        • Dakota Streck  → Anonymous

          Glad to hear that you liked em. :D
          I had stopped writing for 6p because, long story short, some real life issues got in the way. they’ve been sorted out now, so I am planning to start writing regularly again. With any luck, I’ll have an article and a few COTDs in by the end of the week.

        • Lee  → John

          Appreciate the statistic replies, however, in my truly laissez-faire, devil-may-care attitude towards Pokemon and life in general, I must quip a quote of Han Solo in saying, never tell me the odds! (especially with Sharpedo).

  2. Tandem Arts

    100 won’t OHKO many things in the format, meaning I’d utilize Raichu’s free retreat and run this with a backup attacker to finish off the kill. Discarding 4 energy and using up Shaymin/Pachi to get one kill seems excessive.

  3. Taylor Richmond

    So basically it is a stage one version of Zekrom that doesn’t hit for as much and has less hp.

    • Stephen Mills  → Taylor

      It boils down to the same HP after 1 attack, except Raichu has to discard 2 energy (along with being a Stage 1 and having a worse first attack…).

  4. Anonymous

    OK, my friend Trent has used Zekchu in two tournaments, including Worlds. It is Raichu, Zekrom, Pachirisu, and Shaymin, and the deck worked perfectly for him. Unfortunately, we took the deck apart to build ZPST, as we believe that would do better in this format.

      • Mekkah  → CalebM

        Nah. It costs 1 more Energy to do 20 extra, putting it closer to the magic 130-140 with PlusPowers, which Raichu HGSS is never going to reach. Its PokePower works perfectly with Pachirisu, eliminating the need for Shaymin/Energy Switch. It’s still a fairly bad deck of course, inferior to Zekrom and all.

        • Mekkah  → CalebM

          1 retreat isn’t a big deal. Raichu is generally only going to leave the active spot to go to the discard pile considering how frail it is, and if you do have to retreat it all you need is one Energy on the field because of its power. 

        • CalebM  → Mekkah

          thats a was+ted energy imo, and its best to only use iron tail, which can do more damage than any other card ever made EVER

    • Anonymous  → Ricky

      Oops! The secret rare Pikachu gets it from the discard, but the promo gets it from the deck. I kinda overlooked that, as I was just thinking of lumping them together.

  5. Lynx Meche

    Sounds like a cheap league deck alternative, but if you have Shaymin and Pachirisu you can probably get promo Zekrom easily enough. If anything, I’d say it’s a way to teach the ZPS acceleration engine without giving a kid full ZPS and letting them run loose. And it might be a more attractive option to a child, but…I dunno if I can stay that anymore.

    Darn kids and their Arceus and their Reshiram and their Darkrai. Back in my day we were lucky if we could give our Pikachu a Thunder Stone, because we fell for the trap that was Pokemon Yellow.

  6. CalebM

    Iron tail is the best attack in format right now!!!!

    (Well, if you are as lucky as I am.)

    It can do more damage than any other attack!  Even more than jumbo cards, more than a KGL that discards 5 energy, and even more than a RDL attacking another RDL for 150 + 40 (quadruple PP) + 40 (quadruple Jarm for 4 PP) + 40 (blackbelt) and x4 weakness!  thats 1080 damage!!!

    Of course, I only like flippy attacks because I’m the luckiest kid I’ve ever heard of (i.e. I once flipped heads on iron tail for about 5ish minutes, and i was flipping fast, too)

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