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Is Eelektross Good in Competitive Pokemon Scarlet and Violet?

Introduced in Generation 5 of Pokemon, Eelektross debuted in Black and White as a mid-tier competitive Electric-type monster. Its Levitate ability means that it can’t be hit by Ground-type moves, which would be its only defensive weakness. The lamprey-like Pokemon lives in the ocean, but can crawl ashore with its arms in order to hunt. Apparently, it’s found its way into the Paldea region, making it yet another Pokemon returning to the series after being absent from all Generation 8 games including Sword and Shield.

Eelektross is a solid mixed attacker, with 115 base physical Attack and 105 base Special Attack. It has modest defenses with an 85 base HP and 80 base points in both physical Defense and Special Defense. The one stat that holds Eelektross back is its poor speed stat of only 50. In competitive play, it actually was a very popular Pokemon in competitive doubles for both VGC 2011 and VGC 2012. In singles, Eelektross was more mid-tier, starting out in the UU (Underused) tier of Pokemon Showdown and eventually falling into the NU (Never Used) tier. With proper support in doubles, however, its strong attacking stats meant the eel could be used as either a Special or Physical attacker. 

What is the Best Moveset for Eelektross?

Thanks to its deep move pool and the ability to learn a wide variety of type-coverage moves, Eelektross doesn’t have a single best moveset. Your build of Eelektross depends on whether you need a special attacker, a physical attacker, or a mix of both, depending on your team’s needs. 

In the past, competitive Special Attack Eelektross would run a set of Thunderbolt or Discharge as its same-type attack bonus (STAB) move, Flamethrower, Hidden Power (typically Ice), and either Protect or Grass Knot in its final slot. Trainers would invest extra points into HP to solidify its decent defenses and be able to live a hit. Special attack builds of Eelektross often equipped an Expert Belt, which doubles the power of super-effective damaging moves, making them more deadly. This was also a popular singles build for Eelektross.

Physical Eelektross builds would run a moveset of Wild Charge, Acrobatics, Brick Break or Dragon Claw, with Protect in the fourth slot. Thanks to the Gems of Black and White, when Eelektross would use Acrobatics, an equipped Flying Gem would be used up before the attack commenced, doubling the power of Acrobatics, a Flying-type move. In singles, though, Eelektross would pack U-Turn, a Bug-type move that would allow Eelektross to deal some damage, then dip to a better choice from your team. Some Eelektross in singles also ran Aqua Tail or Superpower for further type coverage.

Despite having no type weaknesses thanks to its Levitate ability, Eelektross has resistances only to other Electric-type moves as well as resisting Flying and Steel type moves. This is why Protect was so often a part of its best moveset. In doubles, its lack of speed wasn’t really an issue, and it was well worth playing for its offensive prowess for two seasons in the official competitive Pokemon spotlight.

Sadly, power creep and Mega Pokemon would see Eelektross disappear from VGC competition in Generation 6 X and Y. It could still hold its own with an Assault Vest variant in mid-tier Pokemon Showdown singles, though. This gave Eelektross a 50 percent boost to its Special Defense, but it lost the ability to run Protect, since Assault Vest forces the equipped Pokemon to only run damaging moves. These Assault Vest Eelektross packed Volt Switch, Flamethrower, Giga Drain, and Knock Off, while occasionally running Hidden Power Ice or Thunderbolt in its final move slot. 

In Sun and Moon, Eelektross couldn’t keep up with more Mega Pokemon and a slew of new options brought by Generation 7. It still held on for dear life in the lowest tier of Smogon competitive singles (PU) as a decent pivot monster for many teams. It ran a similar Assault Vest set to its Generation 6 counterparts. 

Is Eelektross Good in Scarlet and Violet?

Absent entirely from Generation 8, Eelektross still has a lot of fans, with some fans even going as far to create potential a Grass-type Galarian Eelektross regional form. The eel has its fans, especially among the competitive crowd. So, when it was revealed that Eelektross was in Scarlet and Violet, there was much excitement about the electric eel’s return.

Much of the excitement around Eelektross had to do with hype around Electric as a strong Tera Type. As the new mechanic for Generation 9, any Pokemon caught in the Paldea region will have a Tera Type matching any of its original types. But, you can find some Pokemon with entirely different Tera Types (one for each Pokemon type in the game) or you can acquire Tera Shards to give a Pokemon any Tera Type you desire. 

There was so much hype around the Electric Tera Type because an Electric-type Pokemon with the Levitate ability literally has no weakness. You’d also want the Electric Tera Type to give your attacks an additional 50 percent boost, as Tera Types that match an original type give that Pokemon a same-type attack bonus (STAB) of 2x instead of the typical 1.5x.

As mentioned in an October article from Game8, many Pokemon with Levitate could benefit from an Electric Tera Type. With Tera Types, a Pokemon loses any secondary typing and becomes a mono-type Pokemon with that Tera Type. Rotom is a great example of this, potentially shedding its Ghost typing and weaknesses. 

But, if you’re willing to invest the Tera Shards, Cryogonal, Mismagius, Hydreigon, Haunter, and Bronzong are other good choices for an Electric Tera Type. Also, while Gengar was nerfed by removing Levitate during the Sun and Moon era, due to dominating competitive play, it could still benefit by removing all but its Ground-type weakness.

Of course, besides the tournament staple that is Rotom, Eelektross is the most viable Pokemon for competitive play among those just mentioned. Bronzong could be pretty good, too, although it and the others would have to be caught in a Tera Raid. With how hard Eelektross already hits, it’s likely that its best moveset in Scarlet and Violet will pack a Special attacking Electric-type move such as Thunderbolt, Tera Blast (an 80 base power move that will default to physical since Eelektross has higher base Attack), plus two of Flamethrower, Giga Drain, Knock Off, or U-Turn. Eelektross built for doubles will likely run Protect as one of those two final slots.

Of course, this was all just speculation on my part and the general consensus within a short time of the game’s release. How did Eelektross actually do when it came to actual gameplay in Scarlet and Violet?

How Does Eelektross Fare in Competitive Scarlet and Violet?

Thanks to Pikalytics, we know much about how Eelektross performed in the first few months of both official Battle Stadium and Pokemon Showdown play. Unfortunately, thanks to the massive power creep of Paradox and Ruinous Pokemon, Eelektross has seen very little play in doubles, either on the Switch or on Pokemon Showdown. However, what little data we do have seems to suggest very different usage for Eelektross in Battle Stadium Series 2 and Pokemon Showdown VGC.

In official Nintendo Switch play, Eelektross has been playing its traditional role as a special attacker. Its most common build in Scarlet and Violet runs a moveset with lots of type coverage, including Discharge, Flamethrower, Acid Spray, and Giga Drain. Meanwhile, the Showdown VGC build tends to be a mixed attacker, with the most common moveset being Electric Terrain, Bulldoze, Grass Knot, and Acid Spray.

For Pokemon Showdown Gen 9 OU singles, Eelektross looks a lot like its Battle Stadium Series 2 counterpart, with a common moveset of Giga Drain, Flamethrower, Thunderbolt, and Acid Spray. Basically, outside of the unusual Electric Terrain build, Eelektross is the same competitive Pokemon we saw back in Black and White. It’s just not used nearly as much.

Still, Electric type Pokemon, believe it or not, simply aren’t seeing a ton of play in competitive Scarlet and Violet. The most popular actual Electric type in Scarlet and Violet singles seems to be Pawmot, and that’s mostly for its Revival Blessing move. The next most common seems to be Iron Hands, the Fighting/Electric Paradox Pokemon based on Hariyama. That’s because teams that need Electric coverage can simply make one of their Pokemon with an Electric move in their move pool into an Electric Tera Type. So, it’s not that Eelektross is bad; generally, it’s still a good Pokemon. Players just aren’t playing it all that much.

In VGC, the story was similar, with only Iron Hands being a popular Electric type, with Sandy Shocks a distant second, and Kilowattrel an even more distant third. Iron Thorns and Pawmot were in the Top 100, along with Rotom-Heat. There’s just not a lot of room for Electric types in this generation’s competitive scene.

How Did Eelektross Find a Competitive Home in the Scarlet and Violet NU Tier?

Clever trainers in Generation 9 finally found a couple of ways to make Eelektross a formidable bulky setup sweeper or a strong defensive pivot. The strategy Pokedex on Smogon University for Eelektross lists two potential builds. The first is the bulky setup sweeper, running a moveset of Thunder Punch, Drain Punch, Dragon Trail, and Coil. It’s interesting that we haven’t seen Coil used on Eelektross much previously, as it raises the user’s Attack, Defense, and accuracy by one stage. This is the best Eelektross moveset for a mid-range team that prioritizes balance between offense and defense.

The other Smogon suggested build for Eelektross is an Assault Vest set which is very similar to what we would’ve expected to see from Eelektross’ all-out attack moveset paradigm in previous generations. They suggest a moveset of Discharge, U-Turn, Giga Drain, and either Dragon Tail or Drain Punch, depending on the type coverage your team needs. With the 50 percent boost in Special Defense, Eelektross becomes even more of a defensive tank than usual.  

Sadly, when the Teal Mask DLC arrived, Eelektross plummeted in usage, falling all the way to PU. According to Pikalytics, it’s still running pretty much the same set, although Volt Switch seems to now be preferred over Discharge, with Giga Drain, Flamethrower, and Drain Punch rounding out its moveset. 

In Doubles, it’s found the tiniest niche as an all-out Electric special attacker, running Discharge, Flamethrower, Thunderbolt, and Protect. Assault Vest versions would run Giga Drain instead. So, it’s a Pokemon that crops up occasionally, but it’s just pretty rare to see at this point. 

So, despite all the hype around Eelektross, the electric eel didn’t make as much noise as may have been hoped. Of course, it still did enjoy some early success in the generation. Even going into 2024, Eelektross is still a good Pokemon with low-tier competitive use; in higher tiers, it’s just outclassed by stronger Pokemon gaining access to the Electric Tera Type.

Which is your favorite Electric type Pokemon for your Scarlet and Violet team?

~ Amelia <3

Updated 12-21-2023

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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