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|Catch Rate||3 (0.4%)|
Raikou is a roaming wild Pokemon, available on most routes after you've fought your rival for the third time. Encountering it is very difficult and Raikou will always flee on the first turn if possible, even if put to sleep. And if not, then it is likely to use Roar. Good luck!
Lead paragraph will go here. But, it's a legendary sabretooth tiger, so you know you want to use it.
Due to the difficulty of obtaining Raikou, catching it is nowhere near as straight forward as walking into a patch of grass and crossing your fingers you get it instead of a Pidgey. Trying to hunt it down the normal way will most likely ensure you'll never encounter the tiger as a first encounter. And if you do run into it, you will most certainly be unprepared to catch it. So if you want a Raikou, read and prepare well.
Before doing anything, your first consideration will be to determine how Raikou relates to the first encounter rule. In normal circumstances, if you bump into a Pokemon, say Rattata, and fail to catch it, no subsequent Rattatas will ever be the same and, therefore, are different Pokemon. Raikou however, is the exact same Raikou no matter how many times you encounter it, all the way down to damage you've inflicted, status you nailed it with, and PP you've drained. As such, if you make a first encounter with it and then run into it again later, it's still technically that route's first encounter.
As such, you enter a sort of gray area here. You may see Raikou as a legit capture opportunity anywhere so long as it was encountered first anywhere, or maybe only legit on the route it was first found (probably the safer of the two if you want to stick close to the official rules). Or maybe once it flees, it's gone and you've missed your chance until its a first encounter on another route? Or maybe once its run, that's it, you lose it forever? How you interpret the first encounter rule with Raikou will determine whether you can just slowly whittle it down over successive battles or if you'll need to avoid it until you get the Master Ball.
The second thing you need to do is to pick a route to sacrifice to the sabretoothed tiger. Route 42, due east of Ecruteak, is a good example of a route that works well for catching the beast as all of its encounters can not only be avoided until you're actively looking for them, but they are also all mostly duplicate encounters of other early routes, save Mankey in Heart Gold. By contrast, Route 37 is a rougher option since you miss out on one of your few chances to catch Growlithe (HG), Vulpix (SS), and Stantler and you also must Repel through it every time. Also, keep in mind Raikou only roams Johto. So be sure to leave a route open somewhere if you plan to catch it.
Once you have your route, play the game until the beasts awaken beneath the burned tower and you have access to your route. Simply ensure your lead is a higher level than the highest level encounter on the route, but still below level 40, and jump into the tall grass for a dozen or so steps. If no encounter, exit the route, re-enter, and repeat. You might get Entei before encountering Raikou, which is an equally lucky find, but maybe not the one you were looking for. But if you do encounter Entei though, most of the below considerations still apply if you wish to try to catch it anyway.
Finally, once you've ran into it, it's time to battle. Raikou will attempt to flee every turn, so if you're whittling its health after multiple battles, you'll only have one turn to do so. If you want to actively battle it, make absolutely sure your Pokemon can handle a level 40, powerful Electric type. And, make sure you have a way to trap it. An example of a Pokemon for this is Umbreon, who can learn Mean Look to trap Raikou, Taunt to prevent Roar, and Baton Pass via leveling Eevee to pass Mean Look to a teammate for actual fighting. Though Umbreon learns Mean Look rather late, so this specific example isn't an option if you're trying to catch Raikou at an earlier level (and, in fact, if going for it as early as possible, straight-up battling it is NOT recommended.) Luckily though, Raikou only knows Spark and Quick Attack for damage, which comes off its weaker physical attack, so sponging its hits shouldn't be too hard
Raikou will take many balls to catch, no matter your approach. A Master Ball is the best option here, but Kurt's Fast Balls or, if at night, store-bought Dusk Balls also work wonders if you're battling it. If throwing a ball at the start of battle, your best option will definitely be the Quick Ball since you'll never see more than the first turn of battle with this method. It should be noted though that an undamaged, unstatused Raikou only has a 2% chance of being caught with a Quick Ball, so, while possible, you'll want to wait before trying if that is your only option.
Important Matchups Edit
- Gym #4 - Morty (Ecruteak City, Ghost-type): Thanks to Raikou's massive level advantage, Morty should provide no trouble whatsoever. Even with a 0 IV Adamant Raikou, Thunderbolt, which can be obtained for free as soon as you catch it, will OHKO his entire team. And even if you don't have it, only Gengar can sometimes withstand a Spark. Meanwhile, Gengar's only chance to OHKO Raikou is with Shadow Ball. On a critical hit. And only after five or six special defense drops to boost the critical. In other words, you're only in danger if you let yourself be in this battle.
- Eusine (Cianwood City): Raikou's level should mean that everything on Eusine's team should be OHKOed except Electrode if you took the time to acquire Thunderbolt. Spark can do the job too, but IVs and Nature can potentially turn a OHKO into a 2HKO if you're still level 40. So, just in case that happens, or you miss with Thunder, Drowzee can be annoying with sleep, confusion, or Disable statuses while Haunter can sleep or Curse. Electrode can't do anything to Raikou in time to be a threat, so, even if you only have your starting moves, it should pose zero threat.
- Gym #5 - Chuck (Cianwood City, Fighting-type): While Raikou should be in little danger since, at worst, everything in this match will be a clean 2HKO, luck can go badly. Primeape could theoretically Double Team on its opening turn if you don't one-shot it. It then will do about 50% damage with Focus Punch to an unleveled, unEVed Raikou and could theoretically OHKO. This isn't likely to happen, however, but worth keeping in mind there's the very slight chance for a Evasion-hax crit-hax KO. Poliwrath could also theoretically survive a Spark (seriously, just go get Thunderbolt already, it's effectively free), induce sleep with Hypnosis, and Focus Punch for a little less damage. But, you should OHKO it trivially.
- Gym #6 - Jasmine (Olivine City, Steel-type): While Raikou is type-disadvantaged offensively in this gym, lets be honest here. Both Magnemites will be 2HKOed by a still-level 40 Raikou's Thunderbolt and will do diddly-squat back for damage. Honestly, Supersonic and Thunderwave are more threatening, because it'll make you use money on a healing item. Raikou vs Steelix, on the other hand, is an exercise in futility for both sides. Unless you taught it Dig, Raikou can only tickle Steelix because of its typing. However, Steelix's weak attacks and lack of a Ground means it has a chance to KO Raikou in four hits with Iron Tail. ....well, provided they're all critical hits. It does have Screech, however, so unless you're willing to burn money on Guard Specs, you're best using another team member just so you don't lose Raikou from dicking around.
- Petrel (Team Rocket HQ): You should one-shot everything on Petrel's team with Thunderbolt. Just watch out for Raticate's Sucker Punch if you're low on HP somehow.
- Ariana (Team Rocket HQ, tag battle with Lance): Another fight where everything should be a 2HKO at worst with Thunderbolt, mainly because of its Grass-type. If you're level 43 by now and have Crunch, bear in mind Thunderbolt does about the same amount of damage to Gloom. Anyway, since it is a double-battle, there's a good chance you may take damage or status regardless. Arbok should be the first target to avoid paralysis, though Drowzee can use Poison Gas or Disable to be annoying. Gloom should likely be next to avoid Sleep Powder, followed by Drowzee and then Grimer, which has Disable and Minimize. Murkrow is a total non-threat.
- Gym #7 - Pryce (Mahogany Town, Ice-type): Raikou should trivially OHKO Seel and Dewgong with Thunderbolt. Piloswine is in a similar situation as Steelix. Mud Bomb is a 3-4HKO, while Crunch is similar back and Shadow Ball is about a 2HKO. Raikou can win this match-up so long as you keep your HP high enough to avoid a critical KO, especially if you learned Shadow Ball. But, it may be better to have someone with a better-suited typing to handle this match-up, just in case.
- Petrel (Goldenrod Radio Tower): Still-level-40 Raikou should OHKO all five Koffings with Thunderbolt without an issue. Weezing, however, may be able to survive the hit unless you've leveled a few times by now. Depending on your IVs, EVs, and nature, Weezing will do roughly 50% with Explosion (again, lower with more levels), so a critical KO is possible if you don't one-shot it. However, Raikou still may be safer if you don't have anything with lots of defense or resistant/immune typing.
- Rival (Goldenrod Underground): Golbat, Hunter, and Magnemite are all non-issues, either being one-shotted or, in the latter's case, totally ineffective at hurting Raikou. Sneasel might survive a hit and might hit back, but its damage should tickle. In terms of starters, Feraligatr is, as you'd expect, one-shotted. Quilava might survive, but the worst it can do is Flame Wheel, which should provide no real danger. Meganium's typing and bulk means it'll take a few hits to take down, about 30% from a level 40 Thunderbolt, but Petal Dance only does about 25% back, so Raikou can win this one, perhaps with a bit of item support. A teammate would be faster, however.
- Proton (Goldenrod Radio Tower): Golbat should be OHKOed and, without Explosion, Weezing should provide little damage beyond damaging your wallet for an Antidote, even if it survives a hit.
- Ariana (Goldenrod Radio Tower): Arbok may survive a hit and paralyze with Glare, but it shouldn't be able to hurt Raikou much otherwise. Vileplume will take a few hits to bring down, but its incredibly low-powered attacks should still make it a non-threat. Murkrow won't survive long enough to do anything.
- Archer (Goldenrod Radio Tower): Unless you've leveled Raikou up a bit, Houndour will likely survive a hit and can retaliate with moves like Fire Fang which, while not strong damage, will do about a noticeable 25%. Thunderbolt should fry Koffing because it can do anything. Houndoom, despite being close in level, does not compared to Raikou's stat spread. As such, it should take two, possibly but unlikely three, Thunderbolts to take it down, while its Fire Fang will only do about a third of Raikou's HP back.
- Gym #8 - Clair (Blackthorn City, Dragon-type): Gyarados should not have a chance participate in this battle thanks to its quad-Electric weakness and lower speed. Dragonairs pose a bit of a problem since, while their damage isn't very threatening, they an paralyze and don't take much more damage in return from Raikou, meaning healing is necessary if you decide to take them on with the legendary feline. Kingdra finally provides Raikou with its first even battle without having a type-advantage. At level 40, Raikou will likely only 3HKO Kingdra with Thunderbolt. However, it'll be 2-3HKOed back with Hydro Pump depending on stats. Chances are, if you've had Raikou for a while, you may have some extra levels, so the numbers should be more in your favor. Raikou can win this match-up, but care will be needed and HP should stay high to avoid critical KOs.
- Kimono Girls (Ecruteak Dance Theater): Being tanky, Umbreon will likely take a few hits to bring down and, while it's damage isn't too high, it'll probably leave some damage done as a parting gift. If you have Crunch or Shadow Ball, Espeon should go down quickly, though the purple feline can do a significant amount of damage in return with Psychic. Unless you're using Dig, Flareon is in a similar boat as Espeon. Raikou should be able to whittle Jolteon down with non-Electric attacks (mind its Volt Absorb) and Jolteon cannot do much in return until its fourth turn, where Last Resort will do comparable damage back. Vaporeon may be bulky enough to need two Thunderbolts, but its damage from Surf won't be high enough to be a threat unless Raikou's HP is low.
- Ho-Oh (Bell Tower, HeartGold only):
- Lugia (Whirl Islands, SoulSilver only):
- Rival (Victory Road):
- Elite Four Will (Indigo Plateau, Psychic-type):
- Elite Four Koga (Indigo Plateau, Poison-type):
- Elite Four Bruno (Indigo Plateau, Fighting-type):
- Elite Four Karen (Indigo Plateau, Dark-type):
- Champion Lance (Indigo Plateau, Flying-type):
From this point onwards, you can fight the gyms in any order, though you will need to retrieve the Machine Parts from the Cerulean City gym before you have access to the earlier portion of Kanto. Feel free to anticipate or postpone any battles as needed.
- Gym #9 - Brock (Pewter City, Rock-type):
- Rival (Mt. Moon, optional):
- Gym #10 - Misty (Cerulean City, Water-type):
- Gym #11 - Lt. Surge (Vermilion City, Electric-type):
- Gym #12 - Erika (Celadon City, Grass-type):
- Gym #13 - Janine (Fuchsia City, Poison-type):
- Gym #14 - Sabrina (Saffron City, Psychic-type):
- Gym #15 - Blaine (Seafoam Islands, Fire-type):
- Gym #16 - Blue (Viridian City):
- Rival (Indigo Plateau, optional):
- Red (Mt. Silver):
When you capture Raikou, it will know Roar, Quick Attack, Spark, and Reflect. Not overly impressive, but Spark is a STAB and Reflect does help cover its weaker defensive stat while also providing team support. At level 43, it will learn Crunch, a much better coverage move than Quick Attack. 50 will give you Thunder Fang, which is slightly worse than Spark in that it has the same base power but trades a 30% chance for paralysis for a 10% paralyze and a 10% flinch at the cost of 5% accuracy. 57 grants you Discharge, a very solid STAB working off of Raikou's better offensive stat. From there, level 64 will give you Extrasensory, another coverage move for Raikou with good power, but this time also working off the Special Attack. Level 71 gives you Rain Dance, a move without much relevance to Raikou until level 85 or if you've used a TM. 78 gives Calm Mind, a nifty set-up move, though probably too late for anyone but Red. And finally, Thunder rests at 85, though at that point you've out-leveled Red.
In terms of TMs, Thunderbolt and Thunder are the absolute best options and, being renewable TMs that are available as soon as you acquire Raikou, should be obtained and used right away, making Raikou's slow, slow level-up pool much more bearable. Charge Beam is another option that, while weaker and harder to obtain, can boost Raikou's Special Attack quite often. Shockwave is there if you really, really hate missing but, considering it's a prize for Lt. Surge, it comes a little late to really consider. For coverage, Raikou only gets access to Shadow Ball, Hidden Power, and Hyper Beam for special attacks. Of those, Shadow Ball is the only one consistently useful. If you don't mind putting its lesser, physical Attack to work, options expand to include Iron Tail, Return, Dig, Facade, Secret Power, Giga Impact, and Rock Climb. Yeah... Raikou's coverage is a little on the lacking side. In terms of support and defense, Light Screen compliments Reflect well. Raikou can also learn Toxic, Sunny Day (if you're not using Thunder and really, really hate Water-types) Rain Dance, Double Team, Substitute, Protect, Rest, Psych Up, and Sleep Talk. If you're willing to brave the Battle Frontier (ideally Battle Factory), Raikou can also pick up Swagger, Thunder Wave, and (potentially early) Calm Mind.
From Move Tutors, all of which require some messing with Frontier, Raikou can get Magnet Rise to remove its only weakness and Signal Beam for additional coverage.
Sadly, while available to Raikou in generation IV, Aura Sphere, Extreme Speed, and Weather Ball are event exclusive moves and therefore only available via time travel or cheating.
Special #1: Thunder(bolt) or Discharge, Extrasensory, Reflect, Light Screen
Special #2: Thunder(bolt), Extrasensory, Shadow Ball / Signal Beam, Calm Mind / Charge Beam
Rain: Thunder, Rain Dance, Calm Mind, and another coverage move of choice
Raikou's stats Edit
|At Lv. 50||At Lv. 100|
|150 - 197||290 - 384|
|81 - 150||157 - 295|
|72 - 139||139 - 273|
|108 - 183||211 - 361|
|94 - 167||184 - 328|
|108 - 183||211 - 361|
- What Nature do I want? As Raikou is more of a special attacker, anything that lowers Attack is the most ideal, with Modest being perhaps the best among them. But other natures. However, if you should have a physical attacking Raikou, base 85 Attack is by no means bad and it is workable.
- How good is Raikou in a Nuzlocke? About as good as it gets. It's a legendary and has only one weakness, what would you expect?
- Weaknesses: Ground
- Resistances: Electric, Flying, Steel
- Immunities: None
- Neutralities: Normal, Fighting, Grass, Water, Ghost, Dark, Dragon, Poison, Psychic, Rock, Bug, Fire, Ice