Competitively, Electivire Is Not As Bad As You May Think
Now for an entry based upon one of my all-time favorite Pokémon, Electivire. Before I begin with the entry, allow me to share some brief history about how Electivire became one of my all-time favorites. When I first began playing Pokémon, I always transferred an older Zapdos to my primary teams nearing the post-game as my main go-to Electric-type Pokémon. In addition, whenever I played my Pokémon games for fun without battling any other Pokémon players competitively, I would use cheating devices such as Gameshark or Action Replay to start my adventure with a low-level Zapdos. However, eventually, when I started playing Pokémon competitively, I wanted to keep my battles fair as possible. Thus, I agreed to stop editing a Zapdos into the beginning of my adventures and decided to choose a legitimate non-legendary Pokémon that I could breed and train early on. After searching through many Electric-type Pokémon, I found one that fit my play-style perfectly, which turned out to be Electivire. It simply had many things going for it that I knew would make my adventures great, which I would highlight in this post. With that, I transferred a perfectly bred Elekid to my other games and begun my adventures with it every time, which would eventually evolve into Electivire. Ever since, Electivire has become one of my all-time favorite Pokémon. Through it all, I had to endure many competitive Pokémon players talk about how bad Electivire was as a competitive Pokémon. Even when looking at its pages on Smogon, I learned that Electivire isn't even considered tiered, which is the worst way that a Pokémon can be classified on Smogon. Afterwards, I vowed to not allow anybody to talk so negatively about one of my all-time favorites.
More recently, based upon my experiences when browsing Pokémon videos on YouTube, I came across a video by pokeaimMD titled "Why Electivire is Pokemon's Biggest Disappointment," expounding upon how to make Electivire good. Many of their solutions to improve the prowess of Electivire involved providing it with better moves and even increasing its statistics to the level of a minor legendary Pokémon, which refers to legendary Pokémon with a base stat total of 600 and lower. However, the purpose of this writing is to explain that despite Electivire being considered a bad Pokémon by those in the Smogon community, Electivire is not as bad as many people believe, and to explain ways that Electivire could be improved as a competitive battling Pokémon.
Perhaps the biggest flaw that Electivire suffers from being a good competitive Pokémon is the fact that it doesn't learn any stat boosting moves other than Charge, a move that only boosts its Special Defense as a secondary effect, which it was unable to learn until generation VIII in Pokémon Sword and Shield. A characteristic that many top tier Pokémon have in common is their ability to learn stat boosting moves that allow them to perform their roles in battle effectively. For instance, Pokémon such as Weavile, Scizor, and Mimikyu are top tier battlers because of their ability to learn moves such as Swords Dance and inflict massive damage. Regarding Electivire, it can't learn Swords Dance, or even Bulk Up, a move that boosts its Attack and Defense stats by one stage, which would be extremely useful for it considering its rather low Defense stat. Bulk Up would also make sense for Electivire based on a gameplay standpoint because of its rather bulky appearance. Additionally, despite Electivire being a physically attacking Electric-type Pokémon, it doesn't learn any useful physically attacking Electric-type moves that can result in it battling to its full potential. Instead, Electivire only learns Thunder Punch, which is a basic physical Electric-type move that only has a 75 base power, which is good, but not enough to serve as a Pokémon's primary lead STAB attack. Electivire could also learn Wild Charge, which is another physical Electric-type move with a better 90 base power, but because the user receives ¼ of recoil damage based upon the damage it inflicted on the target, it threatens Electivire's survivability in battle. With that, providing Electivire with the signature moves of other Pokémon such as the Pikachu line's Volt Tackle or Zeraora's Plasma Fists isn't even necessary. Instead, the developers could simply create a new move that serves as the physical equivalent of Thunderbolt, which is a simple solution that would drastically improve Electivire's competitive battling abilities. A better physical attacking Electric-type move combined with the ability to boost its attacking stats with moves such as Bulk Up and/or Swords Dance would also drastically improve Electivire's ability to hit harder, sweep, and break walls in battle. Thus, other than having weak physical STAB Electric-type moves and practically no stat-boosting moves, Electivire is not as bad as many competitive players believe it to be.
Despite many competitive players and competitive battling outlets such as Smogon considering Electivire a bad Pokémon, on the contrary, Electivire is actually quite good in battle. Electivire has many characteristics that allow it to stand out compared to other physically attacking Electric-type Pokémon, such as great coverage options, a decent ability that can be used strategically, and high attack power. To begin, one of the main reasons that Electivire is not as bad as Smogon claims is because of its ability to learn several coverage moves. Coverage moves allow Pokémon to hit as many Pokémon super-effectively as possible by using a variety of moves with different types. For example, Electivire has access to moves such as Ice Punch, which is a type that covers the most Pokémon in the game, Fighting-type moves such as Brick Break and Hammer Arm, which covers a whopping 25% of all Pokémon in the game, and the Ground-type move Earthquake, which is a type that covers the third most types in the game next to Rock-type. A moveset with Electric, Fighting, Ice, and Ground allows Electivire to cover a huge 77% of all Pokémon in the game, which is more than what other physically attacking Electric-type Pokémon can cover, which includes Luxray, Zebstrika, and even Zeraora and Zekrom. However, a common criticism of Electivire regarding its coverage is that, despite being able to hit many Pokémon super-effectively, it often doesn't hit hard enough to knock out many Pokémon. Yet, my response to such an argument is that, as I previously mentioned, simply providing Electivire with a stat-boosting move such as Work Up, Bulk Up, or Swords Dance could easily solve this issue.
Additionally, albeit Electivire lacks a move that can boost its attacking stats, Electivire can still have its stats boosted with other strategies, such as Baton Pass. Baton Pass is a move that switches out the user and passes its stat boosts and even some status conditions, whether positive or negative, to the next chosen Pokémon. An Electivire that, for example, receives a Baton Pass from a Blaziken or Ninjask that previously used Swords Dance along with its Speed Boost ability could receive a big increase in Attack and Speed, making it easier to be a physical sweeper and prove how dominant it could truly be. However, because Baton Pass is banned on Pokémon Showdown, Electivire doesn't have the opportunity to prove how dangerous it could be beyond "Anything Goes (AG)" formats, which is why Electivire is considered a bad Pokémon for competitive battles. This proves that a major reason that Electivire is considered bad is because of Pokémon Showdown's rules rather than Electivire's capabilities. Furthermore, Electivire is also a good Pokémon because of its good ability Motor Drive. Motor Drive is an ability that negates an Electric-type attack that targets the Pokémon with this ability and increases the Pokémon's Speed stat by one stage, which can be used strategically. For example, if an opposing Pokémon is about to hit your Flying-type or Water-type Pokémon with an Electric-type attack, simply switch out your Pokémon for Electivire, which would stop the attack and increase Electivire's Speed by one stage. Electvire's increase in Speed would increase its sweeping capabilities. Moreover, Electivire could still be improved if it had a better ability than Vital Spirit. For instance, a better ability for Electivire would be Electric Surge. Not only would it fit Electivire's lore of having the greatest electric output compared to all other Electric-type Pokémon, but it would still prevent it from being put to sleep because of the effects of Electric Terrain, and would power up Electivire's Electric-type moves. Therefore, Electivire would likely be a better competitive Pokémon if it traded its ability Vital Spirit with a more useful ability.
Electivire is a good Pokémon competitively because of its high Attack stat. With an Attack stat of 123, Electivire hits much harder than the average fully-evolved Pokémon, which has an Attack stat of 90. Such high Attack allows Electivire to function as a reliable physical sweeper and/or wallbreaker after boosts, as previously mentioned. For example, with a powerful moveset, Electivire would be able to knock out several Pokémon with a variety of coverage moves, especially after a boost using Baton Pass, as previously mentioned as well. This makes Electivire a better option than many Electric-type Pokémon because it is a physical attacker and can learn several good physical coverage moves that many special attacking Electric-type Pokémon can't learn, such as Ground-type moves. Thus, when considering that the only thing needed to improve Electivire would be giving it attack-boosting moves and a better physical Electric-type attack than Thunder Punch or Wild Charge, Electivire could easily be improved to become a great Pokémon in competitive battles. Moreover, because Electivire already has great coverage moves and stats that make it a good physical sweeper, Electivire already has a lot going for it despite how Smogon classifies it. Much love for Electivire!