It seems unlikely that any of the new Gigantamax forms made legal this month in competitive Sword and Shield would have much impact on the metagame. However, Game Freak gave us a surprising new addition with the first ever Gigantamax Pikachu raids. While Gigantamax Pikachu has been available for a while, this is the first time it’s possible to get one with the ability Lightning Rod.
It’s rare for a not-fully-evolved Pokemon to be able to outperform its evolved counterpart. There are a few exceptions, though. For example, Dusclops is currently one of the most used Pokemon in the VGC metagame. Meanwhile, its evolved form, Dusknoir, is nowhere to be seen. Now it’s possible we may see something similar happen with Pikachu and Raichu.
Raichu has been a fairly popular support Pokemon in Sword and Shield due to a combination of Lighting Rod, a great speed stat, and excellent support moves. With this latest event, Pikachu now has all these same traits (minus a bit of speed) along with two additional advantages.
Advantages of Gigantamax Pikachu
The first is Light Ball. This Pikachu exclusive item doubles Pikachu’s offensive stats and makes it a huge threat. With this item, Pikachu’s attack and special attack stat rival that of legendaries like Mewtwo.
The second advantage is the Gigantamax form. Gigantamax Pikachu’s signature move, G-Max Volt Crash, paralyses both opponents. Not only does Paralysis cut their speed in half, it may also make the opponent unable to act at all. Volt Crash is easily one of the best Gmax moves around.
With Lightning Rod, Gigantamax Pikachu can fulfill much the same role as Raichu, but with immense offensive pressure to boot. There are a few trade-offs, though. Pikachu has a decent speed stat, but as I mentioned earlier Raichu is still faster and can outspeed some threats its pre-evolved form can’t. Additionally, Raichu is not very bulky, and Pikachu is much less so. Not even the double health from Dynamax can make up for its pitiful defenses.
However, the threat of paralyzing both of the opposing Pokemon or just straight up knocking them out with Pikachu is an advantage that should not be overlooked. It probably won’t be topping the usage charts, but there is definitely a place for this little electric mouse.