Electric-type Pokémon have always been held in quite high regard. The franchise’s resident rodent mascot, Pikachu, is an Electric-type, after all. That fact alone has probably done wonders for Electric’s reputation. Most importantly, Electric only has one weakness and offers great coverage offensively (just watch out for pesky Ground-types). It's no surprise that high-ranking trainers in the franchise use them prominently.
Pokémon of the lightning-imbued, yellow-hued persuasion always tend to be popular picks in battles, both casual and competitive. They’re often charactarized as fast, heavy-hitters, such as common picks like Jolteon. As such, a lot of the best Electric moves are simple and straightforward powerful attacks, but Electric also offers some of the best supportive moves in the series. Let’s take a look!
10 Magnet Rise
The Electric-type has only one weakness: Ground. This tends to be a major problem because Earthquake is one of the most common and devastating attacks trainers have in their arsenals. As such, Electric-types know that they’re likely to have an Earthquake aimed at their faces (those that have faces) whenever possible.
Luckily for them, a tricky little tech of a move exists to circumvent that weakness. Magnet Rise sees the user levitate for five turns, making them immune to Ground-type moves. Only a select few can learn and make good use of it, and it requires good prediction, but this can be super useful.
Ah, yes. If Electric-types have a tendency to be speedy and offensive, then Thunder is the absolute epitome of that concept. Currently standing at 110 base power with a shaky accuracy of 70%, it’s equivalent to the Ice-type Blizzard.
Generally, because this makes it certain to miss when you need it to hit the most (just ask any Pokémon player), the weaker-yet-more-reliable Thunderbolt is preferred. If rain is in play, however, Thunder will always hit. It’s a huge asset on rain teams, which generally lean towards hyper offense as a rule.
8 Buzzy Buzz/Zippy Zap
Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee weren’t the bona fide generation eight experience that Nintendo Switch gamers were hoping for (don’t worry, Pokémon Sword and Shield aren’t far away now). Many saw the game as too watered down, too casual (not that Pokémon is Dark Souls difficult by any stretch), and exclusive moves titled Buzzy Buzz and Zippy Zap didn’t do very much to alleviate that impression.
On the plus side, they’re hilariously overpowered moves. Buzzy Buzz is exclusive to the partner Eevee, a 100% accurate move with 90 base power that always paralyzes the opponent when it hits. Zippy Zap, meanwhile, is learned only by the partner Pikachu. It has Extreme Speed’s priority, 50 base power, perfect accuracy and always lands as a critical hit.
7 Charge Beam
Charge Beam also boasts a less-than-stellar 50 base power, but, like Zippy Zap, it’s very powerful in a different kind of way.
Charge Beam is, in short, a bulky booster’s best friend. This move has an absurd 70% chance to increase the user’s Special Attack, meaning that things can snowball very quickly. It’s a situational move that you can’t just throw out there, but crafty players can have a huge amount of success with it.
6 Volt Tackle
Now, there are pros and cons to Volt Tackle. On the plus side, it’s the very last word in physical Electric damage, with a hefty 120 base power (delivering some major recoil to the user in exchange). The unfortunate thing is that only Pichu, Pikachu and Raichu have access to it. Generally, these Pokémon are about as much of a physical threat as a happily napping kitten.
Pikachu being the golden child of the franchise, though, there’s a saving grace here. The item Light Ball, which can only be used by Pikachu, doubles its Attack and Special Attack. Whereupon, it becomes a glass cannon to fear.
5 Volt Switch
Next up, we have Volt Switch. This move is very similar to the physical Bug-type attack U-Turn: it has 70 base power and causes the user to automatically switch out of battle after it connects.
In a switch-heavy match (read: any competitive match ever), Volt Switch offers fantastic utility. It tends to be paired with speedy Electric-types, such as the aforementioned Jolteon, enabling the player to deal some significant damage while gaining a positional advantage over the opponent.
4 Plasma Fists
As a general rule, the moves we’ve chosen here are great because of their usefulness, damage potential or both, not because they look cool. If they happen to be super strong and look really, really darn cool, though, who are we to argue?
Plasma Fists is exclusive to the Mythical Pokémon Zeraora. It’s a 100 base power physical Electric move with one of the most badass animations in series history. If all that isn’t enough, it also has the additional effect of making all Normal moves become Electric-type for the rest of the turn. That last part’s incredibly niche, but it’s also neat.
3 Wild Charge
When it comes to physical Electric moves that deal huge damage and inflict recoil, Volt Tackle would generally trump Wild Charge. It’s a good deal stronger (120 power versus 90). However, the advantage of Wild Charge is that… well, Pokémon can actually learn it.
As a TM, Wild Charge is accessible for a lot of Pokémon that greatly appreciate powerful Electric coverage. A Fire-type like Emboar smashing an incoming Water-type with this move is always a good time.
2 Thunder Wave
Throughout this run-down, we’ve seen a lot of very powerful moves. Light Ball Pikachu’s Volt Tackle is capable of spoiling far more days than you’d ever think a Pikachu could. Thunder Wave is a completely different beast, though.
This status move deals no damage at all, but it’s still super powerful. One of the most frustrating moves in the game (especially when paired with the Prankster ability, which gives it a priority), it simply inflicts the Paralysis status on the opponent. The dramatically lowered Speed and chance not to move at all is not a good time for anybody concerned.
So, here we are: quite possibly the best and most popular Electric attack of all. It isn’t the strongest physically or in terms of special moves, but it’s powerful and reliable. You never want to leave home without Thunderbolt.
It’s often paired with Ice Beam in the classic BoltBeam combo, which offers just about the best coverage possible in two moves. This is the move that just about every specially-inclined Electric-type will be packing. It’s fried many a Gyarados in its time, and long may it continue to do so.