The Lake Guardians are returning to Legendary Raids in Pokémon Go. Fortunately, we here at iMore have everything you need to know to win this fight and add Azelf to your roster.
Who is Azelf in Pokémon Go?
Azelf is one of the Lake Guardians, a trio of Legendary Pokémon originally encountered in the Sinnoh region of Gen IV. Each of the three represent a specific concept. Azelf represents willpower, Uxie represents knowledge, and Mesprit represents emotion. The trio were created by Arceus and have the ability to calm Dialga and Palkia.
Although all three are Psychic types, with the same weaknesses and resistances, they do have slightly different stats and movesets. Additionally, they are the only region locked Legendary Pokémon in Pokémon Go. Although they have rotated before, each of the three is only able to be challenged in a specific area of the world at a time. Currently, Azelf can only be encountered the Americas and Greenland; Mesprit can only be found in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India; and Uxie can only be fought in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Azelf is a Psychic type Pokémon capable of dealing Psychic, Fire, and Normal type damage. It takes double damage from Dark, Ghost, and Bug type attacks. With the introduction of Mega Evolution, there are a number of viable strategies for countering Azelf that take advantage of boosted Dark, Ghost, or Bug type moves if you are able to coordinate with your fellow Pokémon Trainers.
The best possible counter for Azelf is easily Mega Gengar. Despite taking double damage from Azelf's Psychic type attacks, this Poison and Ghost type wipes the floor with the Lake Guardians. You'll want to coordinate with your fellow Trainers to take advantage of the Ghost type boost it will bring to the field. If you are bringing Mega Gengar to the battle, you'll want Lick and Shadow Ball for the moveset.
Although Mega Gengar is the top counter, Mega Houndoom is very close behind. As a Dark and Fire type, Mega Houndoom takes half damage from Azelf's Fire type attack and only a quarter damage from it's Psychic attacks. Snarl and Foul Play are the moves you'll want your Mega Houndoom to know and, as with any other Mega Pokémon, you'll want to coordinate with your fellow Trainers to bring along Dark type Pokémon.
While Mega Houndoom is prefered, if you have more Mega Energy for Mega Gyarados, it's also an excellent choice for this Raid. As a Water and Dark type, it resists Psychic and Fire type damage, while also boosting other Dark types on the field. If you are bringing Mega Gyarados to fight Azelf, you'll want Bite and Crunch for its moves.
The Mythical Dark type Pokémon Darkrai is an excellent counter for Azelf. As a pure Dark type, it takes quarter damage from Azelf's Psychic type attacks and has no weaknesses the Lake Trio can take advantage of. While it is a Mythical Pokémon, Darkrai has had much wider availability in Pokémon Go than the other Mythicals and so most Trainers have at least one or two. Snarl and Shadow Ball are the moves you'll want Darkrai to know for this Raid. Dark Pulse can also work if you can coordinate with your Raid party to bring Mega Houndoom or Mega Gyarados.
A Ghost and Fire type introduced in the Gen V Unova region, Chandelure performs quite well against Azelf. It resists Fire and Normal type attacks, and has no weaknesses Azelf can exploit. Its first stage, Litwick has been available in multiple events, so you likely already have one powered up for this Raid. You'll want your Chandelure to know Hex and Shadow Ball.
A Legendary Pokémon originally encountered in Gen IV's Sinnoh region, Giratina is a Ghost and Dragon type with two formes. You'll want the Origin Forme specifically for the charged move Shadow Ball. Paired with Shadow Claw, Giratina will take a huge chunk out of Azelf's health. It takes half damage from Azelf's Fire type attack and quarter damage from its Normal type attack. Although Giratina's Altered Forme has seen wider availability than the Origin Forme in Pokémon Go, it's still been available in Raids multiple times, so you probably have at least one or two in your roster.
The Legendary mascot of Pokémon Y, Yveltal is another great choice for this Raid. As a Dark and Flying type, it resists Psychic type attacks and it has no weaknesses Azelf can take advantage of. Although it's only had one run in Raids, it was heavily featured in the Luminous Legends Y event, so most active players have had the chance to add it to their roster. Snarl and Dark Pulse are the moves you'll want your Yveltal to know when going up against the Lake Trio.
A pseudo-Legendary originally discovered in the Unova region of Gen V, Hydreigon is a Dark and Dragon type that performs very well in this Raid. It has no weaknesses the Lake Trio can take advantage of and takes reduced damage from Psychic and Fire type attacks. Although its first stage, Deino is pretty rare, it's been featured in a number of events, so there's a good chance you have the Candy to power it up. If you're bringing Hydreigon to this Raid, you'll want it to know Bite and Dark Pulse.
The Gen II pseudo-Legendary Tyranitar is a great counter for the Lake Trio that has been available in events, Raids, and more. Most top players have entire teams of Tyranitar already powered up, so odds are you've got some ready for this Raid. As a Rock and Dark type, it resists all of Azelf's moves, adding to its already tank-like status. Bite and Crunch are the moves you'll want your Tyranitar to know for this Raid.
The king of Psychic types, Legendary Mewtwo is a great choice for this Raid. It's been available a number of times in multiple different ways, and it has no weaknesses the Lake Trio can take advantage of and takes reduced damage from Psychic type attacks. However, the real reason Mewtwo makes the top counters list is its access to Shadow Ball; when paired with Psycho Cut, Mewtwo can devastate other Psychic types with Shadow Ball. However, if your Mewtwo has Psystrike don't TM this move away. It's also a Legacy move that will cost an Elite TM to get back.
Last but not least, Mega Beedrill is the key to a Bug based offensive. This Bug and Poison type takes increased damage from Psychic and Flying type moves, so be sure to stock up on Potions and Revives, and coordinate with the rest of your Raid party to make the most of the Bug type Mega Boost. Bug Bite and X-Scissor are the moves you'll want your Mega Beedrill to know for this fight.
It wouldn't be a Psychic counter list without Gen I's Gengar. A Ghost and Poison type, Gengar takes super effective damage from Psychic type attacks, but more than makes up for it with its incredible DPS. If the Azelf you're facing hase Future Sight, you may want to pass on Gengar, especially if you're not dodging well, but for the other charge moves, Gengar will perform very well and it's one of the most readily available Pokémon on the list. Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball are the moves you'll want your Gengar to know in this fight.
Although Mega Houndoom is certainly ideal, your regular Houndoom are also excellent counters, especially paired with another Trainer's Mega Houndoom. As a very common Gen II Pokémon, most players have plenty of this Dark and Fire type already. It will also resist Psychic and Fire type damage, and has no weaknesses relevant to this Raid. You'll still want Snarl and Foul Play for the moveset.
Back up counters
Although most players will be able to make a team of the best counters, if you're finding a gap in your team, there are plenty of back ups who work well in larger groups. Just make sure you're dodging and any of the following could be a decent back up:
- Weaville with Snarl and Foul Play
- Honchkrow with Snarl and Dark Pulse
- Mega Blastoise with Bite and Hydro Cannon
- Krookodile with Snarl and Crunch
- Bisharp with Snarl and Dak Pulse
- Absol with Snarl and Dark Pulse
- Genesect with Fury Cutter and X-Scissor
- Mismagius with Hex and Shadow Ball
- Mega Manectric with Snarl and Wild Charge
- Tornadus (Incarnate forme) with Bite and Dark Pulse
- Sharpedo with Bite and Crunch
- Raikou with Thunder Shock and Shadow Ball
- Reshiram with Fire Fang and Crunch
- Pangoro with Snarl and Night Slash
- Scizor with Fury Cutter and X-Scissor
- Yanmega with Bug Bite and Bug Buzz
- Pinsir with Bug Bite and X-Scissor
- Banette with Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball
- Crawdaunt with Snarl and Night Slash
- Zekrom with Dragon Breath and Crunch
- Drifblim with Hex and Shadow Ball
The rebalance of Shadow Pokémon rescued from Team GO Rocket make them excellent glass cannons. Not only are their stats boosted, but during special events or with Elite TMs, it's possible to change their moves. If you happen to have any of the following Pokémon with the right moveset, they will work very well in this Raid:
- Shadow Tyranitar with Bite and Crunch
- Shadow Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Shadow Ball
- Shadow Houndoom with Snarl and Foul Play
- Shadow Weavile with Snarl and Foul Play
- Shadow Honchkrow with Snarl and Dark Pulse
- Shadow Absol with Snarl and Dark Pulse
- Shadow Scizor with Fury Cutter and X-Scissor
- Shadow Raikou with Thunder Shock and Shadow Ball
- Shadow Sharpedo with Bite and Crunch
- Shadow Banette with Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball
- Shadow Salamence with Bite and Draco Meteor
- Shadow Pinsir with Fury Cutter and X-Scissor
- Shadow Shiftry with Snarl and Foul Play
- Shadow Mismagius with Hex and Shadow Ball
- Shadow Cacturne with Sucker Punch and Dark Pulse
- Shadow Gyarados with Bite and Crunch
- Shadow Gardevoir with Charge Beam and Shadow Ball
Note: Shadow Tyranitar and Shadow Mewtwo outperform all of the best, non-Mega counters. If you are able to coordinate the use of either Mega Gengar, Mega Houndoom, or even Mega Beedrill they will boost Ghost, Dark, and Bug type attackers on the field respectively, making other Pokémon far more competitive.
While it is technically possible for just two top level Trainers with excellent counters to take on Azelf, if you're not bringing Mega Evolved Pokémon, Shadow Pokémon, or are just lower level, you may need as many as four Trainers. Of the trio, Azelf is the easiest to take on.
Weather Conditions that may play into the battle include:
- Wind will boost Azelf's Psychic type attacks.
- Partly Cloudly Weather will boost Azelf's Normal type attack.
- Sunny/Clear Weather will boost Azelf's Fire type attack.
- Fog will boost your Ghost and Dark type counters.
- Rain will boost your Bug type counters.
Don't miss your chance to catch Azelf in Pokémon Go!
Azelf is only available for a limited time. Don't miss your chance to add it to your roster and be sure to check out the rest of our Pokémon Go guides so you too can become a Pokémon Master!
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Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.