Having been featured in Raids, as a Research Breakthrough Reward, and even as a Shadow Pokémon in Giovanni's roster Pokémon Go has brought back Raikou, one of the Legendary Beasts of Johto. It's returning to Legendary Raids from January 31 through February 4, 2021. A lot has changed since the last time we faced off against the Thunder Pokémon, but we here at iMore have everything you need to know to beat it. And be sure to check out our best Pokémon Go accessories, so you can be fully equipped on your Pokémon Journey!
Who is Raikou?
Raikou is part of a trio known as the Legendary Beasts of Johto. Each based on a big cat, the Legendary Beasts were originally three Pokémon who perished in a fire and were reincarnated by the Legendary bird Ho-Oh. Ho-Oh gave each of the Beasts powers based on the events of the fire. Raikou was given Electric powers to represent the lightning strike that started the fire.
In more practical terms, Raikou is the one of the strongest non-Shadow Electric type Pokémon and Shadow Raikou is the strongest Electric type in Pokémon Go. It's definitely a Pokémon you'll want in your roster. Even if you already have high IV/CP Raikou already, the extra Raikou Candy will be useful for powering up your Shadow Raikou.
What are the best counters?
As a pure Electric type, Raikou's only weakness is to Ground types. It's move pool is almost entirely Electric save for a single Ghost type attack, Shadow Ball. Although Mega Evolution will eventually play into this Raid, currently there are no Ground type Mega Evolutions. Mega Garchomp, Mega Steelix, Mega Camerupt, or Mega Swampert would make this Raid even easier, but until then, there are plenty of Ground type Pokémon and Shadow Pokémon to add to your roster.
The final evolution of Gen I Rhyhorn, Rhyperior was already readily available, but after Rhyhorn's Community Day, there's no excuse not to have a few high CP Rhyperior. This Ground and Rock type is currently the best counter for Raikou, resisting its Electric type attacks and having no weaknesses the Thunder Pokémon can exploit. However, you'll want your Rhyperior to know Mud Slap and Earthquake - not the Community Day exclusive move, Rock Wrecker. If your Rhyperior already knows Rock Wrecker, don't TM it away. Rock Wrecker is super useful in other Raids and a Legacy move you won't be able to get back without an Elite TM.
Originally encountered in the Unova region of Gen V, Excadrill is the final evolution of Drilbur. As Drillbur has been featured in a number of events and only requires 50 Candy to evolve, you probably have at least one or two Excadrill already powered up. As a Ground and Steel type, it has no relevant weaknesses and resists Raikou's Electric type attacks. You'll want it to know Mud Slap and Drill Run to challenge Raikou.
A Gen IV pseudo-Legendary Pokémon, Garchomp is an excellent counter for Raikou even without its Mega Evolution. Its first stage, Gible has been featured in a number of events so you probably already have at least one Garchomp in your roster. This Dragon and Ground Type resists Raikou's Electric type attacks and has no weaknesses that the Thunder Pokémon can exploit. The best moveset for your Garchomp is Mud Shot and Earthquake.
The Legendary mascot of Pokémon Ruby, Groudon performs very well against Raikou. It has been featured in a number of Raids and as a Research Breakthrough Reward, so you probably have a couple in your roster already. As a pure Ground type, it takes reduced damage from Raikou's Electric attacks and has no relevant weaknesses. Groudon's best moves to take on Electric types are Mud Shot and Earthquake.
A Legendary Pokémon originally discovered in the Unova region of Gen V, Landorus performs well in this Raid. Its only run in Raids was at the start of a global pandemic, but it was also available as a Pokémon Go Battle League reward encounter, so you may already have one or two powered up. As a Ground and Flying type, Landorus has no weaknesses Raikou can exploit and it resists Electric attacks. Mud Shot and Earth Power are the moves you'll want your Landorus to know for this fight.
Gen V's Krookodile is relatively new to Pokémon Go and can only be obtained through evolution. Its first stage, Sandile is only available in the 12KM Strange Eggs rescued from the Team Go Rocket Executives, so many Trainers don't even have one, much less the Candy to power it up. However, if you have it, this Ground and Dark type resists all of Raikou's moves. You'll want your Krookodile to know Mud Slap and Earthquake for this fight.
While Rhyperior is definitely better, Rhydon also performs very well against Raikou. This Ground and Rock type from Gen I resists Electric type attacks and has no relevant weaknesses. It's also incredibly common and has been in the game since day one. If you're bringing Rhydon to this Raid, you'll want Mud Slap for the fast attack and Earthquake for the charged attack.
Originally encountered in the Sinnoh region of Gen IV, Mamoswine is the final evolution of Gen II's Swinub. It's been featured in a number of events, including Community Day, so you probably have plenty of Candy to power your Mamoswines up. As an Ice and Ground type, it resists Electric attacks and has no weaknesses Raikou can exploit. Mud Slap and Bulldoze is the moveset you'll want your Mamoswine to know.
A Legendary Pokémon originally encountered in the Sinnoh region of Gen IV, Regigigas performs well against Raikou. As a Normal type, it resists Shadow Ball and has no weaknesses the Thunder Pokémon can exploit. Unfortunately, Regigigas has had very limited availability in Pokémon Go, having been an EX Raid boss briefly and being featured in a paid Special Research story. If you have one though, you'll want it to know Hidden Power and Giga Impact.
Originally discovered in the Unova region of Gen V, Golurk performs well in this Raid. As a Ground and Ghost type, it resists Electric attacks, but takes double damage from Shadow Ball. Golett is pretty common from Eggs and was featured in both 2020 and 2019's Halloween events. Additionally, it only requires 50 Candy to evolve, leaving lots leftover for powering up. Mud Slap and Earth Power are the moves you'll want for this Raid.
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:
- Donphan with Mud Slap and Earthquake
- Golem (Kantonian) with Mud Slap and Earthquake
- Flygon with Mud Shot and Earth Power
- Mega Beedrill with Poison Jab and Drill Run
- Haxorus with Dragon Tail and Earthquake
- Swampert with Mud Shot and Earthquake
- Nidoking with Poison Jab and Earth Power
- Sandslash (Kantonian) with Mud Shot and Earthquake
- Torterra with Razor Leaf and Earthquake
- Nidoqueen with Poison Jab and Earth Power
- Metagross with Zen Headbutt and Earthquake
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 Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Psystrike
- Shadow Flygon with Mud Shot and Earth Power
- Shadow Swampert with Mud Shot and Earthquake
- Shadow Nidoking with Poison Jab and Earth Power
- Shadow Sandslash with Mud Shot and Earthquake
- Shadow Torterra with Razor Leaf and Earthquake
- Shadow Nidoqueen with Poison Jab and Earth Power
- Shadow Metagross with Zen Headbutt and Earthquake
Note: Shadow Mewtwo, Shadow Flygon, and Shadow Swampert perform on par with the other best counters.
How many players does it take to beat Raikou?
Although it is technically possible for three high level Trainers with the best counters and favorable Weather conditions to beat Raikou, if you're lower level or lacking the best counters, you may need four or five until one of the Mega Evolved Ground types become available.
Weather conditions that can impact this Raid include:
- Rain will boost Raikou's Electric attacks.
- Fog will boost Raikou's Shadow Ball.
- Sunny/Clear Weather will boost your Ground counters.
Questions about taking on Raikou?
Do you have any questions about taking on the Legendary Pokémon, Raikou? Got any tips for your fellow Trainers? Drop them in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Complete Pokédex, so you can be the very best like no one every was!