Pokemon has outlived many game series, and Game Freak has had over twenty-five years to tweak and tune the Pokemon video games. However, the Pokemon formula has somewhat stayed the same after all this time due to their success.
And it’s no surprise Pokemon battling can be a simple turn-based game of rock-paper-scissors. Still, underneath the flashy and straightforward gameplay surface, a deep underlayer of strategy appeals to gamers spanning generations.
Thunder Wave is a tremendous strategic Pokemon move that will almost always inflict the Paralyzed status effect on the opposing Pokemon. It also considerably reduces the speed of the target Pokemon to not only gain an advantage in battle but also make it significantly easier to catch wild Pokemon.
I find this move both valuable and infuriating. There’s nothing worse than watching your prized Pokemon be chipped away by itself with confusion and Paralysis. I’m looking at you, Watson from Mauville City. However, I’ll admit it’s a great trick and fun to watch your opponent struggle to land a move, especially when you add a cheeky Flinch-inducing attack.
Thunder Wave Strengths and Utility
Thunder Wave is an Electric-type move that inflicts that paralyzes the target Pokemon. Paralysis is a status effect that has a 1/4 chance to stun the affected Pokemon for a round as well as considerably lower the Pokemon’s speed stat. As a result, Thunder Wave makes it significantly easier to catch wild Pokemon. Paralysis can only be removed with items or healing moves and continues outside battle.
It can be highly rewarding to inflict Paralysis on your opponent as it allows your Pokemon to avoid incoming attacks and stop your opponent from setting up their battle strategy. It’s also incredibly frustrating to be on the receiving end of this electrifying paralyzing move.
Several battle strategies can be implemented to make it even harder for the affected user to make a move. To make the most of Thunder Wave, you’ll need to know the following:
- Thunder Wave deals no damage to the target Pokemon.
- The move has 20PP and a 100% accuracy in generations I-VI and 90% in generations above.
- As an Electric-Type move, Ground-type and Electric-type Pokemon are immune to Thunder Wave.
- Thunder Wave reduces the affected Pokemon’s speed by 50% in generations 1-6 and 75% in generations above.
- Thunder Wave can be powered up in generation VII Pokemon Sun and Moon using an Electrium Z to grant the user an increase to its special defense stat.
Where To Obtain Thunder Wave
There are hundreds of Pokemon that can learn Thunder Wave through leveling, TM training, and the Move Tutor. You cannot get access to Thunder Wave as a TM in generations two and three and thank god because Paralysis was rampant in Ruby and Sapphire.
|Pokemon Version||TM No.||How To Obtain|
|Red, Blue, Yellow||TM45||Found at Route 24|
|Diamond, Pearl||TM73||Battle Tower (32BP)|
|Platinum||TM73||Battle Frontier (32BP)|
|Heart Gold, Soul Silver||TM73||Battle Frontier (32BP)|
|Black, White||TM73||Nimbasa City Poke Mart (10,000)|
|Black 2, White 2||TM73||Nimbasa City Poke Mart (10,000)|
|X, Y||TM73||Found at Route 10|
|Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire||TM73||Slateport City Poke Mart (5,000)|
|Sun, Moon||TM73||Found at Route 7|
|Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon||TM73||Found at Malie Garden|
|Sword, Shield||TM14||Rewarded to the player for completing the Rotom Rally|
Thunder Wave Weaknesses
Thunder Wave may seem like the strategists’ first choice and those that prefer a more subtle battle method than the nuclear Blast Burn and Hydro Cannon approach.
However, Thunder Wave does have its weaknesses, it’s a move that provides no more than a Paralyses and speed decrease, and to many, they’d prefer filling this move slot with a move that supports a bit more firepower. Healing moves such as Rest and, Safeguard, can protect the user from status effects, rendering Thunder Wave useless.
Believe me, your opponent in a competitive battle will likely round their team with a few supporting moves and Pokemon to protect their team from status effect strategies.
After playing around with Paralysis battle strategies, I realized that these Pokemon types are a significant threat. Pokemon such as Flygon and Tyranitar will easily counter your Electric-types. However, note that Thunder Wave can be learned by many different types of Pokemon, so while the move may fail, you will still be effective with other moves without the worry of Electric-type counter moves.
Abilities were added in the third generation of the main line series in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. Pokemon Abilities were a fantastic addition to the game, adding an extra layer of strategy in battle. These abilities can thwart your Paralysing plans before your Pokemon even enters the battlefield. Therefore study these abilities and Pokemon hard to ensure you’re not caught.
- Prankster – A Hidden Ability that makes Dark-type Pokemon immune to Thunder Wave.
- Magic Bounce – Reflects status effect and moves back at the user. This is not an issue if you use an Electric-type Pokemon, as it will have no effect. However, generation VII Magic Bounce will also make the user immune to Thunder Wave.
- Volt Absorb – An ability that allows Pokemon to heal from Electric-Type attacks.
- Lightning Rod – This ability attracts Electric-Type moves to the Pokemon and raises its Sp. Atk.
- Mimicry – The user copies its opponent’s Pokemon type.
Thunder Wave Lacks Damage
Many Electric-type moves differ in percent chances to land Paralysis effects. For example, Thunder Shock has a 10% chance of inflicting Paralysis while not the best. Other moves such as Thunder and Zap Cannon deal a ton of damage with a 30% chance of inflicting Paralysis. I’m not a fan of Thunder and Zap Cannon due to their low accuracy.
Thunder Wave Battle Strategies
Para Flinch Strategy
The Para Flinch strategy revolves around, you guessed it paralyzing your opponents as well as inflicting the flinch status effect to deny your opponent from being able to attack or set up. In this strategy, you will need Pokemon that can learn a decent Flinch inflicting move.
Fake Out and Fling have the highest Flinch chance out of all moves with a 100%, although you must equip your Pokemon with the Razor Fang for Fling to have 100%. 30% is the second-highest chance of inflicting a flinch of any move, however, used in conjunction with the King’s Rock or Razor Fang, you’ll have an extra 10% chance to spook your opponent out of a round.
Entry hazards play a massive role in all Thunder Wave strategies as they add an extra layer of threat for your opponent to deal with. Nine times out of ten, your opponent will want to switch their Pokemon if it’s inflicted by Paralysis coupled with another effect.
Para Confusion Strategy
The paralysis and confusion strategy is my favorite and most used strategy regarding Thunder Wave. I remember the first time I encountered this strategy in Pokemon Sapphire, and it was sometimes an absolute pain to deal with if not equipped with the right medicine.
However, casting single-player to the side is an excellent strategy that can be used in competitive matches. Like the previous strategy, you will want to add entry hazards to the field for extra chip damage, as you can punish your opponent for switching their Pokemon. Your opponent is more likely to switch out their Pokemon due to the confusion status effect.
Even though moves such as Water Pulse and Dizzy Punch are not likely to inflict the confused state to your opponent every time, they will offer your team broader move coverage.
Therefore I’m not a fan of Supersonic; however, as purely a special move, it does not inflict any damage and has a low accuracy instead to land. Dynamic Punch is another example. I much prefer to run Dizzy Punch as I know that the move will always land and deal damage at the cost of a chance to miss confusion.
I recommend moves such as Confuse Ray and Swagger. Double battles are one of my favorite battle styles to play as they add an extra level of depth to synergy and strategy in battle, and the Paralysis confusion strategy works very well in this scenario. Moves such as Teeter Dance and Shadow Panic target multiple Pokemon in battle; however, Teeter Dance will affect all Pokemon and confuse your other Pokemon in battle.
Terrain effects were introduced in Pokemon X and Y and have become a new mechanic to strategize around. Pokemon, such as Pincurchin, can produce Electric Terrain from the Electric Surge ability. Otherwise, this battle state can be launched with the Electric Terrain move. While active Thunder Wave grants the user a boost to their special defense. Therefore I highly recommend that you use this move and battle feature.
Team Ideas and Move Synergy
There are so many Pokemon that can learn Thunder Wave that you don’t necessarily need an Electric-type to run Thunder Wave. One of my favorites is Dragonite. It’s not only a powerful Pokemon but can be very fast. Casting an Agility will improve the speed stat of Dragonite by two stages, giving you a great chance to get a Thunder Wave off before your opponent can attack.
In my opinion, Togekiss is one of the best Fairy-type Pokemon from not only getting a broad move coverage and Ground-type immunity from its secondary typing of Flying. It’s also a fantastic support Pokemon in battle. It makes excellent use of Thunder Wave.
Togekiss’s Serene Grace ability grants its moves secondary effects double the chance of landing, granting Air Slash a 60% chance to inflict Flinch on the target.
Using this ability, I use King’s Rock to raise the Flinch chance an extra 10%, so now Air Slash deals considerable damage from being a stab move and has a very high chance to flinch. If my opponent does not flinch, there’s a good chance that it will be paralyzed from Thunder Wave.
I’m not a fan of Bug-type Pokemon, whether it’s because of their untrustworthy look or weak stats. I do, however, like Joltik and Gavantula. An Electric-type spider is a pretty cool idea, and Gavantula is the perfect Pokemon to use Thunder Wave.
Equipped with the Compound Eyes ability, Gavantula’s accuracy gets a significant increase to its accuracy of 30%. Moreover, Gavantula’s Unnerve ability works very well with a Thunder Wave strategy as it denies Galvantula’s opponent from eating any berries. As a result, your opponent cannot heal from the Paralysis status effect by eating Cheri Berries.
Galvantula has incredible speed stats and great Special Attack stats. To make the most of its speed, I use Thunder Wave to not only Paralyze my target but also severely reduce its speed, granting me extra damage from an Electro Ball strike. As this move deals damage dependent on the difference between the user and target speed stat.
Now I know what you’re thinking. How is a set of keys gonna help in battle? Well, you’ve just been fooled! Klefki is a cheeky little Fairy-type Pokemon that will cause absolute havoc to those that underestimate it. Klefki does nothing but subverts your expectations.
Minus its low health stats, you’ve got a Pokemon with great all-around stats for its size, at least. All joking aside, Klefki is a formidable little utility and supports Pokemon. It’s one of the best Pokemon to run Thunder Wave thanks to its Prankster ability, which grants it a priority in battle when using status moves. As a result, Thunder Wave will likely always strike first!
Being part Steel-type grants Klefki access to everyone’s favorite entry hazard move; Spikes. This move will allow you to punish your opponent for switching out Pokemon in battle by dealing a portion of the damage. Spikes can be layered to deal extra damage. I tend to layer them after I’ve used Thunder Wave, which gives Klefki a little protection to set them up.
Jirachi is another Pokemon that can be used to exploit flinches and Paralysis due to its Serene Grace ability. Body Slam and Iron Head have a 30% chance to land paralysis and flinch, respectively; however, this is double thanks to Serene Grace, so add a King’s Rock into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a very annoying Pokemon to fight against.
As powerful as Thunder Wave would be on Jirachi, I don’t like running it with this move as Body Slam has a huge chance to paralyze the target from Serene Grace and King’s Rock. Although it’s viable to run Thunder Wave on Jirachi, I would prefer to use this move slot for another move such as Stealth Rock or Meteor Mash.
I shudder every time I encounter this Pokemon. Its monster-like defense and special defense make it a force to be reckoned with. I’m not a fan of this Pokemon, but it does make an excellent Thunder Wave user due to its Iron Barbs ability and annoying Leach Seed and Spikes.
As you can see, Ferrothorn has it all for executing a Thunder Wave strategy. There are countless times when Ferrothorn has chipped away at my Pokemon’s health and rendered them useless. Even if I can pass the Paralysis, I will be punished for physically hitting Ferrothorn due to Iron Barbs. Moreover, swapping to a Fire-type to counter this monster will result in even more damage from Spikes.
Countering The Frustrating Thunder Wave Paralysis
While the many Thunder Wave strategies may seem terrifying, there are ways to counter them. Take note that PVP Pokemon battles are very different from that of the single-player, and trainers have discovered brilliant and infuriating ways to beat you. However, prepare your team with an answer, and you can break past the Thunder Wave strategy.
Electric and Ground-Types
Thunder Wave takes into account move typing, meaning that Electric-type and Ground-type Pokemon are immune to Thunder Wave. Furthermore, Pokemon such as Jolteon have the Volt Absorb ability that absorbs Electric-type moves to heal them.
Alternatively, run Pokemon such as Manectric that have the Lightning Rod ability, an ability that draws Electric-type moves to the Pokemon and raises their special attack stat. Lightning Rod is a fantastic move as I’ve used it to disrupt my opponent’s strategy. It keeps my other Pokemon safe when on the battlefield in double battles.
Dugtrio is a great Pokemon to counter Thunder Wave users by traping them with Arena Trap, allowing you to contain them in battle and get rid of the threat. Dugtrio will make short work of Electric-type Pokemon. Dugtrio does have outstanding speed allowing you to quickly fire off an Earthquake or hide underground with Dig.
Magic Bounce is a straightforward counter to Thunder Wave and status conditions. As status condition moves are bounced back at the user. Note that Magic Bounce after Pokemon X, Y, Omega Ruby, and Alpha Sapphire reflect the moves before they even hit the user making Magic Bounce even better at countering Thunder Wave.
Natu and Xatu are Magic Bounce users and are part Flying-type, meaning that Thunder Wave users can just shock them with a super effective Electric-type move. Espeon is one of my favorite go-to Eevee evolutions, as I like its glass cannon approach of high speed and special attack power. Espeon and Hatterene feature the Magic Bounce ability, so consider these Pokemon to counter the annoying Thunder Wave.
Question: What is a Critical Hit in a Pokemon Battle?
Answer: When a Pokemon attacks, it has a chance to land a Critical Hit, dealing double damage to the opponent. You can raise the chance of landing a Critical Hit using the Focus Energy move. Alternatively, Night Slash, Slash, Stone Edge, Spacial Rend, Aero Blast, and Cross Poison are some of the moves that have an increased chance of landing a Critical Hit.
Question: What Does the Baton Pass Move Do?
Answer: Baton Pass is an exceptional move that switches out the user and carries over all status changes. For example, Baton Pass can be used to increase the Special Attack of a benched Pokemon in safety using Nasty Plot and Baton Pass. Musharna is a great Pokemon to use with Baton Pass due to its high health and access to Calm Mind.
Question: What is the Battle Frontier in Pokemon?
Answer: The Battle Frontier is a special facility available in Pokemon Emerald, Soul, Silver, Heart Gold, and Platinum. In the Battle Frontier, you will take on the most brutal battles in the game. The facility is only accessible after defeating the Pokemon League. You will be able to collect BP from your victories to spend on rewards such as new TMs, and items.
Thunderwave Guide: Conclusion
In conclusion, Thunder Wave is a great move featured in the Pokemon games. It has roots going back all the way to Pokemon Red and Blue. Despite its age, the move has stayed relevant throughout changes and updates made to the mainline series.
The introduction of the Electric Terrain increased its use and power in battle. The 10% decrease in accuracy to Thunder Wave is minor, and it shows how the move has been nerfed due to its power in battle to allow the user to control the flow of battle.
Thunder Wave and paralysis arent my favorite strategy in battle, but it is advantageous to be aware of the threats that this move can hinder your team. Not appropriately preparing for it can spell disaster and separates the noobs and Youngster Joey trainers from the champions.