Pokémon Sun and Moon broke a whole lot of rules when it was released last month—it has no HMs, no gyms, etc. There was one rule, however, that even these games didn’t dare break: Thou shalt always introduce a new, cute, unevolving Electric-type Pokémon that Nintendo can use for marketing purposes. (Apparently they’re afraid that Pikachu will leave them in free agency and sign with the New York Yankees.)
This generation’s Pika-clone is Togedemaru, an Electric/Steel Pokémon with the face of a Pachirisu and the body of a Spheal. How would this Pokémon stack up against its PU predecessors? There was only one way to know: a face-off!
…But face-offs are one-on-one affairs—which member of the PU Electric crew should Togedemaru take on? For that matter, which Pokémon should be considered peers of Togedemaru? I set the criteria as follows:
- They have to be Electric-typed (dual typing is fine).
- They can’t evolve, nor can anything evolve into them.
- They can’t be legendary Pokémon (no Zapdos or Thundurus).
- They can’t have different forms (this rules out Rotom and Oricorio).
- They have to at least look moderately cute (sorry, Stunfisk).
This filter gives us the following list (as usual, all data comes from the good folks at Serebii.net):
|Pokémon||Generation||Total Stat Count|
Togedemaru’s total stat count checks in at 435, suggesting that Dedenne is the best Pokémon to use for comparison. With that settled, let’s get to the SCIENCE!
|Togedemaru (Electric/Steel)||Dedenne (Electric/Fairy)|
|Strong Against…||5 Types||5 Types|
|Ineffective Against…||1 Type||0 Types|
|Can’t Hit Type?||No||No|
|Resists…||11 (!) Types||5 Types|
|Weak To…||3 Types||2 Types|
|4x Weakness?||Yes (Ground)||No|
|Immunities?||Yes (Poison)||Yes (Dragon)|
Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the power of Steel typing, shall we? Basically, if your opponent doesn’t have a strong Fire, Fighting, or Ground move available, they’re gonna to have a bad time dealing with Togedemaru. Dedenne avoids the 4x Ground weakness and offers some potential as a Dragon-blocker, but everything else besides resistances is basically even, and eleven beats five every time.
All but two stat categories are within five points of each other, so the advantage here comes down to Togedemaru’s Attack vs. Dedenne’s Spec. Attack. Dedenne actually has the larger point spread between the two (+41 Spec. Attack compared to Togedemaru’s +40 Attack), but Togedemaru has the higher peak (98 vs. 81, although neither number is great).
When it comes to attack stats, the higher peak is usually more important, and so Togedemaru gets the win here. However, this assumes that a Pokémon actually has access to moves that take advantage of its best stat, and Electric moves have historically favored special attackers (Thunder, Thunderbolt, Discharge, etc.). Does Togedemaru have the moves it needs to take advantage of its stat spread?
|Iron Barbs||Cheek Pouch|
This one is no contest, but it’s worth pointing out just how good Togedemaru’s abilities are. Iron Barbs discourages foes from challenging Togedemaru’s suspect Defense stat, Sturdy ensures that even Ground-type Pokémon need two attacks to KO it, and Lightningrod makes it completely immune to Electric attacks (and also provides cover for Electric-vulnerable allies in a double battle).
Cheek Pouch opens up some Berry-based strategies for Dedenne, but Plus is useless outside of double battles with Minus-ability allies, and Pickup is…well, just useless. (Back when TMs were single-use, having my Lv. 100 Pachirisu pick up the occasional Earthquake TM was pretty handy, but that use case no longer applies.)
Advantage: Togedemaru (in a landslide)
|Top 3 STAB Attacks|
|Zing Zap||Electric||80||P||Play Rough||Fairy||90||P|
|Top 3 Non-STAB Attacks|
|Other Notable Moves|
|Spiky Shield||Blocks Attack & Damages Attacker||Rest||Restores Full HP, User Falls Asleep|
|Electric Terrain||Boots Electric Moves||Entrainment||Sets Opponent’s Ability To User’s|
|Magnet Rise||Levitates Pokémon (grants Ground immunity)||Thunder Wave||Paralyzes Opponent|
This is where things start to get weird. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s cover it point-by-point:
- Togedemaru’s access to Wild Charge and Zing Zap (the latter is a move only it can learn!) means that it can actually put its Attack stat to good use. Dedenne has the strongest Electric-type move between the two, but it’s the annoying-inaccurate Thunder, which will probably force players to lean on the weaker-but-reliable Discharge.
- Surprisingly, neither Pokémon takes advantage of its non-Electric type for attacking! The following table says it all:
Togedemaru’s Steel Moves Dedenne’s Fairy Moves Move Learned By: Move Learned By: Gyro Ball TM Charm Lv. 14 Play Rough Lv. 42
Togedemaru learns no Steel-type moves naturally, and can only learn Gyro Ball (which is dependent on Togedemaru’s relative Speed instead of its raw attack) via TM. Dedenne, on the other hand, learns just a pair of Fairy-type moves (Charm is mostly useless, Play Rough is powerful but relies on Dedenne’s awful Attack stat), and nothing via TM! Dedenne gets the edge here for at least having Play Rough, but the way these two underutilize their typing is almost embarrassing.
- The pool of non-STAB attacks that both Pokémon learn is similarly shallow: Togedemaru inexplicably learns Rollout and a pair of weak Bug moves (although Fell Stinger at least boosts Togedemaru’s Attack if it causes an opponent to faint), while the most-effective non-STAB move Dedenne gets is Snore, which can only be used when the Pokémon is sleeping! Overall, none of these are worth writing home about.
- Thankfully, the two Pokémon fair a bit better when it comes to non-damaging moves. Togedemaru can use Electric Terrain to boost its Electric power, Spiky Shield to defend itself, and Magnet Rise to cover its substantial Ground weakness, while Dedenne can heal itself with Rest (and even pair it with Snore!), paralyze opponents with Thunder Wave, and troll opponents by giving them its terrible Abilities via Entrainment (maybe there’s a use for Pickup after all!).
Overall, I guess I’d give Dedenne a very slight advantage due to Thunder’s power and Play Rough’s presence, but neither Pokémon inspires much confidence with their moves.
Advantage: Dedenne (just barely)
|Top 4 TM Moves|
|Rest||Restores Full HP, User Falls Asleep||Aerial Ace||Flying||60||P|
Both Pokémon improve their type coverage with TMs, but Togedmaru’s options dovetail better with its statistics, as moves like Poison Jab and Giga Impact take advantage of its Attack stat. Dedenne is able to fill the Thunderbolt-sized hole in its natural moveset via TM, but many of the attacks it can learn (U-Turn, Aerial Ace, Thief) are tied to its paltry Attack.
For most Pokémon, a good question to ask would be “What role would they play on a semi-competitive team?” Unfortunately, I think the answer for both Togedemaru and Dedenne would be “benchwarmer,” as there are other Electric-type Pokémon that would do a better job filling almost any role you could think of (attack, defense, support, etc.) than these two.
If I had to choose between the two, however, I would go with our spherical friend Togedemaru. Its plentiful resistances, slightly-better defense statistics, excellent abilities, and access to Spiky Shield make it better-suited to stand the rigors of combat than Dedenne. Offensively, Togedemaru’s Attack counters Dedenne’s access to stronger moves, and keeps things close enough to let its defensive strengths carry the day.
Of course, when dealing with Pokémon like these two, combat utility usually takes a back seat to aesthetics anyway, which is why I consider Pachirisu to be the real winner of this debate. After all, why use strong Pokémon when you can show up the Elite Four with an electric squirrel?