Pokémon Face-Off: Vikavolt vs. Scizor

vs_9As a fan of both Electric- and Bug-type Pokémon, it’s no surprise that Vikavolt is one of my favorite 7th-gen monsters. It was a force to be reckoned with during my playthrough of Pokémon Moon, and had the toughness and flexibility to be trusted in any situation. It’s easily the best bug I’ve ever included in my Top 6, and seemed like the perfect candidate to have its mettle tested further in a face-off!

But what bug would dare stand against the mighty Vikavolt? The obvious choice was fellow Electric-/Bug-type Galvantula from Pokémon Black/White, but at first glance the electric spider didn’t seem to have the stat count to make it a fair fight. Instead, I’ve selected Scizor, one of my favorite bugs from the original generations, to be Vikavolt’s face-off opponent. Let’s get this party started!

(As always, the data in the following analysis comes from the good folks at Serebii.net.)

The Types

Vikavolt (Bug/Electric) Scizor (Bug/Steel)
Strong Against… 5 Types 6 Types
Ineffective Against… 0 Types 2 Types
Can’t Hit Type? No No
Resists… 4 Types 8 Types
Weak To… 2 Types 1 Type
4x Weakness? No Yes (Fire)
Immunities? No Yes (Poison)

Let me get this straight: Compared to Vikavolt, Scizor is stronger against more types, weaker against fewer types, resists more types, and has a Posion immunity? While Fire-types are a huge blind spot for Scizor (not only is it a 4x weakness, but neither Bug nor Steel are effective against it), this category is otherwise a clear victory for the pincer Pokémon.

Advantage: Scizor

The Stats

Statistic Vikavolt Scizor
HP 77 70
Attack 70 130
Defense 90 100
Spec. Attack 145 55
Spec. Defense 75 80
Speed 43 65
Total 500 500

Before I dig into the stats, I have to ask: Why are 7th-gen Pokémon so freaking slow? This is the sixth Alolan Pokémon I’ve covered with a Speed stat of 70 or lower. Maybe I’ve just gotten unlucky with my face-off selections, but it’s enough of a trend to make me wonder…

Both Vikavolt and Scizor have an impressive attack stat at their disposal (Attack for Scizor, Spec. Attack for Vikavolt), but they’re both also depressingly slow, which means that they’ll have to take a punch before they can deliver one. Vikavolt is the stronger attacker, but Scizor has a slight edge in both Defense and Spec. Defense, and its Steel typing helps cover for its small HP deficit.

This category comes down to a single question: Would you rather hit harder, or have a better chance of living long enough to hit at all? When dealing with slower Pokémon, I prefer the latter.

Advantage: Scizor

The Abilities

Vikavolt Scizor
Levitate Swarm
Technician
Light Metal

Vikavolt only has one ability, but it’s a good one: Levitate grants a Pokémon immunity to Ground-type moves, which are normally super-effective against Electric types. On the flip side, Swarm only boosts Bug moves (and only when the Pokémon is nearly dead), Technician doesn’t boost weaker moves much beyond what normally-powerful moves offer, and Light Metal doesn’t make Scizor any faster.

Even with three possible abilities, Scizor can’t touch Vikavolt here. Who said variety was the spice of life?

Advantage: Vikavolt

The Moves

Vikavolt Scizor
Top 3 STAB Attacks
Name Type Power Phys./
Spec.
Name Type Power Phys./
Spec.
Zap Cannon Electric 120 S Iron Head Steel 80 P
Thunderbolt Electric 90 S X-Scissor Bug 80 P
Bug Buzz Bug 90 S Metal Claw Steel 50 P
Top 3 Non-STAB Attacks
Dig Ground 80 P Razor Wind Normal 80 P
Air Slash Flying 75 S Air Slash Flying 75 S
Crunch Dark 80 P Night Slash Dark 70 P
Other Notable Moves
Charge Raises power of next Electric move Bullet Punch Steel 40 P
Agility Sharply raises Speed Sword Dance Sharply raises Attack
Discharge Electric 80 S Agility Sharply raises Speed

(Note that this table includes moves that are not learned by Vikavolt and Scizor directly, but are learned by their prior evolutionary forms Charjabug and Scyther.)

The natural movesets of these Pokémon are more even than I expected, but I give Vikavolt a slight edge for two reasons:

  • It has a slight power edge in terms of reliable STAB moves (Bug Buzz over X-Scissor, Thunderbolt over Iron Head). Combine this with Vikavolt’s slight attack stat advantage, and it’s going to do a fair bit more damage over time.
  • It has incredible flexibility with respect to its Electric attacks. Multiple opponents? Fry them with Discharge. Need to bump up your damage? Throw in a Charge or two. Need to do a lot of damage right this very moment? Cross your fingers, flip a coin, and unleash Zap Cannon.

To its credit, Scizor’s moves are more aligned with its stat spread, and Bullet Punch is a useful priority move, especially if paired with Technician. (Also, both Pokémon have Agility, which means they can boost their speed from awful to mediocre if they have three turns to spare. Woohoo!) For my money, though, Vikavolt’s raw power and diverse toolkit carry the day here.

Advantage: Vikavolt

The TMs

Vikavolt Scizor
Top 4 TM Moves
Name Type Power Phys./
Spec.
Name Type Power Phys./
Spec.
Thunder Electric 110 S Giga Impact Normal 150 P
Energy Ball Grass 90 S Venoshock Poison 65 S
Roost Heals up to 1/2 HP Brick Break Fighting 75 P
Flash Cannon Steel 80 S Roost Heals up to 1/2 HP

Once again, Technical Machines come to the rescue and try to fill in the holes in the natural movesets of both Pokémon. Vikavolt gains more type coverage in the form of attacks that take advantage of its Spec. Attack stat, and Scizor gains a powerful-but-costly move (Giga Impact) for use when it needs a single overwhelming strike. (Both Pokémon also gain a useful and sorely-needed healing move in Roost.)

So who comes out ahead? I’m giving it to Vikavolt due to the continued improvements in its type coverage. (It gets extra credit for learning Flash Cannon, allowing it to be a poor man’s version of Scizor if needed.)

Advantage: Vikavolt

 The Results

As someone who’s been on the wrong end of a team wipe at the hands of a single Pokémon too many times to count, there’s something to be said for having a versatile monster who can function against a wide range of dangerous opponents. Sure, Vikavolt is slow and Scizor has a slight edge in bulk, but the gap isn’t terribly large, and our stag beetle competitor counters with the ability to put up decent damage against darn near anything it encounters. Scizor was a worthy opponent, but I’m giving this one to the Alolans.

Winner: Vikavolt

Of course, Vikavolt isn’t a feasible play in every situation—for example, a Ground/Flying-type like Gliscor could wall it off without too much trouble, and a glass cannon like Camerupt could cause trouble if it hangs around too long. That’s the beauty of Pokémon: Like physics, for any of your actions there’s an equal and opposite reaction available to your opponent, and victory is granted to those who can put (and keep) themselves in the most advantageous position over the course of the battle.

 

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2 thoughts on “Pokémon Face-Off: Vikavolt vs. Scizor

  1. So I haven’t seen an actual source for the rumor I am about to share and have no idea if it’s true (but spreading misinformation is cool, right?): apparently 7th gen as a whole is slow because 6th gen as a whole was very fast. So they wanted to counterbalance that somewhat and not have speed stats just keep creeping higher and higher throughout the generations. Like I said, I’m not sure how true that is, but it would explain why all of your Alolan Face-Off competitors seem really slow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An interesting theory! I found some forum threads that discussed this topic, but they didn’t have any specific sources either. I’m tempted to check out Bulbapedia’s base stat list and test this hypothesis for a future blog post…

      Liked by 1 person

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