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Interactive Azelf Counters Guide

Azelf

Azelf is a member of the Lake Trio of Legendary Pokemon released in Gen 4. Azelf represents willpower, and gave it to humanity as its gift after being created by Arceus.

Azelf often gets overlooked in favor of the more ravenous Dialga, Palkia and Giratina, and are often interpreted more like the mythicals Mew and Celebi than Legendaries. Interestingly, all 3 of them have almost identical move pools in Pokemon Go in addition to typing, and therefore, have near identical counters. They may not shake up the meta too strongly, but they all also hold the distinction of the first legendaries released in the wild and can be encountered even after this event ends. The lake trio, appropriately enough, is biased towards spawning around lakes. They are regional exclusives, however, both as wild spawns and in raids.

Release Period: August 28th raids between 6-7pm (ONLY IN AMERICAN REGION)

Event Info

Azelf will be released for a legendary raid hour in the America’s region on August 28th between 6-7pm local time. During Legendary Raid hour most gyms will have Azelf Eggs hatch, and remain active for the rough duration. This is different from the Legendary Raid Days we’ve had for the Beasts and Birds. A shiny form is not being released and they will not spawn outside their typical region. It’s just an opportunity to catch your regional Legendary Pokemon.

Azelf in the Meta

ConfusionFuture Sight (Raids)

In terms of raw DPS, Azelf leads the pack of the trio as a Psychic attacker. Even so, it is still left trailing Mewtwo, and in a three-way tie with Alakazam and Espeon for second best non-legacy attacker. So still top tier, but not the best, and there are cheaper alternatives to fill its role.

Psychic-Type Ranking:

RANKPokemonMovesetDPS%TDO%
100%
Mewtwo
Confusion
/Psychic
85%80%2.140.690.722.350.83
89%
Azelf
Confusion
/Future Sight
83%57%2.280.770.972.640.87
88%
Espeon
Confusion
/Future Sight
80%56%2.360.780.912.670.88
87%
Gallade (Legacy)
Confusion
/Synchronoise
76%61%2.440.790.822.780.94
86%
Gardevoir (Legacy)
Confusion
/Synchronoise
76%61%2.430.810.822.830.94
85%
Alakazam
Confusion
/Future Sight
82%50%2.450.820.982.750.89
83%
Latios
Zen Headbutt
/Psychic
71%69%2.620.840.892.720.99
81%
Metagross
Zen Headbutt
/Psychic
68%70%2.700.900.872.751.05
80%
Lugia
Extrasensory
/Sky Attack
59%100%2.680.861.122.731.06
79%
Mesprit
Confusion
/Future Sight
67%64%2.690.870.933.001.06
78%
Exeggutor (Legacy)
Confusion
/Psychic
67%53%2.730.920.962.931.11
74%
Jirachi
Confusion
/Psychic
61%68%3.010.990.962.981.15
73%
Latias
Zen Headbutt
/Psychic
61%68%2.960.971.023.041.17
72%
Ho-Oh
Extrasensory
/Brave Bird
56%69%3.001.001.182.981.16
70%
Armored Mewtwo
Confusion
/Future Sight
58%81%3.071.011.003.281.20
70%
Deoxys (Normal Forme)
Zen Headbutt
/Psycho Boost
80%33%2.970.991.203.281.13
69%
Jynx
Confusion
/Psyshock
69%42%3.091.051.143.341.19
67%
Regigigas
Zen Headbutt
/Avalanche
58%64%4.141.111.012.521.26
65%
Deoxys (Attack Forme)
Zen Headbutt
/Psycho Boost
100%19%3.361.231.183.391.25
64%
Mew
Pound
/Psyshock
56%63%3.391.081.253.461.33
64%
Gengar (Legacy)
Shadow Claw
/Psychic
54%31%3.471.221.003.471.36
63%
Celebi
Confusion
/Dazzling Gleam
47%53%2.950.961.384.251.14
61%
Cresselia
Confusion
/Future Sight
50%78%3.581.171.163.681.42
61%
Uxie
Confusion
/Future Sight
50%58%3.621.181.223.711.39
60%
Xatu
Air Slash
/Future Sight
52%31%3.451.131.713.541.37
60%
Honchkrow
Peck
/Psychic
54%32%3.731.201.463.481.36
60%
Slowbro
Confusion
/Psychic
52%49%3.491.111.194.161.34
60%
Slowking
Confusion
/Psychic
52%49%3.491.111.194.161.34
59%
Chimecho
Extrasensory
/Psyshock
54%41%3.501.221.354.021.37
58%
Mr. Mime
Confusion
/Psychic
54%34%3.411.181.504.071.36
58%
Bronzong
Confusion
/Psyshock
50%44%3.801.241.263.801.47
57%
Kadabra
Confusion
/Dazzling Gleam
52%19%3.401.081.544.571.27
57%
Grumpig
Extrasensory
/Psychic
49%42%3.721.291.334.091.46
56%
Lunatone
Confusion
/Psychic
52%41%3.961.291.294.101.37
56%
Solrock
Confusion
/Psychic
52%41%3.961.291.294.101.37
56%
Magmortar
Fire Spin
/Psychic
51%39%5.061.281.292.971.43
56%
Rampardos
Zen Headbutt
/Outrage
59%35%4.051.401.213.941.48
56%
Hypno
Confusion
/Future Sight
47%43%3.901.261.344.151.47
55%
Noctowl
Extrasensory
/Sky Attack
44%38%3.881.311.603.861.49
55%
Deoxys (Speed Forme)
Zen Headbutt
/Psycho Boost
54%40%3.651.281.584.281.41
55%
Girafarig
Confusion
/Psychic
53%31%3.961.321.234.211.52
54%
Gorebyss
Confusion
/Psychic
50%33%3.921.311.304.341.53
51%
Venomoth
Confusion
/Psychic
44%27%4.231.451.444.291.68
50%
Golduck
Confusion
/Psychic
47%35%4.191.401.394.841.55
49%
Snorlax
Zen Headbutt
/Hyper Beam
43%57%4.411.481.864.371.69
48%
Alolan Raichu
Spark
/Psychic
46%27%3.631.421.735.661.67
40%
Deoxys (Defense Forme)
Zen Headbutt
/Psycho Boost
35%38%5.461.771.865.582.01
35%
Blissey
Zen Headbutt
/Dazzling Gleam
29%57%4.771.512.628.451.91

Azelf in Gym Combat:

Azelf is a legendary Pokemon and thus cannot be placed in Gyms as a defender.

As an attacker, It has the strongest matchup against poison types like Muk, and if operating with a rare Fire/Psychic combination of moves also hits Steelix. It does not, however, break into the top 30 choices as a general Gym Attacker regardless of dodging or weather conditions.

Azelf Movesets

  • Fire Blast (1 Bar move) Slaughters Bug types, and Ghost and Dark don’t have any base resistances to it either. Namely, Weavile, Scizor, and Pinsir will not appreciate it. So it ends up the hardest moveset in general since you can’t lean on that. That said, it’s the easiest move to dodge (takes 4.2 seconds, and the best general counter (Giratina-O) is still packing a resistance to it!
  • Swift (2 Bar move) Ghost types will adore this move with their 2x resistance to it! It will fire much more frequently than the other moves which can get annoying though.  It hits absolutely nothing super effectively though which is a delight.
  • Future Sight (1 Bar move) Here Dark-types will do best due to their own 2x resistance! While the highest raw damage moveset, Dark types are ready to eat it up.

General Azelf Counters

These bosses are one of the most vanilla Psychic-type bosses ever. Gone are the monster Focus Blasts and Shadow Balls from Mewtwo and Alakazam! The Trio’s moveset is perfectly suited to be hard countered by the standard Dark and Ghost-type counters to Psychic.

Azelf takes 1.6x damage from Bug / Ghost / Dark.

Bug Pokemon are weak to Fire moves.

Ghost Pokemon have 2x Resistance to Normal moves.

Dark Pokemon have 2x Resistance to Psychic moves.

Azelf can be beaten by 2 players in optimal weather, with max friendship and perfect level 40 counters or by 4 unfriended players using level 20 counters from this guide. When caught, Azelf will be between 1752 and 1834 cp without a weather boost. In Windy weather, Azelf will be between 2190 and 2293 when caught.

Giratina Origin


Shadow Claw / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 2 players with level 35 Giratina Origin

Dragon Tail / 

Shadow Ball
Alternative fast move
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

Giratina is sitting in a fantastic spot against these Pokemon. Giratina Origin is already the best Ghost Type attacker having swiped the title from Mewtwo, having both the Bulk and DPS to survive. But its ghost typing also gives it double resistance against Swift, while its dragon typing gives it resistance to Fire Blast! Girtatina Origin is certainly your best choice. This leads to it on average having just about TWICE the survivability against any other top counter. If you have the option, go with the Floaty Centipede.

Mewtwo


Psycho Cut / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Mewtwo
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐☆☆☆☆

Mewtwo is of course, also phenomenal. On average they are the strongest choice following Giratina, but its position isn’t as stable as it usually is. Dark and Ghost types have double resistances while Mewtwo only has a regular resistance, so depending on the moveset there are still arguments to use other Pokemon if you don’t have a floaty Giratina. Giratina itself is strictly superior to Mewtwo though, beating it in all metrics, even in Windy weather.

Tyranitar


Bite / 

Crunch
Requires 3 players with level 35 Tyranitar
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Tyranitar has top tier bulk (even more so than Giratina-O) as well as having resistance to the pesky Fire Blast. This makes Tyranitar the best tank choice for attempting to two-man Azelf if you want to avoid rejoins. Tyranitar, of course, has the best performance against Psychic movesets.

Gengar


Lick / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Gengar

Sucker Punch / 

Shadow Ball
Alternative fast move
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

Gengar manages to equal Giratina against Swift movesets, and actually jump ahead if you have legacy movesets. Notably being the only Pokemon capable of exceeding Giratina-O on moveset alone. Gengar’s Poison dual typing, however, punishes it extra hard against psychic movesets, dropping it to Drifblim and Mismagius levels. So while Gengar has a niche where it excels, just as often it suffers making him significantly less consistent in its positions. Azelf’s high damage threshold also makes it vulnerable to one-hit KOs.

Houndoom


Snarl / 

Foul Play
Requires 3 players with level 35 Houndoom
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Houndoom shares Tyranitar ambivalence to Fire Blast movesets, allowing it to reliably rise about Absol and even Honchkrow on average. Against Pure Psychic movesets, the other Dark-types reassert themselves, but Houndoom has the distinction of making it into the top 6 in a world with Giratina-O, Mewtwo, Tyranitar and Gengar.

Weavile Vs.


Feint Attack / 

Foul Play
Requires 3 players with level 35 Weavile
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

Weavile continues to top the Dark-type charts, having the best non-Giratina performance against Psychic movesets on average. Weavile, however, is obliterated by Fire Blast (at which point, *Feraligar* becomes a better choice). But that is not to understate that is is usually the best Dark-type option for pure DPS.

Alternative Azelf Counters

Honchkrow Vs.


Snarl / 

Dark Pulse
Requires 3 players with level 35 Honchkrow
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Unlike verses Mesprit and Uxie, Azelf has no attacks that hit Honchkrow super effectively.

Raikou


Thunder Shock / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Raikou
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Yes, Raikou can learn Shadow Ball now. Even so, it lacks the special resistances of Dark and Ghost types, leaving it on the more frail side. Also, getting a Shadow Ball Raikou is a use of resources that is pretty hard to justify given Raikou’s utility as an Electric Type.

Absol


Snarl / 

Dark Pulse
Requires 3 players with level 35 Absol
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

Absol’s pure dark typing insulates them to both the benefits and disadvantages of odd elemental type matchups, which allows it to skirt into the top 10. But on average their lack of special resistances still lead them to have low survivability, even less than Weavile.

Mismagius


Sucker Punch / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Mismagius
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

On the more expensive side, Mismagius can survive psychic attacks somewhat better than Gengar at least.

Sharpedo


Bite / 

Crunch
Requires 3 players with level 35 Sharpedo
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While not top tier, Sharpedo has respectable performance.

Pinsir


Bug Bite / 

X-Scissor
Requires 3 players with level 35 Pinsir
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bug-type sadly doesn’t get inherent resistances to Psychic-types, which means they will always be at a disadvantage against the competition. Pinsir, however, has pretty reliable performances against all movesets, with the exception of Fire Blast Azelf, which drops him down to similar performance to Banette. In terms of Bug types though, he reliably has more overall attack power than Scizor.

Scizor


Fury Cutter / 

X-Scissor
Requires 3 players with level 35 Scizor
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Scizor has almost identical performance to Pinsir, with higher bulk due to Steel typing giving them a resistance to psychic attacks. Beware of Fire Blast though. Fire may be Scizor’s only weakness, but it’s a double weakness and it will never survive one from Azelf.

Salamence


Bite / 

Draco Meteor
Requires 3 players with level 35 Salamence
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

Salamence benefits from a huge increase in accessibility recently, as well as a handy resistances to Fire Blast.

Drifblim


Hex / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Drifblim
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐☆☆☆

Drifblim has an inverse problem to Banette, is it respectably tanky but with that durability, it often can’t do top tier damage. It also is difficult to get outside of its initial release, due to being largely a weather exclusive.

Crawdaunt


Snarl / 

Night Slash
Requires 3 players with level 35 Crawdaunt
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐☆☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Crawdaunt is doing pretty well for itself here, getting resistance to Fire Blast helps it a lot.

Deoxys Attack Vs.


Poison Jab / 

Dark Pulse
Requires 3 players with level 35 Deoxys Attack
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐☆☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐☆☆☆☆

Deoxys jumps all over the place. It just comes down to if it survives long enough to make use of its Dark Pulses. It has horrific survivability, is very difficult to acquire, and has inconsistency like no other, but, if you want to make use of it, you might get lucky. And hey, now that the dodge glitch is fixed, some assumptions we have about how useful it is might be disproven with enough skill! Its best use case is against Fire Blast Azelf.

Yanmega


Bug Bite / 

Bug Buzz
Requires 3 players with level 35 Yanmega
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

Much more competitive against Azelf without needing to worry about Thunder or Blizzard.

Gyarados


Bite / 

Crunch
Requires 3 players with level 35 Gyarados
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐☆☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dark Gyarados has some notability when fighting Psychic Pokemon with Focus Blast-But against these bosses, it is it’s resistance to Fire Blast.

Cacturne


Sucker Punch / 

Dark Pulse
Requires 3 players with level 35 Cacturne
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Similar to Crawdaunt, Cacturne is not that bad despite its lack of reputation. Won’t do too well against Fire Blast though.

Haunter


Lick / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Haunter
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐☆☆☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐☆☆☆☆

Haunter isn’t too difficult to acquire with Gastly’s nesting and being a common night spawn, as well as being featured in the recent Go Fest global spawns. The main issue comes with its moveset, which are one of the most ancient and inaccessible Legacy moves.

Muk – Alola


Snarl / 

Dark Pulse
Requires 3 players with level 35 Muk – Alola
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐☆☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

Alolan Muk typing is excellent, only having a weakness to ground. But at the end of the day, it just doesn’t hit as hard. It’s rather colorful though, and if you wanna power it up, you can make use of it.

Spiritomb


Sucker Punch / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Spiritomb
⚔️ Raw Damage: ⭐☆☆☆☆
🛡️ Survival/Bulk: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
📉 Consistency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌐 Accessibility: ⭐⭐☆☆☆

Unless you were playing during Halloween you won’t be able to have one, and even if you do, that means you were playing when lots of better dark and ghost type Pokemon were available. But they are fun and if you want to make use of it they are decently tanky.

Banette


Shadow Claw / 

Shadow Ball
Requires 3 players with level 35 Banette
  • ⭐⭐⭐☆☆ Bulk
  • ⭐⭐⭐☆☆ Damage
  • ⭐⭐⭐☆☆ Accessibility

Banette jumps all over the scale in performance, and while sometimes it shines as high as Gengar-it’s just so frail that its anyone’s guess how it will pan out.

Weather Counters

Here is a list of Pokemon that can perform similar or better than the typical #1 option (in this case, Giratina_Origin_Form) with weather bonuses:

Weather Table
Pokemon Weather Fast Move Charge Move Estimator @ L35
Giratina Origin Form FOG Shadow Claw Fast Shadow Ball 2.70
Weavile FOG Feint Attack Fast Foul Play 2.88
Tyranitar FOG Bite Fast Crunch 2.95
(Legacy) Gengar FOG Lick Fast Shadow Ball 2.97
Honchkrow FOG Snarl Fast Dark Pulse 3.06
Banette FOG Shadow Claw Fast Shadow Ball 3.07
(Legacy) Mewtwo FOG Psycho Cut Fast Shadow Ball 3.09
Absol FOG Snarl Fast Dark Pulse 3.11
Houndoom FOG Snarl Fast Foul Play 3.11
Giratina Origin Form NO_WEATHER Shadow Claw Fast Shadow Ball 3.17
Mismagius FOG Sucker Punch Fast Shadow Ball 3.25

Closing Thoughts

This gentle trio from Sinnoh has finally come to raids! While there is no need to throw out your Mewtwo’s for them, they remain a welcome addition to our arsenal of diverse Psychic Type attackers.