One of the biggest new features in both Pokémon Sun and Moon is the introduction of Z-Moves and the Z-Crystals needed to use them in battle. Once you’ve obtained your Z-Ring during the opening few hours of Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon, you’ll be able to hand your Pokémon Z-Crystals collected from around the Alola region to activate the Z-Moves they have available to them. And a whole mess of them are way cool.
These moves are extremely powerful — often doubling in power compared to a Pokémon’s base moves — and require the Pokémon in question to be holding a Z-Crystal specific to the type of move being utilized. There’s a different Z-Crystal for each type of Pokémon in the game, with additional Z-Crystals that can only be used by certain individual Pokémon like Pikachu, for example.
Regardless of which moves you end up building into your team though, the results are filled with crazy moves we’ve never really seen in a Pokémon game before. Here’s some of the best from both a power and visual standpoint.
1. Tectonic Rage
If you thought that Earthquake was one of the best moves Ground-type Pokémon had at their disposal, Pokémon Sun and Moon is here to prove you wrong with the first Z-Move in our lineup. Tectonic Rage is the Z-Power evolution of everyone’s favorite Earthquake, bringing the power of the ground beneath your target to a whole new level of scary.
When used, Tectonic Rage lets your Pokémon slam down into the ground below it causing a rupture in the surface which the target falls into before being slammed again by your Pokémon into an eruption, bringing them back to the surface with a lava surrounding them.
2. Stoked Sparksurfer
There are few things in Alola better than the tropical island beaches that surround the region, home to hundreds of fantastic Pokémon to discover and people to meet. Among those you’ll probably end up finding is the new Alolan Raichu who loves to float on his tail life a surfboard, which, with the right Z-Crystal, allows you to use the signature Electric-type Z-Move Stoked Sparksurfer.
Stoked Sparksurfer makes Raichu soar high up into the air and slam down into its opponent like a comet, dealing a hefty amount of damage and leaving it with paralysis.
3. Devastating Drake
If you love Dragon-type Pokémon and everything they stand for, odds are you’ll enjoy the visual effect of their new Z-Move Devastating Drake. You’ll need to have a Pokémon in your party holding the Dragon Z-Crystal (awarded for completing the seventh trial) with access to a Dragon-type move like Outrage to use this move, which allows the user to strike with a dragon avatar.
Devastating Drake charges up and unleashes a massive purple dragon that flies around the battlefield and comes crashing down on your opponent, with damage modified by the base move used to activate it.
4. Black Hole Eclipse
Exclusive to Pokémon capable of learning Dark-type moves, Black Hole Eclipse combines the wonders of deep space and giant explosions into a heavy-hitter. Like many of the other Z-Moves, this one’s power is based off the regular move used to access it and requires your Pokémon to be holding the Dark Z-Crystal obtained by defeating Nanu, the third Kahuna.
Black Hole Eclipse absorbs dark energy from around you and allows the Pokémon that uses it to fly straight up into the air, creating a black hole that sucks your opponent in and detonates for massive damage determined by the base move.
5. Guardian of Alola
As the name of this Z-Move suggests, this is one exclusive to the four guardian deities who protect the Alola region (one per island): Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, and Tapu Fini. Guardian of Alola is shared between the four with no main difference other than the appearance, but regardless of who uses it, this move is a powerful one because of the secondary effect that removes 75 percent of the target’s hit points.
Guardian of Alola allows the user to summon the energy of Alola and conjure a massive humanoid body which they perch themselves on as the head, slamming down into the target with a gigantic fist for a large amount of damage.
6. Never-Ending Nightmare
Sometimes, Pokémon games just do things perfectly — and the Z-Move Never-Ending Nightmare is one of those rare, beautiful moments whenever you get to use it. This Z-Move is exclusive to Ghost-type Pokémon like Gengar and requires you to have obtained the Ghost Z-Crystal by completing the sixth trial. With the appropriate base move learned by your Pokémon, such as Lick or Night Shade, you’ll then be able to unleash Never-Ending Nightmare.
Never-Ending Nightmare is exactly what you’d imagine a Ghost-type Pokemon doing to terrorize its target. This move gathers grudges and fear to trap the target in a cage of hands that then explodes, dealing damage based on the regular move used to activate it.
There’s something endearing about Pikachu in just about every Pokémon title out there. Whether it’s our attachment to this little guy from the Pokémon Anime, or the fact that he’s always been one of the frontrunners of the video game series, Pikachu always take front and center in nearly anything Pokémon this days. In Pokémon Sun and Moon Pikachu has a special Z-Move as well: Catastropika.
Catastropika features a cute little dance that you’ll do along with your Pikachu, before it jumps into your arms and you throw it up into the air like a bright yellow football. Pikachu will speed up into a spin and then slam down into your target with enough force to shatter the ground around it, dealing a massive amount of electric damage as it does.
8. Sinister Arrow Raid
Each of the three starter Pokemon you’ll have the opportunity to train in both Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have an exclusive Z-Move that only they can use. All of them have excellent effects and damage, but there’s just something about Decidueye’s that really makes it stick out compared to the other two.
Sinister Arrow Raid allows Decidueye to catapult itself up into the air, conjuring arrows out of thin air that surround it. Then, the Pokémon dives down into its target for an initial hit, followed by all the arrows it created for a secondary hit that deal a large amount of damage to the target.
9. Oceanic Operetta
While it may not be the best Z-Move available among the three new starters in Pokémon Sun and Moon, Oceanic Operetta easily takes the top spot when it comes to Water-type Z-Moves available in the games. Available exclusively to Primarina, this is one siren’s call you certainly don’t want to hear during a Pokémon Battle.
Oceanic Operetta allows Primarina to sing aloud, summoning a gigantic ball of water that it slowly pushes over the top of its target before singing again to send it slamming down with great force and taking a bow for its signature song.
10. Pulverizing Pancake
For many, many years Snorlax has been the sleeping king of the Pokemon series, turned into gigantic bean bag chairs for us to rest in and far too many sleeping memes to toss around the Internet. In this generation, the sleeping giant has picked up his own special Z-Move: Pulverizing Pancake. This move brings forth the face of fear itself and the unique crystal needed to use it can be obtained through Mystery Gift as a reward for picking up the game at launch.
Pulverizing Pancake wakes Snorlax up from his slumber, powers him up, and allows him to charge across the battlefield before launching himself into the air to slam down on the opponent with a massive explosion. Finally, the power Snorlax deserves is at our fingertips.