Well Thunderbolt has been his staple move, along with Quick attack, like I said the signature/strongest move changes with Volt Tackle and Electro Ball getting more attention than Thunder did back in OS or atleast I don't remember Thunder being shown in the same light as the more recent signature moves.
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The spirit of move rotation is alive and well as of the unova league. Just not with ash.
I miss Volt Tackle lol.
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The other attacks known by Ash's Pikachu had reasons to stay.You do not make a Pokémon forget its signature move. It's like Dialga without Roar of Time replaced by Dragon Claw.
Thunderbolt - Used since Kanto, it has become his signature attack.
Quick-Attack - Using speed is a part of Ash's battling style.
Iron Tail - This allows Pikachu to battle rock-types.
Volt Tackle - Another electric-type attack.
Thought of it this way:
Thunderbolt - Signature Attack of most Electric Pokemon. Projectile.
Quick-Attack: Contact Move that can act like Agility/Double Team when the plot dictates it.
Iron Tail: To overcome an obvious weakness without DEM. Occasional Static Activator.
Volt Tackle: Thunderbolt + Quick Attack was used occasionally in OS. Now a finisher.
Electroball: A proper projectile which is usually used as a finisher.
I guess the writers felt they could use the Thunderbolt/Quick Attack combo again if they absolutely needed to emulate Volt Tackle in the script, and Thunderbolt wasn't the most exciting long range attack but they couldn't replace that because it is a useful utility move (like Flamethrower, Water Gun, Vine Whip). It could possibly be used both in and out of battle.
I was upset at first that Pikachu lost Volt Tackle. But I've grown to love Electro Ball and I like it much better than Volt Tackle.
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Volt Tackle is a powerful move that has a prize to pay. I don't see what's wrong with that. Even Thunder has its problems, with Pikachu becoming quite tired and needing to recover a bit because he used more electricity to attack. Electro Ball is a safer option, but I'd like it to be replaced with a better, Gen 6 move.