Saturday, February 12, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #1: New Pokemon One

          Here is the first Competitive Battling Spotlight for the Generation 5 scene. I will hereby shift evenly between Pokemon, Abilities, Moves, and other aspects. This Pokemon was chosen at random and is the new ant Pokemon, Durant.

H.P.: 58
Attk: 109
Def.: 112
Sp.A: 48
Sp.D: 48
Spe: 109

Swarm: A decent ability, it relies more on strategy than anything else. While not the best, it is by no means a bad one.
Hustle: Probably the ideal choice for Durant. Though it lowers Accuracy, it boosts the already-powerful 109 base Attack by 50%, making for an automatic +1.
The inferior, perhaps most useless, ability of Durant's. The only reason to use this ability is if doing so with the move "Make Friends", to hinder your opponent. The problem is, with Make Friends Durant doesn't lose Truant, so you are still essentially at a loss. 

          Durant is yet another unexciting installment in the Bug/Steel saga of Pokemon, but I will say that it is superior to many of its identically typed-brethren. With awesome overall attacking stats, a decent movepool (for an ant), and a couple of quite useful abilities, this pokemon definitely has the potential to be a fine force in the new metagame. 

          Durant has an ideal defensive typing, yielding only one weakness (though a painful one) and a number of resistances to notable types such as Dark, Ghost, and Bug, as well as a Poison immunity. These factors, coupled with a 112 Defense stat and (usable) 58 HP will allow Durant to easily take a great number of physical hits, while effectively setting up or dealing with opposing threats. Offensively, Bug and Steel is not a great type combination, but as it is, inevitably, compared to Scizor, it is manageable. Notable moves in Durant's arsenal include Crunch, Dig, Shadow Claw, Stone Edge, Thunder Fang, and even Aerial Ace, to round off its coverage nicely. Some good strategy moves at its disposal also include Agility, Hone Claws, Double Team, and Baton Pass. The bottom line is that, while inferior to Scizor as an offensive threat in many ways, this is still a good Pokemon and should be used for what it has over Scizor, such as great Speed, slightly higher Defense, and a free +1 Attack in the form of Hustle. 

Potential Sets I've come up with:

1. Hustle/Hone Claws 
   252 Atk/252 Spe/4 Def 
   Hustle; Jolly @ Leftovers/Life Orb/Focus Sash
   -Hone Claws 
   -X-Scissor/Iron Head
   -Stone Edge

Not the best coverage in one set, but with the given EVs, Durant reaches 348 Speed, enough to outspeed anything up to Infernape (and the legendary horse things) that is not Scarfed or boosted and a whopping 475 Attack! That's before using Hone Claws! After one Hone, Durant hits 712 Attack, and accuracy for moves returns to normal, allowing for a severely hard-hitting sweeper before and after only one turn of setup. Lefties recovery is always nice, but of course if you'd prefer even more power, Life Orb is excellent. Focus Sash can also be used as an option here, to insure at least one turn of setup, though with Focus Sash (unless you're using Durant as a lead) it becomes essential that you keep entry hazards off the field, otherwise the Sash will break as Durant switches in. 

2. Agile Ant 
252 Atk/252 Spe/4 Def (or 4 HP) 
Swarm (or Hustle); Adamant @ Life Orb 
-Iron Head
-Stone Edge/Aerial Ace

This set, if using Swarm, loses a bit of power, but has the potential to remain a threatening force, outspeeding just about everything after one turn of setup. Iron Head is for flinch hax, while Stone Edge provides decent coverage and great power. Ideally, if Hustle is being used on this set, Aerial Ace is a viable option as it offers good power, Super Effective damage to Fighting, Bug and Grass types, and 100% accuracy all the time. Also, Dig can be considered here [Durant doesn't get EQ :( ], as it offers great offensive coverage and can effectively take down Sand Rush Excadrill after an Agility. Just watch out for Balloons! 

3. Let's Be Friends! 
252 HP/56 Def/ 200 Spe
Truant; Jolly @ Leftovers 
-Make Friends
-Protect/Double Team
-Thunder Wave
-Iron Head/X-Scissor/Crunch 

A potentially risky set, this one seems to work best with good teamwork. I once lost to a team after Durant used Make Friends on my Pokemon, then switched out to Shadow Tag Shandera (who was not banned at the time) and proceeded to Protect + Calm Mind/Acid Armor stall me until +6 was acheived. Not cool. This set is great when used correctly, but has the risk of backfiring, as Truant is never a good ability. For anyone. 

**On a quite unrelated note, I will commend Gamefreak for their subtle use of irony here... A lazy ant?! Who'd have thunk!!!***

4. Baton Pass? 
252 HP (or 252 Atk)/252 Spe/4 Def
Swarm; Jolly @ Leftovers 
- Agility
- Claw Sharpen
- Iron Head
- X-Scissor/Thunder Wave/Double Team

Why ignore the option of Baton Pass on a Pokemon with decent defensive capabilities and good setup moves? I am sure there is a Pokemon out there who can do this better(*ahem* Ninjask), but as I've said, Durant is an individual, man! Let him be! 

     Overall, I respect Durant's strengths more than I seem to cringe at its flaws, and for that I definitely recommend using it on a team. Of course its typing leads it to be compared to things like Scizor, Forretress and Genosect, but as I've said, Durant has numerous skills that its Bug/Steel comrades do not, and, when used correctly, can result in the creation of a deadly (though quite miniscule) sweeper.

Competitive Usability: 8 out of 10 

Aesthetic Design: 8 

I hope you all enjoyed my first attempt at a Gen. V analysis, I will continue to post and get better at writing these as time goes on. Best of luck in battling! 



  1. I like the hone claws moveset, but what do you think about giving him a focus sash instead of leftovers/life orb? That way you could set up hone claws without worrying about a fire move or special atk knocking out durant. Also, I enjoyed your note XD

  2. Haha thanks!
    And yea, you've got a point there :D
    I will edit the set and put Focus Sash as an option. The only reason I didn't originally include it in the set is because I figured with Durant's decent physical bulk already, it will easily be able to survive any physical hit that is not of the Fire type. Also, with Focus Sash it becomes that much more relevant to keep entry hazards off the field, but I assume that is common sense anyways. Thanks for your help and support!