Friday, March 25, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #4: Old Pokemon One


Tier: UU (as of July 2012)
H.P.: 80
Attk: 100
Def.: 80
Sp.A: 80
Sp.D: 80
Spe: 100

Abilities:  Levitate: This Pokemon is immune to Ground type attacks. Maybe if Flygon got a good Dream World ability like Sand Rush or Sand Veil it would have stayed OU, but alas it must remain with Levitate. Levitate is a great ability for Flygon because it grants it a free switchin to a very powerful type, but of course the other two options would have been amazing.

          Today we are going to spotlight one of my personal favorite Pokemon, introduced in the 3rd generation, Flygon. In RSE it was a fantastic Pokemon; fast, offensive, with a pretty good typing (bar its 4x Ice weakness) to go along with its good movepool. In 4th Gen it only got better, with the optimization of scouting moves like U-Turn, the ability to obtain Firepunch and Thunderpunch, and a new onslaught of powerful special Dragon moves to add to its mixed arsenal. In Black and White, however, this cool bug/dragonfly desert spirit has dropped a great deal in usability, losing more than it has gained.

            It is difficult to decide whether to begin with the bad news or the good (or at least, the little good there is), but with the introduction of various new threats in the metagame, Flygon does not seem to fare well against them all. Its stats are good, but for a Dragon type, they seem to beg for more. Its typing is not bad at all, netting two effective immunities, as well as a few notable resistances to take hits decently well with its 80/80/80 defensive stats, though as we all know a 4x Ice weakness is a hindrance. Its 100/80/100 offensive stats seem to call specifically for a Choiced item in this generation, where almost every team will have its fair share of fast and powerful sweepers.

          In terms of movepool, however, Flygon really soars. It has all the coverage it needs in just its two STABs, and with powerful options such as Stone Edge, Fire Punch (or Fire Blast), U-Turn, and now Superpower thanks to BW 2, it is sure to have an attack to deal with just about any threat in OU or UU.  It also has at last acquired a long sought after boosting move in the form of Hone Claws, but as it is still incapable of Dragon Dancing (or even Swords Dancing, for that matter), it finds itself in second place to many familiar faces like Dragonite, Salamence, Kingdra, and even Haxorus.

          And while this ability to finally boost its attack stat on its own seems like a reason to cheer for the Mystic Pokemon, it doesn’t effectively play to its true strengths. Flygon is a Pokemon best used with a Choice Scarf and U-turn, neither of which work in tandem with Hone Claws. Besides that fact, the only moves that can effectively use an accuracy boost in Flygon’s arsenal are Stone Edge, which is reasonable, and Draco Meteor, which is already decently accurate and is a special move to top it all off. Also, while almost everything and their Pokemon mother has acquired a new Dream World ability, Flygon has not, though its original ability is not bad at all.

            With all of this it becomes clear that Flygon has ideally stayed in place this generation, while everything it used to be able to compete with has advanced much further.  Competition from Salamence and Dragonite, who are top OU powerhouse Dragons, doesn’t help it any, either.  But don’t take this all as bad news; Flygon has not gotten worse, it just hasn’t gotten much better. It is still a great Pokemon if used correctly,  and will forever remain as one of the coolest Pokemon in my eyes.

Potential Sets: 

1.      1. ScarfGon
40 HP/252 Atk/216 Spe or
Jolly @ Choice Scarf 
   - Earthquake

      A standard Scarf Flygon set. The Jolly nature give Flygon the edge over just about every unboosted Pokemon in UU (since anything with higher natural Speed rarely carries a Scarf), and the phenomenal coverage here plus U-Turn help force switches and get some of your more powerful Pokemon in against your foes. Because the next fastest things that commonly carry a Scarf are Darmanitan and Krookodile, 216 Speed EVs are used here to guarantee a faster Speed stat over both. This grants you a few more Hit Points, which may come in handy when switching into Stealth Rocks and/or weaker attacks. Of course,you could run standard 252 Atk/252 Spe and still be able to outspeed both, with the inclusion of the rare but effective Choice Scarf Victini, but that's up to you. An Adamant nature can also be used to trade some Speed for more power.

2.      2. FlyBand
252 Atk/252 Spe/4 HP
Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Band

      Banded Flygon is useful because of its higher powered physical stat, alongside its great coverage and the sustention of U-Turn and its effectiveness in scouting. Jolly is the ideal nature here, to outspeed anything below Base 100 Speed (which isn’t a lot, these days), while Adamant will allow Flygon to hit a lot harder. Again, the coverage moves and U-Turn are essential, while Superpower is good for hurting Steel and Normal types. You may use Fire Punch here, if you wish.

3.      3. A Special Dragon
252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe/4 HP
Timid/Modest @ Life Orb
   -Draco Meteor
   -Fire Blast
   -Earth Power
   - Roost/U-Turn/HP Ice

      With 80 base Special Attack and good speed, why not try a Special set? This set spotlights one of Flygon’s most devastating toys, Draco Meteor, at its fullest potential, though the Sp. Atk drop is a harsh detriment. For that reason U-Turn can be used to escape such a situation, while Roost can be employed to replenish lost health from Life Orb. Hidden Power Ice is displayed on this set as an option for better coverage, though STAB Draco Meteor is still ideal in hitting Dragons. 

4.      4. Hone Your Claws
160 Atk/96 Sp. Atk/252 Spe
Hasty/Lonely @ Life Orb
-Hone Claws
- Earthquake
-Fire Blast/Roost/Stone Edge
      This set makes use of Flygon’s only new addition in the 5th gen, its only stat-boosting move. Just like the other sets, the powerful STAB options of Earthquake and Outrage are needed to fully optimize the strength of this set, while the last slot can ideally be filled by Fire Blast as a means of surprise for opposing threats that would otherwise wall Flygon’s STABs. Again, Roost can be used to recover Life Orb damage and other damage taken from attacks, while Stone Edge also welcomes the accuracy boost from Hone Claws, and adds great physical coverage. Of course, if Stone Edge is chosen in the last slot, the nature can be changed to Jolly or Adamant, and the EV spread can utilize max attack and max speed.
      As this set does not have U-Turn, prediction is the driving factor for its effectiveness. Flygon is not extremely fragile, but it definitely won’t be able to take many (if any at all) super effective hits. With that being said, it is best to send this Flygon in on an opponent who might be scared out by an Earthquake or Draco Meteor. If a switch can be foreseen, Flygon can proceed to boost with Hone Claws. With Jolly and 252 EVs, it will hit 328 Speed, which is not slow by any means.

While Flygon continues to beg the Dragon gods for a blessing in the form of Dragon Dance, this is all it has for now, and if Flygon is to be used solely for its unique typing, Garchomp is a much better choice all around. Also, as a bit of foreshadowing, Flygon has (in my opinion) been almost entirely replaced by the new Dark/Dragon Hydreigon.

Competitive Usability: 8 out of 10 

Aesthetic Design: 9

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