Friday, April 29, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #9: Old Pokemon Three

 One of the most badass-looking Pokemon introduced in Red and Blue version, the original Legendary dog.

H.P.: 90
Attk: 110
Def.: 80
Sp.A: 100
Sp.D: 80
Spe: 95

Abilities:  Intimidate: Intimidate on something with 90 HP and 80 Defenses is always a benefit, no matter the set. And while Arcanine doesn’t have the best defensive typing out there, it will still be able to sponge physical hits and retaliate with a powerful move of its own. This is definitely one of Arc’s best options, though its other abilities are not much worse.

Flash Fire: This ability adds an immunity to Arcanine’s spectrum of taking hits, as well as boosts the power of its own Fire moves when hit with an opposing Fire. Flash Fire is great because, unlike Intimidate, it allows you to switch in on a predicted Fire move and take no damage at all, whereas with Intimidate you are still susceptible to the oncoming hit. Overall, this ability is not a bad one by any means, and it really just depends on what weaknesses your team has when making the decision.

Justified: Last but not least, Arcanine’s newest ability (that it acquires from the Dream World) does not allow it to take hits any better. Instead, however, it awards it +1 Attack when hit by a Dark-type move. This allows for great potential with a Banded or Scarfed set, for if you are able to predict a weak incoming Dark move, Arcanine will receive indubitable strength. Unfortunately, unlike the other Pokemon that receive this ability (e.g. Absol, Lucario, Terakion, etc.), Arcanine does not resist Dark, meaning if your opponent is an overpowered force, Canine might not end up with the better end of the stick (bad dog pun). Still, this ability can prove to be very useful in many situations, though the other two options are probably better.

            Analysis: Despite its pretty amazing stats and pretty awesome offensive typing, Arcanine really has never been anything better than above-average. For nearly every generation since its introduction it has been subjected to the UU tier, where its lack of a good movepool really disallows its good stats and good abilities to shine. In generation four it got Flare Blitz which added a much needed powerful Fire STAB to its arsenal, but otherwise it was no different and competition from Infernape, and even Blaziken, arose. Fast forward about three years later and Arcanine is still in the same boat. It has gotten a little better, though, with the addition of a couple new-and-improved physical moves at its disposal (namely Close Combat and Wild Charge), giving it effective Fighting and Electric coverage over the previously awful Reversal and Thunder Fang, but while it may look the part, it doesn’t quite live up to its name as the Legendary Pokemon.

Potential Sets: 
*Note: All of these sets can be altered between Intimidate and Flash Fire to fit your preference, though Intimidate is probably the best option overall. If you are feeling extra bold, however, you may try out the new Justified.
I Could Teach You, But I’d Have to Charge…
200 Atk/ 108 Sp.Atk/200 Spe
Naughty @ Life Orb
   -Flame Charge 
   -Dragon Pulse  
   -Flare Blitz 
   -Extremespeed/Bulldoze/Close Combat

            Just as with all Fire types, this Generation has brought about a move that allows for a Speed increase in the form of a weak attack. While Flame Charge is not perfect, it allows for Arcanine to get some damage in (however slight) while boosting its decent speed to even greater heights. This set functions as more of a mixed wallbreaker variant, with Blitz and D-Pulse for excellent coverage. Extremespeed is great for a priority move, though Bulldoze rounds off the coverage quite precisely, though at a cost of power (unfortunately Arcanine still doesn’t get EQ). Close Combat is always a wonderful option, but keep in mind that with Life Orb and the defense drops, Arcanine won’t be living long or taking any hits well.

2.      Bandanine
252 Atk/252 Spe/4HP
Jolly/Adamant @Choice Band
-Flare Blitz
-Close Combat
-Wild Charge/Bulldoze

            Black and White brought us Darmanitan, who is the now-premium physical Fire type. His typing and Speed stat are identical to Canine’s, and his Attack power is a whopping 30 points higher. If this is already enough to make you think “why are you even mentioning Arcanine, then?”, think again. Intimidate + much better bulk overall allows Arcanine to switch in with a slight more ease than its orangutan brethren, while its movepool is a little different as well. Of course Sheer Force, Rock Slide, U-Turn and Earthquake are all beyond stellar, but one of the fastest, most powerful priority moves in the game alongside Close Combat and even Wild Charge for coverage allow the Legendary Pokemon to gain advantages over Darmanitan for other reasons. Arcanine also has the potential to run a Mixed set, though this has nothing to do with BandCanine.

3.      Earn Your Stripes  (Scarf set)
128 Atk/ 128 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Naïve/Naughty @ Choice Scarf
   -Flare Blitz/Fire Blast
   -Close Combat
   - Wild Charge
   - HP Ice/Grass/Ground

This set is a bit similar to the Flame Charge Mixed set, but this one takes no time to set up. Of course, Flare Blitz is ideal here again, though if you don’t like that recoil, Fire Blast may be happily added. Close Combat and Wild Charge don’t quite need explaining at this point, and the last slot may be filled with a Hidden Power of your Choice. Ice takes care of the fact that Dragon Pulse is not in this set, as it hits many of the most potent Dragons for 4x damage. Also, it can easily dispose of unsuspecting Gliscor/Landorus. Grass allows for the opportunity to hit Water and Ground types, though Wild Charge already deals with the former. Ground is to hit other Fire types for SE damage. In terms of the EV spread here, max Speed is attained to allow Canine to outspeed A LOT of things. If you think it’s fast enough already, you may select the Naughty nature, though Naïve provides further speed enhancement. The rest are split in the offensive stats so that damage may be dealt effectively from both sides of the attacking spectrum.

4.      The Morning’s Son
20 HP/252 Atk/236 Spe
Adamant/Jolly @ Life Orb/Leftovers
-Morning Sun
-Flare Blitz

            This set functions more as a support-ish/Sun supporter. Morning Sun is an unreliable form of recovery outside of the Sun, though it is really all Arcanine has. Will-O-Wisp with Intimidate are like brothers, and again Blitz and ExSpeed really show the opponent what you’re made of. Overall, this set looks like a lot of fun. In the sun.

5.      Special
4 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Timid/Modest @ Choice Specs/Life Orb/Expert Belt
-Fire Blast/Flamethrower
-Dragon Pulse
- Hidden Power Ground/Hidden Power Grass

            Sure there are things out there that can do this better, but at least Arcanine isn’t outshined by Darmanitan in this respect. Specs with 100 base Special Attack really allow for many Blasts to be Fired off, while again D-Pulse and HP do what they do in terms of coverage. The last slot is filled by noneother than Extremespeed for Revenge/Priority purposes, and it should be noted that even with a Timid or Modest nature and no Attack investment, Arcanine still hits 230 Attack, which of course could be better, but that’s why this isn’t a Physical set. As far as items go, this set is designed more for the Specs, though Life Orb may be added if you still want power with no Choice lock. Expert Belt is also a good option if neither of the formers appeal to you, though it will only boost the power of Super Effective moves and it will only boost them by 20%, though with the Belt you may attempt to feign Specs to trick your opponent.  

          Conclusion:   It does have many assets, but unfortunately a lot of its competition, both new and old, have all that and more. Take Darmanitan for example. It may seem silly nowadays to run a solely physical Arcanine set with this beast running rampant. 140 Attack and the exact same Speed stat as Arc? Yeah, you’re better off running more of a mixed set. But whichever way you choose to look at it, Arcanine still stands as one of the first generation’s greatest gems, and I mean seriously, who wouldn’t want to ride on the back of one of these as you prance about the land destroying everything in your path with fire from your mouth? Arcanine is very cool. 

Competitive Usability: 8 out of 10 

Aesthetic Design: 9 out of 10

*A particular shoutout to my friend, The Last Taquito, for suggesting an Arcanine analysis.*

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My First Narrated Pokemon Battle!

Take a look at it, on Youtube. It was a fun match and I think both sides played pretty well.
You may find it here.

Also, I'll be making a new Comp. Battling Spotlight soon. Stay Tuned!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #8: Old Pokemon Two

An old friend from the Ruby and Sapphire days, the monstrous force of Salamence.

Tier: OU (as of January 2012) 

H.P.: 95
Attk: 135
Def.: 80
Sp.A: 110
Sp.D: 80
Spe: 100

Abilities:  Intimidate: One of the best abilities in the game, Intimidate works wonders for a Pokemon like Salamence whose defensive stats are somewhere in between decent and pretty darn good. The best part is, no matter what role Mence is serving on your team it will always welcome a -1 Attack drop on any of your opponent’s Physical monsters.

Moxie: (DW) The new addition to Salamence’s arsenal, Moxie is really no less wonderful than Intimidate. If anything, it seems to be tailored more toward a Pokemon that receives STAB from Dragon moves and has a Speed and Attack like Mence’s. Simply put, after Salamence KO’s an opposing Pokemon, it automatically receives a +1 Attack boost. That means if you already have a Dragon Dance or two up, it’s almost definitely game over. Of course, this does come with its share of downsides; in choosing Moxie over Intimidate you won’t be able to take hits nearly as well. Also, the ability only activates if Salamence itself is the one to KO the opponent. This means if the opponent faints by residual means, such as Poison or Leech Seed damage, and Salamence is still on the field, it will not score the +1 boost. While these are only minor setbacks it is safe to say that no matter which ability you choose for this red-winged wonder, Salamence will definitely benefit.

            Analysis: One of the top-tier, metagame-defining threats of both the 3rd and 4th generation of Pokemon Competitive Battling, Salamence possesses nearly every trait imaginable of a great Pokemon. Seriously, its design is fantastic (a monstrous draconic blue beast), its stats are unbearably good, and its typing and movepool are impeccable in terms of offensive capability. With all these perks, you’d think it’d be easy to talk about something with this much potential, but the fact of the matter is that this is actually one of the most difficult Pokemon to analyze.
            Reasons for this center around the fact that Salamence is just so versatile it really has become quite difficult to prepare for. Sure, its crippling Ice weakness is something to take advantage of when facing it but inevitably the fact remains that with such a large movepool and such wonderful mixed stats, it’s difficult to pinpoint which Salamence set you are facing in battle. That is, until your Gliscor is demolished by a Draco Meteor, expecting the physical variant. Or maybe you could switch in Ferrothorn to take little-to-no damage from the Outrage and then proceed to Leech Seed stall? No, Salamence almost always carries Fire Blast nowadays. It’s reasons such as these, that it can effectively utilize a Dragon Dance and a Mixed set, that sent it to Ubers toward the end of the last generation, as it feasibly had no counters at all.
            With the introduction of Black and White Mence gets a fresh start, and while in terms of usage there are other powerful threats out there now, one should never underestimate the power of this monstrosity. For if you do, it may be the last move your little Pokemon ever make…

Potential Sets: 
*Note: All of these sets can be altered between Intimidate and Moxie to fit your preference, although some (the ones that are specified) will work better with one over the other.
  1. MixScarf Mence
252 Atk/252 Sp.Atk/4 Spe
Naughty/Rash @ Choice Scarf
   -Outrage/Dragon Claw
   -Draco Meteor/Stone Edge 
   -Fire Blast/Flamethrower

            This set is quite interesting in that it relies on Salamence dealing great amounts of damage to the opponent while retaining its quickness. With close to no speed investment at all, this set may seem a bit odd, but Choice Scarf makes up for this lack of investment and allows Mence to hit as hard as possible from both sides of the spectrum, breaking walls and opposing sweepers alike. With the given EVs and Natures, 355 Speed is attained, which is enough to outspeed any non-Scarfed, unboosted base 110’s. This set boasts nearly flawless coverage, having the potential to hit everything in the game for at least neutral damage (except Heatran holding an Air Balloon). If you still yearn for more Speed, however, a Naïve nature may be employed, which will boost to 388 Speed, although both of the offensive stats will be a bit weaker than they have the potential to be.

  1. DD MixMence
4 Atk/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Naive @ Leftovers/Lum Berry
   -Dragon Dance
   -Draco Meteor 
   -Fire Blast/Earthquake

Similar to the last one, this set makes use of Salamence’s superb coverage and stats, this time being boosted by one of the best moves in the game, Dragon Dance. With the given EVs, Steel-types will not be able to switch in with ease, as you setup and attempt to sweep. After a DD or two, there will be no difficulty in smashing through any form of opposition. The preferred item here is Lefties, for the reliable means of recovery, especially when setting up some Dances, though Lum Berry can be held to ward off unwanted poisons/burns, and even the confusion plagued after a few turns of Outrage. Also, while Intimidate is the ideal ability for this set, Moxie may also be used to speed up the setup process and destroy things in less turns than would otherwise be required (that is, considering Mence knocks some Pokes out).

  1. SalaBand
4HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Band 
   -Outrage/Dragon Claw
   -Fire Fang 
   -Stone Edge/Crunch

            Definitely a great option for a fast Pokemon with such a massive Attack stat and a Dragon-type STAB. Outrage will be the move of choice here, demolishing just about anything that doesn’t resist it and isn’t a heavily invested physical wall. Dragon Claw may be used for less power but better durability, as relying on not hurting yourself in confusion after an Outrage has expired is not always the best source of luck in a battle. Moxie looks like a great choice for this set, as it is not unlikely for a Banded Outrage to knock something out, resulting in a +1 gain. With Jolly/Band, a +1 gain nets 754 Attack….yeah…not much more needs to be said about that.

  1. SalaSpecs
4Atk/252Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Naïve/Rash @ Choice Specs
-Draco Meteor
-Fire Blast
-Hydro Pump

            Yes, there are better Dragons to attempt a Specs Draco Meteor, but not one of them can run a MixedSpecs set like Salamence can. So in the end, if your opponent knows you are Specs and unwittingly sends in their Blissey, you can take pleasure in watching it fall to an unsuspecting Outrage.

  1. Big, Bulky Dragon
252 HP/180 Def/76 Spd
Jolly nature @ Leftovers  *Intimidate
- Dragon Dance
- Roost
- Dragon Claw
- Earthquake

Bulky Salamence with Intimidate can take physical hits all day. Moreso with Roost and Leftovers. While this set takes a bit longer to hit as hard as the other sets do, or even be as fast as the other sets are, you’ll find it is much easier to setup a few Dragon Dances when the opponent can barely even damage you.

  1. SalaMox
252Atk/252Spe/4 Sp.Atk
Naughty/Naive @ Leftovers/Life Orb/Lum Berry  *Moxie
   -Dragon Dance
   -Dragon Claw
   -Fire Blast

The moves in this set are not much different than in the previous sets, but it is definitely played a lot differently. I’ve found this one fills a good role in the lead position, as Salamence will likely be able to take the opponent’s lead down, perhaps even setting up a DD in the process, and then proceed to sweep the rest of the foe’s team. Any of the three mentioned items will work here, as the all benefit Mence in several ways.  

Conclusion:  There are so many good qualities about this Pokemon it is hard to consider that it has any flaws at all. This is perhaps one of the prime reasons it went Uber at the end of 4th Gen. But while it’s looking as good as ever in OU now, it’s definitely not irrational to assume that might happen again. It hasn’t gotten any worse in the generation shift and while it hasn’t gotten much better (really, only a few things have) it remains cemented on its pedestal from whence it came; in the Ruby and Sapphire era. With that being said, Salamence is just as amazing as ever it has been, and if you are in search of a powerful, relentless monster for your team, there is no better place to look.
In terms of design I have always loved Salamence. It is the epitome of what we would conceive to be a Dragon; it is something like the Dragon of all Dragons in Pokemon. Its blue coloration is awesome, and even though it resembles more of a pastel blue or a baby-blue, the fierce grin and sharp eyes really make you not want to make fun of him. The red wings and accents on the tale and face are also very nicely done.

Competitive Usability: 9.5 out of 10 

Aesthetic Design: 9 out of 10 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #7: New Pokemon Four

Yet another new Pokemon introduced in Black and White, the Sword Blade Pokemon. 


H.P.: 65
Attk: 125
Def.: 100
Sp.A: 60
Sp.D: 70
Spe: 70


Defiant: When any of Bisharp’s stats is dropped (i.e. -1 Def from Crunch or -1 Atk from Intimidate), its Attack is raised by two stages. This is an excellent new ability and, though it is quite difficult to activate, it can be used to boost Sharp’s already monstrous Attack stat to even greater heights. Definitely Bisharp’s most promising ability.

Inner Focus: Yadda-yadda, prevents flinching, all that nonsense. Unless you’re worried about things like Fake Out and Rock Slide (both of which Bisharp resists), this ability really doesn’t have too many benefits worth note. Of course flinching is annoying and to avoid it is helpful, but overall this ability comes as second place to Defiant.

Pressure: A great ability to make use of effectively stalling out the opponent. However, given Bisharp’s typing and stat spread, it seems to function more like a quick get-in-get-out revenge killer/sweeper/hard hitter. With that being said Pressure seems to be more tailored toward bulkier monsters. Not a bad ability, but Bisharp has better options.

           Analysis:  Bisharp’s design is perhaps one of the most unconventional, non-traditional Pokemon sprites ever to be created. To be frank, it looks like a cross of something between a Power Ranger and a Beetleborg. That is not to say, however, that this is a bad Pokemon. Nor that it is bad looking. With its unique typing it boasts a whopping nine resistances, two immunities, and only three weaknesses (although one of these is a 4x Fighting weakness). Its stats are also very good, particularly its Attack stat, which compares to that of beasts like Heracross, Gyarados and Honchkrow, while its Defense is still something to be weary of (plus, its semi-high Defense goes great with its numerous resistances). The remainder of its spread is quite average, with 70 base Speed being somewhere in the limbo between decently-fast sweeper and god-awful slow tank, but it does have something that puts it far beyond other Pokemon with this problem: STAB Sucker Punch.
            Though STAB Steel moves have never been much of a force in the metagame, Bisharp’s movepool has enough options to cover for its infallicies. Powerful moves such as Brick Break and Stone Edge add excellent coverage, while the Sword Blade Pokemon also possesses its fair share of boosting moves; Rock Polish and Swords Dance included. While the future for this new Pokemon in the forthcoming metagame is not all too clear, it has a great many features that distinguish it over many similar options. It is clearly not the best, especially with the heavy onslaught of newly overpowered Fighting-types,  but one fact remains that Bisharp is essentially as useful as it is odd.

 Potential Sets: 

  1. LeadSharp
252 HP/252 Spe/4 Atk
Jolly @ Leftovers/Focus Sash
   -Stealth Rock
   -Sucker Punch
   -Thunder Wave/Metal Burst/Brick Break/ Pursuit

While it may not look the part, Bisharp has a decent number of qualities that it can effectively utilize in a lead position. Though it is not blazingly fast, it can Taunt the few things that are slower than it before they are able to set up, or even possibly faster things before they can set up multiple layers, etc. Stealth Rock is an excellent choice for a lead, especially in this Generation where it is a bit more rare than the last. Sucker Punch is awesome for its STAB and priority, allowing Bisharp to hit its opponents before they are able to hit it. The last slot is very open to Bisharp’s capabilities; Thunder Wave helps it to cripple switch-ins that might otherwise threaten the rest of your team, while Metal Burst is a great option with Focus Sash for the ability to answer back to heavy hitters, potentially downing them in one shot. Brick Break can be chosen if you want for a more offensive lead, as it rounds off the coverage very nicely, while STAB Pursuit is a great way to chase off more fragile leads, such as Azelf, who’d otherwise fear Bisharp’s potency.

  1. Dances with Swords
252 Atk /252 Spe/4 HP 
Adamant @ Life Orb  
   -Swords Dance
   -Sucker Punch
   -Brick Break
   -Stone Edge

            Easily my favorite set for Bisharp, Swords Dance ups its already beastly Attack stat by two stages, allowing it, with Life Orb, to hit very, very hard. In my opinion Speed isn’t optimal in this set, as Sucker Punch essentially takes care of that, and Brick Break and Stone Edge are there for the best possible coverage. It goes without saying that this spread relies heavily on prediction, where Bisharp’s life depends on predicting switches, setting up, predicting the foe to attack, using Sucker Punch, etc. Overall, this is a very useful set for this Pokemon, and it is definitely one to consider if your team requires a sweeper of sorts.

  1. Polished Blades are the Best Kind
252 Atk /252 Spe/4 HP 
Adamant/Jolly @ Life Orb/Leftovers
   -Rock Polish
   -Night Slash/Sucker Punch
   -Brick Break
   -Iron Head/Stone Edge

            Rock Polish is definitely beneficial to Bisharp’s arsenal, as it raises its quite average Speed, however I am a bit confused as to how this Steel robot-superhero-bishop thing can polish rocks. For that reason I am calling this set Blade Polish, and that is all there is to it.
            Night Slash is chosen over Sucker Punch here, as with +2 Speed Bisharp will become very fast, leaving the idea of priority slightly obsolete. Of course, if you are fearing other priority users, such as Azumarill, for example, you may retain Sucker Punch. Again, Brick Break adds powerful coverage, while the last slot may be filled with Iron Head to attempt the flinch hax on the opponent.

  1. I Didn’t know Power Rangers Looked so Good in Scarfs!
252 Atk /252 Spe/4HP
Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Scarf   
   -Night Slash/Sucker Punch
   -Brick Break
   -Stone Edge
         -Retaliate/Iron Head

                  70 Speed and 125 Attack are undoubtedly idealized with a Choice Scarf. With Jolly, Bisharp hits 393 Speed, while Adamant only acquires about 358. For that reason, I’d prefer Jolly, as I tend to look at this set more as a revenge killer than a heavy hitter. Essentially, Bisharp will come in, attempt to knock out the opponent (who is, at this point, ideally weakened already), and then come back out. Again, Night Slash vs. Sucker Punch is more of a preference, however Night Slash seems ideal for a Scarf set, as being locked into Sucker Punch becomes potential setup fodder. The coverage on this set is not much different than the previous ones, though Retaliate may be added for a more effective, and overall more powerful, revenge kill.

  1. BandSharp
252 Atk /252 Spe/4 HP 
Adamant @ Choice Band   
   -Sucker Punch/Night Slash
   -Brick Break
   -Stone Edge
               -Retaliate/Iron Head

                        Last but not least here we have the Band set. As Honchkrow is one of my favorite Pokemon of all time, I very disappointedly attempted to use Bandkrow in the late-gen4/early-gen5 blur. STAB Sucker Punch and Brave Bird worked wonders, but as Honchkrow was quite slow, weak to Stealth Rocks and overall considerably fragile, it never really got the job done.
                        Allow me to introduce the new-and-improved Banded Honchkrow of Generation 5. Though its design is vastly different and it lacks Brave Bird, Banded Bisharp seems much more promising with its numerous resistances, decent overall defenses and arguably better coverage all around. Plus, it still has STAB Sucker Punch! I have yet to try this set out for myself, but I can imagine that it’ll prove to be very useful when I do.

            In closing, Bisharp has definitely grown on me. Upon first seeing its design I felt as though the realm between cute-Anime-Japanese-creatures and real-life-fantasy-robots had been breached, but in actually using Bisharp on my teams and simply reveling in the fact that it is yet another cool-looking Dark-type, it has easily become one of my favorite competitive 5th Gen Pokemon. Its usability is definitely up there, though its design to me seems like it’s been done before (in a world outside of Pokemon).

Competitive Usability: 8.5 out of 10 

Aesthetic Design: 7 out of 10 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The First of Many..

Hello Everyone!

Here's a little minor announcement, I have just made my first uploaded battle to Youtube! Check it out, please: 

It's against TheLastTaquito, who is an excellent battler so go check out his channel, and check out my battle against him as well. Also, I'd appreciate any feedback/Likes/Comments/Subscriptions, and all that good stuff. Let me know what you think!

~Scarecrow (a.k.a Hernandezzy)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #6: Item One

This is the first Spotlight of a Competitive item. It will address the particular item's usability in the metagame, what it does, who it affects, and some of the best Pokemon to utilize it. So without much delay, here is the first spotlighted item, Choice Specs. 

Choice Specs 

Nice Glasses, what do they do?

          Like all “Choice” items in the Pokemon universe, Specs locks the holder into one move, and one move only, as long as it is out on the battlefield. Of course, this is only the down side to this wonderful item. It also boosts the holder’s Special Attack stat by 50%, the equivalent of a +1 Special Attack raise. This means that a Pokemon with Choice Specs equipped will hit destructively hard from the Special side from the get-go, without needing to use a valuable turn to set up. It is also important to consider that once the holder switches out, they will be able to choose a different move when switching back in, however they will then be locked into that move until they switch out again. For this reason Choice Specs, as well as the other Choice items, seems to require a lot of switching and prediction skills for it to be used to its fullest effectiveness. Also, if the holder runs out of PP of the move they are locked into, they will be forced to use Struggle until they either switch out or faint. 

What benefits from this item?

          The most successful users of the Specs usually tend to be Pokemon with a good Special Attack stat (anywhere between base 75 and base 180) and good speed (anything base 90 and above). Also, Pokemon that have naturally high Special Attack stats and decent bulk, but lack the speed, are also great users. An example of this might be Reuniclus, who has base 110 HP and base 125 Special Attack. For the former qualification (users with good Speed and Special Attack), usually a Timid nature is run, for it lowers the holder's possibly useless Attack stat while boosting their Speed. For this reason, the majority of the Pokemon sights I will be detailing today will run a Timid nature with 252 Special Attack Evs and 252 Speed, although some do have the potential to run bulkier spreads.

 So finally it is time to delve into the paradigm that is efficient Choice Specs users. Some of these sets may be more "standardized", as in they may tend to follow general trends in the current metagame, while some are a slight more original and possibly unseen/unheard of until now. Please enjoy. 

Good Specs users:

            Raikou is an excellent user of the Choice Specs mainly because of its respectable stat spread. 115 Special Attack and Speed are awesome on a Pokemon with STAB Thunderbolt and Volt Switch, though the remainder of its coverage tends to rely on inferior options such as Extrasensory, Shadow Ball and Hidden Power Ice. Still, with the newly added ability Volt Absorb in its repertoire of competitive options and manageable defensive stats, Raikou will be able to scout, outpace and destroy a great number of things with its welcomed boost in the form of Specs. 
            4HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe –Timid
            -Volt Switch
            - Thunderbolt
            - Hidden Power Ice/Hidden Power Fighting
            - Shadow Ball/Extrasensory

            My personal favorite of all the Grass-type starters, Sceptile is easily the most potent of all the starters to utilize Specs. 105 Special Attack and 120 Speed are more than enough to help Sceptile decimate its foes with STAB Leaf Storm and other powerful moves like Focus Blast and Dragon Pulse.
            4HP/252 Sp.Atk252 Spe –Timid/Modest
            -Leaf Storm  
            - Focus Blast
            - Dragon Pulse           
            - Hidden Power Fire


            Sometimes a good Choice user is not only a Pokemon that can use it offensively, but one that can use it defensively as well. This is definitely the case for Latios and Latias who are both swift, bulky, and powerful enough to be superb Choice Specs Pokemon. In addition to that, STAB Draco Meteor makes these two arguably the best Specs Pokemon in the current metagame! As if these weren’t awesome enough reasons to use these two, they also both have access to Trick, allowing them to relinquish the confinement of the one-choice-move onto an opposing Pokemon, passing the burden and (hopefully) crippling a wall, tank, or physical attacker. If you’re looking for a Pokemon that really gets the most out of Choice Specs, why not give one of these a try.

*Note*: Though their stat spreads are slightly different (only the Special Attack and Special Defense of each is switched), the Choice Specs set will be the same for both Latios and Latias.

            4HP/252 Sp.Atk252 Spe –Timid
            - Draco Meteor 
            - Ice Beam/Psyshock/Psychic            
            - Hidden Power Fire


            While Volcarona is more commonly used with a standard Quiver Dance set, it possesses quite a few factors that might help it benefit from using Specs, namely its good 100 base Speed and 135 base Special Attack stats. STAB Fiery Dance is also an excellent option for this set for its potential to boost Volcarona’s gargantuan Special Attack stat even further. Among these, one of my favorite aspects of the Choice Specs variant Volcarona is the “element of surprise” that it constitutes. As Volcarona is definitely one of the most threatening Pokemon in the new metagame, many of your opponents will assume that you are running the ever-present Quiver Dance set. For that reason, as soon as you switch Volca in they will act accordingly, switching out, using Taunt, etc, to prevent you from setting up. Imagine their surprise when their Whimsicott is hit with a STAB boosted Fiery Dance TO THE FACE! Hurricane is also an excellent option for this set for its power, coverage, and potential to confuse the foe.

4HP/252 Sp.Atk252 Spe –Timid
            -Fiery Dance
            - Bug Buzz
            - Hurricane     
            - Hidden Power Ground

Good for Specs in certain conditions:
The following Pokemon have potential to utilize Choice Specs in any given situation, but tend to use them much more effectively if certain conditions are met.


            Dragonite’s Special Attack stat is inferior to its physical Attack stat, but that doesn’t mean a Specs set isn’t going to be effective with him. Especially with two very powerful STAB moves in Draco Meteor and Hurricane, the latter of which become 100% accurate in the rain. Combine this with an excellent ability in Multi Scale and overall good bulk and you’ve got yourself a Pokemon that can abuse rain efficiently without Swift Swim. Also, with Thunder in its arsenal it becomes even more deadly. Superpower is another excellent option for this set as, despite the fact that it's a Specs set, Dragonite's Attack will still be abnormally high even with no investment. Fire Blast may be used on this set as well, if out of Rain.

4Atk/252 Sp.Atk252 Spe –Rash
            -Draco Meteor
            - Thunder/Fire Blast     
            - Superpower


            This set seems a little more obvious than the Dragonite one. Naturally, Kingdra’s typing and ability, Swift Swim, seem to show that this Pokemon’s greatest potential lies in rain abuse. STAB Draco meteor alongside a STAB, rain-boosted Hydro Pump (or Surf) will easily decimate anything that stands in Kingdra’s way. Also, in rain Kingdra outspeeds nearly everything, allowing for a much easier sweep. Unfortunately, however, Kingdra’s coverage options seem to be limited to its two STABs, Ice Beam and Hidden Power (or even Clear Smog, if you want to stop your opponent setting up against you).

4HP/252 Sp.Atk252 Spe –Modest/Timid
            -Draco Meteor
            - Hydro Pump
            - Ice Beam    
            - Hidden Power Electric/Clear Smog 



            Charizard’s stats have always been good enough for Choice Specs, and its movepool really isn’t all that bad either. Fire is an excellent STAB type, and the ability to learn Dragon Pulse and Focus Blast only helps it more. As if that couldn’t get any better, Charizard acquired a massively powerful ability in 5th gen (Solar Power), via the Dreamworld, making it nearly 1.5 times as devastating. While this ability only activates in the sun, with the capacity to even further boost its Fire-type STAB I don’t think Charizard is complaining.
4HP/252 Sp.Atk252 Spe –Timid/Modest
            -Fire Blast
            -Dragon Pulse
            - Focus Blast   
            - Solar Beam

Other Pokemon that can wear the glasses:

Porygon Z- One of the highest Special Attack stats in the game, decent 90 base Speed and Adaptability to boost its already powerful STAB Tri Attack. If anything Adaptability with Tri Attack is one of the main reasons to employ a Specs set. Otherwise, Agility/Nasty Plot sets seem work better with this one.

Hydreigon- In terms of Special offense, Hydreigon is inferior to Latios (130 Sp.A/110 Spe vs. 125 Sp.A/98 Spe). Run Specs Hydreigon over Specs Latios if you are going to use it for what Latios doesn’t have; STAB Dark Pulse, Earth Power, and Fire Blast/Flamethrower over HP Fire. Otherwise, Hydreigon is better used Mixed or Scarfed.

Chandelure- A jaw-dropping 145 Special Attack? STAB Fire and Ghost? Shadow Tag/Flash Fire?? Is this not the best Pokemon to run Specs ever? Well, despite the fact that each of these factors sounds extremely promising, it is not the best. Below average Speed and weakness to Stealth Rock and Pursuit (not to mention sub-par bulk) relegate Chandelure to one of the best Pokemon to utilize Choice Specs IF, and only if, its hindrances are accounted for. Otherwise, Scarf is ideal to make up for its below average Speed.

Yanmega- 117 Special Attack and Speed Boost. Nuff said. 4x weakness to Stealth Rock and overall lack of good coverage tend to ask for more of a lead position for this Pokemon.

Magnezone- The most powerful Steel-trapper in the game (Shadow Tag Chandelure don’t count!!!!), Magnezone gains a lot of credibility with its amazing 130 base Special Attack, good bulk overall, and a decent defensive typing. Not to mention Magnet Pull+ Hidden Power Fire is an excellent way to take down opposing Ferrothorn, Scizor, Forretress and Skarmory (though Thunderbolt is ideal in killing Skarm). However, this is not without its flaws. Shed Shell on Ferro/Tress and U-Turn on Scizor allows the opponent to gain the advantage over Zone. Also, as it is 4x weak to Ground and 2x weak to Fighting and Fire really brings down the glory of this U.F.O. The fact that it’s slow doesn’t help it much, either.

Serperior-  One of the weirdest stat spreads in the game allows for this very fast, yet not entirely offensively potent, Pokemon to rest in the limbo between Tank and Sweeper, along with its lackluster movepool. You really wouldn’t want to slap a Choice Specs on a Pokemon with 75 base Special Attack, no matter how fast it is. But…what’s this? Contrary? That ability sucks! No it doesn’t. plain and simple, with Serperior’s Dream World ability it becomes one of the best sweepers to ever lack the coverage needed to be a sweeper. After a Leaf Storm, with this ability Serperior’s Special Attack in fact does not drop two stages, but instead increases by two stages. That is correct, after Serperior uses the second most powerful STAB grass move in existence, it gets a free Nasty Plot boost. Suddenly the grass snake isn’t looking so bad at all. With Specs this Pokemon will be hitting harder from turn one. After that its damage output will increase each turn until, three turns later, it is at +6 and outspeeding a good portion of the metagame that is unscarfed and unboosted. Even Heatran, who 4x resists Grass moves, would be hard pressed to take a STAB, +6 Leaf Storm from a Choice Specs Pokemon. While this might seem like one of the best things to ever happen to a Grass-type starter since…ever, this set does come with its flaws. First and foremost, as I’ve stated numerous times throughout this analysis, its nearly barren movepool makes it necessary to use Hidden Power in order to have anything close to coverage. Hidden Power Fire or Ground are probably the best options. Also, the only type of offensive move that Serperior learns that isn’t Grass-type is Wring Out, which really isn’t good by any means. To add to that, Leaf Storm only garners a mere 8 PP, limiting its fun in decimating teams and subjugating you to use Struggle when you run out of turns.