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.

No comments:

Post a Comment