Friday, August 12, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #17: New Pokemon Seven

 An ideally unique Bug-type; perhaps one of the most memorable of all.
EleSpider Pokemon

H.P.: 70
Attk: 77
Def.: 60
Sp.A: 97
Sp.D: 60
Spe: 108
Where it stands: RU Top 20 [#16] (as of July 2011)

Introduced in Black and White, Galvantula is easily one of the most unique designs bestowed upon us to refresh our hopes for originality. Bug and Flying types? Boring. Electric rodents? Getting old. Instead, this awesome spider-guy combines two very exceptional typings and brings them together for a very new take on Bug Pokemon. Defensively, several of Galvantula’s would-be weaknesses from the two typings alone are nullified, providing for neutral damage taken from Flying and Ground type attacks that might have otherwise takencc it down. Of course, though this allows for a reasonable amount of switch-in potential (combined with four resistances to rather common types), Galvy is anything but a bulky bug, and should be utilized with reasonable caution. It is also, very tragically, weak to Stealth Rock, so Spin support is very nice to consider on a team with this exceptional offensive threat.

            With that, there is something that makes up for the Electro Spider’s limited bulk: his wondrous Speed stat. Boasting one of the fastest stats in the entire grouping of RU, Galvantula commands total attention on two of its most popular sets; Specs and Life Orb, as each have their own share of great advantages. What’s more, one of the few things that can outpace Galvy, the 120 base Speed Forest Gecko (Sceptile), really doesn’t threaten it too much, as some of the most common moves on a Sceptile set (Leaf Storm, Focus Blast) are resisted and answered back with a STAB SE Bug Buzz. Speaking of Super Effective STABs, Galvantula hits every one of the current top five (Mega, Cress, Krow, Pedo, Blastoise) for Super Effective damage from one of its two STABs, making it easily one of the most underrated monsters in its tier.

            But the greatness doesn’t stop there! Though Vantula has quite a limited movepool, its great amount of assets seem to quickly make up for its flaws. Firstly, 97 Sp. Atk and 108 Speed together make an excellent revenge killer/Specs runner/late-game clean-upper, and its combination of STAB is only resisted by Rhyperior and Steelix in RU! As if that weren’t enough, its ability Compoundeyes boosts the accuracy of all its moves by 30%, making its most powerful attack in Thunder (one of the most powerful in all of RU) hit a superb 93% accuracy. That’s more than Overheat! Again, with Bug Buzz and Hidden Power Ice or Fire for coverage, Galvantula is sure to tear the new metagame to shreds. It has no means of boosting its stats, bar Agility, but I think that only further proves to us that this Electric Web-slinger was built for a Choice item. Cross its web at your own risk!

Compoundeyes: No doubt Galvantula’s greatest ability, this exclusive Bug-type trait helps Galv more than it’s probably helped any of its other wielders to date! The reason? A welcomed accuracy boost to STAB Thunder. No questions asked, this is a defining ability for Galvantula and really should be the only thing to use for its offensive sets.

Unnerve: This ability can prove to be very useful in only very rare circumstances. While this could greatly subdue your opponent’s Harvest Exeggutor or Lum Berry Kingdra, the odds of running into a Berry wielder these days are few and far between. Compoundeyes is superior to this one, since Galvantula is much more tailored for obliterating things with lightning bolts than preventing them from eating their favorite fruit.

Swarm: The unreleased Dream World addition. Swarm could come in great handy on a Focus Sash or Substitute set, as it allows for Vantula’s STAB Bug Buzz to be driven by a little more oomph, but again, as this has yet to be released, and as an accurate Thunder is much more likely to KO something than a boosted bug move, I think it’s only obvious which is the better end of the deal here.

Potential Sets:

  1. Choice Specs Spider
6 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Timid @ Choice Specs
-Volt Switch
-Bug Buzz
-Hidden Power Ice/HP Fire

            A true winner of a set, this is definitely my favorite of Galvantula’s. With Specs, 439 Special Attack is attained, as well as a blistering 346 Speed. This, coupled with excellent coverage and STAB moves, makes Galvantula one of the deadliest scouters/power hitters in RU. Volt Switch is to get initiative and momentum going as you predict switches, while secondary STAB in Thunder is for…well, you know. Bug Buzz is another great addition to this set, and hits most of the things that Thunder can’t, and Hidden Power is to round off the coverage perfectly! Ice is preferred for that pseudo Bolt/Beam, though Fire can further threaten things like Durant and Amoonguss.

  1. ElectroLegs!
6 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Timid or Modest @ Choice Scarf
-Volt Switch/Electro Ball/Discharge
-Thunder/Electro Ball/Discharge
-Bug Buzz
-Hidden Power Ice/HP Fire

            With a Timid nature and a Choice Scarf equipped, Galvantula will be spinning webs so fast, your opponent won’t know what hit ‘em! At first glance, this set is identical to the Specs variant, and for good reason. It can do everything from the previous set, but with a tradeoff of power for speed. If you so wish, one of the Electric-type STABs may be replaced for Electro Ball, a gimmicky anti-Gyro Ball that hits for more power the slower the opponent. This means that if used correctly, Galvantula can be wielding a 150 base power move, before STAB! Thunder’s 30% paralyze rate helps wondrously with this, but if you fear a rare miss, Discharge may also be employed for less power, but equally successful paralysis. This set is perfect for outspeeding quick monsters, and can outpace and OHKO RU’s two most threatening Speed Boosters Yanmega and Sharpedo if they manage to get to +1. The last two moveslots are standard, and the Hidden Powers again must be chosen with care. With 519 Speed, Galvy will be faster than, and able to KO, Scarf Krookodile and +2 Rock Polish Golurk, while HP Fire is essential for outspeeding and threatening Venomoth after a Quiver Dance.

  1. GalvantuLifeOrb
6 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Timid @ Life Orb
-Energy Ball/Volt Switch/Charge Beam
-Bug Buzz
-Hidden Power Ice/HP Fire

Vastly similar to the previous two sets, this one relinquishes a bit of Speed or Power for the ability to switch moves at will. The last three slots are identical to the previous versions, but the first one may be changed around a bit. Energy Ball is nice for hitting bulky/powerful things that would normally wall Vantula, such as Rhyperior, Steelix and Gastrodon, and Volt Switch optimizes scouting just like a Choice variant. Charge Beam, on the other hand, may be used with good prediction skills to potentially become a deadly setup sweeper capable of outspeeding and KOing a very large portion of the tier after only one or two boosts.

  1. Galvagility
6 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Modest @ Life Orb
-Bug Buzz/Hidden Power Ice/HP Fire
-Hidden Power Ice/HP Fire/Substitute

Not much needs to be explained here. This Agility set allows Galvantula to run a Modest nature, giving it a much needed Sp. Atk boost with Life orb. Substite can be used in any of the last two moveslots for an even greater advantage on switches and for a more difficult way to take Galvy down.

  1. Sub + Disable
6 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Timid @ Leftovers/Life Orb
-Bug Buzz/Hidden Power Ice 

            A fun variation on Gengar’s Sub/Disable set. While Galvantula may do this to a lesser extent than Gar (it’s slower, less powerful and has no immunities), it still has the Speed to make it proportionally ideal for the job in its current tier, as well as the coverage to knock out notable threats. The idea is simple here: send in Galvy on something like Tinted Lens Yanmega or Blastoise, etc, force a switch, and then proceed to Sub up. Once the appropriate Counter/Check comes in, you’re free to either attack, or Disable its choice of move to break your Sub. After that, you will have a much easier time walling it and can whittle its HP down from there. Disable also works well with Galvantula’s high Speed, as it allows you to prevent opponents from setting up, spamming a powerful/annoying move, or laying down multiple layers of entry hazards.

  1. Subport-ish Spider
6 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Timid @ Leftovers/Life Orb 
-Substitute/Charge Beam
-Electro Ball 
-Bug Buzz/HP Ice/Energy Ball  

My own personal creation, the idea of this set is to destroy the opponent’s sanity while upping the power of Electro Ball. There are many ways to go about doing this. Firstly, you may try a combination of Sub and Discharge, which with the 30% paralysis rate should have your opponent slowing down in no time. Also, Agility may be used if 30% is too low of a rate for you, as after +2 Speed, anything with 173 Speed and below will be hit by a 150 base power Electro Ball! Additionally, Charge Beam may be used in place of Substitute, as it allows for an even more disastrous boost to Electro Ball once the opponent is much slower than you. The last slot again is for coverage. Bug Buzz and HP Ice are standard, but if you’re running Substitute, Energy Ball may be used, lest you be walled entirely by a Ground-type like Perior or Gastro.

  1. Down Came the Rain, and Helped the Spider Out!
6 HP/252 Sp.Atk/252 Spe
Timid @ Damp Rock/Focus Sash/Life Orb
-Rain Dance
-Volt Switch
-Bug Buzz/Hidden Power Ice/Energy Ball  

Another one of my own ideas, the Itsy Bitsy Spider returns here, this time not washed out from the Rain, but aided by it. Rain Support Galvantula is so promising and unconventional, mainly because it can set up a Dance, then proceed to abuse it with its STAB. In Rain, Thunder will never miss, adding a huge bonus to the 180 Base Power behemoth of a move. Volt Switch is to scout, and so that you may switch out to something else that can effectively abuse Rain. Notable partners for this set are Ferroseed, Omastar, Kabutops, Ludicolo, Gorebyss, Sharpedo and Poliwrath, just to name a few. The last slot, as always, is for coverage. 

Conclusion:  Galvantula is a Pokemon that has grown on me. It caught my eye at the beginning of 5th Gen, and has held fast ever since. While Bugs are generally frowned upon for their lack of worthy coverage and weakness to Stealth Rock, Galvantula turns the tables in its favor with its supreme number of assets, making it one of the best Bugs of RU. Its unique typing, beautiful ability and potential to run a Choice set quite effectively make it a force to be reckoned with in any tier. I would recommend using Galvantula on one of your teams. You won't be sorry. 

Competitive Usability: 8.5 out of 10 

          As much as I like Galvantula as a competitive Pokemon, its awesome design and cool coloration do nothing but help my sympathies toward it. Sure, we've seen a Spider Pokemon done before (albeit quite poorly), but Galvantula is very nicely done in that it offers a refreshing appeal to Bug and Electric-type Pokemon alike. It might have even become one of my favorites from Black and White! 

Aesthetic Design: 9 out of 10

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