Saturday, November 5, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #27: Move One

        The first Competitive Move analysis of the Psychic type move, Calm Mind.  

           What it does:

            Calm Mind gives the user a +1 (50%) boost to both the Special Attack and Special Defense stat, making it a uniquely offensive and defensive setup move all in one.

            The Calmest Minds:

            Many Pokemon can utilize Calm Mind effectively, but the most prominent users are bulkier threats with a good HP stat and preferably good Defense and Special Attack as well. The reason high Defense is ideal is because Calm Mind boosts the Special Defense stat, meaning that users with natural physical bulk will be able to take hits from virtually any offensive threat (Special or Physical) after only a boost or two. Below is a listing of the best Calm Minders in any and every tier. This is not meant to be a complete list, and only lists a few examples of good Calm Mind abusers. You should definitely try out any Pokemon that has Calm Mind and fits the above criteria that is not listed here.

            Playing Calm Mind Defensively:

            Though I’ve described it as being both an offensive and defensive move in one, certain abusers are built inherently to take hits, as opposed to dishing them out. This means that most of these Pokemon won’t be doing too much outright damage and must rely on having several boosts before doing too much. A lot of these also have access to instant recovery and focus on withstanding turns in battle before they can make a dent in teams. Below are a few that make use of this strategy.

The supreme Calm Minder of OU, Reuniclus has it all; gargantuan HP, monstrous Special Attack, a well-rounded offensive (and defensive) movepool, and Magic Guard. Be weary of this little guy setting up some CMs against you, as it could very easily put away your team thereafter.
In the rain, with 60% paralysis Thunder and 60% confusion Water Pulse, Calm Mind Jirachi becomes one of the most annoyingly effective set-uppers out there. Its naturally well-rounded stats perfect this strategy, making it a true staple of CM abuse.

Arguably the best of his trio for possessing good typing, reasonably mixed stats and massive bulk, Suicune makes for one of the best CM set-uppers in the Underused tier. The fact that its veteran “CroCune” set (CM+RestTalk) is enhanced now with the new 30% burn chance move Scald only makes for more reason for Cune to celebrate.  

The premier physical wall of the UU tier, Slowbro’s ability to utilize Calm Mind is often times overlooked due to the popularity of a straight walling set. However, with 110 HP, 80 Special Defense, and 100 base Special Attack, along with recovery in Slack Off and STAB Water moves, Slowbro might just be one of the most underrated CM abusers in the game.


Playing Offensively:

Taking hits and restoring damage is not the only way to play. Some Pokemon are naturally fast and capable of a high initial damage output, but resort to Calm Mind for means of getting past threats that would otherwise absorb and shrug off their powerful attacks. These are the offensive users of Calm Mind, and are no more or less threatening than their hefty counterparts.

The Lati twins are built to abuse Calm Mind, what with their amazing offensive stats (Latios moreso), high Speed and reasonably good bulk (Latias moreso). Their movepools and STAB Dragon typing, along with base 80 HP, further compliment their idealization of making use of the +1 Special Attack and Special Defense boosts.

Alakazam has abysmal bulk and for that reason is only an amazing CM’er due to its base 135 Sp.Atk and 120 Speed, making it one of the fastest, most deadly offensive threats in the entire metagame. Oh, what’s that? It has Magic Guard too? Yea, Zam is an absolute beast when it comes to picking apart unprepared teams. However, because it lacks any significant amount of bulk without any Calm Mind boosts, its main reason for using CM is because this is its only means of boosting its already deadly Special Attack. Truly one of the best offensive users of the move.

Much like Alakazam, Raikou has not the best bulk out there, but a moderate HP stat and good overall offensive stats make this one deadly sweeper in the upper tiers. Access to STAB Thunder in the rain also makes this an extremely underrated, yet highly competent, threat.

Speed, power, and immunity to direct status moves and Taunt thanks to Magic Bounce make Espeon a great candidate for this setup move as well. With naturally high Speed and Special Attack, after just one boost Espeon will be hurting a lot of things. Also, with access to Baton Pass, she can share in the boosts with any of her teammates, making her an ideal support Pokemon.

            Playing in the Lower Tiers:

            OU and UU aren’t the only tiers to have some Calm Mind fun in! A number of usable threats in RU and even NU stand out as effective in utilizing the setup move to do some damage. Here are a few potent choices:

The King of NU (probably soon to be moved to RU), Mesprit serves as a perfectly balanced Pokemon with good power and bulk alike. This, as you might guess, allows it to make perfect use of the +1 Special boosts. With excellent coverage as well, Mesprit becomes a deadly sweeper after only a few turns of setup.

Beheeyem isn’t too far off its Psychic-type counterpart Reuniclus. They both have decent Defenses, 125 Special Attack, and pretty good movepools. But even though Beheeyem has a lower HP stat and Synchronize instead of Magic Guard, it still has potential to make use of all its assets by setting up. Try CM Beheeyem in the lower tiers. You might be surprised.  

With Eviolite equipped, the only thing that makes Duosion even minimally worse than its evolution is its much lower HP stat. Still, the retention of 125 Sp.Atk and Magic Guard, as well as higher defenses than Reuniclus (thanks to Eviolite) makes for a lower-tier mini-sweeper just as devastating as its cousin.

Other Notable Users:

Here are a few other Pokemon to consider and their attributions to a Calm Mind set:

-Chandelure; The highest Special Attack stat in the entire non-Uber metagame + decent bulk make Chandelure a wonderfully scary threat in UU and above.

-Serperior; Natural defensive capabilities, great Speed and access to Leech Seed for a support-ish set all help alongside STAB Giga Drain and HP Fire for coverage.

-Cofagrigus; Cofagrigus can take hits very well. It has defensive potential on par with Skarmory and an excellent Special Attack stat for a wall, making Calm Mind abuse very viable.

-Cresselia; Not the most powerful out there, but being one of the most bulky definitely helps. Cresselia will always be the epitome of annoying defensive threat (think weaker Blissey), and CM abuse makes it no less so.

-Cobalion; After +1 Special Attack and +1 Special Defense, Cobalion becomes a very balanced, very effective threat. Max out HP and Speed, and watch as foes crumble to your powerfully boosted attacks and fail to take you down with all but the most powerful Super Effective hits.

-Virizion; Essentially the same as Cobalion, but with a different typing. STAB Giga Drain as means of pseudo-recovery makes this set fifteen times better than its musketeer brethren, though.


            It is definitely not the most popular setup move, nor is it the most offensively contributory. Calm Mind requires patience and strategy in order to work more effectively, especially as it is not as outright successful as something like Nasty Plot or Growth. Still, on the right Pokemon, it can become the key to finishing teams and winning games.

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