Monday, November 7, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #28: Ability Two

Today we will go in depth about the rare but effective ability, Hustle.

            What it Does:

Increases damage output of physical attacks by 1.5 times (50%), however, decreases the accuracy of moves by approximately 20%.

Durant with Hustle will have the equivalent of +1 Attack (like having a Choice Band equipped without being locked into a move), but moves with 100% Accuracy will now only be 80% accurate. Likewise, the already inaccurate Stone Edge will be relegated from 80% to 60% Accuracy.

            Who Has It Now:

-Delibird; Probably not well worth mentioning competitively, but Delibird does have STAB Aerial Ace, which will always hit 100% of the time. Slap on a Choice Band and you’ve got yourself an offensive threat that really won’t be doing much of anything.  

-Darumakka; I am only mentioning little Darm because of his base 90 Attack stat which, with Hustle and Fire type STAB, is pretty darn good. However, as the rest of his stats are below awful, this thing will really only be even decently threatening in the abysses of NU or Little Cup. 

-Durant; 109 Attack and Speed with the same typing as Scizor make Durant a truly phenomenal abuser of Hustle. If you don't miss your attacks, Durant should be punching holes in most teams. 

-Zweilous; Hustle is something that the much more prominent evolution, Hydreigon, lacks, and Zweilous makes fair use of it in the lower tiers with 85 base Attack, STAB Outrage, and pretty good type coverage.

-Raticate; In my personal opinion, Hustle actually makes Raticate decently viable in competitive terms. Giving its rather average base 81 Attack a much needed +1 boost, it allows this over-sized hamster to gnaw its way through quite a lot of threats with STAB normal moves and stuff like Wild Charge and Sucker Punch for coverage. Also, with an Adamant nature and Choice Scarf, its middling 97 Speed is compensated for, while Hustle gives it ideally a Choice Band boost all the while.

The Good and the Bad of Hustling:

            When put into perspective, Hustle is a high risk, high reward kind of ability, giving a few Pokemon the edge they need over otherwise annoying/bulky threats. The best part is that if used on an Attack boosting set (i.e. Swords Dance or Hone Claws), it won’t take many turns of setup  before your attacks are wrecking things.

Still, the Accuracy drop is very risky, and when considering that really nothing that gets Hustle has bulk worth mentioning, you’ll find yourself losing valuable Hustle Pokemon if they miss an attack. Also, the fact that nothing that gets Hustle (besides Durant) has really awesome initial Attack or Speed, many players consider this to be a wasted ability; one with great potential but nothing more.

        The Best Hustlers:

     Here are no doubt the best Hustle abusers. Despite the fact that each one of these is confined to the lower tiers, they are still reasonably viable threats in even UU, and could serve as very threatening powerhouses in NU and RU if the Miss Gods are not against you. 

Zweilous @Choice Band
4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe, Adamant
-Dragon Tail
-Fire Fang

Since Heatran is the only Pokemon that resists the Dragon+Fire coverage combo, this set is essentially unresisted in the lower tiers. With Choice Band + Hustle + Adamant nature, Zweilous reaches unbelievably high Physical power, managing to OHKO a good portion of non-defensive threats. The bulk and Speed of this set are pretty absent, so as long as you are able to get Zwei in safely and fire off a monstrous hit, you will not be disappointed. 

Raticate @ Choice Scarf
4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe, Adamant
-Quick Attack/Sucker Punch
-Double Edge/Return
-Wild Charge

            Though not the best type coverage, with Hustle, this set yields essentially Choice Band and Choice Scarf in one, reaching 400+ on each stat. Priority is essential here against things that have it themselves/are (somehow) faster. Also, for choice of STAB, Double Edge is amazing, though the recoil may not be too favorable. Return may be used if the recoil scares you, and Retaliate can be used for Revenge Killing purposes. 

Durant @ Life Orb/ Leftovers
4 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe, Jolly
-Hone Claws
-Iron Head
-Stone Edge/Crunch

            Durant is definitely the best user of Hustle in the entire game. With amazing Speed and good natural power, Ant can charge through teams with ease. Hone Claws was built for this Bug, as after only one turn it nullifies the Accuracy drop of Hustle, as well as adding in an additional Attack boost. Coverage on this set is limited, as is Durant’s movepool, but it remains strong as one of the best Sweepers in RU at the moment.

Who Should Get It:

Infernape- With Fantastic Speed and Attack, as well as superb coverage, Ape would become arguably more dominant in OU if it had an ability like Hustle. The Attack boost would make its Flare Blitz and Close Combat hurt even more than they already do now, and the viability of a Choice Band set would increase several times over. Plus, as an acrobatic monkey, Hustle seems a logical choice in terms of real-life perception of the beast.

Tornadus- Base 115 Attack and STAB Aerial Ace would make Hustle truly monstrous on this already-dominant genie. Pair that with the ability to already outspeed a good portion of OU at the moment, and you’ve got yourself one nasty physical Attacker on your team. Plus, the viability of a physical set over a very common Special set would make for a refreshing choice of options for Tornadus.

Flygon- Black and White brought no change for Flygon, sinking it to the middling realms of UU. However, with Hustle, a whole new level of play for the premium Dragon scout Pokemon would become available, dishing out harder hits with those U-Turns and STAB EQ+Outrage combo. If Flygon got its act together, the entire UU metagame would tremble beneath its wings.

How It Could Be Better:

Why should Hustle limit users to just physical Attacks? If there were a counterpart for Special Attackers, i.e. Togekiss, things would be very interesting. Of course, this isn’t an improvement on the ability itself (as I can’t think of many ways to make it better without making it broken), but rather a separate ability for Special Attackers, like Togekiss, who can abuse the power boost with their STABs and a never-missing Aura Sphere. How about we call this one Overzealous?


            Hustle is actually a very good ability when used in your favor. Its reasoning for being so rarely seen is possibly due to the fact that not too many competitively potent Pokemon have it. However, if you can get past the 20% Accuracy drop (ideally with Hone Claws), you will see that this ability has the potential to make many threats crumble. Don’t let Hustle’s underrated potential fool you.

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