Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Competitive Battling Spotlight #33: New Pokemon Twelve

Scolipede, the Megapede Pokemon, makes an appearance as one of today's most effective Offensive Support Bugs.

H.P.: 60
Attk: 90
Def.: 89
Sp.A: 55
Sp.D: 69
Spe:  112

Poison Point: Toxic Poison is way better than regular Poison in most cases, especially with Scolipede’s main role as a Toxic Spike set-upper. For these reasons, Poison Point really isn’t the best ability for Scolipede to wield, especially when it has better options.

Swarm: This is the ability you’ll always want to run for Scol. By boosting its most powerful move, Megahorn, when at low health, you can really make the most of a sticky situation. Considering the fact that Scol often times runs Focus Sash on most of its sets, you are likely to reach Swarm range in battle and begin firing off those powerful Horns. But even if you’re not running Sash, Life Orb or Substitute to bring you down to Swarm’s boost, this ability still reigns supreme over the others to be chosen.

Quick Feet: On most Pokemon this ability might seem good, as it acts similar to Guts, but boosts Speed rather than Attack. However, on Scolipede it is almost pointless. It already boasts excellent Speed that allows it to outrun a lot of common threats, and boosting it would only allow it to outspeed a few more. In addition to this, the means by which most activate Quick Feet is through possession of a Toxic Orb or Flame Orb; Toxic Orb won’t affect Scolipede because it is a Poison type (so it can’t be Poisoned) and Flame Orb will Burn Scol, cutting its Attack in half, which really puts you in a worse place than even before the Speed boost. This means that the only effective way for Scolipede to actually have Quick Feet activated is by being Paralyzed, but you then have to hope your opponent even has a Pokemon with a Paralysis move on their team. Really, all these factors should be turning you away from using this ability, as it more often than not isn’t worth it. Plus, it’s not even released yet.

Tier: RU (as of January 2012)


            Scolipede is a very unique Bug type Pokemon, but then again, just about every  Bug type released in Black and White is no different. It has a not-so-unique typing that grants it a 4x resistance to Fighting hits, but plagues it with a Stealth Rock weakness. It has a usable, but not amazing, base 90 Attack stat, reminiscent of other Bugs like Ninjask, Forretress and Shedinja. And it even has access to Spikes and Toxic Spikes, which make it a diverse support Pokemon, with a STAB Megahorn to back up just about any set. But perhaps the icing on this insect cake that really ties all of these factors together and makes them all seem more wonderful is its unique base 112 Speed, which makes it fast enough to do these jobs well, and even fast enough to outpace a lot of threats. Scolipede also has the coveted Baton Pass in its movepool, backed by both Swords Dance and Agility, giving it a surprising role away from supporter/sweeper.
            But the Bug gods weren’t all good to this creepy crawler. Aforementioned weakness to Stealth Rock really hurts, especially if you have no Rapid Spin support. Also, weaknesses to Fire and Flying type, two common ones in UU make you less likely to want to face up against certain mons that you would otherwise outspeed, for fear of not KOing them. All of these downsides, however, can be remedied, and if you play to its strengths, Scolipede can be a marvelous asset to just about any team in the UU or RU tier, and even in OU as well.

Potential Sets:

1. Spikesipede
    252 Atk/6 Def/252 Spe
    Jolly @ Focus Sash
    -Toxic Spikes 
    -Rock Slide/Poison Jab

One of Scolipede’s best functions on any team (in any tier, really) is its ability to set up both Spikes and Toxic Spikes, and its ability to do so rather quickly with its base 112 Speed. This, along with Focus Sash will essentially guarantee you get at least one layer up per match (unless against Magic Bouncers or Pranksters with Taunt). Add in the decent base 90 Attack coupled with STAB Megahorn, and you’ve got yourself a very useful niche Pokemon.

When taking into account all of the above listed reasons, it becomes apparent that Scolipede is really not outclassed by any Pokemon with this set. Sure, Roserade can set up Spikes and T-Spikes in UU, but with Scholipede’s blistering Speed stat, it really gets the upper hand against threats that would otherwise outspeed and Taunt/KO Rade. Additionally, Scol can smack the Fire type switchins with which Rose might have problems with a Rock Slide, resulting in at least one layer being thrown up. Similarly, in OU Scolipede provides a slightly different level of usability than Forretress (who also has access to both Spikes), again with its much higher base Speed and ability to physically threaten slower Pokes. You might argue that Forretress has the same Attack as Scolipede, but with its much higher defenses, much lower Speed, and access to Rapid Spin, it becomes clear that Forretress will most often times be running a predominantly defensive set with little-to-no offensive presence.

But perhaps this set’s true chance to shine resides in the lower RU tier, where almost nothing can contest with the aforementioned assets. But no matter which tier you use this in, it has its own unique set of perks that almost always give it an edge over that tier’s common doers of these tasks. 

2. Swords Dance
    252 Atk/6 Def/252 Spe
    Jolly @ Focus Sash/Life Orb/Leftovers
    -Swords Dance
    -Rock Slide  
    -Earthquake/Substitute/Poison Jab

            With a great Speed stat and a decent Attack made better with Swords Dance, this set becomes another viable option for Scolipede to run. After an SD, Scol reaches a gargantuan 558 Attack stat, and it is then ready to decimate still-standing foes. Megahorn and Rock Slide yield very nice coverage here, while Earthquake refines it to perfection. If you’d like to forego EQ, however, for the ability to scout and optimize your sweeping chances with Substitute, you are also more than welcome to. And lastly, Poison Jab may be chosen in the last slot for decent added coverage with STAB, but generally the other two options are favorable, with Megahorn hitting Grass types (and more) already.
            The choice of item with this spread really depends on what kind of sweeping role you’d like Pede to execute. This set arguably works best in late-game conditions, once priority users and Scarfed threats (or Alakazam) are dead, but using Sash on a late-gamer seems foolish. For this reason, Life Orb may be used for added oomph, though of course your longevity is sacrificed. Also, if you’d like to increase your duration of spamming Megahorn at the cost of some power, Leftovers may be used as well. Of course, Stealth Rock are a huge pain, so Rapid Spin or Magic Bounce support is greatly welcomed to aid in Scol’s sweep. Conversely, you can employ entry hazards of your own to more quickly dispose of opposition and make the cleaning process a bit more smooth. Still, keep in mind that with a Sash activated, you have a Swarm boosted Megahorn on your hands. That should hurt a lot of things. And with Life Orb, you will activate Swarm sooner than with Leftovers.  

            SD Scolipede works wonders in any tier (even OU), as its unique base 112 Speed allows you to outpace and often times OHKO fast threats like Latios, Tornadus, Espeon, and more. In the lower tiers, however (where Alakazam is not present), this set reigns supreme.

Problems for this set:
The biggest headaches for SD Scolipede are given by threats that can hit for Super Effective damage. This includes both super speedy mons that carry SE STAB (i.e. Alakazam, Scarf Victini, Scarf Darmanitan, etc) and very bulky tanks that can easily absorb a hit and answer back twofold (like Rhyperior, Landorus, etc). Pairing Scolipede with supporters like Taunters and powerful walls is a great way to get its sweep going. Also, as I said before, entry hazard support is grand.

3. ScoliChoice
    252 Atk/6 Def/252 Spe
    Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Band/Choice Scarf
    -Rock Slide  
    -Pursuit/Poison Jab/X-Scissor

            Choice Band Scolipede is more of an unexpected variation, and with its powerful array of moves, can prove to be a force against opposing teams. Essentially, STAB Megahorn is the crux of this set, demolishing countless Psychic, Grass and Dark types who would not expect its power. Furthermore, Megahorn and Pursuit seem to be perfect synergetic partners on this powerful set, especially against Psychic types who will be scared out by the prospect of the powerful Megahorn, then Pursuited near to death. Rock Slide and EQ are here again for coverage, and they score loads of damage on things that would otherwise take none from Megahorn (notably Fire types).

            But sadly, this set is dismally outclassed by Choice Banded Scizor in OU, who can threaten more things with Bullet Punch, and boasts a more effective means of trapping with a Technician boosted Pursuit. Also, U-Turn is a plus as well. Still, with its unique Speed Scolipede can work quite well in OU, where it can serve to threaten Latios to the bones and outspeed and kill the likes of Dragonite, Gyarados and Mence (after the former’s Multiscale is broken, of course) with Rock Slide. Jolly CB Scolipede’s Megahorn also deals more outright damage than Adaman CB Scizor’s U-Turn. Who else can boast that?

            Again, this set will work quite well (if not better) in UU and below, where not too many other powerful Bug types (except Heracross) reside [Durant doesn’t get Megahorn and has the potential to miss with Hustle]. And if you’d prefer Speed over power, Choice Scarf may be used, but the drop in power is extremely significant and with its already fast Speed seems unnecessary. Use this if you’d like to surprise and KO Zam, but otherwise, Band is always superior. 

4. Baton Pass
    240 HP/16 Atk/252 Spe
    Jolly @ Leftovers
    -Swords Dance
    -Baton Pass

            The last noteworthy task that Scolipede can accomplish with its great Speed is Baton Passing boosts to teammates. Pede gets both Swords Dance and Agility, opening up opportunities for most types of sweepers that lack from either stat. The given EVs also optimize Leftovers recovery, while allowing you to take one more Stealth Rock switchin should you fail to spin them away.

            The idea of this set is rather straightforward, and requires that you utilize team support (and preferably hazard support as well) to get these boosts to your sweeper or link in your BP chain and start wrecking things. Megahorn is there if you run into Taunters, or if you’d just like to abuse the SD boosts yourself. Being greedy really never hurt anyone, except your opponents. The given EVs allow Scol to take hits if it needs to, but by no means make it a wall or a tank, so be cautious with whom you allow attack you.


            Scolipede might just have what it takes to be a good Pokemon. It isn’t amazing by any means, but it has what it needs to have its own niche in each tier. Furthermore, its RU status is more of a blessing than a curse, as it makes Scol one of the few Pokes in that tier capable of being used effectively in any of the above. Sure, it won’t be common, but it is this exact reason that you can use Scolipede to your advantage by catching your opponent off guard. It might be generally decent at best, but it still remains true that Scolipede is almost never outclassed with what it does.

  Competitive Usability: 
  •  Spikes and Toxic Spikes support
  • Unique Speed stat that allows it to outspeed a good share of things
  • STAB Megahorn
  • Decent Attack stat with Swords Dance to boost it
  • Baton Pass support
  • Weakness to Stealth Rocks
  • Not very powerful without boosts
Verdict:  8 out of 10 
        Scolipede is pretty cool-looking. As a Bug type it's unique, in that the whole Centipede Pokemon has never been done before. It's pretty threatening as well, and its shiny form looks pretty damn bright. Overall, I like Scolipede's design, all the way from its horned head down to its multitude of toes.
Aesthetic Design:  8 out of 10

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