Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Huntail is a prime example of a Pokemon with stolen potential; while it has one of the best boosting moves in the game, Shell Smash, it faces heavy competition as a Shell Smash user from the likes of Gorebyss and Carracosta, and simply struggles to find a niche. Its bulk is inferior to that of Carracosta, and it does not have the useful Solid Rock ability, which makes it harder to set up. Huntail also does not pack as much power as Gorebyss, as it relies on a weaker STAB move than the latter does. That said, Huntail does have a few things going for it. Shell Smash is nonetheless a great move, and after a boost, Huntail is still a legitimate threat to contend with. Huntail also has higher Speed than Carracosta, which means it can outspeed Pokemon such as Swellow at +2. Huntail can also go mixed, allowing it to lure the likes of Tangela and still pull off a sweep. Overall, always consider your other options before using Huntail, but don't discount it completely.
This is Huntail's best way to pose a threat as well as to stand out from its competition in Gorebyss and Carracosta. With its usable offensive stats and good enough Speed to use Shell Smash with, Huntail is a capable mixed sweeper in NU. Shell Smash is chosen to make Huntail fast and powerful and hence give it a chance to sweep. Waterfall is a strong and reliable STAB for Huntail to use, and the flinch chance can also come in handy. Return provides great overall coverage with Waterfall; although it doesn't hit anything super effectively, it can handle most Pokemon that resist Waterfall, such as Jynx and Samurott. Finally, Ice Beam serves as a usable coverage move to handle Tangela and other Grass-types.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Huntail's small movepool means there isn't much else going for it. It has some special moves such as Hydro Pump, Surf, and Hidden Power to use off of its decent Special Attack, but Gorebyss is significantly better as a pure special sweeper. Ice Fang could be used to handle Grass-types, but it is a very weak move in general. Sucker Punch is a useful priority move to nail faster targets, but it is illegal with Shell Smash. Huntail also has Baton Pass, but sadly, it can't be used alongside Shell Smash in NU. Huntail does have Barrier and Aqua Ring to use with Baton Pass, but they are very situational moves.
Checks and Counters
There aren't many complete counters to Huntail; however, there are plenty of checks. Alomomola is the greatest counter to Huntail, due to its ability to take repeated hits and stall with Toxic, Wish, and Protect, but it is massive setup fodder due to its lack of offensive presence. Seismitoad is also capable of taking hits from Huntail and can even recovery off Waterfall thanks to Water Absorb. Priority users, such as Kangaskhan and Skuntank, can revenge kill Huntail after a Shell Smash boost. Huntail is not extraordinarily fast even after a Shell Smash boost, so Choice Scarf users such as Primeape and Rotom-S can still revenge kill it quite easily. Electric-types such as Electabuzz can make quick work of Huntail before it grabs a Shell Smash boost, but they can be beaten after a boost. Finally, if all else fails, paralysis from Pokemon such as Regirock can cripple Huntail and cut its sweep short.