Klinklang has always been a very odd Pokemon. Its Steel typing and high base 115 Defense seemed to suggest a more defensive Pokemon, whereas its strong base 100 Attack and signature move Shift Gear gave it more of an offensive quality. Ultimately, Klinklang takes advantage of both these traits to succeed. Its good defenses and excellent typing enable it to set up Substitutes with relative ease, behind which it can freely set up with Shift Gear. Klinklang is exceedingly difficult to revenge kill; after a Shift Gear, there are no unboosted Pokemon in RU that can even attempt to outspeed Klinklang. On top of this, Klinklang boasts a resistance to several common priority moves, such as Quick Attack, Shadow Sneak, and Bullet Punch, whilst only sporting a weakness to Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave. However, Klinklang does have its fair share of hard counters, primarily due to its lack of coverage. Opposing Steel-types, such as Steelix and Ferroseed, are particularly tricky to get past as they resist or are immune to all of Klinklang's commonly used moves. Fortunately, the majority of Klinklang's counters lack reliable recovery, and can therefore be broken past with the help of hazards and a little prior damage. Klinklang doesn't boast much in the movepool department, and often has to rely on Return to patch up its less than stellar coverage. It is important when playing with Klinklang to be aware of its weaknesses and limitations; do not expect it to OHKO a vast number of Pokemon off the bat and without any prior set up. Klinklang works best as a late-game sweeper, cleaning up weakened teams once it has boosted its Speed and Attack.
The key to setting up with Klinklang is to make use of its excellent typing to set up a Substitute, either on a predicted switch or resisted attack. Once Klinklang is sitting safely behind its Substitute, use Shift Gear at your discretion until Klinklang has enough Speed and power to outpace and destroy everything on the opposing team. Gear Grind is a strong STAB move that has the additional benefit of being capable to take down Substitute and Focus Sash users with ease. Although Wild Charge may seem like a better choice thanks to its greater super effective coverage, Return is in fact a better choice overall. Return still 2HKOes Slowking, as well as allowing Klinklang to beat Qwilfish, whereas Klinklang loses to Poliwrath no matter which move you choose to run. Wild Charge does have the benefit of beating Moltres should you be unable keep Stealth Rock on the field, as well as enabling Klinklang to get past support Omastar. Finally, Return lets you hit Electric-types for good damage, which are arguably more dangerous than the couple of Pokemon you would be able to beat with Wild Charge, ultimately making Return the better choice.
With the given moves, Klinklang hits the vast majority of types for neutral damage, apart from Steel-types. Fortunately, thanks to Substitute, Klinklang can easily set up on one of RU's most common Steel-types: Ferroseed. Ferroseed usually walls this set with ease but is unable to break Klinklang's Substitutes in two or three hits—let alone one—as well as not being able to paralyze Klinklang whilst it is behind a Substitute. On top of this, Substitute also defends Klinklang from Leech Seed (Ferroseed's only method of recovery) as well as all other status effects. After a Shift Gear boost Klinklang becomes very difficult to revenge kill thanks to its extremely high Speed, as well as its access to Gear Grind, which not only bypasses Sturdy Pokemon and Substitute users, but also gives Klinklang more chances to score a timely critical hit.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Unfortunately, Klinklang's useful movepool is as barren as the Sahara, so don't expect to find many excellent suggestions here. Nevertheless, Klinklang does have some relatively interesting options. Volt Switch can be used to maintain or grab offensive momentum, as well as hitting Water-types hard (without Wild Charge's annoying recoil), and enabling it to escape the occasional Magneton. However, Volt Switch has a relatively low Base Power and also forces Klinklang to switch, which can be a pain if it has already accumulated several Shift Gear boosts. Klinklang also has access to Trick Room, which it can use in conjunction with Volt Switch to give frailer Pokemon the chance to come in for free. A ChestoRest set, with Rest over Substitute, can give Klinklang the chance to set up more than once, as well as reducing its weakness to status. However, this set accomplishes little that Substitute variants can't, and Substitute is a much more effective way of getting around status than Rest. Klinklang can also make decent use of Air Balloon or the move Magnet Rise to get around its Ground weakness. This also makes it impossible for Steelix to stop Klinklang, apart from phazing it with Roar. In a cruel twist of fate, the Pokemon gods gave Klinklang a surprisingly decent special movepool. Charge Beam, Flash Cannon, Thunderbolt, and various Hidden Powers are all options for a surprise set, although Magneton is superior in almost all cases.
Checks and Counters
The list of Klinklang's counters is highly dependent on which coverage moves it runs (or doesn't run), as it doesn't have a huge amount of counters that can take anything it throws at them. Steel-types make for the most reliable counters as they resist both Steel- and Normal-type attacks, as well as possessing naturally high Defense stats. Steelix is perhaps the best Klinklang counter out there; it resists Gear Grind and Return, is immune to Wild Charge, and can either phaze Klinklang out with Roar—thus robbing it of its boosts—or hit it hard with a STAB Earthquake. Magneton can trap Klinklang with Magnet Pull and set up on it with Charge Beam. Aggron, too, has an excellent base 180 Defense to weather Klinklang's attacks, and a great base 110 Attack that it can use to, quite literally, throw a spanner in the works. Both Aggron and Magneton must be extremely wary of Hidden Power Ground, as it hits them on their weaker Special Defense and for 4x the damage. Both Ferroseed and Escavalier boast extremely high defenses and can either stall Klinklang out, or, in Escavalier's case, hit it hard with a Choice Band-boosted Megahorn. Again, it is wise to scout whether or not Klinklang is packing Hidden Power Fire before sending Escavalier or Ferroseed in to wall it.
Quagsire and Poliwrath both resist Steel-type attacks and with enough investment can easily stomach a couple of Shift Gear-boosted Returns; however, Poliwrath must look out for Wild Charge. Rotom resists or is immune to all of Klinklang's commonly carried moves and can set up on it with Substitute or Charge Beam. Naturally, physically defensive Pokemon that do not necessarily pack resistances to Klinklang's attacks are also effective. Tangrowth, Steelix, and Entei all boast high attacking stats as well as defensive stats and therefore make for good checks. As long as it is not packing Wild Charge, Omastar and Moltres also make for good checks thanks to their access to powerful attacks and reasonable defenses.