Relicanth

Swift Swim
Speed doubles in rain.
Rock Head
Recoil moves deal no recoil damage.
Sturdy
If the wielder is at full HP, it will survive any attack. OHKO moves will fail.
Type Tier
Water / Rock NU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
100
- 341 404 -
Atk
90
194 216 279 306
Def
130
266 296 359 394
SpA
45
113 126 189 207
SpD
65
149 166 229 251
Spe
55
131 146 209 229

Overview

With four weaknesses to extremely common attacking types—Fighting, Ground, Grass, and Electric—and poor Special Defense, Relicanth initially appears to be a horrible choice to put on your team. However, its main niche lies in its ability, Rock Head, which allows Relicanth to fire off powerful STAB Head Smashes without fearing any recoil whatsoever. Its good HP and Defense stats mitigate its low Special Defense and pitiful Speed, and while its movepool is quite barren, Head Smash and a few other moves in conjunction with its good Attack are really all Relicanth needs in order to pose a threat. Although Relicanth may not seem like a very threatening Pokemon, beware; its attacks may hurt much more than you expect them to.

Name Item Ability Nature

Rock Polish

Life Orb Rock Head Jolly / Adamant
Moveset EVs
~ Rock Polish
~ Head Smash
~ Waterfall
~ Earthquake
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe

With base 90 Attack and a high-powered STAB move at its disposal, the only issue holding Relicanth back from sweeping is its Speed, which lies at a rather pitiful 55. This set uses Rock Polish in order to alleviate this problem; after one Rock Polish boost, Relicanth is able to outspeed many threats, such as +1 positive-natured base 86 Pokemon, which include Choice Scarf users such as Sawk, Rotom-F, and Pinsir, all of whom would pose great a threat to Relicanth otherwise. Without any boosts, Relicanth with a Jolly nature is also able to outspeed base 95 Pokemon with no Speed investment, such as defensive Leafeon. In some cases, however, you'll find that Relicanth can already outspeed and destroy some walls.

Head Smash is an obvious move on this set, obliterating most Pokemon who don't resist it. Waterfall acts as a secondary STAB, hitting the Pokemon that do resist Head Smash for major damage; once Relicanth gets a Rock Polish boost, Waterfall's flinch rate can also come in handy. Earthquake rounds out the moveset, granting Relicanth excellent coverage against most of the Pokemon in NU. However, note that as super effective STAB Waterfall and Earthquake actually deal less damage than a neutral STAB Head Smash, you should only be using them for situations in which Head Smash is resisted.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Band

Choice Band Rock Head Adamant / Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Head Smash
~ Waterfall
~ Earthquake
~ Double-Edge
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe

Instead of using Rock Polish to boost Speed and sweep, the Choice Band set focuses on making Relicanth deal ridiculous amounts of damage, while using its fairly decent bulk to survive attacks and retaliate. With a Choice Band equipped, Relicanth reaches 459 Attack, and can proceed to repeatedly slam into opponents with a STAB 150 Base Power Head Smash, obliterating anything that doesn't resist it. STAB Waterfall and Earthquake hit quite hard with the Choice Band boost and give excellent coverage in conjunction with Head Smash, while Double-Edge eases predictions somewhat by hitting almost everything for about the same amount of damage. As this Relicanth doesn't have much special bulk, it should be kept away from faster Pokemon who use powerful special moves; instead, Choice Band Relicanth should be used to destroy tanks such as Miltank and Alomomola. In fact, Choice Band Relicanth is so powerful that physically defensive Alomomola is 2HKOed with Head Smash after Stealth Rock damage!

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Support

Leftovers Rock Head Impish
Moveset EVs
~ Head Smash
~ Waterfall / Earthquake
~ Stealth Rock / Toxic
~ Toxic / Yawn
252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def

This set uses Relicanth's excellent physical bulk, making it a support Pokemon with the options available. With base 90 Attack and Head Smash, Relicanth can still use Head Smash well even without any additional investment; on this set, it allows Relicanth to retain an offensive presence. Waterfall and Earthquake both work well as a coverage move; on average, Waterfall deals more damage due to STAB and hits Ground-type Pokemon hard, but Earthquake can be used instead to hit Steel-types. Stealth Rock is chosen in the third slot for added residual damage, but if you already have a Stealth Rock user on your team, Toxic should be used instead to wear down walls, so Relicanth can demolish them with its Head Smash after a couple turns. Yawn is an excellent move to use in conjunction with Stealth Rock, as the threat of being put to sleep forces switches, which racks up even more residual damage thanks to Stealth Rock. If you use Toxic and Yawn at the same time, though, remember that Yawn will fail should the target already be poisoned.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Outside of the sets listed above, Relicanth's movepool is pitifully small. The only other viable move that Relicanth can use is Amnesia, which could work on the Support set, but faces too much competition for a moveslot to really be used. A RestTalk set can work somewhat well in conjunction with Head Smash and a filler move, but it leaves Relicanth far too vulnerable to the plethora of special attackers in NU. On the Rock Polish set, you could run a spread of 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def with Leftovers and use Substitute over Rock Polish in order to make Relicanth a bulky attacker, but then you would miss outspeeding certain walls, such as Alomomola and Piloswine. Lastly, if you choose to put Relicanth on a rain team, replacing Rock Polish with another filler move—probably Double-Edge—and Rock Head with Swift Swim can transform it into a rain sweeper, but its other moves fail to deal much damage and Head Smash recoil in conjunction with Life Orb will wear down Relicanth's health too quickly for it to be worth it.

Checks and Counters

Due to Head Smash's sheer power, Choice Band and Life Orb Relicanth actually have fairly few true counters; however, those counters stop Relicanth cold. Torterra, Seismitoad, and Throh all resist Head Smash, and can retaliate with STAB super effective attacks; Torterra is an especially good counter, as its physical bulk allows it to set up Rock Polish or Stealth Rock while tanking hits from Relicanth, and its STAB Grass-type attacks are guaranteed to KO. Although it doesn't resist Head Smash, Tangela is also an excellent counter to Relicanth; its already good physical bulk is boosted further by Eviolite, and it can strike back hard with any STAB move.

If you lack any of the aforementioned Pokemon on your team, don't fret. Because of Relicanth's terrible Special Defense, almost any special Grass-type attack will deal heavy damage to it, even without a STAB boost. Electric-type attacks also deal a fair number to Relicanth; Rotom-S and Rotom-F are especially good, as they can force a switch and proceed to conserve momentum with STAB Volt Switch. Defensively speaking, any Pokemon that can take multiple Head Smashes from Relicanth also make for decent checks. Stunfisk and Gurdurr can take multiple hits and retaliate hard with Discharge and Drain Punch, respectively; the former, however, must be wary of Relicanth's STAB Waterfall.