Cacturne

Sand Veil
Evasion increases by 25% in a sandstorm.
Water Absorb
Heals 25% HP when hit by a Water-type attack.
Type Tier
Grass / Dark NU
Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
70
- 145 177 -
Atk
115
121 135 167 183
Def
60
72 80 112 123
SpA
115
121 135 167 183
SpD
60
72 80 112 123
Spe
55
67 75 107 117

Overview

With tasty attacking stats and access to both Swords Dance and Nasty Plot, Cacturne might seem like a very potent sweeper. Alas though, poor Cacturne is let down by its lousy Speed stat, and its substandard defensive stats don't exactly help overcome its problem. That said, Cacturne hasn't only pulled short straws; boasting the craved move Spikes in its arsenal of moves, Cacturne has the ability to fill the role of an offensive Spiker. With access to STAB Sucker Punch, it can also bypass its terrible Speed stat to an extent, making Swords Dance a viable way to clean through offensive teams after Pokemon that resist Dark are out of the way. Its typing and ability also provide immunities to Psychic- and Water-type moves, allowing it to set up Spikes and Swords Dance much more easily.

Unfortunately for Cacturne though, Scolipede overshadows it most of the time. Capable of stacking Spikes and hitting hard while doing so, Scolipede, more often than not, outclasses Cacturne in both of its main roles—that of offensive Spikes-stacker and Swords Dance sweeper—due to its much higher Speed stat.

Name Item Nature

Lead

Focus Sash Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Spikes
~ Destiny Bond / Swords Dance
~ Sucker Punch
~ Seed Bomb
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

This set focuses on making the very best out of Cacturne's ability to lay down Spikes and hit hard at the same time. The first moveslot is obviously Spikes; Spikes is one of the most useful moves any Pokemon can get, and even though Cacturne's stats don't exactly encourage using it, it's still the main reason to use Cacturne at all. In the second moveslot, Destiny Bond is usually preferred, as it can surprise an unsuspecting Pokemon and take it down. Swords Dance is also an option, as Cacturne can take advantage of bulky Water-types, such as Alomomola, and punch holes in offensive teams. Sucker Punch fills the third moveslot, as it helps bypass Cacturne's pathetic Speed stat and hits with stellar power after the STAB boost is taken into account. Seed Bomb is the obvious choice for the final moveslot, as it grants Cacturne additional STAB coverage and comes with the benefit of hitting Alomomola, a Pokemon that physical attackers normally have a hard time breaking through, extremely hard.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Physical Sweeper

Life Orb / Leftovers Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Swords Dance
~ Sucker Punch
~ Seed Bomb
~ Drain Punch / Substitute
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Making use of the deadly combination of Swords Dance and Sucker Punch, this Cacturne set is very scary if it gets to set up. Swords Dance makes Cacturne a deadly offensive threat; with a Life Orb boost, Sucker Punch can OHKO many prevalent threats such as bulky Scolipede, Primeape after Stealth Rock, and Samurott. Sucker Punch is the main attacking move, as the priority it has lets Cacturne threaten a myriad of offensive threats and helps it bypass its annoying Speed problem. Seed Bomb is necessary as it lets Cacturne hit threats such as Alomomola much harder and gives it way to avoid having to predict with Sucker Punch, which can be helpful against slower foes. Drain Punch is the main move for the final slot, as it provides perfect neutral coverage by hitting Steel-types hard. Substitute is a great move for use against Misdreavus and Alomomola to avoid status and set up easily though. It also pressures the opponent to attack Cacturne, which makes Sucker Punch more reliable.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

When thinking of other options for Cacturne, its base 115 Special Attack stat stands out the brightest, especially alongside its access to the awesome boosting move Nasty Plot. That said, a fully special attacking set is almost out of the question due to Cacturne's abysmal Speed; physical sets work thanks to priority Sucker Punch, but Cacturne has no priority that hits off its Special Attack stat. A mixed set is an option though; Focus Blast is a move that has amazing coverage alongside Cacturne's STAB attacks, so it could be used in the second moveslot of the first set. Cacturne also has options left to choose when attacking physically, but the only notable one is Focus Punch, which can be used alongside Substitute. However, this will prevent Cacturne from using Spikes or Swords Dance—the building blocks of Cacturne's niche. Finally, Choice Band and Choice Specs sets are options, especially as Cacturne has access to Switcheroo, but they usually are not a good idea due to its atrocious Speed stat.

Checks and Counters

Unless you give Cacturne a free turn, it is not hard to counter at all. Common Pokemon won't have a hard time checking or countering it. Bulky Grass-types such as Vileplume, Tangela, and Roselia can all sponge Cacturne's hits rather well, and if given the chance, deal major damage with Sludge Bomb or Hidden Power Fire. Scolipede is a shaky check; it will often meet Cacturne in a lead versus lead position, where it will win, but it is unable to tank a +2 Sucker Punch. If Cacturne lacks Drain Punch, most bulky Steel-types shut it down, as they resists both of its STAB moves. Metang is probably the best overall Steel-type check to Cacturne, as it isn't hit super effectively by Drain Punch.