Carracosta is one of the newest fossil Pokemon, and it has brought some of its own brand of turtle power. It can be an effective physical tank with its stellar Defense, five resistances, and Solid Rock; when backed by sandstorm, it can also take some special hits. However, Carracosta's main appeal is its Shell Smash. Carracosta is arguably the strongest user of Shell Smash in terms of sheer power, sporting base 108 Attack and base 83 Special Attack, which are doubled thanks to Shell Smash. With BW2 move tutors supplying it with some much needed fighting moves in Low Kick and Superpower, its destructive potential only got better.
While Carracosta's great offensive potential and amazing Defense are desirable, it is not without faults. The ancient turtle is horribly slow; even with a Shell Smash boost, a neutral-natured Carracosta won't be outrunning base 100 Speed Pokemon. While Solid Rock helps in tanking hits, Carracosta's Special Defense is also poor. To top it off, the Water / Rock typing brings about four common weaknesses, including a crippling Grass-type weakness. Still, do not let those faults convince you to forgo Carracosta. It can be a great sweeper or wallbreaker if played correctly.
Carracosta is one of the few Pokemon to receive the blessings of Shell Smash, doubling its great offenses and boosting its lackluster Speed to acceptable levels. Bring in Carracosta on something it can easily take on and set up a Shell Smash. After one Shell Smash, Carracosta reaches an Attack stat of 630 (819 with Life Orb) and a Speed stat of 358, outspeeding base 113 Pokemon by one point. From there, use the coverage of Water-, Rock-, and Fighting-type attacks to deal destructive damage. Waterfall is Carracosta's primary Water-type STAB move, with the added advantage of possibly flinching opponents. However, there are still some notable Pokemon, such as Choice Scarf Terrakion, who will still outrun Carracosta. For that reason, Aqua Jet is perfectly acceptable, especially if you go with an Adamant nature. Even with a Jolly nature, Carracosta's Aqua Jet scores an OHKO on Choice Scarf Terrakion and Choice Scarf Landorus after a Life Orb and Shell Smash boost.
The choice of Rock-type STAB between Stone Edge and Rock Slide comes down to the age-old power vs. accuracy argument, but note that Rock Slide has the potential to flinch foes, much like Waterfall can. Low Kick rounds out the coverage in this set, allowing Carracosta to overcome Ferrothorn.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Rock Polish is largely outclassed by Shell Smash, and even if Carracosta uses Rock Polish, it has much competition with other Rock Polish users. Return is the best way for Carracosta to hit Virizion and Gastrodon. Superpower is also available as an alternative to Low Kick, but the Attack drop is undesirable when it's trying to sweep. Carracosta can potentially go mixed with Hydro Pump or Surf to take out Skarmory more readily, but it's usually not worth spreading its EV thin between the two offensive stats. The Sturdy ability, while being greatly improved this generation, is somewhat inferior to Solid Rock. However, this ability could serve to set up Shell Smash in the face of strong special offense. Sturdy coupled with a non-Life Orb item, such as a White Herb or Lum Berry, is a viable combination.
Checks and Counters
Physically bulky Grass-types, such as Tangrowth and Celebi, are dependable counters to Carracosta, taking any boosted physical attack. Gastrodon also deserves a special mention for being immune to Waterfall, resisting Stone Edge, and taking little damage from Low Kick. In a similar vein, Keldeo can tank hits from Carracosta without Superpower, Return, or Earthquake. Carracosta is terribly slow; one boost provided by Shell Smash on a positive-natured Carracosta is only good enough to outrun base 113 Speed stat Pokemon, so faster sweepers, such as Starmie and Jolteon, can easily prey on the weaker Special Defense stat. Virtually all Choice Scarf users can revenge kill Carracosta, especially the ones lacking Aqua Jet. Also, while Shell Smash does provide a sharp boost to its attacking prowess, it comes at the cost of cutting Carracosta's great Defense and already lackluster Special Defense, meaning strong priority, such as Choice Band Scizor's Bullet Punch or Life Orb Breloom's Mach Punch, easily dispatches Carracosta.