Combusken's claim to fame is being one of the only viable Pokemon in NU with access to the coveted Speed Boost ability. The kicking chicken is one of the best offensive Fire-types in the tier, packing a pair of powerful STAB moves that strike fear into the hearts of the opposition. Despite being one of the best offensive Fire-types, Combusken is also the weakest, with mere base 85 Attack and Special Attack stats. It is also very frail and susceptible to common priority attacks such as Samurott's Aqua Jet and Gurdurr's Mach Punch. Its best set is a specially attacking one, as Combusken will struggle to find time to use Swords Dance but doesn't need to take a turn to boost its Special Attack. Because Combusken is not overwhelmingly powerful, its best use is utilizing Speed Boost to clean up weakened teams near the end of a match.
This is the most effective set Combusken can run, attacking right away to damage the opposition. Fire Blast is the STAB move of choice, hitting many common NU threats, such as Vileplume, Exeggutor, Cacturne, and Misdreavus, very hard. Focus Blast is a solid secondary STAB that allows Combusken to hit many Pokemon that resist Fire Blast; for example, Miltank, Carracosta, Regirock, and Golem will all fall to a Focus Blast, though its accuracy is less than stellar. Protect is an extremely important move on this set, as it allows Combusken to raise its Speed significantly. After a Protect, it will be able to outrun nearly every common Pokemon in the tier! Substitute is the best option in the fourth moveslot because it allows Combusken to scout potential switch-ins and hit them with the appropriate move, as well as avoid a crippling status condition. It also allows Combusken to scout Sucker Punch, which can deal heavy amounts of damage despite the fiery chicken's Dark-type resistance.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Combusken is a Pokemon with few other options. It can run a Swords Dance set, but it will struggle to find time to set up and many common Pokemon in the metagame can wall it with ease. The special attacker set is superior because it does not need to set up and can attack right off the bat. Combusken can potentially Baton Pass Swords Dance boosts to its teammates, but Baton Pass is illegal with Speed Boost, so there are many Pokemon that fill such a role better. Combusken can also take advantage of Sunny Day, but other Fire-types such as Charizard can do it much better.
Checks and Counters
Lampent and Frillish are hard counters to Combusken, as they fear nothing from any attack it commonly runs and can wear it down with ease. Any bulky Water-type that is not weak to Focus Blast can defeat Combusken with ease; for example, Mantine and specially defensive Ludicolo can switch in with impunity and retaliate with super effective Water-type attacks. Altaria can switch in on any Combusken not running Hidden Power Ice and either set up or attack with ease.
Most Pokemon with a large Special Defense stat can handle Combusken quite well. Muk can switch in and hit Combusken with a powerful Gunk Shot or Poison Jab. Bulky Psychic-types such as Grumpig, Hypno, and Musharna can tank a Fire Blast or two and OHKO Combusken in return with Psychic. Musharna also boasts the ability to keep itself healthy throughout the game with Moonlight. Dragonair can set up Dragon Dances if it is running the RestTalk set. Throh is bulky enough to switch in and phaze Combusken with Circle Throw.
Offensive Water-types such as Samurott, Floatzel, and Basculin can all tank a hit and OHKO Combusken in return with a priority Aqua Jet, ignoring any Speed boosts it might have acquired. Even Kangaskhan can check Combusken, as the combination of Fake Out + Sucker Punch can KO it after two rounds of Life Orb recoil, but this method of defeating Combusken should only be used as a last resort, as Combusken can block Fake Out with Protect and avoid Sucker Punch with Substitute.