After a long history of being relegated to the lower tiers due to its horrid Speed, paper-thin defenses, and lack of powerful STAB options, Crawdaunt once again appears unable to avoid its tiering fate in this generation of Pokemon. Though cursed with such dubious attributes, there is at least one good reason to use Crawdaunt in OU: Adaptability. This amazing ability from the Dream World gives it access to more power than it has ever had before, and with rain support, grants Crawdaunt plenty of opportunities to crush its enemies with its crustaceous claws. Once-feared tanks such as Ferrothorn and Skarmory crumble beneath its awesome might, and serve only as an example as to why one should not underestimate this unorthodox, albeit formidable foe.
Attacking is the one and only thing Crawdaunt is good at, so a Choice Band set is about as natural for it as scuttling across the sea floor and bullying enemy Kingler. Base 120 Attack backed by peerless coverage might seem par for the course in the OU metagame, but the real meat of its power comes from Adaptability, giving it the boost needed to KO certain targets that even OU's best are troubled with. For example, nothing ruins a player's day quite like discovering that his Choice Band Tyranitar has failed to KO a full-health Reuniclus, and was promptly wasted by Focus Blast. Adaptability, on the other hand, increases Crunch's Base Power by a devastating 40 points after STAB, securing the KO even on the much more physically bulky Slowbro after Stealth Rock damage. Even Lugia lives on the prayer that few to none are brave enough to actually use this crab in Ubers.
As if more evidence was required that its pincers aren't for show, Crawdaunt's claws also make for a lethal bludgeoning tool on a rainy day, turning it into a nightmare to handle for even the bulkiest of Pokemon that don't resist its moves. Crabhammer OHKOes specially defensive Brozong and Skarmory wholesale and deals immense damage to potential switch-ins such as Latios, which is OHKOed with Stealth Rock damage, and bulky Latias, which is easily 2HKOed while only managing to blast away a chunk of its HP with Dragon Pulse. Breloom, Virizion, Dragonite, and Rotom-W suffer a similar fate, being OHKOed on average after Stealth Rock by the same attack. Even Celebi, one of the bulkiest Grass-types in OU, takes over 50% with maximum investment in HP, while the threat of its Superpower is enough to ward off any potential Ferrothorn switch-ins. Finally, Double-Edge punishes hasty Toxicroak users looking to soak up Crabhammer or Crunch on the switch. With proper prediction, Crawdaunt can prove to be a formidable foe to not only walls, but to just about anything.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Surprisingly, Crawdaunt can be just as effective a wallbreaker in OU with a Dragon Dance set. While not a true sweeper per se, this set allows it to be an even greater nuisance to offensive and defensive teams alike with its ability to KO almost any wall, outspeed certain sweepers, and switch moves. One Speed boost and a Jolly nature allow it to outpace base 105 Speed Pokemon, such as Mienshao and Zoroark, without sacrificing too much of its heavyweight offense. For example, even without a boost or Stealth Rock support, Crawdaunt is capable of 2HKOing Skarmory under rain with Waterfall and has the roughly the same chance to OHKO Reuniclus with Crunch as Choice Band Tyranitar. Unfortunately, due to its low Speed and lack of defenses, Crawdaunt will find few opportunities to sweep and is only capable of clearing out the most defensive of teams. Most of its free turns will be best served attacking until all faster checks have been cleared out in preparation for the coup de grâce.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Forget about it. All of Crawdaunt's other boosting moves are thoroughly outclassed by Dragon Dance, and the sheer force of its Adaptability-boosted STABs reduce the need for additional coverage moves such as Rock Slide. Payback can be used in the blind faith that Crawdaunt might be able to survive a hit from something, but with Crunch available, it has virtually no utility.
Checks and Counters
Toxicroak is bad news for all Crawdaunt sets, walling everything but a boosted Double-Edge. Tangrowth is also a hard counter to Crawdaunt, only fearing the Defense drop from a Choice Band Crunch, while bulky Shaymin sets can avoid the OHKO from a Choice Band or Dragon Dance-boosted Crunch. Intimidate helps Salamence get in pretty easily, and it can avoid the KO most of the time from anything but a +1 Life Orb-boosted Crunch.
The list of true counters to Crawdaunt is quite small, due to the nature of a counter being required to switch in, but luckily, base 55 Speed does not go very far. Pokemon with base 108 Speed and higher, such as Infernape, Terrakion, and Latios can all handle Crawdaunt even after it has boosted, while Terrakion can even snag a Justified boost by switching into Crunch. Certain types of priority also hinder it, such as Conkeldurr's Mach Punch, which could put an end to the crab after a round of Stealth Rock and Life Orb damage; a Life Orb-boosted Vacuum Wave from Lucario OHKOes even without prior damage. Heavy offensive teams negate Crawdaunt's one and only niche in wallbreaking and can easily defeat it by allowing no openings for setup or attack.
Another way to shut down Crawdaunt's offense is to maintain control over the weather. Removing the rain nerfs its strongest attack, Crabhammer, leaving it to fall short of OHKOing Pokemon that resist its STABs, such as Breloom and Virizion. In this light, sun teams should have an easier time against it, as it is restricted to Crunch in order to deal significant damage. This also reduces the risk of misprediction when switching a check in.