Drifblim is very peculiar Pokemon. At first glance, he may appear to be a unique and incredible Pokemon with multiple options to choose from. This stems mostly from Drifblim's colossal base 150 HP stat, decent Speed and offensive stats, and vast movepool. However, any presumptions made about Drifblim in that respect are unfortunately false. While he does possess a sizable support movepool, he's largely outclassed by his Ghost-type brethren because he does not have reliable recovery or good defenses. With a crippling weakness to Stealth Rock, Drifblim will also be hard-pressed to find a chance to switch in. In terms of being played as an offensive Ghost-type, Drifblim faces fierce competition from Mismagius, which has much higher Speed and Special Attack stats as well as Nasty Plot. All is not lost for Drifblim, though, as he does have a few tricks up his sleeve. With access to Calm Mind, Will-O-Wisp, Baton Pass, a great ability in Unburden, and workable bulk and Speed, Drifblim can be a very good Pokemon if played correctly.
As the popularity of Spikes-stacking in UU continues to increase, the need for spinblockers rises accordingly. Drifblim serves a unique purpose among its Ghost-type counterparts: preventing Foresight Hitmontop from using Rapid Spin. Most opponents attempt to remove entry hazards as quickly as possible—a tendency you can use to your advantage. After your Roserade sets up Spikes or Toxic Spikes, the opponent will likely send in Hitmontop to use Rapid Spin. Drifblim can switch into Rapid Spin directly, nullifying the opponent's attempt to remove Stealth Rock and Spikes from the field, or it can switch into Foresight. Desperate to use Rapid Spin and unaware of Drifblim's offensive capabilities, many opponents will use Rapid Spin the turn after using Foresight, expecting it to be successful due to Foresight's effect; to their dismay, Drifblim outspeeds and OHKOes their defensive Hitmontop with Flying Gem-boosted Acrobatics. Drifblim performs similarly well against other spinners such as Claydol and Foresight-less Blastoise; however, Drifblim cannot spinblock against a healthy Foresight Blastoise due to his inability to OHKO with Flying Gem-boosted Acrobatics.
Surprisingly, Drifblim functions equally well as an offensive Pokemon. Acrobatics is deceptively strong—it OHKOes frailer foes such as Houndoom and 2HKOes bulkier offensive Pokemon such as Flygon and Kingdra. Because Acrobatics is Drifblim's only attack, Steel-types pose a significant threat to this set's effectiveness; however, Drifblim can take many of them down through proper use of Substitute and Will-O-Wisp. After burn's Attack cut, Drifblim's Substitutes withstand Bronzong's Gyro Ball and Registeel's Ice Punch; accompanied by burn damage, Acrobatics KOes Bronzong and Registeel before they can KO in return. Be especially wary of Empoleon and Magneton: Empoleon forces Drifblim out of play with Roar and Magneton forces Drifblim to switch or use Destiny Bond. In addition to maiming Steel-types, Will-O-Wisp slices through offensive Pokemon and increases the likelihood of Drifblim surviving an attack with a Substitute intact. Outside of providing protection against Steel-types, stalling for burn damage, and dodging Sucker Punch, Substitute blocks Toxic from defensive Gligar, Sleep Powder from defensive Roserade, and Night Shade from Dusclops. After using Substitute against one of these Pokemon, Drifblim can either burn them with Will-O-Wisp or KO them with Acrobatics, activating Unburden. With Unburden's Speed boost, Drifblim can deal significant damage to subsequent Pokemon with Acrobatics or Destiny Bond. Destiny Bond takes out slower revenge killers as well as Pokemon that wall this set such as Zapdos and Empoleon.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
The idea here is to stack up as many Calm Mind boosts as possible and use Rest once Drifblim takes a considerable amount of damage. This will cause Drifblim to use up his Chesto Berry and activate Unburden, doubling his Speed and giving him a very good shot at sweeping. Shadow Ball is Drifblim's most reliable STAB attack and is fairly easy to complement in coverage due to it having only two resistances and one immunity. In regards to coverage, Thunderbolt is the best option in the last slot, as it lets Drifblim hit bulky Water-types such as Empoleon and Suicune (which can Calm Mind alongside Drifblim) for heavy damage and Dark-, Steel-, and Normal-types for at least neutral damage.
This set is best left to sweeping later in the game, but running a support option in the fourth slot is also viable. If one decides to forgo coverage for utility, then Baton Pass is highly recommended not only for its greater reliability than other support options but also for its effectiveness in passing the Calm Mind boosts that Drifblim amasses.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Drifblim has a respectable movepool, he is the perfect example of a jack of all trades, master of none. Drifblim is a very fun pivot in Baton Pass chains due to his very large Substitutes and access to both Stockpile and Calm Mind. This means that the potential Baton Pass recipient will have an incredibly bulky Substitute to hide behind. Disable can be used in tandem with Substitute and Baton Pass, as a lot of Pokemon in the UU tier only possess one attack that can break Drifblim's Substitutes, giving him an unique niche on Baton Pass teams. Outside of such teams, however, Drifblim is outclassed by other Baton Pass users in UU.
A weather support set is possible and can work very well with Drifblim's movepool, but such a set is a bit underwhelming when compared to other weather starters. Of course, being a Ghost-type, Drifblim has access to the always annoying double status strategy, which can be effective if played correctly; however, Drifblim has much better things to do than spread status around. Pain Split can be used in order to give Drifblim a semi-reliable method of healing himself, but due to his high base HP stat, Drifblim won't be able to make much use out of Pain Split unless he's extremely low on health. A more committed support set is definitely possible with Drifblim's movepool, but he faces fierce competition from Cofagrigus and Dusclops, which boast better defensive capabilities and methods of healing.
Drifblim's offensive movepool is large enough that a Charge Beam or even non-boosting set is possible, but Calm Mind is generally better due to Drifblim's more defensive nature. A purely offensive set would also be outclassed by Mismagius, which has access to Nasty Plot. Hidden Power Flying and Recycle are other possible options for the ChestoRest set for extra STAB coverage and virtually infinite instant recovery, respectively. However, both are situational and don't hold as much use as the recommended and additional options already mentioned.
Drifblim's Dream World ability, Flare Boost, boosts his Special Attack stat by 1.5 when he is burned. However while Flare Boost is unique to Drifblim, it's not even close to holding more use than Unburden or even Aftermath. This is because Drifblim will be losing HP every turn without a reliable method of healing himself, making him an inferior Mismagius.
Checks and Counters
Drifblim's checks and counters are very straightforward: Dark-types and special sponges.
Porygon2, Snorlax, and Registeel have no problems switching into Drifblim, walling and either outstalling or setting up on him. Suicune and Spiritomb can Calm Mind alongside Drifblim and will quickly stall out his PP with Pressure. However, neither Pokemon can directly switch into Drifblim and defeat him, requiring either Roar or very good luck with Sleep Talk. Umbreon can come in effortlessly and accumulate many Curse boosts. Without Baton Pass, Drifblim exposes himself to the threat of Pursuit users such as Escavalier and Heracross, making them excellent checks as well. Bisharp doesn't mind switching into a Thunderbolt or Calm Mind, setting up a Swords Dance or two and mauling Drifblim with one of its extremely powerful Sucker Punches or Pursuits. Krookodile doesn't mind switching into Drifblim either and not only outpaces him but also traps him with Pursuit. Mandibuzz can switch into everything Drifblim can toss out, barring a boosted Thunderbolt, and phaze him with Whirlwind. Forcing Drifblim to use his Chesto Berry early will undoubtedly make him much easier to counter, so one should keep this in mind if he ever shows up.