Espeon has long been relegated to the role of cutest Pokemon in the game, only being used in ultimate cutemon teams. This was in large part due to it being outclassed by other Psychic-types, such as Alakazam and Azelf. However, Dream World has granted Espeon a second chance in its Pokecareer in the form of Magic Bounce. Magic Bounce allows Espeon to act as a team supporter, bouncing back most non-attacking moves, most notably Stealth Rock, Taunt, and Roar. It also has a handy base 110 Speed and an impressive Special Attack, allowing it to outspeed and OHKO potent threats such as Terrakion and Keldeo with ease. Unfortunately for Espeon, its physical bulk is poor, meaning that a single misprediction can result in its death. This is further compounded by the fact that Espeon's main counters—Tyranitar and Scizor—all get a fair amount of usage. Espeon is also largely outclassed by Xatu in a general support role, but still finds a niche setting up screens for hyper offense teams, and acting as the core of all pure Baton Pass teams.
When you combine Espeon's ability to reflect hazards and set up dual screens, it becomes a very good team supporter. Espeon is most effective when brought in on an entry hazard setter such as Forretress or Ferrothorn, bouncing back any hazards they attempt to set up. Espeon can then proceed to set up screens to ensure that if the foe does try attacking, it does significantly less damage. However, you should be cautious of switching Espeon in blindly, as a Gyro Ball from Forretress or Ferrothorn will put a major dent into it and greatly reduce its longevity. As such, when you do attempt to set up screens, it is recommended to set up Reflect first, as it helps to boost Espeon's poor Defense and gives it additional protection from common switch-ins such as Tyranitar and Scizor.
Espeon's often overlooked base 130 Special Attack ensures that it is not setup fodder for rampant threats such as Thundurus-T and Keldeo. Psychic is the preferred STAB over Psyshock as it is naturally stronger and allows Espeon the ability to beat Bulk Up Conkeldurr. Although Psyshock is slightly weaker, it does allow Espeon to beat Calm Mind Keldeo and Terrakion in sandstorm, as it hits their weaker Defense stat. Baton Pass might seem like an odd choice, especially when Espeon is lacking any boosting move, but it is incredibly useful. Baton Pass allows Espeon to escape the clutches of Pursuit users, as Pursuit does not hit Espeon if it uses Baton Pass beforehand. Combine this information with the fact that Espeon's main two switch-ins, Tyranitar and Scizor, are both Pursuit users, and Baton Pass can often save Espeon from death. Baton Pass also allows Espeon to escape Gothitelle, who may otherwise stall out precious screen turns by keeping Espeon in with its ability Shadow Tag. However, if running away from your problems doesn't tickle your fancy, then Hidden Power Fire is a usable option over Baton Pass. Hidden Power Fire allows Espeon to KO Scizor before it can use U-turn or Pursuit, and with a Reflect up, Bullet Punch doesn't do nearly enough to KO Espeon. Unfortunately, Hidden Power Fire also leaves Espeon incredibly vulnerable to Tyranitar, almost always resulting in Espeon's demise.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Espeon has the honor of being the only Pokemon with the legal combination of Magic Bounce and Baton Pass, making it the crux of many Baton Pass teams. With Magic Bounce reflecting moves such as Taunt and Roar that would normally break a Baton Pass chain, it becomes an extremely valuable member. Not only does its amazing ability make Espeon a good end Pokemon in a Baton Pass chain, but it can also continue a chain because it itself learns Baton Pass. However, you should be wary that Magic Bounce does not protect Espeon from the likes of Dragon Tail and Circle Throw, as these moves will end your chain unless you have been passed Ingrain or are behind a Substitute.
Calm Mind is the boosting move of choice, as it allows Espeon to boost its Special Attack and Stored Power's strength simultaneously. It also has the nifty bonus of making Espeon more specially bulky, and if it is passed a few Defense boosts, it becomes extremely hard to take down. However, Substitute is also a good option; even though Espeon is already immune to many of the moves it blocks, protecting Espeon from critical hits is paramount. It is often too much to ask of Espeon for it to set up boosts as well as reflecting Taunt and phazing moves, and sweeping. Stored Power is chosen over other STABs, such as Psychic and Psyshock because after two boosts, it becomes stronger than the aforementioned options. It is important to remember that any boost will power up Stored Power, so it is not limited to being enhanced by solely Calm Mind. Hidden Power Fighting is important, as it's Espeon's only way of damaging Dark-types, especially Tyranitar, dispatching of it easily after a few Special Attack boosts. It also has the ability to hit Steel-types such as Ferrothorn for major damage.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Espeon can choose to run an offensive Calm Mind set, working off its high base 130 Special Attack, but its lack of physical bulk will often leave you disappointed when you try setting up. In addition, offensive Calm Mind does not use Espeon's fantastic ability Magic Bounce to the best of its ability, the biggest thing Espeon has over other Psychic-types, making it somewhat outclassed by them. Grass Knot is a good option for Espeon to use, especially on Baton Pass variants, as it allows Espeon to dispose of troublesome Pokemon such as Quagsire, which give Baton Pass teams some trouble thanks to Unaware. Do note that Unaware doesn't effect Stored Power's Base Power, allowing Espeon to break through it after a few stat boosts. Yawn is a nifty move that can give Espeon some time to set up, but is rather unreliable. Morning Sun can be useful, especially when used in tandem with Drought Ninetales, but the common usage of other weather starters also makes it unreliable. At first glimpse, Espeon looks like a good Choice Specs or Choice Scarf user, but it really isn't. Its movepool is rather shallow and getting locked into a Psychic-type move is an incredibly bad idea, especially with Pursuit users such as Tyranitar and Scizor running around.
Checks and Counters
Espeon's main counters are Tyranitar and Scizor. Tyranitar can come into basically anything with impunity and KO with Crunch if Espeon chooses to stay in, or Pursuit if it lacks Baton Pass and tries switching out. Scizor hits Espeon's lower Defense stat with a powerful U-turn, but must be wary of Espeon carrying Hidden Power Fire. Heatran is also an excellent counter as it can switch into all of Espeon's moves, fearing only the occasional Hidden Power Ground. Volcarona makes an excellent switch-in because of the fact that it has high Special Defense, tanking any move Espeon throws at it, and can promptly KO with Bug Buzz or simply set up Quiver Dance boosts.
Generally speaking, anything faster with a strong physical attack should do well against Espeon. This includes Pokemon such as Weavile, which has no problem with dispatching Espeon, and Choice Scarf Salamence, which will promptly KO Espeon with an Outrage. Although not Pokemon, Dragon Tail and Circle Throw are counters to the Baton Pass set as they are not affected by Magic Bounce, but Espeon can rid itself of that problem if it is passed an Ingrain. Haze is probably the best counter to Baton Pass Espeon, as Magic Bounce fails to reflect it and there isn't really anything Espeon can do about it.