Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Meet the fastest Water-type in NU, complete with usable offensive stats and a movepool to present itself as a threat. Having acquired Hydro Pump and resolved some move illegalities with Water Veil, most importantly that of Ice Punch, Floatzel can now combat numerous threats at once without sacrificing its effectiveness. With its access to a plethora of coverage moves, Floatzel can take on a wide variety of Pokemon by itself, blasting through them before they can move. Unfortunately, its frailty means it often loses to most neutral match-ups and bulky walls. Floatzel also faces competition from Simipour and Basculin as a fast, hard-hitting Water-type, and its awkward mix of higher physical Attack and stronger special movepool doesn't help it in that regard.
A mixed set offers the best overall combination of power and coverage against threats due to its ability to hit hard both physically and specially. Hydro Pump is Floatzel's strongest move against neutral targets, striking down Pokemon that Waterfall would fail to KO, such as Piloswine, Torkoal, and Scolipede. Ice Beam is stronger than Ice Punch against targets of equal defenses and hits Tangela, Torterra, and Exeggutor much harder; however, Ice Punch still has its uses, as it 2HKOes Roselia and +1 Calm Mind Serperior even with no investment, which Ice Beam fails to do. Crunch maims Jynx and specially bulky Psychic-types, such as Gardevoir and Grumpig, that can easily take Floatzel's other attacks. Hidden Power Grass is used for opposing Water-types that would otherwise wall Floatzel, such as Seismitoad, Wartortle, and Alomomola, whereas Low Kick dents specially defensive Pokemon such as Licklicky, Munchlax, Lapras, and Regice.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
When equipped with a Choice Band, Floatzel's Attack is boosted to very high levels. While this set looks like it suffers significant competition from the stronger Basculin, Floatzel has higher Speed and access to Switcheroo to set itself apart. Waterfall is Floatzel's main STAB and can strike down numerous targets. Ice Punch nails Grass-types and Dragon-types wanting to switch in on a resisted Waterfall and retaliate. Return is Floatzel's strongest attack against opposing Water-types and has more than enough power to take down Jynx. Floatzel's moves provide unresisted coverage bar Frillish and Shedinja, which are so rare that hitting them is irrelevant. Switcheroo, a unique move Floatzel has among Water-types, can steal the items of walls and lock them into one move, rendering them useless. This allows your set-up sweepers to set up freely, unhindered by the crippled wall's efforts to retaliate or survive. On the other hand, a Choice Band boosted Aqua Jet packs a punch and can pick off fast foes, although one must be wary about being locked into it and consider if Basculin is a better alternative for this due to its access to Adaptability.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While its frailty might indicate Bulk Up won't help Floatzel much at all, it has the tools it needs to make this work. Bulk Up not only raises Floatzel's respectable Attack, but also beefs up its Defense so that it can take physical hits better, which is important for this set to function. Baton Pass is also vital to Bulk Up Floatzel's success, allowing it to bestow its boosts to a fellow sweeper to initiate a sweep or just get away from danger without losing momentum. Waterfall is Floatzel's STAB move of choice, as it is a very reliable move. Floatzel also holds the distinction of being the only fully evolved Pokemon in NU that can Baton Pass Bulk Ups, so it can help out a variety of physical sweepers that either cannot boost for themselves or appreciate the Defense boost to prolong their rampage. Floatzel also has access to Taunt, which is incredibly useful to prevent status, phazing, healing, or opposing setup sweepers. The main selling point of Taunt is how it turns the tables on bulky Water-types that would severely wall Floatzel otherwise, notably defensive Seismitoad with Scald, Earthquake, and Toxic, meaning Bulk Up Floatzel can actually lure in opponents for it to set up on. Other Pokemon such as Wartortle, Alomomola, Misdreavus, and Torkoal are easy targets to start setting up Bulk Up on and pass the boosts. Note that Floatzel can take a good deal of damage from the likes of Scolipede's Megahorn even with Bulk Up boosts, which is usually your cue to pass the boost to a teammate that can handle the threat better.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Me First is situationally useful for reflecting back certain moves of slower opponents, occasionally outdamaging Floatzel's own attacks, but is useless against moves its counters use and fails against faster opponents and attacks. Focus Blast is an option, but most of its targets are specially defensive or are hit harder by Hydro Pump anyway, limiting its usefulness. Aqua Tail can be used over Waterfall anywhere it is mentioned, but trading flinching and accuracy just for 10 increased Base Power is generally not worth it, especially when Floatzel can easily make use of the flinch chance with its good Speed. Pursuit can be used to trap Pokemon such as Jynx, but Sneasel does this better due to STAB and resisting its targets' STABs. Rain Dance can be used to power up Floatzel's STAB while doubling its Speed, but Floatzel doesn't have the bulk to set up rain for itself and must rely on teammates for the job. Agility should hardly be considered, as it is usually outclassed by Rain Dance and Swift Swim, and Ninjask is a better Pokemon for Baton Passing Speed boosts. Floatzel has the movepool to try a specially offensive set, but that is outclassed by Simipour, which has access to a greater Special Attack, better coverage, and Nasty Plot. Aqua Ring is a possible option on the Baton Pass set, but Floatzel usually prefers Taunt or extra coverage in that last moveslot. Flame Orb and Switcheroo is a gimmick, as it only burns once and at the end of the turn to boot, meaning Floatzel isn't taking weakened damage on the turn it Switcheroos.
Checks and Counters
Floatzel mostly relies on quick clean KOs or a setup opportunity in Bulk Up's case. Water-types with strong neutral or super effective moves, such as Ludicolo, Samurott, and Earth Power Seismitoad, generally make for the best counters, provided they can take Floatzel's other attacks well. Be warned that the same defensive Water-types that wall offensive Floatzel to hell and back, such as Alomomola, Earthquake Seismitoad, Frillish, and Wartortle, risk being turned into setup fodder for Bulk Up Floatzel. Grass- and Electric-types can easily dispatch Floatzel, but all Grass-types are slower than Floatzel, whereas only two Electric-type (Zebstrika and Electrode) outspeed Floatzel. Grass-types with more balanced defenses that can tank Ice-type attacks, such as Meganium, Ludicolo, and Cradily, are considerably better answers than Tangela and Roselia, who fear Ice Beam and Ice Punch, respectively. All other Electric-types bar Zebstrika and Electrode usually have to take at least one unresisted hit (which they usually can if at high health) before KOing Floatzel or utilize Choice Scarf to outspeed it, making them more of checks than counters. Eviolite Electabuzz can take a strong hit relatively well and OHKO back with Thunderbolt.
Bulk Up sets are a bit trickier to stop as their incredible Speed means stopping them with Taunt, status, or a KO before Baton Pass is difficult. However, simply weakening Floatzel to the point where it can no longer set up can be considered sufficient. Choice Scarf users can threaten Floatzel with powerful neutral STAB or coverage moves, and priority can greatly whittle Floatzel down, do note that Bulk Up Floatzel is harder to take down this way. Floatzel cannot be burned thanks to Water Veil, but absolutely despises paralysis from Pokemon such as Thunder Wave Musharna and Liepard, and Body Slam Lickilicky, which neuters its greatest advantage in Speed and makes it dead weight.