Gothitelle has become a hundred times more useful since the introduction of his newest and most prized ability, Shadow Tag, but at the horrifying expense of femininity—in a bizarre twist of fate, the only legal Shadow Tag Gothitelle are male. His modest base stats, apart from a high Special Defense, might indicate that he isn't exactly cut out for using Shadow Tag effectively; however, he still has just enough to fulfill a trapping role.
Gothitelle is arguably the most versatile and flexible of the available trappers in OU. Unlike Dugtrio and Magnezone, Gothitelle isn't limited to trapping a certain group of threats; moreover, his decent movepool far surpasses the eight moves available to the only other viable Shadow Tag user: Wobbuffet. Additionally, Gothitelle's attacking movepool enables him to hit a wider range of threats super effectively, making him a more flexible fit on any team. Unfortunately, being a bad Psychic-type with a good ability, Gothitelle is also cursed with crippling downfalls. Pure Psychic typing does not really do him favors offensively or defensively, while his average stats still threaten to slow his team's momentum down. Despite these downfalls, Gothitelle is the one thing that can make sure his fellow sweepers wreak havoc without a hitch. After all, this funny concept of a Pokemon was banned from UU for a reason.
This set takes full advantage of Shadow Tag, as Choice Specs boosts Gothitelle's attacking power just to KO or significantly damage nearly any threat he comes across. The battle plan is simple; Gothitelle should switch into any potential threat to his team and use the appropriate move to quickly discard or cripple the intended target. Ideally, Gothitelle should have been able to eliminate or weaken any threat necessary before fainting so his teammates are able to clean up or sweep with little problems afterward.
The first slot is reserved for Gothitelle's chosen STAB move. Psychic is the preferred out of the two due to its higher base power and ability to hit physical walls hard without other coverage moves. Psyshock, on the other hand, enables Gothitelle to take down many specially defensive threats, such as Blissey, Terrakion in Sandstorm, and Virizion, without faltering or using Trick too early. However, its benefit only really applies to offensive threats similar to Terrakion and Virizion, since Gothitelle can simply use Trick to cripple walls like Blissey. Thunderbolt grants decent coverage with Psychic-type STAB and provides a reliable way to dispose of Water-types and Skarmory.
Finally, the third attacking move depends on the specific targets Gothitelle's team needs eliminated. Hidden Power Ice removes Gliscor, as well as other Ground- or Flying-type walls, and provides good coverage alongside Thunderbolt. Hidden Power Fire hurts Scizor and Ferrothorn amongst other Steel-types, though keep in mind that Gothitelle isn't necessarily a good switch-in or answer to either of them. If you need Gothitelle to handle Celebi, which can trouble rain teams and take other attacks with ease, as well as other Psychic- or Dark-types, use Signal Beam instead.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
In exchange for some power and the ability to cripple defensive Pokemon by tricking a Choice item onto them, this set grants Gothitelle the freedom to switch attacks and maintain momentum without locking himself into a single move. Gothitelle can therefore be played less cautiously and can often handle more than one threat before fainting. As usual, the Psychic-type STAB move of choice depends on preference and team support. Psyshock is the preferred move this time, as it has a better chance of OHKOing Tentacruel and Terrakion in sandstorm. With Life Orb and a Modest nature, it also guarantees a 2HKO on 0/252 Blissey with a little prior damage. Psychic is certainly useful against some physically defensive targets however, especially Gliscor and Landorus-T if Gothitelle isn't running Hidden Power Ice. Thunderbolt is needed for Skarmory and hits Politoed harder, whereas Grass Knot gives Gothitelle a chance to OHKO Hippowdon and to dent Tyranitar before fainting. As usual, Hidden Power Fire is reserved especially for Ferrothorn, Forretress, and Scizor, while Hidden Power Ice decimates Gliscor and Landorus-T.
With the absence of Trick, Gothitelle has the option of either maximizing his coverage or crippling faster offensive Pokemon. Signal Beam mainly hits Celebi, OHKOing the specially defensive variant with Expert Belt and two Stealth Rock switch-ins while handling other sets quite decently. If you find Signal Beam unnecessary, Thunder Wave is another option that cripples fast offensive threats, mainly ones that carelessly switch in after Gothitelle has eliminated an opposing Pokemon. Gothitelle can also switch into and trap any threat you like and paralyze it at any time in the match, giving him great offensive utility.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Wielding a Choice Scarf not only makes Gothitelle even more fashionably fabulous, but it also allows him to be a faster, and arguably more offensively efficient, trapper. Much like Choice Scarf Tyranitar and Scizor, this Gothitelle can trap and revenge kill most threats needed without taking unnecessary damage from faster and more powerful foes. The icing on the cake is Trick, which, in combination with Shadow Tag and Choice Scarf, can instantly turn most defensive Pokemon into liabilities for the opposing team. Keep in mind, however, that Gothitelle's average Special Attack and Speed limits this set a bit, and is thus restricted to attacking most unboosted threats not holding a Choice Scarf of their own, which covers anything as fast as base 120 Speed Pokemon and slower.
Because this set lacks the power of the Choice Specs set, one might find Psyshock more beneficial than Psychic overall, as Psyshock is Gothitelle's strongest option against Tentacruel, Terrakion in sandstorm, Calm Mind Keldeo, and Virizion. Even against physical walls such as Gliscor and Hippowdon, Psychic lacks the power to even 2HKO, but it can still be used for the minor increase in power. Thunderbolt is more valuable than ever, enabling Gothitelle to revenge kill Tornadus and Starmie effortlessly among other faster Water- or Flying-types. The third attack again depends on which threats Gothitelle must hit. Hidden Power Ice is more useful on this set, as it grants neutral coverage in addition to fast and easy KOs against the likes of Gliscor, both Landorus formes, unboosted Dragonite, and unboosted Salamence. If Forretress, Scizor, and Ferrothorn prove to be troublesome, Gothitelle can use Hidden Power Fire at the cost of coverage and a perfect Speed IV.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Gothitelle's disappointingly low Speed, lack of recovery, and pure Psychic typing might make him seem like an unviable Calm Mind user in OU. However, as with all sets, the main reason to use Calm Mind Gothitelle is because of his ability to trap and dispatch any foe you find necessary. Unlike other Calm Mind users, Gothitelle can set up a large amount of boosts with impunity without fear of being unexpectedly Tricked or being forced to switch out—problems that other defensive Calm Mind users detest. Gothitelle can therefore freely set up on and discard either defensive or Choice-locked threats, then proceed on to a possible sweep.
Psyshock is a required move on this set due to Gothitelle's tendency to struggle in Calm Mind wars otherwise. Without it, Gothitelle is liable to one-on-one losses against Calm Mind Latias, Jirachi, and Reuniclus. Although Rest may seem unconventional on a Pokemon lacking Sleep Talk, this is Gothitelle's only method of recovering from damage and status. Gothitelle need not worry about being inactive for a couple of turns, as he can be selective in which Pokemon he sets up on, and acquire enough boosts to withstand their attacks.
The last slot depends on which targets Gothitelle needs to hit or set up on specifically. Hidden Power Fighting is a primary option as it hits Tyranitar and other Dark-types, which can otherwise end Gothitelle with powerful super effective STAB moves. It also deals a decent amount of damage to most Steel-types, hitting them for at least neutral damage; although, it cannot OHKO Skarmory, Scizor, or Ferrothorn without several boosts coupled with prior damage. If such threats are of a greater concern, Hidden Power Fire rids of them instantly, though this in turn leaves Gothitelle walled by Heatran and Tyranitar. Finally, Reflect is an option over an attacking move as it helps Gothitelle potentially survive the opponent's attempts at dispatching it with powerful physical moves. However, this comes at the price of coverage, leaving Gothitelle unable to bypass Dark-types completely, in addition to some of the bulkier Steel-types.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Like many other Psychic-type Pokemon, Gothitelle has a very colorful and extensive movepool, but the sets listed above are the best bets for being useful for his team. Support roles are relatively limited due to Gothitelle's lack of reliable recovery and exploitable pure Psychic typing. Despite these drawbacks, Gothitelle still has the potential to trap and debilitate key parts of the opposing team, with options such as Thunder Wave, Tickle, Charm, Flash, Fake Tears, Taunt, and Trick in his repertoire. Perhaps the best support set Gothitelle can manage is a dual screens set, consisting of Reflect, Light Screen, and two filler moves (preferably two of Heal Bell, Thunder Wave, Psychic, and Taunt). Dual screen support, however, is typically utilized on offensive teams; thus, faster dual screen users are generally more beneficial to maintain as much offensive momentum as possible. Gothitelle, while having an advantage in Shadow Tag, can often be beaten down by faster attackers or Taunt users.
Gothitelle can also use an odd combination of Taunt, Torment, Protect, and Substitute to shut down either dedicated defensive threats or Choiced attackers. The idea behind this set is to trap these targets, then force them to Struggle themselves to death by using Taunt and Torment. Every other couple of turns, Gothitelle must use Protect or Substitute to avoid the threat's main attacking move. Such a strategy, however, is overspecialized. In short, defensive threats must have no more than one attacking move in order for the strategy to succeed, and the set itself is a liability against offensive Pokemon—no less offensive teams—in general.
As for other attacking options, the best Gothitelle can do is use Fake Tears in order to dispatch the opponent more quickly than it could with Calm Mind. The ChestoRest combination allows Gothitelle to set up or attack more comfortably in the face of continuous damage and status, rather than stay inactive for two turns thanks to Rest.
Checks and Counters
So you want to counter Gothitelle? First of all, get your priorities straight.
In order to actually "counter" something by definition, a Pokemon must be able to switch in safely. Thanks to Shadow Tag, this is pretty much impossible without the use of a switching move or the rare Shed Shell. Even then, good players can choose to simply avoid—if not straight-out destroy—threats using such tactics, and Shed Shell itself is relatively nonexistent save for several Steel-types. Nonetheless, Gothitelle's weakness to U-turn is hard to ignore. Even a non-STAB U-turn will deal a decent amount of damage to him, and because a different Pokemon will switch in the process, Gothitelle will have to adapt heavily depending on the situation. Scizor is particularly dangerous in this respect, since it boasts a powerful STAB U-Turn, in addition to Pursuit, that could fatally KO provided Gothitelle lacks Hidden Power Fire, proper Speed investment, or some Calm Mind boosts. Volt Switch and Baton Pass users can also switch out safely to a reliable check or counter.
As far as defensive countermeasures are concerned, Gothitelle has a hard time powering through threats without appropriate coverage moves or Special Attack boosts. For instance, without Hidden Power Fighting, he generally struggles against Heatran and Dark-types, especially Tyranitar and Hydreigon. Without Hidden Power Fire, he can't KO Ferrothorn, Scizor, Forretress, and Skarmory without being damaged, statused, or phazed out in the process. Among most special walls, Latias and Celebi can also take most attacks comfortably save Signal Beam or, in Celebi's case, a boosted Hidden Power Fire. Other walls can also be crippled by obtaining a Choice item via Trick. Generally speaking, Gothitelle's lack of good resistances and recovery make him easy to batter around with entry hazards and attacks. Gothitelle can be taken down with continual pressure, and because he is played as a support Pokemon, players often do not need to pack dedicated checks and counters to fend him off.