Heracross

Swarm
Boosts power of Bug-type moves by 50% when at 1/3 HP or less.
Guts
Attack is increased by 50% when afflicted with status.
Moxie
Boosts Attack by one stage if the wielder knocks out another Pokemon.
Type Tier
Bug / Fighting UU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
80
- 301 364 -
Atk
125
257 286 349 383
Def
75
167 186 249 273
SpA
40
104 116 179 196
SpD
95
203 226 289 317
Spe
85
185 206 269 295

Overview

Heracross was always a potent offensive Pokemon; high base Attack combined with helpful typing and access to two ridiculously powerful STAB moves has always made Heracross hard to handle. It also has access to Guts, which is still one of the best abilities for an offensively orientated Pokemon, as it makes Heracross virtually immune to any sort of status. BW2, however, granted Heracross another great ability, Moxie. With a couple of boosts under its belt, even fewer foes will be able to stand against its powerful attacks. However, Heracross's low Speed is its downfall, and the main reason for its low usage. In addition, BW2 also introduced several new threats that give Heracross a hard time, such as the new Therian formes. You'll have to keep all these factors in mind in order to make Heracross to shine; however, it isn't too hard to work with. Just let me give you a tip for your journey: Don't bug this Bug.

Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Moxie / Guts Jolly / Adamant
Moveset EVs
~ Close Combat
~ Megahorn
~ Stone Edge
~ Sleep Talk / Night Slash
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

This is one of the best, if not the best, way to use Heracross. A Choice Scarf bypasses its Speed issues by granting it a one-stage boost off the bat. Close Combat and Megahorn are the main attacking options. After factoring in the immense 120 Base Power of both moves, as well as boosts from STAB and possibly Guts, even Pokemon that resist them will think twice about switching in. For instance, the former move 2HKOes even 252/252+ Skarmory.

Stone Edge is virtually mandatory on any Heracross set, as it deals with most opponents that resist both Heracross's STABs, especially Flying-types. In the last slot, both Sleep Talk and Night Slash are viable to help Heracross to cover certain threats; your choice should depend on what your team needs. Sleep Talk enables Heracross to absorb Spore from the likes of Breloom and Amoonguss, whereas Night Slash deals with any Jellicent that dare stand in Heracross's way.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

All-Out Attacker

Flame Orb Guts Adamant / Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Close Combat
~ Megahorn
~ Stone Edge / Night Slash
~ Facade
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe

In contrast to the Choice Scarf Set, this one forgoes longevity to deal as much damage as possible within a short time. Close Combat, Megahorn and Stone Edge are Heracross's main attacking options, and give it two immensely strong STAB moves along with the best possible coverage move. If your team can take out Flying-types easily, Night Slash gives opposing Jellicent a far harder time against this set, as it easily 2HKOes even the physically bulkiest variants after Leftovers and Stealth Rock. Facade is yet another coverage move; in addition to being reliable, it can potentially 2HKO Gliscor.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Band

Choice Band Guts Adamant
Moveset EVs
~ Close Combat
~ Megahorn
~ Stone Edge
~ Sleep Talk / Pursuit
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

This is probably Heracross's most fearsome set. In addition to an Adamant nature and Guts ability, this set dons a Choice Band to pump its already massive power to absurd levels. With both solid Base Power and good coverage, Close Combat devastates anything in sight, and with Megahorn and Stone Edge for coverage, there's almost no Pokemon in OU able to avoid the 2HKO from this set—except perhaps Gliscor, who is 3HKOed by any move. With Sleep Talk, Heracross gains the ability to absorb Spore for the team. It can easily take out Breloom with either of its STAB moves, and also OHKO 252/40 Amoonguss with Megahorn. Alternatively, a Guts-boosted Pursuit will OHKO 252/252+ Jellicent 70% of the time from full HP, and always OHKO it after Stealth Rock and Leftovers.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Substitute + 3 Attacks

Leftovers Moxie Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Close Combat
~ Megahorn
~ Stone Edge
252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe

This set functions entirely differently to all Heracross's other sets. Instead of relying on absurd power or the aid of Choice Scarf, this one tries to sweep with the help of Substitute. The plan is simple: switch into a resisted attack, set up a Substitute and start attacking.

Substitute works well with Moxie in two ways: firstly, as Substitute protects Heracross from status, Moxie is preferred to Guts for more power. Secondly, Substitute reduces the need for prediction and allows Heracross to simply hit hard from behind its Substitute, hopefully get one or two early Moxie boosts, and pull off a sweep. The classic attacks—namely Close Combat, Megahorn, and Stone Edge—deal with the majority of the current OU metagame, as always.

This set has just one objective: to get a Moxie boost as soon as possible. It trades Speed and raw power for a safety cushion against attacks and the ability to freely choose between its moves. If it fails to earn one or two boosts quickly, however, it'll have huge problems making an impact in battle.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Heracross has access to some other interesting options. For instance, Swords Dance is a great setup move that can give it a nice power boost, and turns many 3HKOs into 2HKOs and some 2HKOs into potential OHKOs. A mono-attacking Bulk Up + RestTalk set can be used; however, not many attacking options are viable on such a set. With STAB and no negative side effects, Megahorn the only worthwhile option, despite its terrible accuracy. Heracross can use a Salac Berry in conjunction with Substitute or Endure for a 200 Base Power Reversal. If using Substitute, make sure to run no HP investment for a stat of 301 HP and a full-powered Reversal after four Substitutes. This is largely just a gimmick in OU though, as the prevalence of residual damage and priority don't do Heracross any favors.

In terms of offensive options, Heracross has access to a nice number of alternatives. Low Kick and Brick Break are decent Fighting STAB moves; the former has generally high power in OU, while the latter helps Heracross to break through dual screeners. Furthermore, neither inflicts the defense drops that come with Close Combat. However, the pure power that Close Combat offers is usually worth its drawback. Earthquake is a great coverage move that helps to break through Jirachi and Metagross, who might otherwise be troublesome. Rock Slide is an option over Stone Edge, that trades power for accuracy; the Choice Scarf set might even be able to take advantage of its small flinch chance. Bulldoze is a neat move that drops the opponent's Speed stat, but Flying-types and Levitate users are immune to it, so it's not as usable as Low Sweep—which Heracross doesn't receive—would have been. Heracross has access to Return and Retaliate, two other Normal-type moves, but they're mostly inferior to Facade.

Checks and Counters

Heracross absolutely hates Flying-types. In particular, Gliscor and Skarmory can trouble it if it is Choice-locked into the wrong move. In addition to a handy Flying typing, Landorus-T even has Intimidate to survive multiple hits. Physically defensive Forretress has a good chance to survive the 2HKO from Close Combat, and can seize the opportunity to set up hazards, deal a lot of damage with Gyro Ball, or gain momentum with Volt Switch. Jellicent is problematic for variants that lack Night Slash as it can shrug off Heracross's STAB moves and capitalize on Stone Edge's shaky accuracy. While Choice Scarf and Substitute sets can afford a 3HKO at best, Choice Band reliably 2HKOes with Pursuit, while the All-Out Attacker is able to 2HKO with Stone Edge when a Life Orb attached; else it can 3HKO at best.

Good checks for Heracross, on the other hand, include anything that can outspeed it—which is at least half of the current OU metagame—or that have access to a priority move not named Mach Punch or Vacuum Wave. Examples of such Pokemon are Jirachi, Scizor, Landorus-T, Tornadus, Volcarona, and even Tentacruel.