Some might underestimate Lampent due to its NFE status and mediocre stats in general, but it actually has a lot of redeeming aspects that allow it to work exceptionally as a bulky pivot, both on offensive and defensive teams. With Eviolite, it has good enough bulk to take several neutral attacks, giving it opportunities to use support moves such as Trick Room, Memento, and Will-O-Wisp to aid its teammates. Meanwhile, its Special Attack stat is still high enough to threaten offensive Pokemon that may try and set up on it, and to let it finish off opponents with ease. Lampent's unique typing and Flash Fire accentuate both of these aspects, as it packs immunities to the common Normal-, Fighting-, and Fire-type attacks thrown around in NU, allowing it to easily set up a Substitute. With just its STAB moves alone it hits the entire tier at least neutrally besides Thick Fat Miltank. Although Lampent is admittedly vulnerable to Stealth Rock, and can be forced out easily due to its numerous weaknesses, its ability to provide team support while maintaining offensive momentum makes it one of the better bulky Fire-types in the tier. Don't just add Lampent to any team and expect it to work well; take the time to build a defensive core around it and provide it with the support it needs, and Lampent can become invaluable.
There are a lot of top threats that Lampent can easily take advantage of. For instance, Lampent can easily set up Substitute on Gurdurr, and Combusken. Defensively, a Fire / Ghost typing has plenty of useful resistances and immunities, such as resistances to Grass-, Fire-, and Ice-type attacks and immunities to Normal- and Fighting-type attacks. Offensively, the typing provides virtually unresisted STAB coverage in NU save for Thick Fat Miltank. It's not that hard for Lampent to set up a Substitute. After Lampent uses Substitute, it can hit the opposing Pokemon hard with either Fire Blast or Shadow Ball, or recover health with Pain Split. Despite its base 95 Special Attack, STAB Fire Blast will still do a lot of damage.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Lampent has access to Trick Room, and is an exceptional user of it due to its ability to switch into certain opponents and set up with impunity. For example, Choice Band Sawk, some of the most powerful offensive threats in the metagame, are stopped cold when Lampent switches into their STAB attacks, letting it set up Trick Room for free. From this position, it can either attack non-threatening opponents with its powerful dual STABs, outright killing many offensive Pokemon with a Flash Fire-boosted Fire Blast, or switch to a teammate that can abuse the effects of Trick Room more effectively, depending on the situation. If desired, Lampent can use Memento to facilitate this, and give a niche Trick Room sweeper such as Rampardos, Marowak, or Clamperl the opportunity it needs to set up and wreak destruction. Thanks to its above-average bulk, even without full investment, it can take most powerful neutral attacks and super effective Hidden Powers with ease, giving it the opportunity it needs to exert its control over the battlefield.
Fire Blast is picked as the primary STAB option as its excellent Base Power combined with Lampent's base 95 Special Attack stat, coupled with a possible Flash Fire boost, makes it extraordinarily powerful even without a boosting item. Combined with its dismal base 55 Speed stat and the effects of Trick Room, it can outright sweep offensive teams that lack a Pokemon resisting Fire-type moves. Shadow Ball provides Lampent with excellent secondary STAB, giving it exceptional neutral coverage while also dealing with the many bulky Psychic-types in the tier, such as Gardevoir, which could otherwise take its attacks with ease. Memento is a good option for the last moveslot, as it allows Lampent to cripple opponents for other teammates to set up on, while also allowing them to make the most of the Trick Room support it provides. However, if you don't fancy this, Energy Ball is also a good option for its ability to hit bulky Water-types, such as Alomomola, as well as Rock-types, especially Regirock, for more damage than Shadow Ball.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Lampent can function as a good Trick Room supporter, it can also make an excellent defensive Fire-type on regular teams that desire it for its typing, bulk, and ability to block Rapid Spin, but don't need the Speed-reversing effects of Trick Room. Furthermore, this set provides Lampent with more moveslots to fill with support moves, making it a more versatile defensive Pokemon overall. Although its defensive stats are equal, a specially defensive set is often more useful as by virtue of its typing, Lampent deals more effectively with common special attackers, such as Charizard and Eelektross, while physical attackers will more often pack a coverage move that hits it super effectively.
Flamethrower and Shadow Ball allow Lampent to deal consistent damage to most opponents and make the most of its dual STABs. Will-O-Wisp is especially useful on this set as it patches up Lampent's weaker Defense stat by neutering any physical attacker that attempts to switch in, letting Lampent last for longer. Taunt is still useful as it prevents opponents such as Misdreavus from using Lampent as setup bait, but is less effective than on the Trick Room set as it lacks the Speed to outpace most other Pokemon, and thus can't be used to block status as effectively. Pain Split is used in the last moveslot as it provides a semi-reliable method of recovery, significantly improving Lampent's longevity over the course of a match. Overall, the extra options available to Lampent on this set allow it function as a more self-sufficient defensive Pokemon, providing burn support for teammates while also keeping itself healthy throughout the match. Although it can be argued that Misdreavus is more effective at using this set due to its superior special bulk, Lampent's unique typing, Flash Fire, STAB Fire attacks, and higher Special Attack stat still make it worth considering. So long as you treat it as more of a Fire-type than a Ghost-type, you will not be disappointed.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
One of Lampent's least commonly seen sets is a physically defensive Calm Mind set, using the moves Substitute / Calm Mind / Pain Split / Fire Blast. Lampent's bulk lies in its EVs, and thus a physically defensive spread actually gives it significant bulk that lets it take even super effective attacks, such as Choice Band Sawk's Stone Edge, and survive. As it comes in on the likes of Choice Scarf Sawk locked into Close Combat, it can set up a Substitute, use Calm Mind to bolster its lower Special Defense, and keep setting up until it can destroy opponents with a boosted Fire Blast, while using Pain Split and Toxic Spikes support to deal with Flash Fire users. However, this set is extremely difficult to pull off due to Lampent's low Speed stat and plethora of weaknesses, so it's not for the faint of heart.
Lampent also gets lots of supplementary support moves that can be fit into the above sets if you want. Toxic gives it a way of weakening opposing stall teams, but given Lampent's extensive movepool, another Pokemon should use Toxic and let Lampent use Will-O-Wisp instead. Acid Armor can be used on the specially defensive set to directly bolster Lampent's Defense stat, but isn't generally useful as it is forced in and out of combat a lot, removing the effects of Acid Armor. Sunny Day can also be put to good use, possibly over Trick Room on the Trick Room set; this gives Lampent's Fire Blasts more kick, in addition to reducing its Water-type weakness. However, Lampent is then forced to choose between Eviolite and Heat Rock as its item; removing the former reduces Lampent's bulk significantly, while removing the latter limits its potential as a team supporter.
Lampent can also choose to use its alternate ability, Flame Body, to stack up passive burns against the physical attackers that can prey on its weaknesses. However, this isn't particularly effective as the most threatening physical moves, Earthquake and Stone Edge, do not trigger burns. In addition, Lampent really appreciates using Flash Fire both to increase its switch-in opportunities and to bolster the power of its Fire Blasts, so Flame Body is an overall inferior option. In terms of attacking options, Overheat can be used over Fire Blast on any of the sets as Lampent does tend to switch a lot anyway, but this decision could ultimately hurt you in late-game situations where you are relying on Lampent's tanking ability. Psychic can be used to hit Fighting-types harder than Flamethrower and Shadow Ball, but as Fire Blast hits them all as hard as Psychic, it's generally not worth using over another option. Hidden Power Ice can be used to hit Altaria, but that's all it does.
Checks and Counters
Although Lampent is highly effective in its specific roles, its many weaknesses unfortunately mean it can be forced out easily. It's hit super effectively by Water-, Ground-, Rock-, Ghost-, and Dark-type attacks, meaning that offensive threats such as Haunter, Skuntank and Gorebyss can muscle through it if Trick Room hasn't been set up. While Lampent can deal somewhat effectively with them through smart play, such as using Will-O-Wisp on Skuntank as it Sucker Punches, and using Trick Room + Energy Ball to OHKO Gorebyss as it uses Shell Smash, smart opponents will be able to predict around it. As Lampent doesn't often run Defense EVs, powerful physical attackers can break through it with neutral attacks. Swellow is a particularly good response as it can switch into Shadow Ball and Will-O-Wisp with no repercussions and force Lampent out with Brave Bird. Thick Fat Miltank is the ultimate defensive check, as it takes Lampent's STAB attacks with ease and can set up Stealth Rock before Lampent can Taunt it. Fast Taunt users in general are a good response as they prevent Lampent from supporting the rest of its team with Trick Room, Memento, or Will-O-Wisp, but they must be wary of a powerful Fire Blast.
Lampent gets the almost exclusive Shadow Tag ability from the Dream World, and is one of its best abusers. With it, the rarely seen Calm Mind set becomes its coup de grace, as Lampent will be able to come in on attackers locked into Normal- and Fighting-type attacks and set up as much as it wants with Substitute, Calm Mind, Acid Armor, or even Flame Charge, before sweeping opponents with +6 offenses and defenses. When it is released, Shadow Tag Lampent will significantly change the metagame around it, forcing opponents such as Sawk and Combusken to adapt to survive. That is, if it isn't outright banned from NU.