Ludicolo is a staple of rain teams in RU mostly because of its partial Grass typing, which gives the dancing duck the ability to mow through many common bulky Water-types that usually wall rain teams. In addition, Ludicolo possesses lightning-fast Speed in rain thanks to Swift Swim, and is in general an all-around solid Pokemon. However, Ludicolo does suffer a bit from its rather unimpressive 70 / 90 attacking stats, with Swords Dance being the only option to increase its middling Attack stat.
Ludicolo has an extremely solid movepool, which allows it to hit most of the common RU Pokemon with its two STABs and clear away many common answers to rain teams. Hydro Pump and Surf are the main moves competing for Ludicolo's primary STAB option. In general, Hydro Pump should be used if power is more important, whereas Surf provides greater overall reliability. However, due to the extremely offensive oriented nature of the rain teams that Ludicolo often finds itself on, Hydro Pump is usually a superior option to Surf, as its significantly greater power allows Ludicolo to get the most out of the few turns of rain it has available.
Giga Drain is an interesting new addition to Ludicolo's (competitive) movepool this generation. Thanks to its increase in power from previous generations, it's now a superior option to Energy Ball or Grass Knot; it is only slightly weaker, but also allows Ludicolo to recover large portions of its HP. This especially helps Ludicolo against the many common priority moves in the tier. Ice Beam fits well into the third slot on this set, enabling Ludicolo to eliminate bulky Grass- and Flying-types. Finally, Rain Dance rounds off the set in order to set up a few extra turns to sweep.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Swords Dance Ludicolo is much less common than specially based Ludicolo simply due to Ludicolo's significantly higher Special Attack. However, Ludicolo has an interesting toy in the form of Swords Dance, which allows it to hit an incredible 524 Attack and lets it break through almost all of its common switch-ins.
Swords Dance is the crux of the set, powering up Ludicolo's otherwise weak base 70 Attack to sky-high levels. Waterfall and Seed Bomb, Ludicolo's main STAB moves, form the core of the set, with the former receiving a significant boost from rain. Finally, the last slot on Ludicolo's moveset is entirely up to personal preference; Ice Punch decimates Torterra, Lilligant, and other bulky Grass-types, Zen Headbutt mainly hits Qwilfish and Weezing, and Drain Punch fells Ferroseed and provides some recovery.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set takes advantage of Ludicolo's great defensive stats and few weaknesses. Ludicolo can set up on weaker support Pokemon, namely bulky Water-types, as well as resisted Choice-locked moves. This set can be used with or without rain support, but when rain is provided, Ludicolo has the potential to recover 25% of its health per turn, which counterbalances the health lost from Substitute. Toxic is used to cripple Grass-types that are immune to Leech Seed, and it also helps wear down bulkier opponents. Ludicolo's STAB Scald has a nifty 30% burn rate which could potentially cripple physical attackers, while Ice Beam hits Grass-types and most Flying-types, such as Mandibuzz, super effectively.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set focuses on Ludicolo's 4x resistance to Water-type moves, which allows it to be brought in safely against most Water-types in RU. With its above average base 90 Special Attack and access to a recovery move in form of Synthesis, it can act as a good check to Pokemon such as Omastar, Lanturn, and other Ludicolo. Ludicolo can also use Synthesis to heal recoil damage caused by Life Orb, if it is chosen as Ludicolo's item. Also, unlike the Rain Special Attacker, this Ludicolo set requires less team support, and can be used on nearly any team that struggles with the previously mentioned Water-types. Life Orb is the preferred item for this set, since it gives Ludicolo a considerable power boost, but Leftovers is also an option if the recoil damage from Life Orb is unappreciated. Giga Drain and Scald are used as Ludicolo's STAB moves; both are reliable, and the latter also has the chance to burn the opponent's Pokemon. However, Hydro Pump can be used over Scald for additional raw power, but it forfeits Scald's accuracy. Ice Beam rounds out Ludicolo's coverage, hitting the Grass- and Dragon-types that resist its STAB moves. Synthesis is used to heal Ludicolo, giving it more longevity. However, even with Synthesis to heal it, Ludicolo shouldn't be played as a defensive Pokemon, since most strong STAB moves, such as Crawdaunt's Crunch or Rotom's Thunderbolt, will still deal huge amounts of damage to it.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While it is usually seen using only its STABs and an Ice-type coverage move, Ludicolo has a surprisingly large movepool. Rain Special Attacker Ludicolo can use Focus Blast or Hidden Power Fighting in order to break down Ferroseed. Swords Dance Ludicolo also has a bunch of other options worth consideration, such as ThunderPunch and Fake Out; however, the former doesn't really provide any additional coverage, while the latter simply wastes rain turns.
Ludicolo has a few other interesting options available to it. Most notably, the more gimmicky Counter, which can be used on a lead set in conjunction with Fake Out; however, this is rather inefficient due to Team Preview. Finally, Ludicolo can pull off some defensive sets reasonably well thanks to Haze.
Checks and Counters
With it raining on the field, Ludicolo can be surprisingly difficult to counter, because despite its middling offenses, it still outspeeds everything and hits pretty hard with its STAB rain-boosted attacks. In general, however, most Pokemon with Water Absorb or those who resist Hydro Pump, and that can take a hit from Giga Drain as well, can check Ludicolo, though perhaps not very easily. For example, Poliwrath and Lanturn are both capable of switching in on anything other than Giga Drain from the Rain Special Attacker and subsequently force out or damage Ludicolo. In addition, many specially bulky Pokemon are capable of taking hits from Ludicolo. For example, Uxie and Cryogonal can take a few hits from Ludicolo, with the former paralyzing it with Thunder Wave while Cryogonal can Toxic Ludicolo or stall out the rain turns with Recover.
Swords Dance Ludicolo is a bit harder to handle. However, Tangrowth can wall it and either Sleep Powder or Power Whip the Mexican pineapple. In addition, after you've determined what coverage move Ludicolo is running, Ferroseed or Qwilfish can check it pretty easily as well, with Qwilfish being especially effective thanks to Intimidate.
Finally, Ludicolo really hates taking hits from strong priority, as its defenses are good but by no means excellent. Taking repeated hits from ExtremeSpeed and Sucker Punch from high-powered threats such as Entei and Absol will wear Ludicolo down extremely quickly.