Murkrow: a Pokemon, a teammate, a legend. Perhaps the most versatile Pokemon in all of LC, Murkrow's niche is to fill all niches. Besides boasting some of the highest mixed attacking stats in all of Little Cup (85 in both Attack and Special Attack), it has complementary offensive dual STABs—Flying and Dark—which are backed up by a fantastic offensive movepool, including Brave Bird, Sucker Punch, Heat Wave, Icy Wind, and Drill Peck. It also hits the illustrious Speed stat of 19, guaranteeing it a Speed tie with Misdreavus and Staryu, as well as the ability to outspeed all common users of Shell Smash when it dons a Choice Scarf. As if these traits were not enough, the Dream World bestowed Prankster upon it, which allows it to obtain priority Substitute, Roost, and a wealth of other options.
Perhaps the only factor wanting in Murkrow's overall arsenal is its unimpressive 60 / 42 / 42 defenses. Thankfully, Murkrow has FeatherDance and Calm Mind to hinder the opponent or boost itself. Unfortunately, Murkrow is not a Pokemon that works on just any team. The bird of prey itself falls prey to many common Choice Scarf users, including Chinchou and Shellder, and has to rely on annoying Speed ties in order to deal with other 19 Speed Pokemon. Residual damage also wears it down quickly, meaning it has to commonly use Roost—sometimes this is handy, other times a burden. Unless your team is able to handle Murkrow's few weaknesses, do not think its power will be yours to exploit.
Although this version of Murkrow lacks the coverage provided by MixKrow, it can still serve as a late-game cleaner with its dual STABs. Substitute allows Murkrow to beat walls that try to use Toxic on it, and in conjunction with Roost, also lets it stall out Pokemon who are incapable of breaking its Substitutes. Roost—with the help of the priority granted by Prankster—also allows Murkrow to take advantage of Magnemite and Chinchou using Volt Switch by Roosting as they attack to make them hit Murkrow for only neutral damage as they switch out. Although Roosting creates a weakness to Bug- and Fighting-type moves for Murkrow, this is inconsequential, as Murkrow can take out Bug- and Fighting-types with its STAB Flying-type move of choice. Brave Bird is the preferred option for this, as Murkrow can Roost away the recoil if it gets the chance to, but Drill Peck still hits hard enough in most situations.
Sucker Punch works fantastically in conjunction with Substitute. Notably, Pokemon such as Slowpoke and Bronzor will be forced to attack Murkrow when it is behind a Substitute, allowing Murkrow a free hit on them. The combination of the two also enables Murkrow to handle Choice Scarf users with ease if it uses Substitute as they switch in, as it will have basically a free 2HKO provided they do not resist Sucker Punch. Sucker Punch also allows Murkrow to act as a check to Clamperl and other Shell Smash users as well as Misdreavus, provided none of these Pokemon are running Substitute or priority. Unfortunately, Murkrow is not able to handle Ice Shard Shellder and Snover, as they will outspeed Murkrow if they have Choice Scarfs.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Whereas many players expect defensive Murkrow or support Murkrow, this set beats many of its usual counters before the enemy has a chance to react. Brave Bird's sheer power makes it the preferable option for primary STAB; however, Murkrow's longevity is greatly hampered by its constant recoil. Using Drill Peck instead gives Murkrow a powerful STAB move with no repercussions that still hits Mienfoo, Croagunk, Timburr, and the many other Fighting-types in Little Cup for super effective damage. MixKrow excels due to the fact that most things that can weather a Drill Peck or Brave Bird do not enjoy being roasted by Heat Wave. Bronzor, Magnemite, and Ferroseed, three common switch-ins, will be quickly incinerated, paving the way for multiple other Pokemon, or perhaps even Murkrow itself, to sweep. Sucker Punch prevents frail Choice Scarf users, including weakened Chinchou and Snover, from picking off Murkrow prematurely.
The final move is more of a filler slot. Hidden Power Grass allows Murkrow to hit Chinchou and Tirtouga for super effective damage, which is especially important when facing defensive variants. Dark Pulse allows Murkrow to possess a method of dealing with bulkier, physically defensive walls such as Slowpoke. Dark Pulse also serves as a safer STAB move that Murkrow can use along the more self-damaging Brave Bird.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Murkrow's blistering Speed may make it seem like an odd candidate for a Choice Scarf set, but in reality, it can act as a useful safeguard against set up sweepers. Murkrow's Speed stat of 18 without a boosting nature makes the jump to 27 with a Choice Scarf, which outspeeds all Shell Smash users not named Dwebble and Scraggy after a Dragon Dance. Brave Bird is preferred due to its massive damage output off of Murkrow's 19 Attack, but if there is no Rapid Spin user on the team and recoil is causing you worries, Drill Peck can be used instead. After all, either move will be able to take out Clamperl and Scraggy.
This set appears very similar to MixKrow, which is part of what makes it so deadly. Hidden Power Grass pummels Chinchou, who is otherwise one of the most solid Murkrow switch-ins. Dark Pulse can be used instead as a Dark-type STAB that isn't contingent on your opponent attacking if opposing Chinchou do not worry you. Sucker Punch is still useful, even on a Choice Scarf set, as it gains STAB and gets around Ice Shard Shellder and Snover even if they don Choice Scarfs of their own. Heat Wave is helpful early-game, when Bronzor and Ferroseed may try to switch in. It is also notable for possibly allowing Murkrow to net an early kill against Choice Scarf Magnemite, who may switch in early thinking it can outspeed and KO.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Although parafusion is oft considered a gimmicky strategy, if there's anyone who can run it, it's Murkrow. Prankster means Murkrow can paralyze even Choice Scarf Pokemon—with the exception of Chinchou—before they have the chance to attack. This means this set can come as a nasty surprise to Murkrow's typical counters, as they will have a hard time even getting the chance to attack.
Roost allows Murkrow to ditch its weaknesses to Ice- and Electric-type attacks, which means even if the opponent does manage to land a hit (the odds are against them), they will likely not KO if Murkrow is Roosting. This effect is multiplied when used alongside Drill Peck or Brave Bird, since although Roosting will make Murkrow susceptible to Fighting- and Bug-type moves, most users of these attacks, such as Mienfoo and Shelmet, are decimated by Drill Peck.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Taunt could be used on pretty much any set with Prankster, as it will allow Murkrow to function as an effective anti-lead. This can be useful for Pokemon such as Larvesta, who hate entry hazards on their side of the field. Murkrow also has the option to use a set consisting of Mean Look and Perish Song, which, provided it can survive a few hits from the opponent, allows it to net a cheap kill or two. Foul Play and Pluck are gimmicky moves with interesting side effects, the former based off of the opponent's Attack and the latter stealing the opponent's Oran Berry, but both are too unreliable to be consistently useful. If hitting 19 Speed is not a concern for some reason, Adamant can be used on all sets except mixed sets; these sets should use Lonely or Naughty natures. Heat Wave and Icy Wind are unfortunately illegal with Prankster. For this reason, you will have to decide between Insomnia and Super Luck. Neither is extremely useful, but they each have their own niche. Insomnia allows Murkrow to function better against sleep inducers such as Foongus and Shroomish, but neither will be able to do much to Murkrow in the first place. Super Luck doubles Murkrow's critical hit ratio; if it activates at the right time, it can turn the tide of a battle.
Checks and Counters
Bronzor walls all Murkrow without Heat Wave, and can even take some hits from Heat Wave with some investment. Bronzor also always breaks Murkrow's Substitute with Flash Cannon. Murkrow, unfortunately, is weak to Stealth Rock, so repeated switch-ins will wear down all sets without Roost—and even if it has Roost, it doesn't have stellar defenses to merit repeated uses of it. Tirtouga and Omanyte both have high Defense and Shell Smash, allowing them to set up and KO Murkrow. Clamperl cannot set up on Murkrow, but it commonly carries both Substitute and Shell Smash to deal with Murkrow trying to use Sucker Punch. However, all three Pokemon will be outsped if Murkrow opts for a Choice Scarf. Eviolite Misdreavus can come in and use Will-O-Wisp on an anticipated Sucker Punch. However, this leads to mind games if Murkrow is carrying Substitute. Magnemite resists every move in Murkrow's arsenal bar Heat Wave, and can easily KO with Thunderbolt. Chinchou doesn't resist Sucker Punch, but Eviolite versions can typically take a Sucker Punch and strike back with a super effective move. Snover and Shellder can both take a Sucker Punch, and both have super effective moves to hit Murkrow with. Alternatively, they can use Ice Shard, which will prevent Murkrow from picking them off with Sucker Punch. If you're feeling gutsy, you can have Mienfoo use a Fighting-type move on a predicted Roost; this is not recommended, however, since Murkrow can easily KO Mienfoo. If Scraggy gets a Dragon Dance boost, it will be able to beat all sets except Choice Scarf with Ice Punch. Status hampers Murkrow as well. Paralysis cripples its huge Speed stat while burns do the same to its Attack. Toxic also severely hampers the longevity of Murkrow. Luckily, few users of these status moves have an easy time getting them off, and most of the times that Murkrow will get statused will be due to switching in on things like Scald.