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 of the 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, including Staryu and offensive Misdreavus. 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.
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. Drill Peck gives Murkrow an extremely powerful STAB move with no repercussions. Furthermore, it hits Mienfoo, Croagunk, Timburr, and the many other Fighting-types in Little Cup for super effective damage. Brave Bird's sheer power makes it sometimes a preferable option on more offensive teams; Murkrow's longevity is greatly hampered by constant recoil, however. 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 is useful alongside Drill Peck to scare off Chinchou while preventing Omanyte or Tirtouga from setting up. On the other hand, Dark Pulse allows Murkrow to possess a method of dealing with bulkier walls such as Slowpoke, who otherwise are only weak to Sucker Punch, and are very physically defensive anyways. It also gets a handy STAB bonus, meaning it is a safer move that Murkrow can use alongside the more dangerous Brave Bird.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
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. Speaking of Roost, it allows Murkrow a safe switch-in against Pokemon such as Magnemite and Chinchou, who will commonly use Volt Switch on it. What's more, both Substitute and Roost become priority moves when used alongside Prankster. As they switch out, they will hit Murkrow for only neutral damage, and then something else will have to come in to take out Murkrow. Although it creates a weakness to Bug- and Fighting-type moves for Murkrow, this is inconsequential, as it can take them out 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 even if they switch in on Murkrow. 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. Furthermore, it allows Murkrow to act as a check to Clamperl, opposing Murkrow, and Misdreavus, provided none of these Pokemon are running Substitute. Unfortunately, Murkrow is not able to handle Ice Shard Shellder or Snover, as they will outspeed Murkrow if they have a Choice Scarf.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 failsafe 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 opposing Misdreavus (bar Choice Scarf users), common Shell Smash users, 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 allows Murkrow to act as a revenge killer to Shell Smash Tirtouga and Omanyte. Dark Pulse is also an option for a guaranteed hit on Misdreavus and insurance against Slowpoke. Alternatively, Icy Wind can act as a last stand against Dragon-types with Dragon Dance, at worst bringing them back to a normal Speed stat. Sucker Punch is still useful, even on a Choice Scarf set, as it gains STAB and gets around Ice Shard Shellder and Snover. 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, as 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 teammates 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 live 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 Powder users such as Exeggcute and Spore users such as 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 tides of a battle. Murkrow can run an effective Calm Mind set with FeatherDance; however, it has trouble setting up and is susceptible to Toxic.
Finally, a quick word on Murkrow's Dream World ability: Prankster is a fantastic choice, and should see use on every set with only two exceptions. The first is the case of legality; Prankster cannot be used with Heat Wave or Icy Wind. The second exception is whether or not Murkrow carries any support moves; if Murkrow has all attacking moves, it should go for either Insomnia or Super Luck as Prankster will be useless.
Checks and Counters
Bronzor walls all Murkrow without Heat Wave, and can even take some hits from Heat Wave with some investment. Bronzor also commonly uses Hidden Power Ice, which will deal a large sum of damage to any Murkrow not Roosting. Murkrow unfortunately is weak to Stealth Rock, so repeated switches in 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 is in much the same situation, and commonly uses Substitute 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, Haze, or FeatherDance sets with Ice Punch.