- Increases wild encounter rate (no effect in battles).
- Boosts power of Bug-type moves by 50% when at 1/3 HP or less.
- Moves that do not deal direct damage have their priority increased by one level.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
At first glance, there is absolutely nothing redeemable about Volbeat. Its stats are pitiful, to say the least, ranging from poor 65 / 55 / 75 defenses to a pathetic base 47 Special Attack. Combined with a sparse movepool, it's apparent that Volbeat has almost nothing going for it. However, BW blessed Volbeat by upgrading Tail Glow to boost Special Attack by 3 stages, as well as granting Volbeat the ability it has always dreamed of: Prankster. Thanks to its new tools, Volbeat has the ability to transform any special attacker into a devastating force by utilizing priority Tail Glow and Baton Pass. In addition, Prankster provides priority to several other useful moves, including Encore, Thunder Wave, and weather-inducing moves.
However, while Prankster certainly gives Volbeat a niche, it by no means makes Volbeat perfect. Many common Pokemon in the tier, including Rapidash, Samurott, and Golem, can prey on its dismal defenses. Volbeat is also unable to stop opposing phazers or Taunt users, making a successful setup easier said than done against a prepared opponent. Volbeat is nothing to worry about on its own, but once it successfully passes a Tail Glow or sets up the weather, prepare to be swept away.
Thanks to Prankster and a newly buffed Tail Glow, Volbeat is one of the best Baton Pass users available in NU. A +3 Special Attack boost is nothing to scoff at, especially once handed off to a teammate who can take advantage of the massive power increase, such as Charizard or Simipour. Baton Pass is rather self-explanatory, although it has a few other uses outside of passing Tail Glow, such as scouting for the opponent's Volbeat counter, and passing Substitutes to teammates. While Volbeat's Substitutes are rather meager, its teammates can take advantage of Substitute's ability to block status and set up on dangerous Pokemon. Priority Thunder Wave is a godsend to offensive teams, ending an opposing sweep and giving you a chance to retaliate. Encore helps Volbeat set up against opposing leads, who often carry non-damaging moves such as Stealth Rock or Spikes.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
With Prankster, Volbeat is almost guaranteed to set up weather for your team, with the exception of faster Prankster Pokemon, such as Murkrow. Either Sunny Day or Rain Dance is used, depending on your team. Encore forces switches and helps a teammate set up, while Thunder Wave cripples any faster sweepers, such as a Choice Scarf user, and can be used as a last ditch attempt to cripple something before Volbeat dies. Tail Glow is purely used for Baton Passing, as Volbeat cannot effectively use the boosts itself, with its low Special Attack and only decent Speed. Baton Pass helps Volbeat get out of sticky situations, as well as passing either Substitutes or Tail Glow.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Outside of the listed options, there isn't much going for Volbeat, due to its rather sparse movepool. Volbeat can set up Light Screen itself, but because it lacks Reflect, Light Screen often isn't worth the moveslot. Confuse Ray or Swagger can be used to spread confusion and hope for Lady Luck to give you a few free turns. U-turn is a potential option to get a Pokemon in untouched, but U-turn doesn't pass threatening Tail Glow boosts, and Volbeat is likely to be KOed before it gets to use U-turn anyway. Moonlight provides reliable recovery, but with its pitiful defenses, Volbeat will usually be losing more than half of its HP from a powerful neutral hit. If Taunt users are proving to be troublesome, Mental Herb can be used over Leftovers to catch them off-guard. Trick is a curious option, especially when coupled with Iron Ball. Thanks to Prankster, Volbeat can ignore Iron Ball's immense Speed cuts, and can Trick it away to an unsuspecting opponent.
Checks and Counters
As Volbeat relies solely on non-attacking moves and doesn't have access to Taunt itself, a Taunt user of your own will usually end any and all of its shenanigans. Pokemon such as Camerupt have phazing moves to erase Volbeat's boosts and inflict more entry hazard damage on it. Speaking of which, maintaining entry hazards works wonders against Volbeat, as they will often preventit from attempting more than one Baton Pass per match. Rock Blast users such as Gigalith and Golem will break through Volbeat's Substitute or Focus Sash and OHKO it. Priority users such as Samurott can outspeed Volbeat and finish off weakened ones before they can escape. Raichu and Jumpluff have Encore to lock Volbeat into Tail Glow, preventing it from successfully using Baton Pass. Volbeat itself isn't difficult to KO—it's Volbeat's teammates that you need to be worried about.