- 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 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
A few years ago, Owl City's 'Fireflies' rocked the Billboard charts. Now, Volbeat seems to be impacting the RU tier just as significantly, which at first glance may be pretty hard to believe; after all, Volbeat sports horrible stats and a small movepool. A mere five words may change your mind, however: Prankster, Tail Glow, and Baton Pass. Volbeat has access to all of those tools, which makes for a pretty deadly combination, especially since BW upgraded Tail Glow to raise Special Attack by 3 stages. That's more than enough to turn any special attacker, such as the Rotom formes, Manectric, and Typhlosion, into deadly sweepers. All isn't good, however, since Volbeat's new niche automatically makes it Taunt bait, which is bad considering its horrible offensive stats. Worse, phazing is prevalent in RU, making all of Volbeat's hard work just disappear before your eyes. Still, if you're looking for a quick and simple way to give your special attacker a huge boost and have a team slot to spare, Volbeat may be just what you're looking for.
This is Volbeat's bread and butter set, and in fact, pretty much the only reason to use it. Prankster gives Volbeat an advantage over Smeargle, the only other Pokemon that learns these moves. This set does not need to spend much time on the field, since Volbeat only has to use Tail Glow twice before its Special Attack is maximized, subsequently turning any ordinary special attacker into a dangerous sweeper. If an opposing Volbeat should get that boost against you, it's more than likely time to kiss your team goodbye. This set works best as a lead, largely because most leads set up Stealth Rock or Spikes instead of attacking, which Volbeat is vulnerable to. Upon entering the field, Volbeat can set up Tail Glow if predicting a switch, or Encore the opposing lead into a non-damaging move. Substitute can prevent status from harming Volbeat, but Thunder Wave cripples the opponent and offers a bit more support for the rest of the team, including a slow Baton Pass recipient.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This little firefly is perhaps the best weather setter in RU. While it has almost nonexistent bulk, Volbeat has access to the greatly coveted Prankster ability, giving it a priority weather move. Next to nothing can prevent this mischievous bug from setting up the weather. There are only two ways to stop Volbeat from summoning the deadly weather; the first being destroying it with a faster priority move, such as ExtremeSpeed, and the second being a faster Prankster user's Taunt. Other than that, Volbeat can easily set up the weather unhindered. In fact, due to its reliability in calling forth the weather, it is practically a must on most weather teams. Despite its lack of bulk, note that Volbeat shouldn't always be used as a suicide weather inducer: if one preserves Volbeat and uses it to change the weather late-game, a weakened opponent might be unable to cope with another onslaught of weather sweepers, and suffer a crushing defeat.
Rain Dance and Sunny Day are the mandatory support moves to choose from. The item choice should also correspond to the move used—Damp Rock with Rain Dance, and Heat Rock with Sunny Day. Encore is a very useful move to have, especially on a Prankster user. With a clap of its hands, Volbeat can open up opportunities to summon the weather or for your own sweeper to set up for free. Additionally, Encore can lock an opposing setup sweeper into its boosting move and put it in an undesirable situation. Absol, probably the most threatening priority user to weather teams, is handled to some extent by Encore. Encore can waste Sucker Punch PP, and also let another teammate switch in freely as Absol switches out or is forced to deplete its precious PP.
It is admittedly difficult to Baton Pass Tail Glow, but once that is done, the special sweeper will become incredibly deadly. As such, at least one special sweeper is recommended as a teammate if Tail Glow is used. Encore can help in this respect too, by creating a window in which Volbeat can set up a Tail Glow and Baton Pass it to a teammate. If both setting up weather and passing Tail Glow seems overambitious to you, Substitute is a great way for Volbeat to make use of a free turn. A more reliable alternative to Tail Glow, it allows Volbeat to scout the opponent's moves and acts as a pseudo-Protect, though at the cost of a quarter of Volbeat's health. Substitute also helps block status moves and Trick, which would otherwise cripple Volbeat. A Baton Passed Substitute can help a frail sweeper switch in or set up more easily as well. Baton Pass can also be used to scout via dry passing, preserving momentum for your team. However, do note that Volbeat is weak to Stealth Rock, and as such, one should avoid unnecessary switching in and out.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Despite Volbeat's seemingly small movepool, it still has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve. Swagger and Confuse Ray are two examples to spread confusion if Volbeat needs some more time to take its chance with hax. Moonlight is a semi-reliable form of recovery, if Volbeat needs to heal. If Volbeat finds itself being constantly OHKOed, it could use a Focus Sash to guarantee at least one Tail Glow boost. Volbeat could use the Tail Glow boosts itself despite its horrid Special Attack, and it can surprise Taunt users, or use U-turn to make a quick escape if needed. If being OHKOed is not a problem and Volbeat doesn't need the Leftovers recovery, a Mental Herb could be run to surprise Taunt users. Among other things, it can run an annoyer set thanks to Moonlight, Thunder Wave, and Toxic, though Volbeat's horrible defenses keep it from posing a threat. Finally, Volbeat can Trick a Choice item to cripple the opponent and give more time for it to set up, or it can give its teammate an easier switch in.
Checks and Counters
Its main set fully relies on non-attacking moves; therefore, after being Taunted, it's a fish out of water, since both its offensive and defensive stats are poor, which results in an easy KO for the opponent. Additionally, phazers can switch in and erase all of Volbeat's stat boosts. Priority users can bypass Prankster's priority boost and attack Volbeat before it can pass the boosts, possibly KOing it. Encore users, such as Primeape, Gallade, and Accelgor, can shut down Volbeat for a couple of turns unless it is Baton Passing, forcing it to switch, or risk getting KOed. Cinccino stands out as one of the best counters, since it can switch in and use either a Skill Link- or Technician-boosted Rock Blast to destroy even Focus Sash or Substitute-carrying Volbeat.