With her cracked shell and odd appearance, Vullaby may look like Murkrow's ugly and outclassed sister. However, closer inspection will reveal that she has enough benefits to differentiate herself from her Dark / Flying comrade. Her movepool includes several key tools ranging from the powerful Nasty Plot to the useful Taunt, and a reliable recovery move and Eviolite make Vullaby difficult to take down. With an exceptional combination of typing and abilities, Vullaby's place in the Little Cup tier is secured as a versatile threat capable of working as a tank or as a powerful sweeper.
Just like every other Pokemon, Vullaby has her downsides. Her typing means she will lose 25% of her HP if Stealth Rock is up, and common Rock-, Ice-, and Electric-type attacks will take her out fast. Her stats are also not quite high enough, so she will often find herself getting outsped or not dealing enough damage. Nonetheless, Vullaby can be a great team player and can play a useful role in most competitive matches.
Vullaby can learn Nasty Plot, a scarcely distributed move, which is very useful in conjuction with Weak Armor. With this incredible combination and her wide movepool, she transform herself into a fearsome sweeper. The goal of this set is to switch Vullaby into a weak physical move, such as Fake Out or Rapid Spin, and proceed to set up with Nasty Plot. Weak Armor is mandatory on the set as Vullaby has mediocre Speed and won't be outspeeding most of the threats she's attempting to beat without its boost. Air Slash is the main STAB move as it hits the multitude of Fighting-types in the tier on their weaker defensive stat for super effective damage; it also defeats all Grass-types in the tier except for Lileep and Ferroseed. Dark Pulse is a secondary STAB that gives very good coverage, hitting most of Vullaby's common switch-ins, such as Chinchou and Rock-types, for neutral damage. It also hits Misdreavus, Gastly, and Abra, making Vullaby a good check to all three. In the last slot, Vullaby can choose the recovery provided by Roost, making her a durable sweeper, as even at -1 Defense, Vullaby is bulky enough to survive the average neutral hit and recover. Heat Wave, on the other hand, gives perfect coverage against the whole Little Cup metagame and defeats Vullaby's biggest nemeses: Magnemite and Pawniard. It also achieves a clean OHKO on Ferroseed and hits Bronzor harder than Dark Pulse.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
A combination of natural bulk, reliable recovery, and usable STAB moves makes Vullaby a good addition to any team. Unlike Murkrow, Vullaby has an amazing special Flying STAB move in Air Slash, which gives her super effective coverage on all Fighting-types in the Little Cup metagame and allows her to defeat most of the common Grass-types in the tier. Dark Pulse is her secondary STAB and grants nice coverage as well as hitting Ghost- and Psychic-types hard. Heat Wave is an option as, despite not having STAB, it hits most of Vullaby's counters for super effective damage. Roost provides recovery and is mandatory on this set as Vullaby is meant to switch in and take hits repeatedly.
The last slot is dedicated to support and depends heavily on team needs. Toxic is good for balanced teams to cripple walls attempting to sponge Vullaby's attacks, and it allows Vullaby to stall when coupled with Roost. On the other hand, Taunt is a good choice for Vullaby as she outspeeds most walls attempting to inflict her with status or recover damage. It also keeps hazards off the field, making her a good lead against slow opponents such as Ferroseed and Bronzor, the former being neutral to Air Slash and the latter neutral to Dark Pulse. Finally, Knock Off will suit offensive playstyles better as it allows Vullaby to slow down Choice Scarf users or aid a sweep by taking off Eviolites and Oran Berries from the opposing team. If the need arises, Vullaby can run two support moves, forgoing Dark Pulse as it has less utility than Air Slash.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Vullaby can run a Choice Scarf set, which can notably revenge kill +1 Scraggy with Brave Bird or Air Slash, but Murkrow outclasses her in this role. As her Attack stat is higher than her Special Attack stat, Vullaby can run a physical bulky attacker set, but she lacks a reliable physical Dark-type move. In fact, the only usable physical Dark-type move in her arsenal is Punishment, which while useful against the many setup threats in the metagame, has a low damage output against most other threats. U-turn is another move that distinguishes Vullaby from Murkrow, but she will struggle to find free moveslots for it on her sets. Hidden Power Ground is an alternative over Heat Wave, as it retains coverage on most Steel-types while hitting Electric-types like Chinchou for super effective damage, but Bronzor is a threat big enough to make Heat Wave the superior choice on most occasions. Tailwind and weather support are both good options for Vullaby because of her bulk, reliable recovery and access to U-turn. However, those playstyles are rarely used in the Little Cup metagame. Mean Look can be used along with Toxic, Taunt, and Roost, but this set is Taunt bait, and most of the common switch-ins to Vullaby have means of defeating her one-on-one. A combination of Foul Play and Swagger is usable thanks to Vullaby's high Defense, but it relies too much on luck and is difficult to play because of her mediocre Speed. Whirlwind is also an option as she can stack up hazard damage and survive many hits, but Vullaby can't afford losing any of the support or coverage options on her sets. The same applies to Protect, which can otherwise be good for scouting or stalling for Toxic damage.
Checks and Counters
Like most bulky Pokemon, Vullaby fears Toxic above all things, as it will greatly hinder her durability and will kill her regardless of the recovery provided by Roost. In the same vein, Stealth Rock will slowly bring her down, though unlike Toxic, it can be mitigated by Roost.
If not running Stealth Rock or a reliable way to hit her with Toxic, the best way to defeat Vullaby is with super effective attacks. Any Pokemon that has Electric-, Ice- or Rock-type moves is a threat to Vullaby. If it also has high Special Defense, it will likely defeat Vullaby without breaking a sweat. Premier special walls such as Porygon, Munchlax, and Lickitung can slowly wear down Vullaby with their neutral moves, or even super effective Discharge and Ice Beam in Porygon's case. Among all the special walls, Lileep stands out with its amazing special bulk, particularly under Sandstorm. It can defeat Vullaby with its STAB Rock-type moves and Recover any damage dealt. All of these walls must be wary of Toxic, however. As much as Sandstorm is a friend of Vullaby, it also boosts the Special Defense of all Rock-types, allowing them to defeat her even more easily one-on-one.
All variants of Chinchou can take Vullaby down, as it has high Special Defense and STAB Electric-type moves. RestTalk variants are even better checks as they don't even fear Toxic. Staryu doesn't have the Special Defense that Chinchou does, but it often carries Thunderbolt or Ice Beam and naturally outspeeds Vullaby. It can also be instantly relieved of Toxic thanks to Natural Cure. Snover has Blizzard for bulky variants or Ice Shard for Nasty Plot, which will always KO Vullaby if Weak Armor has been activated. It must be careful to not switch into Air Slash or Heat Wave, however, as it will be heavily damaged if not outright OHKOed. Magnemite, much like Snover, fears Heat Wave but can hit Vullaby with STAB super effective Thunderbolt and won't be worn down by Sandstorm or Toxic. Misdreavus carrying Thunderbolt and Abra carrying Charge Beam can score surprise KOs on an unsuspecting Vullaby planning on defeating them. Pawniard can force Vullaby out if she's not running Heat Wave; even though Pawniard is not often able to hit Vullaby super effectively, it can set up on all of her common moves. As stated previously, Nasty Plot variants can be revenge killed with Ice Shard and other priority moves if at low enough health. If not set up, hitting Vullaby with special moves won't activate Weak Armor's Speed Boost, defeating the purpose of the set. Multi-hit moves will increase in damage after each hit thanks to Weak Armor activating; Skill Link Shellder excels at taking out Nasty Plot Vullaby with Icicle Spear, Rock Blast, or Ice Shard. All Vullaby variants rely a great deal on Eviolite to function. Knock Off, Switcheroo, and Trick will completely shut Vullaby down, cutting her defense instantly and making her much easier to defeat.