Kitsunoh is one of the most versatile CAPs around and can perform well in both offensive and utility roles thanks to its combination of unique traits and desirable move options. It can also act as a scout or a lead, as it did in the DPP era, even with the introduction of Team Preview. Most importantly, Kitsunoh has a solid defensive typing, with a whopping twelve resistances, which allows it to check various CAP metagame staples, including Kyurem-B and Aurumoth. In addition, Kitsunoh's base 110 Speed allows it to outpace threats such as Keldeo, while its fast Defog and resistance to Stealth Rock almost always ensure it can switch in and clear the field of hazards safely. Finally, with a wide array of coverage moves, including its signature move, Shadow Strike, it can function as a fast physical sweeper as well. Also, unlike other sweepers, Kitsunoh does not suffer unduly from four-moveslot syndrome; it can deal with everything it needs to with 2 STAB moves and 2 coverage moves.
However, the Steel-type nerf and the Knock Off buff mean Kitsunoh's typing is not as good as it used to be. The rise of Colossoil does it no favors either, as Kitsunoh is unable to take anything Colossoil has to throw at it. Additionally, its defensive typing can go to waste in practice due to Kitsunoh's low 80 / 85 / 80 bulk. Finally, even with its vast offensive movepool, it still has only a modest base 103 Attack and lacks a boosting move. Nonetheless, Kitsunoh's versatility makes it a great fit for teams looking for a Pokemon that can handle Fairy-types, a reliable hazard remover, a dedicated lead, or some combination thereof.
With this set, not only does Kitsunoh have a very fast U-turn to keep your team's momentum going, but it can also use Trick to cripple opposing leads such as Tomohawk or staples of stall teams such as Chansey. Shadow Strike is Kitsunoh's Ghost-type STAB move which includes a nifty 50% chance to lower the foe's Defense stat by one stage. As such, the move is extremely spammable and can either gradually make Kitsunoh hit that much harder or force the foe out if it accumulates too many Defense drops. Finally, Kitsunoh has a choice between two Steel-type STAB moves, Meteor Mash and Iron Head. Meteor Mash has slightly more immediate power and its chance to raise Kitsunoh's Attack can come in very handy at times. Alternatively, Iron Head is more reliable due to its perfect accuracy and its high flinch rate can give slower foes headaches.
This set highlights what Kitsunoh was built to be: a scout. Maximum investment in Attack and Speed allow Kitsunoh to hit as hard and as quickly as possible. Limber is usually the better choice of ability, as immunity to paralysis from the likes of Thundurus and Chansey is more valuable than Frisk's utility. However, if you are to use this Kitsunoh as a dedicated lead, Frisk can work to ensure you do not waste your use of Trick by using it on another Choice-locked foe. With a Choice Scarf equipped, Kitsunoh will outspeed common Choice Scarf users like Landorus-T and Keldeo, and will be able to U-turn out of bad match-ups easily. Repeated usage of Shadow Strike will also force switches and cripple opposing Pokemon if they stay in for too long. This can win free turns for Kitsunoh, or more importantly, its teammates. Though the Choice Scarf does little for Kitsunoh's utility in defeating Fairies, as all of them are naturally slower, it does allow Kitsunoh to beat Stratagem one-on-one.
This Kitsunoh set works well as a dedicated lead, stripping the precious items from opposing Pokemon. When in doubt, you should always click U-turn to kill off opposing momentum while maintaining your own. Additionally, unless Kitsunoh is facing Stratagem, it should not use its Steel-type STAB move until it Tricks away its Scarf, as it's a poor type to be locked into and can easily be taken advantage of. Even if you don't use this set as a dedicated lead, TrickScarf works wonders against defensive Pokemon like Clefable, Chansey, and Skarmory. Keep in mind, however, that you can only use it once!
As Kitsunoh isn't a wallbreaker, you should pack special attackers to deal with physical walls that threaten it. Aurumoth is a good partner, as it is able to take on Mega Venusaur and Tomohawk, both of which are thorough stops to Kitsunoh. Stratagem can deal with Syclant, Ferrothorn, Cawmodore, and, to a certain extent, Colossoil. But if Colossoil remains too much trouble for you, a Fairy-type such Sylveon or Mega Gardevoir is great for beating it. Fairies have the added bonus of being able to defeat Tomohawk more easily than Aurumoth can, as well as countering nearly all variants of Cyclohm.
A fast Will-O-Wisp allows Kitsunoh to easily spread burns and patch up its subpar Defense. Shadow Strike is the best choice for a reliable STAB move, as the ability to cause constant Defense drops and vast neutral coverage far outclasses Steel-type coverage on Ice-, Rock- and Fairy-types. U-turn and Knock Off are utility attacks; U-turn is useful to gain and maintain momentum and Knock Off can relieve foes of their items. Defog adds to the utility of this set by keeping entry hazards off the field. Kitsunoh makes for a good Defogger because it resists Stealth Rock and is immune to Toxic Spikes, meaning it can switch into hazards several times without worry.
As this set is not entirely offensive, you want to maximize Kitsunoh's HP and Speed to make it as bulky and fast as possible. Leftovers add to Kitsunoh's overall longevity, while Air Balloon lets it freely switch into Ground-type moves as well as Spikes, making Kitsunoh an even better entry hazard remover. As a fast support Pokemon, Kitsunoh hates being inflicted with paralysis, so it should always use Limber over Frisk.
No matter how much you invest in Kitsunoh's HP, it still has merely average bulk. Moreover, Kitsunoh is not sweeping teams with nearly zero investment in its offense, so don't use Kitsunoh as your team's main attacker. U-turn and Knock Off should not be thought of as offensive tools, either; they are there for utility more than anything else. These attacks do, however, prevent Kitsunoh from being Taunt bait, as does Shadow Strike.
This Kitsunoh is a supporter, so you need offensive teammates that it can support. Pokemon that aren't very physically bulky, such Sylveon, appreciate Kitsunoh's burn support. Offensive teammates also appreciate such support, so it would be wise to surround Kitsunoh with an offensive core; Stratagem and Aurumoth are great Pokemon to build around here because they are usable on a wide variety of teams. You should also have a Pokemon that can handle Fairy-types; Cawmodore and Mollux work well in this role. Pokemon that appreciate Defog and don't overly require hazard support of their own, such as Gyarados, also make good partners.
Kitsunoh's STAB attacks have good neutral coverage, and together they hit everything for at least neutral damage bar Bibarel, Bisharp, Crawdaunt, Mega Gyarados, Heliolisk, Houndoom, Pyroar, and Sharpedo. Earthquake often provides the best secondary coverage, hitting Mega Charizard X, Cyclohm, Bisharp, Heatran, Mollux, Volkraken, Krilowatt, Excadrill, and Klefki for super effective damage. Ice Punch, on the other hand, hits Landorus-T, Mega Pinsir, Thundurus, Dragonite, Garchomp, and Gliscor. Superpower is an option if Kitsunoh absolutely needs to beat Chansey, Blissey, Colossoil, and Ferrothorn. A strong U-turn maintains momentum and deals damage when Kitsunoh needs to switch, and with Attack investment, U-turn actually has use as a main source of damage.
Even with a modest base 103 Attack, this spread is all about dealing damage with the proper coverage. Full investment in Attack and Speed ensure that Kitsunoh can deal the most damage as quickly as possible. A Choice Band is often the best item for this set, as it maximizes Kitsunoh's damage output and its move-locking side effects reset if Kitsunoh U-turns out. But if you choose not to run U-turn, a Life Orb becomes Kitsunoh's best bet. Limber is the better ability, as it saves Kitsunoh from stray Thunder Waves, and allows it to beat Static Cyclohm should you forego Earthquake.
When using a Choice Band, choose your move carefully. If a threat to Kitsunoh is still on the opposing side, make sure you U-turn out to preserve Kitsunoh for later. This offensive set is most useful a late-game cleaner, especially considering that Kitsunoh resists many forms of priority. It is also great for killing Fairies and allows you to not have to use a teamslot on Mollux or Cawmodore. But beware of Rocky Helmet Tomohawk and Skarmory; it would be unwise to even U-turn out against them.
Special attackers such as Aurumoth and Keldeo can destroy the physical walls that force Kitsunoh out. U-turning into Cyclohm or Stratagem can help protect Kitsunoh from Fire-types such as Talonflame and Mega Charizard Y. Fairy-types such as Mega Gardevoir and Sylveon will destroy Tomohawk, Cyclohm, and Colossoil, all of which are strong checks to Kitsunoh. Dragon-types such as Garchomp appreciate Kitsunoh's ability to beat Fairy-types. Entry hazard support from the likes of Tomohawk and Landorus-T will give Kitsunoh an easier time landing KOs.
Focus Sash lets Kitsunoh survive an attack from Colossoil, Talonflame, both Mega Charizards, or Choice Scarf users, but the item is dependent on entry hazards being off the field. Assault Vest looks great on paper, but it is not that viable because of Kitsunoh's below-average bulk and poor offense if you invest in bulk. Roar is actually a decent option to force out Clefable if it accumulates too many boosts. Make sure you do not run Roar alongside Defog, as you will clear away any entry hazards that have been set up earlier in the battle, thereby reducing the effectiveness of Kitsunoh's phazing. An Expert Belt can be used on offensive sets, as it does not lock Kitsunoh into a move like a Choice Band and takes advantage of its plethora of resistances and good coverage despite its iffy bulk. Finally, Taunt can be nice to stallbreak and prevent status moves, but typically Tomohawk and Thundurus do the Taunt shenanigans better.
Checks and Counters
Colossoil: Thanks to the Steel-type nerf, Kitsunoh no longer takes neutral damage to Dark-type moves and as such loses to Colossoil nearly every time. All the Colossoil user has to do is to click Sucker Punch, and Kitsunoh is done for the battle.
Talonflame: Talonflame makes Kitsunoh literally toast. Kitsunoh is completely unable to take a Flare Blitz, even when it invests in bulk.
Choice Scarf Users: If Kitsunoh is not holding Choice Scarf itself, then it gets demolished by the likes of Landorus-T, Victini, and Volkraken, which all have STAB moves that it is weak to.
Tomohawk and Skarmory: These two defensive birds wall all of Kitsunoh's sets and often carry Rocky Helmet to deal chip damage to Kitsunoh.
Charizard: Kitsunoh cannot hit Mega Charizard Y super effectively, while Charizard OHKOes it. Though it can use Earthquake on Mega Charizard X, the move won't OHKO Charizard all the time and Kitsunoh will lose if Earthquake fails to OHKO.
Physical Walls: Kitsunoh's average 103 Attack leaves a lot to be desired against Cyclohm, Cawmodore, Mega Scizor, and even Revenankh, despite hitting the last super effectively.
Mega Venusaur: Mega Venusaur, particularly the physically defensive variant, walls Kitsunoh to no end. Fortunately, it can do little in return because Kitsunoh resists Grass and is immune to Poison.