With great Special Attack and Speed and a wide array of coverage moves, Stratagem is a fearsome attacker in the CAP metagame. Its Rock typing combined with its power allows it to shut down staples of hyper offense teams, such as Talonflame, Mega Pinsir, and Kyurem-B. The ability for Stratagem to land super effective hits on its would-be checks such as Mega Scizor, Ferrothorn, and Heatran is a godsend to its sweeping capabilities. Most importantly, Stratagem's blistering base 130 Speed allows it to outspeed almost the entire CAP metagame, making it a perfect choice for a late-game cleaner. Alternatively, Stratagem can set up with Calm Mind to become a great mid-game wallbreaker. However, Stratagem is fairly frail and possesses a below-average defensive typing, so it is hard-pressed to switch into opposing offensive pressure. A Rock typing might be perfect for offense, but it also gives Stratagem crippling weaknesses to a myriad of priority attacks, such as Aqua Jet, Mach Punch, and Bullet Punch. Stratagem also falls flat in the face of stall, as its base 120 Special Attack is not quite enough to break down dedicated special walls. Stratagem's lack of Taunt means that even its Calm Mind set has trouble breaking stall.
Ancient Power is Stratagem's reliable STAB attack that is boosted to 90 Base Power with Technician. Its chance to raise all of Stratagem's stats at once can give Stratagem the ability to muscle past its checks more easily as well. Earth Power hits Mollux, Heatran, and Cyclohm for super effective damage and gives Stratagem the coveted offensive combination of Rock and Ground. Vacuum Wave allows Stratagem to pick off opposing priority attackers and Choice Scarf users, such as Cawmodore and Terrakion, respectively. Moreover, Technician boosts the Base Power of Vacuum Wave to 60, making it a decently powerful priority move. Hidden Power Flying is boosted to 90 Base Power by Technician and allows Stratagem to hit Mega Venusaur and Tomohawk hard; do not use Hidden Power Psychic, as it lowers Stratagem's Speed IV to 30. Fire Blast provides strong coverage against Steel- and Grass-types such as Mega Scizor and Necturna, respectively, while Energy Ball is used to hit bulky Water- and Ground-types such as Arghonaut and Colossoil, respectively.
Maximum investment in Speed and Special Attack allows Stratagem to hit as quickly and as hard as possible. A Timid nature allows Stratagem to outspeed Pokemon with more than base 120 Speed, particularly Talonflame and Syclant. Life Orb is the best option to boost Stratagem's offensive power while giving it the freedom to change moves. Choice Specs allows Stratagem to hit harder, but being locked into a single move can easily allow a tank to switch in and force Stratagem out. Technician raises the power of Stratagem's Ancient Power and its specific coverage moves in Hidden Power Flying and Vacuum Wave.
This set functions very well as a late-game cleaner and revenge killer due to Stratagem's high Speed and the lack of a boosting move on this set. Bring Stratagem into the battlefield on free switches whenever possible, as even resisted hits take away a decent amount of its health. Additionally, be sure to significantly weaken opposing special walls before bringing in Stratagem, as Stratagem is not a very good wallbreaker.
Bulky Grass-types such as Necturna and Mega Venusaur resist the Water-type moves that Stratagem is weak to; they also sport resistances to Fighting by virtue of their secondary types. Flying-types such as Tomohawk can easily switch into the Ground-type moves that Stratagem lures in. This is important because this Stratagem set lacks Levitate. Slow U-turn and Volt Switch users such as Scizor and Rotom-W can bring Stratagem into the battlefield safely. Entry hazard support from the likes of Landorus-T and Heatran allows Stratagem to break stall more easily and land some KOs that it normally would not. For example, Choice Specs Stratagem will OHKO Tomohawk with Hidden Power Flying after Stealth Rock damage. Gothitelle can trap and KO special walls such as Chansey, while Magnezone can trap Steel-types if Stratagem lacks Fire-type coverage. Physical attackers such as Mega Metagross and Dragon Dance Aurumoth can break down the special walls that give Stratagem a hard time sweeping.
Paleo Wave is a reliable STAB attack that hits Talonflame, Mega Charizard Y, and Syclant for massive damage. Earth Power gives Stratagem a fighting chance against Mollux, Heatran, and Cyclohm while providing vast neutral coverage alongside Paleo Wave. Fire Blast hits Steel- and Grass-types, such as Mega Scizor, Kitsunoh, Cawmodore, Ferrothorn, and Necturna, for massive damage. Energy Ball hits bulky Ground- and Water-types super effectively, such as Colossoil, Mega Gyarados, Arghonaut, Krilowatt, and Rotom-W.
Stratagem needs full investment in its Special Attack and Speed in order to become as powerful and as fast as possible. A Timid nature is necessary to get the jump on Pokemon with more than base 120 Speed. Life Orb boosts the power of Stratagem's moves while allowing Stratagem to freely change attacks. On the other hand, Choice Specs grants Stratagem more power and does not inflict recoil damage; however, a foe that walls Stratagem can switch in easily and force Stratagem out. Levitate allows Stratagem to switch into Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and stray Ground-type moves, lessening the amount of team support it needs.
Be sure to take advantage of Levitate granting Stratagem immunity to Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Ground-type attacks. This allows Stratagem to switch into battle much more easily than it normally would. However, be careful for coverage moves that Ground-type attackers might be carrying, such as Superpower from Landorus-T. As this Stratagem lacks Vacuum Wave, take caution if the opponent's priority attackers are still healthy. Even without priority, however, Stratagem still functions as a great late-game cleaner and revenge killer due to its high Speed.
Stratagem is a great stand-alone Pokemon, so it can mesh well with nearly any offensive team. It has great defensive synergy with Necturna and Mollux because they can take the Fighting-, Water-, Grass-, and Steel-type attacks that take a large chunk out of Stratagem's health. Necturna in particular can provide Sticky Web support, helping against Choice Scarf users and naturally faster Pokemon such as Mega Sceptile. Stratagem should also be paired with a physical attacker in order to prevent special walls from dominating your team. In particular, Colossoil and Cawmodore make for great checks to Chansey and Sylveon, respectively. Entry hazard support from the likes of Tomohawk and Heatran allows Stratagem to have an easier time landing KOs. Trappers such as Gothitelle and Magnezone can remove opposing threats to Stratagem; Gothitelle can cripple special walls with Trick, while Magnezone takes on the Steel-types that resist Stratagem's Paleo Wave.
Calm Mind raises Stratagem's Special Attack to high levels and its Special Defense to decent levels, turning it from a revenge killer into a bulky wallbreaker. Paleo Wave should be used over Ancient Power as a STAB attack because this Stratagem lacks Technician. Earth Power breaks down Mollux and Heatran, two would-be special walls that don't mind taking a Paleo Wave. Fire Blast can be used in the last slot to heavily damage Grass-types and Steel-types neutral to Ground, such as Necturna and Mega Scizor, respectively. Energy Ball breaks down Arghonaut, Mega Gyarados, Colossoil, and Rotom-W; alternatively, Giga Drain is an option if you opt to run Life Orb, as it heals off some of the Life Orb recoil and allows Stratagem to break walls longer. Substitute can also be used to give Stratagem a shield against weaker special attacks and status moves, thus allowing it to break stall; however, Stratagem usually prefers extra coverage.
With maximum investment in Special Attack and Speed, Stratagem hits as hard and as fast as possible. A Timid nature is necessary to get the jump on Pokemon with more than base 120 Speed. Leftovers promotes longevity by keeping Stratagem healthy, allowing it to use Calm Mind multiple times throughout the match. Life Orb is an option to boost Stratagem's offensive power, though Stratagem forgoes quite a bit of its durability because of the resulting recoil damage. Levitate allows Stratagem to switch into Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and stray Ground-type moves easily.
Though Stratagem seems extremely frail due to its poor defensive typing, it actually has a decent HP stat. This set takes advantage of Stratagem's decent HP by allowing Stratagem to function as a mid-game wallbreaker in addition to a late-game cleaner. Despite the ability to set up, Stratagem often needs several Calm Mind boosts to be able to break down dedicated special walls effectively. Moreover, finding the right setup bait can be tricky due to Stratagem's poor defensive typing and iffy bulk. Passive, defensive Pokemon as well as Pokemon Choice-locked into moves that Stratagem resists are Stratagem's best options for setup.
Stratagem needs a lot of support from its teammates if it wants to find setup opportunities. Physical tanks such as Tomohawk can handle the physical attackers that Stratagem cannot set up on. Sand support from Tyranitar increases Stratagem's Special Defense, thus allowing it to take special attacks more easily as it sets up. Tyranitar can also Pursuit trap specially bulky Pokemon, particularly Latios, Latias, and Gothitelle. Stealth Rock users such as Pyroak and Landorus-T will wear down foes with passive damage, giving Stratagem an easier time sweeping. Knock Off users such as Bisharp and Colossoil can remove Assault Vests from the likes of Arghonaut, Azumarill, and Conkeldurr. Grass-types such as Necturna and Breloom appreciate Stratagem's ability to beat Fire-types, particularly Heatran, Talonflame, Mollux, and Mega Charizard X and Y. In addition, Necturna can take the Water-, Fighting-, and Grass-type attacks aimed at Stratagem. Gothitelle can trap dedicated special walls, particularly Chansey and Sylveon, and cripple them with Trick, thus paving the way for Stratagem to attempt a sweep.
Flamethrower can be used over Fire Blast if reliability is desired over power. Hidden Power Ice will hit Garchomp, Gliscor, and Landorus-T, as well as Tomohawk before it uses Roost, for massive damage. Trick is an option if Stratagem is holding Choice Specs, as the move will cripple defensive threats such as Chansey and Tomohawk. Focus Sash allows Stratagem to survive a single powerful attack, such as Hydro Pump from Rotom-W or Bullet Punch from a Cawmodore that has used Belly Drum. Shadow Ball and Ominous Wind provide Ghost-type coverage to hit Mega Gardevoir, Gothitelle, Latios, and Latias for decent damage, but Stratagem is already hard-pressed to fit all of its coverage moves on one set. Stealth Rock can be an option due to Stratagem's high Speed, but Stratagem has better things to do than to act as a suicide lead. Moreover, Stratagem's below-average bulk means that it will struggle to set up Stealth Rock more than once per game. Babiri Berry allows Stratagem to survive a Bullet Punch from Mega Scizor and subsequently OHKO Mega Scizor with Fire Blast.
Checks and Counters
Special Walls: Dedicated special walls such as Chansey and Sylveon can switch into any attack that Stratagem has, forcing it out and crippling its team's momentum.
Assault Vest Users: Colossoil, Azumarill, Arghonaut, and Conkeldurr can use Assault Vest to soften Stratagem's super effective attacks, allowing them to switch in and hit Stratagem super effectively right back.
Bulky Attackers: Bulky, powerful Pokemon such as Tomohawk and Necturna can check Stratagem by surviving a super effective attack and OHKOing Stratagem in return because of its low bulk. However, most bulky attackers have trouble switching into a super effective attack from Stratagem without the aid of Assault Vest.
Priority Attacks: Stratagem's defensive typing leaves it very vulnerable to priority attacks such as Bullet Punch, Aqua Jet, and Mach Punch.
Super Effective Moves: Because Stratagem is not that bulky, super effective attacks will often OHKO or 2HKO it.