At first glance, Monferno may appear to be outclassed by Blaziken due to his lower defenses and attacking stats. However, this NFE Pokemon has a few tricks up his sleeve that give him a niche in UU battles, such as access to Stealth Rock, Nasty Plot, and a unique base Speed of 81. The most important note to keep in mind is never to play Monferno like Blaziken—otherwise, you will just end up with an inferior Pokemon. However, if you make the most of Monferno's unique traits, he can be an effective sweeper or supporter.
This set is designed to set up an early Stealth Rock while putting heavy offensive pressure on the opponent's lead as well. While suicide leads are generally less effective in UU than in OU due to the slower nature of the metagame, Monferno sets himself apart from traditional suicide leads through his access to Endeavor. Endeavor sets the opponent's HP equal to Monferno's, so he can use it to bring bulky Pokemon like Uxie and Milotic down to 1 HP before he is KOed. Fire Blast is a standard STAB attack that lets Monferno deal damage before his Focus Sash is broken, or even finish off Endeavored Pokemon who decide to use a support move instead of an attacking one. Finally, Taunt is the primary option in the last slot since it can prevent leads like Omastar from setting up any hazards. However, Vacuum Wave lets Monferno KO faster Focus Sash leads after they are hit by Endeavor.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Since Monferno's bulk is essentially nonexistent, its sets should place all EVs in Attack, Special Attack, or Speed. Max Speed is usually the best choice to outpace the abundant base 80s, such as Blaziken, Venusaur, and Kabutops. If going mixed, a Special Defense-decreasing nature rather than a Defense-decreasing nature is usually a better idea, since the majority of priority attacks are physical.
Monferno has access to both Swords Dance and Nasty Plot, but both of those moves are hard to pull off due to Monferno's frailty and relatively low power when compared to similar UU sweepers. Blaziken is usually a more effective user of Swords Dance due to its much higher Attack stat, but Blaziken doesn't have access to Nasty Plot. Nasty Plot Monferno is a rather nasty stall killer, as a +2 Life Orb Grass Knot has a good chance to OHKO Milotic after Stealth Rock damage, and many other common stall Pokemon will fall to either Fire Blast or Close Combat. However, Monferno faces stiff competition from fellow Nasty Plotting Fire-types Houndoom and Ninetales.
Much like its big brother, Infernape, Monferno can try to run a mixed set that takes advantage of Close Combat to OHKO Chansey. Unlike Infernape, Monferno is often too weak to KO even Pokemon who are weak to its attacks. Monferno has access to both Vacuum Wave and Mach Punch, but it is usually hard to fit these attacks on a sweeping set.
Checks and Counters
Defensive Arcanine is usually the best Monferno counter; he has Intimidate to buffer Close Combat, a resistance to both Fire Blast and Grass Knot, and Morning Sun to abuse Life Orb recoil against mixed Monferno. Monferno is so frail that ExtremeSpeed or Flare Blitz will usually KO him after one round of Life Orb recoil and Stealth Rock. As long as Moltres can avoid switching into Hidden Power Rock, it can outpace Monferno and OHKO with a STAB Air Slash.
Milotic is a good counter for most physical and mixed Monferno. She should beware of Nasty Plot versions, though, as they deal 84.5% - 99.7% with boosted Grass Knot. Slowking is a more reliable counter than Milotic due to his higher special bulk and Fighting-type resistance. Slowbro is also a good counter to Monferno, somewhat ironically—while special Blaziken has no problems smashing through Slowbro but cannot break Milotic, special Monferno usually has no problems with Milotic but cannot beat full health Slowbro. This is because Blaziken must resort to the 70 Base Power Hidden Power against Milotic, while Monferno is able to use the 100 Base Power Grass Knot. Against Slowbro, however, Grass Knot only has 80 Base Power, so Monferno's lower Special Attack comes back to bite him.