Paras has seen quite a bit of use with the fast paced metagame, because Paras is easy to switch in with its 4x Ground-type resist, Water-type immunity, and Electric- and Fighting-type resistance. Once Paras gets in the battle, it can slow it down with its signature move, a move that completely renders a Pokemon useless for up to four turns, which is too long to wait out in this metagame. Paras is also bulky enough to live through almost any hit barring Fire- and Flying-type attacks, allowing it to reliably get a Spore off.
Paras has a main weakness: its Speed. Paras's Speed is so low that other slow bulky Pokemon such as Geodude can go before it. Paras also needs a lot of prediction if your opponent has a Pokemon such as Shuppet or Mankey, who are immune to Spore. With Murkrow banned from standard play, Paras can usually Spore right off the bat, but it needs to be careful not to take any sort of Flying-type or Fire-type attack.
Paras is quite a popular Pokemon in Little Cup, and for a good reason. Spore is one of the best moves in the game, being a 100% accurate sleep-inducing move. Taking a Pokemon out of combat is an excellent tool to have, especially in a metagame where every turn counts. This set uses all of Paras' strengths: its decent defenses, its above average Attack, and of course, Spore. This set comes with a couple of options, first being the second attacking move. Seed Bomb is a nice STAB move; however, while Aerial Ace is not very powerful, it hits other Paras and more importantly Croagunk. Bug Bite is a great move to use in Little Cup, with Oran Berry being the most common item in the metagame, even though X-Scissor will hit a little harder. With Paras' decent Attack stat, it can put the hurt on Pokemon switching in. Synthesis is recommended in the last move slot because of the many Pokemon who use Protect; Paras will likely get at least a couple chances to heal himself.
Alternatively, Paras can use the double status approach by using Stun Spore in the last slot. The strategy is fairly simple, starting off with Spore. After the opponent is asleep, you can either predict their incoming switch and Stun Spore, or hit the sleeping Pokemon with a powerful STAB attack. Paras laughs at most priority attacks, so you don't need to worry about those outpacing you. This is the main reason Paras really benefits from using paralysis to outpace its opponent. This set does not need cover Croagunk, because Paras can generally take him out with paralysis and strong STAB attacks.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set uses a more offensive approach to Paras. After an Agility, Paras reaches 26 Speed, which is enough to outpace all non-boosted Pokemon. Paras's immunity to Water-type attacks and physical bulk gives it several opportunities to come in, allowing it to easily set up an Agility. Spore gives Paras an advantage over other Agility sweepers, as it allows it to incapacitate a potential counter.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Paras could use a special set quite well, with a decent special movepool including Energy Ball and Sludge Bomb. However, Shroomish is more effective for special sets, given its better defenses and more effective stats for EVing. Any Paras set can use Psybeam as a secondary attack to OHKO Croagunk, but generally Paras pulls off physical moves better.
A fully defensive set could work, but Paras can not survive for too long, as it is usually forced out by any Fire-type attack user. Shroomish outclasses Paras defensively, but it lacks support moves such as Light Screen that could be used on a defensive Paras. Paras has some other usable defensive moves, such as Counter and Aromatherapy. Dry Skin is generally preferred on Paras, but Effect Spore can help out quite a bit too with Paras's low Speed.
A Choice Band or Swords Dance set could also be effective. With Spore, Paras can put the opponent to sleep and set up a Swords Dance and attempt a sweep. A Choice Band Pursuit is also quite deadly against something like Slowpoke, who is terrified of Paras' STAB attacks. Agility could be used with Life Orb to boost Paras' terrible Speed, but Paras doesn't quite hit hard enough to sweep effectively, and doesn't have the extra move slot for Swords Dance.
Checks and Counters
Paras is difficult to completely counter, because most Pokemon sent in will get taken out of combat with Spore. This being said, the best counter is Doduo, who resists both STAB attacks, and has Early Bird to get rid of its sleep. Doduo can easily OHKO Paras with a STAB Brave Bird or Pluck. Similarly, the odd Early Bird Houndour can do the same, but needs to watch out for Brick Break and even X-Scissor. Taillow can also switch in quite easily after its status orb is activated, making Taillow immune to Spore and able to OHKO with Brave Bird.
Shuppet is a good Pokemon to switch in, but it may only work once as the Paras user may start Seed Bombing, which is a 2HKO on Shuppet, even while holding Oran Berry. Paras may also be carrying Choice Band and can Pursuit it into oblivion. The best bet for Shuppet is to carry Will-O-Wisp to render Paras nearly useless. Mankey is also usable, with Vital Spirit preventing sleep, and access to Ice Punch and U-turn. Bronzor can take an attack or two, but can't really touch Paras. Shieldon or Aron can take any STAB attacks from Paras, though they have to be wary of Brick Break. Croagunk resists Seed Bomb, Bug Bite, and Brick Break, while it can take out Paras with Ice Punch, which is a 2HKO, but it needs to watch out for Aerial Ace.
Revenge killing Paras is a very easy task, due to Paras having pitiful Speed. Any Fire-type attacker with decent Speed, such as Magby, can revenge kill Paras with a quick Flamethrower or Flare Blitz. Also, any slightly fast Flying-type attacker, such as Natu, can revenge kill Paras with ease. Diglett also gets a special mention due to being able to trap and KO Paras with Aerial Ace.