Smeargle

Own Tempo
Prevents confusion.
Technician
Moves with 60 Base Power or less do 50% more damage.
Type Tier
Normal OU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
55
- 251 314 -
Atk
20
68 76 139 152
Def
35
95 106 169 185
SpA
20
68 76 139 152
SpD
45
113 126 189 207
Spe
75
167 186 249 273
  • Overused

Overview

Smeargle is somewhat of an anomaly in the world of competitive Pokemon. He has the lowest BST of all OU—and even UU—Pokemon, and yet he maintains his presence among the best of the best by having a movepool that quite literally expands ad infinitum. Knowing every single move in the game gives Smeargle an edge over the competition that he abuses to great effect in a variety of ways.

Those abysmally low stats truly do haunt Smeargle, however. He can't safely switch into any attack, and thus playing with him on a team often leaves you feeling as though you're playing with a Pokemon down at all times. Despite that, access to all of the entry hazards, and more importantly Spore, keeps Smeargle afloat in the OU tier and makes him a Pokemon that your opponents would be wise to not underestimate.

Name Item Ability Nature

Lead

Focus Sash Own Tempo Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Spore
~ Spikes
~ U-turn
~ Counter / Stealth Rock
4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe

Smeargle is one of the best leads for offensive teams that want Spikes set up from the get-go. Against bulkier leads that lack Lum Berry, such as Swampert and Hippowdon, Smeargle can use Spore and then freely set up Spikes and also Stealth Rock, if he has it. Against faster leads that are vulnerable to sleep, such as Heatran, Smeargle will likely manage to only use Spore and set up one layer of Spikes, but this is still enough to help offensive teams. U-turn allows Smeargle to break the Focus Sash of leads such as Aerodactyl and Azelf, which commonly carry Taunt to disrupt Smeargle's setup strategy.

Spore, Spikes, and U-turn are Smeargle's greatest assets for offensive teams and are why you'd want to use him in the first place. The last slot depends on whether you'd rather take out Machamp leads, with Own Tempo to prevent confusion, or if you want to set up Stealth Rock early. Counter can also be used at other times if Smeargle still has his Focus Sash intact.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Scarf Lead

Choice Scarf Own Tempo Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Spore
~ Trick
~ Spikes / Stealth Rock
~ U-turn / Encore
252 HP / 40 Def / 216 Spe

With this set, Smeargle sacrifices the ability to take a hit for the ability to beat the faster leads that a Focus Sash leaves him at the mercy of. With a Choice Scarf equipped, Smeargle now catches Aerodactyl, Azelf, Infernape, and Roserade leads off guard with the fastest Spore in the game. Furthermore, Choice Scarf Smeargle functions much better in the mid-game due to his ability to outspeed base 130 Speed Pokemon and cripple them with Spore or Encore.

Ultimately, this Smeargle is still trying to set up Spikes for your team. To facilitate that, Spore, arguably the best move in the game, makes a return on this set. Stealth Rock can be used instead of Spikes if your team calls for it, but Smeargle is so effective at setting up multiple layers of Spikes that it's almost a waste. Against leads with Lum Berry that Smeargle can't beat anyway, such as Machamp and Metagross, U-turn comes in handy to quickly get out of Dodge. Encore, however, is an effective way for Smeargle to shut down setup sweepers—that is, those that aren't boosting their Speed—before they become a problem.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Lv. 1 Endeavor Lead

Focus Sash Own Tempo Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Spore
~ Endeavor
~ Trick Room / Protect
~ Dragon Rage
0 HP / 252 Spe

Smeargle's boundless movepool enables him to run a rather annoying Endeavor set from the lead position that's unlike any other. The strategy is to use Trick Room on Smeargle's first turn out, letting him go first on turn two. Once Trick Room is active, Smeargle should Spore the opposing lead if it isn't likely to have a Lum Berry; otherwise, he should Endeavor it. If Smeargle used Spore, then next he should use Endeavor to severely cripple the opposing lead. Under Trick Room, Smeargle will go first and use Dragon Rage to KO the opposing lead, and then be in a favorable position for crippling the opponent's next Pokemon as well. Protect can be used in the place of Trick Room to enable Smeargle to beat Fake Out leads, but they are relatively uncommon in OU outside of Infernape. In some match-ups, this Smeargle will be able to KO the opposing lead and then either put something else to sleep or reduce it to 1 HP.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Baton Pass

Leftovers / Salac Berry Own Tempo Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Baton Pass
~ Ingrain / Belly Drum / Spider Web
~ Spore
~ Substitute / Taunt
4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe

Smeargle is a godsend for Baton Pass teams, as the options for things he can pass are limitless. Indeed, there are many things that cannot be Baton Passed except through Smeargle, making him irreplaceable in that regard. Such options include Ingrain, Belly Drum, and Spider Web, all of which are pivotal to the success of Baton Pass chains in different ways. The only other Pokemon capable of passing a trapping move with any reliability is Umbreon, but Smeargle has many unique features that make him just as viable.

After Baton Pass, you need to decide what you want Smeargle to pass to his teammates. Ingrain is classically the most useful, as it gradually heals your team's HP and prevents Roar and Whirlwind from working. Belly Drum is exceptional for setting up a huge boost, which can then immediately be passed to a sweeper that can abuse it. The idea here is to set up a Substitute upon entering the field. If the opponent's switch-in lacks a phazing move or Haze, use Belly Drum and then Spore; reverse the order if the opponent has such a move. Lastly, Smeargle can run Spider Web and attempt to pass the trap move to his team. This can guarantee an easy win if Smeargle traps a Pokemon that is easy to set up on. With Spore, Smeargle can employ his chosen strategy more easily by preventing phazing, disabling a serious offensive threat, or putting a trapped Pokemon to sleep. In the last slot, Smeargle will either attempt to buffer his awful defenses with Substitute or prevent phazing with Taunt after activating Sleep Clause. Substitute is generally the better option so that something like Scizor switching in cannot OHKO Smeargle with Bullet Punch, but Taunt can be very valuable in keeping something like Gyarados from Taunting Smeargle first.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

The question you should be asking yourself is: "What option doesn't Smeargle have?" Smeargle has access to every move in the game, and therefore can do pretty much anything; the problem is that he can't do most of those things well. If you were considering using Smeargle offensively, save yourself the trouble and don't; Kakuna has higher attacking stats than Smeargle, which should pretty much kill the idea for you. Smeargle can set up Toxic Spikes instead of Spikes, but this job is better delegated to the likes of Roserade or Tentacruel, both of which have much better mid-game utility on offensive and balanced teams than Smeargle. Rapid Spin is in Smeargle's repertoire, but without the bulk to switch in, it makes a poor choice as well. Every other option even worth its salt in Smeargle's movepool has been mentioned in the above sets, so those are generally the way to go.

Checks and Counters

Smeargle is KOed by even the slightest of breezes, so pretty much any Pokemon with a respectably powerful STAB attack will beat him. That said, switching into Smeargle the first time he's out is troublesome because of Spore, so a Pokemon able to absorb it is handy to have. RestTalk Pokemon can switch into Spore and use Sleep Talk to try to take Smeargle out the following turn. A user of Rapid Spin is very helpful for removing the hard-won Spikes that Smeargle sets up, and there's none better for this role against offensive teams than Starmie. Starmie's powerful Hydro Pump obliterates both Smeargle and the spinblockers that might be sent in to nullify Rapid Spin.