- Boosts power of Water-type moves 50% when at 1/3 HP or less.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Squirtle has an expansive physical movepool and several neat tricks it can utilize. Its combination of decent bulk with a unique Speed gives it a few niches that only it can fill. Whereas Staryu focuses on Special Attack coverage and can spin as well, Squirtle can revenge kill and provide some different coverage. That being said, Squirtle's Speed is still middling and without investment it can only take so many attacks. Aqua Jet isn't really powerful enough to answer Ghost-types on its own, so Spinning can be troublesome. Squirtle is thus difficult to play to its full potential, but can be rewarding when played properly.
Double Priority is not uncommon in Little Cup, but there are few users who can do it well offensively while retaining decent bulk. The 0 HP IV allows Squirtle to sit at 19 HP, so Life Orb only takes one HP for each attack instead of two. Fake Out and Aqua Jet make this a suitable lead for breaking the Focus Sash of a multitude of Stealth Rockers, many of whom are weak to Water. This set is also good for hit-and-run tactics and revenge killing. As long as Squirtle is not KOed, it can threaten a priority one-two punch at any time during a match. Aqua Jet even gets boosted at low HP, a useful trait in a clutch situation.
Return offers coverage resisted by none in Little Cup, while Zen Headbutt allows Squirtle to OHKO Croagunk, who otherwise poses a formidable threat, with Dry Skin and, often, priority attacks of its own. Ice Punch can put a large dent in Grass-types but be warned that the superior defenses of the pure Grass-types mean Ice Punch will not OHKO (Zen Headbutt does more damage to Grass/Poison Pokemon).
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Squirtle has quite a bit of durability and few weaknesses, making it a prime candidate for Rapid Spin. Like Rapid Spinners in other tiers, Squirtle often baits Ghost-types as the opponent tries to defend their hazards. Zen Headbutt OHKOes Gastly, while Waterfall hits Duskull and Drifloon hard. Ice Punch provides more coverage in the final slot, but Aqua Jet lets you finish off a weakened opponent.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Squirtle has a multitude of other options. With both Counter and Mirror Coat, Squirtle can attempt a scouting set for Choiced Pokemon with Protect and the two retaliation moves. They can also be used as a surprise, since Squirtle can usually survive unboosted attacks at full health. Squirtle can use Brick Break or Focus Punch to deal more damage to Munchlax and Magnemite on its sets, but Zen Headbutt and Ice attacks are usually better for addressing Dry Skin Pokemon like Croagunk (Zen Headbutt) and Grass-types (Ice Punch). Fighting and Water also overlap quite a bit in LC because of the few Steel types, and while Normal offers unresisted coverage, Fighting does not.
Yawn can be used to force switches, but is difficult to fit on most sets. Squirtle can also utilize Foresight with Rapid Spin, but will usually only be able to pull the trick off once. Water Spout deserves some mention, but due to Squirtle's low base Speed stat you will rarely have a Water Spout at max damage. Using Trick Room can be an effective way to remedy this problem. Aqua Tail is available to provide more power, but its loss of flinch chance and lower accuracy are considerable drawbacks. Hydro Pump, Surf, and Blizzard can be used over Waterfall and Ice Beam. However, Squirtle's special movepool is very shallow and it doesn't really have the stats to split its offenses without sacrificing its otherwise notable bulk.
Checks and Counters
Turtwig has enough defenses to wall Squirtle well and can use the occasion to Stealth Rock if it forces a switch. Munchlax effectively walls sets without Brick Break, but runs the risk of being flinched with Waterfall. Snover can stall Squirtle easily, resists Aqua Jet, and has multiple threatening Grass-type attacks. Lotad 4x resists Water attacks and Squirtle has no effective means of dealing with it. Duskull and Gastly can switch in and burn Squirtle or, in Gastly's case, strike it with Thunderbolt. Croagunk can finish off a weakened Squirtle, but must avoid Zen Headbutt on the switch-in.