Although Toxicroak's defenses are poor, potential healing from Water-type attacks, handy resistances to Bug, Fighting, Dark, and Rock, as well as the ability to absorb Toxic Spikes all somewhat compensate for this. His attacking prowess may not quite be up to Hariyama's proportions, but with his impressive movepool, Toxicroak is not to be underestimated as an offensive threat. Competition between Fighting-types is fierce in UU, but Toxicroak has some rather unique and useful selling points, making him a cool choice to add to your team.
Swords Dance Toxicroak is a very useful late-game sweeper. While Toxicroak's poor defensive stats make getting into play difficult, the Water-type immunity granted by Dry Skin allows Toxicroak to come in on the likes of Milotic and Azumarill with relative impunity, giving him an opportunity to set up Swords Dance. Despite having several other notable resistances, namely Rock, Fighting, Bug, Dark, Poison, and Grass, such poor defenses make coming in on powerful STAB attacks from the likes of Venusaur, Rhyperior, and Hitmontop impractical. These resistances are very useful, however, for avoiding revenge kills. Toxicroak shrugs off Sucker Punches and Aqua Jets from Pokemon such as Azumarill and Absol thanks to handy resistances to almost all priority moves; however, Toxicroak needs to be wary of Fake Out from Ambipom, which does 49.03% - 57.79% from a Jolly Life Orb variant. In addition, Toxicroak's Swords Danced Sucker Punch is powerful enough to OHKO a large number of Pokemon who would otherwise outspeed and OHKO it first, such as Espeon, Alakazam, Swellow, and Sceptile. These two factors make Swords Dance Toxicroak very dangerous against offensive teams who are mostly dependent on revenge killing to deal with offensive threats.
Low Kick is the primary option in the second moveslot, as it hits quite a few common Pokemon for more damage than Cross Chop, such as Registeel, Torterra, and Milotic. Furthermore, despite Cross Chop producing consistent damage output, its accuracy is definitely not attractive. Sucker Punch hits a large number of important Pokemon who resist Toxicroak's STAB Cross Chop—most notably, Slowbro, Claydol, and Uxie. Spiritomb is also hit hard by Sucker Punch and is 2HKOed after a Swords Dance. While Ice Punch ensures that foes such as Altaria and Torterra are disposed of, Taunt can prevent Toxicroak from getting afflicted with status whilst setting up Swords Dance.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Nasty Plot Toxicroak doesn't hit quite as hard as physically based Toxicroak, due to a considerably lower Special Attack stat and lower Base Power moves. However, he makes up for it with a STAB priority move and surprise factor, as most people would expect the more common physical-based sets. Sludge Bomb provides a more powerful secondary STAB attack to hit slower, bulkier opponents such as Milotic, Spiritomb, and some Moltres, as well as landing an OHKO on Tangrowth. What you choose for the last slot depends on the rest of your team and what you have problems breaking down defensively. Dark Pulse is a good choice for hitting Ghost-types such as Rotom, Dusclops, Claydol, and Mismagius hard, all of which wall the rest of the set. Focus Blast is another worthwhile option, as despite the low accuracy, it is Toxicroak's most powerful weapon against Regirock, Registeel, and Chansey, all of which shrug off anything else this set has to offer.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
The beauty of SubPunch Toxicroak is that the core moves work together so well; being behind a Substitute encourages your opponent to attack, making them susceptible to Sucker Punch. Whilst the set's lack of power makes it difficult to break full-blown stall, it is very useful against more balanced teams and bulky offense, as they commonly rely on Pokemon such as Altaria and Moltres to combat Fighting-types, who both fall prey to this set. Substitute minimizes the need for prediction, and somewhat makes up for Toxicroak's frailty by ensuring that he can get off at least one safe hit before being KOed. Toxicroak can get plenty of opportunities to set up a Substitute, mainly against Water-types such as Azumarill, Milotic, Ludicolo, and Kabutops, but he can also force switches with the threat of Sucker Punch against weakened opponents.
Ice Punch is generally the more reliable move choice for the final slot, as it allows Toxicroak to OHKO all Altaria variants except the most physically defensive ones. It also hits Nidoqueen hard, and allows you to beat defensive Torterra that commonly switch into Toxicroak. However, it leaves you helpless against Moltres. Stone Edge allows Toxicroak to threaten Moltres, Altaria, and Scyther, all of which can easily survive the set's core attacks.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Fake Out and Bullet Punch round out Toxicroak's choices for priority attacks. Rain Dance is an option, but the benefits Toxicroak gets from it are minimal, so you would be better off using something else to set up rain. A Choice Specs set is a possibility with Toxicroak's impressive special movepool, though a mediocre Special Attack stat hurts the set's viability. Anticipation is almost always an inferior ability as Earthquake, Psychic, and Flying-type attacks are usually fairly predictable, so the added immunity to Water and potential healing Dry Skin brings is usually preferable. Scouting for Explosion can prove useful, though.
On any Toxicroak set, running max Speed is advisable. Regardless of the nature you use, running at least 240 Speed is useful to outpace Magmortar. From there, you may as well run max Speed to hit the Speed tie with Pinsir and opposing Toxicroak. Throughout this analysis, neutral Speed natures have been recommended due to Toxicroak's range of priority moves, and thus it is generally more worthwhile to invest in offensive stats than Speed. If you do opt to use a Speed-boosting nature, then you would outspeed a handful of Pokemon, including Moltres, Arcanine, and positively natured Blaziken, Medicham, Magmortar, Feraligatr, and Kabutops. Out of these Pokemon, Feraligatr and Kabutops very rarely use Jolly natures, and the latter is commonly played with rain support, allowing it to outspeed Toxicroak anyway by virtue of Swift Swim. However, it is very useful for Swords Dance Toxicroak to be able to beat Blaziken and Arcanine, both of which can otherwise beat him convincingly. The Nasty Plot set really benefits from outspeeding Moltres, as even boosted Vacuum Waves will not be enough to KO Moltres, even after Stealth Rock.
Unfortunately, using a positive nature really hurts Toxicroak's ability to break down a few key walls — Jolly Swords Dance Toxicroak only has a tiny chance to 2HKO Spiritomb after one boost, whereas he is almost guaranteed with Adamant. It also greatly reduces the chance of a 2HKO with a +2 Cross Chop and Sucker Punch on 252 HP / 252 Def Tangrowth. With an Adamant nature, it is guaranteed with Stealth Rock, while there is still a very good chance of a 2HKO even without Stealth Rock in play. A Jolly Toxicroak will never 2HKO without Stealth Rock, and is not guaranteed to do so when Stealth Rock is in play either.
Checks and Counters
Countering Toxicroak can be daunting, due to its large movepool and the ability to hurt the vast majority of potential checks with one move or another. However, after finding out the set, switching into Toxicroak becomes much easier. Bulky Poison-types are generally a safe bet — Weezing can come in on any physically based set and threaten Toxicroak with Will-O-Wisp or Flamethrower. Muk can also serve as an effective check, only really fearing the rare Earthquake. Donphan can take an Ice Punch with relative ease and OHKO back with Earthquake. Nidoqueen is also an acceptable switch-in, though it is also weak to Ice Punch. Drapion isn't quite such a safe bet, but is faster than Toxicroak, can survive one Cross Chop, resists Sucker Punch, and can KO him easily with Earthquake.
Ghost-types such as Rotom and Mismagius are serious obstacles to a Toxicroak sweep, being able to dodge Sucker Punch with status moves or Substitute, and having an immunity to Toxicroak's STAB Fighting moves. Dusclops is less reliable, as its lower Speed makes it susceptible to Taunt, allowing Toxicroak to hit it with Sucker Punch. However, it does better against the Choice Band set. Similarly, Spiritomb works well against Choiced sets, but cannot do damage back quickly enough against the Swords Dance or the Nasty Plot sets. Bulky Psychic-types also do well against Toxicroak, particularly the physical sets, but face a high-risk prediction game and will need some way of threatening Toxicroak without directly attacking it, in order to avoid Sucker Punch. Uxie is a relatively safe switch, as it can survive Swords Dance-boosted Sucker Punches, as well as Nasty Plot-boosted Dark Pulses, and OHKO in return with Psychic. Slowbro is almost OHKOed by Sucker Punch after a Swords Dance, but can beat Toxicroak by hitting him with Psychic on the turn that he uses Taunt or another attacking move. Mesprit works in pretty much the same manner.
Venusaur and Intimidate Arcanine are both capable of switching into Toxicroak as he uses Swords Dance or Nasty Plot, surviving one boosted priority attack and OHKOing in return, though Arcanine cannot afford to switch in on Toxicroak's STAB attacks. Moltres is a safe switch as long as Toxicroak isn't packing Stone Edge, whereas Altaria has to be wary of Ice Punch. Scyther has to be similarly careful of these attacks, but can switch in on Toxicroak's STAB attacks, outspeed and threaten with Aerial Ace. Regardless, countering Toxicroak is much harder than simply never letting him into play in the first place—if your team is very offensive, short of Choice-locked Water-type moves or Pursuit, Toxicroak will have difficulty switching in.