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Articuno (GP 2/2)

Discussion in 'Uploaded Analyses' started by erisia, May 16, 2012.

  1. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    [​IMG]

    The big bird is back.

    [Overview]

    <p>Articuno has the potential to be an extremely effective defensive Pokemon, but is utterly crippled by Stealth Rock. While 90 / 100 / 125 defenses are fantastic and would normally let it take most neutral attacks with ease, Stealth Rock will remove 50% of Articuno's max HP every time it switches in, preventing it from tanking incoming attacks as effectively. Articuno's overall lack of useful resistances, and weaknesses to other common moves such as Fire Blast and Thunderbolt, are also unhelpful in this regard. However, with access to the ability Pressure and instant recovery in Roost, Articuno is extremely talented at stalling opponents into submission, either by removing the PP of high-powered moves such as Fire Blast and Stone Edge, or by removing the opponent's HP through the use of Toxic. With an impressive base 85 Speed, along with its aforementioned bulk, Articuno can set up Substitutes before many offensive Pokemon can attack, and before many defensive Pokemon can cripple it with Toxic, making it hard to take down. The Freeze Pokemon isn't a one-trick pony either; it has a diverse support movepool featuring Heal Bell, Roar and Reflect, as well as capable offensive stats and powerful STAB attacks in Ice Beam and Hurricane. While Articuno requires team support to circumvent its weakness to Stealth Rock and to remove specific checks, it has the potential to stall entire teams into submission once it gains momentum.</p>


    [SET]
    name: Defensive SubRoost
    move 1: Substitute
    move 2: Roost
    move 3: Toxic / Protect
    move 4: Ice Beam
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Timid
    evs: 192 HP / 64 SpD / 252 Spe

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>With this set, Articuno can switch into several defensive Pokemon in the tier, including Amoonguss and Alomomola, and set up Substitutes that can be surprisingly hard to break. For example, even Vileplume, the more powerful alternative to Amoonguss, fails to break its Substitute with Sludge Bomb. Due to Articuno's above-average Speed stat, excellent special bulk and focused resistances, it finds many opportunities to set up, and once behind a Substitute it can either heal off the damage with Roost, use Toxic to start stalling, or use Ice Beam to hit opponents for immediate damage. Even powerful opponents with super effective moves, such as Adamant Sawk, Emboar, and Regirock, can be stalled out successfully through strategic SubRoosting, as Articuno's Pressure ability limits the use of their STAB attacks significantly. Meanwhile, if the enemy fails to break through a Substitute in one hit, Articuno will have the opportunity to Toxic them, set up another Substitute, and Roost to negate the health loss. The aforementioned Poison-type Pokemon, as well as other candidates such as Garbodor, Weezing, and offensive Skuntank, are all hit reasonably hard by Ice Beam, meaning they aren't safe either. Unless Articuno is outsped or faced with a specially bulky, Poison-immune opponent, it will dismantle teams single handedly if given the opportunity. Although the presence of Stealth Rock makes it harder for Articuno to keep its strength up throughout the match, its high Speed helps to ensure it isn't dead weight even at low health, when a single Substitute can make the difference between failure and success.</p>


    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>While Toxic is necessary to stall opponents out of HP, Articuno can use Protect instead if your team can provide it with Toxic Spikes support, further facilitating the stalling process. Garbodor isn't perfect in terms of defensive synergy, but it's a good candidate to provide this support as it can take on the physical attackers that Articuno can have trouble with, and the Spikes it provides can persuade opponents from switching to lower the Poison damage. Omanyte can also be used, removing Fire-type Pokemon more effectively and luring in Grass-type Pokemon for Articuno to set up on. However, as Poison-type Pokemon such as Amoonguss and Skuntank are becoming more popular, this is a less reliable strategy in general. Speaking of entry hazards, a Rapid Spin user can really make Articuno a more sustainable defensive threat by removing Stealth Rock. Armaldo and Torkoal are good candidates that can also use Stealth Rock themselves, while physically defensive Wartortle has better defensive synergy and can Toxic opponents in its spare time to take some pressure off Articuno. However, the best way of dealing with Stealth Rock in this metagame is prevention, and using an anti-lead such as Bullet Seed Torterra or Choice Band Rampardos to OHKO common users of the move (Golem, Regirock, Probopass, Bastiodon, etc) lets you retain more momentum than using a Rapid Spin user, as most are slow and easy for the opponent to play around.</p>

    <p>The EV spread is fairly simple; maximizing Articuno's Speed stat is important when using Substitute, as it lets Articuno set up on a larger list of Pokemon, and the Speed ties it provides against Jolly Sawk and Pinsir can be important. However, the Speed EVs can be dropped to 212 if you don't want to risk losing the tie, while still letting Articuno outspeed fully invested Drifblim, Altaria, and Adamant Sawk. 192 HP EVs provide Articuno with a Leftovers number, allowing it to produce Substitutes repeatedly while minimising HP loss, letting it stall more efficiently in the long run. The remaining EVs are invested in Special Defense to let Articuno set up more effectively against its fodder of choice: defensive Grass-type Pokemon. Ice Beam is used as the sole attacking move, as although Hurricane is unusually powerful for a defensive Pokemon's attack, its coverage is less useful within the tier, and its low accuracy makes it too inconsistent for use as a single attacking move.</p>

    <p>While Articuno can be an absolute stalling-machine in many circumstances, there are a few things that your team must deal with effectively to make the most of it. Without Hidden Power Ground, Articuno is helpless against Bastiodon and Probopass; thus, packing Ground- or Fighting-type Pokemon, such as Torterra, and Emboar, can punish the opponent for switching them into Articuno so enthusiastically. Golem, Cinccino and the occasional Garbodor can break through Articuno's Substitutes effortlessly with Rock Blast, preventing it from functioning as a defensive threat while they remain healthy. Hence, using a physical wall such as Tangela or Misdreavus to prevent them from seizing momentum is highly recommended.</p>


    [SET]
    name: Offensive
    move 1: Ice Beam
    move 2: Hurricane
    move 3: Substitute / Hidden Power Ground
    move 4: Roost
    item: Life Orb
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Modest / Timid
    evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>Being a "BST 580 Legendary", Articuno is blessed with excellent overall stats, especially in comparison to the rest of the tier. Hence, even though it functions primarily as a defensive Pokemon, it can use a surprisingly deadly offensive set to break through its usual checks with brute force. Base 95 Special Attack, when augmented by a Modest Nature, a Life Orb, and excellent STAB attacks in Ice Beam and Hurricane, is more than enough to OHKO many of the tiers frail sweepers, including Articuno's worst nightmare, Cinccino. Fire- and Water-type Pokemon that were previously able to take repeated Ice Beams, as well as physically defensive clerics such as Miltank and Musharna, now get OHKOed or 2HKOed respectively by Hurricane, letting Articuno seize offensive momentum as opponents misinterpret its intentions. Meanwhile, an above-average Base 85 Speed lets Articuno get the jump on most of the tier. While Hurricane's accuracy is disappointing, it's not crippling; being as accurate as Gardevoir's Focus Blast, it's accuracy isn't as poor as it might seem. If your team happens to abuse Rain Dance, then Articuno can use the move even more effectively.</p>

    <p>Although Articuno lacks coverage options, its STAB attacks provide it with enough neutral coverage to take on pretty much anything. Hidden Power Ground is ever-present as a way for Articuno to bypass Bastiodon and Probopass, although it's not exactly hard to eliminate them with teammates, either. Substitute is usually more useful, as it lets Articuno block status attacks and heal reliably with Roost against defensive Pokemon, giving it more of a niche as an attacker, and helping to mitigate its weakness to Stealth Rock. Substitute also allows for Articuno to stall the last remaining PP from high power moves such as Stone Edge in situations where it's more beneficial than going for a kill, for example against Carracosta. Overall, offensive Articuno is more viable than it might first appear, combining excellent power with some of the best attacking moves in the metagame, and a defensive capacity that lets Articuno far outlast much of its competition, should you require it to.</p>


    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>The EV spread is fairly obvious, maximizing Special Attack to let Articuno hit as hard as possible, while investing the remaining EVs in Speed to let Articuno get the first hit and seize momentum against more opponents. A Modest nature is used to ensure that Articuno can OHKO Absol and Cinccino on the switch in reliably with Ice Beam; however, if you have Stealth Rock support to provide residual damage, Rain Dance support to make Hurricane more reliable, or wish to outspeed sweeping Drifblim and Altaria, then feel free to use a Timid nature. If you're looking for other coverage options for Articuno to use, don't get too excited. Its only options are Water Pulse, Extrasensory, AncientPower, Signal Beam, and niche Hidden Power types such as Grass or Electric, all of which are either outdamaged by its STAB attacks or not useful enough to compete with Substitute for a moveslot. If you don't find yourself using the third moveslot often enough in battle, Articuno can use a supporting move such as Roar or Heal Bell to support its team on the side; the latter is particularly useful as it still provides Articuno with a defense against Toxic and Thunder Wave, and can heal teammates if required.</p>

    <p>As Articuno cares less about tanking hits with this set, the health loss from Stealth Rock isn't as detrimental to Articuno's purpose as it is for more defensive sets. Furthermore, Articuno relies less on switching around than many other bulky attackers due to its reliable healing and status protection. Despite this, having a method of mitigating Stealth Rock on your team is always handy, so you should use one anyway. Choice Band Rampardos scares out most Stealth Rock users while also providing excellent coverage alongside Articuno with its ludicrously lethal Head Smashes and Superpowers. Offensive Armaldo can use Rapid Spin to remove Stealth Rock directly while also being able to use Rock-type moves well; it can even fit into Rain Dance teams with its Swift Swim ability. Speaking of which, using a team-mate with access to Rain Dance provides Articuno with opportunities to spam a perfectly accurate Hurricane and abuse its confusion rate more effectively. Seismitoad is the perfect offensive partner, switching into Rock-, Electric- and Fire-type attacks easily while simultaneously luring in Grass-type Pokemon. Meanwhile, Seismitoad removes the Steel- and Rock-type Pokemon that can impede Articuno's progress with its STAB Earth Power. Finally, entry hazard support lets Articuno secure KOs more easily, with Spikes being particularly useful as Articuno naturally excels at removing the Flying-type Pokemon that are immune to them. Garbodor is the conventional option and can use Toxic Spikes to let Articuno stall certain opponents on the side, while Cacturne can be used to augment Articuno's sweep with a powerful Sucker Punch that eliminates any survivors.</p>


    [SET]
    name: Specially Defensive
    move 1: Ice Beam
    move 2: Roost
    move 3: Heal Bell
    move 4: Roar / Toxic
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Calm
    evs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpD

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>With this set, Articuno eschews Speed and stalling potential for sheer numerical bulk; as a result, it can even take super effective special attacks with ease and use Roost alone to stall them out. For example, Choice Scarf Rotom-S fails to 2HKO Articuno with Thunderbolt, while the usually deadly Choice Specs Exeggutor can't hope to 2HKO with Psychic. By not using Substitute, Articuno gains access to more of its extensive support movepool, giving it more utility as a support option for teams that already pack standout stalling or sweeping threats, such as Tangela or Samurott. Roost is a staple for providing Articuno with HP recovery, both to counteract Stealth Rock and to provide longevity, while Ice Beam ensures that Articuno can't be defeated through the use of Taunt alone. Meanwhile, Heal Bell lets Articuno shrug off Toxic with ease while also giving paralyzed or burned sweepers second chances; Roar lets Articuno act as an unexpected phaser, racking up damage against opponents that can't break through it if you provide entry hazard support. It also lets Articuno counteract other phazers such as Lickilicky and Bastiodon which could otherwise force it out. On the other hand, Toxic can also be used, as although this Articuno cannot stall out high-powered moves as effectively as the other sets, it takes less numerical damage from pretty much everything other than the Rock-type attacks that KO it instantly.</p>


    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>While Ice-type Pokemon are generally best suited to running specially defensive sets, Articuno has some merit as a physical tank in comparison due to the resistances that its Flying typing provides. However, Rock-type attacks will still destroy it, so this usually isn't the best option. Again, Ice Beam is chosen as the primary option, as Hurricane, despite its sheer power, isn't particularly reliable, which is more important overall with a defensive set. If you don't use Articuno's fourth moveslot as often as you'd like, Reflect is an interesting alternative for providing a temporary buffer against physical attacks, and can make Articuno more or less indestructible in combination with Roost. Unfortunately, it lacks access to Light Screen, and thus can't use a Dual Screens set with Light Clay.</p>

    <p>As always, having a way to work around Stealth Rock is highly appreciated, especially considering Articuno will be switching around more to provide Heal Bell support and to wall specific targets. Using a consistent Rapid Spin user such as Torkoal or Wartortle may be the best option for defensive teams, as they can defend against physical attackers most of the time and ensure that a defensive team can remain stable for extended durations. As Articuno may also be using Roar to prevent sweepers from setting up, entry hazards can be used to capitalise on this and to rack up residual damage. Simply having a Stealth Rock user such as Armaldo, Golem or Torterra is good enough, but using a Toxic Spiker such as Garbodor can let Articuno stall more effectively, as well as just providing support. Finally, Articuno can be paired with fast physical sweepers such as Cinccino and Tauros, which will appreciate being healed from inopportune Will-o-Wisps, Thunder Waves and sleep attacks.</p>


    [Other Options]

    <p>A Choice Specs set with U-turn over Roost has potential, but absolutely requires Stealth Rock to be removed before you can even think about using it effectively. It's not for the faint of heart, but it can be effective so long as you fulfill this one condition. Frost Breath can be used as an alternative STAB attack to break through Calm Mind users, but is otherwise inferior to Ice Beam. Likewise, Icy Wind can be used to hit opponents such as Cinccino on the switch, letting you outspeed and 2HKO them with Ice Beam, although Articuno struggles to free a moveslot for this purpose. Articuno can use Rest + Sleep Talk to switch directly into Sleep attack users, but Roost + Substitute / Heal Bell are more effective methods of recovery and status control in other situations. Haze can be used to deal with setup sweepers such as Samurott and Musharna, but Roar is usually more handy and provides more team support overall. Agility is Articuno's only boosting option, and combined with Ice Beam, Hurricane, and Hidden Power Ground it can make Articuno a powerful late game sweeper if given the opportunity to set up, although its modest base 95 Special Attack makes it hard to break through special walls such as Lickilicky. Tailwind augments Articuno's Speed as well as that of its teammates, and it finds plenty of opportunities to set it up due to its bulk and Speed. Likewise, Articuno can use Rain Dance with a Damp Rock, alongside Ice Beam, Hurricane, and Roost. While it can abuse both of these moves well, its weakness to Stealth Rock makes it less useful as a defensive supporter that has to continuously switch in throughout the match.</p>


    [Checks and Counters]

    <p>Setting up Stealth Rock is undisputedly the best way of countering Articuno, as it KOes the bird singlehandedly after three switch-ins, severely limiting its capacity as a defensive threat. If you don't want to be stalled out, make sure to set them up early with a reliable entry hazard setter such as Golem or Probopass, keeping them up throughout the match by using a spinblocker such as Misdreavus, Drifblim, or Golurk. If you have Stealth Rock up, phazing it out is also an effective countermeasure, and stacks up residual damage extremely quickly. However, be warned that weak Dragon Tails will fail to break its Substitutes, and the most common Roar user, Altaria, is destroyed by Ice Beam. Bastiodon is a reliable candidate, as are Miltank and Flareon if they choose to use it. Probopass and Bastiodon can hard-counter Articuno unless it runs Hidden Power Ground, set up Stealth Rock to prevent it from switching in later, and use either Rock Blast or Power Gem to deal significant damage. While Taunt users are theoretically useful at shutting down the majority of Articuno's movepool, the most common users of the move are hit hard by Ice Beam and Hurricane, so this strategy is nominally useful unless you use something like Misdreavus. Duosion has no problems with defensive Articuno sets at all, being immune to Toxic damage and taking little from Ice Beam as it sets up Calm Minds. Finally, any attacker with Rock Blast can OHKO Articuno through its Substitutes, rendering its primary damage-control strategy useless; Cinccino absolutely excels in forcing Articuno out as it outspeeds all sets even with an Adamant nature. Golem, Armaldo, and Garbodor, can also use this strategy, although they must take a hit before delivering the lethal blow, and this can be a luxury against the offensive set.</p>


    [Unreleased]

    <p>Snow Cloak doesn't benefit Articuno in any way, as Snow Warning is banned from the NU tier, and the evasion boost isn't great enough to warrant Articuno running Hail itself. Furthermore, Articuno relies on Pressure to help stall out attacks from Pokemon that could otherwise break through it when it runs out of Substitute PP. Overall, Pressure is more useful in every situation.</p>
  2. shrang

    shrang Reaction to Ubers ladder
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    I don't know how viable the offensive set is, but Articuno does have access to Agility and Tailwind, so if you're really missing a 3rd slot, you could probably give those two attacks a try. It's certainly better than Icy Wind, IMO.
  3. Django

    Django
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    Specs is certainly usable, and should be mentioned under an offensive set which is definitely viable. Its a shame Articuno gets no move apart from...Air Cutter. I think Ice Beam / HP Ground / U-Turn / Roost is the best you are going to get, with possible Toxic > Roost on a Choice Specs set.
  4. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Yeah, I guess Air Cutter is useful for hitting the occasional Bug and Fighting types a little bit harder than Ice Beam, as well as Ludicolo. I think I'll mention Specs in OO as the power boost isn't great and, realistically, the lack of switching combined with Roost is really going to help offensive Articuno stay alive in the presence of Stealth Rock.
  5. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Okay, this is now ready for QC!
  6. Steamroll

    Steamroll resident zombie
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    Specs is good in OO.

    - Check
    - Check
    - Check
    - Expand checks and counters a bit (although I think you'll get to that in GPing)

    QC Approved 1/3
  7. DTC

    DTC ˢᵉʳᶦᵒᵘˢ
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    The current offensive set is ok, but there is a different one that I like much more.

    [SET]
    name: SubRoost Offensive
    move 1: Substitute
    move 2: Roost
    move 3: Ice Beam
    move 4: Hidden Power Flying
    item: Life Orb
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Modest
    evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

    Think of this as a combination of Charizard and Cryogonal. It hits hard, decently fast, and is bulky. It abuses the Pressure ability well with Sub + Roost while hitting very hard. Hidden Power Flying is better than Ground for Pokemon such as Samurott, Emboar, and Gurdurr. You miss out on Probopass, Bastidon, and Lairon, but out of those, only Probopass is common. You still 2HKO Magmortar after SR. HP Flying is also generally better for Fighting-, Ice-, and Water-types. There is also little point for Timid when Sawk already outspeeds you thanks to Hidden Power lowering your Speed IV.

    I'd change the current offensive set to this and make it the second set. It's very good.
  8. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    See, I was thinking that offensive SubRoost would be more useful than running three attacks, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. :p This looks good, and if you're vouching for it then I'm more than happy to switch things around. Although I'm not sure if Timid is better due to the fact it outspeeds Jolly Altaria, Magmortar, etc. Does the Modest nature gain any extra KOs?

    Also, I'm not sure about the HP EVs on Defensive SubRoost. Is having a number divisible by 16 + 1 important enough to warrant the overall drop in physical bulk?
  9. DTC

    DTC ˢᵉʳᶦᵒᵘˢ
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    Altaria isn't much of a threat to Articuno, however Magmortar is. Modest helps with OHKO'ing Emboar, Cinccino, Absol, Rampardos, etc.; without Modest, some of these are either impossible without SR or much more unlikely.

    Some notable 2HKO's are Samurott, Magmortar (with a bit of luck with damage rolls) and tank Regirock.

    The extra 2HKO's and OHKO's are better than outspeeding Magmortar in my opinion. There isn't much notable, but it's still worth it.
  10. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Okay, that's fine, but does this mean the Defensive SubRoost set should have a different Speed stat? Outspeeding Magmortar was basically my justification for it. 192 HP / 100 SpD / 216 Spe Calm lets you outspeed max Adamant Braviary, Altaria, etc.
  11. cookie

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    I wouldn't call a 68% increase in damage against Camerupt "slightly more".
  12. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Actually, it's only a 26% increase in damage, due to Solid Rock.
  13. DTC

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    Mention Hidden Power Ground in AC of Offensive SubRoost.

    Expand on explaining the benefits of using the Specially Defensive set over Defensive SubRoost; what does using Roar help Articuno beat, what makes Articuno a good and reliable Heal Bell user, etc.

    QC Approve 2/3
  14. Django

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    I thnink you meant "faint of heart" in the first line of OO. Looks good overall.

    QC APPROVE (3/3
    )
  15. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Okay, is this ready to move on to grammar then? I'm not sure if the first QC check was invalidated or not.
  16. Steamroll

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    if it was then I can stamp a third time.
  17. Django

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    wat why does mine say 2. Edited to 3, this is good to go.
  18. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Okay, I've updated the skeletons with reference to the departure of Magmortar, Cryogonal, Quagsire and Metang, and the inclusion of Hurricane into Articuno's movepool.

    I've left the EV spreads the same for now, but I'd like to invite discussion over whether Articuno should lower its Speed tier now that Magmortar has left the tier. Speed ties with Sawk, Pinsir etc are somewhat risky when they can OHKO you with Stone Edge, but then again Articuno can use Substitute to circumvent this and land a killing blow with Ice Beam if necessary. The other option is to drop Speed to 212 EVs on the Defensive SubRoost set, to outspeed max Drifblim and Altaria, which gives 40 EVs for Defense or Special Defense. Or they can go into HP if we decide that having a Leftovers number isn't worth it for some reason.

    The Offensive SubRoost set has been changed to just Offensive, with HP Ground being slashed with Substitute. However, is HP Fighting more useful for Articuno? I assume not given the general attitude towards HP on Ice types. The Support set has been unchanged, since it hasn't really been affected that much.
  19. Cherub Agent

    Cherub Agent Yeah, well. The Dude abides
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    These are just some niggles that I'm sure just haven't been worded correctly

    1) When you say that Ice Beam kills Emboar with a Modest nature, I'm pretty sure you're referring to the previous Air Cutter. I'd also be surprised if Timid Articuno wans't able to OHKO Absol with Ice Beam...

    2) Again, small thing, but Hurricane has 180 BP against Camerupt. Water Pulse has 240 BP, and can be boosted by the recommended Rain.

    3) This is a tad more contradictory. I'm not sure what you mean here: you imply that Articuno will be switching in and out a lot more, and therefore DOESN'T have to worry more about Stealth Rock? If anything the offesnive set needs a spinner more than the defensive one. Also, mabye wall-breaking would be a better term; this Articuno won't be doing much revenge-killing, especially with a Modst nature.
  20. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    You're right about Emboar, I don't know how that happened. But Water Pulse has 180 BP against Camerupt due to Solid Rock, so I'm correct in that case.

    About the offensive set switching around. What I meant in this case is that, while the defensive sets don't function well with low health, the offensive set can still accomplish most of its goals at low health, and thus it matters less that it's switching into Stealth Rock. However, I did word that incorrectly, so I'll re-state that.
  21. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Okay, this is ready to go (at last). Given I now have a 9 to 5 job, I'm going to try and get Rapidash and Skuntank more or less done by Friday, so if anyone would like to provide swift QC / GP checks for them as well, let me know. :)
  22. Lee

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    580!
  23. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
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    Thanks Lee, I should have picked up on that. -_-

    Also mentioned Duosion in the checks and counters section, as it beats the crap out of defensive sets that lack Roar.
  24. Yonko7

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    I do what I canz.

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    [Overview]

    <p>Articuno is a peculiar case; an extremely bulky and effective defensive Pokemon that can be crippled utterly by Stealth Rock. While 90 / 100 / 125 defenses are fantastic in this tier and would ordinarily let it take most neutral attacks with ease, the presence of Stealth Rock will remove 50% of Articuno's max HP every time it switches in,which severely limiting limits its ability to repeatedly come in and tank attacks. This is not helped by This just sounds funny to me, but I can't come up with a replacement xD Articuno's overall lack of useful resistances, and weaknesses to other common moves such as Fire Blast and Thunderbolt. However, Articuno does has have a number of excellent attributes that make it a defensive threat despite its Achilles Heel. With access to the Pressure ability and instant recovery in Roost, Articuno is extremely talented at stalling opponents into submission, either by removing the PP of moves such as Fire Blast and Stone Edge that would ordinarily deal significant damage, or by removing the opponent's HP through the use of Toxic. Articuno's good base 85 Speed, along with its aforementioned bulk, let it Articuno can Its always better to write in active than passive set up Substitutes before many offensive Pokemon can attack, and before many defensive Pokemon can use Toxic to cripple it, making it Articuno I think 'it' is ambiguous here hard to take down. The Freeze Pokemon isn't a one-trick pony either, as it has a varied diverse diverse sounds better, but its all up you :) (or the the GPers) support movepool featuring Heal Bell, Roar and Reflect, as well as capable offensive stats and and powerful STAB attacks in Ice Beam and Hurricane. While Articuno requires team support to circumvent its weakness to Stealth Rock and to remove specific checks, it has the potential to stall entire teams into submission once it gains momentum.</p>

    [SET]
    name: Defensive SubRoost
    move 1: Substitute
    move 2: Roost
    move 3: Toxic / Protect
    move 4: Ice Beam
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Timid
    evs: 192 HP / 64 SpD / 252 Spe

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>With this set, Articuno can switch into several defensive pokemon in the tier, including the rising threat of Amoonguss, and set up Substitutes that can be surprisingly hard to break. For example, even the more powerful Vileplume fails to break Substitute with a Sludge Bomb. Due to Articuno's above-average Speed stat, excellent special bulk and focused resistances, it finds many opportunities to set up, and once behind a Substitute it can either heal off the damage with Roost, use Toxic to begin the stalling process, or use Ice Beam to hit opponents for some immediate damage. Even powerful opponents with super-effective moves, such as Adamant Sawk, Emboar, and Regirock, can be stalled out successfully through strategic SubRoosting, as because Articuno's Pressure ability only lets attackers use moves such as Close Combat, Stone Edge or Fire Blast four times against it. Meanwhile, if the enemy fails to break through Articuno's Substitute in one hit, it will have the opportunity to Toxic them and proceed to kill them while taking no net damage in the healing process. The aforementioned Poison-type Pokemon, as well as other candidates such as Garbodor, Weezing, and offensive Skuntank, are all hit decently hard by Ice Beam, meaning they aren't safe either. Overall, unless Articuno is outsped or faced with a specially bulky, Poison-immune opponent, it has the potential to dismantle teams single handedly given the opportunity. Although the presence of Stealth Rock makes it harder for Articuno to keep its strength up throughout the match, its high Speed helps to ensure it isn't dead weight even at low health, when a single Substitute can make the difference between been failure and success.</p>

    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>While Toxic poison is necessary to stall opponents out of HP, Articuno can use Protect as an option over Toxic if your team can provide it with Toxic Spikes support, further facilitating the stalling process. Garbodor isn't perfect in terms of synergy, but it's a good candidate to provide this support as it can take on the physical attackers that Articuno is less suited to dealing with, and the Spikes it provides can persuades opponents from switching to lower the Poison damage. Omanyte can also be used, dealing with Fire-type Pokemon more effectively and luring in Grass-type Pokemon for Articuno to set up on. Of course, when analysing the impact of entry hazards on Articuno's effectiveness, one cannot ignore the crippling effect that Stealth Rock exerts on it. Using a Rapid Spinner to remove it Stealth Rock 'it' is ambigous and could mean SR or Articuno can really make Articuno a more sustainable defensive threat; Armaldo and Torkoal can provide Stealth Rock support for your team as well, while physically defensive Wartortle has better defensive synergy and can Toxic opponents in its spare time to take some pressure off Articuno. However, the best way of dealing with Stealth Rock in this metagame is prevention, and using an anti-lead such as Bullet Seed Torterra or Choice Band Rampardos with Mold Breaker to OHKO common users of the move (Golem, Regirock, Probopass, Bastiodon, etc) lets you retain more momentum than using a Rapid Spinner in this metagame.</p>

    <p>The EV spread is fairly simple. Maximising Articuno's Speed stat is important when using Substitute, as it lets Articuno can set up on a larger list of Pokemon, and the Speed ties it provides against Jolly Sawk and Pinsir can be important. However, the Speed EVs can be dropped to 212 if you don't want to risk it against them, still letting you outspeed fully invested Drifblim and Altaria, as well as Adamant Sawk. 192 HP EVs provide Articuno with a Leftovers number, letting Articuno produce Substitutes repeatedly while minimising HP loss, letting it stall more efficiently in the long run. The remaining EVs are invested in Special Defense to let so Articuno can set up more effectively against its fodder of choice: defensive Grass-type Pokemon. Ice Beam is used as the sole attacking move, as although Hurricane is very powerful for a defensive pokemon, its coverage is less useful within the tier, and its low accuracy makes it somewhat inconsistent for stalling attempts.</p>

    <p>While Articuno can be an absolute stalling-machine in many circumstances, there are a few things problems that your team must deal with effectively to make the most of it. Without Hidden Power Ground, Articuno is helpless against Bastiodon and Probopass, thus packing Ground- or Fighting-type Pokemon, such as Torterra, and Emboar, can punish the opponent for switching them into Articuno so enthusiastically. On the other end of the spectrum, Golem, Cinccino and the occasional Garbodor can break through Articuno's Substitutes effortlessly with Rock Blast, preventing it from functioning as a defensive threat while they remain healthy. Hence, using a physical wall such as Tangela or Misdreavus to prevent them from seizing momentum is highly recommended.</p>

    [SET]
    name: Offensive
    move 1: Ice Beam
    move 2: Hurricane
    move 3: Substitute / Hidden Power Ground
    move 4: Roost
    item: Life Orb
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Modest / Timid
    evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>Being a "BST 580 Legendary", Articuno is blessed with excellent overall stats, especially in comparison to the rest of the tier. Hence, even though it functions primarily as a defensive Pokemon, it can use a surprisingly deadly offensive set to break through its usual checks with brute force. Base 95 Special Attack, when augmented by a Modest Nature, a Life Orb, and excellent STAB attacks in Ice Beam and Hurricane, is more than enough to OHKO many of the tier's frail sweepers, including Articuno's worst nightmare, Cinccino. Fire- and Water-type Pokemon, that were previously able to take repeated Ice Beams, as well as physically defensive clerics such as Miltank and Musharna, now get OHKO'd or 2HKO'd by Hurricane, respectively, letting Articuno seize offensive momentum as opponents misinterpret its intentions. Meanwhile, with an above-average Base 85 Speed lets ,Articuno can get the jump on most of the tier. While Hurricane's accuracy is disappointing, it's not crippling; let me re-assure you that Hurricane is very viable outside of Rainy conditions. If your team happens to abuse Rain Dance, then Articuno can use the move even more effectively.</p>

    <p>Although Articuno lacks coverage options, its STABs provide it with enough neutral coverage to take on pretty much anything. Hidden Power Ground is ever-present as a way for Articuno to bypass Bastiodon and Probopass, 2HKOing them with certainty. However, Substitute is usually more useful, as it lets Articuno blocks status attacks and Articuno can heal reliably with Roost against defensive Pokemon, giving it more of a niche as an attacker, and helping to mitigate its weakness to Stealth Rock. It's not exactly hard to deal with Bastiodon and Probopass via teammates, either. Substitute also allows for Articuno to stall the last remaining PP from high power moves such as Stone Edge in situations where it's more beneficial than going for a kill, against Carracosta for an example. Overall, offensive Articuno is more viable than it may first appear, combining excellent power with some of the best attacking moves in the metagame, and a defensive capacity that lets Articuno far outlast much of its competition, should its user require it to.</p>

    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>The EV spread is fairly obvious, maximising Special Attack to let Articuno deal as much damage as possible, while investing the remaining EVs in Speed to let so Articuno can get the first hit and seize momentum against more opponents. A Modest nature is used to ensure that Articuno can OHKO Absol and Cinccino (on the switch) reliably with Ice Beam; however, if you have Stealth Rock support to provide residual damage, Rain Dance support to make Hurricane more reliable, or wish to outspeed sweeping Drifblim and Altaria, then feel free to use a Timid nature. If you're looking for other coverage options for Articuno to use, don't get too excited. Its only options are Water Pulse, Extrasensory, AncientPower, Signal Beam, and niche Hidden Power types such as Grass or Electric, all of which are either outdamaged by its STAB attacks or not useful enough to compete with Substitute for a moveslot. If you don't find yourself using the third moveslot often enough in battle, Articuno can use a supporting move such as Roar or Heal Bell to support its team on the side; the latter is particularly useful as it still provides Articuno with a defense against Toxic and Thunder Wave.</p>

    <p>As Articuno cares less about tanking hits with this set, the health loss from Stealth Rock isn't as detrimental to Articuno's purpose as it is for more defensive sets. Furthermore, Articuno relies less on switching around than many other bulky attackers due to its reliable healing and status protection. Despite this, having a method of dealing with Stealth Rock on your team is always handy, so you should use one anyway. Choice Band Rampardos scares out most Stealth Rock users while also providing excellent coverage alongside Articuno with its ludicrously lethal Head Smashes and Superpowers. Offensive Armaldo can use Rapid Spin to remove Stealth Rock directly while also being able to use Rock-type moves well; it can even fit into Rain Dance teams with its Swift Swim ability. Speaking of which, using a team-mate with access to Rain Dance provides Articuno with opportunities to spam a perfectly accurate Hurricane and abuse its Confusion rate more effectively. Seismitoad is more or less the perfect offensive partner, switching into Rock-, Electric- and Fire-type moves easily while simultaneously luring in Grass-type Pokemon. Meanwhile, Seismitoad removes the Steel- and Rock-type Pokemon that can impede Articuno's progress with its STAB Earth Power. Finally, entry hazard support lets Articuno secure KOs more easily, with Spikes being particularly useful as Articuno naturally excels at dealing with the Flying-type Pokemon that are immune to them. Garbodor is the conventional option and can use Toxic Spikes to let Articuno stall certain opponents on the side, while Cacturne can be used to augment Articuno's sweep with a powerful Sucker Punch that deals with any survivors.</p>

    [SET]
    name: Specially Defensive
    move 1: Ice Beam
    move 2: Roost
    move 3: Heal Bell
    move 4: Roar / Toxic
    item: Leftovers
    ability: Pressure
    nature: Calm
    evs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpD

    [SET COMMENTS]

    <p>With this set, Articuno eschews Speed and stalling potential for sheer numerical bulk; as a result, it can even take super-effective special attacks with ease and use Roost alone to stall them out. For example, Choice Scarf Rotom-S fails to 2HKO Articuno with Thunderbolt, while the usually-deadly Choice Specs Exeggutor can't hope to 2HKO with Psychic. By not using Substitute, Articuno gains access to more of its extensive support movepool, giving it more utility as a support for teams that already pack standout stalling or sweeping threats, such as Tangela or Samurott. Roost is a staple for providing Articuno with HP recovery, both to counteract Stealth Rock and to provide longevity, while Ice Beam ensures that Articuno can't be defeated through the use of Taunt alone. Meanwhile, Heal Bell lets Articuno shrug off Toxic Poison with ease while also giving Paralysed or Burned sweepers second chances. Meanwhile, Roar lets Articuno act as an unexpected phaser, racking up damage against opponents that can't break through it, if you provide entry hazard support. It also lets Articuno counteract other phasers such as Lickilicky and Bastiodon which could otherwise force it out. On the other hand, Toxic can also be used, as although Articuno cannot stall out high-powered moves as effectively as the other sets, it takes less numerical damage from pretty much everything other than the Rock-type attacks that KO it instantly.</p>


    [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

    <p>While Ice-type Pokemon are generally best suited to running Specially Defensive sets, Articuno has some merit as a physical tank in comparison due to the resistances that its Flying subtype provides. However, Rock-type attacks will still destroy it, so this usually isn't the best option. Again, Ice Beam is chosen as the primary option, as Hurricane, despite its awesomeness, isn't particularly reliable, which is more important overall with a defensive set. If you don't use Articuno's fourth moveslot as often as you'd like, Reflect is an interesting alternative for providing a temporary buffer against physical attacks, and can make Articuno more or less indestructible in combination with Roost. Unfortunately, it lacks access to Light Screen, and thus can't use a Dual Screens set with Light Clay.</p>

    <p>As always, having a way to deal with Stealth Rock is highly appreciated, especially as Articuno will be switching around more to provide Heal Bell support and to wall specific targets. Using a consistent Rapid Spinner such as Torkoal or Wartortle may be the best option for defensive teams, as they can deal with physical attackers most of the time and ensure that a defensive team can remain stable for extended durations. As Articuno may also be using Roar to deal with setup sweepers, entry hazards can be used to capitalise on this and to wrack up residual damage. Simply having a Stealth Rock user such as Armaldo, Golem or Torterra is good enough, but using a Toxic Spiker such as Garbodor can let Articuno stall more effectively, as well as just providing support. Finally, Articuno can be paired with fast physical sweepers such as Cinccino and Tauros, which will appreciate being healed from inopportune Will-o-Wisps, Thunder Waves and Sleep attacks.</p>

    [Other Options]

    <p>A Choice Specs set with U-turn over Roost has potential, but absolutely requires Stealth Rock to be removed before you can even think about using it effectively. It's not for the faint of heart, but it can be effective so long as you fulfill this one condition. Frost Breath can be used as an alternative STAB attack to break through Calm Mind users, but is otherwise inferior to Ice Beam in most cases. Likewise, Icy Wind can be used to hit opponents such as Cinccino on the switch, letting you outspeed and 2HKO them with Ice Beam, although Articuno struggles to free a moveslot for this purpose. Articuno can use Rest + Sleep Talk to switch directly into Sleep attack users, but Roost + Substitute / Heal Bell are more effective methods of recovery and status control in other situations. Haze can be used to deal with setup sweepers such as Samurott and Musharna, but Roar is usually more handy and provides more team support overall. Tailwind augments Articuno's Speed as well as that of its teammates, but it generally doesn't last long enough to have a significant impact. Finally, Articuno can use Rain Dance with a Damp Rock, alongside Ice Beam, Hurricane, and Roost. While it can abuse the effects of Rain pretty well, its weakness to Stealth Rock makes it less useful as a defensive supporter that has to continuously switch in to set up Rain Dance.</p>


    [Checks and Counters]

    <p>Setting up Stealth Rock is undisputedly the best way of dealing with Articuno, as it takes care of it singlehandedly after three switch-ins, severely limiting its capacity as a defensive threat. If you don't want to be stalled out, make sure to set them up early with a reliable hazard setter such as Golem or Probopass, keeping them up throughout the match by using a spinblocker such as Misdreavus, Drifblim or Golurk. If you have Stealth Rock up, phazing it out is also an effective countermeasure, and stacks up residual damage extremely quickly. However, be warned that weak Dragon Tails will fail to break its Substitutes, and the most common Roar user, Altaria, is destroyed by Ice Beam. Bastiodon is a reliable candidate, as are Miltank and Flareon if they choose to use it. Probopass and Bastiodon can hard-counter Articuno unless it runs Hidden Power Ground, can set up Stealth Rock to prevent it from switching in later, and can use either Rock Blast or Power Gem to deal significant damage. While Taunt users are theoretically useful at shutting down the majority of Articuno's movepool, the most common users of the move are hit hard by Ice beam and Hurricane, so this strategy is nominally useful unless you use something like Misdreavus. Duosion has no problems with defensive Articuno sets at all, being immune to Toxic damage and taking little from Ice Beam as it sets up Calm Minds. Finally, any attacker with Rock Blast can OHKO Articuno through its Substitutes, rendering its primary damage-control strategy useless; Cinccino absolutely excels in forcing Articuno out as it outspeeds all sets even with an Adamant nature. Golem, Armaldo, and Garbodor, can also use this strategy, although they must take a hit before delivering the lethal blow, and this can be a luxury against the offensive set.</p>


    [Unreleased]

    <p>Snow Cloak doesn't benefit Articuno in any way, as Snow Warning is banned from the NU tier, and the evasion boost isn't great enough to warrant Articuno running Hail itself. Furthermore, Articuno relies on Pressure to help stall out attacks from Pokemon that could otherwise break through it when it runs out of Substitute PP. Overall, Pressure is more useful in every situation.</p>



    Nice job writing this beastly analysis!
  25. erisia

    erisia (macho) brace yourselves
    is a Contributor to Smogon

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Messages:
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    Thanks for the check, I implemented some of your changes, but I reworded some passages completely, so a few of them became irrelevant. :p

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