Current guide: http://www.smogon.com/dp/articles/baton_pass_chains status: writing -Updated tiers -Re-wrote Baton Passer descriptions -Updated example teams _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Contents: Introduction What is Baton Pass? Who can Baton Pass? OU UU Who can receive? OU UU How do I build a team? The Lead The Chain The Receiver Example Team OU UU How to play the chain What else can Baton Pass do? What beats Baton Pass? Conclusion Introduction Baton Pass chains were fairly common in the third generation, as there was nothing faster than Jolteon or Aerodactyl and it was easy to spam Substitute and take care of threats quite easily. However, the addition of hard hitters, such as Lucario, Azelf, and Infernape, and new phazers, such as Drapion, Zapdos, and Vaporeon, the more widespread use of the move Taunt and the proliferation of Choice Scarf users have made this strategy less popular in fourth generation. Even though they're not quite as potent as they once were, Baton Pass teams can still be deadly when used correctly. While there may be many more phazers in today's metagame, many of these Pokemon forgo their phazing moves for more "useful" options, which means an unprepared opponent will likely fall under numerous Pokemon setting up in his or her face. The most important part in building a successful Baton Pass team is the teambuilding itself. This guide will help you make a fantastic Baton Pass team that'll put a smile on your face. What is Baton Pass? Baton Pass is a 40 PP (64 with PP Max) move that allows the user to switch out of battle with normal priority. The user also passes any stat boosts or other conditions to the Pokemon being switched in. Baton Pass also allows the user to escape from the effects of Shadow Tag, Magnet Pull, Arena Trap, and Pursuit's effect of hitting before the user switches out. Who can use Baton Pass? UU Absol Usable moves: Mean Look, Swords Dance Description: Absol is one of only a few Pokemon who can trap-pass. Absol also causes a lot of switches thanks to its huge Attack stat and useful STAB, as most Psychic- and Ghost-types will switch out in fear of Sucker Punch or Night Slash. In addition to Mean Look, Absol can also pass Swords Dance boosts. Not only can it pass those boosts, it can also put them to good use to maim the opponent with its STAB attacks should the need arise. Finally, Absol also has Taunt to slow down and cripple phazers. Example moveset: Absol @ Leftovers Ability: Super Luck EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA) - Swords Dance - Mean Look - Baton Pass - Sucker Punch Ambipom Usable moves: Agility, Nasty Plot Description: Ambipom is one of the fastest Baton Passers around, capable of Taunting phazers and escaping before anything can attack it. Ambipom is also one of the few decent passers of Special Attack boosts, with Nasty Plot in its arsenal. Example moveset: Ambipom @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) - Agility - Nasty Plot - Baton Pass - Taunt Ariados Usable moves: Spider Web, Agility Description: Although Ariados doesn't have the highest defenses, it makes a decent Baton Passer as it is one of the few Pokemon who can trap-pass; Ariados also has Agility to boost its Speed. Its ability is helpful as it makes Ariados immune to sleep inducing moves, making it a good lead in UU teams. Example moveset: Ariados @ Leftovers Ability: Insomnia EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA) -Baton Pass -Spider Web -Agility -Bug Bite Blaziken Usable moves: Agility, Bulk Up, Swords Dance Description: Blaziken is a good Baton Passer mainly due to its surprise factor; most enemies think Blaziken will be firing off powerful assaults, which will inevitably cause many switches. As Blaziken confuses your opponent, it should be able to find time to set up and pass Speed and Attack boosts to your team, giving your team the upper hand. Example moveset: Blaziken @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, - SpA) -Baton Pass -Swords Dance -Agility -Fire Punch Drifblim Usable moves: Calm Mind, Substitute, Stockpile Description: Drifblim is the Baton Passer with the highest HP stat, enabling it to pass massive Substitutes larger than 101 HP to its teammates, and its good typing give it an immunities to Ground-, Normal-, and Fighting-type attacks. Drifblim also happens to be the only Ghost-type with Baton Pass, which makes it really unique. Example moveset: Drifblim @ Leftovers EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpD / 252 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Baton Pass -Substitute -Calm Mind -Shadow Ball Espeon Usable moves: Calm Mind Description: Espeon is one of the fastest Baton Passers around, outspeeding the majority of UU with its impressive 350 Speed. Espeon's high Special Attack also allows it to use offensive moves to severely dent the opponent. Example moveset: Espeon @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 40 SpD / 216 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Calm Mind -Baton Pass -Psychic -Substitute Floatzel Usable moves: Bulk Up, Agility, Taunt Description: Floatzel's high Speed and access to Taunt means that it can shut down the majority of phazers who threaten your team. Bulk Up helps Floatzel boost its Attack, making Waterfall a powerful weapon. Agility can also be passed. Example moveset: Floatzel @ Leftovers EVs: 80 HP / 252 Def / 176 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA) -Baton Pass -Taunt -Bulk Up -Waterfall Gligar Usable moves: Swords Dance, Agility, Rock Polish, Taunt Description: Gligar is played almost exactly the same way that Gliscor is in OU. Its great typing grants it resistances to Fighting- and Poison-type attacks and immunities to Electric- and Ground-type attacks. It's generally a good idea to pass Gligar some defensive boosts, as it will usually be the last Pokemon in the chain before the receiver. Taunt is a good move as it blocks phazing moves and Haze. Example moveset: Gligar @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, - SpA) -Swords Dance -Agility -Baton Pass -Taunt Gorebyss Usable moves: Agility, Amnesia, Aqua Ring, Barrier, Iron Defense Description: Gorebyss is an excellent defensive Baton Passer, boosting its teammates' defenses with Iron Defense and Amnesia. Also, Gorebyss is one of few Pokemon who can pass Aqua Ring, making it fairly unique. Example moveset: Gorebyss @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 24 SpA / 232 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Amnesia -Iron Defense -Surf -Baton Pass Hypno Usable moves: Calm Mind, Nasty Plot, Barrier Description: Hypno is an excellent defensive Baton Passer, and it has a nice variety of moves to abuse. Hypno's ability helps it block the sleep moves that can cripple your chain. Hypno also has a nice support movepool that includes moves like Wish and Thunder Wave. Example moveset: Hypno @ Leftovers Ability: Insomnia EVs: 252 HP / 80 Def / 176 SpD Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk) -Calm Mind -Psychic -Baton Pass -Substitute Ledian Usable moves: Swords Dance, Agility, Encore Description: Ledian has good Special Defense and Speed, an immunity to Ground-type attacks, a 4x resistance to Fighting-type attacks, and access to good support moves such as Encore, which gives it a much easier time setting up. Example moveset: Ledian @ Lum Berry EVs: 152 HP / 104 SpD / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA) -Agility -Swords Dance -Baton Pass -Encore Leafeon Usable moves: Swords Dance Description: Leafeon's high Speed, Attack, and Defense make it an excellent Baton Passer, and the threat of a powerful STAB Leaf Blade against Water-types will force many switches. Leafeon also has useful support moves like Roar and Wish. Example moveset: Leafeon @ Leftovers EVs: 132 HP / 4 Atk / 120 Def / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -Spe) -Baton Pass -Swords Dance -Roar -Leaf Blade Lopunny Usable moves: Agility, Encore, Switcheroo Description: Lopunny is a unique Baton Passer due to Encore, enabling it to cripple set up Pokemon and those who cannot hit Lopunny very hard. Switcheroo also allows Lopunny to weaken physical attackers by giving them a Flame Orb and subsequently inflicting them with a burn, while Klutz will protect Lopunny from experiencing the same effect. Example moveset: Lopunny @ Flame Orb Ability: Klutz EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Baton Pass -Switcheroo -Agility -Encore Lunatone Usable moves: Rock Polish, Calm Mind, Cosmic Power Description: Lunatone is a decent passer of Rock Polish due to its good Special Defense, reasonable typing, and access to other support moves like Calm Mind. Although it may not pose a serious offensive threat, Lunatone is fast after a Rock Polish and set up a sweep by a dangerous receiver. Example moveset: Lunatone @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 28 SpD / 228 Spe Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk) -Rock Polish -Baton Pass -Psychic -Calm Mind Mr. Mime Usable moves: Nasty Plot, Calm Mind, Barrier Description: Mr. Mime is a unique Baton Passer, having high Speed and Special Defense, a variety of good moves to pass, such as Calm Mind and Barrier, and access to Encore. The fun doesn't stop there, Mr. Mime also has two good abilities in Soundproof and Filter as well. Soundproof is the superior choice as it stops opponents from phazing Mr.Mime out with Roar, but Filter is still useful since it weakens super effective attacks aimed at Mr. Mime, potentially saving it from an unexpected assault. Finally, Mr. Mime even has Taunt to stop phazers in their tracks. Example moveset: Mr. Mime @ Leftovers Ability: Soundproof EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe -Nasty Plot -Baton Pass -Taunt -Psychic Scyther Usable moves: Agility, Swords Dance Description: Scyther makes a good Baton Passer as it causes a lot of switches, has high Attack and Speed, has access to Pursuit, and has a few good moves to pass like Agility and Swords Dance. Scyther works best in the lead position due to its 4x weakness to Stealth Rock. Example moveset: Scyther @ Leftovers Ability: Technician EVs: 224 HP / 68 Def / 216 Spe -Baton Pass -Aerial Ace -Substitute -Swords Dance Solrock Usable moves: Rock Polish, Cosmic Power, Calm Mind, Iron Defense Description: Solrock may seem like a poor choice for a teamslot, but on Baton Pass teams it has a chance to shine (no pun intended). Its decent defenses, Levitate ability, and access to many different stat-boosting moves and Stealth Rock make it much more appealing, especially as a lead. Example moveset: Solrock @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 28 Def / 228 Spe Impish nature (+Def, - SpA) -Rock Polish -Baton Pass -Stone Edge -Explosion OU Celebi Usable moves: Calm Mind, Nasty Plot, Swords Dance Description: Celebi is one of the best Baton Passers around, having high defenses, decent stat up moves like Calm Mind, Nasty Plot, and Swords Dance, and reliable recovery in Recover and Leech Seed. Celebi also makes a good attacker when Seed Bomb or Grass Knot is boosted. Example moveset: Celebi @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA) -Swords Dance -Baton Pass -Seed Bomb -Recover Gliscor Usable moves: Agility, Rock Polish, Swords Dance Description: Gliscor is a good Baton Passer due to his good defensive typing, high Speed, and access to multiple offensive stat-boosting moves. Taunt also helps cripple status users and phazers the opponent has. Hyper Cutter ensures the opponent won't lower Gliscor's Attack, preserving any stat boosts that Gliscor is trying to Baton Pass. Dual screen support is helpful, giving Gliscor turns to set up against opponents who carry super effective attacks. Example moveset: Gliscor @ Yache Berry Ability: Hyper Cutter EVs: 252 HP / 196 SpD / 60 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA) -Agility -Swords Dance -Baton Pass -Taunt Jolteon Usable moves: Agility, Charge Beam Description: Jolteon is the fastest Baton Passer in the game, allowing it to set up and Baton Pass before the opponent can attack. Agility and Charge Beam are good stat boosting moves, though Charge Beam can be unreliable at times. Jolteon can also set up a Substitute against Choiced Rotom or Zapdos with his ability, Volt Absorb. Example moveset: Jolteon @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Substitute -Agility -Baton Pass -Charge Beam Ninjask Usable moves: Swords Dance Description: Ninjask is probably the best Baton Passer in the game due to its ability, Speed Boost, which allows it to boost its Speed freely while stalling with Substitute or Protect. Ninjask also has access to Swords Dance, boosting his Attack to great levels. A major downside to using Ninjask is its 4x Stealth Rock weakness, and using Substitute will make its HP deplete quickly, making it a single-use Baton Passer most of the time. Example moveset: Ninjask @ Leftovers Ability: Speed Boost EVs: 176 HP / 252 Atk / 80 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA) -Substitute -Swords Dance -Baton Pass -X-Scissor Scizor Usable moves: Swords Dance, Agility, Iron Defense Description: Scizor is capable of passing many stat boosts; it great bulk, single weakness to Fire-type attacks, and ability to cause switches with its huge Attack stat make it an excellent addition to any Baton Pass team. Scizor is almost guaranteed to get two boosts, unless your opponent carries Heatran. Example moveset: Scizor @ Leftovers Ability: Techinician EVs: 248 HP / 88 Atk / 172 Spe Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA) -Swords Dance -Baton Pass -Roost -Bullet Punch Smeargle Usable moves: Belly Drum, Ingrain, Spore, Spider Web Description: Smeargle is one of the most popular Baton Passers for one reason, Sketch. Smeargle can learn every attack in the game, which means it can learn every stat boosting and support move available. Access to the 100% accurate Spore all-important and Ingrain makes Smeargle an amazing addition to Baton Pass teams, as it both buys time to set up and prevents your chain from being phazed. Example moveset: Smeargle @ Leftovers Ability: Own Tempo EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, - SpA) -Spore -Ingrain -Baton Pass -Substitute Togekiss Usable moves: Nasty Plot Description: Togekiss is one of the few Pokemon who can pass Nasty Plot boosts in OU, making it a fine choice when choosing a special booster. Togekiss may also abuse Air Slash to flinch slower opponents, which would include most Pokemon if you could pass it some Speed. Togekiss also has decent defenses and a bunch of good support moves, like Encore, Yawn, and Heal Bell. Example moveset: Togekiss @ Leftovers Ability: Serene Grace EVs: 252 HP / 64 SpD / 192 Spe Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk) -Nasty Plot -Air Slash -Baton Pass -Roost Umbreon Usable moves: Mean Look, Curse, Taunt Description: Umbreon is the best trap passer in the game, due to it huge defenses, good typing, and expansive support movepool, which contains moves like Wish, Taunt, and Yawn. Umbreon may also use Curse to boost its Attack and Defense, at the cost of Speed. Umbreon shares excellent defensive synergy with Gliscor, and is thus an ideal partner. Example moveset: Umbreon @ Leftovers EVs:252 HP / 128 SpD / 128 Spe Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk) -Mean Look -Baton Pass -Wish -Yawn Vaporeon Usable moves: Acid Armour, Aqua Ring Description: Vaporeon is one of the most reliable passers of Defense, as its great defensive typing and massive HP stat make it very difficult to take out after a boost. That massive HP also helps Vaporeon make sturdy Substitutes that it can pass to its teammates. Access to Wish also helps Vaporeon survive powerful attacks and restore its HP. Vaporeon is one of the few Pokemon who can pass Aqua Ring as well. Example moveset: Vaporeon @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 128 Def / 128 Spe Bold nature (+Def, -Atk) -Baton Pass -Substitute -Acid Armour -Roar Zapdos Usable moves: Agility, Charge Beam Description: Zapdos is very similar to Jolteon, except its dual typing grants it an immunity to Ground-type moves and access to Roost at the cost of gained weaknesses to Rock- and Ice-type attacks. Zapdos also sports higher defenses than Jolteon, allowing it to possibly obtain more boosts. Charge Beam is available for garnering Special Attack boosts to pass to a teammate. Just watch out for Stealth Rock, as Zapdos will take a lot of damage if it has to constantly switch in and out. Example moveset: Zapdos @ Leftovers EVs: 248 HP / 140 Def / 88 SpA / 32 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Baton Pass -Agility -Substitute -Charge Beam Who can receive Baton Pass? UU Bibarel Playstyle: Physical Description: Bibarel is one of the most overlooked Pokemon in the game, though its ability really makes it something special on Baton Pass teams. Simple is an amazing ability, doubling any stat boosts Bibarel receives, meaning a single Swords Dance is equivalent to two, allowing your team to set up a sweep for it much more quickly and efficiently. Waterfall and Return provide an unresisted STAB combo, while Taunt can stop phazing and Toxic will cripple bulkier Pokemon Bibarel is unable to damage along with the rarely-seen Shedinja. Example moveset: Bibarel @ Life Orb Ability: Simple EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA) -Waterfall -Return -Quick Attack -Taunt / Toxic Octillery Playstyle: Special Description: Octillery is a powerful special attacker, boasting a maximum Special Attack of 339. Octillery also has access to an excellent special movepool, containing moves such as Surf, Fire Blast, Ice Beam, and Energy Ball, turning it into a fearsome sweeper. Octillery's ability, Suction Cups, is also helpful as it stops it from being phazed by Roar or Whirlwind. Example moveset: Octillery @ Lum Berry Ability: Suction Cups EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe Modest nature (+SpA, -Atk) -Surf -Ice Beam -Fire Blast -Energy Ball Blaziken Playstyle: Mixed Description: Blaziken is an amazing Baton Pass receiver due to its huge mixed attacking stats, great offensive movepool, and ability to break through the majority of UU's walls with its STAB moves. Blaziken also has access to priority in Vacuum Wave, beating most other priority users. Example moveset: Blaziken @ Lum Berry Ability: Blaze EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe Rash nature (+SpA, -SpD) -Fire Blast -Superpower -Hidden Power Grass -Vacuum Wave OU Heatran Playstyle: Special Description: Heatran is one of the most dangerous Pokemon in OU, with a massive Special Attack stat and great type coverage; it's access to Explosion to use as a last resort doesn't hurt either. Heatran's good typing and high defenses also help it switch in, while Flash Fire gives it an immunity to Fire-type attacks. Example moveset: Heatran @ Life Orb 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe Modest nature (+SpA, -Atk) -Flamethrower -Earth Power -Dragon Pulse -Hidden Power Electric Lucario Playstyle: Mixed Description: Lucario is a devastating mixed sweeper once it has received the boosts from the Baton Pass chain. Having a great offensive movepool to work with (which includes priority attacks like Mach Punch and ExtremeSpeed) and excellent offensive stats, Lucario can sweep teams with relative ease. Example moveset: Lucario @ Life Orb 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe Rash nature (+SpA, -SpD) -Hidden Power Ice -Dark Pulse -Vacuum Wave -Close Combat Metagross Playstyle: Physical Description: Metagross has fantastic typing that affords it resistances to Bullet Punch, ExtremeSpeed, and Ice Shard, immunity to Toxic and Toxic Spikes, and neutrality to all other priority attacks. It also has a great offensive movepool that allows it to hit many types for super effective damage. Clear Body gives it an immunity to Intimidate from users like Gyarados, meaning Metagross will never have to worry about having its Attack lowered. Lastly, it has a huge base Attack stat of 135 and great overall defenses. Example moveset: Metagross @ Lum Berry 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA) -Meteor Mash -ThunderPunch -Ice Punch -Earthquake These are just a few examples, as there are plenty more Pokemon who make fine receivers; in UU, Cradily, Moltres, Marowak, and Milotic are great receivers, while in OU, Tyranitar, Togekiss, Kingdra, and Infernape are all fantastic receivers. How do I build a team? This is the part where things get a bit tricky. Team design, right down to your EV spreads, is crucial for the success of a Baton Pass chain. Overall, your team should consist of five Baton Passers and one receiver (which will be explained in more detail later on) to finish off the opponent. A good Baton Pass team should be able to beat common phazers, such as Swampert and Skarmory, and deal with Haze, Taunt, Encore, sleep-inducing moves, Perish Song, and even Trick Room. Below will explain what your lead, chain, and receiver should look like. Do note that while the comments and examples will be directed towards the OU environment, rather than the UU environment, the comments can still be applied to the UU metagame as well. The Lead Your lead should be able to scare away or outpace most users of Taunt. The best leads of choice for Baton Pass chains are usually the ones who can pass Agility or Rock Polish boosts, since moving before your opponent is almost mandatory when passing boosts, setting up Substitutes, and using Taunt. Ninjask, Gliscor, and Zapdos are probably the most common examples of Speed passers. Ninjask is the most common due to its ability, Speed Boost, which allows it to forgo using a Speed boosting move and focus on boosting other stats with moves like Swords Dance. Other commonly-used leads are ones who can trap-pass, most notably Smeargle. This gives your team the opportunity to trap a Pokemon who may be relatively weak, Baton Pass out, and completely wall the Pokemon by using the proper defense boost. Also, most leads who are slower than Smeargle (Hippowdon, Swampert, Bronzong) will try to absorb Spore, which basically means that it can use Spider Web first turn instead of Spore, and then proceed with Spore, Ingrain, and then Baton Pass. Sleep-inducing leads like Roserade and Bronzong are a huge problem for many Baton Pass chain leads, since being prevented from setting up Agility or Rock Polish means that your Baton Pass chain will be slower than usual, which leads to Pokemon stopping your chain by using Taunt or just firing off powerful attacks before your Pokemon have a chance to Baton Pass. With that being said, Lum Berry is one of the most commonly held items in Baton Pass teams, since your lead can use Agility or Rock Polish on the first turn, absorb the sleep, and use Substitute on the next turn to gain immunity to the sleep-inducing move, allowing it to Baton Pass safely to your next Pokemon in the chain. Suicide leads are also a major problem for Baton Pass teams; they use a combination of Focus Sash and Taunt to stop their opponent from setting up Stealth Rock and then set it up themselves. These leads will also use Taunt to stop your lead from using Agility or Rock Polish, which makes it harder for your team to complete a chain. However, there are certain ways that a Baton Pass team can get around a fast Taunter. One idea is to use a Fake Out user who learns Baton Pass, such as Ambipom, to eliminate Focus Sash immediately. Overall, the best way to beat this new generation of leads is to pretend that you are using a standard team and worry about beating the lead before you start Baton Passing. Here's an example of a potential match-up against a suicide lead: I lead with Zapdos, and my opponent leads with Azelf. Instead of trying to set up Agility and fail to complete a pass due to Taunt, I can simply attack it with Thunderbolt. After that, I switch to a Pokemon whom a standard team and a Baton Pass team would have in common, such as Vaporeon, Scizor, Togekiss, or Celebi. Then, I try to set up a Substitute, pass back to my lead, pull off an Agility or Rock Polish, and continue with the chain. With this method, suicide leads will be more of an inconvenience than a game-breaking start for your opponent. Another kind of lead strategy that has been gaining immense popularity are Explosion leads, such as Metagross, Heatran, and Bronzong. This type of Pokemon can easily obliterate one of your team members, which is horrible since you can easily lose a Pokemon who is part of your Baton Pass chain. It may be obvious to use Substitute as they use Explosion, but this is not always the case. A good battler can just as easily attack to break your Substitute, predict when you use Baton Pass, and try to bring down one of your Pokemon. It's not as difficult to deal with this problem as it is suicide leads, since it's possible to use Drifblim or a Pokemon who resists Explosion, such as Scizor. The Chain As for the rest of the team, two Pokemon are almost required in the chain: Smeargle and Mr. Mime. These Pokemon prevent phazers from stopping you from completing your strategy. Smeargle is the only Pokemon who can Baton Pass Ingrain, whereas Mr. Mime has access to Soundproof to block Roar and Perish Song. Having these Pokemon supports your team greatly, and with smart prediction, they can prevent your chain from being destroyed. Mr. Mime is not as necessary as Smeargle; however, it's strongly recommended. Pokemon who sport the Spider Web / Mean Look and Baton Pass combination are extremely useful to have on a Baton Pass team, but are by no means required. If you manage to trap a wall like Blissey with them, your chain will be nearly unbreakable. You will also find that if you can trap just the right Pokemon, setting up and sweeping becomes a lot easier. Umbreon, Smeargle, Absol, and Ariados are the only Pokemon who have access to this combination, so you will have to choose between these four for your team. The rest of your team should be used to counter the threats who could destroy your chain, while also contributing to the chain themselves. Defense boosts help keep your Pokemon alive and beef up their Substitutes, allowing for a much easier time setting up. Attack boosts should correspond to the type of sweeper you are trying to set up; use Nasty Plot for a special sweeper, and Swords Dance or Belly Drum for a physical sweeper. If your finisher is mixed, use Swords Dance and Calm Mind for predominantly physical sets, and Nasty Plot and Bulk Up for more special-based attackers. However, you might find it easier to just rely on one stat to increase the overall Speed of your Baton Pass chain. A commonly asked question is: should the Pokemon on your team be geared towards being extremely bulky, or should they focus on being speedy? In ADV, fast Pokemon were preferred because there was nothing faster than Aerodactyl or Jolteon in OU, save for a Pokemon who just used Agility or Dragon Dance. In the current DPP metagame, faster Pokemon could put up a Substitute to prevent it from being statused, stop most damage, and would force your opponent to limit their switches. However, the introduction of Choice Scarf has made this benchmark close to useless. Bulky Baton Passers are generally much more valuable than they were back then, and most likely should make up a good majority of your team. The Receiver One Pokemon on your team should be your receiver, the Pokemon who is passed the boosts your Baton Pass chain has gathered. When this Pokemon gets +6 in the attack stat chosen to use (or some mixed sweeper equivalent), it should be able to OHKO every single Pokemon on the opponent's team with 100% accurate moves, since one miss can mean big trouble. Your receiver should also not be 4x weak to any priority move, and it might be helpful for your receiver to also have Baton Pass, but fitting it onto your receiver's moveset can be difficult while simultaneously trying to OHKO every single Pokemon on your opponent's team. Immunity to Toxic Spikes is a great thing to look into, and if your receiver needs to use a Life Orb to get certain KOs, it should be immune to sandstorm as well due to how common it is in OU, or else it can be stalled by good prediction on your opponent's side. Example teams In order to make sense of the explanations above, an example team should help put everything in context and give you ideas for your own Baton Pass team. There will be two example teams provided below; one for UU, and one for OU. Along with each team, there will be short descriptions for each team member about what role they play in the team. UU Ariados @ Leftovers Ability: Insomnia EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA) -Baton Pass -Spider Web -Agility -Bug Bite Ariados makes an excellent lead for a Baton Pass chain. Being one of the few Pokemon who can trap-pass, Ariados can take advantage of defensive leads, such as Hippopotas and some Omastar, and allow your team to set up with impunity. Ariados also has access to Agility, which is one of the first boosts a chain should be using. Ariados can also come back in to absorb Toxic Spikes, which will otherwise severely limit the amount of boosts your chain can accumulate. Gligar @ Yache Berry EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, - SpA) -Swords Dance -Agility -Baton Pass -Taunt Gligar's main purpose is to gather Attack boosts, as well as grabbing Speed boosts should Ariados not be able to do so. It can come in on its key immunities to Ground- and Electric-type attacks and proceed to set up with Swords Dance or, if your team still needs Speed boosts, Agility. Taunt is what makes Gligar a great addition to Baton Pass teams, preventing your opponent from inflicting status or phazing away their boosts. Gorebyss @ Leftovers EVs: 252 HP / 24 SpA / 232 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Amnesia -Iron Defense -Surf -Baton Pass Gorebyss takes on the role of a defensive Passer, using both Amnesia and Iron Defense. After receiving an Agility boost, it will most likely be moving first, meaning it can set up the appropriate defense boost for the situation it's in. To stop Gorebyss from being Taunt bait, Surf is used, providing a solid, strong STAB attack. Near-max Speed is a must to ensure Gorebyss outpaces basically everything after a +2 Speed boost. Mr. Mime @ Leftovers Ability: Soundproof EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe -Baton Pass -Taunt -Light Screen -Reflect Like mentioned many times before, Mr. Mime is almost a necessity on Baton Pass teams, especially in the UU environment. With UU lacking an Ingrain Passer to stop Roar and Whirlwind from breaking the chain, it can use its ability, Soundproof, to be immune Roar and Perish Song. The role Mr. Mime plays on this team is a dual screen Baton Passer, which definitely helps your team score more boosts than usual. Taunt is used again to avoid phazing moves, since it's not pretty when your Baton Pass chain is broken. Drifblim @ Leftovers EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpD / 252 Spe Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk) -Baton Pass -Substitute -Calm Mind -Shadow Ball Being the only Ghost-type who can Baton Pass, Drifblim can utilize its immunities to Ground-, Fighting-, and Normal-type attacks, to take moves that the rest of your team cannot afford to take. Drifblim is able to create massive Substitutes that will be nearly impossible to break after a few defensive boosts that also shield your chain from status moves and Trick. Calm Mind makes Drifblim even tougher to take down, as well as powering up the team's special attacks. Blaziken @ Lum Berry Ability: Blaze EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe Rash nature (+SpA, -SpD) -Flamethrower -Superpower -Hidden Power Grass -Vacuum Wave The receiver of the team, Blaziken is able to run through teams once it has gathered the proper boosts. Lum Berry is to prevent Blaziken from being ruined by status, while Flamethrower and Superpower both provide STAB attacks with the power to break through the top defensive threats in the tier. Hidden Power Grass allows Blaziken to get through bulky Water-types such as Slowbro and Quagsire, while Vacuum Wave gives Blaziken a way to beat other priority users. OU Zapdos @ Lum Berry Ability: Pressure EVs: 252 HP / 152 SpD / 104 Spe Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk) - Agility - Baton Pass - Thunderbolt - Substitute Zapdos is the lead and Speed passer of the team. The way to use this Zapdos is to use Agility on turn one, allowing Lum Berry to save it from unnecessary status, especially sleep. On the next turn, set up Substitute as a barrier to more status moves. Finally, Baton Pass out when you feel ready; Thunderbolt is used to beat Skarmory and Gyarados, two big threats to a Baton Pass chain. 104 Speed EVs allow Zapdos to outrun Adamant Gyarados before a boost, and everything else after an Agility, save Scarfed Weavile and Aerodactyl, who are rarely seen carrying those items. Smeargle @ Shed Shell Ability: Own Tempo EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA) - Ingrain - Spore - Substitute - Baton Pass Smeargle is necessary for every Baton Pass chain: it is the only Pokemon who can pass Ingrain, which will prevent Roar and Whirlwind from working and also helps heal your team every turn. Get Smeargle in with a bulky Substitute from one of the other members of the team and proceed to use Spore. Substitute will prevent Smeargle from being hit by a Sleep Talker or another switch-in, so use Ingrain and Baton Pass out. Smeargle needs all of the bulk it can get while being as fast as possible, and the EV spread accomplishes this. Shed Shell is there because this Pokemon is the most vulnerable to Taunt, so it might need Shed Shell's help to switch out without using Baton Pass. Scizor @ Leftovers Ability: Technician EVs: 252 HP / 104 Def / 152 Spe Impish nature (+Def, -SpA) - Swords Dance - Baton Pass - Iron Defense - Bullet Punch Scizor passes the Defense and Attack boosts to the rest of the members. 152 Speed EVs allow Scizor to reach 406 Speed at +2, enough to outpace Scarf Heracross among other potential threats. Scizor is also the team's Tyranitar counter, setting up in its face and defeating it with Bullet Punch. Besides Bullet Punch, some find it viable to use Brick Break to kill off Magnezone. Vaporeon @ Leftovers Ability: Water Absorb EVs: 192 HP / 252 Def / 60 Spe Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk) - Baton Pass - Substitute - Wish - Ice Beam With some defensive boosts passed to it, Vaporeon becomes very difficult to take down. It supports the team with Wish and passes very bulky Substitutes to the rest of the teammates. With 60 Speed EVs, it outruns Starmie, Azelf, and others in the base 115 group after receiving an Agility boost. A Calm nature grants it more bulk on the special side; ideally, it should have Defense boosts from Scizor to boost its ability to handle other physical attacks. Mr. Mime @ Leftovers Ability: Soundproof EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk) - Baton Pass - Taunt - Light Screen - Reflect Mr. Mime is another essential element of a Baton Pass team. Soundproof prevents Roar and Perish Song from breaking the Baton Pass chain when there's no time pass to Smeargle. Mr. Mime is used as a dual screener, giving your team extra bulk, and extra turns to set up. Using 252 HP is quite obvious, and the 252 Speed EVs allow it to tie with base 90 Pokemon before a boost. The rest of the EVs go in Special Defense to make it marginally easier to stand up to other powerful special threats, like Heatran. Lucario @ Life Orb Ability: Inner Focus EVs: 252 Atk / 60 SpA / 196 Spe Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA) - Close Combat - Crunch - Hidden Power Ice - Bullet Punch Once the team amasses enough boosts, Lucario can come in to wreck the opponent. As far as recipients go, Lucario is one of the best, sporting immunity to sandstorm and Toxic Spikes, resistances to most priority attacks, and a movepool that will OHKO every Pokemon legal in OU. Cresselia's OHKOed by +6 Crunch, Bronzong loses to Close Combat, and Gliscor is obliterated by Hidden Power Ice. Brick Break is an option over Close Combat, but without Stealth Rock down, there is a chance that Hippowdon will survive, meaning it can hit for big damage with Earthquake or cripple Lucario with Yawn. If you elect to use Brick Break, be sure to either use Stealth Rock support, or get at least three Calm Minds in so Lucario can OHKO Hippowdon with Hidden Power Ice. Lucario can also outpace everything with an Agility boost from Zapdos, save Scarf Aerodactyl and Weavile (whom Lucario can beat with Bullet Punch anyway). Life Orb is used because the boost is necessary, and Ingrain helps make up for the 10% loss of health after every attack. Bullet Punch is to eliminate other priority users such as Weavile and Mamoswine, and it also allows Lucario to kill Gengar if it loses its Speed boosts. How to play the chain Playing a Baton Pass team is all about knowledge and planning. You should have a good idea about how you are going to switch when specific threats come out. For example, if a Tyranitar came out, what would your initial switch be? On the example team, bring out Scizor and use Iron Defense, and then switch to Vaporeon to take the possible, but rare, Flamethrower or Fire Blast. As stated in the opening, you have to be able to counter certain threats this generation or your entire team could fall apart. If a powerful special sweeper such as Azelf came out, who would you pass to? How would you stop it? These are pretty important questions you need be able to answer, especially if you don't have a Substitute up when those threats switch in. Speaking of Substitute, it is recommended that your chain keeps a Substitute up as often as possible while setting up Ingrain. Substitute will protect your team from critical hits that can cut through its defense boosts. They also stop status and the move Trick, which is crucial. When the team doesn’t have Ingrain up yet, you should be more careful, since your Pokemon aren't going to be healing a lot of health each turn. Here's a scenario that you may encounter: say your opponent brings in Tyranitar, and you Baton Pass to Scizor. Scizor uses Substitute, and they bring in Skarmory. Skarmory then proceeds to Whirlwind Scizor, making your chain lose all of its boosts and its Substitute, assuming Smeargle hasn't set up Ingrain yet. Instead of using Substitute, it might have been smarter to Baton Pass and predict the switch. That way, if they actually go to Skarmory, you can bring in Smeargle. From there, just use Spore, Substitute, and then Ingrain. If they keep Tyranitar in, then proceed to play accordingly. This kind of "prediction" is something that comes from experience, and it should be practiced and mastered in order to gain the upper-hand in your battle. One of the most difficult Pokemon to get out onto the battlefield happens to be the most important to the success of your Baton Pass chain. Smeargle is extremely fragile, and if it faints you might be out of luck. Predicting to get Smeargle in against, say, a Choice Specs Shadow Ball is too risky to be effective. The best way get Smeargle out is to either bring it out against a wall like Skarmory or Blissey, or pass it a bulky Substitute that won't break on the switch. An early Ingrain is ideal, but it is often not worth the risk. The best way to ensure Smeargle gets the Ingrain off is after you have a few Defense boosts and a Substitute to pass to Smeargle. Smeargle is also the most Taunt-vulnerable Pokemon in a Baton Pass chain. If Smeargle isn't carrying a Shed Shell and has Ingrain up, a well-timed Taunt can leave it trapped and force it to Struggle, since Ingrain stops it from switching out. Don't take any unnecessary risks to get an early Ingrain or Spore; most of the time, it isn't worth it. What else can Baton Pass do? Baton Pass isn't only a move that must be used in a Baton Pass chain, since there are other ways that you can use Baton Pass to your advantage. As you may have noticed, OU and UU are the tiers being discussed throughout this guide, leaving Ubers out of the picture. The reason for this is because, unlike OU and UU, the Ubers tier lacks many Baton Passers, since Mew is probably the only Uber who can do so. Also, Ubers is filled with very hard hitters, so it's not as easy to set up a long Baton Pass chain, not to mention that there are very bulky defensive Pokemon, like Giratina and Lugia, who can try to phaze or cripple your receiver. Even though it may be difficult to pull off a full Baton Pass chain, it doesn't mean that it should be steer you away from using Baton Pass related teams in Ubers. Ninjask and Mew are two Pokemon who are commonly used as Baton Passers in Ubers, the former passing Swords Dance and Speed boosts and the latter setting up practically anything and passing the boosts to the next Pokemon in the chain, or the receiver if you are going for a simpler chain. A strategy that's been gaining attention is the "dry Passing" strategy. What this means is that the Baton Passer is not necessarily passing any boosts to its teammates, but it is scouting the opponent’s switch-ins. This strategy is commonly used by Jolteon, since it can force many switches with its powerful Thunderbolt. When you predict that your opponent will switch out from Thunderbolt, using Baton Pass means that you can scout what the opponent will be switching in, meaning you can then switch in a Pokemon to counter whatever the opponent brought in. This strategy is mostly used in trap-related teams, since scouting your opponent's switch-in can give your team an opportunity to trap the switched in Pokemon. For example, Jolteon can try to use Thunderbolt, but you then realize that your opponent can switch in Rotom-A to take the hit. With that said, you can use Baton Pass instead, switch in Tyranitar, and proceed to dispose of Rotom-A with a STAB Pursuit. This also works with Dugtrio, who is able to trap a Pokemon like Tyranitar (a common Jolteon switch-in) with its ability, Arena Trap, and attempt to finish it off with a powerful Earthquake. Like mentioned earlier in this guide, Baton Pass can escape the grips of Pursuit, Arena Trap, and Shadow Tag. This can be very useful since Pursuit won't be hitting with 80 Base Power and will hit the switch-in, not the user. Also, your Pokemon will no longer have to worry about being trapped from Dugtrio or Magnezone, since they can now Baton Pass away from them. The most popular Baton Pass strategy is known as "screen boost Passing". This strategy involves Dual Screen Azelf, Pure Baton Pass Gliscor, and a receiver of choice, most commonly Metagross. This is by far one of the most effective strategies Baton Pass can be used for and is extremely successful. The procedure to accomplishing this strategy is simple. Bring out Azelf when you feel the time is right, set up Stealth Rock and both of the screens, and then use Explosion to bring in Gliscor safely while trying to bring down the opposing Pokemon with Azelf. Once that has been done, Gliscor can then try to boost its Speed and Attack by using Rock Polish and Swords Dance whenever it can, using Taunt when it's about to be phazed. Once Gliscor has gathered several boosts, complete the strategy by bringing in Metagross (or your receiver of choice) and attempt to wreak havoc and destroy the opponent. This strategy is also used in UU, Uxie being in place of Azelf, while Gligar takes the role of Gliscor, and Bibarel (or another receiver) takes place of Metagross. This strategy is very devastating once you have pulled it off, since it's very difficult to stop it when it's rolling. What beats Baton Pass It can be extremely difficult to beat a well-made Baton Pass team. While it is harder to pull off the chain in DPP, in some ways it can be easier. In ADV, people were well aware of the threat of Baton Pass teams, and thus made their team accordingly. Meanwhile, in DPP, even with the large increase in the number of Pokemon who can mess up a Baton Pass chain, many forgo those options due to the decline in their popularity. This "counter" list will help the maker of the team more aware of the threats they might face, allowing them to build their team accordingly. Roar One of the most common ways to attempt to stop a Baton Pass chain. However, it's harmless when yor Pokemon are rooted with Ingrain or have Mr. Mime waiting in the wings. If a Baton Pass team does not use Mr. Mime, and the Roarer is faster and strong enough to kill Smeargle, there's not much the Baton Pass team can do. Common OU users: Gyarados, Hippowdon, Latias, Suicune, Swampert, Vaporeon, Zapdos Common UU users: Altaria, Arcanine, Donphan, Blastoise, Lapras, Nidoqueen, Rhyperior, Steelix Torterra, Venusaur Whirlwind Whirlwind can only be stopped by Ingrain, so it poses much more of a threat than Roar. However, it's not as commonly seen as Roar. Common OU users: Skarmory Common UU users: Hariyama, Drapion Taunt Taunt is a very deadly weapon against Baton Pass teams. Now that its duration has increased from three to five turns, it can stop your entire chain dead in its tracks. The only ways to beat Taunt is to either sleep their Taunter, scare it away before it can use Taunt, or Taunt them before they can Taunt your Pokemon. Most Taunters are used as leads, so your lead should be able to stop them. Common OU users: Aerodactyl, Azelf, Gliscor, Gyarados, Heatran, Skarmory, Weavile Common UU users: Alakazam, Ambipom, Drapion, Electrode, Mismagius, Spiritomb Encore If you don't expect it coming, Encore can easily eliminate your Baton Pass chain. It can make your team lose all of its gathered boosts by forcing the Encored Pokemon to switch out. If your chain is Ingrained and then Encored, you might lose one part of your chain, and from there the entire game, possibly. The way to beat it is to keep Baton Passing until they switch out or run out of Encore PP, as the opponent only has eight. A Pressure Pokemon such as Zapdos is extremely helpful in this process, only allowing the Encore user to use it four times. Common OU users: Infernape, Machamp, Togekiss Common UU users: Alakazam, Cacturne, Gardevoir, Lopunny Haze Haze eliminates all stat changes, and can be game-breaking once used. However, it’s extremely rare, as no one relies on this kind of move anymore, with the exception of Milotic in UU Common OU users: Tentacruel, Vaporeon Common UU users: Articuno, Blastoise, Lapras, Milotic, Omastar, Weezing Perish Song Forces a switch or causes a Pokemon to faint in three turns, but it's blocked by Soundproof from Mr. Mime. Common OU users: Celebi Common UU users: Altaria, Mismagius Explosion It can easily eliminate one of your Pokemon, and therefore your boosts. It can be stopped by keeping a Substitute up at all times, or passing to Drifblim if you suspect the opponent may try to Explode. Common OU users: Azelf, Bronzong, Forretress, Gengar, Heatran, Magnezone, Metagross Common UU users: Claydol, Cloyster, Electrode, Exeggutor, Lickilicky, Qwilfish, Magneton, Registeel, Regirock, Shiftry, Skuntank, Steelix Toxic Spikes A new threat this generation. One or two layers of Toxic Spikes will limit the success of your team and the amount of time you can use to get all of your boosts passed on. The best way to counter Toxic Spikes is to either have Taunt on your lead or use Ariados on your team, as it can absorb them, making sure your receiver isn't affected by Toxic Spikes. Try to limit the overall number of Pokemon on your team who are affected by Toxic Spikes, if possible. Also note that if your chain Baton Passes a Substitute, the Pokemon who switches in will not be poisoned. Common OU users: Forretress, Roserade, Tentacruel Common UU users: Cloyster, Drapion, Nidoqueen, Qwilfish, Omastar Priority Moves These moves cancel out the Speed boosts your team has gathered and can end up killing something or forcing a hard switch if you are not careful. Common OU users: Scizor (Bullet Punch), Lucario (Bullet Punch, ExtremeSpeed, Vacuum Wave), Mamoswine (Ice Shard), Metagross (Bullet Punch), Weavile (Ice Shard) Common UU users: Ambipom (Fake Out), Arcanine (ExtremeSpeed), Azumarill (Aqua Jet), Blaziken (Vacuum Wave), Cloyster (Ice Shard), Dugtrio (Sucker Punch), Hitmonchan (Bullet Punch, Mach Punch), Hitmonlee (Bullet Punch, Mach Punch, Sucker Punch), Hitmontop (Bullet Punch, Fake Out, Mach Punch), Medicham (Bullet Punch, Fake Out), Skuntank (Sucker Punch), Spiritomb (Shadow Sneak, Sucker Punch), Swellow (Quick Attack), Toxicroak (Bullet Punch, Fake Out, Sucker Punch, Vacuum Wave) Critical Hits There's no way you can stop critical hits from happening in battle (aside from the move Lucky Chant; however, it is still very unreliable since it only lasts for five turns), so there's always going to be a chance that your opponent can score a lucky one. Sadly, there aren't any Baton Passers who have the abilities to negate critical hits, so it's going be tough if your opponent has a Pokemon that uses moves with a high critical hit ratio. Not only that, but critical hits can break through your gathered defensive boosts, and there are many moves that increase the chance of a critical hit happening. However, there are ways to work around this. The biggest strategy is to switch in a Pokemon who is resistant to all or most of the opposing Pokemon's moves, since it will have a smaller chance of being OHKOed. Another way to stop critical hits from ending your chain is to keep up a Substitute at all times, since using Substitute will protect the chain from unexpected critical hits. Conclusion To sum up, don't overlook Baton Pass chains because they can really cause some serious damage if they are used by a skilled player. A Baton Pass team can be a nice change of pace from a standard team, and if designed and played well, they might even achieve more victories. Most importantly, who doesn't like sweeping a team with a Pokemon who has +6 in all of its stats?