Initial Additions: Added OU Support set Added Team Options, Counters, Overview, Optional Changes ---------------------------------- [Overview] <p>Claydol, once one of the most prominent support Pokemon around, now lies overshadowed by many of the newer faces and old rivals that it has only a few advantages over. Bronzong, with a superior defensive typing and slightly higher stats, is more popular as a supporter, and Claydol’s only advantages from a support point of view are its much higher Speed, allowing it to outpace most Scizor and to an extent Tyranitar, and access to Rapid Spin, but even in this area it is overshadowed by Pokemon such as Forretress, who also have a superior defensive typing as well as just as good a support movepool as Claydol, and the ability to strike Ghost-types hard, something Claydol could never achieve. Claydol’s many weaknesses to common types do not help its case either.</p> <p>However, Claydol does have some positives to it still. It is the only user of Rapid Spin in the game not bothered by any of the entry hazards, which gives it a massive advantage over Pokemon such as Forretress. It also has resistances to Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Close Combat, making it a very potent physical wall. What truly sets it aside from its peers, however, is its offensive side – while Bronzong and Forretress have higher Attack stats, Claydol has a truly phenomenal offensive movepool, allowing it to take on a wide variety of different opponents depending on what you want it to do for your team, and can use both physical and special moves – and wall both physical and special assaults – with equal aptitude. It is one of the fastest walls that exist in the metagame, and its Ground-type STAB moves set it several notches above Forretress when dealing with difficult foes. Claydol could, therefore, be seen as something of a jack-of-all-trades – alas, it can be master of none.</p> [SET] name: OU Support move 1: Rapid Spin move 2: Stealth Rock move 3: Earthquake / Earth Power move 4: Ice Beam / Explosion item: Leftovers nature: Relaxed / Bold evs: 252 HP / 144 Def / 114 SpA [SET COMMENTS] <p>While Claydol is usually looked down upon in standard play as a Rapid Spinner in favor of more conventional users such as Forretress, Tentacruel, and Starmie, it does have some advantages over its peers. Firstly, Claydol is the only Rapid Spinner in the game unbothered by all three types of entry hazards. Not only that, but it also has a large support movepool aside from Rapid Spin, including Stealth Rock. It also has other perks such as reasonable bulk on both sides and the ability to use both physical and special attacks well. However, while Claydol has six good resistances it also has six crippling weaknesses to common attacking types, the most damaging of which are its Ghost and Dark weaknesses. The former is the only type that can block Rapid Spin and is usually the first switch into Claydol, and Claydol is much less able to defend itself against these Pokemon than Forretress or Tentacruel. Not only this, but the Dark-type weakness means that it is easy prey for Pursuit-users such as Tyranitar and Scizor.</p> <p>Rapid Spin is the most important move on the set, as it removes entry hazards that can be crippling for the rest of the Pokemon on your team. You can also cut the opponent’s time short with your own Stealth Rock, which deals damage that is invaluable to your sweepers. The last two slots should be devoted to attacking moves, as there are a lot of Pokemon in standard that can cause Claydol trouble, and so it needs to be adequately prepared, especially considering Claydol’s less-than-impressive offensive stats. The first of these attacking moves should be a STAB Ground-type move, as Ground is an excellent attacking type and helps Claydol greatly with the common Steel-types of OU. Claydol has two choices for this slot, Earth Power and Earthquake. Earthquake is usually the superior choice, as it has a chance to OHKO Lucario and Infernape, as well as 2HKO Tyranitar and Jirachi, which Earth Power cannot do. However, Earth Power has a number of advantages in standard – for example, Earth Power is a guaranteed 2HKO on standard Choice Band Metagross, while Earthquake will never 2HKO without Stealth Rock. It is also not affected by Intimidate, and as most of the best options for the last slot are special moves, it is desirable to run Earth Power to avoid splitting EVs. In the last slot there are a number of options, but generally it is best to avoid splitting EVs - if you run Earth Power, go for Ice Beam, and if you run Earthquake, use Stone Edge, though you can switch them round if you are willing to split EVs.</p> [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS] <p>Determining the last slot is a complicated decision. If you have chosen Earth Power, it is advisable that you choose a second special move to avoid having to split EVs, as merely running a Ground-type move would make you extremely easy to set up on, especially in standard. Ice Beam is the most common companion on this set, as it hits the Flying- and Grass-types that resist Ground for super effective damage, creating a combination that is only resisted by Bronzong. Ice Beam is also very helpful to allow Claydol to take on the common Dragon-types in OU, who are mostly immune to Ground, such as Salamence, Flygon, and Latias. However, it lacks power when hitting for neutral damage against Claydol’s more immediate foes, such as Rotom. Another option that merits a mention is Explosion, which may seem ridiculous considering the fact that Claydol is meant to provide prolonged support, and that the first switch into Claydol is likely to be a Ghost-type, however it really is the most realistic way that Claydol will be able to cause significant damage to the opponent’s team, if that is important to you, and can cause a gap in the opponent’s team, as well as a free switch, that gives you a very good chance to attempt a sweep. If you chose Earthquake, to avoid splitting EVs you can use Stone Edge, which provides similar coverage to Earth Power + Ice Beam on the physical side; however it also comes with the considerably large price tag of low accuracy, low PP, and an inability to hit Claydol’s most notable targets of this slot to the same degree as Ice Beam, as even without factoring in Intimidate it has only a small chance to 2HKO Salamence and Gyarados with no defensive investment whatsoever. Toxic is a very interesting option, as it can cripple the bulky Water-types that will commonly switch into Claydol, such as Swampert and Vaporeon, and can also cripple other common switch-ins such as Rotom-A and Tyranitar as well. This is particularly notable as the only two types that are immune to Toxic – Poison- and Steel-types – are both hit for super effective damage by Claydol’s Ground-type STAB.</p> <p>Claydol is difficult to EV given its multiple traits and talents, and you will very rarely find that most Claydol carry exactly the same EVs. The 252 HP EVs given here grant you maximum HP for overall defensive stability, although you also have the option of running 236 EVs in HP in order to maximize Leftovers recovery, which is particularly beneficial to Claydol as it is immune to sandstorm as well as taking minimal damage from entry hazards. It is then recommended that you concentrate on your Defense stat, as Claydol’s typing and ability grant him resistances to Fighting, Ground, and Rock-type attacks, while also bringing vicious weaknesses in Water, Ice, Ghost, and Grass-type attacks, thus making him more viable as a wall on the physical side. However, here too he is somewhat lacking, since he is unable to stop some of the more vicious and therefore popular physical attackers in OU, such as Scizor, Tyranitar, and Gyarados, all of whom have super effective STAB moves with OHKO potential. Nor can it stop other Pokemon such as Swords Dance Lucario or Dragon Dance Salamence after a boost. Thus, this set is not recommended to anyone wanting a reliable physical wall, as its talents lie better used in the area of supporting the team. Claydol can, however, act as a makeshift check to a variety of other physically inclined Pokemon in OU, such as Flygon, Metagross, Gliscor, and Electivire among others. Thus, in this example EV spread 144 EVs are allocated to Defense, ensuring that it is never 2HKOed by Jolly Life Orb Mamoswine’s Ice Shard, and also survives a Swords Dance Infernape’s Fire Punch. It is also never OHKOed by Choice Band Machamp’s Payback.</p> <p>Alternatively, you may decide to make greater use of Claydol’s Special Defense stat, which often goes neglected with a typing so fraught with difficulties in the area of special walling. The same investment of 144 EVs to the Special Defense stat and a Calm nature will ensure that none of Modest Latias’ Surf, Timid Heatran’s Fire Blast, Modest Magnezone’s Hidden Power Ice, Timid Life Orb Zapdos’s Hidden Power Grass, and Timid Choice Specs Jolteon’s Hidden Power Grass never 2HKO with Leftovers. At the same time, Claydol has a fair chance of not being 2HKOed by Mild Life Orb Salamence’s Draco Meteor and Naïve Life Orb Infernape’s Grass Knot. Bear in mind, however, that this durability at one end of the scale will usually come at the expense of the other, and so you should choose what your individual Claydol should be best at taking on depending on your team’s own interests.</p> <p>Although it is reasonable to invest some of the remaining EVs in defenses, it is usually better to invest in Claydol’s offensive stats. While Claydol is a poor attacking Pokemon, its movepool is one of its biggest advantages, and this should be reflected in where you choose to place your EVs. As previously mentioned, 114 EVs to Special Attack means that you are guaranteed to 2HKO 252 HP Metagross with Earth Power, and also gives Ice Beam a reasonable chance to OHKO 4 HP Salamence and Flygon even without Stealth Rock, and allows you to OHKO 4 HP Dragonite and 2HKO 4 HP Zapdos as well as OHKO 252 HP Salamence and Gliscor with Stealth Rock down. If these EVs are relocated to Attack, however, you can OHKO both Lucario and Infernape, as well as 2HKO Tyranitar and Jirachi, with Earthquake. It also ensures the Stone Edge 2HKO on Gyarados, Salamence, and Offensive Zapdos with Stealth Rock down, without Intimidate, and adds extra sting to Explosion. Leftovers is chosen as the item here for the added durability, while you have a choice of several natures depending on your move selection. If you are running a physically defensive Claydol, you will want a Defense-boosting nature to solidify its task. While Claydol’s Speed stat is not impressive, it is high enough to actually be quite threatening even without any Speed EVs – it is worth noting that Bold Claydol without any Speed EVs can outrun most Metagross as well as the standard 8 Speed Scizor and 96 Speed Tyranitar, though you must beware of Tyranitar that run more Speed as well as Scarf and Dragon Dance variants, and Scizor is a pain regardless, as Earth Power is barely a 3HKO. Therefore it can help in many situations not to cut your Speed stat short, however if you run a mixed set this is often unavoidable. If you are running a set with purely Special Attacks, you should use a Bold nature, likewise with physical attacks you should run an Impish nature. As previously mentioned, while the unadulterated Speed stat is useful, it is in your best interests to run a Relaxed nature in order to preserve your offensive stats on both sides. If you are running a specially defensive spread, replace with Calm, Careful, or Sassy nature as appropriate.</p> <p>When choosing partners for Claydol, it is important to ensure that they are able to make the most of the support that Claydol brings to the table. Chief among these are Pokemon with large weaknesses to Stealth Rock, such as Moltres, Yanmega, and Charizard, all of whom are only rarely seen in OU play, as their Stealth Rock weakness makes them very difficult to battle with reliably in a metagame that relies so heavily on Stealth Rock to weaken teams. More notable are Pokemon with less bothersome Stealth Rock weaknesses, such as Gyarados, Salamence, and Zapdos, who while able to function well with Stealth Rock perform even better with it off the field, as they are taking much less damage each time they switch in. Almost all teams can incorporate Stealth Rock in some way or another, though the best use of it here would be when partnered with set-up sweepers such as Swords Dance Lucario, who greatly appreciate the extra damage dealt to difficult opponents when setting up for a sweep.</p> <p>One of the most essential partners for all Rapid Spinners, and Claydol in particular, is a Pursuit-trapper to remove Ghost-types. Tyranitar is often the best choice for this role, as it can easily switch into their Ghost-type STAB moves and has the most powerful Pursuit in the game. Claydol also covers Tyranitar’s Fighting and Ground weaknesses, but they share Grass-, Water-, and Bug-type weaknesses. Bear in mind as well that Ghosts with Will-O-Wisp can burn you, rendering Tyranitar nigh on useless, and that Gengar can OHKO with Focus Blast if it carries it. Scizor and Metagross are two other notable Pursuit-users, both of whom resist all of Claydol’s weaknesses with the exception of Water and, for Metagross, Bug, by virtue of their Steel typing. However, neither are particularly adept at taking on Rotom-H at full health, who is a major threat to Claydol, as both of them fail to outrun it and both are OHKOed by Overheat. Along the same lines, you can include a Ghost-type of your own to discourage any Rapid Spin attempts by the opponent, thus keeping your precious entry hazards on the field. Wish support is also recommended, as Claydol boasts no reliable recovery of its own.</p> <p>For almost all Pokemon, defensive synergy with the rest of the team is an important aspect, and for Claydol this is often more true than otherwise – It has six weaknesses and six resistances in total, and therefore both gives and requires a lot towards covering the team’s rear. Steel-types come to mind as good partners, such as Scizor, Heatran, and Metagross, as they resist five of Claydol’s six weaknesses, as well as the fact that Claydol resists their Fighting- and Ground-type weaknesses. This remarkable cohesion allows them to resist every type in the game, with the exception of Fire- and Water-type attacks. A bulky Water-type, therefore, is a good choice to pin down these weaknesses, as well as covering Claydol’s Ice-type weakness, while your Steel-type can take Grass-type attacks, and Claydol is immune to Electric attacks. In the case of Rotom-A or Jolteon, the former whom Claydol cannot beat regardless, and the latter who usually carries Hidden Power Grass or Hidden Power Ice for coverage, Tyranitar has already been mentioned as a potential partner, and is a good check to both of these threats. As for specific Pokemon that Claydol has trouble in dealing with, the main threats to watch out for are bulky Water-types such as Gyarados. Rotom-H is an excellent check to most of these, and as an additional benefit is one of the best checks in the game to Scizor, one of the individual Pokemon that Claydol simply cannot deal with. Vaporeon with Hidden Power Electric is another option, which is better at taking on Gyarados at the expense of losing ground against Scizor. However, Vaporeon has a massive plus in that it can heal Claydol with Wish support, allowing Claydol and the rest of the team as a result to stay healthy for longer.</p> [Team Options] <p>As Claydol has no reliable recovery moves of its own, it can and will be worn down very quickly in combat, and thus Wish support can be very useful in order to lengthen the space of time that Claydol has to operate in. Blissey and Vaporeon are the most notable users of Wish, and both have considerable defensive synergy with Claydol; Blissey can take almost any special attack aimed at Claydol with ease, and as the majority of its weaknesses are to types frequently associated with special moves, Blissey can be considered a very good partner for Claydol regardless of Wish. On Claydol’s part, it resists Blissey’s only weakness, to Fighting-type moves. Vaporeon on the other hand can heal itself by switching into Water-type attacks aimed at Claydol thanks to its ability, Water Absorb, while also resisting Claydol’s Ice weakness and being a good check to many of Claydol’s normal counters such as Gyarados, although they share a Grass-type weakness and Claydol cannot adequately deal with Electric-types such as Jolteon and Rotom-A who threaten Vaporeon. Also, Claydol will usually find its most useful skill is Rapid Spin, so will need help from its teammates to get rid of Ghost-types, which it cannot deal with itself. Scizor and Tyranitar both have very powerful Pursuits and when equipped with Choice Band can usually dispatch Ghosts with little problems; however, Rotom-A can be difficult to deal with as defensive variants cannot be OHKOed by any Pursuit if they do not switch out, and it can simply OHKO Scizor with Overheat or cripple both with Will-O-Wisp. Heracross can use this to its advantage, however, and can absorb Will-O-Wisp for a boost thanks to its Guts ability, and also has access to Pursuit. Dual screens can also help Claydol, especially if Claydol happens to be engaged in a supporting role, however a Pokemon that sets them up will often be weak to Dark, and can thus give your team a weakness to Tyranitar and other Dark-types, as well as the fact that Dual screens can usually be used to better purposes by sweepers and other defensively frail Pokemon.</p> <p>Claydol is unlikely to be a direct offensive complement to any Pokemon in OU, but can still help its teammates in a number of different ways, the most notable being the way it can influence the entry hazards during the game. By setting up Stealth Rock, passive damage to the opponent’s Pokemon will build up over time, so you should make sure that you include Pokemon that benefit most from this sort of support, usually in the form of set-up sweepers such as Swords Dance Lucario and Dragon Dance Salamence. These Pokemon can also benefit from Dual screens should Claydol be carrying them. At the same time, Claydol can remove entry hazards thanks to Rapid Spin, which is enormously beneficial especially to Pokemon weak to Stealth Rock that will be switching in and out often, such as Salamence and Gyarados. A Rapid Spinner is almost a necessity should you be using a Pokemon that is doubly weak to Rock, such as Yanmega or Moltres, and Claydol is an able candidate for the job. Claydol also has other forms of support, such as Trick Room and Gravity, and the sweepers on these teams should be customized to fit the form of support required; for Trick Room, ideally the sweepers should be as slow as possible, bulky enough to take hits, and able to hit hard from the word go, such as Marowak and Rhyperior. For Gravity, the sweepers should take the utmost advantage of all the effects that Gravity provides – all immunities to Ground-type moves are eliminated, so a powerful user of Earthquake such as Marowak or Mamoswine is ideal, and the accuracy of all moves is raised, so Pokemon with access to high-power but low-accuracy moves such as Starmie or Rhyperior can also be useful.</p> <p>Defensively, Claydol will need good partners to cover up its many weaknesses. Steel-types are perhaps the very best defensive complements, and they have very good defensive synergy together – Steel-types resist five of Claydol’s six weaknesses (Dark, Ghost, Grass, Ice, and Bug), while Claydol resists Fighting and Ground attacks, two of Steel’s three weaknesses, and can also deal with most Fire-types in OU to an extent, Steel’s third weakness. For a Pokemon such as Heatran this is no problem, as it is immune to Fire-type attacks regardless, but both it and Claydol are then weak to Water-type attacks. Thus, there are some weak links in the partnership, with the problem attacks of Fire and Water being the biggest of the bunch. There are two types that resist both Fire- and Water-type attacks – Dragons and Water-types themselves. In the case of Water-types, bulky Pokemon such as Vaporeon and Suicune make excellent partners, as not only do they resist Fire and Water, but they also reinforce Claydol’s Ice weakness, and Vaporeon in particular can aid Claydol with Wish support. To compensate, Steel-types resist their Grass-type weaknesses and Claydol itself resists its Electric-type weakness. Gyarados is an interesting case as Claydol resists both of its weaknesses, while it can take on many of Claydol’s biggest adversaries to a reasonable extent, such as Scizor and to an extent Tyranitar. In the case of Dragons, Salamence and Dragonite both resist Claydol’s Water-, Grass-, and Bug-type weaknesses, while reinforcing Steel’s Fire-, Fighting-, and Ground-type weaknesses. Furthermore, your Steel-type can take Ice-, Rock-, and Dragon-type attacks aimed at your Dragon-type with ease – or if your Steel-type is Scizor, Skarmory, or Heatran, and hence does not resist Rock-type attacks, Claydol can take Rock-type attacks well itself. In the case of Tyranitar, a bulky Water-type, as already described, can usually fend off its assaults. Tyranitar itself can be very helpful as a partner, as not only does it have some defensive synergy with Claydol, but it can also prove very useful in disposing of Rotom-A and Jolteon, who you may struggle against otherwise. However, it does increase a weakness to Scizor, which if your Steel-type is not Skarmory, Heatran, or Magnezone, should be addressed with a Pokemon such as Zapdos or Rotom-A, who can take anything Scizor throws at it and OHKO back. When playing a Trick Room or Gravity team, it is also recommended that set-up partners are also chosen for their defensive cohesion with Claydol, so as to provide overall team durability – with Trick Room this is difficult, as almost every Pokemon with access to Trick Room also has both a Dark and a Ghost-type weakness. Porygon2 is the main exception, and as Claydol resists its Fighting-type weakness makes a good partner. Ghost-types such as Dusknoir help to cover the large Bug-type weakness as well. With Gravity teams this selection is improved somewhat – Blissey, Clefable and Magnezone all have good defensive synergy with Claydol and are all very reliable at setting up Gravity. Dusknoir is notable here as well.</p> <p>Claydol is in an unfortunate situation as regards his counters’ common partners, as many of them, especially in offensive teams, have the habit of congregating around one another, as many of them are the most popular Pokemon to be found anywhere. For example, common partners to Gyarados would be Scizor, Tyranitar, and Heatran, the latter being little trouble to Claydol at full health, but the former two being nigh on impassable. To deal with them, a Pokemon with access to moves that hit both of them hard, such as Infernape or Jirachi, works best. Scizor and Tyranitar are also popular partners for Rotom-A – the methods mentioned above work here as well. Latias is a popular partner for Scizor, Rotom-A, and Tyranitar, and can threaten Claydol with Choice Specs Surf or Grass Knot; The same Scizor or Tyranitar can partner up well with Claydol and can both defeat Latias with their STAB moves – Tyranitar in particular can use Choice Scarf to outrun and OHKO Latias with Crunch.</p> [Optional Changes] <p>Claydol can be specialized for different teams, as it has a whole host of other support options that are useful for many different teams and styles of play, which can easily be slotted in instead of Rapid Spin or Stealth Rock should it be required. Chief among these are Reflect and Light Screen, which have great merit on offensive teams that rely heavily on set-up sweepers, especially considering that Claydol also learns Stealth Rock. Once Claydol has set them up, it is much easier for a sweeper to set up, as all damage dealt to it is halved. Claydol can also mimic pure support Uxie in this way, using Stealth Rock alongside Dual screens and Explosion in place of Memento, allowing it to not only set up the ideal conditions for a sweep to take place, but also guaranteeing a free, albeit blind, switch in for the boosting sweeper while also removing one other obstacle in its way. Reflect and Light Screen take up both of your predefined support slots, meaning that it is advisable to maximize their effect, and therefore Light Clay is recommended as the item over Leftovers. Gravity is another field effect that Claydol can set up, and can easily slot into the standard moveset over Rapid Spin, as for offensive Gravity teams time is crucial, and Rapid Spin is less valuable. Although slightly overshadowed by Bronzong or Forretress in this role, it is the only Pokemon capable of setting up Gravity that has STAB on Earthquake and Earth Power, one of the most deadly moves under Gravity conditions, as well as access to Stone Edge, which gains perfect accuracy, and unlike Bronzong, does not gain a Ground-type weakness under Gravity either. Other field conditions also have merit over Rapid Spin for their specific teams - Trick Room in particular is an area where Claydol shines. Claydol can be extremely useful to Trick Room teams, as it has resistances to Ground-, Rock-, and Fighting-type moves, which can be crucial to the team's success, although it does not help the Water-, Ice-, Grass-, Ghost-, and Dark-type weaknesses prevalent in these teams. As with Gravity, an offensive physical set is recommended, and Explosion is also a good choice as it allows a free switch for a frail Trick Room sweeper such as Clamperl or Exeggutor. Remember to run a 0 IV in Speed and a Relaxed nature so as to minimise your Speed stat here. Claydol can also set up Rain Dance or Sunny Day, but is usually outclassed by Bronzong here.</p> <p>Shadow Ball is another decent option, allowing you to hit Ghost-types as they switch in to block Rapid Spin, which is particularly important as two of the three OU Ghosts, Rotom-A and Gengar, are immune to Earth Power by virtue of their Levitate ability. Even so, Gengar is only 2HKOed by Shadow Ball with Stealth Rock up, and Rotom-A is not even guaranteed to be 3HKOed. Lastly, Psychic is Claydol’s other STAB choice, though it has a reputation as a poor attacking type in OU. Nevertheless, it can be useful as it has a chance to OHKO Gengar after Stealth Rock damage, and makes Claydol much more adequate at taking on Fighting-types, which makes it more valuable to Pokemon such as Tyranitar; however it will never 3HKO Rotom-a, unlike Shadow Ball. Bulky Water-types are one of Claydol’s biggest worries, and it has a couple of options if these Pokemon are particularly troubling to you. Grass Knot, with the standard EV spread, is guaranteed to 2HKO 252 HP Swampert through Leftovers, but will do less than a pittance to Suicune and Vaporeon. Rest and Sleep Talk can be useful to provide Claydol with some form of recovery, if you want it to last longer throughout the battle. Trick can be used alongside a Choice item to hopefully cripple a wall switching in, although it is no obstacle for Pokemon such as Scizor or Tyranitar, who can then proceed to happily Pursuit you into oblivion. Magic Coat can be used to block status attacks if you fear Claydol being inflicted with Poison. Lastly, Hidden Power is worth a look in if you have a particular fear of Gyarados, Scizor, or Tyranitar – Hidden Power Electric is guaranteed to 2HKO Gyarados with Stealth Rock damage, Hidden Power Fire 2HKOs all Scizor, and Hidden Power Fighting has a chance to 2HKO most Tyranitar with Stealth Rock damage – though admittedly STAB Earthquake can usually do the same thing with greater overall coverage.</p> <p>252 HP EVs are almost a necessity on Claydol, but the rest of the EVs are more than customizable to fit your specific interests. Most notable here is the exchange of defensive EVs in order to beat threats of a certain nature, but you are not advised to try to split EVs between the two defensive stats, as this will compromise either your defensive or offensive ability to a great extent. The same is greatly true of your offensive stats. Claydol can also be customized in order to be more defensive or offensive according to your wishes.</p> [Counters] <p>Bulky Water-types are perhaps the best counters to Claydol, as most of them have enough bulk to take whatever Claydol throws at them and retaliate with their STAB moves. Gyarados is probably the best choice, as it is immune to Earthquake by virtue of its Flying-type and takes little from Ice Beam, and can easily rack up Dragon Dances against Claydol, or use Taunt in order to stop Claydol trying any support tactics. The most Claydol can muster against it is Stone Edge, which does little to bulky variants thanks to Intimidate, and Toxic, which can be troublesome, but Gyarados can always run a Rest + Sleep Talk set in order to avoid this. The same is more or less true of Suicune and Vaporeon, who both dislike Toxic but have strong Water-type STAB moves that will make Claydol tremble. Starmie has no such problem, thanks to its Natural Cure ability healing it of Poison, and it also has access to Recover to offset any damage that Claydol can do with its STAB moves. Swampert does less well, as it is 2HKOed by the rare Grass Knot and dislikes Toxic, but the principle is much the same.</p> <p>Bulky Ghost-types are the next-biggest worry – Gengar and Rotom-A are both extremely common and are both immune to Earthquake by virtue of their Levitate abilities, and can both defeat Claydol with their STAB moves, although Gengar cannot switch twice into Shadow Ball and defensive Rotom-A dislikes Toxic. Further down the barrel, Dusknoir acts on the same principle but does not have any strong Ghost-type STAB moves, yet is still an impassable fortress to Claydol.</p> <p>Bug-types and Dark-types present a particular problem for Claydol as the common users of these types are more offensive and, in particular, have access to the move Pursuit, which can chase down and defeat a fleeing Claydol. Scizor is pretty much unafraid of anything Claydol can throw its way, and can Pursuit if Claydol tries to flee, or else use U-turn, which will kill Claydol if it stays in and allow Scizor to escape from your Scizor check if Claydol runs. Tyranitar is much the same, but has a more powerful STAB Pursuit and can also use STAB Crunch against a Claydol that tries to stay in, however it is crippled by Toxic and can be 2HKOed by physical Claydol’s Earthquake after Stealth Rock damage. Weavile also has access to STAB Pursuit, and can also scout with Fake Out, but is not strong enough to deal with a full-health Claydol, as not even Choice Band Night Slash can OHKO 252 HP Claydol, and it is 2HKOed by Earthquake after Stealth Rock damage. Heracross is also worth noting, as it has a powerful STAB Megahorn and can absorb Toxic for a Guts boost, and also has access to Pursuit. It is also the only one of the above that resists Earth Power, but this comes at a price of a weakness to Psychic.</p> <p>Grass-types can sometimes be a problem for Claydol as well. The biggest problem in this bunch is Celebi, who resists both of Claydol’s STAB moves and has the necessary defensive stats to overcome weaknesses to Ice Beam and Shadow Ball, and can hit Claydol hard with Grass Knot. Breloom does well also, despite weaknesses to Psychic and Ice Beam, and can use Spore or defeat Claydol with Seed Bomb. Roserade lacks the Earthquake resistance of its peers and also has weaknesses to Ice Beam and Psychic, but has a high Special Defense stat and also has access to Grass Knot and Leaf Storm. While most Dragon-types cannot take Claydol’s Ice Beam, Kingdra is neutral to Ice and can take almost anything Claydol throws at it, and can destroy Claydol with its Water-type STAB moves. Latias is weak to Ice Beam and Shadow Ball, but is immune to Earthquake and has enough Special Defense to take a few hits, while able to hit back at Claydol with Surf or Grass Knot, or simply its Dragon-type STAB moves.</p> <p>Lastly, Bronzong and Skarmory can take just about anything from Claydol, but cannot immediately pose a threat; Bronzong has to have Grass Knot to cause any real damage, and can only really hurt it by putting it to sleep with Hypnosis. Skarmory can whittle it down with Brave Bird, but must be wary of being caught by Earth Power when it uses Roost if Claydol is slower. Blissey can take any special hit at all and is not terribly bothered by most physical attacks from Claydol, and can try to Toxic-stall Claydol to death, while being immune to Toxic itself thanks to Natural Cure, and mitigating damage taken with Softboiled, however if Claydol uses an unexpected Explosion, Blissey is pretty much out of the game, which can be crippling to teams that rely on her.</p> -------------------------------- Post-critique changes: Grammar check 1, thanks to macle. Grammar check 2, thanks to jc104.