Cloyster (Analysis)

#1

Pokedex Page

[Overview]

<p>With the introduction of Generation V, Cloyster received a gift it could only have dreamed of: Shell Smash. With one of the best boosting moves around, the clam now finds itself being able to perform an entirely different role; as one of the most threatening sweepers around. When one also takes into account its ability, Skill Link, Cloyster can abuse 125 Base Power Icicle Spear and Rock Blast that, at +2 Attack, will destroy anything that doesn't resist them. Its Water-type move of choice also makes sure that Steel-types aren't surefire counters as a +2 STAB Hydro Pump or Razor Shell will inflict huge damage to most of them.</p>

<p>However, Cloyster isn't without its flaws. Its Ice typing provides it with a fatal weakness to Stealth Rock, as well as the oft-seen priority moves Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave. With Conkeldurr and Lucario available, one has to make sure they are eliminated first or Cloyster won't be able to sweep after setting up. Cloyster also has some troubles getting past bulky Water-types such as Jellicent and Vaporeon that can burn or phaze it and thus prevent a sweep.</p>

[SET]
name: Shell Smash
move 1: Shell Smash
move 2: Icicle Spear
move 3: Rock Blast
move 4: Razor Shell / Hydro Pump
item: Life Orb / White Herb
ability: Skill Link
nature: Jolly / Naive
evs: 48 HP / 252 Atk / 208 Spe

[SET COMMENTS]

<p>This is the set Cloyster should always use. With a very good Defense stat, Cloyster will have many chances to set up. After the clam manages to use Shell Smash, its Attack and Speed skyrocket to 578 and 500, respectively. Icicle Spear is the main attack and, thanks to Cloyster's ability Skill Link and STAB, it gets to a whopping 187 Base Power, and destroys everything that doesn't resist it. To show how true this sentence is, specially defensive Ferrothorn is OHKOed by Icicle Spear and the standard set will often be OHKOed with a layer of Spikes. Rock Blast is the other very useful move Cloyster may carry to abuse Skill Link. It helps by giving some coverage against Ice- and Water-type Pokemon, the latter being the most important because these would wall Cloyster almost entirely otherwise. The final slot brings one of the decisions one has to make when using this set. Since Cloyster has a much higher Attack than Special Attack - 578 against 412 - and the fact Hydro Pump would require a drop in the clam's defenses, Razor Shell is the superior option to hit the Steel-types that resist both of the previous moves.</p>

[ADDITIONAL COMMENTS]

<p>A Jolly nature with 208 Speed EVs are needed to outspeed Scarf Landorus after a Shell Smash. One should then use 252 Attack EVs to maximize the damage output and the rest into HP to give a small boost to Cloyster's bulk. Life Orb is the preferred item to power up the clamp's attacks but White Herb nullifies the defense drops from Shell Smash, and thus is useful to maintain Cloyster's bulk, making it less prone to being revenge killed. The first three moves on the set are, due to Skill Link, irreplaceable and thus, the only change that should be considered is Hydro Pump over Razor Shell. Hydro Pump has the benefit of hitting most Steel-types for greater damage due to their superior Defense stat. However, when using it, one should go with a Naive nature so as not to hurt Cloyster's sweeping capabilities and to still outspeed Scarf Landorus after a boost. If one wants Cloyster to have more power, an Adamant or Naughty nature can be used with an EV spread of 8 HP / 252 Atk / 248 Spe to outspeed Choice Scarf Darmanitan and Kyurem after the boost.</p>

<p>Due to the sheer power of this set, there aren't many Pokemon that can counter it. However, Empoleon resists every attack Cloyster carries and can OHKO back with Grass Knot. Entry hazards can also limit the clam's potential so Magnezone is a great teammate that can trap and KO Empoleon and, as a bonus, it can trap some of the most common entry hazard users, such as Skarmory, Ferrothorn, and Forretress. Another option to get rid of entry hazards is to carry a Rapid Spinner: Forretress is the one that synergizes best with the clam. It can also set up entry hazards to help Cloyster sweep. Finally, rain helps Cloyster getting past Steel-types such as Jirachi, Metagross, and Bronzong, which means Politoed is a great teammate for its ability to summon it</p>

[Other Options]

<p>Outside of using Shell Smash, Cloyster doesn't have many options. It can still set up Spikes and Toxic Spikes but, with the return of Deoxys-S and the appearance of Ferrothorn to lay down Spikes, along with the new abilities of Nidoqueen and Forretress that help them set up Toxic Spikes, Cloyster is now even more outclassed at this job. The last thing it can do is to use Rapid Spin to support its team but Forretress, Starmie, Tentacruel, and Excadrill can spin away entry hazards more efficiently.</p>

[Checks and Counters]

<p>Empoleon is the only true counter to Cloyster because its typing grants resistance against the three attacks Cloyster will often carry. It can then OHKO the clam back with Grass Knot. Entry hazards are the second thing Cloyster should be aware of as it is weak to Stealth Rock and vulnerable to Spikes and Toxic Spikes that can limit and, sometimes, prevent a sweep. Water-types are also tough to take down as, for example, Jellicent, Unaware Quagsire, and Vaporeon can all come in while Cloyster uses Shell Smash and, if they're healthy enough, threaten it out thanks to the former two having a status move and the latter having Roar as well. If entry hazards are up, this can be done multiple times due to the fact that they all have recovery moves, and Cloyster will eventually lose.</p>

<p>Strong priority users can also abuse the drop in the defenses to KO Cloyster. Lucario is the most threatening among these and its Vacuum Wave targets the clamp's very frail Special Defense, OHKOing it even before Shell Smash. Conkeldurr is, however, the most common of the dangerous priority users and can deal at least 53% with Mach Punch, so if Stealth Rock is on the field, it can stop Cloyster from attacking more than twice. Finally, Pokemon that are faster than Landorus can still outspeed Cloyster after a boost if they hold a Choice Scarf. Luckily, the most common is Starmie that has no troubles OHKOing with Thunderbolt, but even then Starmie only rarely is found holding it.</p>

[Dream World]

<p>Cloyster gets Overcoat as its Dream World ability. Overcoat should never be used because without Skill Link, Cloyster can no longer count on reliable and high powered Icicle Spear and Rock Blast, thus losing its main niche in OU.</p>
 

SJCrew

Believer, going on a journey...
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
#3
Actually, I think he should be running an Adamant nature to make use of Shell Blade for Rock types and so that he doesn't just roll over and die to even Water type attacks, as those are the few kind of attacks he can set up on without dying. I run a White Herb Cloyster ATM and it's really good for setting up on slower physical attacks/weaker special attacks and keeps you from being revenged so easily by Roopushin and Scizor.
 
#4
Actually, I think he should be running an Adamant nature to make use of Shell Blade for Rock types and so that he doesn't just roll over and die to even Water type attacks, as those are the few kind of attacks he can set up on without dying. I run a White Herb Cloyster ATM and it's really good for setting up on slower physical attacks/weaker special attacks and keeps you from being revenged so easily by Roopushin and Scizor.
I assume this is about Shell Breaker set. Cloyster could go all physical with Shell Blade instead of Hydro Pump i guess. Hydro Pump is there for bulky steel types though, not rock (most rock types can't take Icicle Spear), and it significantly outdamages Shell Blade even with this EV investment. Hydro Pump can OHKO the likes of Scizor and Metagross on the switch (thus avoiding bullet punch), while Shell Blade might fail to even 2HKO Metagross sometimes (though admittedly that won't happen often).

But my biggest issue is not Shell Blade (it's still very good alternative, especially since Hydro Pump's lame accuracy can end Cloyster's sweep) but use of Adamant nature. With Adamant, Cloyster not only misses out on scarfchomp, but all base 100 scarfers (and even scarf Sazandora), making him much easier to revenge kill. If i'd go all physical, i'd probably go with Jolly. I will add Shell Blade to AC though (don't know why i didn't do that in the first place)
 

SJCrew

Believer, going on a journey...
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
#5
So you're telling me Garchomp is a problem for an Ice type with base 180 Defense?

Scarfchomp's Outrage: 49% - 57.7%
Scarfchomp's Stone Edge (not that anyone is using this): 54.8% - 64.7%
Landlos' Stone Edge: 53.1% - 63.1%
Landlos' Stone Edge in Sand: 68.9% - 81.3%

Physical Scarfers are usually of no consequence to Cloyster. If any Dragon or other special attacker even tries to revenge you right off the bat, you can switch out. Granted, there's the argument that you wouldn't have to if you ran Jolly, but Adamant White Herb plays an entirely different game. For example:

Max Att Iron Fist Roopushin's Mach Punch: 45.6% - 54.8%
vs. -1 Def: 68% - 80.5%

CB Scizor's Bullet Punch: 39.8% - 47.3%
CB Scizor's Bullet Punch vs. -1: 59.8% - 70.5%

Manaphy's Surf (Rain, no Sp. Att Evs): 49.8% - 58.5%
Manaphy's Surf (Rain, no Sp. Att EVs) vs -1 Sp. Def: 74.7% - 88.4%

These are a few situations in which you can't KO the opposing Pokemon before they attack. If hazards are up, you will definitely die after you attack, ending the sweep.

LO is a stronger sweep, but a far less flexible game; you basically have to make sure most bulky Water types and priority abusers are gone before you sweep. On a Sand team, Dory can revenge you as well; however, without the -1, he can't touch you unless your at around half or below. Also, with LO and the -1 defenses stacking up on you, it'd be pretty hard to find a good opportunity for setup without incurring any severe risks, even on walls.

LO sweeping is still possible, but based on the experience I have with him, Cloyster really wants survivability in tandem with his sweeping ability. It's much easier to sweep through your checks than to make sure they're completely out of the way before you attempt to do so.
 
#8
So you're telling me Garchomp is a problem for an Ice type with base 180 Defense?

Scarfchomp's Outrage: 49% - 57.7%
Scarfchomp's Stone Edge (not that anyone is using this): 54.8% - 64.7%
Landlos' Stone Edge: 53.1% - 63.1%
Landlos' Stone Edge in Sand: 68.9% - 81.3%
I guess these calcs are for white herb, without it Garcomp would seem a lot more threatening. Also it's really not just about Garchomp, it's that scarfchomp seems to be speed mark that many pokemon aim for these days (Cholorophyll Venusaur for example), and some of those might be a lot more threathening to Cloyster.

Physical Scarfers are usually of no consequence to Cloyster. If any Dragon or other special attacker even tries to revenge you right off the bat, you can switch out. Granted, there's the argument that you wouldn't have to if you ran Jolly, but Adamant White Herb plays an entirely different game. For example:

Max Att Iron Fist Roopushin's Mach Punch: 45.6% - 54.8%
vs. -1 Def: 68% - 80.5%

CB Scizor's Bullet Punch: 39.8% - 47.3%
CB Scizor's Bullet Punch vs. -1: 59.8% - 70.5%

Manaphy's Surf (Rain, no Sp. Att Evs): 49.8% - 58.5%
Manaphy's Surf (Rain, no Sp. Att EVs) vs -1 Sp. Def: 74.7% - 88.4%

These are a few situations in which you can't KO the opposing Pokemon before they attack. If hazards are up, you will definitely die after you attack, ending the sweep.
Yeah, as you said, it's far better to outspeed and KO than be forced out :). But anyway, don't know what those calcs are for, they're same for Jolly or Adamant. Adamant would be worth it if it gets significant KOs compared to Jolly, i'll check some calcs but atm it seems to me i'd rather run Jolly than Adamant.

LO is a stronger sweep, but a far less flexible game; you basically have to make sure most bulky Water types and priority abusers are gone before you sweep. On a Sand team, Dory can revenge you as well; however, without the -1, he can't touch you unless your at around half or below. Also, with LO and the -1 defenses stacking up on you, it'd be pretty hard to find a good opportunity for setup without incurring any severe risks, even on walls.

LO sweeping is still possible, but based on the experience I have with him, Cloyster really wants survivability in tandem with his sweeping ability. It's much easier to sweep through your checks than to make sure they're completely out of the way before you attempt to do so.
Bulky waters are hardly a problem for LO Cloyster since all of them are 2HKOed by Rock Blast. As for priority, at full HP not even Technician Breloom's Mach Punch can OHKO, and this is by far most powerful physical priority move against Cloyster (and it's not even released yet). Granted, after a few rounds of LO damage powerful priority users like Scizor or Roobushin might be able to OHKO, but Cloyster often gets damaged when setting up anyway, so even white herb variations can often get KOed by priority.

Admittedly, when i was writing this i only tested LO Cloyster, since i was told it works much better than white herb variant, but atm i'm not so sure which one shoud be primary option. I'll do some more testing and then decide.

Maybe you could slash kings rock in on the shell breaker set, a 55% chance to flinch is pretty amazing.
Is it confirmed that it works that way? Anyway, Shell Breaker is usually OHKOing most opposition anyway, so flinch chance isn't that big of a deal. It might deserve OC mention though.
 

SJCrew

Believer, going on a journey...
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
#9
My argument is primarily for the efficiency of White Herb compared to LO. There are a lot of things Cloyster can survive without -1 Defenses and residuals stacking up on him and my calcs are designed to prove that. He's on one of my two main teams right now as well and performing excellently, so this is also a product of play experience.

In short, I think it should go Adamant/Jolly and White Herb/LO. Testing on this would be appreciated.
 
#10
How does Rash/Naive with Surf over Hydro Pump compare to Adamant/Jolly all-physical as an option? I like the idea of going mixed, but I don't like Hydro Pump's accuracy.
 
#11
How does Rash/Naive with Surf over Hydro Pump compare to Adamant/Jolly all-physical as an option? I like the idea of going mixed, but I don't like Hydro Pump's accuracy.
Naive LO Surf vs Metagross: 73.6% - 86.8%
Jolly LO Shell Blade vs Metagross: 71.2% - 84.1%

Naive LO Hydro Pump vs Metagross: 93.1% - 109.6%

In short, not worth it. Hydro Pump is there for KOs that Shell Blade wouldn't get. With Surf damage output is nearly identical to Shell Blade, so you might as well have a bit more SpDef.


Also i've been testing Jolly white herb Shell Breaker, and so far it's proven slightly more effective than LO. Will test some more, but i'll probably soon rewrite Shell Breaker set as all physical with white herb as primary option.
 
#12
Has NOBODY heard of the move Clamp? it's a 35 BP, 2-5 time hitting move. With skill link, and STAB, it's a 262 BP move, much better than Hydro Pump. Just a little fyi, Clamp is learned at lv 25 by Shellder, so it's near the bottom of serebii's page. >.> The set should be:

[SET]
name: Shell Breaker
move 1: Shell Break
move 2: Icicle Spear
move 3: Rock Blast
move 4: Clamp
item: Life Orb
ability: Skill Link
nature: Jolly
evs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

And to put the power of Clamp into perspective:

Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Metagross: 100.3% - 119.5% OHKO
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Relaxed Swampert: 119.7% - 142.1% OHKO
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Slowbro: 52% - 60.9% 2HKO
Vs Offensive Gyarados: 108.8% - 129.9% OHKO
Vs 252 HP / 240 Def Impish Skarmory: 103.3% - 122.8% OHKO

Yeah, and that's not more powerful than Hydro Pump. Not at ALL.
 
#13
Has NOBODY heard of the move Clamp? it's a 35 BP, 2-5 time hitting move. With skill link, and STAB, it's a 262 BP move, much better than Hydro Pump. Just a little fyi, Clamp is learned at lv 25 by Shellder, so it's near the bottom of serebii's page. >.> The set should be:
I've heard of Clamp. It works like Wrap, not like Rock Blast, so it has no business on a Shell Break set.
 
#14
And to put the power of Clamp into perspective:

Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Metagross: 100.3% - 119.5% OHKO
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Relaxed Swampert: 119.7% - 142.1% OHKO
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Slowbro: 52% - 60.9% 2HKO
Vs Offensive Gyarados: 108.8% - 129.9% OHKO
Vs 252 HP / 240 Def Impish Skarmory: 103.3% - 122.8% OHKO

Yeah, and that's not more powerful than Hydro Pump. Not at ALL.
This is more like it (after Shell Break boost, mind you!):

Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Metagross: 20.1% - 23.9%
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Relaxed Swampert: 22.8% - 27.2%
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Slowbro: 10.4% - 12.2%
Vs Offensive Gyarados: 21.8% - 26%
Vs 252 HP / 240 Def Impish Skarmory: 20.7% - 24.6%

Yeah, and that's not more powerful than Hydro Pump. Not at ALL. :)
 
#15
This is more like it (after Shell Break boost, mind you!):

Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Metagross: 20.1% - 23.9%
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Relaxed Swampert: 22.8% - 27.2%
Vs 252 HP / 252 Def Bold Slowbro: 10.4% - 12.2%
Vs Offensive Gyarados: 21.8% - 26%
Vs 252 HP / 240 Def Impish Skarmory: 20.7% - 24.6%

Yeah, and that's not more powerful than Hydro Pump. Not at ALL. :)
Damn life and everything that comes with it that is amazing. A lone tear falls from my epic phail. :'( Hahaha. My mistake, I was never here.
 
#18
I agree with Lady Gaga. Factoring in Leftovers and assuming each move hits it's max number of times:

Empoleon @ Leftovers (0 EVs, Neutral Nature) Grass Knot vs Cloyster @ Life Orb (0/0 EVs, Neutral Nature): 121.9 - 144.3% (294 - 348 HP) OHKO
Cloyster @ Life Orb (252 EVs, Neutral Nature, +2) Rock Blast (5) vs Empoleon @ Leftovers (252/160 EVs, Neutral Nature): 35.7 - 42.2% (Total) (133 - 157 HP) 3HKO

Cloyster @ Life Orb (252 EVs, Neutral Nature, +2) Icicle Spear (5) vs Empoleon @ Leftovers (252/160 EVs, Neutral Nature): 26.6 - 31.4% (Total)(99 - 117 HP) 5HKO

Cloyster @ Life Orb (48 EVs, Neutral Nature, +2) Hydro Pump vs Empoleon @ Leftovers (252/92 EVs, +Nature): 34.1 - 40.3% (127 - 150 HP) 3HKO

Cloyster @ Life Orb (252 EVs, Neutral Nature, +2) Shell Blade vs Empoleon @ Leftovers (252/160 EVs, Neutral Nature): 32.2 - 37.9% (120 - 141 HP) 3HKO



If Empoleon isn't a counter, it's Chuck Norris.
 
#19
I think Empoleon deserves special mention as a counter for resisting Cloyster's entire offensive movepool, and can retaliate back with Grass Knot, more often than not OHKOing him in the process.
Yeah, i totally forgot about Empoleon, i guess because it is so rare nowadays. Anyways, i added mention to borh Shell Break set and Counters section.

Also, i have completely rewritten Shell Breaker, with White Herb and Shell Blade as primary options now. Naive with Hydro Pump and LO still remains solid alternative though.
 
#20
Its 48 HP EVs should probably be relocated to Speed, since it allows it to outspeed most Scarf Latios (and Gengars), accounting for HP Fire's speed penalty. It also helps against pokemons aiming for the 500 mark, namely Scarf Terakion and bulky Adamant Excadrill.
 
#21
Make the primary item slash on the Shell Break set Life Orb; you miss out on too many KOs by using White Herb, even if the durability is nice.

Remove the Utility and Choice Band sets altogether - Choice Band is simply too much of a gimmick, while Utility isn't really viable in Standard due to Cloyster's poor defensive typing (the SR weakness really hurts both of those sets too since they're expected to switch in often). Make these changes and it's...

QC Approved (1/3)
 
#23
I'm really torn on what item I'd give cloyster:

-White herb keeps your defenses high for one turn longer
-King's Rock gives you incredible flinch chances on your attacks . . . . . but shouldn't you be OHKOing them anyway?
-Life Orb helps you OHKO . . . . better.
 
#24
A good item for the shellbreaker is also Focus Sash, if it's used in a lead position or with spinners. It guarantees setup and, if they switch to a fast counter upon seeing Cloyster, it will survive and, more often than not, OHKO in return.