Got the approval for this a while back from Jelli, like a long time ago, and I didn't have time to do it. I have the time now, though, so although this wasn't explicitly approved in the approval thread, I'm assuming the approval from ages ago is still valid. I'm only posting an outline for now to make it easier for QC people to sift through the content. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I can trim this down if it's too long for a letter, I'd just rather have too much and cut it down than start with too little which is why this is as long as it is now. Tell me where you think I'm getting lost in details, in addition to revealing any inaccuracies/missing points. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Skeleton (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Skeleton (open) Skeleton (close) Introduction Strongest move in GSC Can usually OHKO just about anything that doesn't resist it Is typically more reliable than the 50-50 affair it is in RBY Also generally used for much more specific reasons: offensive, defensive, tactical Despite its effectiveness, there are ways to combat its use You lose a mon when you use it, so be careful But then again, don't be too afraid to pull the trigger, especially when it's unexpected Mechanics Base power 250, halves defense Selfdestruct used by Lax, with 200 BP, STAB, and halving of defense Fainting mechanics if used first: opposing Pokemon can't move no poison/burn/seed damage spikes damage on yoru switch-in assessed lefties assessed after spikes Ways to use: Wallbreaking Often called bait-explosion Criteria for a good bait-exploder: Must be otherwise-countered by their target Must be able to take a hit from or outspeed their target Don't wait until your Exploder is about to die to pull the trigger Examples: Exeggutor for Zapdos, Cloyster for Starmie, Gengar for Raikou Defensive Stops setup sweepers and saves the game Criterion for a good defensive exploder: Must be able to outspeed or take a hit from their target Examples: Cloyster for Vaporeon, Gengar for Agi-Passed Snorlax Free turns Because of death mechanics, if you go first, your opponent can't move Even if you can't kill, can prevent the opponent from Resting At the very least, even if you go last, you get a free switch Should be done sparingly, this usually isn't as good as a trade Example: specific scenario Bluffing Sometimes predicting Explosion can be just as punishing as using it Use this to your advantage Can bluff both offensive and defensive Explosions Bluffing offensive is lower-risk, but less likely to work because of that Bluffing defensive is high-risk, but more likely to work because of that Examples: Egg puts Skarm to sleep, Cloyster Spikes as Drumlax switches out Trading down If you're up in the Pokemon count, you can use Exploders to simplify into a favorable endgame Or instead of simplifying, you can just outright win if you can trade all of your Exploders for all of their remaining Pokemon Can also prevent last-Poke shenanigans; too much for last-Poke Lax and Vap to set up against Main users Cloyster Main use is Spiking Baits Starmie, but mediocre otherwise in wallbreaking Good defensive boomer because of high defense and good speed tier Exeggutor Sleep Powder and attacking power can really force the issue Great at baiting ST Zapdos and also Raikou to an extent Not great defensively because of speed tier and bug weak, but can deal with Lax Gengar Great offensive Exploder with Sleep threat and coverage Can bait Raikou and Lax pretty reliably, but can struggle to OHKO Speed makes it a decent defensive user, especially against Agi-Passed Lax, but lack of power can miss out on KOs Really, though, it's much better used offensively Snorlax STAB Selfdestruct, not Explosion Strongest sacrifice in the game Good offensively, almost no risk if you run Curse to catch Skarm, or you could run coverage to catch Suicune/Miltank Defensive boom is also great for opposing Curselax, has power to muscle past a Curse or two Defensive boom also good for lots of other stuff such as Charizard because Snorlax is good at surviving most hits Lax misses out on walling ability by using Boom, though Steelix Has Curse & EQ to force the issue... somewhat Offensive boom is OK, can break Suicune and Zapdos at +1 Defensive boom is basically nonexistent, can't even outspeed Lax Defensive boom use is relegated to beating last-Poke Curselax Very useful defensively for opposing Lax/Electrics, so usually reluctant to Explode Forretress Main purpose in life is Spikes Awful offensively, doesn't force anything to take it at all Decent defensively, can survive pretty much any non-Fire hit and hits hard enough to OHKO things Muk Another Curse Bomber Offensively, it's unexpected, applies pressure with Curse, and can force basically whatever it wants to go down, although Ghosts & Rocks can be a problem Defensively, it can prevent Marowak and Snorlax from setting up, and can survive a Vap Surf (although fears faster Acid Armor), not good for much else due to low Speed & EQ weak Golem ANOTHER Curse Bomber Offensively, it's kinda weak, has to catch Waters on the switch, takes a ton from Zapdos' Hidden Power Defensively, it can mess with Snorlax (even Curselax), not much else Combatting Explosion Switch a Resistor into a predicted Explosion the lower their health, the more likely they'll try to Explode alternatively, if you're setting up, they'll also likely Explode try to use Normal resists that can't be punished easily. Example: Skarm on Exeggutor Strategic Sacrifice Explosion does little good if it KOs the wrong thing Ideally your sacrifice should be low-risk Example: Vap on Cloyster Reflect/Defense Boosts/Substitute You could just outright deflect Explosion's power Example: Reflect Raikou, Curse from Lax, Acid Armor from Vap, Substitute from Tentacruel Conclusion Get out there and get a hands-on feel for how to use Explosion yourself! Introduction Explosion is the strongest move in GSC. It typically allows the user to OHKO whatever doesn't resist the move, even with only moderate Attack backing the move. Furthermore, in GSC, you're generally not going to see very many attempts to predict Explosions unless the Exploder doesn't have some way to harm a particular resistor, which makes using Explosion to take out specific walls surprisingly reliable despite the obvious risk inherent with fainting one of your own Pokémon. The mechanics of Explosion make it amenable to multiple different uses: obviously Explosion is useful offensively, but it is also effective as a defensive move, or even for achieving some more subtle tactical advantages. However, despite its broad usefulness and surprising reliability, Explosion is not an automatic win button by any means. There are effective ways to combat the use of Explosion to ensure that you end up on the winning end of your opponent's attempts to trade Pokémon. Knowing how to both use and combat Explosion is vital knowledge for success in GSC. Mechanics Explosion is extremely strong. It has a base power of 250, and it has the added effect of halving the opponent's Defense stat, thereby effectively making it 500 base power. This halving of Defense always occurs even with a Critical Hit, which will otherwise ignore stat changes, Reflect, and Burn if your Attack stage is lower than your opponent's Defense stage. A similar move, Selfdestruct, has 400 effective base power, but is often seen on Snorlax who, after STAB, has an effective 600 base power attack in its pocket. To put that in perspective, one Snorlax Selfdestruct is stronger than two Thick Club Marowak Earthquakes. Explosion also has the obvious effect of causing the user to faint. However, unlike in later generations, if the Exploding Pokémon moves first and the opposing Pokémon survives the attack, the Pokémon that was to move second will not be able to make a move that turn. Consequently, there will also be no poison/burn/leech seed damage assessed for the surviving Pokémon during that turn, although Spikes damage will still be assessed for the switch-in to replace the Exploder, and Leftovers recovery will still be assessed for both Pokémon after the switch-in. Ways to use Explosion Wallbreaking The most obvious use of a move with effectively 500 base power is for wallbreaking. However, there is a little finesse required to make sure you get the most out of Explosion. Generally, it's best to use a strategy known as bait-explosion, whereby your Exploders bait certain Pokémon into switching that also wall or check a sweeper that you are running. For example, a Pokémon such as Charizard is countered by Starmie, but Cloyster, thanks to Spikes, can frequently bait Starmie into switching in to spin away Spikes, then subsequently Explode on Starmie to KO it and open up the Charizard sweep. Growth Vaporeon is another sweeper that benefits greatly from Exploders KOing its counters: Exeggutor is a common Exploder that baits and Explodes on Sleep Talk Zapdos looking to absorb Sleep Powder; Gengar baits and Explodes on Sleep Talk Raikou looking to absorb Hypnosis and tank BoltBeam coverage; and Steelix baits Suicune, survives a Surf, and OHKOs with Explosion after a Curse. In general, a good offensive Exploder must have some way to force its target to switch in without risking a Normal resist easily switching in. Sleep moves and attacks that hurt normal resists are very helpful in accomplishing this. Defensive Explosion is also very useful from a defensive standpoint, primarily in terms of preventing a sweep. Sweepers such as Belly Drum Snorlax, Growth Vaporeon, and Pokémon passed Agility boosts on a Baton Pass team can instantly end a game if one is unable to KO them swiftly. In this sense, Explosion takes out these boosted Pokémon and saves the game. One of the better defensive Exploders is Cloyster, which outspeeds and KOs Belly Drum Snorlax, Quagsire, and Clefable, survives max-attack hits from all of them if they have an Agility boost, and outspeeds and KOs Growth Vaporeon with Explosion. Another good defensive Exploder is Forretress, for many of the same reasons, although it fails to outspeed Clefable or Vaporeon. Gengar is also a good defensive Exploder, as it can outspeed and Explode to KO fast threats such as Tentacruel, Charizard, and Agility-boosted Snorlax. Free turns One of the more subtle tactical uses of Explosion is gaining free turns. Because Explosion prompts a switch-in after the user faints, even if you don't KO the foe you still get an opportunity to switch a Pokémon in for free. In this sense, Explosion functions somewhat like U-turn in later generations, although it certainly isn't something you want to just spam in GSC. Also, if your Explosion goes first, even if you fail to OHKO the foe, the target will be left at very low health and unable to move because of the mechanics of GSC. This can be useful for effectively gaining two turns against a slower foe like Snorlax. Bluffing Sometimes mispredicting an Explosion can be just as bad as taking an Explosion. You can use this to your advantage with an Exploder by judiciously choosing to not explode. Most commonly, this is seen with Cloyster, who can punish a foe for switching out a boosted Belly Drum Snorlax or Growth Vaporeon for a normal Resist by Surfing instead of Exploding. This is also often abused by Exeggutor, who can spam moves like Psychic and Sleep Powder against an active Zapdos that, depending on the situation, might be deathly afraid of taking an Explosion by virtue of being the only remaining counter to a threat such as Vaporeon or Heracross. Trading down If nothing else, Explosion is generally good for just simplifying a game quickly. Because most good Exploders dissuade Normal resists from switching in, it's a fairly reliable way of getting rid of annoying pieces on your opponent's side and transitioning to a simple endgame. Trading down is a concept commonly seen in chess when a player has a material advantage and/or wants to simplify the game to avoid giving his opponent an opportunity to develop a crazy tactical attack, and using Explosion to achieve the same effect in GSC is very sound strategy. Main users Cloyster The main role of Cloyster is setting Spikes most of the time, but Cloyster is also a very effective Exploder on top of it all. Because of its role as a Spiker, it tends to bait Starmie and Explode on it without much trouble at all. Normally, Starmie is relegated precisely to controlling Spikes, but it also checks a few niche threats like Charizard and Machamp, and it's also pretty annoying for Ground-types to deal with, making this a key Explosion to have on most offensive teams. However, it's not very good at KOing Electrics because, while it does a good job of baiting them, it has to catch them with a very risky Explosion on the switch. Cloyster also struggles to fight its way past Explosion-immune Ghosts, although with enough Surfs on the switch, Cloyster can prevail. Cloyster also has a pretty decent Speed stat, a Defense stat that allows it to tank Snorlax's blows, and a typing that allows it to tank Vaporeon's Surfs. This combination makes it an extremely good defensive Exploder, as it is faster than the two most common setup sweepers in GSC and can even afford to take a hit when bluffing if the opponent calls that bluff. Clamp is not a standard move on Cloyster, but it helps a lot with keeping Cloyster's Explosion targets in place. It doesn't help with Electrics, obviously, but it eliminates Cloyster's need to bluff Explosion and just traps ballsy Snorlax and Vaporeon to ensure the KO. It also traps Starmie in the event that the opponent reads your team and decides they really need it, although most players will look at Starmie clearing Spikes while being Exploded to death by the Spiker and think "mission accomplished". Exeggutor Exeggutor gets Sleep Powder, which tends to draw Sleep Talkers like Zapdos and Raikou in. This is how Exeggutor gets good Explosions in spite of the Normal resists (Skarmory and Tyranitar) that match up well against it. However, despite its poor coverage movepool, it often can have everything it needs to keep Normal resists out: Giga Drain + Hidden Power Fire on a 3-attack set that foregoes a status powder keeps both Tyranitar and Skarmory out of its face. Exeggutor can also use healing from Leech Seed, Synthesis, or Giga Drain to stick around just long enough to Explode, use its typing to tank just enough hits to get an Explosion off, and spread paralysis with Stun Spore. Basically, Exeggutor is a great Exploder because he has so many ways to stick around and punish an opposing team for not just staying in and attacking with their Explosion-vulnerable Pokémon. Just don't let this thing take status, poison will put it on a timer and make its Explosion way more predictable, and paralysis might ruin your attempts to pull the trigger and leave you with a weakened, useless husk of a Pokémon. Exeggutor can also be a fairly decent defensive Exploder, as it outspeeds Snorlax and can tank troublesome Vaporeon and Zapdos, although it does have a couple problems on this front. The first is that its Explosion is fairly obvious when used defensively by Exeggutor; it cannot survive a Drumlax Frustration, and because it is outsped by Vaporeon and Electrics, if it doesn't pull the trigger quickly it could find itself in a situation where it is outsped and OHKOed. Being able to bluff the Explosion is a pretty important part of being a good defensive Exploder, as otherwise you just end up consistently wasting an Explosion because the risk of not pulling the trigger on Explosion is losing the game. Exeggutor also struggles as a defensive Exploder because it just isn't a great defensive Pokémon. Exeggutor is mostly held back as an Exploder by its limited defensive abilities. Its typing is good, but it's a primary check to nothing, second look to all, so don't expect to switch Exeggutor in willy-nilly to threaten to Explode, offensively or defensively. Even against threats it looks like it should absolutely cream, such as Machamp and Marowak, you don't necessarily force them out with Psychic or Giga Drain because they can hit you back with Hidden Power Bug. Therefore, you are often forced to Explode on them and other threats that Exeggutor seems like it should be countering pretty hard, even though it seems like you should be able to force them out and use Exeggutor's Explosion for another purpose, such as taking out Zapdos. Gengar It's fast. It gets scary BoltBeam coverage to punish switching around. It has plenty of other aces in the hole such as Fire Punch, DynamicPunch, and Hypnosis to prevent Normal resistors from feeling comfortable about switching in, and Mean Look to trap its bait and guarantee a good Explosion. Gengar is basically the ultimate Raikou lure, making it a crucial offensive Exploder for most teams, as eliminating Raikou makes it much easier to generate offensive pressure with one's own Electric-type. However, there is some finesse to using Gengar to Explode on Raikou; it's slower, is 2HKOed by Thunder, and normally doesn't OHKO with Explosion in return, so unless you plan ahead and make sure Raikou is weak enough to be taken out (and preferably paralyzed so you don't have to take a big hit or risk it using Reflect to neutralize your Explosion), you could see that Raikou barely surviving and using its ridiculous Speed to just Rest off that Explosion! Apart from Raikou, Gengar also targets Umbreon, Blissey, Quagsire, Snorlax, and Zapdos with its Explosion. However, all of these threats take a ton from Explosion, but are not OHKOed. Snorlax and Umbreon are especially resilient to Gengar's Explosion, taking maximum damages of 81% and 77%, respectively. Again, it's important to have Gengar's Explosion targets weakened before you pull the trigger. Gengar also targets Starmie looking to stay in to Psychic after a successful spinblock attempt, and this is actually one of the few Explosions that is guaranteed to OHKO, so feel free to Explode away when you see this opportunity. As far as defensive Explosions are concerned, Gengar is mostly an offensive Pokémon, but it's pretty good at taking out Drumlax, although it's not quite strong enough to get really good damage against a +1 CurseLax when needed. It can, however, outspeed a Drumlax with an Agility boost that has been Baton Passed from Jolteon, making it a great last line of defense against a Baton Pass sweep. Gengar can also Explode on Vaporeon that stays in expecting to tank a Thunderbolt and OHKO with a boosted Surf. Snorlax This thing is a powerhouse, although he technically uses STAB Selfdestruct and not Explosion. A mixed set with Fire Blast and Earthquake is standard to nail the Normal resists, then Double-Edge to scare them into bringing some solidly defensive, non-Normal resisting wall into him, then BAM, Selfdestruct OHKOs it. Of course, there's also the option of a Curse + Selfdestruct set to bait Skarmory (at +1, STAB Selfdestruct does roughly to Skarmory what Gengar's Explosion does to Raikou - wow!), or a Selfdestruct set that foregoes a coverage move for Lovely Kiss. As is normal for Snorlax, there's way too many options. Snorlax is a superb defensive Exploder, too. While slow, it's OHKOed by basically nothing, and his Selfdestruct OHKOs any unboosted thing not resisting it in return, and even does a great job of putting opposing +1 CurseLax into "useless amount of remaining HP" range. Snorlax is probably the best Exploder in the game, the only thing is that you lose out on him functioning as a legitimate wall if you use a Selfdestructing mixed set. Steelix Steelix gets access to Explosion, keeps most Normal resists bar Skarmory at bay with STAB Earthquake, and can Curse up to OHKO even stubborn defensive walls with Explosion. Steelix generally fills a pivotal role as a Snorlax and Electric immunity, so it can be hard to let go of that and allow Steelix to Explode, but as an offensive Exploder it tends to target quite a few important walls. It draws Earthquake-immune Zapdos and is also good at taking out Suicune because it can survive a single Surf and, after a single Curse, is guaranteed to OHKO Suicune with Explosion. With a few more Curses, Steelix at +3 can do 95% minimum to +0 Def Skarmory, and at +6 it does the same to +1 Def Skarmory (important to consider if that Skarmory uses Curse). However, perhaps the biggest boon offered by Steelix's Explosion isn't by what, specifically, it targets, but rather in its allowing the user to trade down in the late game, especially against last-Poke Curselax who might otherwise revel in being immune to Roar, of Fire Blast Snorlax that might otherwise envision getting past Steelix easily. As far as defensively Exploding, though, Steelix is too slow and is weak to too many common types of attack to save the game in many cases, although it does have the distinction of being able to survive a 999-Attack Snorlax's Earthquake. Forretress The main role of Forretress is to set up Spikes. That's it, really. Explosion is much more secondary to Forretress' function than, say, Cloyster, because Forretress is slower and has no attacking prowess outside of a fairly weak Hidden Power Bug to dissuade Normal resists from switching in. However, Forretress has the distinction of being able to use both Explosion and Rapid Spin on the same set, and it's also defensively sturdy enough to survive any non-Fire Blast hit from Snorlax, max-Attack Earthquake from Marowak, and +1 Hydro Pump from Vaporeon and subsequently Explode on them to stop the sweep. Thus, Forretress' Explosion is good mostly for defensive emergencies and trading down in the endgame, and is basically useless as a wallbreaking tool. Muk Muk is a pretty cool, albeit unconventional, offensive Exploder. On one hand, he struggles to really damage Rock-types and Ghost-types. On the other hand, Gengar can't do much in return, Misdreavus and Rocks such as Tyranitar and Rhydon get put on a timer by Sludge Bomb poison, and Steel-types, the most prominent Normal resistors, are kept out by the threat of Fire Blast. Couple this with Muk's high Special Defense and ability to Curse up in order to take out even the sturdiest of walls with Explosion, and you have an Exploder that matches up well against plenty of threats and can Explode on pretty much anything it chooses. Generally, Exploding on a wall such as Miltank or Psychic Starmie is common, as is taking out a threatening Ground-type such as Nidoking or Marowak, or even just taking out a Zapdos that wants to beat down on it with Thunders. As a Defensive cog, however, its Poison typing leaves a lot to be desired, although outspeeding Snorlax and Marowak before a Curse, in addition to handily surviving Vaporeon Surfs, makes it a pretty solid defensive Exploder (although, as with anything slower that Explodes to stop Vaporeon, watch out for Acid Armor). Golem Golem is another unconventional offensive Exploder that has actually been rising in popularity. The idea is that it gets Earthquake to stop most Normal resistors from switching into it, but it also gets Fire Blast to cover what Steelix cannot: namely, Skarmory. From there, Golem is free to Explode on whatever non-Resisting threat it chooses, although it's important to note that Golem needs to hit Suicune on the switch-in, unlike Steelix, and does 86% minimum with Explosion. Golem is a fairly weak defensive Exploder, though; he can wall Snorlax and Curse up alongside it to ensure Explosion is able to take it out (although many times Golem would rather run Rapid Spin or Rock Slide + Fire Blast instead of Curse), although outside of the Snorlax matchup Golem is too slow and too weak to Ground and Water moves to be a consistent game-saver. Combatting Explosion Using Normal Resistors This is the most straightforward way to counter Explosion, and is generally the riskiest as most good Explosion users have ways of dealing with the resistors that could switch in. The best way to switch a Normal resistor into an Explosion is to do so when the risk is mitigated. For example, when the Exploder's health is low, that makes it more likely for them to pull the trigger. In addition, if you have recently set up (for example, your Snorlax has just set up Belly Drum), your opponent is likely to Explode to save the game. It also helps to have a Normal resist that matches up well against the Exploder you are trying to neutralize, such as Skarmory for Exeggutor or Gengar for Cloyster. Strategic Sacrifice Of course, if you don't have a good Resistor in your pocket, Explosion does little good if it KOs the wrong thing. Ideally, you should be sacrificing something that doesn't stand to lose very much if your opponent actually ends up bluffing. One example would be switching Vaporeon into Cloyster, who may be looking to take out your Zapdos or Raikou with Explosion. This is safer than going to a low-health Gengar that could end up being KOed by Surf and still prevents your opponent from getting the look they want. Reflect/Defense Boosts/Substitute Using certain moves, while less common, can mitigate the effect of Explosion. For example, Raikou can use Reflect to prevent Gengar from blowing it to bit, Vaporeon can use Acid Armor to protect itself from Explosion while setting up, and Tentacruel can use Substitute to block attempts to explode on it. Also, while very uncommon, it's not completely unheard-of for a Drumlax, particularly one that has been passed an Agility boost, to use Protect to foil attempts to Explode on it. Reflect is a nice way to give your whole team a reprieve from the risk of taking an offensive Explosion, thereby allowing you to more safely switch Sleep Talkers into Exeggutor, for example. Moves such as Acid Armor, Substitute, and Protect are more intended to prevent a defensive Explosion from stopping your sweep. Conclusion While this guide can act as a bit of an in-depth starting point for using and playing against Explosion, at the end of the day, there's only so much I can try to explain about Explosion with words. Ultimately, you need to just go out there, build a team with Exploders, and get a feel for when is best to Explode and when it's not, when it's best to try and call a bluff and when you should just play it safe. While somewhat reliable, Explosion is still a fairly risky move, and many "old guard" GSCers will shy away from using Explosion or trying to call bluffs because they feel they're good enough to win most games without having to take that risk. It's up to you to jump in the game and punish them for being so risk-averse.