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Gen 2 Heracross Theorycraft

Discussion in 'Ruins of Alph' started by Umby, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Umby

    Umby I'm gonna bury you in the ground~
    is a Contributor Alumnus

    Dec 25, 2005
    Discussion time!

    So I've always liked Heracross, but no matter which gen, I've always had trouble fitting it in to teams or building teams around it. I'd like to use it in a GSC team, however, so I've been thinking about the stipulations that make Heracross useful to a team. What follows is a bunch of possibly irrelevant data and perhaps some off-base theory that could give me hints as to how to build a team with him. Some people who actually know what they're doing probably already know what Heracross is all about, but as I value the opinion of other users, I present this wall of crap for discussion.

    First off, why would you want to use Heracross? The obvious answer is its main asset, STABed Megahorn. Let's start the thought process with its damage vs Pokemon in the OU tier:

    Pokemon - Damage - Damage after Reflect

    * All are OHKOs except for Umbreon which is a 2HKO. With Reflect, Eggy/Starmie are 2HKOs (with high damage roll) and Tyranitar/Umbreon are 3HKOs.

    *All are 3HKOs except for Cloyster and Rhydon (Leftovers recovery factors in). These turn into 3HKOs with Spikes damage factored in. With Reflect, only Jolteon is a 4HKO (with leftovers). Spikes turns it into a 3HKO.

    The point of all that was to emphasize the kind of damage Heracross is doing with one move. Calculating for Reflect was probably pointless, but it makes me feel better. Essentially, Heracross is gunning down most Pokemon in 1-3 hits, after omitting stuff like Recovery moves from Miltank. While that omission neglects some significant points in an actual battle, the main point is how this damage spread helps control momentum, which I'll touch on later.

    So, what in OU actually switches in and poses a threat to Heracross? First, let's assume that anything that gets 3HKO'd generally doesn't switch in. That leaves 11 Pokemon in the running.

    There are 3 Pokemon that take four Megahorns after Leftovers recovery (Cloyster, Rhydon, and Misdreavus), and 8 Pokemon which resist it to the extent to make the damage negligible. Those first 3 are 3HKO'd with Spikes down and generally don't hurt Heracross enough to matter before it is outgunned, outside of Cloyster's Explosion, so let's omit them.

    Of the aforementioned 8 Pokemon, one (Gengar), can be dealt with through Pursuit (or Earthquake, if that's actually viable).

    Of the remaining 7, three of them (Forretress, Nidoking, Steelix) will generally lose, eventually, to Seismic Toss or be forced to switch or Explode, while inducing minimal damage to Heracross before that point (Nidoking could be carrying Fire Blast, but for the sake of argument, we'll say that it doesn't or that it's generally not expected to).

    2 of the remaining four Pokemon (Heracross and Machamp) are negligible matchups. Heracross vs itself is self-explanitory, and while Heracross is a Machamp counter, it must use Curse to stall out the Curse Machamp set. Essenttially these are stalemate matchups. No one wants those unless necessary. Omitted.

    That leaves Zapdos and Skarmory, which both take minimal damage from Heracross and threaten to do the most damage to Heracross of anything that would switch in to take damage from it in an ideal scenario. While Heracross has a number of ways to be threatened in the flow of battle, these two are the highest priority threats, thus I believe focusing on them will help contribute to my theory that Heracross's role is to initiate momentum.

    If the stuff I've said above is of any indication, it is that:
    • Heracross hits a lot of things Super Effective or neutral for scary amounts of damage with one move.
    • Of the Pokemon that counter Heracross/resist its moves, few of them pose to damage Heracross itself for significant damage without sacrificing itself, or in the case of Gengar/Misdreavus, can be dealt with via Pursuit user
    • Zapdos and Skarmory are the most threatening Heracross counters in the OU tier, as they do not have to deal with the issues mentioned in the previous bullet.

    What that means is that, even if some Pokemon like Miltank can switch in and Growl/Milk Drink, it is quickly being forced to use a passive move in order to deal with Heracross, making it generally more ideal for another offensive Pokemon to switch in. Few Pokemon after can damage it with common sets without non-drawback moves to where, even if they resist Megahorn, Seismic Toss wears them down and makes it harder for them to deal with shared counters. This would make it seem especially important against Zapdos and Skarmory, where forcing them to Rest and predicting it makes it tough for the opposition to deal with an offense you're setting up. Just imagine the usual scenario where a player predicts a Skarmory Rest and sends Zapdos out on that turn. Later on, when it's safe for DrumLax to come out, and Skarmory (in this scenario, the only Lax counter) still has two more turns on its sleep counter. Such a play can be attempted without Heracross, obviously, but if my logic is sound, then Zapdos and Skarmory are the only two Pokemon you'd have to lure in and create pressure for. Since few things want to take its Megahorn, Seismic Tosses can be used to create this pressure with very little in missed opportunities for damage (Read as: Exeggutor is too scared to predict a SToss and use Psychic, and eventually Suicune is going to want to stop switching in to Roar you, so the likelihood of catching Skarmory with Toss goes up).

    Now the problem is...what does Heracross switch in on? Just for perspective (and because I like lists):

    If we take the first list and narrow it down based on how common certain moves are, the intent to actually be advantageous in your switch, and how often you'll actually predict a Eggy Giga Drain to get Heracross in:

    Technically vs Machamp is still in Hera's favor, but we're looking to gain momentum, not initiate potential stalemates. Aaaaaand one more list to account for the unlikelihood of certain Pokemon being on the same team:

    Assuming a team had these four Pokemon, that'd be an impressive matchup for Hera, if theory holds true, but overall, we're looking at relatively few switch-ins where Heracross it at its safest. Everything else does damage at least somewhere in the 30ish%, which, in that range, isn't too bad, but with Spikes, generally puts it in the situation it was trying to induce. That's something I can't say anything definite on as it looks much different on paper than it does in practice. Plus, I have no real conclusion as to what this means, save that I'm probably the only person who finds taking 33% before leftovers particularly troubling. Also, I'm missing out on stuff like the fact that some Pokemon could boost up before Heracross switches in, making them even more troublesome.

    Heracross can make it hard for the opponent to switch in and gives you some momentum, but has a similar problem itself without the right switch-ins. This, combined with it's particular role as a lure for Zapdos and Skarmory could potentially create room for a devastating offense.

    Maybe I'll add more about team building ideas when my brain isn't fried. I don't really have any besides pairing it with Drumlax and/or a Pursuit user, though. I also didn't mention stuff about movesets, though I believe SToss should almost always be included.

  2. Borat

    is a Contributor Alumnus

    Apr 14, 2007
    Heracross imo is just a filler. It's impossible to build around it, and it shouldn't be built around. It's there because you need it to fulfill a multitude of roles. It's a jack of all trades pokemon that works out sometimes, but there's usually better options if you don't need it for all that it does.

    But it's pretty decent all around. It's probably "most similar" to a slightly-shittier-in-most-stats, physical version of Zapdos with a 4x weak. So I guess not all that similar at all, but bear with me. Similar in decent defensive typing, defensive stats, and a hugely threatening single attack. You should probably ST with both, albeit both have legitimate alternative non-rest movesets (3 attack zap and 3 attack hera, reflect/screen zap and curse hera). You trade EQ immune for EQ resist, but gain RS neutrality. I think most of the other defensive typing advantages are pretty much null (ice vs fire/psychic is even imo).

    It's not bad, it's just not great. Mediocrity is the best way to describe it. And I'm surprised how well that Zapdos comparison worked out, I was just winging it tbh. New perspective on the thing.
  3. Jorgen

    Jorgen World's Strongest Fairy
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion

    Jun 5, 2010
    I've always seen the damage it takes from not-particularly-threatening things like Suicune to be its biggest downfall. Its defenses are actually kind of lackluster for what you usually want Hera to do (which is play the physical Zapdos-esque role). Plus, unlike Zapdos, its main counters force it out immediately and can't be worn down by Spikes. So while in theory it's great, in practice it's taking too many significant hits while failing to do much to get past its checks. Not to mention that, while you'd expect it to be a good scare for a lot of offensive threats, the reality is that Heracross' damage output is surprisingly piddly when you need it to force something like Machamp or even Marowak to switch out, and considering Heracross' surprisingly lackluster defenses, you're taking a boatload of damage in return.

    Honestly, though, I like the SToss set, it's not so much support for Snorlax or something as it is just a standalone attacker that can beat SkarmBliss (and most other things to boot). Having Tyranitar support to chip at Zapdos and Gengar with Pursuit is key to getting it in a position where it can wreak havoc (DPunch Gengar can put a monkey wrench in the plan here, but if Gengar is DPunching it probably isn't Fire Punching, so Hera should probably be able to just stall it). Crunch PursuitTar can also put Miltank into an awkward position, where otherwise Heracross would be reliant on a Critical Hit to win. Eggy makes a fine partner as well for taking the direct approach to flatout killing Zapdos instead of just chipping at it like Tyranitar does.

    Curse Heracross is icky. I mean it can beat Thunder Zapdos with some luck but when are you actually going to try that? Meanwhile you're not just walled by Zapdos and Skarm anymore, but every Steel-type in existence, too. And if you go more coverage moves, you have to go whole hog with a Machamp-esque set (which Machamp does better) because without Sleep Talk, much like Zapdos, Heracross can rarely afford the downtime from a nap.

    A fun gimmick to try is EndRev. If you can Explode on that Zapdos, paralyze a bunch of stuff, and keep Spikes off the field (a lot of big ifs), Heracross and its mighty 1HP Reversal can 2HKO pretty much anything that doesn't resist it. Base 85 Speed is plenty fast enough in GSC to pull it off. Plus, Megahorn keeps the Starmies and Eggs from just switching in to take it. The last slot is somewhat filler, but EQ is actually viable here to keep the Nidokings and the Gengars from switching in, though HP Rock gives you some play against Zapdos and SToss some pre-Reversal play against Skarmory (though you probably want Skarm to come in and DP your HP down to 1).

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