The only thing I look up to is the sky
Being blessed with a Mega Evolution this generation, Mawile finally has a chance to claw its way out of obscurity. The biggest boon Mawile received is its new ability, Huge Power, which doubles its Attack stat to monstrous levels. With good coverage and access to Intimidate before Mega Evolving, Mawile can be a very threatening setup sweeper. Mawile's good bulk and great typing also make it a formidable defensive pivot, able to take hits from much of the metagame. The main pitfall to Mawile is its low Speed stat, but its access to priority in Sucker Punch helps to offset that. Nonetheless, its over-reliance on Sucker Punch leaves it rather vulnerable to status and Encore users. With its buffs this generation, Mawile has turned into a formidable physical attacker that has the potential to threaten the entire metagame.
name: Setup Sweeper
move 1: Play Rough
move 2: Sucker Punch
move 3: Knock Off / Iron Head / Focus Punch
move 4: Swords Dance / Substitute
evs: 132 HP / 252 Atk / 124 Spe
With the equivalent of base 259 Attack, Mawile is an incredibly threatening sweeper. Play Rough serves as Mawile's premier STAB attack and has good neutral coverage. Sucker Punch offsets Mawile's low Speed stat and gets good neutral coverage in tandem with Play Rough. Knock Off eases wall breaking, removing healing from opposing walls that would otherwise trouble Mawile. Iron Head serves as another reliable STAB, getting good neutral coverage and hitting key threats like Mega Venusaur. Focus Punch carries a lot of surprise value, hitting otherwise hard counters such as Heatran and a Roosting Skamory hard. Swords Dance boosts Mawile's Attack to even more ridiculous levels, allowing it to break through common walls. Substitute can be used to ease the element of prediction needed with Sucker Punch, while also preventing status users such as Rotom-W from checking Mawile. If Substitute is used, it is recommended to use Focus Punch as well, due to the protection Substitute provides.
Mawile also has access to many niche moves that can help it handle specific threats. Taunt, for instance, allows Mawile to reliably stop physically defensive phazers, such as Skarmory and Hippowdon, while also preventing it from being set up on. Taunt also has use in preventing an opposing wall from healing itself, easing Mawile's job as a wallbreaker. Alternatively, Fire Fang can be used to augment Mawile's coverage, beating otherwise troublesome walls such as Skarmory. Finally, Pain Split can be used in tandem with Substitute to increase Mawile's longevity.
An Adamant nature maximizes Mawile's damage output, while the Speed EVs let Mawile outpace Scizor, Azumarill, and Aegislash. If Brick Break is used, it's recommended to use an alternate EV spread of 36 HP / 252 Atk / 220 Spe to outpace uninvested Heatran.
Make use of Mawile's original ability, Intimidate, to set up more easily. Mawile's Dragon-type immunity can also aid setup, especially if the opponent is Choice-locked or locked into Outrage. Be wary in general of chip damage and overuse of Substitute; as Mawile lacks reliable recovery, every percentage point matters. Sucker Punch, despite being one of Mawile's greatest tools, can also backfire and greatly cripple Mawile if you mispredict, so always be careful when using it.
Mawile works amazingly well with partners that can slow down the opponent or make use of Mawile's innately low Speed. This of course means Sticky Web and Trick Room support, but Pokemon such as Thunder Wave Thundurus also work well. Mawile also pairs well offensively with Pokemon that can reliably switch into Fire-types, making Dragon-types such as Dragonite effective partners. Mawile resists Ice and is immune to Dragon (both types that Dragon-types are weak to), while Dragon-types cover Mawile's weakness to Fire-types. Partners that can beat common physical walls, such as Hippowdon and Skarmory, are also useful. For example, Dragonite and Talonflame work very well with Mawile, weakening said walls so that Mawile can clean up. Mawile also greatly appreciates cleric support in case it mispredicts and is burned, so other Fairy-types such as Sylveon make for good partners.
move 1: Rest
move 2: Sleep Talk
move 3: Play Rough
move 4: Foul Play
evs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
This set forgoes Mawile's offensive capabilities for more of a support role. The key to this set is Rest, offering the longevity that the Swords Dance set lacks. Sleep Talk ensures that Mawile isn't complete setup bait by granting Mawile a good chance of attacking the opponent on the turns it's asleep. Play Rough is Mawile's main damaging move, getting a STAB boost and good neutral coverage in tandem with Foul Play. Play Rough also has the ability to lower the opponent's Attack, indirectly buffing Mawile's Defense. Foul Play deters setup sweepers from using Mawile as setup bait, as it also gets the boost from Huge Power.
The EVs are focused on maximizing bulk so as to let Mawile survive as many hits as possible from common threats such as Terrakion, Breloom, and Dragonite. It's for this reason that an Impish nature is used as well.
While a Huge Power-boosted Foul Play is great, Mega Evolving right away might not always be best, as you might sometimes want to make use of Intimidate. Be careful about letting Mawile Rest too soon, and be wary of Mawile's low Speed stat as Mawile lacks any way to damage faster opponents, as this set lacks Sucker Punch.
Mawile pairs very well with bulky special walls, which both appreciate Mawile's physical bulk and cover its frail defensive side. Mawile also greatly appreciates cleric support, making Pokemon such as Sylveon and Chansey excellent partners. Due to its lack of passive healing, entry hazards greatly annoy Mawile; as a result, Rapid Spin and Defog users such as Excadrill and Mandibuzz make for good partners. Switch-ins to common Fire-types such as Talonflame and Heatran are necessary when using Mawile, making Pokemon that resist Fire such as Tyranitar good partners.
A Stealth Rock set can be used, but Mawile's low Speed stat makes it a fairly unreliable hazard setter.
Checks & Counters
**Status Users**: Due to Mawile's reliance on Sucker Punch to handle faster threats, status users are reliable checks to any Mawile lacking Substitute. Will-O-Wisp Rotom-W is a good check, as it is able to neuter Mawile while avoiding Sucker Punch.
**Bulky Attackers**: Many bulky pivots that can withstand Sucker Punch are good checks to Mawile. Garchomp is the most notable, as a little defensive investment lets it avoid being OHKOed and it can threaten back with Earthquake. Fighting-types such as Keldeo and Terrakion also do well, threatening Mawile with their STAB attacks.
**Physical Walls**: Walls such as Skarmory are fairly reliable counters to Mawile sets that lack Fire Fang and can use Mawile as entry hazards setup bait or phaze it out if it accumulates too many boosts.
**Fire-types**: Given its coverage, Mawile can have trouble against popular Fire-types, which resist most of its attacks. The most notable of these is defensive Heatran, which can wall any Mawile set that lacks Focus Punch.
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