Gen 1 Reflect vs Seismic Toss

[Edit by Hipmonlee] - moved to RoA from

I don't see how stoss is better than reflect to be honest. Reflectzam can beat golem/rhydon, tauros, zapdos, any lax set without amnesia and probably any other physical attacker except maybe persian 1v1 when already paralysed. Stzam can't really afford to be parad first against a lot of those pokemon. Ok stoss can beat parad zams and slowbros, but that's a lot less useful than the reflect list.

Reflectzam can basically control the mid-game if it's willing to accept paralysis. Once it's parad and sets reflect up on a special, it controls the battle because it can either try paralyse something like starmie on the switch after spc dropping chansey, or it can set up an offensive physical switch in on chansey. The latter becomes much safer if you've already managed to para starmie.

Things like restlax aren't scared by stoss at all. It can come in on stoss (or even twave) and simply rest off the eventual twave later if zam decides it wants to eat a bslam. Rest on lax is common enough to be considered when making standard sets.

Stzam is more likely to be in hbeam range when the physical comes in, not only because it's lacking the defence boost, but because the physical now has another move it can switch in on apart from recover.

Then there's also the problem that stzam basically needs to predict correctly the when the physical is coming in, otherwise stoss is completely outclassed by reflect. All you have to do with reflect up is keep zam's hp high. Reflectzam can afford to mispredict a lot more than stzam. It's much better to mispredict against a special than a physical, because specials are much easier to switch in against.


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So you paralyse Starmie, then what?

Seismic Toss Zam will paralyse the same Starmie and is much more likely to force Chansey back in as well. It also sets up physical switch ins to Chansey just as easily as reflect zam.

Surf Starmie by itself can pp waste Reflect Zam with like two switch outs. Blizz Mie can bring it to the point where it has to worry about conserving Psychic PP easily. Its easy.

Like, when Crystal says Reflect forces stall, I love stalling. Because stalling is reliable. You want to force me to outstall you, well, fuck yeah! If I've got Alakazam or Starmie then I will gladly stall your Alakazam.

Now Reflect isnt a bad move, I mean, I might not have Alakazam or Starmie.. It is a nuisance to bring in a sleeping pokemon and have to either leave it in or bring Chansey back in afterward. Reflect is good a lot of the time. But in general, it isnt better than seismic toss.
If you paralyse starmie, you can just go to chansey or even something like rhydon/golem if you can get it in on twave/tbolt when mie is at low health.

The point is you just paralysed starmie, which is a good trade because parad reflectzam is better than parad starmie. Reflectzam is designed to functioned parad, so you can always just set it up later when they only have physicals to switch in.

Ok stzam may para starmie as well, but the point is you're also inviting physical switch ins, which zam will struggle with if he doesn't have reflect up and and doesn't punish them on the the switch. Bulky physicals like rest lax prefer to deal with stoss than reflect.

I just feel that stoss sacrifices a lot of control because it gives your opponent more options, and it's not as if it's doing insane damage in return.
Is this assuming you para the opposing chansey?

If not, it just seems like it takes way too much prediction to outclass reflect. If you don't want to para chansey, then whenever starmie comes in, it can simply recover off stoss. Ok you can twave it, but then you have to be careful because they may switch in chansey.

Reflect is much safer in that regard because regardless of what they switch in, a psychic when zam is at high hp, or a recover on the switch will rarely leave you in a bad position.
But KOing chansey isn't necessarily the main goal (unless it's endgame). You're not going to KO a chansey mid game when it has another special to double team zam. I always assumed the purpose was simply to control the mid game by forcing in things like starmie to cop para and to set up physical switch ins. It keeps pressure on.

Of course if you don't then rocks can't come in, but your own chansey can still scare it with ibeam.


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Lets move this somewhere sensible.

What control do you think you have leaving Chansey unparalysed with your reflect Zam? It takes 4 special falls for you to 2hko Chansey.. How are you supposed to predict the switch out? It can wait til you have used every single one of your psychics if it wants to. I dont understand at all what you would be trying to accomplish here. Nor do I really understand what advantage reflect has. If you are psychicing for special falls anyway, then the supposed difficulty of predicting when the physical pokemon is going to come in becomes really, really easy. You just keep using Psychic. They have like a 50/50 shot at best of coming in safely.. Just because you have Seismic Toss doesnt mean you have to use it..
Well if it stays in, you switch in a physical. Spc drops can nerf chansey's offense to the point where rocks probably won't even need chansey to be parad to beat her. You also have the threat of crit psychics. It's obviously easier for zam if chansey is parad, but not paraing it keeps the option of your own chansey going for a freeze war. I'm not saying to not para, I'm just saying it's an option.

The point of reflect over stoss is that it makes physicals hesitant to come in, and covers misprediction/fps when they do. It gives you control because it limits their viable options, and gives you a larger margin of error.

Your point about not using stoss doesn't make sense. If you're waiting for another special to come in and relieve chansey of spc drops and then stossing, they're just going to back to chansey, who doesn't care about stoss. If you're trying to stoss on the switch, then you're open to physicals coming in on the stoss.

If it was just your zam against two specials, then yeah stoss would be better, but you're going to lose that battle anyway. Paraing the second special allows you to bring in physicals. Stosszam can do this too, but the difference is that reflectzam also has a good shot at paraing and then beating physicals even if it mispredicts or gets fpd on the switch.


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Crit psychics will do less than the non crits after a few special falls.

My point is about Alakazam against an unparalysed Chansey. There is no way in hell a physical is coming in in that scenario into Alakazam. Chansey will stay in and beat Alakazam by itself. I am pretty sure you will almost always run out of pp before you will kill an unparalysed Chansey (I am not entirely sure though, because this is such a preposterous scenario), and it has all the time in the world to decide when it wants to switch out. You arent going to catch anything with paralysis like that..

If you want to switch to a physical, fine, but, you didnt need reflect for that, in fact, reflect just gave Chansey an extra turn to freeze you. Your plan is to spam psychic. Physicals just arent going to switch in to an Alakazam that is doing that. If they are, then, fuck yeah! I am probably gonna win.

If your plan is to ppwaste chansey or to paralyse other Psychics when Chansey switches out or to lower sdef and bring in a physical attacker then Paralyse the Chansey. Only leave Chansey unparalysed if you want to sleep something or freeze it. If you do want to sleep something or freeze it then hurry up and do that, dont waste time and what precious little psychic pp you have getting nowhere against Chansey.

If you just want to lower Chanseys health to bring Eggy in on a softboiled, then you dont need reflect. If you just want to lower Chansey's special so you can bring in your Chansey and have an advantage in a freeze war then you dont need reflect. Just Psychic..

There are times when Reflect is the better move no doubt. If your opponent doesnt have an awake Zam, Starmie or Slowbro and you arent worried about them waking then Reflect is probably the better move (though the damage you can do to Eggy is really nice as well), otherwise I would want seismic toss.
Ok yeah paraing chansey is the better option, I'm not sure why I thought keeping chansey freezable was a good idea in this scenario when you're looking to get a physical in.

What you're ignoring though is that without reflect, chansey is likely to switch out to a phsyical on pretty much any move other than psychic. If stzam mispredicts, then he's in trouble against physicals, so there's a greater pressure to predict correctly and he loses control if he doesn't.

Reflectzam forces the opponent to stick to specials. This is what I mean by having greater control, because you're limiting their options. Against stzam, a greater number of pokemon are viable switch ins.

I certainly don't think stoss is a bad move and I acknowledge it's probably better in certain situations, but then again dodrio is better than tauros in certain situations. I just think that reflect provides greater consistency and will be useful in more battles than stoss.


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From this conversation it sounds like neither is better/more consistent than the other, tbh. It just seems each move has its own specific uses and your selection of such depends on how you're playing the game. I mean if I was holding all this knowledge and someone asked me, "What's the fourth move I should use on Zam?" I wouldn't tell him/her that either move is better for generic purposes, but detail the specific scenarios in which the moves specialize in and to make a selection based on which scenario is harder for his/her team to cover.
I think it's generally accepted that Reflect is better. Otherwise you're just begging for Snorlax to come in on a Recover/Seismic Toss.

Giving Snorlax a free switch-in is obviously not advised.

The only real advantage of Seismic Toss is that you won't run out of PP, but without Reflect Zam will die so much quicker anyway that the extra PP doesn't really help you.
Reflect is better if you would've been letting snorlax in for free otherwise
Seismic Toss is better if you are going to FORCE Snorlax in thanks to it

What's gonna happen? You never know

So in general, ST forces Chansey in while Reflect is more reliable once Chansey has been forced in due to not letting physicals in (unless they want to go for explosion/crit), but then zam is more easily dealt with with zam/starmie and maybe other psychics like egg, jynx (maybe depends on scenario because explosion's not ohkoing zam behind reflect) and especially slowbro
zam with seismic toss is better early game against jynx and exeggutor for a number of reasons. turn 1, pretty much no matter what your opponent is using (besides enemy zam or something weird like snorlax) zam can do some work. if you paralyze jynx or eggy i believe they have something like a 55% chance of putting you to sleep (with only a 75% chance of attacking and only a 75% chance of their sleep moves hitting provided they don't fp). therefore you have a few turns to wear them down with seismic toss and you may even be able to force them out with a bit of luck. also, again considering what pokemon make good leads as well as what good sleep absorbers are, seismic toss is useful in that it prevents sleeping exeggutors, alakazams, and starmies from easily switching in on you to attempt to absorb para and wake up against you. if you seismic toss them on the switch you can wear them down surprisingly quickly and really put some pressure on them if it takes them a bit longer to wake up than they'd like.

seismic toss zam is also better suited for the special wall role because it handles most starmie and slowbro better than reflect zam, as well as having a better matchup against any enemy zam, especially ones that lack seismic toss themselves, as well as a rather unaltered one on one matchup against chansey.

reflect zam on the other hand seems most useful lategame. if i were using reflect zam, i would probably lead with something else just because i'd rather not have it slept or paralyzed early on. i also don't really get the whole "forcing chansey to stall you" thing since all you can do back to chansey is paralyze and stall it while they can pretty much stall you forever with chansey + starmie or zam or even exeggutor depending on what stage of the game it is and how lucky you get with psychic. so you'll have a paralyzed reflect zam that you'll have to switch out or sacrifice all of the pp of, and at best you've paralyzed chansey and forced your opponent to bring in starmie or something to scare you off instead of snorlax or rhydon or whatever on a "predicted seismic toss or recover" if they can manage that.

i honestly do not think either of them is VASTLY superior to the other but overall seismic toss has more of a general usefulness whereas reflect zam has an incredibly specific usefulness that people don't even seem to take proper advantage of anyway. reflect zam should really be used to end things lategame when chansey is gone/on the ropes, while not having to worry about losing one on one to tauros or snorlax. it's sort of similar to starmie in that respect. however, also like starmie, zam is pretty often forced into situations where it is REQUIRED to take para or stall or otherwise sacrifice some of its usefulness early on before it is able to sweep regardless of how you'd LIKE it to function. and since that IS often the case, most of the time seismic toss ends up being more handy. reflect is the kind of set that can be better when the pieces fall properly, but you really have to try to make them fall properly. seismic toss is just good and reliable most of the time. zam is most often these days used as an anti-lead and special wall, but if you have other things to fulfill those roles, then reflect can be incredible.
But reflectzam isn't meant to 'stall' in the traditional sense, it's mean to lure in starmie to para it and to set up physical switch ins. Paralysed reflectzam doesn't mind being forced out by starmie because it can just set up a reflect on a special later on. As I said before, parad reflectzam and starmie trading para is a good trade for zam, because reflectzam is designed to take para and then still have a good chance against phsyicals, whereas starmie isn't.

Also, lead zam against sleepers is just asking for chansey to come in and take a twave. Nothing zam can do threatens a full health chansey, and you've just given chansey a free ibeam on whatever comes in. If zam stays in you can twave it the next turn or whatever. Ok you can say that the opponent could read that switch and go to lax, but that's an incredibly aggressive switch, and there is the risk of mispredicting and having the lax take a psychic or sleep from the lead if it doesn't go to chansey.
One of zam's uses is to serve as a backup answer to chansey being able to spc fall it or stall it or whatever, reflectzam in this sense is safer once you are into that stall war. Luring Starmie has barely anything or nothing to do with reflectzam.

If you lead zam and chansey switches into you the general rule is to lower it to the point where its going to use softboliled which is when you send your sleeper. And if you think chansey is twaving, just go to your own chansey. (although a para'd zam may even be helpful to prevent sleep).

To sum things up: reflectzam forces stall. Chansey/zam/starm/spc falls/freezes/pp wars/these things. So if your opponent doesn't have mons to stall then reflectzam is great. That's why people say that reflectzam -> lategame.
But then reflectstarm is great too etc. But starm never uses reflect because it's stupid if chansey's always switching into you. But zam (and more safely reflectzam) can stay into chansey given the scenario. So with (reflect)zam there are two options: 1. force stall and stall (what starmie can't do) or 2. wait until you can force stall but your opponent can't stall (which won't obviously happen in every battle).
yeah, i agree with that, but i would say if your opponent has more than just chansey to stall you with (as in they have chansey + pretty much any psychic type or multiple psychic types in good shape left) then it is usually a better idea to do something else besides stall and avoid getting zam paralyzed or frozen for no reason so you can at least try to save it for late game. if you have to stall, then you have to stall, but don't do it for no reason or if your opponent has more options than you do.
But surely Seismic Toss Zam is just as likely to get frozen/paralysed as Reflect Zam? And as soon as your paralysed you're vulnerable to basically any physical attack. Seismic Toss Zam will also never kill Chansey, so I'm not quite sure what the specific advantage is. Chansey will PP waste either way.
Surely if you're smart you'll switch out before your PP is drained against Chansey whichever Zam you use?

I agree that ST Zam has an advantage in the few couple of turns against Zam/Eggy/Jynx leads, but:
-About 50% of the time you'll paralyse Eggy/Jynx first turn and then they'll sleep you, so no advantage there.
-you're still probably going to be give Lax the free switch in.

Reflect Zam isn't just useful in the late game, because Snorlax can appear very early on, usually as soon as they've had a pokemon put to sleep. It is also has uses versus...well pretty much anything with a decent physical move, be it Golem/Rhydon/Zapdos/Tauros/Kingler (but not Persian :p). Heck, it even has uses versus rouge Hyper Beams from stuff like 'Cuno.

Seismic Toss Zam allows Zam to do more damage to stuff that he'd beat 1v1 anyway. The advantage of extra PP is crippled by the fact that he's too fragile to survive long enough to take advantage of it most of the time. Reflect Zam is better overall.
I agree with shrapnel on all points. S-toss alakazam has a lot more utility, which is great because that's what Alakazam is all about. Reflect Alakazam doesn't really do much early-midgame and is only really annoying lategame. Okay, I guess you have a point in that it might keep snorlax out, and that's fine if your goal is just "make sure snorlax doesn't switch in" but aside from that it doesn't do anything that S-toss doesn't do better, snorlax doesn't need to switch in anyway, its perfectly fine staying in its pokeball until lategame. Yeah you take away the option temporarily, but in the mean time you won't really accomplish much else that you couldn't before.

Also you're making it out like alakazam is some great staller that you send out once and don't switch out for a very long time... I don't think that's a smart way to play alakazam at all.

Oh, and even late-game S-toss zam has its uses in picking off weakened psychic types. People nowadays are always using Alakazam/exeggutor for sleep fodder so toss is nice to be able to take them out before they wake. Reflect kazam also has to find a time to set up his reflect before sweeping which usually means he's going to take a t-wave or a physical hit in the process... not really good news for him. Oh and tauros WILL crit you.
i never said seismic toss zam doesn't get paralyzed or frozen as easily or anything like that, but i did say that reflect zam doesn't enjoy being statused early on because it is best saved for late game. i guess i shouldn't have assumed that you'd put two and two together so okay, here we go.

the point is nobody is going to switch physical attackers like snorlax into reflect zam when they have a psychic type. bringing in reflect zam early on is a waste of time because you won't damage anything, you'll only stall, and getting paralyzed or frozen in the process when you can't outstall your opponent anyway and you'll be forced to switch is stupid, because you are fighting a losing battle and aren't accomplishing anything. of course you could just as easily get paralyzed with stoss zam, but stoss zam doesn't need to worry about paralysis as much. although, stalling with zam with either set is stupid unless it will definitely give you the advantage or you have no other choice.

seismic toss doesn't have any advantages over reflect zam against chansey (as i already said if you would just keep multiple posts in mind at one time or perhaps just read the older posts if you haven't...) but it has advantages against other psychic types. chansey never stalls out zam by itself, it needs a starmie/zam/something psychic to switch in when its special defense drops. seismic toss helps against those psychic types whether you're in a stall scenario or it's just midgame and you're hitting things on the switch. if you aren't using chansey and you are using zam as your ONLY special wall then you need seismic toss. reflectzam is worse in straight up stall scenarios overall because it can't do ANYTHING to psychic types and because getting it paralyzed is stupid if you can avoid it. its main role shouldn't be "just to stall" because that is dumb and reflect doesn't help it do that anyway, it just keeps rhydon and snorlax from coming in, but seeing them isn't necessarily "worse" than wasting your pp while you get outstalled by starmie and chansey... at least stoss zam can beat starmie and whatnot with timely paralysis, which is why your opponent is forced to send out physical attackers instead in the first place. meanwhile, if you get paralyzed, reflect's usefulness decreases quite a bit because you can't go first and get the reflect up against physical attackers and exploders, whereas seismic toss is just as useful whether you are paralyzed or not. get it?

also, again as i've already said, there's only like a 56% chance sleep powder/lovely kiss connects after paralysis, and that's EVERY turn, not just the first turn... they're about as likely to hit you as if they'd been using sing. aside from that, if you are leading with zam, there's a good chance you'll be asleep all game and it doesn't matter what 4th move you'd used at all, but at least seismic toss lets you tack on some damage, or on somewhat rare occasions allows you to force the opponent out without sleeping you at all. basically, if you're leading zam, there's not much reason to use reflect, and if you're using reflect you might as well lead something else...

seismic toss zam doesn't need to worry about status as much because it has a different role, and because it doesn't mind paralysis as much, it thus makes a good status absorber! reflect is much less useful if you get paralyzed (i'll say it again in so you can't ignore it) because you can't go first against physical attackers or exploders or what have you (and please keep in mind setting it up against special attackers is only a feasible point if starmie, slowbro, rest jynx, and enemy alakazam are all dead, and if chansey is alive, restless jynx and exeggutor must be dead too.) but seismic toss doesn't lose any usefulness when you get paralyzed. seismic toss doesn't beat physical attackers, but it makes you less vulnerable to slowbro, starmie, and so on, and you totally neglected my point about hitting sleeping psychic types (the most common sleep absorbers except gengar are all psychic types) on the switch but whatever. if seismic toss were as bad as you are making it sound none of these good players would be using it at all so maybe you should try either using it for yourself or being reasonable for a change of pace.

if you think zam is "crippled by the fact that he's too fragile to survive long enough" to take advantage of seismic toss then you don't know what you're doing. seismic toss is useful ALL GAME and especially when you're leading zam, whereas reflect is most useful when you're ready to clean up with zam lategame and is honestly rather unimportant before that most of the time. reflect zam is good, but it's a selfish pokemon. at worst its a decent backup counter for chansey, but it needs the team to help it out and make things go its way before it make a REAL impact. it's a sweeper, really. seismic toss zam is the opposite, a team player and a decent special wall, that probably won't have the large impact that reflect zam can have in an ideal scenario, but it will have a more consistent impact on every game.

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420- If you're sending in a special instead of lax, it's getting twaved. You either exchange paralysis with a special and switch out or bring in a physical on chansey.

Stoss can technically do that too, but the difference is stzam has to worry about being forced out by a physical. Also, paralysis exchange between rzam and a non reflect special is an advantageous trade for rzam. This is because rzam can beat physicals when it's already parad.

That's the key point. People are saying stzam can do what rzam does, but stzam doesn't gain as much for it, and requires greater prediction due to the threat of physicals.

It's also not too hard to set up reflect later on either. Just come in on a special and reflect first turn.
seismic toss zam doesn't need to worry about status as much because it has a different role, and because it doesn't mind paralysis as much, it thus makes a good status absorber! reflect is much less useful if you get paralyzed (i'll say it again in so you can't ignore it) because you can't go first against physical attackers or exploders or what have you
I have to disagree with this. An active paralysed zam without reflect up is really a dangerous position to be in. With reflect up, snorlax won't even think about switching into a paralysed zam unless it's looking for a trade via SD. In fact, I'd say that the main selling point of reflect is not minding about paralysis as much, so that zam can become dangerous when you are only facing one of chansey/psychics so that you can stay into said chansey/psychic bar stoss zam, afford taking a twave, force it out via spc falls/stalling/if it doesn't recover and use the free turn to psychic whatever physical mon comes in. If you don't reflect then the opponent will likely find an opportunity to send its snorlax/whatever before: instead of forcing it to switch into a potential psychic, the physical is switching in for free and usualy getting a free body slam. Of course if there is no psychic/chansey then much better for zam because you don't even have to take paralysis, but in this case most of the times you are probably better off not using reflect and going for psychics anyway so the last move doesn't even matter.

But this is on paper and in theory stuff. In RBY there are too many random crits/fps/explosions and their (mis)predictions for this to be accurate, and explosions are still koing or almost koing reflect zam.
I just meant that it’s hard to quantify which of reflect and seismic toss is better and in which scenario each move is better. RBY is the meta of the random stuff: crits, fps, explosions, predictions, mispredictions, variety of plays etc. In rby there is hardly any 100% matchup or 100% fact. This is not like GSC where we can all conclude 100% (or 99’9%) that skarmory beats eq curselax, or curselax beats starmie etc. It’s not that stoss beats starmie and loses snorlax or that reflect beats snorlax and loses starmie like all or nothing.