QC: [ginganinja] [SUSANOO91] [Super Mario Bro] GP: [Kingler12345] [blitzlefan] Skarmory Overview ######## Skarmory has been one of the most defensively capable Pokemon since its inception, boasting a base 140 Defense with an amazing Steel / Flying typing to back it up. Reliable recovery, phazing moves, Spikes, and Defog make an already great blueprint into a fearsome physical wall bursting with utility. Skarmory's talents can be matched to many playstyles: stall teams love its durability and access to highly coveted moves, while more balanced teams appreciate the ability to fall back on its defensive capacity. Unlike many other defensive Pokemon, Skarmory is not to be set up on: Whirlwind, Taunt, and Brave Bird all exist to deter even the best setup sweepers and walls. In an emergency situation, Sturdy combined with Whirlwind makes Skarmory an almost unbreakable, albeit sacrificial, full stop to any sweeper. However, Skarmory has several shortcomings that must be addressed. It possesses low HP and Special Defense stats, making it unable to wall most specially based attackers. Entry hazards, once a staple of Skarmory's gameplay, have become slightly less impactful due to Defog. Dark- and Ghost-types are now free to utilize unresisted STAB attacks against Skarmory, and Skarmory still requires a moderate degree of team support to cover its weaknesses to popular Fire- and Electric-type moves. Finally, although Skarmory has been blessed with an amazing support movepool, it now faces serious four-moveslot syndrome more than ever, and this, combined with the introduction of extremely powerful attackers such as Mega Charizard X, makes Skarmory that much easier for the opponent to overwhelm. Lastly, Skarmory faces intense competition from Mandibuzz, one of the other popular choices for a defensive Defog user, which possesses higher overall defenses and valuable resistances to Ghost- and Dark-type moves. However, it cannot match Skarmory's startling array of resistances and immunities, and is weak to Stealth Rock. Physically Defensive ######## name: Physically Defensive move 1: Roost move 2: Whirlwind move 3: Stealth Rock / Brave Bird move 4: Defog / Brave Bird ability: Sturdy item: Leftovers / Rocky Helmet nature: Bold / Impish evs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD Moves ======== The first slot goes to Roost, which provides Skarmory with reliable and instant recovery, and makes it near-impossible for any physical attacker to beat it one-on-one without the aid of boosting moves or super effective STAB moves. Whirlwind is primarily for when the opponent attempts to boost up; however, it also has great utility in letting Skarmory scout its switch-ins and rack up entry hazard damage by shuffling the opponent's Pokemon. Stealth Rock is a great option for the third slot; thanks to its great physical bulk and resilience, Skarmory finds no trouble setting Stealth Rock up at many points within a battle. Defog allows Skarmory to clear the field of entry hazards to make the battlefield more welcoming for hazard-susceptible teammates. However, Brave Bird is also a viable option over either Stealth Rock or Defog according to the team's needs, as it gives Skarmory a moderately strong STAB attack that threatens some of its frailer switch-ins, a way to pick off opponents weakened by its entry hazards, and something to prevent it from being Taunt bait. Spikes can be used in place of Stealth Rock should the team already have a reliable user of Stealth Rock, as Skarmory is an effective Spiker. However, because Spikes is counterproductive to the use of Defog and redundant with Stealth Rock, it should always be run alongside Brave Bird. Finally, Taunt can be run as a way to prevent opposing Pokemon from setting up alongside it, particularly defensive ones. Set Details ======== This is Skarmory's standard set, as it lets Skarmory most effectively use its great Defense stat. Skarmory runs full HP and Defense EVs to maximize its physical bulk, its most valuable statistical trait. If taking advantage of Sturdy is absolutely necessary, a spread of 224 HP / 252 Def / 32 SpD can be used so Skarmory recovers exactly enough HP to reactivate Sturdy two turns after switching into Stealth Rock. However, this is not only extremely situational but also implies a waste of Skarmory's potential, as the only attacks that bring it down to Sturdy are powerful special attacks, which it should not be attempting to tank. An Impish nature should be used alongside Brave Bird; however, if this is not the case, a Bold nature should be used, as it lessens the damage taken from Foul Play and confusion. Because Skarmory is a defensive Pokemon, Leftovers is an ideal item, increasing its survivability alongside Roost. However, due to Skarmory's role as a physical wall, Rocky Helmet is also a great item, as it quickly wears down the physical attackers Skarmory switches into. Shed Shell is another possibility, allowing Skarmory to escape the clutches of Magnezone and Gothitelle, but this is extremely situational, albeit useful. Usage Tips ======== Skarmory usually enters the battle as a counter to physical attackers such as Mega Pinsir, although it can come in on other defensive Pokemon such as Ferrothorn and Blissey. Roost should be used liberally, to restore Skarmory to full health, as this lets it avoid 2HKOs from some of the stronger attackers in the tier. As a general rule, when in doubt, use Whirlwind. Not only is it a great scouting move, but it also gets you out of unexpected situations, such as when facing Garchomp or Tyranitar sets that utilize Fire Blast. Defog should be used whenever entry hazards may threaten the other members of your team. Furthermore, Skarmory can follow up Defog with Stealth Rock, essentially keeping the battle in your favor in a short span of two turns. Although entry hazards are great to have set up as soon as possible, they should not be your number one priority, as Skarmory's longevity is usually far more important. Skarmory can't stay in on powerful special attackers such as Latios, so switch out to a teammate when possible to avoid taking major damage. Taunt and Brave Bird, with a bit of prediction, can be used to force out or wear down counters, respectively, when used on the switch. In particular, Brave Bird is usually a smart choice when the opponent possesses a Magic Bounce user, as they will all be hit for significant damage. Team Options ======== Skarmory functions best either on fully defensive teams or as a part of a defensive core, as both provide defensive teammates that patch up its weak points. Blissey and Chansey work particularly well in tandem with Skarmory, as their respective defensive stats function well together against almost any attacker not using a mixed set. Although they need additional team support, specially defensive variants of Jellicent and Heatran also work well, as both can stop many of the Fire-type attackers that try to break through Skarmory. Teammates resistant or immune to Electric-type moves are appreciated as well. Celebi in particular stands out in this role, as it hard-counters Rotom-W, one of Skarmory's most common switch-ins. If Skarmory is being used on a team largely dependent on entry hazards, a spinblocker can be useful as well, although it will not stop users of Defog. If Skarmory is being used as part of a defensive core on a balanced team, offensive teammates that value the effect of entry hazards and the ability to easily fall back on a defensive wall when forced out will appreciate Skarmory's presence. Examples of such include Dragonite, Aegislash, and Tyranitar. Spikes ######## name: Spikes move 1: Spikes move 2: Whirlwind move 3: Roost move 4: Taunt ability: Sturdy item: Leftovers nature: Bold evs: 252 HP / 172 Def / 84 Spe Moves ======== Spikes is the focal point of this set, taking advantage of Skarmory's exceptional Defense and resistances to reliably set up multiple layers of entry hazards. Whirlwind allows Skarmory to scout its switch-ins and easily rack up entry hazard damage; late-game, Skarmory can actually "sweep" weakened teams with Whirlwind and entry hazard damage, particularly if the greatest offensive threats to Skarmory have been removed. Roost allows Skarmory to stay healthy throughout a match, allowing it to continue walling common Pokemon such as Mega Pinsir while laying down Spikes or shuffling with Whirlwind. Finally, Taunt allows Skarmory to prevent opposing Pokemon from using Defog, permitting it to continue its Spikes-stacking. Taunt is also significant in that it prevents opposing Pokemon from using recovery moves, allowing Spikes to take them out. Brave Bird can be used to give Skarmory an attacking option, but Skarmory is hard-pressed to give up any of the previously mentioned moves for it. Set Details ======== 84 Speed EVs let Skarmory outspeed uninvested base 80s such as Mandibuzz, Togekiss, and Mega Venusaur, and use Taunt before they can use Defog or Synthesis/Leech Seed, respectively. 252 HP EVs patch up Skarmory's low HP stat. The rest is thrown into Defense, allowing Skarmory to set up against many of the popular physical attackers in OU, such as physical variants of Aegislash. A Bold nature is ideal for lowering the damage from confusion and Foul Play; however, if Brave Bird is being used, an Impish nature should be chosen, as it won't decrease Brave Bird's power. Leftovers is the preferred item, allowing Skarmory more turns to set up and phaze instead of recovering with Roost. However, Rocky Helmet can be used to get even more chip damage on physical attackers, and Shed Shell can be used if Magnezone is of major concern. Usage Tips ======== Skarmory can be sent out against either the physical attackers it walls, such as Mega Pinsir, or against other defensive Pokemon, such as Chansey, as Skarmory will almost always outspeed the latter and can use Taunt against them. From there, Skarmory can proceed to set up hazards, or if hazards are already present, use Whirlwind. Note that Whirlwind is sometimes the best choice even if full hazards have not been set up, as many potential switch-ins to Skarmory, such as Mega Charizard Y, will take substantial damage from Stealth Rock alone. Roost should be used whenever necessary to keep Skarmory healthy, as some of the stronger physical attackers in the tier, such as Conkeldurr with Guts activated, can catch Skarmory at somewhat low health and take it out. Finally, remember to use Taunt whenever defensive Pokemon such as Ferrothorn or Mandibuzz switch in, as moves such as Leech Seed and Defog can wear Skarmory down or nullify its effectiveness, respectively. Team Options ======== Because this Skarmory does not carry Stealth Rock, a reliable Stealth Rock user is heavily recommended to increase the amount of damage done through phazing. Heatran is a great option, as it can easily take advantage of Skarmory's weakness to Fire-type moves, and can handle many Electric-type moves that may come Skarmory's way. Skarmory has a huge reliance on entry hazards, so a spinblocker can be useful. Trevenant is a great choice, as it matches up well against the most common spinner, Excadrill, and can force numerous switches of its own. Prankster Taunt users such as Thundurus and Sableye can be major hindrances to this set, so having a Pokemon that can deal with them, such as Clefable or Assault Vest Conkeldurr, is very beneficial. Finally, due to the shuffling effect of Whirlwind and the entry hazards that are set up, this variant of Skarmory tends to leave the opponent's team in a heavily weakened state. Therefore, setup sweepers such as Mega Charizard X and Mega Pinsir are recommended as teammates because they can easily sweep weakened teams. Other Options ######## Counter is an interesting option that can punish many physical attackers that attempt to take Skarmory down, and Skarmory's high physical bulk allows to it to take such a risk. As a defensive Pokemon, Skarmory can utilize Toxic to further wear down opponents, particularly Rotom-W, which is unhindered by both Spikes and Brave Bird. However, Skarmory would usually rather set up hazards or phaze, especially seeing as some of its most common switch-ins, Heatran, Magnezone, and Ferrothorn, are immune to Toxic. On any of Skarmory's sets, Drill Peck can replace Brave Bird if the recoil is too detrimental to Skarmory's performance. However, Skarmory's access to reliable recovery usually makes Brave Bird the better choice. A Swords Dance set with Brave Bird and two other attacks along with the ability Weak Armor can turn Skarmory into a sweeper, catching the opponent off-guard. However, the unreliability of Weak Armor and Skarmory's relatively low Attack stat hold it back. Keen Eye, Skarmory's other ability, is almost useless, as accuracy-reducing moves are not only extremely uncommon but also never a serious hindrance to Skarmory's performance. Finally, Curse is probably Skarmory's best boosting move. However, Curse does nothing to remedy Skarmory's weakness to special attacks, making it very hard for Skarmory to find setup opportunities. Specially Defensive ######## name: Specially Defensive move 1: Roost move 2: Whirlwind move 3: Stealth Rock / Brave Bird move 4: Defog / Brave Bird ability: Sturdy item: Leftovers / Rocky Helmet nature: Bold / Impish evs: 252 HP / 16 Def / 240 SpD Moves ======== Roost lets Skarmory wall some of the weaker attackers in the tier and stay healthy to continue putting pressure on the opponent's team. Whirlwind lets Skarmory rack up further chip damage and scout the opponent's team, and despite this set's decreased capacity against popular boosting physical threats such as Gyarados, it can still stop a potential sweeper in its tracks. Stealth Rock is a great choice for specially defensive Skarmory, as its great defensive typing and decent mixed bulk let it set up Stealth Rock against a wide range of opponents. If either Stealth Rock or Defog is not necessary, Brave Bird gives Skarmory a way to inflict immediate damage on opposing Pokemon and prevents it from being Taunt bait. Teammates weak to hazards will most appreciate Defog; however, keep in mind that using it makes Skarmory's job of laying hazards harder as it will remove your hazards as well. Though not listed, Skarmory is a solid user of Spikes, usually possessing ample time to set up over the course of a match. However, carrying both Spikes and Defog is counterproductive, so Spikes should always be run alongside Brave Bird. Finally, Taunt is another option to prevent opposing defensive Pokemon from setting up alongside Skarmory. Set Details ======== High Special Defense and HP investment allows Skarmory to patch up the weaker of its two defensive stats and become a better mixed wall, letting it switch into a wider variety of threats. Specifically, 240 Special Defense EVs let Skarmory avoid a 2HKO from Garchomp's uninvested Fire Blast after both Stealth Rock damage and Leftovers and nearly guarantee the same with Tyranitar's Fire Blast. The remaining 16 EVs are invested in Defense, as they offer a higher point return than investing in Special Defense. An Impish nature is chosen despite the Special Defense investment as it raises Skarmory's stats the most; note that if Brave Bird is not being used, a Bold nature is preferred instead to take less damage from confusion and Foul Play. Leftovers gives Skarmory the ability to passively regain health, lessening the number of times Roost must be used and allowing it more time to set up. However, Rocky Helmet is a great item for this Skarmory, letting it inflict further chip damage on physical attackers that attempt to break through it. Finally, Shed Shell is an option to let Skarmory escape from Magnezone and Gothitelle. Usage Tips ======== Skarmory likes switching in on weaker attackers, such as defensive and support Pokemon, as they typically do not threaten it at all. Skarmory should also utilize its great defensive typing to find opportunities to switch in against Pokemon it walls, such as Mega Pinsir and Krookodile. Stealth Rock should be used when a free turn is obtained, especially if the opponent possesses no spinner or Defog user. However, remember to use Defog before Stealth Rock if necessary, as Defog will also remove the hazards you set. Whirlwind is also a great choice to use on a free turn, particularly if the opponent's Skarmory counter is weak to hazards, and should also be used liberally against well-known boosting threats such as Dragonite and Lucario to prevent any sort of setup. However, remember that Roost is the best choice should Skarmory risk getting low on health, as it can only continue to function as a wall if its HP is high. If a Magic Bounce user such as Espeon is on the opponent's team, it's often not a bad idea to go straight for Brave Bird, as both Espeon and Mega Absol will be lured in and take significant damage from a well-timed attack, although Xatu will be able to heal it off with Roost. Team Options ======== This Skarmory set is much more standalone than physically defensive variants, sacrificing some of its walling potential for the ability to stand up against a wider array of threats. Therefore, this set is one of the most reliable Defog and Stealth Rock users. Teammates that appreciate the presence of hazards will enjoy having Skarmory as a teammate, particularly ones that force many switches, such as Kyurem-B. Teammates weak to entry hazards, such as Talonflame, appreciate Skarmory's Defog support. If hazards are absolutely necessary for the success of a team, a spinblocker can be used as a teammate to take pressure off Skarmory should the opponent have a spinner. However, keep in mind that only Rapid Spin, and not Defog, can be blocked. Finally, Skarmory will end up attracting many Fire- and Electric-type moves, which Pokemon such as Heatran, Thundurus-T, and Garchomp can use to gain a free switch-in with their respective immunities. Specially based moves in general will often be hurled at Skarmory, moves that Pokemon such as Goodra and Tyranitar love to sponge. Checks & Counters ######## **Special Attacks**: Strong special attackers, such as Mega Charizard Y and Thundurus, can easily bring down any Skarmory set. Electric- and Fire-type attacks are also very common. Many attackers, such as Kyurem-B, carry them for coverage purposes, making it even tougher for Skarmory to stay in. In addition, many physical attackers with usable Special Attack stats will carry Fire Blast specifically for luring in and hitting Skarmory for massive damage. **Taunt**: Skarmory has trouble getting past Pokemon with Taunt, as they prevent it from healing, phazing, and Spikes-stacking. Setup sweepers that possess Taunt to stop Skarmory are especially dangerous, particularly if Skarmory is the team's only method of dealing with them. **Trapping Abilities**: Three users of trapping abilities, Magnezone, Gothitelle, and Wobbuffet, are particularly troublesome to Skarmory. Gothitelle and Magnezone are capable of easily KOing Skarmory with their powerful special attacks, whereas Wobbuffet can lock Skarmory into a move and provide its teammates with a setup opportunity. **Magic Bounce and Magic Coat**: Magic Bounce and Magic Coat users will reflect Skarmory's phazing and Spikes-stacking attempts. This is especially troublesome when facing Baton Pass teams, as Skarmory is otherwise a prime counter to them with its access to reliable phazing moves.