<p>Despite what the ubiquity of its pre-evolution in the wild may suggest, Tentacruel is a highly valued Pokémon in the OU metagame as a defensive Rapid Spin user. Unlike other defensive spinners, Tentacruel is particularly stubborn to being worn down as it can take advantage of rain support to get 12.5% healing per turn with Rain Dish and Leftovers combined. When Tentacruel isn't required to spin away hazards, it can effectively spread status throughout the opponent's team by means of Toxic/Toxic Spikes and Scald, and tank hits thanks to solid HP and Special Defense stats, and a unique typing that grants it a plethora of resistances. However, its gelatinous exterior is vulnerable to Physical assaults due to an exceptionally low Defense stat for a support Pokemon. It is also hounded by a few weaknesses to common attacks such as Earthquake, Thunderbolt and Psyshock, which somewhat limit its defensive potential. Nonetheless, Tentacruel remains the Rapid Spin user of choice for many teams, whether they are utilising rain or not.</p>
move 1: Rapid Spin
move 2: Toxic / Toxic Spikes
move 3: Scald
move 4: Protect / Substitute
ability: Rain Dish
evs: 252 HP / 236 Def / 20 Spe
- Its ability to Rapid Spin away hazards is cherished by both balanced and stall teams alike.
- Has the advantage of being able to auto-absorb Toxic Spikes unlike other users of Rapid Spin.
- Toxic is preferable on many teams whom benefit more from the immediate Poison. It allows Tentacruel to consistently beat most of the relevant spin blockers in the rain by inflicting Poison directly on the switch-in. It also makes Tentacruel more of a solid check to Keldeo and Volcarona, and also catches Pokémon who may try to tank a Scald, such as Lati@s, off-guard.
- Tentacruel still has a niche as one of the few viable users of the move Toxic Spikes, which is often preferable when running stall teams and/or using a sweeper that benefits from certain walls being crippled, particularly those with the ability Natural Cure.
- STAB Scald in the rain has the same Base Power as a STAB Hydro Pump outside of rain, plus it has has a 30% chance to Burn, which helps to dissuade things like Dragonite/Gyarados from getting a safe switch-in.
- Protect allows Tentacruel to stall for more Leftovers + Rain Dish recovery, essentially giving it 25% recovery for free when healing from the previous turn is also taken into account. It also allows you to scout Choice users and stop SubDisable Gengar from ruining your day.
- Substitute is a good alternative to Protect as it blocks status/Leech Seed, and most stall teams typically have trouble breaking Tentacruel's Substitutes. Note that Substitute should only be used with Toxic and not with Toxic Spikes.
- 20 Speed EVs allow it to outspeed max Speed neutral nature Breloom, Politoed and Metagross, and max Speed Timid Magnezone, plus the rare Specs Jellicent.
- 252 HP / 240 Def / 16 Spe with a Timid nature is a good alternative spread for Tentacruel, especially those utilising Substitute and Toxic. It allows it outspeed Adamant Dragonite/Gyarados and Poison them before they can attack/set up Dragon Dance.
- Tentacruel can run a secondary attack in place of Protect or Substitute, though keep in mind that this will have an impact on its defensive potential. Ice Beam can do decent damage to Dragons on the switch-in and Sludge Bomb can hit Breloom/Celebi hard.
- Scald can be replaced by Hidden Power [Fire] if utilising Tentacruel on a sun team, as it 2HKOs Ferrothorn and OHKOs Scizor/Genesect in the sun. Running Ice Beam in tandem with it is necessary though, otherwise Tentacruel will be complete fodder for Dragons. Remember to adjust the EVs to 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 Spe if using Hidden Power [Fire], due to the reduction in Speed IVs.
- Blizzard is viable over Ice Beam if Tentacruel is used in Hail, though keep in mind that the passive damage will cause its longevity to be compromised.
- Hydro Pump could be used over Scald for more power, though the low PP and Accuracy is an issue.
- You'll generally want to run Tentacruel on a rain team as it activates Rain Dish; Tentacruel has no recovery outside of Leftovers otherwise, hence Politoed is a great teammate. Politoed also benefits from Tentacruel's ability to absorb Toxic Spikes.
- If you run Toxic Spikes, make sure you pair it with teammates that can benefit from them, e.g. SubCM Latias, QD Volcarona, Taunt Tornadus-T etc.
- Gothitelle or Dugtrio can both make nice partners for Tentacruel using Toxic Spikes, as they can trap and KO the non-Levitating Poison types that auto-absorb them.
- Ferrothorn is a solid defensive partner for Tentacruel. It can complete the trifecta of hazards with Stealth Rock/Spikes/Leech Seed, and has complimentary resistances.
- If running Tentacruel on a sun team, Volcarona makes for a decent partner as it greatly appreciates the removal of hazards from the field, and can take advantage of Toxic Spikes when it comes to breaking through walls like Chansey/Jellicent.
- Teammates that can deal with the things that Tentacruel lures in the most are greatly appreciated. Mamoswine is a fine example, as it easily deals with the Grass types that come in such as Breloom/Celebi, and can revenge kill Lum DDNite, SubCM Latias and Thundurus-T, all of whom may try to set up on Tentacruel. Mamoswine also packs a useful Electric immunity, which it can utilise to get a free switch-in on Pokémon such as Jolteon and Zapdos.
- Tentacruel can run an offensive Rapid Spin set holding a Life Orb with a Timid nature and an EV spread of 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe. However, Starmie mostly outclasses Tentacruel in this role due to having higher Sp. Attack, Speed and access to Recover, as well as a superior offensive movepool. The surprise value does give it a small degree of viability though.
- The ability Liquid Ooze is an option to screw over Ferrothorn using Leech Seed, though Rain Dish is a superior option even if you are not running Tentacruel on a rain team, as you'll be able to take advantage of the rain provided by your opponent's Politoed.
- Knock Off provides interesting utility, especially for stall teams. However, it faces tough competition for a moveslot.
- Confuse Ray is an option to deal more damage if you're feeling lucky, though ideally Tentacruel shouldn't have to give up a moveslot for it when it has more consistent moves to run.
- Haze could be used to prevent things from setting up on it and ruin Baton Pass chains, though it doesn't quite have the bulk to be able to utilise it effectively.
- Magic Coat is a gimmicky move that could be used to block Taunt / status moves. However, gimmicks generally aren't considered good, especially not in OU.
- Acid Spray can be used to force things out, though even to a target with -2 Sp. Defense, Tentacruel still isn't very threatening offensively.
- Tentacruel can actually go down the sweeping route with an Adamant Nature and a moveset of Substitute/Swords Dance/Waterfall/Poison Jab. Despite a below average base 70 Attack stat, it will still hit hard after a Swords Dance or two. It can easily set up on a large variety of Pokémon, and Water/Poison provides surprisingly good neutral coverage. However, it faces difficulties with some of the bulkier Steels such as Ferrothorn and Skarmory, the latter of which can easily phase it out. It is also easily revenge killed by offensive teams due to its good but not great base 100 Speed. Still, with some support it can be a fantastic check to both balanced and stall teams. As with the other sets, SubSD Tentacruel appreciates rain support to extend its longevity.
[Checks and Counters]
- If the set is running Toxic Spikes as opposed to Toxic, anything immune to them that doesn't take too much damage from Scald can be considered a counter. Dragonite, Gyarados, Hydreigon, Lati@s and Reuniclus are examples of this. The former two need to be wary about directly switching in though, due to the risk of a potential Burn. However, a Lum Berry or Substitute can be used to get around this once they're in. Although not immune to Toxic Spikes, Kyurem-B is another example of a dangerous threat that can easily take out Tentacruel, and with Substitute it can avoid status when it is active.
- Poison Heal Breloom is one of the best Tentacruel counters as it benefits from Poison and is immune to Scald burns, whilst it can use Tentacruel as setup fodder. However, be aware that it is still vulnerable to Scald burns if it has not yet activated its Toxic Orb. Celebi is in a very similar position, as it can mitigate the effect of status due to Natural Cure, and can hit hard with a STAB Psychic. Amoonguss auto-absorbs Toxic Spikes and takes practically no damage from Scald, though cannot threaten it offensively outside of Sleep from Spore. Venusaur can also remove Toxic Spikes, set up Growth and mitigate potential Burn damage with the recovery from Giga Drain.
- Toxicroak is completely immune to everything in Tentacruel's arsenal, and even removes the Toxic Spikes that Tentacruel may have set up. Although Tentacruel resists its STABs, Toxicroak can overpower it after boosting its Attack.
- SubCM Latias and SubCM Keldeo aren't bothered by anything Tentacruel can throw at them, and can set up on it easily so long as it does not get poisoned on the switch-in if Tentacruel runs Toxic. Reuniclus does not have to worry about status at all, thanks to Magic Guard - it takes menial damage from Scald, so has no danger of setting up. CM Alakazam is in the same boat to an extent, though it takes more damage from Scald prior to boosting.
- Starmie can readily spin away the Toxic Spikes that Tentacruel worked so hard to get up, and can force it out with the threat of STAB Psyshock or Thunder(bolt). Natural Cure means that getting poisoned on the switch-in isn't too worrying.
- If it lacks Toxic, Jellicent has no problem coming in to block Tentacruel's Rapid Spin. It can beat it 1v1 with Will-o-Wisp and Recover.
- If Sunlight is the current weather, Heatran can come in on Tentacruel with impunity and nail it with a Super Effective Earth Power, or just fry it with a double STAB Fire Blast.
- Pokémon with a powerful STAB Earthquake, such as Garchomp, Landorus-T and Mamoswine, will easily force Tentacruel out, though they cannot switch in safely due to the threat of a Burn from Scald (plus the latter two are hit Super Effectively).
- Gastrodon can switch in on any of Tentacruel's moves, barring Toxic, and can demolish Tentacruel with Earthquake or Earth Power.
- Zapdos and Magnezone can withstand a Scald and start firing off strong Thunders. The former will easily win 1v1 with some SDef investment and Roost. Despite taking decent damage from Scald, Thundurus-T will force Tentacruel out, giving it the potentially perfect opportunity to set up a Nasty Plot or Agility.
- SubDisable Gengar is immune to everything Tentacruel has bar Scald, so once in it can easily set up a Substitute, Disable it and Shadow Ball it to death. However, a smart player can get around this by using Protect on a predicted Disable. Gengar also brings spin blocking to the table, which prevents Tentacruel from utilising its most defining trait. LO Gengar with Thunder will quickly take out any Tentacruel that comes in trying to sponge a Shadow Ball.
- Gothitelle can switch in on Tentacruel with minimal risk, trap it due to Shadow Tag and KO it with it STAB Psychic/Psyshock.
- Tentacruel is even a check to itself, though in a 1v1 situation this would come down to a Scald war, and isn't really recommended unless you literally have no other options.