Miltank is a cow on a mission: in the stall-oriented GSC metagame, spreading and removing status is paramount. With the prevalence of moves such as Rest, Toxic, and Thunder Wave, it is more than likely that at any given moment, several of Miltank's teammates will be debilitated by a status aliment. However, because of its access to Heal Bell, Miltank can eliminate these status problems in one turn, allowing its teammates to get back into the battle without any hampering status conditions. Miltank is arguably one of the best Heal Bell users in the game because of its great bulk, Speed, and access to an instant recovery move with no drawbacks—Milk Drink.
Unfortunately, it's not all alfalfa and flower-filled fields for this bovine. Miltank faces stiff competition for the cleric spot from Blissey. Miltank also sports a rather low Special Defense that can really hinder its ability to counter major threats in the GSC metagame. Miltank is straightforward and limited, but when given the opportunity, it can provide an excellent support option that should never be overlooked.
Heal Bell is the mother's milk of all Miltank sets; with Heal Bell, Miltank can switch in on a physical attack that does little damage, use Heal Bell to clear its teammates' status, and then switch out to a newly-cured team member. Heal Bell is an amazing support move because it allows Pokemon that lack reliable recovery to use Rest, switch out, and then have their sleep removed so they can jump back into the fray at full health. The usefulness of Rest and Heal Bell as a strategy cannot be understated. The extra moveslot is incredibly useful for many Pokemon and allows instant recovery to be viable for many sweepers. Getting rid of nasty poison and paralysis with Heal Bell is also useful, especially against stall teams. Without Toxic damage, many stall teams will struggle to do anything meaningful against Miltank and its teammates. Miltank also has Milk Drink's recovery, which, combined with Heal Bell, can allow Miltank to plop its large derrière down and stall in its own right.
Heal Bell and Milk Drink are great, but Growl and Body Slam are what really set Miltank apart from other Heal Bell users such as Blissey. Compared to Blissey, Miltank has better Speed, Defense, and Attack. Miltank can also use Growl, allowing it to serve as a great Snorlax check by removing the Attack boosts from Curse. Growl Miltank serves as a great check to Curse users in general because it can use Growl's 64 PP to outstall Curse's 16 PP and prevent Curse users from gaining any Attacks boosts with which to sweep. Pokemon such as Tyranitar, Heracross, and Rhydon will all struggle to get any sort of boosts with Curse, and can be easily crippled by Body Slam's paralysis rate. The paralysis rate from Body Slam is especially concerning for opponents without any way to remove status because they will often find themselves crippled and setup bait for the rest of the match.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Miltank does have a few other options it can utilize. Psych Up has its occasional uses; stealing a Belly Drum, Swords Dance, or Curse boost and sweeping is fun, but lacks the consistency of Curse or Growl and is generally a riskier option. Earthquake can be used if you feel like Miltank needs the coverage, and Seismic Toss can be used if you want to have more consistent damage output against Steel-types, but both are generally outclassed by Body Slam and Growl. Curse is a possibility, but Snorlax, Kangaskhan, or Porygon2 will generally serve you much better in that regard.
Checks and Counters
Miltank is a great support Pokemon, but it isn't without its counters. Special attacks are the bane of Miltank's existence. Zapdos doesn't give a rip about paralysis because of RestTalk, and it has Thunder to slam Miltank's weak Special Defense. Vaporeon's access to Growth and Surf make it a major thorn in Miltank's side. It can easily set up and shrug off any paralysis because of its low Speed. After one Growth, Surf is almost always a 2HKO. Skarmory, Steelix, and Forretress all resist Normal-type moves and can either phaze Miltank or set up entry hazards. Machamp is also notable because of it is one of the few Curse users that Miltank cannot counter with Growl. Machamp's super effective Cross Chop will do heavy damage, 2HKOing Miltank with no boosts and OHKOing after one boost from Curse.
Any Pokemon with sleep moves will pose a threat to Miltank as long as Sleep Clause hasn't been activated; Pokemon such as Exeggutor and Nidoking work in this regard. Exeggutor can also use Explosion to nail Miltank if need be. However, if Sleep Clause has already been activated or Lovely Kiss misses, Nidoking will be unable to check Miltank, and will find itself countered by Miltank instead. Gengar works as a counter because it takes no damage from Body Slam and has a slew of special attacks to fire at Miltank. Misdreavus works much like Gengar, but with Mean Look and Perish Song instead of an all-out assault.
Forretress also deserves a special mention as a check because of its ability to set up Spikes while taking a pittance from any of Miltank's attacks. Forretress doesn't mind paralysis, and the reduction in attacking power from Growl is not as important to it as it is to Pokemon such as Snorlax. Cloyster functions in the same way with the additional ability to fire off Surfs at Miltank's lower Special Defense stat. Keep in mind that Miltank's high Defense and access to Milk Drink and Heal Bell will make it difficult to wear down with Toxic. However, while time consuming, it is possible to outstall Heal Bell's PP with Toxic, assuming Miltank stays in. Miltank, however, doesn't enjoy being put to sleep or frozen. It cannot remove these status conditions with Heal Bell, meaning that it will be crippled in its main position as a status remover. That being said, strong special attacks remain the best way to take down Miltank.