Cacturne

Sand Veil
Evasion increases by 20% in a sandstorm.
Type Tier
Grass / Dark UU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
70
- 281 344 -
Atk
115
239 266 329 361
Def
60
140 156 219 240
SpA
115
239 266 329 361
SpD
60
140 156 219 240
Spe
55
131 146 209 229

Overview

Cacturne has a great stalling movepool, but rather low defensive capabilities. With both his attacking stats hitting an impressive base 115, he is usually played offensively. His biggest draw is the element of surprise, along with his ability to mess up stall teams to an extent thanks to Leech Seed, Spikes, and Focus Punch. However, any proper offense shuts him down. A jack of all trades but master of none, he is hard to use in standard.

Name Item Nature

SubSeed

Leftovers Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Leech Seed
~ Substitute
~ Needle Arm / ThunderPunch
~ Hidden Power Ice / Needle Arm
28 HP / 252 SpA / 228 Spe

This set aims to stall with Substitute + Leech Seed. Switch into an Earthquake, set up both moves, and annoy the hell out of the opponent. Needle Arm takes out Swampert and dents Tyranitar, ThunderPunch hurts Water-types and Skarmory, while Hidden Power Ice deals with pesky Salamence, Flygon, and Celebi. This set is best used along with Toxic + Spikes + sandstorm support on teams that aim to rack up residual damage. At least 56 Speed EVs should be used to let Cacturne outrun Blissey, Weezing, and TyraniBoah.

Name Item Nature

SubPunch

Leftovers Quiet
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Focus Punch
~ ThunderPunch / Hidden Power Fire
~ Leech Seed
160 HP / 96 Atk / 252 SpA

Cacturne's ability to take out both Skarmory and Blissey makes him a good wallbreaker. Set up a Substitute and mess up Blissey with Focus Punch, use ThunderPunch on Water-types, and pick off Skarmory with either of the special moves. Leech Seed is a great move that also provides the stalling SubSeed combination. The fact that the common Celebi cannot even touch Cacturne is another bonus.

Name Item Nature

Destiny Bond

Salac Berry Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Endure
~ Destiny Bond
~ Focus Punch
~ Hidden Power Ghost
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

This is definitely a fun set, and the idea is simple: Endure a hit that would otherwise KO, and trigger Salac Berry. Next, use a speedy Destiny Bond, taking the opponent down if the foe decides to finish off Cacturne. If the opponents don't attack, this is where Focus Punch comes in: the moment they hinder Focus Punch is the moment they go down to Destiny Bond. Hidden Power Ghost takes out Ghost-types that are immune to Focus Punch. Cacturne's Sand Stream immunity is a key advantage for him in standard. However, note that as Cacturne hits a maximum of 229 Speed, or 343 after the Salac boost, he will still be outsped by extremely fast Pokemon, such as Crobat, Raikou, Persian, and Starmie.

Other Options

Counter will surprise and KO the foe if it ever works, but Cacturne is terribly frail, so he'll need significant defensive investment to survive anything. GrassWhistle is inaccurate, but can help him set up a Focus Punch. Cacturne gets Swords Dance as well, but a sweeping set is limited by his poor movepool, low Speed, and horrible defenses. Finally, Cacturne can lay Spikes, but there are better users of the move.

Checks and Counters

Gengar counters Cacturne if the latter lacks a Dark move or Hidden Power Ghost. Forretress 4x resists Grass and has high Defense, doesn't take too much damage from ThunderPunch, can Rapid Spin away Leech Seed and Spikes, and can even OHKO Cacturne with Hidden Power Bug. Salamence resists Fighting and Grass, and Venusaur resists ThunderPunch as well; both these threats carry super effective moves against Cacturne. Baton Pass Celebi can get a Calm Mind boost as Cacturne switches in, then pass out to a teammate that can hurt him. SubCM Raikou can set up against Cacturne that lack a physical move, and even then, Cacturne's physical moves—Focus Punch and DynamicPunch—are less than reliable.

Gyarados needs to beware of ThunderPunch, but can Taunt to prevent Cacturne from using support moves, Dragon Dance up, and smack him with STAB Hidden Power Flying. Weezing doesn't especially like powerful Dark moves, but has a super effective STAB Sludge Bomb, and resists both Grass and Fighting as well.