Swampert is one of the most important Pokemon in the ADV metagame and makes a great defensive pivot. Whenever you have a Swampert in your team, it's usually in the thick of the action. It shapes the metagame to the extent that everyone and their dog eschews Hidden Power Ice for Hidden Power Grass on Electric-type Pokemon, such as Raikou, solely to nail Swampert.
Swampert's ability to counter common physical powerhouses (such as Flygon, Metagross, Dragon Dance Tyranitar and Salamence, and Aerodactyl), combined with its all-important Rock resistance and very good bulk, are excellent attributes to have. It is a reliable phazer as well, and it can even clean up opposing teams late-game with Curse. Swampert is one of the few bulky Water-types that is immune to sandstorm damage, and is therefore relatively hard to wear down.
However, Swampert does suffer from a crippling quadruple weakness to Grass, which hinders its ability to check Electric-types that run Hidden Power Grass. This weakness is also exploited by Metagross and Tyranitar to lure in their biggest counter for a crippling blow. Furthermore, Swampert is vulnerable to Spikes damage, which is particularly undesirable as it often must switch in multiple times in a game. It also fears status, especially poison, as residual damage reduces its ability to tank hits. Finally, though Swampert is excellent at forcing switches, it often has trouble doing much damage to switch-ins. Overall, Swampert is a key threat in ADV OU.
As opposed to being an offensive threat itself, this set aims to act as a solid utility counter and defensive pivot; it is excellent at forcing switches. Earthquake is a strong STAB move that threatens many Pokemon that Swampert counters, such as Metagross and Jirachi. Ice Beam provides excellent coverage and, in conjunction with Earthquake, enables Swampert to hit everything in OU for neutral damage. Ice Beam takes a decent chunk out of any Celebi switching in and forces it to Recover, which in turn allows a teammate to switch in without fear of Leech Seed or Psychic. Hydro Pump is the primary option in the third moveslot because it takes a good 50% out of standard Skarmory, stopping Skarmory from setting up on Swampert; it also deals good damage to Gengar. Surf is worth considering due to its higher accuracy. Toxic is an excellent move on Swampert as many of its counters, such as Gyarados, Vaporeon, Milotic, and Ludicolo, have difficulty with poison; it also allows Swampert to beat other Swampert with ease. However, Toxic only works well in conjunction with Protect, and is best used on stall teams. Curse is another option that works with Protect, allowing you to slowly regain health and scout for Grass-type attacks. Curse allows Swampert to beat Blissey one-on-one, while also threatening unprepared teams. Protect is the primary fourth option as it lets Swampert scout its switch-ins for deadly attacks such as Hidden Power Grass or Explosion. The extra turn of recovery that Protect provides is also extremely useful and helps Swampert Toxic stall its opponents. Roar is an alternative because Swampert is excellent at forcing switches; it can consistently rack up Spikes damage by using Roar on a predicted switch.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
RestTalk is the most durable variant of Swampert, although it struggles to do notable damage against anything that isn't weak to Earthquake or Ice Beam, which is why Curse is an alternative to Sleep Talk. Rest enables Swampert to stay alive for a long period of time. Sleep Talk allows Swampert to attack without being dead weight while asleep, while Curse prevents Swampert from being setup bait for physical attackers. Despite being the most durable, this set loses phazing utility and the ability to threaten Gengar with Hydro Pump, and as such is only really useful for being an incredibly solid counter to threats such as Tyranitar, Metagross, Flygon, and Salamence.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Keep using Substitute on attacks until Salac Berry is activated, and then spam Endeavor. If your opponent was faster than Swampert, then this will lead to an ideal situation of gaining a Salac boost while being behind a Substitute. In the sand, Endeavor coupled with residual damage would guarantee a kill against the many Pokemon not immune to neither sand or Endeavor. If Swampert is behind a Sub, it can even Endeavor a second target. The beauty of this set, that Swampert's Torrent-boosted Hydro Pump and Ice Beam inflicts significant damage thanks to pumping EVs into Swampert's Special Attack; this means that Swampert can save Endeavor for later use. The Timid nature allows you to outspeed max Speed Gengar after the boost from Salac Berry, and then nail it with a Torrent-boosted Hydro Pump. While the set may seem basic, it can be deadly for unprepared players. Despite how dangerous it can be, this set does have many noticeable flaws which you should be aware of if you're inclined to use it, or if you're looking for ways to stop it.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Thanks to its good base 110 Attack, Swampert can utilize a Choice Band to surprise a few of its usual switch-ins. Celebi, for example, is OHKOed by Hidden Power Bug, and Ludicolo doesn't enjoy taking one either. However, this set is a worse check to the likes of Salamence and Tyranitar, who will wear it down more quickly than defensive sets, and Swampert really needs Leftovers recovery in order to stick around. The main niche of a Choice Band set is the element of surprise, so make sure that you get it in without taking any damage. Swampert can also pull off a CounterCoat set alongside one of its STAB moves and Roar to punish opponents that set up on it. However, it will only work with Spikes support, as a good opponent will otherwise continually switch out of Swampert to burn its PP. Curse with three attacks can be used, but it throws Swampert into a sweeping role rather than a supportive role since it loses out on phazing, Protect, and Rest. Swampert can go with a SubPunch set, but Substitute taxes its HP too much for this to be worthwhile, and Swampert has better things to do in general. Swampert's movepool isn't particularly big, so it's best to stick to the listed sets.
Special Defense EVs can be used to help Swampert take random attacks better late in a game from Jirachi and Gengar. Still, don't expect your Swampert to stand up to many Grass-type attacks thrown your way.
Checks and Counters
Celebi is an excellent answer to Swampert, as it can set up Calm Mind boosts with impunity while dealing residual damage with Leech Seed; it can also just bash away at Swampert with Hidden Power Grass. Ice Beam does at most around 40% to Celebi—although this depends on the EV spreads both Pokemon run—so Celebi has little to fear from Swampert. Specially defensive Zapdos with Hidden Power Grass is good counter to Swampert, as it takes little from Ice Beam and is immune to both Spikes and Earthquake. Its fellow legendary bird Articuno also does a pretty good job at countering Swampert thanks to its immunity to Earthquake, Spikes, and Ice Beam's freeze chance, along with its high Special Defense. Toxic will quickly wear down any Swampert without Rest.
Heracross does a pretty good job against Swampert as it resists Earthquake and has the Special Defense to take Hydro Pump and Ice Beam with relative ease. Heracross can then proceed to take chunks of HP out of Swampert with Megahorn. Venusaur does a number on Swampert with its strong Grass-type STAB. Giga Drain Gengar is a decent answer to Swampert, as it is immune to Earthquake and only fears being hit by Hydro Pump or Surf on the switch. To avoid activating Torrent, Timid Gengar should use Giga Drain when Swampert's health is at around 75% for a clean KO. Skarmory can deal with any Swampert that lack Hydro Pump or Surf by freely setting up Spikes on it. Specially defensive Skarmory with Rest can even stall out Swampert with Hydro Pump most of the time. Blissey possesses enough physical bulk to tank Swampert's Earthquake comfortably while being able to wear it down with Seismic Toss or Calm Mind-boosted Ice Beams or Hidden Power Grass. Similarly to Blissey, Porygon2 can sponge hits from Swampert while also having access to Recover for negating whatever injury Swampert might have caused. Another bulky Normal-type, Snorlax, can comfortably set up Curse against Swampert lacking Roar. Physically defensive Regice with enough Speed EVs can survive three Earthquakes and restore health with Rest before Swampert can finish it off.
Gyarados is an excellent answer to Swampert that lack Rock Slide, and can set up multiple Dragon Dance boosts while using Taunt to stop Swampert from phazing it out. Suicune is also a strong Swampert counter, as it takes little from anything Swampert can throw at it and can either inflict decent damage with Surf, set up with Calm Mind, or even phaze it to rack up Spikes damage. Milotic can use Recover to heal off any damage, and can whittle away at Swampert's HP with Surf and Toxic. However, Milotic itself must be cautious of Swampert's Toxic. Vaporeon can Wish in Swampert's face and only fears Toxic. Ludicolo is a solid counter to Swampert as it takes pitiful damage from any of Swampert's attacks—once again, it only fears Toxic—and can either OHKO Swampert with Hidden Power Grass or wear it down with Leech Seed, should it lack a Grass-type attack.