Swellow

Guts
Attack is increased 50% when hit with a status move.
Type Tier
Normal / Flying BL
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
60
- 261 324 -
Atk
85
185 206 269 295
Def
60
140 156 219 240
SpA
50
122 136 199 218
SpD
50
122 136 199 218
Spe
125
257 286 349 383
  • Overused

Overview

Even with a Choice Band, Swellow needs to activate Guts for it to be truly threatening, as it's otherwise just a weaker Dodrio with a lot more Speed. However, it does have a wonderful base 125 Speed that allows it to outspeed most threats in the metagame. To highlight Swellow's incredible power with Guts and Choice Band, even Metagross can get 2HKOed by it with a layer or two of Spikes down.

Name Item Nature

Choice Band

Choice Band Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Aerial Ace
~ Return / Double-Edge
~ Hidden Power Fighting / Hidden Power Ground
~ Facade / Sleep Talk
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Swellow makes for an excellent Choice Band user with Guts and its high Speed. Facade is to take advantage of Guts, making a burned Swellow a definite force to be reckoned with, while Return / Double-Edge allow Swellow to do damage without being statused. This set works very well in tandem with Medicham, as the latter takes out Rock- and Steel-types and resists Rock-type attacks (although it can only take one or two hits before going down, anyway). Medicham also lures out Weezing and Dusclops like no other, and Swellow can switch into Will-O-Wisp to activate Guts and sweep their team, though it will probably have to switch out of Dusclops and come back for a sweep late-game when the latter has been weakened sufficiently. Quick Attack can go over one of the Normal-type moves for taking out users of Salac + Flail / Reversal. Hidden Power Fighting is primarily for OHKOing Tyranitar, while Hidden Power Ground hits Metagross hard. Skarmory and Normal-types are hit harder by Return no matter which Hidden Power you choose, however. Sleep Talk can be used over one of the other moves, but since Facade is not boosted by sleep, you are better off not using this. A simple 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe EV spread with a Jolly nature works best; using Adamant is not advised, as this leaves Swellow outsped by Jolly Tyranitar after a Dragon Dance and Timid Raikou.

Name Item Nature

Endeavor

Liechi Berry / Starf Berry Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Endeavor
~ Baton Pass
~ Return / Quick Attack
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Substitute down to low HP, Endeavor the enemy, and then KO with Quick Attack or Return. Return is better for general sweeping purposes, but Quick Attack works as a way of finishing off Salac Berry users and helps against Ninjask. Swellow can set up a Substitute safely if it switches into something it forces out, such as Heracross or Blissey. Once you see what they switch to, you can decide if you want Swellow to attack them or Baton Pass your Substitute to a teammate that will survive the foe's hit. If Swellow gets down to low health and is ready to Endeavor, but you know that the opponent will KO next turn, it can always Baton Pass the Liechi Berry boost out to a sweeper to soften up their team and switch in late-game to clean up. This is the advantage of Swellow's Speed—it doesn't need a Salac boost to be fast enough to Endeavor properly. You can just keep Swellow in the wings, threatening to Endeavor whatever late-game enemy is blocking a member of your team or simply take out weakened enemies along the way. Swellow also doesn't need to use Endeavor immediately after Substituting down to low HP.

Other options for the item are Salac Berry and Petaya Berry depending on your team, but Liechi is guaranteed to at least help Swellow (especially if you have Return). Starf is a real option, though; no boost is useless when Swellow can pass it to the appropriate team. For example, Choice Band Salamence is nigh-unbeatable when their counter takes 50% damage from it and can no longer OHKO with Ice Beam thanks to +2 Special Defense. Similarly, Heracross can survive Aerial Ace from Dugtrio with +2 Defense and KO back with Megahorn.

Other Options

Hidden Power Ghost can be used to stop Ghost-types that think they can wall Swellow. Sleep Talk makes Swellow a nice sleep absorber, though most most users of sleep-inducing moves can hit it quite hard; Swellow can still surprise them with Guts-boosted attacks while sleeping, though.

Checks and Counters

Skarmory and Forretress can come in, take virtually no damage from Swellow's moves, set up Spikes, Rest off the damage, and then take it out with repeated attacks. Even if Forretress's only attacks are Earthquake and Rapid Spin, it can often stall the Choice Band set out of PP while slowly whittling it down with Rapid Spin. Steelix, Metagross, Rhydon, and Golem take virtually no damage from Swellow even from sets packing Hidden Power Ground or Hidden Power Fighting and can OHKO with Rock Slide. Aerodactyl has to be wary of switching in on Facade, but it outspeeds and OHKOes Swellow with Rock Slide. Ghost-types such as Gengar and Dusclops can switch into Swellow's STAB Normal attacks and KO it, but if Dusclops's only attack is Shadow Ball or Night Shade, it won't do anything back. In short, anything that can take a hit and strike back with a super effective move checks Swellow pretty well, as it is frail.