Zangoose

Immunity
This Pokémon cannot be poisoned.
Type Tier
Normal BL
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
73
- 287 350 -
Atk
115
239 266 329 361
Def
60
140 156 219 240
SpA
60
140 156 219 240
SpD
60
140 156 219 240
Spe
90
194 216 279 306
  • Overused

Overview

Zangoose is one of the fastest Swords Dance sweepers that get physical STAB, and it has a beefy Attack stat to boot. It is a tad underused in standard; it was, however, used in the 200 metagame quite a bit.

Name Item Nature

Swords Dance

Leftovers / Liechi Berry Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Swords Dance
~ Return
~ Shadow Ball
~ Brick Break / Hidden Power Ground / Quick Attack
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Zangoose can take advantage of its high Speed and even higher Attack to attempt a sweep after setting up Swords Dance. STAB Return is a powerful move to sweep with, while Shadow Ball hits any Ghost-types that might attempt to block Zangoose's sweep; finally, Quick Attack can be used in the last slot to put a dent on Ninjask or KO any Endure + Salac Berry users. Brick Break and Hidden Power Ground are also viable options should you fear Zangoose being walled by Rock- and Steel-types; Brick Break hits Tyranitar harder, potentially OHKOing with an Adamant nature, whereas Hidden Power Ground hits Metagross and Jirachi harder than Return does. Note that Brick Break has slightly more power on Pokemon such as Steelix and Rhydon.

Name Item Nature

Counter

Leftovers Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Counter
~ Taunt
~ Return
~ Shadow Ball
28 HP / 252 Atk / 228 Spe

Zangoose has the raw power to sweep unboosted, but not with Skarmory in the way. To remedy this, it can run a Counter set to surprise Skarmory. Taunt prevents Skarmory from setting up Spikes or phazing with Roar, and Counter lets Zangoose use Skarmory's Drill Peck against it. This is certainly an original alternative to the Swords Dance set.

Name Item Nature

Flail

Liechi Berry / Salac Berry Lonely / Naughty
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute / Endure
~ Flail
~ Shadow Ball
~ Swords Dance / Fire Blast / Focus Punch
252 Atk / 40 SpA / 216 Spe

Zangoose is also capable of running a Flail set. Substitute and Endure are both options to bring Zangoose down to 1 HP, which activates its pinch Berry and powers up Flail. Shadow Ball allows Zangoose to hit the Ghost-types that are immune to Flail. There are three options for the last moveslot: Fire Blast will 2HKO or 3HKO Skarmory, and takes it down far more effectively than Focus Punch will. Focus Punch has the advantage when it comes to Rock-types such as Tyranitar, however. Swords Dance can further strengthen Zangoose's Flail; a resisted 1 HP Flail is as powerful as a neutral Focus Punch.

The EVs listed provide Zangoose with enough Speed to outrun neutral Heracross, which is particularly useful if running Fire Blast. Otherwise, just use an Adamant nature with maximum Attack and Speed.

Name Item Nature

Choice Band

Choice Band Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Return
~ Focus Punch
~ Shadow Ball
~ Brick Break / Hidden Power Ground
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

This set's ability to hit hard right off the bat can be a nasty surprise for Pokemon such as Aerodactyl, who expect Zangoose to try and set up. It is a handy alternative to the Swords Dance set, especially for players who find it difficult to set up and sweep with Zangoose's poor defenses.

Other Options

Although Zangoose learns a ton of moves, there isn't really much else for it to do. Counter can be paired with Focus Punch, but Zangoose has to survive the physical hit to be able to Counter. It can take out Skarmory in the same way the Taunt set does, however, while still having Focus Punch to deal with Tyranitar on the switch.

Checks and Counters

Most Pokemon that resist or are immune to Normal-types make fine checks to Zangoose. Gengar, Dusclops, and other Ghost-types work well if Zangoose doesn't pack Shadow Ball. Tyranitar can take even a +2 Hidden Power Ground and deal heavy damage in return, but it is OHKOed by +2 Brick Break. The sandstorm it summons can thwart Flail sets, however. Metagross can shrug off anything Zangoose throws at it—even Hidden Power Ground doesn't OHKO —while KOing back with Meteor Mash. Rhydon can do the same, except it's also weak to Brick Break. Golem too works similarly, though it's not as effective as it might not OHKO with Earthquake. Pokemon that are faster than Zangoose and have good offenses can hurt it, but they might have to eat a +2 Quick Attack first.