Featured Pokémon: Nattorei

By Seven Deadly Sins, with art by Cartoons!.
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As one of the most under-hyped new Pokemon of the 5th generation, Nattorei was almost entirely overlooked in the early theorymon rush—people were way more attracted to the huge influx of devastatingly powerful sweepers, such as Ononokusu, Terakion, Roobushin, and Shanderaa. However, as the hype died down, Nattorei started seeing more and more of the spotlight, especially once people began to fully evaluate Nattorei and its many awesome characteristics. Hailed as the "new Forretress", Nattorei comes equipped with all the tools it needs to be a star in the new OU metagame and beyond.

Nattorei's Qualities

The comparison to Forretress is extremely apt, as Nattorei has a hell of a lot in common with the iron bagworm. Boasting incredible 74/131/116 defenses and a unique Grass/Steel typing, Nattorei can be extremely difficult to break through. Its typing gives it resistances to both Water and Dragon, something only Empoleon could boast previously, making it one of the only reliable Kingdra checks seen in OU. In total, it has a whopping 11 resistances/immunities (2x resistances to Dark, Dragon, Electric, Ghost, Normal, Psychic, Rock, Steel, Water; 4x resistance to Grass and an immunity to Poison), with only 2 weaknesses (2x weakness to Fighting and 4x weakness to Fire). It's resistant to Stealth Rock and immune to Toxic Spikes, though Spikes can certainly do a number to it, wearing it down with ease.

Offensively, it's no slouch either. 94 Attack is significantly above-average, especially for something with Nattorei's defensive prowess. This is especially notable when you factor in Nattorei's offensive movepool—STAB Power Whip and Gyro Ball allow Nattorei to take full advantage of its Attack. Gyro Ball is also especially effective due to Nattorei's meager base 20 Speed—with 0 IVs and a negative nature, Nattorei hits a measly 40 speed, giving it a maximum power Gyro Ball against opponents as slow as 239 Speed. In a pinch, it can also hit Heatran and Magnezone with Level Ground—it may not be Earthquake, but it still hits hard on a 4x weakness. Nattorei also has Payback and Shadow Claw, which function extremely well to take on common spinblockers. However, unlike Forretress, Nattorei doesn't learn Rapid Spin, so this is significantly less important for it. It can even try its hand at a bit of setup, as it gets three notable Attack-boosting moves. Swords Dance can take advantage of Nattorei's typing and bulk to get in a boost and hit hard. Curse can be used on a specially defensive spread to both power up Gyro Ball and increase Nattorei's decent Attack and excellent Defense. Finally, Claw Sharpen gets a nominal mention simply because of Power Whip's 85% accuracy, which Claw Sharpen negates.

Nattorei also has an incredible support movepool. It can lay both Spikes and Stealth Rock (since Stealth Rock is no longer a TM in Generation 5, new Pokemon with Stealth Rock are a big deal), making it one of the best entry hazard platforms in the entire game due to its durability (similar to Forretress). It can also use Leech Seed to harass and annoy opponents, though it's important to note that you can only have 2 out of the 3 aforementioned moves at a time due to breeding issues. Spikes and Leech Seed come from Cacturne, Stealth Rock and Leech Seed from Torterra, or Stealth Rock and Spikes from Iwaparesu. It also has access to Thunder Wave – while Thunder Wave may reduce the power of Gyro Ball, it also can catch a lot of notable Pokemon that depend on their Speed, such as Heatran, and spread paralysis fairly easily. If one was so inclined, they could also use Nattorei to set up Gravity. This is interesting mainly because Gravity makes Nattorei's Spikes more effective, and allows the rest of the team to wear down Pokemon such as Skarmory and Zapdos with Nattorei's Spikes.

Finally, unlike Forretress, Nattorei actually has an awesome ability for a defensive Pokemon. Iron Barbs is a clone of Rough Skin; it deals 1/8 of the opponent's max HP, merely for using a contact move against it. This makes it extremely hard for opponents such as Forretress to try and annoy it by spinning away its entry hazards, as they have to take a significant amount of damage every time they want to spin against Nattorei. This can even be combined with the new item Rugged Helmet, which is an improved Rough Skin in item form, to force your opponent to take 29.17% of their max HP in damage every time they hit Nattorei. In this way, the opponent will be forced to almost 3HKO themselves just to attack Nattorei! However, this comes at a significant price, as Leftovers and Rest are the only way for Nattorei to recover HP, and since Sleep Talk is no longer a TM in the 5th Generation, Nattorei can be fairly helpless while asleep.

Playing With Nattorei

Nattorei is one of those Pokemon that most easily fits into a tank-ish role, where it can take a whole lot of punishment and hit back with its solid STABs and type coverage. To this end, Nattorei is generally used best by giving it Power Whip and Gyro Ball for dual STAB, and then choosing two of the three notable support moves (Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Leech Seed) to fill the last two slots. Given the notable new bias toward Stealth Rock resistant Pokemon in Generation 5, Spikes is generally the more important choice for teams in general. Stealth Rock also has more distribution as well, so it's usually a good idea to leave Stealth Rock to another Pokemon and use Spikes instead.

EV-wise, Nattorei has plenty of options. It's got high enough defensive stats that it doesn't need to fully invest in a specific stat to be effective. Pretty much every single set should be running max HP for the optimal general bulk. From there, it's got plenty of options. Full defensive or specially defensive investment allows it to operate as a fairly specialized tank, while still keeping enough bulk to take hits on its non-invested side. Another possible approach is to split EVs between Defense and Special Defense in an attempt to create a more generalized tank. Finally, there's always the option of pumping all of its EVs into Attack, taking advantage of its solid 94 base Attack to power up its vicious dual STAB. Nature-wise, it should always be running a Speed-reducing nature. To this end, Nattorei should almost always be running a Brave, Relaxed, or Sassy nature, similar to Bronzong.

Playing Against Nattorei

While Nattorei may be a great defender, it's not unbreakable. The most obvious ways to deal with it are directly attacking its weaknesses to Fighting and Fire. Heatran is probably Nattorei's greatest foe, as its STAB Fire attacks can easily blast straight through it, and it resists both Power Whip and Gyro Ball 4x, so the only way Nattorei can catch it is with a rare Level Ground, which likely still fails to KO. However, Thunder Wave can cause problems for Heatran, and Nattorei can easily Thunder Wave or Leech Seed it and simply switch out, wearing Heatran down. To that end, Magnezone can also trap it, though the only way for Magnezone to effectively damage it is with Hidden Power Fire, making Hidden Power Fire important for beating Nattorei, especially on Choice Scarf sets.

However, even without a specific Nattorei counter, it's still limited in what it's capable of doing. 74/131/116 defenses aren't invincible, and with Leech Seed, Leftovers, and Rest as its only forms of recovery, it's not likely that Nattorei will be able to switch into neutral or even powerful resisted attacks extremely often. Spikes can be incredibly useful to expedite this process, as Nattorei is the kind of Pokemon that needs to switch in repeatedly in order to be effective, and Spikes make it pay for each switch-in. This effect can be amplified by packing a Rapid Spin user on your team, as spinning away Nattorei's Spikes and Stealth Rock can force it to come in and spend significantly more time than it would otherwise need to just lay down a couple layers of Spikes. Finally, if Nattorei is using Rest, it becomes setup fodder for absolutely everything, as a lack of Sleep Talk means that Rest will put it out of commission for at least 2 turns, if not more due to the new sleep mechanic.

Fitting Nattorei Onto Your Team

While Nattorei is a primarily defensive/supportive Pokemon, it still needs a fair bit of support in order to use it to the fullest. To this end, there are a number of Pokemon that can help Nattorei work as effectively as possible.

Environmental Factors

Spikes, Spikes, Spikes. For such a pointy Pokemon, Nattorei absolutely hates Spikes, as they whittle away at its already limited HP total extremely well. Because of this, an effective Rapid Spin user can be a great teammate for Nattorei. Starmie is one of the best, as it resists both Fire and Fighting, while Nattorei resists Grass, Electric, Ghost, and Dark, and is neutral to Bug, giving the two excellent defensive synergy together. Tentacruel also works well, as Toxic Spikes are notably absent from Nattorei's movepool, so Tentacruel can be an effective teammate on more stall-oriented teams.


Nattorei really needs teammates that are able to sponge its weaknesses to Fire and Fighting, as those are the most notable problems for Nattorei. As stated earlier, Starmie and Tentacruel are excellent teammates for Nattorei, as they are capable of resisting both Fire and Fighting, and can also lend Rapid Spin Support for Nattorei to remove harmful Spikes. Meanwhile, Tentacruel can provide Toxic Spikes as a defensive ally, while Starmie benefits offensively from Spikes, making it much easier to score notable KOs with its powerful special attacks. Meanwhile, Burungeru can be an excellent ally for Nattorei. Not only does it resist both of Nattorei's weaknesses, but it can also block Rapid Spin for Nattorei, allowing its entry hazards to stick around on the field for a lot longer. Victini is an interesting ally for Nattorei, as it resists both Fire and Fighting, and also benefits significantly from Nattorei's Spike support and solid resistances. Really, anything that can synergize well with Nattorei works as an ally, both offensively and defensively. It all depends on what kind of team Nattorei is on.

Get Out There!

While Nattorei may not be the best new Pokemon to come out, it's definitely in the top 5 and one of the Pokemon that will most likely to be a top OU contender for a long time to come. So why not drop it into one of your first 5th Generation teams, and see what it can do for you?

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