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Here in the Featured Ubers Pokémon article, we try to analyze the biggest, the baddest, and the all-around most terrifying Pokémon. We've explored the fiery wrath of Reshiram, the electrifying power of Zekrom, and the sheer force of Palkia. This month will be no different. Today, we'll be looking at another Fire-type, one who has exceeded all expectations. This is a Pokémon that is powerful beyond all belief, a Pokémon who strikes fear into the heart of trainers, a Pokémon who… aw hell, I can't do this. I think if I go on like this, I'll be charged with falsification or something. We're doing Blaziken. Yes, the starter Pokémon from RSE, the same Blaziken who evolved from your cute little Torchic and later your slightly less cute Combusken. Now, in the transition to the 5th generation, Blaziken got a very welcome present in the form of Speed Boost, courtesy of Pokémon's resident Saint Nicholas, the Dream World. This change in ability shot the flaming chicken all the way from UU (to be fair, I heard it was pretty good there) straight into the big leagues, Ubers. Yes, we here at Smogon take Blaziken very seriously. Read on, and let me tell you why…
I will be straight up honest with you. Blaziken is completely outdone in the stats department by many other Uber Pokémon. If it did not totally luck out with Speed Boost and the improved Base Power of Hi Jump Kick, it would definitely still be middling around in UU. This being said, Blaziken does have a very solid base 120 Attack to fire off its two base 120+ STAB moves, Flare Blitz and Hi Jump Kick. Of course, the real reason we don't snicker like maniacs when discussing Blaziken in Ubers is Speed Boost. After one Protect, congratulations, your Blaziken just put on a Choice Scarf, but it can still switch its moves! However, if Blaziken uses Swords Dance, it goes from dinner (it's a chicken) to winner, since with +2 Attack—giving it 678 Attack with a Jolly nature—and +1 Speed, it can easily start a sweep. After a Swords Dance, Hi Jump Kick will KO every Uber Pokémon except extremely bulky Groudon, Lugia, and, of course, Giratina. Not to worry though: in the sun, Blaziken's +2 Flare Blitz will almost OHKO Giratina-O who invest minimally in Defense and HP, and even OHKO the bulkiest of Groudon after the Life Orb boost! You can even dole out some serious damage before a Swords Dance boost, since unboosted Flare Blitz will fry Mewtwo and Blaziken's kung fu moves will severely injure Kyogre and Darkrai. There is, however, one thing to be worried about. If you are a terribly unlucky soul and Hi Jump Kick misses, Blaziken will break its leg in a proverbial sense, becoming severely injured. The final, yet very important, thing to note about Blaziken's typing is that it is neutral to Stealth Rock, something that makes Ho-Oh, Reshiram, and the other Fire-types of Ubers very jealous.
The Hulk has finally come to Pokémon. Sure, Blaziken may not have the Attack stat of Rayquaza or the Speed of Deoxys-S, but if it gets in with some boosts under its belt, you can easily alternate between Flare Blitz and Hi Jump Kick to pummel your opponents to dust, screaming "BLAZIKEN SMASH" to yourself all the while. To best accomplish this, the recommended set is one with Swords Dance, as it's truly far and away Blazikens best place in the tier. Bringing in Blaziken on a Steel-type is your best bet in getting boosts, since the dual STAB types of Blaziken, Fire and Fighting, will likely scare off most Steels. Then, as your opponent switches out, you can Swords Dance, ending your turn with +2 Attack and +1 Speed. This, with Blaziken's very spiffy base 120 Attack and high-powered STAB moves should be enough to do some serious damage to your opponent's team. If, for whatever reason, you're worried that your opponent won't switch, or you don't need an Attack boost, you can elect to just Protect, giving you a free turn to cash in on Speed Boost; don't be afraid to do this, as it's usually one of Blaziken's best strategies. Be careful though, as no amount of Speed boosting will let it outrun a priority move, which will likely blast through Blaziken’s body like a brick through rotten fruit, since Blaziken has somewhat paltry defenses.
Although it may seem somewhat surprising, Blaziken actually has a home on stall teams as well. After some Speed (and Attack) boosts, Blaziken can smash through the Pokémon who give stall problems, such as Mewtwo and Darkrai. Furthermore, with all the entry hazards stall teams lay down, Blaziken will easily be able to sweep. Sometimes Blaziken won't even have to boost its Attack, as the residual damage will have worn down your opponent's team sufficiently.
Blaziken may be the Hulk, but it is very possible to stop that big green monster in its tracks. You see, Blaziken is deathly afraid of one thing: the rain. While Blaziken won't suffer the same fate as an extinguished Charmander, it loses a tremendous amount of its effectiveness when its Flare Blitz goes from a 1.5x boost to half as effective. Although Hi Jump Kick will do serious damage to Kyogre, Blaziken is in no position to be taking any Water-type attacks, much less a boosted Surf or, God forbid, Water Spout, from King Kyogre. In addition, after a storm brews, Blaziken may not be able to punch through some of the walls it could before, ending its sweep right there on the spot. Giratina-O will only take about half its health from a sun-boosted Flare Blitz, and while this is nothing to scoff at, Giratina can simply use Dragon Tail to shuffle away Blaziken; in this way, Giratina-A is likely the best Blaziken counter out there.
No matter how fast Blaziken gets via Speed Boost, it will always be vulnerable to priority moves. While it resists Bullet Punch, Blaziken will fall hard to an ExtremeSpeed from either Arceus or Rayquaza. While ExtremeSpeed Arceus will take huge damage from Hi Jump Kick, Rayquaza's Air Lock ability will shut off the sun, weakening Flare Blitz, while it already resists Hi Jump Kick. This is not to say that Rayquaza can tank Blaziken, because it does not have stellar defenses, but Blaziken will lose that battle almost every time, unless it already has a Swords Dance under its belt.
Finally, it should be noted that a viable strategy in beating Blaziken is to have it kill itself. Using Hi Jump Kick, while very powerful, is very risky for Blaziken, since if it misses, it will be taking a huge sum of damage in recoil. This, of course, only adds to the recoil inflicted whenever Flare Blitz connects. By using smart switches, you can outlast or finish off Blaziken.
As awesome as the flaming bird is, it doesn't have the raw power of some of the other more well-endowed Ubers. Therefore, it appreciates some backup.
Let's get this out of the way first: sun is absolutely mandatory. It gives an extremely helpful boost to Blaziken's Flare Blitz, allowing it to KO some very impressive targets, such as Giratina-O and Lugia. Unless you're playing against a stall team, this will probably lead to a full sweep of your opponent’s team!
As competitive Pokémon players, the concept of entry hazards helping offensive Pokémon is ground into our heads from the get-go. This is a case, however, where they're more than just helpful. Blaziken, for example, cannot nab the OHKO on Rayquaza or Giratina-O with a +2 Flare Blitz without Stealth Rock support. Further Spikes or Toxic Spikes support can allow Blaziken to sweep later in the game without even using Swords Dance, if sufficient residual damage has been dealt.
When you click to add Blaziken to your team (or start training your little Torchic), you have essentially added two Pokémon to your team. See, Blaziken is not to be without Groudon; they come as a pair. Groudon provides the invaluable sun that you've been reading about endlessly. It can also set up Stealth Rock to assure KOs, and add more oomph to Blaziken's hits. Further Spikes or Toxic Spikes can helpful, and, if you wish to go that route, Forretress or Ferrothorn will perform admirably. Rapid Spinning is also useful, since Speed Boost and Toxic Spikes under Blaziken's feet do not go well together.
Aside from Groudon being Blaziken's best bud, Palkia is another close friend. Palkia takes any Water-type move with ease, allowing it to not only tank hits, but also deal with Kyogre, who otherwise would rain on Blaziken's parade. Futhermore, as a Dragon-type, Palkia naturally attracts Steel-types with its special pheromones (Spacial Rend and Outrage), which gives Blaziken a chance to set up. Zekrom can perform this job as well, as it does very well against the bulky RestTalk Kyogre. Finally, it's worth considering packing a means to deal with priority abusers, namely Rayquaza and Arceus. Ironically, the best Pokémon to do this is another Arceus form, Ghost Arceus. It is immune to ExtremeSpeed and can easily burn the priority packers, severely reducing their effectiveness. Choice Scarf Terrakion is another possibility, as it resists ExtremeSpeed and can threaten Rayquaza and Arceus with its STAB moves.
One of the things that you must watch out for when using Blaziken is the massive recoil it can take when using Hi Jump Kick and Flare Blitz. In order to remedy this, Jirachi and Blissey can use Wish to lend a hand in healing the mighty chicken. Last, but certainly not least, our blue blob of a friend, Wobbuffet, can provide Blaziken with opportunities to start its sweep by using Encore in conjunction with Tickle.
While it's not Arceus or Mewtwo, Blaziken is a very legitimate threat in the Ubers game—one that you should consider when building your team, either as a member or a threat. Don't miss this chance to use the first starting Pokémon to ever be voted Uber!
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