Featured OU Pokémon: Jirachi

By Seven Deadly Sins. Art by Yilx.
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When you wish upon a star... you end up with one of the most powerful and versatile Pokémon in the history of the game. Introduced in ADV, Jirachi immediately proved to be a dominant force in the metagame. Its base 100 stats across the board gave it an exceptional combination of bulk, power, and speed; its huge movepool let it play pretty much every single major role a Pokémon can on any team.

In DPP, it got a huge, huge boost. The addition of Iron Head not only gave it a reliable STAB, but with Serene Grace, that STAB has a 60% flinch rate. Choice Scarf let it abuse that to the max while also acting as an awesome revenge killer, but it could also abuse the paraflinch strategy by spreading paralysis with Body Slam or Thunder Wave and then flinching things to death with Iron Head. In fact, Jirachi's stats and movepool are so excellent that it's one of the few Pokémon to have a double-digit number of sets on its DPP analysis—10 to be exact, and they're all solid and totally usable at that! No matter what a team needed, Jirachi could fill that space, easily eclipsing its fellow Steel / Psychics, Metagross and Bronzong.

BW didn't give Jirachi anything particularly new, but it did give the pixie an outstanding niche. Jirachi's excellent dual Steel / Psychic typing, incredible ability in Serene Grace, and great overall stats make it one of the top-ranking specially defensive Pokémon in the OU metagame, and it's especially useful for tanking some of the many strong special attackers on rain teams. It can Wish pass, sweep with Calm Mind, spread paralysis, and pretty much do anything it wants. This power and versatility has easily cemented Jirachi as a top 10 Pokémon in BW, and it looks like things are likely to stay this way for quite a while.

Jirachi's Qualities

Like the other legendary pixies in the game, Jirachi has a stat spread that belies its physical appearance. Sitting at Base Stat Total of 600 with 100 in every stat, Jirachi's stats really have no weakness. While it doesn't really stand out in any specific stat as a result, it also means that it can use its extensive and effective movepool to the fullest. Whatever it wants to invest in, it can, and it can use those stats to great effect. On top of that, it's got an amazing ability—Serene Grace, which makes the secondary effects of its moves, such as Thunder's paralysis chance and Iron Head's flinch chance, happen more often.

Offensively, its movepool is incredible both physically and specially. On the physical side, it can flinch stuff to death with the 60% flinch rate of Iron Head, and with 100 base Speed, it's more than capable of outspeeding things. This is doubly true when you include the 60% paralysis rate on Body Slam, allowing it to spread paralysis to things that normally wouldn't be especially susceptible to it, such as Landorus and Gliscor. It can also abuse the 40% flinch rate on its secondary STAB with Zen Headbutt, and cover its weaknesses with access to all 3 elemental punches, including Fire Punch, making it the only Fire-weak Pokémon with Fire Punch. It also got the handy U-turn, letting it scout out your opponent's moves as well as escape from Magnezone in a pinch.

On the special side, it's got an equally prodigious movepool. Flash Cannon and Psychic are its main STABs, giving it a strong attacking base, and it can back it up with Thunderbolt, providing Jirachi with excellent two-move coverage. In the rain, Jirachi can also abuse a 100% accurate Thunder to hit Water-type rain abusers as well as spread paralysis with the 60% paralysis rate. Jirachi also gets Water Pulse, which combines with Thunder for great two-move coverage in rain, as well as access to the perfusion combination that, with any luck, shuts down your opponent's Pokémon more than half the time. Additionally, Jirachi still has Grass Knot (though Rotom-W takes piss-poor damage from it), Signal Beam, Shadow Ball, and of course, Hidden Power. Last, but not least, it can pull some shenanigans with Doom Desire, which can let it combine attacks with an ally two turns in the future to drop some real hurt on the opponent.

As a supportive Pokémon, Jirachi is also top notch. Its signature move, Wish, makes it an excellent supporter, as it can use the free turns it forces to heal itself and its teammates. Jirachi can also spread paralysis with Thunder Wave if Thunder and Body Slam aren't reliable enough for you. It's got Calm Mind to set up both offensively and defensively, and it can set up dual screens to help out itself and its teammates. Jirachi is also one of the most reliable Pokémon for laying down Stealth Rock, and if you're in the mood for a real niche strategy, it can even use the rare Gravity.

Playing With Jirachi

Ah, Jirachi, how do I use thee; let me count the ways. In BW, the new standard is the specially defensive one, with an extreme investment in HP and Special Defense and a further emphasis on support. With Stealth Rock, Wish passing, paralysis from Thunder, flinch from Iron Head, and other options, Jirachi is a great catch-all for defending against powerful special attackers, especially with the Fire resistance from permanent rain, courtesy of Drizzle Politoed.

However, that's far from its only set. It's still got the classic #1 set from DPP, the Choice Scarf set. With 492 Speed and a 60% chance to flinch with Iron Head, Scarf Jirachi is the kind of Pokémon that can pull an unlikely victory out of anywhere given enough luck. However, luck isn't all of it. Jirachi can also shut down a lot of nasty attackers with its access to the elemental punches, especially hitting Dragon-types with Ice Punch. It can even scout with U-turn or cripple walls with a Tricked Choice Scarf.

It's also got a very strong Calm Mind-centric playstyle, with plenty of ways to abuse it. Substitute variants are especially effective with the rain combination of Thunder + Water Pulse, but the more traditional Flash Cannon / Thunderbolt is effective too. There's defensively oriented Wish variants, which focus on outlasting opponents rather than setting up and sweeping. There's even the always popular Superachi!, an offensive Calm Mind variant with three attacks and full Speed investment, which many balance teams can have trouble handling due to the combination of power, Special Attack and Defense boosts from Calm Mind, coverage, and speed.

Finally, Jirachi has more shenanigan-oriented sets, like the SubPara set, which is all about setting up a Substitute, paralyzing the opponent, and then flinching the ever-loving crap out of them. There's also the supportive dual screen set, the stallbreaking mixed Expert Belt set that was effective in DPP, or the full stall-oriented Cosmic Power set, which looks to shore up its defenses and stall out opponents with Toxic. All in all, Jirachi's got a ton of effective sets, and in many cases, it may be hard to figure out what set it's using until it's too late.

Playing Against Jirachi

Like many Pokémon, beating Jirachi first depends on figuring out what set it's running. However, there are some Pokémon that just work out against it no matter what. One of the important things to note is that while it can cancel its Fire weakness with perma-rain, there's nothing it can do about its Ground weakness, making Ground attacks the most reliable way to take it out. As a result, Landorus is one of the most effective Pokémon for taking on Jirachi, as it can switch into Thunders or supportive moves and put the hurt on Jirachi with its STAB Earthquake. However, Landorus needs to be careful when switching in, as getting paralyzed by Body Slam pretty much instantly neuters Landorus as a threat, and a Substitute on the switch can also cause problems. Gliscor is also problematic for most Jirachi sets, as it's immune to Thunder, cannot be paralyzed once Toxic Orb activates, and shrugs off Iron Head with its excellent Defense. It's also possible to just simply hit it harder than it can handle, especially on its usually uninvested physical side. Choice Band Terrakion's Close Combat makes short work of pretty much any Jirachi, as does Choice Band Dragonite's Earthquake or Fire Punch.

There are also plenty of Pokémon that can cause trouble in their own way. Latios and Latias can resist most of Jirachi's attacks, especially from Calm Mind variants. Latias is especially good at it, as it can counter-Roar Jirachi and Refresh off any paralysis that it might incur. Choiced variants of Latios can also Trick it, and Tricking a choice item to an unprepared set pretty much renders it worthless, especially against defensive sets. Celebi resists Thunder, has Natural Cure for Paralysis, and can Nasty Plot to set up faster than Jirachi can Calm Mind. Additionally, it resists Water Pulse as well, and has Earth Power to hit Jirachi super effectively.

Jirachi is also extremely weak against sun teams, as one Pokémon that normally troubles it is Ninetales, who resists Iron Head and Fire Punch, and whose sun reduces Thunder's accuracy to a mere 50%. Volcarona is also problematic for Jirachi, as it can threaten Jirachi with STAB Fire attacks, and if Volcarona successfully gets a Quiver Dance up, can even set up Substitutes against it with impunity. Volcarona can even heal off paralysis with ChestoRest, provided it doesn't get flinched to death first.

Fitting Jirachi onto your Team

Every set has its own support, so it's hard to pick Pokémon that work well with Jirachi on the whole. However, Jirachi is an especially good Pokémon for rain-based teams, as the perma-rain removes its Fire weakness, making it more effective at shutting down a number of nasty Pokémon. It also unlocks access to 100% accuracy Thunder, and powers up Water Pulse for rain-based Calm Mind sets. However, for sets using Body Slam or Thunder Wave over Thunder, rain is a nice luxury but not obligatory. In fact, sandstorm also works well for some defensive sets, as it helps wear down troublesome opponents over time. However, some form of weather control is suggested, as sun is extremely troublesome for all Jirachi sets.

There are also a number of Pokémon that work exceptionally well with Jirachi. Most Dragon-types, including Latios, Latias, Hydreigon, Dragonite, and Salamence resist both of Jirachi's weaknesses, and the last three are exceptionally good at taking out troublesome foes for the more offensively oriented Calm Mind variants. Their bulk and ability to blast through most walls makes it an excellent teammate for more offensive Calm Mind users, and they also work quite well as defensive partners as well. Gyarados works in the same way, and can also be used as a powerful physical attacker in the rain, especially with a Choice Band.

Get Out There!

With all the tricks that Jirachi's got up its tiny little sleeves, it's easy to slip into any team. So go ahead and try out a couple of its top-notch sets, and it's sure to be a star on your next team!

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