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Rotom's defining characteristic is its incredibly cool typing. Electric-Ghost with the Levitate ability grants a number of useful resistances with minimal weaknesses. It resists Steel, Electric, Flying, Poison, and Bug, and is immune to Fighting, Normal, and Ground on top of that. In exchange for this plethora of awesome resistances, Rotom packs a minimal two weaknesses: Dark and Ghost. Its stat spread is also perfect for its job. 50/107/107 defenses aren't exactly the paragon of sturdiness, but its excellent resistances combined with top-notch defenses make it extremely good at its job. It may not be doing much with its 65 Attack, but its 105 Special Attack combined with good coverage between Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball (plus whatever special moves it may have at its disposal) makes it a potent threat. Finally, 86 base speed means that it definitely isn't too slow for its job, and can easily equip a Choice Scarf and go on the offensive.
In addition to this, each form gets its own special move.
Special Move: Overheat – Fire – 140 Base Power – 90 Accuracy – Lowers User's Special Attack 2 Stages
Rotom–H is the most used form, probably because its special move is extremely threatening to the Steel-types that Rotom loves to wall, such as Forretress, Scizor, and Metagross. Overheat is also the most powerful move that Rotom can pack (other than the identical Grass-type Leaf Storm), and it can deal extreme damage to many Steel-types with no investment at all. However, use Overheat at your own risk, as it can often leave you helpless as Tyranitar switches in and ruins your day
Special Move: Hydro Pump – Water – 120 Base Power – 80 Accuracy – No Additional Effects
Rotom–W is the second most used form, and its special move is generally used mainly as an offensive force. Hydro Pump, being a Water-type move, has excellent neutral coverage, as Water is arguably the best neutral coverage type in the game. Rotom–W and its Hydro Pump also boast another significant advantage over its other formes, in that Hydro Pump hits Tyranitar for Super-Effective damage. Timid Max SpA Rotom has a 100% chance to 2ko min/min Tyranitar if SR is up, and bulkier versions can be defeated with minimal residual damage. In addition, Shadow Ball generally scares off Celebi, which is normally more than cool with switching into Thunderbolt and Hydro Pump.
Special Move: Leaf Storm – Grass – 140 Base Power – 90 Accuracy – Lowers User's Special Attack 2 Stages
Rotom–C is tied for second most used with Rotom–W, and for good reason. Like Rotom–W, it packs a powerful offensive option against Tyranitar in its Leaf Storm. However, Leaf Storm hits one target in particular that makes it extremely useful: Swampert. A Special Defensive Swampert is commonly the best counter to Rotom, but when Lawnmower Forme is in play, Swampert is extremely wary to switch into it, as Leaf Storm dispatches it easily. Like Rotom–H, Rotom–C is commonly used in a defensive manner, since Leaf Storm does not provide significant coverage.
Special Move: Blizzard – Ice – 120 Base Power – 70 Accuracy – 10% Chance to Freeze and 100% Accuracy in Hail
Rotom–F is one of the least used Rotom Formes, and for good reason. Blizzard provides Rotom with the legendary BoltBeam coverage that has been a dominant offensive pairing since the old generations. However, 70% Accuracy is extremely shaky, and reliability is one of the most important parts of Pokémon. However, one Pokémon makes Rotom–F extremely usable: Abomasnow. In perma-hail conditions, Blizzard goes from shaky 70% accuracy to 100% perfect accuracy, giving Rotom powerful coverage with Electric-Ice and a Ghost kicker. As appealing as this seems, one must factor in that Tyranitar is the best counter to Rotom, and this is doubly true for Rotom–F, which loses its beloved perma-hail that it counts on.
Special Move: Air Slash – Flying – 75 Base Power – 95 Accuracy – 30% Chance to Flinch
Rotom–S is something like the red-headed stepchild of the Rotom family. Air Slash, while extremely useful on Togekiss and Shaymin-S (due to STAB and Serene Grace), is the poorest move of the entire Rotom family, as it gives very little real coverage for Rotom. However, there are a select few ways that Rotom–S can take advantage of its exclusive move. The first is that obviously, Rotom–S is the best counter to opposing Fighting-types in the game, notably Heracross and Breloom. These Pokémon can shrug off standard assaults such as Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball and retaliate, but Rotom–S can threaten them with a 4x Super Effective Air Slash. In addition, Rotom gets Thunder Wave and Confuse Ray, which can be effective as an annoyer- Air Slash's 30% Flinch rate just adds to that. However, the other formes are almost always better than poor old Rotom–S and its terrible move.
Rotom may be useful for its special moves, but sometimes, you don't even need to carry the special moves. On average, 35-40% of Rotom don't run their signature move. However, if you're not running your signature move, then which Rotom should you choose? This is the point at which you get into mindgames with your opponent.
Whenever a Pokémon comes out, the most important thing for most players to ascertain is what moveset that Pokémon is running, as that will color all of their decisions for the rest of the game. Now, whenever a Rotom comes out, obviously, the first thing that goes into any player's head is that Pokémon's signature move. Until they see all four of your moveslots, most players will assume that Rotom is running its signature move, because most of the time it is. This leads to some interesting mindgames that you can play with your opponent, often.
The best form to do this with is arguably Rotom–C. Rotom–C's Leaf Storm is extremely powerful, especially against Tyranitar and Swampert, two Pokémon that really don't enjoy taking powerful super-effective Leaf Storms. As such, these Pokémon will be extremely wary to switch into you, regardless of whether or not you're actually packing Leaf Storm, because good players are loath to switch into Pokémon that have a high likelihood of outright destroying them. This also means that you can switch a Rotom–C into a Swampert and scare it out, even if you don't have Leaf Storm, simply by bluffing that you do, because the price of assuming you don't is too high for the opponent to risk. Also, sometimes you can get your opponent to switch in something that resists Leaf Storm, which you can then hit with one of your other attacks. Rotom–W is another good one to do this with. Hydro Pump absolutely wrecks Tyranitar, as well as Ground-types that love to switch into harmless Thunderbolts. Bluffing Hydro Pump makes opponents tend to choose switchins that can handle a Hydro Pump, which can let you wreak havoc with your efficient Electric STAB.
Of course, there's the flip side of this. If you don't use your special move all willy-nilly, you may be able to fool your opponent into thinking that you don't have it, when you actually do. Eventually, if you can convince your opponent that your Rotom–C isn't actually packing Leaf Storm, they might do something stupid like leave their Swampert in against you, and then be stunned when Leaf Storm ruins their day. However, this is rare to do, and can sometimes backfire.
Now that we've gone over all of the many advantages of each of the Rotom Formes, you're fully equipped to unleash your appliance-based fury on opponents. Go forth, and use Rotom and its eccentricities to their fullest extent!
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