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Similar to many now-great Pokémon, Crobat was about as close to terrible as it could get during the generation it came to existence, GSC. While its Speed was just as amazing as it is today, its movepool was nearly as poor as Magikarp's, with its strongest attack being Return. Then, Ruby and Sapphire rolled along, granting Crobat access to Sludge Bomb and giving it a great niche as the fastest Choice Band user. However, things turned sour when FRLG / Emerald were released because that niche was usurped by Aerodactyl, which had a better offensive typing, better coverage moves, and a higher Attack stat. Then DPP came along, giving Crobat its most valuable gifts—Brave Bird, Roost, and U-turn, the three moves that make it what it is now—and simultaneously making it surprisingly good in OU (a lot better than most people realize). However, lack of usage sent it packing to UU, where it was much too strong to be kept, so it ended up getting banned and sent back to BL where it spent the remainder of the generation. Finally BW rolled around, where Crobat would finally have its chance to shine. It once again found itself in UU; however, this time, the power level of the tier was actually enough to keep up with it, so it got to stay and finally have a tier to call home.
Crobat's main claim to fame is its uncanny ability to check or counter damn near half the tier while keeping pressure on the opponent and therefore giving up absolutely no momentum to them (unlike most walls). It does this through a variety of assets that come together to make it the great Pokémon it is. For one, its typing is excellent defensively in a tier filled to the brim with Fighting-types. This, combined with its nearly unrivaled Speed, virtually ensures the team it belongs to won't ever get swept by Pokémon such as Heracross, Mienshao, or Virizion. Its shallow but precise movepool also makes it an excellent stallbreaker, as with access to Taunt, Roost, and its strong STAB Brave Bird, defensive teams will have a very hard time dealing with it.
On the other hand, Crobat can take a more offensive approach and sport one of the nastiest Choice Band sets in the tier. This set maintains the ability to check many things, and while Crobat's movepool leaves much to be desired in terms of coverage, it more than makes up for it with the sheer power and great neutral coverage its STAB Brave Bird possesses. The typical Choice Band set consists of Brave Bird, U-turn, Cross Poison, and Sleep Talk. Most of the time, unless the opponent has a Rhyperior, Bronzong, or Zapdos, you'll want to simply Brave Bird everything to hell, but its other moves also serve a purpose. Cross Poison gives Crobat a secure 2HKO on Electric-types, as well as a way to damage things without suffering recoil. U-turn lets it use its great resistances to come in to wall something like Roserade and then gain a ton of momentum as the opposition makes the obvious Rhyperior / Bronzong switch. Finally, there's Sleep Talk, which is mainly there because Crobat doesn't have anything else to use, but it does ensure it won't fear switching into Roserade's or Venomoth's Sleep Powder.
The hardest thing to understand about Crobat is how to use it properly. This is because many of the Pokémon it's supposed to check have some way of crippling it or taking it out of commission entirely. A classic example of this would be Heracross. While Crobat has absolutely nothing to fear from either of Heracross's STAB moves, a well timed Stone Edge could spell doom for it, and the same applies for most other Fighting-types in UU. Roserade and Shaymin have Extrasensory and Psychic, respectively, and most defensive Pokémon carry Will-O-Wisp or Thunder Wave. However, once Crobat gets in safely, it'll make life hell for all of the aforementioned Pokémon—the key lies in learning how to do that.
The main thing to remember is that prediction never works the same way twice. This is especially true on the ladder, where you have a chance to face an opponent from any echelon of competitive skill at any given time. This makes it harder for Crobat to perform, as overpredicting against people who don't know what they're doing is a far more common occurrence than doing so against average-to-good players. And if you've been paying attention, you've gathered that Crobat requires a bit of prediction to work properly. However, this isn't to say Crobat is bad on the ladder, but rather, it goes to show how much better it performs in higher level play.
If you're using stall, then Crobat is going to be a nightmare to face unless you carry one or more of the following Pokémon: Zapdos, Bronzong, Slowbro, or Rhyperior. Granted, to be frank, you should really be using Zapdos on every UU stall team so that Togekiss, Heracross, and obviously Crobat don't rip you apart. For every other type of team, you can either use one of the aforementioned counters or simply hit it hard enough that it can't Roost the damage away. This can be done through prediction or by good, old-fashioned, strong as hell attacks like Darmanitan's Flare Blitz. Stealth Rock is also a big crutch for it, so try to lay that down as quickly as you can and keep it down for the remainder of the match.
Being the absolutely fantastic Pokémon that it is, Crobat will fit onto almost any team you can think of. It also requires very little in the form of support, as it is usually the one who will be doing the supporting. That said, being able to remove or prevent Stealth Rock makes Crobat all the more dangerous for your opponent, so Pokémon such as Blastoise and Xatu make for decent partners. Don't be fooled, however, as most of the time the use of such subpar Pokémon (subpar in the sense that they accomplish little outside of entry hazard removal / prevention) is not worth the team slot just for Crobat, which will perform amazingly even without them. Quite frankly, Crobat is one of the few Pokémon that you can just throw on a team and expect to see results—as long as you know how to use it.
If there's one thing I hope you took away from this article it's that Crobat is an absolute beast in the right hands. I mean, if you know me at all you'll probably think I'm more than a little biased when making that statement, so if you're one of these people, I encourage you to prove me wrong. I guarantee you that if you learn how to use it properly, Crobat will quickly become your go-to Pokémon for almost anything related to UU teambuilding. Seriously, give this little guy a try. Not only can I pretty much guarantee your win ratio will increase because of it, your skills will also become much sharper by using it. Until next time, see you on the ladder!
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