Featured NU Pokémon: Gardevoir

By skylight. Art by ZapDraws.
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Gardevoir has seen top 20 usage since the start of BW NU; despite this, it has been a generally underrated Pokémon, only just gaining popularity in the recent months.

In previous metagames, Gardevoir wasn't given much of a chance to shine as it was mostly outclassed by other Psychic-types. During ADV, Gardevoir was in BL; however, it was slower and less powerful than both Espeon and Alakazam, which were generally preferred as the main Psychic-types in the tier. Not much improved for Gardevoir in DPP as it was basically outclassed by other Psychic-types in DPP UU such as Uxie and Alakazam. Gardevoir had the power, but didn't have the Speed to back it up. It did have pretty much the same versatility that it has now, however at the time people preferred the all-out offensive presence that Uxie and Alakazam had. That said, during those metagames, Gardevoir did have a small niche over the other Psychic-types in that it was good at trapping with a combination of Mean Look, Psychic, Calm Mind and Hypnosis.

At the start of BW NU, Gardevoir didn't really stand out much in the metagame. People were more interested in more powerful attackers and preferred to use other Psychic-types in its place that had better bulk. Over time, this has changed and now people are starting to see how Gardevoir's versatility is one of its many selling points; it stands out as a prominent threat in the NU metagame.

Gardevoir's Qualities

Gardevoir has one of the best Special Attack stats in NU at 125, with it only being beaten by Glaceon. It can do significant damage to the majority of the metagame, 2HKOing most Pokémon except other specially defensive Psychic-types with a combination of its different sets. Gardevoir has good base 115 Special Defense, and while it isn't the greatest, it can allow it to survive a few Special Attacks; however, it's best that it avoids switching into attacks when possible. Gardevoir also has a great base Speed of 80, outspeeding some of the bigger threats such as Ludicolo and Samurott, and even speed tying with Braviary.

Gardevoir also has an amazing ability in Trace. There's a huge range of benefits from Trace, many of which allow Gardevoir to have a unique advantage in the match. Gardevoir can find it easier to take on Ludicolo and other weather boosted Pokémon in particular due to its Trace ability. Trace can allow it to outspeed and get important OHKOs or KOs on Swift Swimmers and Chlorophyll Pokémon that otherwise expected to sweep. Gardevoir also can use its Trace ability to allow it to last longer, with it easily switching into the various Regenerator Pokémon in NU and gaining Regenerator, making it much harder to take down. Not only this, but switching into a Choice Banded Rapidash you know is going to use Flare Blitz, or something with LightningRod, can suddenly turn the game around for you by forcing switches or giving Gardevoir a much-needed boost to its stats.

In terms of coverage moves, Gardevoir has one for almost every occasion. With Psychic, Signal Beam, Thunderbolt, Shadow Ball, and Focus Blast in its offensive arsenal, there's pretty much nothing it can't badly damage. Not only are its offensive moves great, but it has access to a lot of handy support moves as well. Reflect and Light Screen can make a great combination with Memento, which can give its teammates a huge advantage as they now can set up much easier and proceed to sweep the opposing team. It can also use Will-O-Wisp and Wish to help the team against the many physical threats found in NU, as well as help itself against Skuntank. Gardevoir also has access to weather inducing moves, Trick Room, and can even net a useful KO with Destiny Bond!

Playing with Gardevoir

Gardevoir can run a variety of different sets, the most common being Calm Mind + Life Orb with three attacks, Choice Scarf, Choice Specs, dual screens, and support. However, Gardevoir is best used offensively, as its support sets don't capitalize on its ability to 2HKO most of the metagame.

Life Orb with Calm Mind is pretty much its most popular set right now and can allow Gardevoir to take out slow offense. SubCM can allow Gardevoir to set up on bulky Pokémon that prefer to stall, such as Alomomola and Tangela. Gardevoir with Destiny Bond can be extremely useful, as it can lure in Skuntank. As a result, Skuntank can't use Sucker Punch, and if it Pursuits, Gardevoir can let itself be KOed, which can allow for other Psychic- and Ghost-types to come out safely. Destiny Bond can also be useful in taking out something your team is easily swept by, such as Bulk Up Braviary. Healing Wish can help a strong sweeper have a second run, much like Healing Wish Jirachi does in OU, which has been seen lately in SPL. Choice Scarf is used if you need a strong revenge killer, and it can also Trick the Choice Scarf onto more defensive Pokémon that commonly switch into Gardevoir, such as Lickilicky or Regice; you can even catch a Musharna trying to set up on you.

Playing Against Gardevoir

Gardevoir is extremely versatile in terms of what it can run. If you predict its set incorrectly, you could potentially lose one or two valuable Pokémon to your team, making it quite terrifying. You're not always going to be able to predict what it's running based upon the team it's on, although it's best to determine the set it's running by the item it has. If there's a Life Orb, it's usually offensive with Psychic, Signal Beam, Thunderbolt, Shadow Ball, and Focus Blast as the coverage moves it can choose from. If it's Leftovers, it's usually SubCM, and if there's no visible sign of an item Gardevoir is usually Choiced; however, there's a chance it could set up weather or dual screens. You can usually determine what Gardevoir running by looking at what's on its team. If there's Swift Swimmers or Chlorophyll Pokémon, then it's likely to be setting up weather, and if there's lots of offensive sweepers, then it's likely to be dual screens.

Skuntank is the safest check there is. With Pursuit, Sucker Punch, and Taunt, it can either OHKO or force Gardevoir out. The main thing Skuntank has to worry about is switching into a Will-O-Wisp, however, that isn't common and Skuntank can usually play around it by figuring out its set. Lickilicky is also a good check usually, although it has to watch out for Focus Blast and Trick. Other specially defensive Pokémon are also good ways to stop Gardevoir. Bulkier teams can also use attacks instead of just trying to wall it, as Gardevoir doesn't have great defenses and can go down to a few physical attacks.

Faster offensive Pokémon can outspeed non-Choice Scarfed variants of Gardevoir and destroy it. Sawsbuck can switch in after something has been KOed and outright KO Gardevoir with Double-Edge. Tauros is also able to do the same as Sawsbuck, except with Rock Climb. Zangoose can 2HKO with Night Slash, however, if it gets an opportunity to switch in earlier in the game and activate Toxic Orb, it can outspeed and OHKO with Facade or Night Slash. Rapidash can destroy Gardevoir with Flare Blitz or Megahorn, and easily outspeeds it. Pinsir's X-Scissor has no problem taking out Gardevoir, and even Choice Band Sawk can outspeed and do around 80% damage with Close Combat. Slower offensive Pokémon can take a hit and hit back too. Physical Samurott can take a Thunderbolt without Stealth Rock damage and KO Gardevoir with Megahorn, and Golurk can survive a Shadow Ball and Shadow Punch in return. Many others in the tier can easily 2HKO it as well.

Fitting Gardevoir onto your team

Gardevoir is so versatile that it can fit onto any sort of team because it can cover a wide range of threats in NU.

Psychic-spam has been popular in NU recently, and Gardevoir is an important part of those teams. Gardevoir and Musharna can cover most of the metagame when paired together. Gardevoir can take out and shut down the defensively-orientated teams, whereas Musharna can wall the offensive teams with its bulk. Gardevoir can also support Sawk a lot, and together make a great partnership because Gardevoir can take out the common physical walls, such as Alomomola and Tangela, which it can set up on or simply destroy them. On the other hand, it deals with Musharna by matching it with Calm Mind and taking it out. It can also heavily damage Misdreavus, as Gardevoir doesn't mind taking the Will-O-Wisp meant for Sawk and can hit it back hard with Shadow Ball (which can 2HKO with Life orb). Sawk in turn can take out the special walls that Gardevoir can struggle with if it isn't running Calm Mind or Focus Blast. Lickilicky is a good example, as Gardevoir can barely touch it without either of those two moves. Zangoose also enjoys Gardevoir's help as it can take out the most common physically defensive Pokémon that also annoy Sawk, as well as other Pokémon like Weezing which pose very little threat to Gardevoir. With the defensive Pokémon out of the way, Zangoose has many more opportunities in which it can set up and destroy. Physical Samurott appreciates the same sort of help as it can pose a huge threat to opposing teams if the common physically defensive Pokémon are gone. Gardevoir can also benefit Carracosta, as it can take out Sawk, Alomomola, and Tangela, which can allow Carracosta to set up Shell Smash and sweep the opposing team much easier.

It can especially benefit setup sweepers with its dual screens set. Gardevoir can switch into something that it otherwise easily forces out, and set up Reflect or Light Screen depending on what is most likely to switch into it. On the next turn, it can easily set up the other screen, and take a few hits too, thanks to its good special bulk. It can then conclude with Memento, allowing powerful sweepers such as Gorebyss, Linoone, Zangoose, Samurott, Sawsbuck, and Carracosta, to name a few, to set up and proceed to decimate the opposing team.

Get out There!

Gardevoir's power and unpredictability can often make it a scary Pokémon in NU, and definitely a useful Pokémon all around. As well as this, it's almost impossible to counter outright, making it something that could give you the advantage in a tough spot. Finally, due to its versatility, there will usually be at least one set that fits that spot on your team you couldn't find the right fit for. Gardevoir can be amazing in NU and definitely can be terrifying if used right.

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