Using Choice Items in OU

By Superpowerdude. Art by RitterCat.
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If you look at any viable OU team, I am 99% sure the team will have at least one Choice item user. Competitive Pokémon would probably be a lot different if it wasn't for these three items: Choice Scarf, Choice Band, and Choice Specs. A 1.5x boost to Speed, Attack, or Special Attack sounds awesome, but these items do have a catch. As the name suggests (sort of), you can only use one of the Pokémon's moves until you switch out. So when your Choice Band Scizor just wrecked your opponent's Salamence with an uber powerful Choice Band-boosted Bullet Punch, it unfortunately can't use U-turn to escape the opponent's Magnezone. This makes these items quite interesting and tricky to use, which adds to the fun factor of a battle. Choice Scarf is generally used on Pokémon to let them revenge kill fast threats on the opposing team; however, in some cases, a Choice Scarf is used on offensive powerhouses to turn them into threatening late-game sweepers with the Speed boost it gives them. Choice Band and Choice Specs are used on physical and special attackers respectively to let them tear through the opponent's walls and make it very difficult for the opponent to switch in Pokémon. In this article, I will list examples of some of the best Pokémon to give these items to.

Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf is probably the most essential item out of the three to have on your team. Because the metagame is so fast-paced and is filled with very powerful, speedy sweepers, giving a Pokémon on your team a Choice Scarf could be just what the doctor ordered so you can outspeed and pick off your opponents Pokémon while also making your Pokémon extremely hard to hit. A Choice Scarf is not only used for revenge killing, but it can also turn Pokémon into dangerous late-game sweepers.


Jirachi @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly nature
- Iron Head
- Ice Punch
- U-Turn / Fire Punch
- Trick / Healing Wish

Jirachi is sometimes given a Choice Scarf to turn it into a very dangerous revenge killer. Because of its Steel typing and access to Ice Punch, this Jirachi set is ideal for revenge killing those threatening Dragon-types that are everywhere in OU. Garchomp, Salamence, and Dragonite are all hit for 4x super effective damage by Ice Punch, and Jirachi's Steel typing lets it resist their powerful Dragon Claws and Outrages. Although Jirachi does have to worry about Earthquakes or Fire Blasts from the three monstrous dragons, it is still quite bulky and its Choice Scarf lets it obviously outspeed these threats unless they are holding a Choice Scarf of their own. Iron Head is the STAB move on the set and its 60% flinch chance can make Jirachi pretty annoying to face with a little bit of hax. U-turn is an amazing move on any Choice Scarf user because in most scenarios the Choice Scarf user will move first, and U-turn lets the Pokémon switch out after doing damage. This lets Jirachi avoid having to be locked into a move. However, Fire Punch is also a good option in the slot since without it, Steel-types like Ferrothorn and Forretress wall the hell out of Jirachi. With Fire Punch, Jirachi can hit the two for 4x super effective damage, taking them by surprise. The last slot is dedicated to a support move, with Trick letting Jirachi swap its Choice Scarf with the opposing Pokémon's item. This can be quite effective to render a setup sweeper useless or cripple a wall, since they usually don't like to be locked into one move. However, Healing Wish can be used when Jirachi is on low health to fully heal a teammate's HP and rid it of any status effect. The Speed that the Choice Scarf brings to the table helps Jirachi to pull off a quick Healing Wish before the opponent can KO it.


Salamence @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Moxie
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive nature
- Outrage
- Dragon Claw
- Earthquake
- Fire Blast / Aqua Tail

In Salamence's case, a Choice Scarf turns it into a terrifying late-game sweeper. Due to Salamence's base 135 Attack and Moxie boosting its Attack after every KO, it becomes quite easy mid- to late-game to sweep your opponents with either Dragon Claw or Outrage, since the Choice Scarf gives Salamence the Speed necessary to be fast enough to sweep. Fire Blast and Earthquake provide coverage, and they both hit Steel-types super effectively; this makes it harder to wall Salamence late-game when it is attempting a sweep since it can just roast opposing Ferrothorn, Forretress, and Skarmory with Fire Blast and batter through Heatran and Magnezone with Earthquake.

Choice Band

Choice Band has the ability to turn certain Pokémon into killing machines you have to be very careful switching in to. Pokémon like Dragonite, Scizor, Terrakion, Breloom, and Tyranitar are very threatening because of the chance that they might be carrying a Choice Band and absolutely murder your switch-in. A lot of physical attackers carry priority moves such as ExtremeSpeed, Bullet Punch, and Mach Punch, and with the Attack boost that Choice Band brings, these Pokémon can act like pseudo-revenge killers, picking off fast or weakened threats with their priority attacks.


Scizor @ Choice Band
Ability: Technician
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
Adamant nature
- U-turn
- Bullet Punch
- Superpower
- Pursuit

For Scizor, Choice Band is the reason why it has been the #1 Pokémon in usage for countless months. Scizor's powerful Choice Band-boosted U-turn has made it a staple for VoltTurn teams, and because U-turn switches out the user after it has landed, it lets Scizor avoid having to stay in and be locked into a move. With Technician and Choice Band both boosting Bullet Punch's power, Scizor can actually revenge kill quite effectively due to Bullet Punch's +1 priority. Superpower lets Scizor hit Steel-types super effectively that would wall it otherwise, namely Heatran and Ferrothorn, while Pursuit's main purpose is to trap Psychic-types like Latios/Latias locked into Draco Meteor, as well as Reuniclus.


Terrakion @ Choice Band
Ability: Justified
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature
- Close Combat
- Stone Edge
- X-Scissor
- Sacred Sword / Earthquake / Quick Attack

Choice Band Terrakion could quite possibly be the hardest Pokémon to switch into, as its combination of Speed, Attack, and coverage helps it achieve this. As Terrakion can threaten a switch-in with one of its moves, it can pull off a 2HKO unless the Pokémon it's attacking can outspeed it, which is quite unlikely with Terrakion's base 108 Speed. Close Combat is the strongest move in Terrakion's arsenal with 120 Base Power and STAB, and Terrakion's moves have almost unresisted coverage with the exception of a few Pokémon such as Toxicroak. X-Scissor is very important on this set because it lets Terrakion brutalize the Grass- and Psychic-type Pokémon that can hit Terrakion super effectively with their STAB moves. The last move slot comes up to preference, with Sacred Sword providing a secondary Fighting-type STAB that doesn't have the defense drops that Close Combat has and ignores stat boosts. Earthquake doesn't provide much coverage, but lets Terrakion hit Toxicroak super effectively, which happens to resist all other moves on this set. Quick Attack is quite weak, but its priority can let Terrakion pick off faster weakened threats like Latios or Starmie.

Choice Specs

Choice Specs is very similar to Choice Band, except it boosts Special Attack by 1.5x rather than Attack. For this reason, it operates in almost the exact same way as a Choice Band, turning a wide array of special attackers into absolute powerhouses when equipped and thereby making them very difficult to switch into. Many special attackers are also Psychic-types, meaning a lot of them cripple opposing Pokémon with Trick by giving them Choice Specs.


Keldeo @ Choice Specs
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid / Modest nature
- Hydro Pump
- Secret Sword
- Hidden Power Ghost / Hidden Power Electric
- Icy Wind / Surf

Keldeo is a new threat that came to us through the release of BW2, and stands out as arguably the best Choice Specs wielder in the game. Much like its cousin Terrakion, Keldeo is recognized for its good coverage, high power (Special Attack in this case), and great base 108 Speed, making it very difficult to switch into. Its STAB Hydro Pump has huge power with a Choice Specs attached, and when you consider the fact that rain is so dominant in this metagame, Hydro Pump is often boosted even further. Keldeo's next STAB is an interesting one. Secret Sword hits the opponent on their Defense rather than Special Defense, and this lets Keldeo have an easier time getting through Chansey and Blissey, the two best special walls in the game; besides hitting them on their weaker Defense, Secret Sword also hits both super effectively. The last two slots offer Keldeo additional coverage, with Hidden Power Ghost hitting Jellicent, Latias, Latios, and Celebi and Hidden Power Electric letting Keldeo hit Jellicent and Gyarados super effectively. All of these Pokémon wall Keldeo's STAB moves, so the extra coverage is highly appreciated. Icy Wind and Surf are both good options in the last slot; the former lets Keldeo hit Dragon-types super effectively, and its ability to lower the opponent's Speed can pretty much guarantee that Keldeo will outspeed them on the next turn. Surf on the other hand provides an alternative Water-type STAB for those occasions where you can't afford a Hydro Pump miss.


Latios @ Choice Specs
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature
- Draco Meteor
- Surf
- Hidden Power Fire / Psyshock
- Trick

Taking a look at Latios's base stats, it looks like the perfect candidate for a Choice Specs user, having 130 Special attack and 110 Speed. Wielding a powerful 140 Base Power STAB Draco Meteor, Latios is very scary to take on especially because it outspeeds a majority of OU Pokémon. Draco Meteor is sometimes Latios's downfall, though, as its side effect of lowering Special Attack can make Latios much easier to switch into after it has used Draco Meteor. Surf offers additional coverage, hitting Steel-types like Forretress and Scizor very hard if they are cocky enough to switch in. As I mentioned with Keldeo, the popularity of rain teams often lets Latios abuse an extra-powerful Surf. The third slot is really a toss-up between Psyshock and Hidden Power Fire. Hidden Power Fire lets Latios get through Steel-types much easier, hitting them super effectively, while Psyshock provides a secondary STAB move with the ability to hit the opponent's Defense, giving Latios an easier time when taking on special walls like Chansey and Blissey. Trick is the last move on the set and is amazing on any Choice item user. It can cripple common switch-ins like Blissey, Ferrothorn, and Chansey, all of which would not appreciate being locked into a move because it turns them into complete setup fodder.


So there you have it, three of the most dangerous items in the game and six Pokémon that can abuse them effectively! Now go out there and try to fit some of these Pokémon onto your teams (if you haven't already). They certainly won't disappoint!

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