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Many people around the LC ladder and the Pokémon Showdown! chat don't really know what's good in LC and what isn't. Some LC Pokémon are just downright awful, but appear to have some redeeming qualities. For some reason, these Pokémon attract the majority and turn the LC ladder less challenging, fooling many people that what they are using is actually better than what it is. Here are some of the the main Pokémon you shouldn't use in LC, if you want to be at least somewhat decent.
Aipom @ Focus Sash / Life Orb
EVs: 196 Atk / 76 Def / 236 Spe
- Fake Out
- Shadow Claw / Brick Break
Back in DPP, having a lead was essential to most teams. Aipom was a solid lead to use in DPP because it could set the pace well early in the match with Fake Out and then KO opposing leads with the combination of Fake Out and one of Return, Shadow Claw, or Brick Break. An early game lead advantage sounds very nice to have, and Aipom looks like just the right Pokémon for the job. With access to U-turn, Aipom also appears to be a solid scout to sets in LC and a good Pokémon to slap onto to most teams.
However, this is far from the case about Aipom. With Team Preview as an addition to this generation, Aipom has become absurdly predictable as a lead, so any counter that you have (such as Bronzor or bulky Mienfoo) can easily be used against it as an anti-lead. Aipom also suffers in the power department, as it can't really 2HKO much with a combo of Fake Out + Return anymore given the rise of Eviolite. Because of this, its lack of power leads to its super effective attacks to 2HKO at best.
Duskull @ Eviolite
EVs: 196 HP / 196 Def / 116 SpD
- Shadow Ball / Ice Beam
- Pain Split
Duskull appears to have the potential to be one of the better Pokémon in the LC metagame. It has some nice 90/90 defenses along with Will-O-Wisp, which makes it appear to be an absolute stop to physical attackers in the metagame. This is added to with a Ground immunity in Levitate and the ability to spinblock, while still having recovery in Pain Split. That's not all the things that Duskull appears to have going for it; Eviolite also gives it a 1.5x buff in its defenses, making Duskull look like some impenetrable wall.
Well, that's what some people think. However, Duskull's shortcomings definitely outweigh anything good going for it. The first thing that some people overlook is its competition with Misdreavus, which practically outshines it in every way, as it has a broader movepool, higher HP, and a threatening offensive presence to back it up. Misdreavus practically invalidates Duskull, but even without Misdreavus, Duskull continues to have issues. It is absolute setup fodder to Pokémon such as Scraggy, Timburr, and SubPayback Mienfoo, as it has absolutely no offensive presence bar Shadow Ball or Ice Beam. All in all, there is no reason to use Duskull seriously.
Machop @ Choice Scarf
Ability: No Guard
EVs: 196 Atk / 76 SpD / 236 Spe
- Ice Punch
- Rock Slide
The main reason people see appeal in Machop is for similar reasons that Machamp looks good in UU. Machop's combination of No Guard and DynamicPunch, which gives it a perfectly accurate 100 BP STAB with a guaranteed confusion rate, makes it look like an amazing Pokémon. Even its lack of speed can be solved by a Choice Scarf, and with its coverage, Machop looks like it can be a premier revenge killer or a cleaner in the Little Cup metagame.
In practice, Machop is annoying at best. Its main issue is that it can't clean very well with the advent of Eviolite, and unless you get some seriously good confuse rolls going for you, you aren't going to sweep much with Machop. Even as a lead, it can be predictable like Aipom, as Team Preview reveals Machop, making it much easier to react against. Outside of that, Machop faces large competition against most of the Fighting-types in LC such as Scraggy, Timburr, Mienfoo, Croagunk, and even Riolu. For those reasons alone, there isn't a real reason to put Machop on a competitive team.
Corphish @ Eviolite
EVs: 196 Atk / 76 Def / 236 Spe
- Dragon Dance
- Crabhammer / Waterfall
Corphish is an interesting Pokémon which has many appealing attributes that players may initially find incredible when combined into one carrier. First of all, it has access to the amazing Dream World ability Adaptability, which gives its STAB attacks a 2x boost instead of the usual 1.5x boost, making Crabhammer (or Waterfall, if you forgo slightly less power for the advantage of 100% accuracy) devastatingly potent right off the bat. Secondly, it gets the all powerful boosting move known as Dragon Dance, which effectively provides a Choice Band boost AND a Choice Scarf boost after just one use with the freedom to switch moves. Combine these characteristics with the fact that Corphish has a respectable base 80 Attack stat and access to Dark/Fighting coverage (resisted only by Croagunk in LC), and it would seem that you have an absolute monster on your hands and that all you need is that setup turn to be able to wreak havoc on the opponent's team.
However, you'll be disappointed to find that after a Dragon Dance, Corphish can't even OHKO 0 HP/0 Def Misdreavus with Waterfall, and a super effective Crunch has the same damage output without Adaptability STAB. Eviolite also doesn't really help its ability to take hits very much, as one neutral STAB attack from just about anything in the tier is enough to take it down cleanly in two hits. Scraggy has Shed Skin for status healing, STAB on its Dark/Fighting coverage, the bulk to take hits, and most importantly, a means of continuous self-healing with STAB Drain Punch to augment its survivability; these are all things that Corphish lacks, and it makes our crustacean pal severely overshadowed by Scraggy as a Dragon Dance sweeper. Once Corphish is statused, its usefulness usually becomes nothing but a Pokémon to sacrifice in a tight situation. It can function decently well as a late-game cleaner, but it still needs the setup turn, and there are much better and more reliable Pokémon fitting for this role, such as the aforementioned Scraggy, and others such as Sand Rush Drilbur and Sandshrew with Swords Dance, or Nasty Plot Misdreavus. It can work with team support as well, such as with dual screens and Trick Room, but again, there are more reliable candidates to use with these kinds of support. Corphish definitely has the traits and qualities that make it stand out as an attacker, but it is largely underwhelming and will disappoint you more often than not in the current LC metagame. Scraggy is a much better choice that does Corphish's job exponentially better.
Aron @ Eviolite
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 196 Atk / 116 SpD / 196 Spe
- Rock Polish
- Head Smash
- Iron Head
Aron has many awesome characteristics that project it as an incredible LC choice. It has a huge base 100 Defense, and it also boasts an immunity and 9 resistances. The main thing that will stand out to players at first is that it gets STAB with the immensely powerful Head Smash (150 Base Power), along with the ability Rock Head to prevent the painful recoil it has from becoming a downside. When combined with Aron's access to Rock Polish (allowing it to reach 26 Speed with a Jolly nature), which it can easily find a time to use thanks to its 9 resistances, it appears that it can be an extremely potent force, slamming the likes of LC heavy hitters Snover and Murkrow for OHKOs with its STAB Head Smash and having no negative effects from it.
However, Aron is certainly not without its drawbacks. Its 4x weakness to Fighting and Ground attacks really hampers it, as LC is swarming with Fighting-types (there's one on every good team) and sand is also a very popular playstyle, which consists of Hippopotas and Drilbur/Sandshrew, Pokémon that can take Head Smash nicely and easily OHKO back with STAB Earthquake. Priority attacks such as Mach Punch and Aqua Jet also severely limit its sweeping capabilities, and it stands no chance against Water-type foes such as Chinchou and Slowpoke. Bronzor walls Aron entirely and can set up dual screens and Stealth Rock against it with impunity. Anything with a Fighting attack or Earthquake generally ruins Aron's fun, and things that carry those are found abundantly throughout the tier. Aron might seem like a solid choice at first with its unique qualities, but you will find it to be generally not worth using due to how easily (and almost effortlessly) it can be stopped.
While not a Pokémon, this commonly used residual recovery item deserves a special mention under this topic. In the mainstay tiers from NU all the way up to Ubers (as well as some of the other metagames), this item aids bulky attackers, supporters, and walls alike in their survivability and is therefore a very popular item choice, especially when Item Clause is not applied. However, with the frailty of Level 5 Pokémon in the Little Cup metagame, it helps very little the way it does in tiers where Pokémon are Level 100. Almost nothing in LC can hope to take hits well when most Pokémon are 2HKOed (if not OHKOed) easily by the powerful moves found abundantly throughout the meta, and the one turn of Leftovers recovery a Pokémon might get is certainly not worth it, especially since sand and hail run rampant and can effortlessly make this item's residual healing effect obsolete. If you're looking for an item to help your LC pals have more staying power, the item you should most definitely use is Eviolite, which automatically grants a 50% boost in both defenses to the holder (like an auto Cosmic Power boost). Leftovers definitely is a wonderful item in its own regard, but in the LC metagame, it is not recommended at all, and you should always use Eviolite instead if you want your Pokémon to have that added survivability.
The old saying "don't judge a book by its cover" most definitely applies here. Although some Pokémon may look tempting and appealing to use at a glance, you should probably do a little digging and have some practice with things before you put them into a serious team. Feel free to test out others, as these are only a few notable examples of Pokémon you probably shouldn't use in the LC metagame.
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