Other Metagames Spotlight: Shuckle

By Arcticblast. Art by paintseagull.
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We all know about Shuckle, that derpy little turtle that everyone says is really easy to kill but in truth is awful to take down because your last Stone Edge missed and you forgot to pack Toxic. Shuckle's been kind of screwing around since it was introduced in GSC, never being particularly viable but never quite falling off the map. Ever since Other Metagames have been coming up though, Shuckle's finally found a home. Multiple homes, actually. Not many Pokémon can claim to be useful in very many Other Metagames, but Shuckle is one of the select few who can. Its odd stat spread and unique movepool may not be what it needs in OU, but in some of these places, it is perfectly suited to wreak havoc.


Shuckle itself isn't really scary in a Doubles format. Given the high usage of Protect, Fake Out, and many more disrupting moves, as well as the presence of rain team after rain team, Shuckle's typical job of walling the daylight out of everything is somewhat compromised. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Shuckle has another non-Power Trick gimmick up its sleeves that directly affects one single Pokémon. The move Guard Split averages the raw Defense and Special Defense stats of the user and the target. Logically, this move would best be put to use on Shuckle with a partner with high HP or attacking stats but fairly low defenses. The most frightening result of this is Chansey. While Chansey might originally be frowned upon just as much as Shuckle in doubles, the combination of Chansey, with its ridiculous HP and access to Eviolite, and Shuckle, with its massive defenses and Guard Split, is absolutely terrifying to face in battle.

The Set

Shuckle @ Mental Herb
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
- Guard Split
- Protect
- Encore / Knock Off / Toxic / Power Split
- Encore / Knock Off / Toxic / Power Split

This set is simple in its execution but deadly in its effects. Simply Protect on the first turn Shuckle is sent out (in case of Fake Out), then Guard Split onto Chansey. Once this is done, Shuckle can either mess around with the opponent a little bit, switch out, or both. Chansey, meanwhile, proceeds to stall out the opponent with Softboiled, Toxic, possible sand damage, and whatever other dastardly methods you might come up with. Mental Herb is there to block Taunt once, allowing the combination to be pulled off without a hitch.

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Sand support goes a long way in making sure Shuckle can pull off Guard Split, and Tyranitar is an excellent Pokémon to provide it. Pokémon to take out Hitmontop are also great partners, namely Cresselia and Jellicent—not only are they both great team supporters, but they do a great job of keeping Hitmontop at bay. That's all this set needs, really.

When playing against a Shuckle/Chansey combination, if at all possible, either change the weather first or straight-up kill Chansey. Shuckle can't do very much to anything besides Chansey, and is much less useful after getting the Guard Swap off. It's also possible to simply hammer Shuckle with powerful Rock- and Water-type moves and let it crumble under the pressure. Tyranitar, Politoed, and Rotom-W are all capable of doing this. Taunting Chansey is also an effective way to neuter the combination, as Chansey has no offensive presence and will be shut down heavily by Taunt.


In STABmons, every Pokémon has access to all moves that match one of their types. Suddenly Shuckle has what it really always wanted—HEAD SMASH viable recovery. This lets it actually stall things out instead of spread status around a bit, then die like the bug that it really is. Shuckle's viability is even higher when considering that it resists ExtremeSpeed, making it a great check to the many Shell Smash sweepers in the metagame.

The Set

Shuckle @ Lum Berry
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
- Heal Order
- Stealth Rock
- Toxic
- Encore / Defend Order / Power Split

This set is pretty much the same as a NU set, but with a major difference—Heal Order, which allows Shuckle to stall far more effectively than ever before. Shuckle can now take all kinds of abuse and heal off the damage—the lack of Leftovers isn't quite as bad as it might seem at first (Lum Berry is very much preferred for users of Spore). Since Shuckle can now heal, Toxic is a bit more attractive, letting Shuckle stall out specific sweepers. Stealth Rock provides ever-important team support, and the last slot is up for grabs. Encore can allow something else to set up, Defend Order lets Shuckle stall even more, and Power Split messes with sweepers trying to muscle their way past Shuckle through continuous boosting.

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As always, this Shuckle very much enjoys sand being up—in fact, this Shuckle likes it even more, since it'll primarily be taking physical hits and might want to patch up its Special Defense. Shuckle also really likes Rapid Spin support—which isn't too hard to come by, considering it's STABmons. Starmie and Miltank are both great at this. Ground- and Steel-types are useful as partners to beat down Rock-types, and Jellicent is a great partner against Water- and Steel-types.

When playing against Shuckle, a great way to disable it is through the repeated use of Toxic—its Lum Berry can only be used once, after all, and Toxic will really put a downer on Shuckle. Toxic Spikes makes this even easier, especially if you can force it out after its Lum Berry is used up. If Shuckle is asleep, some sweepers will be able to boost right past it, such as Sawsbuck and Bibarel. The key is to not let Shuckle come in for free—keep up offensive pressure as long as possible and Shuckle should go down.

Balanced Hackmons

While mildly annoying in standard metagames, Shuckle becomes absolutely infuriating in Balanced Hackmons, when it suddenly has every move it could ever want and any ability to match. Of note is Leech Seed—while this move is perfectly viable in standard play, in Balanced Hackmons it becomes a deadly weapon in the often Leftovers-less metagame. It's especially good on Shuckle, sapping the bloated HP stats of common Balanced Hackmons threats to restore often a quarter of Shuckle's health. Against Chansey and Blissey, Shuckle regains more than one third of its HP. Shuckle can use this to pull off the ultimate Unaware Wall set, which leaves the fearsome sweepers of Balanced Hackmons quivering (and occasionally Quiver Dancing) in their boots.

The Set

Shuckle @ Lum Berry
Ability: Unaware
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
- Leech Seed
- Recover
- Magic Coat
- Foul Play / Super Fang

A shiny Shuckle? It's getting serious.

Tremble in fear at what initially looks like the tamest set you'll ever see. Unaware ignores all (Special) Attack and Defense boosts when calculating damage. This enables Shuckle to take on the vast majority of boosting sweepers in Balanced Hackmons with ease, fearing only Stored Power and the rare Rock-type moves. While some of the Pokémon in BH are so powerful that they could normally overwhelm Shuckle in two or three hits, Shuckle isn't to be deterred by that. Leech Seed coupled with Recover will keep Shuckle healthy even through some of the toughest attacks that can be dealt out. Unaware Shuckle tends to falter against more defensive teams, however, which is where Magic Coat comes in, reflecting hazards and the nastiest afflictions you could think of back to the opponent. Fortunately for those who aren't quite sure what the opponent will do, Lum Berry acts as a failsafe. Unfortunately, this set is still showing all of the trappings of the typical Shuckle set so far—it has no offensive presence and it's total Taunt bait. Shuckle's last slot is dedicated to fixing those problems. Foul Play uses the opponent's Attack stat to do damage, which, in a metagame of max EVs all around, can catch people off guard easily and is the more consistent option.

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Sand, sand, and more sand. Shuckle's bulk is at its best when in sand, allowing it to always avoid the 2HKO from Modest Kyurem-W's Draco Meteor and tank the attacks of pretty much every other special sweeper in the game (and several physical ones!). As a grounded Bug-type, Shuckle also appreciates Magic Bounce support to keep hazards away. Support from team members who resist Rock-, Water-, and Steel-type attacks doesn't hurt either, since Shuckle will have a harder time walling users of those moves.

On this set in particular, Super Fang is an option in the last slot to shave off half of the opponent's current HP; however, it is not suited for drawn-out battles. Spikes can be run in place of Magic Coat so that Shuckle has something to do against things like Poison Heal Regigigas (who can't really touch Shuckle most of the time).

As for playing against Shuckle, changing the weather will do a great deal of harm to its survivability, and in rain's case, even expose it to powerful Water-type attackers. Magic Bounce is also very nice, bouncing back Shuckle's hazards and Leech Seed and draining its health to you. In this situation, however, a Pokémon not weak to Dark-type moves should be used, as unless it has Recover, Foul Play will wear it down fast. Magic Guard Archeops is also a great check, taking no damage from Leech Seed and OHKOing with Head Smash.

As far as Shuckle itself goes, there are a couple more options. Magic Bounce is a possibility, although Magic Bounce users tend to come in and out of battle somewhat frequently, which is a poor idea on a Pokémon weak to Stealth Rock. There's also the possibility that you have several hours to kill and/or are Great Sage, in which case you can try the hilarious strategy of Harvest Leppa Berry Baton Pass, as shown by this replay (warning: contains some strong language and mod banter). You probably shouldn't try that, though.

Negative Metagame

Ah, the Negative Metagame, where Pichu is a tank, Marill is a frightening Choice Band user, and Shuckle is the deadliest Shell Smash sweeper Pokémon has ever seen.

Wait, what?

In the Negative Metagame, all Pokémon's stats are recalculated to (160 - base stat). This leaves Shuckle with a stat spread of 140 / 150 / 5 / 150 / 5 / 155. Combine that with Shell Smash and EdgeQuake coverage and you've got a terrifying sweeper on your hands.

The Set

Shuckle @ Lum Berry
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Shell Smash
- AncientPower
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power Grass

Yes, that is indeed a rainbow Shuckle. Not even a shiny Shuckle is fantastic enough for this set.

This set's execution is simple—remove hazards and/or priority users. Bring Shuckle in. Use Shell Smash. Obliterate. Hidden Power Grass is used over a different special move because it hits Ground-types hard and, after SR and at +2, can OHKO Marill, the most common priority user in the tier, and does a number to Trapinch as well. Max Special Attack and Speed are used primarily because Shuckle's defenses are awful and it might as well have all the time it can have to set up Shell Smash.

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Shuckle can also run Guard Split to hilarious effect—base 5 defenses pale in comparison to most of the metagame. Sludge Wave and Bug Bite are options for Sunkern and Lotad, and the latter also hits Psychic-types hard. A fully physical set can also be run—it has a lot more power on its moves, but loses the ability to reliably beat many common Pokémon.

When you see Shuckle in Team Preview, look out—your opponent will probably be doing everything in their power to kill off whatever users of priority you might have. Your best shot is to keep hazards up and never let your priority users die.


Shuckle is a pretty linear Pokémon most of the time, but in these various OMs, it can really shine due to the extra options it receives. Some Pokémon might seem nerfed in these smaller metagames, but Shuckle is not one of those Pokémon—if anything, it can only get better.

It still looks really derpy though. At least it's cute!

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