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Back when Diamond and Pearl came out, there was this Pokémon floating around in UU named Rotom. With its Ghost/Electric typing and Levitate, it had one of the most interesting and effective defensive typings in the entire game. It was one of those Pokémon that was theorymonned as capable of dominating—if only its stats were just a little better.
Then, of course, Platinum came out, and it was found that Game Freak had the exact same idea. Through the use of the Secret Key, distributed via WiFi shortly after the release of the game, the formerly weak Rotom could transform into Rotom-A, the best defensive Ghost in the entire metagame. Packing an excellent defensive typing, a solid movepool, and the ability to effortlessly check Scizor, the other superstar of Platinum, Rotom-A immediately shot up in use.
Rotom-A's most outstanding quality is obviously its unique typing. Electric/Ghost with Levitate provides numerous resistances with minimal weaknesses, including crucial resistances to Bug, Steel, and Electric, as well as immunities to Ground, Normal, and Fighting. These resistances allow it to effortlessly check opposing Pokémon such as Scizor, Metagross, and Jirachi. In addition to that, its typing gives it a fantastic dual STAB, with Thunderbolt, Discharge, and Charge Beam from Electric and Shadow Ball from Ghost.
In terms of base stats, Rotom-A is one of the most balanced Pokémon in the entire metagame. 50/107/107 defenses allow it to take advantage of its resistances easily, absorbing resisted and neutral attacks with minimal damage. Offensively, 105 Special Attack allows it to use its excellent dual STAB and tertiary offensive moves to hit opponents hard. Finally, 86 Speed gives Rotom-A the Speed that it needs to outspeed important opponents such as Adamant Lucario, Heracross, Kingdra, and Gyarados, as well as allowing it to use a Choice Scarf to revenge these foes and others even after a Speed boost.
Rotom-A's movepool is also one of its high points. Each forme adds one exclusive move depending on which one you choose, and each move has its own special purposes. Rotom-H gets Overheat, which allows it to hit Steel- and Grass-types hard without resorting to Hidden Power. Rotom-W gets Hydro Pump, which has excellent coverage with Thunderbolt and gives it a powerful option for hitting Tyranitar and Heatran. Rotom-C gets Leaf Storm, which wards off opposing Swampert, as well as giving it a weapon against Tyranitar. Rotom-F works best on Hail teams, as its Blizzard is boosted to 100% accuracy, giving it the long-lauded "BoltBeam" coverage that has been a staple of special offense since RBY. Finally, Rotom-S has the nearly useless Air Slash, which can potentially be used for a makeshift ParaFlinch strategy, but has little real use outside of gimmicks.
Given Rotom-A's excellent versatility, it's easy to drop Rotom-A into a team early on without deciding on a set, and then later decide which set fits the team best. There are numerous options for Rotom-A sets, both defensive and offensive, and each one has a niche use that can hold a team together.
The standard defensive Rotom-A set contains its dual STAB, using either Thunderbolt for power or Discharge for the threat of paralysis. To ward off threats such as Tyranitar, Rotom also uses Will-O-Wisp or Reflect to cut Tyranitar's offensive power significantly, often allowing Rotom to escape its powerful Pursuit without being KOed. Generally, Thunderbolt is used with Will-O-Wisp and Discharge with Reflect, as running both Discharge and Will-O-Wisp can cause problems if a Pokémon it needs to burn gets paralyzed first. The last slot can hold a number of moves, including the signature move of whichever forme you elect to choose, or Rest for more longevity. For additional survivability, it's possible to forego any of the moves listed for the Rest / Sleep Talk combination, allowing Rotom to stay in and stall even when asleep.
On the offensive side, Rotom-A has a number of options. The most common one is a Choice Scarf set, providing an offensive check to common threats such as Dragon Dance Gyarados, Life Orb Gengar, and other fast Pokémon that fall below Rotom-A's Speed threshold. Choice Specs variants can also work well, especially in the lead position, where Rotom-A is capable of OHKOing many top bulky leads and threatening teams even after the first turn. In addition, all choiced Rotom-A have the option of using Trick to cripple common Rotom-A switches such as Blissey and potentially Tyranitar. In addition to its choice sets, Rotom-A also has the option of using Charge Beam to boost its offensive power. A set with Substitute / Charge Beam / Shadow Ball / HP Fighting is capable of crippling many defensive teams, as Blissey is often completely unable to touch it due to Rotom-A's Ghost typing and Blissey's weak Ice Beam.
For more information on how to use Rotom-A's various formes and signature moves to their fullest extent, consult the Appliance Shopping article from The Smog #2.
The best way to deal with Rotom-A is to exploit its few weaknesses. As with all Ghost-type Pokémon, Rotom-A often lives in eternal fear of Tyranitar, which can switch into its special attacks with little or even no fear. While Will-O-Wisp is capable of crippling Tyranitar, it often comes at the cost of the majority of Rotom-A's HP, making it extremely difficult for Rotom-A to wall anything further lategame.
Another easy way to deal with Rotom-A is to exploit immunities to its dual STAB. Ground-types can switch into Rotom-A's Thunderbolt and Discharge with no threat, while Normal-types pack a useful immunity to Shadow Ball. Heatran also makes an excellent switch-in for Rotom, as it gains a Flash Fire boost from Rotom-A's Will-O-Wisp, and its 90 HP, 106 Special Defense, and resistance to Shadow Ball allow it to take Rotom-A's attacks easily.
There are also a number of effective lures for Rotom-A. Choice Band Gyarados with Payback commonly lures in defensive or Scarfed Rotom-A; while expecting a Dragon Dance on the switch, Rotom-A is OHKOed by a boosted super effective Payback. Mixed Metagross can also do the job, as its Shadow Ball is capable of 2HKOing the common 252/0 spreads of Rotom-A, while Rotom-A switches in to absorb a Meteor Mash or Earthquake with minimal damage.
If you're scared of Rotom-A blocking your attempts to Rapid Spin, Starmie is your best bet. While Rotom-A is capable of easily handling many common Rapid Spin users such as Tentacruel and Forretress, Starmie's powerful Life Orb-boosted Hydro Pump poses such a large threat to Rotom-A's safety that it is often wary of switching into a predicted Rapid Spin and catching a powerful offensive attack instead.
Like many of the other featured Pokémon so far, Rotom-A is simple to fit into any team. Its balanced stats and versatility make it easy for it to do its job, and it's usually not necessary to provide backup for Rotom-A with your other Pokémon. However, there are still steps that can be taken to ensure that Rotom-A is used to its fullest potential.
Rotom-A has little to fear from entry hazards, as Levitate gives it an immunity to Spikes and Toxic Spikes, and Stealth Rock only hits it for neutral damage (12.5% each time). However, depending on the Rotom-A set that you choose, there are some actions that can be more harm than good. Rotom-A sets using Discharge or Will-O-Wisp are hindered heavily by Toxic Spikes on the opposing side of the field, as Rotom-A loses the ability to paralyze key threats or burn Tyranitar as it switches in. When using Toxic Spikes, make sure to also use Reflect in tandem, as Will-O-Wisp can be nearly useless when Toxic Spikes are on the field. However, Toxic Spikes are a great boon to offensively minded Rotom-A, especially the Charge Beam set, as it can prevent Blissey from attempting to PP stall Rotom-A out and defeat it indirectly.
When supporting Rotom-A, it's important to look at its weaknesses, namely Ghost and Dark. Tyranitar arguably makes the best teammate for Rotom-A, as it is capable of eliminating Blissey and switching into the Ghost and Dark attacks that plague it. In return, Rotom-A can deal with Scizor, Metagross, Skarmory, and other Pokémon that give Tyranitar an extremely hard time. Scizor can do the same, and also benefits greatly from Rotom-A threatening Gyarados and causing it to switch, racking up more Stealth Rock damage on it.
With Rotom-A's massive versatility, it's easy to see why its popularity has been steadily rising since its premiere in Platinum. So why not drop it in your team and see for yourself just how solid Rotom-A can be?
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