LC Spotlight: Vullaby

By Cheek Pouch. Art by Bummer.
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Vullaby art by Bummer

Vullaby's history

Vullaby was first introduced in Generation V and quickly found solid footing in Little Cup as a capable defensive Pokemon with reliable recovery. Offensively, however, she was outshone by Murkrow, which had better offensive stats and a more useful ability. An uncommon Nasty Plot set gave Vullaby a small offensive role, but with access to solid support moves such as Taunt, Toxic, and Knock Off, Vullaby was tasked with supporting her team by slowly chipping away at the opposition.

When Generation VI came, Vullaby received two notable buffs to its movepool. Defog gave her the ability to remove entry hazards off the field, and the Knock Off buff gave Vullaby a working physical Dark-type STAB move. Murkrow was still seen as the go-to bird for offensive necessities, and the newcomer Fletchling certainly gave Vullaby competition. As the metagame progressed throughout XY, Murkrow was deemed too strong for the tier and was banned, with Fletchling and the newfound power of Doduo filling Murkrow's place. It wasn't up until the most recent tier shifts that Vullaby began seeing play as an offensive Pokemon. With a powerful Brave Bird, a spammable move in Knock Off, naturally good bulk backed by Eviolite, and good utility moves such as U-turn and Roost, Vullaby has cemented herself as a top-tier threat in the ORAS metagame.

Vullaby's qualities

What sets Vullaby apart from her Flying-type competition is her naturally solid bulk. This means that even when uninvested, Vullaby can take quite a few neutral attacks and heal off damage taken with Roost. Knock Off is another key factor in what makes Vullaby such a powerhouse. Walls expecting to soak up an attack are quickly met with a Knock Off, and the removal of an Eviolite or Berry Juice gives Vullaby the perfect opportunity to fire off a STAB Brave Bird, which will leave a dent in any Pokemon that doesn't resist the move. Defensively, Vullaby has access to the coveted Defog, allowing her to serve as a bulky entry hazard remover that can keep up momentum with U-turn.

Playing with Vullaby



Vullaby's most common set is her offensive one. It is played as an early- to mid-game attacker, weakening walls that would commonly switch into the defensive set and giving support to teammates by making it easier for a sweep to take place. Brave Bird is Vullaby's strongest STAB move and can easily do upwards of 80% to Fighting-types such as Mienfoo, Timburr, and Croagunk. Knock Off serves as a secondary STAB option that can remove a foe's item. Roost provides instant recovery for Vullaby, letting it repeatedly take hits and serve as a pivot. U-turn lets Vullaby switch out from unfavorable matchups while keeping up momentum, letting the more frail members of the team come in safely. A Jolly nature gives Vullaby enough Speed to outspeed the 14 Speed tier, while the given EV spread provides a well-rounded blend of power, bulk, and speed. An alternate spread of 236 Atk / 76 SpD / 196 Spe can be used to further enhance Vullaby's power and speed while sacrificing some bulk.



While Vullaby has gained recognition as a powerful attacker in the tier, her defensive set is just as viable. The moveset looks quite similar, with Defog being the only new addition, but the set is played much differently. Vullaby's impressive 70 / 75 / 65 bulk allows her to repeatedly switch into a plethora of Little Cup attackers such as Mienfoo and Snivy and force them out with an attack or clear entry hazards from the field. Roost gives Vullaby much-needed longevity to continuously wall attackers. Knock Off is now used as a support move, with a heavier focus on removing items as opposed to dealing damage. Brave Bird is still Vullaby's strongest move and is used to nab KOs on weakened targets. Defog is used to remove entry hazards from play, supporting Vullaby's team even further. The EV spread and Impish nature are used to maximize Vullaby's bulk.

Playing against Vullaby

The offensive set lacks very many switch-ins, as no wall would like to lose their Eviolite or take a Brave Bird. This set is better handled in an offensive manner, with Rock- and Electric-types such as Archen and Chinchou being able to outspeed and KO Vullaby with a Stone Edge or Volt Switch. Snubbull's ability Intimidate allows it to come in on Vullaby and threaten her with a Play Rough, but it should be stressed that even a -1 Brave Bird isn't something to shrug off. Spritzee also deserves mention for tanking Vullaby's hits rather easily and scaring her out with a Moonblast, but it doesn't appreciate losing its Eviolite to Knock Off. The defensive set has more switch-ins due to its more passive nature, with the aforementioned Pokemon as well as bulky Normal-types like Munchlax and Porygon being able to whittle Vullaby down. Stealth Rock also hampers Vullaby, as she will lose 25% of her health each time she switches in.

Fitting Vullaby onto a team

Vullaby's offensive set works well on teams with other Dark-types such as Pawniard and Houndour. Brave Bird threatens the Fighting-types that often switch into the two, and Knock Off support helps weaken the opposing team in general. She works well on Flying-type spam teams as well, so Fletchling is a naturally good partner for her. Gastly appreciates the weakening of opposing Pawniard and Normal-types so that it can fire off a powerful Sludge Bomb.

The defensive set is useful for teams that need the removal of entry hazards. Ponyta and Larvesta can help spread burns on the opposing team, making Vullaby's job of tanking physical hits easier, while Vullaby removes Stealth Rock for the two. Vullaby forms a solid core with Chinchou, which resists Ice- and Electric-type attacks and helps against certain Rock-types, while Vullaby can switch in against Ground-types and KO Grass-types and Croagunk.

Get out there!

Generation V was a small stepping stone for Vullaby, and since then she has only grown to be more of a threat in Little Cup. Throughout the current generation, Vullaby's rise as an offensive powerhouse has taken Little Cup by surprise, as it has been realized that the diapered bird is not relegated to a defensive role. As long as Fighting-types stay prevalent in the metagame, Vullaby will remain a force to be reckoned with.

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