SS LC Spotlight: Vullaby

By DC. Released 2020/12/07.
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SS LC Spotlight Vullaby art

Art by Shadowshocker.


Meet Vullaby, the queen of SS LC! Boasting excellent stats, solid typing, and access to a plethora of devastating moves, Vullaby cements itself as LC's most defining Pokémon. It is extremely versatile and capable of fielding many sets and EV spreads, which makes it unpredictable and deadly to any team archetype. Furthermore, Vullaby's incredible utility also makes it extremely splashable and a staple on almost every team, showcased by its incredible usage rate on the Pokémon Showdown ladder and in big LC tournaments like the Smogon Snake Draft and LC Open. In this article, we will look at some of its basic sets, uncommon sets, best partners, and finally, checks and counters.

The Traditional Sets

Offensive Pivot


Offensive Vullaby is its most common and utilized set and for good reasons. The set lets Vullaby do what Vullaby does best: weakening foes with Knock Off and hitting targets hard with Brave Bird. Heat Wave is a good option to punish both Pawniard and Ferroseed, while U-turn is great for pivoting away from notable checks like Pawniard and Onix to retain offensive momentum, and it is best used when paired with a trapper like Diglett and Trapinch. To further improve its utility, Vullaby usually goes for Defog in the last slot to serve as an entry hazard remover, although U-turn can be used instead if paired with a secondary entry hazard remover such as Staryu. Weak Armor turns Vullaby into a dangerous offensive threat, letting it gain a +2 Speed boost from a weak contact move like Mienfoo's Fake Out and helping it outspeed the entire metagame to wreak havoc with its powerful attacks.

Defensive Pivot


This set takes a more defensive approach to Vullaby, utilizing its amazing Dark typing and bulk to check some of LC's most threatening Psychic-types like Abra and Galarian Ponyta. Notably, this set retains all the usefulness of the offensive pivot set, serving as effective support with Knock Off and Defog while generating momentum with U-turn, as well as turning Vullaby into a defensive stalwart. Overcoat is the ability of choice, as it provides Vullaby with an immunity to Spore from Foongus. The EV spread is notable for helping Vullaby survive Dazzling Gleam from Focus Sash Abra after Stealth Rock damage and Dazzling Gleam from Life Orb Abra at full health.

Nasty Plot


Nasty Plot turns Vullaby into a threatening special attacker and, in conjunction with a potential Weak Armor boost, makes it capable of sweeping unsuspecting teams. Air Slash is generally a good attack to hit the metagame and has the ability to flinch foes, allowing Vullaby to overcome defensive hurdles like Spritzee and Trace Porygon. Heat Wave helps Vullaby incinerate Pawniard and Ferroseed, while the fourth moveslot is dependent upon Vullaby's item. Dark Pulse is the most consistent option to effectively damage Onix and Archen, Endure lets Vullaby survive Fake Out from Mienfoo and Final Gambit from Diglett and helps it activate its Berry Juice, and Roost synergizes amazingly with Eviolite and improves Vullaby's longevity.

The Underrated Sets

Choice Scarf


Choice Scarf adds a new dimension to Vullaby, helping it function as a potent revenge killer and sweeper while making it less reliant on activating Weak Armor. The combination of its sheer power, threatening STAB combination, and U-turn makes Choice Scarf Vullaby a potent Pokémon on offensive teams. In particular, this set is notable for outpacing previously faster threats like Wingull, Staryu, and Diglett and serving as one of the best ways to outspeed and revenge kill Scraggy after a Dragon Dance boost. Furthermore, its immunity to Sticky Web makes Choice Scarf Vullaby a terror for Sticky Web teams to properly function against. Vullaby can also opt to run Weak Armor over Overcoat, as it often lures foes into removing its item with Knock Off, activating Weak Armor and letting it retain its Speed.

Iron Defense


How do you make Nasty Plot Vullaby even more dangerous? If your answer was "Iron Defense," you would be correct. Vullaby can utilize Iron Defense to bolster its already decent physical bulk, helping it survive longer against physical attackers such as Mienfoo, Timburr, and Pawniard. Roost further improves Vullaby's longevity and helps it accrue multiple Iron Defense and Nasty Plot boosts, making it nearly unstoppable. If you are going to use this set, be sure to preserve Vullaby until late-game when special attackers like Magnemite, Staryu, and Abra have been weakened, so it can set up safely.

Common Partners

Vullaby Mienfoo

The other face of LC, Mienfoo, forms a formidable tandem with Vullaby. Mienfoo's ability to switch into and pressure Pawniard and Onix helps Vullaby immensely, while Mienfoo benefits from Vullaby weakening checks such as Mareanie and Foongus and switching into Abra. Furthermore, they can form a pivoting core with U-turn, weakening their checks together.

Vullaby Mareanie

Mareanie provides Vullaby with a Fairy- and Fighting-resistant partner and Knock Off absorber. In return, Mareanie values Vullaby threatening Ferroseed and Abra and serving as a Ground-immune Pokémon. Furthermore, Vullaby's tendency to pivot with U-turn allows Mareanie to maintain its HP high thanks to Regenerator.

Vullaby Diglett Trapinch

Both Diglett and Trapinch are some of Vullaby's best offensive partners, benefitting from Vullaby luring in checks such as Pawniard and Onix and pivoting into them with U-turn. By removing these threats, both trappers give Vullaby and its many sets the freedom to start demolishing the opposing team.

Vullaby Scraggy Grookey

Vullaby, Scraggy, and Grookey form a trio that is strong in their own right. However, when combined, they are able to pressure each other's checks and create opportunities for each other to sweep.

How to play against Vullaby

Although playing against Vullaby may seem so oppressive, there are certain measures that a player can undertake to help against it. Firstly, it is important to scout for which set Vullaby is running. Identifying what moves and ability the opposing Vullaby is running can help you carefully strategize your game plan and prevent you from making major mistakes. Also, carrying priority attacks and status effects can help alleviate the difficulty of playing against Vullaby. Moves like Fake Out from Mienfoo, Mach Punch from Timburr, and Grassy Glide from Grookey can be useful for revenge killing Vullaby at a low health, especially if it has accrued multiple Weak Armor Defense drops. Foes like Ferroseed can cripple Vullaby lacking Heat Wave with Thunder Wave, drastically lowering its effectiveness in the match. Furthermore, Vullaby is vulnerable to common threats like Pawniard and Onix as well as special attackers like Magnemite, Staryu, and Spritzee. Not only do the latter two absorb Knock Off and resist Brave Bird, but they can also set Stealth Rock to wear down Vullaby and prevent it from pivoting too much. The Crown Tundra DLC also brought forth new Rock-types such as Archen and Amaura that can effectively threaten Vullaby. Lastly, as versatile as it is, Vullaby is vulnerable to Stealth Rock damage that limits its ability to switch in and pivot with U-turn. Often, Stealth Rock being set on the field pressures Vullaby into using Defog, which it is unable to safely do against any of the Stealth Rock setters in LC.

Finishing Thoughts

Continuing its dominance from SM, Vullaby has managed to maintain its top status throughout SS LC. Whether it be serving as an offensive pivot, becoming a threatening sweeper with Nasty Plot, or surprising foes with Choice Scarf, Vullaby always manages to make an impact every time it takes the field. So, get out there and be sure to explore some of its amazing sets!

HTML by Ryota Mitarai.
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