LC Suspect Coverage: Drifloon

By Berks. Art by Tikitik.
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Art by Tikitik


If you were to have sauntered into the LC community about five months ago with the idea that Drifloon was banworthy, you would've been called "crazy," "dumb," or "a complete lunatic and a moron." Fast forward to this most recent SPL, and the calls for Drifloon's suspect make a little more sense. Utilizing Recycle, Berry Juice, Substitute, and Will-O-Wisp, Drifloon was discovered to have the potential to stall out a large majority of the Pokémon in Little Cup. During her SPL run, mad0ka popularized said Recycle stall set, introducing for the first time to Little Cup an offensive Pokémon that did its job defensively. Drifloon's ability to outlast several of its previous checks and outright beat large portions of the metagame led the community to call for its suspect, and the LC Council responded accordingly.

Sample sets


This is the set that ended up making Drifloon suspect worthy. Drifloon's good Speed and natural bulk make it faster than a lot of the tier and very difficult to OHKO, allowing it to activate Berry Juice and receive an Unburden boost with ease. From there, it can burn opposing Pokémon and proceed to stall with Recycle and Substitute until the opponent's Pokémon has fainted. The set also features Acrobatics for use against Pokémon such as Timburr and Snivy that don't mind burns much. In reality, the only truly consistent checks to this Drifloon set were bulky Fire- and Electric-type Pokémon such as Ponyta and RestTalk Chinchou. Teams without solid checks to Drifloon ended up being obliterated with ease, as you can see for yourself in this LCPL replay featuring atomicllamas and yours truly. While this wasn't the only good set Drifloon could run, it was by far the most troublesome.


A lot of Drifloon's potential comes from the combination of Berry Juice, Recycle, and Will-O-Wisp, which allows it to beat out its checks that run physical attacks. Adding Calm Mind to the set gives Drifloon a way to beat out its special checks as well, as a +1 Drifloon can survive Magnemite's Volt Switch. Calm Mind Drifloon trades in a couple of good matchups (such as those against Vullaby and Porygon) for the power to actually sweep teams. Hex allows Drifloon to capitalize on Will-O-Wisp even further, but Shadow Ball is an option for those who don't feel confident in their ability to burn everything. Calm Mind Drifloon is often able to get around checks like Chinchou, which exacerbated the matchup issue it already created with its Recycle stall set.

Pro-ban arguments

In their arguments to ban Drifloon, people simply brought up all of the qualities that got Drifloon suspected in the first place; namely, they cited its solid Speed tier, great ability, wide movepool, above-average bulk, and unique typing. Pro-ban users claimed that Drifloon was overcentralizing, as it was able to come in on and beat so many Pokémon. Drifloon's excellent typing and bulk also made it an incredible spinblocker, severely limiting the potential of Pokémon such as Drilbur and Staryu. Another point worth mentioning is the fact that so many of Drifloon's sturdiest checks are easily trapped and removed by Diglett, a Pokémon many feel is broken in its own right. People also cited Drifloon's incredible win/loss ratio in tournaments such as SPL and LCPL, also claiming that replays such as the one seen above proved Drifloon was unhealthy for the metagame.

Anti-ban arguments

Those who argued against banning Drifloon attempted to expand on possible counterplay options that they felt the community may not have yet explored. Choices such as Flame Charge Ponyta, Choice Scarf Amaura, and Snarl Houndour were among those options discussed, but, in the long run, the main argument to keep Drifloon was how little time it had been a threat. Only the most recent SPL brought RecycleFloon into the public eye; this means that it took only a period of approximately two to three months for the community to decide to suspect Drifloon. For this reason, the anti-ban camp proposed that perhaps the metagame had yet to truly adapt to Drifloon; after all, it really was unlike anything the metagame had experienced before!


Despite mad0ka's best efforts, Drifloon ultimately was banned from Little Cup. Even though it only needed a simple majority of 51% to go through, Drifloon's ban received a resounding 62% of the vote. Throughout the suspect, the LC community got a chance to examine the effects of Speed, status, and recovery on the metagame, which was refreshing in the wake of three previous specific suspect tests focusing on trapping and Baton Pass. Drifloon will leave behind a metagame that is largely unchanged; rather, the metagame is one in which Pawniard and Mienfoo alike are once again fearless of the fearsome balloon.

Now that Little Cup is free from Drifloon, why not give the tier a try? Here's a sample team by trash that features Mienfoo, Pawniard, and Shellder, all of which enjoy the absence of Drifloon. Try it out and then stick around in LC!

Shellder Diglett Spritzee Archen Mienfoo Pawniard

Shellder @ Eviolite
Ability: Skill Link
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Atk / 36 Def / 196 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Icicle Spear
- Rock Blast
- Ice Shard
- Shell Smash

Diglett @ Life Orb
Ability: Arena Trap
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Atk / 236 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Substitute
- Rock Slide
- Earthquake
- Memento

Spritzee @ Eviolite
Ability: Aroma Veil
Level: 5
EVs: 212 HP / 196 Def / 12 SpA / 76 SpD / 12 Spe
Bold Nature
- Wish
- Protect
- Moonblast
- Calm Mind

Archen @ Eviolite
Ability: Defeatist
Level: 5
EVs: 76 HP / 20 Atk / 76 Def / 76 SpD / 196 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Roost
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Defog

Mienfoo @ Eviolite
Ability: Regenerator
Level: 5
EVs: 156 HP / 116 Def / 196 SpD
Impish Nature
- Knock Off
- Poison Jab
- Drain Punch
- U-turn

Pawniard @ Eviolite
Ability: Defiant
Level: 5
EVs: 156 Atk / 36 Def / 116 SpD / 196 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Knock Off
- Sucker Punch
- Iron Head
- Stealth Rock

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