Big brain combos you've used in-game

This thread is for those extremely niche things you've used just because you got a noggin bigger than Calyrex's, regardless of whether or not they really worked.

To start off with an example, the first time I played Colosseum, I unironically picked Altaria for Dragon Dance (Winona was a remarkable battle) and wound up teaching Medicham Psych Up so it could copy the DD boosts off it. :psywoke:

When it worked, it was beautiful, but I can't really recommend it lol.


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In my first Status Moves only playthrough (I wonder when someone will say, "We get it, you're a pacifist.") I felt pretty clever for waiting until Cloyster for Spikes before taking on the Grass Gym and using Roar to do what Leech Seed and Poison Powder couldn't and finishing them off with Butterfree's Supersonic... Then someone pointed out I could've caught Gastly for Curse. I even remembered thinking about Gastly and deciding not to use it.

In Soul Silver, the Psychic Elite four KOed my Meganium, Ninetales, and Forretress and he was down to just Slowbro. Lugia couldn't do anything, but I'd brought the Level ~30 Togetic I'd given up on and a Level 8 Gastly I'd used for the first gym just to get them into the hall of fame because they'd helped me in the early game. Gastly could use Curse, but he'd die if he took a hit. I switched to Togetic instead and, to my amazement, Slowbro used a stat boosting move. Another surprise was Togetic outspeed Slowbro (In hindsight I should have seen that coming because Slowbro has slow in its name.) which let him use Encore. That let me switch to Gastly and use Curse without getting KOed. I then let him get KOed so he wouldn't take Exp away from Lugia.

This wasn't actually big brain, but I'm bringing it anyway because it felt like "They can't take X if you don't have X" meme big brain. In Shield the Dark Gym's Scrafty used Sand-Attack against my Toapex. Toxapex's Moveset was Toxic Spikes/Baleful Bunker/Recover/Hail. None of those moves directly affected them. (or they at least affects them is an even less direct way than usual.)

I'm not sure if I saved the best for last or the one that shouldn't count for last. There was no way this would normally happen, even in a challenge run.

A massive Small Brain thing I did was grinded at the Battle Frontier in Soul Silver just because it was the only way to get the TM for Toxic. (I wouldn't have done that if there was a Toxic TM anywhere else in the game, but there wasn't, so I grinded for 3 of them.) Somehow beating 4 of the 5 Frontier Brains would be the highlight of the playthrough but it was only "half" over so I planned a Massive Big Brain Combo combo to end with a bang. I KOed Red's Charizard in One Turn with Status Moves Only. Forretress set up Stealth Rock, (8/16) 3 Layers of Spikes, (4/16) 1 layer of Toxic Spikes, (2/16) Lunatone's Gravity (which took grinding for even more BP) let every entry hazard hurt, Meganium lured in Charizard by being a Grass type and endured Blast Burn with an Occa Berry and retaliated with Leech Seed, (2/16) and Tyranitar's Sands Stream (1/16) chipped off the last bit of HP left. (because of rounding, I needed 17/16ths instead of 16/16)


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One time while casually playing through HGSS, I was facing Morty's Gengar and I sent out my Togepi. It was just to sack it off for a better switchin from something else, since the thing was Level 7, but it turns out that was a brilliant move without me even realizing. I didn't even know its full moveset, but I quickly learned that it had no way of damaging that Togepi minus Sucker Punch and Struggle. The Togepi had Charm, which I could spam while it tried to use Sucker Punch, and it also had a few other moves with really high PP to take it to Struggle. I don't remember the battle fully but Extrasensory didn't do enough to knock it out and Struggle actually did extremely little because it was at -6. From later testing you need for it to not crit, but the Togepi can very easily live through the end of that encounter if it doesn't. Even if it does, though, you're definitely going to have something in the back that's capable of dealing with a -6 Gengar that only knows Struggle.

I haven't replayed HGSS much but whenever I do I try and go for that setup now.
I spent all of UM training a Topsy-Turvy Malamar just to make Ultra Necrozma eat all the shit.
I used Toxic on it. I don't consider that big brain at all. Taking out things with high enough stats that it would take several turns of attacking is the main reason why you would use damage-over-time effects ingame.

As for what I consider actual highlights:

Moon monobug: I had a surprising amount of success with Ledian of all things as a dedicated lead. Screens/U-turn/air slash. Let Ariados set up to 6-0 Lusamine, and then do the same thing again for the second fight (Ariados fainted to confusion damage from liligant the second time, but considering it was then five bug types against one grass type, it was pretty much over).

Ultra Sun Damageless: Natural Gift Talonflame was one of the stars of the team, as a fast way to take out pretty much any threat with a 4* weakness. They also ran Flare Blitz in a damageless run just as a Z-move option.

Emerald Ghost/Fairy limited: In addition to a few good moments involving Shedinja, I also used Mawile to baton pass Iron defense to my main attackers Banette and Azumarill.
I did an all-eeveeloutions run of Shield. And because Eeveeloution coverage sucks, and I wasn't dynamaxing, it ended up being a Baton Pass run. They all had STAB, BP, and a setup move. It was rough, the E4/Leon could end the chain with one crit, and the coverage being nonexistant meant that losing anything was a bad scene, but it also meant that I had a Flareon wreck face at multiple key points, which was wild.

(flareon still sucked)
substitute + encore Mr.Mime in HGSS is really fun. You can set up a sub on an incoming status move and then encore the foe into it. The AI is too dumb to switch, so you essentially get a couple of free turns. Usually the foe will just use the same status move again even after encore wears off, because the AI doesn't know what substitute does. If you combine this with charge beam and psychic, you have a pretty good sweeper on your hands.

For a practicle example, you can use a sub against Clair's Dragonairs and encore them into thunder wave. This allows you to defeat them safely.
It isn't so much a big-brain combo as a "Duh! Big Brain" moment but the first time I played through Ruby entirely I was determined to sweep Steven with my level 48 Blaziken. I knew I could set Bulk Ups to the max on Skarmory and was confident I wouldn't need more than one healing item, unfortunately Metagross lived the +6 Brick Break and OHKOed with Psychic. I tried it different times but to no avail, and both it and Skarm lived a Flamethrower—and I hadn't bought the Fire Blast TM. Then I realized the chicken had Blaze, so I tried one more time, boosted to when I was comfortable and in Blaze range while healing poison, I OHKOed Skarm, then I OHKOed Metagross, then Armaldo, Claydol, and Cradily (I used a healing item midway but I'm not sure it was needed). It's probably pretty obvious in hindsight but I felt very proud.
Look at Jupiter's learnset:


Now look at Kadabra:


You'd think Kadabra would be useless right? Wrong!

The idea is you send Kadabra in on a Night-Slash-KOed mon, Disable Night Slash, Taunt Skunktank (Taunt TM is on Route 211 near Eterna City), then watch it Struggle itself to death. Alternatively, Disable Night Slash, Miracle Eye, then Psybeam it to death.

I mean, sure it's highly specific but it works.

Some other big brain plays popped into my head when revisiting HGSS logs for the writeups a moment ago. I remembered Aipom was surprisingly useful in HGSS, being one of the few Gen 4 evos NOT locked behind postgame / 7 gyms / terrible encounter rates / terrible movepool (hi Yanma). Anyway, I found out by looking at old stuff you can actually Tickle Jasmine's Steelix 4 times to render its inaccurate offense a non-issue, then Dig for the OHKO.

What I recommend MORE in HGSS is that traded Machop, Muscle. On the surface, you'd think it's only good for Whitney, but it has some difficult, but awesome tech if you look closely. HGSS is one of the games that straight up gives you Choice Scarf after you save enough money with your in-game mom. Muscle is guaranteed to have Guts. You can get the Facade TM by soft-resetting the Goldenrod Department raffle on Fridays. Poison Machamp before a battle, give it Choice Scarf, now watch as your effectively 80+ Speed Machamp tears through the competition with a buffed up Facade (best achieved via Route 35 Poison Point Nidoran of either gender). Pretty hilarious.


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I used a Topsy-Turvy Malamar in my UM team just to make Ultra Necrozma eat all the shit. And I'm sure I'm not the only one, but still, it was fun to curbstomp one of the toughest bosses in the series with one status move. =P
Haha, that's awesome. I used Topsy-Turvy on Totem Ribombee instead. Fighting a Ribombee with -2 in every stat isn't particularly difficult.

But Ultra Necrozma is a fun one to try cheesy methods on. In my last playthrough, I brought five freshly caught Pyukumuku to that battle. Needless to say, the demon angel monster didn't stand a single chance.
Thunder Wave+Electro Ball, it deals an insane amount of damage and Electro Ball is easily obtainable in many Electric Pokemon like Magnemite. This has been nerfed in upcoming generations, with paralysis not reducing speed like it used to, Electric types being inmune to PRZ, etc.
Thunder Wave+Electro Ball, it deals an insane amount of damage and Electro Ball is easily obtainable in many Electric Pokemon like Magnemite. This has been nerfed in upcoming generations, with paralysis not reducing speed like it used to, Electric types being inmune to PRZ, etc.
similarly, curse + gyro ball is also really strong. It's what makes Ferrothorn into an unstoppable force.

The Mind Electric

Calming if you look at it right.
Thunder Wave+Electro Ball, it deals an insane amount of damage and Electro Ball is easily obtainable in many Electric Pokemon like Magnemite. This has been nerfed in upcoming generations, with paralysis not reducing speed like it used to, Electric types being inmune to PRZ, etc.
This was great fun to abuse in White 2 with Magnezone. I eventually switched to Thunderbolt spam just so I didn't need to use a turn on Thunder Wave every time, but it's a great combo, and convenient because you're going to want Thunder Wave for an in-game playthrough anyway.
Thunder Wave+Electro Ball, it deals an insane amount of damage and Electro Ball is easily obtainable in many Electric Pokemon like Magnemite. This has been nerfed in upcoming generations, with paralysis not reducing speed like it used to, Electric types being inmune to PRZ, etc.
I've done similar. There's a lot of electric types with agility that are naturally speedy. It's not hard to get one turn to set up, Agility+Electro Ball, sweep. Raichu in Alola with all their slow mons is a perfect example.
The DPPt tier list thread reminded me of one of my favorite Plat strats that I see as "big brained" to a certain degree. I wrote about it here, but using my Glaceon against Candice's notoriously annoying Froslass accomplished two things:

1. My Glaceon's Blizzard could abuse 100% accuracy in the hail, bypassing Froslass's evasive maneuvers. And trust me, even a resisted Blizzard from Glaceon punches serious holes, especially if you decide to equip Choice Specs.
2. Now Froslass has to deal with my own Snow Cloak, turning the tables on it.

This battle always felt almost anime-esque to me. I had been lugging around an Eevee this whole time and now finally got to unleash its true potential against the Ice Gym leader's ace. And this strat never felt shoe-horned to me since the alternative would be attempting to hit a Froslass in hail with +3 or 4 evasion, which might as well be complete dumb luck.

The way I fight this battle is kind of like beating Koloktos in Skyward Sword with its own sword. Now THAT boss fight is one of the best in its series. But I digress...

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