Bouffalant's ability Sap Sipper, along with its good all-around bulk, helps it stand out among other Normal-types and makes it a great offensive switch-in to Grass-types such as Lilligant and Tangela. Bouffalant also gets access to a boosting move in Swords Dance. In terms of breaking down balance teams mid-game, Bouffalant is one of the best Pokemon for the job, thanks to its ability to set up on a plethora of Pokemon or 2HKO most of the tier, depending on which set it runs. Bouffalant is also a decent user of Pursuit, switching into and trapping the likes of Rotom and Mismagius that lack Will-O-Wisp as well as Haunter, Musharna, and Xatu. Though Bouffalant has many positive traits, it receives competition from other Normal-types such as Tauros, Zangoose, Kangaskhan, and Swellow, which have either more immediate power, higher Speed, or both. Its typing leaves it with only one immunity and a weakness to common Fighting-type moves; its general lack of resistances also undermines its good bulk. Additionally, Bouffalant still has trouble breaking through the likes of Gourgeist, Rhydon, and Regirock. In addition to status effects and entry hazards, Bouffalant is usually going to have to take a hit before it can attack because of its low Speed. It also gets worn down quickly by recoil from Head Charge, though this is somewhat mitigated by its solid HP stat.
name: Swords Dance
move 1: Swords Dance
move 2: Return
move 3: Earthquake
move 4: Substitute
ability: Sap Sipper
evs: 120 HP / 252 Atk / 136 Spe
Swords Dance doubles Bouffalant's Attack in one turn, giving it the power it needs to sweep through more defensive teams. Return is the STAB move of choice, hitting for a solid 102 Base Power with no drawbacks. Earthquake is useful to hit Rock- and Steel-types such as Rhydon and Klinklang with, as well as being able to hit Garbodor without activating Rocky Helmet or Aftermath. Substitute allows Bouffalant to avoid status moves, which gives it more setup opportunities, as well as avoid being revenge killed. Stone Edge can be used in the last slot if you want Bouffalant to be able to touch Mismagius and Rotom. Megahorn is also a decent option to hit bulky Grass- and Psychic-types such as Cradily and Malamar harder. Pursuit can be used over Substitute to let Bouffalant take care of Ghost-types by itself.
The given EV spread and an Adamant nature allow Bouffalant to hit as hard as possible and outspeed Lanturn and Adamant Rhydon, as well as ensure that Prinplup can't break Bouffalant's Substitute with Scald. More EVs can be invested into Speed in order to outrun certain threats; for example, 148 EVs in Speed allow Bouffalant to outrun Malamar, while 216 EVs in Speed allow Bouffalant to get the jump on maximum Speed Adamant Mawile. Leftovers allows Bouffalant to recover damage taken from Substitute as well as negating Head Charge recoil. Lum Berry is an option to shield Bouffalant from status effects such as burn and paralysis. Lum Berry especially helps out if Bouffalant is running Pursuit, as it gives it some insurance against Ghost-types that might be carrying Will-O-Wisp. Sap Sipper is the preferred ability, as it gives Bouffalant more setup opportunities against Grass-types such as Vileplume, Lilligant, and Tangela.
This set does well against bulkier teams, as they generally give Bouffalant more setup opportunities. Examples of Pokemon it can set up on include Ferroseed, Prinplup, Mega Audino, and Tangela. This set's main use is as a mid- or late-game sweeper, but it can also be used to break down walls for another Pokemon such as Scyther. Substitute should be used on slower Pokemon that commonly run status moves or against Pokemon that cannot do much in return. Obviously, Bouffalant serves as a great check to Grass-type Pokemon, so one should make sure to take full advantage of this ability. Try to generate free switches when facing offensive teams, as Bouffalant doesn't like taking extra damage when switching in on powerful attacks. A couple ways to do this are by using U-turn and Volt Switch users such as Scyther and Lanturn and by using a Baton Pass user such as Musharna.
Pursuit support from the likes of Skuntank and Liepard is greatly appreciated, as this set can't touch Mismagius, Haunter, and Rotom. Pyroar, Sawk, Gurdurr, and Poliwrath can weaken or KO most Steel-types, making them good partners for Bouffalant. Bouffalant enjoys being paired with other setup sweepers such as Ludicolo, Shiftry, and Scyther, which can work with Bouffalant to wear down each other's checks in preparation for a sweep. These Pokemon can also cover Bouffalant against faster offensive teams. Water-types such as Samurott, Floatzel, Poliwrath, and Ludicolo can deal with the Rock-types that wall Bouffalant, namely Regirock and Rhydon. Ground-type Pokemon such as Rhydon, Torterra, Golurk, and Sandslash appreciate Bouffalant's ability to switch freely into Grass-types; in return, they can threaten Rock- and Steel-types as well as set up Stealth Rock. They also work with Bouffalant to essentially shut down Choiced Rotom through the combination of their typings.
name: Choice Band
move 1: Head Charge
move 2: Earthquake
move 3: Pursuit
move 4: Megahorn / Stone Edge
item: Choice Band
ability: Sap Sipper
evs: 108 HP / 252 Atk / 148 Spe
Head Charge is Bouffalant's most powerful STAB move and destroys everything in its path, OHKOing most offensive Pokemon and even 2HKOing some defensive ones. Earthquake provides key coverage on Rock- and Steel-types, as well as hitting Garbodor without activating Rocky Helmet or Aftermath. Pursuit allows Bouffalant to trap Ghost- and Psychic-types such as Rotom, Mismagius, Haunter, Musharna, Mesprit, and Xatu as long as they do not carry Will-O-Wisp or don't outslow it and carry Baton Pass or U-turn. In the last slot, Megahorn is the preferred option, destroying Cradily as well as bulky Psychic-types such as Musharna, Mesprit, and Malamar. Alternatively, Stone Edge hits Ghost-types on the switch or hits the foe hard if it stays in on Bouffalant. Return can be used in place of Head Charge, as it is still reasonably powerful and doesn't come with the unfortunate side effect of recoil damage. Facade could be used instead of Pursuit or Megahorn, as it allows Bouffalant to switch into Scald users more safely and take advantage of being statused.
Maximum investment in Attack along with an Adamant nature and a Choice Band gives Bouffalant a frightening amount of power behind its attacks. The Speed EVs allow Bouffalant to outspeed Malamar and KO it with Megahorn, even when it has +3 Defense. Alternatively, 216 EVs can be invested into Speed to outpace maximum Speed Adamant Mawile; however, this leaves Bouffalant a bit shortchanged on bulk. If you decide to use Bouffalant on a Trick Room team, Bouffalant should run a Brave nature, invest in HP rather than Speed, and reduce its Speed IV to 0. Sap Sipper lets Bouffalant switch in on Grass-type moves while gaining an additional Attack boost in the process. Reckless can be used to power up Head Charge even further, though this leaves Bouffalant with fewer opportunities to switch in, as it forgoes Sap Sipper in order to do so.
This set aims to break through the opposing team using immediate, brute power. Head Charge is easily Bouffalant's most spammable move, so it'll be using it most of the time. The other moves mostly just provide coverage against Pokemon that can take a Head Charge. Be sure to make full use of Sap Sipper to switch in on Grass-types such as Tangela, Vileplume, and Lilligant; in particular, Bouffalant can act as a sleep absorber for its team, being able to switch into Sleep Powders left and right. Bouffalant should utilize its Ghost immunity to switch into Ghost-types that commonly carry a Choice Scarf, such as Rotom and Haunter, and trap them with Pursuit. Conversely, if the opponent is carrying a Ghost-type Pokemon, try to scout with Bouffalant's teammates to make sure they aren't carrying Will-O-Wisp before trapping them Pursuit, as Bouffalant doesn't appreciate getting burned.
Water-types such as Samurott, Floatzel, Poliwrath, and Ludicolo pair well with Bouffalant, as they can deal with Regirock and Rhydon. Pyroar, Sawk, Gurdurr, and Poliwrath make for good partners, as they can weaken or KO most Steel-types for Bouffalant. Ground-types such as Torterra, Rhydon, Golurk, and Sandslash appreciate Bouffalant's ability to switch into Grass-types, and in return, they can threaten Rock- and Steel-types as well as set up Stealth Rock. Slow pivots such as Lanturn and Musharna are a good idea, being able to bring Bouffalant in safely if there is not a Grass-type on the opposing team. Conversely, Pokemon such as Carracosta, Rhydon, and Quagsire can lure in Grass-types for Bouffalant to switch into. Carracosta and Shiftry also appreciate Bouffalant's ability to deal with Tangela, Vileplume, and Cradily, as it aids them in being able to sweep the opponent's team later. Sweepers and faster Pokemon in general pair well with Bouffalant due to this set's wallbreaking potential. Some examples include Shiftry, Sawk, Scyther, Samurott, and Archeops. This set works surprisingly well on a Trick Room team thanks to Bouffalant's good bulk and low Speed stat. Pokemon such as Xatu, Mesprit, Musharna, and Granbull can deal with Fighting-types and should always be paired with Bouffalant. Mesprit in particular can use Healing Wish to bring Bouffalant back to full health.
Assault Vest takes advantage of Bouffalant's ability Sap Sipper and decent bulk, turning it into a good switch-in to common special attackers such as Rotom, Lilligant, and Pyroar, as well as allowing it to take weaker special attacks better. However, Bouffalant loses a lot of power without a boosting item or move. Taunt shuts down opposing walls and could be used on the Swords Dance set, although Substitute already protects Bouffalant from status moves. It does shut down Quagsire, though, rendering it unable to recover its health or use Toxic. Soundproof could be used to take moves such as Bug Buzz and Boomburst, as well as Pyroar's Hyper Voice, but these attacks are not very common in the NU tier, and Bouffalant generally prefers the utility of Sap Sipper or the extra power of Reckless. Superpower hits Rock- and Steel-types harder than Earthquake, as well as notably hitting Ferroseed and Cradily super effectively in one move, but Earthquake already provides good enough coverage and Bouffalant doesn't like the stat drops that come from using the move. Toxic is nice to cripple physical walls such as Quagsire and Rhydon on the switch, opening the door for Bouffalant or a teammate to clean up later. Payback is a decent option on the Choice Band set, being able to smack Ghost-types that are fearing a Pursuit and decide to stay in on Bouffalant.
Checks and Counters
**Offensive Ghost-types*: Offensive Ghost-types such as Haunter and Rotom are immune to Bouffalant's STAB moves and can burn it with Will-O-Wisp or wear it down with their secondary STAB moves. However, they must watch out for Pursuit, especially from the Choice Band set.
**Gourgeist**: Gourgeist is immune to Bouffalant's STAB types and takes little from its other moves while being able to either recover its health, cripple Bouffalant with Will-O-Wisp, or wear it down with Foul Play.
**Fighting-types**: Fighting-types such as Sawk, Primeape, and Hitmonchan can easily OHKO Bouffalant with their STAB moves, making them good offensive checks. Gurdurr can also 2HKO Bouffalant with a Drain Punch followed by a Mach Punch. Sawk and Primeape should be careful against a Bouffalant with a Substitute up, as Close Combat's defense drops will leave them open to an OHKO. Gurdurr's bulk allows it to switch into Bouffalant a bit more easily than other Fighting-types, though it still gets 2HKOed by a Choice Band-boosted Head Charge.
**Quagsire**: Quagsire completely shuts down the Swords Dance set thanks to its ability Unaware, being able to heal off damage and eventually KO Bouffalant with repeated hits. It does, however, get 2HKOed by a Choice Band-boosted Head Charge.
**Rock- and Steel-types**: Rock- and Steel-type Pokemon such as Regirock, Carracosta, Cradily, Rhydon, and Ferroseed are great checks to the Choice Band set, even stomaching Earthquake pretty well thanks to their great physical bulk. However, all but the first are setup bait for the Swords Dance set.
**Strong Offensive Pokemon**: Bouffalant isn't particularly fast, so Pokemon such as Zangoose, Sawk, Tauros, and Magmortar can outspeed it and overwhelm it with their STAB moves.