Are there any Pokémon you wish were better offensively, but most of their good moves run off their lower attacking stat? Well, wish no more! In Category Swap, all physical moves are special, and all special moves are physical. Stats still work the same; for example, Salazzle’s Nasty Plot still boosts its base 111 special attack, but now it’s better at using Flare Blitz than Fire Blast.
Clauses: Species Clause, Sleep Clause Mod, Evasion Clause, OHKO Clause, Endless Battle Clause, Dynamax Clause
Pokemon: Calyrex-Ice, Calyrex-Shadow, Darmanitan-Galar, Dialga, Dracovish, Dragapult, Eternatus, Genesect, Giratina, Giratina-Origin, Groudon, Ho-Oh, Kyogre, Kyurem, Kyurem-Black, Kyurem-White, Landorus-Incarnate, Lugia, Lunala, Magearna, Mewtwo, Necrozma-DM, Necrozma-DW, Nidoking, Palkia, Pheromosa, Rayquaza, Reshiram, Slurpuff, Solgaleo, Xerneas, Yveltal, Zacian, Zacian-Crowned, Zamazenta, Zamazenta-Crowned, Zekrom
Abilities: Power Construct, Arena Trap, Shadow Tag, Moody
Moves: Baton Pass, Draco Meteor, Overheat
Items: King's Rock
A lot of Pokémon gain coverage options, or can finally take advantage of their STAB… while others lose them.
- Physical Electric-types can use the more-reliable Thunderbolt in lieu of Wild Charge.
- Some older Pokémon learn a ton of special moves despite not having the stats to back them up, but now they can use them.
- On the flip side, some special attackers learn a surprising variety of physical moves.
- Physical Boomburst.
- It’s not just offensive Pokémon that benefit from this! Ferrothorn can heal itself with Giga Drain from a 94 base attack. It also resists both of Tapu Koko’s STABs.
- Huge Power-boosted Hydro Pump and Ice Beam are nice, but it doesn’t have a reliable Fairy STAB now.
- Some physical attackers hardly learn any special moves…
- …And some special attackers hardly learn any physical moves.
- It learns a grand total of three special moves over 60 base power, and with 63 base special attack, it won't be able to use its physical movepool well either.
- Since all of Naganadel's Fire-type moves are special, it no longer has a reliable way to deal with Steel-types in this meta.
- Thousand Arrows is much less threatening when it comes off base 81 special attack, but it's still workable with Choice Specs; see the damage calculations below.
- Phantom Force isn't very reliable, and that's its only physical Ghost move.
- There are a grand total of three special Rock-type moves, one of which has 60 base power, one of which is rare, and one of which takes two turns. Basically every physical attacker that relies on Rock is screwed over.
- On the flip side, there are only two physical Fairy moves, one of which is a signature move, so any special-attacking Fairy-types are screwed. Even Sylveon has to rely on Pixilate-boosted Last Resort, which is a nuke, but also stopped dead in its tracks by any Steel-type.
- Its only non-STAB, non-Normal special move is Grass Knot, and even its special STABs are weaker than its physical ones; however, Ghost and Fighting are perfect neutral coverage in Sword and Shield. Additionally, its base 90 special attack is workable, and it learns Calm Mind.
- It's a slightly weaker version of Nidoking, which was banned for being too centralising.
- It has a powerful Fighting STAB in the form of Close Combat as well as access to pivoting and priority. Its main check, Dragapult, has been banned.
- Basically anything that learns Dragon Dance and Hurricane is virtually unstoppable once it gets a few boosts up, especially with rain support.
Ferrothorn @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 228 Def / 24 SpD
- Body Press
- Stealth Rock
- Giga Drain
- Leech Seed
Ferrothorn can do the same things that it does in OU, but now it can actively heal itself with Giga Drain. Knock Off unfortunately runs off its base 54 special attack now, but its utility could still be useful. Iron Barbs + Rocky Helmet can also punish special attackers that rely on the Elemental Punches, such as...
Reuniclus @ Life Orb
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Calm Mind
- Zen Headbutt
- Fire Punch
- Gyro Ball
At level 100, Reuniclus' maximum special attack is 383, and its minimum speed is 58. A Gyro Ball coming off that has got to hurt. Fire Punch is again to deal with Steel-types.
Thundurus (M) @ Heavy-Duty Boots
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
- Volt Switch
- Grass Knot
Thundurus can make use of Defiant by turning its diverse special movepool into a diverse physical movepool, and it punishes defoggers, too. Unfortunately, it still has no Flying STAB.
Gyarados @ Heavy-Duty Boots
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
- Hydro Pump
- Thunderbolt / Thunder
- Dragon Dance
Hydro Pump is much stronger than Waterfall, and Hurricane is slightly more reliable than Bounce. Use Thunder if you have rain support; use Thunderbolt otherwise.
- 252 Atk Life Orb Electivire Flamethrower (physical) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Ferrothorn: 291-348 (82.6 - 98.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
- 252 Atk Life Orb Tapu Koko Dazzling Gleam (physical) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Reuniclus: 199-234 (46.9 - 55.1%) -- 68% chance to 2HKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Reuniclus Gyro Ball (128 BP, special) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 246-290 (87.5 - 103.2%) -- 25% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Life Orb Reuniclus Fire Punch (special) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Ferrothorn: 296-354 (84 - 100.5%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Zygarde Thousand Arrows vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Toxapex: 200-236 (65.7 - 77.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery
- 252+ SpA Choice Specs Zygarde Thousand Arrows vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Skarmory: 160-189 (47.9 - 56.5%) -- 33.2% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Do Body Press and Foul Play work the same as usual?
Body Press does, because it substitutes the user's attacking stat for its defense, but Foul Play now uses the target's special attack.
What about Psyshock?
Psyshock would still calculate damage based on the target’s defense, so there’s no point in using it over any other special-now-physical Psychic move.
What triggers Counter and Mirror Coat?
Those moves check if the opponent used a move tagged as physical or special. Since all damaging moves’ tags are swapped around in this meta, Counter would reflect special-now-physical moves, while Mirror Coat would reflect physical-now-special moves.
Which moves make contact?
Whether a move makes contact or not is independent of whether it's physical or special, so moves that make contact under normal circumstances will still do so here. However, since most contact moves are physical, this means that Rocky Helmet will punish special attackers more in this meta.
What about burn and confusion?
Burn halves the power of moves that are now physical, while confusion damage is still physical.
Playability: This format is playable on Trash Channel and ROM, and was the Leader's Choice on the main Showdown server for August 2022.
- 2/Jun/2022: Leaf Storm and Superpower removed from the banlist. Grass is a poor attacking type, and Superpower is learned by few special attackers, not to mention that the defense drop is unmitigated.
- 3/Aug/2022: Nidoking, Magearna, and Dragapult banned.
- 20/Aug/2022: Slurpuff banned.