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Golduck is a premier rain sweeper in ZU, using its good power and speed in conjunction with its excellent coverage to blow away offensive and defensive teams alike. Its Speed is bolstered to incredible levels when rain is up, letting it outspeed every common Choice Scarf user in the tier. Because of this, it can even afford to run a Modest nature, which bolsters its already good Special Attack even further. Golduck also sports a very good movepool that allows it to break through several typical checks to Water-types, such as Mareanie, with little issue by running coverage moves such as Synchronoise. Unfortunately, Golduck is heavily reliant on rain to do its job, as it is much less powerful when it is not raining and is easily revenge killed. It faces pretty stiff competition from other, less restrictive Water-types such as Simipour and Swanna when used outside of full rain teams. It is also annoyed by dedicated special walls such as Lickilicky, which can stand up to it despite its power. Golduck is also very vulnerable to residual damage, as Life Orb recoil in addition to taking damage from all entry hazards often leaves it being chipped down into the damage range of priority moves.
name: Rain Sweeper
move 1: Rain Dance
move 2: Hydro Pump
move 3: Ice Beam
move 4: Synchronoise
item: Life Orb / Waterium Z
ability: Swift Swim
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Rain Dance allows Golduck to set up rain for itself and act as emergency rain support for its teammates on dedicated rain teams. Ice Beam provides valuable coverage against Grass-types that resist Hydro Pump, OHKOing Leafeon and having upwards of an 85% chance to OHKO Exeggutor if Stealth Rock is up. Synchronoise allows Golduck to muscle through Poliwrath and Mareanie, which would be good checks otherwise. It also provides decent chip damage against Silvally-Water. Focus Blast is an alternative option that hits targets such as Cradily and Lapras hard, but its targets are generally much less common in the metagame, and a rain-boosted Hydro Pump hits almost everything else harder.
Life Orb is the preferred item, as it cranks Golduck's power up and allows it to achieve greater damage with its coverage moves. For example, Life Orb-boosted Ice Beam will always KO Leafeon, while unboosted Ice Beam has a much lower chance of doing so. Exeggutor will also always survive an Ice Beam if it is not powered up by Life Orb. Waterium Z is an alternative option that gives Golduck a ludicrously powerful one-time nuke that improves its matchup against bulkier foes such as Dusclops and Assault Vest Kecleon while seriously denting most Pokemon and circumventing Hydro Pump's meager accuracy.
Golduck can be used as both a wallbreaker and a sweeper. Sets utilizing Waterium Z are adept at wallbreaking, while Life Orb sets are better suited for sweeping, but both sets are capable of doing either should the situation arise. Rain Dance should be used on Pokemon that Golduck forces out, such as Camerupt and Altaria, in order to avoid unnecessary chip damage onto Golduck. Golduck's checks need to be weakened before a sweep is attempted, as most of ZU's special walls can stall Golduck out while forcing it to take chip damage from Life Orb recoil. Golduck has a tendency to fall into the damage range of priority moves coming from users such as Kecleon and Purugly if it has taken too much prior chip damage. It is also frail and should not be switched into any attacks if at all possible. Bringing it in via a slow U-turn or Volt Switch avoids such a scenario. Golduck also despises status, as it is crippled by both paralysis and Toxic, so play carefully when Pokemon that can inflict these, such as Lickilicky, Bronzor, and Dusclops, are on the field.
Golduck is a natural fit on full rain teams thanks to the sweeping and breaking power it provides them. Thus, rain setters are mandatory teammates on such a team. Volbeat works incredibly well on rain teams, as it can set up rain while also giving Golduck easy points of entry thanks to its slow U-turn and its ability to lock foes into unfavorable moves with Encore. Electrode is an alternate option that can bring Golduck and its teammates in using Volt Switch while also annoying opposing walls with Taunt. Entry hazard support is highly recommended when using Golduck, as it really appreciates the extra chip damage when attempting to sweep through teams. Relicanth is a great choice for rain teams looking to set up Stealth Rock, as it has access to both Rain Dance and Stealth Rock while also being able to do some serious damage with Head Smash, as well as potentially allowing Golduck to switch in for free by KOing itself with recoil damage. Golduck appreciates teammates with some physical wallbreaking power to take down checks such as Lickilicky and Servine. Poliwrath and Beartic are both rain sweepers that can smash through Lickilicky with little issue while also threatening Grass-types thanks to their Ice-type coverage. Swanna is another option that can effectively cleave through Grass-types while also using Roost to keep itself healthy throughout the match. While Golduck is usually found on full rain teams, it can also function as a cleaner on standard offensive teams. Teams that utilize Golduck in this fashion need to have ways to chip down Golduck's checks and prepare the battlefield for it to clean late-game. Knock Off users can be used to annoy bulkier Pokemon such as Lickilicky and Kecleon while also removing Eviolite from threats such as Dusclops. Pivots such as Electivire and Komala can bring Golduck in safely against something that does not immediately threaten it, which is imperative, as Golduck will need to set up rain for itself. Crippling these Pokemon with status from the likes of Bronzor and Altaria is an option as well. Mixed Simisage is an exemplary partner, as it can utilize Knock Off while also threatening several Water-types that Golduck struggles with, such as Silvally-Water and Pyukumuku. Hazard removal is highly recommended, as Golduck wants to be as healthy as possible before it attempts a sweep. As such, Rapid Spin or Defog support from a teammate such as Komala or Silvally-Dragon is very nice.
Choice Specs can be used to give Golduck some serious power behind Hydro Pump and allows it to pick up some OHKOs with Ice Beam that it would not normally be able to achieve. However, this is not generally recommended; Choice Specs Golduck can be easily played around by teams with a dedicated special wall. It also requires immaculate prediction to work around Pokemon that resist Water-type moves. In addition, it is largely outclassed by Floatzel, which can utilize Switcheroo to cripple common switch-ins while also being faster. Calm Mind can be used to improve Golduck's matchup against bulkier teams while allowing it to break through some of its common defensive checks. Golduck has issues finding a time to set up, however, and it can't afford to drop any of its usual moves.
Checks and Counters
**Specially Bulky Pokemon**: Many of the tier's specially bulky Pokemon can handle Golduck. Lickilicky is a hugely irritating Pokemon for Golduck to deal with. While it fails to safely switch in, once it is in, it is one of Golduck's best checks, being able to stall out rain turns using Protect and Wish while threatening to badly poison Golduck with Toxic. Assault Vest Kecleon and Cradily do well against the standard Life Orb set, although Kecleon is heavily damaged by Hydro Vortex, and Cradily must watch out for the rare Focus Blast.
**Grass-types**: Many of the tier's Grass-types can tank one Ice Beam and OHKO Golduck in return with their STAB moves. Servine, Bellossom, and Shiinotic can all take an Ice Beam and either cripple or take out Golduck.
**Water-types**: Silvally-Water is never 2HKOed by Hydro Pump without Stealth Rock damage, and variants with Thunderbolt threaten to 2HKO in return. Pyukumuku can also stall out rain turns with Recover before threatening to poison or trap Golduck, depending on the variant. Floatzel can't confidently switch in, but Swift Swim variants outrun Golduck and can revenge kill it after some chip damage.
**Residual Damage**: Life Orb recoil and a vulnerability to entry hazards mean that Golduck gets chipped down pretty easily. This can put it in range of priority moves users such as Pawniard, Kecleon, and Purugly, although they need significant chip beforehand to take it out entirely.
- Written by: [[SputnikGT, 475916]]
- Quality checked by: [[5gen, 296755], [Ho3nConfirm3d, 231074], [uhuhuhu7, 407249]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216], [Estronic, 240732]]