Gen 2 Paralysis and Screens


World's Strongest Fairy
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Paralysis and Screens are two things everyone pays lip-service to when talking about offensive mons in GSC. How many times have you heard "Charizard is great with Screen support" or "Marowak absolutely wrecks with paralysis support"? But, nobody really uses screens or dedicated paralysis moves all that often. It's not to say that they aren't useful moves, but still, for how necessary they seem to be for a lot of mons, you'd expect more use out of the strategy. Instead, the most common form of paralysis spread is bundled as a "bonus" into STAB damaging moves (i.e., Thunder, Body Slam), and Screens just aren't used very often at all outside of the odd MonoKou, and even then, Reflect is typically used more to fortify defenses against Snorlax rather than set up an offensive push.

This is indicative of one thing, really: focusing on Screens and dedicated paralysis moves to set something up is probably not an optimal strategy. These setup moves get poor distribution (most things only really have Toxic as a pure status move); most mons that get these moves generally have other things they want to be doing (Sleep Powder on Egg, Sleep Talk on Zapdos, Psychic to help Starmie beat things it should be beating); and most Pokemon that like these moves for support have critical failings preventing them from being consistently useful (e.g., Marowak, Machamp). Screens also run out of time in just 5 turns, whereas paralysis gets shaken off by Rest, so these moves are short-lived and either shoehorn you into a tight window for action, or require you to keep spending turns not only setting them, but switching in the Pokemon that use them.

Basically, screens and paralysis are difficult to abuse in any sort of meaningful way. Trying to set these up for some sort of sweep or wallbreaking spree will typically leave you with inconsistent results. This isn't to say that Screens and Twave should be avoided in their own right, but you should kind of just use them for their own sake and try to find moments to be opportunistic, rather than trying hard to incorporate them into your team or trying to make them an integral part of your core strategy.


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The sayings that "x likes para support" and "y likes screen support" are so trivial because literally everything enjoys those supports after all. I agree with you onto the screens thing because those are really hard to abuse and the things that usually capitalize off screens (drumlax etc) can win you games without screens too. Whenever you set up screens you also give your opponent the indication that you want to do something specific in the next few turns like setting up, so you won't catch anyone on surprise with that. I'm not saying screens are bad, because they can and will very often make the difference.
Paralysis is actually a stupidly strong status, even outside of the paralyze-fast-things-for-marowak shenanigans. Paralysis adds huge pressure onto many mons. Yea, it can get rested off, but that is also something you can capitalize off. Forcing that Raikou/suicune/lax/whatever to rest earlier can give you setup opportunities. And things that lack Rest do not appreciate a paralysis at all. A paralyzed Starmie is near to useless, a paralyzed Nidoking won't sweep anything and so on. On top of that the 25% chance to get a basically free turn is very often worth it putting paralysis on something. Stun Spore on Eggy is great, but only if you have a reliable sleep move on something else like lovely kiss on lax for example, otherwise you are better off using sleep powder, Thunder on Zapdos isn't used for the paralysis chance, but getting a lucky para onto something never hurts, Twave on Zapdos is pretty bad yea. Body Slam can actually be considered a paralysis move. I mean you do only use it for the 30% chance, otherwise you should use the increased power of Frustration/Return or even Double-Edge which give you crucial damage differences. Twave on Starmie is good. First of all you should always be using psychic on starmie, i think it's alot more important than surf. Hitting that gengar is very often crucial, actually hitting that machamp is one of Starmies main purposes, etc. Starmie is also guaranteed to get a para onto something, because how often have you thought to switch a ground type into a starmie? Reliably paralyzes Snorlax, Suicune, opposing Starmie, electrics, Exeggutors, Ttars, Umbreons, etc. Crucual status on things that actually hinder a Marowak or Bellyzard sweep. Huge drawback is that you become Ttar weak without surf and things like Steelix can't be killed. Starmie does have a big 4mss. Then there is the odd twave users like support Porygon2, Slowbro, Jumpluff, etc. Niche Pokemon but they can put it some work.
Starmie doesn't specifically need Surf to avoid dying horribly to Ttar, but if you don't have Surf you need Light Screen which still doesn't solve the 4MSS.

Leech Seed Egg is a paralysis spreader that is actually good. Annoying as hell since it can actually stand up to CurseLax and RestTalk Zapdos - the main two things saying "No" to any status strategy - and therefore can actually meaningfully paralyse things. Heal Bell's still a bitch though (until you drain its PP - not hard with Stun Spore's big fat 48 PP).

Not everything appreciates para or screen support; Zapdos, for instance, doesn't really care about para since its two main counters always Rest and sometimes Talk, and screen support doesn't allow it to slug it out with them much better since they largely beat it by ignoring its attacks rather than by killing it first. Spikes is the thing everything appreciates (well, except Heracross I guess - part of the problem with Heracross is precisely that it's so hard to support since Skarmory resists Explosion, Zapdos ignores para/sleep and they both ignore Spikes and Toxic).
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I think they'd be used more if they were easier to fit on the bulky and support mons. But Zapdos has a hard time giving up Restalk to use Screens, or T-Wave for that matter (although I used three-attack T-Wave for years), because that kills its ability to be a sleep absorber and generally unkillable "thing" that kills everything back except Snorlax/Raikou. Sleep Powder is generally better than Stun Spore on Eggy because sleep is more powerful and much more exclusive -- almost everything can learn one of T-Wave, Thunder or Body Slam to induce PAR -- while Leech Seed is just a better secondary support move.

So you mostly just see them on Starmie, Blissey, Porygon2; supports that aren't as interested in directly killing things, as they don't have much offensive presence anyway, and learn recovery moves, so they have a free moveslot where Rest users would have Sleep Talk. (Or, like Forretress, you see it in place of Sleep Talk on Rest users being backed by Heal Bell.) Starmie sometimes goes single STAB with Reflect but Rapid Spin is already taking up one support moveslot, so it often doesn't. You might see Reflect or T-Wave on Blissey much more if they weren't illegal with Heal Bell but, unfortunately, they are. Then, of course, they have to learn the moves in the first place. Do-nothing mons I don't like such as Suicune, Umbreon, Skarmory, could be much better if they learned T-Wave or screens.

Screens also run into the logistical problem, Light Screen Blissey most notably, that if you're putting up a screen opposite the type of counters your user tends to encourage bringing in, you have a pretty limited timeframe to abuse them. (Gotta chase Snorlax out before bringing in Mr. Marowak to abuse that LS, so you have maybe a two-turn window to work with.) Paralysis is still great though, it's just simpler and saves a moveslot to focus on the PAR STAB attacks where available. If P2 learned Body Slam, I'd be all over that over being forced to use both T-Wave and Return/DE.
Paralysis puts a lot of pressure to the paralyzed mon. It's not only the speed drop that matters, although that's the main purpose of spreading paralysis. It happened to me, more times than not, having a paralyzed mon with Rest and getting a full para on the turn I was going to use it and be forced to switch to prevent it from being KO'd.

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