Smeargle (Analysis)

Limewire

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[Overview]

<p>Smeargle is one of the most curious and interesting Pokemon in UU. At first sight, its abysmal stats may make you wonder why anyone would ever use Smeargle. That question is answered by Smeargle's ability to learn literally any move in the game, which gives it a plethora of options and makes it incredibly difficult to counter. With a little skill, it can catch opponents completely by surprise. However, with miniscule Attack and Special Attack stats, Smeargle is often limited to using passive, non-attacking moves, leaving it vulnerable to Taunt. With its horrible defensive stats, almost any attack can OHKO or 2HKO Smeargle, and it won't be outspeeding much of the metagame either. At times, you may even wonder if you started the match with a score of 6-5! Despite this, by playing carefully and intelligently, Smeargle can become a blessing for your team.</p>

[SET]
name: Baton Pass
move 1: Shell Smash / Quiver Dance / Shift Gear
move 2: Baton Pass
move 3: Spore
move 4: Substitute / Ingrain
item: White Herb / Focus Sash
ability: Own Tempo
nature: Jolly
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe

[Set Comments]

<p>Despite its horrible stats, Smeargle's ability to learn every single boosting move in the game makes it a great user of Baton Pass. The most dangerous boosting move on this set is Shell Smash, a godly move that doubles Smeargle's (and its recipient's) offensive stats and Speed. This is very useful to have on offensive teams, which can use the boosts to smash through the opponent's team. Shell Smash is also a great boon to mixed attackers, since they would otherwise require two boosting moves to increase both offensive stats. However, Shell Smash also lowers Smeargle's Defense and Special Defense stat by one stage, so it is forced to use White Herb to remedy this. Smeargle may choose to pass on Quiver Dance or Shift Gear instead; each move is more specialized towards special and physical attacks, respectively, but they do not have the drawback of Shell Smash's stat drops.</p>

<p>The real ace in the hole for this set, however, is Spore. Smeargle is the only Pokemon who can use both Baton Pass and a one-hundred percent accurate sleep move, which makes it very troublesome for opponents to deal with. Spore not only gives Smeargle time to set up, but also gives its receiver a major advantage and cripples the foe's team. Substitute is recommended on the last moveslot since it blocks troublesome status conditions and helps Smeargle to survive attacks. However, all Baton Pass teams fear moves such as Roar and Whirlwind, which completely removes all of Smeargle's and its reciever's boosts. Ingrain will prevent this nightmare from happening, but keep in mind that it will prevent you from manually switching Smeargle and its recipient out, so it may become a liability if you make a mistake during the match.</p>

[Additional Comments]

<p>Given Smeargle's poor stats, the only investment that matters is Speed. Since all of the moves listed on the first moveslot increase the user's Speed, Smeargle can outspeed several Pokemon after a boost. With Shell Smash and Shift Gear, Smeargle hits 546 Speed, and with Quiver Dance, it reaches 410 Speed, outspeeding positively natured Pokemon with a base Speed of 130, notably Crobat and Aerodactyl. This means that Smeargle can Baton Pass the boosts before it is Taunted. The rest of the EVs are dumped into Defense to help Smeargle survive an attack, although the odds are against it.</p>

<p>In addition to the three boosting moves, there are more alternative moves that Smeargle could pass on. For example, special sweepers would greatly appreciate receiving a +3 boost in Special Attack from Tail Glow, while bulky physical attackers may enjoy the boosts received from Coil. For a more defensive route, Smeargle can pass Cosmic Power or Cotton Guard to recipients. On the fourth moveslot, Smeargle may wish to run Taunt in order to prevent Pokemon from phazing it out, or better yet, run Magic Coat to punish Pokemon who attempt to do so.</p>

<p>Toxic Spikes can be very detrimental to Smeargle and its reciever, so it is recommended to have either a Pokemon who can use Rapid Spin, such as Hitmontop or Donphan, or a grounded Poison-type, such as Roserade, Nidoqueen, or Nidoking. These Pokemon can also set up their own entry hazards to help the receiver sweep. Nidoking itself can act as a good receiver since it has a wide special movepool and its Sheer Force ability stops recoil from Life Orb. Fast Pokemon with Taunt, such as Aerodactyl, are very dangerous to Smeargle as they can completely shut it down. One way to combat them is by having Magic Bounce Xatu, who will bounce back Taunt (as well as entry hazards and other phazing moves) back at them. Smeargle itself can run Magic Coat to stop Taunt.</p>

[SET]
name: Spikes
move 1: Spikes
move 2: Spore
move 3: Magic Coat
move 4: Stealth Rock / Endeavor
item: Focus Sash
ability: Own Tempo
nature: Jolly
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe

[Set Comments]

<p>Despite being relatively slow, Smeargle's access to Spore makes it a reliable suicide spiker. This set is quite simple to use; simply send out Smeargle as your lead Pokemon, use Spore on the foe (Focus Sash should prevent Smeargle from becoming knocked out on the first turn) and proceed to set up as many layers of Spikes as possible. However, if another Pokemon uses Taunt or a status move on Smeargle, then Smeargle will almost always be forced to switch out. To remedy this, Magic Coat is listed to punish such Pokemon. Smeargle may also have time to set up additional hazards, such as Stealth Rock, as well. This reduces the need of having another Pokemon to set up Stealth Rock on your team, and with two different entry hazards on the foe's side, Smeargle's offensive teammates will have a field day. However, after using Spore and setting up a few layers of Spikes, Smeargle becomes a liability to your team. In order to maximize its usefulness, you may wish to use Endeavor over Stealth Rock on the fourth moveslot instead.</p>

[Additional Comments]

<p>Maximum Speed is used on this Smeargle to ensure that it can outspeed as many Pokemon as possible. Since this set is not carrying any offensive moves, it would be silly to invest EVs in Attack or Special Attack, so the remaining EVs go to Defense and HP. Do note that, although this set works great as a lead, it should never be brought out as a lead if you see that your opponent has either Abomasnow or Xatu on Team Preview. Abomasnow's ability to summon hail will render Smeargle's Focus Sash useless, while Xatu can easily reflect Smeargle's attacks back at it with Magic Bounce.</p>

<p>Spikes Smeargle can fit on just about any team, but it is best appreciated on heavy offense or bulky offense teams, who can net important OHKOs and 2HKOs with Spikes damage. However, this set must have a spinblocker to ensure that the foe does not use a Pokemon with Rapid Spin to eliminate your precious entry hazards. Golurk and Spiritomb are two very good options, as in addition to being bulky, the two can use their good offensive stats to threaten foes. If you wish to use an even bulkier spinblocker, then Eviolite Dusclops is your Pokemon. However, it must be noted that both Dusclops and Smeargle are completely shut down by Taunt. Smeargle also has a ton of alternate moves it can use on the fourth moveslot of this set. For example, you can run Toxic Spikes along with Spikes to destroy walls, Encore to prevent Smeargle from becoming set up bait, or Taunt to prevent Pokemon from phazing Smeargle out with Roar or Whirlwind.</p>

[Other Options]

<p>Smeargle can literally use any and all sets that you can think of. Unfortunately, its horrible stats prevent it from doing most of them effectively. All viable alternative moves that the Baton Pass and Spikes set could pull off are already listed under Additional Comments. Other Pokemon will often outclass Smeargle for the role of a certain set. For example, Smeargle could run a dual screen set, and while access to Spore gives it an advantage, Pokemon like Uxie and Cresselia have much more bulk, and therefore do the job better. You are free to experiment by coming up with your own sets, but the two sets listed above are usually the best way to go.</p>

[Checks and Counters]

<p>With its frail defenses, just about any Pokemon can OHKO or 2HKO Smeargle. However, almost every single Smeargle set you will encounter will use Spore, which can be detrimental to your team and is tricky to get around. One solution is to have a Pokemon who can use Taunt and is faster than Smeargle, such as Aerodactyl and Crobat. Taunt not only prevents Smeargle from using Spore, it also forces the painter out since it rarely carries an attacking move. Priority attacks can also screw Smeargle over. Hitmontop and Ambipom can destroy Smeargle's Focus Sash with Fake Out and then use a priority move for the kill. A more specialized solution would be to use Pokemon that do not mind Spore, such as RestTalkers or Pokemon with the Insomnia ability, such as Honchkrow. Otherwise, you need to sacrifice your least valuable Pokemon to take the sleep and then send out another teammate to knock out Smeargle. The Baton Pass set can be stopped by Pokemon who can use Haze, such as Crobat or Milotic. Quagsire's Unaware ability allows it to ignore the boost Smeargle passes to its recipient, and phaze them out with Yawn or Toxic.<p>
 

Limewire

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Alright, the skeleton is finished and ready for QC. I'm still not sure if I should add a Spiker set, though,
 

breh

強いだね
white herb for shell smash > leftovers+Shift Gear, at least IMO. Hell, the only thing you should really be passing in the first place is likely shell smash. Also hitmontop makes smeargle useless if it has already slept something.

Ability should be own tempo on all sets.
 
Focus Sash should almost always be the first option, regardless of Substitute.

Mention that he is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY vulnerable to revenge killing / priority.

Though it can't do any damage, and this should go into OO, but what about Night Shade, as it can't do anything else but automatic damage.

What about Cosmic Power?

A fun, but extremely risky set is Power Swap + Guard Swap, to screw over walls like Chansey and offensive Pokemon like Staraptor.

Mention Quagsire as a counter.

A gimmick set, but still effective:

TRSubSplit

Smeargle@Focus Sash
nature: (Any one with -Spe)
EVs: (Any, as long as there aint no Spe)
IVs: 0 Spe
move 1: Trick Room
move 2: Substitute / Recycle
move 3: Pain Split
move 4: Taunt

Thanks to Smeargle's horrible bulk, it can run a set consisting of Pain Split with Focus Sash.
 

Chou Toshio

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I agree that White Herb is probably the better item. Also, I'd say that Spore should be listed before ingrain. Ingrain is only really important for Baton Pass teams, but most of these will likely not need to rely on Smeargle's ingrain (with Espeon and Mr. Mime around), and have a need for bulkier members generally.
 
Add a spiker set. It's effective, as both sleep and spikes are game-changing. When I used Smeargle it was spore / spikes / magic coat / encore, but obviously there are a huge amount of available options.

I'm not sure how you can actually pass both an ingrain and a boosting move with Smeargle, especially without Spore. Slash Ingrain as the last move in the first slot and keep Spore as the primary option. Smeargle depends on sleep to pass boosts.
 

NatGeo

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Taunt should be somewhere on the set too. It stops a lot of phazers from using Roar, which has negative priority, leaving you a nice chance of Baton Passing out of there. Spore should also definitely be slashed over Ingrain. Smeargle won't be getting a pass out unless you have a sleep move. That is really most of what makes Smeargle unique.

Also Snunch is right, Smeargle can really use Spikes well especially with Spore. His set also seems fine, but maybe Toxic Spikes could be used over encore, but there are a lot of things to choose from on a thing like Smeargle.
 

Limewire

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Alright, a Spiker set has been added (I basically copied the set Snuch posted since I'm lazy :P), and Spore has been put over Ingrain.
 

Oglemi

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lol this is an easy approval



QC 1/3

EDIT: Also, everyone take note. This is a perfect example of what you're QC stage OP should look like. So clean. So pretty.

Well done Limewire
 

JabbaTheGriffin

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i'd like to see endeavor mentioned on the spiker set, as well as SR as an option for it to throw up there too (both options for the last slot, not sure if encore is as useful as a 2nd hazard or a pimpin endeavor)
 

Delta 2777

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Yeah I don't really see the use of Encore on the Spikes set (I mean I do, but not compared to its other options such as Endeveur or Stealth Rock).

I'd also like to see Focus Sash slashed on the Baton Pass set
 
Perhaps the possibilities of Spider Web and Ingrain could be mentioned at the BP set. Igrain as a permanent protection agains phazing and additional recovery for a following defensive BP-Booster. It would be important to say, that the latter move should be used with caution, because if you get taunted after ingrain, it gets ugly
 

Limewire

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Alright, I made the appropriate changes. Since Endeavor is mentioned on the Spikes set, should I mention Focus Sash somewhere on that set as well?
 
No Ingrain Pass set? Don't know if there should be one but it's worth mentioning. Here's what I've been using...

name: Ingrain Pass
move 1: Ingrain
move 2: Baton Pass
move 3: Spore
move 4: Shift Gear
item: Focus Sash
ability: Own Tempo
nature: Jolly
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe

A simple goal, to Baton Pass Ingrain. Baton Pass, Spore and Ingrain are obvious but Shift Gear is what makes this set shine. Spore the foe (which hopefully doesn't have a way to cure it on the same turn), use Shift Gear on the switch, follow up with Ingrain and then Baton Pass. This is best done against a slower opponent. Entry hazards, Taunt, Encore, those with more speed, weather, moves that hit multiple times, status problems and priority will destroy this set but it's still good.

See what the QC members have to say about it before adding it.
 

breh

強いだね
bp ingrain is definitely viable; it's one of smeargle's more interesting sets.

at the very, very least, it should have an AC mention.
 
Focus Sash is almost a necessity for spiker Smeargle. It guarantees something goes to sleep, and in most cases also guarantees spikes. Leftovers guarantees neither. Definitely slash it first, and mention that Smeargle should almost always be sent out as a lead unless you see a magic mirror pokemon in team preview. From experience Encore is actually a great move on the spiker set to prevent Smeargle from becoming set-up bait. Put it in AC.

Most importantly, change all EV spreads to 4 HP / 252 DEF / 252 SPE Jolly. Because of Smeargle's horrible defenses, maxing HP doesnt do much, but maxing DEF means Smeargle can take a hit (maybe)!
 
Mention Cotton Guard in the Baton Pass Set. Nothing frustrates the opponent more than pass +3 or +6 defense to a special wall.
 
Couldn't a Belly Drum/ Baton Pass set be mentioned?
move 1: Belly Drum
move 2: Baton Pass
move 3: Spore
move 4: Substitute
item: Focus Sash
ability: Own Tempo
nature: Jolly
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe
 

Focus

Ubers Tester Extraordinaire
Couldn't a Belly Drum/ Baton Pass set be mentioned?
move 1: Belly Drum
move 2: Baton Pass
move 3: Spore
move 4: Substitute
item: Focus Sash
ability: Own Tempo
nature: Jolly
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Def / 252 Spe
Perhaps. I would not use Focus Sash, but rather Mental Herb or Leftovers as the preferred item.
 
Perhaps. I would not use Focus Sash, but rather Mental Herb or Leftovers as the preferred item.
Yeah, you could use a mental herb to snap out of torment, taunt, or encore, but OHKO's are way more common and need to be prevented. if your opponent uses one of the three moves, you can just switch in. I see no reason to give Smeargle leftovers because Smergle's defences are terrible.
 

Focus

Ubers Tester Extraordinaire
Yeah, you could use a mental herb to snap out of torment, taunt, or encore, but OHKO's are way more common and need to be prevented. if your opponent uses one of the three moves, you can just switch in. I see no reason to give Smeargle leftovers because Smergle's defences are terrible.
There is a big problem with running Belly Drum: you need to use up half of your max HP in order to even use that move, rendering either the Focus Sash or Belly Drum useless. The more I think about it, the more I prefer Shell Smash or even Shift Gear anyway.
 

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