Trick Room in STAAABmons: A Guide to the Objectively Best Playstyle
Welcome to a guide to Trick Room in STAAABmons! Trick Room is an uncommon and underutilized type of hyper offence in STAAABmons, infamous for its immense breaking power and the ability to win games off of a single prediction. This guide will explore and showcase the setters, breakers, and gameplay of Trick Room teams, and hopefully leave you with a better understanding of the archetype as a whole!
Naturally, Trick Room teams need Trick Room setters to function. Having defensive Pokemon dedicated to setting Trick Room is important, especially in a format like STAAABmons, where the increased power level means offensive Pokemon using Trick Room are liable to be KO'd before getting Trick Room up again. Good Trick Room setters generally have a combination of the following qualities: Fantastic Bulk, Few Weaknesses, Pivot Move(s), and General Utility. Here is a list of the setters I use, with some other potential setters listed at the end.
: In my opinion, Cresselia is mandatory on every Trick Room team. As one of the bulkiest Pokemon ever created, Cresselia is a natural fit on Trick Room teams. STABmons has given it the gift of Teleport, allowing it to set Trick Room and safely pivot out to a teammate, making it one of the most effective and reliable setters in the format. Cresselia has two excellent sets to pick between; the standard Magic Bounce set allows it to avoid getting taunted or statused while also keeping Hazards off of its side, while Prankster is a nasty surprise that allows it to cripple an opposing Pokemon with a Laggingtail, which conveniently allows your slow breakers to outspeed that Pokemon.
: Another excellent pick, Porygon2's Eviolite-boosted bulk allows it to tank many hits other setters couldn't. Porygon2 isn't as passive as Cresselia either, with a decent Special Attack stat allowing it to attack with Boomburst or Ice Beam, and access to Foul Play to better check physical attackers. Porygon2 generally runs Dauntless Shield, which gives it a whopping 688 Defense when combined with Eviolite. Magic Bounce is also another excellent option, stopping Taunt, Status, and Entry Hazards from annoying Porygon2 or its teammates.
: While it can't fill the hole in our hearts that Magearna has left, Jirachi makes up for it with its excellent Steel/Psychic Typing, providing plenty of resistances it can capitalize on to set Trick Room. Jirachi also has access to Stealth Rock, a rare trait among setters, and can easily fit it in its moveset. Unfortunately, the reason Jirachi can fit hazards in its moveset is because it lacks reliable recovery, which often limits it to setting Trick Room a single time. Jirachi generally runs Levitate or Flash Fire, to shore up weaknesses in its team, but Prankster is another option that can perform the Lagging Tail + Trick surprise as well as get Stealth Rock up before getting KO'd
: Regenerator Cosmoem is a meme I thought of that also happened to put in some work in certain situations. This fat cosmic blob has exactly three things going for it: It learns Trick Room and Teleport, Eviolite makes it absurdly bulky, and using Power Split on an opposing setup sweeper is funny.
: The funny squid Pokemon has a niche on Trick Room teams as a lead with Pranskter. Access to Taunt, Topsy Turvy, and Destiny Bond make it an excellent Prankster abuser, that can set up Trick Room while annoying or KOing an opponent's Pokemon.
: Unfortunately Mew is heavily outclassed by Cresselia, whos absurd bulk allows it to tank hits Mew couldn’t. Mew’s niche comes from its wide movepool; after Trick Room and Teleport, Mew can do basically anything using the remaining two moveslots. Spikes, Stealth Rock, Encore, Taunt, Will-o-Wisp, and Whirlwind are all great options that set it apart from Cresselia, but the fast-paced gameplay of Trick Room means that these moves are seldom used.
: Currently banned but good lord do I miss this mon. Mag was an excellent setter with the best defensive typing in the game, and generally ran Levitate or Flash Fire paired with an Occa or Shuca Berry, effectively guaranteeing it lived a hit against a Pokemon attempting to use a Fire or Ground move to KO it or force it out. While Magearna lacked Teleport, it could still pivot out with Volt Switch, while also providing support with Doom Desire.
+ Offensive Trick Room Setters
(OTRs): These Pokemon are Trick Room abusers who are able to fit Trick Room into their moveset. OTRs are few and far between, as it is uncommon for Pokemon to both learn Trick Room and for it to be able to compete with the other breakers in terms of raw damage output, as Offensive Trick Room users cannot run Choice Items. The two best OTRs are Stakataka and Hatterene, who have an excellent combination of power, bulk, and resistances that allows them to set up Trick Room easily, while also posing an offensive threat.
Now, on to the good stuff. STAAABmons enables many breakers, who gladly abuse many combinations of moves and abilities to wreak havoc on the opposing team. Here's a personal Viability Rankings of the various Trick Room Wallbreakers that I've used. Offensive Trick Room setters are italicized.
: Most Trick Room teams should use Marowak-Alola. It OHKOs anything without defensive investment or a resist/immunity, and is capable of 2HKOing almost every Pokemon in the format, god forbid you let it get a Swords Dance boost.
Marowak-Alola (Adaptability, Desolate Land)
: These are the best Trick Room breakers available after Alolawak. Absurdly powerful and easy to fit on teams.
Drampa (Adaptability, Scrappy)
Crawdaunt (Technician, Tough Claws)
(Psychic Surge, Sheer Force)
: These Pokemon function excellently on Trick Room teams, but may have other reasons (power, bulk, mechanics) that prevent them from being as splashable and easy to use as the A ranks.
Tyranitar (Magic Guard, Adaptability)
Heatran (Magic Guard, Desolate Land)
Xurkitree (Electric Surge)
Rhyperior (Magic Guard)
Victini (Desolate Land)
Primarina (Primordial Sea, Sheer Force)
(Psychic Surge, Sheer Force)
: These Pokemon are viable, but have significant weaknesses and issues that make them outclassed by the higher ranked breakers in many situations.
Conkeldurr (Tough Claws, Scrappy)
Magnezone (Electric Surge, Magic Guard)
Arctovish (Primordial Sea)
Escavalier (Steelworker, Tough Claws)
Trick Room gameplay often follows a "flowchart":
Set Trick Room
Pivot to a breaker
Hit something really goddamn hard
Switch/Sacrifice to get in a setter and repeat
Obviously this isn't comprehensive, but it's a good general gameplan to follow.
Threats and Counterplay
While this guide may give the impression that Trick Room teams are unstoppable monsters that only remain unbanned because of the corrupt council, it’s far from that case. Trick Room has many answers, and can be played around well with some decent prediction. Here are some things that Trick Room teams have trouble dealing with:
- Fat defensive walls that check the breakers you are running: You can’t
- Stalling: Moves like Protect and Substitute are able to waste turns of Trick Room,
- Priority moves: Aside from Marowak-Alola and Hatterene, Trick Room teams generally lack priority or ways to deal with it. Use this to your advantage by KOing low-health breakers
- Taunt: Prevents setters from using Trick Room. Mold Breaker + Taunt is technically the only hard counter to Trick Room, although that comes at a great opportunity cost (as it is really only useful for stopping Trick Room)
- Trick + Choice Item users: Trick Room setters HATE being locked into a single move, as it forces a switch after Trick Room has been set. Non-choiced breakers generally dislike being locked into moves as well.
- Entry Hazards: Trick Room teams generally lack hazard control outside of Magic Bounce. Hazards will generally stay up once they’ve been set, chipping breakers and setters alike.
- Phasing Moves: Trick Room has a priority of -7, which means that Phasing moves (Roar, Whirlwind, Dragon Tail, Circle Throw) will go first and prevent Trick Room from going up.
- Opposing Breakers: Most Pokemon in Trick Room teams are going to move after the opponent without Trick Room, and powerful breakers like Inteleon and Buzzwole are able to blow holes in Trick Room teams if they can make it in at the right time.
Big thanks to RICEMAN
for helping me out with this guide! I hope you've enjoyed learning about my favorite archetype!