Absolute Labs Showcase
* Despite its low base stats, Tapu Koko secures its place on some teams with a number of unique utility options thanks to its typing, movepool, and ability.
* Tapu Koko's Electric / Fairy typing enables it to pivot into Yveltal and offensively check it. While more prominent Fairy-types like Xerneas and Magearna can do the same, Xerneas needs to run Choice Scarf and lock itself into a move to effectively check Yveltal, while Magearna struggles to maintain momentum afterward due to Ground-types blocking Volt Switch. Unlike the aforementioned Fairy-types, Tapu Koko can cause further disturbance by using U-turn and generating momentum on forced switches, hindering switch-ins with Nature's Madness and potentially Taunt.
* This typing also enables Tapu Koko to completely anti-lead Smeargle, preventing it from setting any entry hazards and using other utility options, as Smeargle commonly uses Nuzzle as a countermeasure against Taunt users. This contributes to Tapu Koko's viability to a degree, as said trait strongly improves Tapu Koko's team's matchup against specialized offensive archetypes and enables it to justify running a dedicated lead set using dual screens.
* Electric Surge is another unique trait that proves to be handy in many situations. Apart from making Tapu Koko's Electric-type attacks stronger, the Terrain preventing sleep can prove to be a serious annoyance for defensive teams, where some crucial Pokemon like Giratina are reliant on Rest for recovery. Boosting Electric-type moves is also relevant for Xerneas, helping it bypass Necrozma-DM and Ho-Oh with a boosted Thunder.
* There is a considerable amount of opportunity cost from using Tapu Koko even accounting for its utilities, however, as even when it is running an offensive set, Tapu Koko struggles to do much damage. While a combination of a Z-Move, Nature's Madness, Taunt, and U-turn can theoretically annoy most of the tier, all of these moves require flawless predictions to be effective. As common teams that Tapu Koko fits on cannot afford to lose momentum, Tapu Koko is also forced to use suboptimal moves like U-turn even in favorable matchups to evade chances it gets taken advantage of by potential switch-ins.
name: Dual Screens
move 1: Reflect
move 2: Light Screen
move 3: Taunt
move 4: U-turn
item: Light Clay
ability: Electric Surge
evs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe
* Tapu Koko's ability to anti-lead Smeargle, outspeed and Taunt many Pokemon, and potentially generate momentum using U-turn makes it an acceptable user of dual screens.
* Reflect is the optimal screen to be set against leads with physical attackers to ease Tapu Koko's teammates' matchup against them and reducing the damage of many priority moves.
* Light Screen is a better screen to set against special attackers to hinder their ability to inflict damage. It can be helpful against support Arceus formes, Xerneas, and more.
* Taunt is used to shut down slower Pokemon like Smeargle and Ferrothorn, preventing them from setting their own entry hazards. Shutting down defensive threats can also provide Tapu Koko's team with a better opportunity to set up, as Taunted foes will struggle to damage setup sweepers behind screens support.
* U-turn is used to bring in a teammate after Tapu Koko has successfully set up screens, potentially catching a foe switching out in the process and thus helping to create a favorable matchup. The chip damage can also be handy with breaking Focus Sash from opposing leads like Smeargle that have been crippled by Taunt.
* Maximum Speed investment with a Jolly nature enables Tapu Koko to take full advantage of its high Speed, letting it outspeed Arceus formes, reliably set Reflect in front of Marshadow, and prevent slower foes like Mega Salamence from setting up on it.
* Maximum HP investment gives Tapu Koko a small but needed bulk boost, giving it a good chance to survive Precipice Blades from offensive Primal Groudon and enabling it to always survive said move from defensive variants behind Reflect. Other crucial benchmarks for maximum HP include guaranteed survival of Xerneas's Moonblast and the 2HKO from support Arceus formes' neutral Judgment in a one-on-one scenario.
* Light Clay makes Reflect and Light Screen last for eight turns instead of five, aiding setup sweepers like Zygarde that may take a bit longer to set up.
* Electric Surge summons Electric Terrain, which can benefit teammates like Xerneas using Electric-type coverage moves and prevents sleep.
* This set serves one purpose: setting screens to ease teammates' attempts to set up and sweep effectively. Set appropriate screens and safely bring in an appropriate teammate with U-turn.
* Depending on what foe an opponent leads with, it may be difficult to decide which screen will be appropriate to set. For example, Arceus-Ground and Primal Kyogre can potentially be running a physical or special set, and many Primal Groudon variants are mixed, so a wrong prediction will usually limit Tapu Koko to setting only one screen. Analyze what attacks can Tapu Koko's teammates can take better and set screens to weaken attacks that teammates can't take well. This means setting Reflect against Primal Groudon lacking Hidden Power Ice can be better for teammates like Zygarde and Rayquaza that can easily take Overheat, and setting Light Screen against support Arceus formes can be helpful for Xerneas and Extreme Killer Arceus attempting to set up on them.
* Note that while using Taunt can prevent Defog users from removing screens and setup sweepers from getting out of hand, this often involves a risk. Tapu Koko has enough bulk to survive an attack and prevent the likes of Geomancy Xerneas and bulkier Zygarde from setting up on it, but it is usually safer to set screens on threats like Primal Groudon and Arceus-Ground instead despite their ability to carry setup moves.
* While this set's lack of offensive presence may make it seem helpless against defensive teams, it can prove to be useful by crippling defensive foes with Taunt, hindering certain Pokemon by preventing Rest with Electric Terrain, and drawing in Mega Sableye and making a favorable matchup with U-turn. Defensive teams also tend to rely on support Arceus formes to shut down dangerous threats like such as Zygarde, Arceus-Ground, and Primal Groudon, so screens can come in handy by making them much harder to stop. Screens support is especially beneficial for the former two due to their ability to fully take advantage of screens behind Substitute.
* The damage reduction from dual screens is very helpful to most offensive archetypes, as it potentially allows many Pokemon to set up on threats without taking too much damage.
* Setup sweepers that are naturally bulky, such as Primal Groudon and Xerneas, will be significantly harder to take down when they are behind screens. Primal Groudon can potentially benefit from defensive Zygarde and Giratina's reduced longevity due to Electric Terrain preventing Rest, while Xerneas can use Electric Terrain-boosted Thunder after Geomancy boosts to bypass Ho-Oh and offensive Necrozma-DM.
* Substitute users like Zygarde and Arceus-Ground become even more problematic to offensive teams, as they can reliably set up on various foes while avoiding status. Arceus-Dark and Arceus-Flying packing Refresh are also worthy of consideration in certain matchups where the opposing team doesn't have much security against bulky setup sweepers.
* Various wallbreakers can find room to breathe with dual screen support. This means powerhouses like Primal Kyogre and Yveltal will be harder to handle and will have a superior matchup against their usual checks. Primal Kyogre is especially helpful with punishing Ground-types that Tapu Koko draws in.
* Entry hazards facilitate any setup sweepers' attempt to sweep. Offensive setters like Primal Groudon and Dialga can have their matchup against support Arceus formes significantly improved with dual screen support.
* Pokemon that can provide some security against setup sweepers are needed, as foes like Rock Polish Primal Groudon and offensive Zygarde and Arceus-Ground variants may get out of hand while Tapu Koko attempts to set the screen. Priority move users like Marshadow and Extreme Killer Arceus can be considered to alleviate this issue.
name: Offensive Utility
move 1: Thunder
move 2: Taunt
move 3: U-turn
move 4: Nature's Madness
item: Electrium Z
ability: Electric Surge
evs: 8 Def / 248 SpA / 252 Spe
* Thunder threatens a good number of threats with Electric Terrain active, and it is chosen over Thunderbolt to strengthen Tapu Koko's Z-Move as much as possible.
* Taunt prevents passive foes like Ferrothorn, Blissey, and Toxapex from using their utility options and can be used to hinder support Arceus formes and prevent setup in a pinch.
* U-turn makes Tapu Koko an effective pivot against any foe and helps it generate momentum on forced switches.
* As a lot of Pokemon can easily pivot into Tapu Koko's Electric-type attacks and they require different countermeasures for Tapu Koko to punish, Nature's Madness becomes a useful tool to punish just about every switch-in to Tapu Koko's checks in one move. Checks that lack reliable recovery, such as Primal Groudon and Giratina-O, are especially punished harsher if switched into said move.
* Roost can be considered to let Tapu Koko be a more reliable switch-in to Yveltal and worry less about passive foes' retaliation after Taunt, but it is hard to fit into this set.
* Maximized Speed EVs and a Timid nature make Tapu Koko as fast as possible, letting it outspeed support Arceus formes and Mega Salamence while Speed tying with Mega Gengar.
* 8 Defense EVs let Tapu Koko survive +1 Double-Edge from Adamant Mega Salamence from full HP. The rest of the EVs are invested into Special Attack to maximize Tapu Koko's damage output.
* Electric Surge strengthens Tapu Koko's Electric-type STAB attacks and hinders Pokemon like Giratina that rely on Rest.
* This variant of Tapu Koko primarily focuses on offensively checking threats it can hit hard with Electric-type attacks and generating momentum on forced switches. However, due to a large number of Pokemon that can easily take Electric-type attacks, this task will demand a series of accurate predictions to be successful.
* Tapu Koko will rely on the inaccurate Thunder after using Gigavolt Havoc. This means prioritize observing how an opponent reacts to Tapu Koko, and Tapu Koko should rather focus on securing momentum, as most of its checks like Primal Groudon and Zygarde can become very threatening with a single misprediction.
* In some cases, instead of relying on making correct predictions, it is better to weaken foes that check Tapu Koko, particularly Ground-types, to ease Tapu Koko's pivoting. Consider using U-turn to create favorable matchups and Nature's Madness to weaken checks on the switch.
* As Tapu Koko draws in many threatening setup sweepers, use Taunt to prevent them from gaining enough boosts to make a sweep. This is a worthwhile move, especially if Tapu Koko made a misprediction and gave a free switch.
* Lack of much defensive presence means Tapu Koko will naturally make its team weaker to Ground-types by its typing and the conventional teammates it has to be used with. Use sources like entry hazards and aggressive predictions to prevent Ground-types from switching into Tapu Koko too liberally.
* Defensive teams will have multiple Pokemon that Tapu Koko can easily prey on. Taunt can shut down various walls, Electric Terrain can hinder Rest users like Giratina, and Electric-type attacks can threaten Ho-Oh, Lugia, Skarmory, and Arceus-Water. While the consequences for misprediction aren't as dire as against offensive teams, it is crucially important to take more thoughtful actions to allow Tapu Koko to fulfill its role.
* Tapu Koko's tendency to draw in Ground-types and other foes that resist Electric can somewhat help it support its team, as it can pivot out with U-turn on predicted switches and create favorable matchups. Offensive partners like Zygarde, Arceus-Ground, and Mega Salamence can take advantage of Primal Groudon that Tapu Koko lures in or even additionally weakens with Nature's Madness, while Primal Kyogre can additionally punish opposing Arceus-Ground. Most of the checks for the aforementioned teammates can be weakened by Nature's Madness.
* Entry hazards can help Tapu Koko punish forced switches and wear down a good portion of its checks. As Tapu Koko typically finds its place on offensive teams, Cloyster and Deoxys-S can provide entry hazard support.
* Primal Groudon, depending on the variant, can provide Stealth Rock support, overpower Tapu Koko's checks with Swords Dance, or destroy offensive teams with Rock Polish. From bulkier teams' perspective, counterplay against Primal Groudon generally becomes narrower,(AC) as Giratina and Zygarde-C cannot heal themselves with Rest due to Electric Terrain. Tapu Koko can threaten Arceus-Water, Primal Kyogre, and Ho-Oh and put a huge dent in Giratina-O with Nature's Madness.
* As Tapu Koko struggles to do much against faster foes, and it can weaken bulky foes like support Arceus formes and Giratina-O, offensive partners like Marshadow and Extreme Killer Arceus can improve the matchup against offensive teams.
* More specialized teammates like Zekrom and Arceus-Electric can benefit from Electric Terrain, as it makes their STAB Electric-type attacks immensely powerful. Note that both of them stack weaknesses with Tapu Koko and thus make the team more loose against Ground-types overall.
* Focus Sash can enable Tapu Koko to survive a hit when setting dual screens, but Tapu Koko can already survive a good number of attacks once with HP investment, and extended turns of screens from Light Clay is much more worthwhile.
* Grass Knot and Hidden Power Ice are options to punish Ground-types, but it is usually better for Tapu Koko to punish as many threats as possible with Nature's Madness.
* Zap Plate on offensive sets gives Tapu Koko enough power to 2HKO maximum HP Arceus formes and OHKO Primal Kyogre and Arceus-Water. However, forgoing Electrium Z means Tapu Koko forgoes an option to OHKO offensive Necrozma-DM and Mega Salamence as well as defensive Ho-Oh.
Checks and Counters
**Ground-types**: Primal Groudon, Zygarde, and Arceus-Ground are all nuisances for Tapu Koko despite the fact that they can be punished by Nature's Madness, as they can simply switch in and make Tapu Koko waste its Z-Move. These Pokemon can also run offensive sets, which forces Tapu Koko into predictions when setting a screen, and potentially set up to threaten other Pokemon behind screens as well.
**Faster Foes**: Deoxys-S and Mega Mewtwo Y are faster than Tapu Koko, and they can prevent it from setting screens with Taunt. Other faster foes like Choice Scarf Xerneas can easily remove Tapu Koko with minimal or no prior damage due to its poor bulk.
**Priority Moves**: Priority move users like Marshadow, Extreme Killer Arceus, and Rayquaza can easily pick off slightly damaged Tapu Koko with their priority moves. Some of these Pokemon have access to setup moves and are able to naturally 2HKO Tapu Koko before it sets dual screens, thus either limiting it to setting a single screen or forcing it to take a risk and use Taunt to prevent setup.
**Foes that Resist Electric**: There are a myriad of Pokemon that resist Electric, including Grass-types like Ferrothorn, Mega Venusaur, and Arceus-Grass and Dragon-types like Giratina-O and Dialga that can easily take Gigavolt Havoc with their resistance and high bulk. Note that none of these Pokemon appreciate switching into Nature's Madness, and Tapu Koko can choose to sacrifice itself to prevent recovery or utility moves by using Taunt in a pinch.
**Mega Sableye**: Tapu Koko is typically reliant on Taunt to have an advantage over many slower foes, and Mega Sableye's Magic Bounce tends to make it think twice before using Taunt. This means Tapu Koko will struggle to do much other setting dual screens, and Mega Sableye can threaten to status an incoming teammate by switching in when screens are being set. Though offensive Tapu Koko can threaten to 2HKO it with Thunder, the matchup becomes generally unreliable after Tapu Koko has used its Z-Move due to Thunder's inaccuracy.
- Written by: [DMDW, 434601]
- Quality checked by: [[Nayrz, 212134], [Melee Mewtwo, 75110], [Cynara, 224455]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216], [Fireflame479, 231476]]