Gen 3 Torkoal (NU Revamp)


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Torkoal faces some major competition for a teamslot from Flareon, as the latter has a massive Special Defense stat that really compliments its Fire typing, and access to Wish, Roar, and Baton Pass that allows it to support the team in many ways that Torkoal simply cannot. This often leads to Torkoal being bypassed when teambuilding and rarely seen even in NU; however, Torkoal has a lot of things going for it that separate it from Flareon, the most obvious quality being its absolutely monstrous base 140 Defense stat. Even when uninvested, Torkoal is only 3HKOed by Choice Band Hitmonchan's Sky Uppercut, giving it far superior mixed bulk than its competition. With a fantastic defensive movepool featuring coveted moves like Explosion and Yawn, good stats all around save for Speed, and a useful typing, Torkoal is a great choice, albeit a bit overshadowed, for any balanced or stall team.

name: Defensive
move 1: Flamethrower
move 2: Hidden Power Grass
move 3: Protect
move 4: Yawn / Explosion
item: Leftovers
ability: White Smoke
nature: Sassy
evs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD

- Flamethrower is a great reliable STAB move that blasts away the Pokemon Torkoal counters, particularly Grass-types
- HP Grass prevents Rock- and Water-types from freely switching into Torkoal and has great neutral coverage with Flamethrower
- Protect stalls for Leftovers recovery and scouts Choice Band users' moves, especially helpful to Torkoal as it can effectively check most Choice Band users if they don't use a Ground- or Rock-type moves
- Explosion really separates Torkoal from Flareon and allows it to blast through a troublesome opponent like Wailord or opposing Flareon switching in
- Yawn can severely cripple an opponent and pairs well with Protect and Spikes support

- A SpD really makes the most of Torkoal's typing so that it can easily sponge Grass-type attacks and allows it to effectively check Haunter and Plusle.
- Torkoal's Defense stat is monstrous enough even without investment as it's only 3HKOed by CB Hitmonchan's Sky Uppercut. Max Defense also only pushes that to a 4HKO rather than a 3HKO, meaning Torkoal will get more mileage out of buffering its lower Special Defense more often than not
- Fire Blast or Overheat easily usable over Flamethrower
- Toxic easily usable over Explosion or Yawn as well
- RestTalk can greatly increase Torkoal's longevity and let it fully counter Sunny Day sweepers like Bellossom
- Torkoal fits well on balanced or stall teams as part of a defensive core with a bulky Water-type like Wailord that can continue shuffling with Spikes
- Appreciates Spikes support from Roselia or Glalie to make use of switches made by Yawn and threat of Explosion
- Can be used as part of an Explosion-based core with Swalot to really open a hole in the opposing team for something like Vigoroth to clean up late-game

name: Curse Lure
move 1: Curse
move 2: Explosion
move 3: Rock Slide
move 4: Hidden Power Flying / Rest
item: Leftovers / Chesto Berry
ability: White Smoke
nature: Sassy
evs: 252 HP / 20 Atk / 236 SpD

- A very quirky and team specific choice, this set is designed to pick and choose one victim on the opposing team that creates a barrier to one of your sweepers and removes it for them to sweep, largely by sacrificing Torkoal in the process
- After a Curse, Explosion hits insanely hard, OHKOing bulky threats like maximum Defense Wailord and Chimecho
- Rock Slide allows Torkoal to switch in and beat Flareon one-on-one and is a good move in general to beat back frailer special attackers like Plusle and Haunter after a Curse boost
- Hidden Power Flying allows Torkoal to beat Choice Band Hitmonchan one-on-one after a Curse boost, as well as provide a super effective hit for the Grass-types Torkoal naturally counters
- Rest combined with Chesto Berry gives Torkoal another chance at a successful Curse if you mistime bringing in Torkoal or it gets dragged out with Roar

- 20 Atk EVs ensure the OHKO on max/max Wailord after a Curse with Explosion
- Rest of the EVs go into Special Defense to allow Torkoal to survive a Timid Hydro Pump from Huntail out of rain
- Fire Blast usable in the last slot as well to give a reliable STAB move if winning the one-on-one with Hitmonchan is unimportant, gives Torkoal an attack for Sableye
- Playing with this set is tricky, as it really only works best when Torkoal uses Curse as the opponent switches out to their Water-type. Need to get Torkoal in on something like Roselia unscathed and scare it out, or something weak like Sableye
- Needs to be used on a team where Torkoal can provide a hole needed for a sweeper. Pupitar sweeps much more easily with Wailord or Hitmonchan removed, Plusle with Whiscash removed, Bellossom with Flareon removed, etc.

[Other Options]
- Amnesia + Iron Defense staller
- Special Attacker
- Eruption
- Flail

[Checks and Counters]
- Kecleon, Lickitung
- Sudowoodo, Lairon, Magcargo
- Relicanth, Graveler avoiding HP Grass
- Flareon avoiding Rock Slide, Explosion
- Dewgong, Pelipper
- Wailord and other bulky Water-types avoiding Explosion
- Diglett
- Choice Band-boosted Earthquakes, Whiscash, Piloswine, Arbok
RestTalk is definitely a viable option for Torkoal. I run some special attack investment to help with getting KOs on stuff like hp invested Metang and Relicanth with Fire Blast and HP Grass respectively. I think my benchmark was around 124 SpA evs to get the 2hko on Band Hitmonchan without bulk but thats been less common so you might just want to throw it in bulk. 124 also nabs the guaranteed 2HKO on Huntail with HP Grass iirc.

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