Project VGC 2019 Ultra Series - POTW Analysis: Pachirisu

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VGC 2019 Ultra Series POTW: Pachirisu!


Hello once again everyone! I'm Conics, and this is Week 3 of my Pokémon of the Week (POTW) series! Pretty sure I've said this quite a few times already, but in case it wasn't clear before, I am taking niche Pokémon and trying to give their usability some attention by making these articles. I am fully aware that the Pokémon I cover aren't mainstays of the VGC meta, but I find it fun to talk about the Pokémon you might not see a bunch on tournament streams or team reports! If you're a player who wants to learn more about VGC, then please visit the Trainer Tower website and the public VGC room on Pokémon Showdown!

This week, we have a familiar, electricity-pouched face in VGC! Pachirisu is actually quite a special Pokémon to me, as the very first game of VGC I ever watched was the 2014 Worlds Masters' Division Finals. I was doing laundry one August day in my room and browsing the Serebii website. The headlines were advertising the Twitch stream for finals of the TCG and VGC World Championships. I had never heard of Worlds until this point, so I was really curious (until then I just liked to train lots of different Pokémon to Level 100). I clicked on the link and managed to join the chat five minutes before the finals between Se Jun and Jeudy, so I got a quick run-down of how VGC was played before getting into the game. Obviously, the first thing I noticed in team preview was Se Jun's Pachirisu. During the match, I was super happy to see the supportive role it played and how well it was able to take attacks like Salamence's Draco Meteor.

However, I know better than to think that Pachirisu's use on the team was merely to be a crowd-pleaser! It was a great meta call by Se Jun to bring it and win with it at the biggest stage possible. However, the VGC 2019 Ultra Series power level is much higher than 2014. Pachirisu is still able to carve out its niche despite this, so let's see what this EleSquirrel Pokémon can offer!

Type: Electric

Base Stats
HP: 60
Attack: 45
Defense: 70
Sp. Attack: 45
Sp. Defense: 90
Speed: 95
Total: 405

Not the largest stats by a mile, but they are serviceable. Notably, these stats allow Pachirisu to take powerful hits, like Origin Pulse from Primal Kyogre, Eruption and Overheat from Groudon, Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom from Lunala, and 2 Dragon Ascents from Mega Rayquaza without a Berry. The speed is equal to Tapu Lele, so speedier versions of Pachi can outpace Pokémon like the Primals, Dusk Mane Necrozma, and Landorus-T. However, it's easy to see that these offensive stats are not made for attacking. The big selling point of Pachirisu, however, is its unique supportive movepool in conjunction with usually being able to sponge at least one hit!


Run Away: it makes your opponent always hit the Run button, and it's so broken that this ability is banned in VGC For competitive purposes, it's not the right ability on Pachi.
Pickup: If Pachi isn't holding an item, then it finds one that the opponent has used in the same turn. In theory, it's able to use a Misty or Psychic Seed or Focus Sash and then pick up a Red Orb healing berry that the opponent used up in that turn. However, this is a very specific use and it's not guaranteed to be able to pull this off. Therefore, the last ability is the best choice.
Volt Absorb: heals 25% when hit by an Electric-attack. Unlike Lightning Rod, Volt Absorb doesn't redirect Electric-attacks, just heals back from them. In conjunction with Follow Me, it can be difficult for Tapu Koko to fire off its Gigavolt Havoc and Manectric to Volt Switch. Admittedly, this is also pretty niche, but it makes for a decent partner with Pokémon weak to Electric attacks, especially when it carries the supportive movepool that it does.

Notable Moves:

- Physical:

Super Fang - It's kinda a mandatory attack. Halving any non-Ghost Pokémon's HP is just too essential to help teammates secure KOs. Also *I think* this is the move that Pachi is using in the picture above (either that or Hyper Fang).
U-Turn - Pivoting is nice but it does contend with Pachi's supportive moves for a moveslot. It doesn't do any real damage to anything except about ~20% to zero-bulk Ultra Necrozma. The upside to this vs Volt Switch is that nothing is immune to it, so the pivoting isn't stopped by Ground-types or Lightning Rod users. For reasons I will discuss in a bit, I don't particularly find pivoting attacks do what Pachi is supposed to do.

- Special:
Volt Switch - A pivoting attack that, with STAB and a -SpA nature, does from 16-20% to common Tapu Fini spreads, which is pretty sizeable chip damage. However, it's stopped cold by Ground-types, like Groudon and Landorus-T, and Lightning Rod users, like Manectric and Togedemaru.

- Status/Support:
Follow Me - Okay, this move section is about to get crowded. Follow Me is a great attack for helping teammates set up, like Xerneas with Geomancy and Yveltal with Tailwind. It's also great for taking Tapu Koko and Manectric on quite nicely. Like Super Fang, it's a cornerstone move that makes Pachirisu usable at all.
Nuzzle - a paralyzing move that can't be stopped with Taunt, has 100% accuracy (unlike Thunder Wave), and breaks Focus Sash. The Status condition most people worry about when building a team is Sleep from the likes of Smeargle and Amoonguss. There are a few ways to stop Sleep, like Electric Surge, Safety Goggles (when facing down Spore), and Taunt, but most of the general counterplays to stop Sleep fail to stop Nuzzle. The only way to prevent its Paralysis is to switch in Tapu Fini and activate its Misty Surge. However, the terrain can be overridden by switching in another Tapu. Therefore, Nuzzle can act as a pretty reliable way to slow down opponents, and the chance to full-para a Paralyzed opponent is always nice.

Electroweb - not a stellar attack, but can allow you to speed control the opponent's entire side instead of just one Pokémon. In addition, it also circumvents Misty Terrain.
Helping Hand - Pachirisu is primarily considered in order to help teammates dish out big damage. For teammates like Geomancy Xerneas, Mega Rayquaza, Mega Salamence, or anything holding a Z-Crystal, Helping Hand is great for dropping opponents in a single hit.
Charm - This attack is great for neutering physical attackers. Pokémon that get outsped, like Groudon, or don't hit it for super-effective damage, like fully physical Mega Rayquaza. However, it has little use for special attackers and physical attackers that can pivot out, but it's regardless still a nice move for some teammates like Xerneas, but more on that later.
Fake Tears - I'm not a fan of this move, but at least Pachirisu has decent speed to use it. However, base 95 Speed is not fast enough for many strong special attackers to attack on the same turn as Pachi uses it, the only ones being Primal Kyogre and Groudon. In my opinion, Pachirisu has other things it would rather be doing.

Protect - I really don't need to say much about this move, but I will say that Pachi is highly susceptible to getting worn down easy. Being forced to eat a Fake Out puts it at massive risk to go down without doing anything, so I think Protect is an especially important move on it.

How Should it be Used?
This was actually a tough one to calculate defensive spreads for. This is the first Pokémon I've covered that cannot function optimally with a 252/252/4-type spread. Every time I made a spread that handled common special attacks super well, it fell short ever so slightly taking physical ones, and vice-versa. Because of this, I think the spread/playstyle for it should be reliant on the partner it intends to support. Its most reliable item is the pinch berry, which usually allows it to take a powerful attack, heal back, and then take a lesser attack, which is important for redirecting with Follow Me. It can also make usage of the Psychic and Misty Seeds, which help supplement defensive calcs to be able to take things that both the defensive and specially defensive Pachi sets are able to sponge, and invest more into Speed. They can also hurt Pachirisu, however, as Misty Terrain will prevent all grounded Pokémon from becoming paralyzed by Nuzzle. Finally, Pachirisu can make use of a Focus Sash, which allows it to invest really heavily into Speed and not worry about being OHKO'd as much. This is very prediction-based, however, as one wrong move can mean Pachi is out of commission and can no longer defend your setup attackers before they get the ball rolling.

Sample Sets


Okay! Well I've gotten to talk about what Pachirisu's role should be if you use it at all in VGC 2019 Ultra Series!
Here are some sample sets that can help it do what it does best!
- Follow Me
- Super Fang
- Protect/Helping Hand
- Nuzzle/Electroweb
Ability: Volt Absorb
Item: Mago Berry/Sitrus Berry
Nature: Careful (-SpA, +SpD) or Calm (-Atk, +SpD)
EVs: 228 HP, 4 Atk or SpA, 12 Def, 228 SpD, 36 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk (if using Electroweb/Calm nature over Nuzzle/Careful nature)

This squirrel. Survives. A LOT. Here's just a taste of what its defensive calcs look like.

252+ Atk Necrozma-Dusk-Mane Photon Geyser vs. 228 HP / 12 Def Pachirisu: 141-166 (85.9 - 101.2%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO
252 Atk Aerilate Mega Salamence Double-Edge vs. 228 HP / 12 Def Pachirisu: 87-102 (53 - 62.1%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
4 Atk Incineroar Darkest Lariat vs. 228 HP / 12 Def Pachirisu: 72-85 (43.9 - 51.8%) -- 2.3% chance to 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
252+ Atk Stakataka Rock Slide vs. 228 HP / 12 Def Pachirisu: 69-82 (42 - 50%) -- 0.4% chance to 2HKO after Mago Berry recovery
252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 228 HP / 12 Def Pachirisu: 85-101 (51.8 - 61.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
-1 252 Atk Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascent vs. 228 HP / 12 Def Pachirisu: 57-67 (34.7 - 40.8%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
252 SpA Tapu Lele Psyshock vs. 228 HP / 12 Def Pachirisu in Psychic Terrain: 135-159 (82.3 - 96.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Lunala Menacing Moonraze Maelstrom vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu: 141-166 (85.9 - 101.2%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO
252+ SpA Primal Kyogre Origin Pulse vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu in Heavy Rain: 118-139 (71.9 - 84.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Primal Groudon Earth Power vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu: 134-162 (81.7 - 98.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
4 SpA Life Orb Mega Rayquaza Earth Power vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu: 117-140 (71.3 - 85.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Dark Aura Yveltal Dark Pulse vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu: 73-87 (44.5 - 53%) -- 3.9% chance to 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu in Psychic Terrain: 102-120 (62.1 - 73.1%) -- 98.4% chance to 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
252 SpA Tapu Koko Twinkle Tackle (160 BP) vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu: 88-105 (53.6 - 64%) -- 4.7% chance to 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
252 SpA Mega Gengar Shadow Ball vs. 228 HP / 228+ SpD Pachirisu: 67-79 (40.8 - 48.1%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Mago Berry recovery

As you can see, Pachirisu's bread and butter set hasn't changed much in terms of moves and item. Despite only healing back 25% instead of 50%, Sitrus Berry helps Pachi take two hits a lot of the time from the likes of Mega Salamence, Yveltal, Mega Rayquaza, and Mega Gengar. However, a Mago Berry can help it to withstand three Mega Gengar Shadow Balls or three -1 Mega Rayquaza Dragon Ascents. In return, Pachirisu can allow partners to get set up, use Nuzzle/Electroweb for decent speed control, or even punch holes in the opponent's team with Super Fang. In addition, if Pachi somehow hasn't been knocked out by the time the partner sets up, it can also help amplify its damage with Helping Hand, or it can just carry Protect to block Fake Out or attacks far too strong for it to handle. It's a solid, all-rounder set that helps setting up for Mega Rayquaza, Xerneas, and Yveltal much easier. The nature, 4 offensive EVs, and 4th moveslot can be dedicated based on what speed control you want, since every tiny bit of damage helps in this land of restricted Pokémon, and it's usually best to not hinder Pachi's damage, even if it's only a little. Nuzzle is basically a permanent status condition, since nothing in VGC usually has the time, nor moveslot space to use Heal Bell or Aromatherapy. Nuzzle is also single-target and its paralysis fails under Misty Terrain, unlike Electroweb, which is spread speed control and can be used regardless of terrain. However, switching opponents out means the stat drop gets reset and Wide Guard can still block it. All things said and done, this set can get its support work done and go down for the most part, thus paving the way for its powerful partners to finish the job. This Pachirisu set works pretty effectively as a lead, but tends to get steamrolled without doing too much when the battle has gone on for a bit and both sides have set up their Pokémon. You can also lower EVs in either Defense or Special defense to add more into the other to have 100% chances to live the attacks that otherwise have small chances to KO the squirrel with their respective number of hits.

- Follow Me
- Super Fang
- Protect/Fake Tears/Helping Hand
- Electroweb/Nuzzle
Ability: Volt Absorb
Item: Misty Seed/Psychic Seed
Nature: Bold (-Atk, +Def) or Impish (-SpA, +Def)
EVs: 244 HP, 172 Def, 4 SpA or Atk, 44 SpD, 44 Spe

While this set does sacrifice the healing berry that allows Pachi to recover, it does offer much more immediate bulk. This version of Pachirisu doesn't always belong in the lead, however. This is because the Seed of choice must activate for Pachi to take hits at its full potential. Leading Pachirisu + Tapu Fini is a super passive lead (unless you're using Fake Tears + Fairium/Waterium Z Fini), and while Pachirisu + Choice Scarf Tapu Lele gives much more offensive pressure, Lele is super prone to having its terrain overridden. Neither of these leads appreciates Fake Out, which is also very common to be led. But since Pachi is meant to help its teammates set up, how is one supposed to wait until the mid-game to bring Pachi onto the field before the opponent gets set up? To answer this, we need to look at common abusers of setup.

Like I said, this Pachi doesn't always work as a lead, but common opposing setup Pokémon that show up as leads are still scared of this Seed Pachi spread. Swords Dance Rayquaza cannot kill the squirrel at neutral in one hit, and fears Nuzzle. Xerneas + Incineroar cannot set up Fake Out + Geomancy safely against Scarf Tapu Lele + Pachirisu, as Psychic Terrain blocks Fake Out, Lele can Magic Room (especially since the Psychic Seed will have been activated by then), Pachi can Nuzzle the Xerneas, or the two can go all out with Helping Hand + Psychic/Psyshock into Xerneas or Moonblast into Incineroar. Tailwind Yveltal hates Pachi + Tapu Fini as they can take any attack from it (bar Pachi not taking a Physical Black Hole Eclipse) and threaten it back with a myriad of attacks, like Nuzzle, Moonblast, and especially Helping Hand + Twinkle Tackle. Yvel also hates Pachi + Scarf Lele for the sheer power of Helping Hand + Moonblast and the threat of Nuzzle. Mega Salamence hates the pair for the same reason. However, if you expect your opponent to not lead with setup Pokémon (or they just simply lack them), NEVER lead with Pachi, as they can capitalize on its passivity by attacking right away with strong attacks. Against the Primal Pokémon, Pachirisu has a much better time when saved for the mid-game. With 244 HP/172 Def, it can live a -1 Precipice Blades 100% of the time, so it can be a great option to bring in after a teammate has dropped an Intimidate down onto opposing Primal Groudon. This physical bulk is also enough to take a max Attack Adamant Double-Edge from Mega Kangaskhan and 2 Dragon Ascents from max Attack Jolly Mega Rayquaza 100% of the time as well. 244 HP/+1 44 SpD is enough to take a 150 BP Water Spout from Modest 252 SpA Primal Kyogre under Rain. However, these survivals count on Fake Out to not be present, as the chip damage can be enough to put Pachi in the range of the higher damage rolls of these attacks. Great partners for this set are pretty much the same as before, with a higher emphasis on Bulky Swords Dance Rayquaza when Tapu Fini/Misty Seed are used and Yveltal when Tapu Lele/Psychic Seed are used. Use Protect and Electroweb when paired with Fini (use Nuzzle if Yveltal, Rayquaza, and Salamence are bigger problems for your team), use Fake Tears over Protect when using a Z-Move Tapu Fini, and use Helping Hand and Nuzzle when paired with Tapu Lele.

- Charm
- Follow Me
- Nuzzle/Protect/U-Turn
- Super Fang
Ability: Volt Absorb
Item: Safety Goggles/Sitrus Berry/Mago Berry/Focus Sash
Nature: Jolly (-SpA, +Spe) or Timid (-Atk, +Spe)
EVs: 228 HP, 52 Def, 228 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk (if using Timid nature/Protect)

Dare you to say the set name ten times fast (jk don't).

Funnily enough, the mouthful of a title tells you EXACTLY what the set aims to do! I feel like this is quite honestly as hard of a Xerneas support as one can make Pachirisu. The given Speed EVs and nature allow Pachirisu to outspeed Jolly 252 Speed Landorus-T and any form of the Primals. It can outspeed and Charm Groudon, Dusk Mane Necrozma, Incineroar, Stakataka, Bronzong, and Scarfless Landorus-T to severely mitigate the physical damage they can deal to Xern, which is super important as it has no way to boost its own defenses. The defensive spread is enough to take a -2 Precipice Blades from max Attack Adamant Primal Groudon and a max Attack Knock Off from neutral-natured Yveltal. Super Fang is just nice to avoid being completely passive in a turn, and Follow Me is Follow Me. Nuzzle is preferred to neuter other common things that scare Xern (especially on the switch) like Rayquaza, Crobat, and Scarf Tapu Lele, but Protect can be used to stuff Fake Out (which is especially useful because this set needs to conserve its bulk for the right moment to suicide support). U-Turn can be okay to pivot out and support later.

The items can go pretty nuts here. Safety Goggles is really helpful when facing down Amoonguss (arguably the best defensive counter to Xerneas), as Pachi will not be fazed by Spore or Rage Powder with it equipped. The berries work too to have a little extra bulk when Charming Physical attackers. Finally, Focus Sash is a great way to also help a bit against Special attackers, as it ensures Pachi goes down in two hits with Follow Me against offense, allowing Xern to set up Geomancy and immediately be able to have a stronger partner like Landorus-T, Tapu Koko, Tapu Fini, or Primal Groudon to back it up against its checks with damage. However, Sash necessitates Protect as the need to not have the Sash broken is greater than ever.

The idea of this set is to have Pachi help Xerneas get set up, but NOT to help it do damage after it uses Geomancy (hence why there's no Helping Hand). This spread is prone to getting KO'd but not before Pachi uses at least a couple moves. If Xern doesn't get into a position to Geomancy despite Pachi's hard support, let the squirrel soften up the team with Super Fang until Xern can boost. This might also involve being forced to switch Xerneas out, which should be okay if you either have another support Pokémon or damager in the back. Just know that by the time Xerneas can come back out, Pachi will most likely have been taken out (unless it's running U-Turn, in which case it can suicide support later). If both can stay on the field and Pachi hasn't been KO'd by the time Xern boosts, all Pachi should be doing is using Follow Me, Nuzzle, and Charm. Xerneas should take the KOs it can without risking too much damage until the squirrel goes down, then swap in a partner to best handle the given checks on the opponent's side, and then go to town.

(aaaaaaaaaand you're still trying to say the set name ten times fast, aren't you?)

Bad Matchups
This is another case of the bad matchups really depending on the team you're running. Since Pachi is most likely going to be used next to setup Pokémon, the best ways to neuter the support it provides is to Haze the boosts away with something like Tapu Fini or Crobat (though the latter has to fear Nuzzle). Spread damage is a great way to get around Follow Me, and having your speed control up before Pachi can do anything is the best way to damage it and its partner. As you might have seen from the super close calcs above, Pachi hates Fake Out, so using it can completely compromise its bulk. Groudon does pretty well against it, but must be wary of Super Fang leaving it open for a revenge kill. Amoonguss can Spore the non-Safety Goggles versions and heal back Super Fang damage with Regenerator. It also doesn't fear much from its partner Tapu Fini and Xerneas, but must be cautious of Tapu Lele and Rayquaza, especially when Pachi carries Helping Hand. Tapu Fini stops Nuzzle, but doesn't stop Electroweb. Once again, Pachi's bad matchups depend on its team, so the threats that bop its partners are also "bad matchups," while Pachi has no counterplay once its teammates go down since it offers no KO potential alone.

Hey everyone! Hope you enjoyed this week's article, I had a fun time making it (albeit it took until Monday to write, whoops). Apparently it's Electric-type Pokémon month, according to The Pokémon Company's Instagram, so this was an appropriate Pokémon to write about this week! Please leave a like and share, and tell me what you think of Pachirisu! Did I leave anything out? Do you have any sample teams with Pachi on them that you're willing to share? Be sure to comment below! Since Scrafty and Clefairy had the same number of votes last week, they will both be back on the poll for the next article! Be sure to vote as the poll closes on Thursday!

1. Gothitelle
2. Scrafty
3. Clefairy
4. Seismitoed

That's all for now, see you in the next article! Thanks for all the support once again :)

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