As we're nearing Sun and Moon, I figured it would be a good idea to bring back some of ORAS's classic victims. Keldeo has been one of the most consistently good pokemon of gen6, and its Specs set is still very threatening. Specs Keldeo was last the victim in 2014 –– what's changed since then? Have any Pokemon recently risen in popularity as checks or counters to it?
Amoonguss @ Black Sludge
EVs: 248 HP / 168 Def / 92 SpD
- Giga Drain
- Clear Smog
- Hidden Power Fire
Amoonguss switches into all of Keldeo's moves, can put it to sleep, heal up with regen and giga, etc and is an overall amazing check to Keldeo, not to mention that it isn't liable to Pursuit trapping or sand, which is huge for a Keldeo check.
Jellicent is a Counter to Specs Keldeo as with it's typing and Water Absorb, Jellicent is immune to both of Keldeo's STABs, while also taking nothing from Icy Wind. Only move that Keldeo can really threaten Jelli with is the rare HP Electric, which scores a 3HKO on Jellicent. Jellicent also has Recover to be able to stay healthy during the match and pivot into Keldeo, wearing it down with burn damage and Hex.
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Icy Wind vs. 248 HP / 16+ SpD Jellicent: 38-45 (9.4 - 11.1%) -- possible 9HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hidden Power Electric vs. 248 HP / 16+ SpD Jellicent: 170-200 (42.1 - 49.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
0 SpA Jellicent Hex (65 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Keldeo: 67-81 (20.7 - 25%) -- 0% chance to 4HKO
0 SpA Jellicent Hex (130 BP) vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Keldeo: 135-159 (41.7 - 49.2%) -- 82.4% chance to 2HKO after burn damage
slowbro has been a staple on more balance oriented throughout gen six and it fits on teams looking for a solid keldeo answer throughout the game. slowbro is able to switch in to any keldeo attack and not be two hit koed (see calcs). coupled with regenerator and easy recover in slack off, slowbro is able to consistently check keldeo's scald and secret sword stabs throughout any given game. however, if rocks are up and it is burned from a previous scald, it can find itself two hit koed by a hydro pump. as such, it as a hard check (especially because some keldeo run hidden power electric to circumvent dd gyarados).
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 24 SpD Slowbro: 156-184 (39.5 - 46.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Secret Sword vs. 252 HP / 232+ Def Slowbro: 71-84 (18 - 21.3%) -- possible 7HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 24 SpD Slowbro: 170-201 (43.1 - 51%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 24 SpD Slowbro: 156-184 (39.5 - 46.7%) -- 95.3% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock, Leftovers recovery, and burn damage
0 SpA Slowbro Psyshock vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Keldeo: 188-224 (58.2 - 69.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
Altaria @ Altarianite
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 136 Def / 92 SpD / 28 Spe
- Dragon Dance
- Heal Bell
- Body Slam
Altaria serves as one of the best answers available to Keldeo, being able to switch into its STAB's with ease, only fearing Specs Icy Wind which 2HKO's after rocks (its okay though, they only click Scald anyway). And you can either use Keld as setup fodder or hit it with a Body Slam which can OHKO after a bit of prior damage. Bonus points for being a Keldeo answer that doesn't get Pursuit trapped by Tyranitar.
0 Atk Pixilate Mega Altaria Body Slam vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Keldeo: 282-332 (87.3 - 102.7%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Icy Wind vs. 252 HP / 92 SpD Mega Altaria: 158-186 (44.6 - 52.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 92 SpD Mega Altaria: 117-138 (33 - 38.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Secret Sword vs. 252 HP / 136+ Def Mega Altaria: 76-90 (21.4 - 25.4%) -- 99.9% chance to 4HKO after Stealth Rock
Tangrowth @ Assault Vest
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
- Leaf Storm / Giga Drain
- Knock Off
- Hidden Power [Ice] / Hidden Power [Fire]
AV Tangrowth can switch in on anything Specs Keldeo has except Secret Sword with rocks up. In return, Leaf Storm is a straight up OHKO even without investment, and Giga Drain works nicely in a pinch as well. Regenerator helps it get out relatively safely if things go sour. Another option is Knock Off, which dents Keldeo's offensive presence for the rest of the battle, although you're probably better off just trying to KO it.
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Secret Sword vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Tangrowth: 171-202 (42.3 - 50%) -- 92.6% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Scald vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Tangrowth: 70-83 (17.3 - 20.5%) -- possible 5HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Tangrowth: 97-114 (24 - 28.2%) -- 95.7% chance to 4HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Icy Wind vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Tangrowth: 130-154 (32.1 - 38.1%) -- 95.7% chance to 3HKO
0 SpA Tangrowth Leaf Storm vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Keldeo: 330-390 (102.1 - 120.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
0 SpA Tangrowth Giga Drain vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Keldeo: 192-228 (59.4 - 70.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
Azumarill @ Assault Vest
Ability: Huge Power
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Atk / 16 SpD
- Play Rough
- Aqua Jet
- Knock Off / Superpower
This is clearly not Azumarill's best set, but it's best one at checking Keldeo due to its superior bulk coming from EV investments and its Assault Vest. AV Azu is indeed able to withstand two Secret Swords after SR before OHKOing Keldeo with Play Rough. However, it can be risky at times to switch it into Keldeo like that, as its most spammable move, Scald, may and will burn Azumarill and cripple it for the rest of the match.
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Scald vs. 240 HP / 16 SpD Assault Vest Azumarill: 76-90 (18.9 - 22.4%) -- 1.4% chance to 4HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Secret Sword vs. 240 HP / 0 Def Azumarill: 124-147 (30.9 - 36.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
252+ Atk Huge Power Azumarill Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Keldeo: 390-458 (120.7 - 141.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Keldeo's dominance throughout XY and ORAS was the one main reason that Celebi ever moved up to OU from UU. It's one of the few counters to it due to its typing meaning that it resists both of Keldeo's STAB options and both of Celebi's STAB options are super effective. Further more, Celebi's access to Recover means that it can repeatedly come in and take two attacks, thanks to none of Keldeo's moves 2HKOing. Another huge plus is that Keldeo's frequent with TTar normally allows the user to beat some of Keldeo's main checks (Latis, Starmie), however thanks to Baton Pass, Celebi is able to freely escape being Pursuited. Unfortunately, you are forced to Recover stall a bit to fully beat Keldeo on the of chance it clicks Icy Wind.
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Icy Wind vs. 252 HP / 84 SpD Celebi: 166-196 (41 - 48.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
0 SpA Celebi Giga Drain vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Keldeo: 176-210 (54.4 - 65%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
Tornadus-Therian @ Assault Vest
EVs: 96 HP / 160 SpA / 252 Spe
- Knock Off
AV Tornadus-T is able to take any one hit from Keldeo at full, outspeed, and KO with Hurricane. 160 SpA is the benchmark to OHKO Keldeo with Hurricane, +252 Spe ensures you outspeed Specs Keld, and the rest of the EVs are dumped into HP.
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Scald vs. 96 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Tornadus-T: 142-168 (43.9 - 52%) -- 11.7% chance to 2HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Secret Sword vs. 96 HP / 0- Def Tornadus-T: 139-164 (43 - 50.7%) -- 3.1% chance to 2HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 96 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Tornadus-T: 195-231 (60.3 - 71.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Icy Wind vs. 96 HP / 0 SpD Assault Vest Tornadus-T: 132-156 (40.8 - 48.2%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
160 SpA Tornadus-T Hurricane vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Keldeo: 324-384 (100.3 - 118.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Starmie outspeeds Keldeo and can switch on most of its moves (beware of the random HP Electric, though, and Hydro Pump 2HKOes with SR). It can Recover off any damage taken and 2HKO in return with Psyshock.
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Secret Sword vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Starmie: 118-140 (36.4 - 43.2%) -- 98.4% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Starmie: 153-180 (47.2 - 55.5%) -- 19.9% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery (guaranteed with SR)
4 SpA Starmie Psyshock vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Keldeo: 188-224 (58.2 - 69.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
Latias @ Life Orb / Colbur Berry / Leftovers
EVs: See hide tag
- Draco Meteor
- Healing wish
152 HP / 104 SpA / 252 Spe (takes 2 Icy Winds before SR and hits an LO number)
248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 Spe (OHKOs Keld after SR)
72 HP / 172 SpA / 252 Spe (takes 2 LO Thundy HP Ices from full and hits an LO number)
160 HP / 96 SpA / 252 Spe (same as 152 except it removes the minute death chance that is gained by aiming for LO number)
252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe (maxes out bulk+spe)
96 HP / 160 SpA / 252 Spe (avoids 2HKO from modest Choice Specs Volcanion's Sludge Bomb before Stealth Rock if it poisons you)
252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Latias is pretty versatile with regards to its team-dependent customisation so I've done my best to narrow it down whilst still showing its diversity a bit. Roost+2 attacks is the best set, and Defog Lati is mediocre, and while the 152 HP spread with LO is generally the best one you can customise it to the team it's on, with me just listing a handful of options.
Latias is a far more consistent check than Latios is due to it's incentive to invest defensively over it allowing it to more consistently take a hit from it, whereas Latios needs to Roost after a single switch-in if it wants to switch into it a second time during the match, whereas Latias can consistently come in on either of its STABs while still being able to double out and still have enough health to Roost up after the next switch-in. It is capable of sufficiently denting it or even just outright killing it with Psychic. It needs to be careful of stuff like Tyranitar/Weavile who are often paired with Keldeo, however, although Colbur allows it to escape Pursuit one time and is particularly nice alongside something like Dugtrio that can trap and KO Tyranitar.