Why Smeargle is the Strongest Pokemon in VGC 2014

Smeargle, the BEST pokemon in VGC?
(Posted and Edited by Choobie)​


Hi, my name is Nicky Reardon and I am just another VGC player. I have been experimenting with different pokemon, teams, and movesets, but there is one in particular that I would like to talk about. This article is going to address Smeargle and why I believe he is the Strongest and most skill intensive pokemon in VGC as of right now, I am also going to reference the topic of Risk vs Reward a great deal in this thread.


Smeargle as a pokemon: Although I am sure many readers are familiar with Smeargle for those who do not, lets take a look at his base stats.

HP: 55
Attack: 20
Defense: 35
Special Attack: 20
Special defense: 45
Speed: 75

Well from looking at his base stats one thing comes to mind, underwhelming. And for those who do not know his move pool is one move, sketch. Sketch is a move that allows you to copy ANY move… that is right ANY MOVE!!! Since Smeargle has awful stats he has essentially one competitive purpose and that is being a suicide lead. Lets take a look at the spread…

(F) @

Ability: Own Tempo
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature
- Dark Void
(Yes it is Legal)
- Transform

- Tailwind

- King's Shield

For our EVs we play max HP and speed because there is nothing else to really put them in, the HP is just for Transform as that is the one stat not copied by it. The speed is to outspeed other mons so it is possible to set up a dark void. Sash is obviously because he has virtually no defense or HP and we can get off a dark void and set up more while our opponents are forced to do nothing or make switches. Lastly, for the ability I chose own tempo over moody. Moody can be really strong at times but it can be way too unpredictable. I remember on pokeshowdown and I lost a game because I had moody minus my accuracy and double missed a game changing dark void I had previously sacked one of my pokemon to be able to get off successfully. And personally I do not find the risk vs reward worth it when the risk can outweigh the reward so drastically. As well as with having own tempo it protects us from other popular suicide leads like klefki and meowstic with their swagger and just put them to sleep.

Moves: Dark void is obvious and an absolutely broken move. It gives the chance of a double sleep and with 80% accuracy statistically it should hit at least one of the two pokemon just like spore would. Tailwind is great for teams that have a lot of fast mons or if I see a lot of potential speed ties I can take care of that. Kings shield is practically just used as the ultimate fake out blocker that can cripple pokemon like Kangaskhan or Scrafty. Lastly we have Transform, Transform is used for when you have set up everything you need to win and you can copy something like your own kangaskhan and just start double hitting everything.

*Note: Transform does copy stat changes so you can set up with your own power-up punch and transform into it for 2 plus two kangaskhans.

The Big Question: Finally we get to the moment we have all been waiting for. Why is Smeargle the best? But before I answer that people might want to understand why Smeargle is so skill reliant. When you go into any match with Smeargle you have to have one mindset, Smeargle will die. A majority of the time smeargle will live 3 turns. Turn one, my other pokemon fake out’s another pokemon (assuming you have a fake out lead which I would strongly recommend with smeargle) my opponents pokemon gets a flinch and their other pokemon brings me down to my sash and then we go for a dark void. Turn two, Kangaskhan gets a free power-up punch and Smeargle sets up a Tailwind and my opponent is forced to switch or try to wake. Turn 3, at this point all I can do is try to stall with King’s Shield or Transform and Smeargle dies or just sits there until King’s Shield breaks. So some of you may still be asking “why is this relevant?” and that bring me to my final point. If you are going into a match knowing he is going to die that means you are essentially playing with 3 pokemon to their 4 which most would called “playing the uphill battle.” This is why I think Smeargle is the most skilled pokemon. Although Smeargle’s death is not for nothing even with a tailwind and sleeping pokemon it does not make up for having a fighting pokemon. So finally we get to the part where the skill comes in, when fighting the uphill battle you are forced to play perfectly. You have to pick your members perfectly because if you do not, you will not have the extra pokemon to be able to sack off to cripple a threat. You also have to make your reads perfectly, if they out predict your move you could easily throw away a pokemon and with only three of them that could very well be the match. Playing a Smeargle on your team means you are playing the high risk high reward system in the game that is completely reliant on how well you can abuse the time Smeargle buys for your team. In the end I can see many people seeing why Smeargle is not worth it. But to be honest all that shows to me, that you are insecure in your ability to play each pokemon to their fullest. All I am trying to prove in this is that Smeargle being the most skillful pokemon, playing him will really force you to play the rest of your team to its fullest extent and through that will test your skill as a player

The Dynamic Duo(Smeargle/Kangaskhan team):

Kangaskhan and Smeargle is the strongest lead in VGC.​

This is a ridiculously strong lead. Kangaskhan allows you to put fake out pressure on your opponent and kill threats that will most likely be put to sleep. Once pokemon are asleep they are forced to switch or hope to wake up which allows me to get a free plus 2 up on kangaskhan and set up tailwind for a ridiculous sweep. Also, if kangaskhan has a plus 2 we can transform into it and with 2 plus two kangaskhans we can just facade/return our way to victory.

Building your team with smeargle: Like I said about playing the uphill battle you want to be aggressive as possible to make up for your early game loss. Salamence is a great example for this, He has incredible OHKO power with Draco meteor and strong coverage (unfortunately we can’t use Garchomp because he’ll bring Smeargle to sash with e-quake). I also like Rotom Wash/Heat for nice bulk but also being able to just hit hard with an Overheat/Hydro Pump. Going along with the uphill battle strategy I do not believe wall sets like Amoongus or Ferrothorn are viable with him, but you can see more aggressive sets for Ferrothorn on teams with him showing off the W/F/G core.

Sleep VS Sleep, Who is better?:

I think this is completely dependent on your play style. I love both of these pokemon and use them frequently in my teams. Since we have already look at Smeargle let’s take a look at Amoongus. Amoongus has insane bulk and with rage powder can just eat up attacks and switch out and heal via regenerator. He is also a great rotom-W counter and takes all of his attacks with not very effective damage and then 2Hko with Giga Drain, while not investing any in SpAtk EVs. Now let’s compare the individual moves. Spore vs Dark void, Spore just has one better factor, 100% accuracy, this allows them to choose a target and make sure they get their sleep off. Like I mentioned earlier if you Dark void into two random pokemon you should at least hit one but hacks is hacks and there will be times you get a double miss. Although Spore is the safer move get a double sleep can be game breaking and most of the time the accuracy risk is well worth the reward. Another reason Dark void has a slight advantage over spore is that it can hit grass types such as Amoonguss and Ferrothorn, two very prominent walls in the current metagame, so they cannot make a good switch to avoid it besides a Lum berry or Insomnia user. For the other moves I believe Smeargle is a more aggressive approach. Tailwind and Transform are for sweeps as rage powder and Amoonguss’s bulk is primarily for helping the adjacent sweep. When choosing between the two I think it is a good idea to build your team and ask yourself “do I want to be aggressive or conservative?” and you will find your answer.


Hopefully you have learned a thing or two and gained some respect for Smeargle. I really think that if you play Smeargle right you will start to see amazing results. In conclusion, I just really wanted people to realize that in a game of prediction and luck all you can do is play to a consistent play style that you are comfortable with and let luck run its course.

Thanks for reading I appreciate everyone’s opinion on this topic and would love to see some of your own feedback.

Thank you

-Nicky Reardon and Choobie​
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Magic Bounce Espeon, MegaKang, Insomnia, Taunt and multi hitters say, "Hi." It might be strong but definitely not the strongest for the simple fact that a bunch of common Pokemon can kill it first turn with a multi hit move and Espeon/Taunt/Insomnia render the strategy useless.
Magic Bounce Espeon, MegaKang, Insomnia, Taunt and multi hitters say, "Hi." It might be strong but definitely not the strongest for the simple fact that a bunch of common Pokemon can kill it first turn with a multi hit move and Espeon/Taunt/Insomnia render the strategy useless.
I am thinking you did not read the thread or fail to comprehend what is used in the current metagame. Espeon is seeing no play as well as Insomnia users, while stuff like MegaKang and taunt users, if you read are not effective against this strategy. And now please name one multi hitter pokemon in the metagame(the only one I can think of is Mamoswine), even if you can I still have my own MegaKang to fake out it.
Let me think of things to hinder your smeargle set + Mega-Khan (I am not really going to talk about how viable these counters are):

Double Protect: Both opponents use Protect or detect on the first turn, Stopping first turn Dark void AND fake out while still having Full HP. You could use Tailwind on the double protect, but cause all pokemon can learn protect, there isn't a situation where it's obvious that double protect will happen (pretty much you have to rely on gut prediction to pick the right move). even if you use tailwind, you still have to worry about priority (but King's shield can help that a bit, but you will hate non-contact move and feint (I actually plan on using feint Lucario, so watch out!). also Quick guard could help, but I'm starting to get confused/head hurts, so someone else could figure this out). basically, Double protect ruins your fake out support, and opens up counters prevented by fake out.

Wide Guard?: Does wide guard stop Dark void? if not, then nevermind. also, Crafty Shield, but crafty shield gets stopped by Fake out, so whatever.

Inner focus: Fake out can't stop Inner Focus Mons, so they can do whatever to smeargle (provided they move before smearg)

Faster Fake out: Weavile, Raichu, Liepard, Mienshao, Meowstic, and Jynx have a Fake out faster than Normal-Kangas (you know, the whole using normal speed first turn of Mega-evolving), so you don't get Fake out support and smeargle could get taunted or something (faster quick guards also stop Fake out).

Multi-hit users: Cincinno and Mega-Heracross are faster than smeargle and have Skill Link+Multi-hit moves to break through Focus sash (Both can KO, but Heracross is usually Bulky opposed to Speedy and Cincinno needs Life Orb or Adamant Nature+Meadow Plate to KO with Bullet Seed (Tail Slap KOs without help, but King's shield makes it risky)). Physical Greninja (it might be a thing, I don't know...) could KO with water Shuriken (Needs Choice Band or Adamant Life Orb and 5 Hits to KO). Mega-Lucario (with Bone rush), Roserade (Bullet Seed), Simisage (Bullet Seed), Garchomp (Dual Chop), Haxorus (Dual Chop), Zangoose (Double Hit), Dodrio (Double Hit), and (Mega)-Kangaskhan (Double Hit) could KO Smeargle (Simisage seems the most reliable... Sorry if I left someone out... Also Cincinno seems to run King's Rock for Flinch Hax)

Heal Bell?: I don't know if people actually use Heal Bell in VGC, but after Smeargle is KOed, the opponent can Heal Bell to fix the Dark Void problem (although, this will require some switching)

Sleep Talk?: Sleep Talk gives Dark Voided Pokemon a fighting chance.

I'm not sure what set Mega-Khan is running (sounds like Fake out, Power-Up Punch, A Normal attack and Filler), but based on the given Smeargle Set, you're running a 3 VS. 4 battle for the benefits of Double Sleep, Tailwind Support, King Shield Support (is this a thing?), and Double Mega-Khan/Whatever Trouble. I'll admit, It seems like a Decent Set (Transform makes it NOT useless after setting up), but this whole "Smeargle is the best" thing makes me feel weird (I love Marowak, but Sadly, it is not an unstoppable Beast. plus I feel Calling some pokes the best is not something I would do (maybe has something to do with me NOT wanting to get proven wrong/butthurt), but I am probably being weird or something). You mention smeargle being a strong pokemon in skilled hand, but, in my opinion, any Pokemon can be dangerous in a skilled enough player. Yes, People could Destroy entire teams with smeargle given enough skill/prediction, but, Sadly, Perfection is not a widely Distributed attack thingy, so you probably have to work with the skill you do have and the situation you are facing. Now that I reread the first post, sometimes, it sounds like you're saying Smeargle is a handicap that skilled players use to have a (unnecessary/purposefully) more challenging match (but this might be Me interpreting things weirdly, I do that sometime). If Winning all the time involved using a team as boring as crap, I'd probably use a less perfect, funner team (sometimes, a challenging match is worth it... wait, did I just turn into a hypocrite in two sentences? (I'm starting to think I don't have a point)). Honestly, this whole paragraph (except for the first 1.5 sentences) is probably Me rambling about unimportant things nobody thinks about (I apologize if I accidentally Trolled/dissed you, for that was not my intention).

Basically, Double Protect and Fake Out Prevention are your main concerns (Wide Guard?, inner focus, and not-stopped Multi-Hitters causes problems too).

Also, Sketch does NOT copy Chatter :P (Don't worry, I'm just being a playful smart alec (alek?... apparently, it's Smart Aleck).)
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You start the thread saying smeargle is the stringest, but then say bringing smeargle is coming into the battle handicapped. It doesn't makes sense. Does smeargle have the opportunity to be strong if used correctly? Ofc he does, but smeargle is a gimicky pokemon and IS a huge risk with the opportunity for great reward. Meinshao completely shuts down all of this with inner focus and feint. Not to mention he can just throw rocks instead or just high jump kick kanga without too much worry. The truth is, it is really easy to play around smeargle, and there are a number of ways around him. In the end, if the other person plays on an equal level of the smeargle user, the smeargle user is at a major disadvantage,


what if he kicks the ghost
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can we please coin the kangaskhan + smeargle combo "Khan-Arist", i've been trying for like two week after I head lucariojr say it and i don't think it's working help.

Anyway, Smeargle's an interesting Pokemon, but I think it's far from the best Pokemon in the format. You are playing with a Pokemon that has zero offensive presence until it's taken a turn to transform and next to no defensive synergy with some interesting set up opportunities. To top it off, ironically for the Pokemon with the game's largest movepool, Smeargle's is very predictable since you know right then what's it's going to try to do. Nothing really there screams "best pokemon in the format". Dark Void is a good attack and Smeargle is an okay Pokemon.

From what I've played so far, the format has a lot of stuff that can deal with it reasonably. I can't say I've had wild success practicing myself, but I've done reasonably well on PS! and Battlespot and what Smeargles I've encountered I've been able to handle alright. Mega Kangaskhan can get off a Fake Out or eat right through the sash which is nice. King's Sheild is a bit of a drag, but using up a turn to do a King's Sheild does leave Smeargle exposed without Fake Out support the following turn in a t1 scenario. Running Prankster Safeguard support with Meowstic is also pretty reasonable, and it can even outspeed Mega Kang's Fake Out if it wants. Talonflame ruins Smeargle if it chose to Tailwind turn 1 and a partner managed to break the sash. What's better yet with Talonflame though is that it's also a great source of Quick Guard support which can allow you to get off your taunt / mega kanga hit / whatever vs Smeargle. Chip damage to break the sash with Tyranitar is really useful as well. Random taunts shut it down completely which King's Sheild won't be helping with anytime soon. Without Fake Out support, the thing gets pretty easily double targetted, especially by things that don't rely on hitting you directly and are hitting something else in the process like Garchomp's EQ or Char Y's Heat Wave. Not to mention there's always Wide Guard and random things with Lum berries.

I haven't gotten word of the t16 results from week 2 of regionals / apex, but I would be surprised if Smeargle is in the top cut more than once or twice outside of the Juniors division. On that note, Khan Artist is a great strategy if you want a junior you're helping to roll through the competition since opponents usually won't usually have the means to deal with it.

Finally, a little note on this part:
"The Big Question" paragraph.
I really have to heavily object to this. If you ask me, the best Pokemon in the format are the ones that will make you rely on prediction the least, allow you some leeway in not playing perfectly and give you the proper opportunities to back track. Making perfect predictions and playing absolutely perfect for an entire match is difficult. Playing this way for an entire tournament is unreasonable, especially when you'll be using a move that has so many variables like mediocre accuracy and first turn wake ups in an environment where you could go against any bizarre unpredictable non-sense fairly easily.
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mega lucario will most likely be popular as a result to put an end to mega kanga and all these other normal types, inner focus shakes off the fake out and hits something with CC/aura sphere then finishes with priority. prankster users are also nightmares to face as they can encore your fake out or taunt smeargle, etc.

To win VGC you will have to have a team that is quite unpredictable, otherwise we've all seen it before.
I am thinking you did not read the thread or fail to comprehend what is used in the current metagame. Espeon is seeing no play as well as Insomnia users, while stuff like MegaKang and taunt users, if you read are not effective against this strategy. And now please name one multi hitter pokemon in the metagame(the only one I can think of is Mamoswine), even if you can I still have my own MegaKang to fake out it.
Thank you for your rudeness. I did read the entire thread and am aware of what is popular in the current meta. Regardless, you still want to be prepared to face basic counters. The meta does not prevent people from using Espeon. Screen Support is valuable and protection from Dark Void and other status moves are what make Espeon viable. The fact that Espeon shuts your whole strategy down is a big red flag you should be aware of when claiming something is the best.

Mega Heracross is one example of a multi hitter that you would want to look out for. Please don't just say it's not popular enough because you will run into some and should be ready for it.

Gourgeist/Ariados have Insomnia and both could pop up especially on a team wanting to use Sticky Web

Prankster is another thing to look out for BTW.

No need to be so rude when all I did was point out flaw in your strategy, which you claimed was, "the best". I always carry Espeon on my team because it is my favorite and I always have a strategy that makes it work in OU meta whether it is singles or teams. To simply respond with, "I don't have to worry about that because it's not in the current meta" is just blinding yourself. It doesn't matter if you believe me or not. Regardless of what you feel is viable, Espeon will continue to shut down Smeargles and it's your choice if you want to be ready for it or not.

Metas evolve. Once enough people start using Dark Void, people will look for counters to it and the easiest one is Magic Bounce, especially if it bounces Dark Void back to BOTH pokemon. If you want to try to abuse Dark Void until people catch on then be my guest, it just wont last long.

Smeargle just isn't the best, it is a niche, gimmick and can be shut down with one ability/move. It is far from the best. The best are unpredictable and hard to stop with answers to most situations. Smeargle is good support, but that is all, if it comes down to a 1v1 because it is your last pokemon, Smeargle will lose. The only reason it wouldn't be in a 1v1 situations is if you sacrificed it as lead. How can you claim it to be the best?
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Age of Kings

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Sash Smeargle is so pathetically slow for something so fragile it's not worth running. Especially with multihit moves and sandstorm everywhere.
If smeargle were to really have it's own, unique niche, and this may sound dumb, but wouldn't that best be done with something like a scarfed dark void set? Literally nothing else can claim that function and for things that are sleep immune just get pounded on by your offensive teammate. Granted bouncers mess you up but there should be something to just muscle through those.
The Japanese gave the Kang+Smeargle combo a nickname too, it's popular over there just as much as here.
That said, Dark Void Smeargle can be countered by simply reserving 1 team slot for a dedicated counter (MB Espeon, Lum Berry holder with priority/multi hit moves, Guts users, focus fire with a usual OHKO priority (i.e. Mach Punch) + chip damage from something faster (if Smeargle is scarfed, priority KOs it - if it is sashed, the additional chip damage will kill it.).
And don't get me started on "b-but muh Kangaskhan Fake Out!" - everyone who knows a tad bit about the metagame will double Protect Turn 1 vs Smeargle and Kang.

Obviously though, against unprepared teams Smeargle is absolutely devastating, as demonstrated by a recent big tournament in Hiroshima, Japan, where 3rd and 4th place were both using Smeargles.
does magic bounce protect both of the magic bouncer AND its partner from dark void or just the magic bouncer (meaning the bouncer's partner and the dark void user will fall asleep)? an extra question, does magic bouncer make non-100% accurate status moves 100% accurate (AKA will a dark void always hit (and get reflected) or miss and not be reflected (or however that works)?)?
Sash Smeargle is so pathetically slow for something so fragile it's not worth running. Especially with multihit moves and sandstorm everywhere.
You say Sandstorm everywhere, but I have yet to see it consistently. When I see it, it isn't part of a strategy, it's because a defensive T-tar has hit the field. Most of the time I see it, T-tar isn't a lead, meaning Smeargle has done its damage in Dark Void, and Khan is starting to wreck.

The real counter has been stated already in this thread-- PROTECT.
All it takes is a proper protect, and the Dark void doesn't hit, and the Fakeout doesn't fake out. I've seen this work really well with Talonflame (as afterwards the Gale Wings gives it nothing but priority) a guard-intimidator, like Scrafty (especially with Eject Button), and it's something EVERY pokemon runs.

Smeargle-Khan is a good strategy, and one you have to watch out for, but not one that is unstoppable.
I found, when using it, that double protect ALWAYS messes up the strategy. It keeps from Smeargle being able to use Dark void, and nullifies fake out. It makes it more than a little hard to use the duo, without smeargle's main niche of sleep abuser.

And as others have said, double Protect shuts this down hard. The strategy is a bit reminiscent to Terrakion + Beat-Up Whimsicott back in VGC 2011. On paper it seems near unbeatable, but if you know how to play around it (Punch Terrakion in the face, or in this case double Protect followed by double attack) it really is not as "perfect" as one may think. And considering how blazingly fast some of these new Pokémon are it's not difficult in the slightest to outspeed Smeargle.
Yeah I've found that the scariest thing about this lead is its POTENTIAL to f*ck sh*t up. Its not hard to get around. Double protect first turn is the obvious go-to move, and then from there its just a matter of KOing the Smeargle before it can Dark Void or let it DV and hope it doesn't sleep both of your 'mons while you KO the M-Khan. Magic bounce is an obvious hard counter to DV but I haven't tried Espeon in VGC it seems like besides MB its useless except to maybe set up screens, but I'd rather have a Prankster 'mon for that.
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The main problem I have with Smeargle is how strong his late game can be: Smeargle acts as huge bait to get the Lum/priority Pokemono out front, and if the rest of the team can get rid of those, Smeargle can come in and make life hell.

When playing against Smeargle, just don't forget you have a partner accompanying it, and if you can shut down the partners, Smeargle will be left on its own, most likely with nothing to do except try to spam Dark Void with no one to abuse it with.
if they double protect smeargle can just tailwind. Making smeargle outspeed everything and get off a DV on the 2nd turn. If the opponent has a priority atk smeargle can just king's shield and kanga can setup.

the best way to counter khan artist is a substitute lum berry garchomp or guts flame orb conkeldurr.

espeon is OHKO by kanga. safeguard meowstic is better aswell as taunt sableye.
I think that amoongus is a way better starter just because of how bulky it is and it has that 100% hit rate and not having that tiny chance that dark void misses on both. I also would feel bad using a move as broken as dark void.


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My Smeargle set is somewhat different, getting rid of Tailwind and Kings Shield for Foul Play and Destiny Bond, and he opens up with a Talonflame who can protect with Quick Guard on the first turn, protecting Smeargle from every Fake Outter minus Weavile, and on the second turn after the enemy has been Dark Voided into submission, Talonflame can set up with Tailwind, while I swap out Smeargle.

I was using this strategy for an unusual team set, namely to make Mega Heracross a viable team member in VGC. It worked out pretty well for me, and Destiny Bond and Foul Play make more sense to me since they let Smeargle keep up a constant offensive threat if Transform isn't worth the time with what you're fighting against, or if both of you are down to one Pokemon and Smeargle won't survive or OHKO with Foul Play allowing you to pick up the win under VGC Rules.
Lum Berry, and Prankster Safeguarders like Meowstic and Klefki are two things that really kill this. I do like the strategy, and Klefki/Meowstic Safeguard isn't too popular, but a double Protect, Lum Berry, faster Fake Out, and Safeguard are what can rip this strat apart. Just my opinions though.
Smeargle or any setup mom and kang is the sole reason I gave my extra slot to Talonflame. I just quick guard Talonflame and safeguard with klefki and it hasn't failed me yet against this lead. Talonflame also runs taunt which means smeargle can't transform. From there I can t wave kang and self swagger Talonflame.
I can assure you Smeargle is NOT what it used to be; Dark Void kept missing, and it's even missed both opponents at the same time. I did much better when I ditched it.

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