RU Spotlight: Slowking

By Mack the Knife with help from Oglemi. Art by paintseagull.
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When Slowking was first introduced in GSC, it was seen as almost entirely outclassed by its awkward, less noble brother Slowbro. Therefore, it was only really used in GSC UU. In ADV, it continued to be outclassed by Slowbro, but it managed to be one of the top bulky Water-types of ADV UU, so not much change there.

In DPP, when Slowbro finally dropped from BL to UU, Slowking was pushed into NU. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing however, because after Entei and Espeon were banned, it was one of the best Pokemon of DPP NU. This was a pretty good time for Slowking.

Then in BW, 2 things happened. First off, RU was made; it was a tier where Slowking could finally be used to its full potential. Secondly, it got an amazing ability in Regenerator, allowing it to get one-third of its health back every time it switched out, which is very useful for a support Pokemon. Even when there were tons of Dark- and Bug-types, Nidoqueen, and competition from Cresselia, it was still used a lot due to its unpredictability, great stats, great typing, and Regenerator. It's been a staple of RU ever since R1 and R2 when it was "rediscovered" and brought out of NU. Now it's arguably the best Water-type in RU since it consistently beats most Fire- and Fighting-types. It's become the king of RU (at least by usage).

Slowking's Qualities

Slowking is a Pokemon gifted with great defenses, decent offenses, and an amazing movepool. Its defenses are, simply put, incredible, allowing it to switch in on many resisted and neutral hits. Its low Speed and good Special Attack also allow it to utilize Trick Room extremely well. All in all, it has one of the best stat distributions of RU.

Regenerator is an epic ability. It allows Slowking to switch in and out constantly, making it an amazing pivot. This ability is what separates Slowking from its other bulky Water peers, such as Qwilfish and Poliwrath; while they can only switch into certain threats once, Slowking can switch in repeatedly. Also, Regenerator allows Slowking to take Pursuits much better. Furthermore, if you make a mistake, such as switching in on a Choice-locked Electric move, Slowking can switch out and come back in later to neutralize other threats.

Slowking's movepool gives it a wide variety of support moves, such as Thunder Wave, Toxic, Trick Room, and Trick. Unlike a lot of bulky Water-types, it also gets a reliable recovery in Slack Off. Its offensive moves include the bulky Water staple Scald, the Bug- and Grass-burning Fire Blast (seriously, how many Water-types get Fire Blast?), a secondary STAB in Psyshock, and the always useful boosting move Nasty Plot. Its movepool makes it so that you can predict as hard as you want, but unless you have a Lum Berry, whatever you're switching into it may get poisoned, burned, or paralyzed. This throws a wrench into the cogs of teams that rely on Durant, Gallade, Absol, Spiritomb, or other Pokemon in the same vein to check it. These are the reasons why Slowking is #1 in usage.

Playing with Slowking

When using Slowking, there are normally 3 set options to choose from: standard defensive, Trick Room, and Choice Specs. The defensive set gets the most use and can switch in on most neutral attacks. It's extremely easy to use, mainly because all you have to do is switch in on half the tier, force them out, and use a status move, Fire Blast, or Psyshock, based on what you think they'll switch in. There are reasons why this is one of the most used sets in RU.

The Trick Room set can be played in 2 ways: focusing on Slowking sweeping in Trick Room with Nasty Plot boosts or with 3 attacks + Life Orb. I recommend the 3 attack + Life Orb set, since it gives you more turns to utilize Trick Room, and you also get more coverage. Either way, both of them are excellent sweepers.

The third set isn't seen too often, but it is actually very underrated, since it is able to switch in and hit hard before switching out to regain health. Most of its usual switch-ins are either 2HKOed or OHKOed. It can also Trick the Choice Specs onto slow walls. Choosing a Slowking set depends on what you need. If you want a pivot or a wall, use the defensive set; if you want a Trick Room sweeper, use the Trick Room set (I hope you already knew that); and if you want a hard-hitting pivot, use the Choice Specs set.

Playing against Slowking

When countering Slowking, you ought to try to find out what set it's running. It's usually the defensive set, but just assuming that at the beginning can cost you the battle. The best way to get rid of Slowking is Toxic and entry hazards. Entry hazards are very annoying since Slowking has to do a lot of switching. Believe it or not, Entei is able to 2HKO Slowking after some prior damage from Stealth Rock and Spikes. Toxic is dangerous because the indirect damage really racks up.

Escavalier is a great counter. With Pursuit and Megahorn, it can OHKO Slowking regardless of whether it switches or stays in. Pursuit does 50% even if Slowking doesn't switch. Escavalier can easily switch in on status moves since it's immune to Toxic and doesn't mind paralysis. When you switch in Escavalier, you ought to consider switching out immediately to see if Slowking is running Fire Blast. If not, then you can safely switch back in on it. Also, be wary of Scald burns.

Pokemon that carry Lum Berries, such as Absol, Durant, and Lilligant, are able to switch in and kill Slowking right away. The ability to predict around status will be very useful. Electric- and Grass-types, such as Galvantula, Tangrowth, and Sceptile, can just blow it out of the water. Manectric deserves a special mention due to its ability to switch in on Thunder Wave and get a free Special Attack boost. Pursuit users are pretty good counters to Slowking, specifically the aforementioned Escavalier, Drapion, and Spiritomb.

Ironically, if you want to wall Slowking, Slowking itself is a great candidate. These battles usually take forever, but if one of them is carrying Toxic, they will most likely win. It's interesting to see a battle between two Slowking that both have Toxic.

Fitting Slowking on your team

To best summarize the teams Slowking is great on, I must quote my good friend Jellicent: "Slowking has long been one of the best 'mons in RU. Works on stall, offense, balance, hail, TR, whatever." Yes, Slowking virtually fits on all teams. If you're having trouble fitting Slowking on your team, you're either running a sun team or using a different bulky Water-type for some unfathomable reason. (Just kidding: some bulky Water-types can be used over Slowking on certain teams.) Slowking, however, does like the help of Ground-types to absorb Electric attacks and counter Drapion. Also, Tangrowth, Amoonguss, and other Regenerator users are good partners, because while they aren't as good as they used to be, Regenerator cores are still viable.

Slowking can basically fill any role on a team. Wall? Check. Pivot? Check. Sweeper? Check. Hole puncher? Check. Staller? Check. Very few other Pokemon can fill all of these roles. Escavalier is a great partner for the Trick Room set, since it is arguably the best Trick Room sweeper in RU. Other good partners for the Trick Room set include Druddigon, Bouffalant, and Aggron. These Pokemon can all help Slowking break through its threats or just capitalize on Trick Room itself. The Specs set appreciates entry hazards, so Smeargle or Crustle are great partners. This set also struggles to get past other Slowking if it's locked into a move and can't use Trick, so having one of the aforementioned counters as a partner would be useful. The great thing about Slowking is that it needs almost no support whatsoever. It's that good.

Get out there!

Slowking is the King of RU for a reason, and all in all it's an amazing Pokemon. Being unpredictable and a great team supporter is great, so really there are only a handful of reasons you shouldn't use it. Slowking is an excellent Pokemon that almost every team should use!

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