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Pokemon Set: Blacephalon

  • November 30, 2017

    Hah, yeah...Uh, I'm really getting back into competitive Pokemon battling after a bit of a hiatus (sorta), or really I've been playing for the last week or so for a bit. Ultra Sun and Moon has brought some really interesting new options to older Pokemon but there are some really fun new Ultra Beasts that I've been playing around with. The first one that I've really enjoyed so far is Blacephalon which is by far one of the strongest Fire and Ghost Pokemon in the game. Both types and the combination (though...really Alolan Marowak and Chandelure just aren't good competition, even if Chandelure has better coverage).

    Anyway, I've used Blacephalon in three major ways over at Pokemon Showdown, most of them are actually based on the Choice Items, something that I rarely use but it felt very right with this fella.

    Basic Info and Counters

    So Blacephalon has insanely high attacks and a relatively high speed that allows it to outspeed most competition. So far the only thing that I've really struggled against from a speed perspective is Greninja, but that's just because of it's dual super-effective nature, the lack of Blacephalon's Water (or Dark) coverage and the fact that some people use Water Shuriken with Ash-Greninja which is going to one-shot Blacephalon because of his low defenses. It's the only real counter that I've stumbled into more than once, but I would imagine that most Dark types are going to be a bit of a struggle, and anything that's just immune to either Ghost or Fire (so Normal and Pokemon with Flash Fire) will be a bit of a pain just because Blacephalon really, really lacks decent coverage moves. Houndoom, for example, is a great counter to Blacephalon because I don't think there's really anything that you could do against the Fire/Dark type.

    Base Stats

    53 HP

    127 Attack

    53 Defense

    151 Special Attack

    79 Special Defense

    107 Speed

    First Set

    Blacephalon @ Choice Scarf
    Ability: Beast Boost
    EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature
    IVs: 0 Atk
    - Flamethrower/Heat Wave
    - Shadow Ball
    - Hidden Power [Bug]
    - Dark Pulse/Trick


    So there might be some strange options that you see straight away, namely the inclusion of Hidden Power Bug, but the rest of it is pretty generic. Really the most common move seems to be Fire Blast instead of HP Bug, but I don't really use moves with such a low accuracy when there are decent alternatives (Flamethrower and Heat Wave) and when HP Bug gives Blacephalon the ability to hit back relatively hard against Dark types...yeah, you'll notice that I'd rather give him the option just in case, when really you could just swap to a Fighting, Dark, Fairy or Bug-type Pokemon instead but...well it's a just-in-case item really.

    The other moves are relatively explanatory, with Trick being really useful against opposing walls like Toxapex, Chansey or Snorlax (who aren't going to benefit from the speed boost and will be crippled by the lack of attacking options). The general strategy here is basically just to clear any Pokemon that will resist your move of choice (usually Shadow Ball/Flamethrower) and then sweep the opposing team, gaining strength each turn. 

    Second Set

    Blacephalon @ Choice Specs
    Ability: Beast Boost
    EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature
    IVs: 0 Atk
    - Flamethrower
    - Shadow Ball
    - Hidden Power [Bug]
    - Trick

    Right...just the previous set but with Choice Specs so that it's going to destroy everything. The Scarf set is better, but if you don't need the speed (have counters for Greninja really) then this is a pretty solid set that allows you to unleash devastation against your opponents. Beast Boost will just keep boosting your SpA which is already going to be hitting 600 from just the Choice Specs. You could change this set by only putting 20 EV's into SpA which will keep it lower than a Timid Speed stat, which means you can have around 600 SpA and then boost your speed, but I don't know how well that will work. The difference between that set would be throwing your points into Special Defense (or HP) and making Blacephalon a little bulkier.

    Third Set

    Blacephalon @ Life Orb
    Ability: Beast Boost
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Shadow Claw
    - Flame Charge
    - Knock Off/Smackdown
    - Substitute

    This is actually a really fun set that I've been playing around with. It's mostly great because nobody expects it (the Physical version isn't as good as the special to be fair) but the combination of Flame Charge and Beast Boost (with Attack) is actually pretty great. It keeps Blacephalon really fast while also allowing it to dish out ever-increasing damage, with Shadow Claw and Knock Off/Smackdown as secondary options. I'd usually recommend Knock Off, but really that doesn't give it much coverage, but it would allow Blacephalon to Normal types and knock items off. Smackdown is really just good against Fire Types and the faster Flying-types that you might play against. Substitute is just a really good option for giving Blacephalon some survivability but is only recommend when an opponent swaps out (say they've got their weakened Ferrothorn in and know you'll one-shot it with Flamethrower...which I guess only works if they don't know it's physical). 

    Closing Notes

    I might update this if I figure out a more interesting combination. I've been trying to figure out a decent Mixed Attacker set but haven't run into anything I've liked yet. Oh and I'd like to try an Assault Vest or Calm Mind set as well just to see if it's plausible to run it as a tankier Pokemon. Next on my target list is Kommo-o who has become an absolute beast with USUM because of it's new Z-Move. Oh and I need to play around more with Stakataka who I think will benefit immensely from Gyro Ball + Trick Room, especially since you can just ignore putting anything into its defense because it has a base 211. I think it might be the most powerful Pokemon with such a high defense because it's the second slowest (5th slowest Pokemon at all) of the top 5 and the second strongest...meaning hello ULTRA GYRO-BALL. Probably won't look at any of the new Legendary Formes or the new Poison/Dragon UB because it's already in Uber (fair looks wrong, like as a competitive Pokemon it because of its movepool. 

    Anyway, that's all for today. Dunno how long I'll continue this series, and I will mention that I haven't played Ultra Sun or Moon (and probably won't) and I'm not the world's best player or anything...just like competitive battling.

  • November 30, 2017

    So I mentioned (Briefly) that I've been playing around with Stakataka, and's really hard to use in battle effectively. I gave Resto-Chesto a shot, I gave Sandstorm a shot, I've tried Assault Vest (which wasn't terrible) but in the end I think that I've figured out his main use. Only really works well as a Trick Room + Gyro Ball cheese factory but he is badass at that.

    I've been giving him a shot with uh... Whimsicott (Trick Room, Toxic, Leech Seed and Protect) and it's pretty successful, throw in something like Alolan-Marowak and something I'm trying out (Curse Nidoqueen/Nidoking) and you've got some weird Trick Room teams that work really well together. Will put up a set for him tomorrow, once I test a few things like the insanely (probably not useful) Recycle + Weakness Policy combination I want to could be insanely insane.