Once again, I have failed to deliver overnight because of other matters. Apologies. (Don’t be surprised if this happens from time to time.)
Smogon official tier: NU
Base Stats: 85 HP, 105 Atk, 55 Def, 85 Sp.Atk, 50 Sp.Def, 115 Speed
Abilities: Swift Swim, Water Veil (HA)
Usable moves: Agility, Aqua Jet, Aqua Tail, Baton Pass, Blizzard, Brick Break, Bulk Up, Crunch, Façade, Focus Blast, Focus Punch, Frustration, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Ice Punch, Iron Tail, Low Kick, Me First, Payback, Protect, Pursuit, Quick Attack, Rain Dance, Rest, Return, Roar, Scald, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Surf, Switcheroo, Tail Slap, Taunt, Torment, Toxic, Waterfall
Floatzel is fast. In fact, it is the 6th-fastest Pokémon in NU (behind Zebstrika, Swellow, Electrode, Accelgor, and Ninjask, in ascending order of Speed; tied with Persian and Sneasel). Unlike most other physically offensive Water-types in the tier, it does not need setup to wreak havoc, and such behavior is ill advised due to its frailty. It does get Bulk Up, Agility, and Baton Pass (and Power-Up Punch, but apparently that’s not considered “usable”), but it’s not the type of Pokémon that should be dedicated to setup. After all, the Baton Pass Clause (that all teams are limited to one Pokémon with Baton Pass) is a thing in NU, so it’s best to not have Floatzel take up that slot and instead find an alternative like Gorebyss. Instead, use it for what it’s for: Switcheroo. You can take an opponent’s item in exchange for a hindering one like a Choice Band or a Flame Orb (the latter of which Floatzel can hold without worry). Its physical movepool is nothing to write home about, but it’s enough to get by.
Floatzel @ Choice Band
Ability: Water Veil
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Ice Punch
As established before, Switcheroo is what distinguishes Floatzel as an offensive presence. With a Choice Band, this is effective on walls like Audino and Lickilicky that rely on their utility to function. Waterfall is its main STAB; you could run Aqua Tail for more power, but the power boost is so situational that it’s not worth the 10% miss chance or lack of flinch chance. Ice Punch can nail Grass-types (particularly Cradily) on the switch, most of them for at least a 2HKO (exceptions: Gourgeist-XL, Tangela, 35.5% chance to 2HKO Vileplume). Now, you may be wondering, for one reason or another, why I have Frustration. It is the exact same thing as Return, except it messes with max happiness Ditto (note that max happiness is the default on Pokémon Showdown). It’s also because, while I was testing teams, I was frustrated that Floatzel didn’t get to do anything with the first set I gave it (Flame Orb with Switcheroo, Waterfall, Power-Up Punch, and Baton Pass). At any rate, the main reason for the move is to hit opposing Water-types that don’t mind its other options much. The coverage is good and the move itself has super reliable damage output.
I mentioned Flame Orb before. Using Switcheroo with this item has two primary uses: reducing the potency of a physically offensive threat and causing residual damage to walls that use Leftovers or Eviolite to sustain themselves. (Well, Toxic does a better job against Pokémon that have recovery, but I guess Flame Orb Switcheroo-ing is handy against Rest and Heal Bell. Toxic Orb is too, but Floatzel doesn’t have the immunity.) This may not do it justice due to, once again, its frailty, but it could be used as a last ditch effort (but then again, isn’t that also the case with Choice Band?). Focus Punch could maybe, and I mean maybe, be used as an option over Frustration/Return on the Choice Band set to punish with predictions.
Now, if you really want to use Baton Pass Floatzel, even though I wouldn’t recommend it, I’m not stopping you; the option is there. I’m thinking a set with Leftovers max HP max Speed Jolly (4 Atk) with Bulk Up, Waterfall, Substitute, and Baton Pass would be your best bet.
Now, I have something to say about this team. I think this is the most success I’ve had in quite a while with building sample teams. It’s a bit like the previous one, using Pikachu-Belle (I like using Pikachu-Belle in NU) with Fire and Grass offense (plus the added bonus of Water) and a defensive “core” (bereft of recovery) of Mega Steelix and Mantine. This time, I actually have a replay of the team in action:
(vs. Poliwrath, Weezing, Audino, Steelix, Exeggutor, and Rapidash)
You can see that Floatzel uses Switcheroo on the Audino on turn 11, which turns out to be quite helpful in the long run of the battle. I think my predictions were pretty on point as well (except that Earthquake on Exeggutor was a mistake).