Poké Monday 5/4/15: Cloyster

RNG (Cloyster) 

Smogon official tier: UU
Type: Water/Ice
Base Stats: 50 HP, 95 Atk, 180 Def, 85 Sp.Atk, 45 Sp.Def, 70 Speed
Abilities: Shell Armor, Skill Link, Overcoat (HA)

Usable moves: Avalanche, Blizzard, Double-Edge, Explosion, Façade, Frustration, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Ice Shard, Icicle Crash, Icicle Spear, Poison Jab, Protect, Rapid Spin, Razor Shell, Rest, Return, Rock Blast, Shell Smash, Signal Beam, Spikes, Substitute, Surf, Toxic, Toxic Spikes

Overview

Get your head out of the gutter! This ain’t a woman’s private area you’re looking at!

Nay, what we have here is the best Shell Smash user of all time, as well as the best Skill Link user (except maybe Mega Heracross). Its HP and Special Defense are rubbish, but its Defense is really high and its offensive stats are not too bad (not to mention it’s the fastest Shell Smasher, although only 2 points ahead of Barbaracle, which is pretty much insignificant).

Now that I think about it, it may seem odd that Cloyster is in UU, yet Barbaracle, which has significantly more special bulk, a higher Attack stat, and only 2 less Speed, is NU. Well, Barbaracle has worse typing, worse physical bulk, precious little (if any) mixed potential, and no useful 100% accurate STAB (can’t learn Waterfall…sheesh). Meanwhile, Cloyster is rockin’ that base 125, 100% accurate, Ice-type, physical, Substitute-slaying STAB known as Skill Link Icicle Spear. At any rate, Barbaracle’s higher Attack is irrelevant because its STABs (Razor Shell and Stone Edge, which are equal in power thanks to Tough Claws) are that much weaker than Skill Link Icicle Spear. Don’t believe me? Here’s some proof.

252 Atk Tough Claws Barbaracle Razor Shell vs. 252 HP / 232 Def Florges: 144-171 (40 – 47.5%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 Atk Cloyster Icicle Spear (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 232 Def Florges: 170-210 (47.2 – 58.3%) — approx. 35.2% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

Anyway, enough comparing Pokémon two tiers apart. Skill Link Icicle Spear is what makes Cloyster Cloyster, so if you’re not running Icicle Spear on Cloyster, you’re doing it wrong. Also, pro tip: if you plan to set up with Cloyster, do so against a physical attacker.

Set

Cloyster @ White Herb
Ability: Skill Link
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Shell Smash
– Icicle Spear
– Rock Blast
– Hydro Pump

Shell Smash and Icicle Spear. No offensive Cloyster would be caught fainted without the two of these moves. Shell Smash boosts its offenses and Speed to +2, making it an offensive force to be reckoned with, at the cost of reducing defenses to -1, which is prevented once thanks to White Herb. Along with Icicle Spear, Cloyster gets another multi-hit move in Rock Blast, which allows it to hit Fire-types and most Water-types for neutral or higher damage. You may have thought, “Well, if it’s going to be physical, why not give it Razor Shell?” Simple: Mega Aggron. At +2, Hydro Pump is a guaranteed 2HKO on 252/240 Mega Aggron (heck, even 252/252+), while Mega Aggron cannot OHKO with anything thanks to Cloyster’s monstrous Defense stat (and it has to run Stone Edge to 2HKO). I realize some Mega Aggron run Roar, but it’s still worth noting.

Other Options

I noticed the damage calculator suggesting Ice Shard. What for, though? Mach Punch Infernape? Avoiding Sucker Punch from Honchkrow? Getting an unexpected revenge kill before setting up? I mean, when it’s at +2, it outspeeds everything until Choice Scarf base 110 with +Speed nature, and who even runs that? I don’t know. Every “other option” is just as situational as the next; all it really needs is Shell Smash and Icicle Spear. I mean, what other purpose does Hydro Pump serve outside of nailing Mega Aggron, right? (It hits Forretress hard too, but that’s beside the point.) If you want to keep physical and not reduce your already pitiful Special Defense, you could run Razor Shell, and I’m not stopping you from doing so, but I just don’t see why. Hidden Power Grass is a niche option for 2HKOing 252 HP 252 Def 4 SpD Relaxed Quagsire, and if the Quagsire is specially defensive, it risks this:

252 Atk Cloyster Icicle Spear (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Unaware Quagsire: 195-230 (49.4 – 58.3%) — approx. 68% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

Plus, Quagsire can only manage to 4HKO Cloyster, so…okay, maybe it’s an irrelevant threat.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/4LtTkbji – Blue Cloyster Cult. Hehe, puns.

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