Poké Monday 6/29/15: Croconaw

RNG (Croconaw) 

Tier: NU
Type: Water
Stats: 65 HP, 80 Atk, 80 Def, 59 Sp.Atk, 63 Sp.Def, 58 Speed
Abilities: Torrent, Sheer Force (HA)

Usable moves: Aerial Ace, Ancient Power, Aqua Jet, Aqua Tail, Blizzard, Body Slam, Brick Break, Crunch, Double-Edge, Dragon Claw, Dragon Dance, Façade, Frustration, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Hone Claws, Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Ice Punch, Low Kick, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Rest, Return, Roar, Rock Slide, Scald, Seismic Toss, Shadow Claw, Substitute, Superpower, Surf, Swords Dance, Toxic, Waterfall

Overview

Once, I explicitly stated that I would not be reviewing Croconaw, but that time was when Feraligatr was NU. Now, thanks to the recent (and by recent I mean about four months old) release of its hidden ability Sheer Force, the big gator has been bumped up to UU, and thus I feel Croconaw is now worthy of an analysis. However, it is simple in that Croconaw does the exact same thing as its evolution does: setting up Dragon Dance and hitting hard with Sheer Force-boosted moves. Unfortunately, its stats are not quite up to par, looking at its base 80 Attack, its 65/80/63 defenses, and its subpar base 58 Speed. Still, it’s not the worst Pokémon out there, and it can deal some nice damage with the right support and some setup.

Set

Croconaw @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 16 HP / 252 Atk / 240 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Waterfall
– Ice Punch
– Crunch

This set makes utmost use of its ability, Sheer Force, in order to deal as much damage as possible with the help of Dragon Dance. This set has 240 EVs in Speed with a neutral nature in order to outspeed max speed base 95s after one Dragon Dance, maximum Attack for maximum power, and the rest in HP. Its Sheer Force-boosted STAB Waterfalls are nothing to mess with, especially backed by Life Orb, with Ice Punch to hit Grass-types and Crunch to pretty much perfect the coverage (I mean, chances are you don’t see Marill or Carvanha every day).

The only thing about this set that really leaves room for explanation is its item choice. The decision between Life Orb and Eviolite is more difficult than it seems; while Life Orb grants it power to KO things with less setup, Eviolite allows it to set up against things that would normally KO it with ease.

Important KOs guaranteed with Life Orb:

  • +1 Waterfall on Electivire (125% minimum as opposed to 96.2%)
  • +1 Ice Punch on Leafeon after Stealth Rock (97.7% minimum as opposed to 75.2%)
  • +2 Waterfall on 136 HP Klinklang
  • 2HKO with +1 Crunch on 252 HP 0 Def Gorebyss(as opposed to 3HKO)

Important KOs avoided with Eviolite:

  • Head Smash from Archeops (89.4% maximum as opposed to 133.4%)
  • Freeze-Dry from offensive Cryogonal (77% maximum as opposed to 115.6%)
  • Wild Charge from +1 Klinklang (93% maximum as opposed to 138.9%)
  • Sludge Bomb from Life Orb Haunter (73.8% maximum as opposed to 109.8%)
  • Psychic from Life Orb Jynx (see Haunter)
  • Close Combat from Choice Band Primeape (87.2% maximum as opposed to 130.9%)
  • Horn Leech from Life Orb Sawsbuck (93.4% maximum as opposed to 138.9%)

Sure, the list of avoided KOs is longer than the list of guaranteed KOs, but I say being able to OHKO Electivire and Leafeon (the latter after SR) is enough of a reason to run Life Orb, especially because the EVs are specifically allocated to outspeed base 95s at +1. Still, it’s a matter of preference, and both choices have their own merits.

Other Options

All I can think of is using Swords Dance over Ice Punch as a method of further boosting power at the expense of coverage. If running Swords Dance, Eviolite is the better choice of item because guaranteeing KOs is not as much of a priority as surviving hits.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/DEFfDFAq – Untested team, most likely flawed.

Now that I think about it, I suppose I should actually explain the team instead of just leaving a link to it. This team contains:

  • Croconaw (set above)
  • Kadabra with Focus Sash and Magic Guard for revenge killing and to hit Weezing hard
  • Torkoal for hazard control and as a defense against Grass-types
  • Lanturn as a measure against Electric-types and status
  • Audino as a cleric
  • Rotom (normal form) for special offense, as a Scarfer, and for utility with Will-O-Wisp and Trick
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