Poké Monday 7/13/15: Machoke

RNG (Machoke) 

Tier: NU
Type: Fighting
Stats: 80 HP, 100 Atk, 70 Def, 50 Sp.Atk, 60 Sp.Def, 45 Speed
Abilities: Guts, No Guard, Steadfast (HA)

Usable moves: Body Slam, Brick Break, Bulk Up, Bullet Punch, Close Combat, Cross Chop, Double-Edge, Earthquake, Encore, Façade, Fire Blast, Fire Punch, Flamethrower, Focus Blast, Frustration, Heavy Slam, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Ice Punch, Knock Off, Light Screen, Low Kick, Poison Jab, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Rest, Return, Rock Slide, Seismic Toss, Substitute, Superpower, Thunder Punch, Toxic

(Dynamic Punch is not listed here because it’s only usable by the Machamp line)

Overview

Looking at this Pokémon and the current status of the NU tier, all I can think is: outclassed by Gurdurr. Both are second-stage pure Fighting-types with similar stat builds.

Machoke: 80/100/70/50/60/45
Gurdurr: 85/105/85/40/50/40

They both have the same BST, but Gurdurr triumphs in Attack (where it matters most) and physical bulk, actually has STAB priority in Mach Punch, and gets Drain Punch as well. Machoke, on the other hand, has better special bulk and Speed, as well as No Guard Dynamic Punch. Really, those are pretty much the only things Machoke has that Gurdurr doesn’t. (Anything else is nothing short of situational.)

Other candidates to fill the role of bulky Fighting-type in NU are Hariyama, Poliwrath, and Throh.

Hariyama

+: second-highest Atk of any Fighting-type in NU (behind Sawk by 5 base points), pseudo-resistance to Fire and Ice thanks to Thick Fat, access to Fake Out
-: questionable bulk (high HP but low defenses), Close Combat as preferred STAB

Poliwrath

+: extra Water typing, Water Absorb, has an acceptable Speed stat (unlike the other four), can use special and physical moves alike, one of few Pokémon that are seen with Vacuum Wave (let alone in NU)
-: extra weaknesses in Electric and Grass, not many options for physical Fighting STAB (basically only limited to Circle Throw)

Throh

+: bulkiest overall
-: unlike Gurdurr, does not have Drain Punch or Mach Punch

All three have two things in common, though: they don’t mind Knock Off as much as Gurdurr as Machoke, and all of them lack Drain Punch. (Honestly, it’s so unjust that Gurdurr is the only Fighting-type in NU with Drain Punch…)

Anyway, Machoke’s only real niche in NU is No Guard Dynamic Punch. It’s 100 BP Fighting STAB with a guaranteed chance of confusion, with its ordinarily mediocre 50% accuracy patched up by No Guard. Unfortunately, No Guard also comes with a minor drawback: not only will Machoke’s Dynamic Punches always hit (even in a semi-vulnerable state, although semi-invulnerable states are seldom seen in the competitive scene), but any move targeting Machoke will also always hit. This means that even moves with shaky accuracy like Will-o-wisp, Focus Blast, Stone Edge, and (most importantly) Hurricane will never miss Machoke, no matter the circumstances. Regardless, guaranteed confusion can be a helpful utility at times, and Machoke and Chatot are the only Pokémon that can cause it while simultaneously dealing damage.

Set

Machoke @ Eviolite
Ability: No Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Dynamic Punch
– Knock Off
– Rest
– Sleep Talk

This set makes the most of Machoke’s capabilities. Eviolite is pretty much a must-have for NFEs in order to significantly increase their bulk without any drawbacks. No Guard is what differentiates Machoke as a Fighting-type attacker; its other options are either outclassed (Guts) or essentially worthless (Steadfast). EVs are pooled into Attack for maximum possible damage output and HP to increase its overall bulk (which is recommended because its base 45 Speed will take it nowhere), with Adamant nature to further maximize its offense.

As mentioned, No Guard Dynamic Punch is Machoke’s niche in the NU tier, as well as its best STAB. Knock Off provides decent coverage with its STAB, taking care of Ghosts and Psychics, and also has the utility of removing the opponent’s item. (Note, however, that a resisted Dynamic Punch does more than a neutral Knock Off on an itemless opponent. 100*1.5/2 = 75 > 65) Rest is Machoke’s only form of recovery, which helps it live longer and shrug off status, and Sleep Talk prevents Machoke from having to wait 2 turns doing absolutely nothing while Resting.

Other Options

Nothing to see here. All of its other options are situational, outclassed, or just plain useless.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/hjmnsk6j – Only tested once; ended in victory, but Machoke did nothing.

This team contains:

  • Machoke (set above)
  • Klinklang because Steel-types complement Fighting-types well (resisting all of their weaknesses) and you can’t go wrong with Klinklang
  • Lanturn as a wall and for Heal Bell support
  • Magmortar for special offense
  • Cryogonal for hazard control and extra special offense
  • Fletchinder in case of Mold Breaker Earthquake

I suppose I didn’t think the team through too well because it doesn’t have any hazards… Oh well. Hindsight’s always 20/20.

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