Poké Monday 8/10/15: Plusle

RNG (Plusle) 

Tier: NU
Type: Electric
Stats: 60 HP, 50 Atk, 40 Def, 85 Sp.Atk, 75 Sp.Def, 95 Speed
Abilities: Plus, Lightning Rod (HA)

Useful moves: Agility, Baton Pass, Body Slam, Discharge, Double-Edge, Encore, Façade, Frustration, Grass Knot, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Light Screen, Nasty Plot, Nuzzle, Protect, Rest, Return, Seismic Toss, Signal Beam, Substitute, Thunder, Thunder Punch, Thunder Wave, Thunderbolt, Toxic, Volt Switch, Wild Charge, Wish

Overview

There are many Electric types in the NU tier: Dedenne, Electivire, Electrode, Emolga, Lanturn, Luxray, Minun, Pachirisu, Pikachu, Plusle, Raichu, Rotom (and its fan and fridge forms), Stunfisk, and Zebstrika. So, what makes Plusle so special? Well, it is one of the few (along with Minun and Emolga) to learn Baton Pass. What distinguishes Plusle in particular is access to Lightning Rod, which boosts its Special Attack when targeted with an Electric-type move (and keep in mind that this includes Thunder Wave), meaning it can potentially pass a Special Attack boost without having to set up. Note, however, the Baton Pass Clause: “Players cannot have more than one Pokémon with the move Baton Pass. Furthermore, a Pokémon cannot have Baton Pass while also a move that boosts Speed and a move that boosts another stat.” This means, for instance, that you cannot run Nasty Plot and Agility on Plusle (but why would you want to anyway), and you also cannot have a Baton Passer other than Plusle if you decide to use Plusle for that purpose (which is pretty much necessary so it doesn’t get outclassed by Raichu, who has objectively better stats and a more diverse movepool but lacks Baton Pass).

Also note that there are better Pokémon to be used for the sole purpose of passing Special Attack boosts. Volbeat is the most notable, having access to the Prankster ability and Tail Glow, both of which make it second to none in its Baton Passing role. Girafarig can pass Nasty Plot boosts like Plusle, only Girafarig has better physical bulk, slightly better Special Attack, and a natural immunity (Ghost) along with its ability-based immunity (Grass through Sap Sipper, which actually makes it capable of passing Attack boosts), although Girafarig’s Speed is 10 base points less and it has more weaknesses (notably to the common U-turn and Knock Off). Mr. Mime can also pass Nasty Plot boosts, sporting a natural Dragon immunity (although dragons are a rare sight in NU), awesome special bulk, and the best mono-attacking STAB type in Fairy, although its physical bulk is nearly nonexistent. Minun? Well, it’s slightly bulkier (60/50/85), but it has a weaker Special Attack stat of 75 and gets Volt Absorb instead of Lightning Rod, making it less capable of fighting on its own.

In a nutshell, Plusle has its niche in being an Electric-type Baton Passer with Nasty Plot and Lightning Rod that can fend for itself, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good.

Set

Plusle @ Air Balloon
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 Def
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power [Ice]
– Nasty Plot
– Baton Pass

This is about the best set that Plusle can run without being outclassed. Air Balloon gives it a temporary immunity to Ground, leaving it with no weaknesses the moment it is sent out. (Note, however, that it has 60/40/75 defenses, so don’t expect it to take a hit that easily.) Lightning Rod is its absolute best ability choice, especially because its other ability, Plus, is useless in Singles. Thunderbolt is its most reliable STAB, and Hidden Power Ice is there for coverage. As mentioned before, being able to Baton Pass Nasty Plot is what prevents Plusle from being outclassed by Raichu.

Other Options

Encore can be used over Hidden Power Ice to make it easier to open an opportunity to set up, although a supportive option like that is better left to Minun. Aside from that, there are no other options.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/GNZDgh43 – This team has lost more battles than it has won, so please don’t take it too seriously.

This team contains:

  • Plusle (set above)
  • Mantine for baiting Electric-type attacks (although those are not very common where I am on the ladder)
  • Audino for team support with Heal Bell, Wish, and Knock Off
  • Crustle for hazards and Knock Off
  • Kadabra for revenge killing and receiving Nasty Plot passes (although some buffoon decided to run Assault Vest Electrode, which lived a +2 Psychic from the Kadabra, to spite me)
  • Sandslash for Rapid Spinning and heavier physical offense
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