Poké Monday 8/24/15: Cacturne

Rejected numbers: 665 (Spewpa)

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 1.27.37 AM 

Tier: NU
Type: Grass/Dark
Stats: 70 HP, 115 Atk, 60 Def, 115 Sp.Atk, 60 Sp.Def, 55 Speed
Abilities: Sand Veil, Water Absorb (hidden)

Usable moves: Body Slam, Brick Break, Bullet Seed, Dark Pulse, Destiny Bond, Disable, Double-Edge, Drain Punch, Encore, Energy Ball, Façade, Focus Blast, Foul Play, Frustration, Giga Drain, Grass Knot, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Leech Seed, Low Kick, Nasty Plot, Poison Jab, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Rest, Return, Seed Bomb, Seismic Toss, Spikes, Spiky Shield, Substitute, Sucker Punch, Superpower, Switcheroo, Swords Dance, Synthesis, Thunder Punch, Toxic

Overview

Cacturne comes from an unfortunate batch of Pokémon introduced in Gen III that are simultaneously slow and frail. (Other examples include Seviper, Camerupt, and Crawdaunt.) That is why it has been sealed in the depths of NU since Gen III (not unlike Seviper, but Crawdaunt and Camerupt saw improvement through Adaptability and a Mega Evolution, respectively). That said, its Attack and Special Attack are astounding, not to mention it has the strongest Sucker Punch in the tier, and it has two potential immunities in Psychic (naturally) and Water (through Water Absorb) that help it switch in for teammates that don’t appreciate moves of those types. Simply put, it is a wallbreaker. It’s meant to punch holes through teams and pick off weaker offensive threats with its strong Sucker Punch.

Set

Cacturne @ Life Orb
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Swords Dance
– Sucker Punch
– Seed Bomb
– Drain Punch

Life Orb to maximize damage output, Water Absorb for the extra immunity (notably to Scald and Aqua Jet). Max Speed is more useful than you’d gather from a Pokémon of such sluggish Speed; it ties with Adamant max Speed base 65s (like Flareon) and cuts past slower ones (like Aurorus), and it passes uninvested base 95 and below (although that’s not too useful). Swords Dance boosts its Attack to scary levels, Sucker Punch is required because of its sluggish Speed, Seed Bomb is secondary STAB for walls that opt against attacking, and Drain Punch is for Steels and light recovery.

Other Options

Cacturne can pull a specially offensive set with Nasty Plot, Giga Drain, Dark Pulse, and Focus Blast, but a set like that lacks priority and…well…contains Focus miss. I mean, Giga Drain provides light recovery (like Drain Punch on the above set plus STAB), but that’s the only silver lining. It can also use Spiky Shield (a neat new tool brought to you by ΩRαS) to punish U-turners and opposing priority users, or set up Spikes to support the team. Note, however, that Maractus can do the same thing, only with slightly better bulk and Speed (plus Storm Drain) at the expense of weaker offense and a lack of Dark STAB (but at least Maractus gets Knock Off).

Also note that its primary ability, Sand Veil, is now legal in Gen VI thanks to the lack of permanent weather. This means that Cacturne can be used as a check to the bulky Waters that sand teams hate, and that Sand Veil slightly bumps up what little survivability Cacturne has. However, this sort of approach requires the luck of the draw, so Water Absorb is preferred.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/nUea42uc – What a coincidence that this URL has “NU” in it (not with the same capitalization, but whatever). This team was hastily thrown together and, naturally, lost its only battle. So many weaknesses, so little recovery.

This team contains:

  • Cacturne (set above)
  • Weezing for baiting Psychic-type moves and taking care of Fighting-types
  • Rhydon for baiting Water-type moves, setting up Stealth Rock, and inflicting damage
  • Magmortar for more special offense
  • Lanturn for Heal Bell and…okay, I don’t know what else
  • Cryogonal for hazard control and Ice offense

Come to think of it, there’s honestly not much reason to have Ice Beam on Lanturn if I have Cryogonal. There are so many things wrong with this team…it’s hard to even call it a sample team.

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