Poké Monday 11/16/15: Swanna

RNG (Swanna) 

Tier: PU
Type: Water/Flying
Base Stats: 75 HP, 87 Atk, 63 Def, 87 Sp.Atk, 63 Sp.Def, 98 Speed
Abilities: Keen Eye, Big Pecks, Hydration (hidden)

Usable moves: Aerial Ace, Air Slash, Brave Bird, Defog, Façade, Frustration, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Hurricane, Ice Beam, Protect, Rest, Return, Roost, Scald, Substitute, Surf, Tailwind, Toxic

Overview

Important notice: Now that PU is an official tier, any Pokémon legal in PU will have its analysis based on PU rather than NU, and this happens to be one of them. For those uninformed, PU is the tier below NU. The letters don’t really stand for anything; it’s merely a play on the expression that something smells bad, conveniently following the same letter format as the tiers above it (NU, RU, UU, OU). Anyway, enough explaining the tier, because that’s not the purpose of this post.

Swanna’s main purpose is as an offensive Defogger (don’t even try to use it defensively because Pelipper outclasses it in that regard), and with its dual STABs being unresisted in its tier (aside from Chinchou, but there’s no reason to run that just to counter Swanna), there is no better candidate for this purpose. Swanna sits at an above average Speed tier of 98, putting it past base 95s like Leafeon and Sawsbuck, and its offensive stats are not too bad. Also, its typing gives it a nice set of immunities and resistances—being immune to Ground and resistant to Bug, Fighting, Fire, Steel, and Water—meaning it isn’t entirely devoid of opportunities to switch in.

However, Swanna is not without its shortcomings. 75/63/63 defenses make it relatively frail, meaning it should be careful around the hard hitters of the tier. Its movepool also leaves something to be desired, lacking Hydro Pump or any physical options beyond Brave Bird and Return/Frustration. (It gets Dive, but that’s easy to play around.) Additionally, as many common resistances as its typing gets, it also comes with a weakness to Rock, making it lose 1/4 of its HP per switch-in to Stealth Rock, and a 4x weakness to Electric, which is problematic considering how many Electric-types outspeed it—Dedenne, Emolga, Raichu, Zebstrika, and Electrode (not to mention that Rapidash, which also outspeeds, annihilates it with Wild Charge). Finally, it has little to offer in terms of Ability choices; Keen Eye and Big Pecks are next to useless, and Hydration is only useful in rain. Rain is good for Swanna, though—not just because of Hydration, but also to buff the accuracy of its Hurricanes.

As a whole, Swanna is difficult to bring in, but it is nothing to be overlooked if it comes in safely.

Set

Swanna @ Life Orb
Ability: Hydration
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 29 HP / 0 Atk
– Hurricane
– Scald
– Defog
– Roost

Hurricane is Swanna’s most powerful offensive move, sporting a high base 110 power and a nice 30% chance to induce confusion (although backed with an unfortunate chance to miss). Scald is generally preferred over Surf for a nice 30% chance to burn at the expense of 10 base power. Defog is Swanna’s best utility option, clearing opposing (and ally) hazards and screens, with a nice bonus of making its Hurricanes less likely to miss the opposing Pokémon if it decides to stay in. Roost, although it seems questionable on an offensive set, allows it to regain health lost from Life Orb recoil and potential hazard damage, as well as reducing its weakness to slower/weaker Electric and Rock moves.

The EVs are fairly straightforward; Speed and Special Attack are maximized for maximum offensive prowess, with its Timid nature keeping it at the top of its decent Speed tier. The remaining 4 EVs are put into Defense because its resistances are chiefly physical (and Download is irrelevant outside of UU, LC, Ubers, and maybe OU). Attack IV is set to 0 to reduce damage from Foul Play and confusion, and the 29 in HP sets Swanna’s HP to 289 instead of 291, reducing Life Orb recoil to 28 damage instead of 29.

Other Options

Surf is an option for better direct damage than Scald, which comes with the following perks:

  • 93.8% chance to OHKO 252/0 Armaldo (versus 31.3%, although burn damage will KO it if the Scald itself doesn’t)
  • guaranteed 2HKO on 248/252+ Leftovers Avalugg after Stealth Rock (versus 49.2%)
  • guaranteed 2HKO on 248/252+ Leftovers Bastiodon (versus 12.9%)
  • guaranteed KO with two Surfs on Sunny Day Carbink (whereas two Scalds have a 46.875% chance)
  • better chance to OHKO Choice Band Flareon (93.8% versus 31.3%)
  • guaranteed OHKO on offensive Ninetales (versus 43.8%)
  • 92.2% chance to 2HKO 252/168+ Leftovers Probopass, guaranteed after Stealth Rock (versus 11.3% and 59%, respectively)
  • guaranteed OHKO on defensive Torkoal (versus 87.5%)

That’s only a small portion of the whole tier, though, so Scald is better overall.

Toxic can be used to spread status, notably on offensive and defensive threats that can take its hits easily. Hidden Power Electric guarantees an OHKO on 248/8 Pelipper and opposing Swanna (whereas Hurricane has no chance of OHKOing the former and a 31.3% chance of OHKOing the latter), but it serves no purpose otherwise.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/thL6Vzwy – This team has gone through a lot of testing in comparison to the others I’ve made. I have fought 23 battles—14 wins and 9 losses—across all variations of it, and it has undergone plenty of changes since the first time I conceptualized it.

The only three team members who have stayed the same throughout all variations are Swanna, Gourgeist-Super, and Probopass—and the former two are the only ones whose sets have not changed. In teambuilding, I have gone through the following former members:

  • Pikachu-Belle because I like its offensive moves (Electric STAB, Icicle Crash, Knock Off) and its Lightning Rod; discarded because it’s too slow for an offensive ‘mon
  • Butterfree as another variety of setup sweeper; discarded because it’s frail and relies on Focus Sash to thrive
  • Choice Scarf Ditto to deal with opposing setup sweepers; discarded because it’s worse in practice than on paper
  • Life Orb Zebstrika for switching into Electric-type moves and being really fast; discarded because it’s…not the best in the offensive department
  • Choice Scarf Raichu for revenge killing and switching into Electric-type moves; discarded because Choice Scarf was a bad idea in hindsight, and I feel its offense just didn’t cut it (plus Focus miss)
  • Flareon for Fire offense; discarded because…erm…reasons.
  • offensive pivot Probopass and the lead Krokorok set I posted in a former Poké Monday because, with all the non-offensive moves I kept seeing, I thought it would be good to have Taunt, but I ended up discarding the idea because Krokorok is too slow and too frail (even with Eviolite and Intimidate) to utilize the move properly.
  • Grumpig as a special wall with Heal Bell; discarded because I found my team very Ghost- and Dark-weak and thus replaced it with Clefairy

At any rate, I say the team that I have built—and faced plenty of battles to refine—is a team that relies on predictions in order to keep hazards and screens away using Swanna, while keeping offensive threats at bay using the wall core of Clefairy/Probopass/Gourgeist, the revenge killing capabilities of Scarf Krokorok, and the setup potential of Ninetales.

As far as threats, I say Rapidash tears the team to shreds if it comes in when Krokorok is not on the field. That’s all that immediately comes to mind, but I’m sure there are plenty more.

This team contains:

  • Swanna (set above)
  • Clefairy to stop SubSeed and Toxic stall, as well as to provide Heal Bell support
  • Probopass for Stealth Rock and attempting to wall things
  • Gourgeist-Super to take the Fighting and Ground attacks that Probopass hates (well, actually, I’m more likely to switch Swanna into the Ground attacks), as well as being bulky in general (at least physically)
  • Choice Scarf Krokorok for revenge killing, particularly with Pursuit, and to switch in to Swanna’s weaknesses (although maybe not so much Rock); Adamant nature because Jolly doesn’t cut past anything relevant in the tier
  • Ninetales as a setup attacker to make sure I’m not solely limited to petty offense
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