Ludicolo (Poké Monday 2/22/16)

 RNG (Ludicolo)

Tier: NU
Type: Water/Grass
Base Stats: 80 HP, 70 Atk, 70 Def, 90 Sp.Atk, 100 Sp.Def, 70 Speed
Abilities: Swift Swim, Rain Dish, Own Tempo (hidden)

Usable moves: Blizzard, Body Slam, Brick Break, Bullet Seed, Double-Edge, Drain Punch, Energy Ball, Façade, Fake Out, Fire Punch, Focus Blast, Frustration, Giga Drain, Grass Knot, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire), Hone Claws, Hydro Pump, Hyper Voice, Ice Beam, Ice Punch, Knock Off, Leech Seed, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Rest, Return, Scald, Seed Bomb, Seismic Toss, Substitute, Sleep Talk, Surf, Swords Dance, Synthesis, Thunder Punch, Toxic, Waterfall, Zen Headbutt

Overview

Ludicolo possesses a unique typing in Water/Grass that gives it an odd set of weaknesses: Poison, Flying, and Bug. Its primary niche lies in being the only Swift Swim user with a direct answer to opposing Water-types (in the form of its Grass STAB), and its dual STABs complemented with an Ice-type move hit everything for neutral or greater damage except Shedinja and Sap Sipper Marill and Azumarill (which are questionable in use). However, its offensive stats leave something to be desired, making it largely dependent on rain to put a dent through opposing teams, and, even thought its bulk is decent, it does not have the right combination of resistances and utility to run a defensive set effectively (plus, most of its weaknesses target its weaker Defense stat). Also note that it has a quadruple weakness to Freeze-Dry, so it should be careful around the likes of Aurorus and Cryogonal. Still, Ludicolo is definitely a force to reckon with in lower tiers.

Set

Ludicolo @ Life Orb
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Giga Drain
– Ice Beam
– Rain Dance

This is Ludicolo’s flagship set, which allows it to wreak havoc under the rain. Hydro Pump is its strongest STAB move in terms of power and coverage. Giga Drain is supplementary STAB that gives it the edge over opposing Water-types and allows it to recover HP lost through Life Orb and other residual damage. Ice Beam rounds off its coverage, allowing it to hit the Grass-types that resist its dual STABs. Rain Dance is a sort of filler move that allows it to set up its own rain in case the rain stops, is overridden by some other weather (e.g., sun), or is not set up in the first place.

Life Orb is the preferred item for as much offensive power as possible without inhibiting move choice. Swift Swim is obviously the preferred Ability for a much-needed boost to its mediocre base 70 Speed. EVs are pooled completely into offense with a Modest nature for maximum power and all the Speed it needs. (The only notable benefit of running Timid nature is to cut past Choice Scarf Scyther in the rain.) Attack IV is 0 to reduce damage from Foul Play.

Other Options

 

Focus Blast is an option for dealing massive damage to Ferroseed (252+ SpA Life Orb Ludicolo Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Eviolite Ferroseed: 221-260 (75.6 – 89%) — guaranteed 2HKO) to make it more difficult for the latter to threaten with hazards and/or Thunder Wave, and it deals slightly more damage to opposing Ludicolo than Giga Drain (48.5 – 57.1% as opposed to 45.1 – 53.4%), but it serves no purpose otherwise.

Swords Dance may seem like a good idea on paper, considering Ludicolo has a nice physical movepool and no better boosting moves, but it has a severe case of four-moveslot syndrome—which forces it to give up a coverage move, a STAB move, or Rain Dance—and the only notable targets that it hits harder (boosts be darned) are Assault Vest Muk and opposing Ludicolo (252+ Atk Life Orb Ludicolo Seed Bomb vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Ludicolo: 165-196 (54.8 – 65.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO), not to mention Kabutops is significantly better on the physical side (the only redeeming quality of physical Ludicolo being its Grass STAB).

As an alternative to full offense, Ludicolo could try to run a defensive set with its decent repertoire of supportive options such as ScaldKnock OffSynthesisLeech Seed, and Toxic, but its Abilities (other than Own Tempo, which is questionable in use) are counterproductive with Synthesis, so perhaps it would be best to run Protect with Rain Dish, although that takes up a precious moveslot and limits the already meager number of move choices to 3 instead of 4.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/KwCEgEn1 – This team initially had Sawk over Kabutops, but since Sawk is in the middle of being suspect tested (which apparently is equivalent to being banned), I had to swap it out. The change didn’t turn out well, though, notably because I lost the only battle I fought with that team (although I would argue that it was mostly due to hax).

This team contains:

  • Ludicolo (set above)
  • Kabutops for physical prowess and extra power in rain
  • Klinklang as a setup sweeper and Steel-type
  • Crustle for hazards
  • Pelipper for hazard control
  • Liepard for rain and Encore support
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