Pumpkaboo (Poké Monday 6/20/16)

RNG (Pumpkaboo)

Tier: LC
Type: Ghost/Grass
Base Stats: dependent on size

  • Small: 44 HP, 66 Atk, 70 Def, 44 Sp.Atk, 55 Sp.Def, 56 Speed
  • Average: 49 HP, 66 Atk, 70 Def, 44 Sp.Atk, 55 Sp.Def, 51 Speed
  • Large: 54 HP, 66 Atk, 70 Def, 44 Sp.Atk, 55 Sp.Def, 46 Speed
  • Super: 59 HP, 66 Atk, 70 Def, 44 Sp.Atk, 55 Sp.Def, 41 Speed

Abilities: Pickup, Frisk, Insomnia (hidden; not available to Small or Large)

Usable moves: Bullet Seed, Dark Pulse, Destiny Bond, Disable, Energy Ball, Explosion, Façade, Fire Blast, Flame Charge, Flamethrower, Foul Play, Frustration, Giga Drain, Grass Knot, Gyro Ball, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Ice), Leech Seed, Light Screen, Magic Coat, Pain Split, Protect, Psychic, Rest, Return, Rock Slide, Seed Bomb, Shadow Ball, Shadow Sneak, Sleep Talk, Sludge Bomb, Substitute, Synthesis, Toxic, Trick, Will-O-Wisp

Overview

A unique quality defining Pumpkaboo and its evolution is that they come in four different sizes: small, average, large, and super. In the case of Pumpkaboo, greater sizes have more HP and less Speed, while the inverse is true for smaller sizes. (Note, however, that Gourgeist is different in that its Attack stat is also affected by size (like HP but less significantly).)

Regardless what size it is, Pumpkaboo is quite obviously the bulkiest (and fastest) Pokémon of its typing, although not quite the strongest. That’s not saying much, though, because Phantump is the only other Pokémon in the tier that shares its typing. This odd typing grants it some nice resistances in Water, Electric, Grass, and Ground, along with immunity to Normal and Fighting. However, it should be wary of Fire, Ice, Flying, Ghost, and Dark, some of which are unfortunately common coverage types on Pokémon that Pumpkaboo would otherwise be able to check effectively.

Regarding the differences between sizes, it’s actually not only a difference in stats, but also a difference in ideal EV investments. Shown below is an idea of what such investments might look like, all centered around the same raw idea of maximizing defenses while pooling the rest into HP and Speed. The resulting stats factor in an Impish nature.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.25.20 PM

You can see that the Average and Large sizes are exactly the same, although in the case of Large, you could shift 1 point from Speed to Attack by transferring the EVs accordingly. Meanwhile, Super size clearly has optimal bulk but slightly low Speed, while Small size sacrifices bulk for slightly greater Speed.

The difference in Speed may not seem like much, but it is enough to get a jump on Jolly Tirtouga and cripple it with Will-O-Wisp before it gets off a Shell Smash. Better yet, variants faster than Super size don’t have the problem of speed-tying with the bulky attacker variant of Porygon. It’s difficult to justify using Average or Large size, though, considering they’re both lukewarm in comparison to Small and Super (like how Hitmonchan is to Hitmonlee and Hitmontop), not to mention their stats match closely enough that they might as well be interchangeable (and Average is objectively worse than Large (notwithstanding Insomnia, which is relatively useless because Spore and Sleep Powder—to which Pumpkaboo is immune thanks to being Grass-type—are the only usable sleep-inducing moves in the tier) because Large has the flexibility of transferring Speed EVs to Attack, as mentioned earlier).

Also keep in mind that Small is the only size capable of reaching 24 Speed with a Choice Scarf, speed-tying with base 55-62 Choice Scarf users (such as Bunnelby and Wailmer) and cutting past base 43-52 (such as Darumaka and Inkay), as well as tying with +2 Tirtouga.

Moving on from the differences between sizes, Pumpkaboo seems like a bit of an unfortunate case in several facets. First and foremost, its Attack stat is superior to its Special Attack stat, but its special movepool is arguably better. Second, it may be respectably bulky, regardless of size, but it lacks reliable recovery beyond Synthesis and is easily worn down by Knock Off. Third, although it is one of only two Grass-types capable of inflicting Burn (and it’s not hard to guess the other), its most reliable method of inflicting Burn—Will-O-Wisp—has an annoying 15% chance to miss, meaning its effectiveness as a check to anything is not entirely set in stone.

The first point is not to say that its physical movepool is entirely barren, though. In fact, it has some neat tools in Shadow Sneak and Bullet Seed for picking off weakened foes and breaking through Sturdy / Focus Sash, respectively. The physical side also contains its best coverage move against the likes of Vullaby: Rock Slide.

In a nutshell, if you ever plan on using Pumpkaboo, be sure to stray away from Average and Large, and be mindful of Super size’s bulk advantage and Small size’s Speed advantage.

Set 1 (Super size)

Pumpkaboo-Super @ Eviolite
Ability: Frisk
Level: 5
EVs: 204 HP / 36 Def / 236 SpD / 28 Spe
Careful Nature
– Will-O-Wisp
– Bullet Seed
– Shadow Sneak
– Synthesis

Although the EVs provided are contrary to the ones listed above, I came to realize that a defensive stat spread of 25/14/16 would be more optimal because it gets more mileage out of Eviolite (compare 25/21/24 (this set) to 23/25/22 (previously mentioned EVs)) and gives Download Porygon an Attack boost upon switch-in. Plus, base 59 HP, while above average, isn’t all that high.

Will-O-Wisp is what makes Pumpkaboo unique as a Grass-type. Its STAB moves in Bullet Seed and Shadow Sneak may seem weak at first glance, but the former breaks through Sturdy and Focus Sash, while the latter picks off weakened foes. All things considered, base 66 Attack is pretty good for a wall in LC, let alone of this caliber. Synthesis is Pumpkaboo’s most reliable form of recovery, allowing it to stick around longer if the situation calls for it.

Item choice is Eviolite for optimizing longevity, while Frisk is the ability of choice for scouting items and potentially sets (and because its other two abilities are essentially useless).

Set 2 (Small size)

Pumpkaboo-Small @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Frisk
Level: 5
EVs: 4 HP / 228 Atk / 36 Def / 228 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Trick
– Will-O-Wisp
– Bullet Seed
– Rock Slide

Small Pumpkaboo is (unfortunately) the fastest LC Pokémon with the combination of Frisk and Trick (although Noibat, which has Switcheroo instead, has just as much max Speed). This combination is helpful in that the user can detect a potential Choice-item-for-Choice-item swap and act accordingly. Pumpkaboo keeps Will-O-Wisp around, even in an offensive set like this, in case it has already Tricked its Scarf to one opponent and wants to cripple another. On the other hand, if Pumpkaboo still has the Scarf, the move in question may be used to surprise a physical attacker that it would not normally be able to outspeed. Bullet Seed is arguably its best STAB move, while Rock Slide grants it coverage against pretty much any non-Steel-type resistant to Bullet Seed (while also being helpful in its flinch chance in conjunction with Choice Scarf).

EVs are pooled chiefly into physical offense, with a Speed-boosting nature because Pumpkaboo (even Small size) doesn’t have the best Speed out there, and the rest are thrown into its HP and Defense just in case.

Other Options

Fire Blast—with the help of Life Orb, non-hindering nature, and 4 EVs—is capable of OHKOing offensive variants of Pawniard and dealing heavy damage to other variants. This is helpful in that Pawniard normally poses quite a threat to Pumpkaboo, even if you factor in the possibility of Will-O-Wisp. Destiny Bond could be a neat little surprise on the Scarf set if Pumpkaboo wishes to bring an opponent down with it, although it is questionable considering Pumpkaboo’s overall bulk and relative lack of Speed. …That’s all that comes to mind.

Sample Teams

http://pastebin.com/XZa2hfRH – Super size Pumpkaboo team

http://pastebin.com/EA6sRQRw – Small Pumpkaboo team

Once again, no time to test because it’s dangerously close to midnight.

The first team contains:

  • Pumpkaboo (set 1 above)
  • Chinchou for defensive synergy
  • Archen to set up Stealth Rock
  • Vulpix for Fire offense and sun support, aiding Pumpkaboo’s Synthesis
  • Shellder to clear opposing hazards
  • Diglett as a trapper and sort of revenge killer

The second team contains:

  • Pumpkaboo (set 2 above)
  • Chinchou for typing synergy
  • Ponyta to complete the FWG core
  • Archen for Stealth Rock
  • Shellder for spinning
  • Diglett for trapping
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