Rhyhorn (Poké Monday 11/7/16)

 rng-rhyhorn

Tier: LC
Type: Ground/Rock
Base Stats: 80 HP, 85 Atk, 95 Def, 30 Sp.Atk, 30 Sp.Def, 25 Speed
Abilities: Lightning Rod, Rock Head, Reckless

Usable moves: Ancient Power, Aqua Tail, Blizzard, Body Slam, Crunch, Double-Edge, Dragon Pulse, Drill Run, Earth Power, Earthquake, Façade, Fire Blast, Fire Fang, Flamethrower, Frustration, Hidden Power (Fighting, Grass), Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Megahorn, Poison Jab, Protect, Rest, Return, Roar, Rock Blast, Rock Polish, Rock Slide, Sleep Talk, Stealth Rock, Stone Edge, Substitute, Superpower, Swords Dance, Thunder, Thunderbolt, Toxic

Overview

Rhyhorn belongs to a slew of Rock-/Ground-type Pokémon in Little Cup that are most notable for using Stealth Rock. However, unlike the others that share its exact typing, Rhyhorn does not have the luxury of Sturdy to allow it to (usually) guarantee surviving any one attack. (Moreover, even if it did have Sturdy, its base HP is too high to make good use of Berry Juice; in other words, Rhyhorn’s absolute lowest attainable HP value is greater than 21.) Although—going strictly off of base stats—Rhyhorn has a slight edge over Geodude (specifically in Attack, Speed, and HP), the lack of Sturdy (and, to a lesser extent, Sucker Punch) is a game changer in opposition of the rocky rhino. And then there’s Onix, which may have terrible offenses but has a much better Speed stat with access to Taunt (and some decent bulk including the highest Defense stat in the tier).

Heck, the problem isn’t just that Rhyhorn lacks Sturdy; the Abilities it does have are pretty much useless. Lightning Rod usually amounts to nothing in Single Battle format; its Ground typing prevents it from receiving a boost, and even if it weren’t Ground-typed, the Special Attack boost would be next to useless with that base 30 Special Attack (which is a shame because Rhyhorn has a respectable special movepool). Rock Head gives it a recoilless Double-Edge, but why bother with that if you could use Megahorn to hit Grass-types such as Lileep and Psychic-types such as Slowpoke, or Aqua Tail to hit bulky Ground-types harder? As for the third ability…Reckless Rhyhorn (or Rhy-anything for that matter) is a joke. All Reckless does is make its…ugh…Take Down a base 108 move…with 85 accuracy… *coughmightaswelluseReturncough* (Shame that Double-Edge is a Gen 3 tutor move and therefore incompatible with the ability…and even if it weren’t…again, why not roll with actual coverage in Megahorn or Aqua Tail?)

In essence, the primary use of Rhyhorn is as a Stealth Rock user with good ol’ EdgeQuake STAB, base stats that are nothing to scoff at, and coverage against some walls in the tier that can take on its dual STABs. Don’t expect it to take hits like its Sturdy rivals can, though.

Set

Rhyhorn @ Eviolite
Ability: Rock Head
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Atk / 76 Def / 36 SpD / 76 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Rock Blast
– Earthquake
– Megahorn

What this set does best is getting up Stealth Rock. Even though Rhyhorn lacks Sturdy and has some common weaknesses (including 4x weaknesses to Water and Grass), its natural bulk backed with Eviolite is nothing to sneeze at. Rock Blast is a multi-hit STAB that deals strong damage to Flying-types (which is great for discouraging Defog) and breaks through Sturdy and Focus Sash. Completing its good ol’ STAB EdgeQuake coverage is Earthquake, which deals reliably high damage to grounded foes. Megahorn, as mentioned before, is coverage for bulky Grass- and Psychic-types.

EV investment is chiefly Attack-focused with investment in bulk to improve its survivability, and the pinch of Speed helps it to speed tie with uninvested base 35-44 (e.g., Shroomish, defensive Porygon) and other such invested base 25-34 (e.g., Hippopotas, Honedge, Skrelp). With the EV spread and Nature specified above, Rhyhorn has an overall stat distribution of 25/19/17/8/10/10 (defenses are 25 and 15 respectively with Eviolite factored in). Choice of Ability is much less relevant to the set, although Rock Head is preferred as a less beneficial ability for Trace users, mainly Porygon, to copy.

Other Options

Also as mentioned, Aqua Tail is another coverage option, primarily for Ground-types such as Hippopotas. In addition, Rhyhorn possesses an obligatory Rock-type setup option in Rock Polish, but also a more interesting setup option in Swords Dance. However, with Rhyhorn’s lack of Sturdy and the existence of Shell Smash, these options are much less valuable than the standard Stealth Rock tank role to which Rhyhorn is best suited.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/cKc4wmpj

This team contains:

  • Rhyhorn (set above)
  • Fletchling to cover Grass- and Fighting-types
  • Foongus to take on Water-types
  • Staryu to clear hazards
  • Mienfoo so that Lileep doesn’t crud on the team
  • Ponyta to form a Fire+Water+Grass core with Foongus and Staryu (and to serve as a counter to Ferroseed)

It’s admittedly a bit lacking in Special offense, but that should be no big deal in Little Cup.

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