Feraligatr (Poké Monday 1/16/17)

rng-feraligatr

Type: Water

Base Stats:

  • 85 HP
  • 105 Attack
  • 100 Defense
  • 79 Special Attack
  • 83 Special Defense
  • 78 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Torrent Feraligatr, when at 1/3 max HP or less, have 50% stronger Water-type attacks.
  • Sheer Force Feraligatr have 30% stronger moves with secondary effects, but said secondary effects have zero chance of occurring. In addition, such moves no longer trigger item or Ability effects that activate after attacking (such as Life Orb recoil, Red Card’s switch-forcing effect, and Emergency Exit). (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Aqua Jet, Crunch, Earthquake, Ice Punch (Egg move), Rock Slide, Superpower, Waterfall

Notable status moves: Agility, Dragon Dance (Egg move), Swords Dance

Notable Z-moves:

  • Hydro Vortex (Water) – Converts one use of Waterfall into a base 160 physical Water-type attack (or Aqua Tail into base 175).
  • Subzero Slammer (Ice) – Converts one use of Ice Punch into a base 140 physical Ice-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Aerial Ace into a base 120 physical Flying-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground) – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.

Overview

Interior Krookodile Feraligatr
Bank will be updated sooner or later

When? I don’t freaking know. All sources say January 2017, but with nary an exact day/time provided. Why does this matter? Well, currently, Feraligatr cannot be obtained with its hidden ability in the seventh generation, which is a shame because its hidden ability is essentially the reason for using it in the first place. Moreover, even without its hidden ability, Feraligatr can only be obtained currently by evolving a Totodile obtained through Island Scan, making it rather exclusive in terms of accessibility.

But hey, at least the situation is not as bleak as the fifth generation, wherein there was absolutely no way to obtain Sheer Force Feraligatr; nor the sixth generation, wherein it was unobtainable until 2015 (to put that into perspective, X&Y were released in 2013, and ΩRΑS were released in 2014). Rather, it’s all up to the imminent Pokémon Bank update to provide the luxury thereof. (Speaking of which, I hope it comes with another free trial, because I don’t want to have to pay to be able to transfer all of my 6th-gen Pokémon to Alola.)

Bank talk aside, Feraligatr is one of the three fully evolved Johto starters, which each have well rounded stats with two particularly high stats. In this case, the high stats are Attack and Defense, making Feraligatr strong physically and respectably bulky (especially on the physical side). Moreover, Water is and has always been a great type offensively and defensively (well, notwithstanding the fact that Water attacks prior to the fourth generation are all Special), defensively being weak to two types and resistant to four types, and offensively being super-effective against and resisted by three types each. Abilities like Water Absorb, Dry Skin, and Storm Drain have somewhat reduced the offensive viability of Water-types, but the latter still remain a prominent force in the metagame as a whole. So, even in the absence of Sheer Force, physical Water STAB coming off of base 105 Attack is no joke. Couple that with access to Swords Dance and Dragon Dance, the latter of which somewhat compensates for the fact that Speed is its lowest base stat at a mediocre 78. With Sheer Force, it gets even better; with the triumvirate of base 104 (before STAB) Waterfall, base 97 Ice Punch, and base 104 Crunch, it can run recoil-free Life Orb while only being completely resisted by Water/Fairy, Water/Dark, and Water/Fighting types.

(As a side note, what’s with the name? Why is it still “Feraligatr” and not “Feralligator”, even though the Pokémon name character limit was extended to 12 in the sixth generation? It makes a guy like me wonder…)

Sets

1: Pre-Bank

Feraligatr @ Icium Z
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 24 HP / 252 Atk / 232 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Waterfall
– Ice Punch
– Aqua Jet

This is Feraligatr’s best bet without Sheer Force. To make the best use of Torrent, it is advised to run dual STAB in Waterfall and Aqua Jet. Speaking of making use, Dragon Dance is always a helpful tool for Feraligatr, patching up its mediocre Speed and strengthening its decent Attack. Ice Punch is used for coverage; although it leaves this particular set walled by Water-types, it takes care of the other two types that resist Water (i.e., Grass and Dragon) and is therefore arguably the best solitary coverage option for its Water STAB.

As for other aspects of the set, Icium Z is used to significantly strengthen one use of its relatively low BP coverage. As an example of how this can come in handy, Tapu Bulu without Defense investment get OHKO’d by +1 Subzero Slammer. Speaking of Tapu Bulu, the EVs and Nature serve primarily to stay ahead of Tapu Bulu (Choice Scarf at +1, other variants at +0) while maximizing Attack and adding a little bulk with the leftover EVs. (The Speed investment also lets it cut past base 135 after a Dragon Dance.)

2: Post-Bank

Feraligatr @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Waterfall
– Ice Punch
– Crunch

If Sheer Force were legal, this is what set Feraligatr would run. As mentioned before, the Ability in question powers up its coverage triumvirate of WaterfallIce Punch, and Crunch while also negating the recoil (and only the recoil) of Life OrbDragon Dance is the usual thing, but now the set is fully invested in Speed.

Why? Well, the availability of Sheer Force Feraligatr would imply that Pokémon Bank has been updated, right? If that were the case, that would also imply the availability of Heatran. Heatran are capable of putting Choice Scarf to good use, and the primary reason to run maximum (or at least 248) Speed on Feraligatr in the post-Bank era is to prevent it from being revenge KO’d at +1 by Choice Scarf Heatran. In a choice between 248 Speed and max Speed, it’s generally better to run max to ensure that it doesn’t lag behind other Feraligatr.

Other Options

Earthquake is another variety of coverage option to run alongside Waterfall and Ice Punch. Although this grants Feraligatr coverage only resisted by Water/Bug and Rotom-Wash, as well as the strongest possible option against Toxapex, the issue is that Earthquake is not boosted by Sheer Force and therefore induces recoil if used with Life Orb (Bulldoze is a thing, but the loss in power is not nearly worth negating Life Orb recoil), not to mention using it as a solitary coverage move with its Water STAB leaves it walled by Grass-types and a wide variety of Flying-types. Frustration/Return can be used as alternative solitary coverage on the pre-Bank set, hitting most Water-types for more damage than its other coverage options, but it does less damage to what Ice Punch hits super-effectively and is only 12 BP stronger than not-very-effective Torrent-boosted Waterfall (plus, Breakneck Blitz with Return and Normalium Z is only 160 BP, which is nothing compared to how Subzero Slammer compares to Ice Punch). Aqua Tail is an alternative STAB for the Torrent set (not the Sheer Force set, because Aqua Tail is weaker than Sheer Force Waterfall and is prone to Life Orb recoil) for 10 more BP at the expense of 10% accuracy and the 30% flinch rate…perhaps not the best trade-off. Superpower is Feraligatr’s strongest option for Ferrothorn (and Water/Dark types), but it is not boosted by Sheer Force and lowers Feraligatr’s Attack and Defense after use.

In terms of non-attacking options, Swords Dance can be used to break down sturdy walls, although it would have to give up Dragon Dance or a coverage option to put such a move to use.

As a gimmick, you can try running a special set with Ice BeamFocus Blast, and a choice of Water STAB between Scald and Hydro Pump (the latter being slightly stronger but less accurate), along with Agility for pure Speed boosting (because it does not have a special Dragon Dance counterpart). You get arguably worse coverage, however, being walled by Water/Poison, Water/Psychic, and Water/Bug alongside Water/Fairy. It would be better if Feraligatr’s base Special Attack was higher than 78, but eh…

Problems and Partners

Problems

Bulky Water-types, particularly those with extra Fairy typing (i.e., Primarina and Tapu Fini), can take hits from Feraligatr and do as they please. The Fairies can hit Feraligatr’s weaker defensive stat with their Fairy STAB (or Energy Ball in the case of Primarina), while Toxapex can set up Toxic Spikes and/or induce poison.

Pyukumuku is another notable option in the bulky water department, particularly because it has awesome natural bulk and, given its access to Unaware, can completely ignore Attack boosts. Couple that with Toxic, Counter, and Recover, and you’ve got yourself the most capable Pokémon of instigating a war of attrition against the gator.

Bulky Grass-types, particularly those neutral to Ice Punch, can also take hits and retaliate with super-effective Grass STAB. Mega Venusaur is particularly effective, attacking the weaker stat and being weak to none of Feraligatr’s possible coverage options barring Supersonic Skystrike, and Ferrothorn is capable of residual damage alongside the usual damage it deals (thanks to Iron Barbs and/or Rocky Helmet).

Turtonator is also a viable defensive option, boasting respectable 60/135 physical bulk; neutrality to all coverage options barring Earthquake and Rock Slide; access to Will-O-Wisp; and possibly even a surprise Bloom Doom. Mega Charizard X works in a similar vein; it may be slightly less physically bulky, but its overall potential is much better.

If Feraligatr is at +1, only these two Pokémon are capable of revenge KOing with super-effective STAB without requiring a Choice Scarf. (Because Electrode has a paltry base 80 Special Attack, however, it might need something to boost its offensive prowess (or just a bit of prior damage).)


Assuming Feraligatr hasn’t set up, however, it has much more to worry about.

Sturdy Electric-types (there are no Sturdy Grass-types) can also be considered situational checks to Feraligatr (although Magnezone generally prefers to run Magnet Pull), “situational” meaning “in a perfect world without hazards or prior damage.”

Partners

Speaking of hazards, any sort of sweeper can definitely appreciate hazard support. Feraligatr in particular would prefer the sorts of hazard setters that are special attackers and/or can take care of problematic Water- and/or Grass-types.

Dual screen support is also appreciated by sweepers, Feraligatr being no exception. Shown above are just a few examples of potential users. (For dual screens, Latios > Latias because of Memento.)

Or, you know, you could leave the opponent guessing which variety of support will be involved. (Paralysis support is also much appreciated.)

While already mentioned as a problem, Mega Venusaur can also be seen as a partner because of its ability to deal with Water-, Grass-, and Electric-types alike; its natural bulk; and its status as a special attacker.

Heck, Grass-types in general are usable allies for the gator.

If Turtonator and/or Mega Charizard X are problematic, try this.

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