Archeops (Poké Monday 6/5/17)

 

Type: Rock/Flying

Base Stats:

  • 75 HP
  • 140 Attack
  • 65 Defense
  • 112 Special Attack
  • 65 Special Defense
  • 110 Speed

Ability: Defeatist – If Archeops’ HP is below half, its Attack and Special Attack are halved.

Notable physical attacks: Acrobatics, Aqua Tail (via ORAS tutor), Earthquake, Endeavor, Head Smash (Egg move), Knock Off (Egg move), Stone Edge, U-turn

Notable special attacks: Ancient Power, Dragon Pulse (Egg move), Earth Power (Egg move), Focus Blast, Heat Wave (via ORAS tutor)

Notable status moves: Defog (Egg move), Roost, Stealth Rock (via ORAS tutor), Switcheroo (Egg move), Taunt

Notable Z-moves:

  • Continental Crush (Rock)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Head Smash into a base 200 physical Rock-type attack (or Stone Edge into base 180).
    • Special – Converts one use of Ancient Power into a base 120 special Rock-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Sky Attack (via ORAS tutor) into a base 200 physical Flying-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Earth Power into a base 175 special Ground-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Focus Blast into a base 190 special Fighting-type attack.
  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Heat Wave into a base 175 special Fire-type attack.
  • Z-Taunt (Dark) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Taunt.

Overview

Ever since its debut in generation 5, Archeops has been one of an infamous set of Pokémon who are hindered by their Abilities. Its statline is offensively oriented, consisting of a hefty base 140 Attack, a decent base 112 Special Attack, and a comfortable Speed tier of 110. As such, its Ability is a huge detriment. Assuming full offensive investment with a Speed-boosting nature, the effect of Defeatist will render Archeops’ Attack and Special Attack equivalent to base 45 and 31 respectively, making it even weaker than Minior above half HP. It doesn’t help that Archeops is not the bulkiest thing around with its 75/65/65 defenses. Sure, it can take advantage of recovery options in Roost and pinch berries, but: In the case of Roost, can it really sacrifice a moveslot and risk the possibility of being brought below half HP again (or worse)? In the case of pinch berries, can it really afford to dedicate its item slot to one? Oh well, at least it has access to Endeavor, which becomes more effective at lower HP values, in spite of Defeatist’s effect.

Ability aside, consider Archeops’ movepool. Although it consists of utility options in Defog, Stealth Rock, and Taunt; along with Ground coverage complemented by Dark and Water on the physical side and Fighting, Fire, and Dragon on the special side; Archeops is lacking in reliable STAB. Stone Edge is strong (and has the bonus of a high critical hit ratio), but its 5 PP and 80% accuracy hold it back from being a perfect STAB move. (Head Smash is in a similar boat, but with more base power at the expense of 50% recoil and a normal crit ratio.) As for Flying STAB, it has to resort to Acrobatics for reliability or Supersonic Skystrike for power, both at the expense of a precious item slot (granted Acrobatics sets can run a pinch berry if so desired). Oh, and the special side is even worse. To be curt, its special STAB literally consists of Ancient Power. That’s right, no Power Gem, no Hurricane, no Air Slash, not even freaking Air Cutter, just Ancient Power. Having a 60 BP move with 5 PP as its only special STAB is, if nothing else, what holds it back from using its Special Attack stat for anything but coverage.

That’s how it is, and that’s how it’s always been. The transition to Sun/Moon gave Archeops nothing but Z-moves, although that in itself presents some interesting wallbreaking options such as 200 BP physical STAB (which is especially nice on the Flying side), stronger coverage moves, and Z-Taunt—which has the potential to shut down utility- and setup-reliant foes while amping up its offensive potential.

In summary, Archeops is an offensive threat at half or more HP, but its Ability is a severe detriment when it kicks in. Beware priority (especially Accelerock, Aqua Jet, Bullet Punch, and Ice Shard) and Choice Scarf users. Keep Stealth Rock at bay if Archeops is not your only Defogger.

Sets

Set 1: Lead

Archeops @ Focus Sash
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Taunt
– Endeavor
– Head Smash

A set that takes full advantage of Archeops’ lead potential. Uses Stealth Rock to put pressure on the enemy team, Taunt to prevent opponents from setting up, Endeavor when it falls to a low HP value (preferably 1 thanks to Focus Sash), and Head Smash as a strong STAB move preferable over Endeavor in some situations (namely, against Ghost-types, at full HP, and at low enough HP that the recoil will KO it).

EVs are offensively focused, with particular emphasis in Speed to take full advantage of its Speed tier. No bulk investment is needed due to the nature of the set, and the lack of such investment makes it easier (if only slightly) to activate Focus Sash and maximize the potential of Endeavor.

Set 2: Z-Move Attacker

Archeops @ Darkinium Z / Flyinium Z
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Taunt / Sky Attack
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake
– Roost / Knock Off / U-turn

As far as Archeops is concerned, Z-moves are the only real improvement in the transition from Kalos to Alola. Two particularly notable Z-moves are Z-Taunt (Taunt with a +1 Attack boost) and Supersonic Skystrike from Sky Attack (its most powerful Flying STAB). Whatever Z-move it runs, it will most likely depend on Stone Edge for Rock STAB (because the recoil of Head Smash isn’t quite as worth risking when it comes to non-lead sets) and Earthquake for coverage. As for the fourth slot, that depends on team needs. Roost helps Archeops stays out of Defeatist range, Knock Off provides the ability to remove opposing items, and U-turn works for scouting the opponent (but is ill advised with Z-Taunt).

In non-lead sets, lesser bulk is not better because there is no incentive to be below half HP. Dumping the remaining 4 EVs in Special Defense is preferred because:

  1. Running 4 HP EVs would mean that it only takes two Stealth Rock switch-ins to enter Defeatist range, while it otherwise takes three.
  2. Porygon2 with Download is a possibility (at least it seems so at the time of writing; if it actually isn’t, investing in Defense would be preferred because most priority moves are physical).

Other Options

On offensive sets not running Z-Taunt, Archeops can afford to run a defense-hindering Nature, dump its 4 EVs in Special Attack, and use Earth Power as an alternative Ground coverage move to hit Aggron, Regirock, and Steelix harder than Earthquake can. Focus Blast is slightly stronger than Earth Power and has a good chance to 2HKO Regirock, but Earth Power is more reliable in terms of accuracy and PP. Continental Crush from Head Smash is an alternative 200 BP STAB that notably scores an OHKO on 252/0 Eelektross and generally hits Electric- and Rock-types harder. Itemless Acrobatics is Archeops’ most reliable Flying STAB and, unlike Supersonic Skystrike, is not a one-off technique. Acrobatics can also be run alongside a pinch berry such as LiechiSalacSitrus, or Mago and the like (the last of which are improved in Sun/Moon in that they now restore half HP when the holder is at or below 1/4 HP).

A Choice set with Switcheroo could allow Archeops to sabotage the opposition in potentially a more vile way than Taunt could, although item-switching moves have become even less effective with the introduction of Z-Crystals. Archeops can also provide Defog support if needed, but such support requires utmost wariness in all situations.

Problems and Partners

Problems

First and foremost, beware of faster threats. Cinccino is particularly menacing, as it packs Skill Link Rock Blast for not only dealing hefty super-effective damage, but also breaking through Focus Sash with utmost ease. Lycanroc may not be able to break through Focus Sash, but it has super-effective STAB priority in Accelerock to compensate.

Speaking of priority, watch out for these guys too. They are the next most likely candidates for carrying STAB priority that, if nothing else, will easily leave Archeops in Defeatist range and therefore crippled unless it has a pinch berry activate or can find an opportunity to Roost.

Sceptile may not have super-effective STAB, but it does have a faster Taunt to prevent Archeops from setting up Stealth Rock. Sableye is a worse case, boasting access to Prankster Taunt and Will-O-Wisp for shutting down Archeops like nothing else.

In addition, anything that can take a hit and retaliate in such a way to either bring Archeops to Defeatist range or help bring Archeops to Defeatist range can become a problem. However, such problems are more manageable if Archeops runs a high-power Z-move or any variety of Taunt.

 

Partners

Lanturn resists 4/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (i.e., all excluding Rock), doesn’t particularly mind burn, is immune to paralysis, and can provide Heal Bell support if Archeops finds itself afflicted with such status conditions. It can also use Thunder Wave for its own form of paralysis, as well as Volt Switch to prevent it from being a momentum drain.

Because Archeops is weak to Stealth Rock, it is inevitable that hazard removers be included here. Claydol is only resistant to 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses, but it is decently bulky, extremely hazard-resistant (being a Ground-type with Levitate), and can set up its own Stealth Rock. Hitmontop only resists 1/5, but with access to Foresight, it can potentially get a Rapid Spin off against anything. Be careful using Shiftry, because it’s kinda frail, resists 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (sadly not including Rock), and can potentially be counterproductive with Stealth Rock variants of Archeops.

Actually, it’s tough to think of partners for Archeops. I guess just consider what would go well with Stealth Rock and/or how the rest of the team would ideally be molded based on the moves that Archeops runs. That is to say, because of Archeops’ offensive potential coupled with its frailty, it’s better to ask not what your team can do for Archeops, but what Archeops can do for your team.

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