Starmie (Poké Monday 7/31/17)

 

Type: Water/Psychic

Base Stats:

  • 60 HP
  • 75 Attack
  • 85 Defense
  • 100 Special Attack
  • 85 Special Defense
  • 115 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Illuminate Starmie double wild Pokémon encounter rate when in the lead slot. This Ability has no effect in battle.
  • Natural Cure Starmie have non-volatile status conditions (poison, burn, paralysis, freeze, and sleep) cured when switching out.
  • Analytic Starmie have their attacks strengthened by a factor of 1.3 when moving last. (Hidden Ability)

Notable special attacks: Blizzard, Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, Psychic, Psyshock, Scald, Thunder, Thunderbolt

Notable physical attack: Rapid Spin

Notable status moves: Recover, Reflect Type

Notable Z-moves:

  • Hydro Vortex (Water) – Converts one use of Hydro Pump into a base 185 special Water-type attack.
  • Shattered Psyche (Psychic) – Converts one use of Psychic into a base 175 special Psychic-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Thunderbolt into a base 175 special Electric-type attack (or Thunder into base 185).
  • Subzero Slammer (Ice) – Converts one use of Ice Beam into a base 175 special Ice-type attack (or Blizzard into base 185).
  • Z-Reflect Type (Normal) – Grants +1 Special Attack with one use of Reflect Type.
  • Z-Gravity (Psychic) – Grants +1 Special Attack with one use of Gravity (via ORAS tutor).

Overview

Ah, good ol’ Starmie. When it comes to moves, Starmie is the sort of Pokémon that prefers quality over quantity. That is to say, its movepool as a whole may be small (understandably so, considering it’s a starfish), but it evidently has enough to get by: strong STABs, Electric+Ice coverage, reliable recovery, and utility in Rapid Spin. Stat-wise, its base Speed sits at a decent 115, its Special Attack at an average 100, its 60/85/85 defenses below average, and its physical prowess not worth mentioning.

As such, Starmie usually takes full advantage of its Speed, sometimes going fully offensive with Analytic, sometimes attempting to be moderately bulky with Natural Cure. That’s how it’s been since gen 5, and not much has changed since. That said, the introduction of Z-Moves did give Starmie a way to boost its Special Attack (because, surprisingly, Starmie does not get Calm Mind or Charge Beam) with one use of Reflect Type with Normalium Z or Gravity with Psychium Z, the former helping it against Pursuit trappers and unfavorable type matchups, and the latter complementing the powerful but low-accuracy side of its movepool including Thunder and Blizzard.

Sets

Set 1: Support

Starmie @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Scald
– Recover
– Rapid Spin
– Psychic / Reflect Type

A more defensive set takes the best advantage of Starmie’s utility options. While its main two moves are Rapid Spin for clearing hazards and Recover for keeping itself healthy, it also tends to run Scald to spread burns and not be Taunt bait. In the fourth slot, it can run Psychic for secondary STAB or Reflect Type to weasel its way out of type disadvantages.

Defensive EVing with Natural Cure and Leftovers gives Starmie optimal longevity, while the Speed investment allows it to keep up with its Speed tier. (Raikou and Mega Absol would be worrisome otherwise.)

Set 2: Offensive

Starmie @ Life Orb
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Hydro Pump
– Ice Beam / Hidden Power [Fire]
– Thunderbolt / Psyshock
– Rapid Spin / Recover

Offensive variants of Starmie consist of four key different components from defensive variants:

  1. Analytic, which, while it may seem counterproductive with Starmie’s high base 115 Speed, is useful for punishing hard switches and the off chance of survival against a faster foe
  2. Life Orb for maximum damage output with freedom of move choice
  3. Full Special Attack investment
  4. Stronger Water STAB in Hydro Pump

Aside from those components, offensive Starmie also puts to use its nifty offensive repertoire through moves such as Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Psyshock, and Hidden Power Fire. However, it is only limited to three other moveslots, so it must choose what coverage to run, perchance with one of Rapid Spin or Recover for a touch of utility.

Set 3: Z-Move

Starmie @ Psychium Z / Normalium Z
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Gravity / Reflect Type
– Hydro Pump
– Blizzard / Ice Beam
– Thunder / Thunderbolt

Z-Gravity and Z-Reflect Type grant Starmie an easy +1 Special Attack, which is slightly stronger than Life Orb and grants a sort of utility with the base move, but takes one turn to set up. Gravity is particularly usable as a standalone offensive option, as it ameliorates the accuracy of its STAB Hydro Pump and stronger coverage in Blizzard and Thunder. Reflect Type is more situational by comparison, especially since it might lose out on STAB Hydro Pump depending on what it faces. Ice Beam and Thunderbolt are options over Blizzard and Thunder respectively, if running Reflect Type or not willing to risk the limited duration of Gravity.

Other Options

Z-Mimic (via gen 3 tutor / gen 1 TM) and Z-Confuse Ray are other Z-moves that boost Starmie’s Special Attack, but those two Z-moves are less practical than the two already suggested. Toxic could fit on the defensive set for wearing down walls that don’t mind taking Scald or Psychic, but the option as a whole is limited for what it’s worth. That’s…about it, really.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Mega Beedrill, Mega Sceptile, and Weavile are all faster threats with super-effective STAB. (Weavile and Mega Beedrill are particularly deadly with access to Pursuit.) Mega Beedrill doesn’t appreciate Psychic STAB, and Mega Sceptile is not a fan of Ice coverage, but Weavile isn’t particularly weak to any of Starmie’s attacks. Even still, the frailty of all three makes switching into Analytic-boosted attacks no easy feat.

Alolan Muk has exceptional special bulk, immunity to Starmie’s Psychic STAB, and access to Pursuit for checking Starmie effectively. However, it is prone to burns from Scald and has a harder time with Reflect Type variants.

Scizor is in a similar boat. If Starmie lacks Scald, Hidden Power Fire, or Reflect Type, Scizor can be a major problem.

Hydreigon is an effective check to variants lacking Ice coverage. It may not have Pursuit in spite of its Dark typing, but it’s immune to Psychic, is not particularly bothered by Scald burns, and can actually exploit Reflect Type due to its combination of typing and coverage.

And, of course, Blissey can take Starmie’s attacks for days and retaliate with Seismic Toss (and, perchance, Toxic).

Partners

Fighting-types make particularly effective partners for Starmie, and each of the five above has its own way of dealing with the problems specified. Cobalion has lots of resistances (including Dark) thanks to its typing, Conkeldurr has Mach Punch for picking off weakened threats, Infernape threatens Scizor with Fire STAB, Mienshao has strong High Jump Kick for hitting hard in general, and Terrakion can potentially use Banded Earthquake to deal with Alolan Muk.

Fairies are also usable partners for dealing with Hydreigon and Mega Sceptile. Togekiss may have an extra Electric weakness, but it benefits from Starmie’s ability to remove Stealth Rock and resists almost every other weakness. Also, both can cleanse status conditions from offensive variants through the use of Heal Bell and potentially deal heavier damage with their stronger Special Attack stats (and Togekiss’s Nasty Plot).

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