Shoutouts to this being the last post of 2018. And to reviewing the mascot of Smogon.
- 40 HP
- 65 Attack
- 95 Defense
- 60 Special Attack
- 45 Special Defense
- 35 Speed
Ability: Levitate – Koffing is unaffected by Ground-type attacks (barring Thousand Arrows), Spikes, Sticky Web, and Terrains.
Notable physical attacks: Considering Koffing has slightly higher Attack than Special Attack, you’d think there would be something here, but nah. No STAB, and jack crud for coverage. Thanks, GameFreak.
Notable special attacks: Clear Smog, Fire Blast, Sludge Bomb, Thunderbolt
Notable status moves: Haze, Pain Split, Toxic Spikes, Will-O-Wisp
- Z-Haze (Ice) – Fully restores the user’s HP with one use of Haze
Notorious for being the only pure Poison-type with Levitate, Koffing avoids its Ground weakness and sports 5 resistances (Bug, Fairy, Fighting, Grass, and Poison) with only 1 additional weakness (Psychic). Couple that with 40/95/45 bulk, and you got yourself a decent wall for Little Cup. Or perhaps you could consider it a tank, because base 60 Special Attack is not too shabby, especially with Sludge Bomb for STAB and Fire Blast for coverage. Regardless, it can also combat stat boosters with Clear Smog or Haze, cripple physical attackers with Will-O-Wisp, and potentially spread poison with Sludge Bomb and/or Toxic Spikes.
But of course, everything has its drawbacks. A big issue with Koffing is its lack of reliable recovery, on account of which it has to rely on Pain Split or Z-Haze. And they themselves have issues, with Pain Split being significantly less potent in LC and with Z-Haze taking up a Z-Crystal slot on the team. Berry Juice can potentially help with that issue, but it is prone to Knock Off and the like, making Z-Haze not as dumb an option as one might think. Another major issue with Koffing is the less-than-stellar offensive coverage of its STAB. It only hits Fairy and Grass super-effectively (the latter of which is also covered by Fire Blast) while being resisted by 4 types (Ghost, Ground, Poison, and Rock) and blocked by Steel. And it certainly doesn’t help that Koffing has next to no options for its higher attacking stat. On a lesser note, Levitate has the slight downside of disallowing Koffing to dispel Toxic Spikes (unless affected by Gravity, which is a rarity, particularly in LC).
To summarize, Koffing is primarily a physical wall, yet it has the unction to dent the opposition with its special attacks.
1: Wall (Eviolite + Pain Split)
Koffing @ Eviolite
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Def / 236 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Clear Smog
– Pain Split
Making careful use of Koffing’s more tame options. Clear Smog serves as a STAB move and, although weak, has the utility of clearing opposing stat boosts. Thunderbolt hits most Steel-types neutrally, but its greater purpose is to hit bulky Water-types such as Mareanie. Will-O-Wisp is a staple on Koffing sets, as it hinders the physical attackers that are meant to fall prey to this Pokémon. Lastly, Pain Split is the only reliable way that Koffing can keep healthy, and even then the term “reliable” is used loosely.
EVs are chiefly put into defenses; this, alongside the Bold Nature, takes the best advantage of Eviolite. Afterwards, just enough EVs are left to throw into HP and keep it odd.
Stats: 21/9/20/12/14/10 (30 Def and 21 SpD after Eviolite)
2: Tank (Z-Haze)
Koffing @ Icium Z
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Def / 236 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
– Sludge Bomb
– Fire Blast
Making not-so-careful use of Koffing’s less tame options. Sludge Bomb is Koffing’s stronger STAB and, because of how much more powerful it is than Clear Smog, simply has a 30% chance to poison. Fire Blast is easily Koffing’s most powerful form of coverage, allowing it to smite Steel-types such as Ferroseed and Pawniard. Will-O-Wisp is exactly as mentioned previously. Lastly, Haze essentially does what Clear Smog does, except it’s not blocked by Steel-types. (It is, however, stopped by Taunt.)
Icium Z grants a single opportunity for Haze to become a full HP recovery move alongside its regular effect. Since this set does not use Eviolite, it doesn’t matter as much whether to go physically or specially defensive; however, going defensive in general is Koffing’s best bet.
If a little more firepower is desired, Koffing could afford to transfer defensive EVs to Special Attack. For example, the Eviolite set could run Calm Nature with 156 EVs in each defense and 116 in Special Attack, giving it a stat spread of 21/9/18/14/14/10 (24 Def and 21 SpD with Eviolite): a significant Defense drop in exchange for a decent Special Attack boost. Offensive sets can also benefit from Berry Juice as a snappier way to keep them healthy.
Aside from that, any combination of the moves in both sets can work, although the following general format is advised as a guideline:
- Poison STAB (Clear Smog, Sludge Bomb)
- Coverage (Thunderbolt, Fire Blast)
- Longevity / Utility (Pain Split, Z-Haze, Toxic Spikes)
Speaking of Toxic Spikes, which hasn’t been mentioned in-depth until now, it presents a more reliable way of poisoning than Sludge Bomb (even better if running Clear Smog), but it’s hard to put on a moveset without sacrificing one of Koffing’s healing options or the unparalleled utility of Will-O-Wisp.
Problems and Partners
Easily the most fierce predator here. It makes a nonsense of the status conditions that Koffing spreads, and it has obscene special prowess with STAB that hits Koffing’s main weakness and weaker defense.
Drilbur is the only Little Cup Pokémon with Mold Breaker Earthquake, so watch out for that if you can’t get an opportunity to burn it.
Guts attackers, notably Larvitar and Taillow, can absorb Koffing’s status spreading and use it to their advantage. Larvitar is particularly menacing, being quad resistant to Poison, immune to Thunderbolt, and resistant to Fire Blast. (For that sole reason, Hidden Power Grass is also up for consideration.)
Aside from that, nothing specific comes to mind. General advice is to not get too reckless, especially around special attackers.
Wish support is a good place to start, considering Koffing’s notable dearth of recovery options. Lickitung and Spritzee are both excellent clerics, and the two of them together form a nifty core.
Stunky and Alolan Grimer are exceptional checks to Psychic-types and similar special attackers, sporting Psychic immunity and Ghost resistance without the usual Fighting weakness. Stunky has access to Sucker Punch and Defog, whereas Alolan Grimer has Knock Off to its name.
Should Drilbur and/or Larvitar need to be kept in check, Corphish is go-to for its Adaptability Aqua Jet.
Both Meowth variants are good partners, but in different ways. Kantonian Meowth, sporting Technician Fake Out and Feint, makes an excellent check to the offensive threats that Koffing has trouble dealing with. Meanwhile, Alolan Meowth has Z-Parting Shot to keep Koffing healthy, alongside enough Speed to tie with Abra if push comes to shove. (It can also run Thunderbolt if a Mareanie check is needed.)
Here’s hoping the new year won’t bring much new pollution.