Rapidash (Poké Monday 4/10/17)

 

Type: Fire

Base Stats:

  • 65 HP
  • 100 Attack
  • 70 Defense
  • 80 Special Attack
  • 80 Special Defense
  • 105 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Run Away Rapidash have a 100% chance of escaping non-Trainer battles. However, this Ability is useless in competitive play.
  • Flash Fire Rapidash are immune to Fire-type moves and, under circumstances where it would normally take one, its Fire-type attacks are boosted by a factor of 1.5 instead. This boost only occurs once per switch-in and cannot be Baton Passed.
  • Flame Body Rapidash, upon being hit by direct contact, have a 30% chance of burning the attacker. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Drill Run (via ORAS tutor), Flare Blitz, Low Kick (Egg move), Megahorn, Smart Strike, Wild Charge

Notable status moves: Morning Sun (Egg move), Will-O-Wisp

Notable Z-moves:

  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Flare Blitz into a base 190 physical Fire-type attack.
  • Bloom Doom (Grass) – Converts one use of Solar Beam into a base 190 special Grass-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Wild Charge into a base 175 physical Electric-type attack.
  • Z-Will-O-Wisp (Fire) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Will-O-Wisp.
  • Z-Hypnosis (Psychic) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Hypnosis.

Overview

For Rapidash, not much has changed in the transition from the previous generation to the present. It’s still the same fast-ish attacker in PU with reliable recovery and odd coverage as it was back then. That said, Sun/Moon did bring a few new tools to the table:

  • Smart Strike: Coverage against Fairy-types that’s less redundant than Poison Jab…and another option for Rock-types, I guess
  • Z-Crystals:
    • Firium Z – used in conjunction with Flare Blitz for recoil-free but still powerful STAB, or with Will-O-Wisp for a one-time Attack boost
    • Grassium Z – used in conjunction with Solar Beam for a strong option against the likes of Quagsire and Whiscash
    • Electrium Z – used in conjunction with Wild Charge in a similar vein to Flare Blitz
    • Psychium Z – used in conjunction with Hypnosis to make one use perfectly accurate and with a Speed boost (not that the latter is needed all that much)
    • Groundium Z or Buginium Z to perhaps bring a bit of accuracy to its slightly inaccurate coverage options in Drill Run and Megahorn respectively

Well, actually, that’s about it. The most notable new tool definitely has to be Z-Will-O-Wisp, and Rapidash is one of the most effective users of the Z-Move, let alone in its tier.

Set

Rapidash @ Firium Z
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Will-O-Wisp
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge / Morning Sun
– Drill Run / Morning Sun

Firium Z allows Rapidash to choose between base 190 recoil-free Fire STAB or, better yet, a perfectly accurate Will-O-Wisp that boosts its Attack (but only once per battle, of course). That aside, Flare Blitz is its STAB of choice for the sheer damage output thereof. Primary choices for coverage moves are Wild Charge for Water-types and Drill Run for Fire- and Rock-types. On the other hand, it could forgo one of its coverage moves in favor of Morning Sun, which allows it to stick around longer in spite of its recoil move(s). EVs and Nature are offensively focused with particular emphasis on Speed, while the Ability of choice is Flash Fire for the extra immunity and the potential to power up Flare Blitz.

Other Options

In terms of non-Z-Moves, Low Kick is its only option to 2HKO offensive Golem, Smart Strike is its strongest option against Carbink, and Megahorn notably hits Lunatone and Solrock.

Solar Beam, when converted to Bloom Doom, constitutes its most hard-hitting option against Water/Ground types, and it also works wonders against Water/Rock types such as Relicanth. For example:

4- SpA Rapidash Bloom Doom (190 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Quagsire: 576-680 (146.5 – 173%) — guaranteed OHKO

4- SpA Rapidash Bloom Doom (190 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Relicanth: 576-680 (142.9 – 168.7%) — guaranteed OHKO

Z-Hypnosis provides a one-time, perfectly accurate sleep move to cope with defensive threats (Altaria for example) and make it harder to revenge KO by Choice Scarf users and such (or, perhaps, to mitigate Sticky Web).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Physically defensive Altaria can easily take any of Rapidash’s hits, even if Rapidash is at +1 as a result of Z-Will-O-Wisp, and has a decent chance of 3HKOing with Dragon Pulse. That’s without mentioning the recoil of Flare Blitz and Wild Charge on Rapidash’s end, and Altaria’s end has another huge benefit in Roost.

Floatzel is naturally faster than Rapidash and threatens with Water STAB. Perhaps another justifiable reason to run Z-Hypnosis.

The rest of the list depends on what Rapidash is running. If it only runs two offensive moves, it gets walled by a particular subset of Pokémon (Dragon-types and particular Fire-types in the case of Flare Blitz + Wild Charge, and several Flying-types in the case of Flare Blitz + Drill Run). Without Bloom Doom, Rock/Ground and Water/Ground types become problematic. Without Smart Strike, Carbink is tough to break. Without Megahorn, Solrock and Lunatone can be problematic.

Partners

As is the case with all offensively oriented Pokémon weak to Stealth Rock and prone to other hazards, hazard control is one of the best forms of support. Wartortle and Prinplup, which carry Rapid Spin and Defog respectively, are especially favorable, as they resist Water-type moves and do not share any weaknesses with Rapidash.

Knowing that Altaria and Floatzel are the main two problems listed, examples of Pokémon that can take care of both are Politoed and Lapras with Water Absorb. They can take Floatzel’s STAB and Ice Punch, and Altaria is hit with Ice coverage. Lapras is particularly adept in dealing with Floatzel thanks to Freeze-Dry.

Grass-types, particularly those with special attacking potential, can be helpful to Rapidash not running Bloom Doom (and maybe even those that do run Bloom Doom). Be warned that Simisage needs a Choice Scarf to be able to combat Floatzel, and Exeggutor should not be sent out lightly.

Poké Monday 12/15: Rapidash

RNG 

Smogon official tier: NU
Type: Fire
Base Stats: 65 HP, 100 Atk, 70 Def, 80 Sp.Atk, 80 Sp.Def, 105 Speed
Abilities: Run Away, Flash Fire, Flame Body (HA)

Usable moves: Agility, Baton Pass, Body Slam, Bounce, Double-Edge, Drill Run, Façade, Fire Blast, Flamethrower, Flare Blitz, Frustration, Heat Wave, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Hypnosis, Iron Tail, Low Kick, Megahorn, Morning Sun, Overheat, Poison Jab, Protect, Quick Attack, Rest, Return, Sleep Talk, Solar Beam, Substitute, Sunny Day, Thrash, Toxic, Wild Charge, Will-O-Wisp

Overview

Rapidash is the type of Pokémon that, while not the worst at anything, is not the best at anything. In terms of power, it is overshadowed by the likes of Flareon and Mega Camerupt; in terms of Speed, it falls only 1 base point short of Pyroar; and in terms of bulk, Flareon and Torkoal are better choices. It also lacks a setup move outside of Agility, which is the only thing that makes it worse than Simisear. Its movepool is nothing to write home about, but it has coverage that Flareon does not and that Pyroar requires Hidden Power to surpass. However, it is worth noting that Rapidash gets Morning Sun, which carves it a niche over other Fire-types in the form of reliable recovery.

Set

Rapidash @ Life Orb
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge
– Drill Run
– Morning Sun

Flare Blitz is Rapidash’s main STAB move of choice and, backed with Life Orb (and potentially Flash Fire), it is nothing to mess around with. Wild Charge and Drill Run are coverage moves for (most) Water-types and Rock-types, respectively. While Flare Blitz and Wild Charge are powerful offensive moves, they do result in plenty of recoil, especially with Life Orb, not to mention Rapidash is vulnerable to hazards, so Morning Sun is a considerable option for increasing longevity.

Other Options

Megahorn can be used to hit the likes of Ludicolo and Musharna—it is a guaranteed OHKO on offensive Ludicolo whereas Flare Blitz only has a 68.8% chance, and it is the only move Rapidash gets that can 2HKO Musharna. Quick Attack could be used as a priority option, but Flareon makes better use of the move with its superior base Attack. Substitute can be used to block Thunder Wave, Intimidate, and priority, but there is no other reason for it. Hypnosis can be used to put things to sleep, but it has really shaky accuracy, making it a gimmick at best.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/t7NUzDsE (Disclaimer: this is one of the worst teams I’ve ever built)