Voltorb (Poké Monday 7/3/17)

Type: Electric

Base Stats:

  • 40 HP
  • 30 Attack
  • 50 Defense
  • 55 Special Attack
  • 55 Special Defense
  • 100 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Soundproof Voltorb are immune to sound-based moves.
  • Static Voltorb, when attacked by direct contact, have a 30% chance to paralyze the attacker.
  • Aftermath Voltorb, when fainted by a contact move, cause the attacker to lose 1/4 of its HP. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Explosion, Foul Play (via ORAS tutor), Sucker Punch (via Gen IV tutor)

Notable special attacks: Charge Beam, Discharge, Mirror Coat, Signal Beam (via ORAS tutor), Thunder, ThunderboltVolt Switch

Notable status moves: Light Screen, Magic Coat (via ORAS tutor), Rain Dance, Reflect (via Gen I transfer), Taunt, Thunder Wave

Notable Z-moves:

  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Thunder into a base 185 special Electric-type attack (or Thunderbolt into base 175).
  • Savage Spin-Out (Bug) – Converts one use of Signal Beam into a base 140 special Bug-type attack.

Overview

Voltorb has the highest base Speed of any legal Little Cup Pokémon…but not much else. And don’t be fooled; this does not mean that Voltorb is the sole fastest Pokémon in Little Cup—rather, given any non-Speed-hindering nature, Voltorb is tied in Speed with base 95s, namely Elekid and Diglett. More importantly, Voltorb won’t be tearing holes through teams with its unusable base 30 Attack and rather low base 55 Special Attack, nor will it be taking many hits with its merely average 40/50/55 defenses, and its special movepool basically consists of Electric STAB, Hidden Power, and Signal Beam. Therefore, its best role…well, there are still no Drizzle users in Little Cup (what the heck, GameFreak), and Voltorb makes a great Rain Dance lead with its high Speed and repertoire of useful Electric STAB. In particular, Thunder is its strongest attack and bypasses accuracy checks in the rain, while Volt Switch allows its teammates to bask in the rain that it sets up.

Set

Voltorb @ Damp Rock
Ability: Static
Level: 5
EVs: 36 HP / 36 Def / 236 SpA / 196 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Rain Dance
– Thunder
– Volt Switch
– Taunt

Weather may not be nearly as prevalent as it was in prior generations, but don’t turn a blind eye to it, and don’t turn a blind eye to this Voltorb either. With a Timid Nature and full investment in Speed, it keeps up with base 95s and stays ahead of base 90s and 85s (notably Meowth, Ponyta, Abra, Taillow, Staryu, and Buizel), allowing it in most circumstances to quickly set up Rain Dance and proceed to either wreck face with Thunder or defer to another team member with Volt Switch. Another tool for making use of Voltorb’s Speed is Taunt, which prevents it from being setup fodder in the face of hazard setters.

As for its Ability, Static is the most fear-inducing of the three choices, serving as a “Think twice before throwing out contact moves” tag of sorts (more so than Aftermath, which can be avoided through careful planning while Static activates randomly).

With the above EVs and Nature, this set has the following stats:

21 HP
7 Attack
12 Defense
15 Special Attack
12 Special Defense
20 Speed

Other Options

A set with Life Orb and Hidden Power Ice alongside Electric STAB (preferably Thunderbolt over Thunder) gives Voltorb more of an offensive presence. This, however, faces competition from Elekid, which is slightly stronger and has better coverage at the expense of slightly less physical bulk and a lack of Taunt.

Speaking of Taunt, because Little Cup is oriented less towards setup/utility and more towards raw power than level 100 metagames, it might be preferable in most situations to have Thunder Wave over Taunt in the suggested set. It may be slightly less accurate than in former generations, but it still does a better job against purely offensive threats. If you decide to run Thunder Wave, then you might consider Static redundant, in which case Aftermath is the next most viable Ability option.

Explosion might not seem like a very appealing option considering the nerf as of Gen V and Voltorb’s low Attack stat, but consider the following:

36- Atk Voltorb Explosion vs. 36 HP / 0 Def Diglett: 18-22 (100 – 122.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

It has to bank on a Speed tie to pull this off, but it’s a cooler method of dealing with Diglett than just setting up Rain Dance and fainting. And, considering Voltorb’s Speed, it’s easier to provide a safe switch-in opportunity with Explosion than with Volt Switch.

Thanks to the Virtual Console releases of Red, Blue, and Yellow on 3DS, Voltorb has access to both Light Screen and Reflect (but only with Aftermath), although dual screens are obsolete thanks to the rise of Defog as of Gen VI and the introduction of Alolan Vulpix (which gets Snow Warning + Aurora Veil, the latter being a combination of both screens that can only be used in hail).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Ties in Speed, is Ground-type, and cannot be easily avoided thanks to Arena Trap. Be very careful of this thing, especially if not running super-effective Hidden Power.

Can prevent Voltorb from setting up its weather by virtue of Prankster Taunt, and can potentially set up their own weather if needed.

Depending on Hidden Power choice (usually Ice, but it can be something different—like Grass, Ground, or Fire), Voltorb will likely be walled by a particular subset of threats. Chinchou and Magnemite resist Ice, Onix resists Fire, and Foongus (and other Grass-types, but especially Foongus) resists Grass.

Oh, and don’t forget about this item. It’s not of much use to Voltorb, but precisely because of that, beware Choice Scarf users at base 34 Speed or above.

Partners

Water-types are the most obvious candidates for taking advantage of Voltorb’s capability of setting up rain, and also for dispatching whatever Ground-types may cause grief for Voltorb. Mantyke is particularly helpful for its immunity to Ground-type attacks, although Shellder’s physical bulk is helpful to pack as well. While Corphish, Skrelp, and Carvanha might not have as good synergy with their stats or typing, their strong offensive prowess is considerable even if Voltorb doesn’t carry Rain Dance. Carvanha’s Dark typing can also be helpful for denying Prankster shenanigans like nobody’s business.

In other situations, a Grass-type might be preferred, such as if encountering a Chinchou or requiring a more reliable switch-in to Earthquake. Both offensive and support-oriented varieties exist, such as Snivy and Cottonee respectively.

Offensive variants of Voltorb are not super strong, so having some form of hazard setter can be helpful for the residual damage provided. Onix and Dwebble stick out as effective users, each having Sturdy to be used in conjunction with Berry Juice, the former having a rather high Speed itself and performing well against opposing Electric-types, and the latter having further hazard stacking in the form of Spikes.

And you know, just having a physical attacker (particularly of the Fighting-type variety) around can be nice for Voltorb; otherwise, the likes of Munchlax would be problematic.

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