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Pokemon of the Week DP: Azelf

by Ninjomewtwo

Azelf

Sets

Nasty Plot

Item Held
Life Orb / Expert Belt
Nature
Timid (+Speed, -Attack)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 252 Speed – 6 HP

Azelf’s sweeping skills are certainly undeniable, to begin with.

Coming from a Special Attack stat of 349, any hit this little creature throws

will deal some good amounts of damage to Pokémon that don’t resist it. Add the

fantastic move that D/P brought, Nasty Plot, and you’ve got a real killer.

Just think about it. Nasty Plot, Life Orb, a base stat of 125 and STABed

Psychic can take down many Pokémon. Flamethrower covers Steel-type Pokémon as

well as Celebi. Hidden Power Fighting is a

great move as it covers Dark-type Pokémon, immune to Psychic, plus the three

Pokémon resisting/being immune to both Psychic and Flamethrower – Tyranitar, Heatran and Houndoom. It also hits Weavile really hard. Grass Knot is an

alternative if Hidden Power Fighting isn’t accessible but that doesn’t mean

it’s a bad move as it prevents Tyranitar

from walling you.

Since boosting your hits as much as possible is a must, the best item

choice is definitely Life Orb. Expert Belt is just a replacement if you hate

the recoil damage, but its boost applies only to super-effective moves.

Regarding Azelf’s EP spread, the one listed above is just the generic one.

The Speed stat you must hit is 352 (requiring 216 EPs with a Speed IV

of 31) so that Gengar and other +Speed, base 110 Speed Pokémon cannot outrun

you. Of course, maxing Speed is suggested so that you can outrun some other

base 115 Speed Pokémon who just stop at 352, like Starmie or Raikou.

Suicide Lead

Item Held
Focus Sash
Nature
Timid (+Speed, -Attack)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 252 Speed – 6 HP

This Azelf set (as well as many other suicidal leading sets) are becoming more and more common day by day and there must be a reason for it. It’s one of the few Pokémon that can mess up so easily with all those usual leads, while almost always setting Stealth Rock without failing due to Focus Sash. Setting those rocks is obviously your first priority, however, should a troublesome leading Pokémon appear, you can act accordingly. Gengar is OHKOed by Psychic, same goes for Roserade. Bronzong will fall to Fire Blast as will Yanmega, Abomasnow and Weavile. Non-offensive leads (such as Bronzong, Hippowdon and maybe even Gliscor) can be met with a fast Taunt, making them lose the first turn as well as the second since they’ll have to either switch or get locked in an attack that won’t knock Azelf out, giving you all the necessary time to set Stealth Rock. In the final slot, Explosion can replace Fire Blast since it is Azelf’s only way of badly hurting leads like Gyarados and Zapdos after Stealth Rock has been set. Of course, you can keep both moves if coverage is what you desire, by giving up Taunt, although it’s not really recommended.

As far as the Effort Point distribution goes, should you choose Explosion over Fire Blast, the nature should be Naive and probably you should add some Attack EPs. After all, since it’s a suicidal lead set and not a sweeper, 252 EPs in Special Attack aren’t so important.

Non Nasty Plot Sweeper

Item Held
Life Orb
Nature
Naive (+Speed, -Special Defense)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 216 Speed – 42 Attack

Same sweeping set as above, but without the Nasty Plot boost this

time. Azelf’s hits are already powerful enough to score some KOs and with

Explosion, Blissey won’t stop you. Hidden

Power Fighting isn’t really needed in this set, unless you are really scared

of Heatran.

CS Azelf

Item Held
Choice Specs
Nature
Naive (+Speed, -Special Defense)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 216 Speed – 42 Attack

If you think Azelf is too frail to pull off a Nasty Plot, a set with

Choice Specs is ideal. Once again, the same moves are here for maximum type

coverage. U-Turn becomes and option in this set for scouting opponents’ moves

while switching a counter in. However, Explosion will be the superior option

most of the time, mainly for dealing with Blissey.

Other Possible Options

As most of the Psychic-type legendary Pokémon, Azelf’s movepool is quite vast.

Shadow Ball and Thunderbolt are its other noteable choices as

far as sweeping goes, for covering Pokémon like Dusknoir and Gyarados respectively.

Unfortunately, even though it has a respectable base stat of 125 in Attack,

Azelf’s only Physical options are Return, U-Turn and Iron

Tail. As one can easily guess, a Physical moveset for Azelf isn’t a great

idea.

A moveset using Choice Scarf is certainly an option, mainly for dealing

with Weavile and Choice Scarf Garchomp. Finally, Azelf can have a Focus Sash

for surviving a Night Slash/Pursuit by Weavile and use Explosion.

Counters

Azelf is a Special Sweeper so send in your Blissey, Snorlax,

Togekiss or Cresselia and either knock it out with Crunch/Pursuit or

render it useless with Thunder Wave or Yawn. Nevertheless, a Life Orb boosted Explosion

will definitely hurt.

Dark-type Pokémon, immune to Psychic, are quite good counters to Azelf. Houndoom is obviously the best one as it is

immune to Flamethrower and resistant to Grass Knot as well. It should look out

for Hidden Power Fighting and Explosion though. Weavile hates Flamethrower but if it switches in,

it can knock out Azelf with Pursuit/Night Slash. Spiritomb with its immunity to both Psychic and

Explosion can beat Azelf with Sucker

Punch or Pursuit. Other Sucker Punch users like Absol and Banette

can get a revenge kill if Azelf chooses to attack them. Dusknoir can also bring Azelf down with its Shadow Sneak.

Of course, Heatran is one of the best

counters to any Azelf lacking Hidden Power Fighting. It resists all of its

other moves and can easily take Azelf down with its STABed moves or the

occasional Dark Pulse.

Opinion & Notes

This little fairy looking thing proves that, sometimes, looks are deceiving.

This innocent creature will rip through whole teams with its Nasty Plot, Life

Orb boosted hits. Try to stop it with a Special Wall, and then you get an

Explosion coming from its quite high Attack stat. It looks like Game Freak

loves those powerful Psychic-type legendaries. Of course, Azelf isn’t an

unstoppable sweeping machine. Its below average HP, Defense and Special

Defense won’t help it switch in easily and combined with Sandstorm, Stealth

Rock and Life Orb recoil damage, it won’t last long. However, in this short

time of its reign in the field, it can easily take down a team, making it one

of the most powerful Sweepers that D/P introduced to competitive battling.

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