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Butterfree

by Ninjomewtwo

Butterfree

Sets

Double Powder

Item Held
Focus Sash
Nature
Hasty (+Speed, -Defense) / Naive (+Speed, -Special Defense)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 252 Speed – 6 Attack

Yes, it’s Butterfree and yes, there is a way to use it in the OU environment although most people think of Butterfree as a NU Pokémon. But first, let’s face the truth. Butterfree is not the Pokémon with gigantic stats like Salamence, Heatran and the like. In fact, its stats are really low. Butterfree is not great as a sweeper, neither as a wall. So, you may ask, “why should I even bother using Butterfree at all?”. The first answer, is because you may like Butterfree and you plan on using it no matter what. Fortunately for those who would give the first answer, there is a second one. Butterfree has a great ability, Compoundeyes, that allows it to use Sleep Powder and Stun Spore with an accuracy of 97.5%, which is more than acceptable, making Butterfree quite the surprising lead. But let’s take a look at the moveset and how to use it. To begin with, Butterfree works best as a lead and the reason is simply Stealth Rock. You will mostly start with Sleep Powder in order to put your opponent’s first Pokemon to sleep, while enduring any hit because of the Focus Sash. If it is immune to sleep (Insomnia and Vital Spirit users) or you suspect a Lum Berry, you can always use Bug Buzz or U-turn in order to switch out, though most Insomnia users, like Honchkrow, are crippled by Stun Spore. In case of a lead that can use Taunt, like Azelf, use U-turn and switch to a counter. So most of the times the battle is going to start with one of your opponent’s Pokémon falling asleep. Now, here is the part that needs a lot of prediction. Your opponent has two choices, they can switch their Pokémon out, or they can wait until it wakes up. For example, if your opponent starts with a Fire-type he has nothing to fear so they will probably keep their Pokémon in battle. In this case, use U-turn and choose a Pokemon that needs to set up like a Dragon Dance Gyarados. If you suspect that your opponent is going to switch, use Stun Spore and paralyze the incoming Pokémon on the switch. After that use U-turn and go to an appropriate counter. While U-turn will be used most of the time, Bug Buzz finds its way in the set and needs those 252 EPs in Special Attack in order to do some damage to a predicted switch-in, mainly later in the game if Butterfree is still alive.

Choice Scarf?!

Item Held
Choice Scarf
Nature
Hasty (+Speed, -Defense) / Naive (+Speed, -Special Defense)
Effort Points
252 Special Attack – 252 Speed – 6 Attack

This Butterfree set fits the current metagame way better than the previous one does. The main concept here is to put the opposing lead to sleep again. Butterfree outruns every commonly used lead apart from Aerodactyl and Scarf Jirachi. Aerodactyl can be a problem because it can taunt you and then set up Stealth Rock, so a good rapid spinner, like Starmie or Tentacruel, must be used. Jirachi isn’t that hard to take down, especially after you see what move it is locked to. Dragonite can do quite well against it, hitting it with a Choice Band boosted Earthquake and avoiding Iron Head’s chance of flinching with Inner Focus. As for Butterfree, you will find the last attack, Whirlwind, especially strange. It actually is strange but it helps in two very important situations. Firstly, it stops opposing Ninjask leads from setting up a Baton Pass chain as Whirlwind can hit the Substitute, something that Sleep Powder fails to do. The second case is a trickier one. I usually had problems with Calm Mind Suicune. The logic is this: you see a Suicune, you change to Butterfree. It uses Calm Mind, simple until here. Here comes the tricky part. Usually the only thing that Butterfree can do is to put Suicune asleep. Your opponent knows that, but doesn’t care because of Sleep Talk. Considering that, they will try another Calm Mind most of the time. Wrong move though, Whirlwind saves the day. Bug Buzz and U-turn seem like fillers but they actually have their uses. U-turn can be used to send in your counter. Bug Buzz on the other hand can 2HKO Celebi and Latias (providing that Latias has no defensive EPs).

Since this Butterfree uses a Choice item, it will have to switch in and out a lot. A Rapid Spin user is needed as mentioned above and it is recommended that a Pokémon with Reflect and Light Screen is used too as Butterfree is quite fragile. Cresselia is a good choice in OU, Uxie does well in UU.

Other Possible Options

A Hidden Power of some types is acceptable over Bug Buzz at some situations though Butterfree won’t be using it much. Fire hits Scizor and Forretress, Ice hits Gliscor and the Dragons, Electric hits Gyarados, Grass hits Swampert. A set with Substitute, Toxic, Protect and Roost could be possible for use in UU but Moltres and other fellow Flying-types are far better at it.

Counters

Stealth Rock will cut 50% of Butterfree’s HP every time it switches in. Pokémon immune to sleep or status absorbers can easily come in on Sleep Powder. Quick Feet and Guts users take advantage of Stun Spore and hit Butterfree back hard, thanking it for the boost it gave them. Sandstorm and Hail can stop Focus Sash using Butterfree. In general, anything that can outspeed Butterfree and has an average offensive stat can beat it.

Final Thoughts

While Butterfree got moves like Bug Buzz and U-turn as well as a Focus Sash in the generation jump, it also met its terror, Stealth Rock. Nevertheless, even if it’s rare in the lower tiers, with adequate support the little butterfly can cause some havoc and catch an opponent off guard. And of course, even though using Butterfree in serious OU competition isn’t really suggested, one cannot disregard the sheer pleasure of defeating a Latias with Butterfree.

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