As stated before, a lot of players share the same complaint: “Why everyone is using the same Pokemon?” Well, the correct answer is the most obvious – because they are powerful- but things are not so simple. I have to admit that when playing competitively it’s difficult to decide to abandon the Pokemon who are obviously better than others. For example, I personaly don’t like Tyranitar, Salamense and Heatran but it’s very difficult to build a strong team without any of them. On the other hand there are so many interesting and beautiful Pokemon that I would like to use, but I usually hesitate to use them because they cannot survive in the cruel Platinum / HG/ SS Metagame. So, what can we do about this?
The first thing you should know if you consider trying the surprise factor is that you have to know the “Standard” metagame extremely well. In fact, you must spend hours and hours studying and battling with the most OU Pokemon. After learning what to expect from the most common Pokemon, you can start considering creating your surprising Pokemon.
When you are trying to put some “different” Pokemon on your team you must be realistic. The way that Pokemon is played today, with all the hard and sturdy sweepers on the field, you can’t have an entire team that consists of “surprise Pokemon”. Strong, Overused Pokemon that will be able to support your favorites are unfortunately required. The concept of using a “surprise Pokemon” lies on the fact that your opponent will not be able to predict your next moves and this will give you the upper hand in the battle. That’s why you need a lot of experience in the OU metagame.
So, let’s say you are very experienced and you now want to use you favorite UU/NU Pokemon on your team. The first thing you have to consider is the role it is going to have. When you decide that, you should build the rest of your team in a way that will maximize the potential of your surprise Pokemon. At this point I am going to give you an example by demonstrating my own favorite surprise Pokemon, Butterfree:
Butterfree@ CHoice Scarf
EPs: 252 Speed, 252 SP. Attack, 6 Def
This Butterfree is supposed to lead the team. You can put everything to sleep except from Aerodactyl, Scarf Jirachi and some other Pokemon tha occasionally hold Choice Scarf. The surprise lies on the Pokemon (few expect a Butterfree) and on its speed. After putting a Pokemon to sleep you should change your Pokemon and try to set up something. But the role of Butterfree does not end here. Another surprising move is Whirlind. While it does not benefit from Choice Scarf, it is very usefull against Pokemon that try to set up. The first thing that comes into one’s mind is the leading Ninjask. Another great example is Whirlwind against Calm Minding SUicune or Agility Empoleon. Finally, one should not underestimate Bug Buzz ’ s power because it can actually 2HKO offesive Latias most of the times. In order to support your Butterfree you shall need a good rapid spinner because Stealth Rock does 50% damage to it. Furthermore you could use a Pokemon that can set up Reflect and Light Screen in order to help it survive.
Of course, the key to an effectively used Surprise Pokemon is experience. You should play a lot of battles with it and understand its powers as well as its limits.
The surprise factor does not end on the Pokemon though. You can implement the surprise factor to the moveset of an OU Pokemon as well. For example who would expect a Special Sweeping Metagross? On the other hand you should be cautious because some strange movesets or attacks that work in theory, are just unusable in the real battle. One move that totally complements the Surprise Factor is Hidden Power. Although it is very difficult to get a usable Hidden Power in-game, Hidden Power gives you many options especially on Pokemon with terrible movepools.
Items play a very important role to your strategy. Using a different item on an OU Pokemon can be equally surprising as a different move. Furthermore, when creating an UU/NU surprise Pokemon the item may play the most significant role (for example, Choice Scarf with Butterfree).
Using the Effort Points (EPs) in an unusual way is another way to surprise your typical opponent. Making a Pokemon more durable than expected will sometimes give you the upper hand (Full HP Dragonite can survive some weaker Ice attacks). Speed plays a great role, but you should be carefull with this stat. Putting 252 on Speed is not always a good idea. The best thing to do is having a Speed stat that aids the role of your Pokemon. That means that you have to calculate the Effort Points that are required in order to outspeed CERTAIN Pokemon that can cause problems to your own Pokemon.
In conclusion, surprising your opponent is an effective way to win, but it can work only if you know the metagame very well. Many ideas seem good, but few work well. In this article general tips were given. In order to further investigate the Surprise Factor, a special Thread will be posted on the Forums. If you have any more ideas or suggestions don’t hesitate to PM me.
Have a nice time using your surprising Pokemon!