Slowbro, The Hermit Crab Pokémon. When a Slowpoke went hunting in the sea, its tail was bitten by a Shellder. That made it evolve into Slowbro. Though usually dim witted, it seems to become inspired if the Shellder on its tail bites down. The Shellder that latches onto Slowpoke's tail is said to feed on the host's leftover scraps. Its tail has a Shellder firmly attached with a bite. As a result, the tail can't be used for fishing anymore. This forces it to reluctantly swim and catch prey. An attached Shellder won't let go because of the tasty flavor that oozes out of its tail. Naturally dull to begin with, it lost its ability to feel pain due to Shellder's seeping poison. If the tail-biting Shellder is thrown off in a harsh battle, it reverts to being an ordinary Slowpoke.
Slowbro, another Pokémon of previous generations that has received a significant boost. In the third generation, Slowbro, despite having large defensive stats, spent much of its time in the shadows of Suicune, Swampert and to a lesser extent, Milotic. However, this generation has given Slowbro a big boost in the form of Slack Off. The power of fourth generation Pokémon is too much to spend time Resting, and the quick healing from Slack Off makes a significant difference.
Aside from Slack Off, Slowbro has a few other assets differentiating it from its fellow water types. Its Special move-pool is fairly wide and versatile. Its support move-pool includes some interesting and helpful moves, including Thunder Wave, Yawn and Trick Room (which can make up for its abysmal speed). It also has access to several stat boosting moves, most notably Calm Mind.
In general, Slowbro should expect to get a lot of use this generation. “Bulky Water” Pokémon counter a lot of frequently used Competitive Pokémon, and Slowbro's stats and move-pool are very well suited to the role.
Own Tempo: is probably the better of Slowbro's two traits, although neither are particularly impressive. Confusion is one of the lesser used status conditions, after all, its effects can be removed simply by switching, but a handful of moves have a confusion effect attached to them, and this ability will give Slowbro an immunity.
Oblivious: is generally weaker than Own Tempo, since infatuation is an inferior status condition. As well as infatuation being removed by switching, it also requires the two participating Pokémon to be of an opposite gender. It's not much worse than Own Tempo, but you're more likely to see confusion than infatuation, so stick with Own Tempo.
The term “Bulky Water” applies to many Pokémon, but certainly Slowbro can brag being one of the best at this job. The Bulky Water role requires great physical defence and survivability, two things that Slowbro has. With these two assets, Slowbro can take on a great deal of physical sweepers provided they don't carry super-effective attacks, including the likes of Garchomp and Metagross. The main thing to remember is to watch out for Choice Band boosted attacks, since they will leave a big dent if Slowbro doesn't resist them.
In comparison to other Water types, the dual Psychic type is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the added Fighting resistance is handy (whilst the additional Psychic resistance has its uses), however it also leaves Slowbro exposed to Bug, Ghost and Dark attacks. Despite having super-effective STAB attacks to use against them, these weaknesses make Heracross and Tyranitar difficult to deal with.
As far as the move-set is concerned, Slack Off is the big thing separating Slowbro from its fellow Bulky Waters, giving it an instant 50% heal. Thunder Wave is there to give some support, bringing sweepers who rely on speed to a pretty swift halt and bringing the additional chance of full paralysis.
As far as offences go, Slowbro has many options. Surf is pretty much a necessity, without it Tyranitar and Metagross have no reason to fear Slowbro, and giving them a free opportunity to switch in is definitely unwise. Supporting Surf , Slowbro has several strong options.
Ice Beam is the classic choice for Bulky Water Pokémon, keeping Salamence at bay as well as the new threat, Garchomp. The additional coverage against Flying, Grass, other Dragons and a handful of Ground types (that aren't weak to Water attacks) is certainly a good bonus as well.
Grass Knot's main job is to keep opposing Water types at bay, since the majority of Rock and Ground Pokémon are dealt with by Surf. Still, Water Pokémon are very widespread, which is enough to justify its use.
Psychic gains STAB, and that's the main reason to use it. There are only a handful of Poison and Fighting Pokémon who are likely to see a lot of use in competitive battles (Heracross, Infernape, Weezing and Gengar being the main ones), and they all get hurt by Surf. However, it is noteworthy that Psychic hits a large number of types for neutral damage, which is helpful.
Other offensive combinations can be tried, but Surf combined with another attack is generally the most helpful. Although Ice Beam, Grass Knot and Psychic are Slowbro's main options, there are others in Slowbro's move-pool, including Focus Blast, Shadow Ball and Flamethrower. Thunder Wave could also be dropped in favour of an additional attack. It's notable that Electivire and Jolteon can freely switch into Thunder Wave (which also activates their abilities), both of which would be happy to take any opportunity to freely switch in against Slowbro.
EVs and Nature:
As with all “Bulky Water” Pokémon, Defence and HP are the two most important stats. Bold and 252 EVs (potentially) give Slowbro a very impressive 350 Defence stat. Max HP is a possibility, but 384 is all that's necessary to gain the maximum benefit from Leftovers. Whatever is leftover can be placed in Slowbro's Special Attack.
Slowbro has an impressive HP and Defence stat as well as a respectable Special Defence stat. With the aid of Calm Mind, Slowbro can effectively stand up to both forms of offence. Added with that benefit, Slowbro's Special Attack is also very respectable, and after a Calm Mind or two, Slowbro can become a frightening offensive force.
Once again, Surf combined with another offensive attack is your best bet. It's worth keeping in mind that certain Pokémon resist some of these combinations, and without Thunder Wave, Slowbro has very little to threaten them with. After a few Calm Minds, super-effective hits becomes less important whilst neutral type coverage becomes more important, and it certainly should be a factor in your decision. Of course, if your team has trouble with particular Pokémon, that should also influence the final decision.
EVs and Nature:
Much like the “Bulky Water” set, the same EV options apply.
Trick Room can amusingly turn the tide of a battle. Slowbro's weakest stat is its abysmal Speed, yet Trick Room allows Slowbro to make its weakest stat a great asset. The Trick Room set can also stand in for the “Bulky Water” role, but its main use will be supporting its team-mates. Slowbro has decent offensive stats, but not the kind that will sweep entire teams. It's best teamed with a few Pokémon that are slow and powerful and capable of taking full advantage of this move. In particular, this move-set has a lot of potential in 2v2 play.
EVs and Nature:
As this set is a supportive Pokémon, it also follows a similar EV guide to the Bulky Water set. The only change is that this set will want to lower its Speed as much as possible, Speed lowering nature and lowest IV possible.
- Zen Headbutt
If you want to use a novelty set with Slowbro, this is your best bet. Slowbro's Attack stat, whilst not impressive, certainly isn't poor. With a Belly Drum behind it, Slowbro does have some sweeping capabilities. The main thing to remember is that Belly Drum costs Slowbro half of its HP, and being as slow as it is, lasting long enough to fire off Belly Drum and recover the lost HP is very difficult.
For some reason, Slowbro doesn't get Waterfall, so Zen Headbutt will have to do. The fact that it hit's the majority of the types for neutral damage is one thing going in its favour however. Back Zen Headbutt with Earthquake to deal with the majority of Steel types (who resist Psychic attacks) as well as Tyranitar and you're set to go. Other physical moves are potential options, Drain Punch, Brick Break and Avalanche being the main ones.
The final move depends on what play-style you'll want to try with this set. Slack Off or Chesto-Rest work to recover the HP lost setting up Belly Drum (as well as taking hits, since Slowbro is very slow), however, if you want some additional surprise and novelty factor, Trick Room will make Slowbro go first the majority of the time. If you can somehow get Belly Drum and Trick Room set-up, your opponent is in a rough time.
Always remember however, this is a novelty set for a reason. It can work, but it takes skill, timing and a little luck to pull it off successfully. Your team will also need to work hard for this set, dealing with the Pokémon who can get rid of it quickly as well as the Pokémon who can stand up this set (particularly Skarmory and Bronzong, who resist the two core moves).
EVs and Nature:
Even with Belly Drum giving a huge boost to your Attack stat, you'll want to max it to get the full potential out of it, whilst Max HP will help Slowbro last longer. With Trick Room, Brave is the preferable nature to lower Slowbro's Speed further.
Hidden Power [Electric], Shadow Ball, Focus Blast, Flamethrower, Fire Blast, Brine, Light Screen, Safeguard, Yawn, Toxic, Skill Swap, Block, Amnesia, Curse, Psych Up, Focus Punch.
Hidden Power [Electric], as well as hitting opposing Water types, does the important job of keeping Gyarados at bay. Slowbro is a pretty decent Gyarados counter with Hidden Power [Electric], however obtaining the ideal Hidden Power with the ideal IV and Nature is an unfortunately difficult task.
Shadow Ball hits Psychics and Ghosts. Most of those take decent enough damage from Surf anyway but there are few notable ones, Starmie in particular who resists both of Slowbro's STAB attacks, however Grass Knot will be just as effective.
Focus Blast hits Rock, Steel, Dark, Ice and Normal types. That's pretty decent coverage but poor accuracy and forgettable PP aren't favourable for a defensive Pokémon.
It's beyond me why a Water Pokémon receives fire attacks, but it does, and they're pretty decent Special Attacks. Flamethrower has the reliability and PP whilst Fire Blast has the power.
Brine has more power than Surf when the opponent's HP drops below 50%, however it's less reliable than Surf.
Light Screen and Safeguard provide Slowbro with some options to support its team-mates with, Light Screen in particular gives Slowbro an additional buffer for its weaker defensive stat.
Yawn provides a Pseudo-Hazing option. It either forces a switch or puts the opponent to sleep. With some Spikes or Stealth Rock this can pick up some passive damage, and it's generally helpful to be able to force an opponent out of play.
Toxic is another status option and does nicely over long periods of time.
Skill Swap has some 2v2 use, mostly as a means to give Slaking or Regigigas a trait that doesn't hurt them. In 1v1, it can steal a decent trait but it isn't particularly noteworthy.
Block can trap an opponent in play, which can be beneficial depending on who you're up against. If you can trap something that's trying to set-up support for its team (such as Spikes), Slowbro can eliminate them from play, but its use is rather situational.
Amnesia provides Slowbro with a huge Special Defence boost but Calm Mind is generally better over-all for tanking purposes. Curse boosts Slowbro's Defence and Attack, but Slowbro's Attack isn't particularly notable and its Defence is fine as it is.
Psych Up can steal the opponent's stat-boosts but it's rather situational.
Focus Punch is the only physical attack that isn't a true novelty, purely for its ability to take a large bite out of Blissey, who would otherwise be able to set-up Calm Minds against Slowbro or stall it out of PP.
Slowbro is a pretty tough Pokémon. It's difficult to take it down in a single hit and it'll usually come out on top during long battles. Slack Off is the big difference maker, because it allows Slowbro to take repeated beatings effectively. To eliminate Slowbro you need to do over 50% damage to it and land two of those hits in a row, otherwise it'll just recover off the damage and either fire back attacks or stat boost or throw a status at its attacker.
Generally, it comes down to either boosted attacks (either by a Choice item or stat-boosts) or super-effective attacks.
Gyarados can beat most variants of Slowbro if it has Taunt. Taunt and then followed with Dragon Dance, all the while absorbing the majority of its moves with relative ease.
Starmie resists both of Slowbro's STAB moves and the majority of its Special Attacks. If Slowbro lacks Shadow Ball or Grass Rope, it can't do much damage to it. Thunder Wave can be removed by Natural Cure and Thunderbolt takes a huge chunk of damage out of Slowbro. Even if Slowbro stalls with Calm Mind, Thunderbolt will eventually land a critical hit.
Celebi has Natural Cure (and Heal Bell) to rid itself status attacks and resists both of Slowbro's STAB moves. Slowbro's un-STABed moves can be healed off with Recover and Celebi's STAB Grass attacks hurt. Shaymin brags similar effectiveness, easily surviving against its moves with Synthesis and Leech Seed.
Blissey, when equipped with Calm Mind and Thunderbolt, easily trounces over most variants of Slowbro (although faced with another Calm Mind Slowbro, it will require a critical hit). Natural Cure keeps Thunder Wave from crippling it too badly. Blissey without Calm Mind will get out-stalled but it can provide Aromatherapy support to its team-mates to rid them of Thunder Wave.
Manaphy has difficulties with Thunder Wave but it can set-up Nasty Plot and then proceed to use its Grass attacks. Aside from Hidden Power, Slowbro doesn't have anything that's effective against it. Ludicolo works with Leech Seed and STAB Grass attacks but it also needs to steer clear of Thunder Wave. Lapras benefits from Water Absorb and has Thunderbolt to hits Slowbro with. It isn't hugely slowed by Thunder Wave but it doesn't like the potential full paralysis.
Most defensive water types can beat Slowbro 1-on-1 with Toxic. Milotic in particular, who receives a defensive boost from Thunder Wave.
Jolteon and Electivire can freely switch into Thunder Wave, both activating their respective abilities, but they don't take direct attacks too well. STAB electric attacks are enough to make Slowbro cringe. Zapdos has Roost to heal off damage but doesn't take too kindly to Ice Beam or Thunder Wave. Lanturn also gets its ability activated by Thunder Wave and resists most of what Slowbro has, however it rarely sees competitive use outside of the UU environment.
Heracross gains a Guts boost from Thunder Wave and has Megahorn to destroy Slowbro with, however STAB Psychic will hurt a lot and Heracross loses a fair chunk of HP from Slowbro's normal attacks.
The main problem against Slowbro is Thunder Wave. A lot of good sweepers can put a big dent in Slowbro and stand up against its attacks, however many of them are crippled by Thunder Wave. Lum Berry, Substitute or Aromatherapy/Heal Bell support can all be big difference makers. Without Slack Off, Slowbro is significantly weaker, so disruptive moves such as Taunt, Spite and Snatch are all effective ways to cause it trouble. If Slowbro runs out of Slack Off PP, it's survivability severely drops.
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