Crobat, The Bat Pokémon. A Pokémon that gained vastly enhanced flying performance by having its legs turn into wings. Having four wings enables it to fly faster and more quietly. It turns active when the night comes. The development of wings on its legs enables it to fly fast but also makes it tough to stop and rest. It flies so silently through the dark on its four wings that it may not be noticed even when nearby. If this Pokémon is flying by fluttering only a pair of wings on either the forelegs or hind legs, it's proof that Crobat has been flying a long distance. It switches the wings it uses if it is tired. Crobat sneaks up on its intended prey using wings that barely make a sound. This Pokémon rests by hanging on a tree branch with its rear legs that serve as wings. By alternately resting its front and rear wings, it can fly all day without having to stop.
Crobat is a Pokémon that saw its fair share of improvements in the generation shift. In the third generation, it was reduced to the post of being a mediocre Choice Bander, but its options have been significantly expanded. Special STAB, Choice Specs and Nasty Plot have all made special sweeping a possibility, whilst Hypnosis has given it a niche as a super-fast sleep-inducer. Its physical move-pool has seen both improvements and reductions, with the additions of physical Pursuit and Brave Bird being welcomed but the losses of physical Hidden Power, Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb being highly unfavourable.
As far as stats are concerned, Crobat is average in every regard, except for one. With a Base 130 Speed stat, Crobat is among an elite group of speed-merchants. In the standard environment, faster threats are generally limited to Scarfed opponents, and combined with the aforementioned Hypnosis, it gains the title of fastest sleep-inducer.
Despite improvements, Crobat still lingers in the Borderline tier as it did in the previous generation. Aside from its Speed, it lacks raw or focused stats, being mediocre in both offence and defence. However, its move-pool and unique niches mean it is a very usable Pokémon, and unlike a lot of other BL Pokémon, it isn't outclassed by any OU counterparts.
Inner Focus: prevents flinching. This isn't a hugely useful ability on Crobat. For a start, the opponent needs to be faster in order to flinch Crobat, which isn't something that should be a frequent occurrence. It'll prevent Fake Out from getting its free flinch, be of some use against some Scarfers, and be a mild consolation if Crobat gets stuck in a para-flinch situation. Not a worthless ability, but hardly noteworthy.
Sleep / Disruption
This move-set is designed to exploit Crobat's Speed to its fullest. Having the fastest Hypnosis in the game is one of the primary reasons to use Crobat, and it also makes Crobat a very effective lead for its team. It also has one of the fastest Taunts in the game, allowing it to disrupt its opposition's efforts with relative ease. From Crobat's own standpoint, it's a sure-fire way to stop Stun Spores and Thunder Waves from coming its way. From a team-player standpoint, Crobat will be able to prevent the opposition from using support, recovery and stat-boosting moves.
As with all Pokémon, Crobat won't want to be without offence. Neither of its STABs offer particularly good type-coverage, but Flying obviously offers the better range of coverage. Its Flying moves are represented by Air Slash and Aerial Ace, special and physical respectively (Brave Bird isn't an option unfortunately, since it clashes with Hypnosis). Sludge Bomb is its strongest STAB move, and whilst it comes with the notoriously poor Poison type coverage, the added base power means it carries better neutral power than its Flying counterparts.
Its final move-slot simply rounds things off. A 'useful filler' rather than something key to the move-set. U-Turn allows it to land some cheap damage and make a switch to a team-mate in one, also easing up on prediction when a switch is anticipated. Roost allows it to recover off damage, and since Crobat will almost always be going first, it allows it to temporarily shed its Flying type in the face of its opponent's next attack, meaning it loses the associated weaknesses (and resistances) afforded by its Flying type. As noted previously, Crobat is mediocre defensively, but it isn't poor and is capable of pulling off some mild defensive duties.
Black Sludge is basically Leftovers for Poison types, just with the added knowledge that any Trick or Thief attempt will probably hurt the opposition.
Nasty Plot - Special Sweeper
- Nasty Plot
The world of special sweeping is opened up for Crobat by Nasty Plot. It still lacks the desirable Base Special Attack for special sweeping, but the 2x boost makes it a possibility, and it is the fastest Nasty Plot-user in the game.
Sludge Bomb is its strongest STAB move, meaning it'll hit the hardest when accounting for neutral damage. Hidden Power and Dark Pulse have to cover for where it won't be hitting neutrally. Hidden Power [Ground] deals with Rock, Steel and Poison types, whilst Dark Pulse will cover it against Ghosts.
Life Orb is the quintessential sweeper item, but that 10% 'recoil' looks rather unattractive when you have to account for Crobat's Stealth Rock weakness and exposure to Hail and Sandstorm.
Expert Belt is usually mentioned as the recoil-free alternative, but it won't be benefiting from super-effective hits when you're using Sludge Bomb. The super-effective hits will be a benefit for its other moves, but Crobat doesn't really pick up enough super-effective coverage to make much use of the item. With that in mind, you could go with Poison Barb (or Toxic Plate) for a 1.2x boost to Sludge Bomb, a Lum Berry to keep paralysis at bay, or Black Sludge for a little bit of HP recovery (or to cancel out Sandstorm damage).
- Brave Bird
With all of that Speed, Crobat makes a nifty little “revenge-killer” when you give its offences a Band-boost. Brave Bird leads the way, with its large 120 Base Power and STAB boost. Sadly, from then on, its move-pool doesn't twinkle as brightly. Cross Poison has to fill in against Flying-resistant Electric types. Pursuit fits the “revenge-killer” role to a tee, since it chases down fleeing opponents, particularly fragile Ghost and Psychic Pokémon. U-Turn is something of a filler, but it provides cheap damage and a free switch, with the cheap damage being improved by the Choice Band. It also catches a nice little super-effective hit on Weavile, chipping off 70-80% of its HP.
- Sludge Bomb
It's kind of the same story as above. Give it a Specs-boost and it becomes a nifty little “revenge killer”. Sludge Bomb packs the most power here. Air Slash also packs STAB power, and 4x hits on Breloom and Heracross (and 2x hits on others). Hidden Power is always a must, just to cope with Rock and Steel types, with Ground usually being the preferred one. Dark Pulse rounds off the “revenge-killing” spree nicely with its super-effective hits on the fragile Ghosts and Psychics (Gengar and Azelf being the most notable ones).
EVs and Nature:
Speed is Crobat's first priority. At its minimum, it'll want to have 385 Speed. This'll give Crobat enough Speed to outrun Weavile, who is the fastest Pokémon you are likely to encounter frequently. For this, Crobat will need a Speed boosting nature (Jolly or Timid) and 216 Speed EVs. Alternatively, Crobat can simply run max Speed, which'll tie it with Aerodactyl and Jolteon (who share its Speed tier).
For more defensively-minded variants, the remaining EVs can be distributed straight into its HP, with whatever's leftover being distributed to its offensive stat of choice. For offensively-minded variants, the remaining EVs can be distributed to its offensive stat of choice, with whatever's leftover going into its HP.
X-Scissor, Steel Wing, Zen Headbutt, Giga Drain, Shadow Ball, Hidden Power [Fighting / Fire], Mean Look, Screech, Haze, Whirlwind, Sleep Talk.
Aside from what's on the Choice Band set, what's left of its physical move-pool isn't too plentiful or pretty. X-Scissor cuts through Dark and Psychic types and is an alternative to U-Turn. Steel Wing hits Rock types hard, but Tyranitar takes more from X-Scissor (and the same from U-Turn), and it doesn't hurt Rhyperior or Regirock all that much either. Zen Headbutt catches a super-effective hit on most Poison types, but most Poison types take more damage from Brave Bird.
What's left of its special move-pool is a little prettier in comparison, though just as shallow. Giga Drain catches 4x hits on Swampert and Rhyperior, as well as Ground and Rock types in general (who resist Sludge Bomb). Shadow Ball is a alternative to Dark Pulse, which is better against Fighting types but completely ineffective against Normal types.
Hidden Power [Fighting] is a good alternative to [Ground], hitting most of the same Pokémon, just harder on Tyranitar and weaker on Heatran (and even less effective on Metagross and Jirachi). Hidden Power [Fire] hits a completely different variety of Steel Pokémon, most notably Bronzong, Skarmory and Forretress.
Mean Look is a core move for any trapping move-set. Mean Look keeps the opponent from switching, so Crobat can trap an opponent and then switch to a counter, safe in the knowledge that the opponent won't be able to switch out. Crobat could also go for a “Luna”-Jynx imitation, with Hypnosis, Mean Look, Nasty Plot and an offensive move.
Screech can scare the opponent into switching, or simply lower some opponents into KO range.
Crobat is the fastest hazer in the game, which is really the only reason to consider using Haze.
In the third generation, there was a 'novelty' set revolving around Sleep Talk and Whirlwind, relying on Spikes for entry hazard damage. Whirlwind doesn't conform to its 'go last' priority modifier when selected by Sleep Talk, so a sleeping Crobat with only Sleep Talk and Whirlwind is guaranteed to shuffle any opponent slower than it without allowing them to attack. Of course, Crobat first needs to be put to sleep (done by switching into a sleep move), and then it needs to stay asleep whilst Sleep Talking. It also needs team-mates to set-up entry hazards. As stated, it's a novelty, rather than something reliable.
First and foremost, Crobat can pack Hypnosis, and if it does, that means most counters can be shutdown. Try and let Hypnosis get sucked up by a Sleep Talker or a sacrifice, and then handle it with the sleep clause activated.
Steel types are usually good counters, particularly to the physical move-sets. The only thing Crobat can really do to them is hit them with Hidden Power. Depending on what Hidden Power it's using, Skarmory, Metagross, Jirachi, Bronzong, Registeel, Magnezone and Heatran are all comfortable counters. Tyranitar is pretty well off as well (barring Hidden Power [Fighting]), but Crobat can nip a fair chunk of its HP with U-Turn (rising over 50% when equipped with a Choice Band). Regirock only needs to worry about boosted Hidden Powers. Zapdos is relatively comfortable, but Specs-boosted Sludge Bombs can hurt. Special variants won't be able to get passed Blissey and physical variants won't be able to get passed Hippowdon.
A lot of the aforementioned counters need to keep an eye open for Taunt, just in case they get caught out trying to use a recovery move. Aside from the aforementioned counters, paralysis takes away Crobat's defining asset (its Speed) and leaves it very exposed.
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