Cradily, The Barnacle Pokémon. It lives in the shallows of warm seas. When the tide goes out, it digs up prey from beaches. It ensnares prey with its eight tentacles. It then melts the prey with a strong acid before feeding. It drags its heavy body along the seafloor. Its body serves as an anchor, preventing it from being washed away in rough seas.
Cradily was one of two “fossil” Pokémon introduced in the third generation. Unlike the other fossil, Armaldo, Cradily is built with a very strong emphasis on its defensive aspects. Base 86 HP is complimented by Base 97 Defence and Base 107 Special Defence, as well as Recover and several moves geared to boosting your defensive stats. Attack isn't completely forgotten, with respectable Base 81 stats for both Attack and Special Attack, complimented with a fairly varied offensive move-pool.
Cradily maintains some viability in the Standard tier, but it's a Pokémon that thrives in the Underused tier.
Suction Cups: prevents Cradily from being forced out of play (i.e. by Whirlwind and Roar). This doesn't lend itself much to Cradily's natural talents (short of move-sets revolving around Swords Dance, Curse, Stockpile, Barrier or Amnesia), but it does compliment is any strategies revolving around Baton Passing to Cradily. It's a great ability when stat boosts are a factor, but when they aren't a factor, the ability has little effect.
Support - Wall
You've got a few move combinations that you can put together here, but the end result is a Pokémon that delivers team support and walling. Recover is an obvious given. Recover and strong defensive stats let Cradily soak up punishment quite comfortably.
From here, it's a “pick three of four” situation:
Toxic poses a good all-round threat to defensively built Pokémon, and in most cases, Cradily has the stability to last against an attacking opponent if it needs to pull off the Toxic-stalling strategy (the damage will add up to any Pokémon stubborn enough to stay in play whilst inflicted with it). Over-all, it's probably the biggest offensive threat Cradily can pose, even if it is an indirect offensive threat; but you may wish to consider dropping it if your team-mates are already providing plenty of status support (or Toxic Spikes support).
Stealth Rock is a move that's been done to death, but if your team needs some entry hazard support, it's well worth using, especially in an Underused tier that is rather welcoming to Bug and Fire types.V Rock Slide is your first direct attacking option. Although Stone Edge is stronger, Rock Slide is preferred for the superior PP and accuracy.
Earthquake is your second attacking option, bringing with it some neat type coverage too (especially when paired with Rock Slide, for that favoured Ground-Rock attacking combination).
It's a bit on the slow side, but Cradily has the defensive bulk to pull off a Swords Dance move-set. It'll have little choice but to take hits as it goes about its business, so Recover plays an important role in making this move-set viable. Once again, the Ground-Rock combination is your best attacking option, with Rock Slide preferred to Stone Edge for the PP.
EVs and Nature:
The EV spread can vary in all sorts of directions based on what kind of Pokémon you want Cradily to be, but maxing HP is the obvious starting point. If you're going with Swords Dance, maxing Attack is tempting, to fully exploit your offensive potential. Cradily can comfortably achieve a balanced 275 stat in both defences, or 300+ in either one of its defensive stats, so it can be manipulated into performing as a specialised physical wall, a specialised special wall, or a general all-round wall.
Barrier, Amnesia, Stockpile, Curse, Rest, Sleep Talk, Mirror Coat, Seed Bomb, Earth Power, Grass Knot, Energy Ball, Ancient Power.
Cradily has an assortment of defensive boosting moves at its disposal, and the use of any one of those can make Cradily almost impenetrable. Barrier sharply raises Defence, Amnesia sharply raises Special Defence and Stockpile raises both by one stage each. Of course, these all have synergy with Suction Cups.
Curse can perform as a go-between for a Cradily user desiring a defensive set that still packs some of the offensive potential found with the Swords Dance set. Again, there's synergy with Suction Cups.
Rest and Sleep Talk provide an alternative to Recover. It costs two move-slots and you have less control over your actions whilst resting, but it does offer Cradily a means to remove any statuses it is inflicted with.
Mirror Coat can catch special attackers off-guard. Cradily has the defensive stats to last most special attacks without too much discomfort, and added to this it also has Recover, making that lost HP fairly dispensable. Timed well, Mirror Coat can be a useful way to get a quick KO.
Seed Bomb hasn't been mentioned, but it's a strong and accurate physical STAB move available to it. The main reason not to use it is that Grass doesn't give it particularly great type coverage, and the same goes for the Rock-Grass and Ground-Grass attacking combinations.
Its special options have gone unmentioned, but it has Earth Power, Grass Knot (or Energy Ball) and AncientPower available to it from that side of the attacking spectrum.
As with all defensive-minded Pokémon, Cradily doesn't pose an overwhelming offensive threat, but it was never intended to. Luckily, this makes Cradily a relatively simple task to take on one-on-one (barring the Swords Dance set, which is still pretty containable due to Cradily's low Speed). Prior to naming any specific Pokémon, Toxic causes it mountains of problems if it lacks Rest. Taunt also does a great job hindering it by stopping Cradily from abusing Recover.
Beating a Dance-less Cradily one-on-one is a simple case of checking two things: can the Pokémon in question survive Rock, Ground and occasionally Grass attacks with comfort? And can the Pokémon cause a 2KO against Cradily either through raw power or by boosting their attacking stats? For the sake of example, Fighting types such as Hariyama, the Hitmon triplets and Gallade are strong counters. They resist Rock moves and have STAB Fighting moves of their own for chunky super-effective hits, and the option of Bulk Up or Swords Dance sweetens the deal.
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