Huntail, The Deep Sea Pokémon. It lives deep in the sea. With a tail shaped like a small fish, it attracts unsuspecting prey. To withstand the crushing pressure of water deep under the sea, its spine is very thick and sturdy. Its tail, which is shaped like a small fish, has eyes that light up. This Pokémon swims by wiggling its slender body like a snake. Huntail's presence went unnoticed by people for a long time because it lives at extreme depths in the sea. This Pokémon's eyes can see clearly even in the murky dark depths of the ocean.
Huntail is one of two results you can get out of Clampearl. Sadly for Huntail, the other result is probably better. Gorebyss is, of course, the easiest Pokémon to measure Huntail against. They have the same type, same ability, same base stat total and a very similar move-pool. There are differences between the two however, and Huntail gets the short end of the stick. Gorebyss packs more stat-boosting moves to Baton Pass and a superior Special Attack stat. Huntail gets a slightly better Attack stat, but a lack of a significantly improved physical move-pool in comparison means it doesn't see the benefits as much as it would like to.
The best Huntail can hope for is to be declared as a Never-used (NU) Pokémon, and see some use as a pretty decent Pokémon in NU battling. Gorebyss is simply superior to it, and there's no reason to choose Huntail ahead of Gorebyss in Underused battling.
Swift Swim: doubles Huntail's Speed in rain. As with all 'Swift-Swim sweepers', this ability is central to Huntail's sweeping move-sets. A 203 (or 223) Speed stat is unimpressive by sweeper standards, but when it doubles up to 406 (or 446), it starts to become a threat.
Swift Swim Sweeper - Physical
- Rain Dance
Throw up a Rain Dance and sweep. The physical end of this is the only thing Huntail can do better than Gorebyss. STAB Waterfall benefits from the Rain boost, and is of course, the core sweeping move on this move-set. Ice Fang gets a super-effective hit on Water-resistant Grass types, providing some important support to Waterfall (the additional hit on Dragons is pretty worthless, since you won't see any Dragons in the NU tier).
Your final move-slot is really a filler. Return is actually the strongest physical move it's got against (most) Water types, but a not-very-effective Dance-boosted Waterfall isn't too far behind it in power (Return's 102 vs. an NVE Dance-boosted Waterfall's 90). Crunch is okay against Psychics and Ghosts, but it's mostly there for Slowking and Slowbro, since a Dance-boosted Waterfall is stronger than a super-effective Crunch. You've also got Toxic. Once again, it's for opposing Water types, but more of a long-term solution than a short-term burst of damage. Most Water types get worn down by Toxic, and over an extended period of time, it'll be more crippling than a soft burst of damage.
You've got a little bit of choice in the item selection. Life Orb is a 1.3x boost at the expense of 10% HP per hit. It's better for sweeping, but it also means Huntail can't really provide defensive support for its team (and whilst it isn't that good of a defensive Pokémon, a decent Defence stat means it can usually provide some support for its team, especially in the NU environment). Damp Rock keeps the rain going for an extra three turns. If Huntail isn't the only benefactor of the rain, then keeping it going is useful team support, and it gives Huntail an extra few turns for its sweeping.
Swift Swim Sweeper - Special
- Rain Dance
You've got the same as above, only running with the special move-pool this time. Of course, as noted in the overview, it's carrying a major inferiority complex to Gorebyss, who has this exact move-set but a better Special Attack stat to pair it with. Once again, a Rain Dance boost and sweeping with Surf is the main goal. Ice Beam covers Grass types, whilst Hidden Power [Electric] deals with opposing Water types. As with the first move-set, the item choice is between Life Orb for sweeping and Damp Rock for prolonging the rain.
Huntail can also Baton Pass, but again, this is an area of inferiority when compared against Gorebyss. The only stat-boost Huntail can Baton Pass is Iron Defence. In the NU environment, a simple stat-boost is usually enough to give wall-like qualities, and Substitute can block off critical-hits (as well as providing something additional to Baton Pass). Item-wise, Leftovers can help make up for HP lost from Substitutes, but a pinch berry (like a Salac, Liechi or Petaya) is also worth consideration if you want a Pokémon dedicated to Baton Passing only.
EVs and Nature:
You're pretty much stuck with the 252/252 sweeper spread for EVs. Max Speed without a nature boost is 203, which, after a Swift Swim boost, is more than enough by NU and UU standards (and still pretty decent by OU standards too).
The Baton Passer can go for a more defensive EV spread. Speed is nice to have, just to out-speed other slow Pokémon, but if you want, you can forgo Speed entirely for a completely defensive EV spread.
Brine, Hydro Pump, Screech, Choice Band.
Brine and Hydro Pump give you some unreliable alternatives to Surf.
Screech can force some switches and functions decently with Huntail's Attack stat, but Huntail isn't the most threatening user, especially since it's fairly slow (so if you Screech, say, Manectric, it probably isn't going to run knowing it can annihilate you first).
Huntail can just about cram a Choice Band move-set together, but hardly an effective or varied one to be worthy of individual note. The best part about Choice Band is you get an instant boost to Waterfall, and if you have some rain support coming from elsewhere, you still have a semblance of the Swift Swim sweeper move-set anyway.
Huntail is a 'generic Water type' and falls prey to most 'generic Water type counters'. The Never-used tier is pretty undefined at present, but going by the Underused environment, the main counters include: Lanturn, Poliwrath, Toxicroak, Quagsire and pretty much anything else immune (or resistant) to Water moves and equipped with some hard-hitting moves.
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