Gliscor, The Fang Scorp Pokémon. It observes prey while hanging inverted from branches. When the chance presents itself, it swoops!
In the 3rd generation, Gligar was a popular choice in the UU (Underused) environment. Its unique typing and focused Base Stats made it an ideal choice as a physical wall, and it wasn't particularly lacking when it came to going on the offence either. Fast-forward to the present and its grown up evolution, Gliscor, has built on that popularity and solidified a place for itself in the OU (Overused) environment.
Gliscor, like its predecessor, usually functions as a physical wall. Its aforementioned unique typing gives it a Ground and Electric immunity, as well as Fighting, Bug and Poison resistances. Roost, a luxury not available to the 3rd gen Gligar, reinforces its efficiency as a defensive Pokémon. Other additions it benefits from include Knock Off, Baton Pass and Stealth Rock.
With evolution came a boost in raw stats. Gliscor's Base 75 Special Defence stat will spare it from being completely humiliated by special attacks, and despite specialising in physical walling, Base 95 Speed and Attack make sweeping perfectly viable.
Its only major downfalls are its two weaknesses. The ever-common Ice attacks strike at a nasty 4x weakness, whilst Water attacks will also catch a super-effective hit. This will cause some battlers to have a rethink about their team (particularly if they intend to use Garchomp or Salamence, who also suffer a similar Ice curse). Nevertheless, these shortcomings are still not enough to nudge it out of popularity. With a good move-pool, good stats and a good typing, Gliscor easily asserts itself as one of the top choices for competitive battling.
Sand Veil: gives a 20% evasion increase when a Sandstorm is active. Evasion is never reliable, but the free boost is quite useful. Already inaccurate moves, such as Stone Edge and Fire Blast, will be brought down an extra notch, whilst previously reliable moves suffer a touch of unreliability. If Gliscor has team-mates that can provide it with a consistent Sandstorm (Hippowdon or Tyranitar), it's an ability worth shooting for. Even without that support, the popularity of those two Pokémon mean that it can probably have this ability active in most battles.
Hyper Cutter: blocks opposing attempts to lower Gliscor's Attack. Most notably, this means it'll be blocking the effects of Intimidate. Sweeping and Baton Passing variants will see a lot of mileage from it, but it's generally useful for all Gliscor variants. Its value simply needs to be weighed against the value of Sand Veil evasion.
Physical Wall / Support
Taking advantage of its well-placed Base Stats, nifty resistances and Roost, Gliscor lends itself to the job of physical walling with ease.
Roost, as well as providing 50% healing, removes Gliscor's Flying type temporarily. The useful side-effect of this is that it buys Gliscor a temporary Rock resistance, assuming it uses Roost prior to its opponent's attack. This is pretty useful for use against slower physical sweepers (such as Tyranitar), recovering some HP before they throw a Stone Edge Gliscor's way, mitigating the taken damage whilst healing up. Some mild caution should be exercised however, since the loss of the Flying type does expose Gliscor to Ground and Fighting moves.
On the support front, Gliscor's more outstanding options are Knock Off, Stealth Rock and Taunt.
Knock Off removes the opponents item. Most Pokémon have some degree of reliance on their item. In the most extreme case, this affects Choice Pokémon, whose move-sets are built around the use of a Choice item (and whilst not completely crippling them, it does force them to rethink their strategy). In most cases, you'll be depriving defensive Pokémon of their beloved Leftovers, weakening their defensive capabilities slightly and possibly exposing them to passive damage from Hail or Sandstorm. Most of the time, it'll be useful. Possibly not crippling, but it'll usually have an impact.
Few battlers aren't familiar with Stealth Rock, which is so widely spread that it has become customary to always account for it being active. They provide very useful passive damage, but for Gliscor in particular, they have the useful side-effect of discouraging Gyarados to switch in against it.
Taunt blocks attempts to use inoffensive moves, functioning more as a disruptive move than a support move. With Gliscor's good Speed stat, it can actually nip in ahead of most defensive Pokémon and thwart their supporting attempts. The most obvious application for this move is stopping the likes of Stealth Rock and Spikes being set-up by Bronzong and Skarmory. Stopping healing attempts is another useful application for it, as its ability to block off stat-boosting and status-using attempts.
On the offence, Gliscor isn't a slouch. Earthquake is obvious, with its wonderful type coverage and STAB backing. The main choice is which move to pair Earthquake with.
Gliscor can opt for the well-known Ground-Ice combination with Ice Fang. The coverage is all-round, striking at least neutral hits on nearly every Pokémon in the game. Garchomp, Salamence, Dragonite and Flygon all share the same curse that Gliscor does, each having a 4x weakness to Ice moves. It's also useful against most Grass and Flying types, covering where Earthquake would be ineffective. The main downside of the Ice Fang-Earthquake combination is Ice Fang's low neutral power. Levitating or Flying Pokémon without an Ice weakness will be very comfortable against it.
The Ground-Rock combination is another well known combination, this time achieved with Stone Edge. The coverage isn't as 'all-round' as with Ice moves, but it still provides very solid neutral coverage on many Pokémon. Stone Edge hits for more damage than Ice Fang does when it comes to neutral hits, limiting the amount of comfort its opponents have. In addition, the super-effective hit on Gyarados is very welcome, and it'll still be able to maintain coverage against Salamence and most other Flying types. Stone Edge loses out on Grass coverage, trading it in for less useful Bug coverage. Like Ice Fang, it also suffers against some levitators, and whilst a high critical-hit ratio gives it an added threat, low PP means its use will need to be kept in check.
If Gliscor can get some Sandstorm support, Sand Veil is usually the ability of choice. It can handle hits just fine when evasion doesn't kick in, but will happily benefit when moves miss. Hyper Cutter is still useful however, blocking off Intimidates from Gyarados and Salamence, letting Gliscor launch full strength Stone Edges and Ice Fangs their way.
- Swords Dance / Rock Polish
Much like the physical wall, Gliscor's well-placed Base Stats lend themselves nicely to the job of Baton Passing. Gliscor has two main boosts it can pass, Attack boosts and Speed boosts. The preferable one is really dependant on Gliscor's team.
Swords Dance is useful for all physical sweepers, and can particularly pave the way for already fast ones or ones who have Speed boosts of their own.
Rock Polish is useful for most sweepers, but it's mainly useful for slow powerhouses who have no efficient means of boosting their own Speed stat. In addition, Gliscor itself benefits from the Speed boost, since it'll allow Gliscor to Baton Pass to safety before its opponent can attack. This also means it can spare some Speed EVs and focus a bit more on its defensive capabilities.
In its two spare move-slots, Gliscor has a bit of choice:
Since a Pokémon without offensive moves can be something of a liability, Earthquake is available, benefiting nicely from Swords Dance boosts in particular.
Taunt is available to keep the opponent from throwing a Haze, Roar or Whirlwind in Gliscor's direction, preventing the opponent's attempts to screw up Gliscor's Baton Pass. In addition, it does all of the things mentioned on the physical wall, although its primary use is to prevent hazing and pseudo-hazing attempts.
Roost is available to give Gliscor a source of healing, letting it last a while in battle, perform some physical wall duties and generally giving it as many opportunities as it can muster to pull of a successful Baton Pass.
Hyper Cutter is generally the ability of choice, to block Intimidates. Baton Pass will pass both positive and negative boosts, and Gliscor won't want to be passing on Intimidates to physical team-mates. However, it can be foregone for Sand Veil, particularly if Gliscor's Baton Pass recipients are likely to be special-oriented.
Swords Dance allows Gliscor to take a more offensive route, whilst maintaining defensive capabilities comparable to the physical wall. Roost is part of why it can maintain similar defensive capabilities, keeping it healthy and buying it plenty of time to boost up. STAB Earthquake, matched up with either Ice Fang or Stone Edge, represents its two main offensive combinations.
Aside from its offensive moves, Gliscor's only other point of indecision is its item choice.
Leftovers is more favourable for defensive purposes, helping Gliscor maintain bulk comparable to its physical wall variants.
Life Orb gives its attacks a nice boost, helping it to compete with the damage dished out by more offensively-oriented Pokémon. As a side-effect, it'll be a detriment to its defensive capabilities, chipping off 10% of its HP whenever it uses an offensive attack. Gliscor can mitigate some of this damage with Roost, but it'll make Gliscor less reliable as a physical wall. It should be emphasised that the 10% 'recoil' will not apply when Gliscor uses Swords Dance or Roost.
EVs and Nature:
Max HP is generally favourable on all of Gliscor's sets. It boosts its bulk as a physical wall, but at the same time lets it handle special attacks a little more comfortably. The placement of the rest of its EVs is a little more dependant on its move-set.
With Swords Dance, Gliscor will want close to max Speed to ensure it can get off a Baton Pass before its opponent can attack it. The minimum to shoot for is 304 (to outrun Garchomp, Salamence and co.), requiring a Jolly nature and 204 Speed EVs.
With Rock Polish, it can be a bit more relaxed with its Speed investment. It only need a miniscule investment of 8 EVs to get to a 228 Speed, letting it outrun Adamant Scarf-Chomp after a Rock Polish. Further investment to get it to 244 (72 EVs) is worth consideration, to account for the aforementioned Pokémon when it hasn't used Rock Polish.
After dealing with its Speed stat, the remaining EVs can be invested in its Defence. If it's going without a Jolly nature, it can use Impish to further enhance its defensive capabilities.
Aerial Ace, U-Turn, X-Scissor, Night Slash, Fire Fang, Counter, Agility, Toxic, Screech, Choice Band, Choice Scarf.
Aerial Ace, despite gaining STAB, isn't on the standard move-sets, mostly because of the rather miniscule coverage it provides. Of key OU Pokémon who resist Earthquake, the only two it gets a super-effective hit on are Heracross and Celebi. Gliscor is generally considered 'the best Heracross counter' in the game, so being able to OHKO it with Aerial Ace isn't of huge value. Using it for Celebi on the other hand, actually has some value, but it'd be better off with its Bug moves against Celebi.
U-Turn is pretty useful. Gliscor is slow enough to make use of the 'take a hit and give a team-mate a free switch-in' strategy. The basic gist of it, is Gliscor takes a survivable hit, then uses U-Turn and switches to an appropriate counter, who comes in unscathed. This is a particularly useful way to get a fragile Pokémon into play. U-Turn, as an attack itself, isn't hugely useful, but it catches a 4x hit on Celebi and a 2x hit on Cresselia (and other levitating Psychics).
X-Scissor gets a mention for being its strongest Bug move, and once again, catching a super-effective hit on Celebi and Cresselia. Night Slash gets a mention for a similar reason, but trades in a 4x hit on Celebi for 2x hits on Gengar and Mismagius.
Fire Fang's only real use is for Bronzong and Skarmory, but frankly, both of those will be more frightened of Taunt or Knock Off.
Counter is a usable option. Gliscor can bounce back neutral-hitting physical attacks (as well as some of the weaker super-effective ones) and pick up the odd KO.
Agility is basically Rock Polish. For cartridge players, Rock Polish is a TM and Agility is a breeding move, meaning one may be more convenient than the other.
Toxic will cause problems for the majority of defensive Water types, as well as Cresselia.
Screech can open up some Pokémon for KOs, but is usually used to force switches, racking up some passive damage from entry hazards (Stealth Rock and Spikes).
Gliscor has a wide enough move-pool to give Choice Band or Choice Scarf a go, but it's generally a waste of its talents.
Obviously, defensive Pokémon with Ice Beam (or other Ice attacks) are the main counters. Cresselia is immune to Earthquake and takes little from its usual attacks. Gyarados has some problems with Stone Edge, but Earthquake immunity, Intimidate, Taunt and super-effective STAB makes it a confident counter when Stone Edge is absent. Swampert, Suicune, Milotic and other defensive Water types comfortably deal with it as well. Weezing is comfortable against all it has, and causes it a lot of problems with Will-o-Wisp.
Up against the Baton Passer, some of these counters are ineffective, since it can Baton Pass away before they use Ice Beam. Of the aforementioned, Swampert, Suicune and Gyarados have Roar access, allowing them to pseudo-haze Gliscor or its recipient away. Weezing and Milotic have access to Haze, allowing them to rid Gliscor (or its recipient) of their stat-boosts. In addition, Skarmory can Whirlwind away its boosts (once again, pseudo-hazing). Faster opponent's equipped with strong Ice attacks (such as Starmie with Ice Beam) can bring it down before it can pass away, although they should be capable of handling a hit or two, just in case.
Some of the aforementioned counters run into problems with its disruptive moves. Taunt prevents the Baton Pass counters from using Haze, Roar or Whirlwind. It'll also stop Weezing from using Will-o-Wisp (as it will with any other status-using counter), as well as other counters trying to use indirect means to cause it problems (such as Cresselia using Reflect). Knock Off causes problems for pretty much all of those counters, since losing Leftovers diminishes their defensive capabilities.
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