Shaymin, The Gratitude Pokémon - The Land Forme. It lives in flower patches and avoids detection by curling up to look like a flowering plant. It can dissolve toxins in the air to instantly transform ruined land into a lush field of flowers.
Shaymin is the second Grass-typed legend, following in the footsteps of Celebi. Unfortunately for Shaymin, it doesn't just follow in Celebi's footsteps, but follows in its shadow as well. Shaymin packs a rather shallow move-pool, and when measured against Celebi, it notably lacks Recover, Calm Mind and Baton Pass.
There are positive differences between itself and Celebi however. Shaymin's signature move, Seed Flare, packs a lot of power, decent accuracy and has a very good 40% chance of lowering the opponent's Special Defence by two stages (meaning the next time it strikes, it'll strike at twice the power). Lacking Celebi's secondary Psychic type robs it of a few resistances and an additional STAB move, but it's a worthwhile trade-off. Shaymin lacks weaknesses to Dark and Ghost attacks, escaping a very painful Pursuit weakness in the process. Bug moves will still hurt, but will hit with much less ferocity. Shaymin also has Grasswhistle, providing it a sleep-move, albeit one that isn't particularly accurate.
Despite a few minor positive points, a very limited move-pool keeps it in Celebi's shadow. Shaymin can hope that platinum (and its new “Sky Forme”) brings with it some more defining improvements, but until then, it'll remain an adequate Pokémon that suffers from a major inferiority complex.
Natural Cure: cures statuses upon switching, including self-induced sleep from Rest. It's a great ability to have, and aside from Cure-Rest, it allows Shaymin to perform as an adequate status-absorber.
- Leech Seed
The Sub-Seed strategy is a staple of Grass-types. Leech Seed slowly drains the opponent's HP, regaining the HP lost by using Substitute, allowing Shaymin to throw up a constant stream of Subs, protecting it from the opponent's offence. If, or when they choose to switch, Shaymin will have the security of a Substitute already in place, allowing it to use Leech Seed once again and continue the cycle. The amount of switches it causes is notorious, and entry hazard support from Shaymin's team-mates is welcomed, both to discourage careless switching and to pick up additional damage.
Seed Flare is Shaymin's main source of damage, as well as being the move that differentiates it from its Grass brethren (particularly Celebi). It packs a lot of power as it is, but that additional 40% chance of a two-stage Special Defence stat-drop only serves to enhance its power. Hidden Power [Fire] covers Shaymin against Grass-resistant Steel types, as well as opposing Grass types, who are immune to Leech Seed.
Defensive / Support
Shaymin can function as a defensive Pokémon quite effectively. Although it lacks Recover, Rest combines with Natural Cure to fill the role of a reliable recovery move quite efficiently. Aromatherapy is the best support move that Shaymin packs. For those unfamiliar with the move, it removes statuses from all of Shaymin's team, providing a very useful utility.
Seed Flare remains in place as its signature move, packing power and the threat of cutting the opponent's Special Defence stat. The low PP is rather unfavourable however, and it has plenty of other usable Grass options that can be used in its place.
It has some useful options for its final move-slot. Grasswhistle provides it with a sleep-move, albeit one with rather poor accuracy. Hidden Power [Fire] gives it some useful coverage against Grass-resistant Steel, Bug and Grass types. Leech Seed drains the opponent's HP, causing problems for some defensive Pokémon who think they can face Shaymin with impunity. As with the Sub-Seed set, laying out some entry hazards will discourage careless switching and pick up some damage when (or if) the opponent switches.
- Seed Flare
With such a limited move-pool, this move-set is more 'Seed Flare plus fillers', rather than a diverse Specs-sweeper. The sole reason to take this route is to pack the strongest Seed Flare available to Shaymin. With the 40% chance of lowering the opposition's Special Defence stat, even resistant Pokémon and special walls have reason to be concerned by this move.
Hidden Power is the most useful of Shaymin's supporting cast of fillers. It's chosen with the expressed desire to harm Grass-resistant opponents. Both catch super-effective damage on opposing Grass types, with Fire also catching Bug and Steel types, whilst Ice catches Flying types (particularly the 4x weak Flying Dragons).
Psychic catches super-effective hits on Grass-resistant Poison types. In the OU environment, its Fighting coverage is also useful, since three of the six OU Fighting types are Grass-resistant: Breloom, Heracross and Infernape.
Rest is its final filler. Non-offensive moves tend to be out of place on Choice sets, but it suits the move-set comfortably. Switch-in, Rest, switch-out and have an entirely refreshed Shaymin.
EVs and Nature:
Defensive / Support
Energy Ball, Grass Knot, Synthesis, Toxic, Lucky Chant, Swords Dance.
Energy Ball and Grass Knot are its Seed Flare alternatives, with less power but better PP. Energy Ball hits at a consistent Base 80, whilst Grass Knot's power varies depending on the opponent's weight. At its maximum, it'll hit at 120, and on average, it'll hit at least as strong as Energy Ball does. A non-exhaustive lists of exceptions include Blissey, Gliscor, Porygon-Z and Azelf.
Synthesis resembles a 'reliable recovery move' on paper, but it doesn't perform as one in practice. It heals 50% HP in no weather, 66% in Sun but a rather meagre 25% in Rain, Hail and Sandstorm. The main problem is that Rain, Hail and Sandstorm are more common weather effects than Sun, particularly Sandstorm, which is activated by two popular Pokémon in the OU tier. This and low PP make Synthesis a rather unreliable recovery move.
Toxic is a status option, mostly there to mess up defensive Pokémon who can't rid themselves of it.
Lucky Chant is another support move it has, which blocks critical-hits. Considering how unpredictable critical-hits are, you can never be sure if this move is actually doing something, but critical-hits aren't frequent enough to justify spending a move-slot on this move.
Shaymin has Swords Dance, but Return is the only physical move it has to accompany it. Making a viable move-set with just that to work with is close to impossible, but worth a mention.
Shaymin is pretty much a one-move-wonder. Seed Flare is all it's got in the way of scary offence (barring boosted Hidden Powers and Psychics), and aside from that, Sub-Seed stalling and Grasswhistle are the only indirect threats it poses.
Heatran should wipe the floor with Shaymin in most cases, benefiting from a 4x Grass resistance, resistances to its usual Hidden Power choices and STAB Fire moves. Moltres and Charizard are Border-Line representatives who handle it with similar efficiency, and to an extent, both Ninetales and Flareon handle it as well.
Without Hidden Power [Fire], Metagross, Jirachi, Forretress, Skarmory and Scizor all deal with it with relative comfort. Without Hidden Power [Ice], Salamence and Dragonite should trounce it with relative ease.
Most of the above can be given problems with the Sub-Seed stalling strategy. There are several Pokémon who can deal with the Sub-Seeder with comfort. Scizor can break Shaymin's Subs with U-Turn and then Baton Pass to an effective sweeper all in one, but needs to watch out for Hidden Power. Skarmory can break up the strategy by Whirlwinding it away, as can most Pokémon with pseudo-hazing moves and the appropriate resistances, but again, watch out for the Hidden Powers. Venusaur and Vileplume are immune to Leech Seed and pack STAB Sludge Bombs, but both have the same problems with Hidden Power. Faster Taunts can break up the strategy a bit, but the Taunters need to be bulky enough to deal with Seed Flare.
Seed Flare can be a bit of a troublemaker for some of the above. Sometimes it'll only strike for 20-30% damage, but if it lands a Special Defence drop, then it'll strike twice as hard on the next hit. Throw in any previous damage and the Special Defence drop might expose the 'counter' for a KO, so some precaution should be taken.
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