Weavile, The Sharp Claw Pokémon. They are native to the snowy regions of Sinnoh, and since evolving from Sneasel they have only become more devious. It usually prefers to travel in groups of four or five to hunt, and they carve patterns in trees and boulders with their claws in order to signal the others that their prey is close.
On today's episode of the Pokémon of the Week our heroes over at serebii.net encounter a Weavile, the famous Shadow Hunter from the Sinnoh Region. Weavile has always been an exceptional Pokémon due to its incredibly High Speed and superb Attack, and its terrific offensive typing in Dark/Ice Type. It does not lack for outstanding coverage moves either with access to things like Knock Off, Icicle Crash, Poison Jab, Low Kick, Pursuit, Throat Chop, Ice Shard. It has one glaring drawback though in that its bulk is just god awful..like really bad especially when you take into account its Stealth Rock weakness as wel. You'll always want to have a Defoger of some kind available like Tapu Fini or a Rapid Spinner on your team if you choose to use Weavile in battle. Something to absorb Toxic and dish out some damage to a lot of your main threats like Mega Vensaur would definitely be appreciated as well. Weavile is a great 'mon that will fit perfectly on any team with the right kind of supports. It just needs a little help. In 4th and 5th gen I always had one with me, but with today's metagame it's so much harder to build a team around it, and Weavile needs all the needs all the support it can get because of how frail it's unfortunately. I still highly recommend using Weavile whenever you get the chance though to be clear it's just effective as it ever was.
Pressure: When this Pokémon is hit by a move, the opponent’s PP lowers by 2 rather than 1. Opponents in S.O.S. Battles are more likely to call for help. This ability works better on bulky 'mons for sure, but it's not a bad ability by any means and might even help annoy your opponent a little as an added bonus.
- Knock Off
Knock Off should always be Weavile's main stab move. It dishes out a TON of damage when paired with Choice Band and it also removes your enemies items as well. It's a transfer only move though, so if for whatever reason you're unable to transfer one to SM use Throat Chop instead. Icicle Crash is your secondary stab, and it will help you take out Landorus-T and Garchomp with ease. Poison Jab is mainly to deal with Fairy switchins like Clefable and Tapu Fini. The last slot is up to you. Ice Shard's priority will help you pick off faster weakened 'mons, and Low Kick is a good option to deal out some damage to Tyranitar, Heatran and Ferrothorn.
I prefer Choice Band over the standard Life Orb sets because Weavile is already extremely susceptible to residual damage, and it functions better as a late game revenge killer anyway so the extra power is appreciated even if it means locking itself into one move until it's switched out again.
- Pursuit: Ice Shard or Low Kick are more effective as your last move slot, but Weavile does force some pretty key switches and it makes an excellent Pursuit trapper when paired with Choice Band.
VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options
Weavile has been an incredible Pokemon in the past two years of VGC. Utilizing one of the fastest Fake Outs available, Weavile was a great lead Pokemon, able to delay an opponent from attacking a turn, or bluffing Fake Out and using a surprise Feint into a predicted opponent's Protect. With a variety of strong moves, especially Icicle Crash and Knock Off, Weavile could hit many of the top Pokemon hard for super-effective damage, including legendaries like Landorus-T, Thundurus, Cresselia, and even Rayquaza.
Jump forward to VGC 2017...and sadly things aren't as bright as they once were for Weavile. Fake Out isn't as great as it once was due to Tapu Lele's Psychic Terrain, and Weavile does not have access to Knock Off in this format. The presence of more dark-resisting fairies, Arcanine's Intimidate and popularity, and new, faster threats in Tapu Koko and Pheromosa all have marginalized Weavile's role. Despite all of this, Weavile may still fight to find its way on teams in need of what it can still provide, especially since it can OHKO Garchomp.
Size Matters Not
-Icicle Crash / Ice Punch
Weavile always aims to hit as hard and as fast as possible, while still providing support in one of the fastest Fake Outs in VGC. Max attack lets Weavile do as much damage as possible. A Jolly nature with 196 EVs in speed allows Weavile to just outspeed Salazzle, another fast Fake Out user. While max speed is fine, the only additional Pokemon you will outspeed with the additional investment are Alakazam, Minior, and Ribombee, all rare Pokemon to see. 60 HP EVs give it a little a bit of bulk, but it can survive any one attack thanks to the Focus Sash anyway. Should you choose another item, those 60 EVs can be invested in special defense, which allows Weavile to survive a Dazzling Gleam from Modest Tapu Lele, just about every unboosted attack from standard Tapu Fini, and to survive a Thunderbolt from Timid Life Orb Tapu Koko in its terrain over 60% of the time. Pressure is a decent ability, but its main function will be to help you determine your opponent's speeds by seeing what order certain abilities activate.
Icicle Crash and Ice Punch are both strong ice STAB moves that depend on how you view accuracy vs power. Icicle Crash is stronger (and has a chance to flinch), but does not have perfect accuracy, which could cost some games due to misses. Ice Punch does have perfect accuracy (and a chance to freeze), but may miss on certain KOs due to lower power. Throat Chop is Weavile's strongest dark-type STAB, and has some niche uses in stopping Perish Song or Drampa's Hyper Voice. Fake Out is arguably the biggest reason to use Weavile, typically giving your team an advantage in flinching an opponent for a turn. Feint, as previously mentioned, can break an opponent's Protect (and Wide Guard) when they try to dodge your Fake Out. Ice Shard, however, is stronger priority due to STAB and can allow Weavile to pick off opponents with more HP than Feint typically can.
Other Options & Team Ideas
-Pickpocket is limited due to how many Z Crystals are in the format, but can still be useful to steal berries or other items should you consume your item, such as a Focus Sash.
Weavile isn't that hard to check or knock out of the game entirely if I'm honest. Bulky Steel Types like Celesteela, Ferrothorn, and Skarmory are going to be your biggest headaches in life. Their bulk is just too make for Weavile to take on and they'll stall you death. Mega Scizor won't take boosted damage from Knock Off and it's resistant to any and all of your Ice Type attacks and can turn around and easily KO you with a Bullet Punch. Or it can just use as set up bait too. If you're using a Life Orb, Weavile pretty much KO's itself when you factor in the recoil damage, its terrible bulk, any other residual damage it may have already taken from Stealth Rock, Spikes, Toxic and etc. Also you definitely need to watch out for common Choice Scarf users and faster 'mons that can take your attacks and threaten you out like Jirachi, Keldeo, and Tapu Koko. There are lots more, but those are the most common answers to Weavile. I wish you all the best of luck.
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