Aegislash

Aegislash, The Royal Sword Pokémon. Generations of kings were attended by these Pokémon, which used their spectral power to manipulate and control people and Pokémon. Apparently, it can detect the innate qualities of leadership. According to legend, whoever it recognizes is destined to become king.

Overview

Aegislash is a Pokémon that shows that sometimes Game Freak thinks about what the Pokémon is going to be in the competitive scene, or the die just happens to be cast that way. Being a Pokémon with immense offensive pressure, Aegislash excelled as a wallbreaker when it was released in XY. However Aegislash brings more to the metaphorical mind game table of wallbreakers, King's Shield and Stance SwitcChange. These allow Aegislash to switch from a squishy powerhouse to a sturdy wall, and can drop the opponents stats by two stages. These make Aegislash an immense threat on its own without factoring in its typing. However these traits got it banned away to Ubers, where while it has strong stats, Aegislash has to compete with some of the best wall breakers the games has such as Deoxys Attack, Kyurem White, and Rayquaza. However, Aegislash's typing allows it to handle some big threats in the tier and carry its weight making it still a strong Pokémon.
Positives
+ Stat line - Aegislash has great stats overall. 150 base defenses allows Aegislash to tank hits really well while switching stances gives it 150 base attacks, higher than Rayquaza, 4 Special Attack behind Mewtwo, and 20 behind Kyurem White, making it powerful threat.
+ Movepool - Aegislash has almost neutral coverage with its STAB moves alone, but backs that with a strong movepool. While not deep like Nidoking or Tyranitar, Aegislash has powerful coverage with moves like Sacred Sword, Hidden Power, Rock Slide, and Brutal Swing. Aegislash also has access to Swords Dance and Autotomize, giving it good boosting options and Pursuit for utility.
+ Typing - Aegislash has really strong typing, granting a plethora of resistances such as Dragon, Fairy, Flying, and Psychic, most of which are very relevant in Ubers. Aegislash's typing also makes it a top tier spin blocker, beating most spinners in a one on one situation bar Excadrill, however obsolete spinners are now.

Negatives
- Low Speed - Aegislash has really low speed for Ubers, being base 60. This means even with Autotomize it can still get outpaced by most revenge killers such as Pheromosa and Blaziken, as well as lose to most +1 sweepers like Rayquaza and Mega Salamence.
- 4MSS [4 move slot syndrome] - With the need to carry King's Shield, Aegislash effectively has 3 move slots at its disposal. This limits its options often to STAB moves and another boosting move, or doubling up on its Ghost STAB (Shadow Ball/Shadow Claw and Shadow Sneak). This limits its coverage often to a single slot, forcing Aegislash to lean hard on its raw power to punch through threats.
- Typing - While Aegislash's typing is a major boon for it, it's almost as much of a hindrance. With its Steel typing, Aegislash struggles against the powerful Ground and Fire types in Ubers such as Primal Groudon and Zygarde C. This is compounded with Aegislash`s weakness to Dark types, also fairly prominent lacking a way to break through threats like Yveltal and Mega Sableye.

Abilities

Stance Change - Only effects Aegislash, when the Pokémon uses a Physical or Special move it changes to Blade form. When it uses King's Shield, this Pokémon changes to Shield form - Aegislash's only ability and its half or more of what broke Aegislash in OU. The ability to get 150 Defense and Special Defense is amazing.

Movesets

Special Defense

-King's Shield
-Toxic
-Gyro Ball
-Shadow Ball
Item Attached: Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
EVs and Nature:
252Hp/4Def/252SpDef
Sassy Nature

More a standard option, this allows Aegislash to act as a defensive pivot, checking special threats like Xerneas, Solgaleo without Flare Blitz, Lunala, and Mewtwo. King's Shield is a staple on all Aegislash sets for its ability to switch Aegislash's stance and potentially drop stats and stall for health. Toxic is nice as it smacks tanky Fire and Ground threats that try to switch in, often hindering or crippling them for the rest of the match. Gyro Ball earns the slot over Iron Head as it has the chance for higher damage with Aegislash's low speed and negative speed nature. Make sure to run as low speed IVs as possible, preferably 0. Lastly Shadow Ball acts as your Ghost stab, hitting Steels and Physically defensive walls hard such as Lugia, Solgaleo, and Celesteela.

Wall Breaker

-King's Shield
-Shadow Sneak
-Gyro Ball
-Hidden Power Ice/Swords Dance
Item Attached: Life Orb/Weakness Policy/Ghostium Z
Ability: Stance Change
EVs and Nature:
252 HP/252Atk/4SpAtk
Brave Nature

A more aggressive option, King's Shield takes a more supporting role to help dodge threats and create chances to boost or spread the damage. Shadow Sneak is the main Ghost stab as it helps bypass Aegislash's low speed and create a one two combo per say to clean up threats that like Gyro Ball. However Shadow Claw can be used as well as Shadow Ball if your team needs more immediate damage, however Swords Dance synergizes best with Shadow Sneak. Gyro Ball is the Steel stab of choice for the same reasons as the other set, low base speed and a negative speed nature. Last spot can go to Swords Dance, allowing Aegislash to deal a lot of damage, or Hidden Power Ice to nail Zygarde C who otherwise walls this set hard. Item wise a Life Orb is best without Swords Dance to maximize your damage, though Weakness Policy can be used for stat boosts, but is a high risk item. Ghostium Z is best again with Shadow Sneak for a clean KO after a Swords Dance on a lot of threats but can work well with Shadow Claw or Shadow Ball.

Other Options and Partners

Pursuit - With Aegislash's ability to force out Psychic threats, Pursuit is a nice option to cripple or KO threats that could otherwise run rampant after Aegislash is removed. Some good targets are Lunala, Solgaleo, Mega Mewtwo, and the Lati twins.

Yveltal - With Aegislash's amazing ability to wall out Xerneas, Yveltal loves having Aegislash on the team as Xerneas is one of the best answers to it. In return, Yveltal is a shaky answer to Primal Groudon but can switch into Earthquake, and it stops Mega Gengar as well as Giratina, both forms, who can give Aegislash some trouble.
Lugia - Lugia walls out Primal Groudon and can deal with Ho-Oh quite well, especially if Ho-Oh lacks Toxic. As these both are major answers for Aegislash, Lugia works well in that area. However, Lugia will compound the weakness to Dark types, especially Taunt Yveltal and Mega Sableye, as well as bulky Ghost types such as Giratina.
Xerneas - With Aegislash`s weakness to Dark types, Xerneas can work well with it using Aegislash as a bait for its own boosts, while Aegislash handles most Steel threats in tier really except Mega Scizor. This can easily lead to a snowball sweep or chunking the enemy team, in which Aegislash can clean up with its more offensive set.

VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options

After a couple years of missing from VGC formats, Aegislash has returned stronger and better than ever. The sword and shield was a very common sight in VGC 2014 and 2015 before dropping in usage in 2016 due to the presence of the Primals. After sitting a year out due to the Alolan Pokedex restrictions, Aegislash is jumping back in as one of the most powerful Pokemon in the early days of VGC 2018. Aegislash uses all of its old toys from previous years, and is a great defensive Pokemon in the format with so many fairies around, but the ability to use z moves has made it more of an offensive threat than ever.

Never-Ending Stance Change

-Shadow Ball
-Flash Cannon
-Wide Guard
-King's Shield
Item Attached: Ghostium Z
Ability: Stance Change
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Quiet Nature

Typically, Aegislash wants to be as slow as possible so that it takes most hits in its shield form, so a Quiet nature (ideally with a zero speed IV) with maximum HP is how most trainers start. Experienced trainers do often invest in speed though (using a Modest nature). The main purpose for this is to speed-creep other Aegislash who may threaten a KO, but offensive teams may also factor in speed control like Tailwind to outspeed targets and simply sweep. Maximum special attack of course lets Aegislash smack opponents hard, and the remaining 4 EVs are typically thrown into special defense since King’s Shield can lower an opponent’s attack (and also give opposing Download Porygon2 an attack boost, which can be useful if they carry Shadow Ball or threaten Aegislash’s teammate with a move like Ice Beam). Stance Change is the only available ability, but an amazing one that flips Aegislash between two powerful forms and can play mind games with your opponent. Ghostium z turns Shadow Ball into Never-Ending Nightmare, which is an absolute nuke with Aegislash’s base 150 special attack.

Shadow Ball and Flash Cannon are Aegislash’s strongest special STABs found on nearly every set. Flash Cannon is useful against many of the common fairies, while Shadow Ball pairs with the z crystal. King’s Shield is necessary to protect Aegislash from attacks and take them easier in its defensive form, but dropping the attack of opponents who make contact is also a nice side effect. The final move slot has a few possibilities, but Wide Guard is arguably the most effective with the number of spread moves in the format, especially super-effective ones against Aegislash like Heat Wave and Earthquake.

Other Options & Team Ideas

-A number of other items are still effective on Aegislash and see good use. Weakness Policy is great with Aegislash’s ability to take a super-effective hit in one form, and take out opponents with the boost in another. Life Orb gives Aegislash extra power on all of its moves, while Leftovers is common on sets with Substitute. 50% recovery pinch berries have seen some usage as well with their gen 7 buffs to keep Aegislash healthy.
- The three most common moves seen over Wide Guard on the standard set are Substitute, Sacred Sword, and Shadow Sneak. Substitute is effective with Aegislash’s bulk and possible recovery, and helps the ghost avoid Sucker Punch. Opportunities to use it come up often when the opponent switches or predicts you to use King’s Shield. Sacred Sword and Shadow Sneak are best on sets with a Quiet nature since Aegislash has a great attack stat even without investment. Sacred Sword can take a chunk of out Kangaskhan, or hit Bisharp and Heatran hard on switch-ins. Shadow Sneak picks off weakened targets, and is especially useful on Weakness Policy sets, as a +2 Shadow Sneak can threaten Pokemon like Mega Gardevoir with a KO.
-The fighting z move can be another big surprise for Mega Kangaskhan and Heatran, and the steel z move may have some unique uses.
-Hidden Power Ice threatens Mega Salamence and Landorus-T, especially when holding a Life Orb.
-Purely physical sets are rare due to how common Intimidate is, but Iron Head, Shadow Claw or Shadow Sneak, and Scared Sword round out a physical moveset with King’s Shield.
-Head Smash and Rock Slide can decimate Mega Charizard Y if you have speed control.
-Toxic allows Aegislash to stay in a defensive stance and wear down bulky opponents like Porygon2.

-Thanks to Electric and Misty Terrain, Lum Berry and Safety Goggles are not as common to keep Aegislash safe from Amoongus’ Spore (which King’s Shield does not protect from). Tapu Koko and Tapu Fini are good teammates due to this, but Safety Goggles does still allow the user to ignore Rage Powder.
-Rain support from a Politoed or Pelipper eliminates Aegislash’s fire weakness.
-Grassy Terrain gives Aegislash recovery (especially on the Substitute set) but more importantly, weakens Earthquake damage.
-Hydreigon has great switch synergy with Aegislash, as Hydreigon resists fire and ghost attacks, while also being immune to ground moves. In return, Aegislash resists fairy and dragon moves, while being immune to fighting type attacks.
-Intimidate support helps make Aegislash even bulkier and able to take Earthquake or Tectonic Rage better.

Countering Aegislash

Fire Types - While Primal Groudon and Ho-Oh don't like switching into Toxic, Ho-Oh overall carries a small amount as it has access to a lot of recovery with Recover and Regenerator and easily KOes back with Sacred Fire if Aegislash stands its ground. Primal Groudon fairs the worst unless it carries Rest, but is a more pressure counter, guarantying a switch out and either setting up Stealth Rocks or just pound what comes in with its massive Earthquake.
Zygarde C - With its insane bulk and mostly being geared into Physical Defense, Zygarde C is a solid answer to Aegislash. Unlike most tanks, Zygarde C does not fear Toxic as it leans on Rest to heal already, clearing the status. After that, Zygarde C packs strong Ground STABs in Thousand Arrows to rip apart Aegislash. However with Hidden Power Ice, Aegislash can do a lot of damage, but rolling
Dark Types - As has been said throughout the articles, Aegislash struggles with Dark threats due to the Steel nerf in generation 6. Yveltal is one of the best, being a bit unpredictable meaning it can carry Taunt which is a major problem for all Aegislash sets due to it stopping King's Shield, as well as being either Physical or Special meaning it's not guaranteed that King's Shield will hurt Yveltal overall. Mega Sableye is next, bouncing back Toxic and having Prankster Taunt before mega evolving. This just makes Aegislash set up fodder for Mega Sableye. Finally Darkrai, while fearing Gyro Ball, can 2hko Special Defensive Aegislash as well as packing Dark Void, the best sleep move in the game.

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Gold/Silver/Crystal:
Not in game

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Not in game

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Not in game

Colosseum/XD:
Not in game

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Not in game

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Not in game

Black/White:
Not in game

Black 2/White 2:
Not in game

X/Y:
Evolve Doublade

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Trade from X/Y

Sun/Moon:
Evolve Doublade

Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Evolve Doublade

Animé Appearences

Aegislash has made many appearances in the anime. Most notably, Sawyer used one in his Kalos League campaign

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
M17 Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction The Cocoon of Destruction and Diancie Pics
929 Valuable Experience for All! Mega Sceptile VS Raichu! I Received Some EXP!! Pics
930 Analysis Versus Passion! Semifinal Full Battle! Ash VS Sawyer!! Pics
931 A Riveting Rivalry! Fierce Rival Battle! Ash-Greninja VS Mega Sceptile Pics
943 Till We Compete Again A Zero With No End! Till the Day We Meet Again!! Pics

 
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