Kartana, The Drawn Sword Pokémon. One of the Ultra Beast life-forms, it was observed cutting down a gigantic steel tower with one stroke of its blade. This Ultra Beast came from the Ultra Wormhole. It seems not to attack enemies on its own, but its sharp body is a dangerous weapon in itself.
It's with great pleasure that I introduce our latest 'mon of the week, Kartana, the Sword Ultra Beast. It's easily one of the best wallbreakers in the game thanks to its ridiculously High Base 181 Atk and because of its ability Beast Boost its attack will climb even higher every time you get a KO against one of your enemy's mons. After a couple Beast Boosts or a Sword's Dance even the bulkiest of walls will crumble pretty quickly, literally nothing enjoy switching in on this beast even if Grass/Steel isn't the greatest offensive typing in the world. Plus it's easily my favorite of the Ultra Beasts because of its awesome design, and it fits right perfectly in the traditional Grass/Fire/Water Type team cores.. so it's safe to say Kartana will always have a spot on my team this generation. However you should know that it does fall pretty easily to any and all special attackers though thanks to god awful special defense stat, so if you know you're going up against a special attacker that is faster than you just do yourself a favor and get out of there. Even resisted hits will take our friend Kartana with little effort involved, so please use it carefully. I cannot stress that enough.
Beast Boost: Increases the Pokémon's highest stat when it knocks out a Pokémon. In Kartana's case it's almost always going to get an Atk boost unless you just like don't invest into Atk EV's at all. Which I don't recommend ever. If you really prefer speed over power then just use Choice Scarf instead.
- Swords Dance
Swords Dance is there to provide an immediate boost to make sure your Z Move gets you a KO, and so you can break down your enemy's walls easier. Sacred Sword will help you out coverage wise against other Steel Types like Magnezone, Ferrorthorn. Plus it gives our friend access to the Z Move All Out Pummeling since it's holding Fightinium Z, which is always the item you want since it will enable you to OHKO Celesteela and Skarmory. Life Orb sweeper Kartana variants only dream of having that much power. Smart Strike provides some nice neutral coverage to your movepool, and its your best secondary stab so it's definitely a must. Leaf Blade is your main stab and after a Swords Dance or a couple of Beast Boosts you'll have no trouble taking down even the most annoying walls like Toxapex.
- Steelium Z: You can Steelium Z instead of Fightinum if your team already has plenty of ways to deal with Bulky Steel Types. However I highly recommend sticking with Fightinium Z most of the time.
VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options
Kartana has very quickly replaced Celesteela as the premier steel-type Pokemon in VGC 2017. While both Ultra Beasts are good in their own ways, the offensive pressure that Kartana puts on has made it the preferred choice for many teams. With great speed and that sky high attack, Kartana has found a role in one of the biggest cores in this year's format along Arcanine and Tapu Fini. With great defense and items that allow it to take certain special hits, Kartana has become one of the top 5 Pokemon on the circuit.
Size Matters Not
The Kartana set that has actually had arguably the most success at major tournaments is the Assault Vest set. Its attack stat is still very high even with minimal investment, and some bulk allows it to take a hit and hopefully get a Beast Boost, where its attack becomes incredible. Even without the Beast Boost, most of this Kartana's neutral hits remain 2HKOs compared to what they do with max attack investment. While Kartana's Special Defense looks terrible (and it is), its bulk actually becomes surprisingly impressive with an Assault Vest and the proper investment. The defensive EVs allow Kartana to survive attacks like Modest Golduck's Hydro Vortex in the rain, Jolly Garchomp's Tectonic Rage and Fire Fang, Modest Pelipper's Hurricane, 2 Ice Beams from a +1 Porygon2, and 2 Blizzards from Timid Alolan Ninetales, even after Hail damage. Additionally, if you can get rid of their respective terrains, any common attack (barring a rogue HP Fire) from Tapu Koko or Tapu Lele will be a 3HKO at best. A Jolly nature with max speed lets Kartana outspeed many common Pokemon like Garchomp or Nihilego, and at least speed-tie Alolan Ninetales or other Kartana.
Kartana does not have a particularly vast movepool to choose from, but it still is effective enough. Leaf Blade and Smart Strike are the two STAB moves of choice. Leaf Blade's high critical hit ratio allows Kartana to sometimes hit through Intimidate drops. Smart Strike may not have a particularly high base power, but it cannot miss, meaning annoying Minimize Pokemon or Moody Smeargle are a little less annoying. Sacred Sword is mainly for other Kartana, Porygon2, and Snorlax (especially the Curse set). Nearly every Kartana will have the first 3 attacks, and the 4th slot is where they may differ. Night Slash is probably the most common, and allows Kartana to do some good damage to Alolan Marowak. Razor Leaf, on the other hand, is a spread move that can be useful in certain situations.
The other common set for Kartana is the Focus Sash Set, which guarantees that Kartana can survive any one attack. Grassium Z has also been used on this set, allowing for Kartana to get off a big one-time nuke, often KOing an opponent and getting a Beast Boost. Max speed and attack maximize Kartana's effectiness in hitting hard and fast. The Jolly nature again ensures that Kartana outspeeds as many Pokemon as possible, and speed-tie Alolan Ninetales and opposing Kartana.
Again, the first 3 attacks are pretty standard. Leaf Blade and Smart Strike are its strongest STAB moves, and Sacred Sword provides a strong coverage attack against Pokemon like Porygon2, Snorlax, and opposing Kartana. Protect is arguably the best move in doubles, helping to stall out opponents' speed control, absorb double targets, and lesson the damage from z moves.
This final set has picked up popularity more recently, and can be very scary late game if Kartana picks up a Beast Boost or two in the process of sweeping. A Choice Scarf can let Kartana outspeed even Pheromosa, meaning that only other boosted or Choice Scarf Pokemon will outspeed it. This particular set maximizes Kartana's attack, while still outspeeding up to Adamant Choice Scarf Garchomp. The set can certainly be adjusted though. For example, 148 EVs in Speed will outspeed Modest Choice Scarf Tapu Lele, and the remaining 108 EVs invested into special defense ensure that Kartana can live a Life Orb Thunderbolt from Timid Tapu Koko in Electric Terrain, and give Modest Tapu Lele less than a 20% chance to OHKO Kartana with Psychic in its terrain. Additionally, max speed will at worst speed tie other Adamant Choice Scarf Kartana, and you can use a Jolly nature if you are worried about other +Speed-nature Choice Scarf Pokemon, but you will lose some power.
Once again, the first 3 moves are the same as any other Kartana set. The necessary STAB moves are Leaf Blade and Smart Strike, while Sacred Sword is a great coverage move to hit many of the common Pokemon in the format, especially opposing Kartana. Without Protect, the 4th slot is again open for an attack. Razor Leaf, despite the mediocre base power, has some uses since it is a STAB spread move, especially with Kartana's high base attack and the additional chance to get a critical hit. Night Slash is good for an additional coverage move should the team need it.
Other Options & Team Ideas
-Life Orb and Choice Band will increase Kartana's already impressive damage output, but really limit Kartana's ability to take a strong attack.
Well the good news is you won't need the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backing you up to take down Kartana. Its most glaring weakness of all is definitely its absolutely terrible Special Defense stat. Even moves it resists can knock it out the game with ease like Tapu Koko's Thunderbolt for example, and there are a lot of powerful Special Attackers in the game that are faster than Kartana like Greninja and Gengar that love to come into the battle and ruin your momentum and force you to switch out or get knocked out. It'll also have some problems dealing with a few Bulky Grass Type 'mons like Mega Venasuar as well if you're not running Steelium Z. Lastly you should obviously watch out for Fire Types because due to Kartan'a typing it's 4x weak to Fire. For example defensive variants of Volcarona are going to be your worst nightmare because if you attack them you risk getting burned by its ability Flame Body and they'll have no trouble roosting off any damage you dish out and then subsequently setting up on you with Quiver Dance. There are lot of other things that can stand up to Kartana, but those are all your main headaches in life. Best of luck trainers.
Locations in Games
Black 2/White 2:
Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
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