Ninetales

Ninetales, The Fox Pokémon. It has nine long tales and fur that gleams gold. It is said to live for 1,000 years. Very smart and very vengeful. Grabbing one of its many tails could result in a 1,000-year curse. Ninetales casts a sinister light from its bright red eyes to gain total control over its foe's mind. Legend has it that Ninetales came into being when nine wizards possessing sacred powers merged into one. This Pokémon is highly intelligent-it can understand human speech.

Overview

Ah Ninetales, you were always an odd Pokémon. You had potential but you never quite lived up to it. Then, in Generation V, you were gifted with Drought to create perpetual sun, making you a very useful Pokémon since Groudon wasn't allowed in most battle schemes, but then 3 years later that was ripped from you and made so it can only last 5 turns. To make it worse, a better Fire-type Pokémon was then given Drought in Mega Charizard Y, making Ninetales far less useful than it should be. Its stats don't help its cause either, with them all being mediocre at best. It really is quite a shame that a Pokémon with such an interesting concept and backstory just sits in the pit of mediocrity. That's not to say it's useless, if you want a different Mega than Mega Charizard Y in your team but still want Drought support, Ninetales is key, it's just a shame that it can't really do much else. With its stats, it's just so unbelievably meh and that is so sad, but at least it has access to both Nasty Plot and Will-O-Wisp, meaning it is a tiny bit useful. If there's one Pokémon calling out for a Mega Evolution to make it awesome again, it's Ninetales.
Positives
+A fantastic Hidden Ability that boosts both itself and other people on its team
+Decent Speed and Special Defense
+Decent support movepool
+If given the chance to set up, it can be brutal. Nasty Plot is a godsend

Negatives
-Its niche got ruined within one generation
-Both attacking stats are passable at best
-It has become outclassed by other Pokémon.
-Distinct lack of recovery
-Mediocre attacking movepool at best

Abilities

Flash Fire: Activates when user is hit by a damaging Fire-type move (including Fire-type Hidden Power). Once activated, user’s Fire-type moves deal 1.5 times damage. - Ok, this is a decent enough ability if you can switch in to a Fire-type move, but its Hidden Ability gives the same boost thanks to weather without it
Hidden Ability (Available):
Drought: Weather changes to Intense Sunshine when the Pokémon enters the battle. As of X & Y, this lasts 5 turns. - Always the best choice. Halves the power from one of the Fire-type weaknesses and increaases the power of Fire-type moves. Go for this one, even if it is now nerfed.

Movesets

Ninetales of the Abyss

-Fire Blast / Flamethrower
-Will-o-Wisp
-Substitute
-Hypnosis/Toxic
Item Attached: Heat Rock
Ability: Drought
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 HP/252 SPD/4 DEF
Timid Nature

This is a rather standard Ninetales set. It gives it a little bit of bulk which is highly useful and by putting the Heat Rock on Ninetales, it makes the sunshine last 8 turns rather than the standard 5, which is always useful. Fire Blast & Flamethrower will get the sunshine boost as well as STAB meaning that it should be able to do some decent damage, even to bulky things. Will-O-Wisp is always a handy move, inflicting burn which slowly saps the opponent's health and halves their Attack. Substitute can help Ninetales last longer while Hypnosis and Toxic can also inflict annoying status afflictions to gradually chip at the opponent or allow you to chip at the opponent

Cat O' Ninetales

-Nasty Plot
-Fire Blast
-Solarbeam/Energy Ball
-Psyshock
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Drought
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 SATK/252 SPD/4 HP
Timid or Modest Nature

Ok, so let's say you have possibly lost your mind and want to use Ninetales as more than a status inflicter? Well that's doable. Ninetales has access to Nasty Plot, which is the Special Attack equivalent of Swords Dance. This doubles its Special Attack with one use, making Ninetales actually a force to be reckoned with. Combine that with Fire Blast in the sun and many will fall, even those that resist it
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Ninetales Fire Blast vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Vileplume in Sun: 1115-1313 (314.9 - 370.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Ninetales Fire Blast vs. 0 HP / 0- SpD Absol in Sun: 859-1011 (316.9 - 373%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Ninetales Fire Blast vs. 252 HP / 176+ SpD Thick Fat Grumpig in Sun: 185-218 (50.8 - 59.8%) -- 84.8% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Ninetales Fire Blast vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Golduck: 204-242 (67.5 - 80.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Ninetales Fire Blast vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Salamence in Sun: 304-359 (91.8 - 108.4%) -- 50% chance to OHKO
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Ninetales Fire Blast vs. 4 HP / 252 SpD Blissey in Sun: 328-386 (50.3 - 59.2%) -- 78.5% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Seriously, this makes Ninetales an absolute beast, guess you didn't lose your mind. Solar Beam works similarly, with powerful damage inflicted with no need to wait for a turn to charge thanks to Ninetales' Drought, but Energy Ball works as a decent alternative. Finally, Psyshock provides a decent bit of coverage, and can hit through Special walls easily

Other Options

Dark Pulse, Dream Eater, Foul Play, Heat Wave, Hex, Overheat, Swagger
-Dark Pulse gives a decent Special coverage move
-Dream Eater is Ninetales only way of recovery, so teamed with Hypnosis, it can be useful but far too situational, especially considering how easy it is for Ninetales to be outsped allowing opponents to wake up. -Foul Play is always good to help chip at the opponent's defense -Heat Wave is sort of a middleground between Flamethrower and Fire Blast now that both have had power reduced, however its accuracy is only at 90% which makes it more risky than the slightly less powerful Flamethrower
-Considering you're likely to be inflicting status on your opponent, Hex is a good option thanks to its doubling of power if the opponent has a status condition
-Overheat is a powerful move, especially in the sun and can be a good option, but seeing as you'll lose your Special Attack prowess in the process, it's not always the best option -Swagger is always a good move to use against an opponent. While it does leave Ninetales open to more powerful hits, confusing an opponent can work to your benefit.

Double & Triple Battle Options

Previous to Dream World/Hidden abilities, Ninetales was an incredibly below average choice for a competitive team. Its highest stats are Speed and Special Defense, both sitting at 100 while its Special attack sits at a paltry 81, which means Amoonguss can potentially hit harder than Ninetales, and Amoonguss is a defensive oriented Pokemon! Come Gen 5, its original ability, Flash Fire, was alomst completely forgotten about in favor of Drought, now Ninetales opened up a gateway for many other Pokemon to floursh, like Venusaur and Lilligant. The only problem was that Politoed got Drizzle the same season, AND Tyranitar still existed.

Come Generation 6, Mega Evolutions storm the scene and leave Pokemon that weren't already performing well in the dust. Politoed is still useful for Drizzle, but that's because there isn't a Mega Evolution that has Drizzle, on the other hand, Mega Charizard Y got drought, hastily and mercilessly scooting Ninetales out of its short lived niche.

What is there left for Ninetales? The truth is close to nothing thanks to Mega Charizard Y's sheer power, versatality and far better coverage options than Ninetales can hope to get at the moment. Currently, the only arguably reasonable thing that sets Ninetales apart from Charizard Y is Hypnosis and being able to hold a Heat Rock for longer lasting sun.

Kitsunine

- Hypnosis
- Protect
- Fire Blast / Heat Wave/ Overheat
- Solar Beam / Energy Ball / Imprison
Item Attached: Heat Rock
Ability: Drought
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 SAtk/ 252 Speed/ 4 HP
Modest Natutre

If you find your team is desperate for sun, but don't want to dedicate a moveslot for Sunny Day, dedicate a team slot instead for Drought Ninetales. Perhaps you're running Mega Houndoom. Hypnosis shouldn't be your "go to move" as 60% accuracy is terrible, but if you've nothing better to do, the disruption sleep causes can turn games around. The Fire STAB is up to prefference, but you're only going to get so much damage out of base 81 Special Attack. Solarbeam takes advantage of the Sun Ninetales brings, Energy Ball isn't dependant on the weather, and Imprison in combination with Protect will make predictions a little easier.

Ideal partners for Ninetales will really want to get the most out of the sun, so Mega Houndoom if your team can afford it. Chlorophyll Venusaur is scary to face in the sun and can give some serious problems to opposing rain teams.

In short, Ninetail's 15 minutes of fame came and went within one generation. It's a shame to see it struggle to stay relevant, but it's hard to ignore that there's another Pokemon with drought and Special Attack comparable to Mewtwo that's readily usable too.

Countering Ninetales

See this is fairly easy. Ninetales has ridiculously poor Physical Defense and Special Defense is just passable. While Drought will make Water-type moves less powerful, it'll still likely fall to two hitsfrom them. Alternatively, Ground-type and Rock-type moves from a decent enough opponent will floor it, due to the fact they are predominantly physical. Earthquake, for example, is your best bet. A good way to stop Ninetales in its tracks is to use another weather, making it not as useful, and since most Ninetales survive by inflicting statuses, Taunt is your absolute friend with it. Just hit it hard and it will fall with ease.

Locations in Games

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Evolve Vulpix

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Evolve Vulpix (LeafGreen)
Trade from Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald or XD (FireRed)

Colosseum/XD:
Evolve Vulpix (XD)
Trade from Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald or LeafGreen (Colosseum)

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Evolve Vulpix

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Evolve Vulpix (SoulSilver)
Trade from Diamond, Pearl, Platinum or SoulSilver (HeartGold)

Black/White:
Abundant Shrine

Black 2/White 2:
Abundant Shrine

X/Y:
Friend Safari

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Evolve Vulpix

Animé Appearences

Ninetales has made a few appearances in the anime. Moist notably, it was used by Blaine in his Gym Battle against Ash.

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
38 Not Aired Electric Soldier Porygon Pics
40 The Battling Eevee Brothers Four Eevee Brothers Pics
58 Riddle Me This Heated Battle in Cinnibar Gym Pics
M1 Mewtwo Strikes Back Mewtwo's Counterattack Pics
P1 Pikachu's Vacation Pikachu's Summer Vacation Pics
105 Misty Meets Her Match! Trovita Gym Type Battle! 3 vs. 3! Pics
M2 The Power of One Revelation Lugia Pics
171 Beauty and the Breeder Sayonara Vulpix! Beauty Contest! Pics
S2 Mewtwo Returns Mewtwo! I am Here Pics
234 Just Waiting On A Friend Ninetales In The Fog! Pics
287 A Bite To Remember Mightyena and Poochyena! Mystery of Evolution! Pics
289 All Things Bright and Beautifly! Contest! Beautifly's Magnificent Battle! Pics
M7 Destiny Deoxys Visitor of the Space Fissure - Deoxys Pics
399 Deceit And Assist! Fierce Fighting! Grand Festival! (2)! Pics
M8 Lucario & The Mystery of Mew Mew & The Wave-Guiding Hero - Lucario Pics
444 What I Did For Love Decisive Game! May VS Brock! Pics
457 Thinning the Hoard May VS Harley! Double Battle On Stage!! Pics
488 Mutiny in the Bounty! Pokémon Hunter J! Pics
796 Mystery on a Deserted Island! The Mystery of the Treasure! Adventure on an Uninhabited Island!! Pics
883 Performing with Fiery Charm! Braixen and Pancham! An Entrancing Fire Performance!! Pics
985 Alola, Kanto An Alola! in Kanto! Brock & Misty! Pics

 
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