Golem, The Megaton Pokémon. It tumbles down mountains, leaving grooves from peak to base. Stay clear of these grooves. Even dynamite can't harm its hard, boulder-like body. It sheds its hide just once a year. Golem live up on mountains. If there is a large earthquake, these Pokémon will come rolling down off the mountains en masse to the foothills below. Golem is known for rolling down from mountains. To prevent them from rolling into the homes of people downhill, grooves have been dug into the sides of mountains to serve as guideways for diverting this Pokémon's course.
Golem has definitely fallen from glory over the generations. As one of the two Rock-type titans of the first generation, Golem always stood out as a sturdy wall to the many Normal-type moves thrown around at the time. Now with more Pokémon and movepools that consist of more than just Body Slam and Swords Dance, being a Rock-type has become rough beyond being an instant answer to Talonflame. Golem hasn't gained much over the generations either beyond a usable Rock-type STAB move and an obnoxious ability in Sturdy, and the growing number of Water-types means that Golem is the one being threatened more often than not these days. An Explosion nerf also means Golem's biggest niche over Rhydon is no longer quite so effective. That being said, Golem still has a few neat tricks in the current competitive environment. Sturdy in combination with Custap Berry allows for Golem to function as a dangerous lead guaranteed accomplish at least one thing in battle despite its low Speed. Golem also boasts the incredible EdgeQuake STAB combo granted by its Rock/Ground typing so switching into its STAB moves can prove to be risky even for Grass-type and Water-type Pokémon. Useful coverage moves like Fire Punch and Sucker Punch also give Golem more options to play around with even if it can't rely on exploding anymore. That being said, Golem's talents just don't hold up anymore in highly competitive metagames with threats like Keldeo, Manaphy, Garchomp, Serperior and many more lurking about. While its talents certainly hold a level of uniqueness, it takes more than being unique to hold your own in the competitive environment these days. Golem is far from the only strong Pokémon in the first generation that's fallen from glory over the years, but Golem has definitely fallen like a rock.
Rock Head: Does not receive recoil damage from recoil-causing damages. Unfortunately for Golem, it isn't one of the few Pokémon blessed with access to Head Smash so this ability is not very useful. In the past it was useful for preventing nasty Double-Edge recoil but Normal-type coverage is not as useful these days.
Due to Sturdy, Golem naturally finds itself as a capable offensive Stealth Rock setter. Earthquake is the primary Ground-type STAB move and pairs very well with Stone Edge, hitting every type for at least neutral damage. Earthquake is generally the safer option between the two due to its better accuracy, though Stone Edge doesn't run into issues with immunities. Rock Blast, while often weaker than Stone Edge, has the advantage of being able to hit through Substitutes and break through Focus Sash leads. The last slot is often Explosion since it lets Golem get a devastating attack first due to Custap Berry after hanging on with Sturdy. However, Sucker Punch can be used in its place to give Golem a priority move and pick something off without relying heavily on exploding. Weakness Policy should be used in this case to take advantage of Golem's numerous weaknesses since Custap becomes less valuable without Explosion. Regardless of item, this set is primarily meant to act as a lead with the intention of trying to get Stealth Rock up as soon as possible, and thanks to Sturdy it should have little trouble prioritizing that. If the opponent brings Golem down to Sturdy, then the next turn Custap Explosion should be the next move unless they have a Ghost, Rock or Steel-type. In these cases though, Golem has Earthquake and Stone Edge to get a quick hit or KO before it goes down.
The nature and EV spread are meant to maximize Golem's offensive presence since it will rarely last long in the battle for defensive investment to be useful. Adamant is used to maximize damage output since Golem will rarely outspeed the opponent and will often rely on Custap Berry anyway. The item choice doesn't change the goal of this set, but Custap Berry is generally more consistent since Weakness Policy relies on weaknesses to punish a threat. In addition to that, the ability to guarantee a second turn after setting up Stealth Rock can prove very valuable to prevent Golem from doing nothing beyond setting the rocks up.
While this set gives up Golem's ability to set Stealth Rock up safely, it offers more immediate power to function as a wallbreaker. As always, Earthquake and Stone Edge are the primary STAB moves, though unlike the lead set there isn't as much use for Rock Blast since its inconsistent damage is a hindrance to the immediate power that a Choice Band set wants. Sucker Punch provides priority to pick off faster threats and hits reasonably hard with the Choice Band boost. However, being locked into Sucker Punch is generally terrible once the opponent finds out Golem is running Choice Band, so Fire Punch can be used as a safer alternative that hits Grass-types without risking Stone Edge missing and also hits Ferroseed and Ferrothorn harder than any of its other moves. Explosion is used in the final slot for the insane power of a Choice Band boosted Explosion, and functions well as a last resort if a dangerous setup sweeper risks taking out the rest of your team or if Golem is not likely to do much else in the battle.
Once again, Attack and Speed are maximized to take full advantage of the Choice Band boost. Adamant nature is used to boost its attack just a bit further, but Jolly can be used if the small boost in Speed is desired. Earth Plate is also an alternative item to make use of Sucker Punch without being locked into it, though giving up the Choice Band boost limits Golem's overall wallbreaking potential. Finally, even though Golem has no Custap Berry or Stealth Rock, Sturdy is still the best ability simply for its ability to guarantee that it survives one hit if hazards are not in play.
- While it isn't much better than being locked into Sucker Punch, Toxic can be used on the Choice Band set to cripple physical walls that will often try switching into Golem.
VGC, Double & Triple Battle Options
Golem had stiff competion with Rhydon back in Gen 1, nowadays, it has Troubles with Rhydon AND Rhyperior, the former taking great advantage ov Eviolite, the latter being a strong Trick Room pokemon with solid defenses. Golem only has Sucker Punch over the two of them.
Despite Rock and Ground being exellent STABS to have, having both on one Pokemon is a defensive liability as many Pokemon's coverage moves will hit one or the other for super effective damage. No fault of the Rock type, it's just Earthquake and Close Combat are common enough to be wary about bringing Golem to battle.
Rock Hard Abs
Golem has troubles fitting in this Gen's Meta simply because it's Weakness isn't something it's sky high base defense can help mitigate. Most Grass and Water moves are Special and will tear through Golem, but being hit by a x4 weakness will hurt just about anything. Golem can be used in or outside of Trick Room because Sucker Punch can help with its low Speed. Golem has access to Flamethrower which is rather unique for a Rock Type, but not when said Rock Type only has base 55 Special Attack. For comparison Watchog hits harder on the Special side.
With an Assault Vest and Sandstorm up, Golem can take a few more hits than usual, but it already has Sturdy to fall back on. and Rhyperior would be superior in that area with Solid Rock available. Golem simply isn't viable this generation, aside from Sucker Punch, Rhyperior gets the job done better.
While Sturdy makes it difficult to take out Golem in a single hit without fear of retaliation, its many weaknesses and low Speed make it simple to take advantage of it. Bulky Grass-types like Torterra don't mind any of Golem's moves beyond the occasional Fire Punch, and can run Bullet Seed to KO it through Sturdy to prevent it from even taking advantage of its Custap Berry. Bulky Water-types such as Quagsire also threaten Golem with Scald and the burn chance to prevent it from getting more than one turn in, and thanks to Unaware it can activate Weakness Policy without fear of heavy retaliation. However, it can be 2HKOed by Choice Band Earthquake if it switches in. Fighting-types, Ground-types, and to a lesser extent Ice-types can offensive check Golem as well if Golem has taken prior damage, particularly if they're special attacks. Sawk, Rhydon, Rhyperior, Cryogonal and Sneasel are all options for offensive checking Golem, though all of these must be wary of switching in directly into the wrong STAB move. By extension, Golem's poor Special Defense makes it vulnerable to powerful special attackers. The low Speed also makes it very easy to revenge kill Golem even if it manages to surprise something with a KO beforehand, though Rock Polish and Autotomize sets can make this less simple.
Beyond dealing with Golem directly, forcing it to explode can also put Golem's team a few steps back if they can come in and remove Stealth Rock later, so Defog users and Rapid Spinners can be a pain for Golem's hazard setting. Claydol in particular is a good Rapid Spinner since it resists Rock and is immune to Ground, but due to its lack of recovery it wants to avoid switching into a boosted Stone Edge if possible. In addition, Defog users are often weak to Stone Edge so they're better off waiting until Golem is gone before trying to remove hazards unless they're a Flying-type like Pelipper that can threaten it back with Scald. Taunt users in general can prevent Stealth Rock from going up, which can be a huge detriment to Golem's team, though they must be careful of STAB moves since they can punish Taunt users hard if the Golem user expects it. On the opposite side, if Golem gets forced out or doesn't lead, getting hazards up before Golem comes in can ruin Golem's Sturdy, which makes it much less threatening and easier to KO later.
Golem is definitely a pain to beat without suffering heavy damage in the process, though there is no shortage of options for dealing with it. In formats featuring more powerful threats, all of these weaknesses are easily exploitable without preparing specifically for it, so covering Golem is not overly difficult. Sturdy and Custap Berry may serve to form one of the most obnoxious combinations in the current generation, but the days of Tauros and Psychic-types has long passed, and Golem's relevance with it.
Geodude forms a niche in the Little Cup environment doing more or less the same thing that Golem does. However, unlike Golem, Geodude has a bit more relevance in its native competitive format thanks to Berry Juice proving useful for resetting Sturdy. As a result, Geodude can often get at least two turns in before going down if it can keep Sturdy intact. Earthquake is naturally the primary STAB option, as it provides a powerful and safe attacking option with incredible power. Rock Blast is used as the secondary STAB for breaking through Sturdy, Substitute and Focus Sash, though Stone Edge is a viable alternative if the higher power is desired. Sucker Punch provides a powerful priority move that can deter powerful threats like Gastly and Abra from coming in to revenge kill it, though Counter can be used to surprise a threat that you expect will attack Geodude right away with a physical attack. Thanks to Berry Juice, this can deter another physical threats from coming right away due to the fear of being smashed by Counter again. The EV spread is meant to maximize Attack while also taking advantage of Geodude's incredible base 100 Defense, with the rest being leftover to buff its other stats a bit. Adamant is also used over Jolly since its base 20 Speed is too low to really take advantage of it.
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