Kangaskhan, The Parent Pokémon. It raises its offspring in its belly pouch. It lets the baby out to play only when it feels safe. If it is safe, the young gets out of the belly pouch to play. The adult keeps a close eye on the youngster. If you come across a young Kangaskhan playing by itself, you must never disturb it or attempt to catch it. The baby Pokémon's parent is sure to be in the area, and it will become violently enraged at you.
Kangaskhan has always been a rather average normal type with questionable parenting practices. Keeping their child safe in their pouch might seem like a good idea in theory, but bringing said child into battles with them? Not so much. Kangaskhan gained notoriety in Gen 1 for being one of a handful of Pokemon who were absolutely annoying to catch due to only being able to be caught in the Safari Zone, with a low chance to appear and a high chance to run. And, since then… well, it’s had very little to set itself apart. While its stat spread is decent, it was always pretty average across the board without any stats in particular that are really spectacular, and thus faced competition from the likes of Tauros and Snorlax who were more specialized. It did get Scrappy in Gen 4 to let it escape the normal type curse of being annoyed by Ghost types, but even that was a nominal improvement at best. However, everything changed in Gen 6. Kangaskhan was among the lucky Pokemon to get Mega Evolution in X and Y, and its Mega Evolution became an absolutely dominating force, breathing new life into Kangaskhan. However… regular Kangaskhan is still pretty bad. If you’re using Kangaskhan in a serious battle, you need to be using its Mega Evolution. For battles with more restrictions on the usable Pokemon though, such as lower tiered play, Kangaskhan can be viable… just don’t expect it to be winning any awards for “best Pokemon” by any stretch, because even at its best, it’s rather average unless it’s Mega Evolving.
Early Bird: Sleep conditions lasts for half as long, rounding down. For example, half of three turns is 1.5, which rounds down to one turn. When the number of turns to sleep is one, half of this rounded down is zero, and the Pokémon wakes up instantly. - A situational and underwhelming ability, for sure. Waking up early from sleep is a good thing, but then again, if they don’t use sleep moves, then this ability does nothing. Plus, this ability is just a worse version of Insomnia/Vital Spirit, which prevents you from being put to sleep in the first place. Too situational of an ability to be worth consideration.
Here we have standard Kangaskhan’s flagship set. You won’t be using it if Mega Kangaskhan is available, since Kangaskhan’s Mega evolution outclasses its standard form in every conceivable way, but if the Mega isn’t an option, then you’ve gotta make due with what you’ve got. That said, Kangaskhan happens to be blessed with not one, but two means of priority. The first is Fake Out, which affords it some chip damage and a means of breaking Focus Sash and Sturdy any time it switches in. The second would be Sucker Punch, whose high power lets it pick off faster threats who may think they can revenge kill Kangaskhan; just watch out for status moves that may troll it, since it relies on the opponent using attacking moves to succeed. Of course, Kangaskhan needs more than priority. And that’s where a reliable STAB attack comes in. Double Edge is Kangaskhan’s strongest STAB, but it does have to deal with recoil damage. If you’d rather not deal with the recoil, you can opt for Return, which is a bit weaker, but still has respectable power. Thanks to Scrappy, your normal STAB won’t be hindered by Ghost types, but Rock and Steel types can still be a problem. As a result, that’s where Earthquake comes in. Most relevant Rock and Steel types that Kangaskhan has to deal with are hit hardest by Earthquake.
Adamant nature and 252 attack EVs maximizes Kangaskhan’s attack, which is necessary as its base 95 attack with no reliable way of boosting it needs all the bolstering it can get. The remaining 252 EVs are put into Speed, with the 4 leftovers EVs put into Special Defense. A Jolly Nature can be utilized to let Kangaskhan outspeed a few things it wouldn’t otherwise be able to, such as Magmortar, Mesprit, and Jolly Pinsir, but you will notice the drop in power. A Silk Scarf allows Kangaskhan to power up half its movepool in Fake Out and Return/Double Edge, which are what Kangaskhan will be using most of the time. Life Orb can be utilized to stretch your damage a little bit further, but you’ll notice a drop in longevity due to its recoil.
-Fire Punch, Thunderpunch, and Ice Punch are all options which can be used to deal with specific threats, but in general don’t offer as much coverage overall.
Although standard Kangaskhan doesn’t see much use in standard play due to being fairly lackluster if it’s not Mega Evolving, in the places it still sees use, there are a handful of Pokemon who can take care of it without too much duress. Physically defensive Mega Audino is only 3HKO’ed at best by Double Edge (and only about 68% of the time), while it can use Wish and Protect to Stall Kangaskhan out. Physically defensive Quagsire is also only 3HKO’ed by Double Edge, while it can stall out Kangaskhan with Toxic and Recover, or fish for a burn with Scald. Crustle is only 3HKO’ed at best even without defensive investment, which can allow it to safely set up Shell Smash and proceed to sweep. If Kangaskhan lacks Aqua Tail, Earthquake will only 4HKO Rhydon, while Rhydon’s own Earthquake can 2HKO Kangaskhan back. Weezing has the physical bulk to only be 3HKO’ed by Double Edge, and it can threaten Kangaskhan with a burn, but the lack of reliable recovery can sometimes be problematic. Ferroseed fears nothing but the very rare Fire Punch, and can troll Kangaskhan with Iron Barbs, stall it out with Leech Seed, or just set up hazards. Eviolite Gurdurr has enough bulk to only be 3HKO’ed by Double Edge, while it can 2HKO with the combination of Drain Punch (which’ll heal back most of the damage Double Edge deals) and Mach Punch. Regirock is a nigh immovable object for Kangaskhan, as it typically only 5HKO’s it with Earthquake thanks to Regirock’s supreme defense stat. It can then proceed to cripple it with status or attempt to KO Kangaskhan outright. Defensive Granbull tends to be 4HKO’ed by Double Edge (after Intimidate), while it can cripple Kangaskhan’s speed with Thunder Wave or wear it down with Play Rough (with potential attack drops as well). Cradily has the bulk to only be 4HKO’ed at best while being able to stall out Kangaskhan with Toxic and Recover. Checking Kangaskhan is much easier. Rotom can outspeed Adamant Kangaskhan and threaten it with Will-o-Wisp to burn it. Mismagius is in the same boat but it also outspeeds the rare Jolly Kangaskhan. Pyroar outspeeds Kangaskhan and threatens it with a burn from Will-o-Wisp, but its low defense makes it easy pickings otherwise. Most fighting types can 1HKO it, but hate switching into Return or Double Edge. Primeape is a good example of this; it outspeeds Kangaskhan and 1HKOs with Close Combat, but is in turn 1HKO’ed itself by Double Edge, so it can only check Kangaskhan. Hariyama can’t outspeed Kangaskhan, but it has enough bulk to survive a Double Edge and 1HKO back with Close Combat. Bulky Poliwrath is 3HKO’ed by Double Edge, but it can 2HKO Kangaskhan or phase it out with Circle Throw. It’s also got Scald to fish for a burn as a last resort. Sawk’s Choice Scarf set can outspeed Kangaskhan, and no matter what it can 1HKO with Close Combat, but Double Edge can 1HKO it about half the time, and Fake Out ensures Sturdy won’t save you. Overall, thanks to its lack of resistances, most strong STAB attacks can 2HKO Kangaskhan, and slapping any sort of status on it really hinders its usefulness. Kangaskhan may be well-rounded, but it’s not especially hard to break.
There comes a time in every child’s life when they must leave the comfort and safety of home to venture out on their own. So, when Generation 6 came, and bestowed the Kangaskhanite onto Kangaskhan and its child, the young child was ready to leave its mother’s pouch, and lay down the hurt! The young Kangaskhan may not venture far from its mother still, but this child-parent duo is absolutely something to be feared. Mega Evolution gave Kangaskhan a new and unique ability, Parental Bond, which allows each attack to hit twice, with the second attack having 50% damage, giving it not only more power but also more utility as well. This turned Kangaskhan into an overlooked and outclassed Pokemon to one of the deadliest threats in the sixth generation. The duo may have competition from other equally impressive Mega Evolutions such as Salamence and Gengar, but Mega Kangaskhan’s raw power cannot be denied. Whether it’s singles, doubles, or anything else, Mega Kangaskhan is a dominating force pretty much everywhere that it can be used. If you’re not prepared for Mega Kangaskhan, they can and will beat you down as a fun family activity for mother and child to participate in together!
Parental Bond: Every move used by the Pokémon will hit twice. The damage inflicted by the second hit is reduced by 50%. If the move used is a damaging move, each hit is capable of afflicting Secondary Effects and Critical Hits. - This ability is amazing, no questions asked. It gives a fantastic 50% boost in power on all of your attacks, which makes the normal flaw of not being able to hold an item a non-factor as you effectively get the damage increase of a Choice Band. In addition, with every attack hitting twice, you don’t have to worry about Focus Sashes or Sturdy saving your foe from a would-be KO. The only would-be downside is the fact that items and abilities that activate upon contact, such as Rocky Helmet, Iron Barbs, Rough Skin, or even things like Flame Body or Static, can each activate on both attacks from Parental Bond. That said, the fact that some Pokemon have carried Rocky Helmet specifically for Mega Kangaskhan shows how powerful this ability truly is! Just be aware that in Doubles, Spread moves such as Earthquake don’t hit twice, while multi-hit moves such as Comet Punch don’t hit twice either.
Here we have it, the set that led to Mega Kangaskhan being so infamous. You’ll still see this set pretty often if you frequent the Battle Spot as well, so it always helps to be prepared for it. Power-Up Punch seems like it was pretty much designed to take advantage of Parental Bond. Although the damage from Power-Up Punch is low, each hit of it with Parental Bond grants the attack boost. To put this in perspective, that means that every time you use Power-Up Punch, you get a +2 Attack boost. Even a single Power-Up Punch makes it very hard to wall Mega Kangskhan, so the strategy basically follows to use Power-Up Punch and then proceed to steamroll. Return is Mega Kangaskhan’s most reliable STAB attack, with high power, perfect accuracy, and no recoil or any other drawbacks. However, normal STAB does have to deal with the fact that Rock and Steel types will wall it. That’s where Earthquake comes in. Most rock and steel types barring Skarmory and a handful of unimportant others are hit at least for neutral damage by Earthquake, and several are obliterated by it. However, you’ll find one more obvious gap in your coverage; by sacrificing Scrappy, Ghost types once again become able to wall your STAB, and several are immune to Earthquake as well! That’s where the final slot comes in. Sucker Punch is the usual option, as it serves a second, arguably more important purpose as well; with its priority, it can allow Kangaskhan to fight back and some faster threats that may try to check it, especially if it’s already at +2. However, it can be trolled by status and the like, so on occasion you can use Crunch to deal with things like Gengar who can freely switch in and troll you if you rely on Sucker Punch. That said, you will sorely miss the priority and be more prone to being revenge killed.
The max speed EVs and Jolly nature maximize Kangaskhan’s speed, while the remaining EVs are put into attack to get as much damage as possible. In all honesty, since you’ll pretty much always want to Mega Evolve ASAP, most of the time it doesn’t make a huge difference which pre-Mega ability you pick. That said, Scrappy is kept at the pre-Mega Evolution ability because there might be a hypothetical situation where it could potentially be used to revenge kill a slow Ghost or something… but either way, more often than not you’ll be Mega Evolving ASAP. .
Wrath of Kangaskhan
-Return / Double Edge
-Sucker Punch / Crunch
Although fairly similar in premise to the previous set, this set sacrifices the boosting power that Power-Up Punch brings to the party, for the utility that Fake Out brings. Mega Kangaskhan packs one of the strongest Fake Outs in the game, and with it, it can make an effective anti-lead. But that’s not all, because it can also use it as a semi-reliable means of revenge killing as well, and that chip damage adds up every time it switches in. The rest of it remains fairly standard. Return is still the most reliable STAB with high power and no real drawbacks, but without Power-Up Punch’s boosts, you can opt for Double Edge to push your damage a little further at the cost of recoil damage. Earthquake remains the option of choice to deal with the steel and rock types who otherwise resist Mega Kangaskhan’s STAB. Finally, Sucker Punch takes up the rear by providing powerful priority that can prevent outspeeding Kangaskhan from being an easy means of checking it, and also hitting the ever-annoying Ghost types for super effective damage. Of course, it can be trolled by status and other non-attacking moves, so Crunch is always an option to take down Ghost types as well, but you will notice the lack of priority so be aware.
As always, Jolly nature and 252 Speed EVs are intended to maximize Kangaskhan’s speed, while the rest is dumped into attack to get the most damage possible. Scrappy remains the pre-Mega ability of choice since it can in theory catch a Ghost off guard, especially if they’re already weakened. But still, you’ll usually want to Mega Evolve ASAP.
-Body Slam is an interesting choice in that Parental Bond gives it a 51% chance to paralyze your foe. That said, the damage output is noticeably lower than both Return and Double Edge.
Double & Triple Battle Options
Kangaskhan used to be a rare sight. Seldom seen in the Safari Zone, and seldom captured, and even more seldom used in battle. Then Gen 6 arrived. By Mega Evolving, it tore VGC 2014 to shreds. Sure the Masters Division didn't have many in Worlds, but they were heavily over prepared for it. Even in VGC 2015, one needs to consider how to handle Mega Kangaskhan before getting too serious in team building. But what does it do? Not much before it Mega Evolves. Perhaps the only thing Kangaskhan can do before going Mega is flinch Ghosts with Scrappy Fake Out, which is incredible, but even more incredible than that is having each attack hit twice. For that the only thing worth considering on Kangaskhan is it's ability before going Mega. Most cases will be Scrappy.
What pushed Mega Kangaskhan over the edge is that in the same Generation that introduced Mega Evolution, Power Up Punch was introduced too. Hitting twice and getting 2 boosts in attack in a decent speed tier on top of respectable bulk? What a horrifying mess to try and deal with. It's bad when you know your Intimidator may be knocked out on the switch in from a physical attack.
The Metagame, a 2014 Love Story
- Fake Out / Protect
The standard and still wildly popular Power Up Punch based set. Fairly simple in execution too. Fake Out, then Power Up Punch, then if you're faster than the opponent use Return or if slower, use Sucker Punch. Usually it won't be that simple because Aegislash and Rocky Helmet are popular Anti Kang tactics. The most odd and effective Anti Kang tactic I've seen was an Imprison Sableye that knew Return, Power Up Punch and Sucker Punch paired with Shadow Tag Gothitelle. That's how much hate Mega Kangaskhan is liable to take. Protect is used every now and again as some players favor getting more use out of that move slot than just the first turn alongside mind games too. As not every Kang will opt to Fake Out on their first turn out.
Momma Said Knock You Out
- Fake Out
When ORAS was released, Kang got a new toy in Low Kick. Combined with Double Edge, Kang is putting out silly amounts of damage without needed to set up with Power Up Punch. Low Kick scares away opposing Kang and Double Edge KOs things that were EVed to survive an Adamant Return. Getting the jump on offense comes at a price. Double Edge's recoil is nasty, and Intimidates are more likely to stop any clean sweeps from happening on this set, but the surprising power makes up for it. Short, Sweet and packs quite the punch.
Likely partners for Kangaskhans include Pokemon who clear the way for Kang to sweep without hinderances. Bisharp and Milotic don't mind taking an intimidate, and Amoonguss and Togekiss can redirect those Fighting type attacks with ease. Sometimes Kangaskhan won't need a partner, sometimes the team will have 5 Pokemon, but no Mega, and since Kang is a bit of a wildcard it's a natural fit.
Kangaskhan falls short no fault of its own. 2014 was traumatizing, and not many players are likely to forget the scars Mega Kangaskhan left, so a grand majority of teams built will have Kangaskhan in mind. Veteran Pokemon like Terrakion and Heatran put Kang in a wierd spot, and Aegislash is wildly popular as well. VGC 15 introduced many Pokemon who can hold their own or at least threaten Kangaskhan.
Kangaskhan is fantastic, but one simply can't just win aimlessly with it. Landorus Therian intimidates are everywhere, so are Will-O-Wisps, Thunder Waves, and some Rocky Helmets too. Kang is powerful, but is far far away from it's Free Reign 14 format.
Countering Mega Kangaskhan
Depending on the format in which you’re playing, countering Mega Kangaskhan can be a truly daunting prospect. The raw power it wields makes it hard to switch into, That said, there are a few answers that are more reliable than others. If you’re playing in the Battle Spot, Skarmory’s ever-reliable physical bulk can put a stop to Mega Kangaskhan, and it can roost off the damage all day long. Rocky Helmet variants can also troll Mega Kangaskhan by racking up the passive damage, and it can whirlwind away any Mega Kangaskhans that think they can try to accumulate Power-Up Punch boosts. Ferrothorn has to be careful as the combination of Power-Up Punch and Earthquake can 2HKO it, and an unboosted Earthquake can 3HKO it, but any contact moves will wrack up Iron Barb damage, and the Leech Seed and Protect combo can keep Ferrothorn healthy while stalling out Kangaskhan. Defensive Garchomp carrying Rocky Helmet is another troll to Mega Kangaskhan, although it has to be wary of the combination of Power-Up Punch and Return can 2HKO it, although an unboosted Return typically only 3HKO’s it. Meanwhile Garchomp does have a moderately powerful Earthquake to shave off almost half of Mega Kangaskhan’s HP, or utilize Dragon Tail to phase out Kangaskhan if it tries to set up with Power-Up Punch. Mega Slowbro’s great physical bulk allow it to only be 4HKO’ed by any unboosted attack, while even at +2 it’s only 2HKO’ed. Meanwhile, it can fish for a Scald burn to cripple Mega Kangaskhan. Sableye can switch into Return or Power-Up Punch with impunity and threaten Mega Kangaskhan with a burn, although it has to be wary of Earthquake, which can 2HKO a little under half the tie. If Kangaskhan lacks Crunch, Gengar can check it by switching into literally anything in its movepool, and then threatening it with Will-o-Wisp if it thinks Sucker Punch will protect it. Thundurus doesn’t really stop Kangaskhan on its own, but it can be an emergency “Panic Button” of sorts with its Prankster Thunder Wave to strip Kangaskhan of its speed. Talonflame can pick off a weakened Kangaskhan in a pinch, as it can deal up to 78% with a Choice Banded Brave Bird, and Gale WIngs’ priority will help to revenge kill it. Defensive Suicune is 3HKO’ed by an unboosted Return but can be 2HKO’ed by the Power-Up Punch combo, but the combination of Scald and Rocky Helmet (which is seen on about half of Suicune in the Battle Spot) can wear down Mega Kangaskhan. Landorus-T can offensively check Mega Kangaskhan with Earthquake or Superpower thanks to Intimidate making any attack a 2HKO at best, while defensive Landorus tends to be 4HKO’ed and can try to wear Mega Kangaskhan down. Mega Scizor can be 2HKO’ed by the combination of Power-Up Punch and Earthquake, but Superpower can 1HKO Mega Kangaskhan about half the time, and it can use Bullet Punch to pick off a weakened Mega Kangaskhan. Many fighting types can check Mega Kangaskhan reliably due to outspeed it and resisting Sucker Punch, but these same fighting types don’t want to switch into Return or Earthquake. Such examples include Infernape, Mienshao, Mega Lopunny, and Terrakion; all of them can soundly 1HKO Mega Kangaskhan with Close Combat or High Jump Kick, but can’t switch in.
If you’re doing tiered play though, then Mega Kangaskhan has to contend with the best of the legendary Pokemon. Giratina-A and Arceus-Ghost both have the typing that allows them to switch into Mega Kangaskhan’s STAB, the bulk to protect them even from Crunch (Giratina is typically only 4HKO’ed while Arceus-Ghost is only 3HKO’ed most of the time by Crunch), and Will-o-Wisp to burn and cripple Mega Kangaskhan. Defensive Yveltal can manage to only be 3HKO’ed by Mega Kangaskhan’s STAB, and can utilize Roost to stay healthy, and the combination of Foul Play and Sucker Punch to 2HKO Mega Kangaskhan. Lugia and its nigh impenetrable defenses can stall out Mega Kangaskhan with the combination of Toxic and Roost. Primal Groudon may is 2HKO’ed by Earthquake, but it can check Mega Kangaskhan in a pinch if it’s got some prior damage as Precipice Blades can do upwards of 92% of Mega Kangaskhan’s HP. Thanks to Intimidate in its base form, Mega Salamence can usually beat Mega Kangaskhan 1-on-1, as Aerilate Return 2HKOs while the combination of Parental Bond Return and Sucker Punch does not. Arceus is only 2HKO'ed by Return or Double Edge, while being able to 2HKO Mega Kangaskhan about half the time with Extreme Speed, so it usually beats Mega Kangaskhan 1-on-1. Blaziken and its Mega Evolution can both check Mega Kangaskhan after a speed boost, and can use Protect to get that Speed Boost as well and then 1HKO Mega Kangaskhan with their fighting STAB. Mega Mewtwo X can check Mega Kangaskhan by outspeeding it and promptly destroying it with its STAB. Darkrai can be a situational check in a pinch as well, as it outspeeds Mega Kangaskhan and can put it to sleep with Dark Void, which also severely punishes most switch-ins if Mega Kangaskhan tries to switch out. If all else fails, you can try Scarf users with enough bulk to survive Sucker Punch, such as Kyurem-W. At the end of the day though, although Kangaskhan has an impressive amount of power, its lackluster defensive typing means it is prone to being worn down, as everything can hit it at least neutrally so it’s not too hard to 2HKO.
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