Shuckle, The Mold Pokémon. The berries stored in its jar-like shell eventually become a thick, pulpy juice. It stores berries inside its shell. To avoid attacks, it hides beneath rocks and remains completely still. Shuckle quietly hides itself under rocks, keeping its body concealed inside its hard shell while eating berries it has stored away.
Shuckle is an incredibly odd Pokémon that's always stood out exactly for that reason. It's a Bug-type so being odd isn't too surprising in that regard, but for a Bug-type that sports the highest defenses in the game it certainly isn't just another random bug. While it's more of a clay mold than it is a traditional bug, it still has no shortage of Bug-type moves that actually give Shuckle its only real niche in competitive play. Shuckle is one of the very rare users of Sticky Web, and the only one with any semblance of bulk do so reliably. It's very unlikely for Shuckle to go down in one hit, and with Sturdy it can more or less guarantee that it can get Sticky Web or Stealth Rock set up, making it a viable pick for hyper offensive teams. However, defense and hazard setting is all Shuckle really has going for it, quite literally. Completely non-existent offenses mean that Shuckle has no way to threaten anything directly beyond knocking off an item or preventing the opponent from setting up thanks to Encore. Having one of the lowest HP stats in the game along with no form of recovery beyond Rest means that Shuckle is a very poor choice for a standard wall, so it has little use on defensive teams that often have better options both for walling and setting up hazards. Shuckle is also tied with Munchlax for slowest Pokémon so it will always act second, making it very vulnerable to Taunt and thereby forcing it to run Mental Herb most of the time so that it can at least make one move before being forced out. All of these drawbacks mean Shuckle is very one-dimensional, which is not exactly a great trait for a support Pokémon with very polarized stats, so Shuckle is often relegated to incredibly specific teams and not much else. Shuckle may offer one-of-a-kind utility that no other Pokémon can match, but unless you need a hazard setter that can guarantee getting Sticky Web up, Shuckle is not the Pokémon you're looking for.
Sturdy: The Pokémon will remain with 1 HP if it was going to be knocked out by a move when at full Hit Points, and it is immune to One Hit KO moves. This might seem useless on something with such high defenses, but when Shuckle's only role is setting up Sticky Web and Stealth Rock, you can never be too safe. Sturdy is also a better ability than either of its other two abilities so there's not really much to choose from.
- Sticky Web
As Shuckle is very one dimensional, there's no reason to expect anything beyond this set. Sticky Web is Shuckle's only niche and this lets it function as a reliable support for slower wallbreakers that would greatly appreciate outspeeding more threats. Stealth Rock gives Shuckle a role against slower teams that don't mind Sticky Web, which is very useful for the offensive-minded teams that Shuckle is usually used for. Once hazards are set up Shuckle has very little it can accomplish other than trying to set up again later if needed, so Encore easily fits onto the set to help it deter setup sweepers. Shuckle has no offensive presence so it would otherwise be an easy setup opportunity for any and all setup sweepers, so Encore is necessary to prevent this from happening every time Shuckle attempts to do anything. The final move is variable though typically used to let Shuckle disrupt an opponent when it would otherwise be deadweight on a team. Toxic lets Shuckle threaten opposing walls that otherwise don't mind any of its other moves, as well as put offensive threats on a timer. Infestation is a seemingly unusual move, but it can function as a trapper with Encore to give Shuckle's teammates an opportunity to set up. The residual damage from Infestation can also be useful for wearing down an opponent despite Shuckle's nonexistent offensive presence. Alternatively, Knock Off can be used to give Shuckle a disruptive role by removing items from threats that rely on them, which is useful regardless of whether the opponent's team is offensive or defensive. However, due to the fact that Shuckle won't be doing any damage, this can turn Shuckle into a very free switch-in for any Mega.
Shuckle needs a Mental Herb since it's incredibly vulnerable to Taunt, so giving it the free turn to do whatever it needs is vital to keeping it from being complete deadweight. However, this one works once so this means Shuckle needs to make sure its one move counts. Maximum HP investment is necessary to boost its otherwise pathetic base HP, while a Bold nature with maximum Defense investment lets it take hits better from physical attackers while reducing Foul Play damage further. Shuckle can just as viably opt for Calm nature with Special Defense investment instead if that's preferable. None of Shuckle's abilities are particularly useful, but Sturdy is the best option to ensure that it can at least set up hazards in the event that the opponent actually does risk taking it out in one hit.
- Shuckle has few viable options, though Rest can give Shuckle a form of recovery. However, it can't afford to run both Rest and Sleep Talk so this leaves it open for awhile, which necessitates Heal Bell or Aromatherapy support which is uncommon on teams with Shuckle.
As it has been made apparent, Shuckle poses no offensive threat to anything so taking down Shuckle is not difficult despite its huge defenses. The lack of recovery means that Shuckle is very easy to wear down, and the Bug/Rock typing grants it few resistances to the uncommon Poison and Normal-type moves. Any wallbreaker with decent offenses can bring it down fast, with Choice Specs Keldeo, Kyurem-Black and Serperior all standing out as powerful options. Serperior in particular is threatening because it can set up on Shuckle without fearing Encore due to Contrary Leaf Storm, which can then break through the rest of the opposing team if it lacks many Serperior answers. It can also use Shuckle's Sticky Web against it and boost its Speed further, making it more difficult for the rest of the team to revenge kill Serperior later. Despite Shuckle's access to Encore, a well timed and unexpected setup move can put Shuckle's team in a difficult spot since Encore will come too late on the next turn. However, while Shuckle is simple to bring down, usually Shuckle only cares if it gets hazards up or not, and its tendency to run Mental Herb makes it difficult to stop Shuckle from doing its job. Taunt users can still limit Shuckle to one hazard and prevent it from Encoring afterwards though, which can be used alongside a setup move to get a free turn of boosting. Gengar, Serperior, Mega Gardevoir and Talonflame are all offensive Taunt users that abuse Shuckle's passive nature to either attempt setting up or using Substitute without worrying about Encore. While none of these options can stop Shuckle from either setting up Sticky Web or Stealth Rock, the fact that it can't do much beyond this makes it very easy to take advantage of Shuckle. Reliable hazard removal can make all of Shuckle's efforts go to waste, which is effectively the best way to deal with Shuckle. Skarmory in particular doesn't even mind Toxic and while it dislikes losing its item, it can live without Leftovers due to Roost all while removing any hazards Shuckle wants to set up. Latios and Latias are more offensive Defog users that also can threaten it directly through high powered STAB moves so they can handle Shuckle on all fronts. Starmie can also threaten Shuckle with Hydro Pump or possible switch-ins with Scald while having Rapid Spin to remove Shuckle's hazards. However, Shuckle is commonly used alongside Bisharp so using these hazard removers is not always as simple as switching into Shuckle, with the exception of Excadrill who threatens Bisharp as well. Stopping Shuckle may turn out as a different goal than taking down most other defensive Pokémon, though its completely passive nature makes it very easy to abuse. While it is very good at what it does, Shuckle will usually end up as something you can beat without too much trouble so this little bug mold shouldn't scare you no matter how much you might fear bugs.
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