Ludicolo, The Carefree Pokémon. Ludicolo begins dancing as soon as it hears cheerful, festive music. This Pokémon is said to appear when it hears the singing of children on hiking outings. Upon hearing an upbeat and cheerful rhythm, the cells in Ludicolo's body become very energetic and active. Even in battle, this Pokémon will exhibit an amazing amount of power. If it hears festive music, all its muscles fill with energy. It can't help breaking out into a dance.
Ludicolo has always been a fun Pokémon, and one that has been popularized thanks to the Orre region's Miror B. and his team of Ludicolo. More than just being a wonderful addition to a mariachi band, Ludicolo has very unique traits as the only Water/Grass type line, with very useful resistances to Water and Ground with three weaknesses in Bug, Flying, and Poison, the latter of which is uncommon. Ludicolo also boasts an impressive movepool drawing upon the best of both Water-types and Grass-types with moves like Scald, Ice Beam, and Giga Drain. Swift Swim also makes it a viable rain sweeper that doesn't fear Electric or Grass-types as much as other rain sweepers. However, despite a jovial attitude, great abilities and fantastic movepool, there's not much Ludicolo can really do in a competitive environment. Its stats are generally unimpressive all across the board, and a Flying weakness is a lot more crippling in a generation filled with dangerous Flying-types that have actual Flying STAB moves. Even ignoring the nerf to weather abilities, Ludicolo faces tough competition even as a Swift Swim sweeper on rain teams, primarily because of its generally mediocre stats. Ludicolo is still better off than many other Grass-types and finds a niche as a Fake Out user in Doubles, so it isn't all bad news for the jolly mariachi pineapple. That being said, unless you're looking for the newest addition to your mariachi band or want a niche Fake Out user in Doubles, chances are Ludicolo isn't the Pokémon you should be considering for your next team.
Swift Swim: When rainy, The Pokémon's Speed doubles. However, Speed will not double on the turn weather becomes Heavy Rain. This lets Ludicolo function as a rain sweeper and lets it overcome its otherwise mediocre Speed. Ludicolo definitely has the movepool for this, and generally speaking this is the ability you should expect when you see Ludicolo.
- Hydro Pump / Surf
A rain sweeper set is the best Ludicolo can do these days, and while it faces heavy competition from stronger Swift Swim Pokémon, it's no slouch itself. Hydro Pump is the primary STAB move, since Ludicolo wants all the power it can get to hit as hard as possible under heavy rain. Surf is an accurate alternative if you really hate missing, but the power drop is noticeable. In formats where Drizzle Politoed isn't allowed, Rain Dance is preferred so that Ludicolo can set up and sweep by itself, though otherwise if Ludicolo has a teammate that can set rain, Focus Blast can be used to hit Ferrothorn, or Ferroseed if playing in formats where it's viable since those are formats that Ludicolo is most common. Giga Drain is a secondary STAB move that provides recovery, which synergizes well with Life Orb to heal off recoil damage. Energy Ball is noticeably stronger though it loses out on recovery that Giga Drain offers. The power is less necessary when Hydro Pump and Surf hit most things harder in rain though. Ice Beam hits most Grass-types and prevents Ludicolo from being completely walled by Dragon-types.
Maximum Special Attack and Speed investment with a Modest nature ensures that Ludicolo is hitting as hard as possible, which is important since Ludicolo isn't particularly strong. Swift Swim doubles Speed in rain anyway so the extra Speed from Timid isn't as necessary. Life Orb boosts Ludicolo's damage output just a bit more since it still desperately needs the extra power, and this pairs well with Giga Drain to heal off recoil taken throughout the battle.
- An Assault Vest set is an option to turn Ludicolo into a bulky pivot that can easily switch into special attacks thanks to its respectable special bulk. However, this is better in Doubles than it is in Singles.
VGC, Double & Triple Battle Options
- Fake Out
Ludicolo manages to find a small niche in the current VGC format as the fastest Fake Out user when led alongside Kyogre. The rapidly changing weather in VGC makes it difficult for Ludicolo to be effective in matchups with greater weather control, and it's incredibly dependent on Kyogre's rain, but the draw of having the fastest Fake Out is viable enough. Ludicolo is generally not going to need the power from Hydro Pump since there are so many bulkier threats, so Scald is the best option for the accuracy and the chance to burn physical threats such as Mega Kangaskhan. Grass Knot is the best option for Grass STAB since it hits opposing Primal Kyogre harder than any other Grass STAB does, and does noticeable damage to Primal Groudon if sun is up for any reason. Ice Beam has great coverage with all the Flying-types VGC and hits Mega Salamence as well as Mega Rayquaza if Strong Winds aren't in play, though the latter is almost always going to beat Ludicolo due to its control over the weather war with Air Lock and Delta Stream..
Maximum Special Attack and Speed investment allows Ludicolo to hit as fast and hard as possible. A Modest nature is preferred for the power; Ludicolo doesn't need the speed boost from Timid to outspeed anything notable, especially since Swift Swim abusers aren't common as it is. Assault Vest allows Ludicolo to tank hits from opposing Kyogre well due to its 4x resistance to Water, and also lets it take boosted Dazzling Gleam from Xerneas. However, since Ludicolo is not very bulky at all and gets easily OHKOed by physical attackers such as Mega Rayquaza, Mega Salamence, and Talonflame, Focus Sash is a viable alternative to ensure that it can do something even after using Fake Out.
Ludicolo's unimpressive stat spread overall means that unless rain is a factor, it's not a very dangerous foe to take down. Its STAB combination is resisted by Grass-types, so the likes of Abomasnow, Ferrothorn and Ferroseed are all effective answers to Ludicolo. They notably also aren't weak to Ice Beam so Ludicolo has trouble beating them if it lacks Focus Blast, which is a gamble in itself especially since they're stronger and bulkier than Ludicolo respectively. Even in the rain, these are all solid answers to Ludicolo, but anything that doesn't mind a boosted Hydro Pump too much is generally a good answer to Ludicolo. Pokémon with Water immunities such as Water Absorb Mantine and Lapras, Storm Drain Cradily, and Dry Skin Jynx and Toxicroak all deter Ludicolo from spamming its Hydro Pumps in rain, and can either wall or threaten to KO back. However, Larpras in particular should be careful since it still dislikes Giga Drain. Fletchinder and Talonflame also beat Ludicolo regardless of whether or not rain is up due to Gale Wings, and hit it for super-effective damage for an easy OHKO. Ludicolo also hates weather control which becomes more relevant in a regular format, where the likes of Tyranitar, Hippowdon and Mega Charizard Y become more common. If Ludicolo can't get its rain up, it has a difficult time accomplishing anything due to its mediocre Speed and lacking damage output outside of rain. Ludicolo also gets worn down quickly even with Giga Drain, so entry hazards, opposing sandstorms, and status damage add up quickly alongside its own Life Orb recoil. The jolly mariachi member is definitely threatening to some teams if it manages to find itself under heavy rain, but with its average stats and heavy dependence on rain it isn't difficult to take advantage of Ludicolo.
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