Ambipom, The Long Tail Pokémon. They work in large colonies and make rings by linking their tails, apparently in friendship. To eat, it deftly shucks nuts with its two tails. It rarely uses its arms now. Split into two, the tails are so adept at handling and doing things, Ambipom rarely uses its hands.
With twin tails that look like blown up surgical gloves, Ambipom is definitely one strange simian. As an evolution to the largely forgotten and useless Aipom, Ambipom’s very existence was a surprise to many in Gen 4. Unfortunately, this was only moderately helpful, as Ambipom has since fallen into disuse in subsequent generations. Poor Ambipom is a case of wasted potential. Its speed is fantastic at base 115, and base 100 attack is certainly enough to be usable. It’s also got two great abilities in Technician and Skill Link, and the ever great Technician ability also lets it abuse STAB Fake Out with reckless abandon. However, the good news ends there, as although it has an amazingly varied movepool, it has very few moves that can reliably take advantage of Technician or Skill Link, and its bulk and typing are both awful and make it very easy to KO. The changing generations have done little if anything to fix this, and Ambipom will always have to face competition from Cinccino, who sports the same speed tier and abilities, but can better take advantage of Skill Link due to having the attacks to abuse it. Ambipom may have a few perks, but just be aware that if you want to use Ambipom on a serious team, there’s usually always a better option.
Technician: Moves with a base power of 60 or less are boosted in power by 50% - Technician is really, really good. Most people know how potent this ability can be, due to Pokemon like Scizor and Breloom using it to great effect. However, for Ambipom… very few of its viable moves can actually take advantage of it. The most notable of its moves to take advantage of Technician are Fake Out, Double Hit, and sometimes Low Kick, while the rest of its Technician-boosted movepool is full of lackluster junk like Power-up Punch and Thief. Still though, despite having so few viable Technician-boosted attacks, it still manages to be more reliable than its other two abilities, so it’ll usually be your first choice.
And here we have Ambipom’s main set that you’ll ever see it using. While Ambipom does have plenty of other options, such as Choice Sets or Baton Pass, the fact of the matter is that Ambipom is outclassed at almost all of them, making this Ambipom’s best set… Not that it’s saying much. Fake Out is the crux of this set, as with Technician it deals some priority decent damage while also flinching your foe; this makes it great for chip damage, breaking Focus Sash/Sturdy, and getting a free flinch on Ambipom’s first turn. Knock Off, on the other hand, has great utility since so few things enjoy switching into it and losing their items, and it nails the Ghost types who are immune to Ambipom’s STAB. Return gives Ambipom a reliable STAB attack since Fake Out can’t be spammed, and with perfect accuracy and solid power you really can’t go wrong with Return. For the final moveslot, Ambipom should for Low Kick to allows it to deal with some would be counters such as Rhyperior, Coballion, and even Registeel.
The EVs and Nature maximize Ambipom’s speed, which is important as an Adamant nature would leave it outsped by things such as Delphox, Durant, Heliolisk, and Virizion, which is problematic considering how frail Ambipom is. The rest is put into attack so Ambipom can try to deal as much damage as possible. Life Orb furthers this, as base 100 attack without an item backing it up is fairly lackluster. Just be aware though, that between Life Orb’s recoil and Ambipom’s terrible bulk, this Pokemon is essentially on a timer, and causes it to be 1HKO’ed or 2HKO’ed by almost any strong STAB.
-Double Hit is one of Ambipom’s few viable moves that gets a boost from Technician. As a result, each hit has about 52 base power, giving it a sum total of 104 base power. This narrowly edges out Return, but the significance is that due to being two hits, it will break Substitutes, Sturdy, and Focus Sashes. However, it does have to contend with 90% accuracy, which often causes Return to be preferable due to not ever having to worry about untimely misses.
Double & Triple Battle Options
Ambipom's Speed in combination with its decent attack stat and Technician allow it to be a strong way to lead a battle.
Ambipom's movepool is both vast and shallow. The only move that everyone expects to see on Ambipom is Fake Out, while what it does next turn is either Last Resort or some other move. Ambipom has neat support options like Taunt and Thunder Wave, can even support Justified Pokemon with Beat Up. Determining the best moves to use can be a matter of splitting hairs as it just depends on your team. Quick Guard stands out, blocking Prankster Thunder Waves, Encores and the like. Gale Wing's Brave Bird is blocked too. Taunt and Knock Off provide further disruption. One will help you avoid shenanigans in general, while the other makes sure you aren't walled by Ghosts. Return is the "not Fake Out" Stab option.
Ambipom can partner up with a number of Pokemon. Having a harder hitting Fake Out certainly won't hurt set up. Pokemon who enjoy Substitutes or Dragon Dancing early will love Fake Out. Aegislash and Mega Salamence come to mind for that.
Ambipom's vast movepool consists of Special moves with Base 60 power to get the maximum boost from Technician. Hidden Power, Round, Shock Wave, Water Pulse, though odd moves, would be solid moves if Ambipom just had the stats to back them up. Ambipom is frail too and shares a significant role with a larger threat in Kangaskhan, who Fakes Out, then Power Up Punches or Double Edges things into oblivion. A lot of players are well prepared for Kangaskhan, which means Ambipom will be having that much more difficulty in being useful in battle as opposed to switch fodder or dead weight in general. Heavily consider the other options in Normal type Pokemon before settling with Ambipom.
Ambipom’s not common at all in most standard forms of play, but where Ambipom is most common, there are still a handful of Pokemon that generally don’t care what Ambipom does and can dismantle it with impunity. Spiritomb stands tall as one of them, being immune to most of what Ambipom carries. Although having its item knocked off can be an annoyance, Knock Off fails to do enough damage to reliably 4HKO, so both offensive and defensive variants of Spiritomb can either 2HKO Ambipom with Foul Play or burn it with Will-o-Wisp to cripple it. Standard defensive Hitmontop is only 4HKO’ed at best by Ambipom, and can soundly 1HKO it back with Close Combat, or just spin away hazards on an obvious switch. Amoongus is 3HKO’ed by Return, but it can shut down Ambipom completely with Spore, and Regenerator helps it heal off the damage. The Steel Bugs Durant and Escavlier are both only 3HKO’ed by Ambipom’s Low Kick but can soundly 1HKO it in return. Defensive Cofagrigus doesn’t appreciate having its Leftovers knocked off, but it’s only 3HKO’ed at best by Knock Off, is immune to the rest of Ambipom’s attacks, and can slap Will-o-Wisp on Ambipom to cripple it. Physically defensive Alomomola tends to only be 4HKO’ed by Ambipom, and can either threaten it with Scald burns or simply stall it out with Wish/Protect (or both!). Steelix and Mega Steelix, despite being heavy enough for Low Kick to reach full damage, have enough bulk to only be 3HKO’ed at best. They generally don’t care about any of Ambipom’s other moves, making switching in easy, and can rip Ambipom to pieces with Gyro Ball, which for Mega Steelix can even 1HKO more than half the time without any investment. Eviolite Gurdurr can be a stop to Ambipom as it’s only 3HKO’ed by Return, while Drain Punch 1HKOs and heals back damage and Mach Punch can deal no less than 50% HP to pick off a weakened Ambipom. Even the combination of Knock Off to get rid of Eviolite and Return is enough to 2HKO Gurdurr if it’s at full health. Rhyperior may be heavy enough that Low Kick reaches full damage, but thanks to Solid Rock and its impressive physical bulk, it is only 3HKO’ed by Low Kick. Rhyperior’s Choice sets all soundly 1HKO Ambipom, and even non-choice sets can tear Ambipom apart with Earthquake, when Ambipom’s own Life Orb recoil is factored in. Checking Ambipom is even easier. Despite its high speed, Choice Scarf can circumvent it and allow many powerful attackers to rip apart its low bulk. Emboar and Hitmonlee are common examples, as they obliterate Ambipom with their powerful fighting STAB and outspeed it with a Scarf. Also worthy of note is that Hitmonlee can pack Mach Punch on non-Scarf sets, which, with an Adamant Nature and Life Orb, Hitmonlee can do minimum 83% to Ambipom. Rotom-C typically packs a Scarf as well, which makes it fast enough to outspeed Ambipom and secure a 1HKO with Leaf Storm if Stealth Rock is up. Tyrantrum hates Low Kick, but it can 1HKO with Head Smash, and Choice Scarf allows it to outspeed Ambipom. Cobalion doesn’t like switching into Low Kick, which can 2HKO it, but it has enough bulk to never be 1HKO’ed by Ambipom (even a Choice Band fails to do so), and soundly 1HKOs with Close Combat. Ambipom may be fast, but it’s also not the fastest thing, so there are a few Pokemon who outspeed it. Dugtrio is noteworthy for not only outspeeding Ambipom, but being able to trap it. However, do note that due to Dugtrio’s frailty, even Life Orb Technician Fake Out has a chance to 1HKO Dugtrio, so make sure you’re only using Dugtrio to revenge kill Ambipom. Jolteon also outspeeds Ambipom, and offensive variants can do upwards of 96% to Ambipom; enough to 1HKO more than half the time if Stealth Rock is up, or if Ambipom’s taken any Life Orb damage. Whimsicott may not be KOing Ambipom itself, but it has enough bulk to switch in, and use its Prankster Stun Spore to neuter Ambipom’s blazing speed, making it a non-factor. Although a generally terrible Pokemon in its own right, Hitmonchan can take out Ambipom with an Adamant, Life Orb, Iron Fist Mach Punch, which can 1HKO over half the time at full health. At the end of the day though, any moderately bulky Pokemon who can take a hit can check Ambipom, as its bulk makes it easy to 1HKO or 2HKO; examples include things such as Druddigon and Clawitzer. Honestly, Ambipom isn’t too hard, especially since its own Life Orb which it desperately needs to be able to deal adequate damage puts it on a timer. Putting Stealth Rock up early helps too, as Ambipom tends to pivot in and out for chip damage with Fake Out, so Stealth Rock damage can get a chance to add up.
If Ambipom is being used in more inclusive formats, well, someone’s certainly bold, but Ambipom has even more problems in said formats. Skarmory can wall Ambipom indefinitely, and set up hazards while Ambipom slowly kills itself with Life Orb recoil. Ferrothorn can be 3HKO’ed by Low Kick, but a single Gyro Ball can do no less than 73% to Ambipom, which, with Life Orb and Iron Barbs, can bring it into 1HKO range, especially if Stealth Rock is up. It can also stall it out with Leech Seed and Protect, or just cripple Ambipom with Thunder Wave if it carries it. Mega Aggron’s supreme bulk causes Low Kick to only 4HKO, while even an univested Iron Head 2HKOs Ambipom. The increasingly popular tank Garchomp is 3HKO’ed by Return, but the combination of Rocky Helmet and Rough Skin, combined with Ambipom’s Life Orb recoil, will wear it down in a flash. Meanwhile, it can also throw out an Earthquake to do no less than 64% to Ambipom. Defensive Landorus-T is only 5HKO’ed thanked to Intimidate, while soundly 2HKOing Ambipom with Earthquake. Chesnaught fears little except for the very rare Aerial Ace or Acrobatics, as it is only 4HKO’ed by Return, and it can 1HKO with Hammer Arm or heal back damage with Leech Seed, Synthesis, or Drain Punch. Mega Scizor is at best 4HKO’ed by Low Kick, but can heal off damage with Roost, set up SD, or just 2HKO it with Bullet Punch, which of course has the added benefit of priority. Hippowdon really fears nothing from Ambipom, and can either stall it out (thanks to reliable recovery in Slack Off), or 2HKO it with Earthquake. Sableye and its Mega Evolution fear absolutely nothing from Ambipom. Thanks to the Mega Stone, Knock Off barely scratches it, and on the Mega Evolution turn, Sableye still gets the Prankster boost to burn Ambipom with Will-o-Wisp and thus cripple it. It also has no trouble setting up Calm Minds on Ambipom, and can heal off Knock Off’s meager damage (which only 6HKO’s) with Recover. Mega Slowbro is in the same boat as well; with its ridiculous bulk and lack of fear of Knock Off thanks to Mega Stones, it’s only 5HKO’ed by Return, and can burn Sableye with Scald or just stall it out. Klefki won’t be KOing Ambipom itself, but given Ambipom can only 5HKO it at best, Klefki can easily switch in, cripple Ambipom with Thunder Wave, and set up screens with impunity. If you haven’t quite gotten the point yet, there’s a LOT of really common Pokemon who don’t care in the slightest about anything Ambipom tries to do. What’s worse, there’s also considerably more Pokemon who can check Ambipom as well. There are plenty of Pokemon that outspeed Ambipom, such as (Mega) Aerodactyl, Weavile, Crobat, Noivern, Tornadus-T, and (Mega) Sceptile. Most of them take a decent chunk of damage from Fake Out, and don’t like eating return, but will otherwise destroy Ambipom before it can react with powerful STAB attacks or coverage moves. Several Mega Evolutions also outspeed and destroy Ambipom, but they need a turn to ensure the Mega Evolution, such as Mega Manectric, Mega Lopunny, and Mega Pidgeot. Choice Scarf users continue to be a thorn in Ambipom’s side as well. Things such as Heracross, Terrakion, Keldeo, Kyurem-B, Excadrill, Infernape, Mienshao, Darmanitan, etc. will all outspeed Ambipom with their Scarf sets and proceed to rip it to shreds. Some very powerful priority attacks can utterly destroy Ambipom as well, such as Talonflame’s Brave Bird, and Breloom’s Mach Punch. Conkeldurr’s Mach Punch is also a decent option, but at most does about 86% on its most common Assault Vest set, so it needs at least a little prior damage to secure the KO (Life Orb’s recoil on Ambipom will usually assure this, though). However, although Conkeldurr is 2HKO’ed by Return, it soundly 1HKOs Ambipom with Drain Punch and heals back the damage. The list of things that destroy Ambipom could go on even longer, but I’ll wrap this up by saying this; Ambipom is not difficult to deal with, as it is 1HKO’ed or 2HKO’ed by almost everything in the game, and if your team has difficulty with Ambipom, you may need to re-evaluate how you’re doing things.
Planet of the Aipom
Unlike its evolution, Aipom is actually a decent Pokemon in the Little Cup where it is most used. This set is one that’s a little more unorthodox, but has been becoming more common as of late. The main appeal of this set is the combination of Normal Gem Fake Out and Acrobatics. With normal Gem, Fake Out becomes a respectably powerful +3 priority attack, and subsequently allows Acrobatics to reach base 110 power. This is noteworthy because it can manage to 2HKO its rival and the biggest threat in the tier, Mienfoo, even if it runs a bulky set. Sets that aren’t running bulk are soundly 1HKO’ed by Acrobatics. That said, for things not weak to Flying, Fury Swipes is Aipom’s best weapon, and with Skill Link it reaches 90 power. Knock Off is ever valuable in the Little Cup, as the abundance of Eviolite and the general dependence on items makes it rather risky to switch into. It is worth noting though, that this set has trouble with Rock and Steel types, most notably Pawniard, so be wary.
The given nature and EVs allow Aipom to reach the coveted 19 speed, allowing it to speed tie with things like Abra and Ponyta, and makes it among the fastest unboosted Pokemon in the tier. 196 EVs into attack puts the stat at a solid 16, which is as high as Aipom can reach on this set. The rest is put into HP to give Aipom a little more bulk so it can take a hit or two.
And here we have a more conventional approach to Aipom. Much like the previous set, Fury Swipes and Knock Off are still valuable, with Fury Swipes being Aipom’s strongest STAB in the Little Cup thanks to Skill LInk, and Knock Off having amazing utility; the two together tend to be able to 2HKO most of the tier on their own. However, as was mentioned before, Pawniard tends to be threatening, and for this reason, Brick Break can be used to utterly destroy it, in addition to a few other things such as Tirtuga. Fake Out can be used in the last slot for its chip damage and priority, but U-Turn can also be an option to allow Aipom to pivot out, especially given its speed which can allow it to scout. If you’re not worried about Pawniard, you can also opt for the combination of U-Turn and Fake Out so that you can utilize Fake Out while you pivot.
Also like the previous set, the EVs and Nature are identical, in order to ensure Aipom reaches 19 speed and 16 attack, while also having a bit extra put into bulk. However, the items differ; Life Orb grants Aipom a bit more power, although it does have to be wary of being worn down due to recoil. Eviolite, on the other hand, grants Aipom a bit more bulk, allowing to take a hit or two that it might not otherwise be able to.
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