Lopunny, The Rabbit Pokémon. Extremely cautious, it quickly bounds off when it senses danger. The ears appear to be delicate. If they are touched roughly, it kicks with its graceful legs. It is very conscious of its looks and never fails to groom its ears. It runs with sprightly jumps. It sheds its fur twice a year. Its winter fur is soft and fluffy.
Lopunny has had a strange run. Back in Generation 4, Lopunny got a lot of attention for all of the wrong reasons, with those reasons pertaining to its design. As… odd as some of the attention it got was, when it came to actual usefulness, nobody was interested in Lopunny at all. As a generic normal type with speed as its only decent stat, Lopunny was always just a one-trick pony (bunny?) reliant upon a single gimmick; the combination of the Klutz ability and Switcheroo. This single gimmick was never anywhere near enough to make Lopunny relevant, so as the new generations came, it seemed as though Lopunny would be doomed to fade into competitive obscurity for all time… that is, until OR/AS came along and gave Lopunny an awesome new Mega Evolution. This caused Lopunny to finally be more than just a one-trick gimmick, and in fact allowed it to become hugely viable! ...That is, as long as you’re using its Mega Evolution. Standard Lopunny is still horrible and there’s not a single reason to use it without its Mega Evolution. If you’re not using Lopunnite to Mega Evolve your Lopunny, you shouldn’t be using Lopunny at all.
Cute Charm: The opponent has a 30% chance of being induced with Attract when using an attack, that requires physical contact, against this Pokémon. - There’s no two ways around it; Cute Charm sucks. This ability is unreliable due to its 30% chance to activate, and the fact that this only includes attacks that make contact. Not only that, but it only works on Pokemon of the opposite gender, so it does nothing at all to same-gendered or genderless Pokemon. Cute Charm is a very poor ability all around due to being EXTREMELY unreliable.
Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids!
Standard Lopunny is really, really bad. You shouldn’t be using it at all if you don’t plan on Mega Evolving it. But, if for some reason, you absolutely HAVE to use Lopunny and you can’t Mega Evolve it, the only thing it can do that its Mega Evolution or another Pokemon can’t do better is its old niche of Klutz + Switcheroo. The premise is rather simple. Use an item with a negative side effect, and Switch it to your foe. Defensive Pokemon HATE getting a Choice Scarf or Assault Vest, while certain physical attackers can be screwed by a burn from Flame Orb. Either way, thanks to Klutz, you don’t have to worry about the negative consequences of whatever item you’re holding, so you can hang onto it until the appropriate moment. Encore can be good to prevent Lopunny from being setup bait, especially against things like Mega Evolutions, who can’t be switched an item and may try to set up, which allows you to lock them into their setup moves while you switch to an appropriate counter. Thunder Wave can also be a nice deterrent for things trying to set up or switch in as well, since not many Pokemon enjoy being paralyzed. Finally, when you’re all done with Lopunny, it can use Healing Wish to fully heal whatever switches in, at the cost of fainting itself. But, if Lopunny’s already done its job by switching away its item and maybe paralyzing something, then it’s done its job and may as well faint.
The EVs and nature are meant to maximize Lopunny’s speed; it’s very easy to shut down if it doesn’t move first. A Timid Nature is used over Jolly on this set to lower its attack, such that Foul Play does less damage (since it’s not attacking anyway). The rest of the EVs get dumped into HP for a bit more survivability, but 248 minimizes damage from Stealth Rock while the remaining 8 get put into Special Defense.
-Baton Pass can be used in conjunction with moves like Substitute, Agility, and Cosmic Power to pass boosts to other teammates. In addition, even without other moves, Baton Pass can be used on an obvious switch, so that you can switch out to a counter to whatever they bring in.
Double & Triple Battle Options
Lopunny had its niche when it was introduced, being the only Pokemon to "effectively" use Klutz (however effective that is). It was also one of the faster users of the "Fake Out + Encore" Combo. The fastest in Gen 4 was Infernape, who already had a hard time just picking 4 moves to use. Come Gen 5, Liepard not only is faster and has access to these moves, also has Prankster. This leaves Lopunny with Klutz + Switcheroo shenanigans to play with. Gen 6 and ORAS move tutors come around and now Lopunny doesn't have exclusive rights to Klutz + Switcheroo because Swoobat has Klutz, Trick AND is faster! What's a Lopunny to do to stay relevant? Run Fake Out, Encore and Switcheroo with an Assault Vest or Choice Item just for the sake of staying unique? The answer is both yes and no, because Lopunny does have a Mega Evolution available, but said Mega Evolution can't cripple Pokemon with a Switcheroo... sooo
The set is nothing short of gimmicky, but again, swapping items with an opponent is risky and gimmicky too. All too often have players used Switcheroo only to give the opponent an item they were already holding. It's even more risky now that Mega Stones can't be interfered with. But giving an Assault Vest to the likes of Liepard, Whimsicott, or Smeargle, is priceless. In an attempt to dodge early damage from Fake Out, players often Protect, from there if Lopunny is faster then it can Encore the target into Protect, which makes them dead weight for 3 turns. Return is STAB, but will be walled fairly easily. By Steels, by Ghosts, by Pokemon with Intimidate, Reflect, and Will-O-Wisp. It truly makes Lopunny's base 76 Attack look rather.... LoPUNY. Puns aside, to mitigate being walled by Ghosts, one could switcheroo a Ring Target onto said Ghost and attack with Return. But why go through all that trouble when Lopunny is fully capable of Mega Evolving?
Partners for this set will want to take advantage of the free turn as much as possible, this means a Trick Room setter, giving Mega Kangaskhan the chance to Power Up Punch, Mega Salamence the chance to Dragon Dance. Just about anything that appreciates the free turn and potential free turns provided by this set will pair well with Lopunny.
It's an awkward feeling to know that both of Lopunny's defenses are higher than it's strongest attacking stat. and 76 is not something to be proud of relying on. There are much more threatening Physical attackers at large this format, in preparing for those threats ( Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Metagross, Mega Salamence ) they in turn are overly prepared for an assault from the non Mega Evolved Bunny.
Taunt it. Seriously, Lopunny’s lack of any offensive presence forces it to rely on gimmicks like this, so throwing Taunt at it shuts it down, barring the rare Magic Coat users. Thundurus stands tall as the easiest solution, given its Prankster Taunt ensures it’ll attack first and thus shut Lopunny down. Talonflame and Crobat often carry a fast Taunt, and since they outspeed Lopunny they have no trouble shutting it down. Certain Pokemon really don’t care what Lopunny does to them even if it isn’t taunted. Most notably, Mega Evolutions can’t have their items switched, so they don’t care at all about Switcheroo. Not only that, but a few of them are immune to Thunder Wave as well, so they won’t care about that either. Things like Mega Steelix, Mega Camerupt, Mega Garchomp, Mega Ampharos, and Mega Manectric all are unaffected by Switcheroo and Thunder Wave. Mind you, the first three aren’t very viable, but… neither is standard Lopunny! After it Mega Evolves, Mega Sceptile is also a very easy answer, as it can switch into both Switcheroo and Thunder Wave with impunity, and grab a special attack boost from the latter. Likewise, Mega Diancie, Mega Sableye, and Mega Absol can all crap on Lopunny when they’re Mega Evolved, since Magic Bounce will make Encore and Thunder Wave into non-factors. Of course, checking Lopunny is also ridiculously easy. Its bulk isn’t great, and it doesn’t have resistances to fall back on, so it quickly crumbles to strong STAB attacks, especially from those things faster than it. Things like Terrakion, Hawlucha, and other fast fighting types can easily 1HKO it, while powerful STAB attacks such as Latios’s Draco Meteor and Mega Metagross’s Meteor Mash also 1HKO with their raw power. Basically any Pokemon in the game can 2HKO Lopunny with a strong STAB, which means it really can’t switch into much of anything. And, at the end of the day, much of what Lopunny does is circumvented by throwing up a Substitute… just watch out for getting Encored into Substitute, but if one is already up, it renders Lopunny useless. Although it’s pretty close to being useless even without a Substitute.
Prior to Gen 6, if anybody said that Lopunny would become one of the fiercest Pokemon in the game, they’d probably be met with laughter and ridicule. However, thanks to Gen 6’s new mechanic of Mega Evolutions, when OR/AS came around and introduced Mega Lopunny, everything changed. The one-trick gimmick who got a lot of weird attention for its design got a new lease on life with its amazing Mega Evolution giving it everything it needed. Not only did it get generous boosts to its attack and speed, but it also got itself a fancy new Normal/Fighting typing, and Scrappy to go along with it. This was incredibly good for it, as Scrappy allows Normal + Fighting to have perfect neutral coverage offensively! With one of the best speed tiers in the game, Mega Lopunny has no problem blazing through your opponent’s team. It may have a few flaws, such as poor defensive typing and underwhelming bulk, but its positive qualities more than make up for the negatives. While seeing Lopunny on a serious team was once a cause for laughter and joking, nowadays, fear is something you should feel when you see Lopunny pop up on team preview.
Scrappy: Allows the Pokémon to hit Ghost-type Pokémon with Normal-type and Fighting-type moves. - By Mega Evolution standards, this may seem like a fairly unimpressive ability. However, Mega Lopunny uses it to phenomenal effect, as without Ghost types’ immunities, Normal + Fighting STAB attacks can hit any Pokemon in the game for at least neutral damage, barring Shedinja (who is a gimmick and is barely worth mentioning). Not only does it assure perfect neutral coverage, but it relieves a lot of risk in using High Jump Kick, and makes Fake Out pretty much a guaranteed free turn, which is perfect for Mega Evolving. This ability is just what makes Mega Lopunny so good.
Everybunny was Kung Fu Fighting
-Return / Frustration
Here we have it; Mega Lopunny’s flagship set that has been around since it was first introduced, and the set you’re most likely to see. This set is a very straightforward offensive set. Return and High Jump Kick are the crux of this set, and pretty much any set. Both are its strongest STAB attacks for each type, and together they can hit everything in the game (except Shedinja) for at least neutral damage (I know I’ve said this a lot already, but it is a very big deal). Thanks to Scrappy, High Jump Kick has a lot less risk involved than it normally would as well… just watch out for Protect and random misses still, though, because if High Jump Kicks fails Mega Lopunny will still be eating half its HP in recoil. Also worthy of note is that Mega Lopunny can carry Frustration instead of Return to troll Ditto, but this is a largely inconsequential difference. Fake Out is a useful tool which is a nigh perfect way to Mega Evolve; unless the opponent has Inner Focus (which is rare since most Pokemon that get it have better abilities), you’ll get your +3 priority Flinch while you Mega Evolve and thus next turn you’ll be able to utilize that amazing base 135 speed tier. Even after you Mega Evolve, it’s still useful for breaking Sashes and general chip damage whenever you switch in. For the final moveslot, Ice Punch is the most useful coverage move it gets, because it turns two would-be counters, Landorus-T and Gliscor, into easy 2HKOs, in addition to hitting things like Garchomp and Dragonite a bit harder. In general though, unless something is 4x weak to Ice, you’re better off using Return or High Jump Kick.
The EVs and nature are extremely self explanatory. Mega Lopunny strives to outspeed as many things as possible, so 252 speed EVs with a Jolly nature maximizes its speed. The rest is dumped into attack to ensure it deals as much damage as possible, while the remaining 4 EVs are put into special defense. Limber is Lopunny’s best ability prior to Mega Evolving, as it’s the only ability that can reliably have use when it switches in, such as letting it switch into stray Thunder Waves.
-Return / Frustration
This set became more popular recently, mainly due to the fact that it can troll many of the checks and counters that can beat the previous set. As per usual, the combination of Return/Frustration and High Jump Kick continues to be amazing, as its strongest STAB attacks with perfect neutral coverage can put the hurting on almost anything in the game. However, this set takes advantage of the switches that Mega Lopunny forces by utilizing Substitute. Behind a Substitute, many of its would-be answers, such as status, are blocked entirely, and it provides it a safety net against revenge killing as well. Also new on this set are Encore or Power-Up Punch. Either one takes great advantage of Substitute. Encore can lock your foe into whatever move they choose, allowing you to easily switch in a counter or force them to switch as well. Power-Up Punch allows Lopunny to boost against its more passive checks, especially if they have to take turns breaking its Substitute, and at even +1 a STAB High Jump Kick or Return is a terrifying thing to stomach.
The EVs and nature are pretty much identical to the previous set. Max speed and attack are ever important, as they make Lopunny a fierce offensive threat. The ability of choice pre-Mega evolving is still Limber, as its other two abilities don’t do much, if anything, prior to Mega Evolving.
-Healing Wish can be considered as a fourth move as a last resort. Given Mega Lopunny’s high speed, if it looks as though it’s going to faint no matter what after it’s done its job, then it can quickly sacrifice itself prior to being KO’ed, and fully heal whatever switches in.
Double & Triple Battle Options
Kung Fu Rabbit
Normal/Fighting with Scrappy. Mega Lopunny can hit every single Pokemon with its STABs for at least neutral damage, a title only held by Reshiram until the Fairy typing was introduced. Impressive indeed! Scrappy Fake Outs aren't a joke, the opponent is forced to Protect, Quick Guard or switch out to avoid losing too much ground from not moving that turn. Two of those moves are Encore bait, the the last move is double target bait. There is some prediction needed to gain the most ground from this Fake Out, but the rewards are hard to ignore. Return is the Normal move of choice after Fake Out for consistent damage. The Fighting STAB is up to preference. Low Kick is dependant on the opponent's weight, but a large portion of Pokemon being targeted with Low Kick are heavy anyway. High Jump Kick hits harder than Close Combat, doesn't lower defenses, but has some nasty recoil if the move misses or goes into Protect/Detect. There's a lot of risk in using High Jump Kick. Speaking of High Risk, High Reward, there is the astronomically powerful Focus Punch. Nothing is more risky than openly risking to not move in any given turn. But some security can be provided by using Substitute as the last move. The opportunities to Sub may be dependent on Lopunny's partner, but in being a frail attacker, turning OHKOs into 2KOs is invaluable and allows for insanely risky moves like Scrappy Focus Punch. Otherwise, avoid Focus Punch entirely. The last slot is to further Lopunny's survivability and thus giving it more turns to attack. A well placed Encore can end a late game, but also combos well with Fake Out. Protect seems unexpected at times, but proves its worth when the opponent doubles into Lopunny in an attempt to get rid of the Mega. Finally, there's substitute, which opens up a new can of worms in terms of predicting. When using Substitute, it's highly recommended to NOT use High Jump Kick, the potential recoil on top of paying HP for the Sub will make quick work of Lopunny.
Partners for Mega Lopunny will want to discourage Intimidate and scare away Aegislash who is anxious to Kings Shield any contact moves. Just so happens that Bisharp fills that role perfectly. Even pressuring Cresselia, who has taken to wearing a Rocky Helmet for Kang. The likes of Terrakion are scared off from attacking Bisharp because Lopunny is simply faster. A beautiful partnership!
Lopunny isn't one for taking hits well. It seems the faster the Pokemon, the frailer it gets, making Lopunny seems more risky than it's worth, with bulkier and stronger Pokemon available offereing consistent results, it becomes difficult to want to rely on Lopunny heavily. It's a great blow to lose your Mega in one hit without much being done. With Mega Pokemon achieving attacking stats comparable to Groudon, more survivability is desired in choosing for many, the centerpiece of their team.
Countering Mega Lopunny
You might be thinking “How do I counter something that can always hit for neutral damage”? Well, the answer is very simple; although it can hit everything for neutral damage, a lot of physically bulky Pokemon really don’t care about that and can still take its hits without too much duress. Chesnaught is a stalwart example, as although it is 3HKO’ed by High Jump Kick, Mega Lopunny is very hesitant to use it due to the threat of Spiky Shield, meaning Return may be used more often, which only 4HKOs. Meanwhile, Drain Punch can easily 2HKO, while keeping Chesnaught healthy itself. Just watch out for Encore, as getting locked into something like Spiky Shield or Leech Seed can be disastrous. Skarmory is only 3HKO’ed by High Jump Kick, but it can heal itself with Roost, which in conjunction with Leftovers heals more than High Jump Kick deals in damage, and Brave Bird can take out up to 88% of Mega Lopunny’s HP. Hippowdon is 3HKO’ed by High Jump Kick at worst, while more often 4HKO’ed on physically defensive sets, while Earthquake can 2HKO with Sandstorm factored in, and Slack Off can keep itself healthy. Physically defensive Clefable is 3HKO’ed by Return, but it can heal itself back with Softboiled, and 2HKO with Moonblast; in addition, it generally doesn’t care if Mega Lopunny tries to use Power-Up Punch thanks to Unaware. Physically Defensive Mega Venusaur tends to be 4HKO’ed by Return, while it can 3HKO with Giga Drain but use it to keep itself healthy. In a pinch, it can also heal itself with Synthesis, and sets not carrying Substitute will fear Sleep Powder. Slowbro is only 4HKO’ed by Return, and can use Scald to 3HKO while fishing for a burn. Meanwhile, it can keep itself healthy with Slack Off and/or Regenerator. Mega Slowbro takes the hits even better, as it’s only 5HKO’ed by Return and soundly 3HKOs with Scald. It may not have Regenerator, but it still deals with Mega Lopunny fairly easily. Physically Defensive Cresselia is in the same boat, as it is only 5HKO’ed by Return and can soundly 2HKO with Psychic. Physically defensive Mew can only be 3HKO’ed or 4HKO’ed by Return, depending on its defensive investment, while it can cripple Mega Lopunny with Will-o-Wisp or heal off the damage with Roost. It tends to lose to Substitute+Encore sets, however. Defensive Celebi is in the same boat as Mew, although with Giga Drain it can attempt to wear Mega Lopunny down while keeping itself healthy.
Checking Mega Lopunny can still be a little tricky due to its high speed, but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. The most obvious answer is powerful priority. By this point in Gen 6, it should be a no-brainer that Talonflame makes a solid check. Priority Brave Bird will wipe Mega Lopunny out in a heartbeat. Other forms of priority are a bit more shaky, such as Mega Pinsir’s Aerilate Quick Attack, or Breloom’s Technician Mach Punch. Both can deal a meaty chunk of damage, enough to pick off Mega Lopunny with just a bit of prior damage, but they fall a little short of the 1HKO so be aware before you put them out in front of Mega Lopunny. Fast Choice Scarf users (basically anything with over 270 speed) can outspeed Mega Lopunny and take a bite out of it. Some Scarfed Attacks, such as Landorus-T’s Superpower, Terrakion’s Close Combat, Keldeo’s Secret Sword, and Kyurem-B’s Outrage can not only outspeed Mega Lopunny but also soundly 1HKO it. Other Scarf users such as Garchomp may not be able to 1HKO from Full Health, but with a little prior damage they can pick off Mega Lopunny. Bulky attackers can also check Mega Lopunny; for instance, things like Conkeldurr are 2HKO’ed by High Jump Kick, but it soundly 1HKOs with Drain Punch, while Gyarados can 2HKO with Waterfall while only being 3HKO’ed by Return. Prankster status can be a panic button against Mega Lopunny, such as Sableye’s Will-o-Wisp or Thundurus’s Thunder Wave, but just be aware that they should be saved as a last resort to stop Mega Lopunny from sweeping, as it can destroy them in the process, and of course it doesn’t work if Mega Lopunny is behind a Substitute. At the end of the day though, although Mega Lopunny is fast and can 2HKO a lot of things thanks to its coverage, it tends to be 2HKO’ed by most strong STAB attacks as well.
The Bunny Goes Hop
Buneary is… a pretty average Pokemon. Its expansive movepool and high speed give it some decent uses, but its lack of bulk and poor defensive typing cause it to have difficulty in the Little Cup, especially when powerful fighting types rule the tier. That said, it has just enough to prevent itself from being totally useless. Its strongest STAB, Return, hits with solid base power, while Drain Punch can destroy the Rock and Steel types that would otherwise wall it, such as Pawniard and Tirtuga. Just keep this thing away from Gastly and Honedge. With a Choice Band attached, it can manage to hit with some solid power, but access to Switcheroo also helps it cripple defensive Pokemon such as Foongus and Chinchou by switching the Choice Band onto them. Once you’re done with your Buneary, or if it’s probably going to faint anyway, you can utilize Healing Wish to sacrifice Buneary to allow a free switch in for another Pokemon, and fully heal the incoming Pokemon while you’re at it.
A Jolly nature and 236 speed EVs allow Buneary to reach the coveted 19 speed, which is widely regarded as the best unboosted speed tier in the Little Cup. 228 Attack EVs put Buneary at a decent 16 attack, which with a Choice Band is a respectable amount of power. The rest of its EVs are put into Defense to bolster it up to 11 defense, if for no other reason than the rest of the EVs don’t do Buneary any good elsewhere. Limber is utilized as an ability to protect against Thunder Wave, and also due to the fact that unlike some Switcheroo sets, Buneary can actually benefit from its Choice Band. Just watch out for being locked into its attacks, as well.
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