Ferrothorn, The Thorn Pod Pokémon. By swinging around its three spiky feelers and shooting spikes, it can obliterate an opponent. They attach themselves to cave ceilings, firing steel spikes at targets passing beneath them. It fights by swinging around its three spiky feelers. A hit from these steel spikes can reduce a boulder to rubble.
In the real world, breaking open a durian creates a powerful smell that some describe as pleasant, while others find it disgusting. However, in the case of Ferrothorn, no one really knows what it would smell like if you break it open, because this thing is really freaking hard to break! Arguably one of the best Pokemon added in Gen 5, Ferrothorn has been a defensive stalwart since its introduction, and that’s still true in Gen 6. With tremendous defensive stats on both sides of the spectrum, and solid typing that affords it 9 resistances and an immunity, Ferrothorn is a tough nut to crack. Access to a killer support movepool and even some decent offensive options helps its cause that much more. The changing generations haven’t hindered Ferrothorn too much, either; it may have lost its resistances to Dark and Ghost in the Generation shift, but it picked up a resistance to Fairy, and with the loss of permanent weather, many of the water-type attacks it reliably stomached in Gen 5 are more easily handled in Gen 6. However, all Pokemon have flaws holding them back, and Ferrothorn is no exception. Although its typing does afford it a great set of resistances, it also has to deal with a crippling 4x weakness to Fire, which allows things carrying Hidden Power Fire to muscle past it. In addition, although its defensive stats are great, it is hindered by a lack of reliable recovery, so it has to rely on the passive healing of Leech Seed and Leftovers for recovery. Finally, Ferrothorn is one of the slowest Pokemon in the game, so pretty much anything and everything will be hitting it first before it has a chance to act. Still, none of this has been enough to hold Ferrothorn back; it’s still an amazing Pokemon in Gen 6, and the backbone of many defensive cores. Good luck trying to break Ferrothorn, because it can take a ton of punishment before cracking.
Iron Barbs: If physical contact is made on this Pokémon, the opponent will receive damage equal to 1/8th of its maximum HP. - Iron Barbs is a decent ability, albeit situational. If foes are making contact with you, they’re going to take damage equal to one turn of Burn damage. This little bit of chip damage adds up, and can end up the difference between life and a KO. Considering Ferrothorn’s other ability isn’t that great, you’ll always be using Iron Barbs.
Ferrothorn in my Side
Here we have your standard Ferrothorn, who you will see the vast majority of the time. There are a few variations in terms of the moves chosen, but overall, the premise is the same. One thing that does not change across every set, however, is Leech Seed. Leech Seed is arguably the most important move on this set, as with Ferrothorn’s lack of reliable recovery, it is crucial for helping keep Ferrothorn healthy. The residual damage is a nice perk, as well. From there, Ferrothorn is usually found packing an entry hazard; which you choose is left up to preference. Spikes can be stacked, which is handy since Ferrothorn forces a lot of switches, and are rarer given there are fewer viable users of Spikes. However, Stealth Rock only needs a single setting to be effective, and can be handy if your team has problems with certain rock-weak Pokemon. Either one is a viable option. Next, you’ll want to carry at least one attacking move to prevent Ferrothorn from being completely passive. Gyro Ball is usually your best bet, as it works well against most Fairy types, and can hit fast threats in general hard as well, such as Tornadus-T. However, Power Whip is also viable in that it hits Water types hard, and thanks to Ferrothorn’s typing and bulk, it makes a fantastic counter to most water types. Then the fourth slot is where you have a bit more flexibility. Protect is an option for getting an extra turn of Leftovers and Leech Seed healing, which is always helpful thanks to the lack of instant recovery. Plus, it can be used to troll certain users of High Jump Kick. You can also opt for whichever attack you didn’t pick for the third slot, which enables Ferrothorn to threaten a wider variety of Pokemon. Finally, you can opt for Thunder Wave, which can screw up certain Pokemon if they try to switch in, such as Charizard. However, many of the things that can safely switch into Ferrothorn, such as Magnezone or Zapdos, are immune to it, so be aware of that.
The given nature and EV spread is meant to maximize Ferrothorn’s bulk on both sides of the spectrum. 252 HP and 168 Special Defense ensure that Ferrothorn is not 2HKO’ed by Manaphy’s +3 Ice Beam, while the remaining 88 Defense EVs and Relaxed nature bolsters its physical bulk, enough to reliably avoid the 2HKO from Mega Gyarados’s +1 Crunch. You can alter the EVs or nature in order to counter specific threats, but in general this is the most universally useful setup. It’s also worth noting that Relaxed nature and 0 Speed IVs are utilized to minimize Ferrothorn’s speed so that it maximize’s Gyro Ball’s damage. It’s not like Ferrothorn is going to be outspeed anything, anyway. Leftovers should always be your first choice as far as item is concerned, as the passive healing goes a long way towards keeping Ferrothorn alive with its lack of reliable recovery. Finally, Iron Barbs should always be the preferred ability, because Anticipation is junk and Iron Barbs can cause a bit of chip damage to most physical attackers.
-Toxic is always an option to stall out your opposition, but be aware that several common switch-ins such as Scizor, Heatran, and Magnezone are immune to it.
VGC, Double & Triple Battle Options
Ferrothorn is to Pokemon as Destiny Board was to Yu-Gi-Oh - If an answer isn't provided swiftly or at all by the opponent, they will surely lose the battle. Ferrothorn can have synergy with the rest of the team, sure, but it's main appeal is being an alternative win condition for ill prepared or ill played teams.
The idea here is to have Ferrothorn enter the battlefield when the opponent doesn't have any answers for it left. So no Fire or Fightng types. Leech Seed the opponents, proceed to tank attacks and shrug them off with Leftovers + Leech Seed recovery, making Ferrotorn seem close to indestructible, especially with Protect. It falls short in the face of Taunt, Substitute or Primal Groudon. But should those threats be mitigated, Ferrothorn will shine through and claim many games.
How effective that will be in a restricted Pokemon environment is debatable, Ferrothorn is notorious elsewhere though.
Opposing Grass Types are immune to Leech Seed and tend to resist Ferro's STABs so a Flying type partner would love the opportunity to render these foes useless. Mega Salamence and Mega Rayquaza love being able to use their Flying STAB finally, while being able to rely on Ferro to scare away Ice types or Ice Beam users and some faster fairies even. They also resist Fighting and Fire. The synergy is very much there.
Unfortunately for Ferro, there's another disruptive Pokemon in the environment that can decide games as soon as the first turn. Its name is Smeargle and Dark Void isn't a joke. Because of that, many teams will try to mitigate status with Taunt or other tricky ways of making sure non damaging moves fail, including Substitute, so Ferro may have to take the back seat for a bit in being a disruptive win condition when teams are heavily geared for the shenanigans Smeargle brings.
Let it burn! It should go without saying that with its glaring 4x weakness to Fire, Ferrothorn is hard-pressed to survive fire type attacks, such that even weak fire type attacks such as Hidden Power Fire can usually still KO it. Fire types also resist both of Ferrothorn’s STAB attacks, and really don’t fear much aside from the uncommon Thunder Wave. Heatan and Mega Charizard Y stand tall as common answers, as their special Fire STABs fry Ferrothorn while avoiding Iron Barbs. Things like Talonflame and Mega Charizard X can also 1HKO Ferrothorn in a heartbeat, but the combination of Iron Barbs and Flare Blitz recoil can cause them to take some heavy damage in the process. Although not a fire type, Magnezone gets special mention as well for its ability to trap Ferrothorn with Magnet Pull, and subsequently 2HKO Ferrothorn with Hidden Power Fire. Meanwhile, Magnezone resists both of Ferrothorn’s STAB attacks and is immune to Thunder Wave, so all Ferrothorn can really do is try to take the turn(s) to set up hazards. However, on the hazard-setting front, Ferrothorn faces a nigh-insurmountable obstacle in the form of Mega Sableye. Magic Bounce will turn Ferrothorn’s own hazards against it, while Mega Sableye’s bulk allows it to shrug off Ferrothorn’s attacks, as Power Whip only 4HKOs and Mega Sableye just burn it with Will-o-Wisp. Zapdos is another great anti-Ferrothorn Pokemon; it can Defog away Ferrothorn’s hazards, resists both of Ferrothorn’s STAB attacks, and is immune to Thunder Wave. Not only that, but it can utilize Heat Wave to 2HKO Ferrothorn even with minimal investment. Scizor resists Ferrothorn’s STAB attacks and can freely set up Swords Dance, and Roost off any damage taken. Although Ferrothorn’s most obvious weakness is Fire, Fighting types can also deal super-effective damage to hit Ferrothorn hard. Mega Medicham is notable for being able to 1HKO Ferrothorn with High Jump Kick, but it takes heavy damage switching into any of Ferrothorn’s attacks, enough to 2HKO it, and Protect can cause High Jump Kick to backfire. Mega Lopunny is largely in the same boat, although it can only 2HKO with High Jump Kick, although with Stealth Rock up it’s still enough to 1HKO about a third of the time. Ferrothorn can 2HKO Mega Lopunny with Gyro Ball however, and of course Protect can make High Jump Kick risky. Conkeldurr, although not a great Pokemon in general, is able to 2HKO Ferrothorn with Drain Punch, in addition to healing back the damage from Ferrothorn deals, while Power Whip only 3HKOs Conkeldurr. Keldeo has to be wary of Power Whip, which can cause heavy damage and nearly 1HKO it, but Secret Sword can 2HKO, and on Choice Specs and Life Orb sets, it can do significant damage, enough to revenge kill Ferrothorn pretty reliably. Unfortunately for Ferrothorn, many things tend to carry fire type coverage moves as well. For instance, Mega Altaria often carries Fire Blast, and Latios will usually pack Hidden Power Fire. Although Ferrothorn’s attacks can cause heavy damage, it’s usually prone to being picked off with a little prior damage by even the weakest Fire attack. Likewise, Focus Blast on things like Mega Alakazam and Mega Gardevoir can take out roughly 3/4 of Ferrothorn’s HP, enough to revenge kill it pretty easily. Finally, slapping a burn on Ferrothorn, such as through Will-o-Wisp or Scald, greatly hinders its longevity, as the passive damage will counteract Leftovers’ passive recovery.
Ferroseed is a fairly unique Pokemon… it’s one of only a handful of Pokemon who can function effectively both in the Little Cup, and out of it in certain forms of tiered play as well! As a result, its sets are largely dependent on where you use it.
Ferroseeds of Change
-Stealth Rock / Spikes
In the Little Cup, Ferroseed functions about as well as its big brother Ferrothorn. It’s a potent defensive force that can prevent things like Tirtouga and Omanyte from having their way. Much like Ferrothorn, Ferroseed functions as an effective hazard setter, and is one of the best in the Little Cup. As always, Stealth Rock needs only a single turn to function, and can royally screw some Pokemon more than others, but Spikes have more consistent damage and can be stacked. Bullet Seed is Ferroseed’s best offensive move, and has the added benefit of breaking through Substitutes and Sturdy. Bullet Seed immensely threatens the aforementioned Shell Smashers, in addition to Chinchou. Thunder Wave is an effective means of crippling most Pokemon in the Little Cup; many Pokemon rely on their speed, and Thunder Wave can put a stop to that. Finally, Knock Off can cripple many a Pokemon in the Little Cup, most notably those that rely on Eviolite. However, Leech Seed can be used as well, which provides Ferroseed’s only source of recovery.
With a Careful Nature, 84 HP EVs, 188 Defense EVs, and 148 Special Defense EVs, Ferroseed manages to reach a respectable and balanced 22 / 18 / 18 defensive spread. With Eviolite mixed in for added bulk, Ferroseed manages to get a staggering 22 / 27 / 27 defensive spread, making it incredibly sturdy. The remaining EVs are split between attack and speed, just to put them somewhere. Iron Barbs is the preferred ability for that extra little chip damage to punish any physical attackers who may think they can break Ferroseed.
Outside of the Little Cup, Ferroseed can still be an effective defensive Pokemon in lower tiered play. After all, with Eviolite attached to it, Ferroseed has some frightening bulk. However, it’s important to remember to never, ever use Ferroseed if you can use Ferrothorn instead. Both take hits about as well as one another, but Ferrothorn’s access to Leftovers, and a higher attack stat preventing it from being too passive, makes it superior to its pre-evolution in every way. But, if Ferrothorn isn’t able to be used, Ferroseed can pick up the slack.
Without Leftovers, Leech Seed is arguably even more crucial than it is on Ferrothorn, as it is Ferroseed’s only form of recovery. Hazard setting continues to be a crucial role for Ferroseed, regardless of where it is used. The choice of Spikes vs. Stealth Rock is largely up to personal preference, although there are fewer viable users of Spikes than there are Stealth Rock, so often times Spikes is used while another Pokemon sets Rocks. However, either is viable. Gyro Ball is Ferroseed’s main means of doing damage, as with its nonexistent speed it has very little trouble reaching max power. However, due to not being able to learn Power Whip like Ferrothorn does, Knock Off is the alternative to Gyro Ball, as its utility of ridding foes of items cannot be denied. For the final moveslot, Ferroseed has a few options, but Protect is typically the best option to allow for extra turns of Leech Seed. However, inflicting status, be it Paralysis from Thunder Wave or Toxic’s poison, is also a viable alternative, especially since Ferroseed lacks the ability to threaten many of the things it can wall. However, you can also opt for Knock Off if you chose Gyro Ball in the third slot.
The given EVs and Nature focus on providing Ferroseed with mixed bulk. 248 HP EVs and 112 Special Defense EVs allow Ferroseed to only be 4HKO’ed by Samurott’s Life Orb Ice Beam, and 3HKO’ed by Jynx’s Life Orb Ice Beam. The rest of the EVs are put into Defense. Much like with Ferrothorn, Relaxed Nature and 0 Speed IVs can maximize Gyro Ball’s damage output, since you’re already not going to be outspeeding anything. Eviolite bolsters Ferroseed’s already solid bulk, making it the best choice for an item. Finally, Iron Barbs should always be your ability of choice, given Feroseed has no better options, and the chip damage can help wear down your opponents.
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