Bouffalant, The Bash Buffalo Pokémon. They charge wildly and headbutt everything. Their headbutts have enough destructive force to derail a train. Their fluffy fur absorbs damage, even if they strike foes with a fierce headbutt. They are known to charge so wildly that if a trainer were to enter their territory, they would send it flying.
For some reason, I have this weird fascination with speculating how a modern Pokemon would have performed in RBY. In Bouffalant's case, it would have been a cool combination of Snorlax and Tauros. It would have had as much physical power as Snorlax, a lot more special power, a little less bulk overall, more speed, and access to Swords Dance. Easily a top threat. Fast forward to XY and Bouffalant is a pretty solid Normal-type in lower tier play. It's got lots of things going for it: decent power, nice bulk, good coverage, and even a cool signature move! The main thing keeping it from succeeding in standard environments isn't so much a huge number of flaws. That isn't to say it doesn't have flaws (it does have a few), but the big thing is the competition it gets from other Pokemon that can perform similar jobs. Bouffalant just doesn't have much of a "Wow!" factor that would give players an incentive to use it a lot. While it has several things going for it, nothing in particular really stands out enough to make it an optimal choice over other bulky attackers…well, except the afro. You can always use Bouffalant for the afro.
Reckless: The power of moves with recoil damage is increased by 20%. Not a bad ability, especially considering the fact that Bouffalant's signature move gets the boost. It essentially gives Head Charge almost as much power as Giga Impact, which is cool.
Oh give me a home where the Bouffalant roam…
-Substitute / Swords Dance
When you've got decent power, solid bulk, good neutral coverage, and an immunity to Grass-type attacks, you're bound to force a few switches. So what do you do when you force a switch? You could just attack things, or you could set up! In this case, setting up a Substitute does a good job of scouting potential switch-ins and allowing Bouffalant to get a free attack on anything that the opponent brings into it. It also protects it from status as a bonus. Alternatively, you can also use Swords Dance. A Swords Dance-boosted Bouffalant is pretty dangerous, especially when you're tossing around such a powerful STAB move as Head Charge. Speaking of which, Head Charge is a pretty fantastic move due to its raw power and reliability, even factoring in the recoil. Return can be used instead to avoid recoil (which can really add up if you're using Substitute), but Leftovers generally helps with recoil issues enough to make its signature move worth the trouble. Outside of that, QuakeEdge coverage lets Bouffalant hit pretty much everything for at least neutral damage. You can also use Swords Dance alongside Substitute, a set which is a major pain for defensive teams and can use Substitute to protect Bouffalant from easy revenge killing. Just be aware that without Stone Edge, you have significantly more trouble with Pokemon such as Mismagius, Rotom, and Archeops. With the given EV spread, Bouffalant can achieve as much power as possible and still outspeed uninvested Seismitoad, a pretty solid and common defensive Pokemon in NU. The remaining EVs give Bouffalant a small boost to its already solid bulk.
Get ripped fast with new BUFFalo Powder!
Afro Break…er, Head Charge is a strong enough move on its own. Now give Bouffalant a Choice Band and Reckless. BAM. With those boosts, Head Charge has enough power to knock off up to about 85% of physically defensive Seimitoad's health. Not bad! Once again, QuakeEdge coverage gives you pretty much perfect neutral coverage alongside Head Charge. Bouffalant has a couple of cool moves for that last slot. If Bouffalant can come in on a Ghost- or Psychic-type that it can scare away, Pursuit will guarantee that the opponent will be heavily damaged as it switches out or outright KOed. If you pair Bouffalant with something like Sawk that loves to spam Fighting-type attacks, it'll greatly appreciate the fact that one of the opponent's switch-ins to its STAB moves is now weakened or gone. Alternatively, Megahorn isn't a bad coverage move at all. You don't hit much else that you couldn't hit with Head Charge + QuakeEdge pretty hard anyway, but you do hit a few things such as Spiritomb and Musharna harder than Bouffalant's other moves, and it allows you to 3HKO physically defensive Ferroseed. You could also run Return if you're running low on health and still want to spam a strong Normal STAB without the recoil. The EV spread is the same as the previous set since, as a wallbreaker, it's still important that Bouffalant can outspeed defensive Pokemon such as Seismitoad. Reckless is there mostly for the substantial boost to Head Charge, making it stronger than a status-boosted Façade. That power can be pretty important for a wallbreaking set like this. However, Sap Sipper is always good, albeit a bit less consistent. A +1 Choice Band Bouffalant is not something you want see charging at you.
Bison, have fun at school!
-Return / Head Charge
I'm trying to picture a buffalo wearing a bulletproof vest, but it's not going well. Regardless, Bouffalant can do use the Assault Vest pretty nicely. Might be a tight fit, but it works. With an Assault Vest, Bouffalant achieves about 93.5% as much special bulk as an equally invested Lugia. Needless to say, it can take a punch. Combined with its already solid power, Assault Vest Bouffalant makes for a pretty sturdy special tank. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this set probably prefers Return over Head Charge. Since you're not going for raw power quite as much, nor do you have Leftovers recovery to alleviate recoil concerns, Return serves as a much safer yet still powerful STAB move. Head Charge can still be used, it's just less good on this set. Besides that, the main moves chosen for this set are very similar to those of the Choice Band set. This set has an arguably easier time trapping Ghost- and Psychic-types with Pursuit since, thanks to its Assault Vest-bolstered special bulk, it can take attacks from the special ones even more easily. However, Megahorn is again a solid coverage move that does hit a few Pokemon a bit harder than Bouffalant's other attacks. Unlike the previous sets, this Bouffalant is less concerned with sweeping and more concerned with being a special tank. That said, max HP is preferred to help increase Bouffalant's overall bulk as much as possible while still giving it maximum power. Sap Sipper is also the best ability choice. You can shut down things like Sceptile without Focus Blast and switch into Sleep Powder and such with ease while also gaining a power boost because of it.
Superpower, Rock Tomb, Bulldoze, Rock Slide, Wild Charge, Poison Jab, Iron Head, Endeavor, Soundproof, Choice Scarf
Double & Triple Battle Options
Bouffalant comes off as a niche pick for a team rather than a first choice. Mainly because it's a tough life being a Physically attacking Normal Type when Mega Kangaskhan exists. Base 55 Speed might suggest Trick Room, but base 110 attack is... well it's lame. There are Pokemon tons slower that will hit tons harder. What is Bouffalant good for anyway? The answer lies in what ability you choose for it. Sap Sipper is a free Grass Immunity, most importantly a Spore immunity, Bouffalant's Partner can freely use Petal Blizzard and boost Boufallant's attack too. Sound Proof allows Bouffalant's Partner to spam (hopefully STAB boosted) Boombursts without repercussion and allow Bouffalant to put on more offensive pressure. Reckless is the ability I wouldn't recommend, as it assumes you are to use Bouffalant as the tip of the spear in your offensive game, which won't get you very far outside of a very gimmicky Trick Room team.
- Head Charge/Return
Head Charge is your strongest STAB with low recoil damage. Stone Edge is nice coverage, same with Superpower/Revenge hits Tyranitar hard, who so happens to resist Normal moves. Protect is ALWAYS a great move to consider.
Again, not too complex here, this is a very niche set designed to compliment teams perhaps wanting to abuse Petal Blizzard, or Boomburst. Though, Sap Sipper doesn't need a Petal Blizzard user as the Grass and Spore immunity open up possibilities by itself. The best partners for Boufallant would be those who could abuse it's well placed abilities. Scrappy Modest Specs Boombursting Exploud comes to mind immediately, for the Soundproof set of course.
Aside from it's niche abilities, Bouffalant finds it difficult to be a stand alone threat worthy of building a team around. Trick Room speed, average ish Attack stat, supportive abilities. It definitely comes in as an after thought. It certainly doesn't help that the meta right now is very Anti Mega Kanghaskhan, meaning random Pokemon are carrying Charm, Intimidates and Will-O-Wisps are flying everywhere and Bouffalant can't even begin to fight through all of that at once. Use at your own risk!
Bouffalant is surprisingly difficult to switch directly into due to its high-powered STAB moves and solid neutral coverage. Since it so often spams Head Charge, basically anything that can tank the move can switch in decently, but many of these Pokemon do have to watch out for coverage moves. Bulky Rock- and Steel-types like Rhydon and Magneton can tank Head Charge well enough, but they hate Earthquake. Mismagius, Rotom, and Haunter are immune to the combination of Head Charge and Earthquake, but Stone Edge still hurts. Physically defensive Ferroseed is one of a handful of Pokemon that can really switch in pretty easily. Superpower hurts, but outside of that, it's pretty safe (even Choice Band Megahorn only 3HKOs). Spiritomb is bulky enough to survive even Megahorn and burn Bouffalant in return. Offensive teams can generally beat Bouffalant through raw force. Despite its solid bulk, its lack of recovery means that Bouffalant won't be able to tank hits forever, even if it has an Assault Vest or Leftovers. Its low speed also forces it to tank hits before it can dish them out much of the time. Powerful Fighting-type attacks from Pokemon such as Sawk will put the buffalo down without too much trouble. In fact, Eviolite Gurdurr can actually escape a 2HKO from non-Choice Band Bouffalant's Head Charge and KO between Drain Punch and a following Mach Punch while restoring a significant amount of health thanks to the former. Overall, as long as you keep putting offensive pressure on Bouffalant, it will probably be gone before it can do too much damage.
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