Klefki, The Key Ring Pokémon. These key collectors threaten any attackers by fiercely jingling their keys at them. It never lets go of a key that it likes, so people give it the keys to vaults and safes as a way to prevent crime.
Okay, admit it. When you saw the picture of Klefki at the top of this page, you felt something. Maybe it was endearment over how cute this little ring of keys is. Or maybe it was sheer, unyielding rage over the memories of Swagger-induced nightmares that have plagued the denizens of the competitive battling world ever since the dawn of XY. Either way, Klefki has made a pretty big mark for such a small Pokemon. It really goes to show that even if you aren't a big, powerful fighter with great stats, you can still carve a fantastic niche if you have the right combination of movepool, ability, and typing. Klefki proves this with a fantastic typing, one of the best abilities in the game for a support Pokemon, and more than enough of a movepool to make the most of it. Whether you want Spikes, Dual Screens, or just an emergency Thunder Wave that you can toss out to stop an opposing sweeper, this little bugger is the true key to success.
Prankster: Status category moves have their Speed priority increased by 1 stage. Like Sableye before it, Klefki has been able to succeed despite its low stats thanks to this great ability. Prankster Thunder Wave as an emergency check is notable enough, but access to key moves like Spikes, Reflect, and Light Screen only sweeten the deal.
The Key to Happiness
This is one of Klefki's most universally useful sets. Thanks to its great typing and decent enough bulk with maximum investment, Klefki makes for a decent glue on many teams. Its unique set of resistances makes it a pretty decent answer to some dangerous offensive Pokemon, such as Mega Gardevoir, Greninja, and Latios. Once it's in, Klefki has several great utilities that it can offer to its teammates. Spikes isn't as universally useful as Stealth Rock, but due to the more consistent damage that the hazards deal to grounded Pokemon, it can wear down certain Pokemon and cores surprisingly fast once you start stacking layers. Thunder Wave is another very key (pun SOOOOO intended) move on this set. As anyone who's used Thundurus will attest, having a priority Thunder Wave at your disposal can be a real lifesaver versus a number of sweepers; paralyzing a dangerous opponent can dramatically reduce its ability to threaten your team. Klefki will want some form of consistent damage and something to keep it from being completely shut down by Substitute, Taunt, etc. users. Play Rough is a solid STAB move with good power and neutral coverage, specifically hitting a couple of targets such as the Lati twins very hard. Foul Play is less consistent, but it does have the advantage of bypassing Klefki's low Attack stat, which makes it a great move for strong physical attackers, such as Mega Pinsir and Mega Gallade. Flash Cannon is another option, giving Klefki a better way of harming threats such as Mega Diancie and Mega Gardevoir. Keep in mind that you should use a Calm nature rather than a Careful one if using Foul Play or Flash Cannon. Both of the choices for the last moveslot are pretty handy. Magnet Rise removes one of Klefki's only two weaknesses, turning potential checks such as Landorus-T and non-Fire Blast Garchomp into completely liabilities. Meanwhile, Prankster Toxic is a useful tool for causing consistent passive damage and crippling bulkier Pokemon that might not mind being paralyzed. A specially defensive EV spread and one of the two +SpD natures are chosen in order to let Klefki take on a variety of specially offensive opponents, as such a spread tends to fit its particular resistances better than a physically defensive spread (although physically defensive Klefki is still an option).
Not every team can fully appreciate the utility of Dual Screens, but for those that can, Klefki is one of the first choices that you should consider. With priority Dual Screens, Klefki can double its physical or special bulk on a whim, letting it take hits even more easily and get up the other screen before fainting and giving you an opportunity to send in a teammate. With the increased survivability offered by Reflect and Light Screen, a number of frailer sweepers suddenly get brand new opportunities to set up that they wouldn't have had before, which can be a real game changer with the right matchup. Your offensive options are pretty similar to those of the previous support set. Play Rough has pretty consistent power and solid neutral coverage, Foul Play turns the opponent's own Attack stat against them, and Flash Cannon hits a few specific threats harder (especially opposing Fairy-types). The last slot is dedicated to other utilities that Klefki can run. Fairy Lock is a pretty amazing option if you can time it right. If Klefki is KOed right after using Fairy Lock, then the opponent will be trapped during the next turn even after Klefki faints, allowing you to bring in a sweeper with an advantageous matchup and get a free turn of setup. However, there are still other options for that last slot. Prankster Thunder Wave is pretty universally useful, and just about any offensive team can appreciate Klefki's ability to cripple nearly any opposing sweeper at a moment's notice. Spikes is also an appreciated form of support for offensive due to the raw amount of passive damage that you can accumulate between Stealth Rock and Spikes. Fairy Lock's ability to allow extremely easy setup alongside Dual Screens is pretty hard to pass up, though, so it's still the most optimal option. You can run Leftovers for more survivability, but Light Clay is a lot more optimal since it significantly increases the length of time that Dual Screens last.
Skill Set…of Keys
And the award for most ironic set nickname in history goes to…SkillKeys! Stare in horror at the dastardly demon, the malevolent monster, the cruelest creature of all creation, a set so unbelievably evil that it helped get Swagger banned from a number of communities that had hardly given the move a second thought over the past 5 generations. If you've never experienced this terror yourself, allow me to explain the instruments of torture at Klefki's disposal. First, you have your Swagger. Using this move literally turns your opponent's next few turns into a coinflip since they'll only have a 50% chance to hit you. Combined with the 25% paralysis rate offered by Thunder Wave, your opponent will only be able to successfully move 37.5% of the time. Oh, but that's not all Swagger does. It also raises your opponent's Attack stat two stages, which mean that it won't take long before Foul Play starts to hurt. A lot. As if that wasn't bad enough, if your opponent misses just one attack, you get a free Substitute. That, of course, means more free hits that you can take while you toss out even more Swaggers and Foul Plays. Through the power of sheer luck alone, you can win matchups by causing your opponent to succumb to repeated confusion hits and Foul Plays. Or put an axe through their computer, whichever comes first. Now, I do realize that some newer players may have never had the…ahem…pleasure of facing this set for themselves, depending on the ruleset they used. If you're one of those players, you can simulate the experience by incessantly beating your head against a brick wall while listening to Mandark's laugh on repeat until you pass out.
Dazzling Gleam, Magic Coat, Heal Block, Switcheroo, Calm Mind, Protect, Rest, Sleep Talk, Draining Kiss, Sitrus Berry, Recycle, Double Team
Double & Triple Battle Options
Klefki is a great and unfortunate Pokemon. Steel/Fairy typing is excellent for resistances, though when building a team with Klefki, one must ask if what Klefki brings to the table is worth more than what Mega Mawile could. Prankster Thunder Wave is invaluable, but Thundurus does that, but faster. Where does Klefki fit in?
WHEN YOU WALK AWAY
Its typing and generally defensive demeanor let it stick around for a few turns while being able to spread status and be annoying in general. Thunder Wave is excellent speed control and when combined with a successful Swagger tilt the odds against your opponent's attack being successful. With Foul Play in the mix Swagger goes from "gimmicky uncompetitive move" to "gimmicky uncompetitive move with a secondary purpose" as Foul PLay deals damage based on the target's attacking stat, which may have been boosted through their own means or by Swagger. The last move is up to personal preference. Safeguard allows Klefki to Swagger its team mate for a free attack boost, but I can't guarantee it success as I've missed far too many self Swaggers, which led me to the next move, Crafty Shield.
Crafty Shield is one of Klefki's Signature moves, what it does is protect your side from non damaging moves for the turn, with Prankster, that's +4 Priority. It can be used as many times in a row and allows Klefki an opportunity to avoid being Taunted, which would shut the whole set down otherwise. Though when using Crafty Shield, make sure the partner can dispose of the status threat, otherwise Klefki is going to be a sitting duck for longer than it should be.
A good partner for Klefki would be Salamence as they resist each others weaknesses. Though to go further, a Pokemon that could handle Mamoswine or Landorus would be a great addition too. Milotic and Rotom-W come to mind too.
Klefki is a support Pokemon primarily, so without a partner it is near useless by itself. Because of that, the partner may be taking more hits than usual. And base 57 HP is pretty terrible, it's really only going to take one Super Effective attack before being in Quick Attack KO range. Use at your own risk!
The key (okay, I'm done now) to beating Klefki is to take advantage of its passive nature. Klefki isn't much of a fighter, so if you find a way to shut down its ability to support its team, you pretty much shut down Klefki as a whole. Taunt users such as Thundurus and Gengar can stop Klefki from using any of its best status moves; Thundurus is particularly effective since it's immune to Thunder Wave and has Prankster of its own to beat Klefki to the punchline. Since Klefki is a very passive Pokemon, basically anything with solid bulk and/or reliable recovery can wall it, with Gliscor being a prime example thanks to the fact that it even laughs at Thunder Wave and Toxic. You'll mainly just have to be careful about Klefki's teammates, especially if it's supporting them with Dual Screens and such. It's probably a good idea to carry some form of hazard removal and prevention if your team looks weak to Spikes, as otherwise, Klefki can do some major damage with the hazard. Magic Bounce users such as Mega Diancie and Mega Sableye can send moves like Spikes and Thunder Wave back at Klefki, while Defog users have the advantage of removing not only Spikes, but Dual Screens as well. Excadrill is a particularly notable Rapid Spin user that can tackle Klefki with its STAB Earthquake, ability to spin away Spikes, and immunity to both Thunder Wave and Toxic. While you'll have to be careful about Prankster status moves, offensive Pokemon with strong attacks and/or super effective coverage can wear Klefki down quite easily. Landorus-T is an example of an offensive Pokemon that isn't even afraid of Thunder Wave, but it gets shut down by Magnet Rise variants. If you ever have to face the Swagger variants, good luck, and I mean that quite literally. Outside of ridiculously niche counters (hi, Numel), SkillKeys is capable of haxing its way past just about everything if it gets lucky enough. Still, Pokemon with low physical power to physical bulk ratios (preferably with a resistance to Foul Play) can generally outlast Klefki, notable examples being Chansey and Mandibuzz. Regenerator users can also switch in and out of SkillKeys while healing off chip damage and constantly recovering from confusion. If all else fails, sometimes it's best to just find another battle. This game is supposed to be fun, so don't waste your time playing Russian Roulette with Klefki.
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