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January 27, 2017

2

Pokémon Analysis 8 – Nihilego!

by chaoticespeon

Now that we’ve (for the most part) completed our analysis of Trick Room setters, it’s time to move on to something… a little quicker than the previous 7 analysis articles. As voted for by members of Facebook’s VGC Battling Hub, analysis eight will focus on the first Ultra Beast we see during our Alolan adventures; Nihilego!

nihilego-base-stats

If we take that base 47 Defence out of the equation, Nihilego is a monster; with amazingly high stats across the board and an interesting Rock/Poison typing, it has potential to be one of the best Pokémon in VGC 17.

Sadly, despite very high Special Defence & HP stats, the combination of its Rock/Poison type and low physical defence means that running a more “tanky” spread is somewhat out of the question. Kartana & Garchomp being prevalent Pokémon in the format really hinder Nihilego’s flexibility and usage, especially when the former outspeeds Nihilego and – even if you’re running only 4 Ev’s in attack – are OHKOing all but the obscenely bulky Nihilego spreads around:

4 Atk Kartana Smart Strike vs. 236 HP / 172 Def Nihilego: 180-212 (84.1 – 99%) — guaranteed 2HKO

We won’t be covering spreads like the one above here in depth as sacrificing all but 100 EVs just to survive Smart Strike from a typical Assault Vest Kartana is a massive waste of Nihilego’s potential.

Before we go into set one it’s important to note: you’ll want to level up your Nihilego to 100 and use a Gold Bottle cap – this is because the IVs for Hidden Power Fire lower Special Attack and Speed, the two most important stats for this spread. With that said…

Set 1: Metabreaker
tumblr_ogggoyj0m11sqehnzo3_400
Nihilego @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Power Gem
– Sludge Bomb
– Hidden Power [Fire]

There are a LOT of teams with a core containing Arcanine, Kartana and Tapu Fini running riot at the top of VGC 17 ladders in both Showdown and Battlespot. Whilst this set doesn’t single-handedly deal with the entirety of those teams, its goal is to significantly disrupt the momentum of the aforementioned trio. Being slower than Kartana makes the Focus Sash a necessity, especially when Hidden Power Fire guarantees the knock out on the standard Assault Vest set. Power Gem and Sludge Bomb are the powerful STAB attacks, both of which score super effective hits on Arcanine and Tapu Fini respectively.

Beast Boost will increase Nihilego’s already huge Special Attack stat after one knock out, so if you’re able to pick up the surprise OHKO onto Kartana, the other two will fall with relative ease.

Because we’re dropping the option of Hidden Power Ice, you’ll need to be wary of Garchomp with this set – but with five other slots left on your team, you should be carrying something else to deal with the common land shark.

Sludge Bomb Calcs:

252 SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 108-128 (61 – 72.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

+1 252 SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 162-192 (91.5 – 108.4%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO

252 SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Bulu: 316-376 (178.5 – 212.4%) — guaranteed OHKO

+1 252 SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 164 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Lele: 204-240 (122.8 – 144.5%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Tapu Koko: 192-228 (131.5 – 156.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

Power Gem Calcs:

252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Arcanine: 162-192 (82.2 – 97.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery

+1 252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Arcanine: 240-284 (121.8 – 144.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Marowak-Alola: 164-194 (98.2 – 116.1%) — 87.5% chance to OHKO

252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Salamence: 164-194 (95.9 – 113.4%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO

Hidden Power Fire Calcs

252 SpA Nihilego Hidden Power Fire vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Kartana: 316-376 (234 – 278.5%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Nihilego Hidden Power Fire vs. 84 HP / 164 SpD Assault Vest Kartana: 152-180 (104.8 – 124.1%) — guaranteed OHKO

Potential Partners:

So, an issue with this spread is that, at neutral, Nihilego is going to be just barely missing out on a few OHKOs. An ideal partner will be quick and have the ability to dish out the remaining damage needed for the knock out.

tapu-koko
With a Life Orb, Tapu Koko would be the almost perfect partner – spread Dazzling Gleam does enough to finish off most Arcanine whilst Thunderbolt would certainly help finish opposing Tapu Fini. Using Nihilego and Tapu Koko together, however, would increase your weakness to Garchomp (particularly the Assault Vest variants), but improve the matchup against Celesteela.

786
Pop a scarf on Tapu Lele and you can fire off Dazzling Gleams or other attacks to pick off opposing Pokémon. Psychic Terrain also has the added benefit of protecting Nihilego from priority Bullet Punches from the rouge Metagross, or other priority attacks which attempt to pick it off once brought down to its sash.

gastrodon-east
Whilst the other two are designed to lead with Nihilego and overwhelm the opponent with offence, Gastrodon is more useful kept in the back to switch in and protect Nihilego when facing down powerful water attacks from Golduck or Gyarados. You can also train Gastrodon to OHKO opposing Garchomp but naturally you’ll want to be wary around Kartana.

Set 2: The alternative
nihilego
Nihilego @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Protect
– Power Gem
– Sludge Bomb
– Hidden Power [Ice]

I like Nihilego a lot, it’s not very versatile but it executes its role as a special sweeper brilliantly. If you’re wanting to drop the Focus Sash in favour of Life Orb, you’ll want a better way of dealing big damage to Kartana than Nihilego’s Hidden Power Fire. Hidden Power Ice – boosted by Life Orb – has the potential to OHKO a non Assault Vest Garchomp; naturally you’ll still have to be wary of Assault Vest (but even they can be dealt with by partnering Nihilego with one of the above Tapus) and Choice Scarf variants.

The increase in damage output granted by a Life Orb is hugely noticeable:

252 SpA Life Orb Nihilego Power Gem vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Arcanine: 211-250 (107.1 – 126.9%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Life Orb Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 140-166 (79 – 93.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO after sandstorm damage and Leftovers recovery

+1 252 SpA Life Orb Nihilego Sludge Bomb vs. 252 HP / 44+ SpD Tapu Fini: 211-250 (119.2 – 141.2%) — guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Life Orb Nihilego Hidden Power Ice vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Garchomp: 203-239 (110.9 – 130.6%) — guaranteed OHKO

Set 3: I’m not obsessed with Trick Room… Honest…
215
Nihilego @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Trick Room
– Power Gem
– Sludge Bomb
– Protect / Acid Spray

Remember when people would run Trick Room on Gengar to surprise their opponents in best of one? Well, that’s what you’ll be doing with this Nihilego; set Trick Room, switch out to something slower, knock out as many opposing Pokémon as possible and – if you haven’t won by the time Trick Room expires, you still have something quick which hits hard enough to finish off opponents.

I wouldn’t recommend this spread in the slightest for competitive play – stick to the other two; but if you want to have a bit of fun on the low ladder, give it a go.

Also, I certainly wouldn’t recommend dropping Protect, I just wanted an excuse to give Acid Spray an honourable mention. It may be a weak move at 40 base power, but it lowers the targets Special Defence by two stages; could potentially be useful in the right circumstances… but probably not… maybe…

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