Ugh… Things are getting mighty rancid-smelling ‘round the Pokémon Podcast HQ nowadays. I for one put far too much sweet basil in my spaghetti sauce tonight. Tytan went on a garlic-eating binge. Steve took Sarah and Kidd to Taco Bell and all hell broke loose after the fact. But the worst… nobody told (lactose intolerant) Travis that that wasn’t a soy milk milkshake. Women and children fled in terror, grown men wept openly, and the Ninja Turtles were forced to evacuate the sewers. All in all, you guys might want to do your best Psycho Mantis impressions and strap on a gas mask good and tight, because this is Ability of the Week: Stench!
Stench was introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Versions, wherein its sole effect was out of battle. If the pokémon with Stench was in the first party position, encounters with wild pokémon were reduced by 50%, or 75% in the Battle Pyramid. Those out of battle rates still apply, but now the Ability is actually, you know, useful. As of generation five, Stench now functions as a built-in King’s Rock, granting a 10% chance to cause the opponent to flinch when you use a damaging attack. Now, before you ask, yes, I am this cool in real life. And, no, you can’t equip a King’s Rock or Razor Fang to stack on top of Stench’s flinching bonus.
Seven pokémon over four evolutionary lines can have Stench as their Ability. A Gloom acquired in the Dream World can have it, though it loses the Ability upon evolving. Muk, Skuntank, and Garbodor, as well as their pre-evolutions are the natural Stench-users, so let’s figure out our best candidate. Immediately, let’s throw out Garbodor (sorry, Steve). In my articles, I like to try to make the case that makes the best use of the Ability being discussed, and Garbodor doesn’t have access to any moves that already have a flinching chance, where our other two do, so we’ll just take out the trash right now (wocka wocka!). Muk is an easy dismissal as well, I’m afraid. In order to make the opponent flinch, you’ve gotta be faster than the opponent, and the big booger only has a base speed of 50. Despite having two moves in its arsenal that already have a chance to flinch (Rock Slide and Rock Tomb), we’ll have to show Muk the door. Which leaves us with…
This guy. Honestly, even though I’ve never used one, I love Skuntank. He’s such a hilarious pokémon. His cry sounds like he’s farting, how can you not love that!? And we all know where skunks’ smells come from. Think about that the next time one uses Acid Spray on you and try not to vomit. The 12-year-old in me is beyond amused. But anyway, Stench. Skuntank isn’t the fastest monster on poké-Earth, but of the three we’ve discussed, his base 85 is your best bet. Skuntank’s one and only attack that has a chance to flinch is Astonish, which it can obtain by breeding. Astonish has a 30% chance to cause flinching on top of an (admittedly meager) 30 physical damage. So how can we make this work? Well, first of all, Stench makes Astonish have a 40% chance to flinch the opponent, which is better than a stick in the eye. Next, let’s pull out one of my favorite trump cards: Attract. Under infatuation, a pokémon only has a 50% chance to attack its opponent/object of lust. So now, assuming you get to move first (you’ll probably want to EV train in Speed), you’ve got a 40/60 chance of causing your opponent to flinch, and then if they get past that, there’s a 50/50 chance that they won’t get past the infatuation check? You could also add insult to injury with a Toxic or maybe a STAB’d Night Slash. Is it as obnoxious as a Serene Grace Togekiss? No, but you get to use a skunk that makes fart noises! AWESOME!
Alright, guys. That does it for me. If you need me, I’ll be opening every window in the HQ before the wallpaper starts to peel. Travis! Seriously! Stop drinking that milkshake! We are out of air freshener and you are out of pants!