AOTW: Arena Trap

It’s that time again! And sadly, no, not time for the Wheel of Morality. Yes, I did just reference Animaniacs AND Harry Potter in the same thought. My Patronus packs away the snacks.(Ten points to Gryffindor if you understood that reference. Jeeze, I’m old.) No, it’s time for us to examine yet another Ability of the Week! Are you someone who is afraid of closed areas? Someone who doesn’t like being stuck, unable to escape? Then this article isn’t for you. Everybody else… we now have our targets. This is Ability of the Week: Arena Trap!

As it is with so many of them, this Ability was introduced in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, but unlike so many of the base set Abilities, Arena Trap’s list of users hasn’t expanded since. The monsters with access to Arena Trap are still only Diglett, Dugtrio, and Trapinch (and Trapinch isn’t a fully evolved monster, so you probably won’t be using it. Dugtrio a-go-go, folks). Of course, I’d be remiss at this point to not mention that there are two other Abilities with similar effects as Arean Trap, Shadow Tag and Magnet Pull, but they do have some subtle differences, so we’ll talk about those later. Arena Trap makes it impossible for the defending pokémon to flee, unless they are a Flying type, have Levitate, or are under the effects of Magnet Rise or Telekinesis. In short, unless they are immune to Ground type moves, your opponent will be unable to switch out. The exceptions to this rule are monsters that employ U-Turn or Baton Pass. The other advantage to Arena Trap is that its secondary effect can help you grind by doubling the random encounter rate when a pokémon with the Ability is leading the party. This may also lead you to needing new desk after you bang your head into it repeatedly. Seriously, bring some Repels.

Here’s the trick to Dugtrio with Arena Trap. If want to take advantage of the Ability, you’ve got to gamble a little bit. The fun of an Arena Trap user, from where I’m sitting, is watching your opponent squirm while watch their pokémon squirm in the squirmiest of fashions. (Squirm is fun word, by the way.) Now normally, with what I’m about to propose, you’d want to use a pokémon that can be a tank. Dugtrio… he’s not really suited for that. With a miniscule base HP of 35, the Mole Pokémon won’t be powering any lasting Substitutes any time soon. Defense and Special Defense don’t fare much better. Where Dugtrio excels, though, is in Speed and Attack. And it’s the Speed stat we’re going to rely on here with what I propose for taking advantage of Arena Trap.

First off, if you have the means, Baton Pass in a meaty Substitute just for added protection. Turn one with Dugtrio, hit the opponent with an Attract. Now, right out of the gate, they can’t retreat, have a 50/50 shot at attacking, and assuming you have the means to rock that Baton Passed Substitute, if they DO connect an attack, you’ve got a few solid turns of shrugging it off. Turn two, hit ‘em with a Toxic. From here, play around a little bit with it! I’m a fan of Double Team, personally. Once you hit the 60% evasiveness cap, your opponent’s first pokémon will probably have been knocked out. Some other options include Swagger (probably not the best plan if you can’t Pass that Substitute over), Astonish (Dugtrio’s pretty darn quick, so you should be able to get that 30% chance to flinch from attacking first), and Protect (just to get a free turn with Toxic dealing its damage).

Before anybody calls me on it, would a Dugtrio with a Choice Band probably be a more effective sweeper than this Arena Trap staller? Eh, maybe. But that wouldn’t really play into Arena Trap, would it? You want to talk Choice item strategies, go check out Travis’ articles. But anyway! That does it for this installment of Ability of the Week. Join me next time when I try in vain to amuse and educate about the passive powers of our favorite digital cockfighting sport and nobody comments. Later!