PKMN of the Week: Salamence

Something amazing happened this past Thursday.  Something that has never, ever, ever, happened before.  I beat my friend Gabe in a Pokémon battle!  It was a real battle, too - he wasn't going easy on me.  We had gone a few rounds already, I was on my second beer, and I had figured there was no way that I was going to beat his Hydreigon, Zapdos, Archeops, and Starmie team.  What I didn't realize was he had decided to swap out his Starmie for a Cloyster.  What a mistake!  I had finally gotten my Whiscash to stomp Archeops, my Hydreigon somehow beat his Zapdos, and he was just left with just Hydreigon and Cloyster.  Well, if you don't know - I love my Volcarona.  While not my favorite Pokémon of all time, I love using it in battle.  Friends, just a little Bug Buzz from my Volcarona, David Hugs, and Hydreigon was down.  Cloyster came out and before he could set up with Shell Smash - Bug Buzz, Bug Buzz - Boom, Cloyster was down and Will was the winner!

All of this to remind you guys that Bug-types are 1,000 times more awesome than Dark-types and that the Pokémon this week is . . . Genesect!

No it's not.  There is no such thing as a Genesect.  Don't be foolish.  You're imagining things.

Sadly, in my quest to cover all of the 600 club, I have run out of the cool ones.  All that are left are variations on Dragon-types.  Blecch.  Dragon-types are the worst.  It's like eating all of your delicious dinner and being left with just a pile of lima beans.  Blecch.

OK, that's not true, there is Regigigas still to do - Normal, Normal, Normal - but I'm saving that for dessert.

The work must be completed.

That leaves us with Salamence, Latias, Latios, and Garchomp.  Latias and Latios are standalones - they don't have any prior evolutions.  Interestingly enough, Garchomp comes from a line of Dragon/Ground-types and Salamence, even though he comes from a line of pure Dragon-types, is Dragon/Flying-type.  Notable contrast between the two.  They will still both be sunk by Ice-type moves.

The story of Salamence makes me think of Lamarckian inheritance.  Its prior evolutions so desperately want to be able to fly that its desires induce the wing mutation, giving it its flying ability.  That's right, Salamence is the REAL giraffe Pokémon!

Salamence does, in some ways, mimic the typical Bug-type Pokémon evolutions -  larva, chrysalis, adult.  It's still not a cool Bug-type, though.

Salamence's strength is in Attack, Special Attack, and Speed; it is weak in Defense and Special Defense, HP in the middle.  Since Salamence primarily learns Physical attacks, I would divide EV training between Attack and Speed and look for a nature that is going to work towards your Speed or Attack based strategy (Adamant or Jolly will give you the boosts you need without taking more away from Salamence's already low Defense stats).  Feed your Salamance on Leavanny (Attack EVs) or Scolipede (Speed EVs) faints if you can find them!

We're looking for one Dragon, one Flying, one counter-effective, and one status move for Salamence's move set.  I like Dragon Tail a lot, it can really mess with your opponents strategy and deal some damage, Dragon Claw is going to give you more bang for your buck, Outrage is there if you are willing to take the confusion risk.  Fly and Aerial Ace are your Flying-type move options.  You may want to stick with Aerial Ace since it is a sure hit (unaffected by accuracy or evasiveness).  Of course, your biggest threat will be Ice-types, with Rock and Dragon-type moves coming in second place.  Fire Fang is a decent physical Fire-type attack that will help against the Ice-types, unfortunately, Salamence does not learn any Steel-type attacks that would counter Ice and Rock-types equally.  Dragon Dance will fit in as your status move - if you can get it in a round you'll make your Attack and Speed stats one stage higher.

Who should you use if confronted with a Salamence?  Weren't you listening before?  Cloyster.  That guy is just mean on Dragon-types.  Cloyster + Icicle Spear = Goodbye Salamence!  The nice thing is Cloyster is Water/Ice-type, so Fire-type moves are not very effective against it.

Salamence should hold a Yache Berry to protect against Ice-type moves, Persim Berry if you are going to use Outrage, or a Fire-gem to knock out those Ice-type monsters.

Unfortunately, the next few weeks are going to be Dragon-type, Dragon-type, Dragon-type.  I'll do my best to keep them exciting.  Bug Catcher Will signing off!