PKMN of the Week: Volcarona


Can you think back to the days when you first emerged from the Day Care Center?  The old man and woman who run the place, they were certainly surprised to find an egg when your trainer had left two Pokémon to be raised there.  Then again, we all suspect the old couple may be a bit senile - they are always surprised when they find an egg, even after they have found hundreds of eggs.  Oh well, they mean no harm.

Your trainer added you to his or her party.  There you were, an egg amongst Pokéballs, wiggling up and down and bopping with every step your trainer took.  How long before you hatched?  How many steps would be necessary?

Were you cold and alone in those days or were you gently warmed; warmed by the presence of another Pokémon in your party?  Did that warmth encourage your growth?  Did it gently coax you from your shell home?

My fellow Pokémon, I mean trainers, I will tell you - every egg that I hatch gets hatched in half the time.  Why?  Because of the loving warmth of my Volcarona, David Hugs.


Oh David, there are so many things I could say about you.  David and I have been together for a long time and we will stay together for the long haul.  He has been good to me and I hope I have been good to him.  Yes, he is the same Volcarona I found in Relic Castle.  Yes, I have used him in both regional and national championship competitions.  I suspect that, no matter how the format changes, I will always have David Hugs in my party.

How does David measure up?  He has a Quiet Nature which is sweet since Volcarona are, by design, Special Attackers; strangely enough he is also quite swift (Quiet boosts Special Attack while hindering Speed).  He is currently level 83 and his stats are:  267 HP, 143 Attack, 124 Defense, 284 Special Attack, 195 Special Defense, and 214 Speed.  Why is his Speed not suffering from the hindering nature?  Because my boy "Likes to run."  That is, his highest IV is in Speed.  He is currently outfitted with Silver Wind (for status improvements), U-turn (yes, I overuse this on my teams), Heat Wave, and Bug Buzz.  David holds a Scope Lens - what, you got a Critical Hit!?  If you couldn't guess, his ability is Flame Body.

OK - if this were any other Volcarona, maybe he could use improvement.  What could be done?

First a note on the difficulties of Larvesta, Volcarona's pre-evolution, and Volcarona breeding and development.  Larvesta learns a set of moves that is almost completely different from Volcarona's and, even worse, learns these all the way up to level 100 (Flare Blitz).  Larvesta learns very powerful and highly accurate moves (Double Edge, Thrash, and Flare Blitz are all 120 base power).  Here is the problem:  Larvesta's highest base stat is Attack while Volcarona's highest base stat is Special Attack.  Larvesta's average base stats come to 60 while Volcarona's approach 92.

Consider the possibility that you can configure your Volcarona to be a physical Attacker.  You could, and he still wouldn't be a strong one, but it is a unique and bizarre possibility.

Your standard Volcarona is a Special Attacker.  If you look at his potential move-set, it is majority special moves.  You should try to get a Modest nature (boost Special Attack and hinder Attack).  Volcarona's biggest risk is Rock-type moves (which are almost all physical), so look for IVs in Special Attack, Defense, and Speed.  Divide your EVs across Special Attack and Defense with the little extra towards HP.

David has some moves to keep and some moves to replace.  Bug Buzz is a killer, especially against Dark and Psychic-types.  Heat Wave should be replaced with Fiery Dance (potentially increases Special Attack with use).  Quiver Dance is optimal for boosting Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed stats.  Finally, throw SolarBeam on there (to attack Rock-types).  This would work especially well on a sunshine team.

I like the Scope Lens for heated knock 'em up battles but, most likely, a Charti Berry would be smarter.  If you feel like your Volcarona will be fast enough to pop a move before a Rock-type enemy, let him hold a Power Herb (consumed but for one time makes a two turn move operate within the same move).

Volcarona can either have Flame Body or Swarm.  I do not like Swarm.  Flame Body punishes physical attackers by burning them.  Swarm kicks in when HP is low.  What if I am doing really well? Then Swarm won't kick in.  Outside of battle, Flame Body helps you hatch eggs faster.  Swarm increases the possibility that you will encounter wild Pokémon.  Really?  Is that what I need?  Seriously, if you want to get your jollies meeting Pokémon through random encounters, look on Craigslist.  Ooops, I mean, take a stroll through Chargestone Cavern.  You know what I mean.

If you're having trouble with a Volcarona, throw rocks at it.  Seriously, everyone needs to have a Rock-type move available in every combo of Pokémon you throw out.  It will certainly bruise up a poor Volcarona.

I currently have two Volcarona cards, neither one in my deck.  Fire-type, both have 110 HP.  One has Fiery Dance and Heat Wave - Fiery Dance is an energy mover and Heat Wave burns.  My second Volcarona card only has one move, Burning Wind, which also burns, but requires an energy discard to accomplish.  This one has the Scorching Scales Ability, though, which doubles burn damage.  Possibly the two could be used in combo?

I will have deep bro-love for Volcarona for a long time.  I am almost concerned that I may commit to him through VGC Nationals next year.  We'll see - I love him a lot.

If anyone would like to help me learn to play TCG better or have a VGC battle against Team Tickles, I have started to attend the Fairfax, VA Pokémon league sessions.  Come on by!