PKMN of the Week: Hitmontop


Looks like we're walking in on a battle that has just gotten underway.  On the field:  Hitmontop versus Cresselia.

Looks like Cresselia has her EVs in Speed and is getting the opportunity to go first.  She goes in for the quick knock out with Psychic.

It does not affect Hitmontop.

Hitmontop retaliates with Dark Pulse and Cresselia faints.  It's super effective!

The opponent next sends out Tornadus.  He's sure to get a KO on Hitmontop!

Tornadus keeps it safe with some Aerial Ace.  He lands a smack on our friend Hitmontop.



The illusion fades and the real Pokémon of the week is revealed:  Zoroark.

We all have something in common with Zoroark.  We present different faces to the world depending on circumstances.  At work, I am professional Will, successful IT services manager at a major US university.  With my friends I am super chill Will sending out good vibes and laughter wherever I go.  When I go out I am everybody's jealous of Will because I am so tall, muscular, and handsome.  On Twitter, I am, well, Arceus preserve my Twitter followers.

I honestly wouldn't really recommend using Zoroark at a large organized competition.  If your battle box is locked people are eventually going to pick up that you are throwing out Zoroark as one of your first Pokémon.  He can really impair your flexibility.  I was kind of stuck using Zoroark because he is one of my best trained Pokémon.  Plus I am drawn to darkness.

My Zoroark's name is Darn Happy (represented by the little smiley face).  I actually had to do some money laundering to get him - I received his parent in a Global trade, bred him, and then released his parent.  I always do this for Pokémon received from Global trades just to be certain I am not carrying a hacked or fake Pokémon.  I was not lucky enough to receive the event Zoroark.

Darn has a Naive nature so he has a boost in Speed and a hinder in Special Defense.  He's Mischievous, so Special Attack is his highest base stat.  He has relatively superior potential overall with his best potential in Special Attack and also a good IV in Speed.  Basically, he has a perfect IV in Special Attack and a boosted stat in Speed.  Currently at Level 67 his HP is 182, Attack is 185, Defense is 112, Special Attack is 199, Special Defense is 90, and Speed is 201.  Nicely, if an opponent is weak to Dark-types Darn Happy can usually pound them before they get a chance to strike back.  Even better if I trick them into using a Psychic or Flying-type move.

Surprisingly enough, Darn Happy is actually my best outfitted Pokémon.  He knows Aerial Ace (to counter super effective Fighting-types), Night Daze as his powerful STAB move, Protect (works when scouting with another Pokémon), and Grass Knot (for knocking out the big and heavy Pokémon).

Your typical Zoroark has base stats averaging out to 85, Special Attack being highest, Attack and Speed tied for second, and HP, Defense, and Special Defense all tied at 60 for last place.  Zoroark is a hit 'em hard and hit 'em fast kind of guy, not a defender.  Most Dark-type attacks are physical attacks, so you'll want to boost that stat as much as possible, go for a Lonely or Naughty nature.  If you aren't going to use Night Daze or Dark Pulse, you can go for an Adamant nature which will sacrifice on Zoroark's high Special Attack.

Darn Happy carries a Flying Gem to give his Aerial Ace an extra kick.  Strategically, this was selected because of the prevalence of Hitmontop in the VGCs.  If I could get in with a strong Aerial Ace boosted by Flying gem I might be able to take out Zoroark's biggest threat before a punch was thrown.  If you feel the need to bolster Zoroark's Defense go with a Chople berry if fighting types are prevalent or a Tanga berry if you are worried about Bug-types.

Just a note on Bug-types, and I am not a "Bug Catcher Will" - always have a Bug-type move available in your party.  With the prevalence of Cresselia and Tyranitar as powerful Pokémon Bug-type moves can come in really helpful.

I will also give another full disclosure - I have the Zoroark C-Gear skin on my 3DS.  I really like Zoroark a lot.  My first Pokémon TCG theme deck was the Shadows deck which centers around Zoroark.  He really is one of my favorite Pokémon conceptually if not competitively.  I even like the Zoroark movie.

The Zoroark card in the TCG actually has some pretty nice features.  100 HP, which isn't too good, but it won't be knocked out by a 90 power attack.  It carries two attacks - Brutal Bash and Dark Rush.  Brutal Bash (double colorless) works really well if you are running an all Dark-type deck - 20 times the number of Dark-types you have in play.  If you have a full bench and Zoroark in the lead that's 120 damage to your foe.  Dark Rush (two Dark energy) is a sweet revenge move if someone does manage to throw 90 damage on Zoroark he can retaliate with 180 damage back.  If you have a healer in play you might be able to continue a little afterwards but most likely Zoroark is going to be gone shortly afterwards.

Zoroark is a sweet trickster, hopefully you'll grow to love him as much as I do!