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[Skeleton] Swellow

Discussion in 'NU Analyses' started by Spoovo The Pirate, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Spoovo The Pirate

    Spoovo The Pirate Meep! Article Contributor Article Contributor

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    That moment where you notice that Smogon literally has a Specs Swellow set as their main listing. O.o

    == General ==

    *Swellow is one of those pokemon praised as being 'slightly better than the other birds'. Its plumage has lost a bit of its sheen, what with Mega Pidgeot climbing far higher up the tiers than it, however it's by no means a bad pokemon, still making a laughing stock of Dodrio and friends.
    *A base 125 Speed is amazing, allowing Swellow to outpace a very large portion of the tier. Its base 85 Attack is a tad meagre by comparison, and it has all the bulk of tissue, however the reason Swellow outclasses most of its fellow birds is down to its primary ability, Guts.
    *Guts enables Swellow to absorb status for the team without hesitation, because said status moves will only power up its Attack stat to far more impressive levels, and even spam a full power Facade with little cost.
    *Other than that though, Swellow's novelty ends there. It's a bit of a one trick birdy.

    == Guts attacker ==

    Swellow @ Flame Orb / Toxic Orb
    Ability: Guts
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spd
    Jolly nature

    -Facade
    -Brave Bird
    -U-turn
    -Protect / Quick Attack

    *This is Swellow in a nutshell. Fast, frail, and powerful.
    *The EVs and nature are fairly self explanatory, making the most of Swellow's only two good stats. A Jolly nature is all but mandatory, as Adamant doesn't really gain much, and the Speed loss is quite painful.

    *Facade in slot 1 is for nuking whatever doesn't resist. This is pretty much anything but Ghost-, Rock-, and Steel-types. Brave Bird in slot 2 is mostly for the Ghost-types that are immune to Facade, but also any Grass-, Bug- or Fighting-types loitering around. The recoil will hurt, but the target will be hurt a lot more.

    *U-turn in slot 3 is for scouting, as Swellow's movepool is, unfortunately, very small. Scouting early game lets Swellow know what it can come in on safely, and also check what movesets the opponent(s) are using. A scout can be fitted onto almost any team, and Swellow makes a mighty fine one with its blistering base 125 Speed.
    *Lastly, Protect and Quick Attack are in slot 4. Protect guarantees the safe activation of Swellow's status orb, and can also scout for super effective moves, while Quick Attack simply helps Swellow pick off a weakened target. It hits surprisingly hard when Swellow is in status, but its ideal use is to KO something weakened, and activate its orb on the same turn.
    *The choice between status orbs depends on how likely you are to switch with Swellow. If you switch more often, the Toxic Orb is better for you, as it deals less damage to Swellow over the first two turns, while the Flame Orb is a better choice if you're keeping Swellow out for more than two turns, due to it inflicting constant damage.

    == Other Options ==

    *The given set can hold different items if you're banking on something else putting it in status. This is risky, but it can work in Swellow's favour, especially if it's holding a Life Orb, Choice Band or similar. The Choice Scarf, Muscle Band and Silk Scarf are all fairly worthwhile options. Even the Leftovers can be used, to give Swellow more survivability. All are highly risky though, as it'll backfire horribly if Swellow gets put in the wrong status, such as sleep.

    *Speaking of sleep, Swellow can function as a fairly decent user of Sleep Talk thanks to Guts. If this appeals, simply tack it onto slot 4 in place of Protect or Quick Attack. Pursuit and Steel Wing are other options that can be considered, the former for catching a fleeing Ghost- or Psychic-type, and the latter for helping to break into Rock-types. Neither are recommended however.

    *Swellow's high Speed lets it use Defog somewhat effectively for the team, however its frailty would generally work against it. Roost can be used to alleviate this frailty a little bit, but will rarely come in useful.

    *Endeavor is in Swellow's movepool, and can work extremely well in tandem with Swellow's Hidden Ability Scrappy and a Focus Sash, with Quick Attack to finish off the weakened target. However, with Jellicent being the only common Ghost in the tier - one that is deathly afraid of Swellow's Brave Bird, Endeavor is difficult to justify.

    *Work Up can be used to boost Swellow's offensive stats, however it has trouble finding room for the move, and even more difficulty finding time to use it, in a tier where a stray attack could easily OHKO it.

    *Lastly, Swellow can run an extremely gimmicky Choice Specs set, utilising its awful base 50 Special Attack and Scrappy, due to its access to Boomburst, as well as Air Slash, Heat Wave, and various Hidden Powers. However, Chatot is also in the tier, gets basically the same moves, a far better Special Attack stat, and Nasty Plot. As previously mentioned, Ghosts aren't common enough in the tier to necessitate a Scrappy Boomburst from Choice Specs Swellow. Jellicent would likely beat Specs Swellow one on one anyway.

    == Checks and Counters ==

    *As mentioned earlier in the analysis, Rock- and Steel-types are essentially the bane of Swellow, generally taking anything it can throw, and knocking the bird out of the sky with any STAB. Specially bulky ones such as Bronzong and Assault Vest Regirock are the hardest of counters, as they don't even fear assaults from the rare Choice Specs sets.

    *If you can't find a specially bulky Steel- or Rock-type though, that's generally fine, because Choice Specs Swellow is gimmicky, and very rare. Mega Steelix, Magneton and other physically bulky pokemon are also fine answers.

    *Choice Scarf pokemon are good answers to Swellow sets if they can take a hit, with Rotom being a great initial choice due to it being immune to one STAB, resistant to the other, and also resistant to U-turn. Other Choice Scarf abusers include Sawk and Typhlosion, both of whom can lure in and remove a Swellow. The latter two are better off revenge killing, however.

    *Letting Swellow wear itself out with recoil and its own status orb is an option, but not recommended, due to how much damage it can deal in that time. Powerful priority moves such as STAB Ice Shards from the likes of Eviolite Piloswine or (Mega) Abomasnow is also a reliable way to finish it off. Even priority that doesn't hit for super effective damage can take large chunks out of Swellow due to its frailty, with itemless Adamant Feraligatr taking off a good 40% with Aqua Jet.