Are you the type of Pokemon trainer who just keeps all your PP Ups and Maxes in your bag without really understanding when using them would every really pay off? Well if you are, then prepare to finally have a use for them because Serperior is slithering to town with some tricks up its… ummmm… tail?
Ever since it received the Contrary ability, stat junkies who didn’t get their fix with Malamar and Shuckle have been running to get their hands on this delightful celery stalk. For those of you who don’t know what contrary is, it will reverse whatever stats it would normally gain or lose in the same increment. In Serperior’s case, Leaf Storm is the obvious way to abuse this nifty little power. To spell it out, Leaf Storm is a 130 base power Grass-type move (Which gives Serperior a 2x Attack Bonus) that would normally lower Serperior’s Special Attack by two stages. With Contrary, this reduction is reversed to bring Serperior’s Special Attack up two stages. Unfortunately, it has 90% accuracy and only a max of 8 power points, but you can’t have it all, you know?
Probably to balance out this absurdity, Serperior’s special move pool, other than other Grass moves, is basically limited to Dragon Pulse and a Hidden Power of your choice. If Hidden Power is a desired move on Serperior, and it generally is, Ice, Rock, or Fire are the ways to go. This is simply because Leaf Storm will do more damage than any Hidden Power that isn’t 4x as effective due to the opponent’s typing. Other Hidden Power types can work, but these are definitely the most effective. Rock or Fire are likely the best choices since Dragon Pulse can keep most of Ice’s checks in line. This is all depending on if the player decides to run 3 special moves on Serperior, because it can certainly do much more. It’s worth pointing out that some Serperior’s run both Giga Drain and Leaf Storm to maximize longevity / compensate for Substitute.
I generally advise for Serperior sets to run Substitute on its set. This helps aid with player-prediction power, and can prove integral in turning the tides of battle. Also, Substitute negates status conditions like paralysis that would render Serperior basically useless. Something to consider running with Substitute is Dragon Tail, as it can help you acquire some much needed time to keep setting up on the opponent with Leaf Storm. This is also complemented by using teammates who set up entry hazards for some of that stacking damage. For other move choices, Serperior gets the classic snake-themed move Glare, which is basically Thunder Wave. Leech Seed is also there, and proves effective most often on Substitute sets to chip away at HP with. If Substitute and Leech Seed / Dragon Tail style isn’t your game, then consider running Taunt on your heftier / supporting opponents like Chansey to give you a chance to use Leaf Storm a few times or switch out.
Since all these moves can be a bit to keep track of, I recommend some sample combinations below.
Set 1: Leaf Storm / HP Fire or Rock / Dragon Pulse / Substitute or Glare Timid Nature 252 Sp. Atk / 252 Speed / 4 Defense Item: Choice Specs or Choice Scarf
Set 2: Leaf Storm / Giga Drain / HP Ice / Substitute Timid Nature 16 HP / 240 Sp. Atk / 252 Speed Item: Leftovers or Life Orb
Set 3: Leaf Storm / Leech Seed / Taunt or Dragon Tail / Glare Bold Nature 252 HP / 184 Def / 72 Speed Item: Leftovers
Now, using the ability Overgrow is not out of the question if, for some reason, you decide to not run Contrary. A good example of using Overgrow would be to use it as a screens lead, which is viable due to Serperior’s nice base speed of 113. The held item for this set would be Light Clay, of course.
Pokemon to watch out include Crobat, Noivern, Charizard, and Talonflame. These are major threats, and are relatively common. Consider running some tanks on your teams to allow switching fluidity with Serperior. I would recommend Chansey, Heatran, or Aggron (Mega). I know using Mega Aggron sounds odd, but they work very well together.
To tell you the truth, not a whole lot of research has been put into Contrary Serperior as of yet. These are the sets I’ve found to work the most effectively on battle simulators. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to comment below and let me know of them. Also, shout out to SublimeManic for his birthday! If you have a hankering to defy the norms of battle, then put on your cool-cat glasses and plow through the competition with some leaves that will make it your summer and their fall. Remember this Puclonians, and your Serperior will be the very best. Probably not as good as Sublime’s Serperior if he has one, but you’ll definitely get close.