Hello PUCL it is SumtimesIFly, back with another Pokemon of the Week. This week we have what perhaps should be a mascot of the Pokemon Underground Champions League, Dugtrio. Dugtrio has been a Pokemon icon since the first generation, spawning countless memes and even finding a home in the competitive scene. In generation 7 Dugtrio is refreshed and ready to go. Having found the island spirit they have made a home in Alola and adapted to fit in with the environment. Let’s get digging into what Dugtrio is all about!
Description: The Mole Pokemon
Type: Ground [Alolan: Ground/Steel]
Abilities: Sand Veil/Arena Trap [Alolan: Sand Veil/Tangling Hair]
Hidden Ability: Sand Force
Competitive: [Smogon OU] [Smogon RU – Alolan] [Smogon RU – Alolan Pokeaim]
Evolution: Diglet -> Level 26 -> Dugtrio
Can you spot the difference?
Origin: Dugtrio is a play on the classic game carnival game Whac-A-Mole. In that game the you have to smack pegs painted like moles. In Pokemon, Dugtrio is the opposite. A mole that looks like a peg and smacks you. Alolan Dugtrio’s hair is actually Pele’s hair. Stretched out molten glass that turns very thin and light. It would actually not be a pleasent experience to run a hand through those golden locks, since they are glass you would end up with many cuts.
Original Appearance: Pokemon Red and Blue
Dex Entry [Moon – Alolan]: These Pokémon are cherished in the Alola region, where they are thought to be feminine deities of the land incarnate.
Someone got a little too much sun in Alola.
Dugtrio is one of those Pokemon that you accept at face value as a Pokemon, but when the community steps back to take a look at how it actually fits into the world, hilarity ensues. There is plenty of artwork out there about what Diglet is underground and I suggest checking it out if you haven’t already and feel like a good laugh. My personal favourite tidbit of information from this week’s analysis was the realization that it is a Whac-A-Mole target pretending to be a real mole. If you remember this is similar to how Lurantis is a flower pretending to be a mantis, which goes to show that 7 generations later, Pokemon design can still be traced back to its roots.
The podcast covered a lot about how to use Dugtrio in OU and I will not bother repeating that here. There are plenty of resources on how to use Dugtrio on Smogon especially since there are now forum threads on its recent suspect test. Instead I will be focusing on the all but forgotten Alolan Dugtrio. Revealed without announcement as an Easter Egg in the Sun and Moon demo, everyone was super excited to see a wild Dugtrio with golden locks of hair and discussion was rampant about what it would be like in the actual game. Personally I knew it would never be more fabulous than my my friend Mega Ampharos, but I still felt the hype. Fast forward a month and no one ever mentioned Alolan Dugtrio again, fast forward until now and it is at the point where even a Pokemon podcast skips its existence.
It is quite obvious why Alolan Dugtrio is forgotten. It has no place in VGC due to its lack of utility and mediocre base stat total of 425. On top of that, in singles it is completely outshone by its Kanto brother. For a speedy revenge killer, Arena Trap is infinitely better than Tangling Hair since you want the opposing Pokemon to stay in and be knocked out. You do not want to be taking hits with your sub-par defenses just to slow them down. Speaking of Tangling Hair I think they could have named it something more like Mutilating Hair, since those sharp glass strands would do more than slow you down.
In order to survive Alolan Dugtrio has moved down to the ranks of RU. Its stats lean heavily towards an offensive attacker with a total of 100 Physical Attack. In this regard its movepool is actually quite wide with tools such as Reversal, Iron Head, Earthquake, Stone Edge, and the utterly confusing Aerial Ace. With a base speed of 110 it is among the top in the tier so it has the freedom to run a Life Orb/Choice Band set instead of Choice Scarf. Adding Steel typing to the already solid Ground typing gives Dugtrio good attacking and defending matchups. However, due to its horrible HP, a Focus Sash may still be an order. A more fun set to run in my opinion is Earthquake, Iron Head, Stone Edge, Stealth Rock/Memento. This gives it the option to make an impact before being KO’d and after attacking by either setting up hazards or giving one of your Pokemon the chance to set up on a mourning opponent. (EDIT: Alolan Dugtrio cannot learn Stealth Rocks, I did not know that beforehand).
Alolan Dugtrio in the TCG is splashable so it could find a place as a tech card if you find yourself needing to snipe benched Pokemon, but overall it seems lackluster to me.
If you are lucky enough to become the proud partner of an Alolan Dugtrio, remember to wear your Team Rocket certified safety gloves before all groomings or else you could end up with some unintended red hair dye. Let me know if you have had any success with Alolan Dugtrio, I would be seriously impressed! Let this also be the time to share your favourite Pokemon hair do’s!
Until next time, SumtimesIFly