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Team of the Episode: Decidueye

Team of the Episode: Decidueye

Team of the Episode: Decidueye

Welcome to this weeks Team of the Episode, featuring the BEST Alolan starter, Decidueye! Today we’re diving into the NU metagame to cover Decidueye’s niche there, and a sample of some teammates that can go with it!

Art courtesy of TechraNova on TeePublic

Oh, poor Decidueye… You are so cool thematically, but end up falling to the traditional starter “jack-of-all-trades” problem. Had a few points been moved from Special Attack to Speed, you would have been glorious and far more useable. Alas, we must deal with base 70 Speed and 107 Attack. That being said, Decidueye’s typing, movepool, and incredible exclusive Z-move make for a more potent sweeper than one would realize! Spirit Shackle’s mind games into Sinister Arrow Raid’s absurd 180 base power is monstrous. Let’s see how we can complement our owl’s abilities in the NU tier with a sample team!

—————Pokemon Showdown Export—————

Decidueye @ Decidium Z
Ability: Overgrow
EVs: 32 HP / 224 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Swords Dance
– Spirit Shackle
– Leaf Blade
– Shadow Sneak / Low Sweep

Comfey @ Life Orb
Ability: Triage
EVs: 224 HP / 252 SpA / 32 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
– Draining Kiss
– Calm Mind
– Giga Drain
– Defog / Hidden Power Fire

Incineroar @ Iapapa Berry
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Flare Blitz
– Knock Off
– Earthquake
– U-turn

Passimian @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Receiver
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Close Combat
– U-turn
– Knock Off
– Gunk Shot

Slowbro @ Assault Vest
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 212 HP / 252 SpA / 44 Spe
Modest Nature
– Scald
– Future Sight
– Fire Blast
– Grass Knot

Steelix @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 76 Atk / 180 SpD
Careful Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Heavy Slam
– Earthquake
– Toxic

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Team Overview

Starting off with the big bird itself, everyone’s favorite Rowlet, Decidueye! It’s wielding its Swords Dance set for maximum potency when given the opportunity. Spirit Shackle and Leaf Blade are awesome general STAB options, and Shadow Sneak patches up Decidueye’s Speed problem rather nicely and gives the team true priority. Early game, you can choose to fire off Spirit Shackles as often as you can to limit things like double switching by the opponent. If you manage to trap something – even a Pokemon Decidueye doesn’t want to stay in on – you can safely switch out leaving the trapping of Spirit Shackle intact until the end of that turn you switched and leaving that hopeless enemy to face your counter. Maximum Speed EVs and a Jolly nature ensure that Decidueye always outspeeds opposing Incineroar, meaning you can fire off a last-ditch effort to weaken it, or go for a KO if you elect to run Low Sweep instead of Shadow Sneak. Save Sinister Arrow Raid for utterly destroying a hard-to-KO wall that could otherwise stop Decidueye or as an early-game power move if your name is Thatch.

A surprising yet effective teammate is everyone’s favorite necklace Comfey! This flower-collector is actually a very potent special sweeper thanks to Triage giving priority to all healing moves, which includes offensive ones like Draining Kiss and Giga Drain! It adds priority and valuable Fairy-type coverage to get surprise KOs on foes like Incineroar (if weakened), Scarf Passimian, and Guzzlord. In our testing, having such a solid Fairy that could consistently heal itself proved invaluable given how common things like Passimian and Volt-Turning was. Given Dark-types are a big threat to a Decidueye sweep, a reliable counter is great. We noticed a distinct hazard weakness in testing, so decided to sneak Defog onto Comfey’s moveset while also keeping it as a set-up sweeper. You can elect to replace Defog or Calm Mind with Hidden Power Fire, depending on if you fear hazards or Steel-types more. Thatch preferred this variant, while I prefer the 3-attacks version without Calm Mind.

Our next teammate is everyone’s favorite VGC Pokemon, Incineroar. This is a fairly standard bulky attacker, here to dish out Intimidate where needed, and blast opponents with powerful moves like Flare Blitz and Earthquake, while also offering great utility with Knock off and U-turn. Earthquake’s primary targets are opposing Incineroar as it turns out (since it’s incredibly common in NU), as well as Steelix if the Flare Blitz recoil is too ugly. Incineroar is a great lead to the team, able to hinder opponents with Intimidate while also grabbing momentum with a slow U-turn. There is a reason Incineroar is so common here and in VGC. It’s good at what it does.

Next on offensive support is Passimian as the ultimate revenge-killer of NU. It’s fast and powerful enough to be handed a Choice Scarf and pose a great threat both early and late in the game. Early on, you’ll primarily be bouncing about between this and Incineroar with U-turn to confuse the opponent, as well as chaining in a strategy from Slowbro that we’ll talk about soon. Late game, Passimian cleans up with Close Combats left and right when the defense drops don’t matter. Knock off just goes further to make sure your opponent has no fun and no items, while Gunk Shot is specific to pesky Grass- and Fairy-types trying to ruin your fun. If only this thing got its hidden ability, Defiant… That would make it REALLY good in a tier infested with Incineroar. But alas, it’s not available yet at the time of writing…

On to the defensive line, we start with Slowbro, wielding the most popular NU set. To those who haven’t dabbled in NU, which might be a surprise set. It certainly wat to me and Thatch! It’s incredible with Regenerator to serve as an offensive tank and a check to a large part of the NU metagame. Foes like Steelix, Passimian, and Diancie are held at bay by Slowbro, and if can also take advantage of regular Water- and Grass-type counters with a surprise Grass Knot or Fire Blast! Future Sight is an incredible move on a pivot like Slowbro. Once one of those is in the air, it makes it very difficult for the opponent to play around countering you. If you predict them switching in a Dark-type to absorb it, for instance, toss out Passimian to immediately have the upper hand! You can also go into Decidueye to start a sweep, knowing that a monstrous Special Attack might slam into their physical wall they’re forced to send out against your owl! This mon requires smart play but is incredibly deadly.

Finally, since every team needs Stealth Rock, we have Steelix running a standard defensive set. Stealth Rock is mandatory and great to punish and whittle down opposing Incineroar. Earthquake and the Attack investment guarantee a 2HKO on it after Stealth Rock damage. Heavy Slam is your best STAB and severely hurts everything not named Guzzlord. Toxic is a great punishment to common switch-ins thinking they can force Stelix out or use it as setup bait. Use this as a standard physical wall, and even special wall against things it has type advantage against like Comfey and Electric types. It’s one of the many ways you can whittle down Incineroar, which is a common theme on this team to pave the way for an Owl sweep!

Closing Thoughts

Big Rowlet is best Rowlet. Decidueye has so many cool teammates and options beyond this as well! A bulky Defog set is completely viable for instance! You can also run it in higher and higher tiers if you so desire! For instance, Tyranitar and Heatran make for great teammates in OU. Also, thanks to the limited Dark-types in OU, Sinister Arrow Raid is even more terrifying to try and absorb! Spirit Shackle, in general, is great against stall matchups if you can trap the right thing, such as a Toxapex (especially if you run Substitute to avoid Scald burns). A final note is that, while sad, Long Reach is often not a good ability to run. You’re more likely to be below the 33% threshold for Overgrow to be powering up a move than you are to really wish a move wouldn’t make contact; your best move, Spirit Shackle, is a non-contact move. If you aren’t running Grass-type coverage, however, feel free to make yourself safer against Iron Barbs, Rocky Helmets, and Rough Skin!

So get out there and put the ol’ Robin Hoot to good use! and don’t forget to challenge Thatch on stream if you have a Decidueye set we didn’t cover! Till next time, catch you on the flip-flop!