Good day, everyone. Mr.Bojingles here! It’s been quite some time since I’ve written an article regarding competitive Pokémon play. Between the new typing and the Mega Evolutions, I’m curious to see how the future of competitive play will turn out. Fairies bring a welcome addition to balancing out Dragon types, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these new evolutions would be banned in most competitive play. Anyway, I digress. The only way for us to find out is to wait until the release!
The previous article I wrote started off a discussion about weather effects, particularly the use of Sandstorm in competitive play. This next article will be focusing on my favorite weather effect, rain!
The weather effect rain, which is provided by the move Rain Dance, was introduced in Generation II as TM18. It has been TM18 ever since, and throughout the years it has gained some helpful buffs that can work towards the player’s advantage in battle. The following are the benefits of rain:
Water type moves are increased in power by 50%
Fire type moves are decreased in power by 50%
Thunder has a 100% accuracy as opposed to 70%
Hurricane has 100% accuracy as opposed to 70%
Solar Beam requires two turns to charge as opposed to one
Recovery moves such as Synthesis, Morning Sun and Moonlight only recover 25% of the user’s HP as opposed to 50%
Pokémon with the Dry Skin ability recover ¼ of their HP when hit by a water attack and a small portion of HP every turn
Pokémon with the Hydration ability heal their status after every turn in the rain
Pokémon with the Swift Swim ability have their speed doubled in the rain
Pokémon with the Rain Dish ability recover 1/16 of their HP every turn in the rain
Castform transforms into a water type Pokémon
Weather Ball changes to a water type attack with a base ATK of 100.
Whoah! Talk about variation. From the looks of it, Rain Dance teams seem to have a balance of both offense and defense between the improved power in water attacks and healing capabilities in the rain. Depending on your team, you can play on either side of the competitive spectrum (that being offense or defense). With water types being one of the more prevalent types in the game, you’ll find yourself in a sticky position of choosing only six Pokémon as so many take advantage of this amazing effect. Below are some suggestions for your Rain Dance team:
At first, you may think “Why would I want to use Politoed?” It isn’t that particularly good in the stats department. It’s moves don’t have much variation, and it’s single typing of water leaves it open to the common grass/thunder Pokémon in typical competitive battles. However, with the introduction of the Dream World in the fifth generation, Politoed is the first ever non-uber Pokémon with the ability Drizzle, which causes a permanent rain effect upon switching in. This makes Politoed an absolute must in any rain dance team. Not only that, it isn’t that bad of a Pokémon under the rain effects. Surf/Hydro Pump have increased damage, and Politoed can play a supportive role by the use of Encore, Perish Song and Hypnosis to stall/scare your opponent into switching. However, if your rain is diminished, Politoed is rendered practically useless and can be taken out by most non-stab attacks in about two hits. It’s a must front liner for rain dance teams, but it shouldn’t be relied on for much other than providing permanent rain effects.
Kingdra is a truly amazing Pokémon, especially when in the rain. It’s excellent offensive typing of water/dragon provides amazing type coverage as well as neutral damage to electric, ice and grass attacks. Combined with Kindra’s decent rounded stats and it’s passive Swift Swim ability, it becomes a threatening offensive beast. Scare your opponent off and use Substitute when switching so you can let off a Dragon Dance or two, which makes Kingdra nearly impossible to out speed with Swift Swim. Outrage or Waterfall will destroy opponents with boosted attack and STAB. Kingdra is an obvious choice for any trainer wanting to utilize Rain Dance.
Yes, the sombrero dawning duck…thing…Never would have guessed it, right? Well, Ludicolo is quite the offensive threat in Rain Dance teams. While it’s stats are relatively subpar (with the exception of its base 100 SpDef), Ludicolo comes with the excellent grass/water type, which gives it wonderful coverage in the battlefield. This allows it to take care of any threats that Rain Dance teams may come across. It is also another Swift Swim user, and combined with its 90 SpAtk stat allows it to become a viable special sweeper. The only thing stopping Ludicolo from truly shining is its somewhat shallow and predictable move pool. At least it learns Focus Blast though, which can be a surprise for quite a few opponents dawning the fearful Ferrothorn (which we’ll ge to later).
Ohhh Starmie. . .Remember facing this horrible thing in Misty’s gym? I was in awe at its sheer power and glory. Of course I had chosen Charmander at the start, so all it took was one flashy Bubblebeam to KO my main party member (not to mention the rest of my team). You’d think Starmie would worsen as the years go on as many of the first generation Pokémon did, but think again. Starmie continues to be a huge threat in competitive play, and it proves especially helpful in Rain Dance teams. It’s stats are built for destruction, sporting a 115 base speed and 100 base SpAtk, not to mention decent defenses to take a few hits. It’s unique typing provides some helpful resistances and opens plenty of options to counter opponents. And to top it off, its move pool is ridiculously diverse, so the opponent doesn’t necessarily know what to expect when facing a Starmie. It learns Thunder, which has an accuracy boost in the rain allowing it to hit 100% of the time. Surf is an excellent STAB water move and Ice Beam can take care of any dragons or grass types looking to resist the former attacks. It can also learn Recover and Rapid Spin if you care to play it on the defensive side, and it’s ability Natural Cure can provide a nice status healing if you’re ever in a pinch. Starmie is yet another offensive candidate for your Rain Dance team that won’t disappoint you!
This old school eeveelution has a lot going for it, especially with some new additions in the recent generation of Pokémon. First off, it received the special ability Hydration, which heals any and all status in the rain after every turn. This makes Rest essentially a Full Restore (uh-mazing). Also, Vaporeon packs some decent bulk and special attack to make it a formidable mixed teammate. Moves such as Acid Armor can increase Vaporeon’s walling abilities which Scald can damage and burn foes (the STAB makes it quite a fearsome attack!). The one main thing that Vaporeon lacks is a decent movepool, so it can easily be countered by a water type Pokémon and practically walled by steel types. This shouldn’t keep you from using Vaporeon in rain teams, though. If played right, it can make the difference between a win and a loss.
Dragonite has flip flopped between tiers over the years with the release of other, more powerful dragons out there. However, with the introduction to the rare ability Multiscale, Dragonite has re-secured its position in a viable competitive team. What this ability does that any damaging attack inflicted on Dragonite white it’s at full health, it only does half the damage. This makes Dragonite very difficult to 1HKO, even when hit by an ice attack. Dragonite comes with a plethora of resistances and an extraordinary move pool that make it a fantastic candidate for Rain Dance teams on both the defensive and offensive side. Add the attack Roost with some Leftovers to create a super defensive Dragonite that can keep itself at full HP (thus reactivating Multiscale). Make an all out offensive Dragonite by giving it a powered-up Aqua Tail and 100% accuracy Thunder om complete the rainy weather. These new additions give Dragonsite some serious edge in your Rain Dance team!
This pure flying genie proves to be an amazing offensive threat in rain teams. Between its stats and movepool, it can take out most common Rain Dance counters with ease. STAB Hurricane is not only extremely powerful, but it now has a 100% accuracy rating. Top it off with a 30% confusion rate and it becomes a serious threat to Pokémon that don’t resist it. Grass Knot can take care of any water Pokémon that it may face against, and Superpower can be used to fend off those pesky steel types that love to counter Rain Dance teams. Taunt can be used as a great utility and, due to its high speed stat, Tornadus is often able to cripple its opponent before it can set up entry hazards.
While Rain Dance teams are undeniably powerful, they do come with their share of counters. Weather changing Pokémon such as Abomasnow, Tyranitar, Hippowdon and Ninetales can seal your fate by the first round if not taken care of quickly. Ferrothorn seems to be built to counter rain teams with its versatile steel/grass typing, walling any opponents that don’t have enough offensive punch to break through its defenses. Not only that, but the rain weakens fire type attacks, which only helps this counter last even longer in the battlefield. Toxicroak wielding Dry Skin is another threat as it heals 12.5% of its HP every turn. It can also set itself for domination with Bulk Up or Swords Dance, making it a beastly attacker and/or wall.[/spoiler]
Rain Dance is an excellent tactic to utilize in competitive play. It has plenty of options ranging from all sorts of offensive and defensive type teams. Water types are the bread and butter of Rain Dance teams, and there are loads of unique water Pokémon to choose from. While this strategy has its share of counters, it’s still quite difficult to beat if a Rain Dance user has a properly built team! Questions? Comments? Have any particular Pokemon you enjoy using for Rain Dance teams? Interested to see if XY will bring changes to the rain? Leave your feedback below! Thanks for reading folks. Until next time. . . 😀