Using Crawdaunt as a Competitive Pokémon in "Pokémon X and Y"
The Rogue Pokémon
Special Attack: 90
Special Defense: 55
Crawdaunt has never been a standout Pokémon, and is one of those Pokémon that some people might even forget about, even though it's appeared in most Pokémon games since its debut in Ruby and Sapphire. Competitively, the same can be said about it, because outside of lower competitive tiers it doesn't fare well due to its low Speed and poor bulk. Its typing also leaves much to be desired defensively, since Water/Dark doesn't offer much in terms of resistances. Moreover, even with access to great STAB moves such as Crabhammer and Crunch, it didn't have the Speed to get the jump on most Pokémon, meaning it missed out on a lot of KO opportunities.
Crawdaunt has been blessed with many new gifts this generation, some big and some small, but all-important. Now that Steel doesn't resist Dark types moves, it can easily KO Steel/Psychic types and Pokémon like Aegislash. Its gained access to Aqua Jet which, when combined with Crawdaunt's ability Adaptability, becomes an 80 base power move, and with a Choice Band is on par with Arceus' Extremespeed in terms of power. Its STAB moves Crabhammer and Knock Off have been buffed as well, to 100 BP and 65-97 BP, respectively. This puts Crawdaunt great base 120 Attack stat to good use. Poor Speed and lackluster bulk still hold Crawdaunt back, unfortunately, but the pros heavily outweigh the cons for this Pokémon and it's safe to say that Crawdaunt's time has come.
Movesets to Consider
Item: Choice Band/Life Orb
EVs: 252 HP/252 Attack/4 Defense
- Aqua Jet
- Knock Off
- Crabhammer/Swords Dance
- Superpower/Swords Dance
This is the basic Crawdaunt set, and the most effective. The Choice between a Life Orb and a Choice Band comes down to how you want to use Crawdaunt and how early or late in the match you want to use it. A Choice Band gives you lots of attacking power without using up a turn of set-up, which for Crawdaunt can be crucial as there are some Pokémon that have no problem OHKO'ing Crawdaunt. Another major difference is the option of switching up attacks with a Life Orb, allowing you to use Knock Off to severely cripple a foe and finish it off with Aqua Jet. Opting for a Choice Band means that you'll have to pick your battles much more carefully, but you'll be able to KO the majority of Pokémon that are weak to Water-type moves with a boosted Aqua Jet, and if you preserve Crawdaunt for much later in the match, it can sweep an entire team of weakened Pokémon with Aqua Jet, something it might not be able to afford with the Life Orb set, as it does about 20% less damage and can die to Life Orb recoil after multiple turns.
Lots of Pokémon that have good bulk, out-speed Crawdaunt, and can hit it super effectively are what give Crawdaunt the most trouble. Most Dragon-types such as Dragonite, Hydreigon or Salamence resist most of Crawdaunt's moves and can easily force out the Choice Band set if you predict incorrectly, but Knock Off still hurts them a lot. Electric types like Magnezone and Thundurus are especially troublesome, with very powerful STAB electric moves and Thundurus' priority Thunder Wave, which can hurt Crawdaunt much later in the match. Azumarill also resists all of Crawdaunt's moves and in general should be avoided at all costs, and taken care of before Crawdaunt can safely switch-in or attempt a sweep. The key to playing around Crawdaunt's checks and counters is accurate prediction and by saving Crawdaunt for when you opponent's team is weakened enough to where Aqua Jet will KO most or the rest of their team.
Item: Assault vest
EVs: 252 HP/252 Attack/4 Sp Def
- Aqua Jet
- Knock Off
- Superpower/Rock Slide
This set trades power for longevity and a bit more reliability early in the match. Pairing this set with and intimidator helps Crawdaunt's physical bulk a bit, and its special bulk is passable, letting you use Knock Off on more Pokémon throughout the match and perhaps picking off one or two Pokémon with Aqua Jet later in the game. Adaptability also boosts Crawdaunt's Knock Off to an absurd 198 base power and Crabhammer to 200 base power, which makes up for the lack of a boosting item somewhat. This set can't sweep or clean up as well as the other sets, but it makes a great support Pokémon for other sweepers or walls on your team. This means that Assault Vest Crawdaunt is less of an offensive Pokémon and more of a utility Pokémon that is used to disrupt your opponent and pave the way for more frail sweepers or cleaners or to cripple powerful sweepers on your opponent's team in order to better utilize a tank or more Stall-oriented Pokémon such as Ferrothorn or Venusaur.
Pretty much the same Pokémon that hound the previous set still give this set trouble. One thing to remember is that because this set lacks and Attack boosting item, Crawdaunt doesn't score the KOes that it usually would with the Offense set. That means that if you are trying to clean up late in the match with Crawdaunt you will need to further cripple and weaken your opponent's team to ensure that you can KO the bulkier Pokémon on their team. If you don't run Rock Slide you should look out for Zapdos, which can easily 2HKO Crawdaunt with Thunderbolt and isn't easily KOed by any of Crawdaunt's moves, although Knock Off can hurt most defensive variants of Zapdos, since they usually run Leftovers.
There isn't very much you can do about Crawdaunt's horrible Speed. It may have less than passable bulk, but with HP investment it can survive enough hits to KO the opposition when it matters. Some people have chosen to use Dragon Dance as an answer to its low Speed, which isn't the worst idea in the world, but the problem here is that one Dragon Dance is never enough for Crawdaunt. It's hard enough to find the opportunity to get off one Dragon Dance safely, let alone two, and without any defensive investment no less. A better option for Crawdaunt is Trick Room support. This lets Crawdaunt use its strongest moves as it pleases and with a pseudo Speed boost, it can be a major threat, capable of turning the tides of battle with just one Knock Off or Superpower. Sticky Web, paralysis, and entry hazard support are all very much appreciated as well.
- Reuniclus is a surprisingly effective Trick Room user, with its great bulk, low Speed, and two fantastic abilities: Regenerator and Magic Guard, which are great for a bulky support Pokémon like Reuniclus. It also has decent Special Attack and can fire off powerful Life Orb boosted Psychics/Psyshocks without fear of taking Life Orb damage. Reuniclus can also help ward off the Fighting-types that give Crawdaunt trouble and free up a chance for Crawdaunt to set up a Swords Dance or begin cleaning up with Aqua jet if it's late enough in the match. One thing that can really hurt Reuniclus is Taunt users and Ghost or Dark-type Pokémon that can do a lot of damage to Reuniclus and force it out, but generally speaking, it's not very difficult to set up a Trick Room for Crawdaunt to wreak havoc in.
- Galvantula deserves an award for most improved Pokémon from one generation to another. 6th gen. gave it Sticky Web, an extremely useful entry hazard for teams that aren't quite fast enough to keep up with other Pokémon that they could easily KO if they could outspeed them. Galvantula's ability Compound Eyes also gives it the most accurate Thunder in the game outside of the rain. Its STAB Thunder and Bug Buzz (which can now hit through Substitutes) are great coming off of a base 108 Special Attack, and Galvantula's base 108 Speed is no joke either, and with access to both U-Turn and Volt Switch, it can easily set up and escape a bad situation and gain momentum.
- Deoxys-Defense has gone from being banned last generation, to being a great hazard lead and support Pokémon in this generation. If you want a Pokémon that can set up Stealth Rock, Knock Off an opponent's item, Recover, and even set up multiple layers of Spikes, look no further than Deoxys-D. Deoxys fantastic bulk let you safely set up entry hazards against even some very powerful sweepers and live to tell the tale. It functions as a great defensive Pokémon as well, with Toxic, Knock Off and Recover it does a great job of taking care of opposing threats. Its base 90 Speed lets it out-speed most defensive Pokémon and is a great asset when it comes to Recovering and using Toxic or Spikes. Overall, Deoxys-D is one of the most reliable leads in the game.
Which Pokémon should I cover next?
All in all, Crawdaunt takes some careful planning in order to execute correctly. Its low Speed and lack of usable bulk do limit it, but it's a very powerful Pokémon with lots of potential on the right team. Trick Room is great for Crawdaunt, and in some cases, Aqua Jet is the only move you'll need to tear through your opponent's team. Don't forget to cover its weaknesses and make sure Crawdaunt's counters are removed in order to use it to its fullest potential.
As always, if you have any suggestions for movesets or if I missed anything let me know in the comments below! There will be a reader poll to decide which Pokémon I'll cover next