Using Feraligatr As a Competitive Pokémon in Pokémon X and Y
Big Jaw Pokémon
Special Attack: 79
Special Defense: 83
DISCLAIMER: Feraligatr's hidden ability, Sheer Force is only obtainable through cheating devices as of right now, if you do not want to obtain it that way, Torrent works just as well in some cases.
Feraligatr has few flaws, but it also has few standout traits. It has fantastically balanced stats, in terms of offense and defense, but none of them are particularly stellar. That being said, its typing, ability and movepool all boost it further making it a very solid Pokémon that has the potential to dominate in higher competitive tiers. In 5th gen. Feraligatr gained the ability Sheer Force, which made its already great physical movepool that much more powerful, and being immune to Life Orb recoil was the icing on the cake for a decently bulky Pokémon like Feraligatr. Feraligatr even has access to great boosting moves like Swords Dance and Dragon Dance and now that they can be combined with Aqua Jet, Feraligatr is entirely new beast with this and Sheer Force. This ability wasn't released for the majority of 5th gen. so its only now starting to see a lot more competitive play, and with moves like Crunch, Ice Punch and Waterfall its not hard to see why.
All is not good news for Feraligatr, as the prevalence of Pokémon like Rotom-W, Greninja and other Water types can not only limit its effectiveness, but they're stiff competition for Water types on most teams, and in some ways outclass Feraligatr. This doesn't mean that you should always opt for other Water types, as Feraligatr has its own strengths and fills a different team role than the aforementioned Pokémon. One thing to remember is that Feraligatr's pure Water typing can be great at times, leaving it with only two weaknesses, but it gives it only one STAB type, which can leave you wanting more in terms of offense. More often than not, you'll find that pure Water typing is more of a blessing than a burden.
Movesets To Consider
Ability: Sheer Force
Item: Life Orb
252 Atk/252 Speed/4 Def
This is the standard offensive set for Feraligatr, and it's easy to see why. Dragon Dance lets Feraligatr outspeed all unboosted and non Choice Scarf Pokémon in the metagame. After one Dragon Dance Feraligatr can outspeed and OHKO just about any Pokémon it can hit super effectively, and most Choice Scarf Pokémon don't have the ability to OHKO feraligatr at full health, making it that much harder to revenge kill it. Feraligatr's great natural bulk lets you set up a Dragon Dance on a multitude of different Pokémon, especially those that can't hit you with even a neutral attack. The hardest part about running this set is deciding which four moves are the most effective. The best thing to do is to determine what Feraligatr's team role is, and if your other Pokémon are already covering those attacking types. Aqua Jet is a hard move to fit onto this set, since Waterfall combined with the speed boost form Dragon Dance is enough to make priority a bit redundant, not to mention the loss of coverage with having two Water type moves. Experimenting with different move combinations is the best way to about this.
You'll mostly need to watch out for exceptionally bulky Pokémon such as Mandibuzz, Hippowdon, and especially Ferrothorn, who resists all of Feraligatr's attacks except for Crunch, and can hit it very hard with Power Whip. Another major threat is Pokémon that can outspeed and 2HKO or OHKO Feraligatr and stop its set up. Pokémon such as Keldeo, Hydreigon, Greninja and most hard hitting offensive Pokémon can easily dispatch Feraligatr if you're not careful. For these reasons, it's wise to preserve Feraligatr for only the most opportune moments in which it can set up a Dragon Dance and either punch big holes in your opponent's team, or beginning KOing weakened Pokemon.
Ability: Sheer Force
Item: Life Orb/Lum Berry
252 HP/252 Atk/4 Sp Def
This set is a bit more difficult to implement than the Dragon Dance set, but the power that Swords Dance offers makes Feraligatr a real offensive presence. The choice between a Life Orb and a Lum Berry comes down to the type of Pokémon you think will give Feraligatr more trouble. On one hand, Life Orb gives you a considerable attacking boost in combination with Swords Dance, a Lum Berry gives you a free pass at one status ailment, essentially getting you a free Swords Dance against some Will-O-Wisp Pokémon or other bulky walls that rely on Status moves. Using a Lum Berry means that you'll absolutely have to capitalize on your "free" turn, and having a single use item can be a bit in-advantageous for a bulky Pokémon like Feraligatr in the long run, so unless you have a concrete plan for Feraligatr, a Life Orb is generally better. Another option is going for a Choice Band and running four attacking moves of your choice. This isn't as strong as Swords Dance and Life Orb, but foregoing a turn of set up can mean all the difference for Feraligatr.
Feraligatr still has trouble with strong special attackers, especially those that carry Thunderbolt and strong Grass type moves, such as Roserade and Greninja. With full HP investment, Feraligatr has little to fear from most physical attackers, although some especially strong Choice Band Pokémon, such as Azumarill and Scizor, can really hurt Feraligatr,and it has no super effective moves to hit them back with. Since Feraligatr can survive any resisted hit, and even some neutral hits, Aqua Jet in combination with Swords Dance can save it from being 2HKOed by particularly strong Physical attackers, such as Terrakion and Tyranitar. Feraligatr's low Speed on this set can be frustrating at times, but with decent bulk, it doesn't make a whole world of difference and Feraligatr's strength more than makes up for it.
Feraligatr's pure water typing makes it a great candidate for a Fire/Water/Grass core on most balanced teams. Bulky Pokémon that can wall and counter your opponent's Pokémon are great options for a team in order to give Feraligatr more set up chances and an easier time overall. Feraligatr can also play a support role in the early game by weakening your opponent's Pokémon and letting your other sweepers or cleaners finish off the remains late in the match. Feraligatr is a very balanced Pokémon, but knowing just what Feraligatr's job is in every match is key maximizing its potential and having the right teammates is the first step to ensuring success with Feraligatr.
Goodra resists both Grass and Electric type moves and has fantastic Special Defense, allowing it to take all of the hits that Feraligatr can't. With Sap Sipper, not only does it gain an immunity to Grass type attacks, but Sap Sipper lets it boost its already decent base 100 Attack stat. Goodra's fantastic coverage moves also give it the ability to check multiple threats and Pokémon that give Feraligatr trouble. Hydration also lets Goodra as well as Feraligatr function exceptionally well on a rain team, with Goodra being able to soak up status ailments and Feraligatr gaining boosted STAB moves, making an even bigger threat. Goodra suffers from poor physical defense however, and a lack of recovery limit its tanking abilities. This is remedied a bit by Feraligatr's decent physical bulk and its clear that the two make great partners on the battlefield.
Ferrothorn is an obvious choice, not only for a Fire/Water/Grass core, but as a defensive pivot in general. Ferrothorn resists all of the Grass and Electric moves that come Feraligatr's way, and it can easily counter most physical attackers with a combination of Iron Barbs and Rocky Helmet. Ferrothorn really only fears Fire type moves/Pokémon, and that's where Feraligatr can really shine, as it can safely switch-in and either begin to set up or simply KO the opposing threat. Leech Seed and toxic also give Ferrothorn great stall and support options to further aid the team and make it easier for Feraligatr to ensure KOes against severely weakened and Poisoned foes. Ferrothorn and Feraligatr are two great parts of a three part core, and even without the Fire type to complete it, they still function magnificently together.
Moltres is surprisingly good Pokémon this generation, even with its seemingly crippling x4 Stealth Rock Weakness. It is essentially the Special Attacking counterpart to Talonflame, albeit much slower, but much much stronger. STAB Heat Wave, Fire Blast, Air Slash and Hurricane make it a threat to lots of different common Pokémon in the tier, and with Rapid Spin and Defog support its great 90/90/85 defenses can really shine. Not only can it easily check fighting, steel and some fairy types, but its STAB Hurricane even lets it function in rain teams, as it can spam Hurricane and take any incoming Grass type attacks. Overall Moltres is an up and coming Pokémon in the metagame, and should not be underestimated.
Feraligatr X and Y Battle
Feraligatr In Action
The Feraligatr in this battle has Torrent instead of Sheer Force, so it just goes to show how much power Feraligatr has naturally. Unfortunately Sheer Force is unobtainable unless you use a cheating device such as a Powersave or Pokegen, but a Feraligatr with Sheer Force is still considered legal in battle as it still has an Ability it can legally obtain, if you were thinking obtaining one by those means.
Which Pokemon Should I Cover Next?
I may have a bias towards Feraligatr, as it is one of my favorite Pokémon of all time, but the fact remains that it has great potential this generation. Again, you might have to go through illegitimate means in order to obtain a Sheer Force Feraligatr, and if this isn't something you'd like to do, the battle above shows that even without the boost, it is still a powerhouse capable of devastating unprepared teams. Feraligatr has other options as well, with Torrent and an Assault Vest, it can use Power-Up Punch and Aqua Jet to safely boost its Attack while using Aqua Jet to finish off weakened foes. Overall, Feraligatr is a Pokémon that should definitely be on your list of Pokémon to try out this generation.
As always if you have any suggestions for other sets, or if I missed anything, let me know in the comments below! There will be a reader poll to determine which Pokémon I cover next, so vote for your favorite!
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