Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Pokémon Spotlight: Shuckle

Look at that face. Even he's thinking
you're nuts for sending him out to battle.
My friend Keith and I were talking about various strategies you could use to build a strong Pokémon party. I jokingly suggested Shuckle but after a little bit of thought I started to wonder if maybe you could raise a Shuckle to be a worthy adversary in a battle. Let’s take a closer look at Shuckle and see if he could be a good Pokémon to keep in your party.

The most notable thing about Shuckle is its record breaking Defense and Special Defense stats. Here is its stat breakdown: 

I know how that looks at first glance. It looks terrible. However, look at the total stat. 505 for a total stat is good. I would consider anything about 500 a good total stat and therefore, in most cases, a good Pokémon. To put its total stat in perspective, Pokémon such as Machamp, Ninetales and Honchkrow all share a total stat of 505. The problem with Shuckle is do you train it to be a strong Pokémon in battle? There must be something about its defense and special defense that is worth our time… or maybe not?

Shuckle does not evolve from or into any other Pokémon. It’s a dual type bug and rock. It can have either Gluttony or Sturdy as a battle ability and it has Contrary as a hidden ability. Gluttony will make it eat a held berry at 50% HP instead of at 25% HP. It’s not super useful but considering the low HP stat, it could come in handy I’m sure.

Sturdy is a good ability for Shuckle. I would assume that because of its overall high defence it would still take a strong Pokémon multiple moves to defeat it. Because of that, your opponent might want to use a one-hit KO move (such as Horn Drill for example) to defeat Shuckle. Sure, one-hit KO moves have a low accuracy rate but you wouldn’t really have to worry about that because Shuckle’s attack and special attack stats are so low. I think your Pokémon is safe. Anyway, Sturdy protects Shuckle from one-hit KO moves! That’s a pretty cool ability.

Another strategy that could be used to defeat Shuckle is to use status affecting moves on it in order to reduce its defense and special defense. In Generation V, Shuckle has the Contrary hidden ability which reverses the effects of status moves. For example, instead of reducing its defense or its speed it would increase it. That’s really sneaky. I don’t think very many people would be surprised by Shuckle’s less than impressive battle abilities. Sturdy might be the only real useful one. No help here in making Shuckle a strong Pokémon.

What about his learn set though? Does he learn any useful moves? If not by leveling up, maybe he can learn strong TMs? Here’s what I’m thinking, if he can put his opponents to sleep and poison them or use Dream Eater he could defeat them over time without worrying about getting hit with strong damage. The slow and steady strategy might be the best thing for a Shuckle.  There are a few moves that are quite worthy of attention. The first being Safeguard. By using safeguard, Shuckle is protected from status affecting moves for five turns. You can’t poison him, confused, etc. for five turns and that’s cool.

Another interesting move is Bide. When using Bide, the user cannot select a move for 2 to 3 turns (selected randomly). However, after the movie Bid will do damage that is equal to twice that of the damage that was received during the 2 to 3 turn idling time. In addition to that, the damage that the user will deal is unaffected by the type and it can also hit Pokémon using Fly and Dig. Ghost Pokémon will also be affected by the move. Shuckle clearly has the defense and special defense to endure the idling time and the effect is a strong backlash of attack against the opponent. I wonder if this could be used with the next move…

Power Trick, is a psychic type move that allows the user to swap its defense stat with its attack stat.  This means that a Shuckle could temporarily have base attack stat of 230! That’s incredible! After using Power Trick, it doesn’t really matter what move he uses, the damage is sure to be noteworthy.

Some neat things about Shuckle:
In Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal, if Shuckle is given berry juice to hold it will eventually, over time, become a rare candy. That’s awesome! They’re called rare candy for a reason.

Because of his Power Trick move, a level 100 Shuckle is potentially the Pokémon that can deal the most damage with one attack. 

C'mon, look at this guy. He looks so fierce.

Although Shuckle’s stats leave a bit to be desired, his learn set is adjusted to accommodate that. Moves such as Bide and Power Trick are potentially very effective moves for Shuckle to use because of his stats. The problem with his learn set is that he only learns Power Trick at level 48, kind of late to do much good during a big part of the game. He does still learn some useful moves such as Safeguard (level 14), Bide (start), Wrap (level 22) and Rest (level 27). They are useful defensive and strategic moves. Shuckle can also learn some useful TMs. Being half rock type, it can learn such damage dealing moves as Earthquake and Stone Edge which deal quite a bit of damage on their own (or not, when your base attack is 10) especially when used in combination with Power Trick.

Although I am reticent to try using Shuckle in game mode, the fact that it can learn HMs Strength and Rock Smash, Shuckle would make an interesting mule.  I am interested in trying to level one up and using it for random battles. All in all, he’s not as useless as I initially thought. 

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