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 The Ultimate Choice (A guide to Choice Items in Singles)

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Bunselpower
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PostSubject: The Ultimate Choice (A guide to Choice Items in Singles)   Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:23 am

Life is full of tough choices. Paper or plastic. Boxers or Briefs. Eggshell or Ivory. To be or not to be. Listening to a Nicki Minaj song or taking a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the occipital bone. Yet another of these tough choices is whether or not to choose Choice items.. For those new to competitive or who just don't know, Choice items are hold items that come in three different varieties, Choice Scarf, Choice Band, and Choice Specs. They all provide a 50% boost to one stat (this is the final calculated stat, with EV's, IV's, and nature considered) with no drawbacks save that of requiring you to pick only one move to use until you switch out and reenter. The only difference between them is the stats they boost. Choice Scarf boosts Speed by 50%, Choice Band boosts Attack by 50%, and Choice Specs boosts Special Attack by 50%.

It's difficult to quantify which Pokemon can run a Choice item well, and which ones have better things to do. However, I'm going to attempt to identify some key points that can help decide whether running a choice item is worth it or not. And remember, this is one man's opinion, there are definitely no strict rules about this. You can put a Choice item on anything and make it work to some extent.

Before I begin, I would like to note that Choice Scarf is run completely differently than Choice Band/Specs, so I'll be doing two different analyses.

Choice Scarf

The main objective for Choice Scarf is pretty straight forward. Speed. By increasing your Pokémon's speed by 50%, you now outspeed a much larger pool of Pokémon. This is the reason to use Choice Scarf; attacking first can mean the difference in which Pokémon comes out on top.

Not every Pokémon wants a Choice Scarf, though, and the following are some criteria that can help you decide whether or not to slap a Choice Scarf onto your Pokémon.

Offensive Presence

Pretty straightforward, if the Pokémon doesn't have good offensive stats, then it's probably not worth putting a Choice Scarf on it. Walls like Chansey or Shuckle don't benefit from a Choice Scarf because they need to be able to switch their moves, plus, they never attack to do any damage.

Movepool

Again, simple, but often overlooked. This step is especially important for Choice Scarf users. When you run a Choice Scarf, you forego all other offense boosting items, like Choice Specs or Life Orb. This puts a premium on STAB attacks, because of their 50% boost, and super effective attacks. Getting high powered moves is crucial, because it doesn't matter how fast the Pokémon is, if it can't hit hard, there's no point in using it.

Speed Tier

After you weed out underpowered candidates, this is the biggest factor in deciding whether or not to run a Choice Scarf. There are two reasons you want to use a Choice Scarf: Outspeeding threats to a Pokémon, or making that Pokémon a threat to other Pokémon. If neither of these can be accomplished, then Choice Scarf probably shouldn't be used.

Probably the most common role for a Choice Scarf Pokémon is that of Revenge Killer. This is a Pokémon that, after one of your own has been knocked out, comes in and outspeeds the opposing Pokémon, with the help of the Choice Scarf, and threatens it.

VoltTurn

The moves Volt Switch and U-Turn are especially useful on Choiced Pokémon, because it allows them to cause damage, but immediately switches them out, not only solving the problem of being locked into a move, but also grabbing momentum for your team.

Example: your opponent has Salamence on the field with no boosts and it isn't holding a Choice Scarf and he has just knocked out one of your Pokémon. You bring in Flygon, who has a Scarf. Your opponent will very likely know that your Flygon is holding a Scarf. You can use that to your advantage and use U-Turn, and he will switch his Salamence out before the U-Turn, letting you know what he switched into when you get to bring in your Pokémon. (Read my description of Switch Initiative in the Definitions section and my VoltTurn guide for further detail).

Trick

This isn't so much a reason to use Choice Scarf as it is a bonus. Trick switches items with the opposing Pokémon. If you bring in a Choice Scarf user, and you're fairly certain that your opponent is going to switch into his wall to take the hit, use Trick. You will give his wall the Choice Scarf, crippling it for the rest of the match.

General Rules of Thumb

Generally speaking, you want to use maximum speed on a Pokémon with a Choice Scarf. And by max speed, I mean a speed boosting nature and full speed EV investment. The reason is that the objective when using Choice Scarf is to outspeed as much as possible. There are exceptions to the max speed rule, but usually this is because the objective Is no longer just outspeeding. A prime example of this is Victini. Victini has a move called V-Create, which lowers its Defense, Special Defense, and Speed. Now, putting on a Choice Scarf allows it to outspeed things like Keldeo (unless Keldeo is also Scarfed, in which case, max speed doesn't matter anyway), which is nice, but the main objective of using Choice Scarf on this Pokémon is to mitigate the Speed drop. With a Choice Scarf, Victini gets another V-Create at its natural base speed, because the boost from Choice Scarf effectively negates the speed drop. So the real objective isn't to outspeed, but to hit hard, so Adamant Nature can still be used.

As mentioned, Revenge killing is the most common use for Choice Scarf Pokémon. So make sure you know what Pokémon threaten your team, because this will greatly assist you in knowing what Choice Scarf users can handle your team's threats in the most effective manner.

Since the Pokémon is designed to take out threats that your other Pokémon can't deal with, you want to be somewhat protective of it. It's great at securing the late game KO on a Pokémon that can stop your sweeper, which means you want to make sure it stays around until the late game.

Choice Band and Choice Specs

The less popular and less used of the choice items, Choice Band and Choice Specs, are run a little differently than the Choice Scarf. While the Scarf focuses on Speed and outspeeding threats, the Band/Specs focus on power and tearing down walls. They're the Ronald Reagan of Pokémon Items.

Offensive Presence and Movepool

Like the Scarf users, Band/Specs users need a good movepool from which to draw and good stats to back up those moves. STAB moves are once again coveted, as that extra 50% can be a huge boost when breaking down a wall. Above all, though, it needs to carry moves that the walls that give your team trouble don't resist, otherwise, the Pokémon isn't helping your team if it can't break the walls.

Priority

Priority is a huge benefit when considering using a Choice Band/Specs. Obviously, priority is a much bigger issue with Choice Band users than Choice Specs, but only because there are hardly any special priority moves. You'd be hard pressed to find a top tier Choice Band user without priority, because in addition to their primary role as Wallbreaker, they can now function as sort of a Revenge Killer, with their weak priority attack being boosted by the Choice Band.

VoltTurn

Another great option for these Pokémon to have is U-Turn and Volt Switch. It will do more damage, and in some cases, since your Pokémon doesn't have boosted speed, it will take the attack and then switch out, giving the incoming Pokémon a clean slate when entering. This isn't nearly as big as on a Choice Scarf Pokémon, but it can be used to great effectiveness to grab some momentum. (See Switch Initiative in Definitions and VoltTurn guide for more detail).

Speed Tier

Speed tier isn't nearly as crucial as on a Choice Scarf Pokémon, but it is worth looking to make sure you don't lose to anything that could threaten you. And if you are faster than your threats, sometimes it can be advantageous to take some EV's and invest in bulk instead of throwing it all into Speed.

General Rules of Thumb

Choice Band/Specs users are much less common than Choice Scarf users, so don't be surprised if you don't have one on your team and don't see one on an opponent's team. The main reason is that many Pokémon have access to an attack boosting move, but many don't have a speed boosting move, making Choice Scarf the more desirable item. Don't let that discourage you from using one, though, having that much power right out of the gate is formidable. I myself once ran a very successful team with both a Choice Band and Choice Specs user.

As far as Nature and Investment is concerned, it's a bit more subjective here. Usually, slower Pokémon use Modest/Adamant, and faster Pokémon use Timid/Jolly. But in the middle, it is very subjective as to which nature you want to choose, and usually always depends on that Pokémon's biggest threats and the difference in output between the two natures.

While strong priority can definitely be used to revenge kill, don't forget that the primary objective of Choice Band/Specs users is to beat the tar out of things. You aren't necessarily looking to get clean KO's, but you are looking to cause as much mayhem and damage as possible. If a Choice Band/Specs user exits the game with two heavily dented opposing Pokémon, it has done its job, regardless of the KO count. For this reason, unless you specifically are using it to revenge kill only, these Pokémon work best in the mid early game, and they pair exceptionally well with Cleaners that can come in and finish the game. Since the biggest role is to bulldoze a path for a late game sweep, you don't have to be quite as protective of this Pokémon, as letting it faint could give your other Pokémon a chance to finish the game.

Caution

Some Pokémon are just underwhelming with a Choice Item. That's just the truth. There are Pokémon out there who's success is predicated upon the ability to switch moves that look like a good Choice user on paper, but they just don't get it done. Utility Pokémon, Cleaners, and some setup sweeper style Pokémon who's ability or movepool makes them more useful without being locked into one move should think about not using Choice Items. At the very least, you should be cognizant that this Pokémon may not be living up to its fullest potential.

Example



Let's take a look at one of the most common choice users in the game, and one that can run a Scarf and Specs set very well, Latios. Latios meets all of the criteria for being a great choice item candidate, so it's perfect for this.

A perfect example of why you want max Speed on a Scarf set, Latios sits at 110 speed. If you make a Modest Choice Scarf set, it will lose to base 97 and above Choice Scarfers. This includes the base 100 speed tier, a treasure trove of Scarf users. Not only that, it includes Garchomp. If you have higher speed than Garchomp and can run a Scarf, make sure you outspeed it, because it's the most common Scarf user in the game.

Here's the set:

Latios @ Choice Scarf
Timid Nature
Levitate
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
-Draco Meteor
-Psyshock
-Surf
-Hidden Power Fire

Choice Specs is about the same story. The speed tiers below are riddled with Pokemon that love to run max speed. If you run less than that, they will get the jump on you and all of that raw power is for naught.

Here's that set:

Latios @ Choice Specs
Timid Nature
Levitate
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
-Draco Meteor
-Psyshock
-Surf
-Hidden Power Fire

You'll notice that the set didn't hardly change at all. That's a function of its speed tier. There is so much in that speed tier, it is crucial to outspeed all of it. For a slower user, there is less of an emphasis put on speed and more put on power, as discussed earlier.

It's Time to Play: Choose Your Choice!

In the spirit of choosing, I thought it would be fun to make a small game to test your knowledge of what makes a good Choice Pokémon. This doesn't mean that this is the best option for this Pokémon. The only requirement is that it is good enough in comparison to a Pokémon's other sets to be considered viable.

Round 1: Choice Scarf

Will these Pokémon run an effective Choice Scarf set?



Garchomp

Click for Answer:
 



Rotom-H

Click for Answer:
 



Crobat

Click for Answer:
 



Gyarados

Click for Answer:
 



Magnezone

Click for Answer:
 

Round 2: Choice Specs

Can these Pokémon run an effective Specs set?



Chandelure

Click for Answer:
 



Keldeo

Click for Answer:
 



Greninja

Click for Answer:
 



Jolteon

Click for Answer:
 



Alakazam

Click for Answer:
 

Round 3: Choice Band

Can these Pokémon run an effective Band set?



Azumarill

Click for Answer:
 



Mamoswine

Click for Answer:
 



Scizor

Click for Answer:
 



Dragonite

Click for Answer:
 



Lucario

Click for Answer:
 

--

Remember, these are just guidelines, anything can use them. These are just the big hitters. So go try out these items! Post here with you big surprises and your surprisingly bad choice choices! And remember, above all, have fun!

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Mademoiselle C
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PostSubject: Re: The Ultimate Choice (A guide to Choice Items in Singles)   Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:04 am

Well DUH, what kind of clothpole would want to ruin a perfectly good Alakazam with a choice specs???

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