It’s finally here! The last pokemon (supposedly) of sixth gen has finally been released! Albeit it is only in Japan, volcanion is now legal for use over wifi. Today, I bring you guys an analysis of this hulking tea-kettle kitty. Whether you are lucky enough to snag up one of these rare beasts or just want to know how to deal with it, I will try my best to help you out.
Volcanion is unique. Being the first fire/ water type ever, it was easily the hidden legendary everyone was most hyped over. I mean diancie is cute and hoopa is alright (in confined forme anyways), but volcanion brought about a few novel opportunities that we have never seen before.
First things first, let’s take a look at how it functions on a general level. Being fire/ water type, volcanion is (as I said before) an oddball. By combining a defensive typing (water) with an offensive typing (fire), you’d expect volcanion to fall somewhere in between. And it does. It’s a fairly (although not extremely) bulky ‘mon and it hits relatively hard. Let’s take a look at its stats. The following stat layout is from Bulba:
As you can see, volcanion excels in special attack where it has decent bulk and below average speed. This means its stats make it out to be an offensive tank. It’s typing reflects that as well. Having dual STAB in both water and fire, volcanion not only covers most of its weaknesses, but has the ability to hit most things in the meta very hard with a powerful neutral hit. The two types that resists both STAB moves is, of course, dragon and water. However, thanks to volcanion signature move, steam eruption (scald on steroids), no physically offensive dragon type will have a safe switch-in unless perfectly predicated. As for water types, volcanion’s ability, water absorb, makes their STAB useless meaning they have to rely on much weaker coverage moves. As you can probably see now, volcanion’s bane is actually the electric type. Not only can they capitalize on volcanion’s lower SpDef, but they are usually faster and can hit super-effectively. Lanturn, for example, or rotom(wash) easily deal with volcanion. HOWEVER, volcanion decent offensive movepool makes them even think twice when switching in. When it comes down to it, only a few ‘mons can safely switch in on volcanion and it usually requires some prediction to do so. BUT, volcanion’s terrible speed means that it is easily revenge killed by faster ground and electric types. In a meta where volt switch is rampant, that’s not good news for volcanion. That doesn’t make it bad though! Pair it up with ‘mons like gliscor or landorus. These ‘mons literally cover each other’s backs and force your opponents to predict. Volcanion covers the ice and water weakness while the other ‘mon covers electric and ground. If they over predict, then you get a massive hit off. Here is a set that mostly caters to volcanion’s stat distribution:
252 SpAtk, 252 Hp, 4 SpDef
@ Assault Vest
- Steam Eruption
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power (grass)
As you can see, this is your typical AV set. The point of this volcanion is to tank hits and level fields. With its great typing, it can switch in on slower ‘mons and wreak havoc. The move of choice is steam eruption, a base 110 power water type attack than can burn with the same chance as scald. HOWEVER, don’t treat it like scald. Unlike scald, steam eruption is not spammable. With only 8 max PP and 95% accuracy, it’s a move that you’ll have to use strategically. The move that you can feel free to spam is flamethrower, which is a great secondary STAB. The last two moves are for coverage purposes. Earth power makes it so that electric types will think twice before switching in although it’s mostly there for ‘mons like lanturn since most electric types are scared of steam eruption anyways. HP grass is for water types. Although volcanion can easily wall water types, it also has to be able to deal with them. HP grass not only deals with pesky water types like rotom (wash), but it also takes out the few water absorb ‘mons that are likely to be baited in. The only ‘mon that is completely immune to this set is mantine. I’m not sure if that’s saying a lot though.
Other Options and Final Thoughts
Other notable moves include sludge bomb and sludge wave. These, however, are pretty nice moves. The only reason I would see to running them is mostly to deal with azumarill. Thanks to volcanion’s typing and ability, volcanion is actually a very good azumarill counter. If its purpose is for azumarill, having sludge bomb or sludge wave might be more advantageous that having earth power or HP grass.
Instead of running AV, you can also opt for a choice scarf timid set to surprise opponents. You’ll want to swap out flame-thrower for the more powerful Overheat, but this set can prove to be effective. However, once the surprise factor is over, this set may prove to be less useful since even with scarf, volcano is still pretty slow.
Another thing to note is that volcanion has decent physical attack as well. That means you can easily run a physical set with moves like EQ or flare blitz. However, this means you’ll want to run quiet or brave nature sacrificing your already low speed. Running a negative defense nature with max speed is doable, but not recommended because volcanion partially capitalizes on its bulk.
Currently, volcanion is OU in Smogon. I personally don’t believe it should be there considering howe terribly slow it is. With threats like garchomp and rotom (wash) running around, volcanion can’t really shine in this tier. I expect it to drop to BL or UU. Here, it will do much better.