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Shore Up Weaknesses or Enhance Strengths?


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I've only just gotten back into competitive battling, and I was reminded of an issue that I've never fully resolved, and was wondering the opinions of the community-at-large.

What is the general consensus on trying to minimize a statistical weakness of a Pokémon? As an example, let's look at Cloyster. He's obviously great against physical attacks, but what if you wanted to choose a Nature and EV spread to enhance its less-than-stellar Special Defense stat to turn it into a dual wall?

Is it alwaysalwaysalways better to use Natures and EVs exclusively to improve the things your Pokémon is already good at, or is there merit in the above approach?

Keep in mind I'm not suggesting you put 252 EVs into a Shuckle's Speed or anything, but improving a borderline average stat...honestly, I'm not the greatest at maths, and have no idea how to run the numbers to check one way or the other.

(Edit for spelling and punctuation.)

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The general rule is that you want to emphasize what a Pokemon is good at and hinder what a Pokemon sucks at.

But there are times when investment in less-than-stellar stats is called for. I'm not going to say that they're exceptions, but they are the minority of sets.

Really its a case by case basis. You'll never be using Blissey's ATK stat so when in doubt, always lower that stat.

But while Tyranitar's speed sucks, there are several Tyranitar sets over various generations that use speed EVs and might even run a +Speed nature, if only to outrun other Tyranitars of the same set.

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To distribute EVs properly? On offensive Pokemon, this rule is incredibly easy and raise its primary attack stat or speed. Generally, you would lower the attack stat that the Pokemon never uses and capitalise on the stat that you are trying to raise. If it is a sweeper of some sort, most people would raise speed because speed is everything: these Pokemon MUST be able to attack first or else it will lose. Mixed attackers with high defences but low speed (like Swampert) would lower its speed, offensive behemoth with little speed running an offensive set (for example, erm, Choice Band Hippowdon), would run + Atk / SpA (depending on the Pokemon), while fast and frail mixed attackers (Infernape, Lucario) would lower one of its defence stats.

As for defensive Pokemon, it is a little more difficult, as you must take HP, Def, SpDef, and most importantly, typing and weakness modifying abilities (such as Levitate or Volt Absorb). Also, keep in mind the Standard metagame is heavily leaning towards physical attacks (not saying there isn't any special attackers, but physical is generally more common), so most walls, even ones with average defence like Vaporeon (60 base Def, 95 SpDef) would run + Def nature or even max its physical defence. Things with high HP like the aforementioned Vaporeon can just easily get away with maxing Def and placing enough EVs into HP or even little. Even Blissey and Chansey, as they are the most extreme case, max out their physical Defence as that provides more physical defence than just simply adding HP while the rest of their EVs go anywhere desired, like some in SpDef, HP, or in Blissey's case, SpA for random auxiliary attacks. Pokemon with very high HP need their base Defences invested more than their HP while the opposite is true for defensive Pokemon with low HP and high defences (such as Bronzong or Dusknoir), who would prefer to max their HP and the rest into one of their defences or split in some way amongst the two. Here's something that can help:

http://users.smogon.com/X-Act/defense.html

It is exactly what randomspot said, but I would not even try to raise Cloyster's Special Defence, as it seems pointless. Unless you are trying to survive random Surfs or Flamethrowers from specific targets, it is usually a lost cause. Sometimes though, people do what you say on things like Skarmory, who is noted for high physical defence, and go 252 HP/ 252 SpDef Careful ( - SpA / + SpDef) nature in order to take random neutral special attacks better and due to the fact its Defence is already sky high even when uninvested. Unfortunately, some physical things still do hit hard, so evaluate carefully what your team needs. Same thing goes for Forretress or Steelix. These all depend on their designated roles or what you want to do. The more trickier Pokemon to EV are versatile ones like Tyranitar: do you want amazing defences to survive Gengar's Life Orb Focus Blast (this is possible) or to outpace base 115ers as an offensive revenge killer?

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