Strategy Session – Competitive Pokemon II

This week, we’ll be continuing our theme of Pokémon set to appear on the covers of the upcoming Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Ho-oh’s counterpart, Lugia, is more defensively oriented, and generally makes a better wall than the rainbow pheonix. Lugia’s more focused nature makes it easier to fit into teams, though its typing does tend to cause it trouble in a metagame full of anti-Psychic tactics.

Flying / Psychic 
106 Atk: 90 Def: 130 Sp Atk: 90 Sp Def: 154 Spd: 110 
Pressure: Attacks used by the opponent against this Pokémon use 2 PP instead of 1.

With huge defensive statistics, Lugia is one of the best defensive Pokémon in the game, ranking neck and neck with Giratina’s Altered Forme. Giratina-A’s main advantages over Lugia are that it has a somewhat better typing, access to Will o Wisp, and a much higher base HP, while Lugia has access to instant recovery moves in Recover and Roost, and slightly better Def and Sp Def. On the whole, which one you use depends largely on the rest of your party, as they fill some very similar roles.

We’ll start with Lugia’s greatest hits. For a start, Roost. The ability to instantly recover half of his HP in an instant is a huge advantage, which Giratina-A, who has to rely on the less impressive Rest, cannot match. But Roost becomes even more attractive when you take its weakness-reducing side effect into consideration. Since one of Lugia’s biggest problems is its inferior resistances, Roost’s ability to remove all but two of his weaknesses combines exceptionally well with Lugia’s very solid 110 Spd. It makes Lugia a wonderful counter to powerful Pokémon that are slower than it is – which includes non-Scarfed Kyogre, Groudon, Dialga, and a number of others.

As with many walls, Lugia’s offense is less than impressive. With only base 90 in both offensive stats, it really needs a boosting move to deal even respectable damage to a lot of the Pokémon Lugia will be meeting. Lugia’s signature move, Aeroblast, is a pretty important move for it, since Lugia’s other main attack type, Psychic, is resisted by most of the other Pokémon it’ll be facing. And the high critical rate doesn’t hurt, either. Lugia’s typing is really its biggest impediment; even with Roost, Lugia takes super effective damage from some of the most common attacks amongst high-order Legendaries, such as Dark Pulse, Shadow Ball, and Pursuit.

With access to a very broad support movepool, Lugia makes one of the best walls you could possibly ask for. Though its resistances are a real issue, careful use of Roost will go a long, long way towards fixing him up. We’ve prepared some moveset suggestions to help you decide which direction to go with your Lugia:

Miss Cleo’s Parrot
Lugia @Leftovers
Timid nature (-Atk, +Spd)
252 HP, 82 Def, 176 Spd
-Thunder / Ice Beam
-Calm Mind
A simple but effective Calm Mind set, this Lugia has little problem standing up to some of the most powerful special attackers in the game. Just be careful about Kyogre; because they’re often equipped with a Choice Scarf, you won’t be able to Roost before the big orca uses Thunder. The actual moves used in this set are pretty straightforward – the only real choice is between Thunder, to hit Ho-oh and Kyogre, or Ice Beam, to hit Rayquaza and Groudon.

Edgar Casey’s Cassowary
Lugia @Leftovers
Bold nature (-Atk, +Def)
252 HP, 52 Def, 204 Spd
-Ice Beam / Thunder
-Reflect / Light Screen
This Lugia makes a good insurance policy against the many, many that will try to set up with stat-boosting moves. Light Screen and Reflect will help shore up your team’s defenses on one side or the other, but with the huge number of critters that use physical attack boosting moves like Swords Dance and Dragon Dance, Reflect is the recomended move. Of course, this could change soon – Darkrai now learns Nasty Plot, thanks to Pokémon Platinum, which makes him a huge, huge threat. The ability to use Light Screen to dampen his massive offense and Whirlwind him out of play could be a big advantage.

Lugia gets a huge number of support moves, many of which can fit into this set. For example, Lugia can learn Thunder Wave, which combines really well with Whirlwind, letting you spread Paralysis through your foe’s team. Toxic also makes a great addition to this set, perhaps replacing Reflect / Light Screen. You’ll lose a bit of your team support, but Lugia’s massive defenses make it a great Toxic staller.

Nostradamus’s Ostrich
Lugia @Choice Band
Adamant nature (-Sp Atk, +Atk)
252 Atk, 252 HP, 6 Spd
-Zen Headbutt
Weirdly enough, Lugia actually has a better movepool than Ho-oh, despite having a much, much weaker offensive stat. Still, Lugia’s defenses make it very easy to get into play, so a Choice Band set offers both durability and the element of surprise.

Given all the Psychic-resistant Pokémon Lugia has to deal with, Zen Headbutt may not seem like the best choice for a primary physical attack… And honestly, it’s really not. But Lugia’s only option for physical STAB without Zen Headbutt is nonsense like Aerial Ace, which isn’t really worthwhile given Lugia’s less than impressive Atk. The rest of the set is built to give Lugia the best possible coverage while taking advantage of its defensive ability. That way, Lugia can take advantage of moves that work better if they go second, like Avalanche and Punishment.

At any rate, those are some basic suggestions for what to do with Lugia. Next week, we’ll be covering a reader request and talk a bit about Jolteon, the fastest of the Eevee evolutions. Until then, may all your hits be critical!

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