Strategy Session – Pokemon Black/White, Part IV

This week, we’re going to be taking a look at Gravity, a move which, at first glance, does not really excite. However, as with many things in Pokemon, there’s more going on here than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll talk about why you should consider Gravity a threat, what your options are to get the move set up, and what you can then do with it. We’ll talk about other moves that work well in tandem with Gravity, and measure exactly how far up your opponent’s nose your team will get. So without further ado, let’s get started.

The game describes Gravity as a move which removes any Ground immunities for five turns, but what it doesn’t mention is that as long as Gravity is in effect, the evasiveness of all Pokemon in play is reduced by two stages. The practical upshot of this is that anything with around 70% accuracy is boosted to 100%, which can be a powerful tool alongside Gravity’s more obvious effect of making Ground-based offense more useful. There are a number of different ways to make use of Gravity, both offensively and defensively. Offensively, Gravity can be used to boost inaccurate moves, making moves like Fire Blast, Blizzard and DynamicPunch much more viable. Defensively, Gravity is useful because it removes the immunity of Flying and Levitating Pokemon to Spikes and Toxic Spikes, giving stall teams a much easier time dealing damage and spreading status.

Regardless of whether your Gravity team is defensive or offensive, there are a number of things you’ll want to keep in mind when putting things together. To start with, Gravity’s biggest drawback is that it lasts only five turns, which, as with Trick Room, includes the turn on which it is used. This is a particular problem for offensive Gravity teams, since you’ll be wasting one further turn switching to a sweeper. Again, most of the advice I had to give in regards to Trick Room fits here: Focus on momentum, make sure you’re making the most of your turns, and be aware that your opponents are going to try to stall you out.

The other big thing to keep in mind is that Gravity’s Ground immunity-removing effect hits your party, too. Since your team won’t be able to switch Flying or Levitating Pokemon into Earthquakes or Earth Powers coming from your foe, you’ll need to invest in at least one solidly bulky Ground-resistant Pokemon. Heracross is a particular favorite for offensive teams, as it not only resists Ground but can also make use of the accuracy boost with moves like Megahorn. Defensively, Celebi is an excellent choice, as its defenses and typing allow it to take most Ground-type moves with little trouble.

Before we get into the new toys Black and White have brought us, we should take a step back and learn about some of the Pokemon that appeared on Gravity teams in 4th gen. Some of the most popular players on offensive teams are special-based critters, and Starmie and Magnezone are the ones that really stand out. Starmie’s claim to fame is that it is one of the only Pokemon who can both set up Gravity and make use of it. Starmie gets hugely powerful attacks like Thunder and Blizzard, and a wonderful STAB move in Hydro Pump, all of which absolutely love having Gravity active. Magnezone, on the other hand, is famous for doing one thing and doing it very well. With Gravity active, Magnezone can fire off STAB Zap Cannons with disturbing accuracy. The floating magnet’s low speed is sometimes a problem, but Zap Cannon’s guaranteed paralysis helps a lot. Magnezone’s resistances also make it easy to force an opponent out of play, meaning you shouldn’t have too much trouble sticking your foe’s digits in the light socket.

Defensively, one of the best Gravity Pokemon available is Forretress. Its position as a Spiker is well-known, and that dovetails excellently with the way Gravity is used in a defensive team. Forretress can set up both Toxic Spikes and Spikes, activate Gravity, and then use Explosion to get out of play while maintaining momentum. Dusknoir is also a popular choice, though it can be hard to get a really useful selection of moves. Dusky learns a number of moves that benefit from Gravity, like Will o Wisp and DynamicPunch. However, DynamicPunch is only available through a 3rd gen tutor, meaning you can’t have both DynamicPunch and Pain Split, which is Dusknoir’s only means of recovery outside of Rest. A personal favorite of mine is Exeggutor, whose resistance to Ground and access to moves like Sleep Powder and Explosion make it useful in a defensive Gravity team. There’s also Blissey to consider, whose position on defensive teams is unrivaled, and whose access to Gravity is an important note in her favor.

Unfortunately, Gravity didn’t get quite as much attention as some other strategies in Black and White. Not only did we lose the Gravity tutor, which makes it really hard to use new Egg Moves and breeding tactics effectively for a Gravity team, but we only gained three new users of the move. On the plus side, though, they are really good Gravity Pokemon. The first of these, Ferrothorn, might actually be a more effective Gravity ‘mon than Forretress. Not only can it Spike and Explode and use Gravity, but it presents great resistances and a much more solid special defense. The second new Gravity user, Gigalith, is a bit tougher to use. Its defenses are excellent, but its low Speed and large number of weaknesses means that it’ll have a hard time against a faster, Taunt-using team.

When constructing a Gravity team, there are usually two major positions for sweepers: Pokemon who rely on Gravity to improve the accuracy of powerful moves, allowing them to sweep easier; and Pokemon who rely on Gravity’s removal of Ground-immunity to make an Earthquake sweep more viable. Excadrill, everyone’s new favorite metal mole, fits into this last section best. With a great Attack score of 135 and a solid Speed of 88, Doryuuzu can fire off massively powerful STAB Earthquakes in an environment where nothing is immune to the move, and few resist it. Excadrill’s biggest problem is that its Speed is just okay.

These are, of course, only a few of the options available to a good Gravity team. With so much of the metagame still a big question mark, there’s plenty of room for creativity in movesets, so get out there and let your imagination go wild!

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