Primeape, The Pig Monkey Pokémon. When it becomes furious, its blood circulation becomes more robust, and its muscles are made stronger. But it also becomes much less intelligent. It grows angry if you see its eyes and gets angrier if you run. If you beat it, it gets even madder. Always furious and tenacious to boot. It will not abandon chasing its quarry until it catches up. If approached while asleep, it may awaken and angrily give chase in a groggy state of semi-sleep. It will beat up anyone who makes it mad, even if it has to chase them until the end of the world.
Primeape is one of the original Fighting types from the 1st Generation. One glance at its stats tells you it's the typical Fighter, a straightforward brute force Pokémon. The main thing differentiating it from its fellow Fighters is its Speed stat, which is the second highest of any Fighting type (second only to Infernape). Good Speed and Good Attack lends itself immediately to physical sweeper move-sets.
Primeape isn't a Pokémon that can leave its speciality though. Some Fighters are defensively capable, but Primeape isn't one of them, since all of its defensive stats are below average. The downside to this fragility is it makes switching-in difficult, compounded further by its few resistances (and no immunities, barring the Vital Spirit immunity to Sleep moves).
It's a Underused Pokémon for sure, outclassed by the likes of Heracross and Infernape in the Standard environment. In the UU environment though, it can be quite an offensive beast, with few Pokémon capable of safely switching into its moves without losing a large chunk of HP.
Vital Spirit: is the reliable ability to go for. It makes Primeape immune to Sleep moves (such as Hypnosis and Sleep Powder). With so few resistances and no immunities, having moves it can freely switch into are a blessing, especially for Choice move-sets.
Anger Point: is an ability that will rarely be of use, although it can be so ridiculously game-changing that there is a temptation to put it to use. Primeape receives a +6 Attack boost (the equivalent of a Belly Drum) if the opponent lands critical-hit on it.
Of course, the downside is that Primeape is highly unlikely to survive a critical-hit being landed on it. Aside from Endure, Focus Sash and being behind a Substitute, Primeape lacks viable ways to survive a critical-hit, making it something of a novelty choice. You're welcome to try combining it with the aforementioned moves though, although the odds of getting that critical-hit that Primeape would seek aren't too high. Switching into some of the weaker Stone Edges and Night Slashes might also give Primeape a small chance of receiving a survivable critical-hit as well.
Choice / Physical Sweeper
- Close Combat
The straightforward physical sweeper option for a straightforward brute-force Pokémon. Close Combat is its most obvious STAB move, although letdown partially by its poor PP. The lowering of its defensive stats are of little concern when its defensive stats are already forgettable.
Along with Close Combat, it has room for one of two combinations, Earthquake and Stone Edge or Ice and Thunderpunch. Both follow typically popular type coverage combinations, Ground-Rock and Ice-Electric. It's worth noting that Ice and Thunderpunch are only available through the Emerald move-tutor though.
U-Turn is a fun and useful move for getting damage and switching-out freely in the same turn. The main applications for this move are scouting if the opponent intends to switch or not (since the move will be used after the opponent has an opportunity to switch) as well as switching to a counter whilst causing some damage. Being a Bug-typed move, it also gets a nice super-effective hit on Psychic Pokémon.
The main area for variation is in which item it chooses. Choice Band is obviously useful for a straightforward power boost. Choice Scarf makes Primeape very capable of switching-in after a Pokémon has been KOed (for a 'revenge kill') and also makes it a very capable lead, giving a large boost to its already good Speed stat. Life Orb and Expert Belt are items for a typical physical sweeper, giving minor boosts whilst allowing it to switch between its moves.
Anyone familiar with Reversal sets should understand the general gist of this move-set. Reversal sets tend to fail in the Standard environment, with Tyranitar and Hippowdon's Sandstream abilities conjuring endless Sandstorms on a frequent basis, but they are fairly viable in the UU environment, where it only really has to contend with Toxic Spikes and priority moves (like Quick Attack).
Primeape can bring its HP down to one, either by taking a hit with Endure or using 4 Substitutes (and make sure its HP isn't divisible by four, otherwise it will only be able to use three Subs, leaving it at 25% of its max HP). After that, Primeape will have a lovely Base Power 200 Reversal, backed by STAB. Reversal can be backed by either of the two popular combinations, Earthquake and Stone Edge or Ice and Thunderpunch.
In the process of lowering its HP, Primeape can pick up a boost from a pinch berry. Salac is the standard, for a Speed boost that'll let it outrun most of its opponents, but Primeape is fast enough to give consideration to a Liechi Berry for the Attack boost. A Liechi equipped Primeape would need to be a bit more tentative about bringing its HP so low, since it would want to be sure that faster opponents are out of the way first.
Anger Point can be given some consideration here. Although the chances of it activating are still far from guaranteed, there are four opportunities for it to activate whilst using Substitute (or one whilst using Endure).
As with the previous set, the primary focus of this move-set is to take good advantage of Reversal. In this case, Primeape can survive a hit with Focus Sash to bring its HP down low enough. It's worth noting that Focus Sash will only work if Primeape has 100% of its HP, so the slightest touch of damage (such as that taken from Stealth Rock) will render it useless.
In the process of activating Focus Sash, Primeape can do a couple of things (ignoring the possibility of simply just attacking during that turn). It could Counter a hit, which it would survive and probably have lost enough HP to get a KO from it (the typical Counter-Sash routine available to fragile Pokémon). Alternatively, it could use the turn to Meditate, getting an offensive boost (similar to the Swords Dance-Sash routine used by some Pokémon).
With two move-slots free, again it returns to the popular coverage combinations of Earthquake and Stone Edge or Ice and Thunderpunch.
EVs and Nature:
With defensive stats too poor to deserve EV attention, Primeape falls back comfortably on the 252/252 sweeper EV spreads. A little less Speed can be given, especially with Jolly, but max is nice to at least tie Speed with Pokémon it shares its Speed group with (such as Jynx and Electivire).
With Jolly, the minimum Speed stat to be using would ideally be 310, to outrun Pokémon in the Base 105 Speed group (such as Manectric and Scyther), as well as Jolly/Timid Pokémon in the Base 90 and 91 Speed groups (such Zangoose and Rotom). Adamant variants will want at least 270, to beat Base 85 Pokémon (such as Heracross and Nidoking), although 282 would be more ideal, for Base 90 and 91 Pokémon (such as the aforementioned Rotom and Zangoose).
Focus Punch, Punishment, Overheat, Fire Punch, Bulk Up, Taunt.
Focus Punch is an option for Choice sets, for a strong hit on switching opponents, but its power is only a little higher than Close Combat, making it of questionable worth.
Punishment is worth a look, since Primeape has few moves to use against Ghosts. Its Base Power is 60, but it gains power as the opponent uses stat boosts. Even without the power from opposing boosts, it's still the best move it has against most Ghosts.
Overheat has some use for surprising Pokémon 4x weak to it (basically meaning Forretress and Scizor), as well as Skarmory. Even with Primeape's terrible Special Attack, the sheer power of the move and type advantage should be enough to leave a mark, and it's made more viable by benefiting from a possible Life Orb boost.
Fire Punch has some use for the aforementioned Pokémon and is a bit more viable for general use, since it's a physical attack. Its type coverage just isn't noteworthy enough to justify use over other moves however.
Bulk Up's main use is for the Attack boost. Sadly, Primeape doesn't have the time to really use stat-boosts, and the Defence boost is of little use.
Taunt is there to keep opponents from using non-offensive moves. Generally speaking, you'll want to be using it on opponents trying to heal or throw up a Reflect, rather than to prevent the likes of Whirlwind, Spikes and so forth (not that preventing those isn't useful).
Primeape, whilst fast and powerful, is
quite weak. It packs a heavy punch but it's quite fragile, making switching-in difficult. It'll also want to look out for Will-o-Wisp and Thunder Wave (or Burn and Paralysis in general), both of which will outright halt its sweeping attempts. In the UU environment, counters are bit dependant on the moves at its disposal. Defensive Bug, Poison, Flying, Psychic and Ghost types can comfortably switch in against its Fighting moves, but are all exposed to one of its other moves. Bugs won't like Stone Edge, Poisons won't like Earthquake, Fliers won't like Stone Edge (or Ice Punch) and Psychics won't like U-Turn. Psychics and Ghosts won't like Punishment (although Ghosts are certainly the least harmed of the five).
Among Poison types, the Grass/Poison Pokémon don't need to worry about Earthquake but need to worry about Ice Punch. Vileplume is the only UU option with a noteworthy defensive stat but Venusaur is an okay choice when looking at BL Pokémon. Nidoking and Nidoqueen resist Stone Edge as well as its Fighting moves but are exposed to Earthquake and Ice Punch. Muk has okay defensive stats but needs to worry about Earthquake.
Amongst Bug types, Stone Edge is a big threat, although many share a dual type with Flying or Poison, granting them a 4x resistance to its Fighting moves, meaning they can come in really comfortably against its Fighting moves. Unfortunately, defensive ones are few in number. Flying types have the same problem with Stone Edge, as well as Ice and Thunderpunch. Among Psychics, Slowking does well but needs to watch out for Thunderpunch. Hypno performs acceptably, but both need to watch out for U-Turn.
UU Ghost types tend to be lacking defensively (although being completely immune to Fighting moves is a very nice benefit). Sableye is passable, especially with the threat of Will-o-Wisp and Knock Off. Driblim and Froslass are immune to Earthquake and its Fighting moves, although both are heavily exposed to Stone Edge. Rotom isn't as exposed to Stone Edge as the aforementioned two but still has fairly weak defensive stats, although Will-o-Wisp and Thunder Wave are very useful in bringing an end to Primeape's sweeping attempts.
In Standard (OU) play, plenty of Pokémon outright wall Primeape. Weezing is the obvious one, who has a habit of outright walling most Fighting types. Amongst others, it simply won't get around Cresselia, Gliscor, Claydol, Dusknoir, Spiritomb and Slowbro.
Attentive folks will notice that most of this counter section is looking quite familiar. Yes, Primeape has very similar counters to Hitmontop, it just hits harder, hits faster and is significantly weaker defensively.
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