Starmie, The Mysterious Pokémon. Its central core glows with the seven colors of the rainbow. Some people value the core as a gem. People think it is communicating when it glows in 7 colors. It glows in a different color each time it is seen. Regardless of the environment it lives in, its body grows to form a symmetrical geometric shape. It is said that it uses the seven colored core of its body to send electric waves into outer space. Because of its luminous nature, this Pokémon has been given the nickname "the gem of the sea." Starmie swims through water by spinning its star-shaped body as if it were a propeller on a ship. People in ancient times imagined that Starmie were transformed from the reflections of stars that twinkled on gentle waves at night. Because of its body, the locals suspect that it is an alien creature.
Starmie was always a popular Pokémon. As an attacking Pokémon, a versatile special move-pool combined with good Speed and Special Attack provide plenty of offensive threat. Starmie also has good survivability due to decent defensive stats and most importantly, Recover. Additionally, it's one of the few Rapid Spinners that sees frequent use in the Standard environment, allowing it to provide a rare and useful supporting service to its team-mates.
Starmie didn't change much in the generation shift. Choice Specs opens up a new offensive option, but otherwise, it's stayed the same and is most affected by the changes around it. Pursuit becoming physical is the big one. The new physical Pursuit is significantly more popular than the previous special version, and it puts a real dent in Starmie's ability to bounce in and out of play. Stealth Rock also hurts it, but by the same token, it being so widespread makes Starmie (and its Spinning abilities) a much more attractive addition to teams.
Illuminate: has no in-battle effect, so there's no point in using this ability on any competitive Starmie.
Natural Cure: cures any statuses attached to Starmie when it switches. As a result, this allows it to switch into most status-moves freely. Also, from the perspective of a Rapid Spinner, this lessens any worries it might have about switching in when Toxic Spikes are active.
- Rapid Spin
With the addition of Stealth Rock and Toxic Spikes, Rapid Spin is even more favourable than it was before. Once again, for those unfamiliar with the move, it clears the field of entry hazards, like the aforementioned Stealth Rock and Toxic Spikes, as well as Spikes themselves. Natural Cure keeps Toxic Spikes from posing a long-term threat whilst Recover lets it brush off any damage Starmie picks up from entry hazards, as well as damage it picks up in general.
In addition to spinning duties, Starmie also serves as a threat to some powerful opposition. Although it doesn't switch-in as comfortably as a counter should, you can switch in for 'revenge-kills' (using the free switch when a team-mate has been fainted) or rely on prediction (and if your prediction goes askew, Recover can give it a second chance). Surf not only provides reliable STAB, it's an easy OHKO on Infernape, and a good 55-65% damage on Gengar and Lucario. In addition to Surf, you'll either want Thunderbolt for Gyarados or Ice Beam for Salamence, with additional coverage on Water and Grass types respectively.
If you don't need Starmie's spinning abilities, then you can go with all three of its favourite attacking moves. Its versatile type coverage means that the aforementioned popular sweepers (Infernape, Gyarados and Salamence) can't run loose easily, and as noted previously, Recover means that most prediction mishaps can be compensated for at a later stage.
With a special equivalent of Choice Band, Starmie can finally run a viable all-out-attacker move-set. Surf, Ice Beam and Thunderbolt will be carrying the bulk of Starmie's sweeping weight, but there's room for one more attack.
Psychic could never make it onto Starmie's 3rd gen move-sets, but with a 'filler' place open, it has some use. It doesn't provide too much however. Its super-effective coverage is rather unremarkable. Against Fighting types: Ice Beam would KO Breloom, Surf would KO Infernape and Psychic hits neutral against Lucario and Gallade. That leaves just Machamp and Heracross of the popular Fighting types, who both get Surfed away with 2KOs . It's the same story with Poison types as well. Surf KOs Gengar, Ice Beam KOs Roserade and Thunderbolt/Ice Beam KOs Crobat. That just leaves Tentacruel, who's 2KOed by Thunderbolt (55-65% damage) and Psychic (80-90% damage), although Psychic is very close to a KO with any form of entry hazard support).
The main benefit of using Psychic comes in the form of neutral type-coverage when you're unsure of your prediction. If you know something water-resistant is going to switch-in, but not sure whether to go with Bolt or Beam, Psychic is something of a compromise. You won't get the desired super-effective hit, but it'll let you get a STAB hit and avoid the possibility of allowing the opponent an easy switch if they're resistant to both Surf and Bolt or Beam. Part of the trade-off is an additional Pursuit worry however. Metagross, Tyranitar, Weavile, Spiritomb (and other Dark types) are happy to take advantage of a choice-locked Psychic, forcing Starmie to switch and chasing it down with Pursuit.
The other option is Grass Knot. Once again, its coverage is fairly unremarkable. Thunderbolt handles most Water types whilst Surf or Ice Beam will deal with most Ground types. You do get an OHKO hit on Swampert, and in some cases, it's a little stronger than Thunderbolt against other water types. Otherwise, it doesn't provide much, and Metagross, Weavile and Spiritomb will show it little concern.
EVs and Nature:
Reflect, Light Screen, Thunder Wave, Confuse Ray, Life Orb, Expert Belt.
Reflect, Light Screen and Thunder Wave are useful support options. Reflect is particularly nice to soften up any Pursuit attacks. You've also got the para-fusion option with Thunder Wave and Confuse Ray mixed together, which should rack up some switches, giving you a chance to land Thunder Wave on a few more Pokémon and score some entry hazard damage.
If you want an all-out attacker, you can go with the Specs move-set and change the item to Life Orb or Expert Belt, but it's inadvisable to go without Recover.
Blissey walls Starmie completely, but if its only offensive move is Seismic Toss, it'll get out-stalled by Starmie's Recover. Flamethrower and Ice Beam are also fairly useless, as are status attacks (due to Natural Cure), so the only Blissey variants that really work are ones equipped with Thunderbolt (although Blissey can throw up a Light Screen to make switching easier on its team-mates).
Surfs bounce off of Snorlax and in return it can pick up a 2KO with STAB Return (although it only just scrapes a 2KO without Attack EVs, so unfavourable damage rolls mean it might fall just short of the desired 2KO). Regice also takes little damage from Surf and hits back with Thunderbolt for a 2KO.
Despite an Ice Beam weakness, Celebi can get the job done with the Calm Mind-Recover stalling tactic, bulking up its Special Defence just enough to handle Ice Beam with ease (one Calm Mind knocks Ice Beam from 40-45% damage to 25-30%, and in return, a Calm Mind-boosted Energy Ball is an easy OHKO).
Spiritomb handles Surf relatively comfortably, and between Sucker Punch, Pursuit and Dark Pulse, it has all sorts of ways to 2KO Starmie. Dusknoir's Shadow Punch hits at 50-58% damage, a relatively easy 2KO. Shadow Punch isn't its most popular choice though. Thunderpunch hits for 41-48% damage whilst Shadow Sneak does 33-39% damage, not quite ideal enough for 2KOs but still a threat. Both of these Ghosts have the additional bonus of blocking any Rapid Spin attempts (and also using them as a free chance to switch in).
Reaching into the lower tiers, Lanturn and Ludicolo are ideal counters, getting easy 2KOs with Thunderbolt and Energy Ball respectively.
Whilst most Pursuit users don't switch into Surfs 'comfortably', the ones that can handle it are in prime position to KO it with either a chasing Pursuit or another move. Weavile's Pursuit hits for 48-56% damage without a boost, 77-83% with Choice Band, 62-73% damage with a Life Orb and will almost always be an OHKO if it gets the chasing boost. Metagross has decent defensive stats and hits for 75-88% damage with a chasing Pursuit (an OHKO with Choice Band). Heracross doesn't handle Surf comfortably (44-52% damage), but like Metagross, you have 71-83% damage with a chasing Pursuit and an OHKO with a Choice Band.
None of the aforementioned counters really take into account for the Choice Specs set, since it isn't a popular move-set. In the case of a Choice Starmie, you have most of the above counters, just taking into account that you'll want to switch in on resistances, so that it's locked into one 'not very effective' move. Pursuit users in particular like to take advantage of Choice Starmie when they can, since they're almost assured of forcing it to run and grabbing a KO.
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