Espeon, The Sun Pokémon. It uses the fine hair that covers its body to sense air currents and predict its enemy's actions. The tip of its forked tail quivers when it is predicting its opponent's next move. An Espeon is extremely loyal to any trainer it considers to be worthy. It is said to have developed precognitive powers to protect its trainer from harm. Its fur has the look and feel of velvet. The orb on its forehead glows when it uses psycho-power.
Espeon hasn't changed much in the generation shift. Its special move-pool is somewhat limited, and despite having great Special Attack and Speed, it's left rather outclassed by the likes of Azelf and Alakazam as a Special Sweeper. Espeon's primary attraction is its access to Baton Pass, giving it a useful niche as a Calm Mind passer. Obviously, a suitable recipient (or several) is required to make the most use of its passing capabilities, but it makes Espeon a very useful addition to some teams.
Synchronize: will status the enemy if Espeon itself is hit with a burn, paralysis or poison status (obviously providing the opponent isn't immune or already under the effects of a status). In general, Espeon will want to avoid being statused, making it more of a consolation prize for when Espeon is met with the misfortune of an unwanted status. With Heal Bell support some use can be made from it, and it can be used in a sacrificial manner to throw a status onto an opponent.
Calm Mind Baton Pass - “EspyJump”
The Calm Mind Baton Passing set, or EspyJump as it is popularly known, continues to be its most reliable route.
As with most Baton Passing strategies, it revolves around bringing Espeon in against an opponent who can do little to it, and using the time it has to set-up for an appropriate team-mate. Once it has thrown up a Substitute, Espeon can Baton Pass it to an appropriate Pokémon (especially when faced with a slower Pokémon) or use it as a defensive buffer to begin setting up Calm Mind. In particular, Espeon can set-up 'unbreakable' Substitutes against weak special attackers, using the boosts from Calm Mind to sponge the opponent's offences comfortably whilst having the Substitute active as a defence against critical-hits or status moves.
Leftovers is an important item, as Espeon will frequently be making Substitutes and will need the consistent supply of HP recovery.
With Azelf and Alakazam being notable alternatives, using Espeon as a special sweeper is usually considered an unattractive option. The primary attraction is the surprise factor it may carry with it, since opponents will usually not expect Espeon to use any offensive moves outside of Psychic. Hidden Power [Fighting] is particularly effective against Dark types, who are immune to Psychic. Shadow Ball is useful for catching Espeon's fellow Psychics, as well as Ghosts.
Espeon can choose between Fake Tears and Calm Mind to help bolster its offensive power. Fake Tears is much more effective one-on-one, and has the chance of forcing switches (for additional passive damage). It'll also remain if Espeon is forced to switch, although its effects are lost if the opponent switches or is fainted. Calm Mind will stick until Espeon is forced to switch or is fainted. The boosts are not as directly powerful, but the Special Defence boost increases Espeon's survivability and opens up the opportunity to use Calm Mind a few more times.
Something of an obligatory Choice Specs set, although the aforementioned competition from Azelf and Alakazam makes using Espeon in such a manner seem unnecessary. As with the special sweeper, the main attraction is the element of surprise.
Psychic, Hidden Power [Fighting] and Shadow Ball have all had their merits covered. Grass Knot is the only new addition, and pretty much the only other special attack it has left to choose. Against opponents who resist Psychic (Tyranitar, Starmie and Slowbro coming to mind), it's better off using Hidden Power [Fighting] or Shadow Ball, but it has its uses for other situations (such as Hippowdon and Rhyperior).
EVs and Nature:
EspyJump sets tend to favour Speed, HP and Special Defence. Speed has its obvious importance, allowing Espeon to Baton Pass before its opponents attack it. HP is important for Substitutes and Leftovers recovery, whilst Special Defence helps to give it a base to work defensive Calm Minds from. 320 (196 EVs) tends to be the HP stat to shoot for, for maximum Leftovers recovery.
Speed tends to be the most modifiable stat to EV. 334 (192 EVs) tends to be a preferable number to shoot for, as it allows Espeon to outrun Jolly Garchomp. Espeon could risk running fewer EVs, shooting at the very least for 304 Speed (84 EVs), to outrun Adamant variants of the aforementioned Garchomp. Espeon could also shoot higher, using 341 (216 EVs) for Mismagius, 347 (240 EVs) for Infernape, or max to tie with Gengar and Tauros. The remaining EVs can be distributed to Espeon's Special Defence stat.
Special sweeping variants can disregard the need for Special Defence or HP and aim straight for Espeon's Special Attack and Speed stats.
Morning Sun, Wish, Reflect, Light Screen, Yawn, Charm.
Morning Sun is a useful recovery move, although its use is significantly lessened during Sandstorm or Hail (both of which are quite prevalent). If Espeon has some Sunny Day support, it can make use of the move, otherwise it'll probably be inefficient due to the aforementioned weather conditions.
Wish fills in as a support and recovery move for Espeon. It allows Espeon to help heal its team, as well as itself, although as a self-recovery move it's not particularly efficient due to the delay in when the heal comes. Espeon could team it up with Protect, or even use Substitute as a makeshift Protect, in order to protect it during the exposed turn, but it still lacks the efficiency of other recovery moves and Espeon isn't as effective a Wish-passer as some other options.
Reflect is a useful defensive option, both for Espeon and its team, but whether it's the best application of Espeon's capabilities is questionable. Even with a Reflect active, Espeon won't be filling in as a physical wall (unlike other Reflect users, such as Cresselia). Light Screen is less useful for Espeon, since Espeon can take a special hit comfortably (especially with Calm Mind), but it can pass it on, but then again that's also true for Calm Mind.
Yawn can be used to force a switch or two (or possibly inflict a sleep status), but it's questionable whether it's worthy of a move-slot, especially since Espeon lacks the defences to really be shuffling the opposing team to pick up passive damage. Charm can be used in a similar manner, with the added bonus that it helps Espeon to take physical hits, although it's useless against special inclined opponents.
The biggest problem Espeon presents is its ability to Baton Pass Substitutes and Calm Minds. It's easy to counter Espeon itself, but it'll simply Baton Pass away from any counter and switch to an appropriate team-mate, passing on any boosts or Subs that it had beforehand. Baton Pass causes an additional problem for the standard Psychic counters, since it evades the 'chasing' side-effect of Pursuit.
Sandstorm and Hail cause Espeon some problems, since they limit how many uses of Substitute Espeon has available to itself. Of the weather activators, only Tyranitar can really be considered a viable counter, since Hippowdon and Abomasnow will take a fair chunk of damage from boosted Psychics. Tyranitar obviously has to be weary of potential uses of Hidden Power [Fighting] though.
Weavile is faster than Espeon, meaning it can slam it with a Pursuit before it uses Baton Pass (something most Pursuit users can't do). The occasional use of Hidden Power [Fighting] presents a threat however. Metagross fears nothing that Espeon can throw its way, including the additional offensive moves found on special sweeping move-sets. The same can be said for physical variants of Jirachi (although the special variants risk allowing Espeon the time to set-up Calm Minds). Spiritomb is also pretty fearless against Espeon, and has access to STAB Dark moves to eliminate Espeon. Blissey can take on Espeon one-on-one fairly comfortably. It can knock down any Subs with Seismic Toss or paralyse it with Thunder Wave if there aren't any Substitutes active.
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