Forretress, The Bagworm Pokémon. Its entire body is shielded by a steel-hard shell. What lurks inside the armor is a total mystery. It remains immovably rooted to its tree. It scatters pieces of its hard shell to drive its enemies away. Usually found hanging on to a fat tree trunk. It shoots out bits of its shell when it sees action. It keeps itself inside its steel shell. The shell is opened when it is catching prey, but it is so quick that the shell's inside cannot be seen. Its peering eyes are all that can be seen of its mysterious innards. ť
Despite so many Pokémon changing during the generation shift, Forretress managed to stay pretty much the same. It continues to serve duel-roles as support and a physical wall, getting by with a great combination of stats and resistances as well as the hybrid ability to lay down and spin away entry hazards. Just like the previous generation, it manages to maintain a firm place in the Standard environment, although not a position of great popularity. It can be a good addition to some teams, but as a primarily supportive Pokémon, its value all depends on how much support its team needs.
Sturdy: makes Forretress immune to OHKO moves (Fissure, Sheer Cold, Horn Drill and Guillotine). Since those are usually banned from standard play, and rarely seen when they are allowed, it makes this ability rather useless.
- Gyro Ball | Earthquake
Forretress is a simple Pokémon of simple tastes. Almost all of them will carry some variant of this move-set. Gyro Ball combined with Forretress's low Speed makes for an ideal STAB move, and gets some useful super-effective hits on the likes of Weavile and Tyranitar. Earthquake is primarily there for hitting Magnezone as it switches in, but still comes with suitable coverage to perform as Forretress's low offensive attack.
Rapid Spin is an obvious choice. Provided a Ghost doesn't get in your way, you can spin away Spikes, Toxic Spikes and Stealth Rock. In addition, Forretress can carry any one of those three itself:
Toxic Spikes is great for punishing defensive Pokémon. One layer inflicts normal poison, two inflicts “Toxic” poison (for the difference, see here). The long-term effects can take their toll in a long battle, particularly on teams that rely heavily on defensive Pokémon who aren't immune to Toxic Spikes. The negative side of Toxic Spikes is that they don't affect Flying types, Steel types and Levitators; and not only are Poison types immune, they'll also remove them from play (similarly to a Rapid Spin, only this effect can't be blocked by a Ghost).
Spikes is good at punishing fast-switching teams. One layer does 12.5% damage, two layers do 18.75% and three layers do 25% damage. Once again, they don't affect Flying types and Levitators, but the damage can rack up very quickly on grounded Pokémon. The biggest downside is probably the time it takes to fully exploit its potential. Three layers takes three turns, and three can be spun away as easily as one with a single Rapid Spin.
Stealth Rock…well, do I need to explain it? 12.5% damage on all switching Pokémon, raised and lowered by their weaknesses or resistances to Rock attacks. The main downside of using this move is that there are so many viable Stealth Rock users around and nowhere near as many viable Spikers or Toxic Spikers.
With that long process out of the way, you can finally round things off with Explosion. When HP gets low (or when its job is done), Forretress can try and take a foe down with it.
Item-wise, Leftovers is an obvious choice for a little added defensive bulk. Shed Shell is primarily an option for getting away from Magnezone's Magnet Pull, which can be a potential game-ender for Forretress.
The main move-set variation lies in the entry hazards. Any of Explosion, Gyro Ball/Earthquake and Rapid Spin could be dropped in favour of a secondary entry hazard move, letting Forretress double-up on its entry hazard support in exchange for some offence or spinning support.
EVs and Nature:
Max HP is the obvious starting point, as well as a +Def Nature. When equipped with Gyro Ball, you'll obviously want a -Speed nature and as low a Speed IV as possible, but without Gyro Ball, Speed is completely insignificant. You will want some Defence EVs, but that's dependant on how many EVs you want to place elsewhere. Poor Special Defence leaves Forretress exposed to most neutral-hitting Special Attacks, so a decent Special Defence investment isn't wasted. Some Attack isn't wasted either. You need 156 Attack EVs to ensure an OHKO on Magnezone (min Def/HP) with Earthquake, although a solid 80 EVs or so will average out as an OHKO most of the time (and guarantee it if the Magnezone takes any damage, like from Spikes). The given EV spread is really just an example, it can be varied significantly.
Light Screen, Reflect, Counter, Zap Cannon, Rest, Macho Brace.
Forretress can extend its supporting role beyond spinner-spiking with the defensive screens. Light Screen is the more attractive of the two, since it helps Forretress directly by compensating for its pretty abysmal Special Defence stat, but Reflect is also viable for supporting its team-mates and making Forretress generally impenetrable from a physical perspective.
Forretress has a great Defence stat and a reliable HP stat. Without a reliable recovery move, Forretress isn't the type to be carelessly disposing of its HP, but it can sneak some KOs by using Counter on any opponents who try and bring it down with physical attacks.
Zap Cannon may look odd on Forretress, but it pops up now and then. It has an awful 50% accuracy, and works off of Forretress's awful Special Attack stat; however, it scores a 4x super-effective hit on Gyarados, one of Forretress's major counters, and the guaranteed paralysis can hinder pretty much any non-Ground type that has the potential to counter it.
Rest is worth consideration if you have some Heal Bell/Aromatherapy support, since it'll give Forretress some form of recovery. Since Forretress suffers from a crowded move-pool, it doesn't really have room for the Rest-Talk combination.
Macho Brace is there to be used with Macho Brace. It halves your already awful Speed stat, letting Forretress hit the 150 base power cap on any Pokémon exceeding the 230 Speed mark (assuming Relaxed nature and a 0 Speed IV), which accounts for most Pokémon. It costs an item slot, but it gives Forretress a very strong and reliable STAB move to work with.
Being based around supporting, countering Forretress itself isn't too hard, but stopping it from serving its supportive duties is a little harder. Ghosts are the only way to 'block' Rapid Spin attempts, so pretty much all Ghosts fall into the counter category. Since most Ghosts also have Taunt, most of them can also stop Forretress from setting up its own entry hazards as well. Gengar might need to worry about Gyro Ball ,but Dusknoir and Spiritomb are worry-free, barring the possibility of Toxic Spikes. Rotom is pretty much worry-free too, with its Heat Form getting the bonus of a 4x effective Overheat to pound Forretress with.
If you're focusing on just eliminating Forretress, then it isn't too complicated. Gyarados is one of the best at hand, since it can Taunt and happily Dragon Dance away. The only threat Forretress poses is a potential Explosion or a scarcely seen Zap Cannon. Zapdos can threaten at its much weaker Special Defence stat but again, needs to watch out for Explosion (and to a lesser extent, Zap Cannon - paralysis isn't fun). Most bulky water types can get the job done with STAB Surfs, but they do need to show some concern for Toxic Spikes. Also, in the absence of Earthquake, Magnezone can trap Forretress for a guaranteed KO with Magnet Pull.
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