Shuckle, The Mold Pokémon. The Berries it stores in its vase-like shell decompose and become a gooey liquid. To avoid attacks, it hides beneath rocks and remains completely still. The fluid secreted by its toes carves holes in rocks for nesting and can be mixed with Berries to make a drink. A Shuckle hides under rocks, keeping its body concealed inside its shell while eating stored berries. The berries mix with its body fluids to become a juice. ť
Shuckle is an oddity. Both of its defences are the strongest among all Pokémon, at Base 230 a piece. Unfortunately, this is counterbalanced by a Base 20 HP stat, which maxes out at a pathetic 244. Awful HP combined with high defence still results in a Pokémon who can take hits reasonably well, but it isn't the most impressive of defensive Pokémon.
The other problem Shuckle has is incompetent attacking stats: Base 10 Attack and Special Attack, Base 5 Speed … Short of Power Trick, Shuckle has non-existent offensive options as far as direct attacking is concerned. Instead, Shuckle has to make its way around its opposition via indirect means, Toxic being the most prominent example.
Shuckle got a little boost this generation with the addition of some disruptive-supporting moves to its move-pool, most notably Knock Off and Stealth Rock, so it can provide some useful services to its team-mates. Being a Rock type, Shuckle also benefits from the Sandstorm Special Defence boost, bulking it up one stage further.
Shuckle comfortably slots into the Underused environment as a usable but not outstanding defensive-supporting Pokémon. Its incompetent attacking stats are a major hindrance, but in the right hands, its disruptive and indirect offensive methods will be able to compensate for its shortcomings.
Sturdy: causes OHKO moves (Sheer Cold, Horn Drill, etc) to fail. These are usually claused out of competitive play, and even if they aren't, they are scarcely seen. Sadly, Shuckle sees little use for its other ability choice, so you may as well stick with Sturdy. Gluttony: consumes pinch berries at 50% HP or less, as opposed to the usual 25% or less. Unfortunately, Shuckle rarely bothers with pinch berries, so it has no use for this ability.
Defensive Wall - Support
This is pretty much the standard. Rest is your only source of recovery, and whilst it's far from perfect with its two turns of sleep, you have to make do with what is at your disposal. If you want to defeat Pokémon one-on-one, you will need it. Just remember, you need to avoid falling into the trap of giving your opponent two free turns to do whatever they fancy.
Encore is very important for Shuckle. With incompetent attacking stats, a lot of Pokémon would happily use Shuckle as set-up fodder (something that they're free to use stat-boosting moves against). Correct prediction with Encore will force the opponent to repeat whatever move they chose to use for 4-8 turns, more than enough time for Shuckle to switch to an appropriate team-mate and do whatever is necessary.
Finally, you have an assortment of disruption and support:
Toxic is your only source of consistent damage, and just about the only way Shuckle is ever going to win a battle one-on-one (although being put in such a situation is unlikely, but having Toxic discourages the opponent from allowing this situation to occur).
Knock Off is a major pain for just about any Pokémon that encounters Shuckle, and removing their items does provide a useful service for its team-mates.
Both of these moves are blocked by Substitute, so the aforementioned Encore and prediction is incredibly important here, since any Substitute attempt should be Encored and followed by switching to a Pokémon better equipped to deal with the situation.
Finally you have Stealth Rock as a supporting option. It's seen on almost every team, every player has to account for its threat, and it does cause a lot of passive damage. If Shuckle's team doesn't already have a Pokémon supplying Stealth Rock support, then Shuckle can supply it for them.
Power Trick - Gimmick Sweeper
- Power Trick
Power Trick swaps Shuckle's mammoth Defence stat with its awful Attack stat. The end result is a Shuckle with mammoth Attack, fragile Defence and awful Speed. It doesn't make for a perfect combination, but that's why the term 'gimmick' is used. The slow Speed is probably the real killer here, since nothing compensates for a Speed stat that caps out at 119. You're very exposed to physical moves, but at least your Special Defence remains just as strong.
After Power Trick, you have a few moves to work with. Gyro Ball will most likely be your strongest move. That aforementioned horrible Speed works to your advantage here, since the lower your Speed (and the higher your opponent's Speed), the stronger Gyro Ball becomes, capping at 150 Base Power. In fact, with a 0 Speed IV and a Speed lowering nature, Shuckle can get down to an unfathomably awful 13 Speed, which lets you hit that 150 cap on most opposition.
Supporting Gyro Ball you have Earthquake and STAB Stone Edge to go along with it. Ground-Rock is one of the classic attacking combinations, getting a nice variety of type coverage to mix with Gyro Ball.
EVs and Nature:
Defensive Wall - Support
Power Trick - Gimmick Sweeper
Body Slam, Safeguard, Gastro Acid, Sandstorm, Acupressure.
Body Slam gives you a 30% chance of paralysis, which isn't all that much, but it's your only source of paralysis and it also can't be blocked by Taunt. It does require a trip back to the 3rd generation however, since it's a tutor move.
Safeguard is an additional supporting move at its disposal, blocking off status moves for five turns.
Gastro Acid nullifies the target's ability, which usually isn't a big enough deal to justify its use. The main reason I'm giving it a mention is for 2v2 play with a Pokémon like Slaking, who is held back by its ability.
Sandstorm boosts the Special Defence of Rock types by one stage, and since Shuckle is a Rock type, it can benefit from this boost, taking its already sky-high Special Defence even further.
Acupressure randomly raises one of your stats by two stages. This could be a defensive stat, an attacking stat, Speed or even evasion or accuracy. This is generally a useless gimmick, but it warrants a mention…sort of.
Taunt is the biggest counter. After Taunt, Shuckle can't use the majority of its moves. Short of Knock Off (and possibly Body Slam), it'll actually have no moves it can use. Muk equipped with Taunt I'll name as one of the best counters, since it isn't at all bothered by Knock Off due to Sticky Hold. Admittedly, Taunt Muk is a rarity, but essentially any Pokémon with Taunt will beat Shuckle one-on-one, since it poses no offensive threat (except after Power Trick). The worst threat it poses is Knock Off, forcing you to lose your item (or possibly Body Slam, which is a 30% chance of paralysis).
Taunt aside, your next best option is well-timed use of Substitute. I say 'well-timed use' because if Shuckle uses Encore just after you use Substitute, you're going to have to switch, because the Shuckle user can happily switch to an appropriate counter. If you can get Substitute up without falling into the Encore trap, then you're pretty safe. Knock Off won't hit through it and Toxic gets blocked.
As for the actual 'elimination' of Shuckle, most super-effective hits can at least pick up a 3KO when backed by STAB. Since Shuckle is a Rock-Bug type, it comes pre-packaged with Water, Rock and Steel weaknesses. The Water weakness is the most prominent, since there are a seemingly endless list of Water types available. Try not to get drawn into stalling, where it Rests before the third hit and you need to start over. If Shuckle does sleep, you can happily use stat-boosting moves without fearing Encore, which'll bring you closer to a more desirable 2KO. If you have Taunt, you can stop it from Resting and will be able to beat it down with brute force anyway, but Taunt mixed with a stat-boosting move is a nice way to set-up a future sweep.
The main thing to keep in mind with Shuckle is it poses little direct threat. It can stall things to death with Toxic, frustrate its opponents with Knock Off, cause passive damage with Stealth Rock and disrupt stat-boosters and Sub-users with Knock Off, but it can't cause any serious threat to its opposition. The exception is on the off chance it's using Power Trick, in which case it's a slow Pokémon with abysmal defence, and therefore easily KOed with physical attacks.
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