Mantine, The Kite Pokémon. When the waves are calm, one may encounter a swarm of Mantine swimming as if they are in flight. It swims elegantly, mindless of Remoraid hitching on to its broad fins. It has a docile nature. Swimming freely in open seas, it may fly out of the water and over the waves if it builds up enough speed.
Mantine is a good example of what happens when a Pokémon gets a typing that doesn't favour its stats. Water/Flying is a tolerable type, but its best stat is its Special Defence, and it can't defend against Special attacks particularly well because of the ever common Thunderbolt. Once you look past its 4x weakness to Electric attacks though, Mantine isn't a particularly shabby Pokémon.
Obviously, Special Defence is its specialty. Base 140 Special Defence is pretty high, and although it's let-down by its HP and lack of reliable recovery, it can still make for a decent Special Wall (except against Electric types, of course). It also has two nice traits. Water Absorb can get some 'free' recovery with proper prediction (switching into Water types as they use Surf for example) whilst Swift Swim opens up some sweeping possibilities with Rain Dance.
All in all, Mantine is fairly average. It's definitely an Underused Pokémon, but it isn't a bad one.
Water Absorb: gives Mantine a Water immunity and 25% HP recovery each time a Water attack is used against it. All in all, a great trait.
Swift Swim: doubles Mantine's Speed during Rain. Although sweeping isn't Mantine's speciality, Swift Swim makes it a viable option.
It's pretty much what Mantine does best. It's basic stuff though, but it's heavily harmed by lacking a recovery move. Surf provides STAB whilst Ice Beam deals with Grass and Dragon types. Toxic is the only way that Mantine will get around Water types, and with fairly forgettable offences, it'll probably be its best source of damage.
As for the final move-slot, it's pretty much filler. Protect stalls an extra turn of Toxic damage as well as an extra turn of Leftovers recovery. Confuse Ray can cause some problems and much like Protect, it can stall out 'free' turns. Haze can rid the opponent of stat boosts. For the most part, this'll apply to opposing users of Calm Mind or Nasty Plot.
EVs and Nature:
Max HP is an important start, since Mantine's HP is pretty low at its Base. Afterwards, a great deal of focus needs to be given to its Special Defence. Generally, it's best to shoot for a stat somewhere between 360 and 400. Max is an option, but it tends to be unnecessary overkill. The remaining EVs can be dedicated to boosting its Special Attack.
Swift Swim Sweeper
- Rain Dance
It isn't its speciality, and there are certainly other options available capable of doing a similar job, but Mantine is a viable Swift Swim Sweeper. Rain Dance activates Swift Swim (doubling its Speed) and gives a 1.5x boost to its Water attacks. As for the STAB move of choice, there are two main options. Surf has reliable accuracy whilst Hydro Pump as a lot of power (which becomes significant when factoring in Rain Dance and STAB).
Toxic is probably the best option Mantine has for dealing with opposing Water types, but Hidden Power is also a super-effective option to use against them. Ice Beam fills in as a secondary Special Attack.
As for the item, there's a few choices. Wet Rock prolongs the duration of Rain Dance, which is especially helpful if other members of Mantine's team can benefit from Rain Dance. Leftovers can increase Mantine's survivability. Life Orb gives a 1.3x boost to Mantine's offence in exchange for its HP. Mystic Water gives a 20% boost to Water attacks, which, when combined with STAB and Rain Dance, can mount up to a pretty significant increase.
EVs and Nature:
Maximising Special Attack is an obvious priority here.
The secondary priority is Speed. Most Speed stats should be raised under the assumption that Swift Swim will be active (although it doesn't necessarily hurt to outrun certain threats whilst Rain Dance isn't active). Mantine can outrun most UU opponents with 181 Speed after Rain Dance (discounting a couple, most notably Electrode). Higher numbers can be attempted in order to outrun certain Choice Scarf threats, but either way, Mantine's EV spread doesn't need to be overly concerned with Speed. The remaining EVs should be dedicated to HP, to increase Mantine's survivability.
Brine, Mirror Coat, Aqua Ring, Signal Beam, Psybeam, Wacan Berry.
Brine is an option for Water STAB. Its Base power doubles (to an impressive 130) when the opponent's HP drops below 50%. If you can reliably bring your opponent's HP down quickly, this can be a useful attack.
Mirror Coat is quite useful to use with Mantine's bulky Special Defence. It's been known to occasionally survive un-STABed Thunderbolts, which are just one of many attacks that Mantine can throw back at its opponents.
Aqua Ring can recover a little bit of extra HP per turn, but it's not much and generally qualifies it as a filler.
Signal Beam and Psybeam sum up its other 'usable' Special Attacks, but even then their use is highly situational. Signal Beam can deal with Sharpedo, Crawdaunt (Water/Dark) and Slowking (Water/Psychic) whilst Psybeam can deal with Tentacruel, Qwilfish (Water/Poison) and Poliwrath (Water/Fighting). Not exactly the widest or most frightening list of opponents, but it's something.
Wacan Berry reduces the incoming damage from Electric attacks. This is somewhat viable when combined with Mirror Coat, but aside from that, it's use is 'one-off', which makes it quite limited.
The main problem most Pokémon run into when facing Mantine is Toxic. Aside from that, if its attacks aren't super-effective, it can't expect to do much damage at all. It lacks a recovery move and taking super-effective damage from Stealth Rock doesn't help it either. It's also exposed to all status attacks, the most crippling of which is Toxic. All in all, it can't handle repeated beatings too well.
Obviously, its Electric weakness is the biggest bull's-eye. Understandably, this huge weakness makes Electric Pokémon top-choice counters. In particular, Lanturn is the number one. Aside from Toxic, there's not much Mantine can threaten it with (even Hidden Power doesn't sting too much). Ampharos has decent enough Special Defence to suck up Mantine's Surfs whilst Raichu, Plusle and Electrode can all tolerate its offences.
Rock types can't really take advantage of their super-effective STAB because of their Water weakness, but Mantine is also weak to Rock attacks and there's a handful of Rock types who aren't weak to Water. Relicanth and Cradily can perform decently with Stone Edge whilst Corsola can also do decently (although Corsola would be striking against its stronger Special Defence).
Discounting Pokémon with STAB, there's plenty who do well without STAB. Poliwrath with Rock Slide, Quagsire with Stone Edge and Lapras with Thunderbolt are good examples. Tentacruel can freely set-up Swords Dance and fire away with Poison Stab, since its immune to Toxic. Generally, any Pokémon that resists Water attacks and has strong STAB can take down Mantine.
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