Hitmontop, The Handstand Pokémon. It launches kicks while spinning. If it spins at high speed, it may bore its way into the ground. If you become enchanted by its smooth, elegant, dance-like kicks, you may get drilled hard. After doing a handstand to throw off the opponent's timing, it presents its fancy kick moves. Its technique of kicking while spinning is a remarkable mix of both offense and defense. Hitmontop travel faster spinning than they do walking. It fights while spinning like a top. The centrifugal force boosts its destructive power by ten.
The Hitmons have never been overwhelmingly popular, and all of them are considered UU. Of the trio, Hitmontop is clearly the more defensive one. As with all of the Hitmons, it has a very nice Special Defence stat, but also has a nice Defence stat (further supported with Intimidate as an ability choice). Defensively though, its HP lets it down significantly, barely maxing out above the 300 mark. Lacking a reliable recovery move only serves to make defensive possibilities less attractive.
Offensively, it's inferior to its fellow Hitmons, lacking a lot in Speed and a little in Attack. Technician is a nice ability though, giving it a nice boost to a few noteworthy moves (such as Mach Punch, Triple Kick and Pursuit). Hitmonchan or Hitmonlee would arguably be preferable offensive choices, but Hitmontop is adequate offensively.
Intimidate: drops the opponents Attack stat by one level (the equivalent of a Growl), which makes switching in an easier task. Although its resistances aren't plentiful, it has a couple of nice ones, notable Rock and Dark.
Technician: gives a 1.5x boost to moves with a Base Power of 60 or lower. The most noteworthy moves boosted are Mach Punch and Triple Kick.
Offence and Rapid Spin Support
- Hi Jump Kick
As a defensive Pokémon, aside from resistances, the most obvious thing that Hitmontop offers is Rapid Spin support. Stealth Rock resistance is also useful, especially since Hitmontop can't afford to have significant amounts of HP taken away each time it switches in.
Aside from Rapid Spin, it has little in the way of support to offer its team-mates but has a decent choice of offence to offer. Hi Jump Kick is a strong, reliable STAB move (with Close Combat being stronger, although having a very unfavourable side effect). If it misses, Hitmontop risks taking recoil equal to half of the damage it would have done (including against Ghosts or when stopped by Protect). This too, is quite unfavourable, although at least there's (usually) only a 10% chance of it happening.
Stone Edge deals nicely with Flying types whilst Earthquake deals with Poison types. Both do reasonable damage to Ghosts and Psychics as well.
- Hi Jump Kick / Close Combat
It's difficult to imagine a Fighting type that couldn't viably run a good Choice set, and Hitmontop is no exception. Hi Jump Kick is always there for use but since this move-set is less likely to spend time taking hits, or being in play for prolonged periods of time, Close Combat is a pretty viable option and also stronger (and more accurate).
Afterwards, you're left with four good moves and only three move-slots, and any combination is really viable. Earthquake is useful for Poison types (and others) whilst Stone Edge is useful for Flying types. The other two moves benefit nicely from Technician but are viable without it anyway.
Pursuit, with Technician, is its strongest move to use against Ghosts and Psychics, and is still a very useful move for chasing down fleeing opponents. Mach Punch benefits from Technician and STAB, and is obviously attractive for its 'always strike first' priority. In particular, Choice Band Hitmontop is quite slow and the ability to strike strongly before the opponent is very much appreciated, although it's clearly less attractive on Choice Scarf variants.
Bulk Up and Mach Punch
- Bulk Up
Although it's something of a novelty, it's viable. The idea behind the set would be to Bulk Up as much as possible, and then abuse Mach Punch's striking priority with all the boosts (and Technician). With Hitmontop's nice Special Defence, and Defence boosts from Bulk Up, Hitmontop isn't exactly a featherweight at defensive play.
Hi Jump Kick is there to provide a stronger and more reliable STAB move (that's also of use against slower opponents) whilst Stone Edge is there to keep Ghosts and Flying types from ruining its fun.
EVs and Nature:
For the first move-set, the EVs can really be tailored in a multitude of ways, depending on what role Hitmontop is required to fill. Obviously, HP is an obvious priority for defensive reasons. If you're looking to it to be a solid Crunch and Stone Edge resistance, then Defence EVs should be a priority. Likewise, if you're looking to it to fill in Special Walling roles then its Special Defence should be a priority. If you're looking for a hard-hitter, its Attack should take priority. The spread given is simply a 'jack-of-all-trades' example, with adequate amounts of Attack, Defence and Special Defence.
As for its Speed, being quite on the slow side, supportive sets don't gain a huge amount of benefit from it. A spot of EVs here and there doesn't hurt, since it shares its Base 70 Speed stat with a lot of common Pokémon, UU and OU. If you're looking to use it in OU, and willing to make a large EV sacrifice, you may want to shoot for 222 Speed (184 Speed EVs) to outrun the standard Adamant Tyranitar.
As for the Choice Band move-set, the straightforward 252/252 is preferable. There's little need to focus attention towards its defensive stats, since it's really an “in-and-out” move-set. The Bulk Up set can go a little more complex, but really, the main thing it needs is HP and Special Defence, with Bulk Up covering its Attack and Defence. Speed is useful though, even with Mach Punch being used for priority, it'll need some Speed to strike first against Ghosts or Fliers (when it wouldn't be using Mach Punch).
Triple Kick, Aerial Ace, Counter, Toxic, Helping Hand, Endeavour, Bullet Punch.
Triple Kick is a very viable choice with the boost from Technician. First and foremost, by being a multi-hit move, it allows it to break through Substitutes and then proceed to strike the Pokémon behind the Sub. Even with its Sub breaking abilities aside, with Technician and STAB it's only a few points shy of Hi Jump Kick's Base Power, without the horrible side-effect of causing recoil upon missing.
Aerial Ace is also very nice with the Technician boost, taking it up to Base 90 Power. Flying has some decent coverage, most notably it'll get a super-effective hit against Grass/Poison types, who resist Fighting moves but aren't weak to Earthquake.
Hitmontop, despite its abysmal HP, is still a pretty decent user of Counter, but after using Counter it's a bit too slow to do much else.
Toxic is the only way it's going to get around some OU Pokémon (such as Cresselia, Gliscor, Claydol, Dusknoir, Spiritomb, Slowbro, etc.). In UU there's fewer Pokémon that'll stop it so cleanly, but even then it's an okay choice to hit the occasional Ghost, Flying or Psychic Pokémon with.
Helping Hand has some use in 2v2, where its Intimidate is also useful, but obviously it has no use in 1v1.
Endeavour could be paired up with Bullet or Mach Punch to bring the opponent's HP down and then finish them off, but it's a difficult move to pull off successfully.
Bullet Punch also gets a Technician boost, and whilst it doesn't get STAB like Mach Punch, it's a priority move that can do decent damage to Ghosts and Flying types, although its rather meagre power makes it an unattractive option (unless you're very fearful of Froslass).
In the UU environment, counters are bit dependant on the moves at its disposal. Defensive Bug, Poison, Flying, Psychic and Ghost types can comfortably switch in against its Fighting moves, but are all exposed to one of its other moves. Bugs won't like Stone Edge or Aerial Ace, Poisons won't like Earthquake, Fliers won't like Stone Edge and Psychics and Ghosts won't like Technician-boosted Pursuit (although they are certainly the least harmed of the five).
Among the Poison types, the Grass/Poison Pokémon don't need to worry about Earthquake (although they do need to worry about Aerial Ace). Vileplume is the only UU option with a noteworthy defensive stat but Venusaur is an okay choice when looking at BL Pokémon. Nidoking and Nidoqueen resist Stone Edge as well as its Fighting moves but are exposed to Earthquake. Muk has okay defensive stats but needs to worry about Earthquake.
Amongst Bug types, Aerial Ace and Stone Edge are big threats, although many share a dual type with Flying or Poison, granting them a 4x resistance to its Fighting moves, meaning they can come in really comfortably. Unfortunately, defensive ones are few in number. Flying types also need to worry about Stone Edge, and the ones who don't aren't UU. Among Psychics, Slowking does well and Hypno performs acceptably.
UU Ghost types tend to be lacking defensively (although being completely immune to Fighting moves is a very nice benefit, especially if they switch into Hi Jump Kick). Sableye is passable, especially with the threat of Will-o-Wisp and Knock Off. Driblim and Froslass are immune to Earthquake and its Fighting moves, although both are heavily exposed to Stone Edge. Rotom isn't as exposed to Stone Edge as the aforementioned two but still has fairly weak defensive stats, although Will-o-Wisp and better Speed means it should at least be comfortable once it's in play.
In Standard (OU) play, plenty of Pokémon outright wall Hitmontop. Weezing is the obvious one, who has a habit of outright walling most Fighting types. Amongst others, short of using Toxic, it simply won't get around Cresselia, Gliscor, Claydol, Dusknoir, Spiritomb and Slowbro.
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