Exploud, The Loud Noise Pokémon. It triggers earthquakes with the tremors it creates by bellowing. If this Pokémon violently inhales from the ports on its body, it's a sign that it is preparing to let loose a huge bellow. It communicates its feelings to others by emitting whistle-like sounds from the tubes of its body. This Pokémon only raises its voice when it is in battle. It has sound-generating organs all over its body. It communicates with others by adjusting the tone and volume of the cries it emits. Its howls can be heard over six miles away.ť
I'm not one hundred percent sure what Exploud is, and the “Loud Noise” Dex classification doesn't exactly narrow that down for me. For me, it's reminiscent of a really big furless Furby with a black hole for a mouth and organ pipes sticking out of its head. I'm off on this tangent because I can't say much about Exploud from a game-play perspective. It's got low Speed and mediocre defences (I won't use the word awful, since it does have a lot of HP counterbalanced by poor Defence and Special Defence), which doesn't make for a good combination. You're not sturdy enough to be taking hits or fast enough to be dishing them out first. Your offensive stats are Base 91 a piece, which is pretty decent, and does meld nicely with Exploud's rather versatile move-pool. Nevertheless, it's a rather unexceptional Pokémon and lingers towards the “Never-Used” end of the Underused tier.
Soundproof: keeps Exploud safe from “sound-based” moves (and also makes it immune to the positive effects of a team-mate's Heal Bell). Primarily, you're getting some very nice protection from Perish Song, sound-based sleep moves (Sing and Grasswhistle) and the pseudo-hazing Roar. Also a handful of offensive moves such as Bug Buzz and Hyper Voice are also avoided. You should particularly take note of the effect it has on the latter, since any opposing Soundproof Pokémon will be immune to Exploud's own Hyper Voice.
The basic all-out-attacker role works for Exploud and its nice move-pool (although minus Overheat, its physical move-pool is pretty generic for a Normal type). Return hits with STAB, backed by Crunch (covering Normal-immune Ghosts) and Earthquake (covering Normal-resistant Rocks and Steels). Overheat is an added bonus for hitting Steel types, who stereotypically are weaker to special attacks than physical attacks, taking a larger bite out of them than Earthquake usually would.
The item can vary things slightly. Leftovers is the obvious choice if you want things to remain completely uncomplicated. Life Orb gives you a slight power boost but also adds the slight complication of slowly chipping away at your HP. Finally, Choice Band changes the set from an all-out-attacker to a Choice set, making things a lot more complicated and heavily prediction-reliant. One thing I would be quick to point out is that Choice Banders come a dime a dozen, and all that Exploud has to make it stand out from most others is Overheat, so that raises the question: “if I want a Choice Bander, should I be using Exploud?”
- Hyper Voice
This is a case of doing the above, just switching from a physical emphasis to a special emphasis. You're a bit more unique in this regard, since not all Normal types pack as strong a special move-pool as Exploud. STAB Hyper Voice provides the power, with Shadow Ball covering it against Ghosts and Surf against Rocks. You can round things off with a Fire move for handling Steel types, with the reliable Flamethrower, the slightly less reliable but more powerful Fire Blast or the powerful but stat-cutting Overheat as your options.
You also have the same kind of options as the aforementioned move-set. Leftovers keeps things simple, Life Orb adds some power for some minor HP complications and Choice Specs completely changes the dimension of the move-set. I would note here that Exploud is fairly unique as a Specs-equipped Normal Type, since it has a rare source of reliable Normal STAB, so you have less of a “well they come a dime a dozen anyway” thought when it comes to attaching Specs to it.
Exploud's three talents combined: good Attack, good Special Attack and a good move-pool. Return is around about the only assured option for a mixed move-set. Whilst Hyper Voice gives it some mild competition, Return is stronger and will usually take dominance. What you do with your other three move-slots is very variable however.
Crunch probably has an edge over Shadow Ball, since Ghosts and Psychics tend to be more exposed to physical attacks than special attacks. Earthquake has no special-equivalent, and is great for its type coverage, although it's primarily favoured for its Rock and Steel coverage. Overheat packs a lot of power, and does cover the aforementioned Steel types. However, you can drop it for Flamethrower or Fire Blast to avoid severing your special stats. You also have Surf, which is particularly favoured for its Rock coverage but also tags on some Ground and Fire coverage too. Exploud's move-pool goes well beyond these four however, including some of the moves listed above and some that'll be listed in “Other Options”.
The item can again change the dimension of the move-set. Leftovers keeps things simple and Life Orb gives a good power boost. Choice Scarf makes up for Exploud's awful Speed, so it does shift things dramatically. You're still relying on prediction, but having the potential to strike first can spring a surprise on the opponent and makes a late-game sweep quite plausible.
EVs and Nature:
You might want to consider max Speed, since that'll just edge you ahead of Lanturn and Hypno, who are just a couple of stat points behind you. Of course, those two don't always (in fact, rarely) max their Speed, but getting to 235 isn't too bad. As with all slow attackers, it's nice to be faster than the other slow Pokémon. In the case of the physical attacker, you'll obviously want max Attack with a Nature boost, although you'll probably want to leave your Special Attack unhindered to maintain a strong Overheat, so the Nature should sacrifice a defensive stat. It's max Special Attack and Modest all the way for the special attacker.
As for the mixed attacker, things can get a little bit tricky due to the many variables. Just because Return is your core attacking move, you'll be leaning in favour of your physical stat rather than your special stat, but your special stat should definitely not be neglected. You can drop down on the Speed a bit to open up some EVs. The 200ish area skips you ahead of Venusaur and Meganium (the Base Speed 80 tier), as well as a few others around that area, which frees up enough EVs to make a respectable Special Attack stat.
Ice Beam, Extrasensory, Focus Blast, Focus Punch, Substitute, Howl.
Exploud's special move-pool expands a bit beyond what was listed on its special move-pool. Ice Beam has Grass, Ground, Flying and Dragon coverage. It isn't type coverage you “need”, especially since Normal STAB hits those types neutrally. Extrasensory gets a super-effective hit on Fighting types (and Poison Types), but again, you get a neutral hit with your STAB anyway. Focus Blast actually has the power to make a huge difference when measured against Normal STAB, but the trade-off is awful accuracy. On the bright side, Fighting gives you coverage on Steel and Rock types, so you can handle two major obstacles with one move.
Exploud's physical move-pool isn't as expansive. Focus Punch is the only new move to add in here. It's prediction reliant, but you take the risk of being flinched for the reward of a 150 Base Power Fighting move. Since Exploud can get Seismic Toss-resistant 101 HP Substitutes, the possibility of Sub-Punch is also viable.
Howl is Exploud's only real shot at stat-boosting, and it's a bit of a weak stat-boost at that. The main attraction is that a boosted Exploud can't be Roared away. Sadly, it's still a bit too slow to be thinking about an easy sweep, so Howl's viability relies heavily on good timing and a well thought out plan.
Again, we're dealing with a Pokémon that isn't a huge threat but also isn't the kind of Pokémon where you can just list a bunch of Pokémon and say “these guys will stop it in its tracks.” Exploud has two good attacking stats and a very nice move-pool, and consequently has the potential to hit most UU Pokémon strongly with at least one of its moves. However, Exploud is slow, and it has relatively poor defences. That's not to say it's an easy Pokémon to wipe the floor with however. As a Normal type, it only has one weakness, Fighting, so you'll probably be looking at strong STAB moves when Fighting moves aren't an option. If you're dealing with a physically-inclined variant, Will-o-Wisp will cause it some problems, but it's generally so slow that paralysis won't be a major hindrance. It's also worth a little note that Exploud's “signature” Hyper Voice doesn't affect other Soundproof Pokémon, although that's sadly limited to Mr. Mime, Electrode and Exploud itself.
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