Roserade, The Bouquet Pokémon. It attracts prey with a sweet aroma, then downs it with thorny whips hidden in its arms. With the movements of a dancer, it strikes with whips that are densely lined with poison thorns.
Roserade represents a huge step forward from what Roselia was last generation. Its Speed and Special Attack received a significant boost, increasing its Special sweeping capabilities. Its move-pool has also seen a boost, with the addition of (Special) Poison STAB and the powerful Leaf Storm, as well as the occasionally useful Weather Ball.
As with the previous generation, it has a rather nice support move-pool. Synthesis provides semi-reliable healing (provided a negative weather condition isn't in the way) and it can provide its team with status support with Sleep Powder and Stun Spore. Although it isn't particularly effective at using them, it also has access to Spikes, Toxic Spikes and Aromatherapy.
It'll probably linger in the Borderline environment between Underused and Standard. Don't expect to see it get as much use as staples like Salamence and Blissey, but it's still perfectly usable.
Natural Cure: is the way to go. After switching, any status affecting Roserade is wiped. As well as including statuses inflicted by the opponent, this also includes self-inflicted Sleep from Rest.
Poison Point: is completely inferior to Natural Cure. It provides a 30% chance of inflicting 'Normal' Poison on the opponent each time it's hit with a contact move. 'Normal' Poison is fairly weak, and since Roserade can inflict status attacks on the opponent, inflicting Poison on them may also put it at a disadvantage (you can't use Sleep Powder on a poisoned Pokémon for example). Even when status attacks aren't a factor, Natural Cure is generally still a better option.
- Leaf Storm
A rather straight-forward but effective way to utilise Roserade. Its strong Special Attack, boosted by Choice Specs, can leave a large dent. In particular, Leaf Storm will be dishing out huge amounts of damage (in the same manner that Specs-Mence would, although Leaf Storm does have the misfortune of possessing an inferior type when compared against Draco Meteor). Sludge Bomb will provide reliable STAB, with the bonus of a 30% Poison chance.
The final two move-slots can be spent depending on what is preferably. Hidden Power [Fire] is essentially a necessity, since it's the only reliable way to get around Steel types (who resist both of its STAB moves). However, IVs do not always allow it to be an option. Extrasensory provides a strong attack to use against Poison types. Weather Ball can be a very effective choice if Roserade's team is likely to have the weather active. Sandstorm gives it a Rock attack, Hail and Ice attack, Rain a Water attack and Sun a Fire attack, all four of which are types it couldn't normally access (barring Hidden Power). Of course, if there isn't an active weather condition, the move is basically useless.
A few other options are worthy of consideration in the final two move-slots. Energy Ball provides a Grass STAB that doesn't weaken with repeated use, Sleep Powder can disable an opponent and Rest can be combined with Natural Cure to fully recover Roserade's HP.
- Sleep Powder
This set performs pretty similarly to the Specs set, just with the ability to switch attacks. This particularly makes Sleep Powder a very favourable choice (since unlike the Choice Specs set, it won't be forced to switch after it's landed). Aside from that, it's pretty straightforward. Hidden Power [Fire] can be ditched for Weather Ball if Roserade's team can provide weather support, or for another move if Hidden Power [Fire] simply isn't available.
- Sleep Powder
“Double-Powder” can be a crippling method of offence. After Sleep Powder, most opponents instinctively switch, at which point their next Pokémon can be hit with Stun Spore. Aside from that, it performs like a fairly generic sweeper, although a more defensive variant could be attempted (dropping an attack for Synthesis and using a more defensive EV spread).
- Leech Seed
“Sub-Seed” is a defensive stalling strategy that most Grass types can pull off to reasonable effect, and Roserade isn't an exception. The general premise is to use Leech Seed and then continually throw up Substitutes until the opponent switches (or faints). Leftovers and drained HP will usually recover most of the HP lost as Substitute is used, so the strategy can go on until all of the Substitute PP is drained. Since the move-set causes frequent switches, support from Spikes and Stealth Rock is generally appreciated (both to discourage switching and rack up additional damage).
Sludge Bomb deals with many opposing Grass types (who are immune to Leech Seed). Sleep Powder can shut down an opponent (opening up the opportunity to set off the Sub-Seed strategy). Stun Spore can punish an opponent that frequently switches between their Pokémon (to remove Leech Seed). During Sub-Seed stalling, it's also inevitable that the paralysis will eventually kick in, giving Roserade a free turn.
- Toxic Spikes / Spikes / Aromatherapy
Roserade isn't particularly good at defensive support. Base 105 Special Defence is pretty decent but its poor HP hurts its defensive capabilities and being weak to several common types does it no favours. However, Roserade gets three supportive moves that aren't particularly widespread.
Toxic Spikes will inflict poison on all of the opponents Pokémon each time they switch in (barring Levitators, Flying, Steel and Poison types). One layer inflicts normal Poison whilst two layers inflict 'Toxic' poison, so two layers is preferable. A team built around this has the potential to be effective, although there are several better users of this move available.
Spikes inflicts percentage damage to opposing Pokémon (barring Flying types and Levitators) depending on the amount of layers used (25% at three, the maximum). Constant damage during switches can rack up quite quickly. Once again, there are several better users of this move available.
Aromatherapy removes all statuses from its team-mates (as well as itself). Much like the Toxic Spikes and Spikes, there are several other users who are better choices (notably, many other Grass types such as Vileplume and Meganium).
Synthesis or Rest give Roserade a reliable form of recovery (although Rest requires switching to activate Natural Cure). Sleep Powder gives Roserade the opportunity to use its supportive moves, as well as shutting down an opponent for its team. In particular, the move helps differentiate itself from some of the other users of the aforementioned support moves. Finally, an offensive STAB attack can be chosen.
- Rain Dance / Sunny Day
Aside from Castform, Roserade is the only Pokémon to get Weather Ball, so a set designed around changing the weather is rather inevitable. Although Roserade isn't the best Pokémon for changing the weather, it can still do it to satisfactory effect. Rain Dance gives it a Water attack (handy for opposing Fire types) whilst Sunny Day gives it a Fire attack (very handy for opposing Steel types). Rain Dance also decreases the damage taken from Fire attacks, whilst Sunny Day increases the damage taken from Fire attacks. Since Roserade is weak to Fire attacks, those side-effects can become noticeable.
Weather Ball benefits from the weather changes quite nicely. As well as becoming a Base 100 attack of either the Water or Fire type, it also gains an additional 1.5x boost as a side-effect of the weather. Energy Ball and Sludge Bomb provide STAB, although either could be dropped in favour of Sleep Powder (which would give an additional opportunity to activate a weather move).
Although Roserade is probably better off going for an offensive variant, a defensive variant is quite possible. Defensive variants in particular may wish to look at Synthesis, which is boosted during Sunny Day.
The item choice is fairly dependant on the style of the move-set. Obviously Heat Rock and Damp Rock are good choices to prolong the duration of Roserade's chosen weather move. Offensive variants may prefer Life Orb for an offensive boost whilst defensive variants may wish to use Leftovers for additional recovery.
Novelty Physical Sweeper
- Swords Dance
A physical sweeping Swords Dance set for Roserade is pretty much a total gimmick. The only reason to really consider it is the fact that most opponents will approach Roserade with the mindset that it's a Special Attacker, so the surprise factor may give Roserade a slight edge. But even then, Roserade really isn't good at it (especially when compared against fellow Grass types who have it as an option).
It's fairly straightforward. Swords Dance and then proceed to use its STAB moves. Sleep Powder can be used immediately to give it an opportunity to use Swords Dance or it can be saved to shutdown a defensive wall (particularly Steel types).
EVs and Nature:
Being a sweeper in the Base 90 Speed category, it usually favours Timid with Max Speed EVs in order to outrun opponents in the Base 100 Speed category (Salamence, Celebi, Slaking, etc.). Modest is usually an option to give its attacks an extra sting, but the Speed boost tends to be more important.
Defensive variants of Roserade would probably want to go for 252 HP and 252 Special Defence with a Calm Nature. Although it isn't capable of performing as a primary Special Wall, it still has some decent capabilities at walling Special Attackers, and those EVs will allow it to perform as a secondary Special Wall. Some Special Defence can be dropped in favour of its Special Attack, but the amount shouldn't be too significant.
The novelty physical sweeper, understandably, uses the simple 252/252 spread with a focus on its Attack. With Swords Dance boosting its Attack stat, Jolly is definitely preferable.
Grass Rope, Giga Drain, Hidden Power [Ground / Fight / Ice], Growth, Worry Seed, Shadow Ball, Choice Scarf.
Grass Rope and Giga Drain present options to use in place of Energy Ball. Grass Rope's power varies depending on the opponent, but there's a significant increase against the heavy opponents (which are fairly widespread in the Standard battling environment). Giga Drain 'drains' HP depending on the damage caused. It has very low PP however, and its base power is fairly low.
Hidden Power is always an option. Fire is the preferably type for hitting Steel types, but Ground and Fight can also hit Steel types (Ground in particular does a huge number on Heatran). Ice is good for the common Dragons, Flying types and a handful of Grass types.
Growth opens up some sweeping opportunities by boosting its Special Attack.
Worry Seed changes the opponents trait to Insomnia. Although it has some use against Sleep-Talkers, its main use is to remove vital traits from opposing Pokémon. A burnt Heracross that loses Guts becomes a significantly weaker sweeper, Medicham becomes very average without Pure Power and so forth.
Shadow Ball has some minor use against Ghost and Psychic types, but the coverage isn't particularly significant.
Choice Scarf is an option in place of Choice Specs. In particular, a Choice Scarf Roserade with Sleep Powder can function as an effective starter.
As well as being a strong Special Sweeper, it also has a handful of troublesome status attacks, as well as stalling possibilities with Leech Seed and its recovery moves. Generally, all of its counters risk being shut-down by Sleep Powder unless they're carrying Sleep Talk, so a 'sacrifice' to activate the Sleep clause may be necessary if the opposing Roserade is using Sleep Powder.
Steel types tend to be the best counters, since they resist both of its STAB moves. Without Hidden Power (or a Fire typed Weather Ball) it can't get around the majority of Steel types (although it can cause them problems with status attacks). Barring a super-effective Hidden Power, Heatran, Jirachi, Metagross, Registeel, Magnezone, Skarmory and Bronzong all have the defences to be great counters.
Poison types work well as long as Extrasensory is absent. Drapion, Crobat and Muk are all adequate counters.
Since Leaf Storm packs the biggest punch, Grass resisters are essential. Fire and Flying types do nicely since they have super-effective STABs to use. Sludge Bomb might sting (especially if it's boosted by Specs) but Moltres, Magmortar, Salamence and Togekiss are all examples of adequate counters.
Blissey does well against Roserade. It can remove its status attacks with Natural Cure and heals off its Special Attacks with ease. It can't handle a Leech Seed staller however.
Since Roserade (usually) carries Natural Cure, status attacks don't cause it too many problems. Some variants of Roserade have Leech Seed or Synthesis (or Rest), so on occasion it can deal with repeated damage. Its Defence is low however, so it can't deal with physical attackers too well ,and weaknesses to Ice, Fire and Psychic attacks give it problems against special attackers.
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