Rampardos, The Head Butt Pokémon. Its powerful head butt has enough power to shatter even the most durable things upon impact. Its skull is as hard as iron. It is a brute that tears down jungle trees while catching prey.
Rampardos is a Pokémon catered entirely to the 'glass cannon' mentality. It wields an incredible Base 165 Attack stat, but finding the time to take advantage of that stat is easier said than done.
As the term glass cannon implies, it isn't going to be taking hits with any ease. In fact, it's going to struggle to take hits at all when you consider the Base Stats it's got to work with. Its above average Base HP is better catered to sucking up Head Smash recoil, rather than taking hits. The only consolation is, that as a Rock type, it does benefit from the 1.5x Special Defense boost from Sandstorm, but even then it merely takes its Special Defense stat from pathetic to poor.
Poor defensive capabilities wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't for the fact that its Speed is quite pathetic for a Pokémon that considers itself to be a sweeper. At Base 58, most of its opposition will be outrunning it.
It isn't a speed-freak like Aerodactyl, or a defensive-behemoth like Rhyperior, but Rampardos has its place. It's the kind of Pokémon that can be either a glass cannon or cannon fodder. In the right hands, it packs some devastating power. Its Attack caps out at an incredible 471, with the possibility of further boosts available from items or Swords Dance. Its physical move-pool carries all of the basic necessities, as well as a notable yet suicidal toy called Head Smash, a Base Power 150 move that's further boosted by STAB. When using it, expect to tear a massive hole into your opponent, but in the meantime, expect Rampardos's HP to drop a significant amount when the 50% recoil kicks in.
All-in-all, Rampardos has potential. It certainly looks more frightening on paper than it does in practice, but something with a large enough Attack stat to make Gyarados and Garchomp jealous shouldn't be underestimated.
Mold Breaker: is an ability that'll certainly do Rampardos some favours. If the opponent has an ability that'll negatively affect an offensive move, its effect is nullified. Most notably, it means levitators will be grounded and exposed to Earthquake. Other notable abilities nullified include critical-hit preventing abilities (such as Battle Armor) and Evasion modifying abilities (such as Sand Veil).
Choice items are a reliable route to take with Rampardos. Speed is Rampardos's most notable letdown, so Choice Scarf gives it a chance to unleash its potential. Choice Band on the other hand skyrockets its already impressive Attack stat to frightening new heights.
Earthquake is a given, too many notable opponents take super-effective damage from it, especially with Mold Breaker grounding levitators.
It's possible to run Stone Edge and Head Smash on the same set, treating one as a frequently usable STAB move and the other as a more sparingly used power move, but on the other hand you could simply decide between them. Obviously, Stone Edge not causing 50% recoil is a significant bonus, but the added critical hit ratio doesn't hurt. Head Smash on the other hand is all about power, but use it too often and Rampardos will probably take itself out. Ultimately, that excessive power isn't always necessary either, sometimes a simple Stone Edge will do, but it never hurts to pack a STAB move with a Base Power of 150.
In the last two move-slots, you have a few options. The aforementioned Head Smash is an option, to work alongside Stone Edge. Pursuit is good for chasing down runners, whilst Crunch is nice for getting a chunkier hit on defensive Psychics and Ghosts (like Claydol, Cresselia and Dusknoir), although STAB Stone Edge comes close to similar power the accuracy is nice to have. Focus Punch is just a flat out power move that performs nicely with prediction and is handy to smack around some of its counters (like Torterra and Hippowdon).
Rampardos has access to a move that'll help it overcome its forgettable Speed stat in the form of Rock Polish, which'll give it a nice 2x boost. Focus Sash helps guarantee that the Rock Polish will become a reality, and is of some help on variants that will start the battle, letting it suck up an opposing hit. Afterwards it becomes a simple matter of sweeping, with Earthquake and STAB Stone Edge fronting the charge.
If the opponent is likely to run upon seeing Rampardos use Rock Polish, Pursuit can catch them on their way out. Crunch has its uses against Claydol, Cresselia and Dusknoir. Both are really 'filler' options, and there's a couple of others that could go in their place.
Okay, so a Rampardos with a Swords Dance behind it is quite scary, but that Speed stat is still going to lag behind. It's going to be relying on its team-mates a fair bit, either for Trick Room, paralysis or possibly a Baton Pass, because its natural Speed stat is going to leave it trailing behind most opposing sweepers. The alternative is to try and sneak in an Endure-Salac after throwing up a Swords Dance, with the Speed boost opening up the floodgates for a sweep. If you aren't going for Endure-Salac, then Focus Sash can at least guarantee a full health Rampardos one turn of survival, which may be enough to fire off that all important Swords Dance.
Aside from that, you're running pretty much the same set as above. Earthquake and Stone Edge do all the heavy lifting, with Pursuit and Crunch being options to use if Endure isn't in play.
EVs and Nature:
Speed is the area that causes Rampardos the biggest headaches, and is ultimately the area of most importance. It caps out at 215 without Jolly, and at 236 with Jolly. Either way, that leaves you falling short of a lot of notable Pokémon, even the slow ones. You will want to Max its Speed though, otherwise you'll trail behind just about everything.
Obviously, using Jolly means sacrificing a chunky 10% boost to its Attack stat (which is 42 Attack points), so it's worth outlining what Jolly provides. Without any Speed modifiers, a Jolly Rampardos will be faster than an Adamant Tyranitar and a few other Pokémon that linger in that area. It's not overwhelmingly awesome but it's nice to have. With a Speed boost, such as from a Salac or Choice Scarf, you'll also be outrunning Pokémon around the 350 Speed area, including Gengar, Tauros, Infernape, Modest Alakazam and Adamant Dugtrio, which is pretty awesome. Without Jolly and with a Scarf or Salac boost, you'll reach around the 320 area, which is nice but still leaves you lagging behind a fair few Pokémon, especially if the opposition is running Speed boosting natures.
That pretty much sums up what Jolly does for it. In the case of Rock Polish, Jolly is fairly unnecessary (where a minimum of 202 Speed is the only requirement), and without a Speed boost Jolly isn't overwhelmingly useful, but with a Speed boost in play it's usually worth it.
In the case of excess EVs, especially those received when using Rampardos for Trick Room (where you'd want Brave and no Speed EVs), the excess can be placed into its Special Defense. Since it benefits from the Sandstorm Special Defense boost, Special Defense EVs will tend to have the largest effect of all its defensive possibilities. It's still not going to make it bulky but it'll at least be less fragile.
Rock Slide, Hammer Arm, Avalanche, Zen Headbutt, Natural Gift, Endeavor.
Rock Slide is a STAB alterative if you're very concerned about PP and accuracy, but it's a bit of a weak option with Rampardos being a bit too slow to frequently capitalise on the flinch chance.
Hammer Arm is a nice strong move with decent type coverage but the Speed lowering side-effect is unfavourable and Earthquake is already handling Steel and Rock types and Stone Edge handling Ice types.
Avalanche is the only physical Ice move it gets. Garchomp, Torterra and Gliscor are the most notable Pokémon you would want to put at the opposite end of this move.
Zen Headbutt would be a bit more useful if pure Fighting types were more commonplace, what with their Rock resistance, but they aren't commonplace and Zen Headbutt has little notable coverage otherwise.
Natural Gift, combined with the right berry, is the only way Rampardos can get a hold of a move of types it has no (or little) access to. Most notably, the Liechi Berry gives it a Base 80 Grass Attack and the Ganlon Berry gives it a Base 80 Ice Attack.
Endeavor is an okay filler option with Focus Sash. Sometimes you know you can't KO a Pokémon, so at least you can bring them down to one HP (and possibly let them get picked off by Sandstorm).
Rampardos has generally all-round massive damaging capabilities, although thankfully, it's got featherlike defensive capabilities and is pretty slow for something so fragile. Hippowdon is fairly safe against it, with few of its moves posing a significant threat to it. Torterra is comfortably resistant to its two most frequently used moves, so short of a surprise Ice move, Rampardos isn't getting by it easily. Very Defensive Ground types can show their face to Band-less variants, like Claydol, Swampert and Rhyperior.
You could try throwing a Reflect in its way or hitting it with Will-o-Wisp, but you're generally better off KOing it when you've got the chance. It's weak to Mach Punch, Vacuum Wave, Aqua Jet and Bullet Punch, which is all quite nice for the faster versions, and generally, most sweepers will outrun it, leaving it very exposed to revenge KOs.
Something of note is that Scarf versions can reach enough Speed to outrun the Pokémon in the Base 110 group (Gengar, Tauros and friends). It also may be a bit of an obvious one, but it's worth repeating that Mold Breaker does nullify levitate, meaning you shouldn't go slinging a Bronzong in front of it in an attempt to block its Earthquake, because you'll only end up with a KOed Bronzong.
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