Porygon-Z, The Virtual Pokémon. Additional software was installed to make it a better Pokémon. It began acting oddly, however.
One of the original 151 from three generations ago, Porygon was set apart from the others by being an eternal pain to obtain, holding a position as the top prize from the 1st generation game corner. Three generations and two items later, and Gamefreak have given us Porygon-Z, the third and presumably final stage of Porygon's evolution.
As a Pokémon, Porygon-Z is quite special and unique, certainly more so than its 'Normal' billing would suggest. Alongside Alakazam, it is tied for the highest Special Attack amongst non-Uber Pokémon. Even with Uber Pokémon acknowledged, it ties for 8th place in the hierarchy of hardest hitters. Its Special Attack caps out at an impressive 405, with further boosts available from Nasty Plot or Choice Specs.
Unfortunately, for all the Special Attacking power it packs, it's letdown by its Speed stat. It's by no means slow, Base 90 Speed is respectable, but in order to attain a Speed stat anywhere near suitable for a Pokémon of Porygon-Z's kind, it would need to run a Timid nature. Needless to say, its Special Attack will suffer from the loss of the Modest nature, but thankfully, it at least has Nasty Plot to pick up the slack.
Even with its Speed letting it down, Porygon-Z is still an incredibly threatening Special Sweeper. After all, it can boldly boast the ability to fell Blissey with a boosted Hyper Beam. All Pokémon have flaws however, and in Porygon-Z's case, an unexceptional Speed stat leaves it at the mercy of many faster Pokémon.
Adaptability: increases the boost received from STAB. Rather than the standard 1.5x, Adaptability brings the STAB boost up to 2x.
Download: gives Porygon-Z a stat-boost to either its Attack or its Special Attack. If Porygon-Z is brought in against an opponent with more Defence than Special Defence, Porygon-Z will receive a Special Attack boost. If Porygon-Z is brought in against an opponent with more Special Defence than Defence, Porygon-Z will receive an Attack boost. The boost is effectively the same as if Porygon-Z had used Growth (SAtk) or Meditate (Atk).
Nasty Plot Sweeper
- Tri Attack
This has become the popular route to take with Porygon-Z. Nasty Plot catapults its already monstrous Special Attack to new heights, and with a single boost, Porygon-Z becomes difficult to stop.
Tri Attack benefits from Adaptability and will generally be the main attack Porygon-Z charges forward with. Dark Pulse supplements it comfortably, providing very useful coverage against Ghosts.
In the final move-slot, Hidden Power [Fighting] is undoubtedly the most preferable choice (except for possibly Hyper Beam, but we will cover its positive points later). Hidden Power [Fighting] deals with Rock and Steel types, who notably resist Tri Attack. Of course, being difficult to obtain, Ice Beam provides a viable alternative, and has useful coverage, picking up a super-effective hit on four types.
The one reason to use Hyper Beam is to get a 1KO on the standard Blissey (714 HP / 306 SDef). After a Nasty Plot, Adaptability, Modest, 252 SAtk EVs and Life Orb, Hyper Beam will annihilate Blissey. The downside understandably, is the Hyper Beam recharge. On the following turn, Porygon-Z will be exposed to whichever Pokémon the opponent chooses to send out, and consequently, whichever move they choose to use during the recharge turn. Needless to say, this could simply be a revenge KO, leading to the loss of Porygon-Z, or they could use the turn to prime one of their sweepers, using the free turn for a stat-boost. Extensive forethought should be given to the use of Hyper Beam. By removing Blissey it carves open a great deal of opportunity for Porygon-Z's team, but the free turn it grants to the opponent may give Porygon-Z's team a lot of headaches.
Life Orb is obviously the preferable item choice, for the large 1.3x boost it grants. The 10% 'recoil' is unattractive however, and Silk Scarf presents a decent alterative, giving a 1.2x boost to Porygon-Z's STAB moves.
- Tri Attack
As with most sweepers, Porygon-Z can make very good use of Choice items. Choice Specs give its strong Special Attack a large boost whilst Choice Scarf makes up for its rather average Speed stat. The move-set is fairly straightforward, with Tri Attack providing a strong STAB move and Dark Pulse covering the immune Ghosts. Hidden Power [Fighting] deals with Rock and Steel types whilst Ice Beam provides good type coverage.
Since this move-set is less about the straightforward sweeping power of Nasty Plot-boosted Tri Attacks, and more about Porygon-Z's attacking capabilities in general, Adaptability can be dropped in favour of Download. Provided Porygon-Z is brought out against opponents with superior Defence to Special Defence, it can get a rather useful boost out of the ability.
EVs and Nature:
The straightforward 252/252 is pretty much the way to go with Porygon-Z. It benefits little from defensive EV investments and generally needs all the Special Attack and Speed that it can get. The only source of indecisiveness is in regards to which nature it chooses, since it benefits greatly from Modest or Timid. Obviously enough, Modest gives it a large (36 point) Special Attack boost (which can be the difference between a KO and a 2KO), but Timid's advantages are bit more in-depth.
The area Porygon-Z suffers in the most is its Speed, which is fairly average, arguably below average by the standards of a sweeper. Without Timid, it falls just behind several common Pokémon, like Salamence (299), Electivire (289) and Garchomp (303). With Timid, 252 Speed EVs and Max IVs, Porygon-Z skips just ahead of the aforementioned examples (and Pokémon tied to their Speed tiers). Admittedly, if they too are using Speed boosting natures, Porygon-Z will remain behind, but if they aren't, Porygon-Z will be at an advantage.
Thunderbolt, Hidden Power [Fire / Ground], Return, Agility, Substitute. Aside from Hidden Power, Thunderbolt is the next best move Porygon-Z has for hitting Steel types. Notably, it'll catch super-effective hits on Skarmory and Empoleon as well.
Hidden Power [Fire] and Hidden Power [Ground] are alternative Hidden Powers to use in place of Fight, understandably being chosen for their coverage against Steel types. Both have stronger coverage than Fight against Metagross and Jirachi, with Fire being more suitable for Bronzong and Ground being more suitable for Heatran and Magnezone.
With Max Attack, a Life Orb boost and Adaptability, Return can 2KO Blissey, making it an alternative to Hyper Beam to get rid of Blissey.
Agility has some possibilities for sweeping, especially since Porygon-Z's Special Attack is quite usable at its base, and of course, Porygon-Z's Speed is the main stat that lets it down.
Substitute has some uses for blocking status attacks, particularly Thunder Wave, which would otherwise shutdown Porygon-Z's sweeping capabilities.
Normally I'd make a mention of good support moves that a sweeper generally can't use, if only for the sake of completeness, but with Porygon-Z's pre-evolution Porygon2 remaining a viable choice, moves like Trick Room and Recover should be left to it.
Tri Attack boosted by Adaptability and Nasty Plot tends to be the standard gimmick for Porygon-Z, so Pokémon who resists that are a good start. Unfortunately, most Ghost types are out of the question since it frequently uses Dark Pulse. Generally, you'll be turning to Steel and Rock types, with the latter of which being even more attractive with Sandstorm active.
Of the more offensive Rock and Steel types, Metagross, Heatran and Tyranitar can all take a hit and launch back strongly, although the latter two will want to avoid taking a Hidden Power that will take advantage of their 4x weaknesses. Regirock does nicely with Sandstorm support. Probopass and Registeel are nice and tough but rely on Thunder Wave to cause any sort of threat to Porygon-Z. Again, watch for the Hidden Powers with Probopass.
Blissey can threaten Porygon-Z with Thunder Wave, but as noted a couple of times previously, Porygon-Z can OHKO it with Hyper Beam. Of course, if you have a Pokémon that can appropriately follow up during Porygon-Z's turn of recharge, then that may be an acceptable risk.
Porygon-Z isn't overwhelmingly quick, so thankfully, strong Choice Scarfers and fast hard-hitters should be able to finish it off before it starts to pick up some steam. With Base 85 HP, 70 Defence, and 75 Special Defence, all of which typically being unsupported by EVs, it's not likely to stand up to too many hits, especially with possible passive damage taken into account.
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