Rotom, The Plasma Pokémon. Its body is composed of plasma. It is known to infiltrate electronic devices and wreak havoc. It was named by Pluto when he found one as a child and discovered it could possess machines. Thus, Pluto created five specific machines for Rotom to possess and gives it special attacks for each one.
With this Pokémon of the Week being the closest to Halloween, a Ghost-type theme is to be expected. In this case, we take a look at the Ghost who got a lot of attention in the lead-up to Platinum, Rotom.
Rotom's most outstanding feature is its typing combined with Levitate. As a Ghost, it already packs Normal and Fighting immunities. Electric tags on some extra resistances, a new STAB, and due to Levitate, you don't gain any additional weakness either. All that combined gives it three very good immunities and an additional five resistances.
From the outset, Rotom is clearly designed as a special sweeper. The 'original' Rotom has Base 95 Special Attack and Base 91 Speed, whilst the Platinum forms have a slightly tamer Speed stat (Base 86) but a better Special Attack stat (Base 105) and much better defensive stats to compensate. Its move-pool matches comfortably, with Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball providing reliable STAB. The Platinum forms add one of five additional moves, with Overheat and Leafstorm being the more outstanding of those available.
The original Rotom has a bit of an inferiority complex to Gengar and Mismagius, who both carry the same immunities but superior special sweeping stats (and to an extent, better move-pools as well). The original Rotom was comfortably Underused, slotting into that environment nicely. Despite the defensive boost and additional bonus moves, the new Rotom will probably join the UU tier too, but it might just have enough to bump it into the limbo of Borderline.
Levitate: grants Rotom a very useful Ground immunity, cancelling out the weakness it would've picked up from its Electric type. This of course adds to its Ghost immunities, and as a Pokémon who favours Choice items, it makes switching easier too.
Choice - Original Form
Rotom lends itself to Choice roles quite comfortably. Three immunities makes switching about a fairly easy task, and it has the option of raw power from Thunderbolt or Shadow Ball, or the disruptive option of Trick, throwing an unfavourable Choice item on an opposing defender.
In the Underused tier, Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball cover almost all threats, but with a spare move-slot, you can add on a Hidden Power. Grass is favoured for hitting Ground types, particularly the 4x weak Ground-Water types. Ice hits Ground types as well as Grass types. Fighting hits Dark and Steel types, and of Steel types, particularly the 4x weak ones (Probopass, Bastiodon and Aggron).
Choice Specs is usually the favoured item, letting Rotom work with a very respectable 433 Special Attack stat as well as its relatively quick 309 Speed stat. Choice Scarf is nice for a 'revenge-killer', and whilst running a Modest nature is mild compensation for its Special Attack loss, you're a long way behind the power of the Specs-equivalent.
Support - Original Form
Rotom packs a nice set of supportive moves as well. Whilst it isn't a natural defensive Pokémon, it can get by on its immunities and resistances, and then use status moves or defensive screens to compensate for its lacking stats.
Will-o-Wisp halves the opponent's Attack stat, ruining physical attackers and giving Rotom a semblance of a physical wall. In addition, it can go with Thunder Wave or Toxic for the double-status combination (allowing it to pose a threat to special sweepers with Thunder Wave or defensive Pokémon with Toxic) or it can go for a temporary defensive boost to itself and its team through the screens. Will-o-Wisp and Reflect really help it to resemble a physical wall, whilst Will-o-Wisp and Light Screen let it take hits from both ends of the attacking spectrum.
Once again, Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball provide good STAB and cover most UU opponents.
Choice - Platinum Forms
It's the same as above, only now you're a bit slower, a bit more powerful and have the luxury of a bonus move to use in place of Hidden Power. Leafstorm (Cut form) and Overheat (Heat form) are two of the better ones. Both have a large 140 base power, a decent 90 accuracy, and whilst they come with a large stat drop, the quick-switching nature of a Choice set means it doesn't mind this stat drop too much. Leafstorm's Grass coverage annihilates the 4x weak Ground-Water types and catches a good hit on Ground types in general. Overheat doesn't have too many worthwhile 4x hits, but it gets a very good hit on Ghost-resistant Steel types and Electric-resistant Grass types.
Aside from those moves, the move-set is just the same as the original, with Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball bringing power and Trick providing a nuisance (although it's possible to drop Trick in favour of Hidden Power and go for an all-out attacker). Choice Specs is still the most tempting item here, but Choice Scarf isn't as much of a 'revenge-killer'-only item here. Platinum Rotom's Speed caps out at 298, falling one point short of the common 299 benchmark (the Base Speed 100 tier, occupied by Linoone, Dodrio, Raichu and others). The 1.5x boost from Scarf means, like the original Rotom, it outruns pretty much all of the UU environment, but there's a fair few more Pokémon accounted for, since a lot of Pokémon fall between the 298 and 309 Speed stats.
Support - Platinum Forms
Again, it's the same as above, only with slightly better base stats. In fact, the large improvement in defensive stats let Rotom resemble a defensive Pokémon much more strongly. Will-o-Wisp serves the same purpose, severely hindering them with the burn status. In addition, you have Thunder Wave for special sweepers, Toxic for defensive Pokémon or Reflect or Light Screen to further boost its defensive capabilities.
Although it hasn't been mentioned on the set itself, with the forms granting different attacks, it can vary up its offensive options beyond the reliable Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball.
Blizzard (Frost form) mixed with Thunderbolt creates a makeshift “Bolt-Beam”, although Blizzard's very unreliable accuracy (70%) leaves a lot to be desired. Air Slash (Spin form) can be combined with Thunder Wave for the frustrating “para-flinch” combination. Hydro Pump (Wash form) has unreliable accuracy (80%), but it's usable, although it doesn't have a great deal of synergy with Thunderbolt or Shadow Ball. Leafstorm and Overheat are also usable for the aforementioned reasons given on the Choice set, although without a Choice item, that stat-drop can be a bit more problematic, since you haven't got a move-set designed to hop in and out of play.
Rest-Talk - Platinum Forms
- Sleep Talk
Rotom lacks a reliable recovery move, so it has to turn to the Sleep Talk and Rest combination to give it a recovery option. Whilst this move-set is usable on the original form, it's better off on the more defensive Platinum forms.
With two move-slots already occupied, it gets a bit congested trying to select what moves to add. Will-o-Wisp is a very useful threat to pose, and carrying a status as well as either Thunderbolt or Shadow Ball is a viable option. Alternatively, it can use both of its STAB attacks together. There are other combinations, but those tend to be its best.
EVs and Nature:
On the supporting move-set, you can go with either max Special Attack or max HP, depending on whether a more offensive or defensive spread takes your fancy.
For the supporting and Rest-Talk move-sets, you can skip Speed for HP and possibly invest some EVs in either defensive stat if you want some extra bulk.
Discharge, Spite, Snatch, Confuse Ray.
Discharge is an alternative to Thunderbolt. With a 30% paralysis chance, you can treat it like Thunderbolt mixed with an unreliable Thunder Wave. On the supporting move-sets, you can find yourself a bit crowded for move-slots, which makes it additionally attractive.
Spite and Snatch are some nasty tricks it has access to, but very situational in use. Spite can mess up low PP moves (such as Synthesis). Snatch can steal stat-boosts, with the preferable boosts being Speed and Special Attack of course.
Confuse Ray can be mixed with Thunder Wave (or Discharge) for the para-fusion stalling combination. Add in some entry hazards to punish your foe for switching (to break the confusion) and you have some potential.
Between Trick, Will-o-Wisp and Thunder Wave, Rotom is rather versatile in the threat it can pose. The quicker you figure out its move-set, the better, but at least with the Platinum forms, you can tell whether it has access to one of its bonus moves (and if so, which one).
Probopass is one of the safest choices. It does a solid walling job on boosted Thunderbolts, resists Shadow Ball and isn't all too bothered about Thunder Wave. It won't enjoy Wisp ticking away at its HP, but at least it doesn't lose out on its offensive abilities. Hidden Power [Fighting] is the main threat, but being Tricked a set of Specs (or worse, Scarf) is also a worry.
Camerupt is fairly safe. It can't take repeated hits from Shadow Ball but it's immune to both of Rotom's main status moves, immune to Thunderbolt and Rotom rarely uses a super-effective Hidden Power against it. Hydro Pump is a threat, but if you see a Wash Rotom, it'd obviously be advisable to steer clear.
Lanturn is immune to Thunderbolt and Thunder Wave and has the defensive stats to deal with boosted Shadow Balls. Watch out for Cut form (Leafstorm) and Trick-Scarf. Trick-Specs isn't too painful unless you're running a highly defensive set, since most Lanturn move-sets are quite offensive. Vileplume, Meganium, Venusaur and other defensive Grass types carry a handy Electric resistance and have the stats to deal with Shadow Ball. Trick tends to hurt them a lot though, and whilst Thunder Wave usually isn't crippling, it's not appreciated either (since unlike Probopass, they usually do have a respectable Speed stat).
Poor defensive stats are Rotom's main downfall. The Platinum forms have gotten a bit of a boost in that department, but they still have to manage with a small Base 50 HP stat. Rotom has a lot of immunities and a decent resistance count, but strong STAB moves tend to cause it a lot of pain, and without a reliable recovery move, any damage it takes will usually stick.
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