Shaymin Sky Forme, The Gratitude Pokémon. The flowers all over its body burst into bloom if it is lovingly hugged and senses gratitude. It can dissolve toxins in the air to instantly transform ruined land into a lush field of flowers. It changes form when exposed to the Gracidea Flower.ť
'Sky Form' Shaymin, also known by the aliases Shaymin-S and Skymin (the latter of which being what I'll refer to it as henceforth), is another Pokémon to get a fresh new 'form' in the DP-to-Platinum shift. The change itself is massive, and Skymin is almost an entirely different Pokémon to the 'Land Form' Shaymin.
Base Stats are the primary difference between the two. Whilst 'Land Form' Shaymin has the generic “100 across the board” Base Stats, Skymin's Base Stats are more focused, giving it the layout of a sweeper. Base 127 Speed is the most notable shift, putting Skymin's Speed above Weavile and making it one of the fastest threats in the game, and an additional shift to Base 120 Special Attack also aids Skymin's special sweeping ambitions. As far as move-pool is concerned, both Shaymins benefit from move-tutored Earth Power, but Skymin has STAB Air Slash over its land-based counterpart. Also, Seed Flare is a more deadly weapon in Skymin's hands, benefiting greatly from Serene Grace.
Skymin is a bit difficult to place into a battling tier. It's one of those 'suspect' Pokémon lingering in that area between Uber and Standard. Its test run in the Standard tier went rather well, being popular and effective although not over-centralising, however it's since been classified as an Uber, probably for a later run of inspection. As a Standard Pokémon, it's a strong selection, but in the Uber environment, it doesn't pack the natural stats to be much of a threat. For now, treat it as an Uber Pokémon (i.e. banned from Standard play), although this article has been written treating it as though it were a standard Pokémon, since it's a rather sub-par 'Uber'.
Serene Grace: works great in tandem with Shaymin's signature Seed Flare. Seed Flare has a natural 40% chance of lowering the opponent's Special Defence by two levels (effectively halving it), so a doubled chance comes to a very healthy 80%. Most importantly, this keeps Blissey from trying to stall you, removing one of the major walling threats that face special attackers. Air Slash is also a lucky benefactor, doubling its flinch rate to 60%.
- Seed Flare
An all-out attacker is a rather uncomplicated but effective way to use Skymin. Life Orb gives you a power boost but it does cost you some HP (which can really matter, especially in the Standard tier when you're almost certain to encounter Stealth Rock, as well as the possibility of Sandstream). Leftovers gives you a little HP recovery.
Seed Flare is your core move here. 120 Base Power, STAB and an 80% chance of cutting your opponent's Special Defence by two levels. 85% accuracy and 5 PP are the only real drawbacks, but it's still reliable enough to function as your primary attacking move. Air Slash serves as respectable back-up, with a neat 60% chance of flinching the opponent as well. Earth Power is very important for its super-effective Steel coverage, particularly against Heatran and Metagross. Hidden Power [Ice] is favoured for its coverage on the 4x weak Dragons and its coverage on Flying types. Hidden Power [Fire] is favourable for its super-effective hits on the Steel types who aren't bothered by Earth Power, notably Bronzong and Scizor.
A bit of a Grass-type classic and a strategy all-the-more enhanced by your supreme Speed advantage. Plant a Leech Seed and repeatedly raise a countless barrier of disposal Substitutes, safely recovering all the lost HP easily with Leftovers and sapped HP. This is all the more potent in the Uber environment where those chunky Base Stats provide ample HP to drain. Laying down entry hazards is important (which is easier in Standard-play than Uber-play), otherwise Leech Seeds will be removed unpunished by a simple switch.
Backing up the two core moves are offensive attacks. For the sake of example, both STABs have been attached, although any of the moves mentioned on the sweeper move-set are viable (since they all have their uses, although at least one STAB should be employed). Air Slash is a particular faithful since it hits super-effective against (Leech Seed-immune) Grass types, and also has the benefit of a 60% flinch-rate.
EVs and Nature:
Skymin's selling point is Speed, so maximising it should be your priority. Rarely is the Modest boost worth sacrificing that extra edge that puts you ahead of Weavile (383), Starmie (361), Alakazam (372) and company. In Standard play, very little should be outrunning you without the aid of a boost. In Uber play, you'll sadly be coming second to Deoxys (Attack and Speed) and Mewtwo, but otherwise still be the fastest threat but the difference between 353 Speed (without Timid) and 388 (with Timid) is still very large. The rest of the EVs can be dedicated to raising Special Attack, since the special sweeper needs the boost and the Sub-Seeder should be safe behind its Substitutes (allowing you to forego defensive EV investment).
Swords Dance, Leaf Storm, Psychic, Aromatherapy, Healing Wish, Synthesis, Roost, Choice Specs, Choice Scarf.
I'm mentioning Swords Dance first, since it encompasses all physical attacking possibilities, which are essentially ruled out by Skymin lacking a good physical STAB to work with (not even a measly Aerial Ace or Razor Leaf).
Leaf Storm is a 'slightly' more powerful (and more accurate) alternative to Seed Flare that works in an almost opposite way. Seed Flare gets better with continued use (assuming the SDef drop) whilst Leaf Storm gets worse with continued use (due to the SAtk drop). There are few situations where Leaf Storm is better, so stick with the safer Seed Flare.
Psychic is pretty much the only other special attack that's worth consideration. Sadly, it doesn't provide much. With Air Slash dealing with (most) Fighting types, Psychic coverage will only be there to handle Poison types (of which many will already be handled by Earth Power). A few situational positions of value, but not enough to justify its use.
Aromatherapy is part of that support move-pool that's better utilised by the more defensively-minded Land Form. Usable but not really something that fits with Skymin effectively.
Healing Wish is a suicidal team-mate-helper. If you're on your way out, you can head out for the greater good of your team by fully restoring a team-mate.
Synthesis and Roost can provide you with some healing options. Most notably, there's some potential for some Life Orb and recovery synergy if you can find the time to use a healing move.
You have Choice Specs for the offensive boost and Choice Scarf to assure that (essentially) no one will be outrunning you, but the number one downfall of Choice items is being locked into the repetition of the same move, something that'll become painfully obvious when you see how many Pokémon resist your core STAB move, Seed Flare. Even with that Special Defence cut, having a resistance makes a large difference and can cut your sweeping hopes unnecessarily short.
Countering Shaymin Sky Forme
It's worth noting that this kind of depends on your battling tier. Skymin performs much better in Standard play than in Uber play (for obvious reasons), and with both tiers being vastly different, handling Skymin changes. Universal problems Skymin faces are a Stealth Rock weakness, a large 4x weakness to (very popular) Ice moves and a further four weaknesses (Fire, Rock, Poison and Flying).
Clear Body is a strong weapon against Skymin, since its core move has an 80% chance of cutting your Special Defence by two levels (effectively halving it). Regice and Registeel are decent walls to match it with. Regice lacks a desirable Grass resistance but doesn't come with an extra set of weaknesses to worry about, whereas Registeel resists Grass moves but has a potentially troublesome Ground weakness. Metagross works similarly to Registeel, just lacking its mammoth defensive stats (although having better offensive stats to fight back with).
Scizor can 'sort of work', provided Hidden Power [Fire] is absent. The Special Defence drop can sting on any follow-up attacks, but a 4x Seed Flare resistance makes the initial switch-in not-too-painful, and aside from Hidden Power, Scizor doesn't pack any weaknesses that Skymin can exploit. Heatran can only work when it's Timid with a Choice Scarf (or when an opposing Earth Power is absent), since despite its desirable resistances, that 4x Earth Power weakness is just too exploitable.
Whilst the potential effects of a Special Defence drop from Seed Flare always need to be kept in mind, they won't always occur, which can extend the list of counters to generally anything with spongy Special Defence and no exploitable weaknesses (e.g. Ice Beam Blissey, who won't be happy switching into a Seed Flare, but once she's in, provided she doesn't have her Special Defence cut, she can be a happy counter).
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