Incineroar, The Heel Pokémon. This Pokémon has a violent, selfish disposition. If it’s not in the mood to listen, it will ignore its Trainer’s orders with complete nonchalance. After hurling ferocious punches and flinging furious kicks, it finishes opponents off by spewing fire from around its navel.
Welcome to second installment of the Gen 7 POTW! I hope you're enjoying your vacation in the Alola Region so far. This week we're bringing you the flaming wrestler, Incineroar, the final evolution of Litten. It's the least popular of the starters, or at least it was among my friends due to the fact that Decidueye is basically the Green Arrow of Pokémon and Primarina is hella cute and its Z-Move looks like the Spirit Bomb from Dragon Ball Z. However Incineroar is arguable the most useful of the three. It has both strong offense and solid defenses making it a prime Assault Vest candidate. Which will only improve when Intimidate is finally usable. Not to mention it has quite a number of support options as well like Fake Out and Will-O-Wisp at its disposal which will probably see a lot of usage in VGC. Unfortunately its speed really holds it back from being a top tier threat. Obviously this gen is new and the metagame is still evolving. so we have no clue how things will really play out for sure but you can't deny that Base 60 is just an awful Speed Tier. Still it has a wide variety of move coverage options at its disposal including the recently buffed Leech Life, a unique signature move in Darkest Lariat, and a lot of things going for it that I've already mentioned..so it's definitely an interesting 'mon. I hope you all enjoy using Incineroar!
Blaze: When HP is below 1/3rd its maximum, power of Fire-type moves is increased by 50%. The default ability for all Fire Starters so far. It's not ability it's just not great because once your HP dips down that low you're probably going to be KO'd shortly after the boost if you're not KO'd before then, and even then it only powers up your Fire-Type moves. It does however leave you time to try get one last ultra powerful Flare Blitz in before you go out if you find yourself in that position, but overall it's way too situational to be effective in my taste and I highly recommend taking Intimidate once Incineroar's Hidden Ability is released. Until then we're stuck with Blaze though.
A Purffect Luchador
- Flare Blitz
This is the set I would recommend using until Intimidate is available. It lets Incineroar do what it does best and break walls and bruise up your opponents team. The speed investment allows you to out speed common base 70 walls like Skarmory that have no speed investment of their own and take them out. Flare Blitz is your strongest Fire STAB and should always be taken. Darkest Lariat is your Secondary STAB and Incineroar's signature move. Plus it ignores any defensive modifiers that your opponent's mons use so it's a must have as well. The last two move slots are really just for coverage. However the metagame is still new and will change a lot for awhile so take whatever your team needs. I don't recommend running Uturn on this set though because it's really too slow to pivot effectively. Also I know Leech Life was buffed and a lot of people will be tempted to use that, but this is an offensive set and anything Leech Life hits its other moves will hit harder to be honest.
- Flare Blitz
Without its Hidden Ability, Intimidate, I don't even recommend trying an Assault Vest right now. Here it's though for future reference. EV's maximize its Bulk and Offensive Potential. You have your two staple moves Flare Blitz and Darkest Lariat. The newly buffed Leech Life for some recovery. It's not the most reliable means of recovery, but it allows you to keep your Assault Vest since it's an offensive move and will if nothing else help ease the pain of entry hazard damage. Plus Leech Life really did get some love this gen so it's a pretty strong move now too. The last slot is up to you since it's really just a filler for coverage. Go with whichever your team is in need of the most.
- Life Orb: In general I don't recommend giving a Life Orb to a slow bulky Fire 'mon. You're already going to get eaten up by Stealth Rock damage little by little, and with Flare Blitz on top of that its just not good for Incineroar's longevity. Not to mention a total waste of its bulky offenseive prowess.
VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options
Incineroar! The starter formerly known as Luchalitten, looked promising the day base stats were being leaked. It had everything going for it, Intimidate, Fake Out, U-Turn, Darkest Lariat ignoring defensive boosts and being stronger than Crunch, Torracat even had base 90 speed, surely Incineroar would at least be base 101 speed... right? Base 91..? The truth was heartbreaking and hilarious as Incineroar only has base 60 speed. Now all of a sudden, instead of focusing on offensive presence, Incineroar is going to have to look at being a little defensive because it's going to take a hit or two before being able to get damage in. Base 95/90/90 defenses are decent in doubles, but Fire/Dark isn't doing many favors defensively. When Intimidate becomes available for Incineroar, run it no matter what. At the time of writing, Blaze is the only ability available..
This variant of Incineroar finds itself in a very similar spot as Hitmontop or Scrafty in having access to Fake Out + Intimidate. Incineroar takes things a step further by having access to U-Turn, a slow U-Turn at that. This makes Incineroar an invaluable support Pokemon when considering it can consistently weaken Physical Attacks by being switched in, force a flinch with Fake Out and then with the slow U-Turn ensure a safe switch in for another teammate potentially multiple times each game. Darkest Lariat ignores defensive boosts and is stronger than Crunch. Overheat is Secondary STAB that deals decent damage to Pokemon who don't already resist it. The Stat drop is rarely a problem because of how much Incineroar will aim to switch out. stats Snarl is also an excellent move, it's sound based so it passes Substitutes and lowers Special Attack on opposing Pokemon
Eye of the Tiger
A highly offensive set best paired with Tailwind for the most devastating results. Fake Out will allow for the partner to set up or perform some sort of speed control to let Incineroar take the stage front and center. Darkest Lariat and Flare Blitz are it's strongest Physical STAB Moves Protect is always a good choice in doubles, but Snarl has its place in softening some blows that Intimidate couldn't.
Other Options & Team IdeasThroat Chop : A reactive metagame call for when Hyper Voice (or God forbid, Perish Song) starts being ridiculous again. It's only slightly weaker than Darkest Lariat, so it's not a bad choice
Roar: A reactive method to stop Trick Room from going up. It'll roar away Pokemon behind substitutes if that becomes a strong strategy.
Leech Life: The move is great, but between Incineroar's STABs, the only thing Leech Life is going to hit for SE that Fire/Dark won't is opposing Dark Types, a very niche choice.
Brick Break: An excellent coverage choice, the ability to break screens isn't frowned upon either, but it does only hit for base 150 when going for SE Damage, Darkest Lariat hits for ~122 on Neutral Pokemon.
Taunt: Unexpected coming from a slower Pokemon. But with Incineroar's Intimidate and constant Fake Out pressure, the opponent may already be choosing to use only attacking moves to get rid of it
Will-O-Wisp: Between this, Intimidate and Snarl, the opponent will be lucky to 5HKO anything. This move would be more desirable if Incineroar were faster.
Well you won't need be the heavy weight champion of the world or a professional wrestler to counter Incineroar. There's a lot of them. I guess the most obvious counters are Water-Fairy Types such as Primarina and Azumarill. Primarina was literally made to counter Incineroar and Azumarill is Bulky and resists both of its STAB moves and can KO it pretty easily. Bulky Waters in general will almost definitely give it some trouble. Other Bulky Fire Types like Torkoal, Turtonator, Flareon, and Arcanine will definitely be a pain too. Especially without Earthquake. Ground Types like Garchomp and Mudsdale are very powerful and bulky as well although switching is a little bit trickier in their case, but they KO you pretty handily. With its low Speed Tier there's any of a number of 'mons that can revenge kill our friend Incineroar. Although I doubt many of them will enjoy switching in on it so there's that. Good luck Trainers.
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