Nihilego, The Parasite Pokémon. One of several mysterious Ultra Beasts. People on the street report observing those infested by it suddenly becoming violent. One of the Ultra Beasts. It’s unclear whether or not this Pokémon is sentient, but sometimes it can be observed behaving like a young girl. A life-form from another world, it was dubbed a UB and is thought to produce a strong neurotoxin. Nihilego appears to be a parasite that lives by feeding on people and Pokémon.
Nihilego is one of the most interesting and versatile Pokemon in USUM. Thanks to its unique typing, excellent offensive & support movepool and stat distribution, Nihilego can perform many roles in Singles such as being an excellent hazard setter, a strong wallbreaker or a fast Scarfed revenge killer that can easily snowball thanks to Beast Boost. However, Nihilego's biggest flaw lies on its pathetic Defense stat and its inability to hurt Ground- and Steel-types who can OHKO it in return with their STABs. Nevertheless, despite these shortcomings, Nihilego is a solid Pokemon overall that can pull out its own weight when used properly.
- Stealth Rock / Toxic Spikes
Nihilego's access to both Stealth Rock and Toxic Spikes allows it to capitalize on the plenty of opportunities it can create by forcing the opponent out and lay down hazards on the opponent's side of the field. Stealth Rock is mandatory on almost any competitive team, however, if your team already carries a dedicated Stealth Rock user, Nihilego can use Toxic Spikes to pressure Pokemon such as Tangrowth or Tapu Bulu by crippling their recovery abilities with Poison. Sludge Wave is the main STAB required in order to eliminate Fairy types such as Tapu Bulu, Tapu Koko, Mega Gardevoir and Alolan Ninetales. Power Gem is Nihilego's secondary STAB and allows it to OHKO Pokemon like Mega Charizard Y and Volcarona while hitting Pokemon like Gyarados, Kyurem-Black or Dragonite very hard. Hidden Power Ice rounds up the coverage by hitting super effectively against Pokemon such as Landorus-Therian or Garchomp. On the other hand, Nihilego can use Grass Knot to damage Pokemon like Hippowdon even harder than Hidden Power Ice while using Thunderbolt to round the coverage vs Pokemon such as Suicune and Celesteela. A Focus Sash allows Nihilego to survive one hit from full health and guarantee a hazard just like how suicide leads perform. However, if you need more power, a Rockium Z grants a 160 base power Continental Crush that allows Nihilego to severely cripple 248 HP Mega Scizor on the switch-in while giving more chances for Nihilego to activate Beast Boost and put more offensive pressure on the opponent. In a similar scenario, an Electrium Z allows Nihilego to nuke Celesteela and bulky Water types on its way.
Maximum Special Attack and Speed are required to allow Nihilego to be as fast and powerful as possible. The rest is dumped on Special Defense to increase its special bulk a little bit. Beast Boost is Nihilego's only ability and it is the best ability it can ask for regardless.
- Sludge Wave
Nihilego makes for a decent Scarf sweeper that can easily snowball thanks to Beast Boost once it gains a OHKO. Sludge Wave is Nihilego's main STAB and it allows it to annihilate the Alolan Guardians super-effectively while nailing anything vulnerable to it. Power Gem is Nihilego's secondary STAB and it allows it to OHKO both Volcarona and Charizard-Y while giving Nihilego a strong move to revenge kill Charizard X, Gyarados, Dragonite, Salamence, and others thanks to its great speed tier as Nihilego can outspeed them all at +1. Hidden Power Ice allows Nihilego to revenge kill Pokemon like Landorus-Therian and Zygarde. However, if HP Ice is not needed, Nihilego can use Toxic Spikes to support its team with poisonous hazards. Thanks to Nihilego's ability to force switch-ins and ability to pressure Tornadus-Therian, it finds plenty of opportunities to use the move. Finally, Thunderbolt rounds Nihilego's coverage and allows it to hit Celesteela super-effectively while nailing bulky Water type switch-ins.
The following EV spread allows Nihilego to always survive Volcarona's +1 Hidden Power Ground from full HP while being able to outspeed Choice Scarf Garchomp by one point. The rest is dumped in Special Attack for more power while still providing a Special Attack boost whenever Nihilego achieves a KO with Beast Boost.
ULTRA MAN OF WAR
- Sludge Wave
Thanks to the raw power of a Choice Specs, Nihilego finds itself capable of nuking down most of its switch-ins with the appropriate coverage move. Sludge Wave completely decimates Fairy Types such as Clefable, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu among others while being Nihilego's strongest STAB. Power Gem allows Nihilego to threaten Flying-, Ice-, and Fire-types like Kyurem Black, Volcarona and Tornadus-Therian. Hidden Power Fire fries Mega Scizor and Ferrothorn switch-ins preventing them from walling this set, while being Nihilego's strongest move against Celesteela. Finally, Grass Knot is preferred on the last slot to decimate Gastrodon and Mega Swampert. However, if you wish to secure the 2HKO on Celesteela while being able to nuke Toxapex, Thunderbolt is an option to achieve such feat at the expense of being helplessly walled by Gastrodon.
Max Special Attack is extremely important on this set because it allows Nihilego to maximize its damage output with Choice Specs while max Speed is mandatory to outspeed +252 Speed Garchomp and speed tie other Nihilegos. Alternatively, you can use an EV spread of 88 Def / 172 SpA / 248 Spe to boost Speed with Beast Boost while always surviving 0 Atk Bullet Punch from Mega Scizor at full health. Thanks to the immediate boost of Choice Specs and the Speed boosts, Nihilego becomes harder to revenge kill if the opponent lacks priority users making it ideal for late game scenarios.
Other Options and Partners
Nihilego can use Mirror Coat in order to surprise some special moves such as Mega Alakazam's Psychic and Heatran's Earth Power and retaliate the damage thanks to its high special bulk. However, this is very gimmicky to pull off and Nihilego appreciates much more the utility of setting hazards against these Pokemon. Knock Off is worth mentioning on the Choice sets which allow Nihilego cripple Pokemon like Celesteela and Magearna by removing their items. Nihilego gains access to Pain Split and it can be used to gain some HP back. However, it is a very unreliable recovery move and considering Nihilego's low Defense stat and vulnerability to priority moves, it's generally not worth to use. Nihilego can also use Reflect and Light Screen to support its teammates with screen support. However, because Nihilego lacks a way to create momentum after setting a screen (Azelf has access to Explosion while Latios has access to Memento), it becomes hard to justify over other screen users.
VGC, & Double Battle Options
Nihilego is not a Pokemon you would immediately think of as a useful option in Doubles due to its horrid physical bulk and weaknesses to common spread moves. However, as in Singles, its stats and coverage give it a very unique role as a somewhat anti-meta pick with just enough Speed to outspeed what it needs to while boasting the coverage to threaten a wide range of relevant threats. Rock/Poison in particular covers a very important range that includes Mega Charizard Y, Incineroar, and the Island Guardians while also hitting many other foes neutrally. However, it still suffers against Steel-type foes and Tyranitar and this is very problematic as Nihilego only has one coverage slot to account for this due to most sets requiring Protect. Its physical bulk is also still a problem as it forces Nihilego's team to target physical threats more often to preserve it, or otherwise leaves it helpless against speed control due to the risk of being OHKOed. Likewise while it does fare well against the Island Guardians, it has a difficult time switching into any of them except for Tapu Koko, so it relies a lot on careful positioning to work at its best. However, even in the face of restricted legendary Pokemon, Nihilego can find its way into a comfortable team, and it should never be underestimated.
- Sludge Bomb
Nihilego is a fairly straightforward Pokemon that can even function in the current VGC metagame despite requiring careful planning to pull off. Sludge Bomb is Nihilego's strongest STAB move and deals with the Island Guardians and Xerneas. Sludge Wave is strictly recommended against because it's a spread move that hits your teammate as well, and lacks the power, coverage, and ease of use that Earthquake would provide to make it useful. Power Gem is a useful secondary STAB move that deals with Incineroar, which is very useful for a special attacker since most Incineroar are heavily invested in Special Defense and otherwise struggle to break through it. Grass Knot is not a common pick in normal formats, but in the current VGC format it's very useful for dealing with Groudon and Kyogre which would be an annoyance otherwise. Clear Smog is an option that gives up this coverage to emergency shut down Xerneas after it sets up with Geomancy, which is particularly useful since Nihilego is very specially bulky and capable of tanking a boosted Moonblast. Trick Room isn't particularly useful in the current format and may seem counter-intuitive with its stat spread, but it makes for a very effective surprise pick that works both for setting Trick Room and also removing opposing Trick Room. Protect is of critical importance as always, this is nothing that needs an explanation.
While there is merit in making Nihilego bulkier, it's best to go with a pure offensive spread in general to make the most of its offensive stats. A Timid nature is still important because there are many dangerous foes creeping around its Speed tier, no matter how tempting the extra damage boost might look. Focus Sash is generally the preferred item to make sure Nihilego isn't completely deadweight in the face of a faster physical attacker, and generally makes it easier for it to secure 2HKOs with its useful coverage.
Other Options & Team Ideas
- Hidden Power Ice is worth consideration in a standard Doubles format in order to hit Landorus-T harder than Power Gem, though it's not particularly relevant in the current GS Cup format.
Nihilego’s biggest flaw lies on its pathetic defense stat which is easily exploited by strong priority users such as Mega Scizor, Crawdaunt and Azumarill. Thanks to their access to Bullet Punch and Aqua Jet, they can easily decimate Nihilego without giving it a chance of doing anything on the match. However, Mega Scizor must be careful of switching into Hidden Power Fire or Specs boosted Power Gem as it will do a huge number on it, while Azumarill and Crawdaunt can't really switch into Nihilego directly. Steel types like Ferrothorn, Aegislash, Mega Mawile and Magearna fear nothing from Nihilego bar a rare HP Fire and they can use it as set up fodder or straight OHKO it with their STAB moves. Mega Mawile can also pick Nihilego with Sucker Punch. On a similar note, Zygarde and Garchomp can easily take advantage of a choice locked Nihilego and threaten to KO it or set up. Once again, they must be careful of switching into Hidden Power Ice. Gastrodon does an excellent job of stopping any Nihilego set without Grass Knot as it fears nothing from its other coverage moves.
Special walls like Chansey, Alolan Muk and Toxapex have very little to fear from Nihilego (the latter must be careful of switching into Specs boosted Thunderbolt) and they do a great job at walling it. Faster Psychic and Water types such as Starmie, Latios and Ash Greninja easily outspeed Nihilego and KO it with their STAB moves. It's worth mentioning that Psychic types that run Psyshock such as Lati@s, Mega Alakazam and Scarf Tapu Lele can easily OHKO Nihilego thanks to Psyshock's ability to target Nihilego's pathetic Defense stat instead of its higher Special Defense. Finally, thanks to Tyranitar's great bulk and Sandstorm's SpD boost, it has nothing to fear from Nihilego other than Grass Knot and it threatens it immensely with Pursuit trapping or with a super-effective Earthquake.
Locations in Games
Black 2/White 2:
Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
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