The Shining Utopia

    Klefki Analysis


    Immanent God LANCE
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    Klefki Analysis

    Post by Immanent God LANCE on Tue 17 Jun - 6:36

    About nine years ago, a Pokémon trainer by the name of ChaosLord once said, "Pokemon is a gambling game". Understandably, history has shown that such a statement, and whoever endorses it do not tend to be well-liked by many Pokémon trainers in the world, for this statement strikes a crushing blow towards their experience of what is arguably the most powerfully satisfying emotion in the world - pride, in this case, in their own skill as Pokémon trainers. Driven by humanity's innate competitive spirit, and furthered even more upon the establishment of the Smogon University in December 2004 as well as the ideas that the people of that community spread, Pokémon battling is often seen as a highly competitive, clean-cut and skill-based strategy game - a game in which it is assumed that, at least in the absence of easily observable luck more commonly known as "hax", the stronger trainer will always triumph over the weaker trainer. A game in which a linear hierarchy of strength among trainers transcends individual team or playstyle matchups when determining the outcome of a match. A game that is more akin to chess than it is to poker.

    Because that is the way the game of Pokémon is seen as, that is also the image of the game that Pokémon trainers all over the world fiercely attempt to defend and maintain, and from that passion, the rules known as the OHKO Clause, the Evasion Clause, and much later, the Moody Clause were born - rules that led to an immense amount of hatred being directed by the competitive Pokémon community towards anyone possessing courage and self-confidence sufficient to break. With the death of Pokémon NetBattle Supremacy in 2010, the last online Pokémon battling simulator on which the so-called "standard" rules are not enforced through a ladder system, the competitive Pokémon community has, for the end of the Generation IV era and the entirety of the Generation V period, for the most part temporarily ceased its expression of its hatred towards those who would dare to battle in such a way as to tarnish the skill-based and strategic image of Pokémon battling that they have so carefully built throughout the past decade, if only because doing so was no longer possible - the only exception to this being a similar reaction being directed to those who would use the Shell Smash + Baton Pass strategy in Generation V, though for reasons that are rather spawned out of fundamental misunderstanding, that are independent on the idea of luck.

    However, as no clauses pertaining to the Ability Prankster, the moves Foul Play, Substitute, Swagger or Thunder Wave, or any combination of the aforementioned exists on any ladder on any online Pokémon battling simulator today, the competitive Pokémon community has, as of the dawn of Generation VI, gained a new reason to express its old hatred. Though several Prankster Pokémon are theoretically capable of embodying that reason, one Pokémon, introduced in the very latest generation, stands out among them, due to its excellent defensive type combination as well as its decent bulk, especially with proper EV investment. And that Pokémon is Klefki, the Key Ring Pokémon - a Pokémon which, given luck, can singlehandedly destroy even the most well-built of teams with a combination of Foul Play, Substitute, Swagger and Thunder Wave, with the effectiveness of such luck-reliant devastation even leading to the point where many of the competitive Pokémon's community's defenders of the skill and strategy-based image of the game that they play have, in response, expressed their desire for a clause that disallows the use of the aforementioned Klefki moveset, though yet to any avail. As much as many trainers may dislike that Klefki moveset and those who use it, that variant of the Steel/Fairy-type Pokémon nonetheless remains as a very powerful option for anyone who has accepted their status as "Pokémon trainer" to be nothing more than a subcategory of "gambler". And of course, with its Prankster Ability combined with its access to other excellent supportive moves including Spikes, Light Screen and Reflect, it should never be forgotten that the Key Ring Pokémon's utility in the Übers metagame in fact extends beyond the attempt to draw out Pokémon's equivalent of the Ace of Spades.


    Klefki (M) @ Leftovers
    Ability: Prankster
    EVs: 248 HP / 228 SDef / 32 Spd
    Calm Nature
    IVs: 0 Atk
    - Foul Play
    - Substitute
    - Swagger
    - Thunder Wave

    The strategy utilized by this Klefki moveset is simple. Send Klefki into a Pokémon which cannot threaten it much, preferably those which cannot even break its Substitute in one hit, such as Darkrai, Deoxys-A without Fire Punch, Yveltal without Taunt, support Arceus-Rock, support Arceus-Fairy and support Arceus-Grass, and with that free turn, either set up a Substitute if the opponent's Pokémon is one of those that cannot break Klefki's Substitute in one hit but can potentially cripple it with a status move such as Dark Void or Will-O-Wisp, or cripple the opponent's Pokémon with Swagger, before paralyzing them with Thunder Wave, and then setting up a Substitute. While hiding behind a Substitute, which it can easily find a free turn to do considering the opponent's Pokémon only has a 37.5% chance of attacking through the combination of confusion and paralysis, Klefki can then assault the opponent's Pokémon with its Foul Play, powered up by the Swagger it had previously casted on the opponent's Pokémon. And after defeating one of the opponent's Pokémon while having its Substitute intact, Klefki can then go on to destroy the very next Pokémon the opponent sends out, using the very same aforementioned strategy, and before one knows it, a very large portion, if not the entirety of the opponent's team is mercilessly swept away by the Key Ring Pokémon. Even if that does not occur, Klefki's rampage will more than likely leave a large portion of the opponent's team paralyzed, allowing immensely powerful but not very fast Almost Uncounterable Offensive Threats such as Life Orb Ho-Oh and Choice Specs Kyogre to clean up the remains of the opponent's team with ease.

    Alternatively to finding a free turn to set up with Klefki, one can, of course, also opt to turn Pokémon into even more of a gambling game than it already is, by casting a Swagger in the face of any Pokémon that may appear before Klefki, regardless of how threatening it is to the Steel/Fairy-type Pokémon, in hope that it hurts itself in confusion on that turn, before using Substitute and Thunder Wave while hoping the opponent's Pokémon will hurt itself in confusion and/or be fully paralyzed enough times to buy Klefki enough free turns to get its momentum going. However, such a method is only ever recommended as a last resort to turn a losing battle around, in a situation in which it is absolutely necessary, with there being no other method that could possibly give a higher chance of winning, as one obviously can never be consistently successful by relying on this method primarily. When using this Klefki moveset, despite how luck-reliant many people believe it to be, and how luck-reliant it can sometimes be in practice, if one intends to win consistently, one must always, at all times, weigh risk and reward before clicking the "Swagger" as opposed to switching out, by asking questions such as:

    • "How threatening is the opponent's Pokémon at +2 Attack to Klefki and my team in general?" (in particular, think of Pokémon with physical priority moves and are therefore unhindered by paralysis while being able to make Swagger backfire, such as Extreme Killer Arceus and Scizor)
      "Is my Klefki currently hiding behind a Substitute?"
      "Is the opponent's Pokémon already paralyzed, meaning there is a higher probability that it won't attack after getting confused?"
      "Can the opponent's Pokémon even have its chance of attacking reduced below 50% in the first place? Or is it one of those that are immune to Thunder Wave?"
      "Do I need to conserve my Klefki, due to the observation of fast offensive threats such as Mewtwo, Darkrai and/or a possible Geomancy Xerneas remaining in my opponent's team, which may need to be checked by Klefki's Prankster Thunder Wave later on in the match?"

    Also, it should be noted that the number one enemy of this Klefki moveset is stall teams, due to the way they can often out-stall Klefki by simply switching around repeatedly while using Leftovers to more or less counter Foul Play's chip damage, and entry hazards almost never help as stall teams are pretty much guaranteed to come with countermeasures to entry hazards, while even Klefki's gradual spreading of paralysis will often be in vain against such teams due to the fact that they commonly include Aromatherapy or Heal Bell. And on this topic, the Pokémon Chansey and Blissey deserve special mentions, as they take almost non-existent damage from Foul Play or confusion damage even at +6 Attack, in addition to being able to use Softboiled, meaning they have an exceedingly high chance of outstalling Klefki. As such, Pokémon that immensely threaten stall teams, such as Mega Gengar, Taunt Mega Mewtwo Y and Life Orb Ho-Oh are recommended for any team containing this Klefki in order to handle stall. And the second biggest enemy of this Klefki moveset is Pokémon immune to Thunder Wave, as since they can only be confused, and confusion wears off eventually, they have a much higher chance of overcoming Klefki than other Pokémon, and it does not help that the most common Pokémon immune to Thunder Wave are Groudon, Zekrom and Landorus-T, which can all make Swagger backfire with their powerful physical attacks. As such, Kyurem-W is another great partner for Klefki, due to its ability to easily threaten all of these Pokémon, as well as Lugia and Giratina-A, two common sights on stall teams which are also quite annoying for Klefki, due to their access to recovery and much more importantly, their ability to pseudo-Haze the Key Ring Pokémon through its Substitute.

    Since Klefki does not utilize any of its offensive stats, its EVs aim to maximize its HP, give it some Speed creep to outrun other Klefki (which is crucial for winning against opposing teams that use this Klefki moveset), and the rest of the EVs are to maximize its special bulk as much as possible, to allow it to do things such as switching into Xerneas's Moonblast more easily, and take special attacks more effectively in general, since investing in Defense is rather pointless as any decent physical attack will heavily damage if not outright KO Klefki anyway after the physical attacker has been hit with Swagger.

      Current date/time is Wed 22 Feb - 13:51