Competitive Spotlight: Munchlax!

Welcome, Azurillanders, to May's Competitive Spotlight!  To celebrate May, this month we're looking over one of May's favorite Pokémon, the Big Eater Pokémon, Munchlax!

 

Basic Explanation

Since Munchlax is a baby Pokémon, it can be used in Little Cup, which functions quite a bit differently than the rest of the tiers. I'll be going over some of the nuances of Little Cup, and giving an explanation for Munchlax in Little Cup a bit later. But for now, let's look at the Pokémon on its own.

Munchlax has a staggeringly high HP stat, as well as an impressive Attack and Special Defense, especially for a baby Pokémon. Couple that with the Eviolite item, which boosts both defenses by 50% for a Pokémon that can still evolve.

While Munchlax does have a low Defense stat, it is one of the best users of Curse in the PU tier, as the Speed means nothing to Mucnhlax, since it has a speed stat of 5, meaning it's never going outspeed anything, even if the foe is paralyzed.

 

 

Base Stats

HP 135
Attack 85
Defense 40
Special Attack 40
Special Defense 80
Speed  5

 

As you can see, Munchlax has an extremely high HP stat, and impressive Attack and Special Defense. However, Munchlax has a fairly low Defense stat, but that can be mitigated thanks to Curse. And considering Munchlax has the lowest Speed stat, tied with Shuckle and Pyukumyuku, that Speed drop doesn't matter to our chubby little friend.

On top of that, Munchlax's bulk is increased even further by its Thick Fat ability, which decreases damage taken from Ice and Fire-type attacks by 50%; as well as the Eviolite item, which increases both Defenses by 50% if a Pokémon can still evolve.

Moveset: PU

Munchlax @Eviolite
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 4 Atk/252 Def/252 SpD
Careful Nature
Moves:
-Body Slam/Return/Fire Punch
-Rest
-Sleep Talk
-Curse

With this set, you maximize both of Munchlax's Defenses to give it the best it can have. For moves, Body Slam is usually preferred over Return, as the chance to paralyze foes is usually more helpful than the slightly higher BP of Return. However, in teams that use Toxic Spikes, Return is preferred since the paralyze chance doesn't matter. Curse is also helpful for boosting Munchlax's Attack, and helping to mitigate its low Defense stat. Rest/Sleep Talk is a good combination, as Rest is Munchlax's only reliable form of recovery.

Fire Punch is a much less used, but still viable option, as it gives Munchlax a way to fight Ghost-types who would otherwise completely wall Munchlax. It also gives Munchlax a way to counter Steel types like Ferroseed that would also wall it quite easily.

Giving Munchlax a Careful nature gives it a boost to Special Defense, making it as Specially bulky as possible.

Counters

Ghost-Types: Without Fire Punch, Ghost-types can completely wall Munchlax, as he has no way to attack them. They can easily set up on it, and eventually whittle it down. However, Munchlax may be able to PP stall some Ghost-types, such as Haunter.
Ferroseed: As mentioned earlier, Ferroseed can easily wall Munchlax unless it runs Fire Punch. Even if Munchlax sets up a +6 attack, the combination of Leech Seed and Iron Barbs will whittle Munchlax fairly quickly.
Fighting types: Fighting-types like Hitmonchan and Primeape can easily take out Munchlax, even if it has a few Curses under its belt. They do not, however, enjoy switching in to Body Slam, as a Paralyze can cripple them both.

Now that we have Munchlax in PU covered, I'd like to go over Little Cup a bit, as it's quite a different beast from the rest of competitive tiers. Full disclosure, a lot of the info I got on Little Cup from this page on Smogon. This is a great page if you need any help with Little Cup, and I highly suggest everyone check it out.

Little Cup Information

 Since all Little Cup Pokémon are at level 5, base stats do not contribute as much to the final stat as they do at level 50 or 100. There is a formula for getting the stat number you want for all stats barring HP at level 5 ((((2 x Base + IV + (EV / 4)) x 5 / 100 + 5) x Nature).

The formula for HP is slightly different. (((2 x Base + IV + (EV / 4)) x 5 / 100 + 15) In both of these cases, "Base" means base stat. That formula can be pretty annoying to use every time you want to figure out a stat, so, luckily, Smogon has provided a helpful table detailing how to raise each BASE stat the amount you want. As you will see on the table, there are 3 or 4 different EVs stats. Those apply to increasing the stat by one, two, three, or 4 respectively.

Base Stat ending in EVs Required to Stat gain
xx0 36/ 116/ 196
xx1 28/ 108/ 188
xx2 20/ 100/ 180
xx3 12/ 92/ 172/ 252
xx4 4/ 84/ 164/ 244
xx5 76/ 156/ 236
xx6 68/ 148/ 228
xx7 60/ 140/ 220
xx8 52/ 132/ 212
xx9 44/ 124/ 204

 

As you can see, base stats ending in 3 and 4 are able to increase 4 times, instead of just 3.

Now that some of the nuances of Little Cup have been detailed, let's go over one of the sets that LC Munchlax likes to run.

Moveset: LC

Munchlax @ Berry Juice
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 236 Atk/36 Def/236 SpD
Adamant Nature
Moves:
-Return/Body Slam
-Earthquake/Fire Punch
-Recycle
-Pursuit/Whirlwind

Looking at the Evs and the table, you can see that this set maximizes Munchlax's Attack and Special Defense, and boosts its Defense by one point. As for the moves, the Return/Body Slam debate is here again, and as before, Return is more powerful, but Body Slam gives a great chance to paralyze. Earthquake and Fire Punch give Munchlax a way to counter Rock and Steel-types respectively.

Recycle is a great move, as it lets you reuse the extremely helpful Berry Juice, which restores HP by 20 when your Pokémon is at 50% HP or lower. Pursuit is the best way for Munchlax to take care of Gastly and Abra, which are big threats in the Little Cup tier. However, Whirlwind is a great choice, as it can get rid of Pokémon that try to set up on Munchlax.

Counters

Fighting-types: Most Fighting-types in Little Cup like Mienfoo, Timburr, Croagunk, and Scraggy will always attack with Physical moves, which not only hit Munchlax for super effective damage, but also hit Munchlax where it's the most vulnerable. On top of that, these Pokémon almost always run Knock Off, which not only knocks off the Berry Juice, but will also prevent Recycle from working.
Archen: Archen's high Attack stat and its typing let it wall Munchlax very well.  With its Rock/Flying-typing Archen resists Munchlax's STAB, is immune to Earthquake, and resists Fire Punch; making Pursuit the only move Muchlax can have that can hit Archen for neutral damage. On top of that Archen runs Knock Off a lot, which, as already stated, not only knocks the Berry Juice off, but also stops Recycle from working.
Honedge: Bulky Ghost-types like Honedge can wall Munchlax very easily. Thanks to Honedge's high Defense stat...

- 236+ Atk Munchlax Fire Punch vs. 76 HP / 116 Def Eviolite Honedge: 10-12 (45.4 - 54.5%) -- 12.1% chance to 2HKO
- 236+ Atk Munchlax Earthquake vs. 76 HP / 116 Def Eviolite Honedge: 10-14 (45.4 - 63.6%) -- 99.6% chance to 2HKO

Honedge can take up to three Fire Punches or 2 Earthquakes, depending how the damage roll gods favor you, and fire off a Sacred Sword, which will always 2HKO Munchlax
116+ Atk Honedge Sacred Sword vs. 0 HP / 36 Def Munchlax: 22-26 (73.3 - 86.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Conclusion

Munchlax may be a baby Pokémon, but it has some great stats that make it a great Special Defensive wall, as well as a great physical attacker as long as it gets to set up. However, Ghost-types will completely wall it if it has Return or Body Slam as its only attack. If the opponent does not have a Ghost-type or a Fighting-type, they can have a very hard time taking out Munchlax on either the physical or special side, thanks to Curse.

What do you guys think of Munchlax? Have you ever used one competitively? Do you have a set that isn't featured here that you like to use? Let us know in the comments below! And as always, I hope everyone joyed this Spotlight, and we'll see you next month!

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