Hello, members of Azurilland, and welcome to the Competitive Spotlight for the month of September! Today we're going to be examining a unique and highly potent move that can singlehandedly change the entire course of a battle: Trick Room!
(If you're reading from the front page, click Read More to continue.)
Explanation: What is Trick Room?
Trick Room is a Psychic-type status move introduced in Generation IV. When used in battle, it creates the Trick Room field condition, which affects the entire battlefield for five turns after it's used. This move is its own category of field condition, meaning it doesn't overwrite any weather or terrain that's already present, allowing them to be used in combination if you'd like! One other distinguishing characteristic of Trick Room, and the most important thing to keep in mind when using it, is its negative priority. This move has priority of -7, the lowest of any Pokémon move, meaning any Pokémon that uses Trick Room will always go last in the turn, regardless of its Speed stat. Make sure that your Pokémon can survive any attacks that your opponent might use before trying to set up Trick Room. Otherwise it'll be a wasted turn!
Function: How does Trick Room work?
The reason Trick Room has been so consistently viable and powerful since its introduction is because of its effect on the Speed stats of Pokémon: as long as Trick Room is active, the turn order based on Speed is reversed. What this means is that the fastest Pokémon will move last, and the slowest Pokémon will move first! I'm sure you can imagine how useful this power can be for improving the viability of slow Pokémon and turning the tables on fast ones. However, one caveat to this mechanic is that it only reverses the turn order within the same priority bracket, and the priority of moves remains unaffected. For instance, a Pokémon using Quick Attack will still move first regardless of Speed, in the same way that a Pokémon using Dragon Tail will still move last. But if two Pokémon both use Quick Attack, then the one with the lower Speed stat will go first, as is expected under Trick Room.
Application: How is Trick Room used?
Because Trick Room only lasts for a maximum of five turns and cannot be extended, it's crucial to make every moment count. To that end, it's most commonly found in Double Battles, where the player won't have to waste time switching between the Pokémon who can set up Trick Room for the team and the Pokémon who can make good use of Trick Room to score KOs. The former, called a setter, and the latter, called an abuser, are both already present on the field. Let's take a look at some examples!
Aromatisse @ Leftovers
Ability: Aroma Veil
EVs: 252 Def / 4 SpA / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature (+SpD, -Spe)
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Trick Room
- Heal Pulse
- Dazzling Gleam
As the designated setter of a Trick Room core, the two primary objectives of this set are to use Trick Room, of course, and to support the attacker. Aromatisse's signature Ability Aroma Veil is very useful here, as it prevents Aromatisse from becoming Taunted, which is one of the main ways opponents will try to shut down Trick Room. Because this Pokémon is not concerned with attacking, all its EVs are placed in defenses, and its Atk IV is 0 to minimize potential confusion damage. Its Speed IV is also 0, and it has a -Spe Nature, to make it as "fast" as possible under Trick Room. Heal Pulse and Aromatherapy both support Escavalier by keeping it high on HP and free of status. Finally, Dazzling Gleam is used as a STAB attack that hits both opponents in Double Battles, allowing Aromatisse to pick off weakened Pokémon or get chip damage while its partner focuses on wallbreaking.
Escavalier @ Life Orb
EVs: 252 Atk / 128 Def / 128 SpD
Brave Nature (+Atk, -Spe)
IVs: 0 Spe
- Swords Dance
- Iron Head
- Drill Run
As the designated abuser, Escavalier in this core has one job and one job only: to be an unstoppable monster under Trick Room. And it does this well; after a single Swords Dance it reaches a staggering 810 Attack. Furthermore, solid mixed defenses and only one weakness, backed by healing from its partner, mean Escavalier isn't likely to die anytime soon either. Ground coverage in the form of Drill Run crushes the Fire-, Poison-, and Steel-types that might try to ruin its fun and threaten the Fairy-type Aromatisse, while Megahorn and Iron Head provide powerful STAB. This set has the same minimized Speed we saw before that's so important to dedicated Trick Room Pokémon, but the Attack IV is left untouched since the main draw of Escavalier in this situation is its raw physical power.
Of course, Trick Room isn't only found in Double Battles; it can be used to good effect in Singles as well! However, like I mentioned earlier, it's impractical to have separate Pokémon function as setters and abusers when only one can be on the field at a time. Therefore, players who want to use Trick Room in Single Battles will often combine these roles into one Pokémon, commonly known as an Offensive Trick Room set.
Offensive Trick Room
Cofagrigus @ Ghostium Z
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Quiet Nature (+SpA, -Spe)
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Nasty Plot
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power [Fighting]
- Trick Room
OTR sets like this one are meant to be their own best friends, able to provide their own Trick Room while simultaneously possessing the power to net KOs. Low Speed and naturally high defenses, coupled with the ability to boost its passable Special Attack through Nasty Plot, put Cofagrigus in an ideal position for sweeping under Trick Room. Furthermore, its Ghost typing combined with a Fighting-type Hidden Power give it perfect neutral coverage in just two moves. Efficient type coverage is invaluable for Pokémon that require at least one and sometimes two non-attacking move to do their jobs well. Ghostium Z is chosen as the item due to how OTR revolves around making the most of the time available under Trick Room. A powerful Z-move at the right moment will prevent Cofagrigus from being held up by bulky, troublesome opponents who might otherwise take multiple turns to remove.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this month's Spotlight. Let us know down in the comments what you would like to see featured for the next Competitive Spotlight, be it a Pokémon, move, item, Ability, or other mechanic. And while you're there, we'd love for you to share your favorite Pokémon set to use with Trick Room! Thanks for taking the time to read our Spotlights, and we'll see you next month!