PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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I am using a special sweeper Dragapult on my Pokémon showdown team in gen 8 OU singles. I am not sure which ability is better for competitive Specs Dragapult, however. Here is its information:

Dragapult @ Choice specs Ability: Clear body/Inflitrator (undecided) Nature: Modest Ev Spread: 252 SpA, 252 Spe, 4 HP • Draco meteor • Shadow ball (Go-to move) • Fire blast • Thunderbolt

Clear body prevents Dragapult from losing speed from sticky web (which often leads to it being OHKOed before it can move), and infiltrator lets it hit through substitutes (which is great when it happens, but it doesn’t happen too often).

Most people have said that infiltrator is the best ability for Choice Specs Dragapult, but I don’t see substitute or screens being used very often in showdown (it has happened though, and it’s very nice to ignore them) unlike sticky web and other stat crippling moves. Also, according to pikalytics, Clear body is used by the vast majority of players, which seems odd. Which ability is generally better for choice specs Dragapult?

Are you sure about that? You might have been looking at the wrong page as Pikalytics is primarily for VGC, and Clear Body is more popular than Infiltrator in VGC because of Max moves and Intimidate, but in the OU section of Pikalytics, 95% of Dragapult use Infiltrator. There are also ways to get rid of Webs, so Infiltrator is probably optimal.
Sorry I didn’t know that I was in the VGC section

2 Answers

1 vote
Best answer

Infiltrator is better

For singles OU, you run into:

  • Dual Screen Grimsnarl
  • Sub-Dance Volcarona
  • Sub-Plot Gengar
  • Sub-Mind Primarina
  • Aurora Veil Ninetales

all of which are incredibly threatening directly or otherwise if left unchecked. While I agree that Sticky Web Speed Drop is definitely crippling for most Dragapult, it's often better to run a dedicated Defogger (Corviknight or Mandibuzz) which can get rid of entry hazards and have your Infiltrator Dragapult threaten the sets I've mentioned above.

Another unrelated suggestion I have to the set is to maybe run U-turn over Fire Blast, unless you're determined to catch opposing Ferrothorn/Scizor off guard. Otherwise, U-turn is much better to maintain momentum, break Focus Sash, and so on.

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I know this sounds like a stupid question, but what exactly is momentum in terms of battling? I’ve heard other people say that they also use u-turn to keep momentum, but I never quite understood what that meant

A VGC Article, but still good. Basically, if your opponent switches into a threat to dragapult, you can U-Turn out into a more threatening Pokémon. Your opponent has to play defensively to preserve their Pokémon, so you have the offensive pressure, or momentum.
Obviously there's no way I can be more articulate than a Smogon article, but I'll try to explain it as best as I understand.

Let's say you're setting up to sweep your opponent, but they have a hard counter to your set, which can not only live a hit from your Pokemon, but KO it right after. In such a case, you'd rather switch out, losing your +1 or +2 boosts, to preserve your Pokemon for later. You will switch in to another (defensive) Pokemon which can take the hit meant for the (sweeper) Pokemon you just switched out. Now, suddenly, you went from offensively pressuring the opponent, into a much more passive stance where you are defending rather than attacking. This is a change in the flow of the battle, and is referred to as losing momentum. Now your opponent can force you to play around their strategies and try to predict what steps you have to take, making the battle tougher for you.

Whereas, if you were to use a move such as Volt Switch, U-turn, Flip Turn, or Teleport, you are dealing damage, breaking sashes and switching out to a Pokemon better suited to handling the opponent. Presumably, the boosts you had set up would inflict more damage on the opponent, and while you're still losing the boosts, you have some chance for counter play because you haven't lost a turn in switching and forced into a defensive play style.
Let me give you another example, this time for Specs Dragapult. You're very likely to spam Shadow Ball, and your opponent knows this. However, they have a Normal type which is completely immune to Shadow Ball. So there's a very good chance they'd switch that Pokemon in, and once you're locked into a useless Shadow Ball, and forced to waste a turn to switch out, they can use that turn to use Toxic or set up on your oncoming Pokemon. In such a case, you predicting this switch and using U-turn immediately on the incoming Normal Pokemon can save you a crucial turn that they can't use to attack or set up on you.

Granted, you can definitely predict the switch and still use Fire Blast, but usually your other Pokemon are more effective in dealing with the predicted switch in. The problem with Fire Blast is, your opponent might be resistant or you might miss, and once more you are forced to waste a turn to switch out. U-turn doesn't care about damage so you can bring in a better Pokemon in that turn.

Obviously, the more you play, the more intuitively this concept will appear for you, and there's only so much I can try to explain in a wall of text. Let me know if you have any follow up questions, me or another user will be more than happy to clear your doubts ^_^
Thank you for your explanation, that must have taken a while to type. I don’t have any more questions, you explained it pretty well :)
No problems, glad I could help! I really don't mind typing at all, specially if I have some time to spare and am on the laptop (:
0 votes

For me, I say it depends on the rest of your team in a way. The thing that really determines whether you should run Clear Body or Infiltrator is if you have a way to remove Sticky Web. 99% of Shuckle's know Sticky Web which is the most common Sticky Web user. While Shuckle was only used 1.4% in OU in the latest usage stats, Sticky Web is still a major threat to Dragapault. So, Infiltrator is the best for Singles, but only if you have a Rapid Spin or Defog user on your team due to the sheer devastation Sticky Web causes to Dragapult. While Subs are less common, there are common users such as Volcarona that I have seen, or even Urshifu. However I know from Experience that Grimmsnarl is common to run dual screens. So, Infiltrator is better, but make sure to have a hazard clearer.
Hope this helps!