Competitive Pokemon: Shiftry Picture

Shiftry has a terrific offensive typing and mixed stats, which allow it to threaten many bulky Pokemon. Because its physical and special attack stats are very close, You can make your Shifty a physical or special attacker (or even a mixed attacker) depending on your preference. It also has a powerful offensive movepool (both physical and special) that contains some pretty strong STAB attacks such as Knock Off, Leaf Blade, and Leaf Storm as well as numerous coverage options such as Dark Pulse, Shadow Ball, Extrasensory, Explosion, and Focus Blast. Access to STAB Sucker Punch lets Shiftry circumvent its rather average Speed. These qualities make Shiftry a fearsome offensive force, especially if backed by Chlorophyll with sun support. Shiftry even makes for a good offensive Defog user because it is able to threaten and force out a large majority of entry hazard setters with its powerful STAB moves. However, Shiftry does have some flaws that do set it back, one of which being that its average Speed causes it to become more reliant on Sucker Punch than it would like to be (so you'll be a little more dependent on Sucker Punch if there's not any sunny weather out). Shiftry not only has very weak defenses, but its typing is not stellar defensively either. Grass/Dark gives it common weaknesses to Fighting, Flying, Fire, and Ice and leaving it vulnerable to basically any strong neutral STAB attack. On its own, Shiftry really can't do all that much, and because of its low defenses is relatively easy to take out. But on a Sun team, Shiftry is an absolute force to be reckoned with when its speed has been boosted by Chlorophyll! So if you like Shiftry and want it to be good in battle, the best way to bring out its potential is by putting it on a Sun team.


Here’s my Shiftry's summary.
Nature: Adamant or Jolly
Held Item: Life Orb or Black Glasses
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
-Fake Out
-Leaf Blade
-Knock Off
-Low Kick / Brick Break

Since Shiftry is best able to function on a Sun team, then you'll want to pair it with Mega Charizard-Y. Fake Out is an excellent move to run on Shiftry so so that it can flinch an opponent's Pokemon on the first turn so that your Charizard can mega evolve safely (typically, you'll want to flinch whichever of your opponent's Pokemon is the biggest threat to your Mega Charizard-Y). Knock Off does significant damage to any target that doesn't resist Dark while also removing its target's item (so long as it isn't a mega evolution). Leaf Blade provides Shiftry with a powerful Grass STAB attack. For the last moveslot, its just a matter of your preference of using either
Low Kick or Brick Break (power or reliability). Low Kick beats heavier foes easier, particularly Rock-types that can be a major threat to your Mega Charizard-Y. However, Brick Break's damage output remains constant and functions like Defog by additionally removing any Reflect and Light Screen that is set up on your opponent's side of the field. I know that the move Defog is strongly recommended in competitive battle, but I personally feel you're better off with using Brick Break if your Pokemon can learn it as well. Break Break does everything Defog does (except for lowering your opponent's evasiveness) and also deals damage, so not only have you removed your opponent's Reflect and Light Screen, but you've also dealt then some damage. Whether you decide to go with either Low Kick or Brick Break, both moves help cover Shiftry's weakness to Ice-types.

Maximum Attack and Speed investment is used to maximize Shiftry's offensive potential, allowing it to hit both as hard and as fast as possible. Giving it an Adamant nature further boosts Shiftry's power, while a Jolly nature allows Shiftry to outrun base 80 Speed to base 90 Speed Pokemon. Life Orb further increases Shiftry's damage output, but Black Glasses is a fine alternative, as Shiftry will usually be relying on the damage output of its Dark-type moves, especially after a boost, than its Grass-type attack.


Of course Shiftry can run a variety of other moves. Here are some suggestions:
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Swords Dance bolsters Shiftry's Attack stat, allowing it to hit incredibly hard.
-Seed Bomb hits many Pokemon that resist Dark-type attacks hard.
-Sucker Punch gives Shiftry powerful priority, threatening to OHKO a large majority of faster foes after a Swords Dance boost.
-Power-Up Punch allows Shiftry to hit opposing Dark-types and Ice-types for super effective damage. Plus it boosts Shiftry's attack stat even more.
-X-Scissor is a decent move option that allows Shiftry to hit opposing Grass-types for super effective damage.
-Rock Slide and Rock Tomb provide Shiftry with some excellent coverage against Flying and Bug-types, as well as any opposing Fire-types.
-Explosion is always an option if Shiftry's at low HP and you want to go out with a bang. Just make sure that its partner Pokemon doesn't take damage from it as well.
-Lum Berry is also an alternate item option on Shiftry to reliably set up on Scald users while staving off status ailments in general, such as those from Will-O-Wisp, Toxic, and Thunder Wave.

*Shiftry is also capable of running special movesets, as its special attack stat isn't that far behind its physical attack stat!

-Shiftry has access to Nasty Plot, which boosts its special attack stat up 2 stages.
-If you wanted to make your Shiftry a mixed attacker, then be sure to teach it Growth. Growth raises both of Shiftry's attack stats by 2 stages while under sunlight. So it's both a Swords Dance and a Nasty Plot all at once!
-Dark Pulse is Shiftry's main special Dark STAB move.
-Leaf Storm deals tremendous damage to the physically bulky Rock, Water, and Ground-types. Keep in mind though that it'll lower Shiftry's special attack by 2 stages after it is used.
-While Leaf Tornado is a relatively weaker move, it does have a 50/50 chance of lowering your opponent's Pokemon's accuracy. This is especially helpful if they're relying on low accuracy moves like Fire Blast, Stone Edge, Focus Blast, or Hydro Pump.
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Giga Drain keeps you healthy over long games.
-Energy Ball is being mentioned because it is a powerful special Grass STAB move for Shiftry with absolutely no drawbacks.
-Solarbeam however has a lot more power against bulky Rock, Water, and Ground-types. And there's the double benefit of it not having to waste a turn charging and that it does not lower Shiftry's special attack like Leaf Storm does.
-Extrasensory gives Shiftry some coverage against Fighting and Poison-types, plus there's the decent chance it causes foes to flinch.
-Shadow Ball gives Shiftry some good neutral coverage. But Dark Pulse already does this and is not walled out by Normal-types.
-Icy Wind is a good support move that gives speed control.
-Shiftry has access to the powerful move Hurricane, but I really wouldn't recommend using this move as its accuracy is actually reduced while there is strong sunlight (whereas in rain, the move actually becomes more accurate!).


Notes:

I nicknamed my Shiftry "Tengu," after the Japanese mythological forest spirits that had long pointy noses and carried leaf fans, which is exactly what Shiftry is clearly based off of.

Fun fact: Both Shiftry and Ludicolo (which are version exclusives of the original Gen. 3 games and their remakes) are based off of creatures from Japanese mythology.


Do you have your own Shiftry moveset and strategy? Comment below with your moveset!


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