Competitive Pokemon: Ninetales Picture

Ah Ninetales, you were always an odd Pokémon. You had potential but you never quite lived up to it. Then, in Generation V, you were gifted with Drought to create perpetual sun, making you a very useful Pokémon since Groudon wasn't allowed in most battle schemes, but then 3 years later that was ripped from you and made so it can only last 5 turns. To make it worse, a better Fire-type Pokémon was then given Drought in Mega Charizard Y, making Ninetales far less useful than it should be. Its stats don't help its cause either, with them all being mediocre at best. It really is quite a shame that a Pokémon with such an interesting concept and backstory just sits in the pit of mediocrity. That's not to say it's useless, if you want a different Mega than Mega Charizard Y in your team but still want Drought support, Ninetales is key, it's just a shame that it can't really do much else. With its stats, it's just so unbelievably meh and that is so sad, but at least it has access to both Nasty Plot and Will-O-Wisp, meaning it is a tiny bit useful. If there's one Pokémon calling out for a Mega Evolution to make it awesome again (besides obviously Flygon), it's Ninetales.

Prior to Dream World/Hidden abilities, Ninetales was an incredibly below average choice for a competitive team. Its highest stats are Speed and Special Defense, both sitting at 100 while its Special attack sits at a paltry 81, which means Amoonguss can potentially hit harder than Ninetales, and Amoonguss is a defensive oriented Pokemon! Come Gen 5, its original ability, Flash Fire, was almost completely forgotten about in favor of Drought, now Ninetales opened up a gateway for many other Pokemon to flourish, like Venusaur and even Lilligant. The only problem was that Politoed got Drizzle the same season, AND Tyranitar still existed. Come Generation 6, Mega Evolutions storm the scene and leave Pokemon that weren't already performing well in the dust. Politoed is still useful for Drizzle, but that's primarily because there isn't a Mega Evolution that has Drizzle, on the other hand, Mega Charizard Y got Drought, hastily and mercilessly scooting Ninetales out of its short lived niche, What is there left for Ninetales? The truth is close to nothing thanks to Mega Charizard Y's sheer power, versatility and far better coverage options than Ninetales can hope to get at the moment. Currently, the only arguably reasonable thing that sets Ninetales apart from Charizard Y is Hypnosis and being able to hold a Heat Rock for longer lasting sun.

Here’s my Ninetale's summary.
Nature: Timid
Held Item: Heat Rock
Ability: Drought
EVs: 252 HP / 6 Def / 252 SpDef
-Flamethrower / Fire Blast

This is a rather standard Ninetales set. It gives it a little bit of bulk which is highly useful and by putting the Heat Rock on Ninetales, it makes the sunshine last 8 turns rather than the standard 5, which is always useful. Fire Blast & Flamethrower will get the sunshine boost as well as STAB meaning that it should be able to do some decent damage, even to bulky things. Will-O-Wisp is always a handy move, inflicting burn which slowly saps the opponent's health and halves their Attack. Substitute can help Ninetales last longer while Hex is an excellent combo to use alongside Will-O-Wisp since it doubles in damage when your opponent has a status condition.

The EV investment gives Ninetales a good amount of bulk and enables it to better tank special attacks. A Heat Rock is useful for extending the turns sunlight is out, thus giving Ninetales as well as its teammates more turns to take advantage of the powers the sunlight brings.

Of course Ninetales can run a variety of other moves. Here are some suggestions:
-Ok, so let's say you have possibly lost your mind and want to use Ninetales as more than a status inflicter? Well that's doable. Ninetales has access to Nasty Plot, which is the Special Attack equivalent of Swords Dance. This doubles its Special Attack with one use, making Ninetales actually a force to be reckoned with. Combine that with Fire Blast in the sun and many will fall, even those that resist it. Then give it Solarbeam (which can does not need charging when the sun is out) to give it coverage against Water, Ground, and Rock-types
-Hypnosis and Toxic can also inflict annoying status afflictions to gradually chip at the opponent or allow you to chip at the opponent. Though it should be noted that Hypnosis has rather terrible accuracy (but Toxic is still a very viable option).
-Dark Pulse gives a decent Special coverage move
-Dream Eater is Ninetales only way of recovery, so teamed with Hypnosis, it can be useful but far too situational, especially considering how easy it is for Ninetales to be outsped allowing opponents to wake up.
Foul Play is always good to help chip at the opponent's defense
-Heat Wave is sort of a middle ground between Flamethrower and Fire Blast now that both have had power reduced, however its accuracy is only at 90% which makes it more risky than the slightly less powerful Flamethrower
-Overheat is a powerful move, especially in the sun and can be a good option, but seeing as you'll lose your Special Attack prowess in the process, it's not always the best option
-Swagger is always a good move to use against an opponent. While it does leave Ninetales open to more powerful hits, confusing an opponent can work to your benefit.


I nicknamed my Ninetales
"Kitsune," after the Japanese mythological multi-tailed, shape-shifting fox that both Ninetales and Zoroark are based on.

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

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