Hey, it's Friday where I am! I'll explain more about the change to the schedule in Sunday's Competitive Edge, but for the meantime let's talk Sableye. For today's Pokémon of the Week, we're going to look into the Pokémon best known for having nearly no weaknesses and the ever so annoying ability Prankster. With no hesistation, let's see what Sableye's all about!
- Sableye Stats | Show
- Type: Dark / Ghost
Location: Extreme Hills (Night)
Abilities: Keen Eye, Stall, Prankster (H), Magic Bounce (Mega)
Egg Group: Human-Like
Though Sableye has lower stats and a narrower movepool than other popular competitive Pokémon, Sableye manages to fit into a niche of it's own thanks to Prankster, which raises the priority of most status moves. Sableye does not have the strongest movepool, but access to Will-O-Wisp, Taunt, Calm Mind, Moonlight, and Recover open up multiple sets and strategies while good attacking moves (Foul Play, Knock Off, and Dark Pulse in particular) help to seal the deal. Factor in Sableye's one weakness (Fairy) and Sableye becomes capable of dealing with physical attackers, support, and setup Pokémon alike. Mega Sableye, though not implemented (yet!), makes use of higher defense and it's new ability Magic Bounce to increase survivability and contribute to weakening some potentially major threats.
I won't ignore Mega Evolutions, however my focus will be (as always) the current metagame in the latest version of Pixelmon. Let's move!
Sabeleye is a support/status Pokémon that is most capable of dealing with other status users and physically attacking opponents. Will-O-Wisp and Recover are both staples on Sableye and should be run on nearly every competitive set, however Moonlight is also a viable option depending on the team - more risk, potentially more reward. Sableye typically only carriers one attacking move which is typically Foul Play, however Knock Off, Dark Pulse, and Sucker Punch are all possibilities. For the final slot, Sableye primarilies carries Taunt but could also use Protect, Trick, Snarl, Fake Out, and Gravity.
Sableye can also become a strong setup Pokémon thanks to Calm Mind. Recover is basically a necessity here, while Will-O-Wisp is a strong choice to deal with physical attackers. Of course, a special attack is the most logical choice for a final move, which is almost always Dark Pulse. While this set has the potential to be better, it is typically outclassed by other special Pokémon that can do this and more, only better.
On the battlefield, Sableye is all about outpredicting your opponent and whittling down their defenses one step at a time. Will-O-Wisp is the key move to shut down physical attackers (watch out for Guts!), while Taunt can stop support or setup Pokémon in their tracks. Finally, Recover keeps Sableye alive and able to deal with multiple Pokémon over longe periods of time. Lastly, an attack move should usualy be run on Sableye to avoid being Taunt locked - Foul Play and Knock off are both great options and depend on the composition of your team.
Sableye should be brought in on a free switch as often as possible as it will likely have to take a hit or two. Without the opposing Pokémon burned (Sableye isn't built for special attackers unless you're running a Calm Mind set), Sableye often can't last the next turn and could end up in a circle of Recover's or KO'd outright. Sableye cannot easially deal with unburnt physical attackers and nearly all special attackers. As such, plan your team and strategy accordingly to accomodate for these weaknesses.
In GenV, Sableye was one of three fully evolved Pokémon to have absolutely no weaknesses under normal battle conditions thanks to it's typing of Dark/Ghost. Spiritomb shares the reverse of this typing (Ghost/Dark), while Electross rounds out the trio thanks to it's only ability being Levitate, turning it's only ground weakness into an immunity. As of GenVI, both Sableye and Spiritomb gained a Fairy Weakness, leaving Electross as the lone survivor, not counting it's pre-evolutions.
Though I'd like to list a couple Pokémon that check or counter Sableye, it's hard to define a specific Pokémon or group of Pokémon that does so. In practice, it falls into two main groups - burn-resistant and special attackers.
Pokémon that are Fire type are immune to burns, which automatically checks Sableye who needs the damage debuff to survive attacks. Pokémon that are burn-resistant, such as Guts Heracross or strong physical attackers, can take a Will-O-Wisp and still return enough damage to outpace Sableye's recovers. In these situations, Sableye isn't the best option on the field.
On the other hand, almost all special attackers provide a solid check if not a counter for Sableye, excluding a Calm Mind set. Sableye is more physically defensive, especially thanks to Will-O-Wisp, and has trouble taking attacks on the special side. Furthermore, a Sableye with Foul Play will not deal as much damage thanks to most special attackers having low physical attack. Needless to say, avoid using non Calm Mind Sableye against special attackers.
Lastly, there is one other category, albeit small, to note - Magic Bounce. Xatu and Espeon can both have Magic Bounce (and likely will in a competitive environment), which makes Sableye's status moves mostly useless. In addition, both of these Pokémon are special attackers, so the above statement applies as well.
In general, Sableye is very situation dependent as it is most effective against physical attacks and setup/support Pokémon. Of course, if these weaknesses are know and addressed by other team members, Sableye can fill a niche that many other Pokémon do not have and can quickly deal with threats before they become an issue.
- Classic Sableye | Show
- Sableye @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
- Foul Play
This set is simple enough, as it makes use of Sableye's Prankster to burn physical attackers, stop setup/support Pokémon, heal off any damage, and return some of it's own to the main threats in a physical metagame. This set is meant to take on physical opponents thanks to Will-O-Wisp, Foul Play, and a Calm nature. Leftovers adds additional survivability to the set which is boosted by EVs into Hp and Sp.Def, with the remaining in Def. Alternatively, Sableye can also run Rocky Helmet, Focus Sash, or Lum Berry depending on it's role. Using this set, Sableye can reliably take on most physical attackers with relative ease, though note Fire types cannot be burned.
I'll be honest, this set is my personal favorite and can be added to just about any team in need of physical / status counter. However, I would rework the EVs depending on your team and what Sableye's specific role is, the example is a simple mixed version.
- Calm Mind | Show
- Sableye @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Dark Pulse
This set is purely meant to setup Calm Minds and sweep with Dark Pulse. In past generations, this set was capable of sweeping entire teams and could rarely be stopped one fully set up. Needless to say, this set should have a safe switch-in onto a special attacker or setup Pokémon, spamming Calm Mind's from there with a powerful Dark Pulse afterwards. However, this set can now be shut down by any Fairy type (Dark immunity) as well as a physically attacking Fire Type. Good thing no Fire/Fairy Pokémon exist... right?
More so than the former set, leftovers is key to ensuring safe Calm Mind setups while EVs in Sp.Def ensure survivability prior to being fully setup. Unfortunately, Sableye struggles at defending against both physical and special Pokémon, though changing EVs and natures could help to balance the set even more.
- Mega Sableye | Show
- Sableye @ Sablenite
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
IVs: 0 Atk
- Foul Play
- Fake Out/Protect
This set is used almost exactly like the first one, and I'm not going to elaborate too much as Mega Pokémon aren't in game.
What Pokémon do you want to see as the next Pixelmon of the Week? Here are our choices based on earlier suggestions and polls!
Vote for as many as you would like! I'll remove those with few votes to get some fresh options in there, so keep that in mind!
See you all Sunday for the next issue of the Competitive Edge!