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Mini-Guide: The Art of Bluffing:

Discussion in 'Festival Plaza' started by guimartgon, Nov 15, 2014.

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  1. guimartgon

    guimartgon Competitive Blog Writer

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    So here's a guide that I wrote not too long ago that I thought might be worth sharing

    So today I want to talk about one of the most underrated strategy among newer players that can straight up win you a game, Bluffing.
    What is Bluffing?
    Bluff:
    ~ To mislead or deceive.
    How is Bluffing affected to Pokémon?
    Well the point of Bluffing in Pokémon is to appear to be one set but be in fact another. This confuses the opponent and catches him off guard, giving you a huge advantage.
    Bluffing Pokémon usually disguise as Choice Item holders to surprise the opponent changing moves. They also use Plates and Expert Belt over Life Orb and Leftovers since they give away the fact that you're not choiced.
    In this mini-guide I will be covering the most common and effective Bluffers in the Showdown OU format as of today.
    ~Talonflame
    ~Landorus-T
    ~Terrakion
    ~Keldeo
    ~Rotom-W

    ~Talonflame:
    [​IMG]

    Talonflame's most standard sets:

    Talonflame @ Choice Band
    Ability: Gale Wings
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Brave Bird
    - Flare Blitz
    - U-turn
    - Tailwind/Roost/Sleep Talk/Will-o-Wisp
    ~We are all familiar with this set, Banded double STAB + U-turn + Filler support. This set can pick off an outstanding amount of threats in the OU Metagame with Brave Bird alone. Flare Blitz is there to take on steel types, U-turn to maintain momentum and then the filler depends on what supports you the best. This is considered by many to be the best Revenge Killer in the format right now, having the most powerful priority attack in the game not counting Yveltal's sucker punch and Arceus' Extreme Speed.

    Talonflame @ Life Orb
    Ability: Gale Wings
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Brave Bird
    - Flare Blitz
    - Roost
    - Swords Dance
    ~Another familiar set, get rid of or weaken Pokémon like Tyranitar, Heatran, Rotom-W Landorus-T e.t.c. and click Brave Bird, and the occasional Flare Blitz, until you win.
    This set will wreck unprepared teams as well as good teams with the proper support, Life Orb boosted +2 STAB Brave Birds just deal so much damage!
    +2 252 Atk Life Orb Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Slowbro: 251-296 (63.7 - 75.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
    That's a Slowbro! This Pokémon will usually work in teams with a way to get rid of Stealth Rocks, set up it's own and a strong VoltTurn core.

    What's the Bluffing set in this case?

    Talonflame @ Sharp Beak
    Ability: Gale Wings
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Brave Bird
    - Flare Blitz
    - Roost
    - U-turn
    ~This set is now less effective since Smogon has started recommending it more.
    The main idea behind this set is to appear to be Choice Banded by targetting weak threats and not taking damage from Life Orb. If you do this properly you will be able to get your opponent into thinking you're banded and send out their Steel type like Skarmory or Bisharp and then proceed to get demolished by a Flare Blitz.
    This set will tear teams apart in conjunction with a good Wallbreaker to get rid of Heatran Rotom-W Manectric e.t.c.

    Other powerfull bluffs:
    A set with a Liechi/Salac Berry in conjunction with Natural gift can deal with a lot of Talonflame's counters, of you bluff the Choice Band once again and then proceed to Natural Gift a Heatran with a Salac Berry(Figthing STAB base 80) once it's taken enough damage.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ~Landorus-T:
    [​IMG]
    Landorus-T most common sets:

    Landorus-Therian (M) @ Choice Scarf
    Ability: Intimidate
    EVs: 252 Atk / 12 Def / 244 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Earthquake
    - Superpower/Knock Off
    - U-turn
    - Stone Edge
    ~Scarf Lando, this set has been increasing A LOT in popularity as of late. This set is one of the greatest u-turners in the current format, it can hit really heavy with Earthquake as well as spam U-Turn Intimidating over and over forcing many switches. This set works great in conjunction with Stealth Rocks and a powerful volt switcher like Mega Manectric weakening multiple threats so then a Set Up Sweeper like Belly Drum Azumarill or Swords Dance Talonflame can have a field day against the opposing team.

    Landorus-Therian (M) @ Leftovers
    Ability: Intimidate
    EVs: 252 HP / 240 Def / 8 SpD / 8 Spe
    Impish Nature
    - Earthquake
    - Stealth Rock
    - U-turn
    - Stone Edge/Rock Slide/Knock Off
    ~Standard defensive Landorus-T, great stealth rocks set upper and and a great user of Intimidate thanks to U-turn. Hits heavy with STAB Earthquake and the last move is a filler depending on how well you are prepared against Talonflame. This set works well with something to take on Water and Ice Attacks, like Rotom-W as well as with a Wisher.

    What is the Bluffing set in this case?

    Landorus-Therian (M) @ Earth Plate
    Ability: Intimidate
    EVs: 74 HP / 252 Atk / 184 Spe
    Adamant Nature
    - Earthquake
    - Stealth Rock
    - U-turn
    - Stone Edge

    Oh the possibilities with this set! This set Bluffs the choice scarf excellently, just act Scarf and demolish things with 20% boosted Earthquake and then when your opponent sends out their Talonflame to set up a Swords Dance break them in half with a Stone Edge! Or just catch opponents off guard by setting up Stealth Rocks when they least expect it. You can also bluff the defensive set by setting up Stealth Rocks in the Early Game and then when your opponent thinks they can take an uninvested Earthquake you break their souls in half.

    Other powerful bluffs:
    A double dancer set(Rock Polish and Swords Dance) can deal a lot of damage with the proper support, it's hard to bluff due to the lack of U-turn(you could remove one of the "dances" for U-Turn if you so desire) but the main point is to act Scarf by using Earthquake and Stone Edge a lot and then using one of the two dances when the time is right, ussually you want to use Rock Polish against Offensive Teams and Swords Dance against Defensive ones. In order to execute a good bluff Earth Plate or Expert Belt should be used over Leftovers or Life Orb.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ~Terrakion:
    [​IMG]

    What are Terrakion's most Common sets?
    Terrakion @ Choice Scarf
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - Earthquake
    - X-Scissor
    ~Incredible Revenge Killer. Close Combat + Stone Edge give you an outstanding coverage. Earthquake hits Aegislash and X-Scissor can hit weakened Psychic types without having to risk a Stone Edge Miss.

    Terrakion @ Life Orb
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - Taunt
    - Stealth Rock
    ~ Just an Offensive Stealth Rock Setter. Nothing too extrange, you've got your outstanding dual STAB now boosted by Life Orb, your Stealth Rocks and your Taunt to prevent your opponent from setting up his own.

    Terrakion @ Life Orb
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - Earthquake
    - Hidden Power [Ice]/Swords Dance
    ~ Straight Life Orb Attacker, this set works great in conjunction with an offensive VolTurn core if you're running Swords Dance and with Pokémon that appreciate Pokémon like Heatran, Tyranitar and Mandibuzz out of the way as well as Gliscor and Landorus-T Weakened if you're running HP Ice.

    What is the Bluffing set in this case?

    Terrakion @ Fist Plate/Expert Belt
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - Rock Polish
    - Swords Dance
    ~ Pretty simple, act Scarf until your opponent loses to either +2 Speed Terrakion or +2 Attack Terrakion, there's not much to add.

    Terrakion @ Fist Plate
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Jolly Nature
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - Substitute
    - Swords Dance/Rock Polish
    ~One of the worst things to deal with when using a Terrakion is having to predict your opponent, this set completely ignores that. Just act Scarf if you feel like it will give you an advantage and then use switch up moves in order to break an opponent's wall or use substitute on a predicted switch if you want to play it safe. Terrakion behind a Substitute is one of the scariest things in these world since something will have to take a hit. The 4th move gives Terrakion the chance to set up behind the Substitute.

    Other good Bluffing sets:
    A Choice Band set. You can send it against something faster making the opponent think you're scarfed and forcing his physical wall in only to get destroyed by a 50% boosted STAB attack.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ~Keldeo:
    [​IMG]

    What are Keldeo's most common sets?

    Keldeo @ Choice Specs
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature
    - Hydro Pump
    - Secret Sword
    - Icy Wind
    - Scald
    ~One of the best wallbreakers in the format, Secret Sword hitting the physical Defense and Hydropump hitting the special one allows Keldeo to hit for tons of damage pretty much to every defensive Pokémon that doesn't resist those attacks. Scald is there in case you don't feel like risking the Hydropump miss and Icy Wind deals with the Lati Twins.

    Keldeo @ Choice Scarf
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature
    - Hydro Pump
    - Secret Sword
    - Hidden Power [Electric]
    - Scald
    ~Similar to the Specs variant only that this one is more of a Revenge Killer. Outspeeding common scarf users like Landorus-T and with Keldeo's splendid Special Attack, Scarf Keldeo can take on a good amount of offensive threats in the format while still taking a handful of defensive threats on. Hidden Power Electric is used over Icy Wind or Hidden Power Ice to take on Azumarill.

    What is the Bluffing Set in this case?

    Keldeo @ Expert Belt
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
    Timid Nature
    - Hydro Pump
    - Secret Sword
    - Icy Wind
    - Scald
    ~Just slapping an Expert Belt over a Choice Specs or a Choice Scarf can give you a huge advantage at times, imagine hitting something with a Hydropump, like a Skarmory, and then your opponent switches their Chansey in to then get Secret Sworded to the face. This set sacrifices power or speed to gain the surprise factor, this set works well as an hole opener, Pokémon who can't really 1 shot defensive Pokémon will appreciate this Keldeo a lot.

    Other Sets:
    Calm Mind Keldeo works great with an Expert Belt too, after a Calm Mind you still have the power of the Choice Specs Set while being able to switch moves! You can also run Substitute if you don't mind losing 25% of your health in exchange of not having to predict.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Rotom-W:
    [​IMG]
    What are Rotom-W's most common Sets?
    Rotom-Wash @ Leftovers/Chesto Berry
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 248 HP / 216 Def / 44 Spe
    Bold Nature
    - Volt Switch
    - Hydro Pump
    - Will-O-Wisp
    - Pain Split/Rest
    ~Standard Physically Defensive Rotom-W, oriented to take on threats like Talonflame,Landorus-T and Azumarill. The Speed EV's allow you to out speed Azumarill and burn them before getting hit by a Play Rough. Leftovers + Pain Split is the standard way of Recovery but RestoChesto can be run in order to get rid of Toxic. One of the most solid Defensive Volt Switchers, works well with slow U-turners to give safe switch ins to offensive threats.

    Rotom-Wash @ Leftovers/Chesto Berry
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 248 HP / 216 SpD / 44 Spe
    Calm Nature
    - Volt Switch
    - Hydro Pump
    - Will-O-Wisp
    - Pain Split/Rest
    ~Standard Specially Defensive, oriented to patch teams that are weak to Ice and Water attacks as well as check certain Pokes like Landorus-I. Same recovery mechanisms as the offensive one and you still want to outspeed Azumarill even though you're not Physically Defensive so you can Burn or Volt Switch against them before getting hit/allowing a Belly Drum. Works well with Slow U-Turners for the same reasons as the physical one but this one works even better with Physically Defensive Scizor.

    What is the Bluff set in this case?
    Rotom-Wash @ Choice Scarf/Choice Specs
    Ability: Levitate
    EVs: 48 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 204 Spe
    Timid Nature
    - Volt Switch
    - Hydro Pump
    - Will-O-Wisp
    - Trick

    ~This set needs a new rundown. You can probably take a lot of Special Attack EV's and invest in Bulk. The 204 Ev's in Speed are there to outspeed base 80 Pokémon but looking at the current format you can probably run 44. The idea behind this set is to use Rotom-W as a pseudo support Pokémon burning threats and forcing switches and then Trick a Wall like Chansey or Ferrothorn by surprise. You can also Trick in the early game instead of bluffing if you think getting the trick off first will serve you better.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There are many more instances in which bluffing can be used, like acting as a Choice Band Azumarill when you are running Belly Drum or acting like T-Wave Thundurus-I but you're running Nasty Plot or Agility as your 4th move or simply trying out an Expert Belt or a Plate or even a Berry over a Choice Item!. It's all about trying it out and seeing whether or not bluffing will give you an advantage in a battle. One thing is for sure though, learning how to bluff and when your opponent might be bluffing is a really useful skill in both the higher parts of the Ladder and important tournaments.
     
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  2. Noctis

    Noctis *this message has been removed*

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    @[member="guimartgon"]

    I wish more users would read this post and learn from it. The art of Bluff is a delicate and amazing process and once mastered you will ultimately become a top tier player.

    Bluffing, to me however, should be more of a priority for people who tend to do double battles more than single battles. Sure, bluffing is great in singles as well, but with team synergy included in Doubles, it'd be better to have more of these "bluff" Pokémon rather than your standard Smogon builds.

    For example, I would never build my Lanturn this way for Singles, but for doubles I have his bulk maxed out. Why? Lanturn is the backbone of my mono team. (Electric) He can learn a nifty little move called Soak, which switches the Pokémon's typing to only water. Now can you imagine how OP that is on a full electric team?

    Since he's the backbone, and double teams are truly based more on synergy, I allowed him to have his standard ability Volt Absorb with Aqua Ring as a move and a Sitrus Berry to give him HP if he ever got into the Yellow.

    Other Pokémon can learn Discharge or other AOE Electric moves to heal him while he's out on the field.

    Most people wouldn't expect Lanturn to be that way, and if they don't instantly start to try to KO him from the moment he comes out onto the field, they are going to have a massive problem on their hands with him.

    In conclusion, basically what I'm saying here is Bluff Pokémon and different builds can be used to your advantage most of the time. Some can receive dramatic changes as a bluff, some only would need minor. Regardless, though, these are what separates a good player from a master player, and understanding builds, stats, and movepools that work well together is definitely what will take others by shock.


    Look at Se Jun's Pachirisu! Haha!
     
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  3. guimartgon

    guimartgon Competitive Blog Writer

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    Well Bluffing is more of a long term thing in singles while it being more of a fast surprise table-turning thing that shifts your opponent's game plan. Mainly due to the fact that double battles are much faster(specially VGC).
    The guide is focused around singles because its the most popular format in competitive battling.
    PS: soak lanturn is fun, I used it with skill swap jirachi in 4th gen.
    Sejuns pachirisu isn't really a bluff though xD
     
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  4. Noctis

    Noctis *this message has been removed*

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    You wouldn't consider it a bluff at that time? Why is that? He changed the game plan with that Pokémon as it wasn't originally used as a tank to my previous knowledge of it. I can understand how it isn't a bluff now because if you see a Pachi on the playing field, it's more than likely Se Jun's build.

    But then again your idea of bluffing and my idea of bluffing may essentially be two different kind of bluffs, though technically they are still bluffs either way you look at it. XD
     
  5. Spammernoob

    Spammernoob A Spammer or a Noob?

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    It's really fun to bluff, though sometimes it's hard to well whether your opponent is bluffing. Bluffing requires quite a bit of mind-games and prediction to work well. Being able to dent a defensive threat or neutralize an offensive one is always nice.

    However, Nature Power Talonflame is kinda bad, and I'm pretty sure Mold Breaker Excadrill checks all of Talonflame's counters with EQ. I used to use Nature Power Talonflame, it required way too much support because if you have Liechi and they have Rotom-W, RIP, and if they have Heatran and you have Salac, RIP. (Maybe the other way around.) I just find it way too situational.

    Also, something fun is pretending you aren't choiced when you really are. ie. You Iron Head Clefable w/ Scarf-rachi and kill it, and they bring in a Greninja, switch. The, when Greninja's inside vs. 'rachi the next time, you kill it with U-turn.
     
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  6. guimartgon

    guimartgon Competitive Blog Writer

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    Well I wouldn't say it was a bluff since it wasn't bluffing a common set, if offensive pachirisu used to be a thing and sejun used this set and made it look like an offensive pachirisu he would be bluffing but what Sejun did(who's birthday was not too long ago, I gave him a picture of "stop sending pachirisu stuff to me") was use a Pokémon that nobody new about before, he used an anti meta Pokémon, which is not bluffing. That's just my opinion though.
    Talonflame's nature power set isn't great and as splashable as regular talonflame sets but with solid support, dealing that extra damage can turn the entire course of the game.
    I uses it alongside mawile since both were weak and I didn't like sub punching too much. It was a great lure and gave mawile a good chance to demolish the opposing team.
     
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  7. Noctis

    Noctis *this message has been removed*

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    Cool! Do you know him personally? :0

    Ah yes, it seems like it was exactly as I said, the way we define bluff Pokémon are just a little different but I definitely do understand where you are coming from after you explained that to me. I also understand why you focused more on Singles with this post rather than Doubles since you said that, now. ^-^b
     
  8. guimartgon

    guimartgon Competitive Blog Writer

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    I have talked to him face to face and I did defeat his pupil back at worlds 2012 in the senior division. But I've mostly talked to him online in conversations among vgc people. If I recall correctly Aaron zheng introduced me to him.

    Yeah just different views on the definition of a term :). Don't get me wrong, I love doubles, my favorite move, skill swap is mostly useful in double battles.
     
  9. Northwind's Call

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    paging user misaka mikoto

    good post! I admit I don't use a lot of these "cheese" strategies, but I've been rekt my fair share by Earth Plate Landorus. Glad to see people sharing the love!
     
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  10. Spammernoob

    Spammernoob A Spammer or a Noob?

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    lol Has anyone faced CB Lando? Just when you think you're safe, it explodes. :P
     
  11. Northwind's Call

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    And just when it thinks it's safe to explode, it gets sniped by Greninja or scarfed Mamoswine/Kyuubi. It's got a function, but I really think that even the Earth Plate variant works better. It does have good coverage in EdgeQuake and mobility in U-Turn, though, so I can see it being useful.
     
  12. theawesomeafro

    theawesomeafro Licensed and Practiced Lurker

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    Whenever I battle OU, I always try to throw in at least a couple lower tier Pokémon. It's very satisfying because I haven't been a competitive battler for long and haven't seen every Pokémon yet, so I know what happens to people. When you see a Pokémon that you have never used or battled before, you are at a major disadvantage, because you have no idea what it will do or what it is capable of
     
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  13. Xarn

    Xarn Sponsor

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    Well it happens in the beginning. But it is a little different of what guimartgon is saying :). Because you are talking about the confusion that you have when you don't know a Pokémon, here in this Mini-Guide you are appreciating the ability of the "Mind Game" that is based in to try to manipulate the opponents mind making him/her think about how is built your team and how it affects to him/her team.
    There is the difference, you don't know what is going to happen but an experienced player know all or almost all the potential ways of playing with a Pokémon so this make the player overthink his next move and that is one of the reasons of why the advanced competitive playing is more difficult. I recommend you to keep reading this guide because it is very useful and you can apply this one to other Pokémon's while you are advancing in your history as a Competitive Player

    [member='guimartgon'] I like to much this one because is very helpful in this cases. Congratulations for making this Guide!
     
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