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Miss Doronjo January 26th, 2013 6:14 PM

Life Orb
It is common knowledge that Gen IV was a far more offensive metagame than Gen III, but the question is, why? You might give credit to a new physical-special split that allowed more Pokemon to enjoy STAB and coverage. You might point to new high-power moves like Close Combat, Outrage, Focus Blast, Stone Edge, and Draco Meteor becoming the norm. It would be reasonable to bring up Choice Specs (and Scarf) and Nasty Plot, finally allowing special attackers to attack like their physical cousins. But for the most part, these were extensions of what we had already seen. We already knew what STAB and coverage was, how to use base 120 attacks, and the potential of Swords Dance and Choice Band.

However, one addition to the 4th gen metagame was completely unprecedented. Nothing like it had been seen before that wasn't exclusive to a single Pokemon. This new item that would have fit like a glove on Team Rocket fell into our hands, and with it came the push that drove Pokemon as we know it to Offense lane.


When this item is held by a Pokémon, the damage from the moves used by the holder is increased by 30%. The holder loses 10% of their maximum HP each turn.
Back when 4th gen was starting out, this was unheard of. Here we had the perfect item for sweepers, an item that significantly (1.3x, not that 1.1x nonsense) boosted ALL moves its holder used, with a cost that didn't completely change the style of the holder like Choice did. Instead the price was paid in HP, a tenth at a time. As this replaced Leftovers on physical, special, and mixed attackers who liked switching moves, stall had a hard time catching up to the boosts, and so, the metagame as a whole became more offensive.

When using the Life Orb, however, one cannot forget that you can no longer expect your pokemon to have any bulk what so ever. The cost in HP drove the metagame even more offensive, as bulky attackers who liked leftovers either missed out on the boost or sacrificed their selling point. If you take a hit, suddenly that seemingly arbitrary recoil will catch up with your precious sweeper. Plus, with Sandstorm, hazards, and priority around to stack with Life Orb, you may die before you even get to do much.

Unless, of course, you have Sheer Force or Magic Guard, in which case you can abuse Life Orb for free. If you have Sheer Force and you use a move affected by it, you don't take Life Orb recoil. Magic Guard makes you immune to passive damage, and this includes Life Orb recoil.

Life Orb is an incredibly influential item that represents the offensive shift in the transition from Gen III to Gen IV, and now in Gen V it's as strong as ever, with even more ways to abuse it for all it's got.

Do you tend to use pokemon that can utilize Life Orb? What pokemon do you think are best with Life Orb? What has Life Orb done for the 5th generation metagame? How is it influenced the way we play the game currently, and how so?

Gym Leader Jake February 3rd, 2013 10:49 AM

Life Orb is and amazing item, it allows for boosted power without the Lock of the Choice Items.

Miss Doronjo February 3rd, 2013 11:14 AM


Originally Posted by Gym Leader Jake (Post 7522252)
Life Orb is and amazing item, it allows for boosted power without the Lock of the Choice Items.

Okay but, how does that help certain pokemon, or help the metagame?

For example, I like to use Life Orb on pokemon when Reflect/Light Screens are up. I do like using Life Orb on Charizard or Drapion for extra power occasionally. I know that some people who used to use Choice Band/Specs on pokemon might be more inclined to use a Life Orb on certain pokemon now.

François February 4th, 2013 9:31 AM


Originally Posted by Miss Doronjo (Post 7511216)
What pokemon do you think are best with Life Orb?

Alakazam, surely. It wouldn't be anywhere near OU were it not for having Magic Guard to abuse it with.

Really anything with Magic Guard or Sheer Force though. I've had fun with Nidoking.

Hikamaru February 15th, 2013 7:04 PM


Originally Posted by François (Post 7523767)
Alakazam, surely. It wouldn't be anywhere near OU were it not for having Magic Guard to abuse it with.

Really anything with Magic Guard or Sheer Force though. I've had fun with Nidoking.

Agreed, Alakazam can be such a beast with Magic Guard + Life Orb combo. Basically anything with Magic Guard makes good use of it, since the effects of Magic Guard prevent the HP loss from the Life Orb.

I personally do like Life Orb over Choice items, but the HP loss can be a bit annoying. Thankfully Magic Guard negates that effect. The Life Orb can also give you that boost of power needed to take a foe down quickly.

Lance February 19th, 2013 9:33 AM

Being a player that loves Offense & Hyper Offense, I love me some Life Orb. One of my favorite held items to use. Pretty much any Pokemon with Magic Guard, as stated, or with enough natural bulk to use it will wreck other teams. Terrakion hits really hard with a LO-backed Stone Edge/Earthquake. And given that Gen V was the gen of power creep and massive stats, the Life Orb's effect only exacerbated that.

Jake♫ February 19th, 2013 10:54 AM

Life Orb is almost required for anything that's trying to wall-break or to sweep. The 30% damage increase can change multiple 2HKOs to OHKOs, or 3HKOs to 2HKOs, much like that of using Stealth Rock. Although there are other items that help achieve these goals (such as Choice items), the 10% HP drop is worth the power increase. As for matching it with Pokemon, anything that needs to sweep, wall-break, and Pokemon with Magic Guard or Sheer Force (as the HP drop doesn't happen if the move used has a secondary effect).

Sainan March 16th, 2013 11:03 AM

I personally like using life orb with a pain split pokemon, im trying to work on a sweeper with pain split and life orb to quickly gain alot of health back and hurt the opponent in the process.

Aslan March 21st, 2013 12:57 AM

Losing 10% HP every turn was definitely worth it with the Life Orb, that boosted attack power by 30%, when used correctly on certain Pokemon such as Sawk and Gurdurr can rip straight through teams who would otherwise be difficult with stat-boosting moves etc. Also like Gym Leader Jake said it can also be nice not to have the irritating one move choice only option when dealing with choice items!

So yeah overall the Life Orb was fantastic and a great item in competitive battling despite the 10% HP loss side-effect.

Typhlosion Hacker :3 June 11th, 2013 6:15 PM

Life Orb is definitely a good item to have on a pokemon.
But in some instances, like Solar Power Charizard, I don't want to run a Life Orb on it because then you are taking 20%.

Tyrael June 11th, 2013 7:11 PM

I would have to say my favorite pokemon to abuse Life Orb with is Reuniclus. Even though it may seem to be inferior to Alakazam at first glance, I would argue that Reuniclus is far more useful. With BST of 110 HP and 125 SpA, compared to Alakazam's 55 HP and 135 SpA, you can see how much better it is in just that aspect. To add onto that, Alakazam is VERY frail and can't last many, if any hits if it happens to be outsped.

Other than what I said above, I really think the main thing that makes Reuniclus tons better than Alakazam is the fact that he's able to abuse Trick Room and just completely demolish teams. It allows you to turn a pokemon with a BST Spd of 30 into exactly the same thing as Alakazam, but you are also making sure that not many things at all will be able to outspeed you.

Elaitenstile June 11th, 2013 7:39 PM

Oh yes, the Orb of my Life. I never knew about this until I went competitive battling. This addition is great, yes, and it just makes sweepers too strong. It throws them a lifeline but hey, one-tenth of HP is not so bad, is it?

Anyway the more important point is that this conversation happens frequently:

Question : Can you suggest a good hold item for my xPKMNx?
Answer : Life Orb.

You can see that every Pokémon (offensive ones, of course) has a good chance with this orb, that's why it has easily become the most common hold item for sweepers, in contrast to the Leftovers.

xZSx Venom June 13th, 2013 4:21 AM

I love abusing the life orb on my snorlax and torterra. I find they have good attack power that will make them overpowered with the life orb.

Dark Azelf June 13th, 2013 6:09 AM

Yeah its a great item. But i think its very overused and slightly overated.

With sand being extremely common it wears down sweepers VERY quickly. Alot of people argue that it helps break teams, id argue the opposite. It actually makes it easy for your opponent to LO stall you out of HP. If sand and hazards up you can forget about your sweeper lasting more than a few turns. This is why MixApe was a pretty mediocre Pokemon last gen, even against stall. Even if your MixApe counter was gone you could still sand and Life Orb stall it out of HP and that was relatively easy tbh.

In addition of being worn down, it makes it easy as heck for priority users to pick you off.

Id argue it is a better item on SS resistant sweepers such as Lucario or those with recovery ala Classic MixMence/ToyMence or Tinkerbell Celebi.

Boilurn July 5th, 2013 7:49 AM

When I first played on Multi Battles on the DS I was thinking "Why on earth does my team-mate have a Life Orb?" because I thought it was just an item that only recoils the user and makes no difference to anything. Now because of the power increase I like it a lot more and I currently use it on several of my Pokemon, like other trainers should. It's a great item for quick-minded battles such as those on the Battle Subway train.

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