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Miss Doronjo February 4th, 2013 1:40 PM

Contact Items @ Competitive Play
*This was inspired by a thread I saw about 2 years ago on smogon.

With the BW and B2W2 metagame, we've got a handful of some interestingly new scientific toys - the contact items. Basically, as the name suggests, contact items work when the opposing pokemon makes 'physical contact' with the other (eg. physical moves like Fire Punch). BW didn’t give us that greatest items, but it by far gave us the most interesting items. Most of these items haven’t been properly looked at, so maybe some opinions have changed or we’re able to see some uses for them better than we could all those months ago! If any of you have good examples for the uses of these items, I'll make sure to add and quote them into the OP.
Air Balloon
Effect: Gives the holder immunity to Ground-type moves, Spikes and Toxic Spikes; but pops when the holder is attacked.

Probably the most handy of the contact items, it gives leg-room for pokemon like Heatran or Magnezone to dodge ground attacks, and reply with whatever attack they have up in their arsenal! For example, sometimes I like to use this item on a Heatran against a Haxorus with Earthquake, and make him use Outrage instead. While he's locked, I just fire away a barrage of Hidden Power Ice attacks. It's pretty handy!
Red Card
Effect: A one-time use item that forces the opponent to switch to a random Pokémon when the holder is attacked.

A weird item, but it can be a general annoyance against your opponents. For example, I've seen Spikers such as Foretress use this item to get a free layer of Spikes in with a switch.
Rocky Helmet
Effect: Contact moves used against the holder will damage the attacker with 1/6 of their maximum HP.

The effect of the item isn’t really bad. I've seen Skarmory and Ferrothorn make pretty great use of this item; with Skarmory wearing down Scizor, making VoltTurn less effective and Ferrothorn just being exceptionally annoying by removing big chunks of HP per touch and can act as a form of Spin Blocker is the damage KOs the Spinning Pokemon. In NU, I've seen bulky psychic pokemon use this as well, to damage pokemon like Skunktank or Sawk.
Absorb Bulb
Effect: A one-time use item that raises the holder's Special Attack when hit by a Water-type move.

Ehhh... it’s like Storm Drain, but it doesn’t give any immunites. Plus, it's one-time use only. Maybe pokemon like Starmie can turn opposing Politoed, Jellicent, or Water-types in general into a +1 boost if you can predict a Water move on the switch. Maybe Dragons and Grass-types can make some use out of it as well, but it’s pretty gimmicky.
Cell Battery
Effect: A one-time use item that raises the holder's Attack one stage when hit by an Electric-type attack.

Slightly less gimmicky than Absorb Bulb because of the omnipresent Volt-Switch strategy, but... again, its kind of situational. There’s plenty of things that would love a +1 boost to Attack for switching into Rotom-W, but none of which would want to give up Life Orb or Choice Items.
Eject Button
Effect: A one-time use item that forces the holder to switch out when hit by an attack that makes contact.

Kind of the opposite of Red Card. Maybe Tailwind Prankster, pokemon, or any fast pokemon with Tailwind can make good use of this item to allow the incoming Pokemon to have the maximum number of Tailwind turns. Or, maybe Slaking can be interesting with this item, but other than that, not much use can come from this item.
Ring Target
Effect: The holder loses its type immunities. Does not affect immunities caused by abilities.

To be honest, it's more for tricking. For example, you can trick it onto Pokémon like Skarmory to remove Ground-immunity, but Tricking Choice Items is far more crippling. It can work in situational purposes, like removing electric immunities from Gastrodon, Swampert, or Quagsire, or maybe ghost pokemon like Jellicent that you can rapid spin for eternity.

Anyway, on to the discussion: What sorts of contact items do you use in competitive play, and how do they help out your team? What purposes or situational events in competitive play would say each of these contact items can have?

tente2 February 4th, 2013 2:07 PM

I've seen people Mid who have given Druddigon a Rocky Helmet, which when paired with Rough Skin does quite a bit of damage. It should be noted that this Druddigon employed a Stealth Rock + Dragon Tail strategy to weaken several Pokemon at once and gain momentum (as it was as serving as a lead) so a Choice item would have been a hindrance, more than anything. While Leftovers or a Life Orb might have seemed more smart, I think the Rocky Helmet was the best choice; it allowed Druddigon to have the opponent think twice about attacking with contact moves, especially if said physical sweeper was frail, boosting Druddigon's longevity.

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