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January 28th, 2013 (3:48 PM).
Trapping is one of those things everyone hates, but at the same time loves. It is, in a nutshell, limiting the switches of your opponent via abilities, moves, or sheer offensive presence. Each of these is viable, and usable competitively, in fact if you don't use it you put yourself at a serious disadvantage. Average players can use trapping to stop enemies momentum. Good Players can use it to start their own momentum. Amazing players can win battles with it. So on to the basics.
Trapping in the most basic form is stopping a switch. This first time this was possible was way back in Gen II, with the introduction of the move pursuit. Pursuit itself was a weak and relatively useless move at the time, as the metagame was extremely bulky. Curselax was king, and if anything tried to get in its way they were completely bowled over. This lead to a very stall orientated metagame and pursuit was more or less left alone.
Then along came Gen III, an with it the introduction of abilities. These abilities were relatively widespread, with the exception of a couple. One of these unique abilities was Shadow Tag, and the pokemon that got it was Wobbuffet. Now Wobbuffet doesn't have much going for it. It has a movepool almost as bad as Unknowns, and its only good stat was its HP. Nevertheless with the introduction of Shadow Tag to its arsenal Wobbuffet became a terror like no other. It was uncounterable. Instantly its was banned to Ubers never to see the light of OU again.... Until Gen V. The other trapping ability was also made at this time, Arena Trap. Also sparsely distributed its abusers were much easier to deal with. Also the fact that Flying Types and levitators could switch out with impudence hurt its overall performance. The final trapping ability also appeared in Gen III, Magnet Pull. Even more limited in what it could trap (Steel Types only), Magnet pull saw distribution among only a few pokemon.
Gen IV came and went with little added to trapping, except for one move, U-Turn. Not a move that prevents switching or hurts pokemon when they switch, instead a move that traps your opponent by limiting his options. Scizor ruled in a large part due to this. A counter was no longer able to counter if the enemy wasn't there. Used correctly this could have devastating effects on your opponents team. Also Magnet Pull gained more popularity with the rise of dragon and their counters, Steel types. Magnezone also had an impact in this rise.
Then came Gen V. No new trapping abilities came out, only Volt switch and some tier changes. Wobbuffet was now out of Ubers. The menace that had dwelt among gods only due to his ability was set free on an unpredicting metagame. But he had been hurt. His sparse movepool had taken a beating in the form of a nerf for Encore, the premier move of his movepool. No Longer did he have a blessed 5 turns to do whatever he wanted, he was now limited to 3. And the metagame had evolved. His gargantuan HP stat was no longer enough to keep him alive. And the art of trapping was lost in the darkness...
Or was it?
Pursuit is perhaps one of the most useful moves in the current Metagame. Latios and Latias also fell from grace and joined us in OU. Fighting types invaded the metagame, and with them came powerful Psychics, pokemon whose mind power is enough to twist the very fabric of reality. And Weather wars began. Any residual damage is useful, and the ability to cause harm to a pokemon trying to run away is useful to say the least.
BW2 brought a few changes which has made trapping more powerful than ever. The release of Shadow Tag Gothitelle has given teambuilders the most customizable trapper to date, being able to trap or cripple almost any Pokemon in OU with the appropriate moveset. With Garchomp recently unbanned, we are sure to see at least a small rise in Magnezone usage too.
Examples of Trappers:
Dugtrio @ Focus Sash
Trait: Arena Trap
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
- Stealth Rock
- Memento / Stone Edge
Magnezone @ Choice Specs
Trait: Magnet Pull
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 252 SDef
Modest Nature / Timid Nature
- Volt Switch
- Flash Cannon
- Hidden Power [Fire]
What are your thoughts on the trapping Pokemon? Do you like what they bring to the game?
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