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Community POTW #064

Serebii

And, as if by magic, the webmaster appeared...
Staff member
Admin
This week we're covering one of the most curious Pokémon of all time, Smeargle

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XaelOstigian

Competitive...kinda
Mew might claim to be the Pokemon that can learn every possible move, but Smeargle is the only Pokemon that actually can thanks to Sketch, a move so OP that if literally any other Pokemon could learn it (Let's use Grafaiai as an example) it would be insta-banned so hard for breaking the game. The reason Smeargle itself is not OP itself however is because frankly, it's stats are absolute trash. Poor bulk, poor offense, and barely passable speed severely hamper Smeargle as a threat. But hey, it can can still use any move in the game, and I'm certain there is a game breaking combo out there no one has thought of yet.
smeargle_shot.0.jpg

The Healing Power of Art
Ability: Moody
Item: Focus Sash
Nature: Jolly
EVs: (HP 252) (Defense 4) (Speed 252)

Moves:
Spore
Ingrain
Aqua Ring
Baton Pass

Set Details:
An unconventional Baton Pass set that transfers passive healing to a teammate. Sleep the opponent with Spore, set up Ingrain and Aqua Ring, and then use Baton Pass to give the healing and anchored effect to a bulky teammate. Invest all into HP in speed to TRY and withstand an enemy attack and increase the odds of outspeeding an opponent. Focus Sash ensures you stick around for at least one turn, and Moody (No longer banned btw) as an ability means you could potentially pass some boosts to your teammate in the process.
 

Divine Retribution

Conquistador de pan
With Smogon recently banning sleep moves, including Spore, across all Gen 9 formats, and Baton Pass having been banned for a while now, Smeargle has essentially no viability in those unofficial formats. It still has the tiny niche of being the only Pokemon in SV that can learn both Sticky Web and Stealth Rock, but there are enough good users of both of those moves that it's usually not hard to fit them on two separate Pokemon instead of running Smeargle, who is entirely useless outside of getting up those hazards, and not even all that reliable at getting them both up.

In official formats, Smeargle has a bit more leeway as it can use Spore as well as combos like Shell Smash + Baton Pass, but Baton Pass isn't nearly as good in 3v3 formats as it is in 6v6 as giving up an entire third of your team to run SmashPass is a pretty big opportunity cost compared to 6v6 formats. It can also run its classic hazard sets with Spore; these actually do make more sensee in 3v3 formats as compressing your Webs and Rocks into a single slot is pretty important, but that only leaves you with room for two abusers and hazards in general have less value in 3v3 formats so Smeargle rarely sees use there either. The only formats where Smeargle might have a serious niche is in 6v6 Singles formats where Baton Pass is legal; Smeargle is one of only two Pokemon to get the combination of Baton Pass and Ingrain, which is a key move for stopping moves like Roar and Dragon Tail from being able to phase out Pokemon in a Baton Pass chain.

FEAR is a gimmick. You might get a surprise kill with it. You might get a surprise kill with a Rattata. Don't count on it working against experienced players. As for OHKO moves, they might work against the AI but they fall into a similar category as FEAR against actual opponents, and this strategy is unlikely to work at all against Pokemon who are faster than Smeargle as its paper-thin defenses leave it 2HKO'd by pretty much anything in the game.

The TL/DR version is Smeargle sucks outside of specific formats, namely 6v6 formats where Baton Pass is legal.
 

Mestorn

Wandering Battler
Smeargle is the concrete proof that moveset is not everything... but it gets close. Smeargle's claim to fame is that it can learn every move in the game, but has pathetic stats. In doubles in the past it abused that to great effect utilizing the Mythical locked Dark Void to shut down up to two opposing Pokémon, a move so luck based that more or less ended the match if both Sleeps landed. After terrorizing Genereation 6 VGC, Dark Void was nerfed into the ground, being locked to only work with Darkrai (which should have been sufficient) and reduced to 50% accuracy. All of which can be laid at Smeargle's feet. Nowadays, Smeargle uses the most annoying moves around to harass and harry the opponent, while its teammates take advantage of the second most broken thing about Smeargle in Moody.

Pretentious Artist
Smeargle

-Fake Out
-Spore
-Follow Me
-Wide Guard/Spikey Shield/Decorate
Ability: Moody
Item Attached: Focus Sash
EVs and Nature:
252 HP / 4 Def /252 Spe
Timid Nature

This Smeargle set is meant to be as annoying as possible, taking advantage of all the rare moves Smeargle has to keep its teammate healthy while they set up. Fake Out is amazing in Doubles, preventing Turn 1 setup, enabling a slower Pokémon take out a faster check, help guarantee setup, etc. Fake Out's utility is amazing. Spore is the best Sleep move Smeargle has access to and can easily turn a 2v2 into a 2v1. Smeargle also stands out as the fastest Spore user (as Toedscruel is shackeled by Mycelium Might), giving it the jump on the most targets, especially if it gets a Tailwind boost (though sadly falls short of Speed Energy Booster Flutter Mane). Since aside from Spore, your opponent generally doesn't want to attack Smeargle, Follow Me is great disruption forcing your opponent to attack the rather passive Smeargle instead of its invariably more threatening partner.

The last moveslot is up to personal preference and where Smeargle's famed variety comes into play. Wide Guard pairs wonderfully with Follow Me, since the best way to ignore Follow Me is to use a spread attack, and Wide Guard covers for that possibility. This is a unique combination that only Smeargle possesses. Spikey Shield is the best available version of Protect, having the full Protection along with a consistently useful rider effect in chip damage. Decorate is another fancy showing of Smeargle's movepool, giving a persistent and potent boost to its partner on a move otherwise looked to Alcremie.

Preferred Partners:
Partners that can abuse Moody are amazing. Alolan Muk with Power of Alchemy is a noticeable example, taking advantage of the fact that Smeargle dies easily to gain Moody, while stalling out with Minimize and Toxic to become a huge ball of stats to roll over the Enemy. Flamigo with Opportunist is another great example. If Smeargle gets several offensive boosts that Flamigo can benefit from, switch it in and have it start tearing the opposing team up.

Other Options:
Burning Bulwark is another fantastic signature move, though its Protection isn't perfect (status moves can still get through) and the Burn runs odds with Spore.
Parting Shot is a great pivoting move with an invaluable stat drop, but runs contrary to Moody.
Ruination is the only way Smeargle is doing damage outside of Toxic.
 
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