When my other half declared Toucannon an ‘amazing’ Pokémon I confess, like all of you reading this article, I mocked. Barring Talonflame (and perhaps Staraptor), the early catchable bird Pokémon from any region tends to be pretty trash. This season, Talonflame’s signature ability Gale Wings received a substantial nerf which prevents the bravest bird from running riot in the VGC 17 format. But which list of early birds will Toucannon add itself to? The usable or the trash?
Well, on the basis of these base stats, a spot in the trash column is certainly beckoning; a monstrous base attack completely let down by Toucannon’s other average stats would usually suggest that this bird will probably never see the light of day in VGC. However, take a look at that speed stat before disregarding this tropical bird; those of you with a keen eye (geddit?) will notice that, at base 60, this bird is primed to spread its wings in dimensions of a twisted kind… and you’ll also notice I look pretty favorably on Pokémon who nest within the Trick Room. So, without further ado, let us…
Set 1: RELEASE THE CANNON!
Toucannon @ Choice Band
Ability: Skill Link
EVs: 244 HP / 252 Atk / 12 Def -or- EVs 204 HP / 252 Atk / 52 Def
IVs: 0 Spe
– U-turn / Steel Wing / Return
– Brave Bird
– Rock Blast
– Bullet Seed
Look at that things beak! Could it look any more threatening? How about if you throw a Choice Band around it? This bird starts pumping out some decent damage. Obviously with 80/75/75 bulk we aren’t going to be taking many hits with this spread but, if you can decipher in team preview what you want Toucannon to hit, it won’t matter much! Where Toucannon piqued my interest was its access to Skill Link (which ensures multi hit moves hit the maximum amount of times) alongside Rock Blast and Bullet Seed. There’s a few Pokémon popping up frequently which are weak to rock and grass moves and this is where you need to take full advantage of these two attacks; Bullet Seed and Rock Blast won’t be securing knock outs with neutral hits, but against Pokémon they hit super effectively, you just might be getting a few surprise KO’s. Brave Bird is on this spread for the powerful STAB and then the final option is up to you. U-turn is probably the best move to run on a choiced set so you can retain field advantage whilst Steel Wing comes in useful if you want to hit both Nihilego and Tapu Lele with the same attack. Return is also an option for a second STAB attack but I’d recommend one of the other two options with Brave Bird hitting hard enough as your STAB move:
Rock Blast Calcs:
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 180 HP / 0 Def Celesteela: 110-135 (56.4 – 69.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 180-220 (108.4 – 132.5%) — (damage calc lists this as a chance to ohko – it definitely OHKOs)
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Marowak-Alola: 210-250 (125.7 – 149.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Salamence: 180-220 (105.2 – 128.6%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gyarados: 190-230 (111.1 – 134.5%) — guaranteed OHKO
Bullet Seed Calcs:
-2 252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Gastrodon: 220-260 (100.9 – 119.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 28 HP / 0 Def Krookodile: 180-220 (103.4 – 126.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Golduck: 190-230 (121.7 – 147.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 100 Def Tapu Fini: 190-230 (107.3 – 129.9%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Gigalith: 180-220 (93.7 – 114.5%) — approx. 87.5% chance to OHKO
Brave Bird Calcs:
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 92 Def Tapu Lele: 178-211 (100.5 – 119.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Brave Bird vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Kartana: 127-150 (94 – 111.1%) — 68.8% chance to OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Brave Bird vs. 188 HP / 44 Def Muk-Alola: 189-223 (92.6 – 109.3%) — 56.3% chance to OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Brave Bird vs. 188 HP / 164 Def Goodra: 172-204 (91 – 107.9%) — 50% chance to OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon U-turn vs. 252 HP / 140 Def Oranguru: 126-150 (63.9 – 76.1%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Sitrus Berry recovery
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Steel Wing vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Nihilego: 224-264 (121 – 142.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Steel Wing vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Tapu Lele: 158-186 (108.2 – 127.3%) — guaranteed OHKO
Pretty impressive? I think so. Don’t be expecting to take too many hits though – especially with all that potential Brave Bird recoil – but the SpDef Ev’s do serve a purpose:
252+ SpA Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 244 HP / 12 SpD Toucannon in Psychic Terrain: 157-186 (84.4 – 100%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Nihilego Power Gem vs. 244 HP / 12 SpD Toucannon: 168-198 (90.3 – 106.4%) — 43.8% chance to OHKO
Or, if you’re curious what the optional EV spread does:
252 Atk Garchomp Rock Slide vs. 204 HP / 52 Def Toucannon: 76-90 (41.9 – 49.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO
I think surviving a Tapu Lele psychic 93.7% of the time and more than a 50/50 chance to survive Nihilego’s Power Gem is worth the 12 points of investment. We also turn Ice Beam from “Till’s Gastrodon” (on the Trainer Tower Calculator) into a 3hko, but that doesn’t matter too much if we’re just knocking it out right?
Alternatively, turning Garchomp’s Rock Slide into a 3HKO could be fairly important, especially because we get to keep the maximum attack investment. Guess it’s down to personal preference which EV spread gets used.
Want to take a couple more hits?
Set 2: Them special attacks ain’t doin’ nuttin.
Toucannon (M) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Skill Link
EVs: 236 HP / 140 Atk / 28 Def / 100 SpD / 4 Spe
IVs: 3 Spe
– Rock Blast
– Brave Bird
– Bullet Seed
Okay. The first thing to note about this spread is that the Speed EVs and IVs don’t matter at all – I just didn’t want to leave 4 EVs laying around doing nothing. The EVs and IVs mean that you’ll be outspeeding uninvested Gastrodon with a neutral Spe nature and perfect IV outside Trick Room. Not particularly relevant but the idea’s there if you need it.
As with most bulkier spreads, this one can function inside and outside of Trick Room; the moves are the same but hit significantly weaker than the Band set, so bare that in mind if you want to test this set out. I’ve not included Steel Wing as, without maximum investment and the Choice Band, it doesn’t OHKO Nihilego or Tapu Lele which makes U-Turn the better option in this instance.
140+ Atk Toucannon Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Arcanine: 170-210 (102.4 – 126.5%) — approx. 6.3% chance to OHKO
140+ Atk Toucannon Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Gyarados: 170-210 (99.4 – 122.8%) — approx. 93.8% chance to OHKO
140+ Atk Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Gastrodon: 260-320 (119.2 – 146.7%) — guaranteed OHKO
As you can see above, we still knock out non bulky Arcanine and Gyarados whilst decimating maximum bulk Gastrodon but, unlike the Choice Band set, you need to be much more careful around Pokémon with the intimidate ability.
However, this set is about bulk so let’s see what it can do…
252 Atk Garchomp Rock Slide vs. 236 HP / 28 Def Toucannon: 78-92 (42.1 – 49.7%) — guaranteed 3HKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Metagross Meteor Mash vs. 236 HP / 28 Def Toucannon: 157-186 (84.8 – 100.5%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Ninetales-Alola Blizzard vs. 236 HP / 100 SpD Assault Vest Toucannon: 78-92 (42.1 – 49.7%) — 25% chance to 2HKO after hail damage
252+ SpA Life Orb Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 236 HP / 100 SpD Assault Vest Toucannon in Psychic Terrain: 122-146 (65.9 – 78.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Life Orb Nihilego Power Gem vs. 236 HP / 100 SpD Assault Vest Toucannon: 133-156 (71.8 – 84.3%) — guaranteed 2HKO
252+ SpA Golduck Hydro Vortex (185 BP) vs. 236 HP / 100 SpD Assault Vest Toucannon in Rain: 156-184 (84.3 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
The main ones to note up there are turning Garchomp’s Rock Slide and A-Ninetales’ Blizzard into 3HKO’s.
Yep – any of the Trick Room setters we’ve covered in past analyses! Mimikyu, Misdreavus and Trevenant can burn opposing threats, Comfey can keep Toucannon healthy, Exeggutor puts opponents to sleep, Oranguru allows us to fire off two Choice Banded Toucannon attacks whilst the SlowTrio (well duo if we exclude Slowpoke’s set… what do I mean ‘if’…) and Porygon2 aid with offensive pressure!
Worried about the electric attacks? Need an extra Trick Room attacker? Well, with the Lightning Rod ability, low base 45 speed and ridiculously high damage output whilst holding the Thick Club item, Marowak’s suitability as a partner is pretty self explanatory…
Okay… this is a little gimmicky, but we’re analysing Toucannon for use on the competitive circuit so I’m sure you’ll forgive me. These four Pokémon have a few things in common; they’re all water types (it’s like I’m trying to build you a team here…) they’re all slow enough to be utilised under Trick Room, all fairly powerful, the final similarity? Give up? They all learn soak. A move which turns the target into a pure water type Pokémon. Now, combine soak with Toucannon’s Choice banded Bullet Seed…
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 180 HP / 0 Def Celesteela: 220-270 (112.8 – 138.4%) — guaranteed OHKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Toucannon Bullet Seed (5 hits) vs. 244 HP / 92 Def Eviolite Porygon2: 160-190 (83.7 – 99.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO
Out of the two Toucannon spreads, I’d honestly recommend the Choice Band set. The power output with the option of turning either Garchomp’s Rock Slide into a 3hko or surviving Tapu Lele’s Psychic makes Toucannon a surprisingly underrated Pokémon to use in a competitive setting!