Have you ever felt like playing Pokémon simply to prevent other people from having fun? Do you enjoy essentially flipping a coin every turn to decide whether you win or lose a game?
If the answer is yes to either of these questions you’ll definitely want to try out this classic Cat and… erm… Mushroom combination which is set to take the VGC 20 metagame by storm!
The concept of this duo is incredibly simple and surprisingly easy to pull off; Teach your Meowstic how to Skill Swap, Skill Swap your own Shiinotic to gift it Prankster and, due to the new speed mechanics, Shiinotic will be the next Pokémon to move, firing off priority Spores into whichever opposing Pokémon lucky enough to be chosen to take a nap. Shiinotic doesn’t only benefit from Prankster by being able to put opponents to sleep;
with access to Strength Sap, being able to reduce an opponents attack stat whilst healing itself back (the majority of the time) to full HP is a pretty damn handy function to increase the longevity of both Shiinotic and the rest of your team.
Of course, like with all these gimmicky strategies, there are numerous ways to disrupt this combination and also a few cons to the strategy as a whole which makes the execution too inconsistent to rely on game after game.
Psychic Terrain blocks your Prankster Spores and Strength Saps rendering the entire strategy useless. You could attempt to change the Terrain by adding an Electric Surge Pincurchin or a Misty Surge Galarian Weezing but this would still leave you in the same position of being unable to put grounded Pokémon to sleep.
Okay, or any Dark type for this matter, considering Dark type Pokémon are immune to all Prankster attacks. Incineroar gets a special mention as it is able to comfortably deal with both your Meowstic and Shiinotic by itself.
As Shiinotic is so slow, Prankster Taunt can easily shut it down from being able to utilise its own Prankster ability. Even if we gave Shiinotic the Mental Herb, common Taunt users such as Sableye & Grimmsnarl are immune to Prankster Spore and can easily Taunt Shiinotic the next turn, whilst Whimiscott is immune to Spore completely thanks to its Grass Typing.
Well, we can’t Skill Swap our own Shiinotic if our opponent is redirecting our attacks. You will still be able to Spore the redirection user if Shiinotic isn’t staring down a threat, however during testing I found myself running into the odd Safety Goggles Togekiss due to the growing popularity of Venusaur.
Sleep Turn Mechanics
With Pokémon only having one guaranteed turn of sleep, a fast Spore isn’t always a good thing. Whilst you’re guaranteed to immobilise your target for one turn, you have no real offensive pressure to take advantage immediately and your opponent could easily wake up the following turn. Sleep is not a mechanic you should be relying on to win games outside of the first turn of guaranteed sleep.
All this aside, it’s important to note that whilst blindly leading Meowstic Shiinotic’s sleep shenanigans isn’t 100% reliable, the two Pokémon individually are very solid, underrated mons which can easily fit onto any team and be brought to matchups without the need to Skill Swap Prankster onto Shiinotic.
Meowstic: Suggested items
Eject Button: The Eject Button is probably my favourite item to give Meowstic; the idea here is to Skill Swap Shiinotic and be immediately bounced out to an offensive threat to take full advantage of Shiinotic spreading status. This does, however, leave you vulnerable to opposing Fake Out users.
Focus Sash/Healing Berry: Whilst you’d ideally want Meowstic off the field after Skill Swapping in a dedicated Meowstic Shiinotic mode, items to increase its longevity go a long way towards being able to utilise Meowstic to support your team as a whole, making the Meowstic/Shiinotic Combo an option rather than your dedicated strategy.
Twisted Spoon: With the rise in popularity of Venusaur, and it’s ability to knock out Shiinotic with a 4x effective Sludge Bomb, you could catch some Venusaur off guard with this calc:
252+ SpA Twisted Spoon Meowstic Psyshock vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Venusaur: 156-186 (100 – 119.2%) — guaranteed OHKO
Or Conkeldurr too I guess…
252+ SpA Twisted Spoon Meowstic Psychic vs. 252 HP / 8 SpD Conkeldurr: 210-248 (99 – 116.9%) — 93.8% chance to OHKO
Shiinotic: Suggested items
Babiri Berry/Focus Sash: The only real item choice for Shiinotic is something to extend its longevity. Focus Sash is ideal but if this item is already taken by another member of your team any of the damage reducing berries (Such as Babiri, Kebia or Occa) will help Shiinotic survive a big attack. Healing items aren’t particularly useful as you will have priority Strength Sap to heal Shiinotic back towards full health.
Ready to give this duo a try for yourself? Feel free to follow this link for sample spreads to get you started. The below video showcases both the strengths and weaknesses of utilising this strategy!