Welcome to the ninth installment of 6th Gen Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be covering an interesting Pokemon with a multitude of abilities to abuse in nearly any weather. This week, we discuss Heliolisk.
Helioptile make their home in deserts. The frills on the side of its head can generate energy and electricity from basking in the sun, so it is not required for them to eat food. Heliolisk can generate enough electricity to power a skyscraper. It stimulates its arm and leg muscles using electricity, allowing it to run 100 yards in five seconds.
Base Stats: 62 HP / 55 Attack / 52 Defense / 109 Sp. Attack / 94 Sp. Defense / 109 Speed
Heliolisk is a tough one for me to talk about, because no one is using it in the OU tier. Don't get the wrong impression - Heliolisk is not a bad Pokemon by any means, but it's just missing... something. Perhaps if it had Earth Power it would be better... perhaps if it learned Sunny Day on its own, it would be better. Hell, if it learned Heat Wave - a move that makes sense contextually, since it lives in a desert - it would be much better. But it doesn't, and so its movepool just feels lacking, something that many Electric types have trouble with. It does learn Surf, a move that many Electric types would kill to have, and with access to Dry Skin and STAB Thunder, Heliolisk is a great candidate for any rain team.
There is the problem, though. Heliolisk is a generation late to the party, and it's such a shame because he'd have been a top tier Pokemon last generation, able to counter Rotom-W and fit on any rain team easily. But now that infinite rain is gone, you have to either keep constant rain support going with Politoed, or set it up with Heliolisk, sacrificing a coverage slot. Damp Rock Politoed is a must for anyone looking to effectively use Heliolisk in OU, in my opinion, otherwise there's no reason to use it at all, since Thundurus (both forms) and Rotom-W outclass it for the most part.
Heliolisk does have another interesting ability in Solar Power, but to make any use of it you have to use Ninetales or Mega Charizard-Y, and in doing so, you lose Thunder and Surf as viable options, things that Heliolisk can't really afford to lose. I will write up a sun team set for it, but I personally think it's not extremely viable, and I'll explain in further detail in the set description.
|Heliolisk@ Life Orb / Choice Specs|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Sp. Attack / 252 Speed / 4 Sp. Defense
Thunder / Thunderbolt
Hidden Power Ice / Focus Blast
Volt Switch / Focus Blast
Like I've said, Heliolisk is to be used on a Rain team. Damp Rock Politoed should be considered mandatory, and a secondary Rain setter and/or Wish supporter should all be considered to ensure that Rain stays up and that Politoed stays alive to do so. Onto the set itself, Thunder is chosen as Heliolisk's best STAB, providing great power, 100% accuracy inside of rain, and a 30% Paralysis rate. Thunderbolt can be chosen if you dislike relying on weather to use your strongest STAB attack, but like I said, rain staying up should be your main priority when using Heliolisk. Surf gets a pseudo-STAB effect under Rain, dealing serious damage to most Ground types.
Hidden Power Ice is the primary choice for the third slot, able to OHKO standard Garchomp and Dragonite after Stealth Rock is factored in. Hidden Power of any type is only useful when an opponent is 4x weak to it, so keep that in mind if you think it seems somewhat redundant with Surf when covering Ground types. Focus Blast may be used here, however, if you are concerned about Tyranitar coming in to ruin your weather and spoil your Thunder fest. It also provides some nice coverage vs. Steel types, particularly Ferrothorn. In the last slot, Volt Switch is the recommended move of choice, allowing you to scout the opponent's answer to Heliolisk, as well as aiding you in any possible weather wars, if Tyranitar or Ninetales try to get cute with switching in on you and stopping your Rain and Thunders. Alternately, you can run Focus Blast in this slot as well, but you sacrifice a valuable move that allows you to maintain momentum as well as return to Politoed if necessary, to bring Rain back onto the field.
Dry Skin allows you to heal 12% inside of rain, which eases the 10% health that Life Orb Chips each turn, in addition to giving Heliolisk a Water immunity. This is extremely important in this metagame, as it allows it to switch into Rotom-W without much fear, as well as turn it into a great check to Belly Drum Azumarill, who relies heavily on Aqua Jet to clean up after the boost. It also allows Heliolisk to switch into Jellicent with almost no fear of it doing anything except a fairly inconsequential Will-O-Wisp.
Finally, Choice Specs is a perfectly viable item to use on this set, providing much harder hits without recoil, which is really helpful if you need to spam Volt Switch to remove counters before you spam Thunder. Just be careful about what you lock yourself into, and always consider the opposing team when using a Choice item.
Oh, and I guess this is important: Parabolic Charge is garbage in Singles, it's basically Mega Drain. Don't bother.
|Heliolisk@ Choice Specs|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 Sp. Defense
Hidden Power Ice / Fire
This goddamn thing doesn't even learn Solar Beam. I honestly thought it did. I'm going to preface this set by saying don't use this set. But if you're already running MegaZard Y in your team and you just really like Heliolisk, I guess this is a thing you could do...? Anyway, let's get on with it.
Thunderbolt is your most powerful STAB here, and it hits alarmingly hard behind Choice Specs and Solar Power. Volt Switch is important on this set as it hits about as hard as Thunderbolt, but it doesn't chip the health from you at the end of the turn that you'd take from Solar Power, so that's cool, as long as something else on your team doesn't mind being hit with an attack from whatever you're facing. Hidden Power Ice helps bring down Dragons, Gliscor, and Landorus-Therian, and this set has even more power than the last set. Fire is an interesting option to fry Ferrothorn if it tries to get cute and show its ugly face. It also gets boosted by Sun, so it's actually a usable move, but it just kind of has mediocre coverage outside of a few specific Pokemon. Focus Blast because holy crap this thing doesn't even learn Solarbeam. It freaking absorbs energy from the sun like a plant and... wait, no, Focus Blast is because Tyranitar I guess, and because Heliolisk has no better options unless you really hate Gastrodon.
Honestly, this is a bad idea. Sure, Specs Solar Power Heliolisk is powerful, but it's also frail and outclassed by Thundurus-Therian in most ways. I can't even recommend Life Orb. You'll end up with a dead Heliolisk in 5 turns in the best case scenario (that's assuming nothing hits you at all), and, far more likely, a yellow corpse in 1-2 turns.
Helioptile can be found on Route 9 in X/Y, as well as in the Friend Safari if you have the right friend. From there, evolving Helioptile is as simple as using a Sun Stone, which can be found on Route 13 and Shalour City, as well as won in the Super Training event Drag Down Hydreigon if a top score is achieved. Here is what I'd recommend for an in-game Heliolisk:
Grass Knot / Volt Switch
Heliolisk only has a few options available to it, but it has everything you'd want for an in-game set, and is a fairly solid Pokemon for just playing through the game with. Thunderbolt is a powerful STAB. Surf hits Ground types that are immune to Electric attacks. Focus Blast hits Steel types. The last slot provides either marginal additional coverage in Grass Knot if you dislike Water/Ground types, or Volt Switch to be able to do damage while switching. It's sort of a filler slot. Heliolisk needs move tutors really badly. Please, Z version.
Heliolisk is pretty cool. I like the design, and I like the idea of giving it abilities to abuse all 3 of the best weathers (no one cares about you, Hail), though Sand Rush would have been cooler and more fitting for it, in my opinion. Even so, I really wish Heliolisk had been around last generation, because I genuinely think he'd have done much better in environments where infinite weather existed. I really hope move tutors expand his movepool in the future because I want to see this little guy shine as an Electric type with a diverse movepool. We don't have enough of those.
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