Welcome to the fourth issue of sixth generation's Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be discussing the second of the three starters that X and Y brought to us. This week, we'll be discussing Delphox.
Fennekin eats twigs as it walks as a source of energy. It will blow hot air out of it's large ears as a means of intimidation, as well as a way to cool its core temperature. Upon evolution, Braixen sticks a stick in its tail. When it's pulled out, the friction sets the stick aflame, which it then uses to launch attacks and signal allies. Delphox will gaze into the burning flame on the end of its branch to reach a state of meditation that allows it to see into the future. With focused Psychic powers, it creates a swirling vortex of flames that can reach 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit, incinerating its opponents.
Base Stats: 75 HP / 69 Attack / 72 Defense / 114 Sp. Attack / 100 Sp. Defense / 104 Speed
In our Kalos starter trio, Delphox sits right in the middle of the three. It's nowhere as bad/niche as Chesnaught, but certainly nowhere as good as Greninja. Delphox is just sort of... there. It doesn't really excell at anything. It's also forced to be compared to Victini. While Delphox has higher Speed and Sp. Attack than Victini, Victini has a better ability in Victory Star, and some better moves in Blue Flare, and Glaciate (when compared to Hidden Power Ice, which is less powerful and lacks ther Speed lowering effect). The biggest difference is that Victini's got base 100 stats across the board and can go physical or special, whereas Delphox is pretty specialized in the special category.
Overall, Delphox isn't bad, but it's not impressive either. Psychic doesn't bring much to the table offensively, and it only adds weaknesses defensively. It'll have a niche in UU or RU, but I can't imagine what kind of wizardry it'd have to pull off to make it to OU.
|Delphox@ Life Orb|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 4 Sp. Defense
Fire Blast / Flamethrower
Psyshock / Psychic
Grass Knot / Shadow Ball / Hidden Power Ice
A Calm Mind set springs to mind as one of the first obvious choices for Delphox. After a boost, Delphox can attempt a sweep, if the appropriate counters and checks have been removed or crippled. Fire Blast is your strongest STAB move, and should be your main go-to move. Flamethrower is a weaker, more reliable option, but the accuracy loss from Fire Blast isn't much, and hitting harder on a frail sweeper is always preferred. Psyshock is chosen as the Psychic STAB of choice to be able to break down both physical and special walls, but Psychic is certainly a good choice too, for the higher base power.
As for the final slot, Grass Knot allows Delphox to do damage to bulky water types, though you may need a few layers of Spikes and Stealth Rock to do significant damage to some of them. Shadow Ball hits Ghosts hard, and can be especially useful for Jellicent. Hidden Power Ice can hit some Dragons that suffer a 4x weakness to Ice, such as Flygon and Altaria, who otherwise aren't too concerned with Delphox.
|Delphox@ Choice Specs / Choice Scarf|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack) / Modest nature (+Sp. Attack, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 6 Sp. Defense
Psychic / Psyshock
Grass Knot / Hidden Power Ice
Switcheroo / Shadow Ball
Delphox has just enough moves to string together a decent Choice set. Choice Specs can forego the previous set's turn of setup for immediate power, while sacrificing freedom to switch moves, acting as a good wall-breaker. Choice Scarf functions more as a revenge-killer, and compliments Delphox's nice base 104 Speed well, ensuring it can outspeed base 100's that have gotten a Speed boost.
Fire Blast is your most powerful STAB attack, and is necessary on this set for the added power it provides Delphox. Psychic is chosen for the same reason, though Psyshock is certainly an option if you want to be able to beat some key special walls I suppose. It really depends on what you expect to be facing, and that'll depend on how the tiers sort out. Grass Knot allows Delphox to actually do some damage to Water types as they switch in with Choice Specs. With a Choice Scarf, however, Hidden Power Ice is recommended to be able to deal with Dragons that are quad weak to Ice, especially since Scarf Delphox outspeeds most of them, even if they've gotten a Dragon Dance in.
Switcheroo is chosen in the last slot as one of the better moves Delphox has access to. Ridding yourself of your choice item is one of the best ways to beat nearly any wall that switches in, as they'll struggle to make efficient use of their healing moves, and constantly be forced out. If this isn't appealing, however, Shadow Ball provides some additional coverage against Psychic and Ghost Pokemon.
I feel I should mention that my buddy RubyRobin had an idea for a set that uses Fire Gem and Magician to get a strong initial Fire attack, before stealing the opponent's held item, but I didn't include it for two reasons:
-Fire Gem isn't available yet
-I see this as extremely gimmicky and not worth your time, especially when Delphox needs the help of Life Orb to deal as much damage as possible, or a Choice item to fulfill a niche on your team
Nevertheless, it is an option that can potentially kill one Pokemon and cripple another, and that in itself has some merit, so think on it if it appeals to you.
Choosing Fennekin as your starter actually isn't a terrible choice. I did a playthrough with it and was mostly pleasantly surprised by how it performed. Unfortunately, if it can't hit the foe super-effectively, it struggles to stay alive against anything using physical moves. Nevertheless, here's what I ended up using, and what I'd recommend for you:
Yeah, Delphox isn't really one to surprise with its movepool, but it works pretty well in-game. Flamethrower and Psychic make up your STAB attacks, with Grass Knot providing coverage against Water types, and Shadow Ball mostly there to beat other Psychics. Not much else to say, honestly. Hit things and win.
I have mixed feelings about Delphox. The design is... okay, I suppose. Not a fan of the long robe, though. I understand what they were trying for, but like... I dunno, a massive staff with a flame or an orb or something on top of it would have been cool because I mean, if you're just going to make it a wizard go all out. Sawk and Throh get full-on Gi's, and we've had Pokemon with weapons since the beginning, so why not? I dunno, something about Delphox's design seems lazy, but there's just enough effort there to not be horrible, I guess. Bluh, hurry up next week.
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