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Pokemon Training 201- Gimmick Teams 1: Baton Pass
By Nick M. Facer
Published on 04/24/2012
All the basics you need to know to prepare yourself for constructing a Baton Pass team.

Baton Pass is a curious move that can spawn a wide variety of differing pokemon teams.  Because of this, it is worthy of its own article- there’s an entire set of strategies surrounding the one move.

Baton Pass performs as follows- on its turn, the pokemon that uses Baton Pass will switch out with one of the other pokemon on your team.  In the process, it will swap over -everything- affecting it.  Status effects, stat boosts and drops, and even oddball effects like Leech Seed, Ingrain, Mean Look, Perish Song, Destiny Bond- as long as it is an effect that attaches to the pokemon, Baton Pass will move it on to the next pokemon.  While this has a chance to be detrimental (passing Badly Poisoned on to a wall or Burn to a sweeper without Guts), mostly it will help you- transferring things like the Mean Look swap-out lock or the Taunt non-attack-move prevention to a pokemon that either wants its target to hold still, or wants to buy some time to build up before sweeping.  Additionally, because it passes all of these boosts on, you can create a team centered around Baton Passing increasingly improved status to pokemon after pokemon, gradually conflating your power until the last member in the chain is an unstoppable engine of destruction.

There are, however, some key weak points.

First of all, all of these status effects are negated if the pokemon leaves combat for any other reason.  Whirlwind and Roar will ruin a carefully prepared Baton Pass chain.  Second of all, the pokemon -are- switching into and out of combat.  This means that heedlessly going on with a Baton Pass chain when your opponent has been setting up entry hazards like Spikes or Stealth Rock is a recipe for ruination.  While the second counter to Baton Pass is only stopped by the use of Rapid Spin to clear the battlefield, there is a counter to the first- Ingrain.

Ingrain is a very important status effect- not only does it cause a pokemon to recover HP each turn as though it had Leftovers (in addition to any Leftovers it may already be carrying), but it also roots them to the ground- once a pokemon is rooted in place with Ingrain, only using a move like U-Turn or Baton Pass will cause it to leave combat- it becomes immune to Whirlwind and Roar.  Unfortunately, only one pokemon can have both Baton Pass and Ingrain- and that pokemon is Smeargle.

This leaves you with two choices- either skip Ingrain and be very worried about Roar or Whirlwind (in addition to Haze, which destroys any stat boosts but thankfully not any status effects you set up with Baton Pass), or have Smeargle in your team and defend it with your life- as a relatively poor-statted pokemon, Smeargle makes a very unfortunate weak link when used in a Baton Pass team, which can otherwise be fairly strong with Baton Passers such as Umbreon, Scizor, Gliscor, Musharna and Mienfoo (particularly Regenerator Mienfoo -shudder-).

However you do it and whether you base a team or even just one member of a team off of it, it pays to be aware of Baton Pass and which pokemon that can learn it also learn which boosting moves.  A carefully constructed Baton Pass team can prove terrifying to anyone not prepared for it.  And the right Baton Pass at the right moment can devastate your opponent (say hello to triple-speed Rampardos).