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Pokemon Training 258: Curiosity Spotlight- Lauded and Maligned
By Nick M. Facer
Published on 05/22/2012
It's easy to get wrapped up in the hype- and even easier to seem to fail when that hype is wrong.

One of the early leaks for Pokemon Diamond and Pearl was the existence of Rampardos.  Packing a horrifying 165 Attack power (that’s a maximum of 471 at level 100), it astonished people with the potential it had to wreck pretty much anything while virtually ignoring not only most resistances but most tanks period.  There was much hubbub about what it was going to do when it ripped a hole through the metagame and everyone was going to want one.

Then the rest of its stats were released.  While its 97 in HP (for a maximum of almost 400 at level 100) is respectable, the poor thing suffers from Floatzel’s Disease- namely, it looks decent but has defenses made out of wet paper.  While it’s wet card paper (thanks in part to Rampardos’ Rock typing), wet paper is still wet paper, and putting that together with an unremarkable top speed of 236 (rated at a poor 58) made the poor creature suddenly unsuitable for anything other than specialized obliteration of slow walls and the occasional revenge kill.

Most amusingly, while Rampardos went from the hottest thing since plasma to marginally cooler than old socks, the potential it did have got not only overlooked, but overridden by the ease of finding something else powerful to empower further.

Curiously, it is exactly this underestimation that gives Rampardos a chance to shine.

While its speed isn’t entirely abysmal, it is thoroughly on the poor side.  And while its defenses aren’t completely untenable, they are very dangerous for something that should have been at least a decent sweeper, if not a terrifying one.  Because of this, nobody really worries about Rampardos.

This is its first opportunity.

Rampardos has the option of packing Rock Polish.  This not-so-frequently seen move takes the place of Agility for things that don’t make sense with Agility, and a single shot of it doubles Rampardos’ speed, putting it potentially out of reach of even the air-shredding Crobat and thoroughly into the same territory as Ninjask and Accelgor, though lacking the auto-speed-boost inherent to Ninjask.

This makes Rampardos terrifying.  Given a single turn- which most will not, granted- it can smash a hole in almost anything, and quickly from there on.  This of course doesn’t work as well as it could- which is where the real chance lies.  It’s not hard to find out about Rock Polish Rampardos, and so nobody will expect a speedy Rampardos from the get-go.  Ninjask, however, is Rampardos’ best friend.

Ninjask has few worries about the kinds of thing that make Rampardos quake- particularly Earthquake.  It also has Baton Pass and that nifty inherent Speed Boost.  If Ninjask can stick around for two turns, that’s a doubled speed- and it passes those boosts on to Rampardos.  Abruptly, for a short time, Rampardos is God, and an extremely angry God at that.  Head Smash with a Wide Lens on a Speed Boosted Rampardos is coming out with a 225 attack power on Rampardos’ 450+ Attack stat.  An offense of that level will wreck anything that doesn’t resist Rock and most things that will to boot.  There’s recoil, but Rampardos is too mad to care about that.  Most of the things that stand a shot against Head Smash are double-resistant to Rock; essentially, Rock/Steel types.  Which is why Rampardos has Earthquake.

Alternatively, Rampardos packing Rock Polish and a Focus Band to ensure it stays up for the one turn it needs to reach Death Speed can obliterate nearly anything not requiring a Head Smash- Take your choice of Rock Slide or Stone Edge, just remember that eventually it -will- miss, and that will thoroughly break its run of fun.

Once your opponent knows you can pack this, it’s time to play the metagame- the more times you force them to guess if you’ve got your Rampardos with you or not and if you’re going to use it or not, the more you can disrupt their attempts to maintain their own strategy and rhythm.  This is what Rampardos is really for- lurking off to the side threateningly and keeping your opponent from really settling in.  And that, well that’s something it’s really good at.