A virtually perfect tank, and a decent pokemon to go second.

Now hang on.  Before you start losing it, please allow me to explain.  I am, in fact, aware that Starmie is a plain and simple example of a sweeper- with a 115 Speed and 100 Special Attack, the starfish’s impressively broad movepool (particularly as it includes BoltBeam) lets it do some astounding damage despite its lack of boost moves that are really worth the time for a sweeper.  It can also pull some fascinating tricks, between Thunder Wave, Confuse Ray, and Rapid Spin.

However, Starmie packs two options that are never considered- and while there are good reasons, these choices aren’t completely unviable, stunningly enough.

The more apparent of the two is its Dream World Ability- Analytic- combined with Trick Room.  Analytic gives Starmie a 30% boost to all its attacks if it goes last.  As a pokemon that can learn Trick Room, Starmie can actually take advantage of this Ability if it’s willing to consume a moveslot for Trick Room- since Trick Room effectively inverts Speed, making the fastest last and the slowest first.  While this seems like a lot of effort and risk to go to, particularly considering Starmie effectively wastes two turns (one to Trick Room and then going second afterwards until the Room wears off) it can be made to work with a bit of care and a team that likes Trick Room a lot (Dusknoir would be a good partner for this, for instance).  Still, this is hardly impressive, as it’s an option that needs a lot of work.

The big surprise comes in the form of Cosmicpower, a move that only a select few pokemon get, which cannot be bred onto anything, and which Starmie can abuse deliciously.

Cosmicpower boosts both defenses, much like Stockpile- however, unlike Stockpile it doesn’t expect you to waste those boosts for another move, and it doesn’t cap you at three shots at any given time.  This on its own wouldn’t be all that much, even considering Starmie’s remarkably solid 85 defenses, if not for the fact that Starmie also carries Recover from its days as a Staryu.  Putting Cosmicpower together with Recover gives Starmie unheard-of durability, and still leaves room for Boltbeam or any other two-attack combination of your choice (I’m personally fond of Power Gem/Grass Knot, for the sake of both general unexpectedness and wrangling the Water/Ground or Fire types who expect to come in to laugh at BoltBeam.).

It’s not perfect- switching a tank Starmie in on something that neither wants to switch away from it nor wants some time to boost itself can still leave your star falling all too quickly, and set-damage moves like Seismic Toss and Night Shade simply won’t care, but the boosts from Cosmicpower rack up quickly and can leave your starfish out of KO range even for powerful Electric and Grass attackers like Magneton and Leafeon regardless of whether they’re assaulting physically or specially.

So try tanking with Starmie.  It’s surprisingly fun.