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February 25, 2012

Rapidash


INTRO:

Rapidash is such a cool Pokémon; sure, it'snot original or intricate in its design in any way, but it's probably the only horse-like design done right in Pokémon, besides certain Sawsbuck and Arceus appearances. Yep, this little horsey has flowing hair of fire sprouting from every part of Rapidash: down the neck, above each hoof, and at the start of the tail, where it meets its flank (Seriously, I would not know ANY part of the horse if it weren't for Ponies...). Rapidash is one cool cat, er... equestrian mount.

Rapidash also does okay in the competitive environment! I won't cover much here, but Rapidash has always been respected for having everything it needs to be decent with falling under the radar, but for not dominating the tier. Rapidash is a mid-tier sweeper who has some nice attacks for doling out damage, and has even gained a few new tools this generation that are greatly appreciated!


STATS:

HP - 65 (Below Average)
ATTACK - 100 (Above Average)
DEFENSE - 70 (Below Average)
SPECIAL ATTACK - 80 (Average)
SPECIAL DEFENSE - 80 (Average)
SPEED - 105 (Above Average)

TOTAL - 500 (Average)


MOVEPOOL:

Rapidash, being cursed with its Fire typing, doesn't exactly have a glorious movepool, but unlike dog-shaped Pokémon, Horse-shaped Pokémon usually have pretty nice movepool additions! Horse-like Pokémon are also rather famous for always having nice, balanced stats with small emphases on sweeping stats. Rapidash follows both rules obediently, and it doesn't disappoint, despite the movepool still being rather small.

 Offensive options can be physical or special-based, but most options are still physical. Flare Blitz, Poison Jab, Wild Charge, Megahorn, Low Kick, and Bounce are Rapidash's main moves. I know, this looks limited, but just take a second to look at the amazing coverage you get with these moves! Pair that with decent sweeping stats, and you have a workable sweeper that can pair well against opponents.

Of course, with Vulpix and Ninetales available for setting up some pretty days full of daisies and sunshine for Rapidash to scorch and demolish! Utilizing a Special Set or Mixed Set may be preferred here. On the special side of things, however, Rapidash is pretty limited. Fire Blast, Solarbeam, and Hidden Power are all you have for special moves. I guess this could be seen as a good thing, as something like Morning Sun, Hypnosis, or Flame Charge could go here for tactical reasons.

A good in-game set for Rapidash would be...

STRENGTH / HEADBUTT (Neutral damage used mainly for exploration reasons)

FIRE BLAST / FLAME WHEEL (STAB; Choose whichever one, depending on when you can get them)

IRON TAIL (Low Accuracy, but makes the Rock-types a little easier to hit)

MEGAHORN (Use a Heart Scale at a Move Tutor to get this amazing move back; it'll help a lot in the Elite Four, trust me)

Rapidash can pretty much only sweep, and since the only practical sets are the Physical and Special sets, I'll name those two!
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TOASTY TROTTER (Physical Sweeper):

FLARE BLITZ / OVERHEAT (Flare Blitz causes BIG recoil damage, while Overheat may hit a little less intensely, but won't have much drawback)

WILD CHARGE (Hits the Water-types hard, and also gives recoil, hence why I gave an option besides Flare Blitz)

MEGAHORN (Hits Psychic and Dark-types hard, which may prove to be very useful!)

RETURN / BOUNCE (Neutral coverage or hard hitting against Fighting-types. Bounce really only runs risk against Thunder, which is extremely easy to initially predict. 30% chance of paralysis just makes it even better!)

RECOMMENDED ITEM: Life Orb / Choice Band / Expert Belt

RECOMMENDED NATURE: Adamant / Lonely / Naughty

RECOMMENDED EV SPREAD: / 252 Attack / 252 Speed / 4 HP /

Rapidash is pretty limited on movepool options, which is the norm for most Fire-types. Would it scare you if I said Rapidash has more movepool options than the average Fire-type? Of course, it's a merit for Rapidash among Fire-types, but compared to all of the other Pokémon, it's a pitiful "achievement". Nonetheless, this moveset is enough to work well.

STAB has to be high-powered, as Rapidash needs to be able to hit back Steel-types and keep them at bay. Overheat is the Special-based option with no drawback, seeing as this is a Physical set, whereas Flare Blitz will be stronger, but at the risky cost of recoil damage. WIld Charge is also a recoil move, but tames the Water-types; beware of Water/Ground types, though! Megahorn and Bounce are both fun moves that give you a splash of surprise against the opponent.

Rapidash is rather predictable, but makes a decent mid-game sweeper, due to the versatile coverage, fair Speed, and decent Attack. Nothing flashy here, but acceptable.
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TWILIGHT SPARKLE (Special Sweeper Set):

FIRE BLAST (STAB)

SOLARBEAM (Covers all of Rapidash's weaknesses!)

HIDDEN POWER (GROUND / ROCK) (Whatever you can use to cover up against other Fire-types. Believe it or not, a fellow Fire-type is probably Rapidash's bane, so make sure you're well-equipped to defend yourself)

SUNNY DAY /  MORNING SUN (If you don't have another member to set up the sun, then you need Sunny Day on Rapidash. If you have Sun planned to be set up beforehand, then using Morning Sun can be great for the 66% HP recovery!)

RECOMMENDED ITEM: Expert Belt / Life Orb / Wise Glasses

RECOMMENDED NATURE: Modest

RECOMMENDED EV SPREAD: / 252 Special Attack / 252 Speed / 4 HP /

Essentially, it's a less practical Sweeper set that can pay off, thanks to the better coverage compared to the Physical set. Also note that the Sun makes the STAB stronger than the Physical set, and there's not even any recoil damage on this set, which is a bonus! So yeah, the Special set has some equal merits against the Physical set.

Not really much to say, other than the fact tht I ave to judge this set as if it were to have Sunny Day and not Morning Sun, since these are solo reviews, and I can't judge this set as if it were to have Sun set up by another Pokémon or Drought; sorry, that's just how it works, and thanks to Rapidash's weakr bulk, it doesn't set up Sun too well. As long as it doesn't get hit by a super-effective move, it should be fine, and that's only a statement to be made if Rapidash didn't come in on Stealth Rock.

Yeah, a prime example that Rapidash can't do much more than sweep, seeing as it has trouble just setting up Sun for itself. At least back in the Advance Generation, it was good on its own, since the power creep wasn't as bad as it is now...
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CONCLUSION:

Rapidash is a decent sweeper, there's no denying that! Holding a small but effective arsenal of moves, and passable stats all around, Rapidash is a well-rounded Fire-type Sweeper, which is great, seeing as many Fire-types aren't so lucky. I think it's safe to say that Rapidash is one of few survivors among Fire-types that can still thrive, even after the Stealth Rock bomb from Sinnoh, which is a huge honor nowadays.

However, that doesn't quite give Rapidash any sort of status symbol; Rapidash is still only an average Pokémon. Yeah, it's decent, and it certainly doesn't suck as much as this Fire-type or this one, but it still carrys every trait of a Fire-type: three crippling weaknesses, low defenses, and a very shallow movepool. Rapidash certainly does its best to make the most of what was given to it, but the fact is plain and simple: Fire-types simply aren't that good, from a competitive outlook, as opposed to the Steel, Fighting, and Dragon-types that flood most tiers.

I think Rapidash does great in its own right, and definitely shows that Fire-types are still great, despite being faced with so much adversity. Rapidash still faces all of the issues that every Fire-type faces, but Rapidash is one among a few that haven't been thrown completely under the bus, and I think we can all be thankful that some survivors still remain to this day.


RATING:

7/10 (70%)


~WILL
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