The Best Special Attackers For Competitive Play
The art of fighting Pokemon is built around two main forms of damage: physical attack and special attack. Each Pokémon’s proficiency in either of these stats determines which movesets it excels at or which strategies players should employ for them. What separates most special moves from physical moves is their lack of contact with opposing Pokemon – however, some special moves do make contact.
Over the years, many Pokemon with high Special Attack stats have been favored by competitive players. As with most competitively viable Pokemon, the Speed stat is key, but some slower Pokemon are able to thrive with the use of the Trick Room move. These special attackers are some of the strongest in the current competitive meta.
Gengar is one of the most iconic Pokémon to be introduced in the first generation games. As a Ghost/Poison type, it has an incredible strike with immunity to Normal and Fighting types and strength against Fairy and Grass types. However, his real advantage comes from his staggering 130 basic special attack stat.
When paired with moves like Nasty Plot that give Special Attack boosts, Gengar becomes an extremely powerful wallbreaker in the metagame. This is especially useful against Fairy-type dominant walls in OU, such as Clefable. Its only downside is its fragile defense and special defense stats, which means it needs to be used wisely.
This Gen 1 Legendary has great stats, with his 125 Special Attacks being the best. Its competitive use has also placed it in the OU tier, making it a frequent (albeit predictable) threat. His Electric/Flying type also grants him immunity to Ground-type moves, increasing his potential against the Electric-type’s greatest weakness.
With an excellent Special Attack, Zapdos is best used with defensive strategies that enhance his other impressive stats, such as Speed or Physical Defense. Moves like Volt Switch can take advantage of its electric STAB bonus while allowing it to switch to a more powerful Pokemon. He also has powerful abilities like static and pressure.
Kyogre is one of the most popular Uber-level Pokémon right now Sword and Shield meta. His Special Attack and Special Defense stats are, for lack of a better word, divine, at 150 and 140, respectively. His ability, Drizzle, summons Rain, which will boost Kyogre’s STAB moves and make him an incredibly strong offensive threat.
Luckily, Kyogre has plenty of options when it comes to powerful Water-type special attacks. Scald is a great option that could inflict Burn on opponents, while Water Spout and Origin Pulse also offer strong attack power. He also has access to other powerful special moves like Thunder, Ice Beam, and Hyper Beam.
Heatran has been a constant member of the OU level for several generations of Pokemon Games. Although it is 4x weaker to Ground-type attacks, its Fire/Steel-type grants it immunity to Poison and resists a total of nine other common types in the competitive meta, including Fairy-types, Flying-types, and Ice.
Often, Heatran is paired with an Air Ballon as a held item, allowing him to avoid getting OHKOed by a Ground-type move upon activation. It also has access to Solar Beam, which when paired with Sunny Day can be a solid option against threatening ground types. Its ability, Flame Body, also makes it a threat to Pokemon with moves that come into contact.
Like Heatran, Volcarona is also a Fire-type solid OU with access to Flame Body. His special attack is also incredible even in his rank, with a base stat of 135, with impressive special defense and speed. These stats only increase even further when Volcarona’s moveset includes Quiver Dance, which increases each of these three stats by one step each.
If a player manages to pull a few dances from the quiver, Volcarona becomes a fast special attacker. His access to the Giga Drain move can also heal HP while dealing with threatening Water-type Pokémon. He can also use powerful special moves with STAB like Flamethrower, Bug Buzz and Fire Blast.
It’s surprising that Volcanion, which debuted as a Mythical Pokémon in Pokemon X and Y, is the first Fire/Water type Pokémon. However, its immunity to Water-type moves along with its ability and resistance to Steel, Fire, and Fairy make it a great defensive option. Finally, he has powerful Physical Attack and Special Attack stats that provide variety in his movepool.
In terms of special moves to exploit, Volcanion has no shortage of knowledge. There’s his Water-type signature move, Steam Eruption, which is both powerful and can inflict Burn, like a more powerful Scald. Moves like Earth Power also help counter Electric-type threats, while his STAB moves also cover his Ground and Rock weaknesses.
While the Fire/Ghost-type Blacephalon can be visually horrifying, it has a number of competitive advantages. His attack stat is above average, but pales in comparison to his staggering 151 special attack. This special attack becomes even more monstrous when paired with its ability, Beast Boost, which increases this stat each time it KOs a Pokémon.
Fortunately, racking up KOs with Blacephalon won’t be difficult with access to special moves like Shadow Ball, Flamethrower, and even non-STAB moves like Dark Pulse, Psychic, and Solar Beam. He can even benefit from an item like Choice Scarf, which increases his speed while only allowing him to select one move.
3 Galarian Slowdown
Galarian Slowking is exclusive to Crown Tundra, the DLC expansion of Pokémon Sword and Shield. Its Poison/Psychic type is unique among the entire Pokedex, allowing it to resist Fighting, Poison, Fairy, and Grass type attacks. His access to Ability Regen will also restore health when removed, making him a useful ally to keep in battle.
Slowking doesn’t have such strong special attack stats as some other Pokemon on this list, with only a base stat of 110. However, it does have a very versatile movepool, with STAB moves like Sludge Bomb and Future Sight, and non-STAB moves like Ice Beam, Hex, Grass Knot, and Muddy Water. All in all, this makes him a powerful striker who adapts to a variety of teams.
2 Calyrex Shadow Rider
Calyrex is Crown Tundra’s legendary mascot. Although it is normally Psychic/Grass, it can fuse with the Legendary Horse Pokémon Glastrier or Spectrier, increasing its Physical or Special Attack respectively. Merging with Spectrier gives Calyrex a form with a base Special Attack of 165, one of the highest in the game.
His meaty special attack also goes hand in hand with his base speed of 150, making him one of the fastest and strongest special attackers even at Uber level. It also makes him a prime candidate for Choice Specs or Choice Scarf, to have him use his powerful stats to walk in and demolish an opponent in a single move, like the signature move Astral Barrage.
Regieleki, along with Regidrago, also debuted in the Crown Tundra DLC. He is currently placed in the OU tier, even though his attack and special attack stats are only a decent base 100 stat. However, Regieleki’s real strength is his Speed stat, at an absolutely monstrous base 200, surpassing even Deoxys.
With speed like this, Regieleki can take advantage of some pretty amazing special moves, like Thunder, Thunderbolt, Electro Ball, and Ancient Power. The only downside to Regieleki’s viability as a special attacker is his equal potential as a physical attacker, with moves like Explosion, Rebound, and Wild Charge.
MORE: Pokemon: The Best Physical Attackers For Competitive Play