To celebrate Jamie Boyt’s recent victory at the Malmo Regional Championships, let’s cover one of the star members of his team: Alolan Persian. The original Persian never really got a lot of love, but Persian’s new Alolan Form has slowly been creeping its way into the competitive mainstream. With a completely new type and a lot of new mischievous tricks, Alolan Persian could be the missing piece your team is looking for.
Stats & Typing
Aside from its Speed stat, Alolan Persian’s stats are mediocre to say the least. The only thing that changed from normal Persian was the shifting of 10 stat points in Attack to Special Attack which is pretty insignificant. Luckily, Persian doesn’t have to rely on its offense, and the one attack many players use on their Persian turns their opponent’s high stats against them. We’ll get to that in a bit.
That Speed stat isn’t the best out there, but it’s fast enough to put Persian above some of VGC 2018’s biggest threats. Being able to out-speed the likes of Mega Metagross, Kartana and Mega Kangaskhan (to name a few) is huge for Persian’s ability to disrupt the opponent as it will usually strike first.
Persian’s new Dark-typing made it a bit weaker on the defensive side, but it did wonders for its move pool. Having such low defenses means that it is quite susceptible to faster threats like Mega Salamence and Tapu Koko, and the weakness to Fairy-types makes Tapu Koko quite a pain to deal with. Like I said, we’ll get to why Alolan Persian’s Dark-typing is so great once we talk about its moves.
Learned by level-up
- Quash: Let’s start with a bit of a weird one. Quash is a move that suppresses a target’s move so that it goes last in the turn. Usually you prefer this move on a Pokemon with Prankster in order for it to have priority, but Psychic Terrain and Prankster’s ineffectiveness against Dark-types has nerfed the ability quite hard. Luckily, Persian gets around this with its great speed, and has the ability to use this move on a number of popular Pokemon. This move isn’t as effective in 2018 just because of how many faster threats exist, but pair this with a Belly Drum boosted Snorlax and you have a powerful sweeping duo.
- Fake Out: Again, Persian’s speed does wonders for its role as a Fake Out user. Persian can start its disrupting shenanigans early with a first turn Fake Out to give its partner a much safer turn.
- Feint: If Persian could have 5 move slots, Feint would be a great fifth move. The ability to break Protect is another tool that Persian has to make it a great partner for a set-up Pokemon, as Feint is one of the best moves to punish defensive plays. Unfortunately, this move doesn’t make it onto many Persian’s movesets just because of how many better options are out there.
Learned by TM
- Taunt: A fast Taunt is another plus for Persian. If your opponent decides to lead with a Pokemon with Trick Room or Tailwind, Persian can usually shut them down with Taunt. This move is also a great tool against the ever popular Amoonguss as it shuts down Amoonguss’ ability to re-direct and put things to sleep. It also works against offensive threats by not allowing them to boost with moves like Dragon Dance. If Taunt isn’t somewhere else on your team, Persian is a great Pokemon to have it on.
- Thief: Like Quash, this is more of a tech or a fun move to use. With the plethora of “pinch” berries in the metagame, Persian can make use of a fast Thief in order to steal and heal using another Pokemon’s berry. As if Persian wasn’t a great answer to Snorlax already.
- Swagger: I wouldn’t advise using this move, but since Persian has access to Foul Play, it may not be too terrible. The chance to confuse is great, but by boosting your opponent’s Attack, you give Persian an even more powerful Foul Play too. Again, this move is the definition of a gimmick and I would use it at your own risk.
- Snarl: Persian gets access to a better stat-decreasing move, but if you want a move that can hit both of your opponent’s Pokemon, Snarl isn’t a bad option. This is the first of many great new moves that Persian has access to thanks to its Dark-typing.
Learned by Breeding
- Foul Play: Easily the go-to offensive option for Alolan Persian. Foul Play is a move that does damage based on the opponent’s Attack stat, and with the plethora of strong physical attackers in VGC 2018, this move can be devastating. If Swagger potentially exists somewhere on your team, this becomes an even better move for Persian.
- Parting Shot: This is Persian’s claim to fame. Parting Shot is a bit of a lesser known move with the great power to not only switch Persian out of battle but also lower the target’s Attack and Special Attack. With Persian’s excellent Speed, this move becomes one of the best ways to pivot and re-position your team. It doesn’t have the best synergy with Foul Play, but the ability to weaken your opponent’s team and switch out into a potential sweeper is huge.
Learned by Move Tutor
- Knock Off: After its buff in power back in the sixth generation, Knock Off is easily one of the best moves in the game. Is it great on Persian? Not really. Persian’s speed is another great thing for this move, but trying to fit it on a move set can be a challenge. Plus, Knock Off relies on Persian’s offensive stats which will end up putting out pitiful damage even with the boosted damage.
- Icy Wind: Did anyone else know that Persian got this move? Well Jamie Boyt was on top of this great tech. Having access to both Icy Wind and Parting Shot on the same Pokemon is what made Alolan Persian the perfect pick for Jamie Boyt’s team, and it is a fantastic combo of moves.
Fur Coat: This new ability for Persian gives it some pseudo defensive bulk. The reason I say “pseudo” is that Fur Coat only applies to moves that make contact, so attacks like Rock Slide and Earthquake still might hurt a bit. Still, Persian welcomes this natural boost to its bulk, allowing for more investment on the special side to round out its defenses.
Potential held items
“Pinch” Berry: Persian may not have the best defenses, but you’d be surprised how often it gets knocked into the range for “pinch” berry recovery. Increasing Persian’s staying power just makes it even more annoying to deal with, and that’s exactly what you want.
BlackGlasses: Jamie Boyt used this item on his Alolan Persian simply to boost the power of Foul Play. This tiny extra boost helped a lot of his Swagger+Foul Play damage calculations, but that extra damage can also be crucial for picking up a KO on Mega Metagross. This item will certainly become less useful when players start running more defensive variants of Mega Metagross, but right now this item is pretty good.
Darkinium Z: A Z move on a Pokemon with no offense? Well our main concern here is Z-Parting Shot. Z-Parting Shot not only gives you the effect of regular Parting Shot, but it also fully heals what ever Pokemon you switch into with Persian. This is a very good late game move that can easily catch your opponent off-guard.
Checks and Counters
All of the Island Guardians (bar Tapu Bulu) give Alolan Persian a hard time. Any form of strong, Fairy-type damage like Moonblast, Dazzling Gleam and/or Play Rough are attacks Persian doesn’t enjoy taking. Some Persian are built to survive an unboosted Dazzling Gleam from Tapu Koko, but you can forget about taking a Moonblast from Tapu Fini or Tapu Lele.
Fur Coat only protects Persian on the physical side, making Special Attackers the bane of its existence. Along with the plethora of Fairy-types, Persian doesn’t deal well with Pokemon like Mega Charizard Y or Mega Salamence with Mega Salamence being especially troublesome since it out-speeds Persian. Don’t rely on Persian eating up any Special hits unless the opponent has been Parting Shot-ed a couple times.
One of the main reasons you would use Alolan Persian is if you have a Pokemon that can set-up and sweep. Parting Shot gives these Pokemon an extra layer of defense, making their set-up all the more free. Good examples include, and are not limited to:
- Mega Tyranitar (or normal Tyranitar)
- Mega Charizard X
- Mega Gyarados
- Tapu Fini
So why use Alolan Persian?
If you intend on using any Pokemon that likes to set-up using Calm Mind or Dragon Dance, Alolan Persian is an amazing partner. The disruption ability that Alolan Persian brings to a team with the combination of Fake Out, Parting Shot, Taunt and Icy Wind makes it one of the best support Pokemon in the game potentially. And probably one of the most annoying. This Pokemon might be underrated, but I expect it to be on many players’ radar after its regional victory thanks to Jamie Boyt.
Thanks for reading!
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, The Pokemon Anime, Bulbapedia, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International
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