Japanese Name: ペルシアン (Persian)
Classification: Classy Cat Pokémon
Weight: 70.5 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 65 / Atk 70 / Def 60 / SpAtk 65 / SpDef 65 / Spd 115
Persian is the original cat Pokemon, and in gameplay is just as amazingly lethal as you’d expect from Giovanni’s pet. Persian, while having overall lower stats than its competitors for the coveted Fake Out/U-Turn lead spot (Ambipom and Purugly), still fills a vital niche as the base 115 Speed scout and can hold its own with the Technician ability, or even with Limber for people expecting to see this cat declawed from Thunder Wave. With a wide variety of early and mid-game support moves and general grief inducers, Persian is a somewhat weaker, but by no means any less dangerous, alternative to Pokemon like Jolteon or Ambipom for a lead position, particularly for RU/NU teams.
Persian’s base stats at first make one think “besides having it because Giovanni had it, why on earth would I ever train one for competition?”. Base 65 HP, base 60 Defense and base 65 SpDef ensure that Giovanni’s pet will not be seeing much extended action. Even his attack stats, sitting at 70 and 65 physically and specially, leave much to be desired and an instant glance-over to the likes of Purugly and Ambipom, who both arguably do a better job in general. Persian’s true saving grace, statwise, is the fact that it has a base 115 Speed, same as Purugly and Ambipom, which permits it to outrun and inevitably outflinch a wide host of opposing Pokemon, and a Pokemon with Persian’s raw speed is extremely rare in the lower tiers.
Persian has a number of moves in its arsenal that Ambipom and Purugly have, but some they do not. Like the other two scouts, Persian can learn Fake Out and U-Turn, Fake Out in particular becoming more dangerous with the ability Technician. Persian can also carry Taunt and Switcheroo, which can shut down early setup attempts by forcing an opponent to attack or switching a Choice item onto him, locking him into one attack at a time for the rest of the match. Again, both of these things are also carried on Purugly and Ambipom. What those two do not have, though, is what makes Persian unique. Persian can carry the move Bite, which, while not seeming all that effective or dangerous, does have a chance to inflict a Flinch, and is affected by the ability Technician, raising its power from 60 to 90.
Persian also has the ability to wield Hypnosis, shutting down an opponent early in the match if you feel like gambling with the 60% accuracy, as well as having the rather unlikely move Nasty Plot. While it would seem that a Perisan with Nasty Plot makes as much sense as a Conkeldurr with a Modest nature, a Persian actually could act as bait for an opponent and, on the switch, use Nasty Plot to boost its Special Attack and fire off a number of nasty surprise attacks, such as Shadow Ball, Power Gem and Thunderbolt. Persian can also cast the moves Sunny Day and Rain Dance, setting up for weather in the UU/RU tiers that are forbidden from Pokemon like Drought Ninetales and Drizzle Politoed. For other support moves, Persian has the ability to use the TM Hone Claws, which improves his Attack and accuracy, but his fragile nature makes using such a move without a predicted switch a risk. Using the attack Retaliate also has merit in the lower tiers, as Persian can be brought in after a teammate faints and use Retaliate for a high-damage STAB move, often KOing a weakened opponent that doesn’t resist it.
Persian’s ability Technician is probably the most useful of the abilities running the Scouting set with Bite and Fake Out, giving you much-needed extra power with Persian’s low Attack stat. Limber is more situational, but it also carries with it the added benefit of immunity to a very common status ailment, paralysis, which is carried by Pokemon in the form of Thunder Wave, Static, Stun Spore and Effect Spore, all prevalent in the RU/NU tiers. Persian’s Dreamworld ability, Unnerve, is quite possibly its least impressive ability. With the odd exception of a Pokemon running a berry it needs to pull off a strategy like a Belly Drum Substitute, Persian is not likely to stick around long enough to keep an opponent from using the berry he or she might have. With the plethera of other items out there, including the efficient Gems, predicting an opponent actually carrying a berry has become a gamble.
Persian, while being a rather fragile lead, is nonetheless an excellent Pokemon and a valuable addition to a team in need of a quick and potentially enraging lead. With a host of early strategy-debilitating moves and useful attacks, Persian has a lot of potential that any trainer looking to play in the lower tiers, or even to bring a 1st Gen gem in for a surprise, should consider utilizing.