Japanese Name: マンタイン (Mantain)
Classification: Kite Pokémon
Weight: 485 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 65 / Atk 40 / Def 70 / SpAtk 80 / SpDef 140 / Spd 70
Mantine is a Pokémon. Did you forget? Most people seem to. With typing that makes it’s only weaknesses Electric and Rock and the 3rd highest non-Legendary Special Defense in the game, it’s a crying shame that Mantine spends all of her time hiding out in the NU tier and is even there often completely ignored. But with an appropriate moveset and used to do what she can best do (soak up Special Attacks), Mantine can find an appropriate place on your NU or even UU team.
Leveling up, Mantine learns some interesting moves, though it’s important to note that a Physical Attack is going to do absolutely nothing when powered by the heavy Kite Pokémon. Headbutt, Bounce, and even Wing Attack are going to be severely diminished by her poor base Attack stat. At Lvl 46, however, she’ll learn Aqua Ring, which is a great way to substitute for Leftovers (as Mantine will benefit much more from some other items) if you’re willing to use a move for set-up. Leftovers is a passive way to do what Aqua Ring does, so it really depends on if you want your Mantine holding another item.
To be completely honest, Mantine suffers from the same problem that Manectric does – leveling up doesn’t provide her with enough options. But TMs really open up a world of opportunities for her. Try to keep to her STAB attacks. Even with a full 252 EVs in Special Attack, she’s not going to hit very hard and will really benefit from the extra boost from the Same Type Attack Bonus. Surf is a great option with a great base power for a special type Water attack. And Scald, with it’s chance of burning an opponent and thus really curbing the opponent’s attacking power, is probably one of my favorite moves for Mantine. There’s also the option of Ice Beam, though I wouldn’t opt for that over Scald or Surf. Mantine also has access to Rest, which can effectively double her usefulness on the field with the Rest-Chesto Berry combination.
While I don’t usually advocate for going with Hidden Power, HP Flying would be a great way to get a Special Flying move without having to do most of the breeding work in 4th Gen. Not to mention that Special Flying move will be STAB for Mantine. Hidden Power ground could also help out against any Electric Pokémon you end up against, though I honestly don’t think Mantine would be able to outspeed one. Be aware that if you do opt to use Hidden Power on Mantine, you’re going to be in for a long haul with the breeding process. HP’s base power can only be accurately found with an IV calculator and getting the right Hidden Power takes a lot of time.
Mantine’s three options for Abilities are Swift Swim, Water Absorb, and Water Veil. Water Veil, Mantine’s DreamWorld ability is practically useless. Swift Swim is a possibility, but will take set-up in the NU tier. Mantine could never fit in with the OU Tier, even with a Swift Swim rain team. She simply doesn’t hit hard enough. Water Absorb is an interesting choice that, if you can accurately predict a Water move, you can have already exhausted the Rest/Chesto Berry combination and switch her in on that Water Move for a little more health. All of Mantine’s abilities are a little hit and miss, so you really have to decide where she’s fitting on your team and what will serve her best.
EV Training Mantine is pretty straightforward. You can pump up her Speed a little to help her outrun some of her foes, or even up her Defense to make her survive an unexpected Physical attack from a mixed Sweeper. Regardless of how you go about EV training, I strongly suggest avoiding putting too many EVs into Special Defense, as that stat is already so high, her EVs can be better spent elsewhere. I would also suggest a full 252 in Special Attack to help her hit harder.
Hold Items aren’t terribly interesting for Mantine. Leftovers will pump up her HP every turn, which can be replicated or supplemented with Aqua Ring. A Chesto Berry makes Rest a viable option for her. A Flying Gem can boost the power of HP Flying against a Fighting opponent you don’t want to see get back up. I would try for the Chesto Berry more than anything else, however.
Kasumi, my Mantine, has outperformed my every expectation. She was one of my most outstanding Pokemon in the NU tournament my local league hosted recently. I am honestly very disappointed that she doesn’t see more frequent use. She isn’t a Pokemon with a lot of options, but the ones she does have work well and can really carry the day if you as a trainer can nurture her potential.