#091 – Cloyster
Japanese Name: パルシェン (Parshen)
Classification: Bivalve Pokémon
Weight: 292.1 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 50% – Female 50%
Base Stats: HP 50 / Atk 95 / Def 180 / SpAtk 85 / SpDef 45 / Spd 70
So, Sam and I were talking one day about how the really good trainers at League have a Pokémon that people truly fear. Sam has his Togekiss, which is fast as all get-out and makes an opponent flinch like no other. One of our friends, Richard, is the master Prankster with his Whimsicott and DW Sableye. The League Leader, Josh, has some terrifying Pocket Monsters at his disposal, but perhaps the worst is his Eviolite Porygon2. I hadn’t achieved that sort of notoriety yet, and I wasn’t sure what Pokémon would take me to that level.
As it turns out, that Pokémon was Cloyster.
Cloyster is an absolutely devastating Pokémon. And considering he’s been around since the days of the original Red and Blue, it makes me unbelievably happy to consider him a strong part of my team. He isn’t cute or pleasant to look at, but goodness gracious is he a terror on the battlefield. There are two younger kids at League (who I love to battle, by the way – they’ve got strong Poké-ethics and have refused offers of hacked Pokémon) who straight up tell me I’m not allowed to use the Cloyster when I battle them. It makes me giggle a little.
There are really two things you can do with Cloyster. You can make him a crazy Physical Wall with the ability to hit pretty hard in return himself, or you can turn him into an unstoppable Physical Sweeping force. Now, my Cloyster has gone the route of the Sweeper, so that is the build I’m going to focus on. If you’re interested in a Cloyster Wall, let me know and I’ll see about doing a second post on the Bivalve Pokémon.
Cloyster, being dual-typed, does have a few weaknesses straight off the bat. Electric, Grass, Fighting, and Rock really ruin Cloyster’s day. With his strong base Defense, he can typically soak a single Rock attack, but the other three types are going to really mess Cloyster up. He has a very poor base Special Defense, and considering how many Electric and Grass damaging moves are Special Attacks, Cloyster is not going to survive a hit like that. Oddly enough, the only two types that Cloyster resists are the two that make up his own typing – Water and Ice.
Though, speaking of his base stats, you’re looking at an impressive spread. His base Defense is one of the highest in the game at 180, and a base 95 Attack is nothing to sneeze at. His Special Attack and Speed are decent enough at 85 and 70, but his Special Defense and HP are very low at 45 and 50. These things need to be at the forefront of your mind when you begin to plan out your Cloyster. EV training really separates a Bulky Hitting Cloyster from a painfully devastating Legendary Sweeper Cloyster. There is no reason to put any EVs into anything other than Attack and Speed, with your last 4 going to any other stat you choose as it’s not going to matter much for Cloyster.
That may sound odd to some, opting to bump up Speed instead of Defense. But that’s because a true Sweeper Cloyster isn’t going to get to keep his Defense. What Cloyster needs is as much of a boost to his Attack and Speed as he can get, because at level 56 (while still a Shellder) he will learn Shell Smash – one of the most impressive stat affecting moves in the entire game. NO Pokémon can learn Shell Smash through breeding, and the only Pokémon to get it leveling up are Shellder (and subsequently Cloyster), Omanyte/Omastar, Magcargo, Torkoal, Clamperl, Dwebble/Crustle, and Tirtouga/Carracosta. Using Shell Smash causes a one stage drop in Defense and Special Defense (which is why I said previously not to dump any EVs into Defense) and at the same time causes a two stage rise in Special Attack, Attack, AND Speed. The only other stat-affecting move in the game that positively affects three Stats is Quiver Dance (another move that is very limited in the Pokémon who can learn it).
This boost in Attack, Special Attack, and Speed is Cloyster’s greatest advantage. With respectable base stats in both of his Attack options, you could conceivably create either a Physical or Special Cloyster. EVERY Cloyster should have Shell Smash on his moveset, in my opinion, which leaves you with three other slots to play with. Ice Shard at lvl 28 gives Cloyster a priority STAB move. Razor Shell at lvl 32 gives Cloyster a Physical Water attack (considering he, for some reason, does not have access to Waterfall). There are also the options of Brine and Ice Beam as Shellder levels up. Breeding can give you Avalanche and Water Pulse. TMs offer Blizzard, Poison Jab, and Frost Breath. Choose one of these options.
I say “choose one of these options” because Cloyster’s other two must-have moves (again, in my opinion) are Icicle Spear and Rock Blast. These two moves are often looked over for competitive battling because they have a weak base power and hit 2-5 times. But, Cloyster has the most brilliant ability to make these attacks completely devastating — Skill Link. Skill Link is an ability that makes any move that hits between 2 and 5 times always hit five times. This can be unbelievably brutal.
Cloyster’s other abilities truly do pale in comparison to Skill Link, but depending on what you’re going for, you might find them to be useful. Shell Armor could be good if you find yourself against an opponent with Super Luck, and his DreamWorld ability, Overcoat, might be useful if you envision putting him up against a Sand Team (which I would usually advise against), or as a strong Defensive Wall on a Hail Team. A focused Special Attack Cloyster might get some use out of either of those Abilities as well. Though, my first pick is always going to be Skill Link, especially since there are only 4 Pokemon outside of Shellder/Cloyster who can have it.
So there you have it. A Pokémon from way back in the day who has remained relevant through change after change and hits harder than I could have ever hoped. Cloyster has truly become my favorite Pokémon for OU play, and I have never been dissatisfied with his performance. I have not yet nicknamed my Cloyster, but I am looking to name him after an Arthurian Knight. I just am having a hard time choosing one!!