#196 – Espeon
Japanese Name: エーフィ (Eifi)
Classification: Sun Pokémon
Weight: 58.4 lbs
Gender Ratios: Male 87.5% – Female 12.5%
Base Stats: HP 65 / Atk 65 / Def 60 / SpAtk 130 / SpDef 95 / Spd 110
Espeon is one of the three Eeveelutions to continue earning her place in the OU tiers. This Pokemon has some serious ability to work as a flexible member of your team, despite her very limited movepool. With true ability to function as a wall, a cleric, or a sweeper in her own right, the lovely lilac Espeon is one Pokemon I am constantly surprised by when I include her in my roster.
Let’s take a look at those stats. On the physical side, Espeon is very frail. She genuinely has some flaws as far as physical attack and defense are concerned. But on the special side, Espeon is a monster and has the speed to back it up. While she is far from the fastest Pokemon in the game, she certainly outpaces a large number of foes. With a huge amount of special bulk and the hitting power to make amazing use of her admittedly limited movepool, Espeon has some interesting options.
Espeon’s movepool is, as I’ve said, pretty small. She doesn’t have a lot of tools at her disposal, but the tools that she does have give her the ability to fill several well-defined roles on a team. It’s most powerful damaging options are STAB Psychic and Psyshock, but this can become a major problem for Espeon with the myriad of Dark type Pokemon now cluttering the OU tier. Because of that, it might not be a bad idea to include a good Hidden Power on your set. Hidden Power Fire and Fighting are the two most coveted options for Espeon, but anything with significant power and that will hit foes for at least neutral damage is a better option than leaving yourself completely toothless against Scrafty or Scizor. Espeon can also learn Shadow Ball and Grass Knot through TM as options other than the often frustrating Hidden Power. The Black and White 2 Move Tutor also gives Espeon an interesting option through the use of Signal Beam.
Non-damaging moves are really what are going to define Espeon’s role on your team. Wish is one of the biggest tools in Espeon’s arsenal, and being one of the few Eeveelutions with the bulk to really make Wish-passing viable, it would be an oversight to not even consider adding this to Espeon’s set. Wish can either allow Espeon to begin to work as a strong wall, healing away damage she has taken herself. Wish can alternatively allow her to work as a Cleric, popping in with enough bulk to soak a hit and then pulling away to give a nice refresh to a teammate who would otherwise be on the brink of fainting. Espeon has the ability to become an even more potent Cleric with the introduction of the Move Tutor in Black and White 2. Espeon will now have access to the amazing move Heal Bell, allowing her to pop in and not only be able to heal away damage with Wish but now also heal away status conditions afflicting your other party members. \
Espeon has the ability to work as a very competent wall as well. Calm Mind is another staple in many movesets for Espeon, which give her more hitting power and more staying power by significantly boosting her already strong Special Attack and Special Defense. This boost can, depending on how brave you want to be, boost an already fully EV invested stat or could alternatively be used to boost up Special Defense if you have chosen to pump 252 EVs into Defense to give the Sun Pokemon more staying power on the physical side.
Espeon’s other main role that is determined by non-damaging moves is that of a Dual-Screener. With the Light Clay held to extend the duration of these moves, Espeon can support other more frail teammates by providing them with a reduction in damage from both physical and special attack. Popping out on a Special attacker gives Espeon the time to get both screens up which can allow your team to wreak more havoc with less fear.
Each of these builds is viable for Espeon, which makes her extremely versatile despite her limited movepool. Held Items are going to vary widely depending on what set you’re running. Leftovers are always great if you plan to have her on the battlefield for long periods of time. A Fighting or Fire gem can give her Hidden Power a little more punch if you are worried about being forced off the field by Scizor, Scrafty, or any other Dark or Bug type Pokemon. The Light Clay is absolutely necessary for a Dual-Screening set. An argument could also be made for the Choice Specs if you’re running a sweeping set.
As far as abilities are concerned, I would almost always suggest going Magic Bounce over Synchronize. Magic Bounce is Espeon’s DreamWorld ability, and giving her the ability to pop out on a known Leech Seeder or an incoming set of Stealth Rocks, Toxic Spikes, or Spikes can rapidly turn the tides of battle in your favor. Magic Bounce also reflects all moves that affect status, everything from Toxic to Yawn to Thunder Wave. It also reflects moves like Swagger and Attract, not to mention Worry Seed and Mean Look. Magic Bounce, in my opinion, is going to be superior to Synchronize 95% of the time.
Natures are really going to depend on the set you are running for Espeon and the role you want her to fill. I have seen everything from Defense positive natures to Speed positive natures to Special Attack positive natures, though every time, Espeon benefits from an Attack negative nature. Espeon has no use for Physical Attack, so choosing a nature that detracts from that particularly worthless stat for her is ideal.
As I hope you can now see, Espeon has a lot of potential on the OU tier, even moreso than a lot of trainers give her credit for. She can run interesting sets even with her limited movepool and do surprising things that break from the normal Dual-Screener or Calm-Minder. She is a flexible teammate who can flesh out several roles on many teams, and she certainly deserves consideration for your next team!