One of the best competitive Pokemon choices is Freaking Murkrow

One of the best competitive Pokemon choices is Freaking Murkrow

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Murkrow stands before a stunned crowd.

Image: Game Freak / The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

While competitive players continue to fall Pokemon Scarlet and Violetstrategic depth and iron out its tactical wrinkles, one creature has received shocking playtime in the past month: the Murkrow. The unevolved flying dark type isn’t a heavy hitter and its stats are absolute garbage, but it has a unique advantage over every other pokemon in the game that sent it straight into the top of the competitive rankings.

Browse social media, hang out on the Smogon message boards, or climb the ranked ladder and you won’t be able to escape Murkrow. The Little Black Bird, first introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver finally returned to the spotlight and ex Pokemon World Champion Wolfe “WolfeyVGC” Glick explained the reasons why in a recent TikTok:

The first is Tailwind, a move that the Gen 2 bird has had since the jump, but which is extremely important in the current landscape, giving all other Pokemon on the team bonus speed for four turns. The second is Prankster, a passive ability that allows Murkow’s non-damaging moves like Tailwind to have increased turn priority during fights, thus allowing him to strike first. in Scarlett and VioletGen 9, it’s Murkrow only A Pokemon that has both, guaranteeing a match-defining speed boost on turn one.

But why Murkrow and not his evolved Honchkrow form? Well, Murkrow’s evolved form loses Prankster in exchange for the damage-oriented passive ability Moxie, ruining the entire strategy. Plus, players can mitigate some of Murkrow’s disadvantages by equipping the hold item Eviolite, which boosts the normal and special defenses of Pokémon that haven’t fully evolved.

“Don’t get me wrong, the Prankster combo is really good, but that’s not the only reason Murkrow is popular,” added WolfeyVGC on his recent TikTok. “Murkrow also gains the Haze attack, which removes all stat changes from the battlefield. This is fitting because one of the most powerful new Pokemon added is Dondozo, which has a way to raise all of its stats by 2.” Haze makes this completely pointless, making Murkrow a perfect counter to Dondozo in addition to being a major utility pick to boost the rest of your team.

That was enough for Murkrow to do the second most chosen pokemon in competitive play for December, just one percentage point behind the Gholdengo crypto coin all-star mascot. As WolfeyVGC wrote in a Twitter thread a few weeks agoGholdengo’s ghost/steel dual type makes him a great pick for defense, while the Make it Rain special ability deals a lot of damage.

The wielding Swords-Dance Garchomp and Bulk Up defensive tank Annihilape are also top contenders, as is Hydreigon, which can finally use the new games Terastalization mechanic to mitigate its traditional 4X weakness to enchantment-type moves. Amoonguss Mushroom, meanwhile, tears things up thanks to Rage Powder, which forces opponents to target it instead of buffing.

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