Abra - Under/Over-Valued
Abra is an interesting Pokemon, and one I feel would make a good first entry into my blog by discussing how people view it depending on how experienced they are with the LC Metagame. Abra currently sits in the Overused tier based on usage, but I've heard some questioning as to why people still use Abra. Fact of the matter is, most people don't. It's kept up in usage by newer players using it for it's ridiculous sweeping stats and excellent coverage. It's often said that Abra is Overvalued by the newer players overlooking it's obvious flaws, and Undervalued by a lot of players who know the Metagame well. Lets break down the causes of both cases.
It's not at all surprising to see why Abra would be appealing to the average newcomer. Abra is tied for the second highest base attacking stat in Little Cup, not including banned Pokemon, and holds the highest Special Attack. Abra also reaches 19 speed, which is among the fastest Pokemon in LC. Complimenting these amazing sweeping stats is Abra's giant movepool. With it, Abra can leave a huge dent in any Pokemon it meets.
Unfortunately, the newcomers fail to see the obvious flaws a large amount of the time. Abra's defenses are abysmal in every sense of the word. It's special defense is almost only 'pretty bad', while Abra's physical defense can't even save him from resisted physical attacks. This leaves an easily exploitable weakness to Abra's sweeping capabilities; Priority. No matter how fast Abra is, priority is faster, and it's so very common. These weak defenses also mean it's incredibly hard to switch Abra in aside from a Revenge kill, which of course limits the usefulness of this little guy. Besides not being able to take a soft tap from enemy Pokemon, Abra also doesn't enjoy Protect screwing around with his choiced sweeps. To offset his terrible defense, Abra can run a Focus Sash, of course. However, Stealth Rocks are exceedingly common in LC, while Spinners are not.
With priority moves, Stealth Rocks, and Protect so very common in Little Cup, it's easy to see why the Veterans overlook the Psi Pokemon, but there are ways around each of those to make Abra excel. With Priority as practically essential, Abra has two ways to combat it; Focus Sash and Substitute. Sash has issues with SR, which will be mentioned in a little bit, whereas Substitute gives Abra a depth that the new players don't seem to notice. There are situations that pop up where you can force Abra in as a revenge killer feigning Choice Scarf, where the opponent is pressured into switching their current Pokemon (who may or may not be valuable) in exchange for sacrificing a less important or wounded Pokemon to just see what move Abra is forcing itself into. More than that, Abra can also Substitute on Protecters, to gain an instant leg up. The scenarios you have to watch out for are when they aren't pressured to switch and instead just sacrifice their current Pokemon to see what you are running. This kills the element of surprise if they attack and break your Sub, but you can similarly attack straight out instead of Subbing if you think this will be the case, to keep the illusion of a choice item.
Stealth Rocks are another issue for Abra if you are running Focus Sash, as it kills your safety net. There are ways around this, though. One option is to have a Taunt lead, as the majority of Stealth Rock users are used as leads, and preventing their set up is extremely helpful, as they may not get another chance to set up. The second option is team support through running a Rapid Spinner, such as Anorith or Squirtle. As for dealing with Protect, your main options are Substituting on the Protect, or if you run Sash, just attacking and then switching attacks to hit their preferred counter to that move.
As you can hopefully see, Abra is good at lower levels of play because of straight out stat/movepool advantage, and manages to keep up at higher levels of play through good application of prediction and pressuring. With three distinct ways to run Abra (Choiced/Sub/Sash), you can use one build effectively while feigning another set. This unpredictability in Items keeps Abra a significant threat to face down, but does take a little luck and skill to bring in, which may be why it's overlooked for Misdreavus, who is more consistent and adaptable because of great defenses. Abra is the definition of a Glass Cannon, who turns out to be of High Risk to use, but capable of netting a High Reward.
Abra is definitely Overvalued at low levels of play and Undervalued at higher levels of play, and I hope I demonstrated it adequately enough. If you enjoyed the long read, I do plan on making a few more. Thanks for your time, tell me what you think in the comments!
Comment by HeYsUp, Jun 22 2009, 10:57 PM
I definitely think the main reasons Abra is overlooked are;
Diglett makes any sort of Choice Abra screwed. It is forced to stay in and Attack Diglett, giving Diglett the opportunity to use Sucker Punch and OHKO it.
People now realize that even weaker priority attacks like Missy's Shadow Sneak OHKO Abra. It's quite sad actually :o.
No one likes giving one of the hardest hitting Pokemon a free turn to switch in and incinerate something.
Comment by eric the espeon, Jun 22 2009, 11:18 PM
Great first blog entry.
Comment by gk, Jun 23 2009, 04:01 AM
this make my blog look like shit good job
Comment by bahohns, Jun 23 2009, 03:07 PM
Nice write-up. Agree with everything and hope to see more Sub/Sash Abras. Too bad priority rapes it.
Comment by Mr Escalator, Jun 24 2009, 04:29 AM
Well, Heysup, Diglett only acts as a revenge killer, and mainly only to the Choiced Set. Trying to Sucker Punch while they Sub helps them a bunch. Also regarding Misdreavus's Priority, why did it take them so long to realize it? It's super effective and STABed. Even Duskull's SS can finish Abra off.
Also, Houndour only can come in on HP Fire or Psychic, so it's still a gamble, and nobody likes to lose their Houndour.
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