POTW Pokémon of the Week #3: Gulpin & Swalot

oh my
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In the World of Pokémon, there lives a vast number and variety of amazing creatures to befriend and collect. Every week, we will be focusing on a single one of these Pokémon or evolutionary line and talking about what makes it special. This week's Pokémon of choice are the Gulpin line!



While Gulpin and Swalot are commonly thought to be based on the blobfish, copyright issues deny the notion, making the poison Pokémon more likely to be based on a poisoned organ, or an organic poison creature. With a move pool containing more than ten types, the two are able to stand out in its region for being a versatile team member, whether trainers choose to make them a defensive wall, offensive powerhouse, or the inevitable HM slave! But however you may choose to use them, Gulpin's and Swalot's interpretations in the media and uses in the games are endless, just like the forms it can morph into.

Here are some questions to consider to get conversation rolling. You don't have to answer all of them or any of them in your post as long as you're staying on topic and within global forum rules.
  • Do you like or dislike these Pokémon? Why?
  • How are these Pokémon in-game?
  • How are these Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
  • Do you like these Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
  • How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?
  • If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon, and if so, what would you change?
  • How does Gulpin and its line compare to other poison-type Pokémon in Hoenn? Overall?
If you have any suggestions for Pokémon you'd like to discuss in the future just leave your ideas at the bottom of your post. Make sure you give your thoughts about the current Pokémon first!

Previous Pokémon of the Week:
 
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star gazer
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damnitt I'm basically obligated to post here, these two being by far my favorite poison-types and being close to my favorite pokemon in general...

if I were to describe the appeal to swalot's design, I suppose I could sum it up as "a derpy aristocratic look". It's pretty adorable frankly. Gulpin's design is similar but is less fancy and uses an inferior color scheme, not that the light green isn't nice, but purple is the most choice color of all. You just can't really compete with purple.

it's also a rather abstract pokemon in that it's not entirely clear what it's based on, apart from some sort of organ, probably a stomach. I stumbled upon an article a while back and it made me wonder if swalot perhaps could have had some basis on that. This, namely. Apart from the obvious "being able to swallow anyfin whole" and having an enormous stomach thing, the article mentions the dude's excessive sweating (swalot's dex entries frequently mention it sweating poison), bloodshot eyes, a stench that becomes worse when digesting food (gulpin's dex entries mention this), swalot's mustache looking similar to a french mustache, and maybe some other connections I'm forgetting. Tbh, I think it's a bit of a stretch that swalot has some basis on him, but there were enough connections for me to bother pointing out the possibility. Plus, it's a cool story.

-How are these Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?

swalot belongs to a group of pokemon known as the "fat mono poisons", along with muk, weezing, and garbodor. None of them are really all that good, and unfortunately swalot is generally the least useful out of them. Muk has higher special defense and much more attack, weezing has levitate, taunt and will-o-wisp, garbodor gets spikes....swalot doesn't really have quite as much to make it stand out and it has the worst offensive stats out of any of them.

However, it's definitely not totally outclassed, as some of the less educated plebs might tell you. Firstly, it's worth noting that it's the second bulkiest out of them, only being beaten out by muk, and even then, swalot has the slight edge in physical bulk while not being quite as slow. Its special attack is also the second highest of the group, only being beaten by weezing, so it can better utilize special moves like sludge bomb, giga drain, and ice beam. Speaking of ice beam, it's the only one of the four with access to the move. The same is true with encore, yawn, destiny bond (minus weezing), earthquake, snatch, etc. And for what it's worth, it's the only one to have gluttony and liquid ooze, the former of which I've read being used with a custap berry + dbond, you could maybe pull somefin off with it...and liquid ooze can be sometimes useful to steal some healing from giga drain and drain punch users, and you also screw over leech seed mons. Though, frankly, neither are the best and I generally find myself using sticky hold to deal with knock off and trick. For some stupid reason sticky hold doesn't reduce knock off damage. Hopefully gamefreak fixes that in gen VII, the ability would have a lot more merit if it served as a pseudo knock off resist, considering how knock off is knock off.

I have a number of weird sets that I use with this blob, its movepool is huge as I and op were getting at, and its stats are pretty balanced so it's a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. Aka the most fun type of mon to make a set for. My current favorite set is the following, and I've been using it to some success on battle spot.

Swalot @ Black Sludge
Ability: Sticky Hold
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Calm Nature
- Infestation
- Protect
- Yawn
- Substitute

it's a stally set where you can trap shit with infestation and put them to sleep, protect is to help get past yawn's delay and to accumulate more black sludge recovery. When you get a free turn via sleep or just on a predicted switch (this set is fairly prediction heavy if we're being real) set up a sub. After the sub is up, spam yawn if they're faster than you as to put them back to sleep right when they wake up, and spam protect if they're slower than you. You'll be using these moves a lot so I suggest investing multiple PP Ups into them. I opted for a specially defensive spread but physically defensive could definitely work too for fighting-types and whatnot. It's not an amazing set and it has some really obvious flaws like falling on its ass to any opposing substitute user, and to a lesser extent taunt users (you can at least still trap them). It also has issues against pokemon with reliable recovery, etc, but if you set it up properly and don't run into anyfin that can stop you it has the potential to put in a surprising amount of work in 3 vs 3. Have some ORAS replays from me

TDFW-WWWW-WW3U-HBM7
46BG-WWWW-WW3U-HCKE
Y2KG-WWWW-WW3U-GVYW (this one isn't as much impressive as it is amusing)

-How do you think these Pokémon would interact with our world?

fat people could keep them as pets to lose weight

-If given the power to, would you change anything about these Pokémon, and if so, what would you change?

give them slack off or recover, increase their BST by like 20, etc

-How does Gulpin and its line compare to other poison-type Pokémon in Hoenn? Overall?

they're the only poison types that I consistently like, already went over more competitive aspects earlier in this post

might as well wrap up this wall of text with some choice fanart. Don't got the sources on me atm, sorz


 
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"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
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I'll be honest here, I sometimes forget that Gulpin and Swalot exist. I don't have any personal beef with either of them but they just aren't my first pick for a Poison type. I don't think Hoenn has any really good Poison types anyway, unless we're bringing Roserade into the mix by virtue of it evolving from Roselia. It's one of the two types I'm veeery rigid over due to Gengar's existence.

That aside, I do like Swalot's expansive movepool. I'm a bit of a sucker for those with lots of variety and options. One change I would make, as Neosquid briefly touched upon, is with Sticky Hold. Negating Knock Off's bonus damage would definitely give Swalot a bit of an edge over those who use it as their only Dark STAB (pretty sure all other 'mons with the ability have something else they'd rather use). As it is now, the ability just allows K-Off users to get in more than one of the move's boosted hits, which... feels like a bad thing. No item and 65 BP or an unremovable item and a constant 97.5 BP...
 
Amphibious Friend
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I'm currently using one on an in-game Omega Ruby team. It's just a Gulpin right now and has annoyingly low attack and not much more defense, but I'm hoping it'll be a versatile tank when it evolves. This is my first time using this Pokémon, and I've used almost every single 'mon from the Hoenn region in my many playthroughs of Ruby. ORAS was very kind to most of the regional movepools, so Swalot gets moves like Sludge Bomb in the mid-30s, which I imagine will be a very useful STAB move.

Design-wise, I've always been a fan of very simple designs like this one. I probably like Swalot a bit more than Weezing, but not quite as much as Muk. As for other Hoenn Poison types, Seviper has it outmatched in terms of raw attack power, but Swalot's impressive movepool and solid defenses does make it stand out in its own way.
 
Madcap Entreprenuer
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I've honestly never used Gulpin or Swalot. A Black Sludge set with defensive bulk seems feasible, though.
Poison is a decent defensive type, resisting Grass, Bug, Fighting, and itself, and is immune to the Poison status. Doesn't have a lot of weaknesses, either.

Personally, though, I like Steel type much better as a defensive type.

I do admit, I like the idea of a Pokemon based on a stomach being a poison type. After all, the stomach is full of acid, and Acid has been a Poison type move since Gen I. It just seems to me like Swalot doesn't have a lot going for it in terms of bulky Poison types, though.
Weezing has a high defense, access to Will-O-Wisp, and has Levitate.
Tentacruel has higher special defense and a great secondary typing, decent speed, and a fairly good offensive presence, in addition to being a Rapid Spin user and having Rain Dish as a possible ability.
In comparison, Gulpin and Swalot seem...mediocre.

I'll have to try it out, though, before I make a fair assessment.
 
Driving You Batty
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The Gulpin-line is definitely unique compared to all other Pokemon. There have been plenty of inanimate item Pokemon before but there has only ever been one that is little more than an internal organ, especially in function. Will we ever get more organ Pokemon like a brain or a pair of lungs? Hey, how about that for Pokemon fusion?!

After years of catching and boxing it dating all the way back to my first ever game I finally got to use a Gulpin, which later became a Swalot, in one of my Kalos playthroughs. I was actually pretty impressed with its performance since I can be easily influenced by stats. I was pretty satisfied with how Swalot held its own in battle dealing pretty good damage or provided useful afflictions like Poison or Sleep. I was also pretty impressed by just how many varieties of moves it can learn from Ice Beam to Dream Eater.
 
Fluffy with 80% more spots!
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I've personally never used either of them, but they are special in that they're annoying to deal with if you do not have anything with Earthquake. Of course, everyone and their grandmother has at least one Pokemon in their party that has Earthquake, but when you are only alloted 3 or 4 Pokemon out of 6 into a competition and none of those Pokemon have Earthquake, yeah, they can be a pain in the ass to deal with.

Problem is, I would imagine they would be difficult to use in a competitive environment. Not impossible, but their speed stat is atrocious and their attacking stats wouldn't do much to the opposition. They'd make a great wall and staller at best as long as the opposing Pokemon doesn't know Earthquake, and that's a must-have for any in-game or competitive situation. Of course, of the Pokemon chosen, there is that small chance something wouldn't be able to knock them out, and then you'd have beastly little whiskered monsters on your hands that can wreak lots of havoc.

As far as being outclassed, there are a few other Poison-types that I can think of that can do a much better job. Weezing has the more desirable Levitate ability and proves to be an amazing physical wall. Muk, while still unbelievably slow, has much better defenses and its attack power is spectacular. I'd use Muk before I'd use the Gulpin-line in terms of stalling and being as annoying as annoying can be.

My opinion: they're adequate, but there's better fish in the sea.
 
Call of Fate
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Gulpin and Swalot are two of the very few Generation III Pokemon I dislike, which is a shame since it is my favourite generation. I just find them ugly, and the rhombus patterns don't even fit them that well. Their movepools are solid enough, but since they lack reliable recovery, their high HP isn't particularly helpful, although Liquid Ooze is good against Leech Seed users. Their other stats let them down, too, but I'm not really concerned about this fact.
 
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