Pickup: May pick up items when in the party. May steal the foe's held item.
Taunt Brick Break Fake Out U-Turn
252 HP / 252 Spd / 4 Def
Fake Out and U-Turn in conjunction can do serious damage to many leads who attempt to set-up Stealth Rock, while allowing Aipom to escape without taking damage. Taunt is an excellent move to use against utility leads before you proceed to U-Turn to another Pokemon, although prediction plays a role here, as the opponent may opt to attack you instead. Brick Break is a staple on this set, as it is Aipom's best attacking option for Bidoof, Omanyte, Kabuto, Larvitar and Aron, all of which are common Stealth Rock leads in UU NFE.
A switch to a Jolly Nature and 216 Speed EVs gives Aipom extra EVs to delegate to Defense to aid in faster priority moves from Murkrow, Buizel and Meowth at the cost of Attack power, while only having the misfortune of outspeeding max Speed Magby and said Buizel in UU. If using Aipom in OU, it is advised to have a Jolly nature and max Speed to aid in attacking max Speed Gligar and Misdreavus, who can otherwise attack Aipom for lethal damage. It should be noted that Aipom ties in Speed with these 2 Pokemon, so if a 50% chance at escaping unscathed is unappealing, a drop to 232 Speed allows you to outpace max Speed Gabite, although you lose to Magby.
Return Thunderpunch Fire Punch Brick Break
252 Atk / 252 Spd / 4 Def
Aipom's high Speed an passable Attacking power makes it a good candidate for a Choice Bander. Aipom gets a bunch of other physical attacks, including Iron Tail, Shadow Claw, Aerial Ace, Ice Punch, Bounce, Gunk Shot and Seed Bomb, all of which are options for this set, although the listed attacks give you the best overall coverage in UU.
The EVs are standard for this set, giving Aipom the best attacking power, while ensuring it outspeeds the majority of UUs. A drop to 232 Speed is optional to give Aipom some EVs to delegate to Defense to aid in priority moves, but carries the misfortune of never outspeeding max Speed Buizel, Staryu, Buneary, Glameow, Wingull, Taillow and other max Speed Aipoms. It should be noted, however, that even with 252 Speed, Aipom only has a 50% chance of outspeeding the above Pokemon because of a Speed tie. The EV cut does cause Aipom to not outspeed max Speed Magby, but some carry Mach Punch, which renders maximum Speed useless.
Aipom makes a very good priority lead that can fit into almost any team. Its access to Taunt adds to its usefulness. However, it is hampered by Poliwhirl and Ponyta, who can outspeed it, and can be taken down by almost any STAB Mach Punch. In UU, Duskull boasts a respectable Defense stat to aid in priority moves, and is immune to both Mach Punch and opposing Fake Outs from Glameow. It can also switch back to Aipom when faced with a Ghost attack. Exeggcute is resistant to Aqua Jet and Mach Punch, and can utilize utility moves on a switch-out from U-Turn. Defensive Water-types such as Prinplup, one's own Poliwhirl, and Lombre can counter opposing Poliwhirls and Ponytas or set-up with their appropriate attacks when Aipom is faced with a priority move or STAB Water/Fire attack.
Aipom has extreme competition with Glameow and Meowth for its Free Hits set, as both other Pokemon can do the same thing. However, Aipom has the highest Attack stat of the three Free Hit users, making Aipom the best choice for offensive teams. Aipom lacks Quick Attack and Hypnosis, however, meaning teams with an abundance of set-up Pokemon and teams with a lead Abra weakness may want to consider Glameow, as it carries Quick Attack which when combined with Fake Out, can immediately dispose of Abra.
Croagunk can bypass Aipom's Speed, and hit with a super-effective Vacuum Wave. Max Speed Poliwhirl can outspeed Aipom, and attack with Brick Break or a STAB Waterfall/Surf. Magby outspeeds any Aipom who doesn't invest in nearly maximum Speed, and can attack with Mach Punch. Riolu is resistant to U-Turn, and can attack with a priority move or a STAB Fighting attack such as Sky Uppercut. Onix, Graveler, Rhyhorn and Aron take next to nothing from Aipom's attacks, and can hit back with a STAB Earthquake or Head Smash, respectively.
In OU, Monferno can use Vacuum Wave to deal with Aipom, although it takes a chunk of damage from Fake Out. Gligar has high-enough Defense to take Fake Out, is resistant to Brick Break and U-Turn, and can attack with STAB Earthquake. Sneasel, Electabuzz and Magmar can outspeed Aipom, and can also hit with Brick Break, or a STAB attack, which most times results in a 2HKO, or a OHKO if Aipom has taken a chunk of damage from Life Orb and Stealth Rock damage.
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