Chlorophyll: Doubles the Pokemon's Speed in strong sunlight.
Leaf Guard: Prevents status effects in strong sunlight.
[Hidden Ability] Regenerator: Heals 25% of this Pokemon's HP when it switches out.
Tangela continues to be a very potent Pokemon with its huge defenses and access to multiple utility moves, but this generation gave it something extra - Regenerator and a permanent sun setter. Chlorophyll combined with sun makes Tangela a nearly unstoppable force due to its huge Defense sponging priority moves (something even Sneasel has trouble with), and what it can't take down can be put to sleep with Sleep Powder. Another new generation 5 addition changed Growth from increasing Special Attack by 1 to both Attack AND Special Attack by 1, and in strong sunlight, it actually increases both by +2, essentially giving Tangela a Simple-boosted Work Up. If that's not enough, the Dream World also gave it one of the best abilities yet - Regenerator. These two abilities allow Tangela to both sweep and penetrate the foe's team in ways that no other NFE can.
Sleep Powder Growth Hidden Power Fire Solarbeam
252 Sp Atk / 252 Spd / 4 HP
This is the set that broke the NFE tier. With permanent Drought being offered by Vulpix and only Snover and Hippopotas to stop it, Tangela has all the help it needs to obliterate any team who doesn't use Chansey. What makes this set so deadly is that if Tangela encounters something that it cannot immediately OHKO with one of its attacks (Lampent, Pignite, Dusclops, Togetic, etc.), it can simply use Sleep Powder to put it to sleep and proceed to actually use that Pokemon as setup fodder with Growth, which in this generation boosts Tangela's Special Attack by 2 points if there is strong sunlight. While Sleep Powder's accuracy isn't perfect, successful use of it means only a handful of Pokemon can now stop Tangela's onslaught and actually do something to stop it.
Without Growth, Solarbeam still muscles a 2HKO on Combusken, Servine, Magmar, Magneton, Metang and one-shots Machoke, Sneasel, Kadabra and almost any Gligar and Machoke. It also has a 33% chance to OHKO a minimum Special Defense Lampent if it takes Stealth Rock damage. Hidden Power Fire covers Magneton and Ferroseed (who threaten with Thunder Wave otherwise). If you manage to get +2 from Growth, the only thing in NFE that can now stop Tangela is either Chansey or Togetic with Thunder Wave, assuming they have not already taken past damage.
Sleep Powder Stun Spore Knock Off Leaf Storm
252 HP / 252 Sp Def / 4 Sp Atk
The aim here is to the combination of Sleep Powder, Stun Spore and Knock Off to decimate the foe's team. By using Sleep Powder, the foe is very inclined to switch their Pokemon out. Using Stun Spore as the second move cripples one-third of your foe's team immediately, and with the Speed cut, Tangela will likely be able to use Knock Off on the paralyzed Pokemon before it has a chance to react. When switch-in prediction is tough, Knock Off is always a great move to use because any Pokemon will be crippled without its item, verses only certain Pokemon being crippled by Stun Spore.
You may be inclined to use Wide Lens over Leftovers to help with the Powder moves' accuracy. While on paper this seems to remedy Tangela, it drastically damages its survivability in favor of only a 7.5% accuracy boost. This Tangela also does not have the "do or die" mentality like Skiploom, as you can simply switch out if Tangela misses with one of its powders and be able to use it again later in the match by shuffling Tangela and obtaining the 25% health increase from Regenerator multiple times.
Leaf Storm, even without many EVs, is surprisingly powerful with Tangela's base 100 Special Attack, and with the switch-in-switch-out strategy that Regenerator provides and the availability of 3 other moves that do not rely on Special Attack, the -2 Special Attack drop will not be much of an issue. It can OHKO minimum Special Defense Gabite, Lairon, the standard Piloswine and even Sneasel after Stealth Rock damage and can put a considerable dent in Electabuzz, Machoke and Misdreavus.
You could use Sludge Bomb or Ancientpower over Hidden Power Fire on the Chlorophyll set to do more damage to Togetic, Lampent, Magmar or Servine respectively, but you sacrifice a lot of coverage, including being open to any Steel-type.
Leech Seed is a nice option for the stall set over Leaf Storm if you are not afraid of Taunt users and have a more stall-oriented team.
Tangela gets Amnesia, which gives it some very high defenses, but Ferroseed sports more resistances than Tangela and doesn't have to waste a turn to patch its stats up.
Morning Sun and Synthesis provide Tangela a reliable recovery move, making the stall set harder to take down, but it becomes redundant with Leech Seed, Regenerator and Leftovers.
Magmar is the closest thing you can get to for a counter to the Chlorophyll set. Tangela cannot OHKO Magmar with any of its attacks bar a boosted Ancientpower, is immune to sleep thanks to Vital Spirit, and can immediately shut Tangela down with Fire Blast. It cannot switch in unless it is into Sleep Powder, however.
Haunter does nothing against the Chlorophyll set, but it can switch into Leaf Storm and it can stop Tangela's powder nonsense with Taunt. With Substitute and Taunt it blocks both powders and will take hardly any damage from Leaf Storm, leaving Tangela with only Knock Off for a usable attack. Shadow Ball manages 47.6% - 55.99% damage, which with Stealth Rock damage and Leftovers, has a 52% chance to a 2HKO, even with Tangela's maxed out Special Defense.
Golbat only fears Knock Off ridding it of its item and can also use Taunt to shut Tangela Down while taking virtually no damage from Leaf Storm. Again, this check is useless against the Chlorophyll set.
To take the Chlorophyll set down without some kind of sleep immunity, you will need at least one other Pokemon put to sleep so that Sleep Clause prevents Tangela from using Sleep Powder. Once you accomplish this, an array of new threats face it. Chansey and Lampent work well at this stage - Chansey can use Thunder Wave to destroy Tangela's Speed or simply use Seismic Toss three times. Lampent is resistant to all of Tangela's typical attacks on the Chlorophyll set and can one-shot Tangela with Fire Blast.
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