Welcome to the twenty-third issue of 6th Generation's Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be focusing on an Eeveelution whose role, at the time of writing this, has just recently changed drastically within OU. This week, in line with the most recent ban from Smogon, we'll be discussing Espeon.
Eevee is a rare Pokemon with an unstable genetic makeup. It tends to evolve depending on its environment, though there have been many discoveries that lead to a current total of eight evolutions. Studies are currently being conducted to determine if there are more possible evolutions. The tip of Espeon's forked tail quivers when it is predicting the foe's move. Its sensitive fur can predict the weather, as well as the thoughts of opponents.
Base Stats: 65 HP / 65 Attack / 60 Defense / 130 Sp. Attack / 95 Sp. Defense / 110 Speed
At the time of writing this, Smogon has made a new, much-needed ban: it is illegal to have more than 3 Pokemon that have Baton Pass on the same team. Of all the Pokemon in the game, this effects Espeon more the most. The reason behind this, and the reason behind the ban, is because entire teams dedicated to Baton Passing as many boosts as possible to Espeon, who has both Magic Bounce and more importantly, STAB Stored Power, as well as Baton Pass itself if it's in danger. With Scolipede receiving Speed Boost this generation, it became a near perfect Baton Pass lead. In combination with things like Smeargle, Sylveon, Vaporeon, Mr. Mime, Mew, and Zapdos, to name a few of the best, Baton Pass teams became overwhelming for the OU metagame, and any team without dedicated counters to beat, and even teams with dedicated counters would often lose to one or more variants. In short, Baton Pass ruled the metagame for a while, and the most recent ban has removed the ability for entire teams to be dedicated to BP alone, while not entirely making Baton Pass useless.
So where does that leave Espeon? Well... it's still got Magic Bounce, and it still has Baton Pass. It's no longer the behemoth that it was before, but it provides a rare niche as a good offensive user of Magic Bounce, and if that's something that your team appreciates, Espeon is one of, if not the best choice for the job.
Calm nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 200 HP / 58 Defense / 252 Sp. Defense
This set assumes you're passing Speed and Defense boosts from Scolipede, as is the nature of Baton Pass-centric teams. Calm Mind is used to buff the Sp. Attack and Sp. Defense stats, making you impenetrable from either side. Substitute blocks critical hits and status from things like Lava Plume and Scald. Baton Pass ensures that Espeon can escape from Dark types and keep the boosts intact. Stored Power is the real crux of the set, taking the power from every boost it has obtained and using it to smash the opponent with an incredibly powerful STAB'd attack.
The team around Espeon is incredibly important. Scolipede is a necessity. Not only does it pass Speed from Speed Boost, but defense from Iron Defense and Substitutes as well. The last Baton Passer should be chosen wisely, and each option presents different pros and cons. Smeargle provides Ingrain to prevent Roar and Whirlwind, while also providing a sleep move in either Spore or Dark Void, depending on preference. It also has every stat boosting move, so you can choose from such things as Quiver Dance or Shell Smash, or even Taunt if you're so inclined. Sylveon gets both Hyper Voice and Stored Power, in combination with Calm Mind and Baton Pass to act as a secondary threat within the Baton Pass chain. Zapdos can stop Mega Pinsir from setting up alongside you and sweeping you. It also has access to Baton Pass to keep the chain going, and Charge, Charge Beam or Agility to pass if desired. Clefable makes a great secondary recipient for Baton Pass, as it has Magic Guard, Stored Power, an instant means of recovery in Softboiled or Moonlight, Calm Mind, and STAB Moonblast for any Dark types immune to Stored Power.
|Espeon@ Life Orb / Leftovers|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 Sp. Attack / 252 Speed / 4 Sp. Defense
Psyshock / Psychic
Hidden Power Fighting / Fire
Shadow Ball / Grass Knot / Wish
Baton Pass / Substitute / Protect
Espeon can serve as a good offensive Magic Bouncer for your team. Psyshock or Psychic serves as your STAB attack, depending on whether you like higher power or the ability to hurt special walls more. Hidden Power Fighting can hit things like Tyranitar and Bisharp, but Fire can be used for Scizor and Ferrothorn if you prefer. The third slot is a bit filler, given Espeon's shallow movepool. Shadow Ball hits Aegislash, while Grass Knot hits Tyranitar if you decide to go with HP Fire. Wish is helpful for team support, or even just supporting Espeon on an expected switch.
The last slot has a few options. Baton Pass bypasses Pursuit and causes Sucker Punch to fail when faced with Bisharp. Substitute can be used as a buffer for switches, but it also chips away 25% of Espeon's health, which can be risky in combination with Life Orb. Protect can ensure you receive your Wish, as well as stall out opposing Sand or Sun, and scout the opponent's move.
This set is outclassed by Alakazam and Latios for the most part, but Magic Bounce provides Espeon a niche to stand out, so if you're using this set, it's for that, and be sure to take advantage of it when the opportunities present themselves. Espeon's presence on a team alone discourages the use of entry hazards near the beginning of the match most of the time, so be careful with switching Espeon into the match, as its frailty is a huge weakness that can find it fainting far before its job has been accomplished.
|Espeon@ Light Clay|
Timid nature (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Speed / 4 Defense
Psychic / Hidden Power Fire / Fighting
Espeon's access to Magic Bounce allows it to reliably setup dual screens without having to worry about priority Taunt or the opponent spilling out entry hazards. Reflect and Light Screen provide a buffer for your entire team, which is especially helpful for heavy offense teams. Baton Pass allows you to bypass slower Pursuits, and scout whether the opponent will stay in or switch. The last slot ensures that Espeon can mount some form of offense if it's necessary. Psychic is your strongest STAB attack, and so is the most reliable thing to use here. Hidden Power Fire can be used to beat Scizor that may attempt to setup Swords Dance on a dual screen Espeon, while Fighting can hit Tyranitar and Bisharp if necessary and safe to do, but you're usually safer just Baton Passing out of them.
As I said, offensive teams appreciate Espeon's screens and Magic Bounce's natural discouragement of entry hazards. Pokemon such as Mega Pinsir, Dragonite, Mega Charizard X, Mega Mawile, and Garchomp are all great examples of setup sweepers that greatly appreciate screens to soften blows while setting up boosts to sweep the opposing team.
Eevee can be found on Route 10, most commonly in the yellow flowers, and in Friend Safari. From here, evolving it to Espeon is as simple as maximizing its happiness during the day time and leveling up once. Here's what I'd recommend for an in-game Espeon:
Grass Knot / Morning Sun
Being an Eeveelution is a horrible curse, giving a shallow movepool that can barely string together four offensive moves. For Espeon, without a Hidden Power type to expand coverage, it can't even accomplish this in a meaningful way. Psychic is chosen as the strongest STAB, while Shadow Ball provides coverage against opposing Psychic types, as well as Ghosts. Grass Knot is there because Espeon literally has nothing else worth putting here. It has nice super effective coverage, though, so that's something. Morning Sun can be used here to keep yourself alive. Calm Mind is used in the last slot to buff Sp. Attack and Sp. Defense because... Espeon has nothing else it can be doing in-game with only level-up moves and TMs. Bluh.
In the Pokémon fanbase, Eeveelutions are among the most popular Pokémon, alongside the ever popular Pikachu and Charizard. Generation II’s additions to the Eevee family, Espeon and Umberon, are particularly popular. In Gen II, the first place you will probably see Espeon is in Ecruteak City while battling the Kimono Girls in the Kimono Dance Theater. This is a pretty fitting place to discover Espeon, given how much Japanese folklore likely inspired its design.
Espeon seems to be based on legends of the nekomata. In Japanese folklore, there are two very different kinds of nekomata. One kind of nekomata are said to live in the mountains and “have eyes like a cat, and have a large body like a dog.” The second kind are domestic cats that are said to turn into a nekomata as they grow old; the defining trait of this variety is that it has two tails. Espeon is likely based on this second variety of nekomata. Espeon looks like a domestic cat with a forked tail, similarly to how nekomata were domestic cats that became demons and grew a second tail. Espeon are known to rarely be found in the wild, they are more commonly found in urban areas, similarly to how nekomata come from domesticated cats. Espeon, however, seems to act in the opposite way as a nekomata. Espeon evolve through friendship, but, though any cat could become a nekomata, the more a cat was mistreated the more powerful it will be as a nekomata. Espeon are known to be loyal to their trainers, using their psychic powers to protect them, however nekomata often attack their former owners, or at least haunt them with visitations from dead relatives as nekomata are also said to have powers of necromancy, as opposed to Espeon’s brighter, sun-based psychic powers. If Espeon acted more like a nekomata, it would have made a far scarier Dark type than Umbreon.
The origin of Espeon’s name, however, isn’t quite as interesting. Its name likely came from the word ‘ESP’ (extra sensory-perception. It is used to describe many psychic abilities such as telepathy, which Espeon has) in combination with the suffix ‘eon’, meaning ‘an immeasurably long amount of time’, which all eeveelutions’ names end with, possibly in reference to how long evolution takes naturally.
Espeon’s names in other languages are not too different. In Japanese, it’s エーフィ Eifie, coming from the words エスパー meaning esper (a person said to have psychic abilities, which is also where another cat-like Psychic type Pokémon’s name, Espurr, comes from), フィール meaning feel, and イーブイ Eievui, which is Eevee’s Japanese name. In French, it’s Mentali, from the word ‘mental’ and ending with -li like every Eeveelution in French. In German, it’s Psiana, From Psi (parapsychology) and ending with -a like every Eeveelution in German. All pretty standard for Psychic types and for eeveelutions.
Espeon is freaking adorable, definitely one of the cutest Pokemon ever created. There's a stigma attached to Eeveelutions that people tend to have about them being too cute and too popular to like, but you know what? 100% of those people secretly love Espeon and feed it tiny cupcakes in Pokemon Amie in their free time. Keep denying your feelings all you want, Espeon can read your mind. Espeon knows how much you love it.
Happy Birthday, Erin! Hope you enjoyed me covering one of your favorite Pokemon! :)
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