I don't see why theres no thread for this RESPECTABLE HARD WORKING BLACK MAN
so I decided to make one!!!!!!!!!!
Special Attack 50
Special Defense 65
Excadrill is a legend amongst the Pokemon introduced in BW, and is infamous for its ideally distributed stats and unbelievable sweeping potential in a sandstorm. Hitting a raw Speed stat of 604 in a sandstorm with no setup whatsoever, Excadrill outspeeds Deoxys-S and even base 130 Speed Pokemon with a Choice Scarf. It's absurd to think that it gets even better than that, but for example, access to Rapid Spin makes Excadrill an even better offensive Rapid Spinner than Starmie ever was. You'd also think that such an offensive Pokemon would be very frail, but no; in fact, Excadrill has enough bulk to avoid being OHKOed by pretty much any neutral attack, and has a typing that affords it numerous resistances and key immunities to Thunder Wave and poison. After you look at all of Excadrill's seemingly boundless strengths, it's no wonder why it's atop everyone's threat list this generation.
Excadrill is a phenomenal Pokemon, and the only reason it isn't banned is because it has weaknesses that can be exploited and there still exist Pokemon that can beat it. Powerful priority, such as Mach Punch from Conkeldurr or Aqua Jet from Azumarill, tears Excadrill down. Also, one of the biggest issues with Excadrill is that Drought Ninetales and Drizzle Politoed exist. If a sandstorm isn't raging, a huge list of Pokemon crop up as checks and counters to Excadrill. Furthermore, while Excadrill's type coverage is spectacular, its three move coverage almost always leaves it vulnerable to something, such as Bronzong when lacking X-Scissor. These things come together to make Excadrill more balanced than you might be led to believe, but nonetheless one of the most threatening Pokemon in existence.
Excadrill @ Air Balloon / Life Orb
Trait: Sand Rush
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Rock Slide
- X-Scissor / Return / Rapid Spin
Excadrill is an insanely powerful sweeper that can cleave teams in half if they lack one of the few adequate checks to him, and given proper support sometimes even if they do. Base 135 Attack coupled with base 88 Speed and Sand Rush, which doubles Speed in a sandstorm, makes Excadrill the monster we know him as. Swords Dance was made for a Pokemon like this, and after a single boost, Excadrill's Attack hits 810 or 738 with an Adamant or Jolly nature, respectively.
The truth is that Excadrill's attacking movepool isn't overflowing with options, but has all of the right moves in all of the right places to get the job done. Earthquake is Excadrill's primary STAB attack, and it is so powerful after a boost that even Pokemon that resist it aren't completely safe. Rock Slide is used alongside Earthquake for great neutral coverage against myriad threats. In the last slot, Excadrill has a lot of very good options to choose from. Return is the most popular, as it hits Pokemon like Rotom-W, Gliscor, and Landorus the hardest of all available options. Rapid Spin is also a very effective tool for that last slot, however, if you're not looking for added coverage. It's no joke to claim that Excadrill is the best Rapid Spinner that exists, especially considering that no Ghost-type will switch in for fear of a powerful attack. Lastly, X-Scissor is a good choice for hitting Bronzong for neutral damage and annihilating Grass-, Psychic-, and Dark-types after a boost.
The EV spread is standard for an offensive sweeper. Adamant is the preferred nature as it adds considerable punch to Excadrill's attacks, especially after a boost. Jolly is a very viable alternative, however, due to the fact that with it Excadrill can Speed tie opposing Excadrill. Regardless, Excadrill typically needs the extra power to break down its defensive checks, so Adamant is the best choice. Adamant is also the better nature when run with Air Balloon, since it prevents opposing Excadrill from hitting your's super effectively if kept intact. Speaking of Air Balloon, it's the primary option for Excadrill's item because many Pokemon cannot do significant damage to Excadrill without first popping it. Gliscor, for instance, risks being 2HKOed by a boosted Return if it first has to pop Excadrill's Air Balloon with a weak Ice Fang or other attack. Life Orb is still an exceptional item, however, as it allows Excadrill to annihilate Pokemon and sweep very easily with just one boost. Leftovers is also a useful item when running Rapid Spin to keep Excadrill around longer, though even in that case, Air Balloon tends to be more valuable. Chople Berry is a good item too, as many teams rely on Mach Punch from the likes of Conkeldurr to beat Excadrill. Lastly, despite hopefully being obvious, Sand Rush is the best ability on Excadrill. Sand Force is a great ability and all, but just doesn't make up for the fact that Excadrill really wants to outspeed nigh everything in the game.
The first thing you should always bring in your team when using Excadrill is a Pokemon with Sand Stream. The best Pokemon for this job is Tyranitar, as it can be tailored to beat many Pokemon that would otherwise stop Excadrill, including Gliscor and Skarmory with Ice Beam and Fire Blast, respectively. Hippowdon is also a good choice, as it can tank physical hits extremely well and check opposing Excadrill. This also makes Adamant Excadrill more viable, since you have a solid check to opposing Excadrill where yours would lose the Speed tie. If running Rapid Spin, Excadrill partners particularly well with Pokemon such as Thundurus and Volcarona. Both of these Pokemon can switch into typical attacks aimed at Excadrill and annihilate its checks to allow for an eventual sweep. In general, it's also good to pair up Excadrill with another powerful physical sweeper like Landorus or Terrakion, as one of them can sufficiently weaken their mutual counters and enable an Excadrill sweep or vice versa.
Excadrill @ Choice Band
Trait: Sand Rush
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Rock Slide
Sometimes, Excadrill doesn't get the opportunity to set up a Swords Dance, and so would much rather hit really hard off the bat instead. Choice Band gives Excadrill that power, and actually helps it so much that it can immediately threaten some Pokemon that might otherwise check it very effectively, such as Hippowdon. By giving up a setup move, Excadrill is able to run its optimal four move coverage in Earthquake, Rock Slide, Return, and X-Scissor. Nothing in the game resists all of these moves, and many Pokemon are outright 2HKOed with the appropriate one.
There's never any reason for Excadrill to run any EV spread other than 252 Attack and 252 Speed. The negligible bulk given by investing slightly in HP and removing some from Speed is never worth the chance of losing a Speed tie to opposing similarly-natured Excadrill. With a Choice Band boosting Excadrill's Attack stat, Adamant is the way to go for the added damage. Jolly is a usable alternative to Speed tie with opposing Jolly Excadrill, though you're better off running a more reliable secondary check regardless. Sand Rush, unsurprisingly, is the ability of choice for the Speed boost. As appealing as Sand Force might be for the bonus damage, it's not as excellent as the raw Speed that Sand Rush offers.
When running Choice Band Excadrill, it's imperative to run it alongside other similar-minded physical sweepers such as Landorus or Terrakion. One of the biggest lures of the immediate power of a Choice Band is to soften up Pokemon like Bronzong, Gliscor, Hippowdon, and Gyarados for one of your other sweepers to break through later. Also, when using Excadrill, don't forget to pack either Tyranitar or a Hippowdon of your own to set up a sandstorm. Choice Band Excadrill also appreciates Spikes and Stealth Rock a lot, since checks like Gyarados and Hippowdon will be easily 2HKOed with the appropriate move after they take enough residual damage. Skarmory is usually the better choice for setting up Spikes despite the fact that it doubles up on Excadrill's Fire-type weakness since it will also lure Electric-type attacks for Excadrill to switch in against.
There's a good reason why Excadrill is forced to use moves like Return and X-Scissor for coverage, and that's because it has virtually no other attacking moves worth using over the listed options. Brick Break can be run as a coverage move to nail opposing Excadrill that are floating on an Air Balloon, but otherwise has basically no utility; practically every other Pokemon vulnerable to Brick Break, namely Tyranitar and Ferrothorn, is hit equally hard by Earthquake. Shadow Claw might sound nice to hit Ghost-types that are immune to Rapid Spin, but a neutral Earthquake hits all Ghost-type Pokemon in the game except for Rotom and Gengar for the same Base Power as Shadow Claw. Since both Rotom and Gengar are easily dispatched of with a boosted Rock Slide, Shadow Claw has no real value. Excadrill can run Hone Claws over Swords Dance for setting up so that Rock Slide will never miss, though this is always inferior to just chancing Rock Slide's accuracy with a Swords Dance boost.
Checks and Counters
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, there is quite a substantial list of Pokemon that adequately check Excadrill. Bronzong and Skarmory are the best of the best, as none of Excadrill's typical tricks will seriously hurt them even after a Swords Dance boost. Skarmory can't really do anything back to Excadrill other than break its Air Balloon with Brave Bird and then Whirlwind it away, though, and Bronzong needs to be mindful of a boosted X-Scissor. Gliscor is another spectacular switch-in to Excadrill and can break Excadrill's Air Balloon with Ice Fang or Facade, though with Poison Heal, it lacks Roost and so can be worn down over a match if not careful. Hippowdon is another solid check, but it can be beaten by multiple boosted Earthquakes if Excadrill has its Air Balloon intact.
Outside of the aforementioned bulky Ground- and Steel-types, Pokemon with an intact Air Balloon of their own and a resistance to Excadrill's typical coverage moves can beat it. A good example of this is Air Balloon Heatran, which can OHKO Excadrill with Fire Blast and survive a +2 Rock Slide. When nothing else works, an Excadrill of your own forces the opposing Excadrill into a Speed tie that can potentially save you the match. Super effective priority attacks bypass Excadrill's immense Speed stat and threaten it out. Mach Punch from Conkeldurr and Aqua Jet from Azumarill handle Excadrill very effectively, though these Pokemon should be wary of switching into repeated Earthquakes over the course of the match. Lastly, anything that changes weather away from sandstorm will nullify Excadrill's ability and make it much easier to check with faster Pokemon packing super effective moves.
As a final note, it's worth having at least two reasonable checks to Excadrill on your team. It's relatively likely that Excadrill is paired up with fellow physical sweepers Landorus or Terrakion to beat through their mutual checks. If you only have one of these checks and Excadrill sufficiently weakens it, it's likely that you will be at risk of being swept by the second-string attacker.
Jealous of my back?