Torkoal? Who's Torkoal?
White Smoke/Shell Armor
252 HP/252 Def/4 Sp. Def
Well, looks like my prediction that we'd be doing Bisharp this week was kinda off. Nevertheless, Torkoal is a cool Pokémon. Here, we abuse Torkoal's nice defenses, particularly its incredible Defense stat and usable HP. Amnesia boosts its Special Defense to viable levels. Stealth Rock is good for supporting your team. Protect allows for extra Leftovers recovery. And now we come to the status move. Burn and Bad Poison are both good status ailments to inflict on an opponent. Lava Plume is an option to prevent Torkoal from becoming total Taunt bait.
Item is obvious. Either ability is usable here, depends on what frightens you more; the possibility of stats being lowered, or the possibility of critical hits.
White Smoke/Shell Armor
252 HP/252 Sp. Def/4 Atk
~Gyro Ball/Rock Slide
This set attempts to capitalize on Torkoal's semi-decent special bulk, hence the EVs. Curse increases Torkoal's Attack and Defense at the cost of Speed, allowing it to attempt a bulky sweep. The RestTalk combo is there for quick and reliable recovery.
Item keeps Torkoal alive moar. Ability I already covered.
*Shell Smash may be the best stat boosting move in the history of the universe, but consider that with a +Speed nature, 252 Speed EVs, and a Speed IV of 31, after one Shell Smash, Torkoal only hits 304 Speed. Just what the hell is it supposed to outspeed like that? It needs to use Shell Smash twice just to be able to outspeed anything. And given the defense drops, nothing's ever likely to get in more than one Shell Smash.
*Base 85 Special Attack isn't bad, so Torkoal can attempt a special set. Flamethrower/Sludge Bomb/Earth Power/Hidden Power (Dragon). Unfortunately, that's more or less Torkoal's entire notable special movepool. Unless you use a sun team, in which case SolarBeam is an option.
*Clear Smog can work its way into a defensive set to discourage setting up. It's illegal with Stealth Rock on a Shell Armor Torkoal, though.
*White Smoke: Prevents Torkoal's stats from being lowered. Unfortunately, does not prevent Torkoal from lowering its own stats with its own moves, so Curse will still lower Speed, Shell Smash will still lower Defense and Special Defense, and Overheat will, unfortunately, still lower Special Attack.
*Shell Armor: Torkoal's Hidden Ability. Prevents critical hits, which will be far more common than stat reductions. If you want a Shell Armor Torkoal with Stealth Rock, however, it's illegal with any of its egg moves. And if you want a Shell Armor Torkoal with any of its egg moves, it's illegal with Stealth Rock.
Special walls aren't a bad idea. Be sure to also have a Heatran counter lying in wait.
Any Torkoal without Earthquake (which it never runs) is screwed over pretty thoroughly by Heatran. Especially that first defensive set. Heatran can't be burned or poisoned, and packs Flash Fire to absorb those Wills-O-Wisp and Lava Plumes. Taunt doesn't screw Torkoal over completely, but it does cripple it significantly. And beware of Stealth Rock, as Torkoal is weak to it.
Another oft-overlooked Pokémon that's so cool and yet so messed up in terms of stats and/or movepool. Torkoal might have made a great defensive Pokémon if Fire wasn't such a shitty defensive type. Could be worse, though. No quadruple weaknesses to common types, like Aggron, Bastiodon, and Probopass. What is it with GameFreak anyway, always trying to force Rock/Steel on us as a defensive typing? It sucks as a defensive typing! Ahem. But I digress. I'll save my ranting for when we actually cover Aggron, Bastiodon, or Probopass.
Prediction for next week: