While the competitive players continued to plunge Pokémon Scarlet and Violetstrategic depth of and tease its tactical wrinkles, a creature that has received an incredible amount of playtime over the past month: Murkrow. The unevolved flying shadow type isn’t a heavy hitter and its stats are absolutely trash, but it has a unique advantage over every other Pokémon in the game that is putting it straight in. world. top the competitive leaderboard.
Scroll through social media, hang out on the Smogon feed or climb the ranked ladder and you won’t be able to escape Murkrow. The little black bird was first introduced in Gold Pokémon and The silver is finally back in the limelight, and before Pokémon World Champion Wolfe “WolfeyVGC” Glick Explains Why in a recent TikTok:
The first is Tailwind, a move the Gen 2 bird has since the jump, but this is extremely important in the current landscape, providing all other Pokémon on the team with bonus speed for four turns. The second is Prankster, a passive skill that allows Murkow’s non-damaging moves, such as Tailwind, to have more turn-based priority during battles, thus allowing it to attack first. In bright red and Violet‘s Gen 9, Murkrow is only Pokémon has both, guaranteed to increase the speed of determining the match on turn one.
But why Murkrow and not the evolved form of Honchkrow? Well, the evolved form of Murkrow loses Prankster in exchange for the ability to passively direct damage to Moxie, ruining the whole strategy. Additionally, players can mitigate some of Murkrow’s downsides by equipping the Eviolite kept item that boosts the normal and special defenses of Pokémon that haven’t fully evolved.
“Don’t get me wrong, the Prankster combination is really good but that’s not the only reason why Murkrow is popular,” WolfeyVGC added in his recent TikTok. “Murkrow also takes a Haze attack that removes any stat changes from the battlefield. This is relevant because one of the most powerful new Pokémon added is Dondozo, who has a way of increasing all of its stats by 2.” Haze neutralizes that completely, making Murkrow a perfect Dondozo opponent aside from being a major add-on pick to boost the rest of your team.
That’s enough to turn Murkrow into Second most picked Pokémon in the competitive match for December, only one percentage point behind All-star crypto mascot Gholdengo. As WolfeyVGC wrote in a Twitter thread a few weeks agoGholdengo’s ghost/steel dual type makes it a great defensive pick, while the Make it Rain special ability deals a lot of damage.
Sword-Dance wielding Garchomp and the defensive tank Bulk Up Annihilape are also top contenders, as is Hydreigon, who can finally utilize the new game’s Terastalization mechanic to mitigate his traditional 4X weakness. it’s for Fairy-type moves. Meanwhile, the Amoonguss fungus tore through everything thanks to Rage Powder forcing opponents to target it instead of buffing themselves.