It may seem odd that we’re asking if a mediocre Pokemon like Kricketune is a good Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet. But, for real, Kricketune does have potential to be a low-tier competitive Pokemon thanks to having one move in particular; that move is Perish Song.
Thanks to Pikalytics, we know that in the first week plus of play on Pokemon Showdown’s Generation 9 ladder, Perish Song Kricketune has indeed been played. The most common moveset includes Sticky Web, Perish Song, Sing, and Taunt, so it’s purely utility. While it’s certainly not the best Sticky Web setter, lowering opponent’s Speed by one stage is a decent entry hazard; the problem is only having 65 speed means you really have to pick your spots to get Sticky Web set.
Sing is probably your best bet for Kricketune to do anything, and while sleep is a very powerful status, Sing is only 55 percent accurate. But, if you can get your opponent to Sleep, you’ll have at least one turn to set Sticky Web. Taunt is another possible way to get the opponent to skip a turn if you correctly predict a set up, entry hazard, or other status move. But, again, you have to be quite adept at knowing speed stats to pick your time to bring in Kricketune.
So, let’s say you do get Kricketune into play and put your opponent to sleep. What then? Well, you’re probably not even going to bring out Kricketune unless your opponent is down to their last Pokemon anyway, in order to use Perish Song. But, again, if you just know your speed scores and know that Kricketune will survive an extra turn, you might be able to pivot it in just to drop a Taunt, Sing, or Sticky Web.
Looking at the teams we’ve seen Kricketune on so far, it tends to be partnered with top tier Pokemon like Annihilape and Kingambit, along with Iron Bundle (who’s now banned in Gen 9 OU on Showdown). Its other two common partners, however, are Jolteon and Dudunsparce. Jolteon runs Volt Switch, which gives a free switch into Kricketune against slower opponents. That’s one potential opening for Kricketune to get a shot at Perish Song, or a Sticky Web to get one of your sweepers a bit of an edge in speed. Dudunsparce, like its pre-evolution in Dunsparce, is heavily reliant on getting paralysis or flinching with its Serene Grace ability; in this case, you’re looking for paralysis to cut opponent’s Speed in half for Kricketune to have a prayer at using any of its moves. Some teams that run Kricketune also have Amoonguss who has Spore to put opponent’s to sleep, which is yet another opening for Kricketune to sneak in and do something useful.
The issue with Kricketune is that it’s going to rely too heavily on Sing, its partners, and a crap ton of luck to be anything but a gimmick; that is, unless you’re saving it specifically for the end game when your opponent is down to one or two Pokemon, and one of the Pokemon is a bad switch-in for the teammates you have left. That being said, if you manage to set Kricketune up, there are enough Pokemon slower than it in the metagame that a surprise Perish Song could really throw an opponent for a loop. Heck, even dropping a Sticky Web before being blown away could win your team the game; it’s just that you have a lot of other better options for setting Sticky Web, like the very defensive Spidops who can actually take hits.
It takes a very clever trainer, with adept team-building skills, and intimate knowledge of the most commonly played Pokemon for Kricketune to see play. With a lot of the best Generation 9 Pokemon already banned on the most popular Pokemon Showdown ladder, Kricketune may find even more openings now. As far as Battle Stadium, where nothing outside of the box legendaries is restricted from play, it’s a tougher call.
All this being said, Kricketune is not entirely useless, especially if you get one with a Steel Tera Type, which may allow it to survive a hit thanks to that type’s immense array of resistances. Others have used a Flying Tera Type to make it a Ground-type switch-in, which isn’t a horrible plan, either. Kricketune is yet another Pokemon that gains a shred of viability thanks to the defensive utility of Terastalizing.