So, you want to use Luvdisc on your Pokemon battle team? After I fall onto the floor laughing hysterically and soon requiring assistance to breathe, I realize that I shouldn’t be laughing at the idea. In all seriousness, Luvdisc is not the worst Pokemon of all time. In its debut generation of Diamond and Pearl, it was the way to acquire Heart Scales to teach your Pokemon powerful moves. On top of that, it has two amazing abilities in Swift Swim and Hydration, plus good speed. Unfortunately, it has just about nothing else.
Yes, Luvdisc has been the worst fully evolved Pokemon since Diamond and Pearl, and it still is. Yes, even Unown is a better Pokemon. At least with Unown, you can enjoy the meme. Luvdisc is just bad. But, all these things being said, a few brave souls have ventured into Pokemon Showdown Gen 9 OU with a mission to at least give Luvdisc a chance. We know this thanks to Pikalytics tracking such things.
First off, Luvdisc has brutal stats: 43 HP, 30 Attack, 55 Defense, 40 Special Attack, 65 Special Defense, and 97 Speed. Yes, that Speed is very good, and yes, it has Swift Swim to be even faster in the rain. Its other ability Hydration can cure Luvdisc of any status condition at the end of the turn if it’s still raining. Generally, you want Swift Swim, because to take advantage of what little Luvdisc can actually do in a battle, you need all the speed you can get. Swift Swim literally doubles Luvdisc’s speed, so it’s going to outspeed anything that isn’t also Swift Swim.
Luvdisc, surprisingly, has some decent utility moves. Sure, it can use Hydro Pump, but it’s not going to hit very much things very hard. What it’s much better for is using Rain Dance to set rain (obviously) and running status moves like Charm (which lowers the opponent’s Attack by two stages) and Sweet Kiss which is a 75 percent accurate move which confuses the opponent. It can also learn Ice Beam by TM, if you’d rather run that than Sweet Kiss, which I most certainly would. Being that Pelipper is the only Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet that has Drizzle as an ability to automatically set up rain, you do need a second Rain Dancer anyway. (Kyogre is on the horizon with Pokemon HOME connectivity, but that’s a ways off.)
Yeah, Luvdisc isn’t going to be any kind of Rain sweeper. Fortunately, giving it a Tera Type does help it, especially if you double down on Water, which would be what Luvdisc would typically have unless you thought it a good idea to waste Tera Shards on this particular Pokemon. Making Hydro Pump a 220 power move with Terastalizing, even with Luvdisc’s pitiful 40 Special Attack, actually could do some damage against Pokemon weak to Water moves. You could even choose an Ice Tera Type to make Ice Beam a 135 power move out of nowhere, but the upside of the surprise double STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) Hydro Pump just seems too good to pass up.
Ordinarily, you’d want to run a Timid nature on Luvdisc, to boost Speed at the cost of physical Attack, and max out your Effort Values in both Special Attack and Speed. But, with Swift Swim you can always run a Modest nature. The loss of initial speed is well worth the extra 10% to attack, especially once Rain is up. Without rain up, Luvdisc isn’t going to be very effective, anyway.
If Luvdisc has anything else positive going for it besides a surprise Hydro Pump and the ability to nerf physical attackers with Charm, it’s the Water typing. Luvdisc therefore is weak only to Electric and Grass type moves, while resisting Fire, Water, Ice, and Steel type moves. The problem is that Luvdisc isn’t going to tank much of anything, unless you max out its Special Defense, and you need the investment to do any real damage with Hydro Pump.
But, as a lead with Damp Rock and using Rain Dance, Luvdisc at least serves a purpose getting the Rain to last 8 turns. If somehow Luvdisc survives, it has a chance to Water Terastalize and go for a boosted Hydro Pump, which is only 80 percent accurate but becomes a 330 power move thanks to the Tera STAB boost and the Rain boost. Hilariously, Luvdisc may actually OHKO some things.
I did some damage calculations, and indeed Luvdisc does KO a Great Tusk, the currently most popular Pokemon in Gen 9 OU, without the Tera boost or Rain. With just Rain up, Luvdisc has a 50 percent chance to OHKO Glimmora, and a definite OHKO with Tera! Chi-Yu is a Pokemon that likely outspeeds Luvdisc without rain, but can’t even kill it with a Dark Pulse, and is also an automatic OHKO in the Rain.
Also, with Rain up and Terastalized, it has a 37.5% chance to OHKO Gholdengo. It definitely kills after a layer of Spikes, and has a 75% chance with Stealth Rocks up. It doesn’t OHKO defensive Corviknight, but it still does 68 to 80 percent in the Rain when Terastalized. So, believe it or not, Luvdisc actually can threaten the top three defensive Pokemon in the game currently. It does nothing to Clodsire, but that’s because it’s Clodsire.
Sadly, the minimal usage of Luvdisc appears to be nothing but meme teams using objectively weak Pokemon just to troll the Pokemon Showdown ladder. But, yes, Terastalizing really does make some weak Pokemon into almost useful. Luvdisc, believe it or not, is not useless. It just needs a stupid amount of set-up. But, apparently Game Freak recognized that even Luvdisc deserved another chance. It won’t get that chance in competitive Pokemon, but it’s actually not horrible to run out there for fun on Battle Stadium or lower tiers in Pokemon Showdown as they develop. Good for Luvdisc!
Also, with Palafin-Hero and Iron Bundle already banned in Gen 9 OU on Pokemon Showdown, who knows; maybe Luvdisc is a legitimate Swift Swim sweeper! OK, maybe not, but people are going to try!
Would you ever run Luvdisc on your Pokemon battle team, even just for fun?