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Lax and Gentle: Two Unloved Natures in Competitive Battling

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If you played competitive battling, you would take a Pokemon's nature seriously among the other characteristics of that Pokemon. That's because a boost in one particular stat is enticing, although this comes with the drawback of a stat being lowered. Unfortunately, not every nature is considered. Before going on explaining about Lax and Gentle, like the title, I will explain how certain natures are good.

If you are an attacker, you would take one of the natures that boost an Attack stat or Speed. So,
- A Physical attacker would prefer Adamant (+Atk, -SpAtk) or Jolly (+Speed, -SpAtk).
- A Special attacker would prefer Modest (+SpAtk, -Atk) or Timid (+Speed, -Atk).
- A Mixed attacker could opt for a defence-lowering nature, preferably the frailer ones, or one that is frail on one side (Tangrowth). These natures are Lonely (+Atk, -Def), Naughty (+Atk, -SpDef), Mild (+SpAtk, -Def), Rash (+SpAtk, -SpDef), Hasty (+Speed, -Def) and Naive (+Speed, -SpDef).
- A Defensive Pokemon would like to have boosted durability. Natures include Bold (+Def, -Atk), Impish (+Def, -SpAtk), Calm (+SpDef, -Atk) and Careful (+SpDef, -SpAtk).
- Speed-lowering natures could be useful, preferably for one with Trick Room, one that benefits from Trick Room or Gyro Ball. These natures are Brave (+Atk, -Speed), Relaxed (+Def, -Speed), Quiet (+SpAtk, -Speed) and Sassy (+SpDef, -Speed)

Now, if you kept track, you would have counted 18 natures here. That leaves seven others. Previously, I have stated the two natures that are unloved, but what are the other five? They are called neutral natures, particularly because they neither increase a stat nor do they reduce it. If you want to know what are they, they're Hardy (Atk), Docile (Def), Serious (SpAtk), Bashful (SpDef) and Quirky (Speed). Why did I mention a stat beside these nature? Because these natures are essentially a neutralised positive and negative stat boost. They are generally not preferred because, while it doesn't hinder a stat, it doesn't increase any either, and an increased stat enhance a Pokemon's job.

That leaves Lax and Gentle, two other natures that boost and reduce one stat each. What do they do?

- Lax is +Def, -SpDef
- Gentle is +Spdef, - Def

Well, if you are competitive player, you would know that even a bit durability means a lot. Neither nature isn't attractive to an attacker or a defender. An attacker would prefer an increased attack, while a defender would prefer not to hinder its other defence stat. There is also practically no application for both of these natures that it's easy to forget what they do. In fact, it was odd to me when something in the wild has either, because they seem foreign to me.

If there's something I wish after all these, it would be that one day, a Pokemon could utilise one of those two natures. Perhaps Smogon's CAP could have some ideas in making a Pokemon that would use the nature, though I doubt that may happen since they are quite forgettable. Perhaps another way these natures could be enhanced is to increase the rate of the positive one (20% probably) and decrease the rate of the negative one (5% maybe), so that they would be attractive. What about the neutral ones? I guess they could increase a nature of a certain stat by 5%.

Thanks for reading.

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Updated 12th October 2012 at 11:45 AM by winstein



  1. Infinity Mk-II's Avatar
    A pokémon that wanted those natures the most would have to have a VERY specific build and gameplay. It'd have to be really something very gimmicky.

    - First, it obviously must have no prefference over either attacking stat, but not be particularly attractive with them either. However, it's fighting style must rely on mixed attacks; it HAS to be a Mixed Tank to some degree.
    - Similar with Speed. It shouldn't particularly need to increase it, nor be low enough for tempting a Trick Room.
    - It must have an entirely unusable defense stat on one side. So terrible lowering anything else just for a point on it is a waste. Something that hits that defense WILL do billions of damage and it is something you must accept of this pokémon.
    - Obviously, the converse defense should be the highest. Walling all attacks from that side.

    So, taking a page from Shedinja, there's only one solution I can think of:

    A move or ability that simply makes pokémon either unable or not want to exploit its bad defense.

    The clearest case is an status that makes all damage recieved hit only a defense, which would actually put the defensive pokémon in the same situation as the offensive ones where an stat goes unused and it can focus on the contrary one.

    In Gen III, this would actually be easilly accomplished: A type only/mostly weak to Special types with Wonder Guard would protect it from physical damage (to an extent). Such a Pokémon would want a Gentle nature.

    Nowadays... again, it'd require a novel ability or move. The same way Psystrike hits Physical defense with Special Attack, an ability that redirects the damage to a defense would work, with the low defense being suspectible to ability-bypassing tricks.
    Updated 17th October 2012 at 12:16 PM by Infinity Mk-II


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