The first thing that you might ask when you see Kangaskhan: Why
Kangaskhan? This Pokémon is easily outclassed by Miltank if you're looking for a Normal-type to use, who possesses similar stats, but has lower Attack and Special Defense in exchange for higher Defense and Speed. When using Kangaskhan, it is important to play with adequate prediction. Otherwise, you will find yourself fainting to Fighting-type moves.
To be blunt, Kangaskhan is a novelty Pokémon. It rarely works as anything but a gimmick. With lead Infernapes almost everywhere, it becomes even harder for Kangaskhan to survive—it is best played as a lead, and Infernape takes it down too easily.
Kangaskhan possesses a solid 414 HP, with Defense and Special Defense tied at 259. Part of the gimmick revolves around Kangaskhan's ability.
With Early Bird, this Pokémon wakes up in half of the time, which enables you to deal with sleep-whores. Additionally, Kangaskhan can chip away at many Pokemon's health with its diverse offensive movepool. It can also fully restore itself when in danger of being KO'd, then keep chipping away at the foe. This is all while being pretty bulky and having technical moves like Yawn and Rock Tomb. Opponents tend to forget about Early Bird and try to set up on the sleeping turn, only to be taken aback when Kangaskhan wakes.
Scrappy is another of Kangaskhan’s abilities. It allows the user to hit Ghost-type Pokémon with Normal/Fighting attacks. As useful as one-turn Rest is, Scrappy will aid you in demolishing the Ghost-types. For example, Pokémon like Froslass and Spiritomb will take heavy damage from Focus Punch. You can also take advantage of your type to fire off STAB Returns or Double-Edges to dent your opponent's team. If you have Scrappy, there's no worrying about any Ghost-types switching in.
You should select your ability based on your opponent and your style of play. A common guideline: predict if your opponent would use any Ghost-types, then the type of match. Obviously, if you're fighting in a Ghost-type gym, it'd be common sense to lead with Scrappy. That is, unless you're willing to give up the ability to hit Ghost-types for Early Bird, which will make Hypnosis less painful. Basically, if you're in a small battle like a 3v3, it is recommended that you lead with Scrappy because chances are that you will not have enough time to use Rest. In a large battle like a 6v6, it really depends on personal battling style and immediate needs.
With Kangaskhan's bulk, most people forget about Kangaskhan's decent Attack. Boasting at 289 Attack, Kangaskhan can spring surprise KOs at your opponent if they underestimate you. Of course, that is also because Kangaskhan's moves have great diversity. From STAB Return and Double-Edge to get KOs that Return sometimes can't, to the Elemental Punches, there is almost nothing that this female kangeroo cannot do.
With a diversified offensive movepool, Kangaskhan is indeed a threat not to be underestimated. Aside from the aforementioned moves, it also has access to moves like Endeavor, Fake Out, Rock Tomb, and Counter. The last can effectively counter moves that won't OHKO, and KO the opponent instead. Kangaskhan's support movepool, however, is surprisingly small. The more significant options would include Roar, Wish, and Yawn. Safeguard is just situational. Toxic deserves a slight mention, since it allows you to prevent Pokemon from stalling you out. Icy Wind can be considered over Rock Tomb if you don't want to risk a Rock Tomb miss.
Playing with Kangaskhan
The best spot Kangaskhan plays is lead—that is, unless your opponent leads with an Infernape. Otherwise, she is able to force switches with moves like Roar or Rock Tomb. This is a case-by-case scenario, since prediction might aid you in forcing your threat to switch. Usually, though, it is considered treading on thin ice. Fake Out is self-explanatory—besides dealing damage and flinching your opponent, it enables you to scout for Leftovers, which can help you to determine damage calculations. Kangaskhan's preferred held would definitely be Leftovers. Although Focus Sash might seem tempting with Counter, chances are that the Focus Sash is there for Infernape's Close Combat, and Infernape might lead with Fake Out to break your held. Expert Belt and Life Orb might be possible helds for an offensive Kangaskhan, but don't expect it to do much—you shouldn't be using Kangaskhan if you're going offensive, unless you're utilizing the gimmick factor. Lastly, Lum Berry works, too. However, Kangaskhan doesn't worry about status that much (except burn), and Lefties recovery will be greatly missed.
In general, this is what Kangaskhan can do: Fake Out to deal damage, scout, or break Focus Sashes; force switches with Yawn/Roar/Rock Tomb; and struggle to manage some KOs. With Rock Tomb, Kangaskhan will be able outspeed the opponent to 2HKO. She’s an interesting Pokémon, but relies on prediction of your opponent and unpredictability of your moves.
You will want to prepare yourself for Infernape. Infernape is the most common Pokemon out there to switch onto a Kangaskhan, and it appears on almost every 6v6 team. Kangaskhan's biggest downfall is its inability to learn Taunt or Stealth Rock. With this factor, it becomes almost redundant to use Kangaskhan over Miltank when the latter can do most things that Kangaskhan can, and better.
Not only will your lead be unable to use Stealth Rock—it is also unable to stop the opponent from using it. Thus, it becomes obvious that you might want to consider having a Pokémon that knows Rapid Spin (especially if you have multiple Pokémon weak to Stealth Rock on your team), as well as a Pokémon that can lay down Stealth Rock.
Besides Infernape, Machamp and Metagross and also pose problems for Kangaskhan, as well as some other bulky high-powered Pokemon. Burn status will cripple Kangaskhan badly because Kangaskhan has no means of healing (it other than Rest). Trick users also can greatly reduce Kangaskhan's effectiveness, since a Choiced Kangaskhan is as good as useless. Taking advantage of Kangaskhan's turn to Rest and single turn of sleeping can also help beat her.
Recommended Extra Moves
(daycare moves are underlined)
Offensive: Brick Break, Counter, Double-Edge, Earthquake, Fire Punch, Focus Punch, Hammer Arm
, Ice Punch, Return/Frustration, ThunderPunch
, Protect, Rest, Roar, Rock Tomb, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Wish
Optional: Attract, Avalanche, Facade, Icy Wind, Low Kick
Editor: Scourge of Nemo
Date: Nov 17th, 2010