Guide to Volt-Turn

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Guide to Volt-Turn
Posted by DiJordan (#15) on 22 August 2012, 7:31 PM EDT in Competitive Battling
Thanks to Celery (#72) and CrazyWearsPJs (#64) for contributing

Volt-Turn is an offensively oriented strategy that emphasizes holding offensive momentum in battle by constantly spamming the opponent with the moves Volt Switch and U-turn. Both of these moves enable you to switch to a new Pokemon after attacking, thus allowing you to bring in a Pokemon of your desire to threaten what your opponent has on the field. This, without doubt, puts a lot of pressure on your opponent - stay in and potentially be KO'd, or switch out only to have his or her next Pokemon be hit by Volt Switch or U-turn, thereby allowing you to bring in a different Pokemon, and threaten the new Pokemon your opponent has out.

Popular members of Volt-Turn teams include Pokemon such as Rotom-W and Scizor, both of which cover each others' weaknesses perfectly, and draws a very strong message when creating a Volt-Turn based team: type-synergy. Type synergy, consequently, is also what allows you to threaten something your opponent has out. For example, by U-turning your opponent as he brings in a Fire-type Pokemon, and going into your Rotom-W, you are able to threaten your opponent and either force him to switch to preserve his Pokemon or be OHKO'd by Hydro Pump, or switch and be smacked by Volt Switch. Because of the intense amount of switches that Volt-Turn teams force, Pokemon that can provide Entry Hazards are valued on these types of teams, and consequently, one of the best ways to beat Volt-Turn teams is to lay down Entry Hazards yourself, gradually hurting the opponent's Volt-Turn - punishing them for excessive switching and limiting their longevity and effectiveness.

Volt Switch

Volt Switch is mostly spread among Electric-types, but some other Pokemon receive the move without even having other Electric-type moves. Since nearly every Electric-type is specially based, they get decent power out of it.

Rotom-W is likely the most well-known Volt Switcher. Nearly all of its sets utilize Volt Switch, and it even forgoes Thunderbolt often. With its Water typing as of Gen V, Rotom-W fits Rain teams extremely well, having Thunder and Hydro Pump within its arsenal. With Levitate, it also provides a very useful immunity to Spikes, allowing it to switch in many more times than most of its teammates.

The speediest Volt Switcher out there, other than Electrode. Unfortunately it cannot take the hit well, so it's primarily used to revenge kill. Jolteon also serves Rain teams or can fit onto an Anti-Rain team, since it can fire off Thunders.

You're probably thinking it's weird how Forretress gets Volt Switch instead of U-turn. Either one does it good, though, as it allows Forretress to escape Magnet Pullers as they switch in, as opposed to usually using Earthquake like it did last generation. Forretress offers a rarity for Volt-Turn teams in Rapid Spin. Because the strategy is focused on constantly switching, entry hazards stack up quickly, and soon enough, your Pokemon are severely weakened. Forretress spins those hazards away, uses Volt Switch, and even can lay down its own hazards to put the hurt on the opponent for switching. Combined with HP Ice, Forretress has essentially the weakest BoltBeam combo ever.

Magnezone was popular in Gen IV for removing most Steel-types, and even has its name in DragMag (originally called 4Drag2Mag). It still fills that role today (with Magneton still rivaling its usefulness), but with Volt Switch. While it may not sound useful since it traps them, it's actually extremely useful in the case that the Steel-type holds Shed Shell. This is usually very easy to spot when no Leftovers recovery takes place (sometimes Rocky Helmet is the item being used). Magnezone can then Volt Switch, since the opponent will usually want to save their Steel-type.

While this may be partially biased, Lanturn still fills a specific role that no other can. It can sponge special hits, Volt Switch, use Scald, Heal Bell, and provides immunity to Electric-type attacks. Jolteon may do some of this, but what Lanturn has over Jolteon is bulk. Lanturn can take a majority of common moves in the metagame's current state, and can even hit back (provided you give investment; Lanturn happens to have a pretty weak offense). It takes Hurricanes easily. Mamoswine also doesn't have the ability to always just switch into Lanturn, since it's demolished by Scald or Surf. Lanturn fills a very small niche, though, so it's generally outdone by Jirachi or Rotom-W unless you need that specific role.


U-turn has been a common move since Gen IV introduced it, but it wasn't often the focus of teams, being a physical move. Many Pokemon obtain this move that don't even look like a bug, but this move's variety of users is what makes Volt-Turn able to vary so greatly.

While Thundurus' Incarnate forme remains uber, the Therian forme is free to roam OU. You're probably wondering why it's here when it has Volt Switch, but there's a reason for that; Thundurus-T often encounters Pokemon immune to Electric-type moves, so it prefers U-Turn to get by them (although Volt Switch is still a viable option because it actually has power). Jolteon focuses mostly on speed with some power, while Thundurus-T is a focus on raw power with some speed. Sporting a base 145 Sp. Atk stat, this thing can blast holes through many Pokemon. It has Nasty Plot, but due to its lower speed compared to its Incarnate forme, it cannot sweep as well. It fortunately has Volt Absorb just like Jolteon, so it will love switching into Thunder Waves, Thunders, Thunderbolts, and even opposing Volt Switches. The healing even patches up the chunk it takes from Stealth Rock.

Landorus-T may be a little outshined by its brothers Thundurus-T and Tornadus-T, but it fills a unique role itself. Landorus-T utilizes Intimidate, which gives it a chance to U-turn on the switch or even use Stealth Rock to support its team. Gliscor cannot fill the role Landorus-T does because Gliscor lacks the raw power of base 145 Attack. It may have a little more speed, but Landorus-T actually ends up with a little more speed than the standard Gliscor, because it can reach the same HP number with about half the investment, induces more switches with Intimidate, and has far greater Attack.

Scizor's been known to U-turn and Bullet Punch for two generations now. Unlike most Pokemon that use it in OU, Scizor gets a STAB U-turn, and even better, it packs a punch behind it with base 130 Attack. Scizor is still often on Volt-Turn teams because it can revenge kill, U-turn, Pursuit trap, and it has some bulk. While Swords Dance tends to look better with sweeping potential and doesn't use U-turn, the Choiced sets fit better on teams. A Choiced Scizor often grabs momentum because it just has the power, and its lower speed is actually useful when facing opposing Volt-Turn. Volt-Turn vs. Volt-Turn tends to favor the slower Pokemon, as those will be the ones with momentum.

Jirachi's as popular as ever, being one of the few Steel-types that can utilize specially defensive spreads efficiently. Jirachi switches into the Latis with impunity, and can support with paralysis, Stealth Rock, and big Wishes. U-turn can help decide what to pass Wish to, and can also allow Jirachi to escape the annoying Magnezone.

Even with Landorus-T running around, Landorus-I still has a purpose of being a quicker attacker. Interestingly enough, a Naive Landorus-I in Sandstorm with Sand Force has more damage output with Earthquake than an Adamant Landorus-T. The difference isn't much, but the power output is amazing. But being physically overwhelming isn't all it can do; Landorus-I can utilize Sheer Force and fire off boosted Earth Powers and Focus Blasts, which can be further boosted by Life Orb for no recoil. This makes Landorus extremely difficult to counter, because each set has entirely different counters.

Hydreigon is an extremely versatile Pokemon, allowing it to easily force switches and gain momentum off U-turn. It can effectively run a mixed set with Earthquake and Superpower as part of its arsenal, and it boasts Levitate, so it can avoid Spikes damage without the compounded Ice weakness. Unfortunately, although it is very unique, its Speed isn't good enough for most, so Latios is usually the preferred option over Hydreigon.

With Rain dominating and weakening the power of Fire-types besides the select few with Hurricane, Infernape is an uncommon choice. The nimble ape does hit hard from both sides, with base 104 offenses, base 108 speed, and powerful STABs. To complement its main attacking moves, it gets a wide movepool to deal with its main enemies like Jellicent and Gyarados.

Mienshao dropped severely, but it's still quite the annoyance. It was the first to use U-turn and Regenerator together, and to add to it, a high-powered attack in Hi Jump Kick.

Celebi is generally an odd one to be using U-turn, since it runs Baton Pass to escape Pursuit instead, but it remains in this section. Celebi is a great supporter due to its unique resistances, allowing it to tank hits like Draco Meteor, Hydro Pump, and Thunder. With Recover, Celebi is one of few actual walls, as it can constantly regain health to take repeated hits and shave off the damage from hazards.

Xatu is known to be a slower but bulkier version of Espeon. While it has a weakness to Stealth Rock, it's likely switching in before it's laid down, so Xatu doesn't generally mind. Xatu also has access to Roost over Wish, instead of Espeon's Morning Sun. Xatu usually uses Reflect or maybe both Reflect and Light Screen, and U-Turn as its primary attack since it needs Roost. If Light Screen is dropped, the best options are Night Shade and Psychic. Psychic may be of more use to try and take on Brelooms.

Useful Members without U-turn or Volt Switch

Although basically any Pokemon benefits from the momentum gained by Volt-Turn, there's a few Pokemon to seriously consider as members, because they provide invaluable support.

Tyranitar is an amazing Pokemon despite the weaknesses to some common moves. The standard Sp. Def set makes full use of its massive special bulk in Sandstorm, which is instantly brought up with Sand Stream. Tyranitar can use Stealth Rock and then show off its unpredictability with its wide movepool. Unfortunately it's no longer a surprise since the most "surprising" set is the most common, but Tyranitar is still fearsome. It can tank Latios or Latias' hits (Draco Meteor will take off a huge chunk from you, though) and Crunch them, or the Choice Band/Choice Scarf set will trap them with Pursuit or just take them down with Crunch as well. This is especially useful without Scizor. Sand Stream keeps your team from being eaten alive by opposing weather, and many useful Pokemon for this playstyle don't mind Sandstorm.

Politoed serves Volt-Turn very well, as a majority of the Volt-Turners benefit in some way from rain. From high powered Thunders to dampened Fire weaknesses, Politoed easily supports its teammates.

Blissey / Chansey
Blissey and Chansey are great for Volt-Turn because they can also set down rocks, or just keep the team going with Heal Bell and Wish. Unlike Jirachi, these two will take just about any unboosted special attack regardless of its type. Chansey even takes physical hits remarkably well compared to Blissey, all thanks to Eviolite.

Terrakion is an amazing physical attacker with beautiful dual STABs, but its problem is that it can hardly ever switch in at any moment safely. However, with Volt-Turn, that's no problem, as Terrakion will have more than enough chances to come in. With amazing Attack, it can beat down the opponent or finish them off after they've been worn down.

Dugtrio helps many Volt-Turn teams, especially when paired with Tornadus-T. Dugtrio traps Heatran and Jirachi specifically, and with U-turn breaking Air Balloon, Heatran can't escape the Earthquake. Jirachi tends to be a good bit bulkier so it may need some wearing down. Dugtrio can also serve as a Stealth Rocker if needed.

Wobbuffet, banned the last two generations for its ability, Shadow Tag, looks to be perfectly fine in Gen V. It can Counter or Mirror Coat nearly anything it faces, and with its massive HP, they don't even have to do that much for you to net the KO. Those that choose to not attack will be met with Encore, and then Wobbuffet switches out into an immediate threat. Due to its small movepool, Wobbuffet is Taunt-bait. A mentionable replacement is Gothitelle, which also gets Shadow Tag. It can break down some sturdy trouble-makers such as Amoonguss.

Threats to Volt-Turn

Hazards will easily wear down your team due to the number of switches you make, so a spinner or Xatu is recommended. It's also advised that you carry Pokemon that can threaten opponents trying to set up their hazards, so that you can switch them in and remove the threat immediately.

Breloom is a massive threat to Volt-Turn because it resists Volt Switch and U-turn will not do enough. Just about any Volt-Turn team is using something to stop Breloom. With Spore, it's difficult to just switch because the upcoming Pokemon will be sleeping, unless it's Xatu. Particularly the Bulk Up set bothers Volt-Turn, but with BW2's metagame, it's Techloom that's threatening, since nearly anything on Volt-Turn can be KO'd by the right move.

Normally the less preferred due to Latios' offensive prowess, Latias can take on Volt-Turn teams because it has better bulk. Even Scizor is wary as Latias can use HP Fire, but also because Scizor can't repeatedly take Surf. Latias also offers Wish, but it'd rather use Roost or Recover. Latias often carries Calm Mind, which will be difficult to take down since it has decent physical bulk, as well as Reflect on some sets.

Virizion doesn't mind Volt Switch at all, and while it has low offenses, its main sets, Swords Dance, Calm Mind, and Work Up, can all be immediately dangerous once set up.

Gastrodon is a hard counter to Volt Switch, especially in the case of Rotom-W, which is walled without HP Grass, which still often fails to OHKO Gastrodon. By forcing that hard switch, a Volt-Turn player will have to predict more, which can throw off many. Scald will burn incoming U-Turn users, crippling most of them, or wearing them down so much quicker.

Example Team

Original team:
This team, made by ToF, is a team where every single member uses Volt Switch or U-turn. The most striking feature of this team is that there is no Stealth Rock user. Xatu is used to bounce back all hazards. It has a huge lack of bulk, focusing more on offense (although Rotom-W and Xatu invested greatly in bulk). Since this team is from the BW1 era (before even Excadrill was banned), it's not recommended you use it in the BW2 metagame in its original format.

Landorus (M) @ Leftovers
Trait: Sand Force
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Naive Nature (+Spd, -SDef)
- U-turn
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Earthquake
- Stone Edge

Landorus usually starts off the game with a speedy U-turn. The thing that sticks out to most is that it uses Leftovers; at the beginning of a match, you can't know its set because Leftovers will not activate then. The opponent will likely play as if it's a Scarf Landorus, and be too wary to play it correctly.

Scizor (M) @ Choice Band
Trait: Technician
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Atk / 16 Spd
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
- U-turn
- Superpower
- Bullet Punch
- Pursuit

A typical Choice Band Scizor, except with more speed. Scizor can revenge kill and threaten Terrakion, a major problem to this team. Latios is also problematic with Specs or Life Orb, and Scizor can one-shot it. Magnezone and Heatran often switch into Scizor, but with U-Turn and Superpower, they're sure to be cautious. Scizor just does what it's always done.

Rotom-W @ Leftovers
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 216 Def / 40 SAtk
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Volt Switch
- Hydro Pump
- Will-O-Wisp
- Pain Split

Rotom-W helps this team greatly against physical attackers by burning with Will-O-Wisp. Combined with Celebi, it helps against Rain for this weather-less team, firing Hydro Pumps and beating up the Water-types with Volt Switch. Gastrodon is an annoyance, but Celebi easily switches into Gastrodon and forces it out. Pain Split is chosen over a move like HP Fire because with Xatu and Will-O-Wisp on this team, Pokemon like Ferrothorn trying to set up on it or attack it will have problems. Rotom-W also takes care of Skarmory, a huge pain to this team.

Celebi @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Naive Nature (+Spd, -SDef)
- U-turn
- Leaf Storm
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Earth Power

Celebi is an unorthodox Scarfer, but it isn't any less useful. It has a very powerful attack of Leaf Storm, which puts a giant dent in anything that doesn't resist. HP Ice is used to hit dragons, specifically DD Salamence (which is uncommon). Earth Power patches up coverage, mainly hitting Heatran hard.

Mienshao (M) @ Life Orb
Trait: Regenerator
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SAtk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Hi Jump Kick
- U-turn
- Fake Out
- Stone Edge

Mienshao is not only a hard-hitter, but very annoying for most. It uses Fake Out, Hi Jump Kick, and then U-Turns to get rid of all that Life Orb recoil. STAB HJK from nearly anything hurts, and Mienshao complements that with Stone Edge to hit Flying-types.

Xatu (M) @ Leftovers
Trait: Magic Bounce
EVs: 248 HP / 188 Def / 72 SDef
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Psychic
- Reflect
- Roost
- U-turn

Xatu takes care of the one thing the rest of the team lacks: entry hazards. Xatu bounces back hazards the opponent attempts to set up in hopes of wearing down this team, filling two roles. Xatu helps the physical bulk together with Rotom-W by using Reflect. Roost keeps it alive for later and Psychic is obligatory STAB, especially since Celebi lacks Psychic itself to take down Fighting-types, particularly Breloom.


Volt-Turn is a very easy playstyle to understand and use, and nearly anyone can pick it up. Be sure to try it out with the plethora of new Pokemon utilizing these moves!
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