Published on July 24th, 2015 | by MrGX


Where’s the Speedometer? A Beginner’s Guide to Speed Control: Part 1

Hello there, Nugget bridge! This here is MrGX, bringing to you a beginner’s guide to Speed control!


Are you tired of being outsped by your opponent and seeing your Pokemon get knocked out? Are you always forced to use fast, frail glass cannons in battle? Well, no more! This guide will teach you all there is to know about Speed control: What it is, how to use different methods of Speed control, their strengths and weakness, and how to counter it. Without further ado, let’s get on with it.


suicune.png thundurus-incarnate.png      cresselia.png

What is Speed control?

Being able to move first and KO your opponent’s Pokemon before they can even touch you is something valued by Pokemon players of all levels. Being able to manipulate which Pokemon moves first comes down to more than just Base Stats and EV’s – it comes down to Speed control, a term used to describe the many and varied methods of manipulating the order in which Pokemon attack, generally to make your own move first and pick up those vital knock outs that win battles.This article will explore all of these methods, how they work, and their strengths and weaknesses.

While Speed control has been available and used in competitive battles from the very start (see Thunder Wave), features introduced in Generations Three (Abilities), Four (Trick Room, Tailwind), and Five (Quash, Pledge Swamp, Hidden Abilities) in particular have led to a proliferation of Speed control methods to the point where modern teams tend to have at least one method of Speed control available to them due to their wide availability and utility.

Trick Room started to get popular with the introduction of Jellicent, Musharna, and Chandelure in 2011. With the additional availability of Cresselia in 2012, a lot of teams had Trick Room in their arsenal. Trick Room was the most prominent form of Speed control back in 2012, along with Drizzle Politoed and Thundurus-Incarnate. Thundurus-Incarnate was widely used for its infamous Prankster Thunder Wave as a primary mode for Speed control on many teams. VGC 2013 was based on heavy bulk, and Speed control was employed mostly in the form of Thundurus-Incarnate. VGC 2014 saw the rise of Speed control due to the introduction of Mega Charizard Y and its Ability Drought, along with Chlorophyll Venusaur. With new Pokemon like Aromatisse and Trevenant, Trick Room also began to see a rise in usage in order to exploit the power of Mega Mawile and Mega Abomasnow. Due to the lack of Thundurus-Incarnate in VGC 2014, Speed control mostly involved weather wars and Trick Room. VGC 2015, however, saw the biggest rise in Speed control. With more Mega Evolutions, low speed Pokemon found it difficult to keep up with the elevated speed tiers.


sylveon.png  conkeldurr.png  amoonguss.png

Why do you need Speed control?

Speed control, while not mandatory, is seen as an important part of the game plan for most teams because of its ability to control good match ups while creating the opportunity to turn around potentially bad match ups. To reiterate the point made in the first paragraph, Speed control allows you to move first and deliver big damage and knock outs without taking damage first. Speed control can also put you in a position to gain advantage from RNG dice rolls that you would not have had available to you otherwise (full Paralysis and Rock Slide flinches being the main culprits here).

Speed control is not essential on all teams, especially on heavy bulk teams. Some teams, however, gain huge advantages, allowing their heavy hitters to hit hard and fast. Sylveon is a Pokemon with tremendous power but low Speed. Pokemon like Bisharp and Kangaskhan can easily beat Sylveon due to its low Speed. With the help of some form of Speed control, this problem is easily solved. Thunder Wave a Kangaskhan and it’s slow enough for Sylveon to outspeed it. Use Tailwind and Sylveon’s speed is doubled, making it higher than Kangaskhan’s. Pokemon with extremely low speed like Rhyperior or Mega Abomasnow can become the fastest Pokemon on the field by using Trick Room, thus enabling them to use their devastating attack power to crush the opposition.

Different types of Speed Control in VGC

In this section, we will be talking about different ways to manipulate the Speed of Pokemon.

Speed control can be achieved mainly by two methods: Lowering the speed of an opponent’s Pokemon, or increasing your own speed (either by literally increasing your own Pokemon’s Speed, or by flipping turn orders with Trick Room). Here, we will talk about how to lower an opponent’s speed, and different ways to do it.


thundurus.png zapdos.png  cresselia.png

Paralysis (Nuzzle/Thunder Wave/Glare)

Paralysis is a Status Condition commonly used to reduce the Speed of an opposing Pokemon. Mainly inflicted by Electric attacks, it can also be inflicted by non-Electric Type moves like Glare and Body Slam, or by Abilities like Effect Spore or Static. Thunder Wave is the most common method used to inflict Paralysis, though Nuzzle was used by Sejun Park’s Pachirisu at the 2014 World Championships.

Because of its 25% chance to fully paralyze an opposing Pokemon on any given turn, Paralysis is often used along with Rock Slide and Swagger to try to disable a Pokemon for an entire turn. Rock Slide and Paralysis, often called Para-Flinch, is used because of its 55% chance to prevent a Pokemon from attacking. Para-Fusion, a combination of Paralysis and Confusion, can be effective because of its ability to either make a Pokemon fully Paralysed or Confusing it to hit itself for damage.

Paralysis is one of the best ways to control the Speed of a Pokemon. It lowers the current speed by 75% and has a 25% for a full paralysis, disabling a Pokemon for that turn. Offensive moves like Thunderbolt have a 10% chance to paralyze a Pokemon, while Nuzzle has a 100% chance to paralyze the Pokemon it hits. Thunder Wave is the most used method to inflict paralysis on an opposing Pokemon, and one of the most used Pokemon to do this is the ever-loved Thundurus-Incarnate. With its high Speed and Prankster ability, it is almost always guaranteed to move first and inflict paralysis on an opposing Pokemon. There is one catch, however. Ground type Pokemon are immune to Electric type moves, thus rendering Thundurus’ Speed control method obsolete. Landorus-Therian, a commonly used Pokemon for its Speed and high physical Attack power, can render this strategy useless if you are not careful. Gastrodon and Swampert are immune to Thundurus-Incarnate due to their partial Ground Typing.

One advantage paralysis has over other forms of Speed control is that paralysis is permanent. Unlike Tailwind or Trick Room, paralysis is a Status Condition and it lasts forever, unless the opposing Pokemon has Lum Berry or some form of Status relieving Move or Ability. As a status move, it can be used with priority by Pokemon with the Prankster Ability like Thundurus-Incarnate. Paralysis is no doubt the best form of Speed control, as it reduces the Speed of an opposing Pokemon by 75%.

Inflicting Paralysis on an opposing Pokemon means you cannot inflict any other Status Conditions like Sleep, Burn, or Freeze, two of which are almost necessary in the current metagame. This forces players to switch to other forms of Speed control, one that doesn’t inflict Status Conditions.

Cresselia is a Pokemon used mainly for support and setting up Trick Room. Thanks to its huge support movepool, Cresselia is capable of learning Thunder Wave and Icy Wind as well. With access to Helping Hand and three forms of Speed control, opponents will have hard time deciding what type of Cresselia you are using. With access to Ice Beam and Icy Wind, Cresselia can handle itself against Landorus-Therian. The only possible disadvantage that comes with running Cresselia is its mid-range speed; most Pokemon that run Taunt will outspeed Cresselia. One should always carry a counter for Thundurus-Incarnate before adding a Cresselia to their team.

Zapdos is a bulkier Electric/Flying type compared to Thundurus-Incarnate. With high Special Attack power and a good offensive movepool, Zapdos can be used as a bulky support Pokemon or as a purely offensive Pokemon. Having access to Tailwind and Thunder Wave, Zapdos has one advantage Cresselia will never have – Speed. Ranging from Choice Specs offensive variants to Sitrus Berry bulky supporter, your opponent will have to think twice before Taunting a Zapdos. While Tailwind is popular among bulky Zapdos, Thunder Wave has its own advantages as stated previously. The only two possible solutions to work around Paralysis are redirection or setting up a Trick Room.

The above Pokemon are commonly used for inflicting Paralysis on opposing Pokemon. While Paralysis has its own disadvantages against Ground Types and Trick Room teams, it has the potential to win matches thanks to its permanently lasting effects. While Paralysis may be the best form of Speed control, it makes you unable to inflict additional status conditions on an opposing Pokemon. That is when one needs to make a choice between Paralysis and other forms of Speed control.


suicune.png milotic.png gengar.png cresselia.png

Icy Wind

While not as common as Thunder Wave Thundurus-Incarnate, Icy Wind is used by bulky water types as another form of Speed control on many teams. It has the additional benefit of targeting both Pokemon your opponent controls. Some Pokemon that employ this method are Suicune, Milotic, Jellicent, and Cresselia. While this move cannot be blocked by Taunt like Thunder Wave, it is dangerous to use against Pokemon with the Abilities Defiant and Competitive as it will boost their attack power to higher levels. One Pokemon to watch out for while using this move is Bisharp. A clever switch in can give Bisharp a big boost of +2 Attack thanks to Defiant. Icy Wind can be used as an offensive form of Speed control, hitting frail Pokemon like Landorus-Therian and Breloom really hard in the process.

Since Icy Wind does not inflict Status Condition, you can also employ crippling moves like Will-O-Wisp to inflict Burn on an opposing Pokemon. While no Pokemon is immune to Icy Wind, one still has to watch out for Pokemon like Bisharp and Milotic.

Almost all Milotic use this move due to Milotic’s good bulk and average offense. With access to Recover, Icy Wind slows down the opposing Pokemon, enabling you to use Scald to inflict a Burn and Recover to heal back Milotic’s HP. What makes Milotic special among other Icy Wind users is its Ability Competitive, which gives Milotic a +2 boost in Special Attack if any of its stats are reduced, turning this beautiful creature into a deadly monster.

Suicune, on the other hand, has access to a large number of support moves like Snarl, Tailwind, and Icy Wind. Icy Wind is mostly used by players who are worried about Taunt from opposing Thundurus-Incarnate. Due to Suicune’s ability to stay on the battlefield for a long time, it is an ideal move to use on bulky Suicune for chip damage as well as for Speed control.

Non-Water Type Pokemon like Cresselia and Gengar also have access to this awesome support move. Cresselia, being a bulky supporter, has access to a large number of support moves, forcing the opponent into Taunting it, and that’s where Icy Wind becomes useful. Gengar, on the other hand, is a Pokemon with lots of options, ranging from Perish Trapping to Encore-Disable strategies. Nowadays, Gengar is also used for crippling physical attackers by using Will-O-Wisp or slowing down opposing Pokemon with Icy Wind. Icy Wind allows Gengar to deal with fast Pokemon so the slower Pokemon on the team can make their move.




Electro Web, like Icy Wind, is a damaging move that reduces the speed of both Pokemon your opponent controls. The only difference is that Electroweb is an Electric Type attack while Icy Wind is an Ice Type attack. While not as common as Icy Wind due to it being useless against popular Ground Types like Landorus-Therian, it can be used by bulky Pokemon like Lajo’s Rotom-Wash. This is especially helpful in catching the opponent off guard and reducing their speed, enabling you to take control of the battle.

This move is something that cannot be used by every Pokemon, and is inferior to Thunder Wave. The only Pokemon worth mentioning here are the Rotom Forms, as they have a variety of uses, and Electroweb can definitely make your opponent go nuts.


charizard-mega-y.png  venusaur-mega.png  greninja.png

Pledge (Water Pledge + Grass Pledge)

Pledge moves, while uncommon, can be used to halve the Speed of the opposing Pokemon. It works as a backward Tailwind, reducing the opponent’s Speed for 5 turns. The Water Pledge and Grass Pledge combination creates a “Swamp” that halves the Speed of all the Pokemon on the opponent’s side of the field until the swamp wears off. While it cannot be stopped by Taunt, it takes up a moveslot on two of your Pokemon, and you are forced to use two starter Pokemon.

Two of the most used Pokemon to create the “Swamp” are Greninja and Venusaur, often used in triple starter teams along with Mega Charizard-Y. It is important to note for Flying and Levitating Pokemon that, for all intents and purposes, the Swamp is in the sky (nothing dodges its effects).


sableye.png   murkrow.png


​Quash, while not a common move, is a Status move that makes the target move last in its Priority bracket. A move used in niches, it is something that cannot be spammed like Thunder Wave.

The drawbacks of this move are that it only lasts one turn, so the move is a temporary solution and high offensive pressure is recommended with its use. The move must of course go before its target to actually work, so Pokemon with the Ability Prankster like Sableye can put this move to full use. Only a few Pokemon have access to this Status move, and when it is used, it can catch the opponent off guard. No matter if the opponent used Trick Room, no matter if they used Tailwind, if Quash hits, the Pokemon will move last in its Priority bracket. Since only a few Pokemon learn Quash, if used correctly, it can hurt the opponent where it hurts the most.

The two Pokemon that ever use Quash are Sableye and Murkrow. Murkrow not only has access to Quash, but also learns Feather Dance, a move that harshly lowers the Attack of the target. Pokemon like Thundurus-Incarnate and Ice type Pokemon can easily beat Murkrow due to its low Speed, even though its Dark typing and access to Foul Play allow it to deal enormous damage to Ghost type Pokemon like Gengar.

Sableye, while slow, has access to a huge support move pool, like Recover, the coveted Will-O-Wisp, and Quash. With its Ghost and Dark typing, Sableye ensures only Fairy type Pokemon can hit it for a Super-Effective damage. The Ghost typing gives Sableye an excellent match up against Mega Kangaskhan and Mega Metagross. With Mental Herb, it doesn’t have to worry about Thundurus-Incarnate, and Prankster Recover enables you to burn stall the opposing Pokemon. While Sableye maybe an awesome Quash user, one has to watch out for Thundurus-Incarnate and Liepard, as they can shut down your Quash user quite easily (unless the Sableye holds a Mental Herb).


If you have read this far, you should be up to speed with the uses of Paralysis, Icy Wind, Electroweb, Quash, and Pledge as forms of Speed control. But where are the rest of the moves and tricks like Tailwind and Trick Room, you ask? You can look out for them in ‘Where’s the Speedometer?: A Beginner’s guide to Speed control – Part 2.’

Special thanks to MindApe and Floristthebudew for helping me edit the article and giving me some neat ideas. Thank you, Sam, HeliosanNA and MrScaryMuffin, for pointing out the mistakes. Without you guys, this article wouldn’t exist.


About the Author

Started playing competitively in late 2014 after watching Sejun Park defeating Jeudy in Pokemon World Championships 2014. One could say I have made some great progress along the way. Aiming to become a Pokemon Master someday. When I'm not playing Pokemon, I spent my day playing Yugioh and doing arts.

15 Responses to Where’s the Speedometer? A Beginner’s Guide to Speed Control: Part 1

  1. Serapis says:

    Great article. Yet another one that mistakenly believes that Pledge only halves the speed of the opponent tho. Pledge actually quarters the opponent’s speed like Thunder Wave. Full explanation of Pledge Mechanics can be found here:

    I get too sore over Pledge. . .

    Besides that though, I enjoyed reading this and you covered everything worth mentioning besides Trick Room. I was actually intending to do an Overview of Trick Room Setters, so I’ll be interested to see if you have a 2nd section focused around Trick Room itself. Anyway, good work man!

  2. ThunderPunch says:

    Great article! Was waiting on this.

  3. fourganger says:

    Cool article. Probably should also mention that Electric types cannot be Paralysed (as of Gen VI) by any means.

  4. Cinaclov says:

    “While no Pokemon is immune to Icy Wind, one still has to watch out for Pokemon like Bisharp and Milotic.”

    It depends what you mean by immune. Whilst Metagross isn’t ‘immune’ to Icy Wind the speed drop is nulled by Clear Body, leaving just the resisted Ice damage from a base 55 spread attack to deal with. That’s near enough to an immunity in my book.

    Besides that, I like this article, it’s a nice summary 🙂

  5. XacerB8 says:

    Great article, and looking forward to part 2. Also, if I was to run Zapdos, it seems like it would be difficult to mix the Speed control with it’s offensive capabilities. How would you combine these two sets?
    Great article tho.

  6. JHufself says:

    Just have one little mistake to point out, and it’s that Paraflinch utilizing Rock Slide is not a 55% chance (assuming you just took 25% Paralysis + 30% Flinch) to cause inaction, it is actually 45.25% since chance of Paraylsis not taking effect = 75%, chance of Rock Slide not flinching the Pokémon = 73% with miss chance factored in are the conditions required for Pokémon under this restriction to act. Any other combination of rolls results in inaction. Other than that, excellent analysis of Speed control and I’ll be waiting for the next installment.

  7. mewmart says:

    Same here! it’s a good summary of Speed control options that all of us can adopt while building teams!

  8. Galvatron says:

    Love the article!
    Thank you!

  9. TTT says:

    I had super high hopes when I saw the rapidash thumbnail but I knew it was too good to be true 🙁 regardless very helpful article for newer players, thank you for your time and effort in writing this article.

  10. squirtwo says:

    This is a cool article for beginners. There is, of course, loads of more information on speed control. This sums it up quite nicely though. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  11. kalarse says:

    Ground types can be paralized via Glare and Effect Spore.

  12. MrGX says:

    Thank you for the kind words, guys 🙂
    This is a beginner’s article. So, It’s aimed at beginners 😀

  13. MrGX says:

    This is a cool article for beginners. There is, of course, loads of more information on speed control. This sums it up quite nicely though. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

    I was planning on making t bigger, but since it was supposed to be a beginner’s article, my friends recommended I make it short.

  14. MindApe says:

    Good to see this article go up, reward for the hard work you put in to writing it. :)

  15. LasermanZ1 says:

    When is Part 2?

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