Empoleon is set to star in Scarlet and Violet’s next big Tera Raid event, and this battle is looking to be exceptionally challenging for those who like to solo raids on their own.
From Feb. 2 to 4, seven-star Tera Raids will appear in Paldea with Empoleon as the raid boss. This Empoleon will have the Mightiest Mark as well as the Ice Tera Type, so your first thought may be to bring a strong Fighting-type counter like Iron Hands or Annihilape for an easy victory. However, this penguin isn’t going to go down without a fight, thanks to its new Hidden Ability, which is going to make the battle very, very tricky.
After being added to the Gen IX games through the DLC along with other Starter Pokémon, Empoleon got huge buffs, with the biggest being its Hidden Ability changing from Defiant to Competitive. Competitive raises Empoleon’s Special Attack stat by two stages when one of its stats is lowered. For example, if Arcanine lowers Empoleon’s Attack stat with Intimidate, Empoleon will automatically get a huge Special Attack boost with Competitive. Once that happens, Empoleon should hit pretty hard with any attack it throws at you.
This is horrifying for the Empoleon Tera Raids—especially if you’re planning on soloing the raid like me. The biggest issue is the set of NPCs you’re forced to work with. Some of these NPCs bring Pokémon with stat-lowering moves or Abilities like Intimidate, which is a good thing… unless you’re dealing with an Empoleon with Competittive. If the NPCs happen to bring two Intimidate users like Arcanine and Tauros, for example, Empoleon will immediately open the raid at +4 Special Attack from those two initial Attack drops. Even worse, Intimidate will trigger each time the user faints and re-enters the battle too, only compounding the issue.
The NPCs that accompany you during a solo raid are random, so you don’t even have the option to avoid certain Pokémon that could unintentionally power up Empoleon. Your best bet is to keep running from the raid at the start of the battle until you have no NPC allies with Intimidate. This alone can be frustrating as you could be sitting there for a long time, if you’re really unlucky.
Alternatively, you can try to work out a strategy to change or ignore Empoleon’s ability. This can be done in a few ways, such as using Skill Swap or bringing a counter with abilities like Unaware or Neutralizing Gas. As the name suggests, Skill Swap lets the user switch their Ability with the target, meaning you could take Competitive away from Empoleon and give it a worse Ability. Unaware lets the user ignore stat changes, so all Empoleon’s Competitive boosts would be meaningless against Pokémon with Unaware. Meanwhile, Neutralizing Gas suppresses Abilities, meaning neither Intimidate nor Competitive would activate in the Empoleon Raid.
The drawback here is the limited pool of Pokémon that have access to Skill Swap, Unaware, and Neutralizing Gas. You’ll have to do some research to find the right Empoleon counter with a combination of good typing, moves, and Ability to defeat this Competitive penguin.
When in doubt, team up with your friends to avoid all the struggles that come with soloing this Scarlet and Violet raid. It’ll save you from a massive headache.