VGC 2017 Pokemon Spotlight #9: Kartana

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Welcome back to another VGC 2017 Pokemon Spotlight, where the goal is to talk about a Pokemon that's having success in the VGC format and tell you everything you need to know about it. Today, we'll be talking about Kartana. Kartana has had a fantastic season and its time to talk about why this is. Hope you enjoy and let's begin.

Base Stats

Looking at its stats, Kartana is essentially, the textbook definition of a sweeper. This is because of its 181 base attack stat. This allows it to use some amazingly powerful physical moves in its disposal. It's 109 speed stat allows it to outspeed prevalent Pokemon in the format like Garchomp and Tapu Lele and threaten them with damage, meaning the only Pokemon it speed ties with is Alolan Ninetales. A 59 Sp. Attack stat means I wouldn't rely on Kartana as a special attacker, which is perfectly fine with that 181 attack stat. Defense wise, 59/131/31 is pretty awkward as it can take a physical hit well, but 59/31 for special bulk means Kartana will even take a lot of damage from special based hits it resists with its Grass/Steel typing.

Notable Moves

  1. Sacred Sword - Strong fighting move to hit Porygon2 and Snorlax
  2. Razor Leaf - Works with the Scope Lens item for an increase critical hit ratio
  3. Night Slash - Strong dark move to hit Marowak and Oranguru
  4. Swords Dance - Increases Kartana's attack stat by 2 stages
  5. Leaf Blade - Strong and consistent Grass type STAB move
  6. Protect/Detect - Useful to shield against attacks and weaken the power of Z-moves
  7. Guillotine - Gives Kartana a 30% chance each turn to OHKO a Pokemon
  8. Smart Strike - Strong and consistent Steel type STAB move
  9. Substitute - A surprise way to take an attack and play a supportive role.
Now it's time to go into sample sets for Kartana.

Kartana @ Focus Sash
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Smart Strike
- Leaf Blade
- Sacred Sword
- Protect / Detect

A standard Kartana set. This set was popular at the beginning of the season because the lack of bulk at the beginning of the season showed that this may have been the best way to play it. This set is still doing well in the format because its the most consistent set. The dual-STAB combination of Smart Strike and Leaf Blade allows Kartana to do its job. The 3rd slot in Sacred Sword is helpful to hit Pokemon like Porygon2 and Snorlax for good damage. Because Kartana works well with the Focus Sash item, investing in bulk isn't as smart because it allows Kartana to focuses its EVs into attack and speed to be as strong as possible. Protect occupies the last slot as its a great move in VGC, although Detect is a great option so if you face something with the move Imprison and it also knows the move Protect, you can still have a Protect-based move to use.

Kartana @ Assault Vest
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 116 HP / 4 Atk / 4 Def / 132 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Smart Strike
- Sacred Sword
- Night Slash

This is the Kartana that was popularized by 3 time World Champion Ray Rizzo. I'll link his video here if you wanna watch it as Ray did an amazing job to explain how the set works. The beauty of this set is that it allows Kartana to be bulkier than it may appear to be and gives its a decent amount of offensive power because it has a range of strong attacking moves.

Kartana @ Scope Lens
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 52 HP / 124 Atk / 4 Def / 76 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Sacred Sword
- Substitute
- Detect

This was the Kartana that was popularized by Enosh Shachar as this was the set he used in the ONOG Invitational. I'll link the article that talks about it here. The beauty of this set as the article goes into say is to that It can improve its chance to land a critical hit and ignore stat boosts to its defense like the Extreme Evoboost teams, as well as the Smeargle + Pallosand combo. The decision to run Substitute over Smart Strike is a pretty cool idea because if the opponent chooses to ignore Kartana for a turn, it can set-up a Substitute and make it harder to KO.

Kartana @ Choice Scarf  
Ability: Beast Boost  
EVs: 20 HP / 220 Atk / 4 Def / 100 SpD / 164 Spe  
Adamant Nature  
- Leaf Blade  
- Smart Strike  
- Sacred Sword  
- Razor Leaf

This was a Choice Scarfed Kartana used by Rob Akershoek (@ApplePieVGC) to finish in the Top 8 of the 2017 Sheffield Regionals. I'll link it here if you want to know more about it. The EV Spread was meant to make 252 Sp. Attack Life Orb Tapu Koko's Dazzling Gleam a 3HKO, while using Leaf Blade to 2HKO it back. The coolest thing that Rob goes into saying about this set is that this Kartana can potentially use Razor Leaf to knock out 2 Pokemon at the same time and if it can, it'll get +2 from its Beast Boost. 

Potential Items

  • Focus Sash - Gives Kartana a potential second turn if hit by a move that would KO it
  • Grassium Z - Turns Leaf Blade into its Z-Move equivalent, Bloom Doom
  • Fightinium Z - Turns Sacred Sword into its Z-Move equivalent, All-Out Pummeling, or turn Detect into Z-Detect for 1 stage of increase accuracy
  • Steelium Z - Turns Smart Strike into its Z-Move equivalent, Corkscrew Crash
  • Assault Vest - Increases Kartana's special bulk to make it overall more bulky
  • Scope Lens - Increases its critical hit ratio. Works great with the move, Razor Leaf
  • Choice Scarf - Increases its speed to deal major damage to big threats

Potential Partners

 - Provides the Intimidate ability, as well as Snarl to help Kartana takes hits better.
 - Provides the Misty Terrain to help Kartana avoid status like Burn and Paralysis
 - Kartana's steel moves can help Garchomp deal better with Fairy type Pokemon and Nihilego
 - Provide Rain to help it take Fire moves

How to beat Kartana?

Fire types - Fire Pokemon like Arcanine and Marowak can use strong fire moves to quickly KO it
Fire moves - If a Pokemon has access to a Fire type move, it can deal a heavy amount of damage
Special Attacks - Because of Kartana's poor special bulk, strong special moves can do a nice chunk to it.
Fighting types - Fighting Pokemon like Hariuyama and Buzzwole can resist its moves and chunk it with Close Combat and Superpower respectively
Trick Room - Because Kartana is very fast, Trick Room works as a way to turn its speed into a weakness.

I hope you enjoyed this analysis. Overall Kartana is a very strong Pokemon. Through its impressive offensive power in Attack and Speed, many ways it can function as a Pokemon, which allows it to function as a very impressive Pokemon. Check out my older content and I'll see you next time Bye!


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