Hey everybody. It's Travis. I've been a long time fan of It's Super Effective and Critical Hit, and I noticed that something was missing in the arsenal of returning articles on the website. That something was a discussion of Pokémon items. We have move and ability of the week already, so it just made sense to add in items. I will mostly focus on hold items and their relation to competitive battling, but I might talk about non-battle items at some point down the road.
This week we will be looking at Choice Band. Choice Band has the awesome ability to boost the user's attack by 50%. That way, you don't have to waste a few turns building up a swords dance or dragon dance to get your attack up. So why doesn't every physical sweeper and its grandmother have choice band?
It has one big negative side effect. Once a Pokémon with Choice Band uses a move, they are locked in to that move until they switch out. For example, if you have an Electivire with a Choice Band and you use Thunder Punch on the enemy's Pelipper to take advantage of Choice Band's bonus and get that 4x super effective, you will be locked into Thunder Punch until Electivire switches out. In this example, if your opponent switched out to a Golem, you are essentially Bulbasaur'd. Sure, you really really want to use that fighting move to take advantage of Golem's Rock/Ground typing, but you are stuck with an ineffective Thunder Punch.
Another negative to the Choice Band is that you are not able to set up move combos. You can only use one move. That means no Rest/Sleeptalk to stay alive, and no Dragon Dance to give you a boost.
So if you can only use one move, why would you ever want to use Choice Band? Choice Band is a great item for getting through giant walls. Want to get through that Curse/Payback Umbreon? No problem, just use a STAB'ed Brick Break with Choice Band and you probably just OHKO'd it. That Rest using Tyranitar (See podcast episode 27)? You just took it out with one Earthquake.
Not only that, but it can also give you the upper hand on other sweepers, because as long as you have the faster Pokémon you will probably win, considering how low defense stats of sweepers can be.
It can also be good for Normal typed moves. Because these moves are only hindered by Rock, Steel, or Ghost types, a Choice Banded Normal type move can turn that 100% accuracy 85 power Body Slam into a 100% accuracy 128 power move without using a turn for a swords dance. Your "Jack of All Trades" normal type move just turned into an Ace.
And it's going to be even more useful now that Black and White are out. Why, you ask, as if you had the authority to ask ME questions? Well, I'll humor you with this answer: there are a bunch of new Pokémon out, and you probably haven't had the chance to memorize which Pokémon learn what, so your best bet is to try and take something out as quick as possible with a big OHKO instead of risking an unexpected super effective hit on your sweeper. A choice band can make that difference, because it will probably make you strong enough to take down any other sweeper, as long as you are fast enough.
Unfortunately, if your last Pokémon alive has a choice band, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. For example, that Earthquake using Golem of yours? Yeah, it's stuck using Earthquake against a Flying type. If you had another Pokémon in your party, you could switch out and back in, reseting Golem's move choice, and hit that Flyer with a hard Stone Edge, but you don't have any to switch to, so you are stuck watching your Golem experience a long, painful fainting.
So is Choice Band good or bad in the end? My vote is for good, as long as you are willing to make your move set based on it. Choice Band is not recommended as just a random item to throw on like a leftovers might be, but if you use it correctly it can win you an entire round.