Re: Surf or Hydro Pump?
Hydro Pump has an 80% chance to hit for 120 base power.
So basically, 80% chance of base power of 120, and 20% chance of base power of, effectively, 0.
.8 * 120 + .2 * 0 = 96
Surf has a 100% chance to hit for 95 base power.
1.0 * 95 = 95 (obviously)
(bear in mind that for thunder and blizzard outside of rain and hail respectively, this actually gives thunderbolt and ice beam MORE average damage, because blizz/thunder's base accuracies are only 70%)
Over a long period of time, Hydro Pump will average out to a base power of.. effectively one higher than Surf. It could get some OHKOs or 2HKOs that Surf will not get and it also has a chance to miss, allowing something to kill you that shouldn't have. In addition, Surf has much better PP and especially on tanky Pokemon that will survive for longer than 5 turns, this is a big deal. Many Water-type Pokemon are bulky such as Blastoise, Swampert, Jellicent, Milotic, etc. and those should run Surf or Scald.
Scald is a good option for the aforementioned tanky Pokemon, however you do get a significant drop in power from that, which is made only bigger by the STAB multiplier. In addition, if you have other status on your team, the chance to burn could be at best, nonexistent because the Pokemon is already statused, and at worst, prevent your strategy from working correctly. You also run the chance of burning something that enjoys being burned, such as Magic Guard Pokemon (having a burn prevents them from being statused in any other way, doesn't hurt them, and most Magic Guard mons don't care about attack drop) or Guts mons. Scald is very ineffective on Pokemon that are not going to live very long, because you need to attack with it several times to have a good chance of burning. I.e., shell break Omastar should not even consider Scald.
Hydro Pump is a good option SOMETIMES. It's a good option on fragile, hyper-offensive Pokemon that will likely not live very long, or Pokemon that are absurdly boosted in hopes of getting OHKOs, such as a situation where you're wearing Choice Specs and in the rain with max special attack.
In some situations it gets some notable OHKO or 2HKO chances that Surf doesn't have. I believe for example that Choice Specs Starmie can not usually OHKO Tyranitar with Surf, but with Hydro Pump, it can. Of course you must also weigh that against the fact that it has a 20% chance to do absolutely nothing when you Hydro Pump. The cost of a turn is very large. It takes one turn for many Pokemon to set up. It takes one turn to take a fatal attack. It takes one turn to give a free switch in to something. Gotta keep that in mind.
Last edited by Tasteless; 12-22-2011 at 06:35 AM.