move 1: Endure
move 2: Fire Blast
move 3: Hidden Power Grass
move 4: Quick Attack
item: Salac Berry
evs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Cyndaquil is one of the best leads in ADV ZU thanks to its immense power with Blaze and priority move in Quick Attack. These traits give Cyndaquil a great matchup versus leads such as Snorunt, which it completely denies entry hazards from. Endure allows Cyndaquil to activate Blaze and its Salac Berry, letting it outspeed every unboosted Pokemon. This allows Cyndaquil to beat leads that would otherwise outspeed and OHKO it, such as Aipom, although it must be careful of paralysis. Fire Blast threatens leads such as Snorunt with an OHKO and packs a huge punch with Blaze active, 2HKOing specially bulky Pokemon such as Delcatty and Grimer. It can even 2HKO some Fire-resistant Pokemon such as Staryu and Chinchou. Hidden Power Grass hits Water- and Rock-types that resist Fire Blast such as Seaking and Rhyhorn. Lastly, Quick Attack stops Snorunt from setting up Spikes and can also be used to pick off faster Pokemon, such as Elekid, at low HP.
Cyndaquil fits very well on balance teams that are weak to Spikes due to its great matchup against Snorunt. Many Pokemon, such as Elekid, Castform, and Aipom, no longer worry about Spikes cutting into their bulk or putting them KO in range of priority moves. Cyndaquil's presence as a lead has seen several counter-leads emerge, such as Spoink and Seaking, both relatively bulky Pokemon that can set up on Cyndaquil — ; using Calm Mind and Rain Dance, respectively. As a result, Cyndaquil appreciates teammates such as Delcatty, tank Castform, and Lileep, which all check these two Pokemon. Lileep can also deal with common priority attackers such as Elekid and Pidgeotto, which shut down Cyndaquil, even with a Salac Berry boost, if they are not in KO range of Cyndaquil's Quick Attack. Shuppet also can shut down Band Pidgeotto and Tailow locked into Quick Attack, which can revenge kill Cyndaquil. Lastly, opposing Fire-types such as Growlithe and Numel can handle Cyndaquil lacking the rare Hidden Power Water, so partners such as Seaking and Chinchou may be ideal.
move 1: Fire Blast
move 2: Hidden Power Grass
move 3: Quick Attack
move 4: Toxic / Substitute
item: Charcoal / Lum Berry
evs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
As a wallbreaker, Cyndaquil is very powerful with a great offensive typing, dismantling common defensive cores with Pokemon such as Dustox and Magnemite. Blaze lets Fire Blast comfortably 2HKO special walls such as Lileep and Delcatty, which it otherwise struggles with. Hidden Power Grass covers Water-types and Rock-types that resist Fire Blast such as Seaking, Nosepass, and Rhyhorn. Quick Attack can finish off low-HP faster Pokemon looking to revenge kill Cyndaquil, such as Elekid and Pidgeotto. Cyndaquil's fourth moveslot is quite flexible, with Toxic giving a much better matchup against Spoink, which would otherwise use Cyndaquil as setup fodder, while also being useful versus specially bulky Pokemon such as Lileep and tank Castform. Substitute can be used to scout switches and also to put Cyndaquil in Blaze range.
Cyndaquil benefits greatly from Spikes via a lead like Snorunt or Pineco, which lets it 2HKO common special walls such as Delcatty with two layers, as well as specially defensive Lileep with a little chip damage. Additionally, physical wallbreakers are appreciated to deal with these special walls if Cyndaquil can't, such as Rhyhorn, Pidgeotto, and Aipom. Cleaners such as Elekid appreciate Cyndaquil wallbreaking for them. Elekid is also notable for threatening Water-types that can cause Cyndaquil trouble. Cyndaquil can also struggle versus Rock-types such as Nosepass. Additionally, Spoink walls Cyndaquil thanks to Thick Fat and can use it as setup fodder. Delcatty and tank Castform check these Water-types and Spoink quite well, with the latter also checking various Rock-types such as Lileep.
Hidden Power Water can be used over Hidden Power Grass to hit Fire-types such as Growlithe and opposing Cyndaquil, and it retains the ability to hit Rock-types such as Rhyhorn. However, it leaves Cyndaquil completely walled by Water-types such as Seaking, Chinchou, and Staryu. ChestoRest sets are also an option for longevity, but they are generally outclassed by the Lum Berry wallbreaker set. ChestoRest sets are also an option for Cyndaqwil to have longevity throughout a game, although it is generally outclassed by the Lum Berry breaker set.
Checks and Counters
**Priority Moves**: Priority moves from Pidgeotto, Elekid, and Delibird can pick off Cyndaquil even after it activates its Salac Berry, thus shutting it down completely.
**Water-types**: Water-types such as Seaking and RestTalk Chinchou resist Cyndaquil's Fire Blast and do not fear Hidden Power Grass while OHKOing back with their STAB moves.
**Spoink**: Thanks to Thick Fat, Spoink functionally resists Fire Blast, and Hidden Power Grass does not threaten it, allowing it to use Cyndaquil as setup fodder with Calm Mind. However, it must be wary of Toxic.
**Rock-types**: Rock-types such as Nosepass resist Fire Blast, and Nosepass doesn't even fear Blaze, avoiding the 2HKO regardless. Nosepass also shrugs off Hidden Power Grass thanks to its immense special bulk. Lileep can also avoid a 2HKO from Fire Blast if Cyndaquil is not in Blaze range, and it can hit hard with Rock Slide or PP stall Fire Blast's 8 PP with Recover.
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