A Guide to Entry Hazards in BW RU
Hazards are some of the most important aspects of teams in RU. With Pokemon such as Moltres, Scyther, and Entei running rampant, hazards are extremely important in dealing with these threats; these Pokemon would be much harder to take down without Stealth Rock or Spikes. Furthermore, due to the small number of spinners in the tier relative to the large number of spinblockers, hazards are extremely hard to remove from the field. Because of the lack of spinners, hazards are extremely effective on both offensive and defensive teams, which allows for more flexibility when choosing a hazard user. There are both offensive users of hazards, such as Aerodactyl and Accelgor, and defensive users of hazards, which include Steelix and Roselia.
Stealth Rock is the most important hazard in the tier, as it prevents offensive behemoths such as Moltres and Galvantula from sweeping. One of the reasons why Manectric is used instead of Galvantula is because it's not weak to Stealth Rock. Stealth Rock is also the only hazard that affects Flying-types and Pokemon with the Levitate ability. This will help wear down the opposing team, as there are no other forms of residual damage in RU besides status conditions.
Spikes is the next best hazard in RU; it is easy to fit a Spikes user onto a team due to the good amount of Spikes users to choose from. Some Spikes users, such as Scolipede, are extremely fast, and others, for example Ferroseed, are incredibly bulky and can set up very easily. Stealth Rock coupled with a few layers of Spikes makes it so that sweepers such as Lilligant can easily dispose of what would otherwise be their best counters.
The final entry hazard, Toxic Spikes, is used less than the other hazards, and for good reason. Poison-types such as Amoonguss, Drapion, Roselia, and Qwilfish are somewhat common, and they will absorb Toxic Spikes upon switching in, making all efforts to set up useless. Also, like Spikes, Flying-types and Pokemon with the Levitate ability are immune to Toxic Spikes, so its usefulness is devalued even more. Nevertheless, Toxic Spikes can be effective if the opponent lacks these Pokemon, as becoming poisoned upon switching in is extremely unpleasant.
Seeing how powerful hazards can really be, Pokemon such as Cryogonal and Sandslash have risen in usage due to their ability to spin, which in turn caused Ghost-types to rise in usage. However, this usually leads to a fierce battle between players trying to keep hazards on the field or trying to remove them. Hazards play a huge role in the RU tier, and many battles are centered around keeping them on the field or preventing them from being set up.
Stealth Rock is a staple on RU teams, as Fire-types would otherwise run rampant. Entei, Magmortar, Moltres, and Typhlosion are all much easier to deal with while Stealth Rock is on the field, as they can only switch in a limited number of times, and the additional damage dealt by Flare Blitz or Life Orb recoil will rack up quickly alongside Stealth Rock damage. Stealth Rock also weakens strong walls such as Flareon and Mandibuzz by turning some 2HKOs into OHKOs. Stealth Rock should be the first hazard to be set up, as one of the best spinners, Cryogonal, is weak to it, which makes it much harder for the opponent to remove your hazards. The lack of reliable spinners and the plethora of Pokemon that are weak to Stealth Rock make it the most fearsome hazard in the tier. Stealth Rock has always been an important aspect on every team, and this likewise applies in RU, especially due to the plethora of good Stealth Rock users.
Spikes-stacking is a very effective strategy. With only a few reliable spinners in RU, Spikes can easily dismantle any team with grounded Pokemon. Spikes will cause Pokemon with no reliable recovery, such as Rhydon, to be taken down more easily by powerful sweepers. Most Spikes users can set them up easily, as they are extremely fast or extremely bulky, allowing for many opportunities to set up.
Toxic Spikes, on the other hand, are less effective. There are many Pokemon with the Levitate ability in RU, meaning that they are immune to Toxic Spikes. There are also many common Poison-types—including Amoonguss, Drapion, Roselia, and Qwilfish—that can all absorb Toxic Spikes upon switching in. Once these Pokemon are eliminated, however, Toxic Spikes can cripple grounded walls, such as Lanturn and Slowking, and can be very hard for the opponent to deal with.
With a massive base 200 Defense and great defensive typing, Steelix is one of the most reliable Stealth Rock users. By walling nearly every physical attacker in RU, Steelix will have multiple opportunities to set up Stealth Rock throughout the match. Additionally, with some Special Defense investment, Steelix beats one of the most common spinners, Cryogonal, with Gyro Ball, so Cryogonal can't risk switching in to spin. It also scares out Kabutops with a STAB Earthquake. One of the downsides to Steelix is its low Speed, so Taunt users such as Aerodactyl, Drapion, and Mandibuzz can prevent it from setting up, although the former two fear Steelix's STAB moves. Overall, Steelix is one of the best, most reliable users of Stealth Rock in the tier.
Being the second fastest Pokemon in the RU tier, Aerodactyl will almost always set up Stealth Rock unless the opponent has a Whimsicott with Taunt. Speaking of Taunt, Aerodactyl also has the move, so it can prevent the setup of Stealth Rock itself. Additionally, with base 105 Attack, Aerodactyl can dent the opposing team with a powerful STAB Stone Edge. The only things that stop Aerodactyl from setting up are Magic Coat and Prankster Taunt Pokemon. When choosing a Pokemon to lead with, Aerodactyl is a great choice for setting up Stealth Rock as early as possible, damaging the opponent's team, and preventing opposing Pokemon from setting up.
Like Steelix, Rhydon has a massive base Defense stat as well as many good resistances. However, unlike Steelix, Rhydon has a huge base 130 Attack and can set up on the likes of Entei. It can use Eviolite to boost its defenses, which allows it to set up more easily. Unfortunately, Rhydon does not have reliable recovery, and cannot use Leftovers unless you want to sacrifice the benefits of Eviolite; this makes it harder for it to repeatedly set up Stealth Rock throughout the game. Also, due to its high Attack stat, Rhydon can demolish most Taunt users, which will almost always guarantee Stealth Rock being set up. Rhydon should not be seen as inferior to Steelix, but instead be considered on its own merits as a solid Stealth Rock user.
Uxie and Mesprit
Uxie and Mesprit are both great users of Stealth Rock due to their bulk, typing, and Levitate ability. Uxie has higher defenses and Speed than Mesprit, but weaker offenses; Uxie also has Memento, whereas Mesprit has Healing Wish. If you need a fast, bulky Pokemon, use Uxie because of its base 95 Speed and excellent 75 / 130 / 130 defenses. Mesprit, on the other hand, is a bit slower with base 80 Speed, but has a high base 105 Special Attack and access to Ice Beam. Ice Beam demolishes Sandslash, a common spinner; this will help keep Stealth Rock on the field for the remainder of the match. In addition, they both have access to Psyshock, which can OHKO Cryogonal and prevent it from spinning. Finally, both pixies are able to learn U-turn, so they can come in later in the match if Stealth Rock happens to have been removed.
With mediocre base 75 HP and great base 110 Defense, Sandslash makes for a solid user of Stealth Rock. Resistances to Rock- and Electric-type attacks and the ability to check many physical attackers give Sandslash many opportunities to set up Stealth Rock. Sandslash is also one of the only RU Pokemon with both Stealth Rock and Rapid Spin, which makes it a great team supporter. However, Sandslash doesn't do much outside of these two things, which leaves it outclassed by Pokemon such as Kabutops. Nevertheless, if you need a solid physical wall with both Stealth Rock and Rapid Spin, Sandslash should not be overlooked. Lastly, it can run moves such as Knock Off, Swords Dance, and Toxic to become a better teammate.
Golurk is the only Ghost-type in RU to get Stealth Rock, which enables it to both set up Stealth Rock and block the opponent from spinning it away. Golurk also has a great base 124 Attack stat and usable defensive stats. However, this does not mean that Golurk is a good spinblocker or Stealth Rock user. It unfortunately loses to the two most common spinners, Cryogonal and Kabutops, and is walled by Sandslash as well; its low Speed stat doesn't do it any favors either. Overall, Golurk can set up Stealth Rock and prevent the opponent from spinning for a turn or two, but is mediocre in general.
Clefable is a very versatile Pokemon. It is great at supporting its team, especially because it has access to Stealth Rock. In addition, it has the Magic Guard ability, which makes it immune to all forms of residual damage, including hazards, and makes Clefable hard to take down. It has decent 95 / 73 / 90 defenses, which allows it to set up Stealth Rock in many different situations. Furthermore, its extremely wide movepool can support itself, its team, and has the ability to take out opposing spinners; most notably, it can use Heal Bell and Wish to heal itself or teammates or Softboiled to heal itself. To take out spinners, Clefable can use Double-Edge to take out Cryogonal, Grass Knot to take out Kabutops, or Ice Beam to take out Sandslash.
Druddigon is quite the unique Stealth Rock user, as it is a Dragon-type. However, it does a good job at setting up, as its 77 / 90 / 90 defenses and plethora of resistances give it many chances to use Stealth Rock. Furthermore, it can use either Roar or Dragon Tail to phaze the opponent and rack up entry hazard damage. Outrage will also hit hard, and will wear down the opponent's Pokemon after Stealth Rock. Finally, Druddigon's Rough Skin ability causes the opponent to take damage every time it uses Rapid Spin, which enables Druddigon to wear down spinners to have a better chance of keeping Stealth Rock on the field.
Like Clefable, Miltank is another versatile Stealth Rock user. It has good 95 / 105 / 70 defenses and three great abilities; Thick Fat helps it take on Fire-types as well as Ice-types such as Cryogonal, while Sap Sipper gives it an immunity to Grass-type attacks and an Attack boost when hit by one. Scrappy allows it to smack spinblockers with its Normal-type STAB. Miltank is also pretty fast for a cow, boasting a high base 100 Speed which will give it a few opportunities to set up Stealth Rock before it gets Taunted. It has reliable recovery in Milk Drink, which allows it to set up Stealth Rock throughout the match if necessary. Finally, it can use moves such as Thunder Wave and Heal Bell to support its team.
Kabutops is a Pokemon known for having four-moveslot syndrome, as it has access to many useful moves, including Stealth Rock, Rapid Spin, Swords Dance, Rain Dance, Aqua Jet, Stone Edge, Waterfall, and Superpower. Among the things that stand out are its high base 115 Attack, good base 105 Defense, and decent base 80 Speed. Its Rock / Water typing grants it several useful resistances that allow it to set up Stealth Rock easily. It can also use Rapid Spin to remove the opponent's entry hazards, as well as Swords Dance to sweep. One of the most common spinners, Cryogonal, cannot spin on Kabutops either because it will risk being KOed by Aqua Jet or Stone Edge. Kabutops has a few other options, but if you can fit Stealth Rock onto its set, Kabutops will not let you down.
Accelgor is the fastest RU Pokemon, so it will almost always have the opportunity to set up Spikes before the opponent can do anything. Accelgor also has a decent base 100 Special Attack stat and strong coverage with Bug Buzz, Focus Blast, and Hidden Power Rock, which makes it a great Spikes user on offensive teams. Accelgor can also play the "suicide lead" role with Final Gambit by setting up a few layers of Spikes and then sacrificing itself to kill a spinner. Accelgor is the choice to consider whenever making an offensive Spikes-stacking team.
Ferroseed is one of the best hazard users in RU, as it learns both Stealth Rock and Spikes. It has great typing and can utilize Eviolite to boost its defenses. Ferroseed can fully wall some of the strongest physical attackers in RU, including Feraligatr and Klinklang, which gives it the opportunity to set up hazards while the opponent switches out. Access to Thunder Wave and Leech Seed will also force switches, which will rack up entry hazard damage on the enemy. Ferroseed is extremely slow, however, so it is very prone to Taunt and cannot do much back to Taunt users. It also lacks recovery outside of Leech Seed, so one must play carefully when setting up with Ferroseed.
Crustle is another Pokemon with both Stealth Rock and Spikes. It has an amazing base 125 Defense and a usable base 95 Attack. However, low Speed and a poor Bug / Rock typing leave it with many weaknesses. It does have the Sturdy ability, however, so it is almost always guaranteed Stealth Rock or one layer of Spikes against a Pokemon that can OHKO it. Crustle works best mid-game, as it can come in on a Pokemon with a low Attack stat such as Steelix and set up Spikes. All in all, however, Crustle is outclassed by other hazard users, and is better used as a Shell Smash sweeper.
Drapion has decent base 70 / 110 / 75 defenses as well as a great Poison / Dark typing. This gives Drapion many opportunities to set up Toxic Spikes, as it has good bulk and resists common Grass-, Psychic-, Ghost-, and Dark-type moves. It can run an effective specially defensive set to counter and set up on strong special attackers such as Mesprit, Sceptile, and Sigilyph. Furthermore, with Taunt, Drapion can prevent the opponent from using Taunt on Drapion or phazing it out, and hence set up another layer of Toxic Spikes. Finally, Drapion gets Whirlwind, which allows it to force the opponent out which will cause an opposing Pokemon to be poisoned by its deadly Toxic Spikes. Keep in mind that Drapion itself counters Toxic Spikes, as its Poison typing allows it absorb them upon switching in.
Roselia should almost always use Spikes instead of Toxic Spikes because it suffers from four-moveslot syndrome. With Eviolite and good base 80 Special Defense, Roselia can wall most special attackers in the tier, giving it many opportunities to set up hazards. Its Grass / Poison typing also gives it many useful resistances. With good Special Attack, the Natural Cure ability, and good support moves in Sleep Powder and Leech Seed, Roselia is one of the best hazard users in RU. Just keep in mind that Sleep Powder and Spikes are illegal on the same set, so you will have to use Toxic Spikes should you want to put the opponent to sleep. Roselia should always be considered for a hazard user on defensive teams.
Qwilfish is quite the intimidating Pokemon, as it can set up on many physical attackers in RU including Entei and Escavalier due to its Intimidate ability. Great Water / Poison typing gives it many resistances, which allows Qwilfish to set up Spikes or Toxic Spikes with ease. It also has a decent base 85 Speed, which allows it to use Taunt to prevent the opposing team from setting up. Finally, a STAB Waterfall coming off of a base 95 Attack will scare away spinners such as Cryogonal, Kabutops, and Sandslash. Qwilfish, though somewhat forgotten, is still a reliable user of hazards and a good team supporter with moves such as Haze and Thunder Wave.
Scolipede is the fifth fastest RU Pokemon, and, like Accelgor, is a great hazard user on offensive teams. With a unique base 112 Speed and base 90 Attack, Scolipede poses a great threat and boasts the ability to set up hazards quickly. It also has access to Swords Dance, so it can use Spikes to put its counters into KO range. With Focus Sash, Scolipede can usually get up two layers of hazards or use its 1 HP to its advantage to do a massive amount of damage to anything with Swarm-boosted Megahorn. Sadly, Scolipede is walled by the ever-present Ghost-types, so it is usually outclassed by other hazard users.
Smeargle is perhaps the best hazard user in RU, because it learns all three entry hazards, Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes, due to Sketch. With Spore, a 100% accuracy sleep-inducing move, Smeargle can put the foe to sleep, use Stealth Rock, take a hit due to Focus Sash, and set up Spikes. It also has Magic Coat, which allows it to bounce back hazards or Taunt from faster foes such as Aerodactyl and Drapion. Smeargle will almost always get up Stealth Rock and one layer of Spikes, unless it is faced with a Pokemon with the Vital Spirit or Insomnia abilities.
Support Omastar is always overlooked by Shell Smash Omastar, but its defensive set is very usable. Omastar has a huge base 125 Defense and decent typing—perfect for a hazard user. Omastar can take hits from the likes of Entei, Aggron, Sandslash, and Steelix and threaten them out due to its base 115 Special Attack and super effective STAB moves, resulting in a free turn to use Stealth Rock or Spikes.
Rapid Spin is the most common way of removing entry hazards; in fact, it's a move designed to remove hazards. The RU tier does not have many good spinners, but Pokemon such as Cryogonal and Kabutops can usually get the job done, as these are the two which can beat the most common Ghost-type Pokemon. Aside from that, if you are desperate to remove hazards, you can use Pokemon with Foresight, although it's usually a waste of a moveslot. Moreover, the only common user of the move, Hitmonchan, is a Pokemon that struggles to do well in the tier.
Cryogonal is one of the most reliable spinners in RU. It is weak to Stealth Rock, but also immune to Spikes and Toxic Spikes due to its Levitate ability, a trait that every spinner wishes it had. Cryogonal has an insane base 135 Special Defense, good base 95 Special Attack, and great base 105 Speed. This gives it the ability to beat almost every spinblocker in the tier. To combat this, most Spikes-stacking teams use Choice Band or Blackglasses Spiritomb, which can OHKO Cryogonal. However, Cryogonal has Reflect up its sleeve, which grants it the ability to survive Spiritomb's attacks and 3-4HKO it with a powerful STAB Ice Beam. However, Cryogonal will have to sacrifice a move for Reflect, and needs Haze and Toxic to beat Cresselia. Cryogonal must pick between one or the other, but it is still one of the best spinners in the tier.
Good typing, base 115 Attack, base 80 Speed, and base 105 Defense make Kabutops an overall great Pokemon and a great spinner. With Swords Dance and a Life Orb, Kabutops can OHKO many Ghost-types and take a hit or two due to its decent bulk. It also has much utility outside of spinning, such as the ability to revenge kill threats such as Typhlosion and Moltres with Aqua Jet.
Sandslash is well-known for being a useless support Pokemon, as it can't do much outside of setting up Stealth Rock and is not very good at spinning. However, Sandslash still has its merits, and has a way of getting around spinblockers with Swords Dance, Knock Off, or Toxic. It has a good base 100 Attack, and with Swords Dance further boosting it, Sandslash can overcome some Ghost-types. It also has Night Slash to hit Ghost-types with the Levitate ability such as Rotom and Misdreavus super effectively. Sandslash can also use a Lum Berry so it does not get burned by Rotom or Misdreavus. Knock Off and Toxic will wear down opposing Ghost-types, allowing for Sandslash's teammates to take them down more easily. It can then spin with ease as many physical attackers cannot OHKO it due to its base 110 Defense.
Hitmonchan has good overall stats: base 50 HP, base 105 Attack, base 79 Defense, base 110 Special Defense, and base 76 Speed. Despite this, Hitmonchan cannot beat Ghost-types. That is, of course, unless you are willing to run Foresight, which is not recommended because Hitmonchan already has four-moveslot syndrome. The inability to hit Ghost-types with its main STAB attacks is extremely unappealing for a spinner, and sacrificing a moveslot for Foresight is unappetizing as well. Furthermore, Hitmonchan is outclassed by other Fighting-type Pokemon and is not very useful overall. Hitmonchan's cousin, Hitmonlee, is even worse at spinning, as it is much less bulky.
Taunt is a somewhat unreliable method of dealing with hazards because you have to have the Taunt user on the field at the same time as the hazard user. However, fast Taunt users such as Aerodactyl and Drapion can prevent Pokemon such as Mesprit and Clefable from setting up, while they can set up on their own. Nevertheless, most hazard users are sent out first, so you can counter them by leading with a Taunt user.
Aerodactyl has one of the fastest Taunts in RU due to its base 130 Speed. As a lead, it will almost always prevent the opposing lead from setting up hazards, while Aerodactyl can then do so itself. It can also use Roost to heal itself, which allows it to come in later and prevent the opponent from setting up again.
With good base 95 Speed, Drapion will outrun hazard users such as Smeargle, Uxie, and Mesprit. It can then set up Swords Dance or Toxic Spikes while the opponent switches out, which can help Drapion dent the opposing team. It does, however, have trouble with Sandslash, Rhydon, and Steelix because they can all hit Drapion hard with a STAB Earthquake.
Mandibuzz is a great wall, and has good Speed to go along with it. This lets it beat out the slower hazard setters such as Steelix and Sandslash, who cannot touch Mandibuzz unless they carry the rare Stone Edge. Even so, Mandibuzz has Roost to mitigate the damage. Overall, Mandibuzz is great for preventing slower walls from setting up hazards.
Qwilfish has a decent base 85 Speed, which allows it to outrun most Stealth Rock users. Intimidate also helps it to beat physically attacking hazard users such as Steelix, Sandslash, and Kabutops, while Waterfall scares out Rhydon and Golurk. Qwilfish can then deal damage with Waterfall or set up hazards of its own while the opponent switches out.
Whimsicott can Taunt any Pokemon and prevent them from setting up hazards due to its Prankster ability, which allows all non-attacking moves to go first; it can outspeed even Accelgor and prevent it from setting up. It can also use Stun Spore to slow down hazard users, which allows for a teammate to take them out. However, Whimsicott is somewhat frail and is not a very good Pokemon in general, as it cannot do much outside of using support moves.
Natu is the only Pokemon in RU with the Magic Bounce ability, which reflects certain non-damaging moves, including Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes. However, the one downside to Natu is that even with Eviolite, it is extremely frail and weak to common moves and Pokemon due to its Psychic / Flying typing and low Speed. Natu has little use outside of reflecting hazards, setting up screens, and using Thunder Wave. Still, Natu is most effective when paired with a spinner, as it increases your chances of keeping hazards off of your field.
While Smeargle is a good hazard user, it can also prevent hazards with either of two ways. One is with the move Magic Coat, with allows Smeargle to bounce back entry hazards set by faster leads such as Uxie, Mesprit, and Aerodactyl. This is also useful when facing Taunt users, and it will allow Smeargle to set up its own hazards without worrying about being Taunted. The second way that Smeargle can do well with hazards is by using Rapid Spin. Rapid Spin Smeargle is almost never seen and very unexpected, so it can often catch the opponent off-guard. Like Natu, having another spinner on the same team as Smeargle is a good idea. Two spinners, such as both Smeargle and Cryogonal on the same team, almost always guarantees the removal of Stealth Rock and Spikes, which is always appreciated on every team.
Spinblocking, which means "to block Rapid Spin," is the only way to keep hazards on your field. The way to do this is by using a Ghost-type; because Ghost-types are immune to Normal-type moves, they are immune to Rapid Spin and can come in on a spinner to prevent it from ridding the field of Stealth Rock, Spikes, or Toxic Spikes. There are many viable Ghost-types in RU, but some work better than others. Some beat certain spinners and are offensively oriented, while others beat few spinners and are defensively oriented.
Spiritomb is among the few Ghost-types that can beat Cryogonal. With a Choice Band, it takes advantage of Cryogonal's low Defense and can KO with Sucker Punch or trap it with Pursuit. When dealing with other spinners, it can use Trick to lock that spinner on a single move, which makes it much harder for said spinner to perform its job. Spiritomb can also use Will-O-Wisp to cripple physically attacking spinners, such as Kabutops, Sandslash, and Hitmonchan. Overall, Spiritomb is one of the best spinblockers in the tier.
Rotom is not that good at spinblocking on its own, so it is best paired with another spinblocker. It is extremely frail and loses to the most common spinners. However, with Volt Switch and Will-O-Wisp, Rotom can either switch to a counter or cripple the spinner. It can use Pain Split to heal itself, but other than that, it gets worn down very easily by Pokemon such as Cryogonal and Kabutops.
Misdreavus might not look too good at first, but it is quite bulky when holding Eviolite. It also has Levitate, giving it a very useful immunity to Ground-type moves. Misdreavus also has a plethora of support options, including Heal Bell, Will-O-Wisp, Taunt, Perish Song, Calm Mind, and Pain Split. However, it cannot fit all of these moves onto one set, so it must choose wisely. Will-O-Wisp and Pain Split are recommended, as they will cripple spinners and help Misdreavus survive longer, respectively.
Dusknoir's niche is that it's the only Ghost-type besides Spiritomb that can beat Cryogonal. It has good base 45 / 135 / 135 defenses and a solid base 100 Attack that allows it to take advantage of Cryogonal's horrible Defense stat. It also has Will-O-Wisp to cripple opposing spinners. This might sound good, but the lack of reliable recovery severely hinders Dusknoir's ability to spinblock throughout the match.
Entry hazards are deadly in RU, so hopefully you now have an understanding of how to both use them and fight against them. If you are using them, keep in mind that you should have sweepers to take advantage of them, or have moves such as Roar, Whirlwind, and Leech Seed to force switches. While using them, you should also make sure to have a spinblocker or Pokemon that can deal with spinners easily, as most teams in RU are aware of the threat of hazards and will usually bring ways to deal with them. If you are facing entry hazards, remember not to play recklessly with your spinner. Entry hazards can render your Pokemon useless, so playing carefully is a must.