Boasting the title as the Great Wall of the Pokemon world for four consecutive generations, Lugia's titanic defenses and exceptionally high Speed allow it to stall out a large portion of the Ubers metagame, ranging from the legendary Extreme Killer Arceus and Rayquaza to more obscure threats such as Venusaur. Unlike most walls, this flying beast is able to take both physical and special hits like a champ, sometimes even stalling out powerful STAB super effective hits with the help of Reflect or Light Screen. However, Lugia is not without flaws; it is not only total Spikes bait, but is also completely powerless against bulky foes. With newcomer Kyurem-W joining the metagame, Lugia might not enjoy its life as a wall just like it could in the past.
Lugia's defenses are very tough to crack, but it is more suited to be a physical wall. With the listed combination of moves, it can function as an excellent counter to some of the top threats in the Uber metagame, including but not limited to Groudon, Rayquaza, Garchomp, Normal Arceus, Giratina-O, Genesect, and some Palkia, Latias, Latios, and Dialga. It also gets Leftovers as an additional recovery so it will not get worn down by passive damage as easily as Arceus. Immunity to Spikes and Toxic Spikes is huge in Ubers because the metagame is heavily Spikes-based. Access to Dragon Tail allows Lugia to phaze through Taunt, which is something defensive Arceus wishes it could do.
Roost is Lugia's most important move because its main role is to stall out the opponent. It provides reliable healing and cancels out its weaknesses to Rock-, Electric-, and Ice-type attacks for a turn, which Lugia can often take advantage of due to its great Speed stat. This is particularly useful when trying to stall out dangerous opponents such as Zekrom or Kyurem-B using Fusion Bolt. If you are not a fan of Whirlwind leaving Lugia exposed to Taunt, Dragon Tail is an acceptable alternative to phaze through it and deal a little damage in the process. Keep in mind that Dragon Tail cannot phaze through Substitutes, and with Lugia's pathetic offenses, this can prevent Lugia from stopping sweepers abusing Substitute such as Giratina-O.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Calm Mind Lugia might seem outclassed by Arceus at first, who is faster and boasts better offenses, but this is simply not the case. Lugia, unlike most of the Arceus formes, can hold Leftovers, meaning Lugia can continue boosting without needing to use Roost as frequently. With Multiscale, Lugia has more initial setup opportunities and can switch into attacks better than Arceus can. If you choose to run Pressure instead, Lugia can become a PP stalling machine and allows it to win the war against opposing Calm Mind users such as Latias. Due to the prevalence of low PP moves in Ubers such as Spacial Rend, Pressure can be extremely useful even on a set like this because Lugia retains much of its bulk.
Ice Beam is Lugia's main attack on this set. Although Lugia's Special Attack is mediocre, Ice Beam will still do plenty of damage after a few Calm Mind boosts, and the super effective coverage it has on Dragon-types is a huge plus. Thunder is a great move to use in general thanks to its solid base power and high paralysis rate. With Thunder, Lugia zaps Kyogre and Manaphy for good damage while getting a decent smack on Steel-type Pokemon, giving Lugia a way to get past its usual checks. Whirlwind can also be used to stop other Calm Mind users from setting up on Lugia, if one is willing to forgo the added type coverage. Whirlwind is particularly effective thanks to Lugia's immense bulk, as it is capable of taking hits from opposing boosters and removing all of their boosts through Whirlwind. With Whirlwind, Lugia can also abuse damage from entry hazards to weaken its usual counters before attempting a sweep.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Pressure vs Multiscale
Due to Lugia's already insane bulk, Multiscale is not always the superior ability for Lugia. While Multiscale is a great ability, Pressure can be just as useful, because Lugia is a stalling machine and depleting the opponent's PP as quickly as possible can be crucial to Lugia's success. However, Lugia can only outstall certain threats by using Pressure such as Ho-Oh and Zekrom. If Lugia has Multiscale instead, it cannot PP stall Ho-Oh's Sacred Fire, Groudon's Stone Edge, and Zekrom's Bolt Strike as quickly, and the use of Substitute goes well with Pressure. Due to Lugia's naturally high Speed, Pressure can also let Lugia abuse Substitute and stall out enormously powerful hits such as Choice Specs Kyogre's Water Spout, which has only 4 chances. Multiscale is not really reliable because it activates only at 100%, and Lugia is also weak to Stealth Rock making this feat easier said than done. Pressure, on the other hand, is always active. Using Pressure also allows Lugia to fare better against Kyurem-W because it can use Substitute a few times to sap up all the PP, and Roosting when necessary. Timid Choice Specs Ice Beam only does 47.6% - 56.3% to 252 HP Lugia, so it can stall that out with the combination of Roost + Substitute and Pressure as long as Lugia is faster.
However, Multiscale has its own fair share of advantages as well. With the ability, Lugia becomes a solid answer to Baton Pass teams because a +2 Thunder from Life Orb Dialga cannot even come close to OHKOing Lugia. Multiscale is also great for Lugia to tank the initial hit, such as when taking a +4 Arceus ExtremeSpeed before phazing it out. Substitute + Multiscale is another interesting combination, as when used together, Lugia's Substitute can survive even very powerful hits such as Ho-Oh's Sacred Fire. Multiscale halves damage only at full health, but when active, it allows Lugia to stall out even Choice Specs Palkia's Hydro Pump in the rain or to survive something like +2 Groudon's and Terrakion's Stone Edge. Multiscale will give Lugia the upper hand when trying to counter end-game Swords Dance Arceus because Pressure will be near useless in that case; an unboosted Attack from Arceus does not come close to 3HKOing Lugia.
Unlike Dragonite in OU, Lugia's lack of offense and extremely high defenses deter the use of sheer power to take it down, instead attracting Toxic to bypass them. This in turn makes Multiscale less effective. However, if you do usually use brute force to take Lugia down, you might be extremely annoyed at how well Multiscale Lugia just soaks up hits. The Calm Mind set will generally prefer Multiscale if you just wish to sweep your opponent better and get more setup chances.
In the end, it is up to your team preferences. Both abilities have their own advantages but the Calm Mind set will enjoy the extra buff from Multiscale more than the Great Wall set. Fast Lugia spreads also work better with Multiscale but is still usable with a bulky spread. Pressure is a useful ability for a titanic wall like Lugia and is great for all out stalling the opponent to death.
Because Garchomp and Groudon will pretty much never switch into it, Thunder Wave is an excellent support move for Lugia. It can help slow the opponent's sweepers and revenge killers, paving the way for a slow Pokemon such as Groudon to sweep. However, Lugia's real use is in stall teams in which Toxic is generally the superior status to use. A specially defensive set can be used with Light Screen to take on certain sweepers such as Mixed Rayquaza and Mewtwo more effectively. Light Screen amps up Lugia's Special Defense even more, making it nigh impossible to break with special attacks. With Light Screen in effect, Lugia can even wall Specs Kyurem-W with Roost easily.
Safeguard is also an option to give Lugia status protection and support for the team but it does not block Leech Seed. Shed Shell can be used as an alternative item choice to stop Wobbuffet from turning Lugia into setup bait but it is not worth it to sacrifice passive recovery from leftovers. Weather Ball combined with sunlight allows Lugia to fry Excadrill, Forretress and Ferrothorn, which is very useful as otherwise, they can use Lugia as setup bait.
By running a moveset of Rest / Sleep Talk / Whirlwind / Dragon Tail, Lugia can use an interesting tactic known as Speed Shuffling. Sleep Talk cancels out the negative priority of phazing moves, and because Lugia learns both Whirlwind and Dragon Tail, Sleep Talk will have a 66% chance of forcing the opponent to immediately switch out, which Lugia can abuse entry hazards for devastating effects due to its high Speed. Although Rest activates Multiscale 100% of the time, it only helps soften the initial hit, and Lugia is better off just using Roost. Lugia's walling capabilities will also be severely hampered when relying on Rest for recovery. However, this set cannot touch anything with Taunt and will often be put into a tough situation if Sleep Talk does not select a phazing move, so usage is generally not recommended.
Checks and Counters
Darkrai is usually a great answer to Lugia, as Lugia can't really hurt Darkrai due to its pathetic power. As Darkrai is a frail and offensive pokemon, it does not really mind being Toxic poisoned. Darkrai carries STAB Dark Pulse to OHKO Lugia once it gets up a Nasty Plot with the help of Life Orb. Kyurem-W has an extremely powerful STAB Ice Beam to OHKO almost any Lugia variants as long as Lugia does not get the chance to use Roost or Light Screen. Scarf Kyurem-W can safely 2HKO Lugia with Ice Beam while laughing at Lugia's own Ice Beam, although Dragon Tail combined with entry hazards can easily wear Kyurem-W down. Even though Tyranitar risks being outstalled by Reflect and Toxic, it has powerful STAB Stone Edge and Crunch to deal major damage to Lugia. Tyranitar is a much better counter to the Calm Mind set as it does not fear weak Ice Beam and Thunders. Kyogre and Zekrom carry mighty Water- and Electric-type STAB attacks that are just too powerful for Lugia to handle. Choice Scarf Zekrom is generally the best set to deal with Lugia because it can outrun and quickly knock out Lugia with Bolt Strike before it gets the chance to use Substitute or Reflect. The pink blobs also completely wall Lugia and can outstall it with Toxic while laughing at Lugia's attempts to hurt it; beware of Substitute as it will turn the tables as both blobs rely on Toxic to kill Lugia. Reshiram, although it dislikes Calm Mind variants, can come in and roast Lugia alive with Blue Fire provided the weather is sunny. Heatran is in a similar position. Although it fears Earth Power and Earthquake much more than Reshiram, it doesn't care about Toxic and can even Taunt Lugia to stop it from healing itself. Skarmory can freely setup Spikes on Lugia but will loath Thunders coming from the Calm Mind set. Forretress can take on any attack barring a Weather Ball in the sun, and use Lugia as Spikes bait or wear it down with Toxic. It can also use Rapid Spin to remove all the entry hazards Lugia uses to wreck havoc. Jirachi can also squander any attack from Lugia and cripple it with a Toxic of its own. Lastly, Choice Band Kyurem-B can 2HKO all Lugia versions with Outrage while easily taking Ice Beams or Thunder as long as Lugia lacks Reflect.
Toxic absolutely ruins Lugia's walling abilities, so simply hitting it with the debilitating Poison-type move will leave it crippled and near useless. Stealth Rock also isn't fun for Lugia either. Losing 25% HP on every switch-in really messes up Lugia's ability to take hits. However, Lugia can foil Toxic attempts with a faster Substitute.