Metagross is a Pokemon with four important shortcomings. For starters, its typing grants it only mediocre STAB coverage, which prevents it from being able to brutalize some of the popular threats in the tier, such as Rotom-W and Skarmory. Secondly, a base 70 Speed stat is underwhelming in a fast-paced metagame, and many threats can outspeed and cripple Metagross before it does anything. Thirdly, four-moveslot syndrome is a problem for many Pokemon, but in Metagross's case, it can often leave one wishing desperately for a fifth moveslot; you'll want ThunderPunch for Gyarados and bulky Water-types, but it may not be worth giving up Hammer Arm, especially when you'll need STAB moves and Earthquake to cover your other threats. Finally, though it only has two weaknesses, both Fire- and Ground-type moves are commonly seen, notably on Volcarona and Landorus, which means Metagross's staying power is limited. These issues are not enough to keep Metagross down, however. It has the bulk to set up Stealth Rock quite easily and a gargantuan Attack stat to smash some heads in. The quad core supercomputer may have taken a hit in its effectiveness, but Metagross is still a great check to the myriad of Dragons locking themselves into Outrage.
This is the standard set for Metagross in the OU metagame. Its typing and bulk allow it to set up Stealth Rock with ease. Afterwards, Metagross has the option of slugging an opponent with the bone-crushing power of Meteor Mash. In addition to being its STAB move of choice, the chance of raising Attack is always a boon for something with such a high Attack stat. In order to complement its bulk, Pursuit and Earthquake are added in the other moveslots. Latios and Latias are popular choices in OU, but their typings beg Metagross to switch in on a resisted hit and chase them down with Pursuit. This tactic is a useful one if they are locked in on a resisted move by a Choice item; it also helps out against Celebi and Gengar. Metagross can also be used to check Tornadus as it resists Hurricane and takes pitiful damage from Superpower.
Earthquake has the benefit of smacking around Jirachi, who would otherwise wall Metagross and do as it pleases. It also serves as a deterrent to any Tentacruel trying to Rapid Spin entry hazards away and any Heatran not holding an Air Balloon on the switch. However, if one would prefer an easier time against Ferrothorn while keeping pressure on all manner of Heatran, Hammer Arm is an acceptable choice. Although you only neutrally hit Jirachi and now miss out on any meaningful damage against Tentacruel, you also have a better move to hit Rotom-W with as it switches in.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
If you'd prefer to hit like a nuke right off the bat, this Metagross set is programmed to do just that. As mentioned before, base 135 Attack is horrifying to face, and Metagross wields nearly unmatched power when equipped with a Choice Band. Meteor Mash remains Metagross's primary STAB move, hitting a great number of opponents hard. The chance to raise its Attack, though rare, makes the prospect of attaining further boosts beyond Choice Band possible. Bullet Punch might seem somewhat redundant with Metagross wielding a much more powerful STAB move, but there are a few good reasons it belongs on this set. Though weaker than CB Scizor's Bullet Punch, it is still strong enough to deal significant damage to potential threats such as Mamoswine and Terrakion. It also serves as a way to bypass Metagross's underwhelming Speed, allowing it to double as a revenge killer. As a better choice for hitting Mamoswine and Terrakion—not to mention Jirachi and Heatran—on the switch, Hammer Arm takes precedence in the third spot. The Speed drop can also be beneficial in one-on-one situations with Skarmory. If Skarmory decides to Roost, a Choice Band Hammer Arm will deal 64.07 - 75.44% damage.
In the final slot, there are three possibilities. Zen Headbutt serves as a secondary STAB move and makes sure Conkeldurr doesn't survive. It also serves to batter bulky Water-types such as Jellicent and Rotom-W. In addition, it is the best choice to combat Volcarona aside from the rare Rock Slide. If such threats are covered by another teammate, Pursuit can be used to increase Metagross's utility value; if you opt for Pursuit, though, it is recommended you go with maximum HP EVs. Finally, ThunderPunch is an option to hit Slowbro while maintaining coverage on both Skarmory and Jellicent. The given EV Spread also lets Metagross outrun defensive Gyarados, making ThunderPunch a viable commodity for a quick KO. However, do note that Metagross will then have more difficulty against Gastrodon and no guarantee of a 2HKO against Slowbro; ThunderPunch deals 47.71 - 56.34% damage to Slowbro, so Stealth Rock damage is required for the guaranteed 2HKO.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Agility makes Metagross run twice as fast, and with a Jolly nature, it enables Metagross to outspeed both Choice Scarf Terrakion and neutral natured Venusaur under the sun. Combine this with Metagross's awesome resistances to most priority attacks and you have a very scary sweeper for opponents to handle, especially if they also happen to be running a fully offensive team. Zen Headbutt is the primary STAB move in order to nail Thundurus-T, Rotom-W, Virizion, and Keldeo while preventing Conkeldurr from setting up any Bulk Ups. It also carries a somewhat useful 20% flinch rate that can come in handy in a pinch. Earthquake prevents Heatran and Jirachi from stopping your sweep, as both would be able to take on any other move Metagross would otherwise carry. Meteor Mash rounds out the set, providing a much more powerful hit against the likes of Landorus, Latios, and Latias, while Tyranitar and Mamoswine are easily dispatched by the powerful STAB move. The chance of gaining an Attack boost (which shouldn't be relied on) only furthers the prospect of a very scary sweeper indeed.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set is a rather interesting twist on the normal Metagross, making use of that nice base 95 Special Attack. In doing so, it allows it to beat some of its counters. Meteor Mash should be familiar to many at this point as it is Metagross's most powerful STAB move. Because most Steel-types are comfortable taking an Earthquake or Hammer Arm, they forget about Metagross's special moveset. Hidden Power Fire handles most of these problems, 2HKOing Physically Defensive Skarmory and Ferrothorn while OHKOing both Physically Defensive Forretress and Scizor. Specially Defensive Skarmory has a 66.41% chance of being 2HKOed by Hidden Power Fire, while Specially Defensive Forretress requires Stealth Rock on the field for the guaranteed OHKO. This combo is resisted by bulky Water-types, though, so Grass Knot makes for a nasty surprise. It is useful for the 2HKO achieved on physically bulky Pokemon such as Jellicent, Slowbro, and Hippowdon. In the final slot, another physical attack is the best choice, with Zen Headbutt easily dispatching Conkeldurr and Tentacruel. It is also the better choice against Rotom-W, who laughs at every other move Metagross throws at it, even Grass Knot. If you'd rather take on Heatran and Jirachi, Earthquake is an option. It also retains super effective coverage against Tentacruel.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Metagross has a plethora of other moves that can be programmed into its hard drive. First off, Gravity, while gimmicky, negates the Ground-type immunities of Skarmory, Rotom-W, and Bronzong. It turns those three serviceable counters into Earthquake fodder while patching up Meteor Mash and Zen Headbutt's accuracy. Trick can be utilized alongside either Choice Band or Choice Scarf to cripple a bulky wall, but Choice Scarf Metagross is rather mediocre. It requires a Jolly nature to be effective, and even then, it loses to Jolteon by one point. Choice Band Metagross is rather satisfied with its coverage moves and already has problems giving up a slot for Trick. You can also Trick an Iron Ball, but do bear in mind that it only removes Levitate, not a Flying typing, from a Pokemon.
Hone Claws was briefly mentioned on the Agility set, but it can be used on its own as well. It does fix the accuracy issues of Meteor Mash and Zen Headbutt while also raising Metagross's Attack stat, but it certainly won't make Metagross faster. Be sure to have paralysis support or be able to Baton Pass an Agility boost or two to make the move worthwhile. Rock Slide also appreciates Hone Claw, but its usefulness is limited. It does retain coverage against Dragonite, Gyarados, and a good number of Fire-types, but its Base Power is quite low, and Earthquake is usually the better choice to combat Fire-types (particularly Heatran and Infernape). RestTalk might seem like a good idea, but Metagross's typing leaves it with underwhelming STAB moves, and switching out can be costly due to the sleep mechanics in this generation. In a similar vein, Reflect and Light Screen are best left to other Pokemon, such as Xatu and Espeon, who can block Taunt thanks to Magic Bounce.
Magnet Rise sounds cool until you realize that its effects are temporary and that Metagross already suffers more than enough from four-moveslot syndrome. If you're really annoyed by Meteor Mash, there are two other options for a Steel-type STAB. The first is using Iron Head, which has a considerable power drop; it really should only be considered on the Agility set to take advantage of the flinch rate. The second is Gyro Ball, which forces Metagross to use an Iron Ball to become considerably slower and make it worthwhile. Block and Explosion with a Normal Gem can be used for a trapping Metagross. Finally, it has been mentioned that Metagross sports a good base 95 Special Attack. However, while STAB Flash Cannon and Psyshock / Psychic sound appealing, the only other special attacks available are Grass Knot, Shadow Ball, Icy Wind, Signal Beam, and Hidden Power. Aside from Hidden Power, a lot of Steel-types stop the combination cold too easily, and Metagross has no way to boost its Special Attack.
Check and Counters
How do you confound a supercomputer? You pit it against a slowpoke, otherwise known as Slowbro. The worst Slowbro can take is a Choice Band ThunderPunch, and even then, that damage is mitigated thanks to Regenerator and Slack Off. Slowbro can stay in and cripple Metagross with Thunder Wave, fire off repeated Scalds while fishing for the chance to burn it, or severely damage Metagross with Fire Blast. While it can't pierce Metagross's defenses, Skarmory is an able check, fearing only the rare ThunderPunch. While Brave Bird won't do anything, Skarmory can take the opportunity to set up Spikes or Whirlwind it away. With the combination of Substitute, Protect, and the ability Poison Heal, Gliscor is a source of grief for any Metagross lacking Ice Punch (and is one of the few reasons Metagross considers carrying the move at all). Choice Band Meteor Mash can clock in over 50% damage on Gliscor, so it must be wary of it, particularly if it lacks Roost. Rotom-W returns as twice the bugger that it was in DPP; because of its typing switch, Metagross can hit Rotom-W with Hammer Arm, but this combined with the dominant weather of rain make STAB Hydro Pump and STAB Thunder or Thunderbolt painful for Metagross to take. If that wasn't enough, Will-O-Wisp can completely eliminate any chance of Metagross carrying out a sweep. Zen Headbutt can be painful for Rotom-W to face, though, so it must be wary on the switch.
While it can't switch into Earthquake and Hammer Arm, Heatran can prove to be troublesome to Metagross; it can burn Metagross with Will-O-Wisp, fish for the opportunity to burn with STAB Lava Plume, or go for the kill on offensive sets with STAB Fire Blast. Choice Band Metagross, in particular, must be careful in the presence of Magnezone, Magneton, and Wobbuffet. A wrong move can prove the end for Metagross. Donphan can stomach a Meteor Mash from a non-Choice Band Metagross and scare it away with STAB Earthquake. Mixed variants are risky due to their propensity to carry Grass Knot. Other bulky Water- and Steel-types can be a major pain to Metagross depending on its move choices. Rain-boosted Scalds can be annoying for Metagross to take, especially when there's a 30% chance for Metagross to have its Attack halved. Jellicent can Will-O-Wisp Metagross and use Recover to help keep itself alive. Steel-types, such as Ferrothorn and Forretress, can set up their entry hazards to further annoy Metagross's team. Ferrothorn can be a major drag with Leech Seed and the occasional Thunder Wave, while Forretress can take most hits from Metagross while wearing it down with Earthquake if it carries it.
Weather teams are a particular nuisance to Metagross's sheen. Sun teams help in diminishing the power of Water-type moves, but it is a double-edged sword as it doubles Metagross's Fire-type weakness. Venusaur can use the Chlorophyll boost to put Metagross to sleep and set up with Growth. Rain teams don't do it any favors either besides eliminating Metagross's Fire-type weakness. While comfortable in sandstorm, Metagross faces significant threats here. Sandslash can revenge kill most offensive variants of Metagross; a Jolly LO Sandslash deals 93.7 - 110.92%, so with a layer of Spikes, Metagross is done for. Landorus, an already threatening foe, becomes more frightening thanks to the Sand Force boost under sandstorm. Special variants of Landorus are popping up too thanks to the release of Sheer Force; these variants target Metagross' weaker Special Defense stat. A max HP and Defense Impish Hippowdon can take most attacks from Metagross and either Slack Off the damage or threaten Metagross with STAB Earthquake.