In a tier where entry hazards are commonplace, a Rapid Spin user is an excellent addition to any team. Sandslash looks like a good option for this role at first glance, but a closer look reveals many significant flaws that result in Sandslash being quite the mediocre Pokemon. For one thing, Sandslash has trouble beating most of the common spinblockers in the tier, while other spinners such as Kabutops and Cryogonal can reliably beat them and still pull off a Rapid Spin, leaving Sandslash in the shadows. Although Sandslash is capable of setting up Stealth Rock as well as spinning, due to the former flaw of being helpless against most of RU's spinblockers, its often better to use a different Stealth Rock setter along with either Kabutops or Cryogonal instead, depending on what the specific team needs to cover. Also, while Sandslash is physically bulky, several common physical attackers such as Entei, Escavalier, Durant, and Druddigon can still muscle through it with ease with their powerful STAB attacks. To make matters worse for Sandslash, it also lacks a reliable recovery move, making it even easier to take down with repeated physical hits and severely hindering its walling capabilities. Lastly, while Sandslash's physical bulk is at least decent, its special bulk leaves much to be desired, especially in a metagame where special Grass-, Water-, and Ice-type moves are incredibly common. In the end, when looking for a spinner, always consider options such as Kabutops and Cryogonal first, they're significantly more reliable spinners and arguably better Pokemon overall than Sandslash.
This is the set that secures Sandslash's position as one of the most reliable users of Rapid Spin in RU. The set works in a simple way: Swords Dance on the switch and defeat every Ghost-type in the tier in one or two hits with a combination of Earthquake and Stone Edge while avoiding a burn from Will-O-Wisp with its Lum Berry. Upon either defeating or scaring out the opposing Ghost-type Pokemon, Sandslash is then free to Rapid Spin unimpeded. Although the primary aim of this set is to Rapid Spin, it has more than this niche use; Sandslash is very powerful after a Swords Dance, and has the bulk to boost multiple times and function as a powerful wallbreaker.
Earthquake is necessary on this set as it is Sandslash's most powerful move, securing the 2HKO on every grounded Ghost-type after a Swords Dance, including even the bulkiest Dusknoir and Spiritomb. Whilst Stone Edge is the preferred option for Sandslash's second attacking move because it provides good coverage with Earthquake, Sandslash does have other options: Night Slash in particular will always OHKO standard bulky Rotom after a Swords Dance, who outspeeds and can leave Sandslash with a burn if it carries Stone Edge instead, and even an unboosted Night Slash can OHKO Haunter. Night Slash can also be used to specifically target threats such as Uxie and Dusknoir, and has significantly better accuracy than Stone Edge. Overall, while there are many situations in which Night Slash might be more useful, the power drop from Stone Edge is highly noticeable. Lum Berry is the preferred item, granting Sandslash a one-time immunity to Will-O-Wisp and allowing it to defeat various Ghost-types. It also retains its usefulness even if the opponent does not carry a Ghost-type, preventing Sandslash from being crippled by status.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
With access to both Stealth Rock and Rapid Spin, Sandslash is primed for a support role, and can work particularly well as a lead. The EVs here optimize physical defense, allowing Sandslash to check or counter some of the premier physical attackers in the tier, such as Aggron, Aerodactyl, and Electivire, and to effectively wall and set up against weaker physical attackers. Earthquake is a reliable and strong STAB move that prevents it from becoming Taunt bait, whilst Stone Edge allows it to deal damage to those immune or resistant to its STAB move.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Sandslash's main options are generally superior to its other options, but there are situational possibilities. Bulldoze is an option on the Support set, and can potentially allow a teammate to set up in front of a slower, frailer foe, but the power difference compared to Earthquake is very noticeable. It should be noted that two Bulldozes outdamage one Earthquake, however, which is relevant because the Speed-reducing effect often allows Sandslash to attack first the subsequent turn. More significantly, Bulldoze helps Sandslash deal with frailer threats holding a Focus Sash, such as Kabutops. Rock Slide is—as always—an option over Stone Edge for slightly more accuracy, especially on the Support set which generally values reliability over power, but the power drop is again significant and Sandslash is too slow to take advantage of the flinch chance.
Sandslash also has access to Sunny Day, and can function quite well on a sun team as a spinner, sharing good synergy with Fire- and Grass-types, as well as removing the Stealth Rock that plague sun sweepers, such as Charizard. Finally, Rest is a possibility for a more defensive set, considering Sandslash's recovery is extremely limited. However, Sandslash will likely find that its defenses are too poor to survive the sleep turns; without Sleep Talk, which Sandslash is rarely going to find room for, sleep status turns it into setup bait.
Checks and Counters
Rotom with Substitute can often try to stall for Stone Edge misses against Sandslash that lack Night Slash, and eventually beat it with a combination of Pain Split and Shadow Ball. While this is not a particularly reliable strategy, it is the best chance of spinblocking Sandslash. Haunter can pull off this strategy too, as well as being able to deal significantly more damage to Sandslash than any other Ghost. However, it is OHKOed on the switch by an unboosted Night Slash. Choice Specs variants of Rotom will always OHKO Sandslash after Stealth Rock and two layers of Spikes with Hidden Power Ice.
Outside of Ghost-types, there are many Pokemon that easily threaten Sandslash; however, as they cannot block Rapid Spin, the primary motive of both sets, they are arguably not true counters. Tangrowth is probably the best counter, walling every Sandslash set entirely and easily KOing in return. Similarly, Mandibuzz walls both sets and can Taunt the Support set, as well as remove her Rock-type weakness through Roost, but she must be wary of the Swords Dance set, which can KO her after a few boosts. Uxie can set up dual screens in Sandslash's face, even Night Slash variants, and Yawn away its Lum Berry or force a switch.
As for offensive threats, most strong special attackers can OHKO Sandslash; Lilligant is one such example that can easily switch in and threaten to KO Sandslash, use up its Lum Berry with Sleep Powder, or begin to accumulate Quiver Dance boosts. Strong physical attackers, such as Bouffalant, can break through even the Support set. Removing Sandslash's Lum Berry will ensure that Spiritomb and Dusknoir can defeat it one-on-one. However, usually by the time this has happened, Sandslash would have already managed to successfully Rapid Spin.