Playing in the Sandbox - A Guide to Sandstorm Teams

By Jimbo and twash. Art made by macle.
  1. Introduction
  2. Sandstorm Basics
  3. Strategies with Sandstorm
  4. The Sand Streamers
  5. Pokémon to Consider
  6. Problems for Sandstorm teams
  7. Conclusion

Introduction

Sandstorm has been a field effect since the 2nd generation of Pokémon. It produces several effects that last for the duration of the weather. In the 2nd generation, sandstorm was seldom used because it would only last five turns through the move Sandstorm, and there was little immediate benefit to the user besides doing 1/16 damage each turn to all Pokémon that weren't part Rock, Ground, or Steel. However, sandstorm has become wildly popular in the 3rd and 4th generations, due to the advent of the ability Sand Stream. With this ability, trainers can now utilize permanent sandstorm. There are two Pokémon that have the ability Sand Stream. These are Hippowdon and Tyranitar, two very useful and powerful Pokémon.

In this guide we will generally focus on permanent sandstorm, as it is easier to reap the rewards of Sand Stream than it is through use of the move Sandstorm. Hopefully after reading this guide you will have the knowledge of how to use sandstorm to its fullest.

Sandstorm Basics

As with most other weather variations, sandstorm can be brought to the field via two methods. The first way is through use of the move Sandstorm, which will summon a sandstorm for five turns, unless the user holds a Smooth Rock, which extends the duration to eight turns. The other way is through the ability Sand Stream, which summons a sandstorm permanently unless the weather is changed again through a move or an ability.

The following effects occur in a sandstorm:

  • Rock-type Pokémon's Special Defense is boosted by 50%
  • All non-Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokémon and Pokémon without the ability Magic Guard, Air Lock, or Sand Veil take 1/16 damage at the end of every turn.
  • The evasion of a Pokémon with the Sand Veil ability is increased by 20%.
  • SolarBeam's Base Power is reduced from 120 to 60.
  • Synthesis, Moonlight, and Morning Sun only recover 25% of the user's HP, as opposed to 50%.
  • Weather Ball's Base Power is doubled to 100, and becomes a Rock-type move.

Strategies with Sandstorm

Players have a lot of freedom when using a sandstorm team. They function well as offensive, stall, or balanced teams, with the only real restriction being the necessity for the team to have Tyranitar and/or Hippowdon.

Defensive sandstorm teams use the Special Defense boosting effect of sandstorm to its fullest extent with Pokémon such as Cradily. They often use entry hazards, Toxic, and the damaging effects of sandstorm to slowly break down the opponent's team.

Offensive sandstorm teams use the sandstorm to nullify the opponent's Focus Sashes and to allow the offensive Pokémon to sweep more easily, courtesy of the additional damage. Typically, offensive sandstorm teams use powerful Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokémon such as Tyranitar, Rhyperior, Lucario, and Heatran, who are not damaged by the sandstorm. These teams almost never use "Substitute and Sweep" Pokémon either (eg. BellyZard), unless they resist the sandstorm. This is because the weather will otherwise put a quick stop to their sweep. This will also work in your favor, as it can stop the opponent from trying such a sweep.

The Sand Streamers

All good sandstorm teams require a Pokémon with Sand Stream, and you only have two options: Tyranitar and Hippowdon. These Pokémon are more than good enough to warrant a spot on your team though, so don't fret.


Hippowdon

Hippowdon being generally used less than Tyranitar does not mean that it's bad by any means! Hippowdon has gargantuan HP and Defense stats, and a threatening base 112 Attack. With a powerful STAB Earthquake, a reliable 50% recovery move in Slack Off, and Stealth Rock, Yawn, Toxic, and Roar for support, Hippowdon can fit right into any stall team. Hippowdon can also threaten opponents with its offensive options; it gets the aforementioned Earthquake, along with Stone Edge, Superpower, and Crunch, on top of having the elemental fangs. Hippowdon can also threaten opponents with Curse, or strengthen its already high Defense, along with its mediocre Special Defense, through Stockpile.

While Hippowdon's defensive ability is outstanding, its Special Defense is somewhat mediocre. Hippowdon's weaknesses to Grass-, Water-, and Ice-type moves does not help either, as these types are commonly used via special attackers. Hippowdon does have pitiful Speed too, which is somewhat of a let-down, especially if one wants to use Hippowdon's big Attack stat.


Tyranitar

Tyranitar fits its name very well; it's a tyrant. Tyranitar has fantastic stats in everything except Speed, and that isn't even horrible. On top of this, Tyranitar benefits more from Sand Stream than Hippowdon, as its Special Defense is automatically boosted by 50% due to it being part Rock-type. Tyranitar has a plethora of offensive options, from setting up with Dragon Dance to hitting hard outright with Choice Band, to even running a mixed set.

Tyranitar's main and most immediately threatening moveset is one paired with Choice Band. With one of the highest Attack stats in the game, Tyranitar's Attack can reach more than 600 with Choice Band. The Rock-type monster also has two very potent STABs in Crunch and Stone Edge. Its physical movepool is also very wide; it can use Pursuit to trap Pokémon like Gengar and Starmie, any of the elemental punches, Aqua Tail, or even Earthquake. Choice Band Tyranitar can run EVs to be on the quicker side, or sway towards the bulky side. Another threatening physical version of Tyranitar uses Dragon Dance to boost its already monstrous Attack and Speed to higher levels. On the flip side of Dragon Dance, Curse is also an option. CurseTar works nicely because you don't have to invest any EVs into Speed; instead, you can plan your EVs to make Tyranitar extremely difficult to take down. CurseTar usually uses Payback over Crunch because it'll be moving last unless your opponent uses a move with negative priority, which allows for 150 Base Power after STAB provided Tyranitar moves last, instead of the 120 which Crunch has.

Tyranitar can also use some more unconventional sets. One of these sets, Tyraniboah, dates back to the 3rd Generation and is a fantastic wallbreaker. Tyraniboah uses special attacks to defeat Skarmory (namely with Thunderbolt or Fire Blast), and Focus Punch is used to obliterate Blissey. To guarantee the Focus Punch on Blissey, Tyraniboah uses max HP EVs and Substitute, allowing the Substitutes to withstand a Seismic Toss. With Platinum's tutor moves, using Superpower in lieu of Focus Punch frees up a spot if you'd rather not use Substitute.

Pokémon to Consider

When choosing Pokémon for your sandstorm team, picking Pokémon that resist the sandstorm is always a safe bet. However, using all Ground-, Rock-, and Steel-types will leave you with gaping weaknesses, so you'll need to choose some other Pokémon to cover your bases. Sandstorm doesn't make a giant difference in battling compared to extreme field effects like Trick Room, so building your team isn't too difficult.

Sandstorm Sweepers


Lucario

Anyone that's played OU has encountered the beast that is Lucario. Lucario is very proficient at physical or special sweeping, generally using either Swords Dance or Choice Specs. It has a wide variety of powerful attacks, including Close Combat, Aura Sphere, Crunch, Ice Punch, and Dark Pulse, among others. It also has access to various priority moves in Vacuum Wave, ExtremeSpeed, and Bullet Punch. Using Lucario isn't all that difficult, as it has several resistances, and can often switch in after one of your Pokémon faints. After that, setting up Swords Dance is usually simple, since Lucario often causes switches, or you can immediately hammer into your opponent with a strong Close Combat or Aura Sphere.

Countering Lucario is tricky, but not impossible because Lucario suffers from 4-moveslot syndrome. Gliscor does a great job at countering Swords Dance Lucario if it lacks Ice Punch, while Rotom-A and Celebi do well if it lacks Crunch. Any Pokémon that outspeeds Lucario and can survive an ExtremeSpeed can KO Lucario pretty easily (for example, Choice Scarf Heatran). Blissey and Spiritomb do a great job at countering Choice Specs Lucario, as Calm Blissey is never 2HKOed by Choice Specs Aura Sphere, and can cripple Lucario with Thunder Wave or dent it with Flamethrower or Seismic Toss, whereas Spiritomb is immune to Aura Sphere and can use Hidden Power Fighting to wear Lucario down.


Rhyperior

With an awesome ability in Solid Rock paired with tremendous Attack, Rhyperior does well on any sandstorm team (especially with the Special Defense boost!) To show off Rhyperior's strength best, we've listed a common set to use below:

Rhyperior @ Leftovers
EVs: 132 HP / 192 Atk / 16 SpD / 168 Spe
Nature: Adamant
- Substitute
- Swords Dance / Megahorn
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake

The listed EVs make Rhyperior pretty bulky, so much so that even weak super effective attacks like Blissey's Ice Beam will not break its Substitute. While sitting safely behind a Substitute, Rhyperior can boost its Attack and proceed to rip through your opponent's team with its powerful STAB moves. This set, like other Rhyperior sets, is countered by Pokémon with high Defense, such as Skarmory. That's where the next Pokémon comes in...


Magnezone

Skarmory is a great asset on sandstorm teams and a giant pain when used against them, because of its high Defense and Ground-type immunity. Magnezone solves this problem. With Magnet Pull trapping Skarmory, Magnezone can put an end to any steel bird that lacks a Shed Shell. Magnezone can also destroy Pokémon like Vaporeon and Suicune, and can revenge kill Scizor thanks to Hidden Power Fire. As is the case with most special attacking Pokémon, Blissey does well to stop Magnezone. Snorlax and Tyranitar also do quite well to stop Magnezone, with high Special Defense and access to Earthquake.


Mamoswine

Mamoswine runs in a similar vein as Rhyperior: attacking the opponent physically using powerful STAB moves and monstrous Attack. But where Rhyperior has Rock-type STAB and bulkiness, Mamoswine has Ice-type attacks and priority through Ice Shard. The mammoth Pokémon has access to the generic Ground-type move Earthquake as well as Stone Edge, Superpower, and Ice Fang. Mamoswine's arguably greatest asset though is its priority move Ice Shard. With this, Mamoswine can do heavy damage to opposing Pokémon before they can land a hit. Mamoswine also has something other Ice-types don't: neutrality to Stealth Rock. Bronzong is one of Mamoswine's greatest counters (though it does take a bit of damage from Superpower); Gyro Ball is a clean OHKO on Mamoswine.


Jirachi

With good stats across the board, Jirachi makes a very nice Pokémon both offensively and defensively, and can find a place on almost any team. Jirachi can provide Wish support for your team, Stealth Rock, Reflect and/or Light Screen, and paralysis support with Body Slam or Thunder Wave. On the offensive side of things, Jirachi makes a powerful physical attacker with Zen Headbutt, Iron Head, and the elemental punches. It can also attack with Psychic, Grass Knot, and Thunderbolt. Tyranitar and Hippowdon counter special Jirachis well, especially the Substitute + Calm Mind set, provided they avoid Grass Knot. Tyranitar boasts high Special Defense to take repeated Thunderbolts, and can Crunch or Earthquake Jirachi for a good amount of damage, and Hippowdon threatens Jirachi, also with Earthquake. Magnezone does fantastically against physical sets, especially Choiced ones. Magnezone can take Iron Heads and Body Slams all day long (although it should watch out for paralysis), and can trap and Thunderbolt Jirachi for good damage.


Heatran

With a myriad of special attacks, great resistances, and nice stats, Heatran is yet another great Pokémon to use on a sandstorm team. It can utilize Choice Scarf as a revenge killer or Choice Specs for heavy duty power. Using Substitute + three attacks is another popular option on Heatran, as Heatran often causes a lot of switches. Heatran can even use some support moves like Toxic, Will-O-Wisp, and Roar. Blissey, Vaporeon, Tentacruel, and Suicune make great Heatran counters. The latter three resist Heatran's STAB and can threaten it with Surf. Blissey can outstall Heatran any day, unless it uses Toxic and Rest, which is relatively rare.


Empoleon

While not popular in the past, in the present Empoleon has become a wildly popular special sweeper, and it does fantastically on sandstorm teams. Arguably, Empoleon's best set is SubPetaya; Empoleon can use Agility then Substitute until the Petaya Berry and Torrent activates. After that, Empoleon becomes nearly unstoppable with a STAB-boosted Surf. Empoleon is one of the only "Substitute and sweep" Pokémon that can work in sandstorm because it takes no damage from the weather effect. Empoleon also does well because it resists all priority attacks bar Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave. Empoleon is countered relatively easily by Blissey (and other special walls, such as Snorlax). Bulky Water-types also counter Empoleon really well if it lacks Grass Knot. Empoleon can also run a Swords Dance set. Waterfall becomes very powerful with +2 Attack, and Aqua Jet makes up for Empoleon's less than stellar Speed. Empoleon can also be used as a defensive Pokémon, using its high Special Defense and numerous resistances to switch in and support the team. Empoleon can set up Stealth Rock, as well as phaze the opponent with Yawn or Roar.


Scizor

One of the most threatening Pokémon in the DPP metagame, Scizor is a beast on any team. The metal bug does well in sandstorm too, as it can use Life Orb without taking too much damage every turn from sandstorm. Scizor has several good options for attacking. Choice Band works for immediate power; with Choice Band, Scizor can easily trap Pokémon like Gengar with Pursuit (provided it does not have Hidden Power Fire), and heavily damage Pokémon like Celebi with U-turn. Scizor also can use a Swords Dance set that takes full advantage of Bullet Punch (which is made even more powerful due to Technician). Scizor also has access to Fighting-type moves in Superpower and Brick Break. Two of Scizor's best counters are Heatran and Magnezone, though both need to watch out for Superpower. Heatran viciously scares off Scizor with its STAB Fire-type and 4x resistances to Scizor's own STAB attacks. Magnezone traps Scizor and can kill it with relative ease using Hidden Power Fire or Thunderbolt.


Metagross

Metagross can provide some extra attacking power with Choice Band, or Speed if you want to run Agility, as well as bringing added bulk to any sandstorm team. Meteor Mash is always a force to be reckoned with; 100 Base Power coming off of 135 base Attack is nothing to scoff at (especially if Metagross gets the Attack raise). Metagross also has access to other physical moves, including Ice Punch, ThunderPunch, Earthquake, Pursuit, and Explosion. Using Choice Scarf or Choice Band is a possibility, especially since Metagross can use Trick. Metagross is generally stopped by Pokémon with high Defense like Skarmory and Forretress, provided they avoid Trick. Suicune and Celebi also do well, though the latter needs Earth Power to threaten Metagross (otherwise it will probably try to stall it out and end up getting Exploded on).


Flygon

Flygon has always been overshadowed by Salamence and Garchomp, but since they are Uber, Flygon has risen to become a top-tier Pokémon. Flygon's main attraction is U-turn on top of its Dragon / Ground STAB moves. Flygon is a fantastic scout when used with a Choice Scarf, due to its U-turn and Stealth Rock resistance. Flygon also has some other interesting attacks at its disposal: Stone Edge, Fire Punch, and even Quick Attack, not forgetting the aforementioned Earthquake, Outrage, and even Draco Meteor. Flygon's main weakness is its lack of raw power. Because of this, Flygon is pretty easily countered by physical walls such as Suicune, Swampert, and Skarmory (although the latter should be wary of Fire Blast).


Dugtrio

Dugtrio is one of the few Ground-type Pokémon that has Speed without a Choice Scarf. Dugtrio also has the invaluable ability Arena Trap. Using these two assets, Dugtrio makes a great revenge killer. It can switch in, trap, and kill several Pokémon such as Infernape, Blissey, and Tyranitar (though maximum HP Tyranitar isn't always OHKOed by Earthquake). Dugtrio doesn't really have a "counter" per say, because most Pokémon Dugtrio will be facing can't switch out. However, Pokémon that aren't OHKOed by Dugtrio's attacks are safe bets (for example, Swampert and Suicune). If Dugtrio locks into Sucker Punch you are free to set up with non-attacking moves, too.


Aerodactyl

While Aerodactyl isn't the best sweeper because of its frailty, it makes a great suicide lead. Aerodactyl is one of the fastest Pokémon in the game, so times when Aerodactyl won't be able to set up Stealth Rock as a lead are rare. Aerodactyl is by no means a slouch in attacking though, with Earthquake, Stone Edge, and the elemental fangs at its disposal. Swampert is one of Aerodactyl's best counters; it resists Aerodactyl's STAB Rock-type attacks and isn't really threatened by anything else Aerodactyl can throw at it. Bulky Fighting-types such as Machamp are safe bets too (they should watch out for the rare Aerial Ace, though).

Sandstorm Supporters and Walls


Skarmory

Everyone knows about the defensive terror that is Skamory. Walling physical attacks and setting up entry hazards make Skarmory an amazing Pokémon to use on a sandstorm stall team. Skarmory also has its own recovery in Roost, and can phaze with Whirlwind. Skarmory hates taking special attacks, especially Electric- and Fire-type ones. Because of this, Jolteon, Raikou, and especially Magnezone (because of Magnet Pull) make great Skarmory counters. Infernape and Heatran also make great counters, though Infernape needs to watch out for Brave Bird or Drill Peck on the switch.


Gliscor

Gliscor can fulfill many roles on a sandstorm team; it can set up Swords Dance or Agility to Baton Pass, sweep with Swords Dance, or be a general physical wall. These objectives are especially easy to pull off under sandstorm because of Sand Veil. Gliscor is also one of DPP's best Heracross counters, while it also beats non-Ice Punch Lucario. Countering Gliscor largely depends on the set; the Baton Passer is beaten by quick Taunt users, as is the case with most Baton Passers. Other Gliscor sets are easily beaten by Ice-type moves. Pokémon like Starmie outspeed and OHKO Gliscor with Ice Beam.


Bronzong

The iron bell makes another great sandstorm wall. Bronzong has very few weaknesses and a plethora of support options. These include Stealth Rock, Toxic, Trick, Light Screen, Reflect, and Hypnosis. Bronzong is no slouch in attacking either; it can use Gyro Ball (which is extremely powerful because of Bronzong's low Speed), Earthquake, and Explosion. Bronzong's only downside is its lack of reliable recovery; this means it cannot take repeated beatings and live to tell the tale. Heatran and Infernape make good Bronzong counters because of their STAB Fire moves, however they need to watch out for Earthquake. Bronzong can run Heatproof over Levitate for surprise value, but it is generally inferior to Levitate.


Forretress

Forretress is one of the best Rapid Spinners and Toxic Spikers of OU. Forretress is capable of setting up every type of entry hazard, as well as spinning them away. Forretress can also threaten opposing Pokémon with Earthquake, STAB Gyro Ball, Zap Cannon, or Payback. One of Forretress' best counters is Rotom-H, because it blocks Forretress's Rapid Spins and can OHKO it with Overheat. Magnezone also counters Forretress nicely, as Thunderbolt does a hefty amount of damage, and Hidden Power Fire will OHKO it.


Cradily

With the Special Defense boost sandstorm provides, Cradily becomes a very potent sandstorm wall. However, it's much less useful in OU than in UU (where you'll need to use Hippopotas), because of all the Steel-types in OU. Cradily's main niche is spreading Toxic on the opponent's team, then stalling while the opponent wastes away; Cradily has Recover and Protect to do this. Cradily can also use Swords Dance with Recover and Suction Cups to back it up. Cradily has many common weaknesses to exploit when countering it, including Bug, Ice, and Fighting. Heracross makes a fantastic counter because of this; it loves taking Toxic and can scare Cradily away with Megahorn or Close Combat.


Swampert

Swampert has been a great offensive and defensive threat since its release in the 3rd Generation, and it hasn't slowed down since. Swampert makes a very nice lead, capable of setting up Stealth rock most of the time as well as putting a dent in opposing Pokémon with strong STAB attacks like Waterfall, Hydro Pump, and Earthquake. Swampert is arguably most threatening when using Curse, though. After Cursing a few times, Swampert will be nearly unstoppable (anything that doesn't pack a Grass-type move won't be able to KO a boosted Swampert). Exploiting Swampert's 4x weakness to Grass is the easiest way to counter it. Celebi is barely threatened by anything Swampert has, and it can outspeed and OHKO Swampert with Grass Knot.


Registeel

Registeel is a good wall in OU, even better in UU (it's one of the few Pokémon to stop Venusaur with relative ease). Registeel does well as a support Pokémon, using Stealth Rock, Toxic, and Thunder Wave. Registeel can also employ Curse to boost its Defense, or use RestTalking as your team's status absorber.


Regirock

Regirock has one of the highest Defense stats in the game, and with relatively good defensive typing, Regirock makes a very good physical wall. Like Registeel, Regirock can also support your team with Toxic, Thunder Wave, and Stealth Rock. Regirock packs more of a punch than Registeel though, so it doesn't need to Curse up to actually damage the opponent. Regirock also gets a very welcome Special Defense boost from the sandstorm. Donphan and Hippowdon wall Regirock all day long, and both can do some damage to Regirock with their STAB Earthquakes. Special Fighting-type attacks, such as Aura Sphere from Lucario, decimate Regirock too.


Claydol

The spinning top Pokémon is a great Rapid Spinner in UU, and it is one of the few special attacking Ground-types. Claydol can Trick crippling items onto other Pokémon too. Claydol's main pitfall is its lack of reliable recovery; it can't withstand repeated hits like other Pokémon (Hippowdon) can. Countering Claydol isn't too difficult either. Water-types do a great job, as most STAB Water or Ice moves will do a hefty amount to Claydol, though watch out for Explosion!


Donphan

The pachyderm Pokémon is another Rapid Spinner in UU. Donphan is relatively powerful and, unlike Forretress, poses a strong offensive threat to the opponent. Donphan also has Ice Shard, a great attack for picking off weakened opponents. Bulky Ground-types easily stop Donphan, as do bulky Waters. Choice Band Donphan can be damaging though, especially so if your bulky Water has taken a few hits.

Other Defensive Options

Some Pokémon, while benefiting nicely from sandstorm, just aren't too great. Probopass and Bastiodon come to mind in this respect. While both of them have very nice defensive capabilities, Bastiodon especially, both of them have two easily exploitable 4x weaknesses. Probopass can be used in a way similar to Magnezone, trapping and defeating Steel-types. Aggron and Golem are also good on paper in terms of Defense, though they are completely overshadowed by other Pokémon; Golem especially, is outclassed by Rhyperior, who only really misses out on Explosion. Shuckle is yet another defensive Pokémon made better in sandstorm, however Shuckle can't do much of anything except Toxic and Encore, and even its monstrous defenses cannot cover its low HP (meaning it still can't take heavy-duty hits).

Other Pokémon

This section includes Pokémon that do not benefit from sandstorm, but help sandstorm teams.


Blissey

Despite lacking an immunity to sandstorm, Blissey is frequently seen on defensive sandstorm teams because it's unrivalled as the best special wall in the game. Blissey can sponge special attacks, spread status around, and heal your own team's status with Heal Bell. Blissey can also provide Wish support for the team. This is very helpful because a lot of the other walls that do well in sandstorm (Registeel, Donphan, Regirock, Forretress, and others) do not have reliable recovery of their own. The easiest way to counter Blissey is with strong physical attacks. Choice Band Dugtrio does a great job, as it can trap Blissey and 2HKO it with Earthquake. Other good counters include Machamp and Infernape, though Infernape needs to watch out for the occasional Thunder Wave.


Tentacruel

Tentacruel can absorb Toxic Spikes, set them up itself, and spin away other entry hazards, a trait exclusive to the squid. Tentacruel is also another Pokémon that can take Water-type attacks easily, which is very helpful for a sandstorm team. Tentacruel also easily defeats most variants of Infernape, which is a frequent problem for sandstorm teams. Like Blissey, Tentacruel is easily trapped and killed by Dugtrio. Tentacruel can also be defeated by other powerful Electric- or Ground-type attacks.


Starmie

Starmie is another Pokémon that can take the ever so threatening Water-type attacks. Starmie can also use Rapid Spin, as well as pack a punch with its myriad of special attacks. Lastly, Starmie has Recover to increase its longevity. Blissey is a 100% Starmie counter; she can wear it down with Toxic or Thunderbolt (while Starmie cannot do notable damage to Blissey). Celebi is another good counter, especially when Starmie lacks Ice Beam. Like most Water-types, Starmie needs to be wary of Electric attacks, so Jolteon and Magnezone do well to scare it off.

Other Options

Rotom-A and Spiritomb are great options on defensive sandstorm teams, as they both block Rapid Spin. Rotom-A can also scare away the bulky Water-types that try to defeat your Ground- and Rock-types. Neither Spiritomb nor Rotom-A really care about sandstorm too, as they both can use Rest. Celebi can provide Leech Seed support, and it makes a nice Gyarados counter (it can also defeat your opponent's Rock- and Ground-types with Grass Knot). That very same Gyarados makes a good option to use too, but Leftovers is the recommended item over Life Orb because it will help Gyarados combat the sandstorm damage. Zapdos is a good choice, too. The electric bird makes a nice Scizor counter, and has Roost to heal any Stealth Rock or sandstorm damage it may acquire.

Problems for Sandstorm teams

A major problem for sandstorm teams is stall teams. Most Pokémon that do well in sandstorm aren't proficient at running mixed sets, and as such, breaking the walls of stall teams is difficult. Including a Pokémon like Mixed Jirachi is a good idea; even though they will be taking damage from Life Orb, they'll often be able to break down a few walls so you'll be able to sweep with something else. Toxic Spikes is another large problem, as it hits many common sandstorm Pokémon. Using Forretress or Donphan is a good counter to this, as they can spin away the Toxic Spikes and any other entry hazard that may plague you. If neither of those Pokémon appeal to you, then use Starmie as a Rapid Spinner, or a Poison-type like Roserade to absorb the Toxic Spikes. Nidoqueen and Nidoking get a special mention, as they can both absorb Toxic Spikes while they are not hurt by sandstorm. Specifically, Suicune tends to be a large problem for sandstorm teams. With its STAB Water-type moves and strong Defense and HP, Suicune can easily take the attacks of Rhyperior, Mamoswine, and sometimes, Tyranitar and defeat them quickly. To defeat Suicune, include something with strong Electric- or Grass-type moves, like Magnezone, Celebi, or Roserade.

Opposing weather teams also make playing with sandstorm difficult, especially if your weather-inducer faints before your opponent's does. Not only will they likely be ready with powerful sweepers ready to benefit from the opposing weather, but your Rock-type Pokémon will lose their Special Defense boosts. Rain Dance teams can smash through Tyranitar and Hippowdon with high powered Water-type moves, and can then set up Rain Dance without fear to attempt a sweep. Sunny Day teams are less of a threat as one can bring in Tyranitar or Hippowdon to cause SolarBeam to take another turn as it charges. When playing against these teams, you may often have to make smart sacrifices to keep control of the battle. In these situations, it is highly advised to keep your weather-Pokémon alive so you can change the weather when desperately needed.

Conclusion

Sandstorm is the most used weather effect, and for good reason. Sandstorm has several game-changing effects that can be fully utilized to your advantage. I hope this guide has prepared you to not only use sandstorm teams to their fullest extent, but also be prepared to face them.