Due to stiff competition from Lucario and even Heracross, Gallade may not be the primary Fighting-type of choice for your team; however, Gallade has many interesting qualities that make him viable to fill a certain niche in your team. To differentiate himself from his Fighting-type counterparts, Gallade has access to powerful STAB Psychic moves and can run both Ice Punch and Stone Edge simultaneously, something Heracross cannot do, while Lucario rarely finds room for both. Unlike Heracross and Lucario, Gallade also has access to Trick, which allows him to cripple troublesome walls he may not be able to normally overcome.
However, Gallade does have some major drawbacks. Gallade's Speed is decidedly average by OU standards, meaning he is outrun and revenge killed by many Pokemon, and, unlike Lucario, does not have access to good priority moves. Gallade's Defense is also lackluster, meaning he's easy prey for powerful physical threats and priority users, such as Gyarados and Scizor, respectively. Despite these faults, Gallade is still a very powerful Pokemon in the right hands, and he is not one to be taken lightly.
Gallade may not be a common sweeper in the OU tier due to his middling Speed, but he has the potential to rip huge holes in opposing teams. With Swords Dance boosting Jolly Gallade's Attack stat from 349 to 698, he can do incredible damage with his near-perfect type coverage and a 120 Base Power STAB attack in Close Combat. For example, after a Swords Dance, Skarmory is always OHKOed by a Life Orb Close Combat with Stealth Rock on the field, even when Gallade is running a Jolly nature.
By virtue of his secondary Psychic typing, Gallade can effectively use STAB Psycho Cut to handle Ghost-types and Pokemon who resist Fighting-type moves. Furthermore, Psycho Cut can be used without fear of running into Dark-type Pokemon, because they risk being maimed by a powerful Close Combat. Gallade also has access to Ice Punch, a move Heracross fails to learn, which he can use to hit Pokemon such as Celebi, Gliscor, and Zapdos for significant damage. Also, Gallade's typing gives it an advantage over Lucario when dealing with the aforementioned Pokemon, as he is not completely destroyed by their respective super effective coverage moves. Even though Ice Punch deals with all of those Pokemon, Stone Edge is still a good choice for dealing with Gyarados, who is outsped and OHKOed even after Intimidate (unless Gyarados is running a speed-boosting nature). Stone Edge also retains super effective coverage against Zapdos, but with its poor accuracy and Zapdos's Pressure and superior Speed, Zapdos can easily PP stall it with Roost.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
With lead Machamp running around and causing mayhem and centralization in the lead metagame, you may ask yourself "why would I use Gallade when Machamp is available?" The answer is that Gallade has several advantages over Machamp that allow it to function quite well in the lead position. Gallade's first advantage is his base 80 Speed, which allows him to outspeed many threatening Pokemon that Machamp cannot, most notably Timid Heatran. Second, Gallade has a better-typed priority move, which means that fast, frail attackers, such as Gengar and Starmie, are hit much harder before Gallade is killed. Perhaps the most important asset that Gallade has, however, is his Psychic-type STAB that gives him respectable coverage and enables him to OHKO opposing Machamp.
Close Combat is the preferred STAB option over any other Fighting-type move due to its high Base Power and reliability. Zen Headbutt's main use is to OHKO lead Machamp 100% of the time with Life Orb, but it gives Gallade very good type coverage anyway, hitting Poison-type Pokemon that resist Close Combat super effectively. Shadow Sneak 2HKOes lead Azelf, picks off Aerodactyl, deals a fair amount of damage to Starmie and Gengar, and revenge kills boosted Pokemon. The last slot is a decision between Ice Punch and Stone Edge; Ice Punch allows Gallade to OHKO Dragonite and most Gliscor, as well as 2HKO all Celebi with Stealth Rock. Stone Edge hits Dragonite, takes a good chunk out of Gyarados, and slams even defensive Zapdos for a guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock damage.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
With a Choice item, Gallade can be an offensive battering ram, dealing massive damage with Close Combat, or serving as a revenge killer who can outrun Adamant Dragonite after one Dragon Dance. In general, it is better to use Choice Band rather than Choice Scarf, because the offensive power Gallade boasts is amazing. Gallade also has an advantage over Heracross in the form of Ice Punch and Psycho Cut, which allow him to take out Gliscor with good prediction, and deal decent damage to Rotom-A without resorting to Night Slash. Finally, Choiced Gallade has the advantage of being able to Trick away his Choice item when it is not wanted anymore, potentially crippling a troublesome wall.
Close Combat is the move Gallade should use most often, as when it's backed up by a monstrous Choice Band-boosted 523 Attack and an effective 180 Base Power factoring in STAB, even targets who resist it take heavy damage. Psycho Cut hits Ghost-types such as Rotom-A and other Pokémon who take little damage from Close Combat. Be careful against the Rotom formes, however, as Gallade hates Will-O-Wisp. The third slot, once again, is dependent on whom you would like to beat. Offensive Gyarados is always OHKOed by -1 Choice Band Stone Edge, and while it falls short against bulky Gyarados, Stone Edge also hits Zapdos harder than Ice Punch. Ice Punch, on the other hand, allows you to deal with Celebi, Dragonite, and Gliscor, and still hits Zapdos super effectively. Trick as the final move is an interesting option, as it differentiates Gallade from his fellow Fighting-type Choice Band users, and is one of the main reasons to use Gallade over Lucario.
Choice Scarf is still a viable item to make Gallade a decent revenge killer, but it is outclassed by Choice Band Gallade and other Choice Scarf revenge killers in general, such as Jirachi and Flygon. Choice Scarf should run the same moveset as Choice Band, but has the ability to revenge kill Adamant +1 Dragonite with a Jolly nature.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Sometimes it can be hard to find an opportunity to set up Swords Dance with Gallade, but he still hits hard, thanks to his base 125 Attack and Life Orb. Therefore, it is possible to forgo Swords Dance and simply use a coverage move in its place. Gallade has a pretty wide movepool, mostly consisting of gimmick moves and moves used better by other Pokemon, but they can be amusing when used correctly. Gallade's low Speed can aid him when using Trick Room, and he can be a monster under it, but there are better Pokemon to set it up. Destiny Bond can be used against slower opponents if Gallade is at low health to take the opponent down with him, but he is generally too slow to make full use of it. Bulk Up can make for an effective set with investment in HP and Special Defense, bolstering Gallade's weak Defense and already amazing Attack. Earthquake and Leaf Blade are options, but Earthquake is generally outclassed by Close Combat and a 2x super effective Leaf Blade hits just as hard as a neutral Close Combat, but has merit for demolishing Swampert.
Gallade gets Wish, so it is an interesting option, but it is illegal along with any Egg Moves and is outclassed by other users of Wish, such as Jirachi and Vaporeon. Hypnosis was already mentioned earlier, but it has a rather disappointing accuracy. Along with Hypnosis, Will-O-Wisp and Thunder Wave can be used to make an interesting status set. Finally, Encore is an option to attempt to get a free turn of set-up against a support Pokemon.
Checks and Counters
Gallade has no "counters" in the strictest sense of the word, as he can 2HKO every switch-in with the appropriate move. Ghost-types are the best switch-ins, as they can switch in for free against Gallade's Close Combat and hit back with super effective Shadow Ball. In particular, Rotom-A can survive Gallade's moves and cripple him with Will-O-Wisp, but it must be careful not to switch into Night Slash or Psycho Cut. Celebi laughs at anything but Ice Punch, Night Slash, or X-Scissor, and can cripple Gallade with Thunder Wave or do some damage with Leaf Storm. Gallade also hates Scizor, due to his deadly Bullet Punch.
Any fast physical attacker is a good choice to prey on Gallade's weak physical Defense. Gliscor also gets particular mention for being able to take anything but Ice Punch with ease, but it needs significant Attack investment and an Attack-boosting nature to OHKO Gallade with Aerial Ace. Alternatively, Gliscor's Earthquake OHKOes Gallade after a defense drop from Close Combat.