Shaymin-S's brilliant traits, such as a STAB move that crushes both Kyogre and Groudon and a base Speed that beats even Darkrai's, make it a powerful threat in Ubers. It is also very capable of abusing the significant impact of luck in Ubers with its infamous Serene Grace ability combined with its dreaded STABs Seed Flare and Air Slash, often turning the tables upon the opponent even in the direst of situations. Unfortunately, it is fairly frail by Uber standards, being only slightly bulkier than Darkrai. It's also weak to Stealth Rock and forced out by many common Pokémon like Dialga and Scizor. Nevertheless, Shaymin-S is an excellent choice for almost any offensive Uber team because of the significant impact that it can make on the opponent in a relatively short time.
A Choice Scarf enables Shaymin-S to become both a great revenge killer and a decent lead. It's also arguably the best offensive answer to Rock Polish Groudon, as it is immune to Earthquake, and it can outrun most Groudon even after a Rock Polish and OHKO it with its powerful STAB Seed Flare. As a lead, it should try for an Air Slash flinch against Deoxys-A and Deoxys-S leads, which will usually prevent them from setting up entry hazards, and it easily beats Groudon leads who don't invest heavily in Special Defense.
Both of Shaymin-S's STABs allow it to get out of many tough situations thanks to Seed Flare's 68% overall Special Defense drop rate, as well as Air Slash's 57% overall flinch rate and neutrality against most Pokémon in the Uber environment. Earth Power 2HKOes most Steel-type switch-ins, though specially defensive Dialga will survive two Earth Powers, usually even after a Special Defense drop. Hidden Power Ice allows Shaymin-S to revenge kill Garchomp, opposing Shaymin-S, and Dragon Dance Rayquaza lacking ExtremeSpeed.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
The main idea of the SubSeed strategy is to switch into Pokémon who Shaymin-S can scare out, set up Substitute as they switch, and then either attack the next switch-in or use Leech Seed. Substitute is a great scouting tool for both Shaymin-S and partners looking to answer some of its checks. Shaymin-S is the fastest Leech Seed user outside of the sun, and it can pose an offensive threat with its base 120 Special Attack and Seed Flare Special Defense drops. Leech Seeding common switch-ins such as Blissey and Giratina allows Shaymin-S to restore huge amounts of health per turn, even making up for the Substitute HP loss in the former case. Eventually, Blissey will run out of Seismic Toss PP, and Shaymin-S can then pound Blissey with Seed Flare until her battered special bulk can take no more.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Shaymin-S has great offensive stats to pull off a simple Life Orb set, netting many important OHKOs with its STABs and Earth Power that it cannot normally obtain on Darkrai, Kyogre, Shaymin-S, Heatran, and most Groudon, as well as 2HKOs on Garchomp, Palkia, Rayquaza, Metagross, most Dialga, most Jirachi, and Scizor assuming Stealth Rock damage. A Special Defense drop from Seed Flare can even put Lugia, Latias, Giratina, Giratina-O, and Skarmory within 2HKO range from Air Slash, though in Skarmory's case, the probability is very small. Hidden Power Ice will turn some of these 2HKOs into OHKOs, while Hidden Power Fire easily OHKOs Scizor and 2HKOs Skarmory in the sun.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Choice Specs Shaymin-S wields great power without the need to set up or the constant recoil of Life Orb. Seed Flare deals massive damage to many Pokémon, OHKOing Darkrai, Kyogre, and Groudon, while also having a chance to OHKO offensive Mewtwo and Garchomp, and even giving Rayquaza trouble in setting up. Air Slash almost always 2HKOes 252 HP / 168 SpD Careful Scizor, and always 2HKOes Rayquaza, Darkrai, Garchomp, and Palkia after Stealth Rock damage. Earth Power 2HKOes Dialga, Metagross, and Jirachi, while Hidden Power Ice almost always 2HKOes Lugia with a Modest nature. With a Timid nature, it still OHKOes Garchomp and Rayquaza and after Stealth Rock damage and 2HKOes 86 HP / 96 SpD Giratina-O 90% of the time. Alternatively, Hidden Power Fire roasts Scizor and Skarmory.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Swords Dance is an alternative, but Shaymin-S has a poor physical movepool and is completely walled by Lugia, Giratina, Giratina-O, and almost any Steel-type Pokémon. Hidden Power Rock OHKOs Ho-Oh and 2HKOs Rayquaza and Shaymin-S after Stealth Rock damage, but otherwise, it's outclassed by Hidden Power Ice. Quick Attack has priority, but its low power is off-putting even against Deoxys-A. Secret Power is another option that can paralyze the opponent 60% of the time.
As an alternate STAB, Grass Knot has 100% accuracy, four times the PP of Seed Flare, and 120 Base Power against most Pokémon in Ubers. However, it only hits Wobbuffet for 60 Base Power and Mew and Manaphy for 20 Base Power. Grass Knot also lacks Seed Flare's chance of lowering the opponent's Special Defense by two stages, one of Shaymin-S's best selling points. Energy Ball is another 100% accurate Grass-type attack that still hits Manaphy for a large amount of damage with a 40% chance of dropping the foes Special Attack, but the power loss generally makes it an inferior option.
Type-resisting Berries, such as Yache Berry, could be considered, but Mewtwo and Kyogre will still OHKO Shaymin-S through a Yache Berry. Both Petaya Berry and Salac Berry are viable options for an offensively oriented Substitute set. Finally, Wide Lens will allow Shaymin-S to have a more accurate Seed Flare and Air Slash.
Psych Up can be used to steal the foe's stat ups, but it is far less reliable than Growth and Swords Dance are. Shaymin-S has Safeguard and Aromatherapy for status protection, but it's generally too frail to use them effectively. Worry Seed can stop Giratina and Dialga from using their main method of recovery, Rest, but it's generally not worth the moveslot. Toxic cripples both Lugia and Latias if they attempt to switch into Shaymin-S. Synthesis is Shaymin-S's only recovery move beyond Rest, and it can be used to extend Life Orb Shaymin-S's life span when paired with Groudon's eternal sunlight. Finally, Shaymin-S is arguably the best user of Healing Wish due to its 127 base Speed stat. Healing Wish can restore a weakened sweeper to full health, giving it another chance to sweep when its counter is most likely weakened.
Checks and Counters
Blissey is often the most reliable counter to Shaymin-S. She can absorb most of its attacks with ease and either cripple Shaymin-S with Thunder Wave or Toxic, or simply OHKO Shaymin-S with Ice Beam with Stealth Rock support. However, she loses against the SubSeed variant, and she may be 2HKOed by a Modest Choice Specs Seed Flare if Blissey's Special Defense is halved. Specially defensive Skarmory can take Shaymin-S's assaults, except for Hidden Power Fire, and simply Whirlwind Shaymin-S away (causing it to take more damage from Stealth Rock) or OHKO Shaymin-S with Brave Bird with Stealth Rock in play. Although Lugia and Latias risk falling to Air Slash flinches after a Seed Flare Special Defense drop, they can take most of Shaymin-S's assaults and OHKO it with Ice Beam and Dragon Pulse, respectively, after Stealth Rock damage. Lugia can also use Whirlwind to stop Shaymin-S from stalling with Leech Seed.
Ho-Oh can switch into any of Shaymin-S's attacks and OHKO with Sacred Fire. Scizor can easily switch into Seed Flare and threaten any Shaymin-S without Hidden Power Fire. Scizor 2HKOs Shaymin-S with Bullet Punch and can U-turn for heavy damage as well as scout possible switch-ins. Choice Band Scizor can even use Pursuit to put Shaymin-S into the KO range of Stealth Rock on its next switch-in (provided that Shaymin-S has already taken Stealth Rock damage.) However, a Choice Specs boosted Air Slash will 2HKO Scizor. Choice Scarf Dialga and Heatran can easily switch into Seed Flare and Air Slash. They can also OHKO Shaymin-S with Fire Blast (or Draco Meteor in Dialga's case). Choice Scarf Jirachi and Metagross resist Seed Flare and Air Slash and can OHKO Shaymin-S with Ice Punch. However, Dialga, Heatran, Metagross, and Jirachi are 2HKOed Earth Power (Heatran is OHKOed). Faster Pokémon like Mewtwo, Deoxys-A and Choice Scarf Garchomp, Palkia, Darkrai, and Kyogre can revenge kill non-Choice Scarf Shaymin-S with Ice Beam or STAB Dragon-type attacks. However, Choice Scarf Mewtwo can outspeed even Choice Scarf Shaymin-S.