Excadrill has had a wild ride since its inception in BW. Its Sand Rush ability made Excadrill the first true offensive sand abuser, allowing it to outspeed the entire unboosted metagame, and nearly any Pokemon with a single boost! A STAB Earthquake coming off of an amazing 135 base Attack stat and the ability to boost its Attack stat while facing hopeless walls with Swords Dance made Excadrill a terrifying sweeper. It could even use Rapid Spin with impunity, because no Ghost-type would ever dare switching in. As such, it was eventually banished to the Uber tier, where much more dangerous threats lurked. However, Excadrill is back with a vengeance in the Dream World metagame, and is still as effective as ever.
Excadrill is not without its flaws, however. Without sand support, Excadrill lies at a rather upsetting base 88 Speed tier, outsped by opposing weather starters such as Choice Scarf Politoed and most variants of Ninetales. Excadrill's thin defenses force it to remain cautious if it plans to set up Swords Dance. Priority from Pokemon such as Breloom and Conkeldurr put a quick stop to Excadrill's sweeping fun. Sturdy walls such as Skarmory and Hippowdon can either phaze it or, in the latter's case, hit it with a powerful STAB Earthquake of its own. Still, these flaws are avoidable with the proper support, allowing Excadrill to remain the premier sand sweeper in the Dream World metagame.
This is Excadrill's most dangerous set, and what causes your opponent to tremble in fear. The idea is to come in on a wall that can do very little to Excadrill, set up a Swords Dance, and start wreaking havoc. The easiest possible wall on whom to switch in is Chansey, as Excadrill is immune to Toxic and Thunder Wave, and can only be whittled down by Seismic Toss. Any Forretress without Earthquake will run and hide, out of fear of being 2HKOed by Excadrill at +2. Don't even think about setting up on Ferrothorn, though, because uninvested Power Whip is a clean 2HKO. After a Swords Dance and holding a Life Orb, only Air Balloon holders are safe, as Excadrill can even 2HKO Skarmory lacking Leftovers after Stealth Rock damage. Additionally, at +4, Excadrill can OHKO Gliscor with Return, which is no small feat.
Earthquake and Rock Slide are Excadrill's primary offensive options, giving it pseudo-''EdgeQuake'' coverage. The fourth moveslot comes down to preference. Return grants Excadrill excellent neutral coverage, as most Pokemon who resist Earthquake also resist Rock Slide. X-Scissor makes quick work of Latias and Latios after a Swords Dance, with a near-guaranteed chance to OHKO the former (assuming it isn't running 252 HP / 252 Def with a Defense-boosting nature) and a sure OHKO on the latter. However, since Excadrill often forces switches, and none of them to Ghost-types, it is also free to use Rapid Spin to get rid of entry hazards that may quickly wear down your team.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
A Choice Band set with Earthquake, Rock Slide, Return, and X-Scissor for maximum coverage is viable, working to punch holes in your opponent's team, but the main draw of Sand Rush is that it allows Excadrill to sweep almost unhindered, and having the ability to switch moves is highly important. With Excadrill's excellent HP stat, it is has the potential to be more specially bulky than Skarmory and Forretress; a spread of 52 HP / 252 SpD / 204 Spe allows Excadrill to switch into Latios's Choice Specs Draco Meteor, never being 2HKOed, thus allowing it to set up a Swords Dance. Chople Berry can be used on a Swords Dance set, letting Excadrill boost its Attack, survive the incoming Mach Punch from the likes of Breloom, Conkeldurr, and Infernape, and OHKO back with Return. Excadrill's movepool is very precise and leaves it with very few alternatives to the standard sets. Mold Breaker is Excadrill's third ability and allows it to hit the Rotom formes for maximum damage, but Excadrill sits at such an unfortunate Speed tier without Sand Rush or even Choice Scarf, making it an inferior option. Finally, Shadow Claw is Excadrill's safest option for hitting Gengar and the non-existent Mismagius, Rotom, Solrock, and Lunatone, but is absolutely superfluous, as X-Scissor takes care of every other levitator.
Checks and Counters
Although Excadrill is indeed very dangerous, there are a few Pokemon who can stop its sweep cold. The most dangerous of these is Breloom, who can actually switch in on a Swords Dance or something as powerful as Adamant Choice Banded Return, OHKOing with Mach Punch. Skarmory can switch in on any of its moves and Phaze with Whirlwind, although it can be flinched to death by Rock Slide. Gliscor can also switch in to any Excadrill lacking Air Balloon and KO with Earthquake, although it faces the same risk as Skarmory in regards to flinching. Bronzong only takes neutral damage from X-Scissor, is immune to Earthquake, and Excadrill will be hard-pressed to flinch it to death with a resisted Rock Slide before Bronzong hits it back with Earthquake. Choice Scarf Politoed can either switch into Swords Dance or revenge kill Excadrill, with Politoed's self-induced rain negating Sand Rush.