Ubers Sand Guide (WIP)
jackm: If anyone wants to take over the Ubers Sand guide, it would probably be for the best. I've had a sudden influx of quite a lot of work and it won't get done for a while under my command. <--- taking over, but don't expect me to finish the whole thing though!
<p>Despite being the least common of the uber-caliber weathers, sand is a potent playstyle if harnessed correctly. Many choose to forgo sand’s largely indirect boosts in favor of those provided by sun and rain, due to their ease of use and immediate power. Sand’s inducers also lend evidence that causes some to overlook the weather; while both Tyranitar and Hippowdon are both quite viable, they simply lack the menacing stigma that follows both Kyogre and Groudon. When using sand instead of sun or rain, one must always keep in mind that both Groudon and Kyogre are way more powerful than either of those sand inducers, and Kyogre threatens both easily. Groudon on the other hand, can smash Tyranitar in one hit and if it carries Swords Dance even Hippowdon will not enjoy taking too many hits.</p>
<p>Much of sand’s utility stems from the residual damage that it provides and the Special Defense boost that it grants Rock-types. Because of this, sandstall and balance are generally more useful than sand offense; however, all three are completely viable. Because of this, even dedicated sand teams are incredibly versatile. While there aren't many good Rock-types in Ubers to abuse the Special Defense boost gained in sand, the added residual damage every turn can help wear down threats faster, especially useful for defensive teams.</p>
<p>Since sand is always the least used of all three weathers in Ubers, and it is often forgotten because of the immediate power granted by sun and rain. Sand does not boost the power of Rock-type attacks unless the user has Sand Force, and the only viable user of the ability is Landorus-I. There are less direct sand abusers than either sun or rain. Surprisingly, much of Sand's utility comes from the residual damage that it brings and the list of powerful sweepers who are immune to Sandstorm themselves, such as Excadrill, Terrrakion, Genesect and Dialga. Whether you want to stall or hit hard with a sand team is all up to your own preference. Soul Dew Latias is awesome for sand teams, acting as a pivot and solid Kyogre check. Groudon is also defeated by Grass Knot but she has to watch out for Dragon Claws from more Offensive sets. While the residual damage hurts Latias, weather constantly changes in Ubers, and having a Kyogre check is mandatory regardless of what team you are using. Many viable Spikes users are immune to Sand and the best user of Rapid Spin, Excadrill can unleash its full offensive potential in the sand.</p>
<p>There are only two sand inducers available, so unless you are planning to use both together, one will usually be enough because they are both bulky and have access to support moves such as Stealth Rock and Roar.</p>
<p>Tyranitar is the more used of the two due to its general utility, and much better Special Defense which is crucial against many special attackers which run rampant in the tier. It is also incredibly versatile and is capable running either a defensive set or Choice Band for more power but sadly both sets share the same counters. Tyranitar has quite an amazing movepool, even wider than some Ubers and it is able to hit Latias, Mewtwo, Ferrothorn, Forretress, Rayquaza, Ho-oh, Lugia, Kyurem-W, Giratina, Skarmory and many others for super-effective damage with its common moves.
Dark STAB is really important in Ubers as it helps take out most of the Psychic and Ghost-types in the tier, such as Latias, Latios, Mewtwo. Keep in mind bulkier foes such as Lugia and Giratina do not fear Crunch that much as both can tank it easily and reply with status. With the Special Defense boost, Tyranitar is actually bulkier than Ho-Oh, a common tank in Ubers. Tyranitar can easily survive strong super-effective STAB moves from weaker opponents without breaking a sweat; Mono-attacking Kyogre's Scald deals a measly 28.71 - 34.65%, however, Tyranitar cannot do much back in return and has to watch out for burns. Even standard Choice Scarf Palkia will fail to 2HKO Tyranitar with Surf, which is a pretty impressive feat. Unfortunately, Tyranitar has a lot of common weaknesses, including Water, Grass, Bug, Fighting, and Ground all of which are fairly common in the tier. The ability to use its powerful STAB Pursuit allows Tyranitar to trap a variety of threats who and sometimes it helps you to win the weather war by trapping opposing weather users, such as Choice Kyogre stuck on Ice Beam. The residual damage from sand allows Tyranitar to become an effective lead vs Deoxys-S, by limiting it to a single layer of hazards; Crunch brings Deoxys-S down to its sash, and sand damage will finish it off at the end of the turn. Bear in mind, Groudon and Kyogre sometimes appear as leads and both will easily force Tyranitar out.</p>
<p>While less commonly seen, Hippowdon is still a formidable sand inducer, mainly due to its ability to check Groudon instead of being weak to it like Tyranitar. Access to reliable recovery, phazing moves and Stealth Rock makes Hippowdon a decent physical wall in Ubers, although that horrible Special Defense is easily abused by most attackers. Earthquake and Slack Off are standard on Hippowdon, and the remaining options can be Stealth Rock, Toxic, Roar, and Ice Fang. Roar and Stealth Rock are usually the most common option because it maximizes Hippowdon's supporting capabilities. Hippowdon does not get a Special Defense boost from the sand, and as such requires a partner to take on special attacks flying around the tier. Worse thing is Hippowdon is not a powerful attacker like Groudon and is easily setup on by most of the bulkier Ubers such as Arceus, Lugia and Kyogre. Thankfully, Hippowdon is capable of checking certain sweepers who can destroy sand teams otherwise such as Swords Dance Arceus and Dragon Dance Rayquaza.</p>
Pokemon to Consider for Sand teams
<p>The face of offensive sand, Excadrill is a fearsome sweeper that can tear through the metagame if given the setup opportunity. Due to Sand Rush, it easily outspeeds the entire Ubers metagame with an Adamant nature, save extremely fast Choice Scarf users such as Shaymin-S and Darkrai. After a Swords Dance, very little can stand up to its fearsome assaults. Though unusual for a sweeper, Excadrill's Ground/Steel typing is a fantastic typing especially for tanking most of the common priority attacks which are resisted. In addition having a 4x resistance to Stealth Rock, Excadrill has nothing to fear from Toxic or Thunder Wave, enabling it to apply pressure to various stall-based pokes with ease. If this wasn't enough, Ground/Steel grants our mole a terrific panel of resistances and immunities including Dragon, Electric, Bug, Rock, Flying, Steel, Psychic, Ghost, and Dark. While it suffers from weaknesses to other common attacking types and middling speed under unfavorable weather, Excadrill is easily the best abuser of sand and should always be first considered when you are making a sand team. The bad news is, opposing Excadrill can also sweep your own sand team by abusing Sand Rush and a counter to Excadrill is a must for any sand team.</p>
<p>While admiring Excadrill's offensive qualities, it's often easy to overlook its deceptively useful defensive stats (110/60/65). Excadrill is easily the best Rapid Spinner in the tier; while offensive variants achieves the spin through pure pressure, defensive Excadrill has surprising bulk and often functions throughout a match, however, bear in mind defensive Excadrill is better used on rain teams. Sand Rush should always be used if you are using a sand team the extra speed is what makes Excadrill so dangerous. While Mold Breaker allows Excadrill to catch Giratina-O and Lati twins with a powerful Earthquake, it is not worth losing the Speed granted by Sand Rush. Iron Head still allows Excadrill to 2HKO Giratina-O and OHKO Latias anyway, as long as you used Swords Dance. Using Excadrill to setup Stealth Rock user is a horrible option because it limits Excadrill's sweeping potential. Don't expect Excadrill to tank too many powerful hits even with a defensive set, because things like Zekrom can still 2HKO Excadrill easily with Choice Band Outrage. Going all-out-offensive is the best way for Excadrill to work in sand teams, and Rapin Spin is always a decent bonus if you need it. Sadly, Groudon and Offensive Kyogre, common enemies of sand teams beat Excadrill easily, and something to beat those weather titans such as Grass Arceus is needed so Excadrill can sweep unhindered.</p>
<p>Life Orb is generally the main item to be considered on Excadrill and it helps grab many important KOs such as the 2HKO on Giratina with +2 Earthquake and OHKO on Arceus with the same move. Leftovers is a possible replacement to stay alive longer but once again, Excadrill's main role in sand teams is a sweeper and should not be relied on to take too many hits.</p>
<p>One of the best abusers of sand, Garchomp is a fantastic user of Substitute and Swords Dance, and this is helped further with Sandstream support to abuse Sand Veil, giving it a 25% evasion increase. This can be extremely frustrating for the opponent to take out Garchomp, especially when many attacks seen in Ubers tend to have low PP, such as Draco Meteor, Spacial Rend, Sacred Fire and ExtremeSpeed. An untimely miss can allow Garchomp to grab a free boost and start wrecking havoc, and its dual STABs have near perfect coverage. While base 102 Speed might not seem much, it allows Garchomp to outrun the crowded pack of Dragons hanging around the base 90-100 Speed area, such as Dialga, Palkia, Zekrom and Palkia and OHKO all of them with Outrage or Earthquake in Dialga's case.</p>
<p>Unlike Excadrill, Garchomp has no problem with Giratina at all as Outrage will 2HKO it at worst. Gliscor also fails to wall Garchomp because a boosted Outrage will easily 2HKO Gliscor, and even Lugia will be 2HKOed although that can be foiled with a faster Reflect or Ice Beam unfortunately. Pairing up Excadrill and Garchomp can form a highly effective offensive combination because while Excadrill hates Giratina, Garchomp can destroy it, and Excadrill can easily Rapin Spin away any hazards Skarmory set up. Both also share decent synergy together because Garchomp resists Fire while Excadrill resists Dragon. Surprisingly, Groudon makes a decent check to both Excadrill and Garchomp, so one can weaken Groudon to the point where it can no longer survive another boosted attack, and the other sweeps. If Groudon lacks Roar, it might possibly even lose to Substitute Garchomp in the long run because +2 Outrage will 2HKO any Groudon. If you hate Forretress and Skarmory trying to wall you, Fire Fang is also an acceptable move for this land shark. Keep in mind although Garchomp isn't weak to Fighting, Fighting Arceus will still defeat it easily with a faster Ice Beam. A counter to Fighting Arceus and Grass Arceus is needed such as Ho-Oh.</p>
<p>Dragon STAB is actually a pretty big deal here, Garchomp can OHKO most Dragon-types, something Excadrill cannot do without a boost. STAB Earthquake is another advantage Garchomp has, as it allows Garchomp to smash pass Steel-types such as Ferrothorn and Steel Arceus. Garchomp can also be used against opposing sand teams as it easily beats Tyranitar, Excadrill and Rock Arceus one-on-one. Choice sets are usually not worth using in sand teams as there are better alternatives such as Terrakion, although Life Orb can go over leftovers if you need the extra power, such as the guaranteed OHKO on max HP Groudon with +2 Outrage after Stealth Rock damage. Haban Berry lets Garchomp survive one attack from weaker Dragon-types such as Latias's Dragon Pulse, Choice Scarf Palkia's Spacial Rend and Giratina-O's Outrage and OHKO them back in return.</p>
<p>Ever since its inception, Ferrothorn has made a lasting impression on the Ubers metagame. While it has great utility, sand teams benefit enormously from its ability to harass rain teams and lay down Spikes. Between Leech Seed, sand damage, and potential hazard damage, Ferrothorn can exert a surprising amount of pressure on the opponent; many teams are simply unable to break past its defensive prowess once users of powerful Fire- and Fighting-type attacks are removed. Ferrothorn's Grass/Steel typing is just icing on the cake, allowing it to check a multitude of threats including Choice Scarf Kyogre, Manaphy, Arceus-Grass, Kingdra and some Zekrom sets. Ferrothorn is as an excellent glue for many sand teams by providing crucial resistances to Water- and Dragon-type attacks. The added residual damage from Sandstorm combined with Leech Seed can easily harass opponents, and thanks to that Steel-typing, Ferrothorn is immune to the passive damage. Keep in mind, Ferrothorn has flaws as well, it can adds up a nasty Fighting-type weakness, something no sand team will enjoy. It will make your team even weaker to the dreaded Fighting Arceus which is the premier sand team counter. Groudon with Fire Punch is easily eliminate Ferrothorn and so partners who can deal with those such as Giratina are recommended. Due to that low Speed, Ferrothorn is better off in more defensive sand teams, although offensive ones still enjoy Ferrothorn's presence to take on certain Kyogre sets and launch Spikes.</p>
<p>Arceus-Rock is one of the few Arceus formes who excels in sand teams but does not bring any additional resistances for the team. Rock Arceus is bulkier than Tyranitar from both sides, and is not OHKOed by most Fighting-type attacks such as Choice Scarf Terrakion's Close Combat. Access to reliable recovery enables it to take hits from many offensive powerhouses under sand; examples include Choice Specs Kyurem-W, Ho-Oh, and Dialga. Rock Arceus's high speed is a huge boon as well, allowing it to pick off miscellaneous threats and pose an offensive threat. It also gives Arceus-Rock the opportunity to push through stall teams with a mono-attacking set consisting of Calm Mind, Judgement, Recover, and Refresh however, this is highly unlikely because either Groudon or Kyogre, common stall pokemon easily beat Rock Arceus. Due to its awesome bulk, Rock Arceus can set up on a multitude of threats while Refresh allows it to ignore status users such as Blissey. Unfortunately, it shares a similar list of checks with Tyranitar; because of this, Rock Arceus fits best in a team with Hippowdon. Keep in mind, Rock Arceus will make your sand team even weaker to Kyogre and Groudon. However, Rock Arceus can beat Support Groudon with Will-O-Wisp, but that comes at the cost of losing Refresh, and Blissey will now beat you with Toxic. Regardless of what set Rock Arceus is running, Kyogre will easily force you out and Offensive Groudon will OHKO you usually and resists Rock. Common partners to deal with such issues include Latias and Giratina. Whether or not you want to use Rock Arceus is up to you, as running it piles up common weaknesses.</p>
<p>Gliscors overall bulk and power are disappointing compared to most Ubers and therefore, you are never sweeping with it in Ubers. That said, Gliscor has a niche in Ubers with its somewhat unique defensive typing, allowing Gliscor to safely wall non-Swords Dance Groudon, Tyranitar and Ground Arceus. While being immune to Electric-type attacks are great, don't expect Gliscor to counter Zekrom as Draco Meteor will easily smash you to bits, although that can be overcome through proper prediction with Substitute. Choice Band Outrage will still easily 2HKO Gliscor so it can only come in on Bolt Strike.</p>
<p>Unlike most sand abusers, Gliscor takes on a different approach in abusing sand. Due to its typing, Gliscor can often obtain free turns on choice-locked resisted attacks such as Thunder and Close Combat or switching on pokemon who cannot threaten it such as Blissey or Support Groudon. By using Substitute on the following turn, one can put the opponent in a nasty position. Assuming the defending Pokemon isn't Poison- or Steel-type, Gliscor can now Toxic stall to great effect due Poison Heal, which is a fantastic advantage over other walls. 95 base Speed might not seem much but it helps outrun the crowded base 90 Ubers without resorting to Speed creep. One can also utilize both Protect and Substitute instead of Taunt, to stall out the opponent with no net HP loss thanks to the recovery from Poison Heal. Due to the fact that Gliscor relies completely on residual damage to eliminate opponents, sandstorm greatly aids the process and Gliscor is immune to sand itself. Taunt is generally the better option to neutralize defensive pokemon such as some Lugia and Support Groudon, preventing them from recovering or setting up Stealth Rock in Groudon's case. The fact that Gliscor is such as great pokemon to cripple and take advantage of defensive Groudon, makes it a fantastic addition to any defensive sand team although it will make the team even weaker to Kyogre and as always, a solid Kyogre counter is needed. There is also another reason to use Gliscor on sand teams, which is to counter opposing Excadrill. While a boosted Iron Head will be an easy 2HKO, Gliscor can survive one hit and counter with Earthquake which will bring down Excadrill with some prior damage, pretty easy when it takes Life Orb recoil, even if Gliscor dies before Excadrill, it can ensure the enraged mole never sweeps your team.</p>
<p>While not considered a top threat in Ubers, Terrakion is still a force to be reckoned with. In addition to resisting Stealth Rock, its dual Rock/Fighting STABs have near perfect coverage with the added bonus of getting past bulky walls such as Lugia or Arceus. The Special Defense buff that sand brings is just an advantage and should never be relied on to take hits. Terrakion main role is a potent revenge killer, being able to switch in on some attacks from fast threats like Darkrai and Shaymin-S and threaten a kill with one of its dual STABs. Scarf Terrakion can also revenge kill miscellaneous opponents such as Ho-Oh, Rayquaza, and Kyurem-W, although it will be hard-pressed to switch in directly. Because it resists Extremespeed, Terrakion is also one of the few Pokemon that can reliably revenge kill Extremekiller Arceus after a bit of prior damage. If you need a solid, reliable revenge killer, Terrakion can be a good one but always remember Terrakion stacks unwanted weaknesses in common sand pokemon and is easily stopped by Groudon. Kyogre will OHKO Terrakion regardless but it has a harder time switching in.</p>
<p>Terrakion isn't the most powerful sweeper around and will often itself walled by things such as Giratina or some certian Arceus-formes. In an attempt to circumvent these flaws, many choose to forgo one of Terrakion's often worthless coverage moves to run Toxic, which allows it to surprise walls and overcome mind games but is generally a bad choice because Giratina, one of its main counters can just shrug of the poison with Rest anyway. A Double Booster set is a lot more threatening than the Choice Scarf set, due to its ability to deal massive damage and can be used alongside Excadrill to create a powerful offensive combination. Keep in mind, the lost of Choice Scarf means Terrakion can no longer revenge kill things such as Dragon Dance Rayquaza.</p>
Hi, could I possibly help with some input here? I know this thread is quite old but I think it's really cool that someone wants to make an article about my favourite uber weather. I have used sand teams quite a lot, especially Hippowdon-based ones, and gotten pretty decently high on the ladder, even though that's nothing of importance really.
About the sand inducers.
About teammates, I think you have got it all with sand abusers. Miscellaneous Support is missing Ho-oh IMO. It checks a lot of threats to sand-stall. I will come to that later. Gastrodon could be added, it's not that bad in sand. For offensive partners Rayquaza could be added. It can check opposing Excadrill well and is a powerful force in any team anyway.
About threats, I think you have missed out some on some crucial things. Sand is generally not that weak to inducers of other weathers themselves as they are to losing the weather war. That's the main threat of other weathers, because losing the weather war makes a sand-stall team very hard team to win with indeed.
About Kyogre, I think there should be some emphasis on it's ability drizzle, which neuters sands passive damage (which is actually IMO the biggest asset of sand itself). Sand teams could usually carry more than one check too Kyogre anyway, example spec def Gira+Ferro. By that said, its attacks will be handled. Also, maybe something to add is that sand-inducers are slower than Kyogre (and Groudon) and therefore you will get sand up when leading, which makes Kyogres water spouts a lot less threatning (Ferro can switch in for an easy spikes layer, even on specs Kyogre).
Palkia is true that it is a big threat, but choice-scarf variants simply suck against sand-stall.
Now onto what I think are the biggest threats to sand in itself:
Fighting Arceus- uncommon but deadly. STAB Judgement rolls over Ferrothorn and Tyranitar, Ice beam shit on Gliscor and does ok damage to Giratina. Rock arceus is obviously raped as well.
Ghost-arceus- very common, Giratina gets owned, Ferro too without Focus Blast missing, Ttar is in the same boat, Exca cant OHKO. Arceus rock kinda works but:
+1 4 SpA Arceus-Ghost Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Arceus-Rock in sand: 174-206 (39.18 - 46.39%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
and seeing its usually not max speed on sand-stall means it will get 2HKOed with some prior damage. Even though Focus Blast might miss, it's still a big threat. Not to mention that rockceus can only phaze (Perish song).
Ho-oh is nice check for both.
You have also written Ho-oh as a threat. I think that only applies against sand-teams without rockceus/hippowdon. And as rockceus is the best arceus to use on sand, it really isn't a big threat at all. Kyurem-W is always a threat, but using rockceus means only specs variants will be big trouple. Also, it hates residual sand damage and SR, so it will worn down quickly. Mewtwo is actually very troublesome, because many sand-stall teams doesn't use a scarfer. Spec D Gira is a check, but as always, something usually goes down to Mewtwo anyway.
About Forretress. Yep. There we have it. One of the biggest threats to sand-stall is the shitty shell. Because even if you spinblock with Gira, it can get hazards up. Damn, I hate that thing. Another reason to run Ho-oh.
And Genesect. Also a big threat. Moves over Gliscor, Ttar, Hippo, and Ferrothorn will not like those U-turns. Giratina walls it flar though. Ho-oh is also nice here.
What do you think?
Thanks for the feedback! I've been on break for a while, and I just got back to this. I implemented all of the suggestions you provided in brief, and I'll work on the more in-depth stuff as I write out its kin (the rest of the in-depth stuff). I'll be steadily plugging away at this, but it'll probably take a little while due to the fact that I've been really busy lately. If you (or anyone else who's reading this) have any suggestions, they are greatly appreciated.
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