Status - Currently checking over for general syntax/spelling/grammar. Feedback on content - literally anything on any small section - would be much appreciated to help improve. Making this GP ready will have to wait until the 10th June at least, when I finish my exams, so don't expect much activity until then.
Zdrup15 handed over the article to me, but will be credited for his large cowriting contributions to it before he did so, as well as help afterwards.
Katakiri's sun team is featured as the sample team, many thanks to him for allowing me to use it, and for being a bad enough dude to scale the ladder with a sun team to a level where it is proven to work in the current meta.
Sun has always been the forgotten weather in past generations, seeming outclassed by Rain and Sandstorm in particular. Though at their introduction in Generation II no weather was overtly useful, Generation III introduced the Sand Stream ability and with it created a very Sand dominant OU. Generation IV restored a little diversity in weather, with Snow Warning and new boosts to Rain abusers like Kingdra making Rain and Hail possible playstyles in OU, but Sun was still left out in the cold, with no auto-inducer nor added benefits like Rain recieved.
Generation V, however, has given Sun a new lease of life, thanks primarily to the Pokemon Dream World - which distributed the abilities Drought, Chlorophyll and Solar Power to several new pokemon - as well as making modifications to the move Growth which turned it into one of the best stat-boosting moves in the game when in sunlight. Several potent new abusers from the new generation also served to boost sun's viability.
However, sun does still face obstacles in standard OU - particularly with Sandstorm and Rain teams becoming far more potent as Gen V gave them a huge range of new abusers, and at the onset of the generation it was still percieved as inferior to either of the more senior weathers. As the metagame developed, however, sun evolved and became successful to the degree where it was clear it was an excellent offensive team choice, although teambuilding for it was difficult compared to doing so for Sand or Rain. As such you can certainly build a great sun team, though as a word of caution; it may take much longer than for a different style of team - and partly due to the complexity of teambuilding for it, sun teams can be tough to construct if you are relatively new to the metagame. Use of the RMT forum can vastly assist in this, however, so by no means let this stop you from trying sun out.
Effects of Sun
Taking some time to familiarise yourself with the basic effects sun has is naturally a good idea if you plan on running a sun team, so they are listed below for your convenience:
The Sun Summoner
- Fire moves' base power is increased by 50%
- Water moves' base power is decreased by 50%
- SolarBeam's charge turn is removed
- Thunder and Hurricane's accuracy is reduced to 50%
- Weather Ball becomes a Fire type move with double its default base power
- Synthesis, Moonlight and Morning Sun recover 66% of the user's HP
- Pokemon with the ability Chlorophyll's speed is doubled
- Pokemon with the ability Solar Power have their special moves' base power increased by 50% and they lose 1/8 of their HP per turn
- Pokemon with the ability Leaf Guard are immune to status
- Pokemon with Dry Skin lose 12.5% HP per turn
- Pokemon with the ability Flower Gift raise the Attack and Special Defence of all allied pokemon by 50%
- Cherrim and Castform change forme
Ninetales is the biggest blessing sun teams could have asked for in the generation transition. With its Dream World ability Drought, it can summon permanent sun, making it the crux of any sun team. Ninetales' stats are workable and, with Sun boosting its Fire-type attacks, it has a very strong Fire Blast that can hurt everything that doesn't resist it and isn't named Chansey / Blissey. It's coverage options leave something to be desired, relying primarily on Energy Ball and a Hidden Power, though Dark Pulse, Shadow Ball and Extrasensory are available too. It does learn SolarBeam too, but if that move is a bad choice on any pokemon it is Ninetales - the risk of locking yourself into a move as the opponent's weather inducer switches in is far too great to make the minor added power worth it.
In the better-stocked support department, however, Ninetales has access to Will-O-Wisp, Toxic and Hypnosis, with which it can cripple a Pokemon or two on the opponent's team. Other less typical options include Roar and Disable, either of which can be combined with Substitute for greater insurance against Pursuiting Tyranitar. She also gets Power Swap access, which combined with Overheat can cripple special attackers as Will-O-Wisp does to physical ones. Finally, and even though Ninetales isn't designed to sweep, it has access to Nasty Plot and Calm Mind, letting it clean the field after the opponent's Pokemon are weak enough - but it must be stressed that her coverage options are typically too weak to let her do any more than that, unless the opponent's entire team is Fire-weak.
In terms of items, Air Balloon can be utilised for the Ground-type immunity it provides Ninetales with, and Chesto Berry allows for a one time full heal when used with Rest, but Leftovers are always the default option for the valuable added survivability. Life Orb is possible on a Nasty Plot set, but depleting your most valuable team member's health when she has no reliable recovery is typically a bad idea. Even worse, however, is the use of choice items on a sun teams' Ninetales - as this practically hands the opponent opportunities to Pursuit or set up on her, which can easily spell doom for your team.
Ninetales does have some big flaws that let it down, however: it is weak against the other three main weather inducers (Politoed, Tyranitar, and Hippowdon) and therefore has a hard time in weather wars since it requires some prediction or set specialisation to remain alive in such situations. Weakness to all forms of entry hazard makes this even worse, necessitating quite some team support and careful play to keep Ninetales safe.
Sun's typical abusers are Grass and Fire-types; recieving respectively a boosted speed stat with Chlorophyll, and a boosted STAB in sunlight. This section will cover the most useful of each type, since you will typically want to include at least one of each on your sun team.
Though sun’s Grass-type abusers of a deadly speed-doubling ability do not receive boosted STAB attacks as Rain’s Swift Swimmers do, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Many have access to one of this generation’s great boosting moves – Growth, which in sunlight raises both attack stats 2 stages. Below the most viable Chlorophyll abusers’ strengths and weaknesses are analysed.
Venusaur gets Chlorophyll through the Dream World, and though only released as a Male through an event (meaning no egg moves) it stands out as one of the best chlorophyll abusers. Reasonable bulk on both sides, resistance to common priority moves and good mixed stats make it an excellent Growth sweeper. A Grass STAB and Hidden Power Fire as pseudo STAB net give it good coverage, with Sludge Bomb or Earthquake covering either Dragons or Heatran and Chandelure. This set excels at taking out whole teams once those few things walling it have been eliminated or weakened by its teammates.
Also possible are Sleep Powder variants crippling those switchins who normally wall it, as well as bulky Subseeding variants abusing the excellent speed chlorophyll affords. However, given Venusaur's sheer sweeping potential, it's often better off simply powering through an opposing team rather than putting things to sleep or stalling them out. Finally, one overlooked benefit Venusaur brings to the team is the ability to absorb Toxic-Spikes, which can cripple Ninetales along with almost all other sun abusers.
Despite sharing a weakness to Mach Punch with Sawsbuck as opposed to Venusaur’s resistance to it, Shiftry can also perform excellently as a Growth sweeper. His Dark STAB proves especially useful, since with Sucker Punch he can OHKO the Lati twins who otherwise plague Sun teams, and in combination with a Fighting move and Hidden Power Fire, perfect neutral coverage can be attained. Grass moves of course are still very viable on Shiftry, as despite the usefulness of perfect coverage Leaf Storm’s immense base power cannot be overlooked.
Sadly Shiftry is very frail and hence can find it hard to grab a Growth boost, meaning it is entirely possible to run a four attacks set as opposed to a boosting one. This has the benefit of being able to deal with all opposing weather inducers and several other key threats to Sun on one set: Tyranitar and Heatran with Low Kick; Hippowdon and Politoed with Leaf Storm; Latios and Chandelure with Sucker Punch; and HP Fire for Abomasnow. Dark Pulse is also an alternative to Sucker Punch for those not keen on its poor reliability, though against Specially bulky Psychic types it will often not prove adequate.
Though one of the slowest Chlorophyll pokemon, Tangrowth is also the most physically bulky, and has incredible mixed attacking stats as well as access to high powered attacking moves on the physical side. A Growth sweeper set similar to Venusaur’s – with Power Whip or Giga Drain as STAB, Hidden Power Fire, and Earthquake is very possible, though Tangrowth also has access to Rock Slide which can be used over Earthquake to enable him to hit Dragons and Balloon holders. Again similarly to Venusaur, Tangrowth can try a Subseed or Sleep Powder abuse set, though like Venusaur his powerful offensive stats mean Growth is often a better choice.
His low Speed and Special Defence can often prove a large hindrance to his sweep since a lot of scarfers will be beating him (see tables below), so he needs more support than other chlorophyll sweepers to pull off game-ending sweeps. He can use his bulk to his advantage, however, being able to comfortably come in on Excadrill and threaten with a Power Whip, as well as use Earthquakes aimed at Fire types to set up. He can also deal excellently with the opposing weather inducers outside of Sun if EVed to outspeed them, as Power Whip will OHKO Tyranitar, Hippowdon or Politoed, which is very useful to most Sun teams.
One of the new chlorophyllers on the block also happens to be one of the best. Though defensively frail and with an unfortunate weakness to Mach Punch, Sawsbuck’s Normal typing gives it a powerful STAB with great neutral coverage to abuse. Wood Horn, Return/Double-Edge and Jump Kick let Sawsbuck hit everything but a few Ghosts for neutral damage at least, and Swords Dance lets it serve as a powerful sweeper in a similar vein to Growth abusers.
However, since it has a base speed of 95, letting it outspeed all common scarfers along with many other threats (see tables below), it is entirely possible to also run Sawsbuck as a revenge-killer, especially since even with a +2 boost it cannot OHKO Skarmory or Ferrothorn with Jump Kick, hindering its ability to sweep. As an alternate last move, Megahorn deals with the Lati twins and Reuniclus; Wild Bolt gives neutral coverage on the ghosts that normally wall you and a SE hit on Skarmory; Nature Power, transforming into Earthquake in Wifi battles, covers opposing Fire-types nicely; whilst Aromatherapy lets you serve as an offensive Cleric for your team, which can prove useful since it can often be hard to fit such a move onto it.
The below Pokemon aren't considered to be as good as the ones above but they have some unique characteristics that, with the right team support, can let them be as useful as those above in certain cases.
Though possessing very high offensive stats, Victreebel is let down by having poor defences and the same typing and role as the excellent Venusaur. There are a few things it has over the plant-bearing dinosaur, however. Weather Ball is one, giving it access to the highest powered Fire move of any Chlorophyll abuser (in sun), and this allows it to use a Hidden Power other than Fire, giving it excellent type coverage when considering its access to Sludge Bomb as well. Sucker Punch can also be utilised to KO Psychics coming in to threaten you too.
The issues with Victreebel begin with its frailty, however – making it hard to get a Growth up. Like Shiftry, this means it can run a 4 attacks set well given its superior coverage options compared to most Chlorophyll abusers, or run Sleep Powder viably. The real problem, however, is his 70 base speed. With a neutral nature (boosting his attacking stats as much as possible) he falls short of outspeeding base 100s at +1 as well as the omnipresent ScarfChomp, and to remedy this he has to give up much of his power, often resulting in him being just as strong but much frailer than other chlorophyllers.
The strange palm tree from Gen I has long been a staple of sun teams for its colossal 125 Base special attack. Sadly, with the boost to Growth this generation, Eggy is no longer the premier sun sweeper on the special side, with its damage output eclipsed by that of Growth sweepers. Its weakness to Pursuit and Tyranitar in general doesn’t do him any favours, either.
It does retain a few advantages, however, which may make it a worthwhile choice for some teams. STAB Psychic attacks can prove useful for teams having trouble with Conkeldurr, amongst others, especially given Eggy’s reasonable defence and resistance to their STAB attacks. Low Kick acts as somewhat of a saving grace against the Tyranitar who threaten it, whilst Nature Power (Earthquake in Wifi battles) can be used to deal with Heatran if need be. Having such powerful attacks off the bat naturally helps nuke things switching in if you have good prediction, but Eggy’s Pursuit weakness and low speed makes this somewhat of a task for the daring.
The fastest Chlorophyller currently released, Jumpluff is also the least offensive one. However, this by no means makes it useless – it can function excellently as an annoyer with Encore and Subseeding abilities similarly to Erufuun, but with a few key advantages. Sleep Powder is one, letting Pluff eliminate a threat to itself or your team, and a fast U-Turn is another, letting it dodge attacks much faster than those Erufuun would be able to whilst retaining the scouting ability. Ground Immunity as opposed to resistance is also helpful to a team likely to be packing two or more Fire-types.
The primary issue with Jumpluff is that it doesn't gel well with the offensive nature of most Sun teams. On a more defensive one it would have a good niche, but they are very difficult to construct effectively. Competition from other bulkier Chlorophyllers as a SubSeeder doesn't help matters either. Nonetheless, Jumpluff should not be eliminated as an option for your sun team, as it can prove very effective if utilised correctly.
Another new addition to the ranks of the Chlorophyllers, Lilligant is a peculiar specimen, landing somewhere between a supporter like Jumpluff and a more offensive chlorophyller. This is primarily because of her lacking offensive movepool (literally a Grass STAB and Hidden Power) and access to the move Quiver Dance or Growth – meaning she can put an opponent which to some extent walls her to sleep, boost up and eventually beat it, especially given recovery from Giga Drain and boosted SpDef.
If lacklustre coverage puts you off, Lilligant is a reasonable supporting Chlorophyller, or Subseeder too, and uses these roles while retaining offensive capability better than others, especially given her high base 90 speed. Sleep Powder is invaluable on Lilligant to cripple one of the many things which wall her, so be sure to make use of it, and her final ace in the hole over other Chlorophyllers is Healing Wish, giving another sweeper a second chance by fully healing it at the cost of Lilligant KOing herself.
[Chlorophyller speed table to be included here, is not presently for ease of reading - see below post for raw table]
Fire-types benefit both from a boosted STAB in sun, as well as a reduced water weakness (effectively turning water into a neutral attack upon them). With Fire-types including some of the most powerful attackers in the game, giving them a further offensive boost is naturally something a sun team should look to exploit.
Charizard is another starter with a boost this Generation that lets it be viable in OU. Charizard's new ability - Solar Power - gives a Choice Specs boost with the permission to change moves. It has a very powerful Fire Blast under the sunshine, as well as a secondary STAB in Air Slash. Charizard can also use Hidden Power Ice and Focus Blast to get some more coverage and hit those annoying Dragon-types for super effective damage.
However, as someone once said, with great power comes great responsibility, and Charizard users have to be careful with a couple of things. Solar Power means Charizard will lose HP every turn and, when coupled with its Stealth Rock weakness, Charizard will often die quickly. To avoid this, one must pair it with a spinner to avoid those 50% on the switch in. Also, it has sure-fire counters in Jellicent, Eviolite Chansey, and Blissey unless running Specs, and those must be taken care of by the other members. He is also not particularly fast, and easily revenged, meaning that without Scarf he will be more useful for punching huge holes in the opponent's team than outright sweeping.
After Blaziken's ban, Infernape became, once again, a unique Pokemon in OU. It has the same base Speed as the musqueteers and has good offensive stats. When paired with high powered STAB moves such as Close Combat, Flare Blitz, and Overheat, as well a wide range of coverage moves, Infernape shines as a very versatile threat on a sun team. It can run Nasty Plot, Swords Dance, or even go mixed to eliminate its wanna-be counters, as well as having Fake Out, Stealth Rock, and U-Turn to allow use of scouting and lead sets effectively too.
However, Infernape isn't without its flaws; its defenses are decent at best and, after using Close Combat, it is easily revenge killed. It can also not run everything it would like on one set, forcing it to often choose what to be walled by and rely on its team to eliminate them for it.
Heatran is - like it was during the last Generation - a very dangerous Pokemon to face. It has a very high Special Attack and strong STAB Fire-type attacks to abuse it. Heatran also has access to Earth Power to hit other Fire-types and provide reasonable neutral coverage. It can then use a Hidden Power of choice to improve its coverage with Ice and Grass being the more useful ones. On a sun team, since Dragons are, without a doubt, one of the biggest threats, Dragon Pulse is also a viable alternative.
This legendary beast's best attempt to sweep consists of using Flame Charge to make up for its sub-par Speed and then maim things with STAB sun-boosted Fire Blast. Synergy-wise, Heatran also brings a much needed way to deal with Dragon-type attacks that can otherwise threaten sun teams whilst Heatran's Ground-type weakness can also be patched up by its fellow Grass-type teammates or temporarily through use of Air Balloon.
Victini started this generation as the cute legendary with good overall stats but nothing that made it stand out from its fellow Fire-type partners. However, its appearance on the 14th movie gave Victini exactly what it needed: V-create! This move alone makes Victini a huge threat under the sun as it has an effective Base Power of 405, while having perfect accuracy thanks to its ability: Victory Star. Therefore, only Pokemon that 4x resist or are immune to Fire-type moves can switch in without being crippled by it. However, those still have to watch out for Fusion Bolt, which hits Water-types for super effective damage, making Victini a great asset for a sun team. Also, one can't forget the amazing coverage moves Victini gets, as well as its ability to be specially oriented or even mixed to surprise its wanna-be-counters. U-Turn also poses problems for would be counters, turning the tables on them by scouting their switch and responding appropriately. Another decent option is to use a Flame Charge set - people expect a Choice Item, so a Victini at +1 speed able to choose between coverage moves can be deadly, though V-Create's speed drop makes using this to outright sweep hard - it primiarily helps deal with some usual counters.
However, Victini has some important flaws that keep it from being too overpowered. The first on is the weakness to Stealth Rock, which effectively reduces the number of switches Victini can make. The second is Pursuit and, while Scizor and Metagross can only dream of Pursuiting Victini when it's choice-locked, Tyranitar can switch in on anything except Focus Blast, Brick Break or U-Turn, change the weather, and OHKO with STAB Pursuit. Finally, even though base 100 stats are good overall, on a metagame with the powerhouses having over 120 offensive stats, Victini's power may sometimes not be enough for the job, especially without V-create.
Darmanitan has something no other Fire-type can claim: a 140 base Attack, that lets it open holes on any team if sun is up. Its ability - Sheer Force - is also a great asset, boosting any attack with a secondary effect by 30%. With Flare Blitz, there's no such thing as a safe switch-in; Jellicent, one of the bulkiest Water-types in OU, can't switch in because Flare Blitz is a clean 2HKO. Darmanitan also carries Superpower and Rock Slide to complement its coverage (although both are weaker than Flare Blitz, even against an opponent weak to them), as well as U-Turn to help scout for counters. Darmanitan also has a good 105 base HP that helps it when having to take hits and deal with recoil.
However, Darmanitan isn't as great as the aforementioned traits may suggest. Its Speed is only decent, which makes sweeping a difficult task for Darmanitan. Its Fire-type, despite giving it a good STAB to spam, also means Darmanitan takes 25% of damage to switch in because of Stealth Rock. Despite its good HP, base 55 defenses mean it's not that hard to KO Darmanitan once the opponent manages to switch its Pokemon in safely. All in all, Darmanitan can open some holes on the opponent's team in similar manner to Victini or Charizard and is therefore a good addition to many sun teams.
Volcarona is a somewhat strange case of success in OU. Its huge weakness to Stealth Rock may seem unappealing on a sun team but the moth offers a lot to its teammates. To start with, it has magnificent stats for a sweeper. It has a huge Special Attack and good Speed as well as a good Special Defense. To further improve this, Volcarona has access to Quiver Dance, one of the best boosting moves ever created, providing it with more power, bulk, and Speed. The moth also has access to good STAB moves and can even run a more defensive set to achieve more setup turns.
Volcarona's biggest obstacle are entry hazards so its performance will improve with Rapid Spin support. Her coverage or survivability must also be sacrificed somewhat in the choice between a 3rd attacking move and a healing one. It also suffers from poor physical bulk so there are some somewhat common Pokemon such as Garchomp, Terrakion, and Gyarados, that threaten it (though they risk burns from its Flame Body). However, Volcarona can surpass them with sheer power if they are weakened by its teammates so this moth is definitely a Pokemon to consider in any Sun team. If not packing coverage moves then Heatran can also come in almost for free and potentially Roar Volcarona out, which could prove disastrous if Stealth Rock is up.
Much like a Hail team often falls short if running a mono-Ice build, Sun also needs non-abuser support to function at its highest capacity. There are a multitude of possible roles to be taken, and the possible supporters overlap within these, so all are discussed below on their relative merits and shortcomings.
Though you’d think of Arcanine as more of a Sun abuser, being a Fire-type, he actually plays more of a supporting role for sun teams. He brings powerful priority in Extremespeed, a way to beat Tyranitar and Heatran in Close Combat, cripples +1 Volcarona and Reuniclus with Flare Blitz, and can absorb Fire moves with Flash Fire if need be. He can also recover health from his recoil inducing moves and LO with Morning Sun, and use Wild Bolt to take out problem pokemon. CB sets remove recovery but reduce recoil, and bring excellent power to the table.
An alternate role Arcanine can take is that of a bulky supporter – with Intimidate, reasonable special bulk, and access to WoW, but he needs to be careful not to be outclassed by Heatran in this role, especially given the latter’s multitude of useful resists.
Despite losing a Ghost typing in the generation transition, Fire typing has made Rotom-H another excellent supporting choice for sun teams, with both good bulk and offences (sadly Overheat’s SpAtk drop prevents him from abusing the Sun to sweep). STAB Electric attacks are excellent for taking out Rain abusers and Politoed, whilst Ground immunities and access to Will-O-Wisp let him serve reasonably against Sandstorm too. Shadow Ball serves well to deal with Latios and other threatening Psychic types, and Trick can be utilised to help deal with stall if using Specs or Scarf.
The new Ghost/Fire type introduced this generation can serve well as a Fire absorber for sun teams with Flash Fire. Sadly its sub-par speed and pursuit weakness means using it to sweep isn’t that great of an option, but his incredible SpAtk allows him to force switches and punch holes in teams with great ease, especially if abusing a Substitute set. Will-O-Wisp is again present as a support option, but even with the opponent burned Dark attacks will hit him for huge damage. Again Chandelure needs to be careful to avoid being outclassed by Heatran, but his Fighting immunity and STAB Ghost attacks can give him a niche valuable for some sun teams.
Many Dragon-types can abuse the boosted Fire Blast or Fire Fang it gives them, but Salamence is one of the better ones. Ground immunity as well as Fighting resistance, Intimidate and the ability to go either offensive or supportive lets Mence perform a variety of roles to a sun team. Wishpassing is one of the more valuable, given many of sun’s sweepers’ frailty and vulnerability to hazards and recoil damage, but more offensive sets work just as well if you don’t need wish support.
Alternatives to Mence include Chomp (who can set SR, is not weak to SR and is immune to T-Wave) who lacks Intimidate and a ground immunity, and Hydreigon (with U-Turn) who lacks such useful resistances, so in general Mence is the superior option.
Although similar to Salamence, Dragonite boasts a few advantages. Greater special bulk, along with access to Heal Bell let it play a different supportive role, and Extremespeed gives it a valuable role in revenging threats that have got out of hand. Its new ability Multi-Scale also lets it become even more bulky if you can keep SR off the field, giving Nite either easier setup opportunities or greater survivability if going defensive.
The final Dragon particularly viable as a supporter on sun teams, Latias actually lacks a fire move to abuse other than HP Fire. What it does have, however, are valuable Fighting resists without 4x Ice weaknesses, and a great support movepool. Wish is naturally a great boon for sun, as are the ability to setup Dual Screens to give sweepers easier setup. Not only this, but Healing Wish can be utilised to fully heal a sweeper and get them in for free, potentially setting up a game-winning sweep from a position the opponent thought they could not lose in. Latios can naturally be used over Latias if you want to be more offensive, but loses the ability to Wish and Healing Wish, as well as a lot of special bulk, making Latias the better choice of supporter.
Though no longer useful as the only true Blaziken counter, Slowbro also has great utility as a physical wall, being able to take a variety of attacks with ease and proceed to hit back hard with a large range of coverage moves including a boosted Flamethrower. Status is availiable in T-Wave, Toxic or Yawn, and his survivability is increased by possibly Slack Off as well as Regenerator, letting him recover off damage merely by switching out. Calm Mind sets can be used if he needs to provide an offensive presence, but he’s better off leaving this to dedicated sweepers.
Similarly to Slowbro, Cresselia is a great physical wall able to tank powerful hits and recover them off with Moonlight. Differentiating it from the Water/Psychic are its great ability to setup Dual Screens and Lunar Dance to provide great setup opportunities for a sweeper, as well as a useful Ground immunity. She is inherently rather Tyranitar weak, and lack the ability to beat him unless running a Calm Mind Hidden Power Fighting set, however, making using her a slight challenge since sun dislikes the Sand titan already.
A very different Psychic-type to the above ones, Wobbuffet nonetheless can prove incredibly useful to a sun team, seeing as it benefits hugely from having the opposing weather inducer eliminated. Wobbuffet does this like no other – having the ability to trap and kill Tyranitar, Hippowdon and Politoed, or at least force them into giving you setup oppurtunities. He can also serve as insurance against sweepers your team is weak to, and a revenge killer, but must be careful of the power creep this generation – meaning more things can potentially OHKO him without him being able to get off a counter or mirror coat on them.
A team packing several Fire-types is probably going to be quite Stealth Rock weak, and with its new ability Espeon can come in on hazard setters and bounce them right back at the opponent, as well as doing the same for any targeted status moves. The main drawbacks to using Espeon over a traditional spinner are that if your prediction fails, SR is up with no way to remove it; as well as her frailty and typing making her susceptible to being abused by Tyranitar. However, she does bring good immediate power and movepool to the table, being able to Dual Screen or CM abuse effectively, especially with Morning Sun for boosted recovery, making her a viable supporter for sun teams.
Very similar to Espeon, the second Magic Bounce user introduced to us this generation has a few boons over the poster child of the ability. One is its ground immunity – very helpful for Sun teams, as well as its access to Wish (Espeon is currently male only with MB and thus cannot use Wish) and U-Turn to safely switch to Ninetales or a sweeper ready to setup. Using Xatu in an offensive capacity makes it utterly outclassed by Espeon, however, so be sure to steer clear of that and use him as a general supporter or Dual Screener. Xatu is also even more Tyranitar weak than Espeon, so be sure to carry a very solid counter when using him.
Though Steels in general aren't great choices for sun teams, Bronzong is one of the few who can fill a number of valuable niches for them. His typing is a great asset, bringing a valuable Ground immunity as well as a plethora of resistances to moves which Grass and Fire-types are weak to, and his exacerbated Fire weakness can be exploited with use of a Flash Fire pokemon. Along with excellent bulk, he has access to useful supportive moves in Stealth Rock and dual screens, both of which give huge benefits to sun's sweepers. On the offensive side he is also adequate, being able to utilise HP Ice to maim the Dragon-types who plague sun teams, as well as Landorus and Gliscor (Ground immunity helps him enormously with this). Gyro Ball meanwhile deals with Tyranitar, who naturally is a huge threat to sun.
Though Jirachi brings a weakness to Ground as well as one to Fire to your team, he can also perform very well as a supporter, as well as giving good offensive presence. Access to Stealth Rock as well as high HP Wishes are both invaluable forms of support for your team, and once his time is up Healing Wish can be utilised to rejuvinate a sweeper. Thunder Wave can assist in crippling opposing Scarfers, whilst U-Turn is a nice way to allow Ninetales a safe switch-in. His signature Doom Desire can also assist in dissuading Tyranitar from coming in and net Ninetales a relatively safe switch. Finally, one of his major benefits is in being able to decimate Rain teams with a specially defensive set using Calm Mind and Thunderbolt, which make him a great addition if your team has issues with them.
A less commonly used support pokemon on sun teams is a Rock-type, with their resistance to Fire and generally high Defence. Rhyperior is one of the best options, with access to SR as well as great offensive capacity with Sub, RP or SD sets. Solid Rock and sun let him tank water hits which he is normally weak to well, and his wide range of powerful attacks and sets can be tailored to deal with threats relevant to your team. Regirock performs a similar role with less offensive capacity, but is still a viable alternative, whilst lacking a T-Wave immunity.
Similarly to Rhyperior, Snorlax can be very useful on a Sun team to tank Fire hits (with Thick Fat) as well as be a general sponge. The difference is that Snorlax does so brilliantly on the Special side as opposed to Physical. He also has access to powerful physical moves with decent coverage, including Fire Punch to abuse the sun with. Pursuit is an option to deal with opposing Psychics and Ghosts, and Earthquake helps take care of Tyranitar and Heatran for sun abusers. A Fighting resist is a good idea if running him however, since he will lure in powerful Fighting-types which can often pose a hazard to your team.
If you can do without the good offensive presence Snorlax provides, Blissey is an option as a Special wall and Wishpasser for sun. Status options and Stealth Rock access are also useful, but her sheer offensive uselessness often makes Snorlax better for the typical more offensive sun team.
Another supporter not actually taking advantage of Sun (except to mitigate one of his many weaknesses) is Mamoswine, who excels at removing one of sun’s major obstacles – Dragon-types. These commonly seen pokemon resist the two attack types you’re likely to be packing on a sun team – Fire and Grass – and this poses large obstacles to many of your sweepers, as well as an offensive threat. Mamoswine can abuse Ice Shard to take care of these threats for the team, as well as packing powerful Ice, Rock and Ground type moves and being immune to T-Wave which can cripple your sweepers. He also gets SR from Fourth Gen, letting him support the team with hazards if so required.
As Mamoswine can, Dugtrio can eliminate certain severe threats to sun. Unlike most other pokemon, however, he is uncounterable in the normal sense given his ability Arena Trap, making him very valuable for removing said threats. His STAB Ground moves allow him to easily deal with opposing Fire-types, Terrakion, as well as dealing heavy damage to several others, notably Tyranitar, and the Lati twins with Sucker Punch. Combined with Stealth Rock or similar hazards this makes him an excellent way to trap and kill one of sun's biggest threats, whilst also giving a reasonable way to deal with many others. However, his incredible frailty as well as necessity of using a Choice Band can turn him into setup fodder for many pokemon after getting a kill, which can be problematic if you do not have solid ways to deal with the other threats on the opponent's team.
Perhaps the best Wishpasser available to sun teams is Vaporeon. Given that most of sun’s sweepers lack space for a recovery move barring Giga Drain, recovery can prove valuable to heal off Flare Blitz and Life Orb recoil as well as any residual damage your team acquires, the ability to recover health via Wish often proves incredibly valuable. Unfortunately Vaporeon’s ability and STAB are somewhat worthless to sun teams, but her ability to Baton Pass both Wishes and 101 Subs, particularly to Grass-types who resist her weaknesses, are greatly appreciated. To prevent it being used as setup bait Roar is an option, and Ice Beam can help deal with Dragons, with a HP being used for (admittedly weak) coverage. Though awfully weak in sunlight, Scald can still be utilised to attempt to burn foes, but since sun teams often have Will-O-Wisp users this may be somewhat obsolete.
Despite the release of Magic Bounce making a Spinner not absolutely necessary for hazard weak teams like sun, a Rapid Spinner is still the most reliable option for removing them from the field again and again over the course of the battle without having to rely on prediction, and below the most viable options for this are discussed.
The only pokemon to receive all three entry hazards and Rapid Spin makes for a valuable supporter for many teams, and sun no less. His exacerbated Fire weakness barely matters when most Fire attacks OHKO him regardless of sun boosting them, and Sturdy can at least give him the chance to survive them and remain as death fodder if nothing else. Though he lacks offensive capacity this generation, his great physical defence along with Dragon resist give him a good role in team support, and Volt Change gives him an option to escape from Magnezone as well as get Tales or a sweeper in for free if need be, making him a very valuable and versatile supporting mon.
Another Sturdy abuser, Donphan has access to both Stealth Rock and Rapid spin, as well as a reduced Water weakness in sun. He has decent offensive prowess with STAB Earthquake and Ice Shard too, but falls short to Mamoswine in this regard – though obviously he has the advantage of being able to spin and vastly superior bulk and typing. A solid choice for a spinner, given his reasonable ability to deal with ghosts due to Assurance or Stone Edge and STAB Earthquake, as well as being able to resort to Odor Sleuth for cases where you absolutely must be able to keep SR off the field.
Claydol seems somewhat similar to Donphan initially, having both SR and Rapid Spin as well as Ground typing providing a nice Rock resist. However, he also has levitate, which is always useful for free switches, especially when running Fire types, as well as being able to tank Fighting hits reasonably well. However, his part Psychic typing and low attack stats cripple him in the face of spinblockers, meaning he often has to rely on a teammate to eliminate them. Nonetheless, his ability to Screen, SR and Spin may prove valuable to some teams.
One of the best offensive spinners in the game also performs excellently on sun teams. Able to drop its water STAB and run BoltBeam with a Psychic STAB supporting, Starmie can either take on a Scarf to revenge kill Dragons and other large threats to sun, or use a more bulky set with Recover to stick around to Spin for the entire match. Either way, Starmie can actually eliminate the typically physically bulky Spinblockers (Jellicent, the exception, is dealt with by Thunderbolt) in order to spin as Ghosts do not resist Psychic attacks, something many of the other potential spinners cannot easily do, given either their weak offenses or susceptibility to Burn.
Though an unusual choice for a sun team, Cloyster has several benefits it brings to a team. A 4x resistance to Ice and a huge base defence assist it in getting a spin off, and doing so is easy since almost no Ghosts can endure Cloyster's onslaught. Though it may not last the whole battle to keep clearing the field of hazards, Cloyster can reliably spin a small number of times, which is fine for very offensive teams looking to get quick victories. Moreover, it brings amazing offensive presence to the team - Shell Smash turns it into a fantastic sweeper in a blink, and even without one its great physical bulk means it can easily deal with Fire and Dragon-types who wall typical sun abusers.
Another angle to take when wanting to be sure to get off a Spin is Hitmontop, who with access to Foresight can guarantee a spin even against ghosts. Access to powerful priority in Technician Fake Out and Mach Punch can be abused alongside spinning capabilities, or Intimidate can be used to cushion his switchins and boost survivability, whilst retaining a powerful Close Combat to abuse. As a general Fighting type one should always consider Conkeldurr before Hitmontop if not looking to spin however, due to his vastly superior bulk and offensive capability.
Threats for Sun teams
Knowing your way around the pokemon on your sun team is of course only half the battle - you also need to be aware of the various threats which pose considerable issues for a lot of (or sometimes all) sun teams, and have a plan formulated to remove them from your path. Opposing weathers, pokemon which commonly wall or outspeed your team, as well as more unusual teams can all be a large obstacle. The following section sums up the reasons why certain pokemon or groups thereof are threats to sun, and give suggestions as to how to cope with them.
The most commonly used weather in OU is Sandstorm. As it's direct impacts are far less than Sun or Rain's, its inducers fit very well onto a number of teams looking for a way to beat weather. Somewhat more of an issue are dedicated Sandstorm teams, however, who will be just as protective as you of their weather, and have a range of deadly abusers to utilise to this end. Being able to take out sand teams is a must for any successful sun team.
The pseudo-legendary sand behemoth is very possibly the largest threat to almost every sun team. The primary reason for this is because he summons sand upon entering the field, cancelling out the very advantages sun relies upon, but this alone does not make him the number one threat for it. Excellent bulk, resistance to Fire, residual damage from Sandstorm as well as possibly utilising Stealth Rock to help wear your team down, one of the strongest Pursuits in the game, and an arsenal of usable offensive moves a small army would be proud of all contribute to his deadliness - whilst unpredictability due to this huge range of assets only worsens matters.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways by which Tyranitar can be removed as a threat, which frankly is an absolute necessity for all sun teams. Naturally, exploiting his Fighting weakness is a major one, since almost any that connects will easily OHKO him, and other powerful SE moves can do similarly, such as Tangrowth's Power Whip. Ninetales can mitigate her weakness to him with use of Will-O-Wisp, and/or Substitute and Disable, or simply keep double switching to protect itself. Wearing Tyranitar down with Burn/Toxic damage along with entry hazards is a reasonable strategy to help eliminate him given his lack of recovery, since Fighting moves coming at him will often be predicted. Utilising ChestoRest or Wishpassing to keep Ninetales alive whilst this occurs may be of use as well. One must always keep in mind his unpredictability, however, and as such being able to determine his set asap is often of great use to sun, so that you can respond appropriately.
Whilst seeing Hippowdon as the opposing weather inducer may often cause a sigh of relief that the stress caused by the unpredictable Tyranitar will not be present, he should in no way be underestimated as a threat. Summoning sand means his elimination is a priority as much as Tyranitar's is, and whilst he isn't able to tear apart half your team like Tyranitar, actually killing him can prove an immensely difficult task due to his sheer bulk and Slack Off, as well as common use of useful moves against sun in Roar, Earthquake, Ice Fang and Stealth Rock.
Supereffective Grass moves will often be the weapon of choice against Hippowdon, since his other weaknesses (Water and Ice) are only fairly rarely carried by anything with STAB on them in sun. However, his huge bulk makes boosting these moves to be anle to OHKO difficult, so unless you carry Giga Drain Hippowdon will likely be stalling out your LO recoil as well as possibly phazing you or hitting you with Ice Fang to wear you down before you can remove him. Tangrowth with Giga Drain is the best option for this role, with huge defence to tank Ice Fang, and high base Special Attack. Toxicing Hippowdon is also a good way to deal with him, allowing you to stall him out, but beware of Aromatherapy stall teams using him will often carry. Neutral hard hitting special attacks like Draco Meteor or Overheat are also reasonable options against him.
The poster child of sandstorm, Excadrill is generally easy to deal with for sun teams since all Ninetales running a reasonable amount of speed can revenge-kill it. However, should things go badly and Tales cannot be brought in safely (or worse is KOed), then Excadrill will often be able to sweep your team with ease, meaning a secondary check for it is fairly handy, and since Tales can only revenge-kill, he will often be able to claim a KO or two unless you have a solid counter.
Outside of his usual counters (Gliscor, Bronzong, etc) who can be used as insurance against him, Tangrowth can wall him reasonably well if he lacks X-Scissor, as can Cresselia, though the latter will have issues doing much back. Strong Mach Punches are also useful against him, so Infernape, Hitmontop or Conkeldurr can serve nicely as checks.
The other active abuser of sand in OU often poses an even bigger threat to sun than Excadrill. High base speed along with insane offences mean it can easily tear through Ninetales and frail sweepers, especially if packing Hidden Power Ice. Though Swords Dance sets are incredibly tough to wall outside of Bronzong, Rock Polish sets are what Sun really fears, as the former can at least be revenged. A +2 Speed Landorus however is almost impossible to outrun, so if you cannot wall it then you're in for a world of hurt. He can also viably run Choice Scarf or Band, making him hard to react to intitially.
The issue with Landorus is that both his common boosting sets require very different counters and responses. Having something which can wall a +2 Landorus is ideal, but as mentioned there's barely anything that can stop a variant with Hidden Power Ice. The easiest way to remain safe is to have something which can wall a +1 Attack Landorus to allow you to check Rock Polish and Banded variants, along with something which can revenge-kill the slower Swords Dance sets. Starmie can revenge SD Landorus, and strong Chlorophyllers can do similarly with some residual damage if sun is up. Ice Shard users are also an even better way to ensure a revenge kill on Landorus no matter how boosted his Speed is. Cresselia, Latios and Slowbro are all excellent choices to wall Landorus and kill it with a strong STAB or Ice Beam, but none match Bronzong's ability to wall any variant.
The second most common weather in OU, Rain is truly sun's antithesis, not only cancelling out but actually reversing many of the bonuses your team is built around. Though a Sand team has access to many tough abusers and inducers, a Rain team is just as much of a challenge to face as you will be fighting to keep your weather up more than in any other matchup, without even considering their own pool of threatening weather abusers.
The second weather severely threatening sun is rain, and in OU Politoed is its herald. Unchecked, a Politoed’s rain will neuter your Fire attacks, halve your sweepers’ speed, and let the opponent pummel you with Water attacks. Politoed itself is a reasonably potent offensive threat, able to decimate even Water-resistant pokemon with Specs, outspeed counters with a Scarf, or go bulky and harass with Encore.
One of the best ways to beat Toed without overspecialising your team is simply to wear it down with residual damage, whilst keeping Tales alive and well (ChestoRest helps you accomplish this). Hazards from something not water weak as a lead, along with Toxic (from T-Spikes or Toxic on something it likes to switch into – Tales for example) works wonders to outlast it and emerge the last weather inducer standing.
Specific counters include Chlorophyll pokemon who can outspeed and OHKO even bulky Politoed – Tangrowth and Sawsbuck both do this, but must be careful not to switch into an Ice Beam. Slowbro laughs at anything Politoed throws at him, can threaten with Thunderbolt, and moreover can repeatedly switch in to do so, due to Regenerator, making it an excellent counter. Vaporeon can do little to hurt Toed, though it can switch in easily and WishPass to Tales to help her outlast Toed. It goes without saying that Wobuffet is invaluable to trap and kill Toed – but Specs variants will prevent him from switching in safely.
One of the signature threats of rain teams, Tornadus makes for a potent threat to Sun. STAB Hurricane decimates many pokemon sun is likely to use, and to make matters worse few things outspeed it when not in sunlight, with its 111 Base Speed. Not only this, but when faced with a KO Tornadus can throw out a Tailwind at +1 Priority, often meaning much of the enemy team will be outspeeding you for 3 turns, sun or not.
Very few things can safely switch into Tornadus’ Hurricane - Heatran takes under 50% from it and Hammer Arm but cannot OHKO with HP Ice, and SpDef Rhyperior can live Hurricane and Hammer Arm but dies to Grass Knot. Rotom-H is Sun’s best counter to Tornadus, resisting Hurricane and being able to OHKO with Thunderbolt – but Choice Scarf or HP investment is needed. Revenging it becomes somewhat necessary in many situations, and if sun is down and you cannot rely on chlorophyllers, there are a few other options. Arcanine or Dragonite do well with Extremespeed if it’s been previously damaged (SR is useful to achieve this) since they can also prevent a Tailwind being set up. Mamoswine hits harder with Ice Shard, but may leave your team open to a countersweep since it cannot prevent Tailwind. Starmie naturally outspeeds and OHKOs with Thunderbolt or Ice Beam, making it a decent revenger too.
Though his Hurricane lacks the power of Tornadus’, Dragonite has access to the immensely powerful Draco-Meteor as well as Surf for coverage, making him a potent threat in Rain. His Dream World ability, Multiscale, turns him into a true behemoth as long as his health remains full, making him a big obstacle for sun teams.
His low speed and lack of enormous bulk if not at 100% are fairly easy to exploit however - keeping SR up and packing a few powerful neutral moves are an excellent way to check Dragonite.
Toxicroak, whilst somewhat of a niche pokemon, is nonetheless a large threat to sun when used on rain teams. If he manages to get a sub up even when Tales comes in and sun begins to drain his health, the combination of Drain and Sucker Punch, possibly Swords Danced, will often claim at least one victim from your team, unless your prediction is spot-on.
A Fighting resistant pokemon able to setup on Toxicroak can quite easily force him out in sunlight, however, and a Burn will cripple him, so wearing him down should be doable for most sun teams if you play carefully.
Trick Room teams
Though a rare team type (so much so it is hard to analyse individual TR threats), Trick Room's speed reversal poses a huge threat to any team based upon outspeeding the opponent with relatively frail sweepers, as sun often does. Countering it directly is often incredibly difficult, meaning that in some cases the best you can do is attempt to predict what move they'll throw at you and switch to a resist in order to stall out TR's effect. This can be reasonable to deal with for one duration of Trick Room - such as against a lone Reuniclus - but a dedicated TR team will pose consdirably harder to cope with. There are however a few options sun has which can assist more in dealing with Trick Room pokemon and teams as a whole.
Victini is perhaps the most obvious - repeated V-Creates will drop Victini's speed, possibly letting you beat the Trick Room player at their own game for a few turns. Slowbro and King will pose large problems to this, however. Other slow pokemon such as Bronzong, Slowbro or Snorlax on your team will likely be able to outspeed some TR abusers, meaning you may be able to take advantage of their field condition as well. Taunt users are of course a great option for denying Trick Room setup, and Infernape is a good choice to do this. Priority can also help eliminate some Trick Room sweepers, or at the very least help weaken them. Generally speaking a more balanced sun team with walls and pivots will be able to deal with Trick Room better than one which purely utilises offensive pokemon, which is something to bear in mind.
Enemy Fire-types are typically an issue for sun for two reasons. The first is a great set of resistances, enabling them to force out a variety of sun sweepers with ease - and the second being their great offensive potential against the typical components of a sun team, boosted further by your own weather. The good news is that not all Fire-types fit both these criteria, but the bad is that three of them are some of the most used Fires in OU.
Heatran is one of the few pokemon who can wall half a sun team with huge ease, making him a large defensive threat. Ninetales and Venusaur are the two pokemon most commonly utterly walled by him, so when using both together great care needs to be taken to have a means to remove him. However, worsening this is the fact that he can quite easily turn the tables on you with a Substitute abuse set or good prediction, and use his boosted Fire moves to rip apart your team, making having something to deal with him a necessity.
His propensity to run Air Balloon makes countering him somewhat problematic, since Ground moves cannot be relied upon to eliminate him without a sacrifice, unless used by a wall able to tank two of his hits such as Snorlax. Fighting moves will typically be your way to deal with him, since his other weakness - Water - is ineffective in sun. Several good checks can pack a SE move to scare him away, such as Arcanine with Flash Fire, your own Heatran, Sawsbuck, Dragonite, or Rhyperior can all switch into some of his common moves and/or revenge-kill him. Utilising a Sub+Hidden Power Fighting Ninetales also allows your setter to take down offensive Heatran one on one. Once again, a strong Mach Punch is a useful tool as insurance against him.
Similarly to Heatran, Chandelure can wall several prominent members of sun teams horribly, necessitating a plan for its removal. Chlorophyllers lacking a Ground or Dark move, along with many Fire-types are all utterly walled by the haunted chandelier, and just like Heatran it can abuse Substitute to tear holes into your counters, or simply nail the switch-in you choose with a Specs boosted attack off its huge Special Attack stat.
Counters to Chandelure are somewhat similar to Heatran's, since they both tend to use similar moves. Arcanine with Crunch does excellently, as does Heatran with Earth power. Dragon types can take his moves to switch in, but will dislike a Sun and Specs boosted Fire Blast even so. Snorlax does an excellent job of walling him and can even Pursuit it out, making it an excellent counter. In general most Fire types who outspeed Scarf Chandelure and Chlorophyllers who can hit it SE will be able to safely revenge kill it, in extremis.
One of sun's most prominent sweepers can also prove a deadly threat to it, somewhat ironically. The ease with which Volcarona can set up on Ninetales is a large issue for sun, given the need to bring her in in order to execute elements of its strategy. The slight variations of her sets also pose an issue in terms of being able to safely counter her, and if you presume wrongly then you risk letting it get to a boost level where it simply cannot be stopped by anything sun commonly uses.
Ninetales herself can take a few routes to make Volcarona have a much tougher time setting up on her. Toxic cripples the sweeping potential of all but ChestoRest variants, and Overheat+Power Swap gives Ninetales an excellent chance of being able to beat Volcarona one on one if it comes down to it, by stealing its special attack boosts and simultaneously giving it -2 in the same stat. Other more reliable counters are available though, including many Fire types able to launch a powerful Flare Blitz to OHKO the moth - but fast variants with Hidden Power Rock will easily fend off these attempts. Rhyperior can threaten Volcarona before it boosts too high, and Snorlax can wall her similarly, but needs SE to threaten her overtly. Sawsbuck can revenge-kill Volcarona who are not Timid at +2, and Timid ones at +1, but need to be daring to switch in. Finally, Heatran can Roar out any without Hidden Power Ground, and set up Stealth Rock - which is the best precaution to take against her.
The omnipresent Dragon-types in OU all pose both offensive and defensive threats to sun teams in a similar manner to the above Fire-types. Though they can rarely sweep a sun team outright due to a lack of speed matching your Chlorophyllers', a Steel-type can prove invaluable to help deal with their immense offenses throughout the game, much as they do for a normal team. The bigger issue typically comes with a few of the bulkier Dragons, who can pose a rare but large defensive threat to sun teams not equipped to deal with them.
Though somewhat uncommon with her brother's power often being favoured over her bulk, Latias is nonetheless a major defensive threat to sun, resisting Grass and Fire whilst only being weak to types rarely carried by sun sweepers. Huge special bulk and a potent Calm Mind/Roar set mean that she can quite easily find time to grab a boost or two on resisted hits and rapidly wear down your team.
A strong physical SE hit is the easiest way of eliminating Latias. Megahorn from Sawsbuck or Rhyperior does this, as does Sucker Punch from Shiftry or Houndoom. Your own Dragon will be able to threaten her similarly, though risks a Dragon Pulse severely hurting them. In terms of defending against her, Bronzong, Heatran, and Snorlax can all take her hits reasonably well and pose a reasonable threat back. Toxic can work against her, but Refresh variants will simply laugh it off.
Whilst offensive variants of Mence are fairly easily revenged by Chlorophyll sweepers, defensive ones can pose huge issues for some sun teams similarly to Latias, due to great resistances and survivability combined with access to Phazing in Dragon-Tail. A powerful SE hit from something which outspeeds is the best way to deal with him, though him switching out combined with Intimidate makes this troublesome if hazards are up on your side of the field - so set up your own Stealth Rock to cause the same issue for him.
Typically your Chlorophyllers will be able to outspeed the vast majority of Choice Scarf users in OU, but unless you choose to sacrifice offensive capacity and a chunk of bulk to cope with the rare Scarfed base 110+ speed pokemon, you'll occasionally find a fast scarfer threatening your team. Luckily few pokemon actually hit these speeds, and rarely are they used as scarfers, so the below threats should only be seen on occasion.
Though not a defensive threat to sun like the aforementioned Dragon-types, Latios can nonetheless pose large issues to an unprepared team due to his sheer speed. Pursuiters are rare on sun teams, and Steels risk a boosted Hidden Power Fire catching them off guard, without mentioning Scarf sets being able to outspeed and OHKO many chlorophyll sweepers with ease.
Having a Steel-type to tank Dragon hits is very useful against him, but risky if Hidden Power Fire is used (unless your Steel is Heatran). Snorlax is one of the only common Pursuiters used on Sun, and can fortunately take his hits reasonably as well too. Revenging a Scarf variant is hard as it will outspeed most Chlorophyllers and threaten to OHKO. Sawsbuck here earns a mention as great insurance against scarfed Latios, being able to outspeed and OHKO with Megahorn, or even Double-Edge with Stealth Rock damage. Priority such as Ice Shard or Extremespeed is also very useful for finishing off a weakened Latios.
Though standard spin support Starmie poses few issues to sun other than removing your hazards, Scarf Starmie can outspeed almost every Chlorophyller with ease, similarly to Scarf Latios, and proceed to OHKO with Ice Beam. It also loves the opportunity to cripple one of your supporting mons or even sweepers with Trick, making matters worse.
The best insurance to take against Starmie is packing either strong priority in the form of an Extremespeed user, or a Chlorophyller who outspeeds even Scarf Starmie – like Sawsbuck. Heatran and Volcarona both do a decent job of walling it in sunlight, and also don’t overly mind taking a choice item it may trick onto them. Cresselia takes its hits well but can do little in return outside of setting up screens. Sun lacks a good spinblocker to utilise against Starmie, so be prepared to remove it if your team needs to stack hazards.
Unencompassed by the above categories, some other pokemon are also threats to sun in one way or another, and they are discussed briefly here.
Though not a huge offensive threat,Thundurus' priority Thunder Wave is where he becomes a huge pain, crippling any sweeper it hits as well as giving him a chance to live any otherwise fatal hit. Obviously, carrying a Ground-type solves this issue, but given that he may well carry Grass Knot you will often end up having to switch other things in to take the paralysis and force him out.
Bulky slow pokemon who can take his hits – like Cresselia or Rotom-H can switch in and threaten him, and to heal the paralysis a Heal Bell Dragonite, Aromatherapy Sawsbuck or similar could be used. Alternatively, a Magic Bounce user will be able to laugh in the face of T-Wave, as well as providing an opportunity to setup screens upon coming in. Finally, Extremespeed users or Mamoswine (due to T-Wave immunity) can revenge him excellently whilst preventing paralysis if SR is down.
A similar threat to sandstorm's Landorus, Terrakion is capable of pulling off both Rock Polish and Swords Dance sets (or using both), as well as Choiced sets. Whilst he doesn't tend to go mixed and lacks Landorus' Sand Power, his incredible dual STAB combination more than makes up for it. His powerful Rock+Fighting moves utterly decimate nearly the whole metagame, and sun can very easily be swept if precautions are not made to prevent its setup.
Fortunately, Terrakion has a poor defensive typing, meaning it is reasonably easy to make sure your team is not providing him with too many opportunities to boost. However, valuable pokemon like Tales and hazard setters may put you at particular risk of a Terrakion sweep, making a counter to him very valuable. If lacking X-Scissor, Slowbro and Claydol can wall him and force him out, and Bronzong can do the same for Rock Polish variants. Revenging is a viable option to check, as Close Combat drops defences, meaning Mach Punches will do a number on him after a drop or two and LO recoil.
Though an incredibly rare sight in OU, Dugtrio gets a mention in this threatlist for posing an enormous risk to your weather inducer - Ninetales. He can easily trap, outspeed and OHKO Ninetales who are not using Air Balloon or Shed Shell, as well as doing the same for some Fire-types you may be using.
Countering Dugtrio is impossible given the nature of his ability, meaning seeing him in team preview must evoke a certain response from you if your Ninetales is not prepared to deal with him. Ninetales with Substitute are safe from Dugtrio if they use it whenever they switch in, as a boosted Fire move from behind it will make short work of him, but all others must be careful to either switch directly out after coming in, or always use a move able to OHKO Dugtrio switching in, but not the current active pokemon (since if you KO it then Dugtrio will be able to come in for free and kill you). The second situation will rarely be the case, and U-Turn makes it risky anyway, so in general you need to be very careful with Ninetales if Dugtrio is around, and try to deal with him with your other team members, which should be easy given his awful defences.
The pink blob(s) make an appearance as a big defensive threat to sun teams. Blissey or for that matter Chansey both utterly wall several members of sun, including the common specially-based Venusaur, Heatran and Volcarona, as well as numerous supporters. However, this walling is less problematic than the utter loss and prevention of momentum the pink blobs cause whilst on the opposing team, meaning eliminating them is key for any team with a member or two walled by them. As well as this, though taking Toxic is comparatively easy for sun, Thunder Wave will be a large hindrance to any sweeper hit by it. Blissey’s propensity to run Flamethrower to hit Ferrothorn, or Ice Beam for Dragons also causes problems for Chlorophyllers in particular.
Having a Ground-type on hand to absorb T-Wave can be helpful, but Ice Beam means that keeping them in if they cannot outspeed and OHKO is an unwise idea after that. Rhyperior is probably the best at this, given he can tank an Ice Beam nicely with Solid Rock. Strong Fighting-type moves are naturally key in removing her from the battle, so to this end Hitmontop can be useful, though Conkeldurr is invaluable on teams having large Blissey problems due to being able to come in on her with impunity, as well as possibly grab a Guts boost. Infernape, Arcanine or for that matter any strong Physical Pokemon will do a great job of forcing her out (but be warned that Flare Blitzing Blissey is not going to end well), but will hate taking Thunder Wave, so combining them with a Ground-type on your team to dissuade this is a good idea.
The main reason Reunilclus is a threat to sun is that it is uncommon for sun to pack a strong super-effective physical attack on him, meaning sun-boosted fire ones have to be substituted to stand a chance of OHKOing in many cases – and given the recoil Flare Blitz causes Reuniclus may require a sacrifice to take down. Special hits cannot be relied upon, since there are many support Pokemon on sun who Reuniclus can easily come in and setup on, meaning you’ll often have to deal with it at +1/+1.
Naturally, the strongest physical hit possible is a great way to deal with it. Darmanitan, Arcanine, and even Shiftry can cause huge damage to Reuniclus with either sun-boosted STAB or powerful Dark attacks. However, its huge physical bulk means that these may not always OHKO depending on your set, so you risk losing something to him with all the above – especially if it attacks rather than setting up. A Dragonite with active Multiscale will do an even better job of dealing with him, being able to easily survive a hit and 2HKO in return. Jumpluff can ensure you don’t lose a team member to him if you can Encore the Calm Mind, but can’t take its hits well at all, and if it lacks Shadow Ball then Chandelure deals with it fairly well.
Building a Sun Team
As with any team type, there are a multitude of directions to take when building a sun team, many equally effective. As such, there are very few absolute must-have things for all sun teams, though there is a lot which can certainly help you out if you fit it onto your team. These things to consider (but not follow to the letter) when building a sun team are discussed below.
1. Enough sun abusers
This is a fairly obvious point, one would think, but is actually more complex than simply "have abusers" suggests. Essentially, the main reason for this point is that Ninetales is quite simply a sub-par pokemon when considered alone. Whilst there are many ways of forcing her to pull some weight, if you are not making use of the sun then frankly you would be better off using almost any other OU Fire-type. Luckily, it's very easy to make enough use of the sun to be worth running Tales, given the sheer power Fire-types bring and the sweeping potential of Chlorophyllers, so this should rarely be an issue.
2. Maintain at least some diversity
A slightly confusing title boils down to the fact that most of sun's abusers are either too slow to pull off clean sweeps, or lack the coverage to be able to blast through all of the tier. Due to this, reasonable diversity is generally very helpful to a sun team, offensively and/or defensively. Offensive support allows for the breaking down of common walls to sun, such as Heatran or Blissey, whilst defensive support is useful since your sweepers may well be forced out by things walling or outspeeding them, necessitating you taking a hit. Merely packing Ninetales, 2 Chlorophyllers and 3 Fire-types is generally not the best way to go about things.
3 - Be able to beat the other weather inducers
Being able to prevent other insta-weather is naturally an incredibly important attribute for your sun team, possibly the
most important. You will thus need at least one, if not several solid ways to deal with the opposing weather inducers (Abomasnow less so since you'll probably be packing multiple Fire attacks). Having a lead which beats each other common inducer is a good idea in general, since Ninetales is undersped by each of them, meaning you cannot get sun up off the bat. Moreover, you also need to be able to preserve Ninetales whilst you eliminate their inducer, through careful play or team support. Check the threatlist section for help dealing with Hippowdon, Politoed and Tyranitar.
4. Insurance against other weather threats
When facing down a well played opposing weather team, it's a fact that you simply will not be able to keep sun up all the time, however well you play. As such, you have to be able to deal with opposing weather specific threats in their own element - it's no use your answer to Landorus being to Energy Ball it with Venusaur when it outspeeds you and may well OHKO thanks to lack of sun. A pokemon who does well against Sand or Rain naturally will serve you well in the battle to regain weather control.
5. Have something to take Fire hits
One of your biggest advantages can easily turn on you when some of your best abusers - Chlorophyllers - are weak to it. As such, having a decent way to mitigate the severe damage a sun boosted STAB Fire hit will cause is generally helpful for sun teams. This can take the form of a Flash Fire abuser, or a natural bulky Fire resist (who can generally only wall Fire hits from one side of the attacking spectrum).
6. Hazard removal/prevention
Given that your valuable Drought pokemon is vulnerable to all three forms of entry hazard, as well as that most Fire-types take a nasty hit from Stealth Rock, a spinner is often an excellent choice for sun teams, if not almost outright necessary (when running a 4x SR weak pokemon). A Magic Mirror pokemon can also assist in this role, but is hard to rely on due to their frailty and reliance on prediction. The other choice, of course, is to simply make your team as resilient to hazards as possible. A way to heal Tales, no other SR weaks, and T-Spikes absorption will probably mean that you can do without a spinner, so this tip is highly dependent upon your team.
7. General useful support
Just as most teams would benefit from some form of support rather than outright bludgeoning the opponent to death, sun loves the usual forms of support most team do. Stealth Rock (and other hazards) is incredibly valuable to limit opposing weather inducer's switch-ins as well as for key OHKOs; Wish support can be incredibly helpful keeping frail abusers or Ninetales alive, especially in the face of Sandstorm or hazards; Aromatherapy/Heal Bell can cleanse the Paralysis which plagues speed based teams, as well as the statuses sun has less issue with; and priority moves give valuable ways to counter threats when sun is not up and your chlorophyller's speed is still low.
Example Sun Team
The above concepts and analyses, whilst useful alone, may be somewhat bewildering to a new user of a sun team. Therefore, an example of a very successful sun team has been included to better illustrate and explain the actual process of creating one - hopefully helping you to construct yourself one just as good.
This team was created by Katakiri, peaking at 7th place on the Smogon OU ladder, and is a great example of the rarer finely balanced sun team as opposed to the abuser-spamming more offensive ones, which in general are far simpler to put together. It is also one of the best examples of the diversity a sun team can easily have, as opposed to the usually similarly structured Rain and Sand teams. Comments on each pokemon used will reflect on their role in the team, as well as the reason they were an ideal choice for the team, which will practically illustrate a solid teambuilding logic you should be able to try and replicate.
Ninetales @ Leftovers
EVs: 216 SAtk / 76 SDef / 216 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)
- Power Swap
If you're surprised by the first pokemon in Katakiri's sun team, it would hopefully be by its moveset as opposed to its species. A typical high investment in speed retains the ability to revenge Excadrill, as well as get a fast status move off in the face of many opponents. Leftovers meanwhile is a great option for any Tales looking to reduce residual damage. Will-O-Wisp is practically standard on Ninetales for neutering the many physical attackers who want to set up on her, as well as being fantastic insurance against a CBTar Pursuiting you for a likely OHKO.
This is where the adherence to standard sets ends, however, for much of the team in fact. Power Swap in combination with a powerful Overheat allows for an effect similar to Burn on opposing special attackers, making Heatran and similar common switchins much less of a threat. It also gives Tales the capability to take on most variants of Volcarona one on one by stealing their boosts and handing them a crippled Special Attack stat, which comes in very handy. Finally, the use of Safeguard, one of the most rarely used moves in OU, is a great choice in terms of helping th team when dredging Ninetales' sparse support movepool. Immunity to status allows for the ignoring of Toxic Spikes which this team cannot remove, along with the other crippling statuses which would make each other team member much easier to remove.
Snorlax @ Choice Band
Trait: Thick Fat
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 SDef
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SAtk)
This team's go-to pokemon for all manner of special attacks, Snorlax can sponge hits from the likes of Chandelure in sunlight (thanks to Thick Fat) and Specs Latios and proceed to to OHKO, an immensely valuable role. His use breaks away from the use of a Flash Fire pokemon and a specially defensive Steel respectively to take these hits on sun teams, whilst offering a valuable Pursuit and powerful physical hits for his team as well.
Return deals with non-Psychic special attackers he may switch into, as well as hitting any non-resistant switchin hard. Crunch allows for the elimination of boosting threats such as Reuniclus who do not switch to be KOed by Pursuit, whilst Earthquake allows for the catching of many Normal-resistant Rock or Steel-types with a SE hit. Specifically, it deals with two of the largest threats to sun - Tyranitar and Heatran - making Snorlax a critical member of this team.
Durant @ Wide Lens
EVs: 8 HP / 252 Atk / 248 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Iron Head
- Thunder Wave
During the construction of this team, this slot saw multiple occupiers, trying to fill a role as an Outrage absorbant whilst beating some of few solid counters the team still had. Durant, a very unusual sight on any OU team, was eventually selected for his Steel-typing and good defence, as well as his ability to beat Sawsbuck, Terrakion, and letting the rest of his team to cope with Lucario, all of whom were otherwise big issues for his teammates. His combination of high base speed and good physical stats allowed him to perform this role for the team better than any other Outrage-tanking Steel-type, showing how the most obvious choice is not always the best for the exact role your team needs.
Hustle and Wide Lens give all his moves a Choice Band's power boost whilst mitigating accuracy lost, allowing the ant to deal hefty damage with its dual STABs, with Crunch providing neutral coverage on all that resist them. Whilst Sawsbuck and Terrakion simply fall to Durant's STAB's, Lucario is not so easy prey, so Thunder Wave is utilised to slow him to easily manageable levels, letting the rest of the team cope with him much more easily. It also has nice synergy with Iron Head, allowing for some kills on opposing Steel/Bug for instance when Durant is not required to deal with one of the major threats it counters.
Infernape @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Naive Nature (+Spd, -SDef)
- Close Combat
- Flare Blitz
Mixed Infernape is a very hard hitting wallbreaker under sun, and this set quite literally packs his strongest three moves onto one set, letting him beat switchins who take a resisted move by smacking them on the other side of the spectrum. The unorthodox use of special and physical Fire STAB moves allows decimation of a variety of threatening Fighting resistant pokemon who look to set up on a -2 Nape, meaning this set is no slouch as a sweeper of sorts, albeit one with a short lifespan. Will-O-Wisp as the final move serves as a catch-all neutering move for this Nape's counters - Dragonite, Gyarados and such, who he can inflict a burn upon as a final way of adding insult to injury.
Use of Infernape over one of the more obvious heavy hitting Fire-types (Darmanitan, Charizard, Victini) allows this luring in of threats to be dealt with due to it's unexpected nature, and is another great example of deviating from the norm to your advantage.
Garchomp @ Life Orb
Trait: Sand Veil
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Swords Dance
- Dual Chop
- Fire Fang
Avoiding the stereotype that all sun's sweepers must be either Fire or Grass-type, the use of Garchomp here is an excellent choice, and the reason for that is not really visible from its moveset. Serving roles as much a valuable pivot with her excellent typing, and revenge-killer with her excellent speed and coverage as a sweeper, Garchomp further lures in problematic pokemon like Starmie and Latios, which Snorlax can Pursuit for the KO. With no Rapid Spinner, Salamence (who this guide generally advises for a sun team instead of Garchomp) would have big issues retaining health, showing us how on a certain team a typically lesser pokemon may be able to perform a role better than the standard option, which is certainly something to bear in mind when teambuilding.
Her moveset is reasonably standard for a Swords Dance Chomp, with Fire Fang being boosted by sun to make it effective against the especially physically bulky steels who can normally just about cope. The one notable deviation is the use of Dual Chop as its Dragon STAB move, allowing it to deal with some threats to Snorlax - Substitute abusers who love to abuse it being locked into a move by Choice Band, another example of great synergy within this team not merely based upon typings.
Lilligant @ Life Orb
EVs: 252 SAtk / 76 SDef / 180 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
- Sleep Powder
- Healing Wish
- Leaf Storm
- Hidden Power Rock
Lilligant, while an inferior Chlorophyller for most teams, performs a very precise role on this team which no other could. The combination of her high base Special Attack and Speed stats (for a Chlorophyll abuser) allow her to function as this team's lead against the other OU weather inducers, threatening the OHKO on all of them with Leaf Storm. Clever use of Sleep Powder allows for a free switch for Ninetales if the opposing inducer switches out to something Leaf Storm cannot kill, whilst her sheer power allows her to OHKO common Sandstorm pokemon; Gliscor, Garchomp, Landorus and Excadrill with it if they come in. Leaf Storm and Sleep Powder combined almost ensure that this team begins the match against another weather favourably.
Now, remembering how the not-particularly durable Garchomp plays a role both as a key sweeper and as a pivot and lure on this team, Healing Wish is a fantastic move choice for Lilligant. With the dragon accumulating damage as he serves his pivot and revenger roles over the course of the match, this move can revitalise him for a sweep in the endgame, a deadly strategy to utilise, easily capable of turning the tide of a game. Of course it is not restricted to targeting Chomp, and can instead fully heal whichever member of the team seems key to victory - like Snorlax who with Choice Band lacks reliable recovery. Hidden Power Rock, meanwhile, allows for Lilligant to take on its Flying-type counters with relative ease.
Athough this set seems fairly easily walled by pokemon like Latios, Volcarona and Heatran, as with Garchomp Snorlax can very easily switch into and manage her counters, being an excellent synergistic choice for the team. Effectively, this Lilligant is a lead/sweeper/cleric rolled into one, performing a myriad of important roles for the team.
The original RMT can be found here
Hopefully this guide to OU sun teams has given you a good overview of how a sun team plays and how to begin constructing one for your own use. Once again it should be stressed that little in this guide should be taken as an absolute - almost everything is merely a suggestion, however strong. As the example team used shows, deviation from the norm can result in great success if done correctly, but doing so will not be as easy as using standard sets unless you are a fantastic teambuilder, or have a lot of time available to test. Moreover though, this guide will hopefully have illustrated to you how the underdog of weather in past generations can be a force to be reckoned with in 5th Gen, as well as a very interesting and fun team to try out.