Pokémon Alola Sandslash

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#1


Abilities: Snow Cloak / Slush Rush (Available)
Stats: 75 HP / 100 Atk / 120 Def / 25 SpA / 65 SpD / 65 Spe

- Scratch
- Defense Curl
3 Bide
5 Powder Snow
7 Ice Ball
9 Rapid Spin
11 Fury Cutter
14 Metal Claw
17 Swift
20 Fury Swipes
23 Iron Defense
26 Slash
30 Iron Head
34 Gyro Ball
38 Swords Dance
42 Hail
46 Blizzard
TM01 Work Up
TM06 Toxic
TM07 Hail
TM10 Hidden Power
TM11 Sunny Day
TM14 Blizzard
TM17 Protect
TM20 Safeguard
TM21 Frustration
TM26 Earthquake
TM27 Return
TM28 Leech Life
TM31 Brick Break
TM32 Double Team
TM40 Aerial Ace
TM42 Facade
TM44 Rest
TM45 Attract
TM46 Thief
TM48 Round
TM56 Fling
TM65 Shadow Claw
TM70 Aurora Veil
TM74 Gyro Ball
TM75 Swords Dance
TM78 Bulldoze
TM79 Frost Breath
TM80 Rock Slide
TM81 X-Scissor
TM84 Poison Jab
TM87 Swagger
TM88 Sleep Talk
TM90 Substitute
TM100 Confide
Egg Flail
Egg Counter
Egg Rapid Spin
Egg Metal Claw
Egg Crush Claw
Egg Night Slash
Egg Mud Shot
Egg Endure
Egg Chip Away
Egg Rock Climb
Egg Rototiller


- Icicle Spear
- Metal Burst
- Icicle Crash
- Slash
- Defense Curl
- Ice Ball
- Metal Claw
TM01 Work Up
TM06 Toxic
TM07 Hail
TM10 Hidden Power
TM11 Sunny Day
TM14 Blizzard
TM15 Hyper Beam
TM17 Protect
TM20 Safeguard
TM21 Frustration
TM26 Earthquake
TM27 Return
TM28 Leech Life
TM31 Brick Break
TM32 Double Team
TM40 Aerial Ace
TM42 Facade
TM44 Rest
TM45 Attract
TM46 Thief
TM48 Round
TM52 Focus Blast
TM56 Fling
TM65 Shadow Claw
TM68 Giga Impact
TM70 Aurora Veil
TM74 Gyro Ball
TM75 Swords Dance
TM78 Bulldoze
TM79 Frost Breath
TM80 Rock Slide
TM81 X-Scissor
TM84 Poison Jab
TM87 Swagger
TM88 Sleep Talk
TM90 Substitute
TM100 Confide


Overview

While Sandile and Trapinch are doing well in Haina Desert, poor Sandshrew couldn't adapt and it went living to snowy mountains. Then, it turned an Ice/Steel Pokemon.

Don't let you be fooled by Pokedex description. Alola Sandslash is as fast as regular Sandslash. Still, it has even better Defense stats at the cost of a lower Special Attack, so you can say Alola Sandslash got better stats than its desert counterpart. Also, while regular Sandslash has Sand Rush, Alola Sandslash got its hail version: Slush Rush. That makes Sandslash somewhat fearsome, combining its very decent 100 base Attack with a maximum speed of 502, allowing it to ouspeed threats like Scarf Genesect, Scarfchomp, or non-scarfed Pheromosa. It also has two nasty toys in form of Icicle Crash and Iron Head, two STAB moves with 30% of flinching. Beartric also has access to Slush Rush, and has an even bigger attack than Sandslash, but is slower and is weak to Stealth Rock.

In the defensive side, Ice/Steel is a tricky type. It brings some advantages to Ice types like no weakness from Stealth Rock and some interesting resistances against Fairy, Dragon, Psychic, Ice or Flying. Or the other hand, Sandslash is weak to Ground and has two nasty x4 weakness to both Fighting and Fire. Also, it's surprising it didn't get access to Ice Shard.

Potential sets

SLUSH RUSH ABUSER
Sandslash @ Life Orb/Chople Berry
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant/Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Icicle Crash
- Iron Head
- Earthquake

Both Icicle Crash and Iron Head are the main offensive moves. Both of them get STAB and 30% flinch rate. Earthquake completes the coverage allowing it to face opposing Steel and Rock types and punishing possible Fire opposition. Thanks to some key resistances as Psychic or Fairy and to its 120 base defense, it can set Swords Dance to raise its attack. For nature, go to Adamant if you want full power, or Jolly if you want to outspeed opposing non-scarf Pheromosa or scarf Genesect. Life Orb is the main item to use, but you can use Chople Berry to survive a Fighting move and set up or attack.

Alola Sandslash main partner is Alola Ninetales which set up hail, Aurora Veil and can scare Fighting types with Moonblast. That Hail+Aurora Veil support allows Sandslash to do its job to the fullest (Vanilluxe can also fit for that role, but in a lesser way).

Another great partner could be Dugtrio, thanks to its power to trap and eliminate Steel, Rock, and Fire types, making easier the work of Sandslash (have in mind Alolan Marowak can't be trapped). Magnezone could be also considered for trapping Skarmory and Celesteela.

OTHER OPTIONS
-Choice Band set, with fourth slot being Rock Slide which gives it coverage against stuff like Charizard, Mantine, or Gyarados. If you don't like to be locked, you can run Expert Belt instead.
-Assault Vest could be another interesting item for all-attack Sandslash, turning it into a tank which resists both physical and special moves.
-Leech Life is also an option in offensive sets which allow you to recover some health
-Defensive/utility sets aren't as effective as physical ones. Still, it's wise to remember Sandslash has access to Rapid Spin, Toxic, or Aurora Veil.
-Icium-Z can be accounted too. It can be used in two ways: 160 power Subzero Slammer using Icicle Crash, or +1 speed using Aurora Veil or Hail.

Opinion

Thanks to 100 base attack, Slush Rush, and double STAB with 30% flinch rate, Alola Sandslash can be a staple in hail teams. Ice+Steel+Earthquake give it good coverage, and it got some interesting resistances to some common types like Fairy or Psychic. However, it's a Pokemon that can only work efficiently under hail, and has three key weakness to very used types, being two of these weakness by x4.
 
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#2
There is a problem with A-Sandslash: Hail teams still don't exist. A-Ninetales, while good, is better if used as a fast "screener" with "Aurora Veil"+Light Clay, plus Ice Beam+Moonblast+ Freeze Dry as coverage moves. Beyond the Aurora Veil support, hail is useful to break sashes and to use Blizzard spam, but in the latter case you have to keep in mind that Blizzard has generally a shaby accuracy and rain/sand setters are everywhere.

Slush Rusher are two and both of them are quite slow even in the hail; 70 base Spe would be a lot better such as for the Swift Swimmers. Not only this, but both A-Sandslash and Beartic are weak to Mach Punch and the latter even to Bullet Punch, which are super-effective priority moves coming from slow monsters, so Spe is not enough to survive in OU.


===> A-Sandslash is UU worthy. It is a good monster with Rapid Spin support and good offenses. Defensively speaking, it is a mixed bag, but Steel typing saves its days.
 
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#3
Slush Rusher are two and both of them are quite slow even in the hail; 70 base Spe would be a lot better such as for the Swift Swimmers. Not only this, but both A-Sandslash and Beartic are weak to Mach Punch and Bullet Punch, which are super-effective priority moves coming from slow monsters, so Spe is not enough to survive in OU.
slash is not weak to bullet punch. it hits neutral
 
#4
I've actually found Sandslash to be extremely effective. I've been running hail for most of the time the metagame's been around and I find it to be a pretty effective playstyle. I'd like to address some common concerns people have with Sandslash. First, that it stacks weaknesses with Ninetales. This is largely not true. Their only shared weakness is to fire. That is it. And it's extremely easy to find teammates to absorb fire attacks. Things like Scizor's Bullet Punch and physical Rock-type moves don't bother slash that much, because it's not weak to them and it's actually quite physically bulky. This is compounded by Aurora Veil support that's very easy to provide it with.

Secondly, people commonly voice the concern that Slash is not fast enough. This is simply not the case from my experience. Always run Jolly. Slash outruns things like Pheromosa, scarf Lando-T, and +1 Mega Charizard X. That's no laughing matter. There aren't many scarfers in the meta that outspeed Sandslash, and those that do are generally very easy to take advantage of via teammates.

Thirdly, people look at Sandslash's 100 base attack and decide it doesn't hit hard enough. With Life Orb and Swords Dance, it does. Because here's the thing. It's extremely easy to set up swords dances with this mon, given its surprisingly solid defensive typing and the ease with which Ninetales uses Aurora Veil. If you run it with the proper support, you'll find that Sandslash's STABs are some of the most useful for a physical sweeper to have in the metagame, and that Earthquake allows it to deal with anything that its STABs can't touch, such as Toxapex and Alolan Marowak. I'd be happy to provide calcs if anyone would like, but from my experience, there's very little Sandslash can't 2HKO after an SD. Most physical sweepers would love the ability to one-shot Lando-T and Garchomp.

So basically this guy is consistently my MVP, and I feel he is vastly underrated because people look at his middling stats and Ice-typing and decide he's trash. Try him out. He singlehandedly makes Hail a fairly effective playstyle.

Edit: I also would like to note in regards to stacking weaknesses that as far as hail abusers are concerned, my team consists of Ninetales and Sandslash and that's it. The other four members largely support the pair by dealing with certain steels and whatnot. It's a very effective backbone for a team, given that Sandslash is a threat to literally every playstyle, so you don't need to go running Beartic, which is actually trash, and stacking weaknesses to Bullet Punch and Stealth Rock and whatnot.
 
#5
There is a problem with A-Sandlash: is enough fast only in the Hail, but...there is a problem.

A-Ninetales is the only hail setter you have in OU (please, don't bring up Abomasnow), so you have to use it. Small question: do you think that Aura Veil supporter is its best set (1) or do you like to run Icy Rock (2)?

If you choose option n° 1, you'll be forced to run Light Clay as item, so you can have both Reflect+Light Screen for 8 turns and you have hail for 5 turns, including the turn of automatic set-up. In this scenario a Slash Rusher has few turns available and this makes you predictable (because you want to use the hail turns as much as possible to have the Spe boost) when you switch out A-Ninetales.
Having hail on your side for so long is not that easy (you can easily stall weather conditions), even considering that Hippowdon and Tyranitar running around even outside of weather teams.

If you choose the latter option, you'll be able to use Aurora Veil for 5 turns in exchange of 8 turns of hail for A-Sandlash. I don't think that this pokemon is worthy of this loss.

A-Sandlash is easily deadweight outside hail, whereas i.e. A-Raichu can work in 3 conditions (Rain, Electric Terrain, Psychic Terrain) and has 110 base Spe to work with (even though it runs a Modest nature).

Seriously, thare is not shame in being UU.
 
#6
Dunno, I think we should think A-Sandslash like a somewhat bulkier and slower hail version of Excadrill.

PD: Fizz, what partners have you tried with A-Ninetales and Sandslash? I've been trying to test Dugtrio and Mega Charizard X (still, Mega Gyarados looks better in these teams).
 
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#7
So SnowSlash finally got a thread. As far as hail sweeper-wise it certainly is the more viable one compared to Beartic or Blizz spammers mainly because it only stacks a Fire weakness with Tales.

I've been running Zard Y with the pair and would say it has comparable synergy as it did on Sand, being able to remove Hail on demand to allow yourself 8 turns of Hail again when Tales comes in. It also can switch into numerous bulky Steels like MScizor that walls Slash. While Slash can spin for Zard, I would say to hazard control to sth else like Latios bc 4MSS, unless you run Dugtrio which allows you to drop EQ.
 
#9
Is Vanilluxe OU material and nobody told me?...
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Excadrill can use SR and has a base 88 Spe outside the sand, which makes it usable even outside the right weather. Its Atk stat is so focused that you can run a good number of different items (LO, AV, Leftovers, Choice Scarf on top of my head) and the lack of 4x weaknesses means you can't be beaten by random HP Fire/Fighting.
 
#10
Is Vanilluxe OU material and nobody told me?...
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Excadrill can use SR and has a base 88 Spe outside the sand, which makes it usable even outside the right weather. Its Atk stat is so focused that you can run a good number of different items (LO, AV, Leftovers, Choice Scarf on top of my head) and the lack of 4x weaknesses means you can't be beaten by random HP Fire/Fighting.
Vanilluxe Sleeper OU mon, ban to Ubers incoming :D. People aren't just creative enough to bring out that OPness :D.

Stupid jokes aside A-Ninetales and A-Sandslash indeed don't have that many combined weaknesses, so Hail is actually doable, I saw few good games for Hail teams, so I wouldn't 100% call them useless, because it's simply not true.

Ice/Steel isn't that bad of a typing -> Resists x4 Ice, x2 Grass, x2 Flying, x2 Psychic, x2 Dragon, x2 Fairy, x2 Bug, x2 Normal and it's immune to Poison. It's a CRAPLOAD of resistances. It's also neutral towards SR and is immune towards Toxic Spikes, so hazards aren't really that bad of a problem. While x4 weaknesses towards Fire and Fighting kind of sucks + 2x Earth one, it's EASY to cover them. Mantine here is good example of decent defensive synergy as he resist all of those and Rapid Spin support is something it appreciates. Gyarados is in the same book. In other words all Flying/Fire, Flying/Water, Lati@s, etc. or cover most of them like Chandelure, Toxapex or Golisopod. So yeah, it's not really hard to cover his weaknesses as there is good amount of Pokemon who cover all of them or at least most of them.

Maybe it's worth to test Choice Band (either Bulky with enough Speed EVs for some walls, it's bulky enough and has CRAPLOAD of resistances to switch in constantly and it's not really hazard weak) or Defensive Support sets outside of hail as well ? Assault Vest with 3 attacks + Rapid may be doable ? Just some food for thought as I think he may have some at least niche uses outside of Hail as well, even if abilities doesn't support it.
 
#12
A-Ninetales is the only hail setter you have in OU (please, don't bring up Abomasnow), so you have to use it. Small question: do you think that Aura Veil supporter is its best set (1) or do you like to run Icy Rock (2)?

If you choose option n° 1, you'll be forced to run Light Clay as item, so you can have both Reflect+Light Screen for 8 turns and you have hail for 5 turns, including the turn of automatic set-up. In this scenario a Slash Rusher has few turns available and this makes you predictable (because you want to use the hail turns as much as possible to have the Spe boost) when you switch out A-Ninetales.
Having hail on your side for so long is not that easy (you can easily stall weather conditions), even considering that Hippowdon and Tyranitar running around even outside of weather teams.

If you choose the latter option, you'll be able to use Aurora Veil for 5 turns in exchange of 8 turns of hail for A-Sandlash. I don't think that this pokemon is worthy of this loss.
I don't think this is a good reason to call hail unviable. Most weather starters get 8 turns of weather with no other benefit. Hail can pick from 8 turns of weather and 5 turns of double screens or 5 turns of weather and 8 turns of double screens. I don't think having more, and arguably better, options than other weather starters is a reason for it being unviable.
 
#13
What do you think about rapid spin on the sd set? i feel he loses a lot of coverage if you decide to go rs but i dont think its worth switching sd, cause then you fail to break walls. DO i drop a STAB for Rapid Spin? or SD for coverage?
 
#14
What do you think about rapid spin on the sd set? i feel he loses a lot of coverage if you decide to go rs but i dont think its worth switching sd, cause then you fail to break walls. DO i drop a STAB for Rapid Spin? or SD for coverage?
I think spin is worth a slash (heh) on the jolly LO set. It boils down to your team, really; do you need a cleaner/wallbreaker, or some hazard control?
 
#15
Guys, if you're running Ninetales and Sandslash, I would definitely recommend Icy Rock over Light Clay on Ninetales. Here's why. Sandslash is an offensive Pokemon, and Aurora Veil's sole purpose is to allow him to get a Swords Dance off. One Swords Dance is all you need, and then you can break most things. So what I'm saying is, you're generally not going to be taking hits beyond those first five turns of Aurora Veil, because you're going to be breaking things. Reducing the number of hail turns just prematurely ends your sweep, and isn't worth it for a few extra turns of Aurora Veil.
Dunno, I think we should think A-Sandslash like a somewhat bulkier and slower hail version of Excadrill.

PD: Fizz, what partners have you tried with A-Ninetales and Sandslash? I've been trying to test Dugtrio and Mega Charizard X (still, Mega Gyarados looks better in these teams).
OK so here are a few teammates I've found to be helpful to support the Ninetales/Sandslash combo. Defog Tapu Fini provides a bulky Fire resist and hazard remover that also eases setup for Sandslash by preventing status. With Misty Terrain and Aurora Veil, Slash can set up on a huge variety of mons without fear. Slash is also immune to poison and resists grass, so they have some defensive synergy. I've found Zygarde to be a particularly effective teammate (it's actually really good now), as it resists Fire and Rock, and becomes truly absurdly bulky with Aurora Veil. It can also break Skarm due to Thousand Arrows, which is cool. Alolan Marowak is a personal favorite to deal with Fighting-types such as Pheromosa and Buzzwole, although it does have a Rock weakness. Mega Gyarados is pretty effective, as is Charizard X like you mentioned, and both appreciate Aurora Veil support. Magnezone removes pesky steels that can be problematic, but it stacks a fire weakness. And generally speaking, any physical sweeper that appreciates bulky grounds being removed (read: most of them) is a pretty good teammate for Sandslash. One of the biggest threats, I've found, is Mega Metagross, and it's been a bit of a struggle to find something that can properly deal with it without stacking weaknesses. I would suggest Slowbro, but I've seen them running Thunderpunch a lot lately, so if anyone has any suggestions on that front....

What do you think about rapid spin on the sd set? i feel he loses a lot of coverage if you decide to go rs but i dont think its worth switching sd, cause then you fail to break walls. DO i drop a STAB for Rapid Spin? or SD for coverage?
I honestly don't think Sandslash has room for Rapid Spin. I've run it a fair amount, and it can indeed find time to spin, but there are plenty of other solid options for hazard removal in the tier, and you're sacrificing Sandslash's offensive potency. It needs Swords Dance to break bulkier teams, but it 100% absolutely needs Earthquake to break much of anything, due to Water, Steel, and Fire types resisting your STABs. I saw a suggestion for an Assault Vest Spin set up there, and to me that's just not gonna work, because Sandslash is a mon that needs some support, and it's just not worth running that support for a mediocre hazard remover. It's absolutely worth it for a speedy hole puncher that threatens every playstyle. So to me, this is the set everyone should be running with this mon. It needs Life Orb, it needs Swords Dance, and it definitely needs Earthquake to do what it does best.



Sandslash-Alola @ Life Orb
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Icicle Crash
- Iron Head
- Earthquake
 
#16
OK so here are a few teammates I've found to be helpful to support the Ninetales/Sandslash combo. Defog Tapu Fini provides a bulky Fire resist and hazard remover that also eases setup for Sandslash by preventing status. With Misty Terrain and Aurora Veil, Slash can set up on a huge variety of mons without fear. Slash is also immune to poison and resists grass, so they have some defensive synergy. I've found Zygarde to be a particularly effective teammate (it's actually really good now), as it resists Fire and Rock, and becomes truly absurdly bulky with Aurora Veil. It can also break Skarm due to Thousand Arrows, which is cool. Alolan Marowak is a personal favorite to deal with Fighting-types such as Pheromosa and Buzzwole, although it does have a Rock weakness. Mega Gyarados is pretty effective, as is Charizard X like you mentioned, and both appreciate Aurora Veil support. Magnezone removes pesky steels that can be problematic, but it stacks a fire weakness. And generally speaking, any physical sweeper that appreciates bulky grounds being removed (read: most of them) is a pretty good teammate for Sandslash. One of the biggest threats, I've found, is Mega Metagross, and it's been a bit of a struggle to find something that can properly deal with it without stacking weaknesses. I would suggest Slowbro, but I've seen them running Thunderpunch a lot lately, so if anyone has any suggestions on that front....
Magnet Pull Alolan Golem may be an alternative to Magnezone, problem is that you stack fighting and groun weaknesses, although you gain fire resist, so it may work as alternative. Pursuit Houndoon (Mega or Not) is interesting option. Probopass may also pull it off I guess... but again, nasty fighting and ground weaknesses.


Mixed Attacker 'Houndoom'
Houndoom @ Life Orb
Ability: Flash Fire
Hasty Nature
EVs: 100 Atk / 156 SpA / 252 Spe or Max Atk / 4 SpA / Max Speed (maybe there is something more efficient)
~ Pursuit
~ Sucker Punch
~ Crunch
~ Fire Blast / Overheat

100 Atk EVs are enough to KO Dugtrio after Stealth Rock damage with Sucker Punch (we don't want our fire dog to get trapped after all). Not sure if this is 100% accurate (I may be off in calc), but I think I'm right here. Rest is standard. Not sure what EVs should look for Mega Houndoom, I would need to check. Not typical thing to suggest for standard Hail team, but I think it may work for trapping role as well. Some hazards stacked recommended. While stacking Fighting and Earth weaknesses blow, at least you gain Fire immunity.

On Mega Metagross - Rotom-W somewhat works, but Zen Headbutt hurts. But it's solid check nonetheless. Rotom-H would do the trick as well, but same problem here. If ThunderPunch variant is massive problem - Swampert / Mega Swampert ? He covers standard Hail weaknesses well while it's tanky enough to handle the guy. Or any bulky Water / Ground type really. Not really 100% OU viable and on more offensive teams I wouldn't go with this, but Cresselia / Uxie can do it as well and don't add nasty weaknesses on Hail teams, although if Meteor Mash gain +1 it may be a problem. Yeah... I can't thing of anything else that doesn't stack up nasty fire / fighting / ground weaknesses towards Hail teams. I hope this helps.
 
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#19
I'm currently running this:

Sandslah-A @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Icicle Crash
- Earthquake
- Swords Dance
- Aurora Veil

with a Light Clay Ninetales-A. I usually go Aurora Veil with Ninetales-A, set up some other sweeper, induce Hail in the endgame once again while sacrificing Ninetales-A and go either suicide Aurora Veil for another teammate with Sandslah-A or let it clean itself. It's also a pretty capable stallbreaker on its own.
 
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