The DPP metagame has started to stabilize somewhat. Many changes have happened to Standard play - some from the new additions Platinum brought to the game at the beginning of September 08, others from testing and tier changes for certain pokemon - and the environment that we are left with is vastly different from the DP one from a couple of months ago. In this analysis I will examine and try to reason out the metagame trends that have shaped the face of OU, and resulted in the game we play today. Firstly, a quick summary of the relevant changes that Platinum brought to OU: A couple of new formes of pokemon were introduced, including Shaymin-S, a more offense based version of Shaymin, and several new Rotom formes, each with higher offensive and defensive stats than the original Rotom and each with a signature move. The accuracy of the move Hypnosis was lowered from 70% to 60%. Many pokemon gained access to new moves, most prominently Scizor to Bullet Punch, Salamence, Kingdra and Flygon to Outrage, and the multitude of Psychic-type pokemon to Trick. After initial testing, Shaymin-S was narrowly voted to Uber. Latias has been the most recent addition to OU and has caused quite a stir, and Latios is currently being tested. All in all, the metagame has started to settle down while remaining dynamic and exciting, and in my opinion is an enjoyable and varied environment at this moment in time. The metagame does seem to be quite healthy - a lot of different strategies are being utilized, ranging anywhere from reckless rain offense to pure stall. No one kind of strategy seems to be domineering at the moment, although the majority of teams right now tend to use bulky offense, with pokemon such as Zapdos, Heatran, Rotom-a, and Metagross common on a lot of teams. Scizor undoubtedly had one of the biggest increases in usage in the last couple of months, shooting from low OU/BL straight up to the number one spot with the addition of Bullet Punch and Superpower to its arsenal. In early DPP, the offensive Swords Dance set with Life Orb was all the rage, but now, especially with the addition of Latias, the Choice Bander seems to be becoming more popular. It is really the versatility of how Scizor can be played that makes it as popular as it is; that, and the vast number of opposing Pokemon it keeps in check. From cracking open teams with U-turn in the midgame, to revenge killing powerful threats such as Latias and Gengar with Pursuit, to finally sweeping in the late game with its Technician Bullet Punch, Scizor is unarguably a formidable Pokemon. It is largely responsible for the metagame shift to bulky offense - pure out offense is far too frail and loses too easily to Scizor's iron fists. Salamence vies with Scizor for dominance over OU. Platinum brought it a destructive new toy in Outrage to add to its box of tricks. With the high power of Outrage at its side, it has become notoriously difficult to counter. The bulky waters that could previously recover off damage from Dragon Claw cannot stand up to the increased base power of Salamence's new favourite physical STAB. Many players choose to deal with Salamence by enticing it into an Outrage and switching in a Steel type to resist it, but even things like Heatran can take over half their health in damage from a +1 LO Outrage. Scizor is now a vital tool in keeping Salamence in check with its Bullet Punch. While the Dragon Dance set is destructive, mixed sweeper Salamence are almost equally as common and dangerous. They act as stallbreakers for offensive teams, and now tend to be as fast as max speed with a beneficial nature, just to ensure a tie at worst with opposing base 100s such as Zapdos and Jirachi. With Latias entering the scene, though, I predict there will be fewer and fewer of these MixMences, as not only are they vulnerable to being revenged by Latias without a way to boost their speed, Latias arguably does the "special attacking Dragon with Draco Meteor" role better. Nevertheless, Salamence remains and will remain one of OU's most threatening mixed sweepers. With the great resistances provided by its typing and its useful Fire STAB, Heatran continues to play the role of a jack of all trades revenge killer. Commonly scarfed, Heatran is often called upon to revenge a whole manner of targets, ranging from Salamence with HP Ice / Dragon Pulse, to Scizor and Lucario with Fire Blast / Earth Power. Although Shaymin-S has been removed from standard play, the majority of scarfed Heatran continue to run +speed natures, if only to get the jump on opposing Heatran. However, there is another, rather strange, set that has been seeing quite a lot of use recently - Substitute Toxic Heatran. It has been shown to be effective in crippling its common Water-type switchins, allowing other sweepers to break past them with a lot more ease. With the addition of Latias into OU, Heatran can no longer Fire Blast its way through teams as easily as it once could. Latias takes little from anything Heatran has to throw at it bar Explosion, and can hit it back with a strong Surf. With the abundance of Steel-typed leads, such as Jirachi and Metagross, Heatran is often seen as a lead itself in order to deal with them. It usually carries Stealth Rock and sometimes Explosion, and is a useful anti-metagame lead right now. Latias itself has caused quite a stir in OU. It came and filled a long sought after special defense niche, keeping Zapdos, Heatran, and Infernape in check. While rarely seen on full out stall or offensive teams, Latias finds its place on balanced teams, its typing providing useful resistances to play with and its support moves helping the rest of its team. Between Draco Meteor and Surf, Latias hits the majority of OU for at least neutral damage. Latias has been used in many different ways - dual screens supporter, defensive CMer (who can beat Blissey with Refresh), offensive CMer, Choice Specs, etc. But, as predicted, its Dark weak has held it back, and is commonly revenge killed by CB Tyranitar and Scizor. The Rotom formes have brought with them the downfall of the viability of Rapid Spinning. Hailed as the 'best spin blockers' in OU, they can generally defeat the common Rapid Spinners one on one. They are very well balanced pokemon - bulky, relatively fast, and quite hard hitting - and their typing provides them with some excellent resists and immunities. Rotom-H has seen the most use out of all the formes, with its Overheat useful in hitting Lucario and Scizor, the latter for which Rotom is an excellent counter because of its Steel resist and Fighting immunity. Rotom often carry Will-O-Wisp to cripple physical attackers, in particular the Tyranitar that love to switch in to try and Pursuit them. They too can set up dual screens, and some Rotom have started carrying Trick and a Choice Scarf to deal with Blissey, as well as giving them the speed to revenge kill a host of normally faster threats. Flygon has had a spike of popularity out of the blue, but really, is it surprising? With Garchomp's absence, Flygon really has an opportunity to shine. Ground / Dragon is one of the best dual typings in the game, granting Flygon two excellent STABs to work with, as well as only two weaknesses. Add to that Levitate, which gives Flygon an immunity to Spikes, Toxic Spikes, as well as resistance to the EdgeQuake attacking combination, and you have a pokemon that is both powerful and long lasting. The majority of Flygon tend to have a Choice Scarf, so much so that whenever they see Flygon, most players tend to automatically assume it is sitting at 400+ speed. This opens the door for other forms of Flygon, in particular +speed Choice Banders, to take the current metagame by surprise. U-turn gives offensive teams plenty of advantageous switches, and Earthquake and Outrage combine to hit most things for neutral damage at least. All in all, it isn't surprising that Flygon has become so popular. Players have speculated that Infernape's time in the spotlight is over, with the coming of Latias. There is very little Infernape can do to beat Latias - it has a higher base speed, resists both its STABs, can KO Infernape with Surf, and Infernape struggles to 2HKO it even with a super effective HP Ice. Because of this, Infernape has generally been relegated to the lead position, where it still does a good job of setting up SR and taking out opposing leads (even more so now with all the Steel leads around). However, the fact remains that Infernape is one of the most dangerous sweepers in OU and can take out unprepared teams in the blink of an eye. Just be assured that if you ever see a sweeper Infernape, a Pursuit user to take out Latias will not be far behind it. Lucario is as dangerous as ever. Don't be fooled by the notion that it is now 'outclassed' by Scizor. Scizor may have a stronger priority, but little can blast its way through stall teams and weakened teams in general like a LO Lucario. While the standard set of SD / Close Combat / Extremespeed / Crunch has remained virtually unchanged, a few Lucario users have opted to give it a +speed nature and Ice Punch to deal with Salamence and Gliscor (rarely seen). Specs Lucario is pretty much non-existent in the metagame. Zapdos gained a valuable coverage move in Heat Wave, which allows it to check the majority of Steel types, such as Metagross, Jirachi, Scizor, and Lucario, quite effectively. Offensive Zapdos, while quite popular during early DPP, has died down due to the addition of Latias, who walls it soundly. Now, more and more Zapdos are reverting to the bulky sets they ran in DP, but this time with the aim of providing a Fighting and Steel type check for the team. The amount of Zapdos running HP Grass and HP Ice is around about equal. HP Grass variants get the hit on Swampert and Rhyperior, whereas with HP Ice, Zapdos can touch Latias and Flygon. Swampert is already scared of switching into Zapdos because of the previous popularity of HP Grass, so I predict that more Zapdos will start running HP Ice in response to the surge in Flygon and Latias usage. Blissey still walls the hell out of most special attackers, and is as annoying as ever. It has found new uses with the rising popularity of Empoleon and Latias, although the latter can be geared to beat Blissey through a combination of Calm Mind, Recover, and Refresh. Wish Bliss is very popular as one of the few viable users of that move, although Wish Latias has started to give her some competition, and Wish Vaporeon is also pretty common. Blissey continues to run SpD EVs to take on the strong special attackers of DPP, and a lot of Blissey have begun to run a combination of Flamethrower and Toxic, allowing it to touch most things in OU, in particular Steel threats such as Scizor and Lucario (on the switchin). This does make a lot of Blissey incredibly vulnerable to Taunt Heatran, although they remain quite rare. Gengar has had a large fall from grace from the times it used to sit at the top of the OU roster. The drop in Hypnosis' accuracy really hit it hard, something which the addition of Trick did little to mitigate. Scizor can revenge kill it almost assuredly now, putting it in the trouble position of "Will it Bullet Punch or will it Pursuit?" Now, with the addition of Latias, there is even less reason to use Gengar, as it is yet another thing that threatens to outspeed Gengar, while being able to take a Shadow Ball itself. Still, despite these apparent flaws, Gengar's rareness has caused many players to disregard it as a threat while constructing teams, and so a LO Gengar with Explosion in particular can cause a lot of damage in the present metagame. Finally gaining some physical STAB, Dragon Dance Outrage Kingdra has become the most common set it runs. Although with weaker offensive stats than its fellow dragons, Kingdra's typing sets it apart from them by not being weak to Ice, as well as having STAB on Water, an excellent type for Dragon attacks to be paired with. The most common sets tend to be Dragon Dance / Outrage / Waterfall / Substitute, usually holding Leftovers to recover off substitute HP loss, and have proven to be deadly late game sweepers. Because of the popularity of physical Kingdra, people have started to forget that it has an equal Special Attack stat, and so MixDra does take a lot of its common switchins by storm with Draco Meteor. With all the Steels running amuck, Magnezone has been found to be exceedingly useful paired up with Salamence or Latias. Many Magnezone are scarfed and run HP Fire for the OHKO on Scizor, although some Substitute / Magnet Rise sets remain. Because of the popularity of the magnet, quite a few Skarmory and Forretress have taken to running Shed Shell over Leftovers. Gyarados hasn't changed too much from DP, with the sole addition of Bounce to its movepool being the only thing of note. A STAB Bounce, despite its disadvantageous one-turn charge, can do a good number on Celebi, meaning Gyarados can now severely damage one of its best counters. Another very useful role for Gyarados is as a Scizor check, and one of its only physical based ones. With resistances to Steel, Bug, and Fighting, as well as Intimidate, Gyarados can switch in on most Scizor with ease. Whereas offensive LO Gyarados remains a popular set, more and more bulkier version that eschew Life Orb for Leftovers have begun to appear. Rest Sleep Talk Gyarados is also not too uncommon, and allows Gyarados to really make the most of its utility as a check on Scizor, Heatran, and most Fighting-types. With its niche position as one of the best Wish passers in OU, Vaporeon is still a common sight. Its role as a great Gyarados, Heatran, and Infernape counter is still as needed as ever. Ice Beam and HP Electric are used about the same amount, but I predict more Vaporeon reverting to Ice Beam as its preferred secondary attack with Latias' coming. Starmie is no longer the end-all revenge killer it once was. After a Dragon Dance, Salamence becomes too fast and strong to revenge kill, and Flygon is commonly scarfed. With the coming of Latias into OU (who Starmie struggles to 2HKO), Gengar is commonly scarfed as well, meaning that the pool of Pokemon that a defensive Starmie can kill is becoming quite limited. Because of this, a lot more offensive Starmie are being seen nowadays, using its high Speed and excellent coverage to be a mean late game cleaner. Offensive Suicune is quite a common set nowadays, although the old bulky Suicune are still around as well. CroCune has taken quite a hit with Blissey running much more Special Defense, and Latias, who can survive quite easily against a +6 Suicune limited to Surf. Special-based versions of Tyranitar aren't seen as much now, since the physical variants of it are arguably a lot more useful in the current metagame. The Choice Bander's Pursuit is immensely helpful in taking out Latias and other frail sweepers that fear Tyranitar, and is as useful as ever in cracking open an opponent's team. Dragon Dance Tyranitar took quite a hit, with Scizor's Bullet Punch being able to OHKO with Stealth Rock, meaning that getting off a sweep can be quite difficult. However, since Scizor is quite often the only answer teams have to DD Tyranitar, a Babiri Berry (Steel resist) can be used to foil its Bullet Punch, allowing Tyranitar to take it out and opening up the rest of the team to a sweep. Scarf Tyranitar is also quite popular to outspeed Latias, Gengar, etc, and get the surprise first hit in from something typically viewed as being rather slow. The standard Celebi hasn't changed too much, despite Platinum gifting it with several new toys in the form of Earth Power and Trick. Grass Knot is still its most popular offensive move, being able to get the 2HKO on most Tyranitar looking for a Pursuit kill. Thunder Wave is also immensely useful, as always, in crippling offensive Pokemon. Because it is commonly seen as set up fodder for Scizor, quite a few Celebi have started running HP Fire to get the surprise KO on the top metagame threat. Its role as a cleric is called upon less and less in today's fast paced metagame. Although Platinum didn't change it directly, the new metagame Heracross resides in has its ups and downs. Overall, the brawling bug took quite a hit from Scizor's Bullet Punch, which can be really limit its sweeping potential. However, Heracross is still a fearsome attacker, and because of its unique dual STAB, is one of the few Pokemon that can successfully take on both Latias and opposing Steel-types. Scarf Heracross now tend to run +speed natures to allow them to outspeed +speed scarfed Heatran. The frail, fast, suicide lead trend has started to diminish somewhat, and now the majority of leads tend to be bulkier users of Stealth Rock. Metagross' potential in particular has been caught onto by a lot of battlers. Rotom is really the only reliable switchin into it, and with a combination of Meteor Mash + Bullet Punch, Metagross can deal with any Azelf or Aerodactyl still hanging about. Jirachi gained Iron Head in the transition to DPP, and it has become its most popular move. When equipped with a Choice Scarf, Iron Head's respectable power and frustrating 60% flinch rate really come into play, and allow it to 'hax' its way past many opposing leads. Jirachi is one of the main reasons Aerodactyl and Azelf have become so rare - no one wants to give a pokemon only a 40% chance of achieving something. Scarfed versions can also deal with bulkier leads such as opposing Swampert and Bronzong by simply Tricking its scarf onto them, rendering them pretty much useless for the rest of the battle. While physical sweeper Jirachi is probably the commonest version, one mustn't forget the great supporting niche that Jirachi can fill, with a great number of resistances, good defenses, and Wish to heal both itself and the team. Jirachi, as well as Metagross, have also made lead Tyranitar unpopular. Swampert is a really undervalued lead at the moment, being able to take on Metagross, Jirachi, Heatran, Aerodactyl, Tyranitar, and the rare Mamoswine lead. The addition of Latias momentarily sparked off a strange "triple dragon triple steel" trend, which has now died down somewhat. The trend is pretty self explanatory - people were using teams that consisted of three Dragon-types and three Steel-types with surprisingly effective results. This trend is no longer quite as prevalent, but it just goes acts as a reminder of the dominance these two types currently hold over Standard play. With many new and exciting suspects planned on being tested in OU play, the standard metagame is guaranteed to be a very vibrant one for the next few months. We can only look forward in anticipation to the new trends that will be set as the DPP metagame evolves.