1. Welcome to Smogon! Check out the Smogon Starters Hangout for everything you need to know about starting out in the community. Don't forget to introduce yourself in the Introduction and Hangout Thread, too!
  2. Welcome to Smogon Forums! Please take a minute to read the rules.

Get your Priorities Straight - an OU guide to priority attacks (GP 2/2)

Discussion in 'Uploaded Analyses' started by zarator, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. zarator

    zarator Credits to Mos-Quitoxe for the cute sprite^^
    is a Community Contributoris a Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,977
    1. [jump=1]Introduction[/jump]
    2. [jump=2]Priority Mechanics[/jump]
    3. [jump=3]In-depth analyses[/jump]
      1. [jump=4]Aqua Jet[/jump]
      2. [jump=5]Bullet Punch[/jump]
      3. [jump=6]ExtremeSpeed[/jump]
      4. [jump=7]Fake Out[/jump]
      5. [jump=8]Ice Shard[/jump]
      6. [jump=9]Mach Punch[/jump]
      7. [jump=10]Quick Attack[/jump]
      8. [jump=11]Shadow Sneak[/jump]
      9. [jump=12]Sucker Punch[/jump]
      10. [jump=13]Vacuum Wave[/jump]
    4. [jump=14]Playing against priority[/jump]
    5. [jump=15]Conclusion[/jump]
    [a]1[/a]Introduction

    [​IMG]
    The ability to attack before the opponent... Just that alone puts me at a great advantage, don't you agree?

    In a metagame where a sweeper can outspeed even the fastest users of Choice Scarf without any kind of setup, and where powerful setup moves such as Dragon Dance, Rock Polish, and Quiver Dance loom at every corner, priority attacks stand out as one of the most reliable checks to the many speedy threat present. This guide will analyze the existing priority attacking moves, focusing on how can they be used to ward off opposing sweepers and pull off a sweep on their own.

    [a]2[/a]Mechanics

    Whenever you read about priority moves in general - not just attacks - you will often find the expression "priority bracket." What does it mean? The priority bracket is a number associated to each move. Here you can find an extensive list and in-depth explanation of the concept. As far as it concerns us, what matters is that a move with a higher priority bracket than another one will always be executed first, regardless of the Speed stats of their respective users. On the contrary, if the two moves have the same priority bracket, Speed stats will determine which goes first, as usual.

    For example, Quick Attack has a priority bracket of +1. This means that if you use Quick Attack against someone who is using, say, Flamethrower (a +0 priority bracket move), the Quick Attack user will always go first. However, if the opponent of said user opted for ExtremeSpeed (which features a priority bracket of +2), the ExtremeSpeed user would go first. If both Pokemon were to use Quick Attack, their respective Speed stats will decide who will get their attack in first.

    [a]3[/a]In-Depth analyses

    [a]4[/a]Aqua Jet

    In the transition to the newest generation, Aqua Jet rose significantly in popularity, for several reasons. It was already unique among priority moves because it was the only one to get a boost from a specific weather condition (rain), but Gen V introduced the Drizzle ability, via Dream World Politoed, into the OU metagame, enormously improving its viability. Moreover, teams which carry Drizzle Politoed cannot use Pokémon with the ability Swift Swim, making Aqua Jet even more appealing as a sweeping tool.

    But it doesn't end here. The new generation brought several powerful and fast threats, many of whom can boost their speed to frightening levels. Rock Polish Landorus, Rock Polish Terrakion, and Quiver Dance Volcarona can easily steamroll entire teams with their might and their quickness. They all have a crucial flaw, however: they are weak to Water-type attacks. This is where Aqua Jet comes in, putting a halt to their sweeps before it's too late.

    Quite a few Pokémon can make good use of this priority move, although almost all of them require rain support to be usable in OU. Azumarill immediately springs to mind, with his gargantuan Attack stat rivaling the ones of Groudon and Zekrom. Sharpedo, despite having Speed Boost to get the jump on faster enemies, often use this move when he still doesn't have enough boosts under his belt (or, sometimes, to outpace other priority attack users). Feraligatr can abuse his Torrent ability and Swords Dance to mop the floor with weakened teams. Several other Pokemon boast Aqua Jet and Swords Dance, but most of them lack the defenses to set up.

    Whether you employ Aqua Jet to mow through the opposition under the rainfall, or to ward yourself off a similar treatment, this move definitely made a splash in the OU metagame, and earned its place among the old standards.

    [​IMG]
    Azumarill @ Choice Band
    Ability: Huge Power
    EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Aqua Jet
    - Superpower
    - Waterfall
    - Ice Punch / Return

    Azumarill's massive 654 Attack stat lets him use Aqua Jet to great effect. Frailer weepers with a Water-type weakness, such as Volcarona, are outright knocked out (Volcarona is not safe even under the sun, as it is still OHKOed over 50% of the time after Stealth Rock damage). If rain is falling, bulkier ones like Landorus and Terrakion stand no chance, either. Aqua Jet's power under rain is so extreme that even Pokemon resisting it, such as Haxorus, are in trouble should they fall below one third of their life total. On top of it, crucial coverage moves like Superpower and Ice Punch ensure that almost nothing can switch in safely against Azumarill.

    [a]5[/a]Bullet Punch

    While not as popular as it used to be, Bullet Punch is still a fairly common sight in the OU metagame. Steel may not renowned as an attacking type due to its lack of coverage, but no Pokemon besides Shedinja is immune to it. Moreover, even if Fire, Water, and Electric are all common types, many important sweepers do not belong to any of those, and quite a few actually happen to be weak to Steel-type attacks (most notably Terrakion).

    Bullet Punch has few but competent users. Scizor stands up above all the others, thanks to his wonderful Technician ability. Metagross can use this move to bypass its low Speed and revenge kill weakened opponents (although the damage output is a bit less impressive than in Scizor's case). Lucario sometimes uses it in tandem with ExtremeSpeed to punish Ghost- and Rock-types who attempt to stop him. Machamp lacks STAB, but he still finds Bullet Punch useful to pick off the likes of Gengar and Latios (and in particular, any Pokemon carrying a Focus Sash).

    It probably isn't the strongest priority attack out there, or the most effective one, but that's not reason enough to underestimate its usefulness. Bullet Punch is still the best option, among priority attacks, against a wide range of foes, from the Rock-type menaces like Tyranitar and the aforementioned Terrakion to the ever threatening Dragon-types.

    [​IMG]
    Scizor @ Choice Band
    Ability: Technician
    EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Bullet Punch
    - U-turn
    - Superpower
    - Pursuit / Quick Attack

    Unsurprisingly, Scizor is still the most effective user of Bullet Punch. Thanks to Technician, the Steel-type mantis can revenge kill a lot of sweepers, often even if they resist the hit. Volcarona, for example, takes around 40% damage despite the resistance brought by his Fire typing. Rock-types such as Terrakion are obliterated instantly, and even neutral targets like Dragonite will get 2HKOed. Again, no Pokemon is complete without some moves to complement his priority attack, and Scizor makes no exception. U-turn allows him to scout and punch holes into threats such as Rotom-W which would otherwise wall Bullet Punch. Superpower annihilates most Steel-type Pokémon, and Pursuit makes for a wondrous trapper. Alternatively, Quick Attack doubles as a priority attack.

    [a]6[/a]ExtremeSpeed

    ExtremeSpeed has several advantages over its alternatives. First of all, 80 Base Power sets it apart from any other priority move besides the unreliable Sucker Punch, making it the strongest priority attack without any kind of drawback in the game. Sadly, most users of this move do not have STAB on it, meaning that other priority moves can outdamage it when backed by STAB and Technician (or STAB and rain in the case of Aqua Jet). Still, many of its users boast very high Attack stats (with the exception of Togekiss, who makes up for it with the coveted STAB), and some can even boost it further with Dragon Dance or Swords Dance.

    A peculiar feature of ExtremeSpeed is that it sits on a priority bracket of +2. This allows the user to get the jump on most other priority attackers (which can prove fatal to the ones who lack a Normal-type resistance like Azumarill and Mamoswine). Actually, this improvement often doesn't matter, as all ExtremeSpeed users boast at least a base 80 Speed stat (often with significant EV investment), but it can prove crucial sometimes (especially against Ice Shard).

    ExtremeSpeed may have not the best distribution, but almost all the Pokemon who learn this move can put it to good use. Dragonite is maybe the strongest user available, and can easily 2HKO a lot of troublesome threats such as Latios and Haxorus. Lucario can boost his Attack further with Swords Dance and sweep almost unhindered. Togekiss is the only user with STAB on the move, which makes up for the paltry Attack to a certain extent and allows for some unpredictable mixed sets (especially in tandem with Hustle).

    Thanks to its wide neutral coverage, its good Base Power, and some competent users, ExtremeSpeed is a solid, if not common, threat and one of the most reliable priority moves out there.

    [​IMG]
    Dragonite @ Choice Band
    Ability: Multiscale
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - ExtremeSpeed
    - Outrage
    - Waterfall
    - Fire Punch / Dragon Claw

    Dragonite is very well designed for the use of ExtremeSpeed. His great Attack stat gives him the necessary punch to pull the job. Moreover, he has an offensive presence most priority attackers wish they could have, allowing Dragonite to avoid becoming setup bait more often than not (or at least, preventing him from being predicted too easily). Dragon-, Fire-, and Water-type attacks attain perfect coverage, giving Dragonite the chance to be much more than a mere revenge killer.

    [a]7[/a]Fake Out

    Fake Out is fairly unique among priority attacks. It can only be used on the first turn the user is out on the battlefield, meaning it is unviable as a Choiced move. It also has an interesting side effect - the ability to flinch any Pokemon lacking Inner Focus, Shield Dust, or the Ghost typing can prove really neat at times. It is also the fastest priority attack in the game, surpassing even ExtremeSpeed.

    How do these points affect Fake Out's viability, compared to the other priority attacks? The first thing which should be noted is that this move has almost no sweeping potential, and serves better as a check to other fast sweepers (or even to opposing priority users). But most importantly, Fake Out is a scouting move with the element of surprise. In a metagame where the information warfare is played on the level of movesets rather than whole Pokemon, discovering which item the opponent is holding as soon as possible can make the difference. Dealing moderate damage and flinching the foe, Fake Out allows the user to check if the opponent is carrying Leftovers or not, a piece of information which often can tell a lot about which moveset the target is running (especially with threats such as Politoed who are known for carrying Leftovers or a Choice item). And while the damage inflicted by Fake Out is mostly too low to gain an accurate picture of how much the opponent invested in Defense, it is often enough to tell whether you're facing something with max HP EVs or a sweeping spread (max Speed and Atk or SpA).

    There are a handful of promising Fake Out users, but most of them have better things to do (like Scrafty and Infernape). Mienshao stands out since he is already a very good scout with a high Attack stat, so he can make great use of Fake Out. Ambipom is the strongest user thanks to Technician, but aside from that he has little to brag about in OU and finds it hard to compete with the likes of the aforementioned Mienshao. Hitmontop could use it, since he also has Technician, but he has a whole host of better priority moves to choose from and struggles to fit in the OU environment as well.

    In conclusion, Fake Out is more useful as a utility move which allows the user to gain information on the opponent, rack up damage throughout the match, (especially in tandem with weather and / or Toxic Spikes) and only sometimes actually revenge kill something.

    [​IMG]
    Mienshao @ Life Orb
    Ability: Regenerator
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
    Naive Nature (+Spe, -SpD)
    - Fake Out
    - Hi Jump Kick
    - U-turn
    - Hidden Power Ice

    Mienshao is an excellent user of Fake Out, showing very well the value of this move as an utility tool of scouting. Thanks to Regenerator, Mienshao can switch and come in later repeatedly, allowing him to Fake Out multiple times, racking up a lot of residual damage. While said Fake Out doesn't pack a lot of power (especially when lacking STAB), 349 Attack and a Life Orb gives it quite a punch, allowing Mienshao to not only get a more accurate idea of which EVs the opponent is running, but also to effectively revenge kill sweepers. U-turn makes the scouting job even easier, avoiding annoying double switches and keeping momentum going. And finally, unlike most scouts, Mienshao packs an enormously powerful STAB in Hi Jump Kick, as well as a neat coverage move like Hidden Power Ice to kill common Fighting-type resistors like Gliscor.

    [a]8[/a]Ice Shard

    Ice Shard is one of the less commonly used priority attacks, mainly because Ice is such a terrible type defensively - and like other priority moves, Ice Shard almost always needs STAB to function properly. A pity, because the same Ice STAB, when used offensively, can be deadly with its wide super effective coverage, lack of immunities, its ability to hit some notable sweepers with super effective damage.

    To expand on this point, many Ice-type-weak Pokemon thrive on a resistance to some kind of priority move. Flying-types endure Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave easily, and the Dragon-types soak up Aqua Jet. But all of them fall to the frigid power of Ice Shard, making this move - at least on paper - one of the potentially best priority moves available. It would probably be used much more often, if it weren't for the inherent flaws of the Ice typing.

    Still, this move can be salvaged by some decent users. Weavile may look like an odd choice at first, since he already has a very good 125 Speed stat. But when you take into account the ever common Dragon Dance users such as Haxorus and Salamence, you'll find Weavile has plenty of opportunities to abuse it. Mamoswine has a very solid base 130 Attack stat to work with, and lacks the Stealth Rock weakness which plagues many Ice Shard users. Donphan may lack in power - even with a potential 372 Attack stat, Ice Shard is quite underwhelming without STAB - but he still can pick off weakened Dragon-types such as Latios.

    [​IMG]
    Mamoswine @ Life Orb / Choice Band
    Ability: Snow Cloak
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Ice Shard
    - Icicle Crash
    - Earthquake
    - Stone Edge

    Mamoswine is one of the few Ice-type Pokemon which can actually work in OU. Ice Shard, whether you opt for Life Orb or Choice Band, packs a lot of power. It may not be as strong as Technician Bullet Punch or rain-boosted Aqua Jet, but since Ice Shard will hit its intended targets super effectively (much more often than Bullet Punch, anyway), this will rarely be an issue. On top of it, Mamoswine can do a lot of other things with his awesome Attack stat. Icicle Crash and Earthquake provide him with a STAB combination which leaves very little stuff uncovered, and Stone Edge patches such gaps almost perfectly.

    [a]9[/a]Mach Punch

    Another move which gained quite a bit more usage in the transition to the new generation, Mach Punch benefits from running off a very good attacking and defensive type, often meaning that its users can do much more than the revenge killing job. Its only drawback, compared to other priority moves, is that several important sweepers resist it. As such, Mach Punch is slightly more suited for sweeping than it is to check opposing Pokémon (although revenge killing Terrakion is always nice).

    Even then, though, Mach Punch is by no means a bad move. As a sweeping move, in fact, it benefits from the fact most users can boost their Attack stat with Bulk Up or Swords Dance. Moreover, the amount of super effective coverage is astounding. And while it is indeed resisted by quite a few types, most of them are Rock-type weak, which means that Stealth Rock support will help immensely. The exceptions are Poison-type Pokemon, but they're not as common.

    Conkeldurr stands out from the other users of Mach Punch because he possesses the bulk to set up comfortably against a fair range of enemies (including very common threats like Tyranitar and Ferrothorn). Infernape has a lot more trouble finding room to use Swords Dance, and often fails even to include Mach Punch in his movepool because of coverage issues. Breloom is helped by the invaluable Spore, which is often enough to buy him the free turn required to set up. However, the mushroom doesn't benefit from being stopped cold by quite a few Pokemon. Finally, as noted before in the case of Bullet Punch, Hitmontop is a fantastic user of weaker priority moves thanks to Technician and STAB on Fighting-type moves; he has the strength to actually hurt his intended targets (for example, Terrakion can take up to 70% damage).

    [​IMG]
    Conkeldurr @ Leftovers
    Ability: Guts
    EVs: 120 HP / 252 Atk / 136 SpD
    Nature: Brave (+Atk, -Spe) or Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Mach Punch
    - Drain Punch
    - Bulk Up
    - Payback / Stone Edge

    Conkeldurr is the premier Mach Punch sweeper in the metagame, and for good reason. Thanks to a frightening base 140 Attack, he can quickly boost the power of Mach Punch with Bulk Up to the point where it can OHKO or 2HKO the entire opposing team. At the same time, however, it has the bulk to switch into the likes of Terrakion to revenge kill them, and Drain Punch can extend his lifespan further. The fourth moveslot is mainly for a coverage option to deal with threats which pack a Fighting-type resistance.

    [a]10[/a]Quick Attack

    Quick Attack is one of the less used priority attacks, mainly because it lacks in power to actually be useful. Its possible users often lack STAB on it, and the fact that Normal-type attacks don't hit anything super effectively hardly helps. It shares all of ExtremeSpeed's issues, without boasting any of the benefits (besides the decent neutral coverage).

    This however doesn't mean Quick Attack is useless. When boosted by Technician, Choice Band, or a setup move, this move can dent foes remarkably hard, often when they least expect to be revenge killed. Perhaps this is the biggest advantage of Quick Attack: it can allow you to revenge kill some sweepers you couldn't otherwise deal with using the other priority moves. Sure, ExtremeSpeed does the same thing, but Quick Attack has a larger distribution, giving you more freedom in team building. Still, even if there are some potentially good users available, like Terrakion and the aforementioned Scizor, you'll often find that there are better options to go with.

    [​IMG]
    Terrakion @ Choice Band
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA)
    - Quick Attack
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - X-Scissor

    Choice Band Terrakion is one of the few Pokemon which can afford to use Quick Attack, mainly because its typing is so good offensively that he hardly needs coverage moves. Moreover, when boosted by a Choice Band, 357 Atk is enough to actually deal some damage. Sure, it will deal slightly more than 30% damage to Volcarona (let alone bulkier Pokémon like Landorus or Haxorus), but it can still be useful at times.

    [a]11[/a]Shadow Sneak

    Shadow Sneak is probably the rarest priority attack you will see in OU, mainly because of its really bad distribution. You will be hard pressed finding any Pokemon learning this move with any viability in the Standard environment, and even then, most of them either have unimpressive Attack stats (such as Dusknoir or Spiritomb) or lack STAB (as in the case of Gallade and Muk). The only exceptions are Banette, who has better things to do should it ever show his face in OU, and Giratina, who is an Uber.

    Still, it's not like Shadow Sneak would be extremely valuable in the Standard metagame. Most common threats are either neutral to it, or resist it outright. The only possible targets would be Gengar, Latios, and Reuniclus, who should be revenge killed with priority only under Trick Room. On top of it, Scizor can switch into all of them, and his Technician-boosted Bullet Punch is stronger than a super effective, non-STAB Shadow Sneak. Yeah, it is that bad.

    [​IMG]
    Gallade @ Life Orb
    Ability: Steadfast
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Swords Dance
    - Close Combat
    - Ice Punch / Stone Edge
    - Shadow Sneak

    This is probably one of the few viable ways to use Shadow Sneak in OU. After a Swords Dance, Gallade will pack a hefty 766 Attack, further boosted by Life Orb. This actually allows him to OHKO Latios and Gengar among other things (although the former requires Stealth Rock to ensure the kill), even though he will do 81.9% at max to TR Reuniclus, and barely 2HKOes Bold variants. Luckily, for the slower opponents, Gallade has a pretty strong Close Combat (which actually outdamages a super effective Shadow Sneak), but really, this is as good as it gets.

    [a]12[/a]Sucker Punch

    "High risk, high reward" would describe Sucker Punch perfectly. This priority move can be pretty strong, indeed, as it shares the same 80 Base Power of Extremespeed, and several users with very good Attack stats get STAB on it. However, again, Sucker Punch suffers from the same syndrome of Ice Shard - as good as the Dark-type may be offensively, it is pretty mediocre defensively. The OU metagame is filled with several strong Fighting-type sweepers, many of which can eat any Dark-type for lunch with ease. The three OU Pokemon with this type - Tyranitar, Hydreigon, and Scrafty - do not even learn the move. Moreover, much like Shadow Sneak, there aren't a lot of threats you'd want to hit super effectively with Sucker Punch. And to make things worse, the aforementioned Fighting-types resist the move (and in the case of the legendary trio, even take advantage of it to boost their Attack stats with Justified).

    It is not all doom and gloom for the ambushing attack, though. Unlike Ice Shard, it has a Base Power which makes it usable even without STAB, just like ExtremeSpeed. Sure, it is a bit more situational than Ice Shard, and relies a bit on prediction, but still has some potential. And unlike ExtremeSpeed, it has better coverage, pairing very well with Fighting-type attacks in particular. This allows Sucker Punch users to run less attacking moves, and focus on setup or support options. For example, Bisharp and Toxicroak often abuse this move in tandem with Fighting-type attacks to decimate teams lacking a good Dark-type resistance like Terrakion.

    One thing which should be noted, though, is that Sucker Punch is very risky as a check to faster Pokemon. More often than not, said faster Pokémon pack one (if not two) setup moves, with much more PP than the measly 8 PP of Sucker Punch. This allows them to easily outstall the Sucker Punch user, or at the very least to force a troubling gamble which won't work in favor of the priority attacker all the time. To make things worse, they could use Substitute to basically neuter the threat of Sucker Punch and turn the tables. And although not as problematic, a faster (or slower under Trick Room) user of a priority move, or any user of ExtremeSpeed, will go before Sucker Punch and therefore make the move fail. Sucker Punch shines more as a sweeping attack, and should be used as such. There are better, more reliable options for checking setup sweepers anyway.

    [​IMG]
    Toxicroak @ Life Orb / Leftovers
    Ability: Dry Skin
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk /252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Swords Dance
    - Cross Chop
    - Sucker Punch
    - Ice Punch

    Thanks to the never-ending rain Drizzle provides, Toxicroak can boast a decent amount of bulkiness despite his seemingly mediocre defensive stats. This allows him to set up quite reliably, and sweep the field with his good coverage. In this case, Sucker Punch has the chance to work mainly because the opponent will have a hard time outpredicting Toxicroak. Each failed gamble, in fact, probably means that either the foe is dead (like Latios using Recover or Calm Mind and then eating an Ice Punch) or Toxicroak sets up another Swords Dance, meaning that if he gets past the supposed check, he will sweep.

    [a]13[/a]Vacuum Wave

    Fighting-types rarely boast good Special Attack stats, and many of the ones which do come from BW and therefore couldn't pick Vacuum Wave as a tutor move. However, Vacuum Wave actually has some potential despite its limited distribution. As noted for Mach Punch, in fact, Fighting is a good attacking type and can allow threats to sweep quite reliably, especially with Stealth Rock support.

    What really penalizes Vacuum Wave is the really bad distribution. And this doesn't hint only to the move itself, but also to the complementary moves which are so important to make priority moves work. While Swords Dance is a TM with very generous distribution, for example, Nasty Plot is much more uncommon. Bulk Up is learned by nearly all Fighting-types, but Calm Mind has only a few users among them.

    Luckily for Vacuum Wave, though, there isn't the same type of "wrong user syndrome" which affects Sucker Punch, for example. Whereas the latter is missed on some potentially awesome users, for example, Vacuum Wave shows up just on the few right Pokemon to make it work, and all of them are gifted with either Calm Mind or Nasty Plot - often with both. For example, Infernape and Lucario can deliver respectable amounts of damage, once they have pulled off a Nasty Plot. It may not have the same availability of its physical counterpart, but Vacuum Wave is definitely usable in OU and has its merits. Its only real defect, if anything, is that Terrakion has higher Special Defense in a sandstorm, and so can't be revenge killed like with the other priority moves.

    [​IMG]
    Lucario @ Life Orb
    Ability: Inner Focus
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    Nature: Modest (+SpA, -Atk)
    - Nasty Plot
    - Vacuum Wave
    - Aura Sphere
    - Dark Pulse

    Much like Lucario abused Swords Dance ExtremeSpeed in the last generation (and still does nowadays from time to time), the gift he received in the form of Nasty Plot allows him to sweep on the special side as well. And when backed by a respectable 115 base Special Attack stat, Vacuum Wave can really lay the hurt on the opponent once boosted. Aura Sphere provides a more consistent STAB move, while Dark Pulse rounds off coverage.

    [a]14[/a]Playing against priority

    Dealing with priority attackers can be quite annoying. On one hand, they limit your freedom to sweep. If you see an Azumarill on the opponent's team, for example, you know your Terrakion will have a hard time until the threat is removed. On the other hand, once they set up with Swords Dance or Nasty Plot, they can manage to sweep you almost effortlessly, while you watch helplessly as your team is wiped out without being able to react at all. The strongest, Choiced priority attackers could even sweep the field without any kind of previous setup, making it even more frustrating.

    Despite all their power, however, priority moves come with some issues. Most of them lack in power (even the likes of ExtremeSpeed because of the lack of STAB), and this means that most users will either be having a Choice item or needing setup before they can be effective. This is what you need to take advantage of, turning their revenge kill or their setup against them. Whenever their Scizor kills your Haxorus with Bullet Punch, it is an opportunity for something with a Steel-type resistance, like Ferrothorn, to come in and set up Spikes or Stealth Rock. If their Scizor is a Swords Dance variant instead, just switch in Rotom-W and watch as they're forced to switch out or suffer a burn from Will-O-wisp (or perhaps an outright KO from Hidden Power Fire or Hydro Pump).

    Long story short, priority moves always have a cost, be it the need of locking oneself into an attack or the need to spend one turn (or more) to set up. As long as you're able to take advantage of these opportunities and prevent the opponent from restricting your options to the point you can no longer take advantage of said opportunities - you should be fine, even if they are "faster" than you. The only exception here is Fake Out, but remember that most times you will not lose a game to Fake Out alone. If you prevent them from setting up those Toxic Spikes, keep rain going instead of sand, or do whatever you can to neutralize any way they can abuse Fake Out (which naturally also includes intelligent switching), you should not incur any trouble.

    [a]15[/a]Conclusion

    You should now hopefully have a clearer idea of how priority moves work, which options are available, and how to deal with them. Priority moves can be an asset to most teams, due to their function as "universal checks" to a multitude of threats, and at the same time they can give the necessary "Speed" a team requires to sweep the opponent. However, they are not foolproof, and can be turned against their users if one is not careful, just like the trainer quoted in the introduction (who incidentally is so much of a loser that he resorts to lol X Speed instead of a decent priority move).
  2. Omicron

    Omicron
    is a Site Staff Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    3,042
    For Sucker Punch, you need to emphasize how Substitute users can easily play around Sucker Punch.
  3. Lady Salamence

    Lady Salamence
    is a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    3,993
    The only mention of Special Attack I saw on the Vacuum Wave portion was "Fighting types rarely boast good Special Attack stats." Really? The only Special priority move in the game, and you don't mention it outright?
  4. Nastyjungle

    Nastyjungle fat and sassy
    is an Artist Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnus

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,932
    theres like a million references to special boosting moves as well as a link to vacuum wave's page isn't that enough to infer its a special attack
  5. Empyrea

    Empyrea

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    8
    Maybe worth noting that if you use Sucker Punch on a faster Pokemon with another +1 priority attack the Sucker Punch fails. Also under the mechanics of Trick Room, if two Pokemon with +1 priority moves attack each other, the slower of the two hits first.
  6. prem

    prem failed abortion
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Server Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,825
    are you only planning on mentioning one user of each priority, or multiple ones. for example luke also uses espeed, while weavile uses ice shard. metagross also uses bullet punch, etc.
  7. Stellar

    Stellar
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Battle Server Admin Alumnusis a Researcher Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a SPL Winner
    Jack of All Trades

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,794
    Relatively minor, but the phrase is actually "get your priorities straight."
  8. Fatecrashers

    Fatecrashers acta est fabula
    is a Site Staff Alumnusis an Artist Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4,994
    me and a few other mods agree with prem, you really ought to include more mons in your article, not just one for each move

    here's a list of mons that may be worth talking about

    http://pastebin.com/ygBY2i8k
  9. zarator

    zarator Credits to Mos-Quitoxe for the cute sprite^^
    is a Community Contributoris a Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,977
    I will edit the description of Sucker Punch with these notes, thank you.

    Since I'm not English motherlanguage, I consulted the Longman dictionnary, and it had both expressions. But since you're not the only one to tell me so, I'll change the title accordingly.

    I'm not sure about this for several reasons. First of all, I tried (whenever possible) to include Pokémon whose use is almost defined by the priority move in question, like Scizor for Bullet Punch or Azumarill for Aqua Jet. Many of the Pokémon mentioned in the pastebin, like Metagross or Infernape, often do not even use the priority move - and when they do, it's generally only an auxiliary move. I see it's the case for some of the Pokémon listed above as well, like Terrakion or (to a lesser extent) Gallade, but whenever possible I tried to avoid such cases, because they are not as useful for the explaination.

    On top of that, this article wasn't supposed to list each and every Pokémon which may or may not use a priority move, but rather to explain what each priority move is about and how to use it to its best. Making a long list of possible candidates would not help in my opinion.

    And about adding UU (which the pastbin seemed to hint to, since you included also UU Pokémon), I'm not against it, but at the same time I'm not sure it can be done within the same article. The description of many of the priority moves (notably Aqua Jet, Bullet Punch and Sucker Punch) are really centered on OU, and making an UU section would probably require a whole different description which would potentially clog up the article (not even counting the possibility to list all the mons in the pastbin on top of that).

    One last note: when I chose the Pokémon to use as examples I didn't go with preferences (for example, I don't exactly like Azumarill). Rather, I decided to go for what I felt was the most standard user of that move. I remember, for example, someone mentioning me Sucker Punch Zoroark. I really liked it, but it's just not as standard as Toxicroak is. This is not the place for creative movesets or such, this is an article, and I tried to limit myself to what I felt to be the most widely acceptable users of each move. This is why I didn't include Hitmontop over Conkeldurr, Scizor or Terrakion, for example.

    EDIT:
    In addition to what Nastyjungle said, Vacuum Wave being special often penalizes the move rather than helping it, as I explained (since most targets will have higher SpD than Def). So it's not really something to brag about.
  10. prem

    prem failed abortion
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Server Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,825

    metagross often uses bullet punch on multiple sets (sr and band), while weavile is literally the second no table ice shard user. quick attack as a whole is never used, even on band terak, and as such i dont even think it should be mentioned. Aqua jet is used on sharpedo, who just had a spike in usage. infernape uses mach punch nearly as much as conk does.

    i personally dont see why you cant just mention more users of priority if they are commonly seen with it. its not creative it just becomes a more detailed article. for example if someone wanted a mach punch user, they could see both infernape and conkeldurr, and decided which is best for their team, instead of just knowing conkeldurr uses mach punch, which does not work on every team.
  11. Oglemi

    Oglemi THE DREAM IS REAL
    is a Tournament Directoris a member of the Site Staffis a Community Contributoris a Pokemon Researcheris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris an Administratoris a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
    C&C Leader

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,251
    Zarator, a good solution could be to list the common users and then go into detail with one of them. That way you really wouldn't even have to change anything with the article as it sits, you'd just be adding more sprites if anything.

    And we could have UU as a separate article if you don't want to go into detail. We could instead combine UU and RU when the time comes.

    EDIT: P.S. Stellar is correct, the phrase is get your priorities straight
  12. zarator

    zarator Credits to Mos-Quitoxe for the cute sprite^^
    is a Community Contributoris a Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,977
    Ok, after a bit of thought, I think I could actually manage to add words about other users. Maybe, I could just add a paragraph before the featured set, explaining which are the good users of the move and why. Also, about not including Quick Attack and Shadow Sneak, I kinda considered the option, but since it's only those two, I preferred to list it and explain why they're bad, rather than not listing them at all and leave less expert people wondering why those two are not here to begin with.

    Once I get feedback on this proposal I'll take action. And about this line,

    I only meant to say that, if I had to choose one set to feature (and I don't think it's a good idea to feature more than one complete set for reasons mentioned before), I'd try to go for the most standard option available. Obviously if I go with the paragraph, everything viable will definitely be included.
  13. Oglemi

    Oglemi THE DREAM IS REAL
    is a Tournament Directoris a member of the Site Staffis a Community Contributoris a Pokemon Researcheris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris an Administratoris a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
    C&C Leader

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,251
    Just a note that super effective is two words, and that you should add a second comma when making a list of three things. Ex: Harry, Larry, and Moe went to the bar.
  14. prem

    prem failed abortion
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Server Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,825
    although we normally do damage OHKOs things based on if stealth rock is up, i think you should leave out sr damage when thinking about volc, if only because so many things kill it after sr cause of how much health is loses.
  15. breh

    breh ⁰ ゝ⁰
    is a Smogon IRC AOPis a Tiering Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    3,202
    if you ever use that pastebin (only pokes that are mentioned only in the pastebin):

    bullet punch is bad because it's used by bad pokes. Machamp is worse than conkeldurr and Metagross is... not too great, as evidenced by the fact that both are uu.

    Hitmontop is not OU viable, don't mention it. Ambipom is bad; I would be a happier person inside if it were not mentioned at all.

    Weavile is not OU viable and I doubt mamo is as well. Both are good in UU, though.

    Mach Punch Breloom is prooooobably a bad idea.

    bisharp is not OU viable.

    don't even mention dusknoir at all. it's awful.

    Sharpedo is probably not OU viable.

    ahahaha Aqua Jet blastoise and Empoleon. You had me going there! It's a fun gimmick move on both, but not a good one.

    Does infernape ever use vacuum wave?

    In relation to the article itself: get rid of shadow sneak. Shadow sneak, as you mention, is weak as shit. Gallade is pretty lackluster in UU; I'd imagine it's worse in OU.

    EDIT:

    prem: I am more or less fine with your assertions (still feel metagross and machamp suck, but w/e), but breloom is not something you should be mentioning mach punch for. The set you're referencing hasn't been changed since April. APRIL.

    Also, I really feel that shadow sneak shouldn't be mentioned at all. Unless this article goes into Ubers, then just ignore it. It's a move with crappy users; gallade as a user of priority moves is a stupid kid among imbeciles.
  16. prem

    prem failed abortion
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Server Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,825
  17. Berserker Lord

    Berserker Lord unreliable analysis writer.

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,219


    You really don't know what your talking about. Metagross is really good, especially Choice Band which just wrecks shit, and has Trick to ruin his counters.
  18. zarator

    zarator Credits to Mos-Quitoxe for the cute sprite^^
    is a Community Contributoris a Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,977
    I've edited the article a bit, adding some new paragraphs for potential users. I still have to take care of Mach Punch and anything after it, but I'll finish this soon.
  19. UsernameSayWha

    UsernameSayWha

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    403
    If you want to include an unreleased mon, you can have TechniLoom in there.

    (Breloom pic)((I'm too lazy to find one.))
    Breloom @ Life Orb/Leftovers
    Technician
    252 Atk/252 Spe/4 Def
    Adamant
    - Spore
    - Swords Dance
    - Mach Punch
    - Bullet Seed
  20. Aldaron

    Aldaron indefatigable workhorse
    is a Tournament Directoris a Battle Server Administratoris a Smogon IRC SOPis a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis an Administrator
    OU and IRC Leader

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,592
    You say 392 attack but have Jolly listed as the nature; Jolly reaches 357 attack, and Adamant reaches 392.
  21. zarator

    zarator Credits to Mos-Quitoxe for the cute sprite^^
    is a Community Contributoris a Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,977
    Ok I fixed everything (including Aldaron's last nitpick). Now each priority move mentions all its available users. Sometimes I've been somewhat lenient (like when I mentioned Ambipom speaking about Fake Out), but I think the explaination is very frank about the merits and the flaws of each option. Further feedback would be appreciated.
  22. Oglemi

    Oglemi THE DREAM IS REAL
    is a Tournament Directoris a member of the Site Staffis a Community Contributoris a Pokemon Researcheris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris an Administratoris a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
    C&C Leader

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,251
    add
    remove
    comments

    Show Hide
    Introduction


    The ability to attack before the opponent... Just that alone puts me at a great advantage, don't you agree?

    In a metagame where a sweeper can outspeed even the fastest users of Choice Scarf without any kind of setup, and where powerful setup moves like Dragon Dance, Rock Polish, and Quiver Dance loom at every corner, priority attacks stand out as one of the most reliable checks to the fast-paced Black/White metagame. This guide will analyze the existing priority attacking moves, focusing on how can they be used to ward off opposing sweepers and to pull of a sweep on their own.

    Mechanics

    Whenever you read about priority moves in general - not just attacks - you will often find the expression "priority bracket." What does it mean? (space) The priority bracket is a number associated to each move. Here you can find an extensive list and in-depth expaination of the concept. As far as it concerns us, what matters is that a move with a higher priority bracket than another one will always be executed first, regardless of the Speed stat of their respective users. On the contrary, if the two moves have the same priority bracket, Speed stats will determine which goes first, as usual.

    For example, Quick Attack has a priority bracket of +1. This means that if you use Quick Attack against someone who is using, say, Flamethrower (a +0 priority bracket move), the Quick Attack user will always go first. However, if the opponent of said user opted for ExtremeSpeed (which features a priority bracket of +2), the ExtremeSpeed user would go first. If both Pokémon were to use Quick Attack, their respective Speed stats will decide who will get their attack in first.

    In-Depth analyses

    Aqua Jet

    In the transition to the newest generation, Aqua Jet rose significantly in popularity, for several reasons. It was already unique among priority moves because it was the only one to get a boost from a specific weather condition (rain), but Gen V brought the Drizzle ability, via Dream World Politoed, in the OU metagame, enormously improving its viability. Moreover, teams which carry Drizzle Politoed cannot use Pokémon with the ability Swift Swim, making Aqua Jet even more appealing as a sweeping tool.

    But it doesn't end here. The new generation brought several powerful and fast threats, many of whom can boost their speed to frightening levels. Rock Polish Landorus, Rock Polish Terrakion, and Quiver Dance Volcarona can easily steamroll entire teams with their might and their quickness. They all have a crucial flaw, however: they are weak to Water-type attacks. This is where Aqua Jet comes in, putting a halt to their sweeps before it's too late.

    Quite a few Pokémon can make good use of this priority move, although almost all of them require rain support to be competitive in the Standard environment. Azumarill immediately springs to mind, with his gargantuan Attack stat rivaling the ones of Groudon and Zekrom. Sharpedo, despite having Speed Boost to get the jump on faster enemies, often use this move when he still doesn't have enough boosts under his belt (or, sometimes, to outpace other priority attack users). Feraligatr can abuse his Torrent ability and Swords Dance to mop the floor with weakened teams. Several other Pokémon boast Aqua Jet and Swords Dance, but most of them lack the defenses to set up.

    Whether you employ Aqua Jet to ravage through the opposition under the rainfall, or to ward yourself off a similar treatment, this move definitely made a splash in the OU metagame, and earned its place among the old standards.


    Azumarill @ Choice Band
    Ability: Huge Power
    EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Aqua Jet
    - Superpower
    - Waterfall
    - Ice Punch / Return

    Azumarill's massive 654 Attack stat lets him use Aqua Jet to great effect. Frailer Water weak sweepers like Volcarona are outright knocked out (Volcarona is not safe even under the sun, as it is still OHKOed over 50% of the time after Stealth Rock damage). If rain is falling, bulkier ones like Landorus and Terrakion stand no chance, either. Aqua Jet's power under rain is so extreme that even Pokémon who resist it like Haxorus are in trouble, should they fall below one third of their life total. On top of it, crucial coverage moves like Superpower and Ice Punch ensure that almost nothing can switch in safely against Azumarill.

    Bullet Punch

    While not as popular as it used to be, Bullet Punch is still a fairly common sight in the OU metagame. Steel may not renowned as an attacking type due to its lack of coverage, but no Pokémon besides Shedinja is immune to it. Moreover, even if Fire, Water, and Electric are all common types, many important sweepers do not belong to any of those, and quite a few ones actually happen to be Steel weak (most notably Terrakion).

    Bullet Punch has few but competent users. Scizor stands up above all the others, thanks to his wonderful Technician ability. Metagross can use this move to bypass the its low Speed and revenge kill weakened opponents (although the damage output is a bit less impressive than in Scizor's case). Lucario sometimes uses it in tandem with ExtremeSpeed to punish Ghost- and Rock-types who attempt to stop him. Machamp lacks STAB, but he still finds Bullet Punch useful to pick off the likes of Gengar and Latios (and in particular, any Pokémon carrying a Focus Sash).

    It probably isn't the strongest priority attack out there, or the most effective one, but that's not reason enough to underestimate its usefulness. Bullet Punch is still the best option, among priority attacks, against a wide range of foes, from the Rock-type menaces like Tyranitar and the aforementioned Terrakion to the ever threatening Dragon-type Pokémon.


    Scizor @ Choice Band
    Ability: Technician
    EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Bullet Punch
    - U-turn
    - Superpower
    - Pursuit / Quick Attack

    Unsurprisingly, Scizor is still the most effective user of Bullet Punch. Thanks to Technician, the Steel-type mantis can revenge kill a lot of sweepers, often even if they resist the hit. Volcarona, for example, takes around 40% damage despite the resistance brought by his Fire typing. Rock-type Pokémon like Terrakion are obliterated, and even neutral targets like Dragonite will lose over half of their maximum health. Again, no Pokémon is complete without some moves to complement his priority attack, and Scizor makes no exception. U-turn allows him to scout, and punches holes into threats like Rotom-W which would otherwise wall Bullet Punch. Superpower annihilates most Steel-type Pokémon, and Pursuit makes for a wondrous trapper. Alternatively, Quick Attack doubles as a priority attack.

    ExtremeSpeed

    ExtremeSpeed has several advantages over its alternatives. First of all, the Base Power of 80 sets it apart from any other priority move besides the not as reliable Sucker Punch, making it the strongest priority attack without any kind of drawback in the game. Sadly, (comma) most users of this move do not have STAB on it, meaning that other priority moves can outdamage it when backed by STAB and Technician (or STAB and rain in the case of Aqua Jet). Still, many of its user boast very high Attack stats (with the exception of Togekiss, who makes up for it with the coveted STAB), and some can even boost it further with Dragon Dance or Swords Dance.

    A peculiar feature of ExtremeSpeed is that it sits sitting on a priority bracket of +2. This allows the user to get the jump on most other priority attackers (which can prove fatal to the ones who lack a Normal-type resistance like Azumarill or Mamoswine). Actually, this improvement often doesn't matter, as all ExtremeSpeed users boast at least a base 80 Speed stat (often with significant EV investment), but it can prove crucial sometimes (especially against Ice Shard). (period)

    ExtremeSpeed may have not the best distribution, but almost all the Pokémon who learn this move can put it to good use. Dragonite is maybe the strongest user available, and can easily 2HKO a lot of troublesome Pokémon like Latios and Haxorus. Lucario can boost his Attack further with Swords Dance and sweep almost unhindered. Togekiss is the only user with STAB on the move, which makes up for the paltry Attack to a certain extent and allows for some unpredictable mixed sets (especially in tandem with the Hustle ability).

    Thanks to its wide neutral coverage, its good Base Power, (comma) and some competent users, ExtremeSpeed is a solid, if not common, threat and one of the most reliable priority moves out there.


    Dragonite @ Choice Band
    Ability: Multiscale
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - ExtremeSpeed
    - Outrage
    - Waterfall
    - Fire Punch / Dragon Claw

    Dragonite is very well designed for the use of ExtremeSpeed. The Its great Attack stat gives it the necessary punch to pull the job. Moreover, it has an offensive presence most priority attackers wish they could have, allowing Dragonite to avoid becoming setup bait more often than usual not (or at least, preventing him from being predicted too easily). Dragon-, Fire-, (comma) and Water-type attacks attain perfect coverage, giving Dragonite the chance to be much more than a mere revenge killer.

    Fake Out

    Fake Out is fairly unique among priority attacks. It can only be used on the first turn the user is out on the battlefield, meaning it is unviable as a Choiced move. It also has an interesting side effect - the ability to flinch any Pokémon lacking Inner Focus, Shield Dust, (comma) or the Ghost typing can prove really neat at times. It is also the fastest priority attack in the game, surpassing even ExtremeSpeed.

    How do these points affect Fake Out's viability, compared to the other priority attacks? The first thing which should be noted is that this move has almost no sweeping potential, and serves better as a check to other fast sweepers (or even to opposing priority users). But most importantly, Fake Out is a surprising scouting move. In a metagame where the information warfare is played on the level of movesets rather than whole Pokémon, discovering which item the opponent is holding as soon as possible can make the difference. Dealing moderate damage and flinching the foe, Fake Out allows the user to check if the opponent is carrying Leftovers or not, a piece of information which often can tell a lot about which moveset the target is running (especially with Pokémon like Politoed who are known for carrying Leftovers or a Choice item). And while the damage inflicted by Fake Out is often too low to gain an accurate picture of how much did the opponent invested in physical defense, it is often enough to tell whether you're facing something with max HP EVs or a sweeping spread (max Speed and Atk or SpA).

    There are a handful of promising Fake Out users, but most of them have better things to do (like Scrafty and Infernape). Mienshao stands out since he is already a very good scout with a high Attack stat, so he can make great use of Fake Out. Ambipom is the strongest user thanks to Technician, but aside from that he has little to brag about in OU and finds it hard to compete with the likes of the aforementioned Mienshao. Hitmontop could use it, since he also has Technician, but he has a whole host of better priority moves to choose from and he struggles to fit in the OU environment as well.

    In conclusion, Fake Out is more useful as a utility move which allows the user to gain information on the opponent, to rack up damage throughout the match, (comma) (especially in tandem with weather and/or Toxic Spikes) and only sometimes to actually revenge kill something.


    Mienshao @ Life Orb
    Ability: Regenerator
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
    Nature: Naive (+Spd, -SDef)
    - Fake Out
    - Hi Jump Kick
    - U-turn
    - Hidden Power Ice

    Mienshao is an excellent user of Fake Out, showing very well the value of this move as an utility tool of scouting. Thanks to Regenerator, Mienshao can switch and come in later repeteadly, allowing him to Fake Out multiple times, racking a lot of residual damage. While as said Fake Out doesn't pack a lot of power (especially when lacking STAB), 349 Attack and a Life Orb gives it quite a punch, allowing Mienshao not only to get a more accurate idea of which EVs the opponent is running, but also to effectively revenge kill sweepers. U-turn makes the scouting job even easier, avoiding annoying double switches and keeping momentum going. And finally, unlike most scouts, Mienshao packs an enormously powerful STAB in Hi Jump Kick, as well as a neat coverage move like Hidden Power Ice to kill common Fighting-type resistors like Gliscor.

    Ice Shard

    Ice Shard is one of the less commonly used priority attacks, mainly because Ice is such a terrible type defensively - and like other priority moves, Ice Shard almost always needs STAB to function properly. A pity, because the same Ice STAB, when used offensively, can be deadly with its wide super effective coverage, its lack of immunities, (comma) and its ability to hit some notable sweepers with super (space) effective damage.

    To expand on this point, many Ice-type weak Pokémon thrive on a resistance to some kind of priority move. Flying-type Pokémon endure Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave easily. Dragon-type ones soak up Aqua Jet. But all of them fall to the frigid power of Ice Shard, making this move - at least on paper - one of the potentially best priority moves available. It would probably be used much more often, if it weren't for the inherent flaws of the Ice typing.

    Still, this move can be salvaged by some decent users. Weavile may look like an odd choice at first, since he already has a very good 125 Speed stat. But when you take into account the ever common Dragon Dance threats like Haxorus and Salamence, you'll find Weavile has plenty of opportunities to abuse it. Mamoswine has a very solid 130 Attack stat to work with, and lacks the Stealth Rock weakness which plague many Ice Shard users. Donphan may lack in power - even with a potential 372 Attack stat, Ice Shard is quite underwhelming without STAB - but he still can pick off weakened Dragons and the occasional Latios.


    Mamoswine @ Life Orb / Choice Band
    Ability: Snow Cloak
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Ice Shard
    - Icicle Crash
    - Earthquake
    - Stone Edge

    Mamoswine is one of the few Ice-type Pokémon which can actually work in OU. Ice Shard, whether you opt for Life Orb or Choice Band, packs a lot of power. It may not be as strong as Technician Bullet Punch or rain-boosted Aqua Jet, but since Ice Shard will hit its intended targets super (space) effectively (much more often than Bullet Punch, anyway), this will rarely be an issue. On top of it, Mamoswine can do a lot of other things with his awesome Attack stat. Icicle Crash and Earthquake provide him with a STAB combination which leaves very little stuff uncovered, and Stone Edge patches such gaps almost perfectly.

    Mach Punch

    Another move which gained quite a bit more usage in the transition to the new generation, Mach Punch benefits from running off a very good attacking and defensive type, often meaning that its users can do much more than the revenge killing job. Its only drawback, compared to other priority moves, is that several important sweepers resist Fighting. As such, Mach Punch is slightly more suited for sweeping than it is to check opposing Pokémon (although revenge killing Terrakion and Excadrill is always nice).

    Even then, though, Mach Punch is by no means a bad move. As a sweeping move, in fact, it benefits from the fact most users can boost their Attack stat with Bulk Up or Swords Dance. Moreover, the amount of super (space) effective coverage is astounding. And while it is indeed resisted by quite a few types, most of them are Rock-type weak, which means that Stealth Rock support will help immensely. The exceptions are Poison-type Pokémon, but they're not as common.

    Conkeldurr stands out from the other users of Mach Punch because he possesses the bulk to set up comfortably against a fair range of enemies (including very common threats like Tyranitar and Ferrothorn). Infernape has a lot more trouble finding room to use Swords Dance, and often fails even to include Mach Punch in his movepool because of coverage issues. Breloom is helped by the invaluable Spore, which is often enough to buy him the free turn required to set up. However, the mushroom doesn't benefit from being stopped cold by quite a few Pokémon. Finally, as noted before in the case of Bullet Punch, Hitmontop is a fantastic user of weaker priority moves thanks to Technician, and boasting STAB on Fighting-type moves, he has the strength to actually hurt his intended targets (for example, Terrakion can take up to 70% damage).


    Conkeldurr @ Leftovers
    Ability: Guts
    EVs: 120 HP / 252 Atk / 136 SpD
    Nature: Brave (+Atk, -Spe) or Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Mach Punch
    - Drain Punch
    - Bulk Up
    - Payback / Stone Edge

    Conkeldurr is the premier Mach Punch sweeper in the metagame, and for good reason. Thanks to a frightening base 140 Atk, he can quickly boost the power of Mach Punch with Bulk Up to the point it can OHKO or 2HKO the entire opposing team. At the same time, however, it has the bulk to switch in the likes of Terrakion or Excadrill to revenge kill them, and Drain Punch can extend his lifespan further. The fourth moveslot allows him to round off the coverage.

    Quick Attack

    Quick Attack is one of the less used priority attacks, mainly because it lacks in power to actually be useful. Its possible users often lack STAB on it, and the fact Normal doesn't hit anything super (space) effectively hardly helps. It shares all of ExtremeSpeed's issues, without boasting any of the benefits (besides the decent neutral coverage).

    This however doesn't mean Quick Attack is useless. When boosted by Technician, Choice Band, or a setup move, this move can dent the foes remarkably hard, often when they least expect to be revenge killed. Perhaps, this is the biggest advantage of Quick Attack: it can allow you to revenge kill some sweepers you couldn't otherwise deal with the other priority moves. Sure, ExtremeSpeed does the same thing, but Quick Attack has a larger distribution, allowing you more freedom in team building. Still, even if there are some potentially good users available, like Terrakion and the aforementioned Scizor, you'll often find that there are better options to go with.


    Terrakion @ Choice Band
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA)
    - Quick Attack
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - X-Scissor

    Choice Band Terrakion is one of the few Pokémon which can afford to use Quick Attack, mainly because its typing is so good offensively that he hardly needs coverage moves. Moreover, when boosted by a Choice Band, 357 Atk is enough to actually deal some damage. Sure, it will deal slightly more than 30% damage to Volcarona (let alone bulkier Pokémon like Landorus or Haxorus), but it can still come in be useful at times.

    Shadow Sneak

    Shadow Sneak is probably the rarest priority attack you will see in OU, mainly because of its really bad distribution. You will be hard pressed finding any Pokémon learning this move with any viability in the Standard environment, and even then, most of them either have unimpressive Attack stats (like Dusknoir or Spiritomb) or lack STAB (such in the case of Gallade and Muk). The only exceptions are Banette, who have better things to do should it ever show his face in OU, and Giratina, who should never show his face in OU to begin with.

    Even then, though, it's not like Shadow Sneak would be extremely valuable in the Standard metagame. Most common threats are either neutral to it, or resist it outright. The only possible targets would be Gengar, Latios, and Reuniclus, who should be revenge killed with priority only under Trick Room. On top of it, Scizor can switch in all of them, and his Technician Bullet Punch is stronger than a supe (space) reffective, non-STAB Shadow Sneak. Yeah, it is that bad.


    Gallade @ Life Orb
    Ability: Steadfast
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Swords Dance
    - Close Combat
    - Ice Punch / Stone Edge
    - Shadow Sneak

    This is probably one of the few viable ways to use Shadow Sneak in OU. After a Swords Dance, Gallade will pack a hefty 766 Attack, further boosted by Life Orb. This actually allows him to OHKO Latios and Gengar among other things (although the former requires Stealth Rock to ensure the kill), even though you will do 81.9% at max to TR Reuniclus, and you will barely 2HKO Bold variants. Luckily, for the slower opponents Gallade has a pretty strong Close Combat (which actually outdamages super (space) effective Shadow Sneak), but really, this is as good as it gets.

    Sucker Punch

    "High risk, high reward" would describe Sucker Punch perfectly. This priority move can be pretty strong, indeed. It shares the same 80 Base Power of ExtremeSpeed, and several users with very good Attack stats get STAB on it. However, again, Sucker Punch suffers from the same syndrome of Ice Shard - as good as the Dark-type may be offensively, it is pretty mediocre defensively. The OU metagame is filled with several strong Fighting-type sweepers, many of which can eat any Dark-type Pokémon with ease. The three OU Pokémon with this type - Tyranitar, Hydreigon, and Scrafty - do not even learn the move. Moreover, much like Shadow Sneak, there aren't a lot of Pokémon you'd want to hit super (space) effectively with Sucker Punch. And to make things worse, the aforementioned Fighting-types resist the move (and in the case of the legendary trio, even take advantage of it to boost their Attack stats with Justified).

    It is not all doom and gloom for the ambushing attack, though. Unlike Ice Shard, it has a Base Power which makes it usable even without STAB, just like ExtremeSpeed. Sure, it is a bit more situational than the Ice-type priority move, and relies a bit on prediction, but still has some potential. And unlike ExtremeSpeed, it has better coverage, pairing very well with Fighting attacks in particular. This allows Sucker Punch users to run less attacking moves, and focus on setup or support options. For example, Bisharp and Toxicroak often abuse this move in tandem with Sucker Punch Fighting-type attacks to decimate teams lacking a good Dark-type resistance like Terrakion.

    One thing which should be noted, though, is that Sucker Punch is very risky as a check to faster Pokémon. More often than not, said faster Pokémon pack one (if not two) setup moves, with much more PP than the measly 8 PP of Sucker Punch. This allows them to easily outstall the Sucker Punch user, or at the very least to force a troubling gamble which won't work in favor of the priority attacker all the time. To make things worse, they could use Substitute to basically neuter the threat of Sucker Punch and turn the tables. And although not as problematic, a faster (or slower under Trick Room) user of a priority move, or any user of ExtremeSpeed, will go before the Sucker Punch and will therefore make the move fail. Sucker Punch shines more as a sweeping attack, and should be used as such. There are better, more reliable options for checking setup sweepers.


    Toxicroak @ Life Orb / Leftovers
    Ability: Dry Skin
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Swords Dance
    - Cross Chop
    - Sucker Punch
    - Ice Punch

    Thanks to the neverending rain Drizzle provides, Toxicroak can boast a decent amount of bulkiness despite the seemingly mediocre defensive stats. This allows him to set up quite reliably, and sweep the field with his good coverage. In this case, Sucker Punch has the chance to work mainly because the opponent will have a hard time gambling with Toxicroak. Each failed gamble, in fact, probably means that either the foe is dead (like Latios using Recover or Calm Mind and then eating an Ice Punch) or that Toxicroak sets up another Swords Dance, meaning that if he gets past the supposed check, he will sweep.

    Vacuum Wave

    Fighting-types rarely boast good Special Attack stats, and many of the ones which do come from BW and therefore couldn't pick Vacuum Wave as a tutor move. However, differently from Shadow Sneak, Vacuum Wave actually has some potential, despite the limited distribution. As noted for Mach Punch, in fact, Fighting is a good attacking type and can sweep quite reliably, especially with Stealth Rock support.

    What really penalizes Vacuum Wave is the really bad distribution. And this doesn't hint also to the move itself, but also to the complementary moves which are so important to make priority moves work. While Swords Dance is a TM with very generous distribution, for example, Nasty Plot is much more uncommon. Bulk Up is learned by nearly all Fighting-type Pokémon. Calm Mind, on the contrary, has only a few users among them.

    Luckily for Vacuum Wave, though, there isn't the same type of "wrong user syndrome" which affects Sucker Punch, for example. Whereas the latter is missed on some potentially awesome users, for example, Vacuum Wave shows up just on the few right Pokémon to make it work, and all of them are gifted with either Calm Mind or Nasty Plot - often with both. For example, Infernape and Lucario can deliver respectable amounts of damage, once they have pulled off a Nasty Plot. It may not have the same availability of its physical counterpart, but Vacuum Wave is definitely usable in OU and has its merits. Its only real defect, if anything, is that Terrakion has a larger Special Defense in a sandstorm, and so can't be revenge killed like with the other priority moves.


    Lucario @ Life Orb
    Ability: Inner Focus
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    Nature: Modest (+SpA, -Atk)
    - Nasty Plot
    - Vacuum Wave
    - Aura Sphere
    - Dark Pulse

    Much like Lucario abused Swords Dance ExtremeSpeed in the last generation (and still does nowadays from time to time), the gift he received in the form of Nasty Plot allows him to sweep on the special side as well. And when backed off by a respectable 115 base Special Attack stat, Vacuum Wave can really lay the hurt on the opponent once boosted. Aura Sphere provides a more consistent STAB move, while Dark Pulse rounds off coverage.

    Playing against priority

    Dealing with priority attackers can be quite annoying. On one hand, they limit your freedom to sweep. If you see an Azumarill on the opponent's team, for example, you know your Terrakion will have a hard time until the threat is removed. On the other hand, once they set up with Swords Dance or Nasty Plot, they can manage to sweep you almost effortlessly, while you watch helplessly as your team is wiped out without being able to react at all. The strongest, Choiced priority attackers could even sweep the field without any kind of previous setup, making the late-game even more frustrating.

    Despite all their power, however, priority moves come with some issues. Most of them lack in power (even the likes of ExtremeSpeed because of the lack of STAB), and this means that most users will be either 1) Choiced (Band or Specs) or 2) in need of a setup before being effective. This is what you need to take advantage of, turning their revenge kill or their setup against them. Whenever their Scizor kills your Haxorus with Bullet Punch, it is an opportunity for something resistant to Steel like Ferrothorn to come in and setup Spikes or Stealth Rock. If their Scizor instead is a Swords Dance variant, just switch in Rotom-W and watch as they're forced to switch out or suffer a burn from Will-O-wisp (or perhaps an outright KO from Hidden Power Fire or Hydro Pump).

    Long story short, priority moves always have an opportunity cost, be it the need of locking oneself in an attack or the need to spend one turn (or more) to setup. As long as you're able to take advantage of these opportunities - and as long as you prevent the opponent from restricting your options to the point you can no longer take advantage of said opportunities - you should be fine, even if they are "faster" than you. The only exception here is Fake Out, but remember that most times you will not lose a game to Fake Out alone. If you prevent them from setting up those Toxic Spikes, or you keep rain going instead of sand, or you do whatever you can to neutralize any way they can abuse Fake Out (which naturally also includes intelligent switching), you should not incur in any trouble.

    Conclusion

    Now you should hopefully have a clearer idea of how priority moves work, which are the options available and how to deal with them. Priority moves can be an asset to most teams, due to their function as "universal check" to a multitude of threats, and at the same time they can give the necessary speed a team requires to sweep the opponent. However, they are not foolproof, and can be turned against their users if one is not careful, just like the trainer quoted in the introduction (who incidentally is so much of a loser that he resorts to lol X Speed instead of a decent priority move).


    Great job zarator

    [​IMG]
    GP 1/2
  23. zarator

    zarator Credits to Mos-Quitoxe for the cute sprite^^
    is a Community Contributoris a Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,977
    Thanks, Oglemi. I implemented your corrections. Now ready for the second GP!
  24. Calm Pokemaster

    Calm Pokemaster
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,746
    Deletions
    Additions / Corrections
    Comments



    Show Hide

    Introduction

    [​IMG]
    The ability to attack before the opponent... Just that alone puts me at a great advantage, don't you agree?

    In a metagame where a sweeper can outspeed even the fastest users of Choice Scarf without any kind of setup, and where powerful setup moves like such as Dragon Dance, Rock Polish, and Quiver Dance loom at every corner, priority attacks stand out as one of the most reliable checks to the fast-paced Black/White metagame (you can't ''check'' a metagame) the many speedy threats present. This guide will analyze the existing priority attacking moves, focusing on how can they be used to ward off opposing sweepers and to pull off a sweep on their own.

    Mechanics

    Whenever you read about priority moves in general - not just attacks - you will often find the expression "priority bracket." What does it mean? The priority bracket is a number associated to each move. Here you can find an extensive list and in-depth explanation of the concept. As far as it concerns us, what matters is that a move with a higher priority bracket than another one will always be executed first, regardless of the Speed stats of their respective users. On the contrary, if the two moves have the same priority bracket, Speed stats will determine which goes first, as usual.

    For example, Quick Attack has a priority bracket of +1. This means that if you use Quick Attack against someone who is using, say, Flamethrower (a +0 priority bracket move), the Quick Attack user will always go first. However, if the opponent of said user opted for ExtremeSpeed (which features a priority bracket of +2), the ExtremeSpeed user would go first. If both Pokemon were to use Quick Attack, their respective Speed stats will decide who will get their attack in first.

    In-Depth analyses

    Aqua Jet

    In the transition to the newest generation, Aqua Jet rose significantly in popularity, for several reasons. It was already unique among priority moves because it was the only one to get a boost from a specific weather condition (rain), but Gen V brought introduced the Drizzle ability, via Dream World Politoed, into the OU metagame, enormously improving its viability. Moreover, teams which carry Drizzle Politoed cannot use Pokémon with the ability Swift Swim, making Aqua Jet even more appealing as a sweeping tool.

    But it doesn't end here. The new generation brought several powerful and fast threats, many of whom can boost their speed to frightening levels. Rock Polish Landorus, Rock Polish Terrakion, and Quiver Dance Volcarona can easily steamroll entire teams with their might and their quickness. They all have a crucial flaw, however: they are weak to Water-type attacks. This is where Aqua Jet comes in, putting a halt to their sweeps before it's too late.

    Quite a few Pokémon can make good use of this priority move, although almost all of them require rain support to be competitive in the Standard environment usable in OU. Azumarill immediately springs to mind, with his gargantuan Attack stat rivaling the ones of Groudon and Zekrom. Sharpedo, despite having Speed Boost to get the jump on faster enemies, often use this move when he still doesn't have enough boosts under his belt (or, sometimes, to outpace other priority attack users). Feraligatr can abuse his Torrent ability and Swords Dance to mop the floor with weakened teams. Several other Pokemon boast Aqua Jet and Swords Dance, but most of them lack the defenses to set up.

    Whether you employ Aqua Jet to ravage mow through the opposition under the rainfall (either ''ravage the opp'' or ''mow through the opp''), or to ward yourself off a similar treatment, this move definitely made a splash in the OU metagame, and earned its place among the old standards.

    [​IMG]
    Azumarill @ Choice Band
    Ability: Huge Power
    EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Aqua Jet
    - Superpower
    - Waterfall
    - Ice Punch / Return

    Azumarill's massive 654 Attack stat lets him use Aqua Jet to great effect. Frailer Water weak sweepers with a Water-type weakness, such as like Volcarona, are outright knocked out (Volcarona is not safe even under the sun, as it is still OHKOed over 50% of the time after Stealth Rock damage). If rain is falling, bulkier ones like Landorus and Terrakion stand no chance, either. Aqua Jet's power under rain is so extreme that even Pokémon who resist it like Haxorus Pokemon resisting it, such as Haxorus, are in trouble, should they fall below one third of their life total. On top of it, crucial coverage moves like Superpower and Ice Punch ensure that almost nothing can switch in safely against Azumarill.

    Bullet Punch

    While not as popular as it used to be, Bullet Punch is still a fairly common sight in the OU metagame. Steel may not renowned as an attacking type due to its lack of coverage, but no Pokemon besides Shedinja is immune to it. Moreover, even if Fire, Water, and Electric are all common types, many important sweepers do not belong to any of those, and quite a few actually happen to be Steel weak to Steel-type attacks (most notably Terrakion).

    Bullet Punch has few but competent users. Scizor stands up above all the others, thanks to his wonderful Technician ability. Metagross can use this move to bypass its low Speed and revenge kill weakened opponents (although the damage output is a bit less impressive than in Scizor's case). Lucario sometimes uses it in tandem with ExtremeSpeed to punish Ghost- and Rock-types who attempt to stop him. Machamp lacks STAB, but he still finds Bullet Punch useful to pick off the likes of Gengar and Latios (and in particular, any Pokemon carrying a Focus Sash).

    It probably isn't the strongest priority attack out there, or the most effective one, but that's not reason enough to underestimate its usefulness. Bullet Punch is still the best option, among priority attacks, against a wide range of foes, from the Rock-type menaces like Tyranitar and the aforementioned Terrakion to the ever threatening Dragon-types Pokémon.

    [​IMG]
    Scizor @ Choice Band
    Ability: Technician
    EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Bullet Punch
    - U-turn
    - Superpower
    - Pursuit / Quick Attack

    Unsurprisingly, Scizor is still the most effective user of Bullet Punch. Thanks to Technician, the Steel-type mantis can revenge kill a lot of sweepers, often even if they resist the hit. Volcarona, for example, takes around 40% damage despite the resistance brought by his Fire typing. Rock-types Pokémon like such as Terrakion are obliterated instantly, and even neutral targets like Dragonite will lose over half of their maximum health get 2HKOed. Again, no Pokemon is complete without some moves to complement his priority attack, and Scizor makes no exception. U-turn allows him to scout, and punch holes into threats like such as Rotom-W which would otherwise wall Bullet Punch. Superpower annihilates most Steel-type Pokémon, and Pursuit makes for a wondrous trapper. Alternatively, Quick Attack doubles as a priority attack.

    ExtremeSpeed

    ExtremeSpeed has several advantages over its alternatives. First of all, the 80 Base Power of 80 sets it apart from any other priority move besides the not as reliable unreliable Sucker Punch, making it the strongest priority attack without any kind of drawback in the game. Sadly, most users of this move do not have STAB on it, meaning that other priority moves can outdamage it when backed by STAB and Technician (or STAB and rain in the case of Aqua Jet). Still, many of its users boast very high Attack stats (with the exception of Togekiss, who makes up for it with the coveted STAB), and some can even boost it further with Dragon Dance or Swords Dance.

    A peculiar feature of ExtremeSpeed is that it sits on a priority bracket of +2. This allows the user to get the jump on most other priority attackers (which can prove fatal to the ones who lack a Normal-type resistance, like Azumarill or and Mamoswine). Actually, this improvement often doesn't matter, as all ExtremeSpeed users boast at least a base 80 Speed stat (often with significant EV investment), but it can prove crucial sometimes (especially against Ice Shard).

    ExtremeSpeed may have not the best distribution, but almost all the Pokemon who learn this move can put it to good use. Dragonite is maybe the strongest user available, and can easily 2HKO a lot of troublesome Pokémon threats such as like Latios and Haxorus. Lucario can boost his Attack further with Swords Dance and sweep almost unhindered. Togekiss is the only user with STAB on the move, which makes up for the paltry Attack to a certain extent and allows for some unpredictable mixed sets (especially in tandem with the Hustle ability).

    Thanks to its wide neutral coverage, its good Base Power, and some competent users, ExtremeSpeed is a solid, if not common, threat and one of the most reliable priority moves out there.

    [​IMG]
    Dragonite @ Choice Band
    Ability: Multiscale
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - ExtremeSpeed
    - Outrage
    - Waterfall
    - Fire Punch / Dragon Claw

    Dragonite is very well designed for the use of ExtremeSpeed. Its His great Attack stat gives it the him necessary punch to pull the job. Moreover, it he has an offensive presence most priority attackers wish they could have, allowing Dragonite to avoid becoming setup bait more often than not (or at least, preventing him it from being predicted too easily). Dragon-, Fire-, and Water-type attacks attain perfect coverage, giving Dragonite the chance to be much more than a mere revenge killer.

    Fake Out

    Fake Out is fairly unique among priority attacks. It can only be used on the first turn the user is out on the battlefield, meaning it is unviable as a Choiced move. It also has an interesting side effect - the ability to flinch any Pokemon lacking Inner Focus, Shield Dust, or the a Ghost typing can prove really neat at times. It is also the fastest priority attack in the game, surpassing even ExtremeSpeed.

    How do these points affect Fake Out's viability, compared to the other priority attacks? The first thing which should be noted is that this move has almost no sweeping potential, and serves better as a check to other fast sweepers (or even to opposing priority users). But most importantly, Fake Out is a surprising scouting move with the element of surprise. In a metagame where the information warfare is played on the level of movesets rather than whole Pokemon, discovering which item the opponent is holding as soon as possible can make the difference. Dealing moderate damage and flinching the foe, Fake Out allows the user to check if the opponent is carrying Leftovers or not, a piece of information which often can tell a lot about which moveset the target is running (especially with Pokémon like threats such as Politoed who are known for carrying Leftovers or a Choice item). And while the damage inflicted by Fake Out is often mostly too low to gain an accurate picture of how much the opponent invested in physical Defense, it is often enough to tell whether you're facing something with max HP EVs or a sweeping spread (max Speed and Atk or SpA).

    There are a handful of promising Fake Out users, but most of them have better things to do (like Scrafty and Infernape). Mienshao stands out since he is already a very good scout with a high Attack stat, so he can make great use of Fake Out. Ambipom is the strongest user thanks to Technician, but aside from that he has little to brag about in OU and finds it hard to compete with the likes of the aforementioned Mienshao. Hitmontop could use it, since he also has Technician, but he has a whole host of better priority moves to choose from and he struggles to fit in the OU environment as well.

    In conclusion, Fake Out is more useful as a utility move which allows the user to gain information on the opponent, to rack up damage throughout the match, (especially in tandem with weather and / or Toxic Spikes) and only orsometimes to actually revenge kill something.

    [​IMG]
    Mienshao @ Life Orb
    Ability: Regenerator
    EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
    Naive Nature (+Spd, -SDef)
    - Fake Out
    - Hi Jump Kick
    - U-turn
    - Hidden Power Ice

    Mienshao is an excellent user of Fake Out, showing very well the value of this move as an utility tool of scouting. Thanks to Regenerator, Mienshao can switch and come in later repeatedly, allowing him to Fake Out multiple times, racking up a lot of residual damage. While said Fake Out doesn't pack a lot of power (especially when lacking STAB), 349 Attack and a Life Orb gives it quite a punch, allowing Mienshao not only to not only get a more accurate idea of which EVs the opponent is running, but also to effectively revenge kill sweepers. U-turn makes the scouting job even easier, avoiding annoying double switches and keeping momentum going. And finally, unlike most scouts, Mienshao packs an enormously powerful STAB in Hi Jump Kick, as well as a neat coverage move like Hidden Power Ice to kill common Fighting-type resistors like Gliscor.

    Ice Shard

    Ice Shard is one of the less commonly used priority attacks, mainly because Ice is such a terrible type defensively - and like other priority moves, Ice Shard almost always needs STAB to function properly. A pity, because the same Ice STAB, when used offensively, can be deadly with its wide super effective coverage, its lack of immunities, and its ability to hit some notable sweepers with super effective damage.

    To expand on this point, many Ice-type-weak Pokemon thrive on a resistance to some kind of priority move. Flying-types Pokémon endure Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave easily, and the Dragon-types ones soak up Aqua Jet. But all of them fall to the frigid power of Ice Shard, making this move - at least on paper - one of the potentially best priority moves available. It would probably be used much more often, if it weren't for the inherent flaws of the Ice typing.

    Still, this move can be salvaged by some decent users. Weavile may look like an odd choice at first, since he already has a very good 125 Speed stat. But when you take into account the ever common Dragon Dance threats like users such as Haxorus and Salamence, you'll find Weavile has plenty of opportunities to abuse it. Mamoswine has a very solid base 130 Attack stat to work with, and lacks the Stealth Rock weakness which plagues many Ice Shard users. Donphan may lack in power - even with a potential 372 Attack stat, Ice Shard is quite underwhelming without STAB - but he still can pick off weakened Dragon-types and the occasional such as the occasionalLatios.

    [​IMG]
    Mamoswine @ Life Orb / Choice Band
    Ability: Snow Cloak
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk /252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Ice Shard
    - Icicle Crash
    - Earthquake
    - Stone Edge

    Mamoswine is one of the few Ice-type Pokemon which can actually work in OU. Ice Shard, whether you opt for Life Orb or Choice Band, packs a lot of power. It may not be as strong as Technician Bullet Punch or rain-boosted Aqua Jet, but since Ice Shard will hit its intended targets super effectively (much more often than Bullet Punch, anyway), this will rarely be an issue. On top of it, Mamoswine can do a lot of other things with his awesome Attack stat. Icicle Crash and Earthquake provide him with a STAB combination which leaves very little stuff uncovered, and Stone Edge patches such gaps almost perfectly.

    Mach Punch

    Another move which gained quite a bit more usage in the transition to the new generation, Mach Punch benefits from running off a very good attacking and defensive type, often meaning that its users can do much more than the revenge killing job. Its only drawback, compared to other priority moves, is that several important sweepers resist it Fighting. As such, Mach Punch is slightly more suited for sweeping than it is to check opposing Pokémon (although revenge killing Terrakion is always nice).

    Even then, though, Mach Punch is by no means a bad move. As a sweeping move, in fact, it benefits from the fact most users can boost their Attack stat with Bulk Up or Swords Dance. Moreover, the amount of super effective coverage is astounding. And while it is indeed resisted by quite a few types, most of them are Rock-type weak, which means that Stealth Rock support will help immensely. The exceptions are Poison-type Pokemon, but they're not as common.

    Conkeldurr stands out from the other users of Mach Punch because he possesses the bulk to set up comfortably against a fair range of enemies (including very common threats like Tyranitar and Ferrothorn). Infernape has a lot more trouble finding room to use Swords Dance, and often fails even to include Mach Punch in his movepool because of coverage issues. Breloom is helped by the invaluable Spore, which is often enough to buy him the free turn required to set up. However, the mushroom doesn't benefit from being stopped cold by quite a few Pokemon. Finally, as noted before in the case of Bullet Punch, Hitmontop is a fantastic user of weaker priority moves thanks to Technician, and boasting STAB on Fighting-type moves; he has the strength to actually hurt his intended targets (for example, Terrakion can take up to 70% damage).

    [​IMG]
    Conkeldurr @ Leftovers
    Ability: Guts
    EVs: 120 HP / 252 Atk / 136 SpD
    Nature: Brave (+Atk, -Spe) or Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Mach Punch
    - Drain Punch
    - Bulk Up
    - Payback / Stone Edge

    Conkeldurr is the premier Mach Punch sweeper in the metagame, and for good reason. Thanks to a frightening base 140 Attack, he can quickly boost the power of Mach Punch with Bulk Up to the point where it can OHKO or 2HKO the entire opposing team. At the same time, however, it has the bulk to switch into the likes of Terrakion to revenge kill them, and Drain Punch can extend his lifespan further. The fourth moveslot allows him to round off the coverage is mainly for a coverage option to deal with threats which pack a Fighting-type resistance.

    Quick Attack

    Quick Attack is one of the less used priority attacks, mainly because it lacks in power to actually be useful. Its possible users often lack STAB on it, and the fact that Normal-type attacks don't hit anything super effectively hardly helps. It shares all of ExtremeSpeed's issues, without boasting any of the benefits (besides the decent neutral coverage).

    This however doesn't mean Quick Attack is useless. When boosted by Technician, Choice Band, or a setup move, this move can dent the foes remarkably hard, often when they least expect to be revenge killed. Perhaps, this is the biggest advantage of Quick Attack: it can allow you to revenge kill some sweepers you couldn't otherwise deal with using the other priority moves. Sure, ExtremeSpeed does the same thing, but Quick Attack has a larger distribution, allowing giving you more freedom in team building. Still, even if there are some potentially good users available, like Terrakion and the aforementioned Scizor, you'll often find that there are better options to go with.

    [​IMG]
    Terrakion @ Choice Band
    Ability: Justified
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Jolly (+Spe, -SpA)
    - Quick Attack
    - Close Combat
    - Stone Edge
    - X-Scissor

    Choice Band Terrakion is one of the few Pokemon which can afford to use Quick Attack, mainly because its his typing is so good offensively that he hardly needs coverage moves. Moreover, when boosted by a Choice Band, 357 Atk is enough to actually deal some damage. Sure, it will deal slightly more than 30% damage to Volcarona (let alone bulkier Pokémon like Landorus or Haxorus), but it can still be useful at times.

    Shadow Sneak

    Shadow Sneak is probably the rarest priority attack you will see in OU, mainly because of its really bad distribution. You will be hard pressed finding any Pokemon learning this move with any viability in the Standard environment, and even then, most of them either have unimpressive Attack stats (like such as Dusknoir or Spiritomb) or lack STAB (such as in the case of Gallade and Muk). The only exceptions are Banette, who has better things to do should it ever show his face in OU, and Giratina, who should never show his face in OU to begin with is an Uber.

    Even then, though Still, it's not like Shadow Sneak would be extremely valuable in the Standard metagame. Most common threats are either neutral to it, or resist it outright. The only possible targets would be Gengar, Latios, and Reuniclus, who should be revenge killed with priority only under Trick Room. On top of it, Scizor can switch into all of them, and his Technician-boosted Bullet Punch is stronger than a super effective, non-STAB Shadow Sneak. Yeah, it is that bad.

    [​IMG]
    Gallade @ Life Orb
    Ability: Steadfast
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Swords Dance
    - Close Combat
    - Ice Punch / Stone Edge
    - Shadow Sneak

    This is probably one of the few viable ways to use Shadow Sneak in OU. After a Swords Dance, Gallade will pack a hefty 766 Attack, further boosted by Life Orb. This actually allows him to OHKO Latios and Gengar among other things (although the former requires Stealth Rock to ensure the kill), even though you he will do 81.9% at max to TR Reuniclus, and you will barely 2HKOes Bold variants. Luckily, for the slower opponents, Gallade has a pretty strong Close Combat (which actually outdamages a super effective Shadow Sneak), but really, this is as good as it gets.

    Sucker Punch

    "High risk, high reward" would describe Sucker Punch perfectly. This priority move can be pretty strong, indeed, as it shares the same 80 Base Power of ExtremeSpeed, and several users with very good Attack stats get STAB on it. However, again, Sucker Punch suffers from the same syndrome of Ice Shard - as good as the Dark-type may be offensively, it is pretty mediocre defensively. The OU metagame is filled with several strong Fighting-type sweepers, many of which can eat any Dark-type Pokémon for lunch with ease. The three OU Pokemon with this type - Tyranitar, Hydreigon, and Scrafty - do not even learn the move. Moreover, much like Shadow Sneak, there aren't a lot of Pokémon threats you'd want to hit super effectively with Sucker Punch. And to make things worse, the aforementioned Fighting-types resist the move (and in the case of the legendary trio, even take advantage of it to boost their Attack stats with Justified).

    It is not all doom and gloom for the ambushing attack, though. Unlike Ice Shard, it has a Base Power which makes it usable even without STAB, just like ExtremeSpeed. Sure, it is a bit more situational than the Ice-type priority move Ice Shard, and relies a bit on prediction, but still has some potential. And unlike ExtremeSpeed, it has better coverage, pairing very well with Fighting-type attacks in particular. This allows Sucker Punch users to run less attacking moves, and focus on setup or support options. For example, Bisharp and Toxicroak often abuse this move in tandem with Fighting-type attacks to decimate teams lacking a good Dark-type resistance like Terrakion.

    One thing which should be noted, though, is that Sucker Punch is very risky as a check to faster Pokemon. More often than not, said faster Pokémon pack one (if not two) setup moves, with much more PP than the measly 8 PP of Sucker Punch. This allows them to easily outstall the Sucker Punch user, or at the very least to force a troubling gamble which won't work in favor of the priority attacker all the time. To make things worse, they could use Substitute to basically neuter the threat of Sucker Punch and turn the tables. And although not as problematic, a faster (or slower under Trick Room) user of a priority move, or any user of ExtremeSpeed, will go before the Sucker Punch and will therefore make the move fail. Sucker Punch shines more as a sweeping attack, and should be used as such. There are better, more reliable options for checking setup sweepers anyway.

    [​IMG]
    Toxicroak @ Life Orb / Leftovers
    Ability: Dry Skin
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk /252 Spe
    Nature: Adamant (+Atk, -SpA)
    - Swords Dance
    - Cross Chop
    - Sucker Punch
    - Ice Punch

    Thanks to the never-ending rain Drizzle provides, Toxicroak can boast a decent amount of bulkiness despite the his seemingly mediocre defensive stats. This allows him to set up quite reliably, and sweep the field with his good coverage. In this case, Sucker Punch has the chance to work mainly because the opponent will have a hard time gambling with outpredicting Toxicroak. Each failed gamble, in fact, probably means that either the foe is dead (like Latios using Recover or Calm Mind and then eating an Ice Punch) or that Toxicroak sets up another Swords Dance, meaning that if he gets past the supposed check, he will sweep.

    Vacuum Wave

    Fighting-types rarely boast good Special Attack stats, and many of the ones which do come from BW and therefore couldn't pick Vacuum Wave as a tutor move. However, differently from Shadow Sneak, Vacuum Wave actually has some potential, despite the it limited distribution. As noted for Mach Punch, in fact, Fighting is a good attacking type and can allow threats to sweep quite reliably, especially with Stealth Rock support.

    What really penalizes Vacuum Wave is the really bad distribution. And this doesn't hint also only to the move itself, but also to the complementary moves which are so important to make priority moves work. While Swords Dance is a TM with very generous distribution, for example, Nasty Plot is much more uncommon. Bulk Up is learned by nearly all Fighting-types, but Pokemon Calm Mind, on the contrary, has only a few users among them.

    Luckily for Vacuum Wave, though, there isn't the same type of "wrong user syndrome" which affects Sucker Punch, for example. Whereas the latter is missed on some potentially awesome users, for example, Vacuum Wave shows up just on the few right Pokemon to make it work, and all of them are gifted with either Calm Mind or Nasty Plot - often with both. For example, Infernape and Lucario can deliver respectable amounts of damage, once they have pulled off a Nasty Plot. It may not have the same availability of its physical counterpart, but Vacuum Wave is definitely usable in OU and has its merits. Its only real defect, if anything, is that Terrakion has a larger higher Special Defense in a sandstorm, and so can't be revenge killed like with the other priority moves.

    [​IMG]
    Lucario @ Life Orb
    Ability: Inner Focus
    EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
    Nature: Modest (+SpA, -Atk)
    - Nasty Plot
    - Vacuum Wave
    - Aura Sphere
    - Dark Pulse

    Much like Lucario abused Swords Dance ExtremeSpeed in the last generation (and still does nowadays from time to time), the gift he received in the form of Nasty Plot allows him to sweep on the special side as well. And when backed off by a respectable 115 base Special Attack stat, Vacuum Wave can really lay the hurt on the opponent once boosted. Aura Sphere provides a more consistent STAB move, while Dark Pulse rounds off coverage.

    Playing against priority

    Dealing with priority attackers can be quite annoying. On one hand, they limit your freedom to sweep. If you see an Azumarill on the opponent's team, for example, you know your Terrakion will have a hard time until the threat is removed. On the other hand, once they set up with Swords Dance or Nasty Plot, they can manage to sweep you almost effortlessly, while you watch helplessly as your team is wiped out without being able to react at all. The strongest, Choiced priority attackers could even sweep the field without any kind of previous setup, making the late-game iteven more frustrating.

    Despite all their power, however, priority moves come with some issues. Most of them lack in power (even the likes of ExtremeSpeed because of the lack of STAB), and this means that most users will be either 1) Choiced (Band or Specs) or 2) be having a Choice item or in need of a setup before being effective. This is what you need to take advantage of, turning their revenge kill or their setup against them. Whenever their Scizor kills your Haxorus with Bullet Punch, it is an opportunity for something resistant to Steel with a Steel-type resistance, like Ferrothorn, to come in and set up Spikes or Stealth Rock. If their Scizor instead is a Swords Dance variant instead, just switch in Rotom-W and watch as they're forced to switch out or suffer a burn from Will-O-wisp (or perhaps an outright KO from Hidden Power Fire or Hydro Pump).

    Long story short, priority moves always have an opportunity cost, be it the need of locking oneself into an attack or the need to spend one turn (or more) to set up. As long as you're able to take advantage of these opportunities - and as long as you andprevent the opponent from restricting your options to the point you can no longer take advantage of said opportunities, - you should be fine, even if they are "faster" than you. The only exception here is Fake Out, but remember that most times you will not lose a game to Fake Out alone. If you prevent them from setting up those Toxic Spikes, or you keep rain going instead of sand, or you do whatever you can to neutralize any way they can abuse Fake Out (which naturally also includes intelligent switching), you should not incur in any trouble.

    Conclusion

    Now you Youshould now hopefully have a clearer idea of how priority moves work, which are the options are available, and how to deal with them. Priority moves can be an asset to most teams, due to their function as "universal checks" to a multitude of threats, and at the same time they can give the necessary ''Speed'' a team requires to sweep the opponent. However, they are not foolproof, and can be turned against their users if one is not careful, just like the trainer quoted in the introduction (who incidentally is so much of a loser that he resorts to lol X Speed instead of a decent priority move).


    Good job.

    [​IMG]

    GP 2 / 2
  25. RBG

    RBG Got a long list of ex-lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane.
    is a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Site Staff Alumnusis a Smogon IRC AOp Alumnusis a Researcher Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
    Facebook Manager

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,369
    Just wondering, are attacks from Prankster Pokemon worthy enough to be considered putting here? They're not attacks like the rest you mention, but they seem potent enough that they might be worth considering.

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)