Guide to BW OU Offense * Individual sections of the article are marked with a [WRITTEN], [SKELETON], or [PLACEHOLDER] tag according to the status of each section, as I may not write the article in order. * I can always change any of the sections if necessary. Introduction[WRITTEN] With the advent of Generation 5, offense gained significant new tools in the form of permanent rain and sun, new powerful sweepers and wallbreakers, and access to more Pokemon that can set up entry hazards effectively. Offense has been a powerful playstyle since competitive Pokemon play first began, and it remains so in Generation 5. However, offense also has to deal with the new and old defensive behemoths that are available in Generation 5. Fortunately, offensive teams have the tools with which to handle these threats effectively as well as retaining the other attributes that make them so potent. Offense as a playstyle is easy to learn, but somewhat more difficult to master. Since offensive teams generally do not have the defensive abilities of balanced or stall teams, they rely much more on correctly anticipating the actions of the opponent and maintaining momentum and pressure. This means that offensive teams have a significantly lower margin of error than stall or balanced teams and thus players utilizing offensive teams must make fewer mistakes than players using other types of teams. What is Offense?[WRITTEN] Offense is a playstyle that focuses on maintaining offensive pressure on the opponent through the use of powerful moves to weaken the opposing team with the ultimate goal of allowing one of the Pokemon on an offensive team to sweep. Why Use Offense?[WRITTEN] First of all, offense is easy to learn, so for new players or players used to another playstyle offense is a good way to learn to play or to branch out into a new playstyle. Second, because of the fundamental nature of the offense playstyle, battles in which at least one player utilizes an offensive team are generally completed more quickly than if neither player uses an offensive team. This makes offensive teams effective when laddering in conjunction with a common laddering strategy: that of playing as many battles as possible to make up for any loss of points, as opposed to trying to win every battle. Finally, offense encourages creativity because of the nature of the playstyle and the necessity to make every turn count. Types of Offense[WRITTEN] Hyper Offense Hyper offense is a type of offense that focuses almost exclusively on attacking. Hyper offense teams usually utilize a Pokemon that can set up Reflect and Light Screen in conjunction with several setup sweepers with similar counters. These sweepers set up under the protection of Dual Screens and break down their counters through repeated powerful attacks, sacrificing themselves until their counters are defeated and one of them can sweep. Hyper offense teams usually only attack from one side of the attacking spectrum in order to immediately render Pokemon intended to wall attacks on the other side of the spectrum dead weight. For example, a team packed full of physical sweepers immediately renders Blissey useless. Hyper offense teams rarely switch Pokemon, instead relying on the inherent power of their members to weaken counters to the point where they cannot recover or retain enough HP to wall the rest of the team. Some hyper offense teams take the form of Baton Pass teams, which use Baton Pass to accumulate boosts and pass them to sweepers as becomes feasible. Most Baton Pass teams attempt to Baton Pass the move Shell Smash, which is arguably the best boosting move in the game, as it grants a +2 boost in each of the following stats: Attack, Special Attack, and Speed. With access to Pokemon like Deoxys-D, which can set up Dual Screens and entry hazards effectively due to its immense bulk and reasonable Speed, and Espeon, which lacks the ability to set up entry hazards but can use both Reflect and Light Screen while negating any attempts at phazing away accumulated boosts or Taunting the users of Baton Pass, as well as a plethora of potential recipients, Baton Pass teams can be very dangerous if used correctly. Standard Offense Standard offense is the most basic form of offense and relies on a combination of Speed and power to weaken opposing teams so that one of the Pokemon in the team can sweep. Standard offense has access to a variety of tools, such as Spikestacking, powerful Choice Items, and the scouting moves U-turn and Volt Switch, that hyper offense teams generally do not employ. Unlike bulky offense teams, standard offensive teams rely heavily on Speed. Standard offensive teams incorporate elements from other types of offense, and are therefore often more versatile than other types of offensive teams. Standard offensive teams rely heavily on prediction to maintain momentum and try to avoid taking damage as much as possible. When forced to take hits, offensive teams try to use resistances and natural bulk to reduce damage and regain momentum. Bulky Offense Bulky offense differs from standard offense in that it relies on bulk instead of Speed and power. Bulky offense teams are designed to take hits and dish them out, relying on resistances, solid defensive stats, and threatening offensive power in order to break down the opposing team. Bulky offensive teams often make use of slow, powerful users of Choice items and sweepers with good defensive stats and defensive typing and access to moves such as Bulk Up or Calm Mind. Despite the differences between bulky offense and standard offense, the end result is often the same. There is a distinct difference between bulky offense and simply tanking attacks. A tank merely takes a hit and threatens the opposing Pokemon. A Pokemon on a bulky offense team should be able to take the hit and immediately place offensive pressure on the opposing team by threatening multiple members of the opposing team and thereby forcing the opponent to predict in order to gain or retain momentum. Types of Offensive Pokemon[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Sweepers[WRITTEN (needs examples] Sweepers are arguably the most important element of offensive teams. There are numerous types of sweepers, including setup sweepers and Life Orb sweepers. While the article will go into more depth regarding different types of sweepers later, for now it is enough to know that a sweeper is basically a Pokemon that is meant to come in either after a partner Pokemon has fainted or when the opposing Pokemon is of little to no threat to it and either set up with a stat-boosting move or begin attacking. From there, if it does its job correctly, it should manage to weaken or KO a good portion of the opponent's team. Setup A setup sweeper uses a boosting move such as Dragon Dance or Calm Mind to boost one or more of its stats, usually an attacking stat or its Speed stat. Setup sweepers then use their newfound power or speed to KO opposing Pokemon. Examples Base stats, sprite, short summary of how each Pokemon sweeps for each entry May eventually include links to on-site analyses and/or other Pokedex page Examples Salamence Base Stats: 95 HP / 135 Atk / 80 Def / 110 SpA / 80 SpD / 100 Spe Abilities: Intimidate / Moxie Salamence is one of the most dangerous and underrated sweepers available in the OU metagame. Its sheer unpredictability makes it very difficult to handle. Salamence's 135 / 110 / 100 offensive stats make it very good at breaking down opposing teams, especially in conjunction with an expansive offensive movepool containing moves like Dragon Dance, Outrage, Earthquake, Fire Blast, Brick Break, Hydro Pump, and Draco Meteor. Salamence's access to two of the best abilities in the game, Intimidate and Moxie, increase its offensive prowess even further. Intimidate helps Salamence grab setup opportunities, while Moxie makes Salamence even more threatening after it secures its first KO. Salamence usually attempts to sweep with an all-out offensive Dragon Dance set, using Intimidate, reasonable bulk, and its incredible offensive pressure to force a switch and gain a Dragon Dance boost, then proceeding to sweep with the combination of Outrage, Earthquake, and Fire Blast, which provide coverage only resisted by Heatran holding the Item Air Balloon. While Fire Blast, a Special attack, seems like a strange option on a physical sweeper, Salemence's Special Attack stat is too good to pass up and allows Salamence to make use of Fire Blast in order to KO Pokemon that would otherwise wall it, such as Skarmory, Ferrothorn, and Forretress. Salamence can use either Intimidate or Moxie when sweeping with Dragon Dance, but Intimidate is generally the better option because the combination of Moxie, Dragon Dance, and Outrage is incompatible, which prevents Salamence from using its most powerful physical STAB move in conjunction with its boosting move. Dragonite Base Stats: 91 HP / 134 Atk / 95 Def / 100 SpA / 100 SpD / 80 Spe Abilities: Inner Focus / Multiscale Dragonite is the single most threatening sweeper in the entire OU tier. It has an incredible stat spread, expansive movepool, good offensive and defensive typing, and one of the best abilities in the game. Multiscale has really been the key to Dragonite's success in Generation 5, but all of its other assets should not be overlooked. Multiscale provides Dragonite with a plethora of setup opportunities, and, since Dragonite usually only needs one boost to decimate an opposing team, generally allows a player using Dragonite to place an considerable amount of offensive pressure on the opponent essentially for free. However, despite Multiscale's tremendous utility, Dragonite would not be as effective without the stat spread which which to utilize it efficiently. Dragonite's 91 / 95 / 100 defensive stats give it solid bulk even without investment, which Dragonite can take advantage of in conjunction with Multiscale to survive even powerful, super-effective attacks at full health. Dragonite also has an impressive offensive movepool, which allows it to function effectively in almost any field condition. In addition to its boosting move, Dragon Dance, Dragonite possesses solid STAB moves in Outrage and Dragon Claw, as well as useful coverage moves such as Waterfall, Earthquake, Fire Punch, and Brick Break. Dragonite can even bypass its middling Speed stat to an extent through the use of Extremespeed, making it a versatile and dangerous sweeper. Dragonite always uses Dragon Dance when attempting to set up for a sweep, but it has several sweeper sets that play very differently. The most common set is the all-out offensive set, which uses Outrage, Extremespeed, and Fire Punch, Earthquake, or Waterfall to set up quickly and deal as much damage as possible. This set is very difficult for most teams to deal with because of its combination of raw power and the bulk that Multiscale grants. Although the offensive Dragon Dance set is the most common, Dragonite's ability to run a bulky set with Roost should not be discounted. Dragonite's bulky Dragon Dance sets rely on defensive investment and judicious use of Roost to maintain Multiscale long enough to set up multiple boosts and sweep, relying on Dragon Claw as the main offensive option. Bulky Dragonite often uses either Fire Punch for additional coverage or Substitute to avoid status and increase its longevity. Scizor Landorus Volcarona Venusaur Terrakion Lucario Reuniclus Life Orb Life Orb sweepers use their naturally high Speed and attacking stats to sweep without any setup. Unlike setup sweepers, these sweepers pose an immediate threat because they don't have to use a turn setting up. Examples Latios Starmie Gengar Alakazam Wallbreakers[WRITTEN (needs examples)] A wallbreaker is a Pokemon designed to remove certain walls instead of sweep. Wallbreakers are generally used in the earlygame and midgame in order to weaken the opposing team enough for a sweeper to do its job. Wallbreakers are often mixed attackers, so that they can lure in and weaken certain Pokemon that prevent the team's sweeper(s) from functioning correctly by taking advantage of their lower defensive stats on one side of the spectrum. Stallbreaker A stallbreaker is a specific type of wallbreaker designed to defeat certain specialized defensive cores and/or common members of stall teams. A stallbreaker specifically focuses on weakening stall teams, unlike a standard wallbreaker, which defeats the walls on balanced and stall teams. Stallbreakers generally have more of an advantage over stall teams than general-purpose wallbreakers Example Wallbreakers and Stallbreakers Salamence Terrakion Reuniclus Latios Gliscor Darmanitan Infernape Hydreigon Mew Haxorus Revenge Killers[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Revenge killers are Pokemon that can come in after one of the player’s Pokemon has been KOed and immediately threaten to KO the opposing Pokemon. Technically, any Pokemon can threaten a revenge kill, but dedicated revenge killers require specific attributes: power, coverage, and either high Speed or access to a priority attack. Speed Natural revenge killers have high base Speed and powerful attacks. They rely on this high base Speed to outspeed most of the metagame and on their high attacking stat(s) or high-powered attacking moves to successfully revenge kill slower Pokemon. Natural revenge killers usually have the advantage of being able to switch moves, which is beneficial because offensive teams appreciate flexibility. However, this type of revenge killer does have its drawbacks. Despite high natural Speed, most Pokemon with a boost to Speed will outspeed natural revenge killers, so natural revenge killers are best suited to revenge killing wallbreakers and other types of Pokemon without a boosted Speed stat, although slower Pokemon such as Scrafty and Tyranitar have trouble outspeeding many natural revenge killers at +1. Examples Weavile Starmie Raikou Alakazam Dugtrio Choice Scarf Choice Scarf is the most common way to designate a dedicated revenge killer. Choice Scarf is an Item used to boost a Pokemon’s Speed by one stage, allowing it to outspeed Pokemon it would not be able to outspeed normally. This is especially useful for revenge killing sweepers that boost their Speed, such as Salamence, Dragonite, and Volcarona. In BW OU, Choice Scarf users generally have a base Speed stat of at least 100, so as to Speed tie with or outspeed Salamence and Volcarona, and are usually physical attackers with access to a Rock-type move because Volcarona is 4x weak to Rock-type attacks and is capable of boosting its Special Defense. The main drawback of using Choice Scarf is that it locks the Pokemon using it into one move until it is switched out. This means that a revenge killer using Choice Scarf can easily become setup bait if not used carefully. Examples Terrakion Landorus Salamence Infernape Mienshao Rotom-W Priority Another way to revenge kill a troublesome Pokemon is through the use of priority attacks such as Extremespeed or Bullet Punch. This type of revenge killer usually utilizes a Choice Band and a high Attack stat in order to overcome the low Base Power of most priority moves. This type of revenge killer generally devotes investment to bulk, as opposed to Speed, because they possess naturally low or average Base Speed, decent defensive typing, and solid defensive stats. There are exceptions to this generalization that forego investment in bulk in exchange for additional Speed such as Mamoswine and Dragonite. In Dragonite’s case, this is because it has usable Speed and access to Multiscale, which reduces all damage by 50% when Dragonite is at full health. Mamoswine chooses to invest in Speed because its typing is excellent offensively, but extremely poor defensively, and it has enough Speed to make investment worthwhile. Examples Scizor Mamoswine Azumarill Conkeldurr Choice Users[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Choice Items (Choice Band, Choice Specs, and Choice Scarf) provide a 1-stage boost to a specified stat, but lock the Pokemon equipped with the item into one move as long as that Pokemon remains on the field. Users of Choice Items generally function as wallbreakers, utility Pokemon, or revenge killers. Choice Band The good thing about Choice Band is that it grants a Pokemon a 1.5x boost to its physical attacks. However, this doesn't come free. Choice Band restricts a Pokemon to the usage of the first move it used while Choice Band was active, meaning if the Pokemon used Close Combat the first turn after it switched in, it would be unable to switch moves until it switches out, resetting Choice Band's restriction. Examples Scizor Terrakion Haxorus Tyranitar Dragonite Azumarill Choice Specs The good thing about Choice Specs is that it grants a Pokemon a 1.5x boost to its specially based attacks. However, this doesn't come free. Choice Specs restricts the Pokemon holding the Item to the usage of the first move it used while Choice Specs was active, meaning that if the Pokemon selected Thunderbolt the first turn after it switched in, it would be unable to switch moves until it switched out, resetting Choice Specs's restriction. Examples Latios Rotom-W Tornadus Politoed Hydreigon Choice Scarf Choice Scarf is an interesting item. It's similar to Choice Band and Choice Specs, but used differently. Like Choice Band and Choice Specs, it locks the Pokemon holding it into one move, but it boosts Speed rather than an attacking stat, meaning it'll be used for outspeeding other Pokemon, rather than boosting the power of the holder’s attacks. Otherwise, it's the exact same effect as Choice Band and Choice Specs, explained earlier in the article. Examples Terrakion Infernape Landorus Salamence Politoed Rotom-W Tyranitar Entry Hazards[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Entry hazards are field conditions, set up through the use of the appropriate move, that cause residual damage whenever a Pokemon switches in. They are useful for offensive teams because offensive teams appreciate all the damage they can get and entry hazards often turn 2HKOs into OHKOs and 3HKOs into 2HKOs. In addition, because the most common victory condition in Pokemon is the infliction of enough damage to KO all of the opposing Pokemon and entry hazards inflict damage any time a vulnerable opponent switches, entry hazards contribute to victory in a very significant way. Stealth Rock[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Most players new to competitive Pokemon quickly learn about a move called Stealth Rock, which is mentioned in almost every on-site singles analysis and is widely considered the best move in the game. Stealth Rock is so good because there are only three ways to counter this move, which hits all Pokemon that switch in except with those with the Ability Magic Guard and deals damage based on their weakness or resistance to Rock-type moves, and because it only takes one turn to activate. Stealth Rock deals base damage equivalent to 12.5% of the opposing Pokemon's maximum HP, and Pokemon with a weakness or resistance to Rock-type moves take more or less damage, respectively. For example, a Fighting-type Pokemon would take half of the base damage (6.25% of its maximum HP) due to its resistance to Rock-type moves, while a Fire-type Pokemon would take double the base damage (25% of its maximum HP) due to its weakness to Rock-type moves. Stealth Rock is the most common and useful entry hazard in the game because it is so easy to set up, damages almost every Pokemon in the game, and a large number of viable Pokemon can use it. Stealth Rock is very important for turning many 3HKOs into 2HKOs and 2HKOs into OHKOs. In fact, it is so important that the competitive analyses for almost every offensive Pokemon mention its benefits and many EV spreads are designed to ensure that a Pokemon can survive specific attacks after Stealth Rock damage. Players can only remove Stealth Rock from their side of the field through the use of the move Rapid Spin, but the ability Magic Bounce and the move Magic Coat prevent an opponent from setting up Stealth Rock and instead bounce it back, essentially setting up Stealth Rock on the opponent’s side of the field. In addition, Pokemon with the ability Magic Guard are not affected by Stealth Rock’s passive damage. Selection of Viable Users Tyranitar Heatran Ferrothorn Deoxys-D Jirachi Donphan Infernape Bronzong Spikes[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Spikes is the oldest entry hazard in the game and the one around which stall as a playstyle has been built since the days of GSC. Despite its traditional association with stall teams, Spikes is a potent move on offensive teams as well. Spikes is a multi-layer entry hazard: up to three layers can be present on one side of the field at a time. The first layer deals damage equivalent to 12.5% of the affected Pokemon’s total HP, which increases to 18.75% with a second layer of Spikes and to 25% with three total layers. Spikes only affects grounded Pokemon: Pokemon that are not Flying-type, do not possess the ability Levitate, or hold an unbroken Air Balloon. As with Stealth Rock, Spikes can be removed through the use of the move Rapid Spin, reflected with Magic Bounce or Magic Coat, and will have no effect on a Pokemon with Magic Guard. Spikes is useful for offensive teams because it provides an additional source of residual damage, which can help turn 2HKOs into OHKOs and 3HKOs into 2HKOs. Additional passive damage also places pressure on the opponent and punishes switches. The offensive team using Spikes does not have to predict as carefully when even resisted attacks are accompanied by the 25% damage that Stealth Rock and a layer of Spikes provides. Selection of Viable Users Ferrothorn Skarmory Forretress Deoxys-D Roserade Toxic Spikes[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Unlike Stealth Rock and Spikes, Toxic Spikes are not commonly seen on offensive teams. However, they can still be used effectively. Toxic Spikes help to wear down walls that offensive teams may have trouble dealing with and reduce the lifespan of threatening sweepers. Standard poisoning helps deal with offensive threats such as Terrakion and Haxorus, while badly poisoning walls such as Blissey and Slowbro makes it much easier for sweepers to break through them. Like Spikes, Toxic Spikes is a multi-layer entry hazard. Up to two layers may be present on a player’s side of the field at any given time, and these layers only affect grounded Pokemon without the ability Magic Guard. The first layer inflicts the standard Poison status, which deals damage equivalent to 12.5% of the afflicted Pokemon’s maximum HP at the end of every turn. Two layers badly poison an afflicted Pokemon and cause damage equal to 6.25% of the Pokemon’s maximum HP on the first turn, and deals damage equal to the damage dealt the previous turn plus an additional amount of damage equivalent to 6.25% of the Pokemon’s maximum HP on every subsequent turn (6.25% after being switched in, 12.5% on the second turn after being switched in, 18.75% on the third turn after being switched in, etc.). This counter is reset every time an affected Pokemon switches out and damage begins again at 6.25% when the Pokemon switches in again. Toxic Spikes are absorbed by grounded Poison-type Pokemon and Steel-type Pokemon are immune to their effects. As with Stealth Rock and Spikes, Toxic Spikes can be removed through the use of the move Rapid Spin, reflected with Magic Bounce or Magic Coat, and will have no effect on a Pokemon with Magic Guard. Selection of Viable Users Roserade Forretress Tentacruel Rapid Spin[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Rapid Spin is a Normal-type move that clears all hazards from the side of the field of the Pokemon that used it. Because residual damage is so important for almost any style of play, being able to mitigate it or remove it altogether gives a team a significant advantage over the opponent. For example, Pokemon such as Dragonite, Salamence, and Volcarona become considerably more potent when Stealth Rock is removed from the field. Offensive teams also switch around a lot because of their focus on prediction and mindgames, so being able to switch freely is an enormous advantage. For these reasons, Rapid Spin is worth using despite its low Base Power and poor distribution and coverage. The benefits it provides makes Rapid Spin a very useful tool for offensive teams, and, fortunately, several good offensive or defensive users of Rapid Spin available. Selection of Viable Users Starmie Forretress Tentacruel Donphan Hitmontop Spinblocking[WRITTEN (needs examples)] Spinblocking is the act of switching a Ghost-type Pokemon into a Pokemon using Rapid Spin so as to prevent the effects of the move (Rapid Spin only clears hazards if it hits the opponent and Ghost-type Pokemon are immune to Normal-type moves). Entry hazards are very important to offensive teams, so being able to stop the opponent from removing them is a valuable ability. Since many Ghost-type Pokemon are useful on offensive teams for other reasons, Spinblocking is a perfectly viable option for offensive teams. Although most Spinblockers are defensive in nature and focus on longevity in order to repeatedly prevent the opponent from removing entry hazards throughout the game, several can be used successfully in offensive roles and so are worth considering for a team slot. Selection of Viable Spinblockers Jellicent Gengar Dusclops Chandelure Golurk Spiritomb Defensive Aspects of Offense[SKELETON] Checking[SKELETON] Definition of check Offense checks more than counters How to check effectively Resistances[SKELETON] Resistance synergy Offensive teams lack bulk, so they need resistances Use of Walls/Tanks[SKELETON] Offense can use tanks or walls to handle threats dangerous enough to require more than checking Example: Using Skarmory instead of Gliscor as a Terrakion counter because the team needs Spikes, a Steel-type, a check to something Gliscor can't handle, or any other thing(s) Skarmory can do that Gliscor can't Strategies in Offense (Tools of the Trade)[SKELETON] Prediction[WRITTEN] Prediction is the act of guessing what the opponent is going to do based on the information available to you. This information can include knowledge of the current battle conditions, damage calculations, knowledge of the opponent's team and playing style, and how much of each team has been revealed. Unlike stall teams, and, to an extent, balanced teams, offensive teams require a lot more prediction. Offensive teams rely on prediction much more significantly than stall teams because stall teams are designed to have an answer to everything they could possibly face, while offensive teams are meant to overwhelm the opposition before the opponent can carry out his or her strategy. As a result, predicting incorrectly has a much higher penalty for an offensive player than it does for a stall player, since stall teams can more easily recover from mistakes. Offensive teams must be able to control the momentum of the match, of which prediction is an essential part. Conversely, predicting correctly generally has more significant results for an offensive player, due to the sheer power of offensive Pokemon, and a correct prediction can shorten a game significantly or win it outright. Prediction is something that should be avoided as much as possible, mostly because it is guesswork and therefore inherently contains some element of uncertainty, but also because, in many cases, improper prediction can be devastate a player's chances of winning. Therefore, it follows that top-level offense players must be extremely good at reading the game and their opponents. Lures[SKELETON] Pokemon or sets specifically tailored to beat common counters to a Pokemon or set How to lure effectively Reasons to lure: Open up a sweep for something with similar counters, sweep with lure, etc. Trapping[SKELETON] Damages Pokemon whether they stay in or switch out with the move Pursuit or the Abilities Shadow Tag or Arena Trap The Ability Magnet Pull can trap Steel-type Pokemon Removes troublesome Pokemon Can get rid of a counter, allowing a sweep Threats to Offensive Teams[SKELETON] Walls[SKELETON] Skarmory Blissey Gliscor Ferrothorn Jirachi Jellicent Attackers[SKELETON] Starmie Conkeldurr Terrakion Volcarona Landorus Salamence Conclusion[PLACEHOLDER] * I welcome all input, criticism, suggestions, etc. * If you think a Pokemon should be given as an example for a section, let me know. * I'm considering adding a Sample Team section, either with RMTs or teams I put together. If anyone would like to volunteer a team, let me know. * I didn't include much information about weather-based offense as I feel that should best be left to the articles on the respective field conditions. I'm happy to include brief overviews of the different types of weather-based offense within the context of the larger offensive playstyle if that would be beneficial to readers. Yeah, I'm still working on this. More will come when I have time.