Metagame Middle Cup (Combusken Suspect!)

Realize there hasn't been a post in a minute but damn I really feel like Combusken is still as bad as it was in ORAS. There are no solid checks to it and anything that is switching in probably can't take more than 3 hits. It destroys the normal special walls and anything that resist fighting is gonna die to a fire-type attack. The only mon I can think of that can reliably switch in is Lampent. But with it being weak to rocks and also getting walled out super hard by things like P2 it easily finds itself worn down quickly. I feel like Electabuzz and Kadabra are similar issues but are tiny compared to the issue that is Combusken.
 

Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
So USUM leaks are dropping and it means there are a lot of new tutor moves and egg moves that actually apply to Middle Cup! I'm still compiling all the info so far but its definitely something o.o Also in regards to a potential Combusken suspect, I'd be up for it since Combusken is one of, if not, the hardest threat in the tier to keep under control because of Speed Boost snowballing, but I'd like to see what USUM does to the meta first before anything.
 

Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
List of relevant and notable USUM tutor and egg moves for Middle Cup:

Combusken - Defog
Kadabra - Psychic Terrain
Fraxure - Stomping Tantrum
Servine - Defog
Roselia - Power Whip
Seadra - Laser Focus
Trumbeak - Gunk Shot, Knock Off, Heat Wave, Tailwind, Defog
Quilladin - Stomping Tantrum
Gloom - Strength Sap (!)
Herdier - Psychic Fangs
Eelektrik - Throat Chop
Hakamo-o - Iron Head, Low Kick, Iron Tail, Drain Punch (!!!!!!)
Weepinbell - Strength Sap
Grotle - Heavy Slam
Nidorina - Stomping Tantrum
Nidorino - Stomping Tantrum
Steenee - Seed Bomb, Zen Headbutt, Knock Off (<3)
Braixen - Psychic Terrain
Dewott - Sacred Sword
Skiploom - Strength Sap


This is some pretty big news, as having more reliable options for hazard removal is amazing for this tier and now lower tier mons like Gloom and Hakamo-o may finally see more usage in battles, while higher tier mons are also winners, mainly Trumbeak and Fraxure. Also if I missed any tutor/egg moves that may be good/relevant please point them out to me ^-^
 
List of relevant and notable USUM tutor and egg moves for Middle Cup:

Combusken - Defog
Kadabra - Psychic Terrain
Fraxure - Stomping Tantrum
Servine - Defog
Roselia - Power Whip
Seadra - Laser Focus
Trumbeak - Gunk Shot, Knock Off, Heat Wave, Tailwind, Defog
Quilladin - Stomping Tantrum
Gloom - Strength Sap (!)
Herdier - Psychic Fangs
Eelektrik - Throat Chop
Hakamo-o - Iron Head, Low Kick, Iron Tail, Drain Punch (!!!!!!)
Weepinbell - Strength Sap
Grotle - Heavy Slam
Nidorina - Stomping Tantrum
Nidorino - Stomping Tantrum
Steenee - Seed Bomb, Zen Headbutt, Knock Off (<3)
Braixen - Psychic Terrain
Dewott - Sacred Sword
Skiploom - Strength Sap


This is some pretty big news, as having more reliable options for hazard removal is amazing for this tier and now lower tier mons like Gloom and Hakamo-o may finally see more usage in battles, while higher tier mons are also winners, mainly Trumbeak and Fraxure. Also if I missed any tutor/egg moves that may be good/relevant please point them out to me ^-^
I'm really glad that Strength Sap is getting additional distribution, it's such a wonderful move.
On another note, I really believe that Combusken should be suspected at some point.
 

Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
My thoughts on some of the buffs that USUM brought to some mons:

Trumbeak: Trumbeak finally has reliable ways (well, way better than Flame Charge) to get around Doublade, one of it's biggest counters, in Knock Off and Heat Wave, as well as Gunk Shot, which is actually really useful to get a bigger hit on Togetic and other Fairy-types. Trumbeak was already one of the harder Pokémon in Middle Cup to reliably wall due to having Skill Link Bullet Seed, which prevents Rhydon from checking it, and with these new additions it becomes one of the best wallbreakers in the tier. However, Trumbeak still suffers from having pretty mediocre Speed outside of a Scarf set, and Scarf cant wallbreak nearly as effectively as AoA sets with LO or Expert Belt due to being locked into a move and not having any way to boost it's damage output, but these new buffs make Trumbeak even better than it was before, which was already pretty good, and I'm happy to see at least one of the Gen 7 Middle Cup mons being amazing.

Hakamo-o: One thing I didn't list in my Hide Tag on the 9th was that Hakamo-o also gets Close Combat by level-up now. This is pretty damn big for Hakamo-o, as it finally gets a super strong Fighting STAB to differentiate itself from the more superior Dragon Dancers in Dragonair and Fraxure. Having access to Bulletproof is also pretty nice, as you can function as a soft check to LO Combusken since Focus Blast cant touch you. I still don't think Hakamo-o is that great because it's base Attack is still pretty weak compared to Fraxure which holds it back in a lot of ways, but getting CC and the other tutor moves do give it more of a niche in the USUM meta.

Servine: I honestly think that Servine is really fucking dumb in the meta since it's just way too easy to snowball and clean up with Leaf Storm late-game (Z-Wring Out sets deserve a shoutout for being able to bust past most of Servine's usual answers at +2), and now it gets additional utility in Defog! Defog Servine actually did it's role a lot better than I thought it would have, since it beats most of the common Rockers I've seen atm (mostly Rhydons, I've seen some Piloswine and Metang however) and is still super threatening with Contrary Leaf Storm. While Servine was still amazing before, this change makes it even more effective in the meta, and honestly, I would not mind suspecting it in the future after some bigger threats are dealt with.


Now for the real reason I'm making this post: A Combusken suspect test will be commencing in the next few days. I'm still finalizing a timeframe for it but it will be lasting around 2 weeks so people can discuss Combusken's impact on the meta and what makes it unhealthy/not unhealthy. Since Middle Cup's playerbase is still fairly small and we don't exactly have an active ladder, I want to see some discussion in the next few days to decide what the voting method should be since I don't feel like being the sole person to vote on Combusken would be.. well, good, at all xD

tl;dr: Trumbeak is awesome, Hakamo-o is better, Servine is dumber, Combusken suspect is happening, discuss what voting method we should use for the suspect.
 
Ok so the monster that is Combusken. This mon only really has 2 switch-ins. Lampent and Hakamo-o. And knowing how limited the pool of viable mons is, it puts a strain on team building trying to check this thing.

Lampent is the most reliable counter in the sense it can switch in on both stabs due to the fact it is immune to both Fire and Fighting-type attacks. This is really nice; however, Lampent is plagued by a 2x SR weakness, as well as a poor speed tier, hitting 117 speed with a speed positive nature isn't the worst thing in this tier but for an offensive mon it is lacking. Not to say you can't run more defensive options on Lampent, in fact sub hex is a nice option since it get's free subs against Combusken for the most part.

Next we have Hakamo-o which I completely forgot about in my last post. Hakamo-o has one thing going for it and that's Bulletproof, this allows it to be immune to one of Combusken's powerful stabs giving it some switch-in options. Even though Hakamo-o is dragon type and has ok bulk, Fire Blast still hits like a truck

252 SpA Life Orb Combusken Fire Blast vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Hakamo-o: 61-73 (46.9 - 56.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

Hakamo-o can hit hard back, threatening Combusken with EQ

252 Atk Life Orb Hakamo-o Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Combusken: 153-182 (113.3 - 134.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Hakamo-o Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Combusken: 118-140 (87.4 - 103.7%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

If Hakamo-o ever gets a DD up it becomes quite the threat. In the case where Combusken and Hakamo-o are both in at +0 speed a 50/50 is forced.

It should be noted at this point that Combusken doesn't have to run a special set, in fact a physical set is a nice allowing it to beat some of its common switch-ins. Lampent is still an issue for such a set if running SD, which you need to because Combusken lacks a strong physical Fighting-type stab.

Some other offensive checks that should be mentioned are:

Kadabra - Sash is what you'd want for this. It'll allow it to eat a hit from it no matter what and fire back with a Psychic for an easy OHKO

Crocnaw - While not the greatest mon, it's one of the few Water-types that can make good use of Aqua Jet
252 Atk Life Orb Croconaw Aqua Jet vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Combusken: 96-117 (71.1 - 86.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

Anything that can outspeed Combusken before it can manage to get some boosts up are great for forcing Combusken out. Unfortunately none of this mons can really switch into any of Combusken's attacks if they aren't straight up OHKO'd in the first place.


Combusken isn't as impossible to beat as it was during ORAS. In fact, on paper it looks much easier to handle, but with the right support Combusken can muscle through almost anything. It's ability to easily net OHKO's and 2HKO's on almost anything that isn't Chansey or P2 combined with having an amazing ability that makes it's speed tier passable easily make it the scariest thing in the tier currently. Hopefully we will get the Poison/Water type or Fairy/Water type we deserve in the next generation.

Overall I feel like it needs to be banned, but it definitely isn't quite as bad as it was in ORAS
 
This is both a VR post and a reminder that Shadow Tag is broken:

Gothorita: B-high to A-high
Gothorita is so so dumb. Most MC teams rely on 1-2 passive defensive Pokémon like Chansey, Marshtomp, Prinplup, and Roselia to check the large number of sweepers and wallbreakers present in MC. In comes Gothorita, which turns those needed defensive Pokémon into liabilities. Shadow Tag means that if you leave them in for a turn, Goth can come in and prevent you for using them for the rest of the game, which makes the rest of your team much easier to beat as a result, either by Gothorita just sweeping or the rest of your team. It's so dumb, especially since most MC teams only carry one defensive check to most of the tier, with the rest of their team usually being heavily damaged by it. Unless they run shed shell, which means they lose out on lefties recovery and become easier to pressure by the things they're supposed to beat as a result. And if you do want lefties you basically can't leave them on the field for a turn otherwise Goth switches in and they get trapped and die. By far one of the dumbest mons in the tier and should be way higher.
 

Take Azelfie

More flags more fun

B low and A low

Gloom is a fantastic mon thanks to its new ability cripple any and all physical attackers on the switch in. Strength Sap not only debuffs incoming users but it keeps Gloom consistantly healthy. Even offensive checks such as Monferno or Trumbeak become much easier to pivot into afterwards and the only real way to tackle this mon is through special attacks which can be extremely difficult with Chansey also around. Speaking of which Chansey one of the main reasons this core is frustrating hard to deal with since even special fightium z Combusken fails to OHKO it. It becomes a really great wall in an otherwise offensive meta being able to slow down the pace of the matches just enough for you to get a lead and even against Special Attackers with really low attack, (Roselia for example) Gloom is still capable of getting a 1/3rd of its health back + Black Sludge. Overall its ability to pivot and disrupt definately is enough to make it rise.

replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7ubers-664737249 - Replay of Chansey + Gloom putting my team in an unfavorable position after a bad early game