[on site] Playing in the Sandbox - A Guide to Sandstorm Teams


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Written by Jimbo and Twash :)

Twash will HTMLize this, and when we upload it, we'll use Smogon sprites (I used PE2k for some reason....) !


Sandstorm has been a field effect since the 2nd generation of Pokémon; it produces several effects that last for the duration of the weather. In the 2nd generation, sandstorm was seldomly used because it would only last for five turns, and few Pokemon benefited from it due to it only being available through the move Sandstorm. However, sandstorm has become wildly popular in the 3rd and 4th generations, due of the advent of Sand Stream. With this ability, trainers can now utilize permanent sandstorm. There are two Pokémon that have the ability Sand Stream. These are Hippowdon and Tyranitar, two very useful and powerful Pokémon.

In this guide we will generally focus on permanent sandstorm, as it is easier to reap the rewards of Sand Stream, than it is through use of the move Sandstorm. Hopefully after reading this guide you will have the knowledge of how to use sandstorm to its fullest.

Sandstorm Basics
As with most other weather variations, sandstorm can be bought to the field via two methods. The first way is through use of the move Sandstorm, which will summon a sandstorm for 5 turns, unless the user holds a Smooth Rock, which extends the duration to 8 turns. The other way is through the ability Sand Stream, which summons a sandstorm permanently, unless the weather is changed again, through a move or an ability.

The following effects occur in a sandstorm:
  • Rock-type Pokémon's Special Defense is boosted by 50%.
  • All non-Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokemon and Pokemon without the ability Magic Guard or Sand Veil. take 1/16 damage at the end of every turn.
  • A Pokemon with the Sand Veil ability his its evasion increased by 20% when a sandstorm is in effect.
  • SolarBeam's base power is reduced from 120, to 60.
  • Synthesis, Moonlight, and Morning Sun only recover 25% of the user's HP, as opposed to 50%.
  • Sand Veil users have their evasion boosted by 20%, and are not damaged by the sandstorm.
  • Weather Ball's power is doubled to 100, and becomes a Rock-type move.
  • Thunder's accuracy is lowered from 70% to 50%.
Strategies with sandstorm
Players have a lot of freedom when using a sandstorm team. They function well as offensive, stall, or balanced teams, with the only real restriction being the necessity for the team is to have Tyranitar and/or Hippowdon.

Defensive sandstorm teams use the Special Defense boosting effect of sandstorm to its fullest extent with Pokemon such as Cradily. They often use entry hazards, Toxic, and the damaging effects of sandstorm to slowly break down the opponent's team.

Offensive sandstorm teams use the sandstorm to nullify the opponent's Focus Sashes, and use the sandstorm to allow the offensive Pokémon to sweep easier, courtesy of the additional damage. Typically, offensive sandstorm teams use powerful Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokémon, such as Tyranitar, Rhyperior, Lucario, and Heatran, who are not damaged by the sandstorm, and therefore it is less counter-productive. These teams almost never use "Substitute and Sweep" Pokemon either (eg. BellyZard), unless they resist the sandstorm. This is because the weather will otherwise put a quick stop to your sweep. This will also work in one's favour, as it can stop the opponent from trying such a sweep.

The Sand Streamers
All good sandstorm teams require a Pokemon with Sand Stream, and you only have two options: Tyranitar and Hippowdon. These Pokemon are more than good enough to warrant a spot on your team though, so don't fret.

Hippowdon - Just because Hippowdon is generally less used than Tyranitar is, it does not mean that it's bad by any means! Hippowdon has gargantuan HP and Defense stats, and a base 112 Attack stat is pretty threatening. With a powerful STABed Earthquake, a reliable 50% recovery move in Slack Off, and Stealth Rock, Yawn, Toxic, and Roar for support, Hippowdon can fit right in any stall team. Hippowdon can also threaten opponents with its offensive options too. It gets the aforementioned Earthquake, along with Stone Edge, Superpower, and Crunch, on top of having the elemental fangs. Hippowdon can also threaten opponents with Curse, or still strengthen its already high Defense, along with its mediocre Special Defense, through Stockpile.

While Hippowdon's defensive ability is outstanding, its Special Defense is somewhat mediocre. Hippowdon's weakness to Grass-, Water-, and Ice-type moves does not help either, as these types are commonly used via special attacks. Hippowdon does have pitiful Speed too, which is somewhat of a let-down, especially if one wants to use Hippowdon's big Attack stat.

Tyranitar - Tyranitar fits its name very well; it's a tyrant. Tyranitar has fantastic stats in everything except Speed, and that isn't even horrible. On top of this, Tyranitar benefits more from Sand Stream than Hippowdon, as its Special Defense is automatically boosted by 50% due to it being part Rock-type. Tyranitar has a plethora of offensive options, from setting up with Dragon Dance to hitting hitting outright hard with Choice Band, to even running a mixed set.

Tyranitar's main, and most immediately threatening moveset is the one paired with Choice Band. With one of the highest Attack stats in the game, Tyranitar's Attack can reach more than 600 with Choice Band. The Rock-type monster also has two very potent STABs, with Crunch and Stone Edge. Its physical movepool is also very wide. It can use Pursuit to trap Pokemon like Latias and Starmie, the elemental punches, Aqua Tail, or even Earthquake. Choice Band Tyranitar can run EVs to be on the quicker side, or sway towards the bulky side. Another threatening physical version of Tyranitar uses Dragon Dance, to boost its already monstrous Attack and Speed to higher levels. On the flip side of Dragon Dance, Curse is also an option. CurseTar works nicely because you don't have to invest any EVs into Speed; instead, you can plan your EVs to make Tyranitar extremely difficult to take down. CurseTars usually use Payback over Crunch because they will be moving last unless your opponent uses a move with negative priority, which allows for 150 base power after STAB provided Tyranitar moves last, instead of the 120 which Crunch has.

Tyranitar can also use some more unconventional sets. One of these sets, Tyraniboah, dates back to the 3rd Generation and is a fantastic wallbreaker. Tyraniboah uses special attacks to defeat Skarmory (namely Thunderbolt or Fire Blast), and Focus Punch is used to obliterate Blissey. To guarantee the Focus Punch on Blissey, Tyraniboah uses max HP EVs and Substitute, allowing the Substitutes to withstand a Seismic Toss. With Platinum's tutor moves, using Superpower in lieu of Focus Punch frees up a spot if you'd rather not use Substitute.

Pokemon to Consider
When choosing Pokémon for your sandstorm team, picking Pokemon that resist the sandstorm is always a safe bet. However, using all Ground-, Rock-, and Steel-types will leave you with gaping weaknesses, so you'll need to choose some other Pokemon to cover your bases. Sandstorm doesn't make a giant difference in battling though (like Trick Room does), so building your team isn't too difficult.

Sandstorm sweepers

Lucario - Anyone that's played OU has encountered the beast that is Lucario. Lucario is very proficient at physical or special sweeping, generally using either Swords Dance or Choice Specs. It has a wide variety of powerful attacks, including Close Combat, Aura Sphere, Crunch, Ice Punch, and Dark Pulse, among others. It also has access to various priority moves in Vacuum Wave, ExtremeSpeed, and Bullet Punch. Using Lucario isn't all that difficult, as it has several resistances, and you can often switch it in after one of your Pokemon faints. After that, setting up Swords Dance is usually simple, as Lucario often causes switches, or you can immediately hammer into your opponent with a strong Close Combat or Aura Sphere.

Countering Lucario is tricky, but not impossible because Lucario suffers from 4-moveslot syndrome. Gliscor does a great job at countered Swords Dance Lucario if it lacks Ice Punch, while Cresselia and Celebi do well if it lacks Crunch. Any Pokemon that outspeeds Lucario and can survive an ExtremeSpeed can kill Lucario pretty easily (for example, Choice Scarf Heatran or Salamence). Blissey and Spiritomb do a great job at countering Choice Specs Lucario, as Calm Blissey is never 2HKOed by Choice Specs Aura Sphere, and can cripple Lucario with Thunder Wave or dent it with Flamethrower or Seismic Toss, whereas Spiritomb is immune to Aura Sphere and can use Hidden Power Fighting to wear Lucario down.

Rhyperior - With an awesome ability in Solid Rock, paired with tremendous Attack, Rhyperior does well on any sandstorm team (especially with the Special Defense boost!) To show off Rhyperior's strength best, I've listed a common set to use below:

Rhyperior @ Leftovers
EVs: 132 HP / 192 Atk / 16 SpD / 168 Spe
Nature: Adamant
-Swords Dance / Megahorn
-Stone Edge

The listed EVs make Rhyperior pretty bulky, so much so that even super effective attacks like Blissey's Ice Beam will not break its Substitute. While sitting safely behind a Substitute, Rhyperior can boost its Attack and proceed to rip through your opponent's team with its powerful STAB moves. This set, like other Rhyperior sets, is countered by Pokemon with high Defense, such as Skarmory. That's where the next Pokemon comes in...

Magnezone - Skarmory is a great asset on sandstorm teams and a giant pain when used against them, because of its high Defense and Ground-type immunity. Magnezone solves this problem. With Magnet Pull trapping Skarmory, Magnezone can put an end to any steel bird that lacks a Shed Shell. Magnezone can also destroy Pokemon like Vaporeon and Suicune, and can revenge kill Scizor, thanks to Hidden Power Fire. As is the case with most special attacking Pokemon, Blissey does well to stop Magnezone. Snorlax and Tyranitar also do very well to stop Magnezone, with high Special Defense and access to Earthquake.

Mamoswine - Mamoswine runs in a similar vein as Rhyperior: attacking the opponent physically using powerful STAB moves and monstrous Attack. But where Rhyperior has Rock-type STAB and bulkiness, Mamoswine has Ice-type attacks and priority, through Ice Shard. The mammoth Pokemon has access to the generic Ground-type moves (Stone Edge and Earthquake) as well as Superpower and Ice Fang. Mamoswine's arguably greatest asset though is its priority move Ice Shard. With this, Mamoswine can do heavy damage to opposing Pokemon before they can land a hit. Even with Intimidate, Ice Shard OHKOes Salamence (it also OHKOes Flygon). Mamoswine also has something other Ice-types don't: neutrality to Stealth Rock. Bronzong is one of Mamoswine's greatest counters, though it does take a bit of damage from Superpower; Gyro Ball is a clean OHKO on Mamoswine.

Jirachi - With good stats across the board, Jirachi makes a very nice Pokémon both offensively and defensively, and it can find a place on almost any team. Jirachi can provide Wish support for your team, Stealth Rock, Reflect and/or Light Screen, and paralysis support with Body Slam or Thunder Wave. On the offensive side of things, Jirachi makes a powerful physical attacker with Zen Headbutt, Iron Head, and the elemental punches. It can also attack with Psychic, Grass Knot, and Thunderbolt. Tyranitar and Hippowdon counter special Jirachis well, especially the Substitute + Calm Mind set, provided they avoid Grass Knot. Tyranitar boasts high Special Defense to take repeated Thunderbolts, and Crunch or Earthquake Jirachi for a good amount of damage, and Hippowdon threatens Jirachi, also with Earthquake. Magnezone does fantastic against physical sets, especially Choiced ones. Magnezone can take Iron Heads and Body Slams all day long, and can trap it and Thunderbolt Jirachi for good damage.

Heatran - With a myriad of special attacks, great resistances, and nice stats, Heatran is yet another great Pokemon to use on a sandstorm team. It can utilize Choice Scarf as a revenge killer of Choice Specs for heavy duty power. Using Substitute + three attacks is another popular option on Heatran, as Heatran often causes a lot of switches. Heatran can even use some support moves like Toxic, Will-O-Wisp, Roar, and Torment. Blissey, Vaporeon, Tentacruel, and Suicune make great Heatran counters. The latter three resist Heatran's STAB and can threaten it with Surf. Blissey can outstall Heatran any day, unless it uses Toxic and Rest, which is relatively rare.

Empoleon - While not popular in the past, in the present Empoleon has become a wildly popular special sweeper, and it does fantasticly on sandstorm teams. Arguably, Empoleon's best set is SubPetaya. Empoleon can use Agility, and use Substitute until the Petaya Berry and Torrent activates. After that, Empoleon becomes nearly unstoppable. Empoleon is one of the only "Subtitute and sweep" Pokemon that can work in sandstorm, because it takes no damage. Empoleon also does well because it resists most priority attacks, including Ice Shard, ExtremeSpeed, Sucker Punch, and Bullet Punch. Empoleon is countered relatively easily with Blissey (and other special walls like it, such as Cresselia and Snorlax). Bulky Water-types also counter Empoleon really well if it lacks Grass Knot. Empoleon can also run a Swords Dance set. Waterfall becomes very powerful with +2 Attack, and Aqua Jet makes up for Empoleon's less than stellar Speed. Empoleon can also be used as a defensive Pokemon, using its high Special Defense. Empoleon can set up Stealth Rock, as well as pseudo-Haze with Yawn or Roar.

Scizor - One of the most threatening Pokémon in the Platinum metagame, Scizor is a beast on any team. The metal bug does well in sandstorms too, as it can use Life Orb without taking too much damage every turn from sandstorm. Scizor has several good options for attacking. Choice Band works for immediate power; with Choice Band, Scizor can easily trap Pokemon like Latias and Gengar with Pursuit (provided they do not have Hidden Power Fire), and heavily damage Pokemon like Celebi with U-turn. Scizor also can use a Swords Dance set that takes full advantage of Bullet Punch (which is made even more powerful due to Technician). Scizor also has access to Fighting-type moves in Superpower and Brick Break. Two of Scizor's best counters are Heatran and Magnezone, though both need to watch out for Superpower. Heatran viciously scares of Scizor with its STAB Fire-type moves (and anything that Scizor uses besides Superpower does laughable damage to Heatran). Magnezone traps Scizor and can kill it with relative ease using Hidden Power Fire or Thunderbolt.

Metagross - Metagross can provide some extra attacking power with Choice Band, or Speed if you want to run Agility, as well as bringing added bulk to any sandstorm team. Meteor Mash is always a force to be reckoned with; 100 base power coming off of 135 base Attack is nothing to scoff at (especially if Metagross gets the Attack raise). Metagross also has access to other physical moves, including Ice Punch, ThunderPunch, Earthquake, Pursuit, and Explosion. Metagross works great as a lead, being able to utilize Stealth Rock. Using Choice Scarf or Band is another possibility, especially as Metagross can use Trick. Metagross is generally stopped by Pokémon with high Defense like Skarmory and Forretress, provided they avoid Trick. Suicune and Celebi also do well, though the latter needs Earth Power to threaten Metagross (otherwise it will probably try to stall it out and end up getting Exploded on).

Flygon - Flygon has always been overshadowed by Salamence and Garchomp, but since the latter became Uber, Flygon has arisen to a top-tier Pokemon. Flygon's main attraction is U-turn on top of its Dragon / Ground STAB moves. Flygon is a fantastic scout when used with a Choice Scarf, due to U-turn and no Stealth Rock weakness. Flygon also has some good other attacks to use: Stone Edge, Fire Punch, and even Quick Attack, not forgetting the aforementioned Earthquake, Outrage, and even Draco Meteor. Flygon's main weakness is its lack of raw power. Because of this, Flygon is pretty easily countered by physical walls such as Suicune, Swampert, and Skarmory (although the latter should be wary of Fire Blast).

Dugtrio - Dugtrio is one of the few Ground-type Pokemon that has Speed without a Choice Scarf. Dugtrio also has the invaluable ability Arena Trap. Using these two assets, Dugtrio makes a great revenge killer. It can switch in, trap, and kill several Pokemon such as Infernape, Blissey, and Tyranitar (though maximum HP Tyranitar isn't always OHKOed by Earthquake). Dugtrio doesn't really have a "counter" persay, because most Pokemon Dugtrio will be facing can't switch out. However, Pokemon that aren't OHKOed by Dugtrio's attacks are safe bets (for example, Swampert and Suicune). If Dugtrio locks into Sucker Punch you can predict around that by using non-attacking moves, too.

Aerodactyl - While Aerodactyl isn't the best sweeper because of its frailty, it makes a great suicide lead. Aerodactyl is one of the fastest Pokemon in the game, so times when Aerodactyl won't be able to set up Stealth Rock as a lead are rare. Aerodactyl is by no means a slouch in attacking though, with Earthquake, Stone Edge, and the elemental fangs at its disposal. Swampert is one of Aerodactyl's best counters; it resists Aerodactyl's STAB and isn't really threatened by anything else Aerodactyl can throw at it. Bulky Fighting-types such as Machamp and Hariyama are safe bets too (they should watch out for the rare Aerial Ace, though).

Torterra - Torterra is often overlooked as an option for your team, but it's actually not a half-bad choice. With good defenses, Torterra can often get a Rock Polish off and proceed to sweep with Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Wood Hammer, with extra power from Life Orb. Torterra can even provide support with dual screens or Stealth Rock. Celebi, Tangrowth, and Shaymin do well to counter Torterra, as nothing the turtle has theatens any of these bulky Grass-types. Weavile and Mamoswine can smash him with a quad super effective Ice Shard.

Sandstorm supporters and walls

Skarmory - Everyone knows about the defensive terror that is Skamory. Walling physical attacks and setting up entry hazards make Skarmory an amazing Pokemon to use on a sandstorm stall team. Skarmory also has its own recovery in Roost, and can pseudo-Haze with Whirlwind. Skarmory hates taking special attacks, especially Electric-type ones. Because of this, Jolteon, Raikou, and especially Magnezone (because of Magnet Pull) make great Skarmory counters. Infernape and Heatran also make great counters, though Infernape needs to watch out for Brave Bird or Drill Peck on the switch.

Gliscor - Gliscor can fulfill a myriad of roles on a sandstorm team; it can set up Swords Dance or Agility to Baton Pass, sweep with Swords Dance, or be a general physical wall. These objectives are especially easy to pull off under sandstorm because of Sand Veil. Gliscor is also one of DPP's best Heracross counters, while it also beats non-Ice Punch Lucario. Countering Gliscor largely depends on the set; the Baton Passer is beaten by quick Taunt users, as is the case with most Baton Passers. Other Gliscor sets are easily beaten by Ice-type moves. Pokemon such as Starmie outspeed and OHKO Gliscor with Ice Beam.

Bronzong - The iron bell makes another great sandstorm wall. Bronzong has very few weaknesses and a plethora of support options. These include Stealth Rock, Toxic, Trick, Light Screen, Reflect, and Hypnosis. Bronzong is no slouch in attacking either; it can use Gyro Ball (which is extremely powerful because of Bronzong's low Speed), Earthquake, and Explosion. Bronzong's only downside is its lack of reliable recovery; this means it cannot take repeated beatings and live to tell the tale. Heatran and Infernape make good Bronzong counters because of STAB Fire moves, however they need to watch out for Earthquake. Salamence with Fire Blast also does well, though Fire Blast doesn't always OHKO. Bronzong can run Heatproof over Levitate for surprise value, but it is generally inferior to Levitate.

Cradily - With the Special Defense boost sandstorm provides, Cradily becomes a very potent sandstorm wall. However, it's much less useful in OU than in UU (where you'll need to use Hippopotas), because of all the Steel-types in OU. Cradily's main niche is Toxicing the opponent, then stalling while the opponent wastes away; Cradily has Recover and Protect to do this. Cradily can also use Swords Dance with Recover and Suction Cups to back it up. Cradily has many common weaknesses to exploit when countering it, including Bug, Ice, and Fighting. Heracross makes a fantastic counter because of this, it loves taking Toxics and can scare Cradily away with Megahorn or Close Combat.

Swampert - Swampert has been a great offensive and defensive threat since its release in the 3rd Generation, and it hasn't slowed down since. Swampert makes a very nice lead, capable of setting up Stealth rock most of the time as well as put a dent in opposing Pokemon with strong attacks like Waterfall, Hydro Pump, and Earthquake. Swampert also does well to stop physical Salamence if it backs Ice Beam. Swampert is arguably most threatening when using Curse, though. After Cursing a few times, Swampert will be nearly unstoppable (anything that doesn't pack a Grass-type move won't be able to kill a boosted Swampert). Exploiting Swampert's 4x weakness to Grass is the easiest way to counter it. Celebi is barely threatened by anything Swampert has, and it can outspeed and OHKO Swampert with Grass Knot.

Registeel - Registeel is a good wall in OU, even better in UU (it's one of the few Pokemon to stop Shaymin with relative ease). Registeel does well as a support Pokemon, using Stealth Rock, Toxic, and Thunder Wave. Registeel can also employ Curse to boost its Defense, or use ResTalking as your team's status absorber.

Regirock - Regirock has one of the highest Defenses in the game, and with relatively good defensive typing, Regirock makes a very good physical wall. Like Registeel, Regirock can also support your team with Toxic, Thunder Wave, and Stealth Rock. Regirock packs more of a punch than Registeel though, so it doesn't need to Curse up to actually damage the opponent. Regirock also gets a very welcome Special Defense boost from the sandstorm. Donphan and Hippowdon wall Regirock all day long, and both can do some damage to Regirock with their STAB Earthquakes. Special Fighting-type attacks, such as Aura Sphere from Lucario, decimate Regirock too.

Claydol - The spinning top Pokemon is a great Rapid Spinner in UU; and it is one of the few special attacking Ground-types. Claydol can Trick crippling items onto other Pokemon too. Claydol's main pitfall is its lack of reliable recovery; it can't witstand repeated hits like other Pokemon (Hippowdon) can. Countering Claydol isn't too difficult either. Water-types do a great job, as most STAB Water or Ice moves will do a hefty amount to Claydol, though watch out for Explosion!

Forretress - Forretress is one of the best Rapid Spinners and Toxic Spikers of OU. Forretress is capable of setting up every type of entry hazard, as well as spin them away. Forretress can also threaten opposing Pokemon with Earthquake, STAB Gyro Ball, Zap Cannon, or Payback. One of Forretress' best counters is Rotom-h, as it blocks Forretress' Rapid Spins and can OHKO it with Overheat. Magnezone also counters Forretress nicely, as Thunderbolt does a hefty amount of damage, and Hidden Power Fire will OHKO it.

Donphan - The pachyderm Pokemon is another one of the rare Rapid Spinners of OU. Donphan is relatively powerful an, unlike Forretress, poses a strong offensive threat to the opponent. Donphan also has Ice Shard, a great attack for picking off weakened opponents (though do not expect Ice Shard to be powerful enough to take on a full health Salamence). Bulky Ground-types easily stop Donphan, as do bulky Waters. Choice Band Donphan can be damaging though, especially so if your bulky Water has taken a few hits.

Other defensive options
Some Pokemon, while benefitting nicely from sandstorm, just aren't too great. Probopass and Bastiodon come to mind in this respect. While both of them have very nice defensive capabilities, Basitiodon especially, both of them have two easily exploitable 4x weaknesses. Probopass can be used in a way similar to Magnezone, trapping and defeating Steel-types. Aggron and Golem are also good on paper in terms of Defense, though they are completely overshadowed by other Pokemon, Golem especially, is outclassed by Rhyperior, who only really misses out on Explosion. Shuckle is yet another defensive Pokemon made better in sandstorm; however, Shuckle can't do much of anything except Toxic and Encore, and even its monstrous defenses cannot cover its low HP (meaning it
still can't take heavy-duty hits).

Other Pokemon
This section includes Pokemon that do not benefit from sandstorm, but help sandstorm teams.

Blissey - Despite being weak to sandstorm, Blissey is frequently seen on defensive sandstorm teams because it's unrivaled as the best special wall in the game. Blissey can sponge special attacks, spread status around, and heal your own teams status with Heal Bell. Blissey can also provide Wish support for the team. This is very helpful because a lot of the other walls that do well in sandstorm (Registeel, Donphan, Regirock, Forretress, and others) do not have reliable recovery of their own. The easiest way to counter Blissey is with strong physical attacks. Choice Dugtrio does a great job, as it can trap Blissey and 2HKO it with Earthquake. Other good counters include Machamp and Infernape, though Infernape needs to watch out for the occasional Thunder Wave.

Latias - Like Blissey, Latias can provide Wish support for the team. Unlike Blissey, Latias is a giant threat to the opponent on an offensive level as well as a defensive level. Latias is a fantastic offensive Calm Minder; Dragon Pulse and Surf provide great coverage, and she also has Substitute and Recover at her disposal. Latias is also one of the few special attackers that can defeat Blissey by using Recover and Refresh. Bulky Scizors and Tyranitars can defeat Latias pretty easily. They can both switch into Surf, Ice Beam, Dragon Pulse, or Thunderbolt, and threaten Latias with their super effective STAB attacks (or trap her with Pursuit).

Tentacruel - Tentacruel can absorb Toxic Spikes, set them up itself, and spin away other entry hazards, a trait exclusive to the squid. Tentacruel is also another Pokemon that can take Water-type attacks easily, which is very helpful for a sandstorm team. Tentacruel also easily defeats MixApe, which is a frequent problem for sandstorm teams. Like Blissey, Tentacruel is easily trapped and killed by Dugtrio. Tentacruel can also be defeated by other powerful Electric- or Ground-type attacks.

Starmie - Starme is another Pokemon that can take the ever so threatening Water-type attacks. Starmie also can use Rapid Spin, as well as pack a punch with its myriad of special attacks. Lastly, Starmie has Recover to increase its longevity. Blissey is a 100% Starmie counter, she can wear it down with Toxic or Thunderbolt (while Starmie cannot do notable damage to Blissey). Celebi is another good counter, especially when Starmie lacks Ice Beam. Like most Water-types, Starmie needs to be wary of Electric attacks, so Jolteon and Magnezone do well to scare it off.

Other Options
Rotom-A and Spiritomb are great options on defensive sandstorm teams, as they both block Rapid Spin. Rotom-A can also scare away the bulky Water-types that try to defeat your Ground- and Rock-types. Neither Spiritomb nor Rotom-A really care about sandstorm too, as they both can use Rest. Celebi can provide Leech Seed support, and it makes a nice Gyarados counter (it can also defeat your opponent's Rock- and Ground-types with Grass Knot). That very same Gyarados makes a good option to use too, but Leftovers if the recommended item (over Life Orb) because it will help Gyarados combat the sandstorm damage. Zapdos too is a good choice. The electric bird makes a nice Scizor counter, and has Roost to heal any Stealth Rock or sandstorm damage it may acquire.

Problems for sandstorm teams
A major problem for sandstorm teams is stall teams. Most Pokemon that do well in sandstorm aren't proficient at running mixed sets, and as such, breaking the walls of stall teams is difficult. Including a Pokemon like Mixed Jirachi is a good idea; even though they will be taking damage from Life Orb, they'll often be able to break down a few walls so you'll be able to sweep with something else. Toxic Spikes is another large problem, as it hits many common sandstorm Pokemon. Using Forretress or Donphan is a good counter to this, as they can spin away he Toxic Spikes and any other entry hazard that may plague you. If neither of those Pokemon appeal to you, then use Starmie as a Rapid Spinner, or a Poison-type like Roserade to absorb the Toxic Spikes. Nidoqueen and Nidoking get a special mention, as they can both absorb Toxic Spikes while they are not hurt by sandstorm. Specifically, Suicune tends to be a large problem for sandstorm teams. With its STAB Water-type moves and strong Defense and HP, Suicune can easily take the attacks of Rhyperior, Mamoswine, and sometimes, Tyranitar and defeat them quickly. To defeat Suicune, include something with strong Electric- or Grass-type moves, like Magnezone, Celebi, or Roserade.

Opposing weather teams also make playing with sandstorm difficult, especially if your weather-inducer faints before your opponent's does. Not only will they likely be ready with powerful sweepers ready to benefit from the opposing weather, but your Rock-type Pokémon will also lose their Special Defense boost. Rain Dance teams can smash through Tyranitar and Hippowdon with high powered Water-type moves, and can then set up Rain Dance without fear, to attempt a sweep. Sunny Day teams are less of a threat as one can bring in Tyranitar or Hippowdon to cause SolarBeam to take another turn as it charges. When playing against these teams, you may often have to make smart sacrifices to keep control of the battle. In these situations, it is highly advised to keep your weather-Pokémon alive, so you can change the weather when desperately needed.

Sandstorm is the most used weather effect, and for good reason. Sandstorm has several game-changing effects that can be fully utilized to your advantage. I hope this guide has prepared you to not only use sandstorm teams to their fullest extent, but also be prepared to face them.

Thank you for reading.


Who let marco in here????
is a Forum Moderatoris a Team Rater Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Live Chat Contributor Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion
Thunder's accuracy is lowered from 70% to 50%.
The main site doesn't say anything about Thunder's accuracy being reduced in Sandstorm (in both Thunder/Sandstorm's page). Are you sure about this?


take me anywhere
is a Tutor Alumnusis a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
Lol we weren't sure either. On Serebii it says so, but Twash said there might be an error so we asked Smogon's resident move guru, Leafgreen Zubat. He said it becomes 50% in ss, just like serebii said x.x
Forretress is one of the best Rapid Spinners and Toxic Spikers of UU. Forretress is capable of setting up every type of entry hazard, as well as spin them away. Forretress can also threaten opposing Pokemon with Earthquake, STAB Gyro Ball, Zap Cannon, or Payback. One of Forretress' best counters is Rotom-h, as it blocks Forretress' Rapid Spins and can OHKO it with Overheat. Magnezone also counters Forretress nicely, as Thunderbolt does a hefty amount of damage, and Hidden Power Fire will OHKO it.


take me anywhere
is a Tutor Alumnusis a Tournament Director Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
Yea that was my bad. The weird thing is that I typed it correctly, then I saw somewhere it was typed "Foretress" and was like aw fuck, so I changed them all to Foretress x____x

Thanks KD/Veed!
Yeah KD, that was Jimbo being dumb! He saw one spelt Foretress and decided to change them all to that...(love you really Jimbo).

I just edited in a couple of small grammar edits, I'm sure you won't mind!

Also, I'd just like to say a huge well done to Jimbo who basically pulled 90% of this together within a week. Seriously, the guy's a machine, and he's done a great job on this. I'm proud of you :')


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The "Other Pokemon" section seems a bit skimpy to me. Maybe add a few more Pokemon (2-3) there seems like there could be more than 3 options. At least add a paragraph about other potential options if you don't want to analyze more pokemon individually.

I'll read it more carefully later and make more comments.

Good job to both of you etc.
Few more nitpicks:

All non-Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokemon and Pokemon without the ability Magic Guard take 1/16 damage at the end of every turn.
While you do mention Sand Veil's immunity later, it isn't consistant to list immunities but exclude one of them. I would throw Sand Veil in there after Magic Guard and then in the bullet immediately below it mention Sand Veil's evasion increase.

SolarBeam's base power is reduced from 120, to 60. SolarBeam takes one turn to charge up, and then it will attack.
I believe the bold can be excluded. That's how the move normally performs, so I don't believe it warrants mention.

I'm pretty sure Thunder's accuracy is still 70% but I suppose we'll just wait for DPC's results. And yeah, good job with the article.

EDIT: I don't think it matters since it's not the HTML'd version, but I'd like to point out that Magnezone links to Skarmory and Other Pokemon section all have bad links x)