Metagame USUM Monotype Metagame Discussion

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Eien

I'll face myself
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Monotype Co-Leader
#1


(art by Acast)

Welcome to the Monotype metagame discussion thread!
Sample Teams / Viability Rankings / Smogon's Strategy Dex / Monotype on Showdown / Beginner's Guide

Monotype is a really simple concept; you build a team of six Pokemon sharing one common type and fight against teams with the same restriction. You are allowed to use Pokemon with dual-typing on a team represented by either type, but every other Pokemon must share at least one type with the dual-typed Pokemon. For example, you can use Gyarados, a Water/Flying-type Pokemon, on a Mono-Water or a Mono-Flying team. If you choose Gyarados, you can also use Lanturn, a Water/Electric-type Pokemon, and create a Mono-Water team with the two of them, but you cannot use Zapdos, a Flying/Electric-type Pokemon, on that team because it does not share a type with Gyarados and Lanturn.


Some Mega Evolutions change their typing upon Mega Evolving. When using a Mega Evolution that changes its typing, the Mega Evolution must retain the original typing of the team. In practice, this means is that you can use Mega Gyarados on a Mono-Water team, but you may not use it on a Mono-Flying team (because Mega Gyarados isn't a Flying type) or a Mono-Dark team (because regular Gyarados isn't a Dark type. Similarly, Mega Aggron can only be used on Mono-Steel, despite its base form being allowed on Mono-Rock teams. If you're ever unsure if a Mega Evolution is legal on your team, you can check the legality of your team in the Teambuilder on Pokemon Showdown!


Using six Pokemon of the same type can lead to some interesting team archetypes, and it challenges teambuilders to make sure the common weaknesses a certain type of Pokemon share are covered as best as possible. This metagame allows for all kinds of Pokemon to be viable against top threats, so be imaginative. As you play, you'll find many unique threats that aren't common in the usage based tiers.

The Monotype metagame features builds from all playstyles—Offense, Balance, and Stall. The playstyle will often reflect the Pokemon available on that type. For instance, there are many strong offensive Fighting types, but the type lacks reliable defensive Pokemon. As such, a Stall Fighting-type team is hard to make, while Offensive Fighting is viable. The best Monotype players build and play a wide variety of types, using teams that capitalize on the strengths of an individual type. Forcing your favorite type into an archetype that it will struggle to pull off is a good way to lose matches and get frustrated!


Tiering and Discussion
Monotype has its own tiering, which is based on the tiering philosophy. The metagame is led by a 7-man council, each with an equal say in tiering decisions.

You may find the current banlist in the Monotype entry on the Smogdex.
This thread is meant for discussion—not just requesting bans! That said, if you feel anything not on these banlists is too overpowered for the meta, this is the place to discuss it. All tiering discussion should be framed within the context of the Monotype Tiering Philosophy, which you can find below. Additionally, if you want to recommend a Pokemon for suspect testing, include some evidence and reasoning why you think said Pokemon is broken. Just saying something like, "I think Kyurem-Black should be banned because it has base 170 Attack." is a post that will get deleted, and it won't get you taken seriously. Back up your claim with replays showing how the Pokemon is overpowered in practice. Tell us how it interacts against other types/playstyles, what checks and counters it, its role on the team type(s) where it's played (going back to the Kyurem-Black example, how does it play on Mono-Ice vs. Mono-Dragon?), and so on. If you need any advice or have any questions on things you think are broken but are unsure what the best way to post is, contact a member of the Monotype Council either through message or on Showdown in the Monotype room.

As a final thought, before you post, think about what you're saying and whether it adds anything to the conversation or sparks discussion. If not, add to it until it does. Let's make an effort to have fun while keeping a certain level of mature conversation!

Special note: This thread is for metagame discussion, not tiering philosophy discussion. If you would like to propose a policy change then please start a private message with the members of the Monotype council. If the council would like to field general discussion on the tiering philosophy then it will make a post requesting input from the community.
 

Eien

I'll face myself
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderatoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Monotype Co-Leader
#2
Feel free to use this thread to discuss anything pertinent to the USUM Monotype metagame. What have you found to be really good? Anything surprisingly not as good as we expected? Made new sets and teams? Here's the place!

For reference, here's what we discussed before the games came out: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/pre-release-usum-monotype-discussion.3620213/

Since the games just came out, let's try to jump too hastily to banning or unbanning things. We have a lot of time, so don't worry too much about that just yet. Our plan is to only quickban things that are far too powerful (think SM Marshadow) while leaving everything else for public suspects in the near future. Yes, Pokemon may be resuspected to get unbanned, and we may consider the Necrozma formes if they appear to not be too good. However, the council will announce when that is on the table, so for now, let's please focus solely on what's legal and used in Monotype!

So, please be civil and have good thought to back up your claims. Remember to follow all of the Monotype forum rules. With that, let's have another great year!
 

Zarif

Paradise in our minds
is a Contributor to Smogon
#3
I think the first order of business should be to change the name from USUM Monotype to USM Monotype. Like "USUM" really?

Anyway, on a serious note, I've played a handful of games against the best players and randoms on the ladder and I think Dragon is pretty much busted right now with a new toy like Naganadel, which has amazing offensive stats with decent bulk as well while existing Pokemon like Kommo-o have gotten buffs. Kommo-o has a signature Z-move now called Clangorous Soulblaze which has 185 BP and gives +1 to every stat. This allows Kommo-o to run mixed sets with Flamethrower, Poison Jab after a boost from the Z-move. Because its Z-move is also its signature move and has 110 BP as a regular move, Kommo-o doesn't even have to waste a moveslot on it unlike Pokemon like Victini who have to waste a slot on Celebrate.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, the thing that I wanted to talk about was Fire. I actually think Blacephalon is gonna be really good for Fire. Fire doesn't have to run Choice Scarf on Infernape anymore because of its 107 Speed and access to Psyshock, which outspeeds and OHKO's Nihilego. With Beast Boost giving it a Special Attack boost after every KO, I think Blacephalon could be Fire's best late-game cleaner with a Choice Scarf. However, Blacephalon's movepool really isn't anything to talk about, as the only moves worth mentioning are its STAB moves and Psyshock/Psychic.



I've played with Choice Scarf Blacephalon in every game and I can say it hasn't been deadweight in any of them. However, that might also be because I haven't faced a Rock team yet .-. While Wanka has been using a Z-Trick Blacephalon set with Screens support from Rotom-H which also seems to have swept a good number of teams because of Beast Boost giving it a Special Attack boost after every KO. The only problem with that set might be that it's too frail to set up without Screens on the field.

Blacephalon @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Fire Blast
- Shadow Ball
- Psyshock
- Hidden Power [Ice]

Blacephalon @ Psychium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Trick
- Fire Blast
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power [Ice]


Another huge thing is a LOT of new Pokemon get access to Defog now! Rotom-H and Volcanion might be the best ones on Fire to use it. Specifically I've been using Screens Rotom-H with Defog and I love it! I think a Choice Scarf set would work pretty nicely too with Defog. Fire teams won't be as reliant on Torkoal anymore because of it.

Tl;dr Dragon's busted. Fire has cool stuff.
 
#5

Naganadel has been a really strong presence in every match I've played / seen with it; placing a tremendous amount of pressure on both offensive and balanced teams with its Nasty Plot Sweeper set.

Due to Beast Boost, Naganadel can quickly snowball out of control with speed boosts, making it difficult to check offensively for most types. And defensive cores will have to play extremely carefully around the (boosted) Z-Draco/Dragon Pulse nuke, and Nag finds plenty of opportunities to set up since it actually has alright bulk with good defensive typing that let it set up on weak scalds, bulkmons like zapdos, mega venusaur, mantine, etc.
+2 252 SpA Dragalge Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 16+ SpD Mantine: 420-495 (112.2 - 132.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 SpA Dragalge Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 136 SpD Zapdos: 591-696 (153.9 - 181.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 SpA Dragalge Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 460-543 (151.3 - 178.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 SpA Dragalge Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Heatran: 297-349 (91.9 - 108%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock (also only needs 1 round of rocks to KO Max HP sets)
+2 252 SpA Dragalge Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 248 HP / 248+ SpD Assault Vest Muk-Alola: 303-357 (73.3 - 86.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
+2 252 SpA Dragalge Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 28 SpD Venusaur-Mega: 522-615 (143.4 - 168.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO


As you can see from these calcs, most of these KOs don't even require Z-Draco's power, making Z-Dragon Pulse a valid option as well for sweeper sets to avoid incurring SpA drops.
Obviously it's still premature, but I think Naganadel is something we should keep a close eye over the next few weeks.
 
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#6
I know I’ve already discussed this Pokemon in the previous thread, but I have a few more comments to make after actually playing with it for a few games.


Kommo-o is not a new Pokemon in USM but it does get several buffs that make it great. It’s lack of use last gen could be attributed to the absence of a good Fighting STAB, and that problem vanishes now in USM. Kommo-o gets access to Close Combat, Ice Punch, and Clangorous Soulblaze, which makes it probably the most improved Pokemon in these new games. The jury is still out on what standard teams will look like, but Kommo-o sure sounds like a promising Pokemon on standard Fighting and Dragon alike.

Something I think people are overlooking is that Kommo-o is not confined to its Z-Move 4 attacks set. A lot of people were confused when I pointed out Kommo-o’s access to Stealth Rock, but this is noteworthy since both Dragon and Fighting do not have the most wide selection of hazard setters, so it can undoubtedly be used for role compression. One additional coverage move on Clangorous Soulblaze sets is appreciated but not required. For example, Earthquake doesn’t particularly hit much of anything that Soulblaze/Flamethrower/Close Combat can’t. While I don’t think Soulblaze sets will use Rocks on every team, obviously, it’s still a great new move to increase Kommo-o’s versatility. I want to discard my comment about not having to use Cobalion on Fighting teams, though, just because Cobalion is such an excellent partner for this Pokemon. Kommo-o can take care of things like Mega Charizard Y on well, whereas Cobalion can take on Mega Diancie and other Fairy types. On Dragon teams, it can break through Normal’s eviolite core very easily, though it’s revenge killed by Ditto just like most other Pokemon on Dragon.

Another thing that needs to be noted is that Kommo’o has incredibly good bulk after an omni boost. Here are just a few calcs showing this:
252 SpA Greninja Ice Beam vs. +1 4 HP / 0- SpD Kommo-o: 120-142 (41 - 48.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

252 Atk Choice Band Weavile Ice Shard vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 102-122 (34.9 - 41.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

252 Atk Gallade-Mega Zen Headbutt vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 174-206 (59.5 - 70.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

252+ Atk Choice Band Excadrill Earthquake vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 153-180 (52.3 - 61.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

And this one is more humorous than anything:

252 Atk Gale Wings Talonflame Supersonic Skystrike (190 BP) vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 252-296 (86.3 - 101.3%) -- 12.5% chance to OHKO (50% after SR)

(Seriously, what’s revenge killing this outside of really powerful Dragon types like Latios and Fairy-types?)

With all that said, I’m excited for this Pokemon in this meta, and I can easily see it becoming a staple on both types. Let me know what you think!
 

terrors

Fire and Blood
is a Contributor to Smogon
#7
Stakataka

Stakataka @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Lonely Nature
IVs: 14 Def / 0 Spe
- Trick Room
- Gyro Ball
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake

While its obviously nowhere near as good as the other two new UBs, Stakataka's not as bad as I expected from the theorymonning. OTR is a big threat and can pull off sweeps really easily with its massive defenses. Unfortunately 14 Defense IVs and a Lonely nature is needed to make its Attack higher than Defense for Beast Boost but its Defense is still pretty good anyway. Gyro Ball has very few switchins and most resistances can be dealt with its other moves. Its matchup vs Dragon is really good, nothing besides defensive Garchomp takes a Gyro Ball after Stealth Rock and even Poison is threatened by Gyro Ball + EQ for Pex. I guess its probably just that most players don't really know what it does so it'll probably not be as viable when players learn how to play around it.

A couple replays:
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660732833 vs Dragon
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660757130 vs Dragon again
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660802942 vs Fire (got kinda lucky early and opponent didn't really know what Stakataka does)
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660812333 vs Poison
 
#8
252 SpA Greninja Ice Beam vs. +1 4 HP / 0- SpD Kommo-o: 120-142 (41 - 48.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

252 Atk Choice Band Weavile Ice Shard vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 102-122 (34.9 - 41.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

252 Atk Gallade-Mega Zen Headbutt vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 174-206 (59.5 - 70.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

252+ Atk Choice Band Excadrill Earthquake vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 153-180 (52.3 - 61.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

And this one is more humorous than anything:

252 Atk Gale Wings Talonflame Supersonic Skystrike (190 BP) vs. +1 4 HP / 0 Def Kommo-o: 252-296 (86.3 - 101.3%) -- 12.5% chance to OHKO (50% after SR)

(Seriously, what’s revenge killing this outside of really powerful Dragon types like Latios and Fairy-types?)
Keep in mind that Kommo-O’s strongest STABs, Close Combat and Clanging Scales, incur Defense and Special Defense drops, which will make Kommo-O easier to revenge over time.
 
#9
Calling it right now that blace is gonna get quick banned.
This think is just broken. It has amazing Sp.atk, a great offensive typing, decent coverage, decent speed, and it becomes even more powerful the more that it knocks out your opponent's mons. Just put a scarf on it and you can easily just throw it in after getting rocks up. This will break sash + Sturdy. Ghost has like no resists, so shadow ball is pretty spammable. Just set up rocks, chip a few mons down, then switch into Blace and click shadow ball.
 
#10
Calling it right now that blace is gonna get quick banned.
This think is just broken. It has amazing Sp.atk, a great offensive typing, decent coverage, decent speed, and it becomes even more powerful the more that it knocks out your opponent's mons. Just put a scarf on it and you can easily just throw it in after getting rocks up. This will break sash + Sturdy. Ghost has like no resists, so shadow ball is pretty spammable. Just set up rocks, chip a few mons down, then switch into Blace and click shadow ball.
Tyranitar, Hydreigon, and Houndoom are pretty hard answers. Tyranitar can even pursuit trap it. Keep in mind that you can only use Mind Blown twice before fainting, so don’t expect it to spam Mind Blown the whole match, this cutting its offensive power.
Stakataka

Stakataka @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Lonely Nature
IVs: 14 Def / 0 Spe
- Trick Room
- Gyro Ball
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake

While its obviously nowhere near as good as the other two new UBs, Stakataka's not as bad as I expected from the theorymonning. OTR is a big threat and can pull off sweeps really easily with its massive defenses. Unfortunately 14 Defense IVs and a Lonely nature is needed to make its Attack higher than Defense for Beast Boost but its Defense is still pretty good anyway. Gyro Ball has very few switchins and most resistances can be dealt with its other moves. Its matchup vs Dragon is really good, nothing besides defensive Garchomp takes a Gyro Ball after Stealth Rock and even Poison is threatened by Gyro Ball + EQ for Pex. I guess its probably just that most players don't really know what it does so it'll probably not be as viable when players learn how to play around it.

A couple replays:
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660732833 vs Dragon
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660757130 vs Dragon again
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660802942 vs Fire (got kinda lucky early and opponent didn't really know what Stakataka does)
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660812333 vs Poison
Another issue is that TR isn’t the most ideal for Steel and Rock. From what I’ve played against, Steel focuses on stalling the opponent, while rock’s only viable style is Sticky Web Hyper offense. TR doesn’t help a lot in those matchups. That being said, Steel can cover the weaknesses quite easily, so maybe TR is the worst thing especially with all the Slow Mons steel has.

I don’t think Stakataka is trash, I just think that it’s not the right place for Monotype, especially considering that TR isn’t nearly as good in 6 v 6 as in Doubles, VGC, and Battle Spot Singles. I’m definitely giving it try in those formats.
 
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#11
Stakataka

Stakataka @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Lonely Nature
IVs: 14 Def / 0 Spe
- Trick Room
- Gyro Ball
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake

While its obviously nowhere near as good as the other two new UBs, Stakataka's not as bad as I expected from the theorymonning. OTR is a big threat and can pull off sweeps really easily with its massive defenses. Unfortunately 14 Defense IVs and a Lonely nature is needed to make its Attack higher than Defense for Beast Boost but its Defense is still pretty good anyway. Gyro Ball has very few switchins and most resistances can be dealt with its other moves. Its matchup vs Dragon is really good, nothing besides defensive Garchomp takes a Gyro Ball after Stealth Rock and even Poison is threatened by Gyro Ball + EQ for Pex. I guess its probably just that most players don't really know what it does so it'll probably not be as viable when players learn how to play around it.

A couple replays:
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660732833 vs Dragon
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660757130 vs Dragon again
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660802942 vs Fire (got kinda lucky early and opponent didn't really know what Stakataka does)
http://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7monotype-660812333 vs Poison
I was pleasantly surprised by how usable Stakataka was as well; OTR makes a big impact in the Fire, Dragon, Fairy, Bug, Electric and Flying matchups (given proper support). It's typing is bad but can still check a bunch of threats to Steel like Victini or Naganadel; a fire neutrality helps take pressure off of Heatran to check choice-locked fire moves, and also creates set up opportunities.

I think all of this may give it some usage on specific builds, even if it's still dead weight in a lot of important matchups such as Water and Ground.

It's completely useless on Rock though. It undermines literally the only thing Rock has going for it; Webs; and does very little to patch-up any of the type's weaknesses.
 
#12
Tyranitar, Hydreigon, and Houndoom are pretty hard answers. Tyranitar can even pursuit trap it. Keep in mind that you can only use Mind Blown twice before fainting, so don’t expect it to spam Mind Blown the whole match, this cutting its offensive power.

While I agree that those mons are very easily going to beat Blace (If they move first), I notice those are all dark types. While, yes, all types can have checks to it on their own, they're not too common, and can't really stay in if they have taken previous damage, AV Ttar being the only one I can see staying in to multiple hits. Furthermore, of the 3 mons you mentioned, only 1 of them, ttar, can switch into it and not risk a good chance of being knocked out. Also I personally don't like mind blown being used on it, but I can definitely see it being used as an easy way to get to +1 with Beast boost. I prefer a scarf cleaner set, as it already has great stabs and SP.atk, but is just barely lacking in speed.[/QUOTE]
 
#13
While I agree that those mons are very easily going to beat Blace (If they move first), I notice those are all dark types. While, yes, all types can have checks to it on their own, they're not too common, and can't really stay in if they have taken previous damage, AV Ttar being the only one I can see staying in to multiple hits. Furthermore, of the 3 mons you mentioned, only 1 of them, ttar, can switch into it and not risk a good chance of being knocked out. Also I personally don't like mind blown being used on it, but I can definitely see it being used as an easy way to get to +1 with Beast boost. I prefer a scarf cleaner set, as it already has great stabs and SP.atk, but is just barely lacking in speed.
[/quote]
Houndoom has Flash Fire to switch in on Mind Blown. A cleaner set can be played around. I don’t have any doubts that it will be bad, I just don’t think it will be broken as you say.
 
#14
I think the first order of business should be to change the name from USUM Monotype to USM Monotype. Like "USUM" really?

Anyway, on a serious note, I've played a handful of games against the best players and randoms on the ladder and I think Dragon is pretty much busted right now with a new toy like Naganadel, which has amazing offensive stats with decent bulk as well while existing Pokemon like Kommo-o have gotten buffs. Kommo-o has a signature Z-move now called Clangorous Soulblaze which has 185 BP and gives +1 to every stat. This allows Kommo-o to run mixed sets with Flamethrower, Poison Jab after a boost from the Z-move. Because its Z-move is also its signature move and has 110 BP as a regular move, Kommo-o doesn't even have to waste a moveslot on it unlike Pokemon like Victini who have to waste a slot on Celebrate.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, the thing that I wanted to talk about was Fire. I actually think Blacephalon is gonna be really good for Fire. Fire doesn't have to run Choice Scarf on Infernape anymore because of its 107 Speed and access to Psyshock, which outspeeds and OHKO's Nihilego. With Beast Boost giving it a Special Attack boost after every KO, I think Blacephalon could be Fire's best late-game cleaner with a Choice Scarf. However, Blacephalon's movepool really isn't anything to talk about, as the only moves worth mentioning are its STAB moves and Psyshock/Psychic.



I've played with Choice Scarf Blacephalon in every game and I can say it hasn't been deadweight in any of them. However, that might also be because I haven't faced a Rock team yet .-. While Wanka has been using a Z-Trick Blacephalon set with Screens support from Rotom-H which also seems to have swept a good number of teams because of Beast Boost giving it a Special Attack boost after every KO. The only problem with that set might be that it's too frail to set up without Screens on the field.

Blacephalon @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Fire Blast
- Shadow Ball
- Psyshock
- Hidden Power [Ice]

Blacephalon @ Psychium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Trick
- Fire Blast
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power [Ice]


Another huge thing is a LOT of new Pokemon get access to Defog now! Rotom-H and Volcanion might be the best ones on Fire to use it. Specifically I've been using Screens Rotom-H with Defog and I love it! I think a Choice Scarf set would work pretty nicely too with Defog. Fire teams won't be as reliant on Torkoal anymore because of it.

Tl;dr Dragon's busted. Fire has cool stuff.
After extensively using Blacephalon on Fire, I have a few thoughts about this.

It’s a pretty good mon, even better than I thought it would be, admittedly. But I still think Scarf Infernape is needed (and far better than it) on Fire.

It’s honestly a pretty terrible Nihilego check. Yes it does get Psyshock which has an 87% to OHKO it before rocks, but two things have to be noted here. Both Poison and Rock have very dangerous Pursuit trappers that can switch in for free and trap it every single time. Muk-Alola doesn’t mind switching into attacks like Fire Blast at all, and Pursuit is obviously KOing it as the Blacephalon user has no choice but to switch out. On Rock, the same is exactly true for Tyranitar, who can simply come in and not fear any attack and KO it with Pursuit. The Blacephalon player will have to rely on these Pokémon being fainted before actually attempting to check Nihilego. The Nihilego player, on the other hand, will obviously try to preserve them before trying to sweep with Power Gem. Infernape doesn’t have these issues as it can beat both Muk-Alola and Tyranitar very easily. Even specially defensive Heatran is a better Nihilego answer than Blacephalon.

With that being said, it’s still not a bad Pokemon. Ideally, you’d use them together as they have great offensive synergy. But I can see Infernape taking up the Scarf role far more thanks to its ability to be a threat to not only Nihilego, but most of its teammates as well. I think Scarf sets will continue to be prevalent but I strongly recommend against using Psyshock, since it can’t properly function as a Nihilego check.
 
#15
Blacephalon @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Shadow Ball
- Fire Blast
- Explosion
- Taunt

(Ghost)

- Taunt is used to prevent opposing Defoggers from removing Stealth Rock and to prevent walls like Chansey and Toxapex from healing.

- Ghostium Z provides a nice nuke that can used to get that extra push and to collect a boost from Beast Boost.

- I may be a little off here but I actually use Explosion Blacephalon on Ghost to lure in Alolan Muk and special pivots. I don't think its quite a bad idea but I'd love to hear your opinions on if Explosion Blacephalon should be used or if Blacephalon should go fully special. As far as I know Blacephalon's Attack isn't unusable, standing at a nice 127 so I think an Explosion set is definitely usable.

I do not have a definite opinion on whether Naganadel should go or be banned, as the metagame has just settled and it's too early to tell if the metagame will adapt to it or not. It does seem very scary right now, but the metagame may/may not adapt in a few weeks so who knows?
 
#16
Blacephalon @ Ghostium Z
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Shadow Ball
- Fire Blast
- Explosion
- Taunt

(Ghost)

- Taunt is used to prevent opposing Defoggers from removing Stealth Rock and to prevent walls like Chansey and Toxapex from healing.

- Ghostium Z provides a nice nuke that can used to get that extra push and to collect a boost from Beast Boost.

- I may be a little off here but I actually use Explosion Blacephalon on Ghost to lure in Alolan Muk and special pivots. I don't think its quite a bad idea but I'd love to hear your opinions on if Explosion Blacephalon should be used or if Blacephalon should go fully special. As far as I know Blacephalon's Attack isn't unusable, standing at a nice 127 so I think an Explosion set is definitely usable.

I do not have a definite opinion on whether Naganadel should go or be banned, as the metagame has just settled and it's too early to tell if the metagame will adapt to it or not. It does seem very scary right now, but the metagame may/may not adapt in a few weeks so who knows?
Wouldn’t Mind Blown be better on a suicide set?
 
#18
While I agree that those mons are very easily going to beat Blace (If they move first), I notice those are all dark types. While, yes, all types can have checks to it on their own, they're not too common, and can't really stay in if they have taken previous damage, AV Ttar being the only one I can see staying in to multiple hits. Furthermore, of the 3 mons you mentioned, only 1 of them, ttar, can switch into it and not risk a good chance of being knocked out. Also I personally don't like mind blown being used on it, but I can definitely see it being used as an easy way to get to +1 with Beast boost. I prefer a scarf cleaner set, as it already has great stabs and SP.atk, but is just barely lacking in speed.

Yeah I’m gonna have to disagree with Blace getting quickbanned or even banned. It’s defenses and poor bulk hold it back greatly and leaves it open to revenge killing, while it’s poor coverage forces it to run moves such as HP ice or Psychic to hit certain things. Blacephalons speed is also lackluster, as a base 107 leaves it outsped by many other scarfers such as Terrakion and Latios. It’s Scarf set isn’t very consistent because almost no type is going to allow it to snowball and switch in a special pivot/wall and force Blacephalon to switch and shave 25% of its HP off from Stealth Rock the next time it comes in.

That to be said, Blacephalon isn’t looking too good on Ghost. While it does pair up with Gengar nicely, it faces stiff competition from Alolan Marowak. It doesn’t do very well on Trick Room because of its high speed and Alolan Marowak is also preferred on balance because of role compression & LightningRod. I would actually use Gengar as a scarfer over Blacephalon no matter what.
 

Twix

is this a dog or a bear
is a Contributor to Smogon
#19
I really think that Fire got substantially better due to the metagame changes that came from USUM. While it did get a really solid Pokemon in Blace, which has been discussed already in this thread, there have been a few underrated changes which made the typing easier to use in general. Speaking of Blacephalon, I have been using a Choice Scarf set similar to the one that Zarif mentioned he used before in this thread:

Blacephalon @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Mind Blown
- Shadow Ball
- Flamethrower
- Trick

The main difference in this set than from others I have seen is the use of Mind Blown. While it can help weaken Blacephalon very quickly, it can be a very effective cleaner late game, in tandem with Beast Boost and a boost from the sun. While moves like Psyshock can be cool for Pokemon like Toxapex, I really think that dual fire stab + trick is the best scarf set, as flamethrower is more spammable but Mind Blown is the best for cleaning late-game.

Volcanion @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Steam Eruption
- Defog
- Will-O-Wisp
- Haze

I've also been playing around with a Defog Volcanion set, which is a really reliable remover for Fire teams now, especially since it offers an immunity to Water-type attacks and has access to moves like Haze to take on set up sweepers.
 
#20

Naganadel. I think it’s about time to take a look at this beast that USM brought us and truly decide whether we want this Pokemon in the metagame or not moving forward. Let’s lay out some things to note first:​
  • The USM metagame is still in a very early stage, so teams are still adjusting in order to deal with newly introduced threats such as Naganadel itself. This means that we as a meta should not be overly hasty when discussing this Pokemon’s impact at such an early point.​
  • That being said, Naganadel is shaping up to be a truly amazing Pokemon. The list of Pokemon who can check it after a boost from Beast Boost is very small, and is almost completely non-existent for a few types (Dragon, Fighting). Fire/Poison/Dragon coverage is insanely good and it can even muscle through Pokemon like offensive Heatran thanks to the feared Z-Draco Meteor set, which is a complete nuke to say the least. The Pokemon that can actively switch in are not many, and even specially defensive Heatran doesn’t like taking significant chip damage from the specs set.​
  • Naganadel can be pretty stoppable in certain matchups, though. It can be fairly useless in the Normal matchup, specifically, as once it sets up, Ditto can simply come in for free and revenge kill it. Fairy also has seen a rise in Klefki running Thunder Wave in order to cripple it for the rest of the game, making it easy to contain in this matchup as well. Ground is seeing a rise in Jolly Sand Rush Excadrill as it can outspeed it and KO it in the sand. Dark and Water have access to Choice Scarf Greninja which always outspeeds and kills with Ice Beam. Fire and Steel have Heatran which acts as a soft check if running bulky EVs, as Earth Power is still doing very significant damage. However, other types like Fighting are starting to run sets like Occa Berry Cobalion (s/o to StarBlim) in order to not be completely invalidated by Naganadel teams which could pose a problem as we move on with the metagame.
Naganadel is looking like a top 5 mon in the meta. It hasn’t dissapointed at all. However, it has its share of clear flaws, like poor bulk not allowing it to set up as freely as it wants, and common weaknesses to Ice, Ground, and Psychic. The metagame will be in an interesting place in the next week or so, as archetypes try to adjust to this monster. The bottom line here is that Naganadel is not blatanty broken like how Marshadow was in SM. We should give the meta time to adjust, because it’s completely possible that this Pokemon ends up being just very good but not anything overly good. It is pretty dumb for people to be calling for a Naganadel ban at this stage in the metagame, and assessing everything about it (the three main points I made in my post) it could probably be a good suspect Pokemon down the road, but let’s actually try to fit it in a healthy metagame first.

But yeah, those are my thoughts on this Pokemon right now. Let me know what you think, as after playing with this Pokemon I can say it’s suspect worthy but shouldn’t be quickbanned so early.
 
#21
Going to talk about something not Ghost-related !_!

I've been playing around with Sticky Webs Araquanid for a little bit. Araquanid is so much better as a Sticky Webs setter as to compared to Surskit, as Araquanid actually has offensive potential and can wallbreak using Liquidation/Scald while using Magic Coat to keep opposing hazards off. While I can't say that it's the best playstyle, it certainly isn't bad. Sticky Webs support allows Pokemon like Greninja and Keldeo to drop their Choice Scarf and run Choice Specs/Life Orb. Sticky Webs also does a nice job of supporting Gyarados' low base speed, fixing that issue by slowing down its opponents so that Gyarados can collect kills easier and snowball with Dragon Dance. This is the set I've been running on Araquanid.:

Araquanid @ Focus Sash
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sticky Web
- Scald
- Magic Coat
- Toxic

It's really nice that Araquanid gets Magic Coat since now it can support its team by keeping opposing lead's hazards while setting its own. Scald is nice for fishing for burns and Toxic can be used to wear down bulky walls that try to set hazards or Defog Sticky Webs away.

I personally think that Sticky Webs water is nice. Using Sticky Webs as speed control no longer forces Pokemon such as Greninja and Keldeo to run Scarf and helps support Gyarados with Moxie as it usually has trouble outspeeding things at +1. It's very easy to sweep under Sticky Webs, as opposing Scarfers will be slowed down and outsped by +1 Gyarados. Things like Vincune can also take advantage of Sticky Webs as the extra speed makes Vincune very threatening as it can now set up substitute in the face of Scarf Bulu and PP stall it with ease.

The bad thing about HO webs Water is that it lacks a lot of switch ins for many common attackers, such as Latios and Kyurem-B, as well as the infamous Naganadel. It's also very hard to keep hazards off the field as Defogging them away will result in losing most of your speed control due to Defogging your own Sticky Webs, and the two Rapid Spinners, Cloyster and Starmie, aren't very viable on the type.
This is the team I've been using as of recently:

Araquanid @ Focus Sash
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sticky Web
- Scald
- Magic Coat
- Toxic

Swampert-Mega @ Swampertite
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Roar
- Stealth Rock
- Earthquake
- Waterfall

Greninja @ Life Orb
Ability: Protean
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
IVs: 30 Atk
- Extrasensory
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Ice Beam
- Gunk Shot

Gyarados @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Moxie
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Bounce
- Waterfall
- Earthquake

Suicune @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 16 SpD / 240 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Substitute
- Protect
- Scald
- Calm Mind

Keldeo @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Surf
- Hydro Pump
- Secret Sword
- Icy Wind


I haven't gotten around to testing webs Fairy yet, but it does seem very interesting.
 

Harpp

formerly Alpha-Harpreet
#22
Water as a type has always been one of the most versatile types due to the different number of archetypes it can run such as Balance, Swift Swim offense, Stall etc However as you all know with USM some Pokemon got access to the move sticky web and Araquanid is one of them,making sticky web water team as somewhat a usable playstyle since it is better than surskit. I built like 2 Sticky Web water team and quickly realised it's not as good as other archetype such as Balance (more on that below). The set I have been using for araquanid is not focus sash set since Araquanid has good special bulk with 68/132 so I used a specially defensive Araquanid to sponge hits for the team from the likes of Mega Charizard Y as compared to Araquanid running a sash set:

252 SpA Charizard-Mega-Y Fire Blast vs. 248 HP / 252+ SpD Water Bubble Araquanid in Sun: 94-112 (27.7 - 33%) -- guaranteed 4HKO

252 SpA Charizard-Mega-Y Fire Blast vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Water Bubble Araquanid in Sun: 126-148 (45.4 - 53.4%) -- 41% chance to 2HKO

The set I used is this one:

Araquanid @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 248 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Sticky Web
- Mirror Coat
- Toxic
Some players also use magic coat on it. Sticky web team as a playstyle screams offense and so my thought process was to build an offensive team around it. I opted for Swampert as the physically defensive counter part and added 4 Offensive mons however that made the team weak to toxic spikes and hazards as Ghost cream discussed above that there is a lack of viable spinner to sticky web team since one doesn't want to defog away the hazards as the team operates on webs support. To mitigate the problem of hazards I came up with offensive tentacruel as a teammate to the team:
Tentacruel @ Expert Belt
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hydro Pump
- Ice Beam
- Sludge Bomb
- Rapid Spin

Araquanid @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Bubble
EVs: 248 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Sticky Web
- Mirror Coat
- Toxic

Swampert-Mega @ Swampertite
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Earthquake
- Toxic
- Roar

Gyarados @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Bounce
- Earthquake
- Waterfall

Keldeo-Resolute @ Choice Specs
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hydro Pump
- Secret Sword
- Icy Wind
- Hidden Power [Electric]

Greninja @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Protean
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Ice Beam
- Gunk Shot
- Dark Pulse / Extrasensory
- U-turn

Main idea behind adding tenta as a teammate was to spin away hazards and it puts in work vs fairy match up with sticky webs support which is otherwise a very bad match up for water teams due to Koko+ Bulu.
However sticky web water as a playstyle is not as good as other playstyle available on water,something which I realised after using it.The reason I think scarf gren is a must because of Naganadel and it is easy for dragons teams to defog hazards away as water teams are already pressured by mons like kyurem-Black.
Sticky web water does have some slow hard hitters that would benefit from webs support such as Azumarill,Tail Glow Manaphy and Crawduant. I don't think Suicune fits on sticky web water without toxic spikes support.
 
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#23
Ghost's Check to Nagandel


Jellicent @ Psychium Z
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 248 HP / 16 SpA / 216 SpD / 28 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Psychic
- Recover
- Will-O-Wisp

Wanting to use Blacephalon but not wanting to run Fire, I came across this set. The given bulk spreads allows it to live a +2 Draco Meteor or Thunderbolt after rocks damage. The special attack investment allows for a OHKO from full with Shattered Psyche and is also a neat Toxapex lure versus Water and Gengar versus a mirror matchup. The remainder of the EVs are dropped into speed as that allows it to creep Celesteela and non sassy defensive Tyranitar. The remainder can be dropped in special defense for added bulk or special attack for greater damage output on Toxapex if you don't want all that speed

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 248 HP / 216+ SpD Jellicent: 298-352 (73.9 - 87.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Thunderbolt vs. 248 HP / 216+ SpD Jellicent: 276-326 (68.4 - 80.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

16 SpA Jellicent Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Naganadel: 288-340 (100.3 - 118.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO

20% chip needed with rocks, burn, and active black sludge. 32% without rocks

16 SpA Jellicent Psychic vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 86-102 (28.2 - 33.5%) -- 88.2% chance to 4HKO after Black Sludge recovery

16 SpA Jellicent Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 166-196 (54.6 - 64.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery
 
#24
Ghost's Check to Nagandel


Jellicent @ Psychium Z
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 248 HP / 16 SpA / 216 SpD / 28 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Psychic
- Recover
- Will-O-Wisp

Wanting to use Blacephalon but not wanting to run Fire, I came across this set. The given bulk spreads allows it to live a +2 Draco Meteor or Thunderbolt after rocks damage. The special attack investment allows for a OHKO from full with Shattered Psyche and is also a neat Toxapex lure versus Water and Gengar versus a mirror matchup. The remainder of the EVs are dropped into speed as that allows it to creep Celesteela and non sassy defensive Tyranitar. The remainder can be dropped in special defense for added bulk or special attack for greater damage output on Toxapex if you don't want all that speed

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 248 HP / 216+ SpD Jellicent: 298-352 (73.9 - 87.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Thunderbolt vs. 248 HP / 216+ SpD Jellicent: 276-326 (68.4 - 80.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

16 SpA Jellicent Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Naganadel: 288-340 (100.3 - 118.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO

20% chip needed with rocks, burn, and active black sludge. 32% without rocks

16 SpA Jellicent Psychic vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 86-102 (28.2 - 33.5%) -- 88.2% chance to 4HKO after Black Sludge recovery

16 SpA Jellicent Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 166-196 (54.6 - 64.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery
Jellicent still goes down to a +2 Devastating Drake, as seen here:

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 248 HP / 216+ SpD Jellicent: 448-528 (111.1 - 131%) -- guaranteed OHKO

On another note, Jellicent needs Taunt to even have a chance of beating Toxapex. It also needs Toxic to beat bulky Waters like Mantine and Gastrodon. So not only is this Jellicent set not a reliable Naganadel check, but it falls short in comparison to its standard set in just about every other matchup, and is keeping Mimikyu and Cofagrigus from running a Z-move. Mega Sableye is already switching into Gengar regardless, so it's not like it's enhancing the mirror matchup either. Overall, Ghost's best method of removing Naganadel would just be preserving Golurk's Focus Sash, which means Mega Sableye will be giving Naganadel a setup opportunity and a free kill every time. The other option is keeping Mimikyu's Disguise intact, which tends to be incredibly difficult in the Dragon matchup specifically, where losing its Disguise too early will leave the rest of the team largely susceptible to other offensive threats like Hydreigon and Garchomp, and will still result in Naganadel picking up a kill whenever it comes in on Mega Sableye. Overall, there's so little that can be done against Naganadel that it's not worth hindering various other matchups trying to handle it better.
 
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#25
Ghost's Check to Nagandel


Jellicent @ Psychium Z
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 248 HP / 16 SpA / 216 SpD / 28 Spe
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Psychic
- Recover
- Will-O-Wisp

Wanting to use Blacephalon but not wanting to run Fire, I came across this set. The given bulk spreads allows it to live a +2 Draco Meteor or Thunderbolt after rocks damage. The special attack investment allows for a OHKO from full with Shattered Psyche and is also a neat Toxapex lure versus Water and Gengar versus a mirror matchup. The remainder of the EVs are dropped into speed as that allows it to creep Celesteela and non sassy defensive Tyranitar. The remainder can be dropped in special defense for added bulk or special attack for greater damage output on Toxapex if you don't want all that speed

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 248 HP / 216+ SpD Jellicent: 298-352 (73.9 - 87.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Thunderbolt vs. 248 HP / 216+ SpD Jellicent: 276-326 (68.4 - 80.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

16 SpA Jellicent Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Naganadel: 288-340 (100.3 - 118.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO

20% chip needed with rocks, burn, and active black sludge. 32% without rocks

16 SpA Jellicent Psychic vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 86-102 (28.2 - 33.5%) -- 88.2% chance to 4HKO after Black Sludge recovery

16 SpA Jellicent Shattered Psyche (175 BP) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 166-196 (54.6 - 64.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery
Not saying this is a bad set by any means, but Ghost has many more checks to Naganadel such as Sashed Golurk or Mimikyu. I don't think Naganadel is a great enough threat to Ghost to start running Z-Psychic Jellicent for it; it'd be better just to rely on Mimikyu or Golurk to check Naganadel. Also, running Z-Psychic not only lets Jellicent miss out on Leftovers but takes up the Z-Crystal that can easily be used on another Pokemon such as Mimikyu or Cofagrigus.
 
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