BW OU HAIL GUIDE By Azotal and Harsha 1. Introduction 2. Effects of Hail 3. Abomasnow 4. Team Types - Pure Offense - Balance - Stall 5. Hail Pokemon 6. Main Threats - Weather Inducers - Other Pokemon 7. Teambuilding 8. Sample Teams 9. Conclusions -Introduction- Hail is one of four weathers in Pokemon. Weather has become a necessity with all four weathers now having a Pokemon in the OU metagame who can summon it. Each weather plays a strategic role on each team, some strengthening and weakening moves, some providing defenses, and some providing residual damage. Hail is considered the weakest of the weathers, and is the most underplayed, due to it only having residual damage. However, Sandstorm has this too, and Sandstorm also has the ability to raise defenses of Pokemon. In addition, Ice-type Pokemon are weak against fighting, steel, rock, and fire type attacks, four of the more common attack types. Therefore Pokemon with the Ice typing that are supported by hail are often countered by the metagame. Having a pure Ice-Type team, therefore, is reckless. Hail teams often are supported by Pokemon that don't directly benefit from Hail. Instead, many of these Pokemon are buffeted by hail. In addition, many hail teams are completely reliant on the hail, making other weathers very dangerous. Therefore, eliminating other weathers is often a first-priority for Hail. Abomasnow, the one Pokemon who can induce Hail just by switching in, does a fair job of countering many weather-inducers. This will be covered more later. -Effects of Hail- Hail, as stated above, has a residual damage effect. If you have the Ice typing you take no damage from Hail. For the others, however, deals 6.25% of a Pokemon's health each turn. Therefore, a non-Hail typing on Pokemon results in a 16-17 turn death. In addition, Hail increases the hit rate of Blizzard to 100%. Therefore, as it is a powerful move with 120 BP, it is a very scary offensive threat in Hail. Synthesis, the healing move, has 50% reduced healing (1/4 instead of 1/2) in Hail also. Finally, it switches Castform and the move Weather Ball to the Ice-type. Hail has a few more ability-based effects. Pokemon with the Ice Body ability will restore 1/16 of their health per turn in Hail. Pokemon with the Snow Cloak ability have 20% increased evasion in Hail. -Abomasnow- In Generation Three Hail was introduced as a weather. It was induced with the move Hail and would last five turns. With Generation Four came the item Icy Rock, allowing any Pokemon holding it and using using Hail to increase the duration to eight turns. However, both quickly became outdated with the Pokemon Abomasnow and its pre-evolution, Snover. Abomasnow and Snover both had the ability Snow Warning. This move induces the Hail weather permanently, or until replaced by another weather. As Snover and Abomasnow each had identical typing and core moveset, yet Abomasnow's stats were superior, Snover was quickly discarded on Hail Teams for Abomasnow. Abomasnow Stats: 90 / 92 / 75 / 92 / 85 / 60 Abilities: Snow Warning / Soundproof Abomasnow is the only viable Hail-inducer in the current metagame. This is because permanent weather is much more convenient than turn-based weather. In addition, the only other Pokemon with a Hail-inducing ability, Snover, is completely out-classed. Therefore, Abomasnow is necessary for most Hail teams. However, Abomasnow suffers from horrid typing, resulting in seven weaknesses. He, also, has mediocre defenses which, compounded with his typing, result in many OHKOs. In addition, his speed is horrid for sweeping, though his offensive stats are average. However, Abomasnow is blessed with two 120 BP STAB attacks with 100% hit rate in Hail, Blizzard and Wood Hammer. These two moves are deadly against switch ins, as they decimate Dragon-types, Water-types, Ground-types, Electric-types, Flying-types, Grass-types, and Rock-types. Abomasnow's speed stat is also a blessing (in addition to the curse related above). Abomasnow remains the slowest weather inducer in the current OU metagame. This means that if another weather inducer is simultaneously sent out, Hail will be the weather that activates. Therefore, due to this and previously mentioned advantages, Abomasnow is very relient on predictions to be a powerful force. Abomasnow can play the role of SubSeeder very well. This is because his Ice-type STAB Blizzard can OHKO most grass types that resist his Leech Seed. You would run leftovers with this set. In addition, as his speed stat is the only lacking stat when it comes to sweeping, you can run Choice Scarf over leftovers and turn him into a sweeper. The downsides to this, however, are that he is still out-sped by many of his threats, namely Terrakion and that he loses the sure-weather inducer status. -Team Types- Offensive: One of the beauties of Hail is its offensive capabilities. The 100% accuracy (in Hail), 120 BP Blizzard is an amazing move against the BW OU metagame. The Ice typing, offensively, is super effective against the common Ground, Grass, and Dragon-types (as well as Flying). In addition, many Ice-types have very strong attack or special attack base stats, such as Kyurem, and therefore are very powerful scarf users in Hail. However, it is very important to note that Ice-types have horrid defensive typing. Therefore, it is often much more useful to run other pokemon, such as Heatran or Reuniclus, who can soak attacks that would normally decimate Ice-type and still pose a very serious offensive threat. Purely offensive Hail teams must be very fast, as they are often much squishier teams than other offensive weather teams. They also often have to sacrifice slots to counter very common pokemon who counter whole teams, such as Terrakion or Fiery Dance Volcarona. Therefore, fully offensive Hail isn't considered as viable as a balanced Hail team. Balanced: Balanced is considered the only viable version of a Hail team in the BW OU metagame. As Delko's team below illustrates, Abomasnow and Kyurem are two of the most powerful bulky offensive Pokemon in Hail. Kyurem has many viable sets, each fufilling a different role. They can be found here. Abomasnow, too, can be played many different ways. These two Pokemon form one of the more powerful Hail cores, and the others are very similar. To compliment this, defensive pokemon like Heatran and Gliscor are common to see. As Ice-type is weak to Rock-type attacks, spinners are necessary for all Hail teams to prevent Stealth Rock's residual damage from killing your whole team. Finally, most teams will have a last slot either for another defensive Pokemon, or for another offensive one. Regardless, both teams end up in the "balance" type: not blindly offensive, but not quite a stall. Stall: Stall teams are the least common, and generally thought to be the weakest, Hail team type in the Black and White metagame. The reasoning behind this being the lack of a defensive boost in the weather coupled with Ice-type's absurd amount of weaknesses. In addition, almost every Hail stall team had a "stallrein", or a Froslass in DPP. The former suffers from Fighting, Grass, and Electric-type weaknesses, while the latter is very gimmicky, relying on its Snow Cloak ability. These two weren't brought back with Hail stall in Black and White. Instead, Hail stall teams make use of many different, bulky steel types. Due to this, Hail stall teams are just outclassed by Sand stall in this regard. In addition, common Hail stall teams have similar weaknesses -- Terrakion, Volcarona, and other major, Gen V offensive threats. Therefore, Hail stall is even less viable in Black and White. -Hail Pokemon- -Main Threats- Weather Inducers: Pokemon in Hail teams are generally very reliant on the Hail being present, weather they depend on the 100% accuracy Blizzard, or just the fact that other weathers AREN'T present. Therefore, other OU Pokemon who can induce weather (Politoed, Tyranitar, Hippowdon, and Ninetales) pose very serious threats for Hail teams, each in their own way. Politoed has a very strong STAB Hydro Pump which Ice-type Pokemon often may not resist. This can result in a sweep, or near-sweep in the Rain. Tyranitar has powerful offensive capabilities, and a boosted Special Defense stat for him and many of his team in a Sandstorm. When running a Hail team it is important to be wary of Tyranitar's Superpower, which is super effective and can OHKO most Ice-types. Hippowdown is a bit safer of a Sandstorm-inducer to face, due to the lack of offensive capabilities when compared to Tyranitar. However, it still gets the defensive boost from Sandstorm, so it's important to be wary of him too. Finally, Ninetales is a major threat to any Hail team for obvious reason -- Fire-type attacks in the Sun. Therefore, it is extremely important to play safely when Ninetales is present. In addition, Hail doesn't halve Fire-type attacks' damage, so Sun teams, often loaded with Fire-type Pokemon, are always threats. Other Pokemon: In addition, Hail is threatened by two common types: Fighting and Fire. Nearly half of the Pokemon you face will be running one of these type of attacks. Some common Pokemon (and their threats) are (but not limited to): Scizor - Scizor almost always will carry one, if not two Fighting type attacks (one of which being the priority move, Mach Punch). Both moves can decimate an Ice-type, such as Abomasnow, but especially the 120 BP Superpower. In addition, as the majority of Ice-type Pokemon suffer from weak defensive stats, Scizor can simply U-turn into another threat, allowing their team to gain the edge in matchups. Several Pokemon can counter Scizor, luckily, including many Hidden Power Fire running Pokemon. Therefore it is a smart idea to run at least one Fire-type attack on your team. In addition, Ghost-type Pokemon generally can wall Scizor fairly hard. Finally, Tentacruel can defend very well against many threats, including Scizor, while playing the role of a spinner. He is very valued on many Hail teams. Mienshao - Mienshao is a very obvious threat, due to its massive attack stat and Fighting-type STAB. In addition, its 105 base speed is higher than the majority of Pokemon. Therefore, very few Pokemon can take two hits from a Life Orb Mienshao. Ice-types can generally not even take one hit from a Hi Jump Kick. And, like Scizor, Mienshao often will run U-turn to easily gain the advantage in matchups. Therefore, Ghost-type Pokemon can prove helpful, as when dealing with any Fighting-type. Finally, Tentacruel is a very powerful Pokemon as it can counter many Hail-threats, including Mienshao. Conkeldurr - Conkeldurr poses a very similar threat to Mienshao. The Fighting-type STAB attacks can be very threatening. Like Mienshao, however, Conkeldurr can be held-off by a Ghost-type Pokemon. It is just important to be wary of Payback. Gliscor also does a good job of holding it back, though it may abuse Bulk Up if Gliscor does not run Taunt. Conkeldurr is one of the hardest Pokemon for Hail teams to deal with. Terrakion - Terrakion is a very strong Pokemon, as well as the second fastest Scarfer in neutral weather in OU. In addition, his ridiculously-high usage rate is one of the reasons that Hail teams struggle in Black and White OU. His high attack stat and STAB Fighting and Rock-type attacks are both deadly against an Ice-type. Terrakion, also, does very well against Heatran, many Hail teams' counter to Fire-types. Therefore, Terrakion is considered the greatest threat to a Hail team. Terrakion can be walled by Ghost-types, Reuniclus, or Skarmory. Therefore, one of these Pokemon are usually necessary on Hail teams (though not always). There are other Pokemon who can deal with it, such as Starmie, but often result in a 1 for 1 trade. Infernape - Infernape is Fire and Fighting-type. Therefore he poses a major threat to Hail teams. In addition, as he can go mixed attacker, Infernape can't be solely walled by physically or specially defensive Pokemon. Two Pokemon who do very well against Infernape are Tentacruel and Gliscor. Therefore, both are very valuable to a Hail team. Volcarona - Volcarona is an extremely scary Pokemon in the Black and White metagame. With a whopping 135 special attack stat as well as STAB Fire-type attacks, Volcarona poses a very serious threat to Hail-teams. The best way to deal with Volcarona in the current metagame is to simply set Stealth Rocks up, as each switch in takes away 50% of its health. Rock-type attacks also will usually kill it. Therefore Hail teams enjoy Stealth Rock and Rock-type attacks more than most teams do. Lucario - Lucario, too is a threat: both special Lucario and physical Lucario. Special Lucario doesn't pose as large of a threat if it can not set up, but physical Lucario is always dangerous. Both set up and four attack variants of Lucario are powerful against Ice-type teams due to having fighting priority attacks in both special and physical attack and high base stats. Lucario also is blessed with the Steel and Fighting-types, both of which are super effective against Ice-type Pokemon. Luckily, Lucario suffers from the four-moveslot syndrome. This means that if it isn't running Crunch (which it often will not in favor of other moves) several Pokemon can wall it: Reuniclus and Jellicent two of the most prominent. In addition, Tentacruel does a very good job of permanently walling off Lucario. There are other Pokemon (as well as Hidden Power Fire, Rock, and Fighting users) who can pose threats to Hail teams. However, the threats covered above are the most common ones. Hail teams are generally very brittle, and must be played with extreme caution for potential threats. -Conclusions- Hopefully this guide has shed a bit of light on the advantages (and disadvantages) of Hail teams. Perhaps you will go build a Hail team after this. Hail remains, and likely will remain for a while, a breath of fresh air from the all-too-common Rain, Sand, and Sun teams. Remember that experimentation is how great sets and great Pokemon are discovered. I encourage you to test these Pokemon for yourself, and feel free to expand upon them. Hopefully you learned from this guide, and feel more comfortable facing and using Hail.