The 200 Metagame
When the Advanced generation of Pokemon was finally brought to online simulators, what we now refer to as the 200 metagame was formed. In this metagame, players have access to only the Pokemon, items and movepools obtainable on the Ruby and Sapphire game cartridges. As a result, many of the Pokemon and movesets seen in the standard metagame are not present.
The following important Pokemon are banned:
In addition to removing many standard Pokemon from play, the 200 metagame also places many restrictions on the movepools of the remaining Pokemon.
There are few item bans in the 200 metagame. Other than Liechi Berry, no pinch Berries are obtainable, as Liechi Berry is found on Mirage Island, whereas the others come from Jirachi via Bonus Discs. Aside from this, there are no other bans that affect competitive play. For example, while Thick Club is only obtainable outside of Ruby and Sapphire, Marowak is banned as well, making no real difference to a competitive 200 play team.
The restrictions set in place make 200 play quite an offensive metagame. Many of the Pokemon that would be used on stall teams have been removed from play (Blissey, Snorlax, Forretress, etc.). On top of this, Skarmory, one of the few remaining walls, still has to contend with Magneton.
Don't think that you're short of options because of the Pokemon that have been removed from play. If anything, new options open up, as Pokemon that were previously outclassed now have a chance to shine! Among the remaining usable Pokemon, the following receive consistent use.
There are still many Pokemon you'd see being used in the all-encompassing 386 metagame, such as Salamence and Metagross. However, Pokemon that would otherwise be considered unorthodox are now much more viable. Though these Pokemon aren't the OU standard, they remain very much usable.
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point due to all the restrictions on the Pokemon and moves you can use, never fear! This section is designed to give you a place to start when considering your team. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list - there are many other options out there!
Sceptile @ Leftovers ~ Leaf Blade ~ Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Fire ~ Leech Seed ~ Toxic / Focus Punch / Protect
Sceptile has lost the ability to use Substitute in conjunction with Leech Seed in 200 play. However, aside from that, it remains virtually unchanged. Where you'd normally use Substitute, you can now choose from Toxic, Focus Punch, and Protect. Toxic allows you to wear down Pokemon such as Regice, which otherwise trouble Sceptile to no end. Focus Punch can also damage Regice as it switches in. Protect allows you to recover HP with both Leftovers and Leech Seed.
Blaziken @ Choice Band ~ Sky Uppercut ~ Rock Slide ~ Focus Punch ~ Fire Blast / Overheat
Although Blaziken lost ThunderPunch and Swords Dance, it is still a great anti-metagame Pokemon. Don't be tempted to use Reversal - though it is still obtainable, Salac Berry is not. Sky Uppercut provides STAB, while Rock Slide hits Flying-type Pokemon. Focus Punch can really hurt Pokemon that switch in to Blaziken, provided they aren't immune to the hit. Both Fire Blast and Overheat allow Blaziken to OHKO Skarmory; the former provides more consistent damage, whereas the latter allows for a more immediate power boost.
Swampert @ Leftovers ~ Curse ~ Earthquake ~ Hidden Power Rock / Ice Beam ~ Surf / Rest
Swampert's options remain largely untouched. The main difference is that Rock Slide is replaced by Hidden Power Rock where applicable. This set is fairly straightforward to use. Curse boosts your Attack and Defense, and Earthquake takes advantage of this. Hidden Power Rock provides good coverage with Earthquake, while Ice Beam has the potential to KO Salamence without setup time. Surf allows Swampert to hurt Skarmory. Hydro Pump can be used here for the same effect if the accuracy drop doesn't bother you. If you're not worried about being walled, use Rest to recover HP as you boost your Defense. Keep in mind that Swampert has many other options, including Toxic, Roar, Protect, Mirror Coat, and Counter.
Ludicolo @ Leftovers ~ Surf ~ Leech Seed ~ Synthesis / Rest ~ Toxic / Ice Beam / Protect
Ludicolo is able to comprehensively defeat all Rapid Spin users in 200 play except Tentacruel, which is definitely a desirable trait. Ice Beam allows you to hit Salamence as it switches in, although Toxic can potentially wear down many more Pokemon. Protect can work well in conjunction with Leech Seed and Leftovers, while allowing you to defend yourself against Slaking and scout the opposition.
Swellow @ Choice Band ~ Facade / Return ~ Hidden Power Ground ~ Quick Attack ~ Aerial Ace
Without Blissey, Celebi, and Miltank to use Heal Bell and Aromatherapy to remove status afflictions, Toxic is far more widely used in 200 play. Swellow takes advantage of this with its Guts ability, allowing it to significantly boost its attacking potential. Facade is more powerful than Return should you get hit by status, obviously. Hidden Power Ground hurts Steel-types such as Magneton. Quick Attack is useful against Pokemon such as Salamence and Gyarados, should they begin setting up on you, while Aerial Ace provides secondary STAB.
Gardevoir @ Leftovers ~ Calm Mind ~ Psychic ~ Will-O-Wisp ~ Thunderbolt
Gardevoir didn't really lose any important moves in the 200 metagame. With Pokemon such as Blissey and Snorlax gone, Gardevoir can act as a special wall with its already impressive Special Defense as well as Calm Mind. As an added bonus, you can burn physical attackers with Will-O-Wisp.
Breloom @ Leftovers ~ Spore ~ Focus Punch / Sky Uppercut ~ Hidden Power Rock / Leech Seed ~ Stun Spore / Protect
Although Breloom benefits from the lack of Sleep Talk available to its opposition, it also lost Substitute, which makes it harder for players to use without a good sense of prediction. Sky Uppercut is viable over Focus Punch for this reason. Hidden Power Rock hits Flying-types, while Leech Seed can force switches and help you recover HP. Stun Spore gives Breloom the ability to cripple faster Pokemon by abusing double status. Protect allows you to scout your opponent, and allows you to recover HP when used with Leech Seed.
Slaking @ Choice Band ~ Return ~ Earthquake ~ Shadow Ball ~ Focus Punch / Fire Blast
Choice Band Slaking will nearly always get at least one KO, provided you predict correctly when using it. Return is Slaking's primary move, providing STAB to severely dent anything that doesn't resist it. Earthquake hits Steel-types, while Shadow Ball hits Ghost-types. Focus Punch can lay down the hurt on Skarmory, but if you have trouble predicting, you can make use of Fire Blast.
Ninjask @ Leftovers ~ Protect ~ Baton Pass ~ Swords Dance ~ Silver Wind / Hidden Power Flying
Although Ninjask lost Substitute, it is still capable of passing stat boosts to its team mates. Protect allows you to scout your opponent where necessary, and also guarantees that you'll be able to pass at least one Speed Boost. Hidden Power Bug is an option over Silver Wind for more PP and a slight boost in Base Power.
Hariyama @ Leftovers ~ Cross Chop ~ Knock Off ~ Hidden Power Rock / Hidden Power Ghost ~ Counter / Toxic / Whirlwind
Regice is common on many teams in 200 play, and Hariyama makes an excellent counter to it. With Thick Fat, Hariyama is able to shrug off Regice's Ice Beams and hit back with a super effective Cross Chop. It can also take advantage of the ever rampant Toxic with Guts. Knock Off allows Hariyama to remove the items of potential threats. The Hidden Power you choose depends on what you find more threatening between the Flying- and Ghost-types. Hariyama has many options to choose from that allow it to support its team.
Medicham @ Choice Band ~ Brick Break / Hi Jump Kick ~ Shadow Ball ~ Hidden Power Rock ~ Focus Punch / Fake Out
Medicham hasn't changed much. With a potential maximum attack of 720 (factoring in Pure Power and Choice Band), it is still just as threatening as ever. However, note that you'll need to use Hidden Power Rock over Rock Slide in 200 play, as Medicham no longer has access to the FRLG move tutor. Focus Punch can cripple Skarmory on the switch, though Fake Out is a viable option for those vital moments when you need to strike first.
Grumpig @ Leftovers ~ Substitute ~ Calm Mind ~ Psychic ~ Hidden Power Ice / Hidden Power Fire / Hidden Power Dark
Grumpig is one of the few special attacking Pokemon that can defeat Regice. Use Substitute to block Toxic, and Calm Mind where possible. Psychic provides Grumpig with a reliable STAB move, while Hidden Power provides coverage. Hidden Power Ice scores an OHKO on Salamence, while Hidden Power Fire allows you to hit Steel-types such as Metagross that might give you trouble. Hidden Power Dark may seem like a strange option, but it will allow you to hit other Psychic-type Pokemon with a super effective move.
Flygon @ Choice Band ~ Earthquake ~ Quick Attack ~ Hidden Power Rock / Hidden Power Bug ~ Fire Blast / Iron Tail
Although Flygon can no longer use Rock Slide, you should by no means underestimate it. Earthquake provides STAB. Quick Attack allows Flygon to get the jump on Pokemon that need to be finished off. Hidden Power Rock provides good coverage with Earthquake, hitting Flying-types, while Hidden Power Bug allows Flygon to hit Grass-types, as well as Claydol, Lunatone, and Solrock harder. Fire Blast hurts Skarmory on the switch, while Iron Tail is capable of severely damaging Regice.
Zangoose @ Lum Berry / Silk Scarf / Leftovers ~ Swords Dance ~ Return ~ Shadow Ball ~ Quick Attack
The concept is simple here - your aim is to Swords Dance and begin to sweep when possible. Return provides STAB, while Shadow Ball allows you to hit Ghost-types. Quick Attack can be quite deadly when factoring in STAB and Swords Dance. Notably, when combined with Silk Scarf after a Swords Dance, Quick Attack will OHKO Alakazam. Otherwise, stick to the listed items. Liechi Berry is also plausible if you want that extra Attack boost before you go down.
Lunatone @ Leftovers ~ Calm Mind ~ Psychic ~ Ice Beam ~ Hypnosis
This is a fairly straightforward set. Hypnosis an enemy Pokemon, and proceed to Calm Mind. Psychic will be your primary attack, having 135 Base Power after factoring in STAB. Ice Beam allows Lunatone to OHKO Salamence; it is an effective counter with its Flying resistance and Ground immunity.
Solrock @ Leftovers ~ Rock Slide ~ Explosion ~ Earthquake ~ Reflect / Light Screen
Solrock is capable of supporting your team with either Reflect or Light Screen while denting threats with its solid base 95 Attack. Rock Slide provides STAB, while Earthquake provides extra coverage. When it looks like Solrock is at the end of its run, use Explosion to cripple any Pokemon that doesn't have a resistance or immunity to it.
Claydol @ Leftovers ~ Earthquake ~ Rapid Spin ~ Explosion / Rest ~ Ice Beam / Reflect / Light Screen
Claydol moves into 200 play unchanged. Though its primary purpose is to Rapid Spin, it is capable of countering Salamence with Ice Beam and its sturdy defenses. Rest is an acceptable option over Explosion for those that are iffy about Exploding their spinner. Claydol can also provide valuable support by setting up either Reflect or Light Screen.
Milotic @ Leftovers ~ Surf ~ Ice Beam ~ Recover ~ Hypnosis
Milotic takes advantage of the lack of Sleep Talk in 200 play with its sturdy defenses and Hypnosis. With Marvel Scale, Milotic can take advantage of status moves, though Toxic's increasing damage will ruin its ability to take hits. Note that Milotic also learns Light Screen, which further increases its tanking capabilities while providing team support.
Dusclops @ Leftovers ~ Will-O-Wisp ~ Shadow Ball ~ Rest ~ Focus Punch / Protect
Without Pain Split, Dusclops is limited to Rest as a form of recovery. Its role, however, remains much the same. It should be acting as a spinblocker. If you don't need one, then there are better options out there for you. Shadow Ball will OHKO Alakazam with 36 EVs invested in Attack, while Focus Punch can dent Pokemon on the switch. Will-O-Wisp cripples physical attackers. Protect is viable for extra Leftovers recovery and scouting.
Salamence @ Leftovers ~ Dragon Dance ~ Hidden Power Flying / Aerial Ace ~ Earthquake ~ Fire Blast / Hidden Power Rock / Roar
Salamence is truly a menace in 200 play. After a Dragon Dance, it possesses as much power as the Choice Band version with more Speed. Hidden Power Flying provides more power than Aerial Ace does, though the latter will allow you to use Hidden Power Rock. Earthquake hits most Steel-type Pokemon hard. Fire Blast hits Skarmory hard as it switches in. Hidden Power Rock provides more coverage, hitting Flying-types and Regice hard. Roar may seem like a strange option, but is intended for use against Skarmory. If you Roar as it Whirlwinds, you will move first and be able to continue Dragon Dancing unhindered.
Metagross @ Leftovers ~ Meteor Mash ~ Earthquake ~ Sludge Bomb ~ Hidden Power Fire / Agility
Metagross is the best Regice counter in 200 play. It can survive a Fire Punch from Alakazam, even after a Calm Mind, and KO with Meteor Mash. Earthquake provides additional coverage, while Sludge Bomb allows you to hit Pokemon such as Ludicolo hard. Hidden Power Fire can hurt Skarmory as it switches in, while Agility will allow you to attempt a late-game sweep. If you're using Agility, consider Liechi Berry - a fast Metagross with boosted Attack is not to be taken lightly.
Regirock @ Leftovers ~ Curse ~ Hidden Power Rock ~ Earthquake ~ Explosion / Focus Punch
Regirock provides a much-needed Normal-type resistance. The idea here is to Curse to boost your Attack and already impressive Defense. Hidden Power Rock is your STAB move, complemented by Earthquake. A boosted Explosion has the potential to severely hurt any Pokemon that isn't immune to it, though you may prefer Focus Punch for hitting Pokemon such as Swampert as they switch in while not actually sacrificing Regirock.
Regice @ Leftovers ~ Ice Beam ~ Thunderbolt ~ Toxic / Hidden Power Grass / Hidden Power Fire ~ Rest / Explosion
Regice takes on what would normally be Blissey's role. With 200 base Special Defense, it makes an excellent sponge, surviving two boosted Fire Punches from Alakazam. Ice Beam and Thunderbolt is an excellent attacking combo in terms of coverage. Toxic is good for wearing down opponents, though Hidden Power Grass and Hidden Power Fire can damage Swampert and Metagross respectively at a greater rate. Rest increases your survivability, while Explosion allows Regice to put a dent in the enemy at the end of its run.
Vileplume @ Leftovers / Lum Berry ~ Sunny Day ~ Solarbeam ~ Hidden Power Fire ~ Sleep Powder
Although usually present in the UU environment, Vileplume is capable of operating quite well in 200 play. Since Tyranitar isn't present in 200, you have a greater chance of being able to control the weather. The concept remains simple - set up Sunny Day to double your Speed thanks to Chlorophyll, as well as removing the charging aspect of SolarBeam and increasing Hidden Power Fire's damage output. Sleep Powder disables one potential counter. Vileplume is also one of the few Pokemon that can still use Aromatherapy if you're that way inclined.
Alakazam @ Leftovers / Lum Berry ~ Calm Mind ~ Psychic ~ Fire Punch ~ Hidden Power Dark / Recover
Alakazam is dangerous in 200 play. With 2 Calm Minds under its belt, it becomes near unstoppable. Psychic provides consistent damage with STAB, while Fire Punch hits Steel-types that resist Psychic. Hidden Power Dark heavily damages Pokemon such as Dusclops, Claydol, Starmie, and Slowbro. Alakazam also learns Ice Punch and ThunderPunch, though this set is threatening without them.
Machamp @ Choice Band ~ Cross Chop ~ Rock Slide ~ Focus Punch ~ Hidden Power Ghost
Machamp can take advantage of Toxic being widespread in 200 play with Guts. After a Guts Boost, Focus Punch can bring down Skarmory in one hit. Cross Chop is your primary attack, providing consistent damage (when it doesn't miss). Rock Slide hits Flying-types, and Hidden Power Ghost hits Ghost- and Psychic-types.
Magneton @ Leftovers ~ Thunderbolt ~ Protect ~ Toxic / Thunder Wave ~ Hidden Power Fire / Hidden Power Grass
Even in 200 play, Magneton prevents Skarmory from appearing on every team. Toxic helps wear down Regice. Hidden Power Fire makes sure that you'll defeat other Magneton, while Hidden Power Grass takes Swampert out. Don't be tempted to use Hidden Power Fire on any other Steel-types - STAB Thunderbolt hits harder than Hidden Power Fire does, as Forretress and Scizor are not present.
Dodrio @ Choice Band ~ Return ~ Drill Peck ~ Quick Attack ~ Hidden Power Ground
Without a Normal-resist hindering it, Dodrio is capable of tearing through teams. Return and Drill Peck are both excellent STAB options, while Quick Attack allows you to finish off a weakened foe. Hidden Power Ground will damage Steel- and Rock-types harder than your other moves could.
Weezing @ Leftovers ~ Will-O-Wisp ~ Haze ~ Sludge Bomb ~ Explosion / Rest / Thunderbolt
Though Weezing can no longer use Pain Split, it remains among the best counters to Heracross. Haze away the boosts of a Pokemon trying to set up while burning them with Will-O-Wisp. Sludge Bomb provides STAB, though its coverage is fairly limited. You can choose to Explode when you're done, or Rest to replace Pain Split. Thunderbolt makes Weezing a strong Gyarados counter.
Rhydon @ Choice Band ~ Earthquake ~ Rock Slide / Rock Blast ~ Megahorn ~ Focus Punch
Rhydon provides a handy resistance to both Normal- and Flying-type moves. It can serve as a counter for many physical Pokemon early-game, but cannot take repeated hits. Though Rhydon lost Substitute, it can still make use of Megahorn to hit troublesome Pokemon such as Ludicolo and Claydol.
Starmie @ Leftovers ~ Surf ~ Rapid Spin ~ Recover ~ Thunderbolt / Ice Beam
Starmie can both sweep and make use of Rapid Spin, depending on your needs. With Pokemon such as Blissey and Snorlax missing in 200 play, Starmie has the potential to be a terror for unprepared teams. If you don't need Rapid Spin, you can use both Thunderbolt and Ice Beam, allowing Starmie to act as an all-in-one check to Salamence and Gyarados.
Gyarados @ Leftovers ~ Dragon Dance ~ Earthquake ~ Hidden Power Rock / Hidden Power Flying ~ Taunt / Hydro Pump / Protect
Gyarados is a threat that all 200 teams should be prepared for. It has very few real counters. Earthquake isn't negotiable on this set, it provides Gyarados with a source of consistent damage. Hidden Power Rock complements Earthquake, but while Hidden Power Flying affords less coverage, it reaches 105 Base Power after factoring in STAB. Taunt prevents Haze or Roar from eliminating Gyarados's stat boosts, while Hydro Pump damages physical walls such as Donphan and Skarmory. Protect gives you a free turn to use Dragon Dance against Slaking and allows you to scout your opponent.
Crobat @ Choice Band ~ Sludge Bomb ~ Shadow Ball ~ Aerial Ace ~ Hidden Power Ground
Crobat keeps many fast, albeit frail sweepers such as Alakazam in check. It can come in after a Pokemon has been killed to finish a threat, or at least scare them off temporarily. Crobat needs the power boost from Choice Band to pose a threat. Sludge Bomb is your STAB move. Shadow Ball hits Psychic- and Ghost-types. Aerial Ace provides secondary STAB, but still only hits 90 Base Power. Hidden Power Ground makes sure Steel- and Rock-types don't completely wall you.
Lanturn @ Leftovers ~ Thunderbolt ~ Surf ~ Thunder Wave / Toxic ~ Rest
Lanturn is one of the few Pokemon that resists the Ice and Electric attacking combination, making it an excellent Regice counter. It also counters Pokemon such as Magneton, Milotic, and Starmie easily. Thunderbolt and Surf provide STAB, while Thunder Wave can cripple faster opponents. Rest allows Lanturn to annoy its opponents longer. Ice Beam is an option here, though you'll find that you're often able to cripple Salamence with a timely Thunder Wave, leaving only Flygon to be considered.
Heracross @ Choice Band ~ Megahorn ~ Focus Punch ~ Hidden Power Rock ~ Facade / Brick Break
Unfortunately, Heracross lost both Rock Slide and Sleep Talk in 200 play. However, that doesn't make it any less threatening. A Heracross wielding Choice Band can put a serious dent in any Pokemon in the metagame. Megahorn will devastate anything that doesn't resist it. Focus Punch can OHKO Skarmory if Guts has been activated. Hidden Power Rock hits threats such as Salamence and Gyarados. Facade can be useful if you activate Guts, giving you the ability to 2HKO Weezing. Otherwise, stick with Brick Break for reliable damage when you can't afford to use Focus Punch.
Skarmory @ Leftovers ~ Spikes ~ Roar ~ Drill Peck ~ Rest
Skarmory is arguably the best physical wall in 200 play. The only thing that prevents it from being an absolute staple on every team is the presence of Magneton. This set comes as no surprise - the objective is to set up Spikes and phaze the opponent with Roar where necessary. Drill Peck will OHKO Heracross and can help finish off weakened opponents. Rest ensures that Skarmory is able to continue doing its job for as long as possible.
Kingdra @ Leftovers / Lum Berry ~ Rain Dance ~ Surf ~ Ice Beam ~ Toxic / Hidden Power Grass / Hidden Power Electric
Kingdra can be threatening for many Pokemon with a Rain Dance under its belt. Surf provides a reliable source of damage, reaching 190 Base Power in the rain. Ice Beam hits Dragon- and Grass-types. Toxic allows Kingdra to wear down Pokemon that would otherwise wall it, such as Regice and Ludicolo. Hidden Power Grass and Hidden Power Electric both hit pure Water-types for super effective damage, however the former hits Swampert hard while the latter deals with Gyarados.
Donphan @ Leftovers ~ Earthquake ~ Hidden Power Rock ~ Rapid Spin ~ Roar / Rest
Donphan's ability to make use of Rapid Spin can make it a very useful Pokemon for many teams. Its base 120 Attack and Defense allow it to take hits and deal them back just as hard. Earthquake is for STAB, while Hidden Power Rock allows you to damage Gyarados and Salamence. You can Roar out Pokemon attempting to set up, or use Rest to increase Donphan's longevity. Counter is also an option here, since Donphan isn't bothered by most physical attacks.
As you now know, many Pokemon seen in 386 play aren't present in this metagame. A lot of walls are now missing, and as such, 200 play is much more offensively oriented. Games will often be decided based on who can break through the opponent's defenses and set up a sweep first, as there are much fewer Pokemon that can continuously take hits.
One of the key aspects of 200 play is understanding that there are far fewer threats to account for. You don't need to worry about the troubles Aerodactyl can give you - it's no longer around. You need to know what options are available to you, and more importantly, what options are available to your opponent. Becoming familiar with what you're going to find yourself up against is half the battle; once you've gotten past that, it's simply a matter of battling as you normally would.
This concludes our overview of the 200 metagame. Although 200 play is a somewhat extinct metagame, it's very simple to just pick up and play. If you ever find yourself getting tired of standard 386 play, this is definitely an avenue to look up! Happy battling!