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Even though Generation IV is coming to a close, the metagame is not done evolving. Pokémon like Mixed Dragonite and Calm Mind Celebi are seeing an increase in usage to the point where they have become commonplace sets in the metagame. Even though these sets are standard and predictable, they are still very useful additions to a team. Yet, in this new metagame, it is more important than ever to have teammates who deviate from their standard sets while still being viable. A moveset is not a gimmick simply because it is seen less. In fact, being less common allows a Pokémon to present shock value in addition to being a strong component of an OU team.
While a team full of "standards" can be very good, it runs the risk of being overly predictable. By integrating viable, underrated sets onto a team, it becomes harder to plan against. What separates a good team from a great team is the latter's sheer unpredictability. Hopefully this article will open up new perspectives and popularize fantastic movesets that don't get enough credit.
Blissey @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 44 HP / 252 Def / 120 SpA / 92 Spe
Bold nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Seismic Toss
- Thunder Wave
While standard Blissey is relegated to stall, this set is tailor-made to function on a balance team. As the best special wall in the game, Blissey is a cure-all for powerful special threats like Gengar and Shaymin, who normally trouble a balance team. Whereas stall Blissey is geared towards holding the team together, Fast Blissey weakens the opponent and opens up sweeping opportunities for the rest of the team.
Flamethrower stops Blissey from being entry hazard fodder for stall, as it OHKOes Forretress and 2HKOes standard Skarmory. Additionally, it obliterates Scizor who think they can switch in for free. However, in the early stages of the match, it is best to conceal Flamethrower, as it can net you a surprise KO when deployed at the right time. Seismic Toss lets Blissey handle Calm Mind sweepers like Raikou and Jirachi, as well as hit Heatran. Without it, the set is considerably easier to set up on. Thunder Wave is for defeating offense. The crippling paralysis it inflicts will nullify some of the game's deadliest sweepers as they switch in. The last move on the set, Softboiled, lets Blissey heal herself so she is around to do her job. If she could not heal herself, the numerous attacks she sponges would eventually KO her.
The EVs are specifically designed to give Blissey a jump on the opponent. With this spread, the ever-common Choice Band Scizor is outsped and OHKOed providing Stealth Rock is on the field. Maximizing Defense is a must, since Blissey is horribly vulnerable on the physical side of the spectrum. Since Blissey's Base Defense stat is so low, EVing it in Defense more than doubles its physical bulk.
Hippowdon @ Choice Band
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 124 Atk / 132 Def
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Stone Edge
- Ice Fang / Slack Off
Hippowdon is the quintessential physical wall. With its impressive defenses, Hippowdon's attacking power is often overlooked. While it is extremely slow, Hippowdon benefits from its defensive stats to be an excellent bulky sweeper. With a little prediction, he'll net suprise kills that will turn the tide of the match.
Being that Hippowdon is a Ground-type, and that Earthquake is possibly the best attack in the game, it is an absolute must for him to run it. Hippowdon's Earthquakes are particularly strong, OHKOing bulky Metagross sets. But since it is Hippowdon's best move, it is also his most predictable. By scouting the opponent ahead of time Hippowdon can predict the switch-in and score a major hit. Crunch provides this opportunity against the ever-popular Gengar and Rotom-A, OHKOing the former and frailer versions of the latter. Stone Edge is for taking care of Flying-type switch-ins such as Zapdos, OHKOing those who do not invest heavily in Defense. The final move, Ice Fang, OHKOs Gliscor, who would otherwise switch in with impunity. However, if Gliscor is not a problem, feel free to run Slack Off to keep Hippowdon alive as long as possible.
The EVs give Hippowdon enough bulk to survive a +2 Life Orb Close Combat from Adamant Lucario, while still hitting hard. With Choice Band attached, it reaches a gargantuan 480 Attack. A neat thing about this Hippowdon is its ability, Sand Stream, which finishes off Pokemon that barely survive its powerful attacks.
Jirachi @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 40 HP / 216 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpD)
- Iron Head
- Fire Punch
With Choice Scarf, Calm Mind, and Thunder Wave variants of Jirachi running rampant, it's easy to overlook this set. While it does not look immediately threatening, it is an excellent Pokémon for softening defensive cores. Many of Jirachi's common switch-ins hate this set. Overall, it's a fantastic annoyer that gets the job done.
Substitute has two functions for the set: to allow Jirachi to scout the opponent's switches, and to enable it to effectively Toxic stall. For example, a Rotom-H switches in, expecting a more conventional Jirachi set. Jirachi can proceed to continuously Substitute after it badly poisons Rotom-H, stalling it out of HP. Beyond the deadly Substitute / Toxic combo, Jirachi has its ace in the hole, Iron Head. Thanks to Serene Grace, Jirachi's Iron Heads have a 60% flinch rate. Beyond using Substitute, Jirachi can flinch hax a poisoned opponent until they die. While these three moves work extremely well together, they do not prevent Jirachi from being utterly walled by Steel-type Pokémon. So as a final move, Jirachi runs Fire Punch to hit those pesky Steel Pokémon for super effective damage. It makes this set a decent check to Lucario, and an all-out Scizor counter.
The EVs maximize Jirachi's Speed, give it significant Attack, and decent bulk. Jirachi wants to be able to outspeed its foes to it can Toxic them on the switch in and proceed to Substitute without taking a hit. Since dumping 252 EVs into Attack is a bit superfluous, Jirachi's HP is enhanced, improving its defensive capabilities.
Jolteon @ Life Orb
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Hidden Power Grass
- Shadow Ball / Signal Beam
This set takes advantage of those who naïvely assume that Jolteon is running Choice Specs. Countless teams' "way" of beating Jolteon is to switch into a resisted Choiced attack. Their lack of foresight is ultimately their undoing as this set pulls off a debilitating sweep.
They key is to come in on a Pokémon that Jolteon can scare out, such any mono-Water type, and use Substitute. While Jolteon is extremely fast, it is equally frail, and thus it is vulnerable to priority attacks. Substitute acts as a perfect shield for it. Additionally, a Pokémon Jolteon often encounters, Vaporeon, almost always runs Protect, and almost always will try to scout which "choice-locked" attack Jolteon will use. By using Substitute in this common scenario, Jolteon essentially gains a free turn. As a main STAB attack, Jolteon runs Thunderbolt, which maims pretty much everything that doesn't resist it. Hidden Power Grass is chosen as an auxiliary move so Jolteon can OHKO its otherwise perfect counter, Swampert. Whatever Jolteon runs as his last move depends on the rest of the team. But if your team is capable of dealing with Celebi, it's generally better to run Shadow Ball over Signal Beam.
The EVs are straightforward. With maximized Speed and Special Attack, Jolteon is at its optimal sweeping capability. A Timid nature is chosen so Jolteon can outspeed Starmie, Choice Scarf Tyranitar, and multiple other Pokémon. While Life Orb sacrifices longevity, it is crucial to securing KOs for Jolteon.
Tyranitar @ Shuca Berry
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Dragon Dance
- Ice Punch
- Stone Edge
Now more than ever, it seems like Tyranitar is always running Choice Scarf. When it has Dragon Dance in its arsenal, it’s easily checked. With this set, Tyranitar can defeat its usual checks, and proceed to sweep entire teams; it's notorious for defeating good players who do not prepare for it.
Being a bulky Pokémon, Tyranitar should have no problem switching in on a number of foes. Thus, it has numerous opportunities to use Dragon Dance, which turns it into a a deadly sweeper. Ice Punch is of great importance to the set, as it eliminates common Tyranitar switch-ins. With Salamence banished to Ubers, Flygon has seen a significant rise, and it is an extremely common Tyranitar check. Thanks to Shuca Berry, Tyranitar takes under 50% damage from Earthquake and OHKOs Flygon with Ice Punch. At this point, the rest of the team is easily sweepable since many teams only run one check to Tyranitar. Stone Edge is Tyranitar's main attack. Its power should not be underestimated; a +1 Stone Edge will 2HKO all but the most defensive of Skarmory after Stealth Rock takes its toll. The final move, Earthquake, pairs well with Tyranitar's other moves, letting it hit the Steel-type Pokémon who resist Rock and Ice for super effective damage.
The EVs make use of Tyranitar's offensive power and mitigate its lackluster speed. A Jolly nature is chosen to outspeed Starmie, who can hit Tyranitar for super effective damage. They also give it the jump on bulky-variant base 100 Pokémon who don't invest in Speed.
A common misconception is that less popular movesets are inherently worse. In reality, they are viable additions to a team that aren't used enough. The most important thing for a battler is to have a team that maximizes its chances of winning. While sometimes the standard set is the best option, a less popular set can often prove superior. The best teams tend to be somewhat unique. Utilizing a Pokémon's commonly overlooked resources can ultimately optimize a team's results.
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