|« Previous Article||Home||Next Article »|
Weaknesses—every Pokémon has got them (well, almost... darn 'Tomb) and nobody loves them. But as competitive players of Pokémon, we deal with them and we move on. Let's face it though—not all weaknesses are built evenly. Some of them are just a much bigger pain in the ass to deal with than others. Sure, Machamp could have issues with Psychic attacks if people actually used Psychic attacks, but having your Cresselia reamed by a super effective U-turn is a much more pressing issue. In short, there are some weaknesses that it simply sucks to have. In this article we will point out those weaknesses, discuss what makes them so bad, and point out their primary abusers. Finally, we will discuss Pokémon who, despite being cursed with these terrible weaknesses, manage to overcome them.
I do not think anyone will deny that Rock is the most debilitating weakness a Pokémon can have. Generally speaking, Rock is rather lacking in attack options—Stone Edge being the only widely spread and widely used physical attack, with Special Rock being almost completely void from game.
Despite this, Stealth Rock alone is more than enough to demonstratively cripple any Pokémon unfortunate enough to be weak to it. Stealth Rock is almost universal on the competitive battling field—the advantages it presents are too great for both offensive and defensive teams alike to pass up. Losing 25 or 50% of a Pokémon's HP simply by bringing it onto the battlefield puts its user at a huge disadvantage. It is with good reason that Stealth Rock has been often called the single most influential move in the game. There is no other move that has had as great an impact on the tiering and viability of Pokémon. In terms of considering a Pokémon's vulnerability to attacks and passive damage in particular, I doubt there is any facet as closely scrutinized as the weakness, neutrality, or resistance of a Pokémon to Stealth Rock.
Throughout the history of Gen IV, there have been countless methods people have used to successfully (and not so successfully) set up Stealth Rock. The strategies for setting up rocks are so numerous it could easily take up its own article. For now, I will simply name the most basic.
Bulky setup leads have a bit more weight, and use their survivability to find an opportunity to setup SR while trying to survive to fight later. While they generally do not get up SR with the same speed and consistency as suicide leads, fighting the enemy with 6 Pokémon instead of 5 after sacrificing the lead can be a tremendous asset worthy of a few extra turns or switches needed to get SR up. They can also set up SR later in the match if need be. Common bulky leads include:
When thinking about Stealth Rock-weak Pokémon who succeed regardless, I think it is impossible to ignore Gyarados. Despite its weakness to the mighty Stealth Rock, Gyarados has never fallen from its seat amongst the top 10 OU Pokémon. Furthermore, Water is unquestionably one of the most powerful types in the game alongside Dragon and Steel, and it possesses a far greater diversity of powerful members than either of the two. Water has more OU members than any other type, not to mention Pokémon as powerful as Milotic and Slowbro falling to UU simply because they are outclassed by their even more broken watery brethren. Amongst that mighty clan, Gyarados has without question reigned as the most popular of Water-types throughout the IVth generation, despite being the only OU Water-type weak to Stealth Rock. That is really saying something.
"You are 6-0'd by +1/+1 Gyarados." A phrase often thrown around in early 4th Gen, but still brings about only half-hearted laughs—because too often it ends up becoming reality. Water is one of the most terrific STAB types a Pokémon can possess. Both Water and Dragon have proven throughout Gen IV that what matters for a primary attacking type is not super effective hits, but neutral ones. Gyarados' STAB Waterfall was one of the many attacks that changed the offensive power of IV Generation to a completely different level. Even now, "offensive Water" is not heard as often as "bulky Water", with most Water types lacking the Speed or power to make it as great sweepers. However, Gyarados' Dragon Dance combined with a 125 base Attack completely changes that equation in a single turn.
In other words, Gyarados rises above the concern of its Stealth Rock weakness with sheer bullish force. Damage on switching does not matter if one does not plan on switching, but simply to crush the entire enemy team one Pokémon after another. Of course, Gyarados is not invincible, and the sweep (full or partial) must be supported with good timing and ideally by weakening or taking out potential counters beforehand. But once it has started, a Gyarados sweep is something to behold (something most competitive battlers have beheld, probably from both ends).
Since most Gyarados sets only plan on switching into battle once, Gyarados has more than ample defensive stats/typing to set up and go for the sweep with just 75% of its health—aided greatly by Gyarados' incredible ability, Intimidate.
Even without Dragon Dancing though, Gyarados has the power to have a go at the opponent's team with just Waterfall, Life Orb, and its bare fangs. With alternative moves like Thunder Wave and Taunt, it can cripple or hinder the enemy from moving their own strategies forward while still dealing out heaps of damage. The ever–surprisingly powerful RestTalk set can even use its recovery ability to shrug off SR damage. Even with RestTalk + Roar or Dragon Dance taking up 3 move slots, Waterfall's terrific coverage is more than good enough to perform as a 1 attack show.
All of these factors come together to form the beast that is Gyarados, a giant among giants even with the threat of SR pressed to its scaly back.
The move U-turn has single handedly turned Bug into a dreaded weakness to have. In Generation IV, if you are a) weak to Bug and b) have no means of hurting/threatening Scizor, chances are you are not OU—or else you are extremely low on the OU rankings, barely managing to keep yourself from falling to UU. If you are slower than Scizor, you have even greater issues to deal with. In fact, the only Pokémon who can boast OU status while facing such a weakness to the backhand of OU's former king are Weavile and Umbreon, neither of whom can be considered very powerful or popular amongst stronger competitive players.
Weavile is an example of a Pokémon hampered almost exclusively due to Scizor. While SR weakness is another serious issue for the weasel on speed, it is undeniable that Game Freak was extremely kind to it in terms of design. 120+ base stats in both Attack and Speed are extremely rare to come by, and combined with the new physical Dark and Ice moves, both being incredible offensive STAB types, it was with good reason that Weavile was theorymon'd for greatness at the beginning of DP.
Weavile did enjoy popularity at the beginning of the generation, but lower Base Power moves were a serious problem, and Scizor's popularization was the final nail in the coffin.
Resisting both STABs, and facing nothing more than an un-STAB'd Low Kick on the way in, Scizor can switch into Weavile almost completely without inhibition, and this is where U-turn works its magic.
Essentially, every time Scizor comes in on Weavile, the Weavile user faces a serious dilemma:
a) Lose Weavile
b) Let Skarmory take a STAB CB U-turn from 130 Base ATK to the face, and then let the opponent bring in Magnezone or Heatran on Skarmory.
Suddenly, there is no prediction—there is no switching out of the bad situation. There is no more win or lose, but rather only lose or lose more. You are letting something on your team take a major beating with no chance of turning the situation around. This will persist the longer you try to protect Weavile. While fighting against a Scizor, Weavile becomes a liability that could potentially bring down the whole team. Furthermore, the liability is compounded by the fact that your weakness is against one of the most popular and powerful of all of OU's Pokémon, which means this bad match up will come sooner rather than later. Weavile is not the only Pokémon who faces this dilemma. In the context of OU battle, players considering Umbreon, Uxie, Cresselia, Bronzong, Ambipom and others all have to ask themselves the same question: what exactly do I do when Scizor switches in?
To summarize: When a U-turn user safely enters against a Pokémon that is KOed by U-turn (due to weakness, frailty, or simply low HP) and is unable to hurt the U-turn user (due to either being slower or having no effective attacks), the U-turn user will have a 100% advantage requiring no prediction.
There are two main concerns when choosing U-turn for a Pokémon's moveset:
a) Power and coverage
b) Durability to switching
First, can U-turn be depended on for offensive power on the Pokémon? If not, does the Pokémon possess sufficient power and coverage with only the 3 remaining move slots? For instance, Scizor's STAB and huge base Attack score mean that U-turn will be quite the offensive force, making it an ideal pick. For Flygon, its Dragon + Ground dual STAB provides good enough power and coverage that it has ample room for more utility-focused moves like U-turn.
How well the Pokémon stands up to frequent switching is the next thing to consider. U-turn's biggest weakness comes from the damage its user will quickly accumulate from entry hazards and possible pursuit hits. A Pokémon's capacity to stand up to such forms of damage is extremely important to consider when using U-turn, making Stealth Rock weak Pokémon like Yanmega or Zapdos much less appealing.
Now let us talk about some of OU's best U-turn users.
Who ruled from the top of the usage stats while Latias roamed in OU, is still without question one of the strongest Pokémon in OU, and is the most feared user of U-turn in the game? Backed up by 130 base Attack, STAB, and commonly a Choice Band, even the mere 70 base power U-turn wields tremendous power in Scizor's fists, ripping huge chunks of HP off even opponents who resist the attack. U-turn is so dangerous both in power and for its advantage building that it is truly is a wonder that Scizor was not more popular even before the addition of Bullet Punch.
In the early game, Scizor will almost completely rely on U-turn because of the risks associated with an enemy's hidden Magnezone. Even without using Bullet Punch, though, the metal mantis can be a menace just by spamming U-turn the whole game. Dealing with its power and flexibility can be extremely difficult to deal with, especially for slower teams and stall.
Scizor is a formidable U-turn user solely for its power, as it unfortunately lacks anything special in terms of durability to switching. However, while Scizor may be exposed to Stealth Rock and Spikes, it should receive praise for being a rare STAB U-turn user while being only neutrally hit by Stealth Rock, a difficult feat with Bug's weakness to Rock. It should also be noted that Scizor is immune to Sand and Toxic Spikes while also resisting Pursuit, though these are lesser threats. Scizor's slower U-turn can often be a great asset in aiding safer switches to frailer teammates.
Endurance, endurance, endurance. When it comes to switching durability, there is no U-turn user in the game that is tougher than Flygon. Immunities to Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and sandstorm combined with a resistance to Stealth Rock make Flygon the ultimate U-turn user in terms of freedom of switching. Immunity to Thunder Wave and Trick-Scarf combined with a great assortment of resistances make its switching even easier. Flygon is simply not going down except via direct attacks. It should also be noted that while Flygon likes holding a Choice Scarf and does not really have the defensive stats to abuse its terrific typing and ability to tank, it can potentially use Roost to make its switching even easier.
On the power side, its U-turn is nothing special—but Dragon + Ground STAB is. STAB Outrage (or possibly Draco Meteor) and Earthquake are powerful enough to give adequate coverage and power, even from Flygon's mediocre base Attack. Access to Fire Blast, Stone Edge, and ThunderPunch rounds things out even more neatly. Because of its STAB attack combination, Flygon easily makes room amongst its four move slots for U-turn.
Other notable users in OU are Gliscor, Jirachi, Azelf, and Uxie. Jirachi's biggest appeal is its STAB flinching Iron Head, though it also has fair Attack and Speed scores as well as immunity to Sand and Toxic Spikes. Gliscor and the pixies are hit neutrally by Stealth Rock, but being hit only neutrally while possessing immunity to Spikes (and Toxic Spikes) is uncommon and valuable. Gliscor, additionally, is immune to sand, and both it and Jirachi can also get Leftovers recovery while in a sandstorm.
In terms of power, Gliscor has access to the Stone Edge + Earthquake attack combination, but its base attack score leaves much to be desired. Jirachi and Azelf have difficulties gaining good coverage and power with fewer move slots, which should be taken into consideration, especially when they also have access to a number of other support moves. All of these Pokémon have access to Stealth Rock, making them potential suicide/setup leads where U-turn becomes useful for breaking enemy Focus Sashes while making a getaway.
Says long time OU veteran Celebi, who, despite a 4x weakness to Bug, has held its top 25 position in OU, often claiming a top 15 position at many points in the history of Generation IV. Despite the definitive difficulties associated with such a weakness to the mighty U-turn, Celebi has survived in OU by finding ways to deal with the specific users of the move.
Looking at our list of notable U-turn users, the first and most obviously notable is Scizor. Its powerful somersaulting would destroy any feasible set our Psychic cabbage could hope to put together. Effort Values and Nature have nothing to do with it in a battle against such tremendous power. The bright side is that there is a way to deal with Scizor. The unfortunate thing is that it's not an ideal answer—simply carry Hidden Power Fire. "Just use Hidden Power" is never a very welcome answer to a problem (especially since Fire cuts your Speed IV), but one cannot deny its potential effectiveness. Scizor's 4x weakness gives all its potential enemies an answer as long as they are willing to sacrifice a move slot for the pathetically weak (and often otherwise useless) Hidden Power. In Celebi's case though, its weakness is a big enough problem that Hidden Power Fire is well worth the consideration. Additionally, Fire is one of the better secondary coverage moves for Celebi's Grass STAB, giving Hidden Power Fire quite a bit of secondary appeal.
Alternatively, Celebi can use its new event toy, Nasty Plot, to somewhat fix the problem. Psychic + Earth Power gives pretty useful overall coverage, and if Celebi can get Nasty Plot off before Scizor switches in, Earth Power will be dealing quite a bit of damage. With Life Orb and Stealth Rock in the equation, +2 Celebi should have no problems using Earth Power to take out frailer sets the Metal Bug might try. It should be noted though, that should Scizor go to the extreme of using Careful and near-max special bulk, its survivability can be quite formidable, holding up to non-LO Hidden Power Fire with relative ease. However, Celebi can do enough damage that, after factoring multiple hits from SR (due to U-turn's use), Scizor should be of little trouble for Celebi's teammates to finish off even if it should survive Earth Power or Hidden Power.
Against weaker U-turn users, the answer is much simpler—just use Recover. Flygon especially has many great opportunities to switch into Celebi, as the time traveling salad loves using Thunder Wave to deal with many enemies. Celebi frequently uses Leech Seed, which means nothing to any U-turn user, including Flygon. Unfortunately for Flygon, Jirachi, and Gliscor, they simply lack the attack scores to finish off Celebi even with the 4x super effective move. Celebi will lose only a little over half its health from their attacks, a problem easily alleviated by Recovering. It should be noted that Gliscor and Jirachi could throw in a wrench in this plan should they be slower than Celebi. In Gliscor's case, Celebi could simply smack its weak special side with a powerful STAB Grass attack, but Jirachi can be truly annoying—should you actually find a slower Jirachi that is also carrying U-turn. Overall, this is not a very grave issue to worry about.
By having means of dealing with the individual U-turn users themselves, Celebi can thrive despite its weakness. Without a doubt, Celebi's 600 BST and position as one of the few OU Grass-types capable of dealing with the majority of Water Pokémon sets will ensure Celebi's continued popularity in the future.
In Generation IV, Pursuit became a physical move, which made it a much more powerful force in the metagame. Most Pursuit users have better Attack stats than Special Attack stats. Additionally, most Dark-weak Psychic Pokémon also have much weaker Defense than Special Defense, or evenly-split stats at best. Finally, Scizor's Technician ability made physical Pursuit a force to be reckoned with on OU's former king. Pursuit's power boost unquestionably increased the danger of possessing a Dark-type weakness.
Without a doubt, having a weakness to Dark can bring great repercussions on a Pokémon's play style in OU and the performance of a team's overall strategy. Pursuit has a very interactive role in OU because of the Ghost-type's weakness to Dark. This ties Pursuit into the war of entry hazards, being a viable means of destroying the one way of blocking Rapid Spin. It is not of great relevance against the one-turn–setup Stealth Rock, but when Spikes get involved in a battle, the arms race between Rapid Spin, Rotom-A, and Tyranitar can have a great impact on the outcome of the match.
One must also consider Pursuit users in relation to Lucario sweeps, as the Steel Jackal is arguably OU's most powerful and reliable late game sweeper. It faces serious issues against Ghost-types, which block Extremespeed and Close Combat. Thus, if one is not careful, Tyranitar downing a Gengar or Rotom could result in the fall of an entire team.
The ideal pursuit user should provide the following:
3) More Power
4) MUCH MORE POWER
5) BULK, especially special
6) More special bulk
Pursuit users are built to take down specific targets that pose serious roadblocks to the overall team's success. Because of this, it is important that the Pokémon excel at taking down the target and be capable of switching into the target to eliminate it. To accomplish this task, it is first important that the Pursuit user has enough power (from STAB, Technician, or raw base Attack score) to compensate for Pursuit's low base power to take the target down. It is also important to have the bulk to be able to switch into the target to make the kill. Since the vast majority of Ghost and Psychic Pokémon are special attackers, special bulk is especially important. Defense is (currently) of little relevance.
Regarding switching in, using Pursuit users only for revenge killing is less than ideal; it's an inefficient use of a team slot. If you are only revenge killing, you are playing a losing battle—a catch up game—and giving your opponent the chance to revenge or setup without surrendering the lead (since you are bringing in the Pursuit user only after letting the enemy kill something). For this reason, to truly effectively use the Pursuit user to gain advantage, it is essential for a dedicated trapper to also be able to switch into its target with relative safety. This is the difference between a bad trapper (Weavile) and a top-level Pokémon (Tyranitar). Weavile's stats are frankly better built for sweeping than trapping.
This is the Pokémon closest to Pursuit's ideal user. A tremendous 134 base Attack, STAB Dark, and terrific defensive stats are all ideal for the job. With the Special Defense boost from sand, Tyranitar effectively has a monstrous Special Defense base stat of 150, which combined with 100 base HP gives Tyranitar the special bulk to carry out its job with terrifying effectiveness. Despite being an offensive Pokémon, Tyranitar is one of the most specially defensive Pokémon in OU, and can shrug off even super effective hits with relative ease. Resistances to both Ghost and Psychic make its switches even more powerful against intended targets. A 4x weakness to Fighting is less than ideal, since both Psychic- and Ghost-types enjoy Fighting covarage attacks, but with defensive EVs and a Careful nature, Tyranitar can survive even Gengar's Life Orb Focus Blast.
With Choice Scarf, Tyranitar can instantly kill Gengar and Starmie, and should Rotom try to Will-O-Wisp thinking you are slower, Crunch will easily dispatch it. Choice Band is powerful enough to rip through tough enemies even if Tyranitar chooses to invest in bulk instead of power. With Stone Edge / Crunch / Earthquake (or Superpower), Tyranitar can achieve awesome coverage with only 3 moveslots, allowing it to easily fit Pursuit into the fourth.
Tyranitar is the one Pokémon in OU whom I would consider to have been built specifically with Pursuit as a primary move in mind.
Did I mention Scizor? 130 Base Attack and Technician certainly make Scizor an impressive candidate. While its special bulkiness is mediocre at best, it has good overall bulk, can be EVed to be quite specially bulky, and lacks exploitable weaknesses (except against Rotom-H, who it has no business dealing with). With proper metagame-based EVs, Scizor can be an effective answer to the likes of Starmie and Gengar. One must be wary of random Hidden Power Fire shots from various opponents though.
Gengar has the floor. It is neutral to Stealth Rock, immune to Spikes and Toxic Spikes, and resists U-turn, so there are very few dangers Gengar has to worry about. Unfortunately, Pursuit is a very definitive one. But despite Pursuit's power and presence on some of OU's most popular Pokémon, Gengar has had lasting success as one of OU's top Pokémon—it spent most of Gen IV as one of the top ten most-used Pokémon, and never fell below the top twenty. How has Gengar dealt with the obvious threat of Pursuit?
Focus Blast helps. A 120 Base Power attack that is 4x super effective against the most popular Pursuit user is definitely a huge asset. The fact that it provides flawless coverage alongside Gengar's primary STAB, Shadow Ball, is simply offensive efficiency at its best. A neutral special 120 Base Power move is nothing Scizor can laugh at either, not to mention that Gengar's also known for throwing around Hidden Power Fire.
Substitute and Protect can both throw a serious wrench in the plans of Pursuit users. Many Pursuit users rely on Choice Band to in order to help compensate for Pursuit's pathetically low base power, hedging bets in case the enemy does not switch, to ensure that Pursuit can successfully make kills. By using Protect or throwing up a Substitute on a switch, Gengar can find out exactly what is coming, and come out on top of what would otherwise be a 50/50 prediction war. Not sure if Scizor will use Bullet Punch or Pursuit? Not sure if Tyranitar is coming with Crunch or Pursuit? Gengar can Protect to find out. With perfect coverage in just 2 moves, Gengar can easily find room for such moves in its set.
With 3 useful immunities and terrific speed, power, and coverage, Gengar has always been a Pokémon that can force plenty of switches, making Substitute a wonderful move for it—especially with its immunity to Seismic Toss. Additionally, Substitute can act like Protect in aiding to predict against Banded Tyranitar; if Scarf-Tyranitar switches into Substitute, it is essentially dead (or at least will fail to stop Gengar). Even rarely-seen tricks like Destiny Bond can really take value away from using Pursuit.
In general, Pursuit is powerful, but does not pose the same danger to a team as U-turn or Stealth Rock. Once the kill is made, often you will be a sitting duck. Almost all KOes result in giving the enemy a free switch in that can tilt the momentum of battle, but this vulnerability can become even more of a problem when using Pursuit because most of its users rely on Choice Band to increase their power. A Choice-locked Pursuit, even from something as powerful as Tyranitar, is a welcome opening for many Pokémon to setup for a sweep, including Swords Dance Lucario, Swords Dance Scizor, Agility Metagross, Agility Empoleon, Dragon Dance Gyarados, Baton Pass Gliscor, and many others. Defensive Pokémon such as Forretress or Skarmory can simply come in and start Spiking against a locked Pursuit user. One must consider the value of making Pursuit's ensured kill alongside these associated risks.
While Steel has been long considered a poor attacking type, there have been a number of notable changes that have brought this long under-appreciated type into the limelight. The first and most obvious one is Scizor, whose powerful Bullet Punch has picked off many a weakened Salamence during its long stint in OU. Indeed, there are few things more disappointing than getting your awesome sweeper all set up, only to be then met with a Scizor and its STAB Bullet Punch.
Remember how we said that Weavile's biggest problem is U-turn? Bullet Punch is definitely its second biggest. While a Swords Danced Weavile packs all the punch that it needs to take out Scizor with Low Kick, it still finds itself helpless in the face of Bullet Punch. If it's not Bullet Punch, it's a swift Iron Head from Jirachi. Or maybe a Bullet Punch or Meteor Mash from Metagross?
While Steel-type moves may not be as ubiquitous as some of the moves mentioned before, there are still a number of very solid Pokémon who rely on their STAB Steel-type moves to pay the bills. That's a good thing, because while they may not be notable otherwise, these Pokémon bring these oft-underloved Steel-type moves to a higher competitive level.
What, this guy again? All these people running with scissors. Okay, this one's obvious. While Bullet Punch may be just another Quick Attack clone, Scizor is one of the only Pokémon to actually pack a Technician-boosted STAB priority move, and on top of that, it's packing a massive 130 base Attack, one of the highest in OU. Even when it hits neutrally, Bullet Punch still packs incredible power, but when you apply it to a Pokémon weak to Steel, the results are nothing short of devastating. Unless the target is something like Rhyperior, with obscene Defense and Solid Rock, Bullet Punch is probably just going to barrel straight through it like a freight train.
Need I say more? Okay, well maybe I should. Jirachi may not be packing stellar offenses, but the combination of Iron Head and Serene Grace makes Jirachi pretty much the most "annoying" Pokémon in OU bar none, and with enough luck, can turn into one hell of a "get out of jail free" card against certain opponents. If the opponent is lucky enough to survive the Iron Head, which still packs solid power off of Jirachi's 100 base Attack, they only have a 40% chance to act afterwards. Furthermore, if Jirachi KOs something with Iron Head, whatever comes in after still has to deal with Jirachi's 60% flinch chance. Switching out of Iron Head is almost equally bad; whatever switches in had better be able to survive a couple Iron Heads, because staying in against a faster Jirachi is like rolling the dice every turn.
Metagross' signature move, Meteor Mash, is one of its biggest selling points in the OU metagame. Not only does it hit like a truck with its 100 Base Power coming off Metagross' 135 base Attack, but its secondary effect is more than capable of turning the tides of battle. If Metagross hits its 20% chance to increase its Attack, it can turn a 3HKO on Rotom-A into a 2HKO, or a number of 2HKOs into OHKOs. However, Meteor Mash isn't the only STAB move Metagross packs. Bullet Punch can help pick off weakened foes, and can deal significant damage to anything weak to it.
With Scizor roaming OU, crushing foes left and right with its powerful Bullet Punch, you'd think that Tyranitar would have a hell of a time sweeping or really doing much of anything in OU. However, that's where you'd be wrong. Tyranitar definitely has something to be scared of in the form of Bullet Punch, but it's more than capable of dealing with the threat in a number of ways.
Unlike the three aforementioned moves, there's actually really no danger in simply switching out of a Bullet Punch or Meteor Mash, and it's not like Steel resistances are few and far between in this metagame (or any metagame, really). In fact, it's actually quite possible to take advantage of Tyranitar's Steel weakness by using it as a way to lure Choiced users of Steel-type moves in and eliminate them with Magnezone. In some ways, Scizor's Bullet Punch and Jirachi's Iron Head are as much liabilities as they are boons, as they both tend to be used in tandem with Choice items, and they're both massive Magnezone bait.
However, what if you don't want to switch out your Tyranitar? Imagine it. Scizor has just Pursuited something, and you're ready to use it to your advantage by setting up on it with Dragon Dance. Tyranitar easily brushes aside the enemy that comes in, only to be met with Scizor yet again. However, this time, Tyranitar is NOT afraid. Much to Scizor's horror, its Bullet Punch has been weakened by Babiri Berry, the Steel-type resistance berry, and Tyranitar has taken only slightly more than half of its HP in damage. Meanwhile, Scizor falls immediately to a Fire Punch, and Tyranitar carries on with its sweep.
Babiri Berry provides important utility for Tyranitar, by allowing it to absorb Bullet Punches with ease and continue its sweep. Babiri Berry can also be effectively used by a more bait-oriented set, allowing Tyranitar to lure in Scizor and either outspeed its U-turn/Superpower or eat a Bullet Punch before frying the iron-clad mantis with the Fire-type attack of its choice.
I think it's easy to agree that throughout all four generations of Pokémon games, Earthquake has proven itself as one of the most effective attacks in Pokémon history. With a combination of massive distribution, solid power, excellent type coverage, and perfect accuracy, Earthquake finds its way onto the primary movesets of a whole lot of Pokémon. Indeed, being weak to Ground can be a massive liability for a number of top Pokémon in the metagame, as even if they resist the primary STAB of a Pokémon, they can still fall to a powerful Earthquake.
One of the best attributes of Earthquake in OU is the large number of Steel-type Pokémon in the metagame. Many of the Steel-types in OU are at least neutral or immune to Ground—Scizor, Skarmory, Bronzong, and Forretress all have secondary typings or abilities that mitigate their weakness to Ground. However, Earthquake still hits a significant portion of the metagame for super effective damage.
Earthquake is such a notable move that there are sets that are specifically designed to make Earthquake users more effective. Trick + Iron Ball Metagross relies on its common counters (Skarmory and Rotom-A) switching into a Trick, turning their immunity to Earthquake into a weakness, and making it significantly easier for Metagross' Earthquake-reliant allies to sweep. There's even a field effect meant to support it! One of the main effects of Gravity is the removal of all Pokémon's immunity to Ground, making it significantly harder to resist Earthquake, since the most common Pokémon that resist Earthquake do so by being immune to it.
Pretty much any major non-Fighting physical attacker can make good use of Earthquake. The best users of Earthquake come from Pokémon whose STAB is primarily resisted by Pokémon weak to Earthquake, while in other cases, it can be used to hit specific Pokémon harder than any of the user's other available moves.
Dragon / Ground's type coverage is nearly impeccable, resisted only by Skarmory and Bronzong in the OU metagame, and Flygon's Speed is good enough that it's not hard for Flygon to get the chance to pop off an Earthquake before the opponent has a chance to respond. While Outrage is often the more effective move, Earthquake provides much needed power against foes such as Metagross, Tyranitar, and Heatran.
Dragonite may not have Flygon's STAB Earthquake, but it does have access to Dragon Dance, something that Flygon would kill for. Earthquake provides much needed coverage for Dragonite, preventing grounded Steel-types from ending its sweep, and also allowing it to dispose of Tyranitar and other Pokémon without having to lock itself into Outrage.
Dragon / Ground has excellent coverage, and Ice / Ground comes extremely close. Mamoswine's dual STAB is nearly unresisted in the OU metagame, with Levitate Bronzong being the only Pokémon to resist both. Furthermore, Mamoswine possesses one of the strongest Earthquakes in the game, beaten only by the glacially slow Rhyperior and Uber Groudon. The only real letdown is the low Base Power on Mamoswine's physical Ice-type moves, but Mamoswine should be spending most of its time blasting stuff with its powerful Earthquake anyway.
Other notable users of Earthquake include Forretress and Bronzong, which use Earthquake to stave off Heatran that would switch in on them with impunity; Gyarados, which uses Earthquake to hit Metagross hard and also provide neutral coverage against common Water resistances such as Vaporeon, Starmie, and Suicune; and Metagross, which can use Earthquake to hit Heatran, Magnezone, and Lucario, which would otherwise resist its moves.
With Earthquake's ubiquity in the OU metagame, one would think that Heatran would be far less common than it is in OU. Indeed, despite its potentially crippling 4x weakness to Earthquake, Heatran has skyrocketed to the #1 position in OU, and for good reason. It packs crucial resistances to Ice, Dragon, Steel, Bug, and Grass, as well as an immunity to Fire and other various resistances of less consequence. However, Heatran still has issues with Ground-type attacks, but unlike a number of Pokémon with notable weaknesses to Ground, Heatran is more than capable of dealing with many common users of Earthquake.
While Heatran may not be able to take an Earthquake from Metagross, it's more than capable of switching into a Meteor Mash and roasting it with a powerful Fire Blast before Metagross can OHKO it with Earthquake. Indeed, it's difficult for many users of Earthquake to switch into Heatran's powerful attacks. Heatran can also scout common switchins with Substitute and smack them around with one of its powerful attacks.
Heatran has also taken to dealing with Earthquake users by equipping a Shuca Berry, which reduces Earthquake's effectiveness from 4x to 2x, and with Heatran's 90 / 106 / 106 defenses, it's more than capable of shrugging off non-STAB Earthquakes. This can allow it to not only absorb an Earthquake, but also catch its users by surprise and OHKO them in return with one of its attacks.
However, the best way of dealing with Earthquake users is simply to switch out of it to one of the extremely common Earthquake immunities in OU, such as Skarmory, Flygon, Dragonite, Gyarados, or Gengar. In fact, when it comes down to it, Ground may be the type with the most resistances in OU—what with there being 5 Levitate users, 8 Flying-types, 3 Grass-types (other than Roserade, which is neutral), and one lone resistant Bug-type, over one third of OU is resistant or immune to Ground.
Where does this leave us? It is certain that typing, and thus weaknesses and resistances, is not the bottom line in team construction. Weakness and resistances must be considered in tandem with a Pokémon's stats and ability as well as its relation to the many threats in the target metagame. As our anti-examples illustrated, just because a Pokémon has a certain weakness does not necessarily end its viability. It may have ways of defeating the enemies who would exploit its weaknesses, like Gengar. It might have a play style that rises above its weakness, like Gyarados. That said, one should build teams being aware that certain weaknesses are not as easy to compensate for, and can potentially inhibit the performance of not just the individual Pokémon, but of the entire team. To reach a higher level of team building, one should consider the potentially debilitating weaknesses, concrete examples of how such weaknesses could be exploited by the enemy, and concrete game plans to deal with these weaknesses. Good luck with your team building in the future!
|« Previous Article||Home||Next Article »|