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Generation 5 has really brought the Psychic type back into the limelight. In Generation 1, Psychic was bar none the best type in the game, and if you had a STAB Psychic, you had a good shot at being effective. Since then, however, Psychic has kind of fallen out of favor. Generation 4 was especially bad for Psychic-types, as Tyranitar's near-ubiquity made using Psychic-type attacks more of a liability than a selling point.
That has largely changed in Generation 5. While Tyranitar is still just as much of a jerk as ever, Psychic-types have found new life in the metagame. Powerful new Psychic-type superstars like Reuniclus and Sigilyph, as well as new Psychic-type moves like Psyshock and Stored Power, have made that crucial Psychic resist that much more important in this Generation 5 metagame.
When you think of Psychic-types in OU, the first one that comes to mind is obviously Reuniclus. With an incredible 125 base Special Attack, Reuniclus has plenty of power to muscle through the bulkiest of Pokemon, especially when using Life Orb. Its 110/75/85 defenses, combined with Magic Guard and Recover, make Reuniclus incredibly difficult to deal with without a powerful super effective Bug-, Dark-, or Ghost-type attack. On top of that, it can run a multitude of powerful sets, each of which requires a completely different set of checks. The Calm Mind set has a more defensive take on Reuniclus, but after a couple boosts, it can be incredibly difficult to take down without something like Choice Band Scizor on your team (and even then, it's not an OHKO). The Trick Room set only needs 1 turn of setup to “outslow” and crush offensive teams with its incredible power, and it's got more than enough bulk to set up Trick Room for itself and other team members. It's also got access to a number of niche sets, such as Trick + Flame Orb or Thunder Wave, which can prove problematic for unprepared teams.
Sigilyph is the other new addition to OU's Psychic-type roster. While not nearly as bulky or powerful as Reuniclus, it has a number of moves that help set it apart from Reuniclus. The first is Psycho Shift. By holding a Flame Orb, it can abuse its Magic Guard ability to give itself immunity to Sleep, Freeze, and Paralysis, and at the same time, give it a method of crippling the powerful physical attackers that would switch into it, especially Tyranitar and Scizor. It can use this in tandem with Cosmic Power or Calm Mind, allowing it to set up on its crippled opponents. Finally, it can utilize Stored Power alongside the two aforementioned boosting moves. This powerful move starts at a meager 20 BP, but increases by 20 BP for each stage boost its user accrues. This means that if Sigilyph can get to +6/+6, its Stored Power hits an incredible 260 BP, allowing it to hit incredibly hard even when using the Cosmic Power set.
There aren't really any new defensive Psychic-types in OU, as the only one that really qualifies uses its defensive boosts more as a means for sweeping the opponent. However, the metagame has become extremely friendly towards some of the defensive Psychic-type standbys, which have really come into their own in Generation 5.
Jirachi spent much of Generation 4 as one of the top offensive threats, but in Generation 5, it's come out as a specially defensive superstar. Its Steel/Psychic typing gives it a crucial Dragon resist, making it one of the few Pokemon capable of reliably switching into Latios without fear of annihilation by Draco Meteor. It's also neutral to Surf and Thunderbolt, and takes negligible damage from HP Fire. Its access to Wish (especially the new and improved version) allows it to heal itself and support allies, and its Body Slam allows it to spread paralysis with impunity.
Bronzong is another Pokemon that has found significant new life in Generation 5. With the ubiquity of Gliscor and Garchomp (while it was legal), Bronzong found itself sporting an all-star collection of resistances and utility tools for the metagame. Its ability to counter Gliscor and check many of the powerful Dragon-types in the metagame, as well as lay down Stealth Rock and spread Toxic, makes it a fantastic choice for any team in need of a sturdy defensive anchor.
It's impossible to mention Psychic-types in UU without mentioning Victini. However, its Psychic typing tends to take a back seat in its performance, as the key to its power is its incredible physical STAB, V-Create. This 180 Base Power physical Fire-type attack hits like a truck, and can obliterate nearly any Pokemon not sporting a Fire resistance or immunity. However, its Psychic typing isn't useless. Victini can choose to complement its strong physical STAB with its diverse special movepool, including Thunderbolt, Grass Knot, and powerful STAB Psychic. It can also use these with Work Up, which can catch opponents expecting a dedicated physical set off-guard. It's also got enough power and coverage to run a Choice Scarf set, which can act as a top-notch revenge killer for some of the most prevalent threats in the UU metagame, such as Nasty Plot Celebi and Choice Scarf Heracross.
Amazingly enough, Deoxys-D finds itself at home in UU in this generation, and its supporting prowess is as great as ever. It has access to both Stealth Rock and Spikes, and with its incredible 50/160/160 defenses and 90 Speed, it's quite possibly the best layer of entry hazards in the UU metagame for any team. It's also an excellent defensive Pokemon, and can spread paralysis/poison around with ease while walling all but the strongest attackers. It can also act as a stallbreaker, though stall isn't exactly very prevalent in UU. It gets the combination of Taunt and Toxic that lets it dominate stall, and it can even use Agility to guarantee that it outspeeds anything on the opposing team.
Slowbro finds itself reprising its former role in Generation 4's UU again, though it's a little more effective in Generation 5. Its 95/110/80 defenses alongside Slack Off and its Water/Psychic typing makes it incredibly hard to take down without super effective attacks, and Dream World just makes it better. With Regeneration, Slowbro isn't forced to heal every single time it comes in, which gives it plenty of time to burn opponents with Scald or spread paralysis with Thunder Wave. It's also got a more than adequate base 100 Special Attack, and an excellent movepool including Surf, Grass Knot, Fire Blast, and Psychic.
Espeon has come into the forefront in UU as well. Its new ability, Magic Bounce, makes it incredibly effective at shutting down Pokemon such as Deoxys-D, and even turning their attempts to lay hazards against the opponent. Now that female Eevee is available, Espeon also has access to Wish, Baton Pass, and Stored Power, and with its ability to reflect Roar, Whirlwind, and Taunt, Espeon is an incredible supporter/sweeper for UU Baton Pass teams, as well as an excellent recipient of SmashPass. It also presents a non-negligible offensive threat, with offenses rivaling Gengar's and a solid offensive movepool.
Finally, Celebi finds itself occupying one of the top spots in UU currently. With access to Nasty Plot, it's one of the most effective special sweepers in the entire metagame, stopped largely only by Chansey and faster Pokemon that can OHKO it. The newly-improved Giga Drain just compounds this, as Celebi can heal off any of the residual damage it takes via its primary STAB. Its coverage is also excellent, with access to Earth Power as well as Hidden Power Fire and its STAB Psychic. It can also use a Swords Dance set with Zen Headbutt and Sucker Punch to shut down offensive teams, since a +2 Life Orb Sucker Punch is remarkably effective against many of the Pokemon that would outspeed Celebi and threaten it. Defensively, it's also excellent - it can use a dedicated support set to spread paralysis and lay down Stealth Rock, or it can use the set known as Tinkerbell to support balance teams while still posing a veritable threat through Life Orb STAB Leaf Storm / Psychic.
Zen Headbutt - 80 Base Power - 90% Accuracy - 20% chance to flinch
Pretty much the only physical Psychic-type move, and the STAB of choice for any physical Psychic-type. Flinch is sometimes helpful, but not common enough to be relied on.
Psychic – 90 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – 10% chance to lower opponent's Special Defense by one stage
The old standby, and still one of the best. Psychic has excellent distribution, solid power, and if it lands a Special Defense drop, it can make it extremely hard to wall. However, Psychic sees very little usage outside of STAB, simply because Psychic doesn't give very useful coverage to other Pokemon.
Psyshock - 80 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - Inflicts damage based on the target's Defense, not Special Defense.
That's right, it's a special move that hits the physical Defense stat. Lauded as “the Blissey buster,” Psyshock has a number of notable uses. It can allow Calm Mind users to win boosting wars against other Calm Mind users the majority of the time, since they don't have to rely on a critical hit to seal the deal. It also busts through special walls more effectively, since many special walls tend to be fairly weak on the physical side.
Psystrike - 100 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - Inflicts damage based on the target's Defense, not Special Defense.
Just to add insult to injury, Mewtwo gets its own beefed-up version of Psyshock just for itself. If you thought Mewtwo was hard to wall before, think again. Psystrike is a move so powerful that it gives Mewtwo a reason to run its previously forgotten STAB, and almost completely nullifies Blissey's ability to do anything about it. Have fun.
Psycho Boost - 140 Base Power - 90 Accuracy - User's Special Attack reduced by 2 stages after use
Deoxys' signature move, and one of the key tools for the sweeping Deoxys-S set. While Deoxys-S has excellent type coverage, its damage output isn't too hot against neutral targets, so Psycho Boost can be used as a powerful finisher against enemies that you wouldn't be able to kill otherwise.
Agility - --% Accuracy - Raises the User's Speed by 2 stages
One of the most solid stat up moves in the game, Agility provides a massive speed boost to its user. Often used in tandem with slower Pokemon such as Metagross or Empoleon to provide speed for sweeping hard.
Calm Mind - --% Accuracy - Raises the User's Special Attack and Special Defense by 1 stage
Here's where it's really at. Calm Mind is one of the most fearsome stat up moves in the game, and for good reason. Used in tandem with a Pokemon packing fair amounts of physical bulk and a decent Special Attack stat, Calm Mind is used to great effect by Pokemon such as Jirachi and Suicune to stat up and perform a slow yet inevitable sweep.
Cosmic Power - --% Accuracy - Raises the User's Defense and Special Defense by 1 stage
A fantastic move, but terrible distribution kills it. Still, it can be of some use on Pokemon like Clefable and Jirachi to turn them into impenetrable stalling machines. It's especially good on Sigilyph in Generation 5, since Stored Power lets it convert its defensive boosts into offensive power.
Gravity - --% Accuracy - Prevents Immunity to Ground for 5 turns, as well as increasing the accuracy of all moves by 1.66x
Once again, a great move, but short duration and terrible distribution kills it. Use it in tandem with strong Earthquakes from Rhyperior and friends, or instead use it to sweep with low-accuracy moves like Blizzard and Thunder.
Hypnosis - 60% Accuracy - Puts the target to Sleep
Hypnosis used to be a top-notch move for Pokemon such as Gengar who love free turns, but in this more offensive metagame, 60% accuracy just isn't reliable enough. Still, it can be useful on bulkier Pokemon such as Bronzong and Milotic that can afford to play around with a move that is barely more reliable than Sing.
Light Screen - --% Accuracy - Cuts Special damage in half for 5 turns, or 8 if User is holding Light Clay
Reflect - --% Accuracy - Cuts Physical damage in half for 5 turns, or 8 if User is holding Light Clay
These two moves can transform even the frailest attacker into a bulky Pokemon that can set up with ease. Used together in the Dual Screening strategy, or even used alone to protect against specific assaults, the excellent distribution of these moves combined with their pure utility makes them two of the best support moves in the game.
Magic Coat - --% Accuracy - Reflects Status attacks back at the User
Generally used on leads to prevent attempts to incapacitate them with status moves, Magic Coat can prove to be a nasty surprise against any status-based lead (or Pokemon in general). The loss of the “lead archetype” has somewhat diminished the usefulness of this move, and the presence of Magic Bounce on Pokemon such as Espeon and Xatu has really pushed Magic Coat out of style.
Psycho Shift - 90% Accuracy - Transfers Status from User to target
Psycho Shift is an interesting move. It can be used simply to ward off status on Pokemon such as Latias that hate to be paralyzed, or it can be used in tandem with a Flame/Toxic Orb in order to create status to pass to opponents. However, its lack of reliability makes it a poor choice in many situations. Sigilyph makes excellent use of Psycho Shift due to its Magic Guard ability, which nullifies burn's negative effect of constant HP loss.
Rest - --% Accuracy - User is healed fully, but receives the Sleep status for 2 turns
While Rest was an excellent move in Generation 4, the new sleep mechanics in Generation 5 turns Rest into much more of a liability than a reliable move. The Rest + Sleep Talk strategy has really fallen out of use, since it's easy to force the Rest user out before it can hit its third turn and wake up, especially on Pokemon with a 4x weakness like Gyarados. Still, Rest can be of some use, as long as you pack a Heal Bell or Aromatherapy user, and it's still solid alongside Natural Cure.
Trick - --% Accuracy - User swaps hold items with target
Generally used by Psychic- and Ghost-type Pokemon, Trick can be used in tandem with a Choice item to lock weak walls into a single attack, or it can be used with a debilitating item such as Toxic Orb or Flame Orb to cripple the opponent by removing its hold item and inflicting status that cannot be removed by a cleric. A solid move, and a great way to cripple walls by removing their Leftovers and making it hard for them to recover HP effectively.
Trick Room - --% Accuracy - For 5 turns, slower Pokemon move before faster Pokemon
A generally gimmicky field effect, but it's gotten slightly revitalized with Reuniclus in the OU metagame. Best used on slow, powerful sweepers similarly to how Agility is used on Metagross. It can also be used to support some slow attackers such as Escavalier or Conkeldurr, but with effectively only 3 turns to take advantage of it, it's not hard for Trick Room to be stalled out when it's not being abused by the Pokemon that sets it up.
It's been a bumpy roller coaster ride for Psychic-type Pokemon. They started out at the top of their game, and since then, it's been mostly downhill. Lucky for them, Generation 5 has breathed in some new life for them, transforming them from simple Tyranitar bait to veritable threats that are easy to fit into a team. So no matter what metagame you find yourself in, definitely don't overlook the Psychic-types.
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