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Many of the older generation of Pokemon players fondly remember the days of Red and Blue, when Pokemon was a raging cultural phenomenon, and the original titans of the game roamed free. As the years moved on, these titans never lost their popularity, but slowly fell from relevance on the competitive scene. Despite their fall from grace, the release of Black and White and the introduction of the RU tier gave these relics of the past a new life and a new a chance at success in competitive play. The following Pokemon are prime examples of forgotten favorites, with the chance to rise to greatness!
Charizard is the original fan favorite and easily one of the most popular Pokemon ever. Everyone who knew what they were doing chose Charmander as their starter in Red and Blue, so they would one day have a Charizard to show off to their friends, because who can resist a bad-tempered, fire-breathing dragon? Unfortunately, Charizard's popularity never translated into competitive success. Fire-types in general have never been very good, and while Charizard's nice Speed and access to Belly Drum gave him a niche in GSC and ADV, it wasn't enough to make him a standard. It was the 4th generation that really put the nail in Charizard's coffin, though, by introducing Stealth Rock to strip him of half his health each time he switched in. The amount of team support required to make Charizard useful became too great, and so he fell all the way to the depths of NU.
Thankfully, Game Freak decided to make our favorite dragon's dreams come true this generation by giving it Solar Power in the Dream World. This double-edged sword boosts Charizard's power to incredible levels when the sun is shining, at the cost of 1/8 of its HP each turn. While this ability has made Charizard viable in OU and UU once again, it is in RU where he truly shines (like the sun... ho ho I'm so funny!). There are no weather changers to be found here, and Flash Fire Pokemon are rarely seen, so once the sun is up, there is nothing to stop Charizard from spamming ridiculously powerful Fire Blasts. Even Slowking, who resists Fire-type attacks and is one of RU's sturdiest special walls, is 2HKOed by Choice Specs Charizard's Fire Blast, so there is really no way around it: if you're facing a Charizard in the sun, something is going to die. The only things keeping Charizard in check are Stealth Rock and powerful priority attacks from Entei and Honchkrow; if you can keep the hazards off the field and the priority users away, then Charizard will finally be as unstoppable as he looked when you first saw him.
Some Pokemon have confusing or obscure origins, but Hitmonlee's inspiration is pretty obvious. He's a kickboxer, and kickboxers are awesome. Hitmonlee was always what Hitmonchan aspired to be but could never reach: a strong attacker. With its huge 120 base Attack stat, Hitmonlee was notorious for terrorizing Pokemon everywhere with Hi Jump Kick. For generations, it was the pinnacle of Fighting-type Pokemon...well, at least one generation. Once GSC rolled around and Heracross showed up, Hitmonlee was kicked to curb, left to bask in the glory of its former shadow. For 3 generations, it toiled, only receiving some hope in Gen 4 when it welcomed Blaze Kick and Sucker Punch into its movepool.
Hitmonlee made its way into the RU tier as a powerhouse, however, its newly buffed Hi Jump Kick threatening everything in sight. Armed with its solid coverage and powerful STABs, Hitmonlee is a dangerous force to any non-Ghost-type in the tier. Not only that, but with the addition of Unburden, received through the Dream World, Hitmonlee now becomes the ultimate revenge killer, able to double its speed after a Normal Gem-boosted Fake Out, outspeeding almost anything in the game. With these new buffs, Hitmonlee is able to make Bruce Lee and kickboxers everywhere proud. With the sheer power of its Hi Jump Kick, it's able to tear the tier apart.
Back in the RBY days, fresh, nubile trainers eagerly challenged the Fighting dojo. When it was defeated, they were offered the choice of Hitmonlee...and this. Although Hitmonchan boasts one of the cooler sprites out there, that amounted to nothing in battling ability. Always, notable as the first receiver of the elemental punches, Hitmonchan was unfortunately cursed with an absolutely pathetic Special Attack stat with which to use them. This changed for the better in Gen 4 with the physical / special split, as Hitmonchan finally received all the coverage it could ever want. This had little use for its competitive fortunes, though, as its lack of specialization between offense and bulk caused it to have little reason to be used.
Fortunately, Hitmonchan ended up in RU in Gen 5, where it can finally make Jackie Chan proud! The reason for this is the ability Iron Fist. This ability makes Hitmonchan's punching attacks 20% stronger, which has proven to be just the boost it needed to threaten the majority of the tier. It is now capable of both supporting teams with its access to Rapid Spin as well as taking Pokemon down with its powerful moves, and has proven to be one of the best Pokemon in the tier.
It might surprise some newer players, but once upon a time Rhydon had one of the best defensive typings in the game. Virtually every RBY team needed a Rock/Ground type to counter Zapdos and switch in on the omnipresent Hyper Beams and Explosions, and the only good options were Rhydon and Golem. While Golem's access to Explosion was a nice advantage, Rhydon's higher HP and Attack made him the superior choice when it came to tanking hits and striking back. Over time, however, Rhydon's resistances to Normal, Flying, and Electric have become less important, while his shortcomings have become harder to cover up. The introduction of Rhyperior last generation appeared to signal the end of Rhydon's time as a competitive Pokemon; by giving him an evolution, Game Freak was admitting that Rhydon simply wasn't good enough to compete anymore.
Ironically, the decision to give Rhydon an evolution has actually turned its fortunes around this generation by allowing him to use Eviolite. With Eviolite, Rhydon is one of the most physically bulky Pokemon in existence, giving him the ability to once again wall a variety of threats. In RU, Rhydon is a great counter to top physical attackers like Honchkrow, Entei, and Aggron. On top of that, he's still an extremely dangerous attacker; STAB Earthquake and Stone Edge from a base 130 Attack stat make Rhydon just as threatening as ever.
Once upon a time, there was a Pokemon who dreamed of greatness. His name was Scyther, and he was gifted with strength, but no opportunities. His typing offered him offensive potential, but with few options with which to use it. Things got worse quickly, as he found out his brethren were evolving into much stronger Bug-types, ones with greater typing than itself. By the time it finally gained useful STAB options and an excellent ability to complement them, his brethren had left Scyther in the dust, leaving him to wallow in the mires of UU while they dominated the face of OU. Slowly but surely Scyther accepted his fate, and strove to dominate the tier it was relegated to, in the attempt to prove its worthiness to the world!
The tier that Scyther lands in in generation 5 is RU, and it is a tier uniquely suited to grant Scyther chances to utilize its strength. Despite Scyther's horrid 4x weakness to Stealth Rock—a hugely limiting factor in its use in OU—Scyther's Bug typing is huge in RU, hitting many defensive behemoths such as Spiritomb and Sigilyph for heavy damage. Scyther is able to abuse both Choice Band and Swords Dance sets to great effect, with little in the tier able to block both of its STAB attacks. Furthermore, 5th gen brought Scyther bulk in the form of the Eviolite, making it something of a defensive tank with its solid bulk and 4x resistance to Fighting. RU is just the tier for Scyther to wield its unique set of weapons to deadly effect.
Typhlosion is perhaps the greatest starter from the GSC era, absolutely dominating in both in-game utility and fan popularity. This popularity never really translated into competitive success, however, as a poor defensive typing, a shallow movepool, and relatively poor stats left Typhlosion on the outside looking in from a competitive standpoint. Despite Typhlosion's strong Special Attack and good Speed stat, the lack of any notable coverage outside of Hidden Power to complement its Fire-type STAB really hamstrung Typhlosion's ability in battles. In 4th Gen, Typhlosion received the coverage it sought in the form of Focus Blast, but the introduction of Stealth Rock crippled Typhlosion upon entering play, and the general unreliability of Focus Blast, as well as Typlosion's general predictability ensured that it would never get any significant usage.
In RU, these faults are no longer as prominent, with the generally offensive nature of the tier, very little is prepared to handle a fast Typhlosion blowing up with Eruptions all over the place. Rapid Spinning is easier as well, making it more difficult for an opponent to cripple Typhlosion with entry hazards. Team Preview made life easier for Typhlosion, as it is now simpler to hold Typhlosion in reserve until opposing special walls are removed or weakened. Typhlosion is quite simply one of the most threatening Pokemon to face in the tier. If you are forced to stare down its blazing guns when Eruption is launched, all you can do is pray that it doesn't hurt too hard.
IT'S A FREAKING ALLIGATOR!
Jokes aside, Feraligatr is one of the most intimidating Pokemon to have ever been created by Game Freak, looking like it could take your head off at any second. Feraligatr was crippled competitively for a long time, as its only STAB option drew power from its weaker offense. 4th Gen granted it with the ability to abuse its powerful Attack stat, Waterfall being the STAB attack that it always dreamed of, and having access to a number of useful boosting options. Coverage was never an issue for it either, as it also gained access to Ice Punch and Superpower in the 4th Gen, making it a definite threat to teams. Unfortunately, its lackluster Speed and unimpressive power before a boost left it without a major niche, and Feraligatr simply couldn't compete for a teamspot against the numerous other Water-types.
The alligator rises again in RU, however, as its bulk and Attack become far more impressive. Feraligatr becomes absolutely devastating after a Swords Dance, and has STAB priority in the form of Aqua Jet to make up for its low Speed stat. Alternatively, it is capable of catching teams off guard with a dangerous Dragon Dance set, which can expand its coverage without having to rely on Aqua Jet for its lack of Speed. Although the awesomeness that is Feraligatr's sprite can't guarantee its success, the Sheer Force (:3) of its power is definitely enough to cement its place in RU.
Of all the disappointing stat spreads from RBY, Onix's stands out as the worst by far; how does a giant rock snake have lower HP, Attack, and Special than Spearow? Luckily, Game Freak soon realized their mistake, and when the 2nd generation came, decided to give Onix an evolution that actually lived up to its size. Steelix's unique defensive typing, titanic Defense, and much more respectable Attack and HP made him a top contender in GSC play. It's been a steady road downhill since then, though, as Steelix's low Speed, poor special bulk, and average Attack have become increasing liabilities in each new generation. The rising popularity of Fighting-types and the debut of high-powered moves like Close Combat and Flare Blitz have even made Steelix vulnerable to physical attackers, despite his base 200 Defense. Other physical walls with fewer weaknesses and access to instant recovery, such as Gliscor and Skarmory, have swallowed up the metal snake's target market, so the sight of Steelix in OU or even UU these days is extremely rare.
In RU, however, Steelix has found a tier where his talents are once again in high demand. Steel-types are scarce, and most of them have exploitable 4x weaknesses that make them easier to force out. Steelix provides useful Stealth Rock support and phazing, and his STAB Earthquake and Gyro Ball do solid damage to foes such as Entei and Scolipede. Most importantly, his typing and huge Defense stat make him one of the few counters to dangerous attackers like Moxie Honchkrow, SubSplit Rotom, Choice Band Aggron, and Hone Claws Durant. While he may never return to his former GSC glory, Steelix is sure to hold firm as one of the best support Pokemon in RU.
Sceptile always seemed to be a bit behind the pack; most Pokemon trainers were eagerly setting out with their meme-filled Mudkip or their Uber powerful Blaziken, but Sceptile always managed to carve out its niche: first as the extremely fast SubSeeder, then as the really strong Choice Specs user. Its amazing 120 base Speed and solid 105 base Special Attack stood out in Generation 3 and 4; very few Pokemon were able to comfortably take a Choice Specs Leaf Storm to the face. Things were bleak for Sceptile in the new generation however, as the rising power creep made its power considerably less notable, the rise in rain teams saw offensive Celebi return to compete with Sceptile for a team spot, and the reintroduction of formerly Uber threats such as Latios left little reason for one to consider using Sceptile. Despite receiving a new toy to play with in Unburden, and new offensive options such as Acrobatics, Sceptile was never able to jump into OU and succeed, dooming it to the depths of the lower tiers.
However, it is in these tiers where Sceptile is able to shine! In RU, Sceptile finds itself now outspeeding the entire un-Scarfed metagame, leaving it free to send its now much more powerful attacks rampant through the tier. Its special attacks such as Leaf Storm and Focus Blast are much harder for the notable special walls in the tier to handle. Not only this, but Sceptile is able to rampage through the tier with its new Swords Dance Acrobatics set, using Acrobatics along with a Flying Gem to not only devastate the opponent but also to double its Speed in the process. With this relative rise in power, Sceptile is sure to remain a dominating RU threat for months to come.
Although it was probably the most unnecessary new evolution of Generation 4, Dusknoir played an important role in the early DP metagame as the best bulky spinblocker outside of Ubers. Besides supporting its team by keeping hazards up and spreading burns, its nice base 100 Attack and good physical movepool made it harder to set up on than other walls. Sadly, the introduction of the Rotom appliances in Platinum permanently knocked Dusknoir off its perch as the top spinblocker. Rotom-A's additional resistances and much higher Speed simply made it a better choice almost every time, and Dusknoir barely managed to hold on to a spot in OU for the rest of the 4th generation. Things got even worse in BW; the new item Eviolite boosts Dusclops's defenses far beyond what Dusknoir can reach, making Dusknoir one of the very few Pokemon to ever be fully outclassed by its own pre-evolution.
The good news is that Dusclops outclassed Dusknoir thoroughly enough to push it into RU, giving Dusknoir a tier where it can once again reign as the top bulky spinblocker. It faces some competition from Cofagrigus, but the latter's lack of recovery other than Rest, lower Special Defense, and limited attacking options prevent it from overshadowing Dusknoir. If you're looking for a defensive Pokemon that can keep your hazards up and counter some of RU's strongest attackers, Dusknoir is once again the top Ghost-type for the job.
Although these Pokemon were once forgotten, they now have the chance to be remembered for the behemoths they once were. With the RU tier in full swing, now is the chance to realize their full glory. With that said, go play RU and use these amazing Pokemon!
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