BW OU Metagame Analysis

By Aerrow, Tobes, and zdrup15.
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Since the last BW OU metagame analysis, a lot has happened to the standard tier. Excadrill, Thundurus, and Deoxys-S have all been banned, leaving the metagame in turmoil, so to speak. While some older threats have continued to hold their places at the top of the tier, a few have seen drops in usage, while at the same time new Pokémon have started to pop up as battlers begin to discover and refine new strategies to dominate the Smogon OU ladder. This is definitely a very positive thing for the metagame, as we are beginning to see a lot of diversity in teams; it's no longer the same sand, rain, or even sun team you face every time you click "Find Battle" on PO.

The Top 15

1. Scizor | 0 | 30.651%

With a sky-high base Attack stat of 130, an awesome ability in Technician, and key resistances offered by its Bug / Steel typing, it's no surprise that Scizor has maintained its position as the most used Pokémon in OU for the last few months. And as if those weren't enough, the Pincer Pokémon also has a great movepool (including U-turn, Bullet Punch, and Pursuit, which allow it to scout, pick off speedy foes, and trap other enemies, respectively) allowing it to combat some of the most powerful threats in the metagame, including Latios, Reuniclus, Terrakion, Landorus, and many others besides—the recent spikes in usage of these Pokémon doesn't negatively impact Scizor's cause either!

2. Dragonite | 0 | 23.493%

This poor Dragon-type may have lost its place at the top of OU to that metallic mantis, but that doesn't mean it's less dangerous than before. Dragonite can use a plethora of sets effectively, which range from more offensive to more defensive ones, while abusing its great typing to check both rain and sun teams. The Dragon Dance set is typically the most threatening, as with Multiscale it can almost always set up at least once and proceed to destroy everything, but it can also use Choice Band and spam Outrage. This isn't everything Dragonite can do though, and with its good bulk, it can function as a great defensive Pokémon, especially on rain teams where it uses Hurricane and Thunder to inflict damage and annoy the opponents with the secondary effects of these moves.

3. Rotom-W | 0 | 22.871%

Rotom-W is Scizor's partner in crime, and together they form the very popular and highly effective VoltTurn strategy. Rotom-W can run a few sets but it usually has two slots dedicated to its powerful STAB moves, Hydro Pump and Volt Switch. The last two moves depend on the set it's running; Choice sets run Trick and one of either Hidden Power Ice or Thunderbolt, while the bulkier sets carry Will-O-Wisp and Pain Split. Rotom-W's ability and typing lend it beautifully to the role of a utility counter to weather teams and a scout, therefore working very well alongside entry hazards.

4. Tyranitar | +2 | 19.949%

Tyranitar has reclaimed its place as the premier weather summoner in OU. This shouldn't be surprising, as Tyranitar is without a doubt the best individual Pokémon of all five weather inducers. When adding the fact that Terrakion and Landorus are probably the most dangerous weather abusers at the moment, we can see why Tyranitar occupies this place. Being such a versatile Pokémon, Tyranitar can run many different sets, from specially bulky variants to Choice Scarf specialists. Choice Band is another great set, as it abuses Tyranitar's huge base Attack to dent even the bulkiest Pokémon in the tier, such as Skarmory, and 2HKO them. Although Deoxys-S's ban made it slightly less viable, Dragon Dance is still a very good option as long as one makes sure Scizor is well covered by the rest of the team. After only one turn, offensive teams struggle to take its attacks, and with some support, it's usually "gg."

5. Ferrothorn | -1 | 18.420%

Despite being kicked out of the top a few months ago, Ferrothorn has kept its place as a top Pokémon due to its tremendous stats and very good support movepool. Ferrothorn abuses its wonderful typing to set up entry hazards and counter OU's most prominent threats. It is one of the best Spikers, alongside Skarmory and Forretress, and can often set up three layers, especially if running Leech Seed to make up for the lack of recovery (besides Leftovers, obviously). Ferrothorn can also use Thunder Wave to cripple most offensive Pokémon, although with very powerful STABs in Gyro Ball and Power Whip, just plain old attacking outright has the potential to hurt them as badly, or even more badly, than the paralysis.

6. Heatran | +1 | 18.320%

The most used Pokémon in DPP OU has made an incredible comeback in the new generation, not only as one of the best offensive Fire-types in the metagame, but also as one of the best checks to sun teams. The two most commonly seen Heatran sets are the offensive variants, which carry a Life Orb or an Air Balloon, and the specially defensive variants. While the former can break through almost anything not named Blissey or Chansey in the sun, the latter does amazingly well at halting most sun teams due to its amazing typing and ability, giving it a quad resistance to Grass-type moves and granting it an immunity to Fire-type attacks. With EV investment in its base 106 defenses, it's surprisingly bulky too (and of course, its immunity to Toxic further increases its usefulness as a wall).

7. Politoed | -2 | 16.888%

Everyone's favorite (and at the same time, most hated) toad is still one of the best supporters in OU, thanks to its Drizzle ability. It allows many Pokémon, such as Tornadus and Starmie, to wreak havoc, and is also a good choice for any stall team, because it turns Tentacruel into an amazing spinner with massive recovery potential. Politoed is not only the big staple on any rain team, but it also seems to be the preferred weather Pokémon for teams that only want weather to cancel the opposing weather's effects. Politoed usually runs either Choice Scarf to act as a revenge killer, or a physically bulky set to counter many of the offensive threats in the metagame more easily. While not as common as it used to be, Choice Specs Politoed is still a huge threat, as Hydro Pump now has the potential to destroy anything not immune to it that isn't a pink blob.

8. Terrakion | +1 | 15.127%

Terrakion is one of the most dangerous physical sweepers in OU, carrying excellent offensive coverage in its two STABs. Its defensive typing leaves it weak to most priority moves, but grants a very valuable resistance to ExtremeSpeed. The Special Defense boost sand provides it with makes it more difficult to take Terrakion down, granting it deadly opportunities to set up or get a free hit in. Terrakion can utilize a fearsome Double Dancer set, using either Swords Dance or Rock Polish to bypass most of its usual checks. Its Choice Band set also hits extremely hard, 2HKOing most physical walls with the right move and entry hazard support. Terrakion is also valuable as a Choice Scarf user, revenge killing such threats as Dragonite and Volcarona.

9. Latios | +3 | 13.823%

Although Latios isn't as highly regarded now as he was in DPP, having lost his Uber status, he still maintains a very high level of dominance in the OU tier. His amazing base Special Attack and Speed stats combined with his great movepool, used in conjunction with an item such as Choice Specs, allows him to take a huge chunk out of any Pokémon that switches in. It's become a standard on every team to include a check to Latios, be it a bulky Steel-type like Scizor or Ferrothorn, or a specially defensive behemoth like Tyranitar. In any case, it's necessary to have a way of bypassing Latios's powerful Draco Meteors. And now, with the likes of Excadrill and Thundurus gone, Latios is beginning to climb up the leaderboard—heck, it may even regain its status as an Uber one day.

10. Jirachi | 0 | 13.640%

Jirachi is an extremely versatile Pokémon. It is an excellent specially defensive wall, thanks to its typing, defenses, and access to Wish. It is also quite an irritating supporter, capable of abusing Serene Grace Iron Heads in conjunction with Body Slam or Thunder Wave for paralysis. Jirachi also has Stealth Rock to further support its team. It can also run Calm Mind sets effectively, as its Steel typing prevents it from being poisoned, a common bane of Calm Mind sweepers. Generally Calm Mind Jirachi is bulky with limited coverage and Wish or Substitute, but it can also take a more offensive route as the infamous Superachi, which invests heavily in Special Attack and gives all three available slots to STAB or coverage moves.

11. Gliscor | 0 | 13.207%

Gliscor has always been mostly used as a physical wall, and that was pretty much the only role it had while Excadrill was in OU, as Gliscor was one of a handful of hard counters for it. Using a Toxic Orb to trigger Gliscor's Poison Heal ability makes it difficult to kill (at the cost of Roost), and also grants it an advantage against walls who would otherwise be able to use Toxic to stall it out. Though it is well-suited for handling physical sweepers, Gliscor itself can take on an offensive role. Flying Gem Gliscor is a relatively new innovation, modeled after the set that got Gligar banned from LC. After a Swords Dance, a Flying Gem-boosted Acrobatics can OHKO many things, and STAB Earthquake isn't anything to laugh at either. Flying Gem Gliscor can even abuse Substitute and Sand Veil with support from Tyranitar or Hippowdon, which can cause even regular counters to crumble when their attack fails to connect.

12. Landorus | +6 | 13.159%

With Excadrill's banishment to the Uber tier, Landorus has become the face of sand offense—its +6 rise in usage is indicative of this fact. Boasting amazing attacking stats, a swift base 101 Speed stat, as well as a great movepool and ability in Sand Force, Landorus is a serious offensive threat in the metagame. Even its usual 'checks' can be brought down if Landorus is running the right set—Gliscor is brought down through Hidden Power Ice while the likes of Skarmory are devastated by a combination of Smack Down and Earthquake. Although he relies on Tyranitar or Hippowdon to function properly, and his typing leaves him vulnerable to several common attacking types, he can still cause a lot of destruction if given the proper support.

13. Skarmory | +2 | 11.369%

Although Ferrothorn has stolen Skarmory's title of most used Spiker in OU, this metal bird continues to be a great support Pokémon overall. Although it can't sponge Hydro Pumps and Thunderbolts like Ferrothorn, it's still a great answer to physical threats such as Landorus (lacking Smack Down), Haxorus, and basically every Fighting-type in the tier (such as Conkeldurr), something Ferrothorn could never dream of being able to do. On top of this, Skarmory has access to both Taunt and Whirlwind, which allow it to shut down slow defensive Pokémon while phazing away powerful threats which may have set up (or just to rack up some residual damage), which further differentiates it from Ferrothorn. Although it's probable that Ferrothorn will remain higher in usage than Skarmory for a while yet, Skarmory will continue to be a prominent physical wall and Spiker in the metagame regardless.

14. Starmie | 0 | 11.321%

Starmie, the infamous Rapid Spinning BoltBeamer, continues to pose a great threat in OU. Starmie is one the few Pokémon that can fit on almost any kind of team—it works in all types of weather, as well as most weatherless teams, due to having amazing offensive coverage through Ice Beam and Thunderbolt, while giving the team support through Rapid Spin; indeed, it's known to be the best offensive spinner in the tier, as most spinblockers dare not switch into something like a STAB Hydro Pump, which would heavily dent if not OHKO them. Although Starmie is a great Pokémon, the high usage of Ferrothorn limits its usage, as the Thorn Pod Pokémon can easily take any of Starmie's attacks and retaliate with a powerful Power Whip before proceeding to set up entry hazards.

15. Celebi | +7 | 10.390%

Celebi is used primarily as a rain counter, thanks to its Grass typing, bulk, and access to Recover. Its 4x weakness to U-turn is unpleasant to deal with, but Celebi can more than make up for that. It can support its team with Thunder Wave, Leech Seed, and Stealth Rock, or become a special attacker with Nasty Plot or a Tinkerbell set, abusing Celebi's powerful STAB Leaf Storm. Celebi can also pull some surprises on its opponent, such as using Hidden Power Fire to nail Scizor, Earth Power to destroy Heatran, or Healing Wish to restore a weakened teammate.

The Future

Deoxys-S was a tremendous boon for hyper offense, there's no denying that. With its banishment to Ubers, the playstyle has taken a major blow, and the teams that succeed in its absence will be piloted by players inventive enough to find a way to replace those invaluable traits Deoxys-S brought to them, whether it was dual screens or early hazards. Azelf, Deoxys-D, and Scolipede might see a climb in popularity in an attempt to fill the void Deoxys-S left.

As for the other playstyles, weather offense and VoltTurn teams were also hit by the ban, as many relied on Deoxys-S to provide early hazards, buying momentum that the rest of the team could hopefully keep. Bulkier offense and stall are likely to see a climb in usage now, as Ferrothorn, Skarmory, and Forretress are once again the most reliable suppliers of entry hazards. Faster offensive teams may have to add a defensive pivot in order to get their share of entry hazards, but offensive teams still have an abundance of Stealth Rock users and will recover from the ban.

Metagames always change over time, and sometimes in unexpected ways, but BW still has plenty of upheavals in store for it. The Dream World has not given all of its gifts yet. Aside from the multitude of unreleased abilities, the most prominent being Shadow Tag Chandelure, three event Pokémon—Genesect, Keldeo, and Meloetta—are all likely to have an impact on the metagame once released. Genesect is the one most people are eyeing, as it's arguably a better Scizor in many aspects, save for Bullet Punch and Roost. Many speculate that Keldeo will also have a massive impact on the metagame, and some fear that Drizzle will break Keldeo, resulting in its ban. Meloetta is the dark horse of the group, as many people are too entranced by Genesect and Keldeo to give it much notice, but its forme change capability could prove to be interesting. The surely inevitable third Pokémon game of the 5th Generation will likely come with new move tutors as well, further altering the landscape of the metagame. BW has been pretty interesting up until now, and it's likely to become even more so in the near future.


The OU metagame has come a long way since those dark days when Darkrai, Deoxys-A, and Shaymin-S were being used on every team, and it's sure to keep on moving forward and improving until it reaches a balanced state where there aren't just a few Pokémon or strategies around which the metagame revolves, but diversity in every team and battle. Although this may seem a long way off, by Arceus's grace, we'll get there soon enough!

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