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Many people are calling BW the weather generation, but it is not the first time that weather has had a drastic effect on a metagame. Ubers has been home to weather wars since the release of Ruby and Sapphire and their respective titular legendaries, and the struggle to gain control over the environment can be just as titanic as the inducers. Rain has always been the most popular weather in Ubers due to Kyogre's dominance, but sun and even sand are still very viable. Ubers has long been a tier where Pokemon can fill niche roles alongside the most dangerous Pokemon in the game, and weather amplifies this to an amazing extent. Many people will opt to stick with the much more dangerous Ubers who benefit from weather, but don't overlook the underrated threats the metagame has to offer, or you could find yourself on the wrong end of a sweep from one of them.
Kyogre has pretty much always been the king of Ubers, garnering over 50% usage in both DPP and BW. Consequently, expect to face rain every other match. Drizzle goes a long way in making Kyogre the cream of the crop, but there are a ton of of traits that make it the monster it is. The most blatantly obvious factor is the fact that Kyogre has access to the absolutely strongest move in the game (barring a Flash Fire-boosted Eruption from Choice Specs Quiet Heatran in the sun): Water Spout. While at full health and with its Drizzle effect up and running, Kyogre's Water Spout effectively has an absolutely astounding Base Power of 337, backed up by a massive base 150 Special Attack stat. To illustrate just how powerful it is, Water Spout from Choice Specs Kyogre is capable of 2HKOing Eviolite Chansey; the most durable special wall in the game.
Kyogre isn't just an offensive juggernaut, though. It has fantastic bulk, which makes killing it a bit of a challenge. Kyogre can run Calm Mind sets well, since it will generally be able to find a chance to set up, which alongside Kyogre's excellent bulk makes killing it a daunting prospect. Kyogre lacks reliable recovery, but can get around this with a RestTalk set that can take a lot of abuse. Kyogre also has decent Speed, allowing it to use a Choice Scarf to great effect, and is a very capable revenge killer thanks to Water Spout. Both of the Choice sets have all the coverage they need with a moveset of Water Spout / Thunder / Ice Beam / Surf, although this does give niche Pokemon such as Shedinja or Gastrodon the chance to shine since they can counter such a set.
It cannot be stressed enough how much Kyogre shapes the metagame. Some Pokemon are used solely because they can counter it to an extent, or because they take great advantage of that infinite rain. If you are not prepared for Kyogre, you will lose. It is as simple as that. Ferrothorn is a good answer to it, as it can take on any set outside of Specs or RestTalk Calm Mind. Palkia can switch into Water Spout and threaten Kyogre with Thunder, but needs to watch out for Kyogre using Thunder itself on the switch-in, which has a decent chance to paralyze Palkia and 2HKOes with Choice Specs equipped. Giratina can also take the hits Kyogre can dish out and phaze it away. More niche ways to beat Kyogre include Gastrodon, Ludicolo, and Shedinja.
Palkia has many admirable qualities for an Ubers Pokemon; good bulk, excellent offensive stats, good Speed by Ubers standards, an expansive movepool, and arguably its most important trait, a 4x resistance to Water-type attacks. Palkia is the most offensive of checks to Kyogre, capable of switching into the very intimidating Water Spout. Its 4x resistance to Fire-type attacks also makes it a possible, but very risky, switch-in to Reshiram's Blue Flare. Palkia is no slouch in the offensive department either. Palkia can run a devastating Choice Specs set utilizing STAB Draco Meteor and rain-boosted Hydro Pump. Even Ferrothorn has difficulty switching into Hydro Pump if entry hazards are up, and still runs the risk of being nailed by Fire Blast. Palkia can also run a Lustrous Orb bluff set that is daunting to switch in against, and can even be bluffed as a Choice Scarf set until it's too late for the opponent to realize what it truly is. Part of Palkia's offensive prowess is one of its most important traits: its base 100 Speed, which is higher than that of most other 670 BST Ubers. Many teams use Palkia as a Choice Scarf user to check Dragon Dance Rayquaza and Choice Scarf Kyogre.
Manaphy is a deceptively dangerous Pokemon in Ubers play. Hydration is what turns a Kyogre-wannabe into a devastating sweeper. While it is raining Manaphy will wake up at the end of the turn it used Rest, making taking Manaphy down quite difficult. Ferrothorn even loses to it unless it gets a critical hit with Power Whip. Manaphy can opt for a very powerful Tail Glow set to pose an immediate threat, but the Calm Mind variant is much more dangerous over time since it is more difficult to kill, especially given the chance to cycle through Rest and Calm Mind to reach +6 SpA / +6 SpD. Manaphy has to choose what checks it though as it can only afford one coverage move; Grass Knot deals with the Water-types hoping to wall it, while Ice Beam handles Dragon-types nicely. Manaphy can be difficult to stop, but it is susceptible to faster Pokemon with a strong STAB or super effective move, especially Choice Scarf Zekrom.
It should be obvious that Swift Swimmers would find a niche in Ubers given the omnipresence of Drizzle. Kingdra, though in many ways an inferior Palkia that is walled handily by Ferrothorn, makes an excellent late-game cleaner, outspeeding a large portion of the metagame and having the otherwise excellent coverage of Draco Meteor, Surf, and Dragon Pulse at its disposal. Another option for it, albeit a less common one, is a Dragon Dance set, which, while nowhere near as strong as Rayquaza's Dragon Dance set, can be quite difficult to handle late-game. The ability to switch into Kyogre's STAB attacks is also very valuable.
Gorebyss's main niche is its ability to Baton Pass Shell Smash. An example of how this works, as follows:
Turn 1: Gorebyss uses Shell Smash, breaking its bra and exposing its boobies. Foe's Sexual Defense sharply falls.
Turn 2: Gorebyss uses Baton Pass. Dialga, etc. is brought in.
Turns 3+: Dialga smashes some bitches.
Managing to pull off this set-up can be difficult considering Gorebyss's frailty, but this can be remedied by dual screens and/or Wobbuffet support. Gorebyss can even function as a late-game cleaner with Surf and Ice Beam with a Shell Smash boost and Drizzle in effect.
Kabutops can act as a threatening Swords Dance sweeper, and in a pinch can even revenge kill a weakened Extreme Killer Arceus with Low Kick. It is also a viable user of Rapid Spin, a rare trait in Ubers. It unfortunately must choose between being walled by Ferrothorn or having access to the move, though, as it cannot afford to give up a STAB move for Rapid Spin and must consequently forfeit Low Kick. A Choice Band set is also quite viable for revenge killing and even Rapid Spinning, as Giratina-O is 2HKOed by a Choice Band-boosted Stone Edge.
Qwilfish is interesting for its ability to lay either Spikes or Toxic Spikes as needed. Its quick Taunt and Destiny Bond can also make it quite a nuisance. It also has the option of running a Swords Dance set, which is deceptively effective at sweeping lategame.
Although Swift Swim is the ability most people immediately think of when considering what benefits from permanent rainfall, Rain Dish Pokemon gain quite a boost from Kyogre's downpours as well. Tentacruel is the most prominent user of Rain Dish in Ubers play, mainly due to a combination of incredibly useful traits. The biggest draw to Tentacruel is Rapid Spin, a move many teams in Ubers appreciate. It also learns the rare Toxic Spikes, and can absorb the opponent's Toxic Spikes just by switching in. Its special bulk is also nothing to sneeze at, especially when backed by the 18.75% recovery per turn provided by the combination of Rain Dish and Leftovers. Tentacruel can even avoid a 2HKO from Modest Choice Scarf Kyogre's Thunder or Modest Choice Specs Kyogre's Water Spout, provided that it uses Protect in order to buy a turn of recovery from its item and ability. Tentacruel is also capable of burning physical attackers with Scald, meaning that it can win against Ferrothorn one-on-one quite often and blow away all of its efforts at Spikestacking with Rapid Spin.
Ludicolo is not seen nearly as often as Tentacruel, but has the distinct advantage of being one of the few Pokemon that can truly counter Kyogre. Ludicolo avoids a 2HKO from even Modest Choice Specs Thunder, which is Kyogre's strongest option against it outside of moves that severely hamper Kyogre's performance, such as Hidden Power Flying. Ludicolo makes for a devastating SubSeeder, as with the combined recovery from Leech Seed, Rain Dish, and Leftovers, Ludicolo can actually produce a net gain in HP from making a Substitute every turn, an achievement very few other Pokemon can boast of. It can even burn the ubiquitous Ferrothorn with Scald, making it wary of attempting to switch into Ludicolo in order to block Leech Seed.
One of the less common formes of Arceus, Water Arceus is often overlooked in favor of Kyogre or other Arceus formes. Water Arceus does have distinct niches that allow it to distinguish itself from them, though. Keep in mind that Water Arceus functions best with Kyogre support, forcing teams built around it to compensate for the redundant typing of the two. Water Arceus can run a powerful Swords Dance set that takes advantage of a rain-boosted Waterfall, which can 2HKO specially defensive Ferrothorn after a Swords Dance with Spikes support. Water Arceus can also run a Calm Mind set, but all it really has to differentiate itself from Manaphy and Kyogre is its combination of Speed and bulk.
Groudon, while not as good as Kyogre in the eyes of many, still has a lot going on for it. It is one of the few Uber Pokemon with access to Stealth Rock, and also one of the few capable of checking Extreme Killer Arceus. Drought is also a very good ability in Ubers, enhancing the power of Fire-types moves, making it much easier to break the necessary Steel-types of the tier. While rain makes Steel-types much more difficult to kill, especially Ferrothorn, who also resists Water-type attacks, sun does the exact opposite, allowing even weak Hidden Power Fires to pose a serious threat to them. This is further compounded by the fact that most Dragon-types in Ubers carry a Fire-type attack. As a result, switching a Steel-type in to take a Dragon-type attack becomes much riskier and puts a lot of strain on the opponent.
While Groudon's most common set is by far a physically defensive support set, it also has access to a Rock Polish set, which can be a frightening late-game sweeper, as Rock Polish will usually allow Groudon to outspeed most Choice Scarf Pokemon, and Groudon's natural physical bulk makes revenge killing it with priority moves difficult.
Ho-Oh has long been identifiable as sun's most threating sweeper, and up until BW received no serious competition for this title. Its special bulk is flat-out insane, and the 50% burn rate of Sacred Fire devastates those attempting to attack it on its weaker physical side. Recover or Roost make killing it even more difficult, and in conjunction with Pressure and Substitute form a stalling machine. Ho-Oh's only gaping weakness is its 4x weakness to Stealth Rock, which strips it of half its health when it switches in. As a result Rapid Spin support is highly recommended for Ho-Oh.
Ho-Oh is no slouch offensively, either. Base 130 Attack is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it's backing a sun-boosted Sacred Fire. STAB Brave Bird also dissuades anything that resists Sacred Fire from switching in, most notably Kyogre. Earthquake can also catch less common threats such as Heatran off-guard, and is also useful for nailing Zekrom, although Zekrom does have to be wary of Sacred Fire's burn chance. Ho-Oh does have access to Flame Charge, but given its middling Speed, Ho-Oh can't make use of this nearly as well as it can a tank set.
Reshiram may have been the most over-hyped Uber going into BW, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Perfect offensive typing with STAB moves of at least 130 Base Power apiece are nothing to scoff at, and although Reshiram's defensive typing, lower Speed, and Stealth Rock weakness all make it seem to be an inferior Palkia, that Choice Specs-boosted Blue Flare in the sun still hurts pretty badly. Another key difference between Palkia and Reshiram is that Ferrothorn and Forretress (and even Chansey when the sun is up and entry hazards are down) all loathe switching in to take a Draco Meteor for the team when that threat of a Blue Flare is at the front of their minds. Even Forretress's Sturdy won't give it room for error, as Reshiram's TurboBlaze nullifies the auto-Focus Sash.
BW was a tad overly kind to Blaziken, buffing it to the point of banishment from the OU tier. Blaziken may seem out of place in a serious Ubers match, but it has a nice selection of traits that make it viable. The first is obviously Speed Boost; with a Jolly nature and 176 Speed EVs Blaziken can outpace Mewtwo after a boost from its ability. Powerful STAB moves in Flare Blitz and Hi Jump Kick also help to make Blaziken a legitimate threat, as with a Swords Dance boost backing them the combination can OHKO nearly everything in the tier. Giratina is, of course, the biggest counter to this set, laughing off both STAB moves and phazing Blaziken out. The abundant ExtremeSpeed use also poses a serious threat to Blaziken, who is helpless in the face of the +2 priority move.
Shiftry is approximately 3/4ths as cool as Darkrai, and desperately wishes that it had Dark Void as well, but its offensive typing and blistering Speed in the sun help to compensate for this. STAB Grass Knot dissuades Kyogre from switching in to change the weather, and if Shiftry gets the chance to pull off a Nasty Plot it can do some serious damage. Ferrothorn and Dialga also have to be careful around it, as neither wants to take a Focus Blast to the face. Like any frail but fast sweeper, it is extremely vulnerable to ExtremeSpeed, but at least has the advantage of resisting Shadow Sneak and threatening Giratina-O with a STAB Dark Pulse.
Jumpluff is an interesting form of support in Ubers. It has access to Sleep Powder, Leech Seed, and Aromatherapy; all valuable moves in Ubers. Jumpluff is also surprisingly bulky when it comes to taking special attacks, and while it can't take a Fire-type attack in the sun to save its life, Synthesis can seriously extend its longevity. Jumpluff can also run quite an irritating SubSeed set, which can be all the more deadly with Toxic Spikes support.
Venusaur is kind of a cross between Shiftry and Jumpluff: it has decent offensive stats, a sleep-inducing move, and the ability to boost itself with Growth. Venusaur does limit itself to two attacking options if it wants to use both Sleep Powder and Growth, but it has good bulk for a quick sweeper, and a Sleep Powder faster than Darkrai's can come in handy sometimes. Just like with Shiftry, Kyogre is hesitant to switch into Venusaur as well, fearing a powerful STAB Grass Knot.
While Heatran may have lost a niche as a Choice Specs sun attacker to Reshiram, its trademark stallbreaker set is still quite effective, especially given its ability to switch into Ferrothorn with near impunity. Even when uninvested, a sun-boosted Lava Plume can still hurt, and the Pokemon that don't fear the burn chance of the move do fear being poisoned by Toxic. Heatran is also one of the best counters to Ho-Oh, only being threatened by the rare Earthquake. Its Steel typing also gives it a niche as a Choice Scarf revenge killer on sun teams. With a Timid nature, Heatran's just fast enough to revenge kill Darkrai and Mewtwo with STAB Overheat, and its resistance to ExtremeSpeed also allows it to revenge kill a weakned Arceus. It is also a solid switch-in to Dialga, as few carry Aura Sphere and fewer still run Earth Power, meaning at worst Heatran has to shrug off a Draco Meteor and at best gets a Flash Fire boost.
Although you wouldn't think it just by looking at how overwhelmingly powerful Groudon and Kyogre are, Tyranitar—as well as sand—is perfectly viable in Ubers. Tyranitar has a wide enough movepool that it can threaten many common switch-ins with the appropriate move, such as Fire Blast nailing Ferrothorn or Low Kick hitting Dialga for a hefty amount of damage. Tyranitar also has access to the rare Stealth Rock, a very beneficial move for any team. Its Choice Band set also hits surprisingly hard, and hitting a Kyogre locked into Thunder with Pursuit as it flees has a very rewarding feeling.
Excadrill is a surprisingly dangerous sweeper in sand, outpacing nearly all of the Ubers metagame and hitting them for a hefty amount of damage with a +2 Earthquake. In terms of Speed, Excadrill only fears absurdly fast Choice Scarf users such as Shaymin-S, or Pokemon that change or ignore the weather such as Rayquaza. Excadrill also has access to Rapid Spin, and can ward off Giratina-O and Ghost Arceus switch-ins with a +2 Shadow Claw or Earthquake respectively, making spinblocking the mole very difficult. Its typing is also very valuable, providing an immunity to Electric-type attacks and Toxic, as well as an always-valuable resistance to Dragon-type moves. Excadrill can ironically function as a specially bulky Rapid Spinner for rain teams as well, as reducing its Fire-type weakness makes spinblocking much more difficult for Giratina-O.
Garchomp isn't as overwhelmingly powerful as he was in OU, but he still functions as a decent Choice Scarf user in Ubers, outpacing a good portion of the metagame, having excellent STAB moves, and a handy immunity to Electric-type attacks. For similar reasons, Garchomp can utilize a Choice Band set, as the most common Steel-types in the tier, Dialga and Ferrothorn, both fear a Banded STAB Earthquake. Sand teams have another means of abusing him, though. Sand Veil is an infuriating ability, and a Garchomp set with Substitute and Swords Dance can wreak havoc if given a free turn.
Rock Arceus is one of the few true counters to SubRoost Ho-Oh; resisting both STABs, fearing little from Sacred Fire's burns, and packing a powerful STAB 4x super effective Judgment to easily one-shot the phoenix. The Special Defense boost sand gives Rock Arceus makes it incredibly difficult to take down, and the Steel-types who resist its STAB fear switching into Fire Blast or Earth Power. Even Groudon has to be wary of Ice Beam. Rock Arceus can pose a serious threat with a Calm Mind tank set, or just support the team by setting Stealth Rock and checking Extreme Killer Arceus with a fast EV spread, Will-O-Wisp, and Roar.
To put it bluntly, hail sucks in Ubers when compared to the other weather. All Abomasnow can really do is switch into Kyogre once or twice. Perfect-accuracy Blizzards are hard to make effective use of in Ubers, as most Pokemon who learn the move also have a Dragon-type STAB and find the coverage redundant. Hail does serve a use in stripping most Ubers of their Leftovers recovery, but that's about the extent of its viability.
The poster Pokemon for hail, Kyurem, sucks so badly that it even fell out of OU. Outclassed in everything save Blizzspam by the multitude of Dragon-types in both tiers, it fell to UU and started beating up on its denizens until it was banished to the indefinite limbo of Borderline. Kyurem is not likely to make an impact on any metagame any time soon, but there is still a spark of hope for it. The surely inevitable 3rd 5th Generation Pokemon game might just have a forme change for Kyurem, just like Platinum brought a forme change for Giratina. If this new Kyurem forme has Snow Warning as its ability, then things could very well change for hail.
Ubers is a surprisingly diverse metagame, and this is in no small part due to weather. Because of the existence of weather, tons of niches exist that would not exist otherwise, allowing even Pokemon that don't regularly see play in OU to shine. Weather is an integral part of Ubers, and no newcomer to the tier should underestimate its impact. It's a powerful force, but then, so is just about everything in the tier! If this article piqued your interest, then by all means, make a team and get out there and play!
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