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Grass / Poison has always been a typing that we were never short of, and when little Roselia came along, everyone thought she was cute—and nothing more (come on, don't lie). She was just another one of those useless Pokémon, destined to lurk lower tiers and achieve new levels of suck. Then, there was Roserade... Before I got into competitive Pokémon, Roserade was a seriously pimped out version of Roselia to me. She was bigger, stronger, cooler, and just plain superior. These awesome qualities certainly translated into competitive battling for Roserade, because in DPP, she was one of those Pokémon that annoyed the shit out of me every time I saw her bouquet-hands. As a lead, Roserade was always a thorn in the opponent's side, causing general disruption with Sleep Powder and Toxic Spikes; Leaf Storm also stung pretty hard too if you weren't leading with Heatran. Roserade was also an underrated Spiker in Gen 4 too, and she was overlooked as a defensive Pokémon due to her great capabilities as a lead. Spikes, Rest, Natural Cure and a stellar Special Defense stat gave her a nice Spiker set that is still going strong one generation later in BW. Speaking of which, BW introduced Ferrothorn, and while this doesn't necessarily render her useless in OU, it gives her some serious competition. Poor Roserade, cut down in her prime... After a long period of neglect, UU was created, which is where Roserade puts her petals to the metal!
Roserade has a multitude of great traits that come together nicely. Due to the popularity of bulky Water-types in UU, her typing is great. This lets her make the opponent wary of using their valuable bulky Water-type simply by being on your team, because they're basically a free switch-in for her. Once she's up against the likes of Suicune, Blastoise, or Milotic (Slowbro, Swampert, and Empoleon too, although they should be approached with caution), Roserade has a range of devious moves at her disposal. Access to both Spikes and Toxic Spikes makes Roserade a versatile supporter, and both are very effective in UU. Spikes has been regarded as "too good" in UU, and although that's really a matter of opinion, the move does make it extremely easy for the likes of Stoutland to run through teams. Toxic Spikes are great for wearing down enemies; the only problem is that Roserade is so damn common that they'll usually be absorbed before they can be put to good use. If you have a method of taking out Toxic Spikes absorbers, though, they're a solid choice. Not only does our rose have both types of spikes, but it also has access to Sleep Powder, which is a fantastic asset to offensive variants. It's so amazing to be able to deal massive damage like a boss, and then when your opponent sends in something to shut you down, like Escavalier, Roserade can just put it to sleep, and be on her merry way. Unfortunately, Sleep Powder is illegal with Spikes, which is a huge pity, because if Roserade could use Spikes and Sleep Powder on one set... As if both types of spikes and Sleep Powder weren't bad enough, Rest + Natural Cure gives her amazing recovery and immunity to status, which is useful on offensive and defensive variants alike.
When playing with Roserade, there's two roads you can take: support or offense. On the defensive end, Roserade is arguably the best Spiker in UU. Roserade's typing and bulk lets her come in on the likes of bulky Water-types (with a few exceptions), Raikou without Hidden Power Ice, and Shaymin, and either attack or set Spikes up. Not only can Roserade switch in on these Pokémon with ease, but she can also hit them pretty damn hard. To illustrate, she can always break Calm Mind Raikou's Substitutes with Sludge Bomb, even after a Calm Mind boost, Shaymin is 2HKOed by Sludge Bomb, and bulky Water-types won't appreciate a Giga Drain if they're not named Empoleon. Because of this, Roserade can scare these Pokémon out in most cases, and therefore has an easy job of setting Spikes up. Spikes support aside, Roserade has a solid Special Attack stat, and a Life Orb boosted Leaf Storm or Sludge Bomb is not something that's taken lightly by anything that doesn't resist it. Even the mighty Snorlax is KOed by a Sludge Bomb followed by a Leaf Storm, factoring in Stealth Rock damage. Of course, Steel-types wall Roserade, but this is why Sleep Powder is so useful. Escavalier is a notable example of a Steel-type that can step on Roserade. Of course, Hidden Power Fire is a viable option just for hitting these Pokémon, but that means losing out on Sleep Powder or Rest. Unlike the Spikes set, offensive variants can flat out OHKO several Pokémon after Stealth Rock damage. These Pokémon include Raikou, Kingdra, Mismagius, and a whole manner of bulky Water-types, but unfortunately, she loses the ability to tank hits from these Pokémon as easily. You should keep this in mind and be a bit more cautious when sending Roserade out, as switching in on the wrong attack will result in a hefty loss of HP.
One way that you can tell a Pokémon is good is if it's easier to play with it than play against it, and this is definitely the case with Roserade. If she manages to switch in on something that can't touch her, such as Blastoise, she'll just set up Spikes as you do pathetic damage to her with Ice Beam, then Rest up and switch out, or you can switch to something that'll threaten her as she gets one layer of Spikes up and force her out. In the case of the latter, the enemy Roserade will simply repeat the process, and an endless cycle of painful Spikes damage ensues. In the hands of an experienced player, Roserade will make you want to tear your eyes out! The best course of action to take is a good Steel-type like Escavalier to scare Roserade off, and a spinner such as Hitmontop or Blastoise, preferably with Foresight to bypass spinblockers. Foresight is a seriously underrated move, and you'd be surprised how many people don't run it on their spinner, and end up quitting in a fit of rage because they can't shed the entry hazards that wreck their entire team! Offensive variants are a little more difficult to deal with, and are just as frustrating. A Steel-type will put an end to Roserade's fun, but they are hard to come across in UU. Bronzong, Escavalier, Empoleon, and Registeel make up just about every decent Steel-type in UU, but the latter two aren't the best options when it comes to countering offensive Roserade. Even with a good Steel-type, Sleep Powder is something that you'll want to avoid like the plague, and you'll need a bit of prediction to do this. Depending on the situation, try switching to something disposable so Roserade won't be able to put your Steel-type out of action. Xatu is always a cool option to reflect Sleep Powder or entry hazards back in Roserade's face, but a Sludge Bomb will hit it hard, making it somewhat unreliable.
This doesn't take too much effort; Roserade fits neatly onto almost any team, regardless of the set. Offensive teams will appreciate Spikes support, as well as a powerful Life Orb attacker with access to Sleep Powder. A notable example of teams where Roserade fits in neatly is on sand teams. Roserade is a great asset here, as she can handle bulky Water-types, which will usually trouble other members of sand teams, and set up Spikes, which aids the likes of Stoutland when sweeping.
Aside from being immune to Toxic Spikes, Roserade hates entry hazards as much as the next grounded Pokémon, but her nice recovery move in Rest helps a little. Roserade is usually on the other end in terms of entry hazards, because she's so efficient at setting them up. In a metagame with Roserade, Froslass, Deoxys-D, and a plethora of other great Spikers, entry hazards are tres important, perhaps more so than in other tiers. This makes team building for UU a kid in the candy shop situation, and you just have to ask yourself "what Spiker do I pick?". While you may want to pick Froslass, Deoxys-D, or an unorthodox Spiker (Accelgor anyone?) in the spot, what gives Roserade an edge over these great Pokémon? The answer is simple: most other Spikers don't have much utility outside of setting up Spikes. Froslass is a spinblocker, but it can't really touch anything once its job of setting up Spikes is done. The same goes for Accelgor, who will usually faint in the process of setting up Spikes. That's not to say that these Pokémon aren't very effective, but if you want a Spiker that's still effective after its main job is done, Roserade is the Pokémon for you!
Roserade is a wonderful Pokémon, but her weak physical defense sometimes lets her down. Powerful physical attackers, especially Darmanitan, spell trouble, which makes bulky Water-types perfect partners for Roserade. In return, Roserade can switch into super effective attacks aimed at whatever Water-type you decide to pair her with. For defensive variants, sweepers that can take advantage of the Spikes that she provides are great picks. I know, I know; what sweeper doesn't take advantage of entry hazard support? There are a couple of sweepers that stand out though. Kingdra and Stoutland are great teammates, because usually when your opponent sees either of these, alarm bells will start ringing, and the opponent will start switching to intercept their powerful attacks, causing more Spikes damage. Offensive Roserade has problems with Steel-types, so a Pokémon to check them is advised. I wouldn't go as far as to say run Magneton, but simply running a Fire-type such as Darmanitan or Arcanine can go a long way in supporting Roserade. A strong physical attacker is helpful too, as it helps Roserade break through annoying special walls such as Snorlax. Roserade can take them out eventually by slowly wearing them down, but this will speed up the process!
Whether it's sweeping like a boss, or spike stacking, Roserade is THE Pokémon you have to use at some point during your UU career. I mean, there's not much that she does that she's outclassed at. Just slap Roserade onto any team, and that team will more than likely take a turn for the better. Thanks for reading! (and for putting up with all the rose puns....)
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