|« Previous Article||Home||Next Article »|
Back in DPP, weather was never really a popular playstyle (with the exception of sandstorm), as Tyranitar, Hippowdon, and Abomasnow were the only permanent weather setters at the time. However, with the introduction of BW, two old Pokémon have gained abilities previously limited to Kyogre and Groudon, both of whom reside in the Ubers tier. Politoed has gained the Drizzle ability from the Dream World, making rain teams a viable and very common threat in the OU metagame, while Ninetales has gained the Drought ability from the Dream World, empowering sun teams to make a stand. As a result, BW OU has become very weather-oriented, with sandstorm and rain appearing in nearly every match, with sun being slightly less common, but nevertheless still a driving force in the metagame.
In the lower tiers, however, weather is much less common due to the fact that there are zero permanent weather setters with the exception of Hippopotas in the UU tier. Beyond that, there are no permanent weather setters, and all weather must be set up using either Rain Dance or Sunny Day. Hail and sandstorm are incredibly inefficient without permanent weather setters, which explains the lack of those types of teams in the RU and NU tiers. Although there are no permanent weather setters in RU and NU, weather can still be an incredibly powerful playstyle, with plenty of weather abusers such as Kabutops, Ludicolo, Omastar, and Gorebyss for rain, and Victreebel, Sawsbuck, Leafeon, and Exeggutor for sun. The number of possible weather setters is endless as well, since there are plenty of viable candidates such as Volbeat, Uxie, Mesprit, and much, much more.
Some may say that weather is incredibly broken, thanks to its ability to give an instead Speed and power boost to Pokémon such as Gorebyss; however, it is a style that must be planned out carefully, as the weather of your choosing will only last for 8 turns maximum, courtesy of either a Damp Rock or a Heat Rock. Because of such a short period of time with which to abuse the weather, weather teams in the lower tiers are usually offensively oriented, as stall cannot function well without extended turns of beneficial weather. The following will help you, the reader, gain a better understanding of weather's role in the lower tiers, and how effective and fun it can be if played properly.
Sandstorm is an incredible playstyle in UU, as Hippopotas is the only permanent weather starter in the entire tier. Despite its relatively low stats, equipping it with an Eviolite remedies this somewhat. As Hippopotas's only role is to set up sandstorm, its stats don't necessarily dictate the outcome of a battle. It has the ability to set up Stealth Rock, poison opponents with Toxic, and phaze with Roar, but good sandstorm players will usually play with Hippopotas very conservatively in order to preserve the sandstorm weather in their favor for the duration of the match, should the opponent carry Rain Dance or Sunny Day.
There are two types of sandstorm teams that are both equally viable: sand stall and sand offense. Sand stall usually utilizes a plethora of entry hazards, Pokémon that can phaze, and generally has a more defensive stance. Sand stall works well because the inclement weather will do passive damage to any opponent that does not have the Magic Guard ability or is not a Rock-, Ground-, or Steel-type. It cancels out Leftovers healing for those that are not immune to it, yet another good aspect for sand stall. Pokémon such as Bronzong, Empoleon, Registeel, Rhyperior, Gligar, and Cacturne can all take advantage of permanent sandstorm, whether it be through abilities such as Sand Veil, or simply courtesy of a Rock, Ground, or Steel typing. Although sandstorm doesn't grant as many offensive perks as rain or sun, such as the boost to Water- and Fire-type moves, respectively, the passive damage and ability abuse by Pokémon with Sand Veil is more than enough to make up for it.
Sand offense is an incredibly dangerous strategy, and remarkably easy to use as well. The first and foremost sandstorm sweeper in UU is definitely Stoutland. This furry dog-like Pokémon is the only one in UU that possesses the rare Sand Rush ability, which doubles its Speed during sandstorm and also makes it immune to the damaging effects of sandstorm. Although Stoutland only has an average Attack stat, its insanely fast Speed during sandstorm completely makes up for it. Unfortunately, it also has a rather shallow movepool, with virtually no moves that can effectively hit Steel-types bar a weak Fire Fang. It also has difficulty breaking through physically defensive walls, such as Swampert and Suicune. For this reason, in order for a sand offense team to be successful, Steel-types such as Registeel and Bronzong, bulky physical walls such as Swampert and Suicune, and priority users such as Hitmontop and Arcanine need to be removed before Stoutland can attempt a sweep.
Rain is an excellent playstyle in UU that really should be used more. With Swift Swim abusers such as Kingdra and other rain abusers such as Raikou and Blastoise, rain can be highly effective if given the chance. Even without the utility of a permanent rain-setter, rain is easily one of the most dangerous playstyles. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of only eight turns of rain maximum, the only real viable playstyle is offense. A rain stall team is very difficult to pull off successfully without the aid of permanent rain. However, this doesn't mean that rain is solely Swift Swimmers; usually, rain teams will utilize a mix of sweepers and / or bulky tanks in order to better combat the many threats in the metagame. This allows rain teams to be quite versatile, and also not as reliant on rain, should the rain setters be defeated during the course of the match. Of course, you'll still find Swift Swimmers such as Kingdra on rain teams, but don't think that once the rain is gone, rain teams are helpless. A well-built rain team is created with opposing weather teams and general metagame threats in mind.
Speaking of Swift Swimmers, Kingdra is arguably the most dangerous rain abuser thanks to its ability to run various sets. It can go physical with Dragon Dance, Outrage, and Waterfall, or full special, with Hydro Pump, Dragon Pulse, and Ice Beam. Kingdra even has the ability to go mixed; a STAB Draco Meteor hurts anything that doesn't resist it, while Kingdra's STAB Water-type moves scare away any Steel-types wanting to switch in. Raikou is also an excellent abuser of rain, thanks to its access to STAB Thunder, Weather Ball, and Calm Mind, as well as its excellent base 115 Speed. With a bit of Spikes support provided by the ubiquitous Roserade or the overlooked Deoxys-D, Raikou is set to plow through the opponent's team. With that said, get out there and try out rain! It's a great, versatile playstyle that strays away from the standard sandstorm teams.
Although sun in UU is relatively uncommon thanks to the ubiquity of sandstorm and its relative weakness to rain teams, it can still be a powerful force if played correctly. As there are no permanent sun setters, sun teams must rely on the likes of Uxie to help set up sun. Sun is a rather one-dimensional weather, and this aspect may turn off most players; however, if given the proper support, sun teams can easily rip through the opposition. With monstrously powerful abusers such as Chandelure, Darmanitan, and Victini, nothing stands a chance against sun-boosted, STAB Fire-type attacks. A sun-boosted V-create from Choice Band Victini can 2HKO even Kingdra, which sports a 4x resistance to Fire. This is just a tiny taste of just how powerful sun can be. There are also many Chlorophyll abusers that, despite residing in lower tiers, can easily sweep unprepared teams. Sawsbuck and Victreebel are among the best Chlorophyll abusers, with the former sporting an amazing base 95 Speed before the boost, and the latter possessing great offensive stats.
Even the mere thought of sun-boosted STAB Fire-type attacks is enough to make one cringe. With the sun present, even Water-types are hard-pressed to tank the Fire attacks, as their resistance is removed. Most Fire-types also have access to SolarBeam, which destroys any Water-type thinking that they can recklessly switch in. The major advantage that sun provides over sandstorm, and even rain to an extent, is the sheer power of the sun abusers. Nothing short of Kingdra is going to survive a Choice Band, Sheer Force and sun-boosted STAB Flare Blitz from Darmanitan. It's just not physically possible (well, ok, screw Rhyperior). The same goes for Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard's Fire Blast in the sun. It literally razes everything into a black crisp with a single attack. Anything not immune to it will actually perish in flames. Of course, because the majority of sun abusers that aren't Chlorophyll users are Fire-types, a Rapid Spin user is necessary to keep them alive to lay down destruction. Sun is... FUN. Sandstorm is for wimps, grow a pair and use sun!
Rain in RU is a very effective playstyle, and might even be the easiest to use and most dangerous weather strategy. A plethora of awesome Swift Swim sweepers reside in RU, namely Kabutops, Ludicolo, and Omastar. Kabutops has the highest Speed of any usable Swift Swimmer (yea Luvdisc, Lumineon, and Floatzel don't count); it can outspeed basically everything in the rain, even fast Choice Scarf users such as Manectric. It also sports a sexy base 115 Attack stat with which it can fire off powerful rain-boosted Waterfalls as well as Stone Edges. Swords Dance gives Kabutops a boosting option, and it can revenge kill many Pokémon with Aqua Jet after a Swords Dance boost. In addition, because of its access to priority in Aqua Jet, it isn't completely useless outside of rain, and can easily revenge kill weakened Choice Scarf Pokémon. Kabutops can also run a decent support set thanks to its access to Stealth Rock and Rapid Spin, a rare, but good combination on any Pokémon. Omastar is the special variant of Kabutops, and despite its lower Speed stat, it absolutely rips its opponents to shreds with an insanely powerful Hydro Pump. For coverage it can easily run Ice Beam and Hidden Power Grass in order to take care of Dragon- and other Water-types, respectively. But what makes Omastar so dangerous is its access to what may be the most ridiculous boosting move introduced in BW: Shell Smash. After a single Shell Smash, Omastar's Speed and Special Attack are doubled, turning it into an extremely powerful sweeper, even without rain support. With rain support, however, Omastar will probably be the last thing you see, especially if it has already gotten a Shell Smash under its spiky shell. But wait, there's more! Similarly to Kabutops, Omastar can run a very effective support set, as it is one of the two fully evolved Pokémon with access to all three types of entry hazards, the other being Forretress. Ludicolo is an interesting case. It can viably run both a Rain Dance sweeper set and a rain supporter set, utilizing its other ability, Rain Dish, and Leech Seed. Water / Grass is a very potent dual STAB, and although Ludicolo's Special Attack leaves much to be desired, it gets the job done—a rain-boosted STAB Hydro Pump is still going to put holes in any opponent's team that lacks an immunity or resist. Rain has a myriad of usable rain setters such as Uxie, Volbeat (who even gets priority on Rain Dance thanks to its ability, Prankster), Rotom-C, and more. Rain is indeed a powerful playstyle in RU, and although it isn't too common, it can definitely wreck most offensive teams if played correctly. Get out there and try it out! RU is a great metagame, and without the presence of permanent weather as with UU, it isn't as difficult to use.
While sun isn't as common as rain (although rain isn't really that common anyway...), it definitely packs a punch with abusers such as Charizard, Moltres, Typhlosion, and Entei, as well as Chlorophyll users such as Victreebel, Lilligant, and Sawsbuck. Although RU doesn't contain certain hard-hitters that reside in UU, such as Darmanitan, Chandelure, and Victini, it definitely has some gems of its own. Entei, Charizard, and Typhlosion all stand out as premier sun abusers, with their high offensive stats and Fire-type STAB moves. Grass-types with Chlorophyll can also easily take advantage of the doubled Speed granted by the sun. Lilligant and Victreebel are especially lethal with their access to the crippling Sleep Powder, as well as their great offensive stats. Lilligant also possesses one of the best boosting moves in the game: Quiver Dance. After putting an opponent to sleep, Lilligant can easily boost up with Quiver Dance and proceed to sweep. Although coverage is a slight issue, after enough boosts, it won't matter. Victreebel is also immensely powerful, as it boasts access to Growth and Swords Dance, and even priority in the form of Sucker Punch. It has an amazing offensive movepool, consisting of STAB Sludge Bomb and SolarBeam / Leaf Blade, Weather Ball, and Hidden Power. To be completely honest, I really don't know why people don't utilize sun more often. After a Growth boost, Victreebel can easily OHKO the entire tier with the appropriate move. I implore you to try out sun! You won't regret it. :)
With some of the best sweepers in the tier, including the dreaded Gorebyss and Jynx, gaining a potent boost from rain, it is a highly effective strategy to employ. A lack of auto-weather inducers in the tier means once it's put into play, nothing can shut it down by just switching in. Unfortunately, that also means that rain has to be set up manually. Thankfully, there's no shortage of great setters in the tier. Murkrow, Volbeat, and Illumise all boast access to Rain Dance, and with Prankster, they gain priority on it. Electrode is another speedy user of the move, and it comes with Thunder to abuse the weather, plus Explosion to get a sweeper in with ease. Mesprit is one of the top threats in the metagame, and makes an excellent surprise Rain Dance user as well. Drifblim also deserves a mention, as it can set up the rain and use Weather Ball + Shadow Ball for solid coverage. Once the rain is put into play, there's no shortage of great sweepers to use. Gorebyss and Huntail immediately spring to mind; both get a Speed boost thanks to Swift Swim, can set up with Shell Smash, and fire off rain-boosted STAB Water-type attacks. Seismitoad is another great Swift Swimmer, and its dual STABs of Water and Ground provide excellent coverage. Though it lacks Swift Swim, Jynx is also a wonderful choice for abusing the rain, as it is one of the best sweepers in the tier and always enjoys the HP restoration the rain provides through Dry Skin. Though Armaldo does not have any good Water-type attacks to abuse the weather, it is notable as an offensive spinner with Swift Swim. Finally, Luvdisc, Magikarp, and Feebas all get a boost in Speed and STAB from the rain, and can be used together to wear down their counters.
Much like rain, sun is also a great strategy in NU. Powerful threats like Magmortar and Exeggutor thrive in the weather, and it is just as easy to set up in NU as rain. The previously mentioned Prankster Pokémon can use Sunny Day, with Cottonee joining the list as well. Once again, Mesprit is a great Sunny Day user, and it even has Fire Punch to take advantage of the weather. Drifblim as well can set it up, and still gets great coverage with Weather Ball + Shadow Ball. Regirock is another great choice for Sunny Day, as it appreciates the loss of a Water weakness and the pseudo-STAB on Fire Punch. Once set up, there are quite a few great choices for abusing the sun; NU is home to some of the most amazing Chlorophyll sweepers around. Victreebel is one of the best, with access to Growth, SolarBeam, and the rare Weather Ball. With base 125 Special Attack, Exeggutor is immediately threatening under the sun. Shiftry is a great mixed sweeper, with access to Growth, SolarBeam, and STAB Sucker Punch to still hit hard and fast outside of the sun. Jumpluff is another Chlorophyll user that has an easy time setting up Sunny Day thanks to Encore and Sleep Powder. Although it has access to Chlorophyll, Sunflora's true strength comes from Solar Power, which allows it to act effectively as a nuke. Fire-types also work wonderfully in the sun, as their STAB moves receive an extra boost. Magmortar is probably the most threatening Fire-type in the tier, and it is an absolute menace in the sun. Emboar is another great Fire-type sweeper, and its part Fighting typing grants it neutrality to Stealth Rock and an extra STAB to abuse. Due to most Fire-types having a weakness to Stealth Rock, a spinner is highly recommende; Torkoal gets a special mention for this role, as it has STAB Lava Plume and SolarBeam to abuse the weather. As the fastest Fire-type in the tier, Rapidash is also an excellent option for sun teams.
Weather has proven to be dominant in the OU metagame, especially with the addition of Drought Ninetales and Drizzle Politoed, making sun and rain teams more viable, respectively. In the lower tiers, however, the only permanent weather starter is Hippopotas, who is located only in UU, making weather teams far more difficult to use. However, this certainly does not mean that weather is unusable in the lower tiers; in fact, it can be even more effective given its relative rarity (with the exception of sandstorm in UU). I think I've managed to cover a great deal about using weather in the lower tiers. Don't let the lack of permanent weather deter you from trying out weather teams in the lower tiers! Be creative! Explore your (many) options! The possibilities are endless and just waiting for you. So what are you waiting for? Go make a weather team in UU, RU, or NU!
|« Previous Article||Home||Next Article »|