Questions & Answers

« Previous Article Home Next Article »
Teaching Alakazam

When creating teams, I often find that standards don't always work out, and because of that I try to change around the moves, EVs, and even the Pokémon using that set. My question is, how can a player alter a Pokémon and deviate from what is considered standard in a successful manner?—Joatmon

The sets in the analyses are generally considered the best sets for that specific Pokémon; however, Pokémon is not a 1v1 game. It is a team game, and as such, the sets that are best for any given Pokémon are not always the best for a given team. The analyses are merely a list of guidelines, not a set of rules.

How can one tell when alterations to the standards could be necessary? Well, to be frank, the best way is to find out yourself. Once you've made your team using traditional movesets and, most importantly, tested it you should be able to tell which Pokémon work the way they're supposed to as well which don't. For example, say you have a team utilizing Dragon Dance Tyranitar and other Pokémon who are threatened or easily stopped by Scizor. While the traditional solution would be to replace something stopped by Scizor to something that stops or hinders it, you can instead alter your current team in a way that would be beneficial. In this example, you can alter your Dragon Dance Tyranitar's item and moveset in order to help with the Scizor problem; specifically, change one of its moves to Fire Punch and its item to Babiri Berry. This can help eliminate Scizor and open up holes for your other teammembers to take advantage of.

Veering from standard sets, however, is not for everyone. Altering standard sets in ways that can positively affect a team is a skill that requires understanding the nuances of the game. It requires patience; it requires knowledge; it even requires some good luck. The key to success when making changes to what is recommended is, like a lot of things in life, testing. Test to discover what exactly your team lacks; test to find what your team needs; test to see if your potential solution is good. Good luck. —darkie

What Pokémon are statistically underrepresented despite excelling in the current OU metagame? — gorm

One example of such a Pokémon would be Vaporeon, who only appeared on teams 7.74% of the time in May. Vaporeon is able to act as an excellent counter to some of the top Pokémon in the metagame right now. Pokémon like Infernape, Heatran, Gyarados; and to a lesser extent Scizor and Salamence can all be given difficulties by Vaporeon. The ability to provide Wish support is also an asset to any team. The primary problem with Vaporeon is that it suffers from a classic case of 4-move slot syndrome. It can counter quite a few Pokémon in principle, but its inability to run a set of Wish / Protect / Surf / Ice Beam / Hidden Power Electric hurts its usability. If you wish to counter, or at least hinder, Salamence you must either forgo Hidden Power Electric or Protect, giving up the ability to counter Gyarados or the ability to mimic instant recovery, respectively. That said, Vaporeon can still perform quite well and does excel in the metagame when surrounded by the proper teammates.

Forretress is another Pokémon who can function decently well in the current metagame, despite only being used on 6.15% of all teams. With the popularity of Stealth Rock, and to a lesser extent Spikes, a Rapid Spinner is welcome on any team. Forretress' strength doesn't lie in directly countering offensive threats, but utilizing free turns to set up the myriad of entry hazards it has at its disposal; namely: Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes. Every time Forretress switch into a Choice Band Scizor's Bullet Punch, that is a free turn of entry hazards or everytime Metagross is brought into the picture (assuming they aren't running Hidden Power Fire!), that is again another free layer of entry hazards. This can also be said of other less popular Pokémon, though still used frequently, such as Bronzong or Gliscor. The primary reason behind the decline of Forretress is the introduction of the Rotom-formes, specifically Rotom-H with its access to Overheat. Forretress' ability to Rapid Spin is inhibited by the frequent use of the Rotom-formes and their resistance to Forretress' primary form of offense, Gyro Ball, allowing them to switch in with virtual impunity. Forretress' lack of a strong offense can also lead him to being set-up bait for sweepers such as Infernape or Gyarados; but overall Forretress can be an assets to your team.

While there are surely other examples of under-recognized Pokémon, these two Pokémon stood out to me as being the most underutilized Pokémon in the current OU metagame. —Caelum

How has the release of Platinum affected the standard metagame, how does it play differently from standard D/P? —timw06

Setting aside the obvious rise of Scizor and the introduction of different movesets, there has been a general shift in the mindset of the player. The Platinum player is significantly more offensive than the DP player. Stall, and more generally defensive play, has seen a significant decrease in popularity. In DP, defensive Pokémon were significantly more popular. Pokémon like Celebi, Gliscor, Forretress, and Cresselia were seeing relatively frequent usage. Every month succeeding Platinum's implementation on Shoddy Battle we have continually seen defensive Pokémon become less and less frequent (ignoring some rare anomalies). I believe this is a result of offense getting significant upgrades in Platinum, while defensive Pokémon received little gain. We now have monstrous offensive threats with the introduction of some moves, such as Scizor and Outrage Salamence. This level of offense is obviously appealing to players and defensive Pokémon suffer due to having greater difficulty combating this more offensive metagame. Also, the widespread usage of Trick has hurt defensive Pokémon because a defensive Pokémon holding a Choice item is nearly useless. That change of playstyle is certainly the largest in the transition from DP to Platinum. —Caelum

What influences players to usually use OUs, as opposed to UUs, in the standard OU metagame? —ThePowerWithin

There are a variety of factors, but it's mostly because OU Pokémon are statistically better than UU Pokémon in more areas. There is no problem with using UUs in OU, as demonstrated by Bologo's successful team Adios mis estudiantes :]. In that team, Lanturn provides a useful electric immunity, in addition to spreading Parafusion among the opponent's Pokémon.

The mistake many people make when using UUs in OU is attempting to emulate a Pokémon in OU. Take Gyarados and Feraligatr for example. Both Pokémon have the ability to use a set of Dragon Dance, Waterfall, Earthquake, and an Ice-type Move. However, even though Feraligatr has the ability to use the more powerful Ice Punch, it is still less powerful than Gyarados in the long run, in addition to being slower. The same goes for Celebi and Shaymin. They both have the exact same stats, in addition to both having Aromatherapy, Grass Knot, Leech Seed, and a 50% recovery move. However, Celebi is also part Psychic-type, and its recovery move doesn't diminish in sandstorm, rain, or hail. It also gets Thunder Wave, which is very useful for slowing down opponents.

In both of those situations, a Pokémon in UU is outclassed by another Pokémon in OU. However, in order to be successful, you shouldn't make a set similar to an OU Pokémon. In the first case, Feraligatr has access to Swords Dance, a much more powerful boosting move. It can easily run a SubSalac set to great effect, with Waterfall and a powered-up Flail. In the second example, Shaymin has access to Seed Flare, which comes with a handy 40% chance to drop an opponents Special Defense by two stages and Air Slash, which comes with a 30% chance to flinch.

In conclusion, UUs can be used in OU, you just need to play to their strengths in order to be the most successful. Its usually easier to use OU Pokémon however, since they usually have more niches that they can fill at once. —tennisace

« Previous Article Home Next Article »