Adjusting from BW to DPP

By Tomahawk9. Art by V0x.
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Did you join after the release of Black and White, have been playing it some time, and then wanted to try out DPP but failed? Then this is the article for you! In this article I'll go over some of the major changes from BW to DPP that BW veterans have to keep in mind when playing DPP.

What's not there?


Some of the most important Pokemon in the BW OU metagame, Drizzle Politoed and Drought Ninetales, are absent in DPP. Without the Dream World, they lack their instant weather ability and as such see no use. Tyranitar, Hippowdon, and Abomasnow are still present though, but without Sand Force and Sand Rush for the former, and Kyurem for the latter, it's quite hard to actually abuse the weather conditions. All in all, this means that unlike the BW OU metagame, DPP OU isn't centered on weather conditions, and you'll mostly be playing in weatherless conditions. That is not to say weather is completely absent though; Tyranitar and Hippowdon are both common Pokemon simply because they are good even without weather ruling the metagame, and as such it isn't uncommon for sand to be up. Hail stall teams, while not common, do exist. They abuse the lack of common Ice-types in OU and use hail to add on the residual damage. Finally, there are rain teams. While rain teams lose instant weather, they are still able to set it up with the move itself, along with Damp Rock. Swift Swim Pokemon can then become really threatening with doubled Speed and a boost to their STAB attacks, being able to decimate a lot of teams within the seven turns provided by Rain Dance.


Some of the most threatening Pokemon in BW OU are Dragon-types; with only one type that resists their powerful STAB attacks, mainly Outrage and Draco Meteor, great base stats, and resistances to common attacks, they are some of the top contenders in OU. However, a lot of these Dragon-types are absent in DPP OU. Haxorus, Hydreigon, and Kyurem were all released in the BW games, and Salamence, Latios, and Latias are all banned in DPP. That leaves Dragonite as the only Dragon-type that is commonly seen in both BW and DPP OU; however, there is one major difference that makes Dragonite a lot better in BW, namely its Dream World ability, Multiscale. Dream World doesn't exist in DPP, and as such, Dragonite loses one of its main selling points. All of this leaves DPP with very few viable Dragon-types, and Steel-types thus aren't as much of a necessity as in BW OU. The Dragon-types that you'll commonly encounter can be counted on a single hand: Flygon, Kingdra, and Dragonite. Flygon is almost always a Choice Scarf user, having great coverage with just its STABs as well as U-turn, which is always helpful for a Choice user. Kingdra also abuses the great coverage within its dual STAB, and is most often seen running a Dragon Dance set with either Substitute or ChestoRest in the last slot to protect it from status. Finally, Dragonite is the only one of the three Dragons with a base attacking stat over 100, and as such is the most threatening to stall teams. Its Outrage can be really hard to tank, especially when boosted by Dragon Dance. Dragonite also has ExtremeSpeed to prevent it from being revenge killed by the likes of Choice Scarf Flygon.


One of the most important moves in the BW OU metagame is absent in DPP, and that move is Volt Switch. VoltTurn teams are everywhere, keeping momentum on their side and forcing you to keep switching. Without Volt Switch, those teams are rather uncommon. While U-turn is still common, nearly all U-turn users are walled by physical walls, in particular Skarmory. While Zapdos is a good addition to the U-turn chain by threatening Skarmory, it can't hurt Skarmory if it decides to U-turn, while Thunderbolt can't hurt common its switch-ins. The lack of some of the most common VoltTurners also hurts: Rotom-W, Landorus, Mienshao, and Hydreigon are all good members of a VoltTurn chain that are absent in DPP. U-turn cores aren't completely absent though. The one U-turn core that you'll most commonly find, and is similar to BW's Scizor + Rotom-W, is Choice Band Scizor paired with Choice Scarf Flygon. Just like Scizor and Rotom-W, they cover their weaknesses perfectly and one is able to revenge kill sweepers that get out of hand, but unlike Scizor and Rotom-W, they can't deal with each other's common switch-ins as effectively. For example, they both are unable to deal with Skarmory, Gyarados, Gliscor, or any physical wall that isn't weak to one of their STAB moves.

U-turn is still one of the best moves in the metagame though, but in a different way than in BW. A major difference in the game mechanics between DPP and BW is the lack of Team Preview in DPP. This means that teams are unknown to the other player at the start of the battle, and as such, scouting is extremely important to get to know the other team. Until you know the opposing team completely, saccing your Gyarados can be extremely risky in case the opponent still has a Lucario in the wings. This is where scouting becomes extremely useful, as knowing the opponent's team as soon as possible while he doesn't know yours gives you a big advantage.


One of the most obvious changes between BW and DPP is the lack of all Unova Pokemon. The most notable ones are listed above (bar the aforementioned Dragon-types), as they most influence the teambuilding. Volcarona and Terrakion, two of the most threatening Pokemon in BW OU, are absent in DPP. While almost every good BW OU team will try to implement a Volcarona and Terrakion check due to their high Speed and attacking stats, their dangerous STABs, and threatening boosting moves, DPP OU teams don't have to worry about either of those. The lack of Tornadus means that a solid Pokemon with a Flying resistance isn't as needed, especially considering that most Flying-types forgo their generally weak Flying STAB for their other more powerful STAB. On the defensive side, the lack of Ferrothorn means that Water-types have a much easier time. Life Orb Starmie loses one of its premier counters and becomes a lot more dangerous, as all common Grass-types are hit hard by Ice Beam. The loss of Jellicent is also rather noticeable, as it is the premier spinblocker in BW OU. However, in DPP OU, Rotom-A holds this position. Finally, there's Reuniclus. Reuniclus is a special case, thanks to Magic Guard. With Magic Guard, Reuniclus can take on stall teams almost all by itself, and every stall team needs to be prepared for it and carry at least one solid Reuniclus counter. In DPP, Reuniclus is absent, and as such, stall teams have a much easier time without having to worry about it.


One defining element of Black and White—Dream World—is absent in DPP, and as such several Pokemon lose their defining ability, which in some cases makes them completely unused. The most notable OU cases are listed above: Alakazam loses Magic Guard and thus sees little use. Gengar is mostly considered superior with its Ghost typing, which gives it a far better typing both offensively and defensively. Espeon loses Magic Bounce, which makes it much easier to set up hazards. This also makes Rapid Spin a lot more important when using Pokemon weak to Stealth Rock, such as Gyarados or Dragonite. Gliscor loses Poison Heal, but instead uses Roost as its recovery move. As such, it isn't really bothered by losing its Dream World ability as much as the aforementioned Pokemon and mostly does the same job at walling physical attackers. However, the loss of Poison Heal does make its increasingly popular SubProtect set unusable, which is rather unfortunate.

What is there?


With the lack of Team Preview, you have to select your first Pokemon without knowing the opponent's team. This creates a whole new part of the game, as a good lead can be extremely important for starting the match off with an advantage. Some Pokemon are used almost exclusively for their excellent leading abilities, most notably Aerodactyl and Azelf. Aerodactyl and Azelf are rarely seen in BW, but they are both quite common in the lead position in DPP, as they are both very fast and have access to both Stealth Rock and Taunt. Bulky leads with Stealth Rock, such as Swampert, are also common in the lead position, as they can usually tank a hit quite easily and set up Stealth Rock. On the other hand, attacking leads aim to beat Stealth Rock-setting leads, forcing the opponent to choose between their lead's life and Stealth Rock. Machamp is the most prominent example of this, as with DynamicPunch, Ice Punch, and Payback, it threatens common leads such as Heatran, Azelf and Aerodactyl, and it also has Bullet Punch to finish off leads hanging on with their Focus Sash. DynamicPunch's confusion rate also means that bulky leads such as Swampert will have trouble, as only a 50% chance of attacking along with DynamicPunch usually 3HKOing or even 2HKOing, means that they are at risk of not even moving before being taken down. All in all, a good lead is very important to a DPP team, as having the advantage right from the start can be very useful, and having Stealth Rock up while your opponent doesn't can often help you win the match.


With the lack of Dragons comes the abundance of Fire / Water / Grass cores. FWG in general have good synergy, but they have one big problem in BW OU: they are ruined by Dragon-types. Dragon-types resist Fire-, Water-, and Grass-type attacks and can threaten with a powerful STAB Outrage or Draco Meteor. In DPP OU, Dragon-types are rather uncommon as mentioned before. Add to that that the two of three common Dragons—Flygon and Kingdra—can be taken on by Water- and Grass-types, respectively. That leaves just Dragonite, and that has real trouble taking Ice Beam from Water-types such as Starmie and Suicune. Almost every team has a FWG core whether they intend to or not, as trying to cover most threats in the metagame often leads to using all three of those types. If you lack a way of dealing with a FWG core, you won't get far in DPP.


Arguably the Pokemon most affected by the changes from DPP to BW is Rotom-A. While in BW they all have different typing matching their signature attack, in DPP they all share the same Ghost / Electric typing. This lets Rotom-A, unlike in BW, block Rapid Spin. Rotom-A is arguably the best spinblocker in DPP OU, thanks to its load of resistances, good stats, and useful movepool. Rotom-A can run offensive and defensive sets equally well thanks to its stats and excellent typing both offensively and defensively, so it makes a great fit on most teams in need of a spinblocker.


One very powerful move was nerfed in Black and White: Explosion. In DPP, Explosion halved the target's Defense before applying damage calculations, making it an effective 500 Base Power move. This gives special sweepers such as Heatran, Magnezone, and Gengar a way of easily getting past Blissey. That can really pave the way for another special sweeper to take on a team without a dedicated special wall. Powerful physical attackers such as Metagross and Choice Band Azelf have an even more threatening Explosion. Their Explosion is pretty much a guaranteed KO unless the opponent has a Ghost-type, simply due to its ridiculous power. For example, even bulky Pokemon that resist it, such as Tyranitar and Heatran, are KOed.


As you can see, there are quite some notable differences between BW and DPP OU. As such, being good at DPP OU doesn't happen in an hour or two, and experience helps a lot. Therefore I encourage you to try out DPP OU and play as many battles as possible to gain experience and enjoy this fun metagame!

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