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The introduction of Black and White 2 has significantly changed every Gen 5 tier, including NU. Newly released Dream World abilities, new tutor moves, new level-up moves, and even some new items are all obtainable in Pokémon Black and White 2. Tier shifts also happened in the middle of these changes. This article will detail all of the significant changes and how they affected the NU metagame.
RU again has stolen many valuable Pokémon from the NU tier in Magmortar, Cryogonal, and Quagsire. It also stole some other Pokémon that hardly meant anything so I guess kudos to them for that?
Magmortar leaving made many users happy, as many secretly wanted it banned. Its wallbreaking prowess was very impressive; it could singlehandedly destroy weakened stall teams if they didn't have Pokémon such as Flareon. Magmortar was also used a lot because it was arguably the best Grass-type check, being able to easily switch in on all of the common ones and OHKO them. Vital Spirit also helped Magmortar switch in by giving it an immunity to Sleep Powder and Spore, two common moves used by Grass-types. Some people, however, do miss Magmortar. Some miss Magmortar so much that they even resort to using its pre-evolution form, Magmar, which actually isn't half bad. Amoonguss definitely enjoyed these changes, especially with another good Grass-type check in Cryogonal moving up. Cryogonal was a fantastic utility check with its impressive Special Defense stat as well as surprisingly high Speed and Special Attack. In the beginning, people used defensive Cryogonal more, but towards the end of the last meta, offensive Cryogonal started to be incredibly common. The general consensus was that Cryogonal was the best Rapid Spin user because it could break through Misdreavus with ease and threaten most other spinblockers, as well as having the ability of recovering its own health. The only half-decent spinblockers that could really stand a chance against Cryogonal were Frillish and Lampent. Levitate also helped when trying to spin away hazards. It's a shame that Cryogonal left when it did, because it would have been even better in this meta. Quagsire is the last Pokémon that left, and unlike the other two, it was steadily declining in usage. Quagsire was a fantastic check to various set-up sweepers with its Unaware ability, good bulk, great typing, and an amazing move that many NU Pokémon lack: Recover. However, it lacked the raw stats to really wall heavy hitters, which was its major downfall. Regardless, it will still be missed, but there's always Ditto if you really want a setup sweeper check.
However, the tier changes also gave us a new Pokémon that is totally shaking up the metagame: Golurk.
The addition of Golurk initially made many users scream in fear as a Choice Band set consisting of the moves Shadow Punch, Earthquake, Drain Punch, and Ice Punch can 2HKO the entire tier after Stealth Rock other than Alomomola and Weezing. Even Tangela itself can't take two hits from a Choice Band-boosted Ice Punch after Stealth Rock if it's unlucky. The hype has somewhat died down, but Golurk still remains an excellent Pokémon in the NU meta. Golurk's Ghost / Ground typing is incredibly useful for switching into the common Normal-, Fighting-, and Electric-type attacks in the tier. All three of those immunities are very useful for various teams, especially for offensive teams that sometimes can't afford to use a weaker Fighting-type resist such as Musharna. Golurk even has Stealth Rock if you really need it. Swords Dance Armaldo, who was renowned for its ability to beat any spinblocker in the tier, has lost its fame since Golurk dropped. Unless Armaldo uses Aqua Tail—a move which it has little room for—it can't get past Golurk. Golurk's effect on NU can clearly be seen during teambuilding and battling, and it is a Pokémon that you will regret not preparing for if you don't.
If any of the changes were to be compared to post-Platinum Scizor in terms of tier-changing, Zangoose would be the closest one. The ability Toxic Boost makes the previously outclassed mongoose a ferocious wallbreaker and late-game cleaner. It's no Ursaring when it comes to power, but its attacks can easily overwhelm the opposition. Unlike its competition, Ursaring, it can actually outspeed a lot of the tier with its decent base 90 Speed stat. If it doesn't outspeed something, it can just kill it off with Quick Attack. Zangoose is part of the reason why hazards are so popular, as they weaken a lot of its checks.
This thing is a strange Pokémon, both in design and competitively. The recently released Imposter ability makes it the ultimate revenge killer, being able to turn almost any potential loss into a victory with one fell swoop. However, this power is completely relative to the tier it is being used in, and as such it fits well in NU. Its mere existence does mean sweepers are far less likely to set up, and will instead resort to sheer power to get the job done. As an example, Samurott is now far more likely to be a special or mixed variant, and the Swords Dance set has become rarer and rarer, despite being an incredible threat last round.
Both of these Pokémon received Regenerator from the Dream World, which, while not altering their general role on a team too much, has dramatically increased their effectiveness. Alomomola previously struggled to be the effective teammate it should have been, having to split its efforts between healing both itself and teammates, and in the end it could do neither. Now it can pass massive Wishes to teammates while simultaneously healing itself, maintaining a team's momentum much more effectively. Amoonguss previously struggled to fit onto many teams, competing with Vileplume and Tangela for spots on a team as a defensive Grass-type. With Regenerator, however, it is a completely different story. Amoonguss now outshines both Tangela and Vileplume, but its limelight in NU is unlikely to last long as it will likely move onto the greener pastures of a higher tier.
The movepool additions of Heal Bell, Signal Beam, and Trick are great boons to the already amazing Musharna. Heal Bell is yet another good support option and is incredibly useful to Musharna itself as it is very susceptible to status. Now that Musharna has Signal Beam, it doesn't have to use Hidden Power Bug anymore, which also frees up the Hidden Power slot for Hidden Power Ground to hit Steel-types and Musharna's #1 threat: Skuntank. Trick is a much better filler than Baton Pass on the Choice Specs set, and makes Choice Specs Musharna even more viable. Musharna was always an amazing Pokémon but the new movepool additions made it even more potent.
This fluffy little mouse has just become one of the most feared powerhouses in NU. With Skill Link finally being released, Cinccino gained three reliable 125 Base Power moves, meaning almost nothing can safely switch into it. Combine this with its blistering Speed and the previously unreliable Cinccino can be found on numerous NU teams. It remains as frail and unable to switch in as ever, but it still dominates much of the tier.
A terrible Pokémon before Black and White 2, its new ability Simple finally gives it some use. Despite having mediocre stats other than Speed, Swoobat is a surprisingly competent sweeper when its Special Attack and Special Defense stats each go up by two stages in just one turn. This goes hand-in-hand with Stored Power, which makes Swoobat, even more threatening as a sweeper. It's still as frail as ever even with a Simple Calm Mind under its belt, but if used carefully, Swoobat is a fearsome sweeper.
Only seen using Choice sets before, Braviary's movesets now have a bit of variety, thanks to the newly obtainable move Roost. Somewhat like how Staraptor used to do it in UU when it was legal, Braviary uses its offensive prowess and its decent bulk to Roost off damage. Brave Bird recoil followed by Life Orb recoil can kill Braviary really fast, which makes Roost especially useful.
While Fraxure was a powerful threat before Black and White 2, the new toys it got to play with take it to another level. Gaining Low Kick and Superpower from move tutors, it can achieve perfect neutral coverage in NU with just two moves. This allows Fraxure to run a bulky set with Substitute and Dragon Dance, perhaps its most dangerous at the moment. The baby dragon also got Aqua Tail, which can let Fraxure OHKO Golem through Sturdy, and does make a Choice Band set more viable.
A number of other Pokémon had their Dream World ability released, thus changing the way they are being used. Pinsir received the ability Moxie, which means it can become a fearsome sweeper in just an instant. However, its poor Speed tier means it is outsped by many common Choice Scarf users, and a lack of power before it gets that first kill holds it back. Garbador gets Aftermath, which makes it an even better suicide Spikes user, that can leave a lasting impression on another Pokémon as it goes down. The rise of Piloswine continues with Thick Fat finally being compatible with Stealth Rock and Icicle Spear, which mitigates its Fire weakness and provides it with a useful resistance to Ice-type attacks. Finally Liepard gets to make use of Prankster, which goes well with a number of support options it gets, including Thunder Wave and Encore.
Aside from Dream World abilities, Black and White 2 also brought a number of new move tutors, augmenting many Pokémon with moves they could not previously use. Eelektross was perhaps the biggest beneficiary of this, receiving a whole host of new moves. ThunderPunch, Fire Punch, Aqua Tail and Superpower, all of which it received from move tutors, can make an entire set by themselves, making physical Eelektross a much bigger threat, especially when you add U-turn into the mix. The other tool it got is Giga Drain, which provides a great alternative to Grass Knot and a handy way to recover HP. Carracosta was finally given Stealth Rock, which has completely changed the way it is used. Whereas before it was almost entirely used for Shell Smash, it can now make use of Solid Rock to become an excellent physical tank and Stealth Rock user. Gurdurr notably learned Ice Punch, which provides a decent option over Stone Edge on Bulk Up sets, as well as making a Choice Band set more viable. Superpower was given to the most powerful NU Dragon-type Zwelious, which enables it to smash the very few Steel-types in the tier without worry. The ever un-loved Articuno got Hurricane as a level-up move, finally granting it usable Flying-type STAB, but it has yet to see much usage. Liepard also received Dark Pulse, making a Nasty Plot set viable with a solid STAB move.
The NU metagame is constantly shifting with all of these new changes. New sets are being discovered every day. The inevitable tier shifts in October will surely shift NU as well, with many Pokémon either rising from NU because they work better with the new tools they got in Black and White 2 or falling down to NU because they're mediocre in the RU meta. There's also the possibility of Pokémon being suspected: will the hyped Cinccino prove to be too overwhelming for the tier or will something else such as Zangoose, Amoonguss, or Musharna be banned?
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