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For five generations of Pokémon, status has played a critical role in all aspects of battling. Whether it's being used to slowly wear down an opponent or debilitate a potentially dangerous Pokémon, you are going to be hard-pressed to find a team without some form of status being spread. In Ubers, status is especially prevalent. Not only is status crucial to stopping some of the most powerful Pokémon in the entire game, but Ubers is home to some of the most devious status moves in the game. Burning a Rayquaza or paralyzing a Palkia can turn a match on its head, turning a potential loss into a guaranteed victory.
In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the best Pokémon and techniques in the metagame for spreading status. As a special bonus, there will be a section dedicated entirely to preventing status from cleaning your clock in Ubers.
From an early age, every aspiring Pokémon Master learned very quickly the dangers of poison. The constant flickering of the screen as you walked through Viridian Forest made it so even the most stalwart of level eight Squirtle would shudder at the sight of a Weedle. Poison has established itself as easily the most widespread status affliction in competitive play. The fact that almost every Pokémon learns Toxic and the utility of Toxic Spikes assures that every team needs some sort of answer to poison, regardless of tier.
In Ubers, Toxic Spikes is even more deadly for two reasons. First and foremost is Ubers severe lack of viable Poison-types. Tentacruel and the rare Toxic Plate Arceus are the only Poison-types who can effectively stand among the big boys and absorb Toxic Spikes. The second reason is Giratina-O. The near universal presence of the single best spinblocker in the game (Spooky Plate Arceus eat your heart out) assures that pulling off a successful Rapid Spin is going to be more than a little difficult.
When it comes to setting up Toxic Spikes in Ubers, you have two options: Forretress and Tentacruel. Both of them are very reliable at laying down Toxic Spikes, but they possess very different strengths and weaknesses. Forretress's amazing bulk and typing make it one of the sturdiest Pokémon in the tier. In a metagame dominated by Dragon-types, being part Steel is a very good thing. Forretress can easily take advantage of this for setting up Toxic Spikes. By switching into Outrage, especially an unboosted one from something such as Palkia or Giratina-O, you can guarantee at least one layer of Toxic Spikes will go up. If they get locked in another turn, Forretress can effectively get both layers up. Forretress's ability, Sturdy, is also helpful for making sure it can throw down one layer before it goes down. Forretress's lack of recovery, however, will always prove to be its downfall. That's where Tentacruel prevails. With Rain Dish and Leftovers, Tentacruel has a form of "reliable" recovery. Tentacruel also takes special attacks significantly better than Forretress, a godsend in a tier where powerful special attacks run rampant. It can also team up with Ferrothorn to form an effective defensive duo. Despite all that's good about it, Tentacruel is held back by its low Defense and common weaknesses.
Toxic Spikes may be one of the best ways to spread status in Ubers, but Toxic also gets plenty of love. The most notable user is Lugia. Being renowned as possibly the best defensive Pokémon in the game doesn't help Lugia when it comes to doing damage. Toxic gives Lugia a chance of wearing down and even outstalling its opponents, at the cost of a valuable moveslot. With Toxic, even Goliaths like Groudon fall as Lugia can keep its HP in tiptop shape with Roost and its redonkulous defenses. Gliscor can outstall its foes with Toxic, Poison Heal, and Protect, but suffers from many common weaknesses. Chansey and its evolution, Blissey, both use Toxic as an effective way of dealing damage. Forretress also can throw around Toxic, punishing its archenemy Giratina on the switch. Ferrothorn sometimes carries Toxic, as with it, Iron Barbs, and Leech Seed, the opponent will be worn down very quickly. It also surprises Calm Mind Arceus formes, such as Ghost, that think that they can turn Ferrothorn into a setup fodder. Heatran is one of the best stallbreakers in Ubers, mainly due to its access to Toxic, but also to Roar and Taunt, which allows it to prevent the foe from healing while also stacking hazard damage on the foe's team.
Unlike poison, which was a rather underwhelming status affliction in the days of Red, Blue, and Yellow, paralysis has always been popular. Having their Speed reduced turns some sweepers and most Choice Scarf users into deadweights. The chance of losing a turn due to "full paralysis" can spell death for defensive and offensive Pokémon alike. In a metagame home to extremely powerful and fast sweepers, including Mewtwo, Darkrai, Dragon Dance Rayquaza, and various Arceus formes, paralysis can be invaluable.
When I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young Ubers player, Jibaku picked me up, sat me on his knee and told me that, "Kyogre is your king. The forecast for Ubers is rain, and lots of it." He then mentioned something about "goddamn Parasect" which escaped me at the time. Kyogre's dominance over almost all things Uber has played an extremely important role in the presence of paralysis in Ubers. Thunder, an otherwise unreliable option due to its shaky seventy percent accuracy, suddenly becomes viable. And with Thunder comes a terrifying thirty percent chance of inflicting paralysis. Thunder is the number one cause of haxrage in Ubers (with Spacial Rend being a very close second). Choice Scarf Palkia, an otherwise reasonable check to Kyogre, is a lot less reliable when it switches into Thunder and is paralyzed. Lugia's chances of outstalling the opponent are greatly reduced when Thunder paralyzes it and causes a single turn of full paralysis. Thunder is an aspect of Ubers every new player must learn to adapt to if they want to be a successful Ubers battler. It is so common I wouldn't be able to fit all the Pokémon who use it above in the sprite collection.
While Thunder's chance of causing paralysis makes the status a constant threat in Ubers, there are also plenty of Pokémon who deliberately spread paralysis with Thunder Wave. Groudon uses Thunder Wave on both offensive and defensive sets to provide both support for its teammates and an opportunity to sweep. Dialga runs Thunder Wave on offensive teams to turn Choice Scarf users into deadweights. Defensive Grass-types Ferrothorn and Meadow Plate Arceus both run Thunder Wave to potentially cripple their most common counters, such as Ho-Oh, Reshiram, and Rayquaza. Meadow Plate Arceus also keeps most Ground-types at bay, making it one of the most effective spreaders of paralysis in the metagame. The main issue with these Pokémon is they all must give up a valuable moveslot to accommodate Thunder Wave.
Another, more unique, spreader of paralysis is Thundurus. Thanks to his ability Prankster, Thundurus's Thunder Wave gains priority. With this, Thundurus can paralyze faster Pokémon such as Darkrai and Mewtwo before they get the chance to attack. It also allows Thundurus to debilitate Choice Scarf users, making him a great addition to offensive teams. His Stealth Rock weakness and low defenses keep Thundurus from being more common. However, Thundurus is starting to gain popularity and can be expected to be a common face in the future. And then there's everyone's favorite, or least favorite, paraflincher, Jirachi. With Thunder Wave or Body Slam, Jirachi can effectively spread paralysis, provide team support with Wish and U-turn, and flinch the opponent to death with Iron Head. Jirachi, like Thundurus, isn't immensely popular, but it is something to look out for.
Aside from freeze, which is only caused as a secondary effect to certain attacks, sleep is the most deadly status in Pokémon. Unless you have Sleep Talk (or Snore, but the only Pokémon fitting that in its moveset is Caterpie), being asleep leaves your Pokémon at the opponent's whim until you switch out or wake up. Sleep, Rest notwithstanding, is less common in Ubers than it is in other metagames, but Ubers is home to the most dangerous sleep-inducer in the game, in addition to the best Baton Passer in the game. In Ubers, one turn of sleep can turn the entire tide of a battle.
Darkrai is, without a doubt, the most terrifying sleep-inducer in Ubers. Not even Breloom, in all his Poison Heal and perfect-accuracy-Spore glory, can compare to Darkrai. In addition to possessing the third most reliable sleep-inducing move in the game, Darkrai has an astounding base 135 Special Attack and blistering base 125 Speed. This is complemented perfectly by Nasty Plot, turning Darkrai into one of the most threatening sweepers in the Uber metagame. It is not uncommon for a player to be winning, only to have the battle to turn completely around in their opponent's favor because of Darkrai. The icing on the cake is that Bad Dreams hurts Darkrai's sleeping opponents if they choose to stay in. The shaky accuracy of Dark Void can hurt Darkrai as easily as it can help it, and its less-than-stellar defenses assure that Darkrai can't take too many hits. Despite that, when it comes to putting the foe to sleep, few do it better than Darkrai.
Smeargle, specifically SmashPass, is another sleep-inducer you can expect to regularly see in Ubers. The premise is simple: lead with Smeargle and Shell Smash. With +2 Speed, Smeargle should be able to put the opponent to sleep with Spore and Baton Pass as they switch out. This set can turn something like Dialga into a killing machine capable of shattering even the most stalwart defenses. However, this set faces a few problems. Taunt shuts it down completely and forces Smeargle to switch out. Without Ingrain, phazing moves, such as Roar, Whirlwind, and Dragon Tail, can force Smeargle or its recipient out as well. Both Pokémon are also still vulnerable to priority, which is even more threatening with lowered defenses. It's a high-risk, high-reward strategy that pays off in spades when it works.
Jynx is the last sleep inducer you can possibly encounter in Ubers. Thanks to Lovely Kiss, Jynx can become a devastating setup Pokémon with Substitute and Nasty Plot. Moreover, thanks to Dry Skin and Leftovers, she can quickly gain back the health she lost from using Substitute as rain is extremely common in the tier. Dry Skin also grants Jynx immunity to the omnipresent Water-type attacks from Kyogre, which allows her to set up on three-quarters of a Choice item Kyogre's moveset. Once set up, Jynx is extremely hard to stop, as Lovely Kiss will simply put her counters, such as Giratina-O and Scizor, to sleep. Ice STAB in a tier full of Dragon-type Pokémon is also a key part of Jynx's effectiveness in Ubers.
Until the introduction of Will-O-Wisp, there was no reliable way of spreading burn. And even with the introduction of the attack, its seventy-five percent accuracy made it not exactly reliable. With this in mind, burn still is easily the best way to shutdown a physical attacker. Cutting the opponent's Attack in half is simply amazing. Difficult to stop Pokémon such as Rayquaza, Zekrom, and Arceus can be made much more manageable while suffering from a burn. The slow loss of HP is an added bonus, and it is not surprising that some players argue that the ability to spread burn is the most useful tool for a support Pokémon.
With Black and White came a new innovative attack called Scald. This Water-type attack wields a wicked thirty percent chance of causing burn and is widely considered one of the best attacks in the game. If you don't believe me, there is an article in this very issue to convince you otherwise. Tentacruel and Kyogre use this move as a way to soften up physical attackers who normally target their more vulnerable Defense stat. In addition to Scald, there is Lava Plume, but that move is solely used by Heatran in Ubers. Heatran's great defensive typing and good stats make it another reliable distributor of burn.
Will-O-Wisp is the most reliable way of spreading burn. Many Pokémon use it in Ubers to stop physical attackers in their tracks. In fact, most checks and counters to Extreme Killer Arceus would fail without this move. Giratina is the most obvious user of the attack. With its gargantuan defenses, adding burn to the mix makes it nearly impenetrable on the physical side. Some Giratina-O also run the attack, but they are much more rare than Giratina. Various formes of Arceus run Will-O-Wisp. Support sets use it as a way to fortify their physical defenses and offensive Arceus use it in conjunction with Calm Mind and Recover to form an effective bulky attacker. However, Arceus is pressed for moveslots, so choosing Will-O-Wisp may leave it vulnerable to other threats. StallTwo, some hipster, defensive Mewtwo set, carries Will-O-Wisp to defeat the strong physical attackers of Ubers, such as Terrakion, Arceus, Groudon, and Rayquaza, so that it can invest the leftover EVs into Special Defense, allowing it to take a wide variety of both special and physical attacks comfortably. The residual damage also helps Mewtwo wear down its opponent. If Will-O-Wisp has a fault, it's the poor accuracy it possesses. Aside from that, it is a fantastic move. Additional, somewhat less conventional, spreaders of burn include Manaphy, Darkrai, and Reshiram, who can use burn to protect their physical side.
Scald, Lava Plume, and Will-O-Wisp may be good, but there is one move that surpasses them all. We are talking about a Fire-type move with 100 Base Power, near-perfect accuracy, and a whopping fifty percent chance of inflicting burn. It is Sacred Fire, the signature move of Ho-Oh. This is the move that makes Ho-Oh such an amazing tank and attacker. It is part of the reason why Ho-Oh has no true counter. If you see a Ho-Oh not running this attack, do your opponent a favor and tell them they are doing it wrong. Even in the rain, where Fire-type moves are weakened, this move is good. In the sun, it is amazing. It sounds almost too good to be true, but it is true. Does this move have a fault? Unfortunately, it does. Sacred Fire maxes out at a depressing 8 PP, meaning it runs out of usage quickly in a tier full of Pokémon with Pressure. Ho-Oh itself has a few problems, but aside from the low PP, Sacred Fire is without fault. If you see Ho-Oh, anticipate the chance of being burned.
Keeping yourself from being dominated by status afflictions is no easy feat. There are a few tricks to preventing them from crushing your team, though. Blissey and Chansey are both extremely good Pokémon in Ubers due to their high HP and Special Defense. Natural Cure allows them to act as effective status absorbers for the team. The ability to use Aromatherapy can also heal the entire team of status. Being able to heal a paralyzed Choice Scarf Palkia can turn the match back in your favor. In addition to Chansey and Blissey is another high HP Pokémon, Wobbuffet. Thanks to Encore and Shadow Tag, it can force the opponent to repeatedly use a status move and then set up Safeguard. It's not the most reliable way to prevent status from spreading, but it can be extremely useful in certain situations. Just be wary of Taunt, as all of these Pokémon are very vulnerable to it.
Rapid Spin can stop Toxic Spikes from harming your team. The problem with Rapid Spin is that there are few viable users of the attack in Ubers. Forretress is arguably the best user due to its amazing typing, great defenses, and ability to set up its own hazards. Be aware that Spooky Plate Arceus and Giratina-O can make short work of Forretress unless it has Toxic or rain is up. Excadrill and Kabutops are more offensive spinners and can potentially hit spinblockers with powerful attacks. They both lack the incredibly defenses and typing that Forretress possesses, making switching in much more difficult. Tentacruel is another good spinner, and it can naturally absorb Toxic Spikes, as can Toxic Plate Arceus.
Rest and Refresh can both be used to recover from status. Giratina, Kyogre, and Manaphy are the most popular users of Rest. Giratina and Kyogre are both effective at taking hits and slowly boosting their offenses, but they lack an effective form of recovery. Rest and Sleep Talk allows them to fix that and makes them invulnerable to status for a few turns. Manaphy can use Hydration to recover all its HP and then heal the sleep caused by Rest. Hydration makes Manaphy an excellent status absorber. Refresh is used solely by Arceus and Latias in Ubers and prevents status from quickly wearing them down. However, Arceus has the worst case of four-moveslot-syndrome in all of Pokémon, so it's a tough call to decide to run Refresh or not.
The most effective way to stop status afflictions is by using Pokémon that aren't affected by or can benefit from them. Poison- and Steel-types are invulnerable to the effects of poison. Tentcruel, Dialga, Skarmory, Forretress, Toxic Plate and Iron Plate Arceus can all come in on Toxic with impunity. Levitating and Flying-type Pokémon are immune to Toxic Spikes. Reshiram, Flame Plate Arceus, and Ho-Oh have nothing to fear from burn, but they do need to watch out for super effective Scalds. Groudon, Ubers resident Ground-type champion, and the much rarer Gliscor can safely absorb an incoming Thunder Wave. Pokémon with Sleep Talk have little to fear from sleep, except for using a useless move against the opponent as a result. Gliscor and Heracross are both uncommon in Ubers, but can equally take advantage of status. Choice Scarf Guts Heracross can come in on poison, burn, or sleep (with Sleep Talk) and hit with incredibly powerful attacks. Gliscor, despite his devastating weakness to common Ubers attacks, is one of the most annoying Pokémon in the tier. With Poison Heal and Toxic Orb, it is virtually impervious to status and effective at stalling the opponent with its own Toxic. Xatu can use its ability Magic Bounce to send the opponents status flying back at them, but Xatu's low overall stats make it vulnerable to the high power attacks present in the Uber tier.
Status is a defining part of all tiers and Ubers is no exception. It can as easily give you an advantage in battle as it can give your opponent an advantage. Knowing how to best spread status and capitalize on these advantages is key to success in Ubers. Learning how to play around status greatly decreases your chance of losing. And remember: this is competitive Pokémon. No amount of Full Heals is going to help you here.
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