BW2 OU Metagame Analysis

By Harsha. Art by *Hen*.
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With the release of Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, the metagame has experienced giant shifts due to the introductions of Keldeo, Tornadus-T, Thundurus-T, Landorus-T, Genesect, and countless new Dream World abilities that were previously unavailable. Rain is the new top dog in terms of weather, and Scizor is no longer the iconic face of the metagame (though curiously, another Steel / Bug type is!). While looking at usage statistics won't necessarily make you a top battler overnight, it certainly is a good way to prepare, especially for those that are either new to Pokémon or are returning to the game. So, let's take a look at OU's finest!

The Top 15

1. Genesect | 18.759%

Genesect at the top of the usage statistics should come as no surprise to any Pokémon player. Its use sometimes feels nearly ubiquitous, but that is only because of the versatility its great movepool and good stats have to offer. Genesect's base 120 Attack and Special Attack ensures that no matter what item it runs, it will always pack a punch. Considering Download, Genesect receives a +1 boost to an offensive stat upon being sent out onto the field, so it's like Genesect gets a free turn of setup without having to do anything. The most common Genesect set is generally Choice Scarf, as Genesect can make good use of its base 99 Speed. However, there are many other options, such as a Focus Sash set to maintain momentum, a Rock Polish set to sweep in the late-game, or even a Choice Specs or Choice Band set to break down walls. Additionally, when paired with a Volt Switch user, Genesect can bring a lot of offensive pressure to keep the opponent at bay. Due to its versatility, Genesect will definitely remain a top contender in the usage stats.

2. Politoed | 16.962%

With all the recent buzz about the new BW2 rain sweepers, it shouldn't be surprising that Politoed has finally overthrown Tyranitar as king of the weather inducers in OU. Politoed provides necessary support for many of the better Pokémon in OU, including Tornadus-T, Thundurus-T, Keldeo, and even old favorites such as SubCM Jirachi and Hurricane Volcarona. Needless to say, rain needs to be present for these sweepers to perform at their maximum potential, but Politoed in itself has some merits that many take for granted. For instance, the ever-common Choice Specs set can OHKO many Pokémon commonly seen in the metagame, and it has the capability to 2HKO even the bulkiest of special walls with a bit of entry hazard support. The three attack set and Choice Scarf set provide valuable utility for teams that don't necessarily need a Choice Specs user, and the defensive set is always available for those that want a sturdy weather inducer—a common desire for more defensive teams.

3. Ferrothorn | 16.760%

Ferrothorn's usage is back to the top thanks to the increase in usage of rain. Due to its Grass / Steel typing, it can take most Water and Electric attacks relatively comfortably and retaliate with a powerful Power Whip or Gyro Ball. While the newer threats—Tornadus-T, Thundurus-T, and Keldeo—can generally get around Ferrothorn due to either their movepool or typing, Ferrothorn remains one of the more pesky Pokémon to deal with because of its great bulk. Those in need of a sure-fire check to Starmie, Latios, Latias, and Rotom-W need not look any further than Ferrothorn, as it can dent unprepared teams despite its occupation as a wall.

4. Dragonite | 16.016%

While Dragonite can no longer be the dominant force it once was at the nascence of BW, it is still a force to be reckoned with due to its great stats and expansive movepool. Dragon Dance sets remain the most common in the metagame, though they have taken a hit due to the prominence of teams that carry two Choice Scarf users, generally having at least one with an Ice-type coverage move. The Choice Band set remains a massive powerhouse due to a powerful Outrage and +2 priority move in ExtremeSpeed. Dragonite's presence as a phazer on rain stall teams is still what it once was; it is a staple on rain stall due to its access to Dragon Tail and 100% accurate moves in rain, such as Thunder and Hurricane. Its bulk allows it to accomplish various goals when necessary, though the Ice-type weakness can hold it back at times. Still, Dragonite remains a threat in the metagame for any teams that are underprepared to face its might.

5. Scizor | 15.720%

While Scizor is no longer the baddest metal bug in town, it still packs quite the [Bullet] Punch! Genesect may possess Download and U-turn, but Scizor still happens to have a few assets over its counterpart. For one, Scizor has access to reliable STAB priority in Bullet Punch, further boosted by its ability, Technician. Also, Scizor has a much better physical movepool than Genesect, granting it access to Pursuit. With that, Scizor can not only KO Latios and Latias like Genesect does, but it can also trap them and prevent their fleeing. Superpower is a huge plus for Scizor as well because it grants coverage on Heatran, a very common Pokemon in this metagame. Scizor can also run effective Baton Pass and Swords Dance sets, so it will never actually be outclassed by Genesect. You can't replace a priority move that OHKOes Terrakion either, and with the omnipresence of fast sweepers in the metagame, priority attacks will always be a boon.

6. Heatran | 14.707%

Rain's usage certainly puts a damper on Heatran (get it?), but our fiery friend still has a bone to pick with sun teams everywhere! Heatran's Flash Fire and great typing allow it to take on almost any attacker commonly found on sun teams. While sun teams have developed ways to combat Heatran's wrath (see: Dugtrio), both the items Air Balloon and Shed Shell can provide a temporary fix for that, as well as a setup opportunity against the weak Dugtrio. While they still aren't common, Choice Scarf Heatran has gained some popularity for its ability to sweep sun teams with minimal support and Choice Specs Heatran can be seen from time to time spouting extremely powerful Eruptions in the sun. Heatran is a magnificent Pokémon for its variety: it can be used as an all-out attacker, a defensive phazer and wall, and even a revenge killer. Rain's usage may be tough, but Heatran packs just enough juice to take rain teams on. Make sure that if you use Heatran, you consider using your own weather to nullify rain as well!

7. Tyranitar | 13.675%

It's now the lesser of the two top weather inducers in the metagame, but Tyranitar still packs quite a punch. BW2 introduced many new threats that don't really help Tyranitar out, including the threats that buff rain, such as Tornadus-T and Keldeo. While the increase in Fighting-type move usage is fairly apparent in the metagame, Tyranitar can still do what it does best: set up Stealth Rock, sponge specially based attacks, and KO the pesky Latios and Latias. However, Choice sets are still a force to be reckoned with; that's not to say they aren't without faults, though. Choice Scarf sets are still outpaced by Tornadus-T, while Choice Band sets frequently give Terrakion and Keldeo setup opportunities. Despite these flaws, Tyranitar is definitely still a great Pokemon for accomplishing supporter jobs or aiding sweeps—it is even considered the best supporter for Keldeo sweeps due to its ability to remove Celebi, Jellicent, Latios, and Latias from play!

8. Breloom | 12.599%

Breloom's resurgence in usage is largely due to the release of its coveted new ability: Technician. A high base Attack, an expansive movepool with decent coverage, access to useful utility moves, and the aforementioned ability all lead to a first-class sweeper, terrifying even the likes of Gliscor. Spore is a given on any Breloom set, including even Choice sets. The ability to decommission a Pokémon with the click of a button allows Breloom to be a valuable asset to every team, even those that our favorite shroom cannot sweep. However, Breloom's real merit lies in its access to Swords Dance, complemented by incredible Technician-boosted moves in Mach Punch and Bullet Seed. It performs frightening damage when equipped with a Life Orb, and it is able to OHKO even Pokémon that resist both STAB moves. All-in-all, while Poison Heal sets are less effective in the more offensive metagame, the boon of receiving Technician has kept Breloom amongst the top.

9. Gliscor | 11.232%

Gliscor remains one of the best physical walls in the game due to its well-distributed stats. Its high base Defense allows it to tank hits very well, and it can invest in Speed to beat down some slower physical threats. One of Gliscor's best assets is its resistance to Fighting-type moves, including the tough Terrakion Close Combat. While it is still hit for neutral damage by Stone Edge, Poison Heal, in conjunction with Protect, allows Gliscor to avoid a 2HKO and do massive damage back with Earthquake. Some Gliscor sets aim to outpace Lucario and OHKO it with Earthquake, while others aim to beat out some slower threats and invest more EVs in bulk. However, don't be too surprised if you happen to run into the rarer SubPass set that aims to use Substitute and then Baton Pass to gain momentum on physical threats. With the banning of Sand Veil, Gliscor can no longer run an effective Substitute set that intends to sweep. However, Gliscor's high usage is a testament to its utility in the current metagame; it can still soar when used properly!

10. Rotom-Wash | 10.568%

I can confidently call Rotom-W one of the most effective Pokemon in the metagame, and most of my friends can attest to my gushing about how great it is. While the old bulky attacker, Choice Scarf, and Choice Specs are not news, Rotom-W's assets lie outside of these. Of course, they are all great at hitting hard with Hydro Pump and maintaining momentum with Volt Switch, but the newest Rotom-W set that has arguably kept this Pokemon afloat is the specially defensive set, designed to take repeated hits from rain teams and heal them off with Pain Split. It reliably takes on nearly every threat rain has to offer, and in the case of a Ferrothorn switch-in, Rotom-W simply needs to use Will-O-Wisp to cripple it. It additionally remains one of the best checks to Tornadus-T, one of the most powerful Pokémon in the metagame. Expect to see an increase in usage of Rotom-W; it's one of the best Pokemon in OU at the moment.

11. Garchomp | 10.559%

Serving as the new introduction to the BW2 metagame, Garchomp has recently been brought back by our friends at OU suspect testing. While its arrival comes with the cost of losing Sand Veil, Garchomp is still quite the force to be reckoned with. STAB Outrage and Earthquake provide incredible coverage, and if used in conjunction with Magnezone, can sweep effectively once opposing Bronzong, Ferrothorn, and Skarmory are removed. The Choice Band set is the most effective Garchomp set in the metagame, as it can break through most walls and slower Pokemon with its powerful STAB combination. The SubSD set still works, but it is much less effective with the loss of Sand Veil. Additionally, base 102 Speed is no longer considered "fast" in this metagame, and teams tend to use more than one Choice Scarf user, further hampering Garchomp's hopes of sweeping. Choice Scarf Garchomp is a fairly good set, though its attacking prowess can be a bit underwhelming at times. Regardless, Garchomp is still a great Pokémon, and it ravages underprepared teams with its deadly combination of STAB moves.

12. Jirachi | 10.431%

Jirachi tends to appear in the upper echelons of the usage statistics quite often, and with the increase in usage of rain and Genesect, it's not too hard to see why. Jirachi emerged as one of the best Tornadus-T counters because it can effectively sponge a Hurricane and either threaten Tornadus-T with Thunder or use Wish to heal back up. Additionally, Jirachi can run an effective Choice Scarf set and get surprising KOs on Tornadus-T, Genesect, and many other unsuspecting Pokémon. SubCM Jirachi is right at home in this metagame due to the increased usage of rain, but sadly, not all is good for our little pixie. The massive power creep means that Jirachi can no longer wall specially based threats as reliably as it once did. Rain-boosted moves will do massive damage even if Jirachi runs a specially defensive spread, and Thundurus-T enjoys facing any Jirachi that runs Thunder. Sun teams also have a relatively easy time handling Jirachi with boosted Fire-type attacks. However, Jirachi is still a strong Pokémon in this metagame, and if one plays to its strengths, it can be a versatile Pokémon that can either sweep or support with ease.

13. Salamence | 10.407%

Salamence, while no longer the number two Dragon, still ranks high in the usage statistics due to its perfectly placed stats, especially for this metagame. Genesect, the most common Pokémon in the metagame, has a base 99 Speed, and with base 100 Speed, Salamence can outpace the most common Choice Scarf user in the game. If the opponent has no Pokemon with more Speed than Choice Scarf Genesect, Salamence can wreak havoc unhampered by the threat of a revenge kill. However, one can pay a dear price if he forgets that Salamence can also run a viable Dragon Dance set, and with Fire Blast and Draco Meteor in its arsenal, not even the sturdiest physical walls, such as Skarmory and Gliscor, can stand up to its wrath. Ultimately, Salamence's fatal flaw is the presence of even faster Choice Scarf users such as Thundurus-T, Terrakion, and Keldeo. However, if one can remove these troublesome Pokémon early on and play to Salamence's strengths, winning a match on an Outrage sweep will be no problem!

14. Gengar | 10.310%

Gengar is generally paired with Deoxys-D to complement its entry hazards by spinblocking for heavy offense teams. However, Gengar can be seen on a variety of teams, ranging from semi-stall to weather offense. Gengar's primary role is generally that of a spinblocker, but with Tentacruel and Starmie technically beating it, Gengar can have some difficulty in this role. However, it serves as a great Pokémon to hit hard right off the bat, and with base 130 Special Attack and 110 Speed, it has all the tools it needs to break through a majority of the metagame. SubDisable and SubSplit Gengar are the typical sets that are seen throughout the metagame. They both aim to get a Substitute up and use the appropriate move; Disable prevents some opponents such as Terrakion from even hitting Gengar, while Pain Split heals off damage. MYSTICgar is an older set that sees some usage in this metagame—it aims to use Protect to outmaneuver the opponent and then attack with either Focus Blast, Shadow Ball, or Hidden Power Fire. While the new metagame has introduced a power creep, Gengar seems to be right at home in it.

15. Ninetales | 10.106%

Ninetales is probably one of the least fearsome Pokemon on its own, but the support it can bring is tremendous. Drought is an amazing ability, and it is likely the only reason Ninetales will ever be used in OU! The sunlight Ninetales brings can allow Pokemon such as Venusaur, Victreebel, Victini, and Darmanitan (sorry, I ran out of "V" Pokémon) to thrive. Chlorophyll users can suddenly can shed their mediocre Speeds and rise in the ranks to become some of the fastest Pokémon in the metagame. Fire-type moves get suddenly boosted, allowing Choice Specs Heatran, Choice Band Victini, and many other fearsome sun sweepers to have success. Ninetales commonly runs two sets: Sunny Day attacker and specially defensive. With Sunny Day, Ninetales can pick up momentum on any Pokemon that attempts to switch in and change the weather. However, many players now run the specially defensive set with Roar to successfully take on threats to sun, such as SubCM Latias.


The obvious question we must ask ourselves after analyzing the metagame is "where are we going next?" With the reintroduction of suspect testing, players now have the ability to vote on what to allow and disallow in the metagame. Kyurem-B is now available for use in OU, so obviously it will shake up the next usage statistics. Only time can tell where the metagame will head, but we can analyze the usage statistics to look at trends and see how various Pokemon perform in the presence of others!

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