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The Neverused tier is a constantly changing metagame with new sets and cores being discovered all time. Even with the lack of drops, NU always manages to prevent itself from staying static. Pokémon that were previously overlooked start to rapidly increase in popularity, such as Ludicolo, Piloswine, Mantine, and Articuno, while rarer playing styles start to show themselves like Hyper Offense and Baton Pass. A look at this article shows how Neverused has unraveled in the past month and how it could change in the future.
Like what most NU players have come to expect, the tier shift didn't bring too much to the table. Even though only a single Pokémon dropped, NU managed to get a net gain for once. NU didn't lose a single Pokémon to the clutches of RU and gained an NU purple heart veteran in Metang. Metang has suffered greatly as being the laughing stock of RU and NU alike, however in a completely different metagame it can actually shine. Toxic Boost Zangoose is one of the biggest threats that NU has to offer and Metang is one of the few Pokémon that can actually beat it one on one. Metang's great Steel / Psychic typing allows it to take the intoxicated Mongoose on without much of a problem and can take the opportunity by setting up Stealth Rock in its face or hitting it back with a Meteor Mash. With a 4x resistance to Psychic-type attacks, it also makes a good check to Musharna, Exeggutor, and Gardevoir as it can beat them between Toxic and Meteor Mash, although it must watch out for LumRest Exeggutor, Choice Specs Exeggutor, and Gardevoir's Hidden Power Ground and Focus Blast. Metang also fits the role of being a team's Normal- and Flying-type resist and can beat Cinccino and Choiced Braviary, two common and dangerous Pokémon in the metagame, well enough to warrant use on some teams.
Sadly not everything is good for Metang, as one of Braviary's best sets, Sub + Bulk Up, destroys Metang without trying and Metang's lack of offensive presence and coverage moves makes it the perfect setup bait for a Rain Dancing Ludicolo. Just saying that Metang doesn't have much offensive presence is not enough to represent what it truly is; Metang's full power Pursuit fails to kill an offensive Haunter. Meteor Mash, while being naturally high powered, fails to 2HKO Zangoose and Cinccino at full health. This leaves Metang to rely on Toxic for most of its damage, and while there is nothing wrong with that, it leaves a lot to be desired. Even so, players such as Sweet Jesus have found success with Metang by using it more as a tank rather than attempting to use it as a wall to end all walls. In the end, Metang is a Pokémon that in the right hands can prove useful, however it requires proper support and playing to work at its best.
Golurk has made a huge impact in NU with its introduction to the tier back in August. It sports a massive base 124 Attack stat, a fantastic Ground / Ghost typing, and good coverage and ability options that allow it to constantly come out on top in the usage stats. Ranging from the powerful Choice Band set to the Stealth Rock set full of utility, Golurk is capable of taking the role of one of the best wallbreakers in the tier or one of the most reliable users of Stealth Rock available. Virtue of being a Ghost-type Pokémon means that it's capable of blocking Rapid Spin is just the icing on the cake and Golurk actually makes pretty good use of it. Golurk's good 89/80/80 defenses make it really hard to OHKO without powerful Hydro Pumps, Ice Beams, or Giga Drains while Golurk can take the opportunity to crush the opposition or provide utility for its team. As of more recent, Colbur Berry Golurk has been gaining usage as it allows Golurk to lure in Dark-type Pokémon such as Skuntank and Absol and OHKO them with Earthquake. Its mere presence in the tier forced Pokémon such as Armaldo and Torkoal to re-evaluate themselves in whatever way they can to beat the robot ghost. Armaldo uses Aqua Tail and Torkoal uses Shell Smash to prevent Golurk from blocking their chances of Rapid Spinning. Be it offensive or defensive, Golurk makes the tier shake under its might.
As one of NU's suspects last round, Zangoose is certainly an excellent Pokémon in the tier. With Toxic Boost and its great coverage options, switching into Zangoose is one of hardest things you could do, as a misprediction could easily cost you a Pokémon. A Toxic Boosted Facade is devastatingly powerful to the point that Zangoose is more than capable of forgoing Swords Dance in exchange for Quick Attack, which allows Zangoose to dodge Sucker Punch and hit frailer Pokémon that would outspeed it. Even with its immense power, due to its Toxic Orb, it is put on a timer that makes misprediction costly as it cannot spare many turns due to the constantly racking damage from Toxic. Even so, its excellent coverage with Facade, Close Combat, and Night Slash make it nigh impossible to switch into without getting OHKOed or suffering enough damage to be considered useless. Over the time that Zangoose's Dream World ability has been out, it has established itself as one of the best and most ferocious Pokémon in NU. Its release caused Misdreavus's usage to quickly fall and Haunter's to rise tremendously, which in turn made Pokémon that feared Misdreavus such as Sawk to be even more effective.
Cinccino was of the most hyped Pokémon in NU and as of the October 2012 stats holds the #1 position in Pokémon usage, beating out Amoonguss. Skill Link made Cinccino's Tail Slap, Rock Blast, and Bullet Seed reliable 125 BP moves that Cinccino could freely take advantage of thanks to its excellent base 115 Speed. Even with all of its positives, Cinccino is not everything that is was hyped up to be; its just not strong enough to go through every team as people once thought. With the Life Orb set, Cinccino is easily worn down and preyed on by the common priority of NU while a Choice Band set relies too much on prediction and doesn't take advantage of its great coverage. Even with these flaws, Cinccino has been a good Pokémon since Skill Link was released as its Speed and good power allow it to do a lot of damage to a lot of teams. Cinccino hasn't really changed as a whole since Skill Link was released, however Pokémon with Rocky Helmet such as Amoonguss, Regirock, and Probopass have been appearing from time to time to punish Cinccino from spamming Tail Slap. While Cinccino isn't the best Pokémon in NU, it certainly has made an impact that it's sure to keep for months to come.
Braviary is an incredibly potent Pokémon. SubBU Braviary was discovered two months ago by alexwolf and popularized by many NU players including Zebraiken and FLCL. Braviary was already a troublesome foe to defeat, and the introduction of the SubBU set did not help. Choice Band Braviary is arguably the best wallbreaker in the tier, with Rock-types and Alomomola being the most reliable switch-ins. However, SubBU Braviary sets up all over these, although it has to be wary of Stone Edge critical hits and random Toxics. Some people such as Django have even been using sets like Psych Up Regirock to overcome the mighty SubBU Braviary. Braviary is a huge pain to defensive teams as they lack the offenses to break through Braviary fast enough, but Pokémon movesets such as Power Gem + Toxic Probopass and Thunder Wave Ampharos have been increasing in usage to beat it. Offensive teams fare well against SubBU Braviary, but Braviary can still do a number to them. Offensive teams are more afraid of Choice Scarf Braviary, which has also been fairly popular lately. Will Braviary's numerous sets prove to be too overwhelming for the NU tier? Stay tuned.
Ludicolo has always been an extremely dangerous Pokémon in NU, however it wasn't until more recently that it has gotten the recognition it deserves. Ludicolo's great Water / Grass typing works both offensively and defensively and is one of the main reasons that Ludicolo has risen in popularity so much. Ludicolo makes a great check to the popular Samurott and Alomomola while its Swift Swim ability makes it one of the most threatening sweepers in NU. Ludicolo in Rain Dance is almost impossible to outpace as its 262 Speed doubled is enough to outspeed even some of the fastest Choice Scarf users such as Adamant Cinccino and Tauros. Its rise in popularity likely stems from the metagame changes that made special attacking Samurott so popular alongside user CrashinBoomBang's powerful Ludicolo + Samurott + Zangoose core that he submitted in the NU Cores thread. Ludicolo's excellent coverage with Hydro Pump, Giga Drain, and Ice Beam make it one of the harder Pokémon to switch into in NU and only has two viable hard counters in Mantine and Regice. Will all of Ludicolo's positive traits prove to be too much for NU to handle? Only time will tell.
Torkoal is no stranger to NU, and has witnessed everything that has happened to it since the creation of the tier. Without Cryogonal, the NU tier was desperate to find a Rapid Spin user that could reliably rid away hazards in the face of Ghost-type Pokémon. Golurk's introduction to the tier didn't make this case any easier to crack, however hope came to those who waited patiently. A set that was originally created by players CrashinBoomBang and Django, Shell Smash Torkoal lives on today as one of the most reliable Rapid Spin users in the tier. Popularized by EBeast, Torkoal accomplishes the once thought impossible task by using the one move that people would overlook due to Torkoal's slow Speed in Shell Smash. While even after a Shell Smash Torkoal is still quite slow, the +2 boost to both Speed and Special Attack prove enough for Torkoal to destroy all of the Ghost-type Pokémon in the tier. After a boost, Torkoal is capable of outspeeding Golurk, Drifblim, and Misdreavus and deal massive damage to all of them. Golurk and Drifblim are cleanly OHKOed while Misdreavus's bulk with Eviolite lets it survive one. While Misdreavus can survive a +2 Fire Blast and Haunter can still outspeed Torkoal after a Shell Smash, Torkoal can get past them very simply. Haunter cannot switch into Torkoal's Fire Blast for its undead life and Misdreavus's lack of Special Attack investment allows Torkoal to easily take a Shadow Ball, possibly setting up another Shell Smash on Misdreavus for a clean OHKO and a chance at a sweep.
While Torkoal is mainly a Rapid Spin user, the boosts from Shell Smash allows it to also be a potential sweeper. At +2 and a Modest nature, Torkoal can outpace up to base 75 Pokémon while a Timid nature allows Torkoal to outpace even Rotom-A. After a second Shell Smash is where it really gets fun as a Modest Torkoal can outpace Timid Electrode and a Timid Torkoal can reach the levels of Speed where not even Scarf Rotom-A can hope to outspeed it. So that's how the tortoise beat the hare! Torkoal's power after a Shell Smash should not be overlooked either as it's strong enough to heavily pressure Lickilicky and a second Shell Smash means Lickilicky is getting OHKOed by Fire Blast after Stealth Rock. While its niche is only maintained as long as Cryogonal or Sandslash stay in RU, until that happens it will continue to be a shining star in the metagame.
Articuno is a Pokémon that has been overlooked greatly in the past for many reasons. While it has an excellent stat distribution, a lack of a good Flying-type STAB attack, 4x Stealth Rock weakness, and other powerful hitters such as Jynx in the tier made it easy for people to turn their head against the bird of legend. However, Jynx biting the dust and BW2 tutors granting it access to the coveted Hurricane allowed Articuno to page from its cousin Moltres and spring from its ashes. With great dual STABs in Ice Beam and Hurricane, Articuno is capable of using the SubRoost strategy alongside its Pressure ability and its great base 95 Special Attack and base 85 Speed to blast holes against many teams while keeping itself healthy. Articuno's amazing 90/100/125 defenses allow it to get up Substitutes against the famous Alomomola + Amoonguss core without breaking a sweat and proceed to fire off destructive Hurricanes. Articuno's Ice Beam and Hurricane can also deal major damage to the most common users of Rock Blast such as Golem, Armaldo, and Garbodor to guard itself from a life threatening attack. Articuno could even use Hidden Power Ground over Substitute to score surprise KOs on Probopass and Bastiodon. Articuno also makes a fine user of Rain Dance and Tailwind to support its teams by providing them with a few turns of field advantage. Articuno is excellent on Rain Dance teams as its typing helps against common Grass-type Pokémon such as Amoonguss, Ludicolo, and Exeggutor.
Even with all of these buffs, Articuno still suffers from its massive weakness to Stealth Rock. Thankfully for Articuno, one of the most reliable users of Rapid Spin was recently made popular in Shell Smash Torkoal. While they both share a Stealth Rock weakness, Articuno highly appreciates Torkoal removing Stealth Rock while checking Pokémon such as Probopass, Bastiodon, Klang, and Regice that can tank attacks from Articuno. This allows Articuno to not waste turns Roosting to recover the damage lost from entry hazards and to last longer throughout matches to constantly pump fear into the opponent. Articuno is a terrifyingly powerful Pokémon in both offense and support and should be something to be watched out for in the future.
Piloswine has placed itself in the spot of one of the best users of Stealth Rock in NU. Its great Ground / Ice typing, Thick Fat ability, and great bulk with Eviolite allows it to tank a vast amount of attacks in NU. Piloswine also sports a nice base 100 Attack stat and a lot of utility in its standard moveset. Icicle Spear allows Piloswine to break and hit through Substitutes from the likes of Haunter and Swoobat while Ice Shard provides useful priority in revenge KOing Pokémon such as Braviary, Swellow, and Fraxure as well as weakened Pokémon. Its excellent STAB combination makes Piloswine very difficult to switch into, and it only being OHKOed by really powerful attacks such as STAB Hydro Pump makes Piloswine a very difficult Pokéemon to deal with. With Piloswine's typing and Thick Fat, it makes a great switch-in to Regice without Focus Blast as well as Rotom-A that aren't using Will-O-Wisp. In essence, Piloswine is the very definition of a tank; it can deal excellent damage while taking hits exceptionally well. The utility that Piloswine possesses is sure to make this Pokémon popular for a long time to come.
Regice is renowned for its astoundingly high Special Defense. Despite having one of the worst defensive typings in the game, Regice still manages to be a competent wall, and has recently been showcased on a few teams by EBeast and Raseri. Special attacking Water-types are prominent in the NU metagame and Regice can easily tank even rain-boosted Hydro Pumps. Special attacking Water-types are not the only Pokémon Regice walls: Haunter, Exeggutor, Gardevoir, and most Electric-types easily fall to Regice. In clutch situations, Regice can even survive attacks from the likes of Charizard. Basically, Regice can wall anything that attacks from the special side that does not hit it super effectively. Regice lacks recovery and is easy to wear down, which is why it uses either RestTalk or Rest with Chesto Berry. Regice is also notable as a very effective paralysis spreader because it has fantastic bulk and scares away the Ground-types that are immune to Thunder Wave with STAB Ice Beam. Regice might have an awful defensive typing, but that is not preventing it from being an effective Pokémon in the NU tier that is climbing its way up to the top.
Rotom-F was set aside for other Choice Scarf Electric-types before, but now, it is starting to get used more and more. The facet of a 70% accuracy Blizzard was and still is unappealing, but you can just use Hidden Power Ice as a reliable Ice STAB attack. Sure it is not nearly as powerful as Blizzard, but remember: it is better to be safe than sorry. Rotom-F achieves near perfect coverage with Thunderbolt + Blizzard. It also boasts a better secondary STAB and resistance to Ice-type attacks over Rotom-S while losing a few trivial resistances. The lack of a Fighting-type resistance is annoying, but most Fighting-types could easily break through Rotom-S anyways. The Ice-type resistance is especially helpful in the current NU metagame with all of the rising offensive Ice-type stars such as Piloswine. It also helps Rotom-F act as a solid catch-all Electric-type answer as most use Hidden Power Ice for coverage. Choice Scarf is not Rotom-F's only calling; Choice Specs and SubSplit Rotom-F are also very effective. Rotom-F is slowly but steadily increasing in usage in NU and is sure to be much more common in the upcoming days.
The adorable Ampharos has carved an interesting niche for itself in NU. Offensive Ampharos sets have been deemed usable, but mediocre and mostly outclassed by Eelektross by quite a few users. However, a specially defensive set, discovered by DTC during his NUzlocke challenge, is where Ampharos truly shines. Ampharos turns into an effective pivot and supporting Pokémon with useful support moves such as Thunder Wave, Heal Bell, Reflect, Rain Dance, and Light Screen. Ampharos really only needs to use two attacking moves: Thunderbolt or Volt Switch and Hidden Power Ice. The other two moveslots can be used for the supporting move of your choice. Ampharos has enough special bulk to reliably switch into most special attackers in the NU tier, including the likes of Ludicolo. Unfortunately, Ampharos is easy to wear down, but it is a pretty solid Pokémon overall despite that.
Despite tri-monthly tier shifts not impacting the tier much, NU drastically changes over the course of a few weeks. There are plenty of Pokémon in the depths of NU that are yet to be discovered. New, effective sets are also constantly being discovered. Some Pokémon will be suspected soon; Braviary is the most notorious culprit. Get involved in the NU tier and try to get on the rotating council; it is a fun tier filled with surprises!
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