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Overused, while the most premier metagame in the Smogon tier curriculum, is sadly also one of the most standard and boring of them all. For the most part, the teams you will most commonly see will be composed of the standard and conventional sets that are on the front page of every analysis and RMT. But, what if the metagame was more creative and un-conventional? What if all the bog standard sets and Pokémon would be used a bit less, and the creative ones a bit more? Although the standard sets are not bad by any means, it is fun to try new things and surprise your opponent. Just because a set is standard does not mean it's bad, but creativity is what makes the metagame go round, making new influxes of Pokémon and sets that claim their fame as the "new" standard. These listed sets below are tailored to the current metagame and all perform very well in it. So take a step back from your standard fare and get in on the new concoctions that do just as well!
Scolipede @ Bug Gem
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
- Pursuit / Toxic Spikes
When you think of Scolipede, you hardly think of anti-metagame or even remotely good. If you take the plain look at it, it appears outclassed in every single way. Spiker? We have Deoxys-D who not only can set up Stealth Rock, but also cripple threats with Thunder Wave and Taunt. Offensive Bug Sweeper? We already have Rock Polish Genesect and Swords Dance Scizor to cover that role with their much better movepool and offensive typing and stats. So what niche could Scolipede possibly have in this metagame? Quite a few, actually. Scolipede can provide both Spikes and Toxic Spikes for your team, giving offensive teams great early hazard support. Scolipede also defeats one of the most dangerous hazard setting leads in the metagame. A Bug Gem-boosted Megahorn will always OHKO 252 HP Deoxys-D no matter what. With the huge popularity burst in Deoxys-D Hyper Offensive teams, Scolipede finds a great role in eliminating these troubling aliens early on. This gives you an early advantage by preventing hazards from ever coming up. Scolipede also has access to Earthquake and Pursuit, giving it decent coverage when coming to its move selection. Earthquake allows it to damage and revenge kill Pokémon like Terrakion, while Pursuit and Megahorn can fool around with your opponent's Latias or Latios thanks to its exceptionally high Speed. Toxic Spikes can be used over Pursuit, but for the most part it is rather ineffective in this metagame due to the sheer portion of it that resists it, while Pursuit can function well as a way to trap Gengar and the Lati twins.
Scolipede doesn't need any real teammate support, but it excels on teams that dislike Deoxys-D offense or need hazard support in the form of Spikes. Sweepers such as Haxorus, Latios, Terrakion, and Rock Polish Genesect all appreciate hazards, which Scolipede handily provides. Scolipede doesn't need much team support itself, as it is more of a team player than a sweeper. However, spinblockers such as Gengar will help keep the hazards down on the field for a long time by preventing the Rapid Spin.
Lucario @ Life Orb
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
- Close Combat
- Ice Punch
Lucario was one of the most dangerous sweepers in BW1 with its deadly and powerful Swords Dance set. But with the introduction of BW2 came threats like Genesect, Landorus-T, and Keldeo. Genesect is a fantastic counter to Lucario due to its resistance to all priority moves the Swords Dance set has, as well as its lack of Speed. It looks like all doom and gloom for Lucario, but not for long! This set introduces a new setup move instead of Swords Dance or Nasty Plot. That move is Agility. Agility grants Lucario a huge boost in Speed, giving it a Speed advantage over Genesect and Scarf Keldeo with ease. Lucario no longer has to worry about losing due to its resisted priority and solid attacking prowess with Life Orb in hand. Lucario makes the best out of its solid movepool with this set. Close Combat is for the obvious powerful STAB move to defeat Genesect and Keldeo along with other threats in its way. Ice Punch gives it the ability to break through Gliscor and Dragons with ease, while also managing to hit Tornadus-T and Thundurus-T, who can comfortably take its other two moves. Crunch is the final move and lets it hit threats like Jellicent, Gengar, and the Lati twins slightly harder.
This set needs Stealth Rock to work, so a Stealth Rock setter is an absolute must on a team that includes Lucario. Spikes support is also very valuable as it helps grants some extra KOs as well. With Stealth Rock, Lucario can always guarantee the elimination of Genesect, and with Stealth Rock + Spikes on the field, Scarf Keldeo will also easily be eliminated by Close Combat. Some fantastic partners for this set are Deoxys-D, Taunt Lead Terrakion, and Heatran, all of which can confidently set up Stealth Rock or Spikes with ease. Deoxys-D excels here especially, granting a huge hazard advantage early game. Dragons such as Latios, Dragonite, Garchomp, and Salamence also do fantastic on a team with this Lucario. Not only do they have very good synergy, but Lucario's ability to eliminate Genesect with this set is fantastic, and grants all these Dragons free leeway on most offensive teams once Genesect is gone.
Zapdos @ Leftovers
EVs: 248 HP / 76 Def / 184 SDef
- Heat Wave
- Hidden Power Ice / Substitute
Zapdos has been out of the spotlight for awhile now. Since the ending days of DP, Zapdos lost its OU status and fell down into the depths of Underused along with other former stars such as Flygon and Swampert. But unlike the others, Zapdos actually has some great niches in this metagame that no other Pokémon can fill. Zapdos can destroy some of the strongest threats in the metagame today. Tornadus-T is helpless against Zapdos, as thanks to the solid Special Defense stat it holds, it has no fear coming into a resisted Hurricane. Zapdos can also handily take care of Genesect, not fearing any move aside from a boosted Ice Beam, easily sponging U-turns as it flees. Zapdos can also handle Rain Offense, a common playstyle due to rain's recent buffs as of BW2. The set gives Zapdos solid coverage, allowing it to nail Steel-types hard with Zapdos's strong Specal Attack stat, while Thunderbolt is a solid STAB move for all intents and purposes. Hidden Power Ice is mainly used to catch incoming Dragons on the switch, such as Garchomp and Latios. Substitute can be used to gain defensive momentum by giving it a shield allowing it to freely Roost or attack against the opposing team. The EVs are used to give it a strong Special Defense stat and HP, while giving it some leftover physically defensive investments to take weaker physical attacks.
Zapdos performs well with more bulky oriented or stallish teams than all-out offensive builds due to the slower nature of the set. Zapdos appreciates Rapid Spin support through Starmie or Tentacruel thanks to solid shared synergy, both being able to sponge Ice attacks that Zapdos has trouble with, along with taking Stealth Rock off the field for good so Zapdos has a lot less pressure on it when coming in. Any bulky offensive team that needs a solid counter to Tornadus-T will appreciate Zapdos in their arsenal. Zapdos, however, shines quite well with other Steel-types, such as Jirachi and Genesect, who can handle the strong Dragons that Zapdos can't.
Landorus-T @ Muscle Band / Leftovers
EVs: 76 HP / 252 Atk / 180 Spe
- Swords Dance
- Rock Polish
- Stone Edge
Landorus-T is commonly viewed as a bulky pivot that can set up Stealth Rock and gain momentum through U-turn. The sweeping part is typically done by his other forme, Landorus. However, Landorus-T has one huge thing going for it: its sky-high Attack stat. With Intimidate in hand, it can set up in the face of a plethora of physical threats. These include unboosted Scarf Salamence, Dragonite, and Terrakion. Landorus-T can easily get a Rock Polish set up and destroy entire teams through its offensive strength. Offensive teams will often struggle against this set after a Rock Polish thanks to the strong attacking power it has. It also has solid coverage along with great Defense to take most priority move comfortably aside from an Ice Shard. Swords Dance is oriented towards slower and more defensive teams in which it can break through walls after +2. Even strong physical tanks such as Hippowdon and Skamory fear this beast after +2, being 2HKOed rather easily. The item choice is dependent on if you want more power though Muscle Band or Leftovers recovery. Muscle Band gives you a bit more power and allows an immediate Rock Polish to be more threatening, while Leftovers gives you frequent recovery to heal up slightly between turns.
Landorus-T needs Stealth Rock to give it the best offensive prowess possible to earn KOs, especially when dealing with more offensive teams where you usually only manage to get a Rock Polish. Ferrothorn is a fantastic candidate for this job, being able to defeat bulky Rotom-W who can put a stop to this set, even after a Swords Dance. Latias also does a great job as it can easily defeat the bulky Water-types that can otherwise put a stop to Landorus-T. Breloom can also be a fantastic partner due to rather solid shared synergy and the ability to cripple and soften up walls that could otherwise be a danger for Landorus-T, putting them to sleep or into KO range.
No matter what the metagame is like, there will always be room for creativity. Most of the standard sets today were actually new and unexpected back when they were introduced, turning them into novelties almost for when they were the outsiders of the metagame. Most people will not expect the newly introduced sets, and they will serve as a solid option with surprise and effectiveness at the same time. After trying out these sets, take a stab at your own ideas, as there is no limit to the viability of the many options of what is capable of performing well in the metagame. With the constantly newly introduced Pokémon and moves that came in with Black & White 2, there is still plenty of room for new things, and it is up to you to discover what they are!
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