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Coming up with new and exciting sets and discovering (or rediscovering) usable Pokémon is one of my favorite things to do in competitive Pokémon. And almost no tier allows for more creativity in set-making than RU. Hail has just recently been re-thrown into the mix due to its unbanning from UU, and with it a whole lot of innovation has surfaced to take advantage of it. There's nothing wrong with using the bog-standard, but sometimes you have to go out on a limb and try something new in order to make a successful team. Below are some new sets that have popped up recently that have really proven that a little spin on the standard can go a long way in creating an awesome team.
Glaceon @ Leftovers
Ability: Ice Body
EVs: 8 HP / 248 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Hidden Power Ground
With the reintroduction of hail into the lower tiers, a lot of people's first reaction was to break out the big guns again and start blasting people with a perfectly accurate Blizzard. Almost no other Pokémon exemplifies this more than Glaceon with its absolutely massive base 130 Special Attack stat. A Choice Specs-boosted Blizzard from Glaceon is truly something to behold. However, that is not the only route our ice vixen is able to take under hail.
In comes the horrifyingly annoying SubProtect Glaceon. Thanks to the combination of Leftovers and Ice Body, it only takes Glaceon two turns to recover the health it lost from a use of Substitute, meaning it becomes a lean, mean, stalling machine should it get in safely and throw up a Substitute. While it is still vulnerable to entry hazards, phazing, and Toxic (particularly from Toxic Spikes), it still comes packing a devastatingly strong Blizzard, and can easily stall the likes of Poliwrath out of Circle Throw PP by cycling Substitute and Protect. This set is particularly deadly versus stall teams, as they typically lack the firepower or speed to take out Glaceon before it can set up a Substitute to start its stalling tactics. The last slot is dedicated to Hidden Power Ground, which gives Glaceon a good amount of coverage against Aggron, Qwilfish, Lanturn, Entei, and other Fire-types.
Cresselia @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Sunny Day
- Thunder Wave
Not even Cresselia has been able to come out of the reintroduction of hail unscathed. Hail is particularly interesting when considering Cresselia, as it cuts Moonlight's effectiveness in half and cancels out Leftovers recovery, making it that much easier for Dark- and Bug-types to take her out. However, Cresselia is able to easily turn the tides of battle in not only her, but her whole team's favor, with a single move in Sunny Day. While this may seem like an overreaction to hail, it actually has some other awesome benefits in the increased recovery she gains from Moonlight, as well as the increased power of Fire-type attacks.
The beauty of carrying Sunny Day on Cresselia is twofold: the last slot is mostly filler in most cases anyway, being typically left for a weak coverage move; and, Snover is typically used as a lead on hail teams, meaning it'll likely be gone after the first few turns and with it the hail it brought once you use Sunny Day. This is extremely crippling to most hail teams as they now can no longer spam Blizzard worry-free, and Fire-type moves are that much more threatening under sun. It should be expressed that Sunny Day Cresselia does NOT have to be used on a full sun team; in fact, it's not even recommended or necessary to have any Pokémon on the team that benefit directly from the sun. Sunny Day is first and foremost there to further cripple the enemy team. The rest of the moveset is the standard support Cresselia. Thunder Wave is great for crippling the enemy team, particularly the aforementioned Dark- and Bug-types.
Gallade @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 212 SpD / 44 Spe
Careful Nature (+SpD, -SpA)
- Drain Punch
- Night Slash / Stone Edge
Generally, Gallade is seen playing an offensive role on most teams, usually as either a Swords Dance or Bulk Up sweeper, with the occasional Choice Band or Choice Scarf set thrown into the mix. However, many people fail to realize that Gallade has the handy combination of Will-O-Wisp and Taunt available, backed by quite a massive base 115 Special Defense stat. Gallade even has a relatively decent base 80 Speed, which, although far from stellar, still easily allows Gallade to outspeed a multitude of threats in RU. Gallade doesn't have the greatest array of resistances on the table, nor does it have the boon of reliable recovery outside of Drain Punch, but it's still capable of pulling off this set exceptionally well, being able to single-handedly demolish most stall teams, and even a decent amount of unprepared bulky offense teams. Gallade has several advantages over other RU stallbreakers as well—most notably the fact that there are literally zero Pokémon on most standard stall templates in the tier capable of handling it, to the point where it often goes completely under the radar, unlike standard stallbreakers, such as Drapion and Sigilyph, that are always faced with ridiculous amounts of preparation against them. Gallade also has the ability to check a number of relatively significant offensive threats, such as Typhlosion, while individually destroying most hail offense and stall, a feat that no other stallbreaker can boast.
The core of the set is naturally formed by Taunt and Will-O-Wisp, the brutal combination crippling the vast majority of common Gallade switch-ins. Drain Punch is the best available STAB option for the set, while also giving Gallade a bit of recovery, as it would otherwise be fairly easy to wear down. Gallade's last moveslot is somewhat team dependent, although Night Slash is usually the best option, hitting Ghost- and Psychic-types for solid amounts of damage, and notably allowing Gallade to beat Slowking, Rotom, and Cresselia. Stone Edge is another viable option, hitting the Fire-types, such as Entei and Moltres, that Gallade is incapable of burning. Gallade's EVs are fairly simple, with just enough Speed to outrun minimum Speed Qwilfish and Cresselia, and the rest placed in HP and Special Defense in order to better handle the more specially offensive Pokémon that Gallade can't cripple through Will-O-Wisp.
Entei @ Leftovers
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Sleep Talk
- Lava Plume
- Calm Mind / Roar
When Entei is brought up, the first thoughts that come to mind are usually its incredible Attack stat and one of the most powerful Flare Blitzes in RU. Or perhaps what comes to mind is the dreadfully powerful Calm Mind Entei, capable of luring in and eliminating common switch-ins one by one. It's commonplace for players to look at Entei and skim past its very solid 115 / 85 / 75 defenses without giving them a second thought, opting instead for a more offensive set. Despite being overlooked, defensive Entei is perfectly viable. It solidly sets up against many of the Pokémon that commonly check offensive Entei, such as defensive Slowking and Cresselia, while being capable of completely ripping through many teams late-game as they fail to leave a dent in Entei's boosted defenses. Pressure is really just the icing on the cake, making it possible for Entei to literally PP stall entire teams while the opponent watches Entei just boost its offense and defense higher and higher, their attacks draining away turn after turn. Certain playstyles—for example, hail offense and pretty much every type of RU stall—are completely demolished by Entei, being unable to do more than scratch it while it thoroughly eviscerates them.
Rest and Sleep Talk form the core of the set, and while they are far from being completely reliable recovery, they're effective enough to give Entei the turns it needs to do some damage. Lava Plume is the STAB option of choice for this set, due to the 30% burn chance it offers, which can be just what Entei needs to successfully stall out many of the physical attackers in the tier. Finally, the last moveslot really depends on the sort of role Entei is playing on the team. Calm Mind is generally the better choice, what with the fact that it can actually let Entei sweep through entire teams with minimal support. Roar, on the other hand, can allow Entei to serve as one of the most effective counters to a number of threatening Pokémon in the tier. Entei's EVs should be dependent on whether or not it's using Calm Mind or Roar in its last moveslot, with 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD being the most effective spread when using Calm Mind, and either that spread or 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpD being the most useful EV setup when using Roar.
Piloswine @ Eviolite
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Ice Shard
- Stone Edge
Until very recently, Piloswine in general simply wasn't considered very effective in RU, instead residing happily in the midst of NU. Snow Warning being unbanned from all the tiers below OU gave Piloswine its chance to shine—however, not because it could particularly take advantage of hail itself, but because hail teams simply can't effectively get past it at all. In addition, Piloswine is a very effective switch-in to a number of common Pokémon in RU, and is capable of checking a variety of significant metagame threats such as Moltres and Manectric, not to mention utterly demolishing literally every Ice-type hail abuser in the tier. The key to Piloswine's success is its ability, Thick Fat, essentially making it resistant to Ice-type attacks and making Fire-type attacks neutral against it. This, in conjunction with access to Stealth Rock, priority, and excellent dual STABs (that are unresisted when paired with Stone Edge!) makes Piloswine quite the threatening Pokémon.
Piloswine's moveset can be tailored significantly depending on the team, but usually the above set is the most effective. Piloswine finds lots of downtime to set up Stealth Rock, so it's an excellent use of a moveslot. Earthquake is Piloswine's strongest STAB option, and hits a good portion of the RU tier for solid damage when coupled with Ice Shard. Finally, Stone Edge is usually the most effective option for Piloswine's last moveslot, notably hitting Moltres, Rotom-F, and Glaceon. Other viable options include Icicle Crash, although it's fairly redundant with Ice Shard, which is usually the better Ice-type STAB. Piloswine's EVs can also be tailored quite a bit, but max HP and Attack are very efficient, letting Piloswine survive ridiculously powerful attacks such as a Life Orb Moltres Fire Blast handily if need be, while also dishing out very powerful attacks in return.
In the constantly shifting lower tiers, a spark of creativity can spring up in an instant and lead to something that becomes a standard and common set, something capable of even completely redefining the tier. It's never going to be worth it to allow that spark to flicker and die, so instead take it and nourish it, make the most of it, and don't be afraid to innovate! What could one day be seen as a strange and novel set at best, or even complete and utter foolishness at worst, could eventually end up being a set that leaves a massive impact on the metagame. Don't be afraid to take a strange new idea to the ladder, bring it up in a discussion, or even open a thread about it in C&C—with enough determination, it can only lead to success!
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