Watch Your Step! Entry Hazard Laying in OU

By Superpowerdude. Art by ium.
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As any good competitive Pokémon player will tell you, entry hazards are very important, useful moves in a battle, and they fill a very vital role in achieving a team's game plan. Whether you have an offensive team that uses a suicide lead to get entry hazards up to aid sweepers or a stall team which uses phazing moves like Roar, entry hazards are your team's best friend. In the OU metagame, entry hazards are very deadly because of the scarce amount of viable Rapid Spinners, making it quite easy to use them to their fullest potential without the fear of them getting spun away. Stealth Rock is often regarded among competitive players as the single most important move in the game, and for good reason. Stealth Rock is an absolutely amazing move because of its ability to take 25% of health off any Pokémon with a Rock-type weakness; breaking Dragonite's Multiscale and halving Volcarona's health is also huge given how threatening they can be after a Dragon Dance or Quiver Dance, respectively. Spikes is also a very popular move due to it being very useful for offensive and defensive teams alike. Once three layers of Spikes are stacked, you deal 25% of health to any grounded Pokémon that switches in, which can be quite useful for turning 2HKOs into OHKOs for your Pokémon. Toxic Spikes is the last entry hazard, and once two layers are set up you badly poison any grounded Pokémon that isn't of the Poison-, or Steel-type. Watch out for Poison-types though, because they have the ability to absorb Toxic Spikes, forcing you to set them up again.

As you can see, the support that these entry hazards bring to the table is huge and can easily help any team—but just how do we use them? In this article, I will go through the most viable entry hazard users in the tier so you can start cluttering the battle field with sharp, pointy things.

The Hazard Users

Deoxys-D @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Stealth Rock
- Spikes
- Taunt
- Night Shade / Magic Coat

Deoxys-D has recently been discovered as one of the OU tier's most effective Pokémon, and surprisingly was UU earlier last year! It is a staple on a lot of hyper offense teams for its ability to pump out Stealth Rock and Spikes very quickly, utilizing its good speed until it faints. At this stage, Deoxys-D's teammates can avenge its ironically convenient death by utilizing the entry hazards it sets up to achieve a sweep. Deoxys-D is also one of the only hazard users to be able to effectively run two on one set (Stealth Rock and Spikes), which hyper offense teams definitely enjoy so they can use all the entry hazards they need without wasting teamslots. Deoxys-D's nice base 90 Speed makes it quite fast for a utility Pokémon, and a Pokémon that looks like a shield. This speed lets Deoxys-D set up entry hazards quickly, and Taunt lets it troll opposing hazard setters that want to shoot out their spiky stuff alongside Deoxys-D. Night Shade is good so Deoxys-D isn't complete Taunt fodder himself, being able to do a consistent 100 damage to the opponent, while Magic Coat lets Deoxys-D potentially bounce hazards and status back to the opponent, although it requires some prediction.

Forretress @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 176 Def / 80 SpD
Relaxed Nature (+Def, -Spe)
- Spikes / Stealth Rock / Toxic Spikes
- Rapid Spin
- Gyro Ball
- Volt Switch

Forretress is a god to anyone who has an entry hazard fetish, because it can set up Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes! While I definitely don't recommend using all three moves on the same set, you can pick the entry hazard that is most important to your team. Not only is Forretress a metal ball filled with sharp objects, poison barbs, and pointy stones, but he can also use the move Rapid Spin to get rid of all the hazards your opponent has set up. I can't possibly see how a Pokémon with base 40 Speed can spin around at a rapid pace, but I never complain because Forretress is one of the few Pokémon that can Rapid Spin effectively in OU. Gyro Ball is the preferred attacking move seeing as it gains STAB and can make use of Forretress's low Speed to make it quite powerful. Without Gyro Ball, Forretress would be complete setup fodder. Volt Switch lets Forretress act as a bulky pivot and escape Magnezone, the bane of all Steel-types except the mighty Heatran.

Tentacruel @ Black Sludge
Ability: Rain Dish
EVs: 252 HP / 236 Def / 20 Spe
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Toxic Spikes
- Rapid Spin
- Scald
- Protect

Before Black and White, no one would have ever thought that Tentacruel would be a viable spinner and the best Toxic Spikes user in the OU tier. This is because Tentacruel has a rather low Defense stat for a support Pokémon and is outclassed as a spinner by Starmie, Forretress, and Donphan. However, the evil grin on Tentacruel's face definitely means it's up to something, because in Black and White Politoed got the ability Drizzle and Tentacruel was released with Rain Dish. Now with Rain Dish and Black Sludge, Tentacruel gains 12.5% of health at the end of each turn and, combined with Protect, can gain a quarter of its health back for free! This makes it quite hard to take down and lets it set up Toxic Spikes and use Rapid Spin quite easily. In Black and White, it also received a very annoying addition to his arsenal; Scald and its 30% burn chance is why a lot of players want to rip out their hair when they see a Tentacruel on the battle field.

Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 252 HP / 88 Def / 168 SpD
Relaxed Nature (+Def, -Spe)
- Spikes
- Leech Seed
- Gyro Ball
- Protect / Stealth Rock / Power Whip

Ferrothorn is arguably the best hazard user in the OU tier. This is due to Ferrothorn's great mixed bulk (74 / 131 / 116), and good defensive Steel / Grass typing that resists the powerful Dragon- and Water-type moves found on pretty much every team. Ferrothorn is able to use Spikes and Stealth Rock, two awesome entry hazards, and Leech Seed, which gives it a method of recovery. A Gyro Ball coming off a 20 base Speed is surprisingly powerful, as is a 120 Base Power STAB move in Power Whip, making Ferrothorn harder to set up on than one might expect. Iron Barbs is also a pretty neat ability; Ferrothorn uses its thorny body to damage foes that attack it with a physical move. This can actually play out quite nicely if used on a spinner with low health, because if a Pokémon uses Rapid Spin and dies to Iron Barbs, the hazards Ferrothorn set up stay on the field!

Skarmory @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 Spe
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Spikes / Stealth Rock
- Roost
- Whirlwind
- Brave Bird

KACAW! Skarmory is a perfect example of a Pokémon that can set up entry hazards effectively and also capitalize on them. Firstly, our iron, poultry friend has a gargantuan base 140 Defense and the best defensive type in the game, Steel; this enables Skarmory to set up multiple layers of Spikes easily against physical attackers, or Stealth Rock if your team happens to lack a Stealth Rock user. Whirlwind could quite possibly be the coolest move in Skarmory's moveset. Not only does Whirlwind stop opponents from attempting to set up on Skarmory, but it also racks up entry hazard damage. Like all Pokémon worthy enough to be named a bird, Skarmory has to have the move Roost. With Roost, Skarmory can regain the health it lost setting up Spikes, letting it come in later on in the game to wall physical attackers and phaze Pokémon with Whirlwind.

Heatran @ Air Balloon
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Stealth Rock
- Fire Blast
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power Ice

Unlike a lot of Pokémon in this article, Heatran is quite offensive for a hazard user, and that's why it works brilliantly. With Heatran's great typing and good movepool, Heatran can cause a lot of switches, letting it often set up Stealth Rock unscathed. With Air Balloon, a 430 kg Heatran can apparently float above ground, trolling the Pokémon that attempt to exploit Heatran's 4x Ground-type weakness, which makes it even harder to hit super effectively. This can be helpful in giving Heatran more opportunities to set up Stealth Rock. As I mentioned earlier, Heatran is no slouch offensively, as the Lava Dome Pokémon has a great base 130 Special Attack to work with and a usable movepool of special moves such as Fire Blast, Earth Power, and Hidden Power Ice, which hit a lot of Pokémon super effectively.

Tyranitar @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature (+SpD, -Spe)
- Stealth Rock
- Pursuit
- Crunch
- Fire Blast

Tyranitar is one of the bulkiest users of Stealth Rock in the game and provides invaluable support in the form of Sand Stream. This ability deals 6.25% of damage to all non Steel-, Ground-, and Rock-types, while also giving Rock-types a nice boost in their Special Defense, making Tyranitar even harder to take down. With Fire Blast, Tyranitar can beat Steel-types that are trying to get their hazards up or trying to hit it hard with their Gyro Balls. Crunch and Pursuit are great moves to use to not only trap and KO Latias and Latios, but Starmie too. Being able to beat Starmie is great, seeing as Starmie almost always carries Rapid Spin. Stone Edge or Superpower can be used in the last slot to hit certain targets like Volcarona, but keep in mind you will have to change Tyranitar's nature to Careful so you don't get the drop in Speed.

Hippowdon @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 244 Def / 12 SpD
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Slack Off
- Earthquake
- Ice Fang / Whirlwind

Hippowdon is a very similar Pokémon to Tyranitar. After all, it sets up Stealth Rock reliably and has the Sand Stream ability, turning the battle field into an eternal sandstorm. Well, by eternal I mean until your opponent switches in their damn, stupid Politoed. However, while Tyranitar has massive special bulk, Hippowdon works in the opposite way by having unrivaled Defense. Hippowdon is also less offensive but makes up for it in utility options like Whirlwind, letting Hippowdon stop setup sweepers and rack up hazard damage. Hippowdon also has a great form of reliable recovery in Slack Off, healing 1/2 of the massive hippo's health. Earthquake is primarily there for a strong STAB move, and Ice Fang can be used to hit a lot of Dragon-types for 4x super effective damage like Dragonite, Salamence, and Garchomp.

Terrakion @ Focus Sash
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Close Combat
- Stone Edge
- Taunt / Swords Dance

Terrakion is a somewhat odd Pokémon to be using Stealth Rock. Before the BW2 move tutors, Terrakion only had two sets worth using really—the powerful Choice Band set, and the blazing fast Choice Scarf set, which both utilized Terrakion's superb coverage to their advantage. Because of this set's ability to bluff a Choice set, you can force your opponent to switch out of Terrakion, which makes its job of setting up Stealth Rock quite easy. Even if your opponent doesn't switch, with Focus Sash you are still guaranteed Stealth Rock if Terrakion hasn't taken any prior damage. Even with dedicating a moveslot to Stealth Rock and Taunt / Swords Dance, Terrakion has great coverage with Close Combat and Stone Edge, and can hit extremely hard. Taunt can be used to stop the opponent's set up attempts, and while Swords Dance can be hard to pull off with Terrakion having to set up Stealth Rock as well, if you succeed you can do serious damage to the opponent with your cool, little bull fella.

Mamoswine @ Focus Sash
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Endeavor
- Ice Shard
- Earthquake

Mamoswine is another Pokémon like Tentacruel; it's gained significant usage due to the release of Dream World abilities. Mamoswine is one of the most anti-metagame Pokémon, being able to hit a lot of new BW2 threats super effectively such as Tornadus-T, Thundurus-T, Landorus-T, Technician Breloom, Amoonguss, Sheer Force Landorus, etc. Mamoswine's STAB moves also have great coverage on the common sun teams, which is another reason why people love Mamoswine. As a Stealth Rock user, Mamoswine works in a very unorthodox way. With a Focus Sash, it is pretty much guaranteed that Mamoswine will get a layer of Stealth Rock up, and with Endeavor and Ice Shard, if used correctly, Mamoswine can also nab a cheap KO. Firstly, with Mamoswine's Ground / Ice typing, it is immune to both sandstorm and hail damage, so when its Focus Sash is intact it can't be wiped out by residual damage from weather. Endeavor brings the opponent down to the same health as Mamoswine, which after its Focus Sash is activated is 1 HP. Ice Shard has priority, so you can use it to pick off the 1 HP opponent even if it is faster then Mamoswine! Earthquake is pretty much there just for STAB and, despite being the most powerful move Mamoswine carries on the set, it is funnily the least important move.


So there you have it! 10 great Pokémon capable of using Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes effectively to place in some of your teams. I hope this article raises your interest in using these Pokémon, and I hope this encourages more players to use entry hazards. Seriously though, please use these moves; otherwise, I guess I can make a team based around Charizard without the fear of Stealth Rock. Or maybe even a team around Quiver Dance Butterfree? Just kidding, they're both terrible in OU.

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