NFEs in NU

By Joim. Art by ium.
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If you ever played the Neverused metagame, you already know it's a very special tier. If you don't, well, now you know! NU has a wide plethora of Pokémon, second only to Little Cup with 202 of them. Of course, NU is not limited to that amount of Pokémon, as one may find any NFE and LC Pokémon in an NU match at any given time! While NU has a lot of fully evolved Pokémon unable to find a suitable spot in the tiers above, there's a lot of NFEs that find their home in this great tier and take a comfortable spot, with some emulating their bigger brothers and others being unique on their own, providing a special niche to the NU metagame. If you ever thought NFEs are useless, get ready to be proven wrong!

The children that take up after their parents

As if NU was the kindergarten of OU, among the most common NU Pokémon we find a bunch of NFEs that act like little imitations of their parents, like the kid that dreams of following in his father steps. They might not hold their own in the OU metagame and they might not look as dangerous as some famous NFEs such as Chansey, Gligar, or Porygon2, but they are Pokémon to be seriously taken; the toddlers are growing up and the big kids are stepping up their game. This is no child's play!


Everyone knows Gengar as the OU troll. You probably have had to suffer its famous SubDisable set; you might even have had trolled a team with it. Haunter does not disappoint for those more in touch with its big bro; it's as fast, powerful, and frail as Gengar. It has a great advantage, though: NU lacks decent special walls, and Haunter can abuse Lickilicky and Audino with a well placed Substitute, should it run that move. Moreover, the lack of Steel-types in NU allow it to use its powerful double STAB, hitting a lot of foes hard. If you are slow, you will probably not survive two hits from it. Get your fast Dark-types ready, ladies and gentlemen, because Haunter is going to trouble your team for sure. While its dad uses mainly the SubDisable set, Haunter uses a stellar Life Orb set which can tear teams into shreds. Practically no Pokémon can freely switch in, since most will be seriously hurt by its powerful attacks; and once it's taken some hints, it will take one last foe with him with Destiny Bond. While its SubDisable set is known and nowadays trainers know how to work around it, the offensive approach of Life Orb is refreshing and can trouble even the most experienced NU players.

Haunter @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Destiny Bond / Substitute
- Shadow Ball
- Sludge Bomb
- Hidden Power Ground / Pain Split

If you need a more perfect coverage, you can always run Hidden Power Fighting; however, Hidden Power Ground is a better option to deal with Skuntank and Sludge Bomb is really powerful. Mainly, anything Gengar can do Haunter can, but it shines mostly with the SubDisable set. Destiny Bond will let you pass through Skuntank in either set, preferably using the Life Orb one. Many players have used Haunter in different sets, one that strikes almost as trollish as Gengar's SubDisable is the Choice Scarf set, which uses Trick, Destiny Bond, and STAB moves. It can outspeed common scarfers, revenges top threat Ludicolo, and makes useless a defensive Pokémon. But that's not everything, Haunter is really a star in NU and it's very flexible, you can as well run a SubWisp set, burning all common physical attacking threats, destroy everything with Choice Specs with its two STAB moves and two coverage moves, even a more defensively oriented SubSplit set that will use Substitute to protect it from damage and Pain Split to both damage and get health back. All in all, Haunter is a star NFE.


Haxorus's son does not have the best attack available in NU, and he's pretty underrated for that reason; however, he's the most powerful NU Dragon, boasting access to Dragon Dance, powerful Dragon-type moves, and Fighting-type coverage in the form of Low Kick, an excellent move. Additionally, he can use Aqua Tail to deal with dangerous opponents like Golurk. All in all, Fraxure does not fail to live up to his expectations.

Fraxure is most well known for its Dragon Dance set, it can set up with Taunt or Normal-types scared of Low Kick, becoming a very dangerous sweeper very fast with a very good bulk:

Fraxure @ Eviolite
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Dragon Dance
- Outrage
- Low Kick
- Taunt / Substitute

After one Dragon Dance, it's ready to Taunt other dangerous setup sweepers like Musharna and deal heavy Outrage blows. It can also set up on Grass-, Electric-, and Water-type moves that hit it for little damage to get ready to party. You can also run Substitute instead of Taunt, force a switch and use that turn to use a Dragon Dance. If you want to be more offensive or you need an instant heavy hitter, you might as well use its Choice Band set, using the superb coverage of Outrage, Superpower, and Aqua Tail.


Conkeldurr's little brother takes after it and does quite well in the Normal-type plagued NU environment, despite being a bit overshadowed by Sawk. It's bulkier than it looks; in fact, it's able to take about any unboosted neutral attack in the tier, even some super effective ones! It can even take Choice Scarf Braviary's and unboosted unstatused Swellow's Brave Bird! Gurudurr boasts an excellent priority attack, Mach Punch, which is extremely valuable in NU. Moreover, its bulk and power can be boosted at once with Bulk Up, allowing it to tank physical hits and answer with very strong Drain Punch or Ice Punches. In fact, it's so similar to Conkeldurr that it's living an alike situation, while Conkeldurr is struggling now in OU, Gurdurr is doing so in NU, which is plagued by Psychic-types who ruin its day, and you will most likely find at least one on most teams. That's been its downfall as of lately. The everpresent Musharna can set up on it and easily dispatch it within the blink of an eye. However, that's also a positive side, since it can be part of a very solid team core alongside Musharna and Skuntank. Despite its bulky physical attacker orientation, it can successfully both spread Toxic amongst opponents and take incoming status thanks to Guts.

Gurdurr mainly uses his Bulk Up set, which has proven very effective thus far:

Gurdurr @ Eviolite
Ability: Guts
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Bulk Up
- Mach Punch
- Drain Punch
- Ice Punch

However, the less used and underrated SubPunch Gurdurr can dish high amounts of damage if there are no Ghost-types on the field. Gurdurr can scare off some Normal-types that would fall against its Drain Punch to set up a Subtitute and then proceed to Focus Punch the switch-in in its face, dealing a high amount of damage. Since Gurdurr has access to Guts, a very good status absorbing ability, it can use Facade to a decent extent, getting that Liepard's Thunder Wave or Misdreavus' Will-O-Wisp and being able to deal huge damaging Facades to non Ghost-types. Moreover, he has access to the elemental punches and even utility moves like Low Sweep, which lowers Speed, and Force Palm, which might paralyze foes.


If you are an old school player, you might remember Tangela being fairly useless out of the niche of trying to counter Exeggutor. If you are aware of the NU metagame, you might know Amoonguss totally eclipsed our little... herb thingy... friend. Well, no more, as Amoonguss has been forced to leave NU to now plague the lands of RU with its Spore, so it's time for Tangela to shine, having access to Renegerator as well, plus an impressive Defense stat boosted by Eviolite. In fact, its Defense is so impressive, it's not even OHKOd by CB Emboar's Flare Blitz, a Pokemon that was so monstrously powerful it's now RU:

Do you fear Braviary?

Fear not.
An unboosted Gurdurr? No, it simply will fail:

Top threat Sawk can barely scratch it:

Tangela @ Eviolite
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Giga Drain
- Leech Seed
- Synthesis / Sleep Powder
- Hidden Power Ice

That's right, it has access to Regenerator and Synthesis.

The contraries

As we all know, a lot of teenagers are rebellious and try to get themselves distant from their folks in an attempt to be different. This is the case of the following NFEs; they decided their best role in the NU metagame is vastly different from that of their daddies.


The little swine does not work as its dad Mamoswine; in fact, it's an incredible sturdy tank that can take many hits! It does pretty well in the current meta, dealing high damage with Icicle Spear, which breaks Substitutes, despite its tankish nature. Its problem is the presence of Sawk and Gurdurr, and bulky Water-types like Alomomola, but it has access to a priority move, Ice Shard, which always comes in handy. It's incredible bulky and helps offensive teams dealing with dangerous electric Pokémon such as Rotom-C, opposing hazard setters, other bulky opposing foes as Regice, and more! It can even counter Sawsbuck with its impressive physical bulk, which comes in handy since it's Fighting-type weak.

Piloswine @ Eviolite
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Atk / 16 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Earthquake
- Icicle Spear / Icicle Crash
- Ice Shard

It is able to run a more offensive oriented set with Choice Band or using Life Orb like its progenitor, but the tank set is easily its best.


This little Dragon-type hidden in a shell rivals Tangela in the Defense department, but it has a better typing, even though it lacks HP, Special Defense, and Speed. Salamence's son takes the defensive route and it's able to use a RestTalk with Outrage and DD set that does amazingly well, even though the set requires lucky players to use it, of course. After a couple of Dragon Dances, it'll be wrecking with the lucky Sleep Talked Outrage. Shelgon also has a very nice trait: it is one of the few reliable phazers with access to Roar; furthermore, it can use Wish to heal teammates, even though its Wishes aren't as great as Alomomola's.

Shelgon @ Eviolite
Ability: Overcoat
EVs: 252 HP / 20 Atk / 236 Def
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Dragon Dance
- Outrage
- Rest
- Sleep Talk
Shelgon @ Eviolite
Ability: Rock Head
EVs: 252 HP / 236 Def / 20 SpD
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Wish
- Protect
- Roar / Toxic
- Dragon Claw


Vigoroth is a very interesting Pokémon, since its evolution is a slacking dad who resides with it in the same basement, NU, and it's arguably worse. With an ability much better and impressive bulk with Eviolite; it's able to absorb sleep and survive a Guts-boosted Zangoose's Close Combat, and moreover is able to OHKO it back. It is able to set up on a lot of NU common Pokémon, can heal itself with Slack Off, and proves to be a real threat when played well. All in all, a very underrated NFE that can turn the tides.

Vigoroth @ Eviolite
Ability: Vital Spirit
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Bulk Up
- Body Slam / Return
- Slack Off
- Taunt
Vigoroth @ Eviolite
Ability: Vital Spirit
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Toxic
- Slack Off
- Return

It can run Return instead of Body Slam, but the paralyzing chance is worth the power given its Attack stat. Earthquake and Brick Break are available for coverage options, with Sucker Punch to hit Ghost-types, but Body Slam already hits really hard. Vigoroth's options do not end there, since it can run a very good Stallbreaker set with Taunt and Toxic, being able to steamroll over defensive teams thanks to its bulk, Slack Off, and still powerful Return.


The famous LC crow does not disappoint in NU either. Vastly different from its evolution, it is well known for Prankster, the nightmare ability for all NU players. While its bulk is not really high, the ability to priority Recover alone deserves it a peak position on most dangerous threats. Furthermore, using FeatherDance makes it a very good physical wall, being able to take on Fighting- and Normal-types and Brave Bird them in return.

Murkrow @ Eviolite
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def/ 8 SpD
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- FeatherDance
- Brave Bird
- Roost
- Taunt / Substitute

With this set, Murkrow becomes a scary physical wall, able to take on Sawk thanks to its STAB Brave Bird. Thanks to priority Taunt it can take on Musharna and Tangela too, being able to defeat them with Brave Bird and Roost. Additionally, it can run a Perish Trap set with Perish Song and Mean Look, which is really troublesome for most NU walls, as they can't hope to take down Murkrow in the turns it requires to set up the trap, since it can alternate Protect and Roost to keep itself healthy.

The overlooked ones

In a metagame with so many Pokémon fighting for a slot, a lot of decent Pokémon get neglected for various reasons, even though they could fulfill a niche pretty well.


It looks like a tiny Alakazam and has impressive Special Attack and Speed stats, and thanks to Magic Guard, no passive damage can break its Focus Sash. It laughs at hazards, which are common in NU, and despite competing with Gardevoir with a team slot, it can be a dreaded offensive presence. Its main problem is that its defenses are paper thin and foes like Regice and Murkrow can take it out. It is very fast, it hits really hard, and it has a great ability; its only downside is that it's incredibly frail, but Kadabra is not meant to take hits, it's meant to take down as much Pokémon as possible before fainting.

Kadabra @ Focus Sash
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Psychic
- Signal Beam
- Hidden Power Ground
- Encore


Despite its great physical bulk, typing, and ability, Misdreavus disappoints in its lack of recovery, offenses, and a little in Speed; it's too slow to use a boosting set and too weak to defeat the Rapid Spin users, so it's not really an option to play the uncommon spinblocker role in NU. Its main set uses Will-O-Wisp, Heal Bell, and Pain Split, which are useful moves, and it can act as a physical wall, but common Fire-types such as Charizard defeats it with ease. However, it can run Taunt to easily put an abrupt halt to defensive teams, and it's able to stop both slower threats and Fighting-types, which includes the ever-so-common Sawk, a top NU threat, which is something important for any team.

Misdreavus @ Eviolite
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 Spe
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Shadow Ball
- Will-O-Wisp / Toxic
- Pain Split
- Taunt / Heal Bell

Misdreavus can run Perish Song in its moveset too, helping it deal with Duosion, something that every stall team should be able to accomplish. The move itself is a great for stall teams, as it makes the opposing team switch to take more hazard damage.


Metang is a cool kid and it has a decent ability and moves, but it's often overlooked because it loses to Stealth Rock setters and its low offensive presence, but it is seriously underrated in the sense that it can check Normal-, Flying-, Ice-, and even Psychic-types alone. In a metagame where Musharna and Gardevoir are sometimes single-handedly dishing out pain and humiliation to full teams, having a guy that can check them and stop their party is a good enough reason to consider Metang for any team. Don't hope for it to sweep, though.

Metang @ Eviolite
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
- Meteor Mash
- Reflect / Light Screen / Rest
- Toxic / Rest

Screens are helpful for the whole team and help Metang take hits better. Rest could be used too if you pair it with a Heal Bell user, ensuring that it will be awake when it needs to take hits again.

NFEs that fail to live up to their expectations

Sometimes, offspring go astray and don't do as well as expected. NU has a huge amount of NFEs, so it's only obvious that not all of them can be as good as their parents in their respective metagames. Some NFEs simply don't cut it, not even in NU; they are not reliable, they don't have a clear niche, and they are situational at best. These are the spoiled kids of NU.


While one would expect a Shadow Tag user to be exceptional, it is not really used much even in Neverused. While it used to trap the Alomoonguss core, Amoonguss is now gone; however, it can still trap Alomomola and Thunderbolt it to oblivion to clear the way for a physical sweeper. Gothorita has two ways of playing: trap a defensive Pokémon and set up on it to then procceed to sweep; or a fast, strong Choice item trapper that kills or Tricks Choice item into a Pokémon crippling it.

Gothorita @ Eviolite
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 172 HP / 252 SpA / 84 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Psychic
- Signal Beam / Taunt
- Calm Mind
- Rest
Gothorita @ Choice Specs / Choice Scarf
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Psychic
- Thunderbolt
- Signal Beam
- Trick

The first set allows you to outspeed Alomomola, shut down defensive Pokémon with Taunt, set up with Calm Mind and heal status and HP with Rest to then sweep with Psychic. This set needs Skuntank to be taken care of or to use Signal Beam instead of Taunt. The second set is used to trap and cripple, maim, or faint a Pokémon hastily. You can deal with Alomomola, Skuntank with Signal Beam, Fighting-types like Sawk or Gurdurr with this set.


Another poorly used NFE that takes after its parents: the cute jellyfish that's able to spinblock, and it does that surprisingly well. It's also the only NU Ghost-type with a reliable recovery move in Recover as an added asset, but there's a huge drawback to it: it has zero offensive presence bar Night Shade. Its best niche is using it on a stall team as a spinblocker, since it can defeat Torkoal and Armaldo and stops Samurott. It has fallen due to the departure of Emboar, since Frillish used to be its main counter, but now that that niche is gone, so is Frillish from usage.


The old school turtle is part of the NU department of spinners, whose main niche is using Foresight to make sure it will use Rapid Spin. However, it struggles to get a teamslot with Torkoal and Armaldo, mainly due to its puny offenses and lack of recovery, even though its bulk is pretty respectable. However, its offense is so terrible that it must choose either Scald to burn or Seismic Toss to deal some damage.


The Generation V Magneton. It has a decent bulk and, thanks to Shift Gear and its useful typing, it can easily set up to sweep on a major part of the metagame, but the common Sawk prevents it from seeing more usage. Furthermore, it lacks coverage moves, so its main niche is to break Substitutes with Gear Grind. While it used to be very good and used Amoonguss and Cinccino as set up bait, the tier shifts and the rise in popularity of Sawk and Piloswine has made it fall in disgrace, maybe to one day rise and and shine again.


While Dragonite has remained a good Pokémon throughout the generations, we can't say the same about its middle son. It has mediocre offenses, lack of reliable recovery, decent defenses with Eviolite, but no Multiscale, the ability that makes its father a reliable top OU Pokémon. It still can run a decent RestTalk set with Marvel Scale, but it's definitely not the best Dragon-type out there.


When you first look at the Scraggy evolution line, you think of one word: "badass". As happened to its daddy Scrafty in OU, Scraggy is not good enough in NU despite its cool looks. It has good bulk but mediocre Speed, and it has difficulties setting up. However, it shines for the mere fact that it beats Musharna, a top tier threat in NU. That alone is sometimes enough to grant him a slot on your team, but keep in mind it's difficult to succeed with it.


Hydreigon's physical attacking son has the second strongest Outrage in game, just after Kyurem-B. Its incredibly high Hustled Attack should grant it a place in a lot of teams, but its low Speed and poor accuracy drags it back. Who wants to have a strong Outrage that hits as much as Stone Edge, a move rarely seen in NU? Moreover, every other Pokémon in NU has a way to hit Zweilous super effectively. Sawk and Gurdurr can deal with it before it has a chance to use its fearsome Outrage.


Xatu's descendant has access to one of the best abilities in the game, Magic Bounce, but its stats are terribly low and its movepool options are outclassed by many other Pokémon. In fact, Natu is outclassed by most Psychic-types, being only able to use a dual screens set to some extent. Natu is further proof that a great ability can't make up for everything else sucking.


One would expect greatness from Blaziken's little offspring and think it'd be an excellent physical attacker, but, in fact, it is a special attacker, and a decent one, albeit not in its prime in the current metagame. Despite that, NU is a very physically-oriented metagame, and as such, special walls are lacking, as explained on Haunter; therefore, Combusken may shine with his ability to use several high Base Power special attacks. This chicken fears no one; it does not care even about the common Sucker Punch. He can even OHKO Audino and Miltank after Stealth Rock damage, but not everything is supporting it: its STAB moves have a dismal and discouraging accuracy. While it can hit super hard, it can fail several attacks in a row, shifting the match to your opponent's favor. No one likes missing four Focus Blasts in a row, giving free turns to your opponent to set up.

The forgotten, helpless NFEs

There's a bunch of NFE Pokemon that are rarely seen due to a variety of reasons. Good Pokémon such as Golbat are wrecked by the predominantly Psychic-type meta, and while it could show its worth, it rarely has the opportunity to do so, despite its great physical bulk given the correct EV spread. In the Water-types department, Seadra lacks what its father has: Dragon-typing. With the amount of bulky Water-types in NU and its lack of movepool, it sees itself often forgotten despite its ability to run a decent bulky tank set with its underestimated base 95 Special Attack; however, that Special Attack is not unheard of in NU. While Chandelure is a dangerous UU threat and might see itself in OU when Shadow Tag is released, Lampent has mediocre stats that don't help it much besides its high Special Attack. It can still work as a bulky pivot, but it really needs Shadow Tag—however, its stats might still drag it back, as it's still easily defeated with its puny bulk. Monferno is never heard of, even in NU. It has pauper bulk, subpar Speed that can't compete with the base 90s, and is outclassed by the other Fire-types in NU. We have Charizard, Camerupt, and Torkoal to use over it.


So, as you've seen, there's both a bunch of pretty good NFEs and some that aren't that great. The Pokémon world has a lot of variety in it, and while that applies to all metagames, NU might be the most colorful one, since it has many, many options, be it some fully evolved Pokémon or our beloved NFEs. Don't hesitate to use them just because they haven't grown up yet; they will not disappoint you.

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