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The second generation of Pokémon introduced many new elements that defined it and later generations. The Special stat from RBY was split into Special Attack and Special Defense, making the stats functionally similar to their physical counterparts. Two new types, Dark and Steel, were introduced, and the type effectiveness chart itself received several tweaks. Most of RBY's bugs were finally fixed, meaning Hyper Beam and Wrap were no longer good, but Roar and Whirlwind were suddenly useful. New, purely competitive moves were introduced, including Spikes, Baton Pass, Curse, Encore, and Perish Song. Most exciting of all was the addition of 100 new Pokémon into the metagame. While some have remained on the sidelines for generations afterwards and others were late bloomers, a select few shone brilliantly from GSC onward. Today, we'll take a look at the best "new" Pokémon of GSC.
With solid bulk, great mixed offenses, and a fantastic movepool, Tyranitar was a fairly versatile Pokémon in GSC. Defensively, 100 / 110 / 100 bulk is great, especially with Curse to boost its Defense further. It was an excellent phazer, capable of forcing out Fire Blast Snorlax, among others. Offensively, it was the best user of Pursuit, which allowed it to take out opposing Gengar and Exeggutor. Access to Rock Slide, DynamicPunch, Fire Blast, Crunch, Thunderbolt, Earthquake, and a plethora of other attacks gave it the ability to take down a wide variety of threats depending on what coverage it opted for.
Things just got better for Tyranitar in ADV, where it gained Dragon Dance as a boosting move. Sand Stream was a nifty ability that essentially negated the opponent's Leftovers, giving Tyranitar an easier time smashing through walls. The addition of Choice Band meant Tyranitar could be a powerful hitter without any setup, making it all the more ferocious. Focus Punch was a key fixture on the classic Tyraniboah set, though that's fallen out of favor in the current ADV metagame.
DPP was even kinder to Tyranitar, as sand now provided a 1.5x boost to Rock-types' Special Defense. Pursuit and Crunch became physical attacks, making Tyranitar even more effective at trapping and removing Ghosts and Psychics. Stone Edge was a much more powerful Rock-type STAB for Tyranitar than Rock Slide, and other new attacks like Superpower, Dark Pulse, and Aqua Tail were welcome additions as well. Stealth Rock was a nifty new support move for Tyranitar, though it usually stuck to more offensive sets in DPP. Choice Scarf was a fantastic new item for Tyranitar, giving it the ability to outspeed even Gengar and Starmie.
While Tyranitar hasn't changed much in BW, the metagame around it has. OU has become dominated by weather and highly offensive hard hitters; not surprisingly, Tyranitar makes itself right at home in this metagame. Its Choice Band set hits as hard as ever, while its Choice Scarf set now has a new target in Latios. It also effectively runs a specially defensive set, which allows it to reliably set up Stealth Rock and take out threats like Starmie and the aforementioned Latios. A key player in the weather wars and a top-notch threat to this day, Tyranitar has proven that it's one of those Pokémon that's just born to be OU.
With awesome bulk, a plethora of resistances, and no physical weaknesses, Skarmory was the definitive physical wall of GSC. Thanks to Whirlwind, it could easily come in on any purely physical attacker and phaze them out. Curse gave it the ability to boost its Defense even further, allowing it to tank hits from major threats like max Attack Snorlax and Marowak, which it could then force out with Whirlwind. Rest was its only healing option, but given its fantastic bulk and typing, it was a great move for Skarmory.
ADV buffed up Skarmory even further. Spikes was just what it needed to wreak havoc on opposing teams, and it was arguably the best for the role. Its ability to set up entry hazards and phaze, combined with its stellar bulk, made it an easy addition to many teams. Taunt was another boon, as it could prevent opposing Skarmory from setting up Spikes and block other walls from healing.
DPP brought Skarmory three new gifts. The first was Stealth Rock, which gave Skarmory yet another entry hazard it could set up. The second was Brave Bird, a far more powerful STAB than Drill Peck or Hidden Power Flying. The last and most important addition was Roost. Skarmory finally had reliable recovery, making its walling abilities that much greater.
Not too much changed for Skarmory in BW, but much like Tyranitar not a lot had to. Sturdy got a nifty boost, acting as a built-in Focus Sash. Spikes, Roost, Whirlwind, Brave Bird, and Taunt are still the main moves seen on most Skarmory. It faces some new competition from Ferrothorn as a bulky Steel-typed Spikes user, but reliable recovery, phazing, and greater Speed coupled with Taunt ensure that it's not at all outclassed. Skarmory usually uses a physically defensive set these days, walling the heaviest of hard hitters and either stalling out Life Orb damage with Roost or forcing them out with Whirlwind. A specially defensive set can more easily set up Spikes against the bulky Water-types of the tier, but it must be wary of Scald and some physical sweepers it would normally have been able to counter. With four generations straight of OU status, Skarmory is just itching to come in and wall a brand new breed of Pokémon in XY.
Blissey was a surprise evolution for a Pokémon that had already dominated in RBY. While it boasted better stats across the board than Chansey, the Special split was not too kind to it, forcing Blissey to take on a purely defensive role from GSC onward. Alas, Blissey in any generation is sadly worse than Chansey was in RBY. In GSC, Blissey is a pure support Pokémon, sponging special assaults like no other. Its signature move, Softboiled, kept that massive HP stat fresh at all times. Blissey could cure status with Heal Bell, making it one of two reliable clerics in the tier. It could also spread status with Sing or Toxic, as well as support its teammates with Light Screen. Outside of walling and supporting, however, there wasn't too much going for Blissey. Blissey wasn't as great in GSC as the cries of "No SkarmBliss!" might have you believe, but it was still a solid choice if you needed cleric support and a special wall.
Blissey got some new toys in ADV that made it much more successful. The first was Wish, which allowed it to pass health along to its teammates, really upping its value as a support Pokémon. The second boon was Calm Mind, which boosted Blissey's already superb special bulk even further, and actually allowed it to sweep. Yeah, you read that correctly: Blissey... sweep... A fantastic special movepool, including Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Flamethrower, and Hidden Power meant Blissey could actually do some damage after a few Calm Minds, all while being incredibly hard to take down.
DPP gave Blissey just one major gift, Stealth Rock. Considering its ability to force switches, Blissey was actually a decent option for this role. As with ADV, it continued to support the team with Wish, Thunder Wave, Toxic, and Aromatherapy as well; unlike ADV, Calm Mind Blissey was no longer in style.
BW didn't give Blissey much to keep up with the new metagame, which had grown all the more harsh around it. New, powerful special sweepers make life even harder for Blissey, especially when they carry Psyshock to prey on its weaker Defense stat. It even now has to worry about Chansey reclaiming the throne of top pink blob special sponge, as Eviolite was a huge boon to Chansey. Despite that, Blissey has remained popular enough to maintain its OU status. The biggest boon BW gave Blissey was improved Wish mechanics, which heal the recipient by 50% of the user's HP rather than their own. One look at Blissey's massive base 255 HP and you instantly know what Pokémon boasts the biggest Wish. Outside of Wish, status, Aromatherapy, and Stealth Rock, however, Blissey doesn't have much to offer and can be major setup bait. In this fast-paced metagame, Blissey really has trouble keeping up. Hopefully things get better for it in XY, or this former giant might find itself in UU next gen.
With good bulk and a phenomenal defensive typing, Forretress had plenty of opportunities to switch in during the GSC days. Its real niche is as one of two viable Spikes users and one of three viable spinners. Superior typing and the ability to beat Starmie with Hidden Power Bug gave it a niche over the more offensive Cloyster. Forretress could also learn Explosion, which could take out a dangerous foe once its job was done. Really, that's all Forretress had going for it in GSC, but to be honest, that's all it needed. Its inability to phaze like Skarmory prevented it from being a top-notch wall, but if you were using a team that needed Spikes, it was a fantastic choice.
In ADV, Forretress gained competition from Skarmory as a Steel-typed Spikes user, but it was still able to differentiate itself thanks to Rapid Spin and Explosion. It was a wall with utility moves, much like in GSC, and once again, that was enough. DPP was much more generous to Forretress, giving it a variety of useful moves. It became the only Pokémon (sans Smeargle) with access to Spikes, Rapid Spin, Stealth Rock, and Toxic Spikes, and its fantastic bulk and typing allowed it to easily set up whatever entry hazards were needed. It also gained two new offensive toys in Gyro Ball, which worked well given its pitiful Speed, and Payback, which allowed it to slap spinblockers such as Gengar hard.
BW was kind as well to Forretress. The buff to Sturdy guaranteed some level of entry hazards would be set up. Furthermore, Forretress got a new scouting move in Volt Switch, which allowed it to escape from Magnezone without needing a Shed Shell. Although Ferrothorn gives it a run for its money as a bulky Steel-typed Spikes user, Rapid Spin gives it a key niche. As far as defensive spinners go, Forretress remains one of the best options in the metagame, made all the more impressive due to its access to every entry hazard. Here's to hoping it gets better recovery than Pain Split or Rest in XY.
Okay, Celebi might be cheating a bit, as it was deemed Uber in GSC. Despite that, its solid OU status for the following three generations nets it a spot in this article. With a mixture of Leech Seed and Recover, along with base 100 stats across the board, Celebi was really, really hard to take down in GSC. Access to Heal Bell made it hands down the best cleric in the game. Perish Song gave it a full stop to last-Pokémon setup sweepers, while functioning as a phazing move the rest of the time. Its cool Grass / Psychic typing allowed it to play as a more defensive Exeggutor with more overall utility.
In ADV, Celebi finally got to play around in OU full-time. It gained Calm Mind and quickly became one of the most threatening users of the move. Furthermore, it could Baton Pass the boost, or a boost from Swords Dance, to a teammate to let them take care of business. It still functioned well as a cleric, annoying the opponent with either Leech Seed or Perish Song. Celebi has truly been a dominant force in ADV, even going so far as to be banned from a Smogon Tour. Despite the outcry of some players, Celebi has remained OU, and one of the top Pokémon to look out for in ADV.
DPP was especially kind to Celebi. Many new attacks were added to its arsenal, including the powerful Leaf Storm, the more reliable Grass Knot, cool coverage with Earth Power, and the ability to maintain offensive momentum with U-turn. It also gained Stealth Rock, which allowed to function as a lead, and Trick, which let it cripple opposing walls like Blissey. Towards the end of Platinum, Celebi received Nasty Plot, giving it a much more potent boosting move to take advantage of or Baton Pass to a teammate.
The BW metagame wasn't quite as kind to Celebi, as base 100 stats aren't what they used to be. That said, Celebi still finds itself carving out useful niches. VoltTurn became a more popular strategy and Celebi found some success as a U-turn spammer. Giga Drain also got a nifty boost, giving Celebi some added recovery to free up a moveslot. Whether it's acting as a bulky support Pokémon, a scout, a setup sweeper, a revenge killer, or just a jack of all trades, Celebi remains a solid Pokémon in BW.
So there we have it, some of the best "new" Pokémon of GSC. While some started strong and burned out and others took some time to ripen, these five have been solid from the get-go. So, where does that leave them for XY? Tyranitar's awesome stats, Sand Stream, and versatility most likely guarantee it a spot in OU. Skarmory's solid bulk, reliable recovery, Spikes, and phazing will probably allow it to shine as well. Blissey might need to step it up a bit if the metagame continues to grow more offensive next generation. Forretress as well might need something more going for it, if only reliable recovery. Celebi's base 100 stats might not be too fantastic looking going into XY, but its massive movepool and unique niches should allow it to do just fine. In the end, only time will tell. For now, we salute these valiant GSC Pokémon!
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