NU Doubles

By skylight. Art by Bummer.
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You may have heard about Smogon Doubles, but have you considered playing in the doubles environment with NU Pokémon? Neverused has amazing Pokémon which can have great success in Smogon Doubles but are often overlooked for some of the bigger powerhouses. Some of NU's Pokémon can see success in Smogon Doubles; however, for the most part they aren't really appreciated as much as they are in Standard NU.

In NU Doubles, this changes. New strategies become viable, and it becomes evident that NU has a goldmine of Pokémon with excellent potential for doubles.

The Strategies

Trick Room is extremely viable in NU doubles. A lot of NU's untapped potential is in slower Pokémon, such as Golurk, Musharna, and Ursaring, which become bigger threats when given the extra speed. Due to more than one Pokémon being on your side at the field, Trick Room is much more effective than in normal play, and with Helping Hand Trick Room can become even more deadly. Musharna is the best user of this generally, as it can take hits and set up Trick Room. There are other viable Trick Room setters, such as Beheeyem, which also has useful attacks in Skill Swap and After You, enabling it to benefit its teammate at the same time. After You is also an effective way to help out slower Pokémon, as when used by a fast Pokémon it can make the slower Pokémon move next, no matter how fast the opposing Pokémon are. This can allow Pokémon with attacks that need full HP, such as Water Spout Octillery/Wailord and Eruption Camerupt, to be as powerful as possible against both the opponents. Spread moves are moves that can hit both opponents on the field, such as Heat Wave and Rock Slide. Surf and Earthquake, on the other hand, hit all Pokémon on the field, which is why Telepathy is such a useful ability in NU Doubles. Musharna and Beheeyem are especially useful because of their Telepathy ability, which allows them to not only set up Trick Room, but also avoid their teammates' attacks, which can help them last longer.

Weather is extremely effective in NU Doubles, due to battles only lasting around 10 turns maximum in most cases. Equipped with a Damp, or Heat Rock, weather can last for most of the match. For setting weather, Pranksters such as Liepard, Volbeat, and Illumise especially are great in NU Doubles. While Liepard is great in Standard NU for its Swagger set, it can become just as useful in NU Doubles. With access to moves such as Taunt, Encore, Rain Dance, and Sunny Day, these Pokémon become effective at stopping turns where Helping Hand or Trick Room may be used, and sacrifice themselves for the rest of the team.

In terms of the type of weather, rain and sun are the most effective because of Surf and Heat Wave abuse. Charizard is one of the best users of the latter, with a base 109 Special Attack stat and base 100 Speed, which makes it really scary to face in sun. As well as this, it has an awesome ability in Solar Power, which boosts its firepower even higher. Sand isn't viable in Standard NU; however, Sand Rush Stoutland and Force Gigalith are great users of sand in NU Doubles. Stoutland can outspeed a lot of the metagame in sand, while Gigalith's base 130 Attack becomes even scarier with Sand Force giving it around a 130 per cent boost. Cradily, Marowak, Golem, and Golurk are some of the other Rock- and Ground-type Pokémon that are viable in NU Doubles and therefore make it possible to run a sand team as well.

The Stars

Certain Pokémon that aren't given much attention in standard NU can benefit a lot from the doubles environment, through their abilities, STABs, or stats.

As with standard NU, Musharna can be by far one of the most useful Pokémon. In the NU metagame, Musharna is always seen with Synchronize; however, in doubles, Musharna has an even greater ability in Telepathy. Musharna can now take no damage from teammates' attacks, such as Earthquake and Surf, which are powerful moves used often in competitive play. It can work as a support Pokémon, much like Cresselia in VGC, with Light Screen or Reflect or a Trick Room supporter or sweeper. Musharna can also utilize Helping Hand to support its teammate, and due to its bulk it can normally use Helping Hand at least twice during the match, giving a huge attacking advantage to the Pokémon it's teamed up with. As well as this, it's also useful to have Musharna on your team too, as it can set up its own Trick Room without taking much damage and cancel out opposing Trick Room if your team is based around speed. Musharna also has access to Imprison, which prevents the opponent from using any move Musharna has. This can stop opposing Musharna from using Trick Room or stalling Trick Room turns.

Golurk can be one of the most threatening Pokémon in Standard NU, and thanks to Earthquake it can be equally, or even more threatening, in NU Doubles. Paired with a Trick Room user, Golurk's base 124 Attack and Earthquake can make it scary to come into, especially if the Trick Room user is Musharna, which can avoid being hit by Earthquake with Telepathy. Golurk also has access to Rock Slide, which can allow it to hit both opposing Pokémon. Golem also has access to Rock Slide, Earthquake, and Explosion, as well as Sturdy, which means it can almost always fire off two shots if Trick Room is up and can also hit hard with its base 110 Attack. Marowak also has base 80 Attack; however it can use Thick Club to double its Attack and launch powerful Earthquakes. Marowak's base 45 Speed also allows it to become a dominant force in Trick Room.

Fake Out is a great move in NU Doubles, and Kangaskan is arguably one of the best users of it. With a base 95 Attack stat and a 90 base Speed stat, it can find various opportunities to come in and stop a Pokémon in its tracks, giving much-needed setup time to a certain Pokémon or just allowing a teammate to survive an extra turn. Shiftry and Ludicolo can also use this against a Pokémon they're weak against while their partner sets up weather. Shiftry in particular is also able to make use of Explosion and Fake Out together if it gets into trouble in the sun, and paired with a Ghost-type, Musharna, or Beheeyem with Telepathy, it can sacrifice itself to deal heavy damage to both of its opponents without harming its teammate.

One of the great things about NU Doubles is that there isn't much, if any, Stealth Rock, which helps give Shedinja the niche it was meant to fill. Both Earthquake and Surf, two commonly spammed moves, can give Shedinja free switch-ins if you predict correctly, which can force a switch. However, Heat Wave and Rock Slide are also common, which makes Shedinja better suited to come in against rain teams; although Cradily can somewhat have a better chance against rain teams.

Surf is one of the best attacks in doubles, due to it hitting more than one Pokémon. There's many Pokémon that can benefit from Surf in NU, but none quite like Cradily (other than Maractus, but Maractus lacks Cradily's great Rock and Grass typing). Surf can now be absorbed and used to its advantage thanks to Storm Drain. In standard NU, Cradily is mostly used physically; however, its Attack and Special Attack stats are the same, (RC) at 81. In NU Doubles a special set is definitely viable, with access to AncientPower, Giga Drain, and Earth Power, as well as the option of a Hidden Power. Cradily also has great Defense and Special Defense and thus doesn't need to invest in much other than Speed and Special Attack, allowing it to survive one or two hits and hit hard in return. Teams with Pokémon weak to Surf can benefit from Cradily, or it can make a great partner to Ludicolo and Seismitoad. Even in general, Cradily can fit onto most NU Doubles teams and can prove to be a challenge to take down.

Speaking of Ludicolo and Seismitoad, they make a great pair in NU Doubles, in and out of rain. One can set up rain if they wish to, while Seismitoad doesn't take any damage from Ludicolo's primary STAB Surf thanks to Water Absorb, and Ludicolo's Special Attack can be boosted with an Absorb Bulb when Seismitoad attacks. Between the two, you have access to Muddy Water to lower the opponent's accuracy, Surf to hit hard, Icy Wind to slow the opponents, and a way to gain HP and boost the power of your Pokémon on the field. Mantine is also capable of doing what Seismitoad can, as it has Water Absorb to recover HP from Ludicolo's Surf. It also has access to Surf, Icy Wind, and Helping Hand, which can support Ludicolo in its sweep in almost the same way Seismitoad can.

Rage Powder Parasect and Gorebyss can also make a great team, especially in rain. Gorebyss can be scary in Standard NU, but in NU Doubles with the help of Parasect, it becomes much more threatening. Parasect resists Gorebyss's weaknesses to Electric- and Grass-type attacks, and uses Rage Powder to direct those attacks at it. Rage Powder can also draw in priority away from Gorebyss, giving Gorebyss more chances to set up. Parasect can also absorb HP due to its Dry Skin ability when Gorebyss uses Surf, which makes it harder to take down. While boosting moves aren't normally used in the doubles environment, Gorebyss can benefit greatly from Shell Smash. After one or two Shell Smashes, there's very little that can safely switch into Gorebyss without dying.

Using Skill Swap with something like Slaking or Regigigas can become deadly for the opposing team. Duosion in particular can be useful to the two, as it swaps Magic Guard, preventing adverse effects of a burn. This allows their base 160 Attack and base 100 Speed to be almost unstoppable. Exeggutor can also be useful as it can give them Chlorophyll and set up sun on the next turn, which can make it hard to stop the two powerhouses.

Start Now!

NU Doubles may not have all of the powerhouses that Smogon Doubles has, but it has a unique set of Pokémon that have a variety of different niches. Through NU Doubles you can explore new strategies with the Pokémon you know and love using in NU, as well as have fun playing outside of the standard NU environment. Next time you're considering a break from the current metagame, or even just interested in trying something new, give a thought to NU Doubles, and see NU's Pokémon in a brand new light.

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