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NU received some interesting surprises in March's usage stats. Munchlax, Primeape, and Scolipede finally dropped from RU, giving NU some new toys to play with. The community initially had mixed reactions; some thought the new drops would be too broken, while others were excited for the changes they would bring to the metagame. However, a day later, something even more controversial occurred—Jynx was unbanned after being in BL3 for almost a year.
According to February's usage stats, Rhydon, Klinklang, and Mandibuzz were all likely to drop, as well as Scolipede, Primeape, and Munchlax.
Rhydon would have become one of the most popular Stealth Rock users as well a good wall, with already great base HP and Defense stats of 105 and 120, respectively, enhanced by Eviolite, as well as base 130 Attack. Pokemon such as Choice Band Sawk would struggle to OHKO Rhydon if it has enough investment in either HP or Defense. It would also make a good check to Choice Scarf Jynx, as Jynx's strongest attack fails to OHKO Rhydon, while Rhydon can OHKO back in return with Megahorn. In terms of offensive opponents, Torterra is one that would likely increase in usage, as it can take a Megahorn as long as it's not switching in and SR isn't up and then OHKO back in return with a Life Orb attached, although it would die in the process. Alomomola, Tangela, Weezing, and Misdreavus could take it on and either hit it super effectively or cripple it with Will-O-Wisp, and thus would likely rise in usage. Klinklang would struggle against Rhydon, as at +2 Attack it cannot OHKO Rhydon even without any defensive investment; additionally, with Primeape and Jynx around, and the optimal base Speed tier being 95, Klinklang could find itself struggling against some of NU's bigger powerhouses without a boost. However, it could set up on Alomomola provided the latter doesn't have Scald, although the Wild Charge damage does start to hurt Klinklang after a while and Alomomola can just slowly wear it down or stall it out. Tangela would also be a great check to Klinklang, as at +2 it can only 3HKO Tangela; however, without Hidden Power Fire, Fighting, or Ground, Tangela cannot do much back to Klinklang. Weezing and Misdreavus can also help against Klinklang as they can burn it and switch to a Pokemon better equipped to handle it, while Weezing in particular would have more reasons to run Flamethrower (which is already useful for when Jynx switches in and Scolipede is behind a Substitute). Seismitoad would also have more usage, as it is 2HKOed by Return when Klinklang is at +2 and can just use Earthquake to 2HKO Klinklang. Klinklang would also help Golurk maintain its #1 position, as Golurk only takes damage from one of Klinklang's attacks and can OHKO in return with Earthquake. Mandibuzz's drop would've been a positive for stall, as it has a phazing move in Whirlwind, can Taunt, and has a reliable recovery move in Roost. However, its Stealth Rock weakness really hinders it, and the main Pokemon it would've walled, Musharna, is less relevant now due to the other drops. It can still be a reliable phazer; however, other special walls would still function better due to being able to inflict notable damage on their opponents, while Mandibuzz takes recoil damage from its most common attacking move.
In terms of what was likely to go up, Alomomola, Liepard, and Walrein were close to the RU threshold. Walrein's move to RU wouldn't have affected much, as it functions better in hail. Alomomola's rise to RU would've made a difference to the tier, on the other hand. With the current physical attackers in the tier still playing an important role (such as #1 Golurk, Sawk, Primeape, and Scolipede, to name a few), Alomomola still has an important role in being able to wall those threats and pass Wishes to teammates. Physical attackers as a result would have a much easier time with less walls to contend with, and other less common physical attackers would likely start to rise in usage. Liepard's rise to RU wouldn't have made much of a difference, as its most common and main set revolves around hax and targets no specific threat. Murkrow could rise in usage though, as it can fulfill the role Liepard played, albeit not as effectively.
NU has changed dramatically since the new additions have arrived. The slower Psychic-type domination of Stage 8 has become a distant memory, as NU has become much faster. With Jynx and Primeape's base 95 Speed, and Scolipede's base 112 Speed, the need for faster Pokemon to check these threats has increased.
Swellow has risen in usage, being able to outspeed and hit both Scolipede and non-Scarf Primeape super effectively with its STAB; it can also hit Jynx hard with U-turn and is immune to Lovely Kiss due to the status inflicted by Toxic Orb or Flame Orb. Weezing and Misdreavus have also risen in usage to put a stop to Primeape and Scolipede, taking little damage from their attacks and being able to cripple them with Will-O-Wisp. Weezing in particular can easily take hits from Primeape, but doesn't appreciate a Choice Band Earthquake from Mold Breaker Sawk. Tauros has also seen an increase in usage, due to it being able to outspeed and OHKO Scolipede, Jynx, and Primeape after Stealth Rock (even Scarf variants of the latter two) with Choice Scarf. Even without a Choice Scarf, its naturally high Speed allows it to be a strong revenge killer.
Priority has also become more useful in this metagame to get around faster threats. Kangashkan has benefited from the need for priority; while it's not the optimal Speed tier, access to Fake Out and Sucker Punch makes it suitable for most teams. Carracosta is also more useful in this metagame, as it can threaten Jynx and Scolipede with OHKOs if Sturdy is intact and make it dangerous for them to switch into it. At +2, it can also OHKO Primeape after Stealth Rock with an Adamant nature and Life Orb. It also has Solid Rock to halve damage taken, which makes it easier for it to set up a Shell Smash.
Primeape has made the biggest impact on the metagame of all the new additions and sits in 3rd position in the April usage stats. Its base 95 Speed is extremely beneficial to it and has raised the Speed tier of this metagame. Primeape can outspeed Pokémon such as Kangaskhan and Zangoose, which is something Sawk couldn't do unless it was Scarfed. Primeape also has access to U-turn, which is one of its many great qualities. With U-turn and a Choice Scarf, it can make an excellent scout that can help a teammate, such as Swellow, get in safely and activate its Toxic Orb. U-turn also allows it to do decent damage against other Psychic-types, which is something Sawk struggled with. Additionally, Sawk has also decreased in usage by around 4%, with Primeape picking up the slack. Primeape also has Taunt, which can stop Misdreavus from inflicting a burn on it with Will-O-Wisp, while Primeape can hit it back with Beat Up or Punishment. Sawk, on the other hand, is forced to take the Will-O-Wisp or switch out. Primeape can also prevent Misdreavus from setting up Nasty Plot or use it to its advantage with Punishment, depending on which it chooses. It also has access to Encore, which can lock Misdreavus into Nasty Plot and make it take a heavy beating from Punishment.
Scolipede has an amazing base 112 Speed and base 90 Attack. Additionally, it has access to Spikes, Toxic Spikes, a boosting move, Baton Pass, and more than one coverage move. It also has a useful Poison typing which allows it to absorb Toxic Spikes and set your own layers of Spikes. Due to the Spiking role being similar to Roselia and Garbodor, they have both decreased in usage during April, while Scolipede has reached 4th position on the ladder. Spikes in particular is one of its best selling points, as it's the fastest Spiker in NU and can attack back in return, something that Roselia and Garbodor can't do as well. Even without Spiking in mind, Scolipede's Attack and Speed allow it to OHKO or 2HKO a variety of Pokemon, including past threats such as Musharna, which dominated Stage 8.
Munchlax has been the least domineering addition to NU—the only new addition to not be in the top 10 in the usage stats, falling into the 66th position. Despite this, Munchlax still has a small niche in NU. It can be a viable special wall, as it has Thick Fat to help it sponge STAB Ice-type attacks from one of the most prominent special attackers in the tier, Jynx. One of its downfalls though is that it has to run Eviolite to maintain bulk, while other special walls such as Lickilicky, Mantine, Articuno, and Regice have Leftovers recovery. Lickilicky in particular has access to Wish, meaning it doesn't need to rely on Rest for recovery. With that in mind though, Munchlax can run Sleep Talk to help it against Jynx with Lovely Kiss, which is something Lickilicky cannot do. On the other hand, Lickilicky can also phaze and isn't entirely weak to Taunt as Dragon Tail is an attacking move whereas Munchlax's Whirlwind isn't, while Articuno and Regice have the advantage of naturally resisting Ice Beam; Articuno also has access to Roost to help it recover.
Jynx is one of the most interesting additions to NU after it was unexpectedly freed, sitting in the 8th position in April's stats. Jynx was originally banned in April 2012; however, now that Jynx is free, things have changed for the former queen of NU. With Scolipede, Munchlax, and Primeape also in the tier to keep it in check (although only Munchlax can safely switch into that, and only if Jynx is lacking Psyshock), as well as a whole lot of faster threats that are already in the tier, Jynx has a harder time sweeping. However, Jynx can be a powerful force when facing unprepared teams and will likely rise in usage over the next few months. Jynx has access to Lovely Kiss, helping it to force switches or set up on its opponents. However, Lovely Kiss has shaky accuracy and can be the difference between losing or winning a match. In terms of other options, it can also use Choice Specs, Choice Scarf, Calm Mind, or anything else it needs for coverage, as Jynx's Psychic typing gives it access to a diverse movepool.
In the next few months, faster threats are likely to appear. Zebstrika has the necessary Speed to outspeed all of the newer Pokemon as well as Overheat to hit Scolipede. Charizard in particular will likely become more popular, as the Scarf variant can outspeed and OHKO most Jynx, Scolipede, and Primeape sets (with the exception of Choice Scarf Scolipede, which isn't very common). Metang is also likely to rise in usage, as it can counter most Jynx sets bar Choice Scarf/Choice Specs with Bullet Punch while being a reliable Stealth Rock user. Serperior is also likely to get more usage, as it can outspeed Scolipede and Jynx and hit them hard with Hidden Power Rock, as well as outspeed other relevant Pokemon such as Carracosta. Other physical walls could also rise, such as Golbat, which is 3HKOed at most by Primeape and 4HKOed by Scolipede while it can threaten them with an OHKO from Brave Bird in return. Additionally, weather could also be a strong force in the next few months, as sun has powerful sweepers such as Charizard which can already hurt the metagame as it is, and Jynx can benefit from rain with Dry Skin.
With that said, Gardevoir will likely drop in usage, as Jynx is faster and generally has more use in this metagame due to the dual STAB and access to Lovely Kiss and Nasty Plot, whereas Gardevoir can only really pull off specially defensive or weather-supporting roles better than Jynx. Musharna will likely see less usage as it now has less opportunities to set up Calm Mind and will rather have a utility role for the most part.
Stage 9 has already been interesting, and it can only get more interesting from here. Over and out.
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