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As a way to bring more attention to Other Metagames and their forum, OM moderator Arcticblast, inspired by a few posts in the forum, introduced a new "Other Metagame of the Month." This allowed users to vote on their favorite Other Metagames to be hosted for a month on the Pokémon Showdown! main server. For the first month, Tier Shift was selected.
Tier Shift was created not long ago by the user PureQuestion. This metagame is simple; it is basically standard OU that gives boosts to lower tier Pokémon. UU Pokémon get a +5 bonus to all of their base stats. Likewise, RU Pokémon get a +10 boost, while NU Pokémon get +15 added to all their base stats. BL Pokémon are included in the boosts as well with BL Pokémon getting a +5 bonus and BL2 Pokémon getting +10. If any Pokémon are banned to BL3 in the future, they will receive a +15 boost like NU Pokémon do.
With an already steady playerbase, the addition of a ladder to Pokémon Showdown! caused its playerbase to grow rapidly. Due to the popularity of the metagame, Zarel has decided to leave the ladder on Pokémon Showdown! at the end of the month. With Tier Shift being so new, there are a lot of things that are working and a few that are over-centralizing the metagame. That said, there are many viable strategies that can be explored!
Newer players might be looking for some strategies that work in Tier Shift. Lesser so than OU, there are a lot of different playstyles that work really well in the tier. For now, we're just going to be looking at the different weathers and their respective roles in Tier Shift.
Much like standard OU, weather can be utilized in Tier Shift. In fact, some of the most potent strategies in Tier Shift involve weather. With quite a few Pokémon that appreciate permanent weather being lower-tier, many of them now outclass their OU brethren. All of the weathers are viable to use in Tier Shift, though some may stand out more than others.
Rain functions a lot in Tier Shift like it does in OU. The only difference here is that rain has even more to capitalize on now that it did before. A lot of Pokémon that already do respectably well in OU do even better with the additional base stat boosts.
Jynx can take advantage of its Dry Skin ability which recovers 12.5% of its maximum HP at the end of every turn while the rain is falling. Combine this with Substitute, Nasty Plot, and/or the deadly Lovely Kiss, and you have found yourself an incredibly dangerous sweeper. Thanks to its impressive offensive stats (130 Special Attack and 110 Speed) and its respectable special bulk (80 HP and 110 Special Defense), it isn't too difficult for Jynx to find an opportunity to set up a Substitute or use Nasty Plot.
Other Pokémon such as Lapras and Whiscash can use Hydration coupled with Rest for incredible longevity and recovery from status at the end of every turn as long as the rain is up. This allows them to boost their sets with Curse in Lapras's case and Dragon Dance for either. Additionally, thanks to its tremendous bulk of 145 HP, 95 Defense, and 110 Special Defense, Lapras may also serve as an incredible mixed wall.
While Swift Swim is banned with Drizzle, Ludicolo can still serve as a great threat as a SubSeeder in the rain. With access to recovery from Leech Seed, Leftovers, and its ability, Rain Dish, Ludicolo can recover more HP in one turn than what it takes to make a Substitute, depending on the opposing Pokémon. With investment in bulk, it can take hits surprisingly well, and it also serves as a counter to opposing rain teams due to its handy 4x resistance to Water-type moves.
Finally, other Pokémon can still capitalize on the rain without having an ability that benefits from its presence. Pokémon like Moltres and Tornadus can fire off powerful Hurricanes with perfect accuracy. Moltres can even serve as a way to handle opposing sun teams with its access to STAB Fire Blast. Other Pokémon such as Rotom-A and Manectric can utilize the rain with powerful Thunders as well.
Sun has a lot of fun new tools to use in Tier Shift as well. In addition to already powerful Fire-types which appreciate the boost to Fire-type moves, many Chlorophyll Pokémon are in lower tiers—most notably in NU.
Chlorophyll Pokémon such as Sawsbuck, Victreebel, Exeggutor, and Shiftry are all potent threats in Tier Shift. With the boost to their offensive stats and base Speed, they are able to do many things. Victreebel and Shiftry can utilize Growth as a way to increase their offensive prowess. Combined with enormous Speed in the sun, they are able to shred unprepared teams to pieces. Likewise, Sawsbuck, with its great coverage, can use Swords Dance to boost its already high Attack. Exeggutor has immense power with base 145 Special Attack in Tier Shift and can use Choice Specs or Life Orb to hit hard as soon as it hits the field.
Exeggutor basically lives for sun; its other ability, Harvest, appreciates the sun as well. With Harvest and Sitrus Berry, Exeggutor can be incredibly difficult to crack as it always recycles its Berry at the end of the turn if it was used. With this ability, Exeggutor can play similarly to the SubSeed set that Ludicolo tends to run in the rain. It can be very annoying to knock out and effectively drain the health away from your entire team if you aren't ready to handle it.
Another bulky monstrosity in the sun is Cresselia. While it is usable outside of sun teams, it appreciates the weather due to the buff that sun gives to its recovery move, Moonlight, and incredible 130/130/140 defenses. Cresselia has the versatility to run support sets with a wide variety of support moves such as the dual screens, Toxic, Thunder Wave, Gravity, Lunar Dance, Magic Coat, and Trick Room. It's worth noting, however, that Cresselia's most prominent set in Tier Shift is its Substitute + Calm Mind set which has the ability to set up on an ample amount of Pokémon.
Finally, some Pokémon just like to hit really hard in the sun. Some notable examples of this include Victini and Darmanitan, both of which appreciate the boost in Attack and Speed. Victini's V-create can plow through the bulkiest of defensive walls; Darmanitan's Sheer Force-boosted Flare Blitz has the same effect. Resistances hardly even come into play for such powerful moves from such powerful Pokémon.
After losing Excadrill in a fairly appropriate ban to Ubers during BW, sand became more of an anti-weather than a weather to be utilized. In Tier Shift, this is much less so the case.
The first thing to do when building a sand team is deciding which Pokémon with Sand Stream you want to use. Just like in Standard OU, you have the options of Tyranitar and Hippowdon. Similarly, Tyranitar tends to be the more popular choice; however, both fulfill fairly different roles. Due to its stellar bulk, reliable recovery move, and ability to phase opponents with Whirlwind, Hippowdon is a great choice. However, Tyranitar is also very solid as it can serve a multitude of different roles. It can go for immediate power with a Choice Band or Choice Scarf, sweep late-game with Dragon Dance or Rock Polish, trap opposing Psychic- and Ghost-types with Pursuit, and even support the team with Stealth Rock and solid special bulk thanks to the boost in Special Defense that Sandstorm provides.
Of course, when choosing your sand setter, there is one final option: you can use both. By utilizing both Tyranitar and Hippowdon, you have effectively doubled your chances of winning any weather war.
After having chosen your weather inducer, you have free reign to decide which teammates you want to use. Two of the most popular choices in Tier Shift sand are Stoutland and Sandslash. The reason that they are so popular is in their ability—Sand Rush. Sand Rush doubles the Pokémon's Speed when a sandstorm is raging. This gives both of these otherwise outclassed Pokémon the ability to destroy opposing teams, as, much like Pokémon with Chlorophyll in the sun, they can outspeed the vast majority of your opponent's unboosted Pokémon. Stoutland, thus far, has been much more popular, and this is likely because its NU status grants it the 15 point boost in each of its base stats. Stoutland is most often found wielding a Choice Band or a Life Orb for immediate offensive presence. If mono-Normal STAB doesn't appeal to you or you would prefer a boosting sweeper, Sandslash is a great option as well. Sandslash often plays the role of a late-game cleaner with the option to boost its Attack in Swords Dance, but it can also run Rapid Spin to support the team.
Abilities are not the only way a Pokémon can benefit from sand in Tier Shift though. Rock-type Pokémon receive a +1 boost to their Special Defense while in the sand. This makes Pokémon like Regirock and Cradily, among others, nigh unbreakable in this metagame. Regirock in particular can fully invest in its already high base 115 Special Defense which, when boosted, makes it incredibly difficult to break. With RestTalk and Curse, Regirock has the ability to set up on many opponents and sweep teams with relative ease.
Pokémon like Sigilyph and Mandibuzz who have Magic Guard and Overcoat, respectively, may not immediately benefit from the presence of Sand, but it doesn't bother them either. This allows them to capitalize upon the weather's presence by outstalling foes through residual damage. Sigilyph can even use its popular Cosmic Power / Psycho Shift set from RU to boost its defenses and burn opponents without being damaged by the sand or the burn it carries.
Even more so than sand, hail often serves as more of an anti-meta weather. Hail teams often try to keep the weather in their favor less because the team has loads of Pokémon that benefit from it and more because it prevents the opponent from taking advantage of his own weather. However, making a standard balance team and throwing an Abomosnow on it is not the best way to approach constructing a hail team. There are Pokémon who function exceptionally well in hail in Tier Shift.
The most popular strategy on hail teams is quite simple—BlizzSpam. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like; you spam perfectly accurate Blizzards to deal massive damage to the Pokémon that don't resist it. One of the most prominent users of this strategy is Kyurem. It has a very respectable base 135 Special Attack stat in Tier Shift and a secondary Dragon-type STAB at its disposal. A couple of other common users of this strategy are Glaceon and Rotom-F. The former has a spectacular base 140 Special Attack to work with while the latter has near perfect coverage with the combination of Blizzard and Thunderbolt.
Another way that hail can be used to your advantage is through the usage of Pokémon with Ice Body. Glaceon fits in this role as well as a BlizzSpam role, and it is not a threat that should be ignored. With Ice Body, it can run whatever item you want and still get the 1/16 recovery that Leftovers provides. Walrein, on the other hand, almost always takes a more defensive role. Its bulk is incredible, and between hail and Toxic, it wears down the opponent slowly but surely while regaining 1/8 of its max HP each turn with the combination of Leftovers and Ice Body. This makes Walrein a great Pokémon for hail teams, as it can spread status and wear down checks and counters to your hail sweepers.
Much like the role of Magic Guard and Overcoat on sand teams, the same Pokémon enjoy the residual damage that hail causes while ignoring the damage themselves. This gives Mandibuzz a spot on some hail teams. Because of its spectacular bulk, it can also cause residual damage through Toxic and hail while healing itself with Roost. It also offers hail teams a phaser who can take a hit or two and Whirlwind the opposing Pokémon. Mandibuzz works well with hazard support for this reason.
Finally, bulky Ice-types in general can be extremely beneficial for hail teams. Piloswine comes to mind as one of the better Pokémon to play this role, especially since Thick Fat negates the Fire-type weakness it would otherwise have. While Piloswine doesn't utilize hail in any way, it is still a solid support option for such teams.
Looking back, there are still a multitude of different unexplored options in the new Tier Shift metagame. This article serves as more of an outline for newer players to get familiar with the metagame, but feel more than free to try out new things. You may be surprised at the effectiveness of previously underused Pokémon. Get out there and try new things—explore the seemingly endless boundaries. Unlike Standard OU, you never know whether or not a set is going to work until you try it!
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