OU Metagame Analysis for July

By PDC. Art by bluehoundoom.
« Previous Article Home Next Article »


Here we are, only a few months away from the next generation and starting to close the curtains on BW. Soon, BW will become just a memory as Generation 4 became. But before we close the curtains, we must still review the metagame in its ever-changing state of continuous trends and fluctuations. This time, we are reviewing the July statistics of Overused and giving a quick check-up on what is currently popular in the metagame. If you are a ladder player, this article will particularly become useful for you so that you know just what's common in the current metagame and what to prepare for. Although I am not reviewing every part of the Overused metagame, I am showcasing the most popular threats of the metagame and explaining why they are there and giving some history behind them.

1. Scizor

You can't possibly be surprised here. Scizor at #1 is something that has basically been a commonality in all parts of the BW metagame aside from the time when Genesect was Overused. Scizor basically has everything it needs to be #1 in usage stats. It has pretty great typing, amazing physical attacking power, a powerful STAB U-turn that gains momentum very quickly, and a strong STAB priority move boosted by Technician. Scizor has all it needs to be on top of the tier, where it has been for quite some time now. Choice Band has been its flagship set for many years now, but it has recently developed more variety. For example, Swords Dance has become more popular as of late, especially in combination with Acrobatics, which basically dismantles many of Scizor's most common counters, including Tentacruel and Jellicent. This opens holes for other top-of-the-tier threats like Keldeo. Overall, not much needs to be said about Scizor's position at the top. It has everything it needs, and as Gengar, Alakazam, Latios, and Latias are becoming more common, it only has more of a reason to stay at the top. Scizor will definitely be remembered as one of the most common Pokémon in this metagame due to it being a part of the old VoltTurn combination, whose popularity has recently waned. For a short time, the combination of Rotom-W and Scizor dominated the metagame and kept everything on its toes.

2. Ferrothorn

Ferrothorn is one of the biggest defensive titans of Overused and has been a key factor in balancing the potent offensive threats introduced in Gen 5. Ferrothorn is one of the bulkiest Pokémon around, period. It has very useful set of resistances that grant it a multitude of opportunities to switch in and support its team. Rotom-W, Latias, Starmie, and every Outrage user in the metagame cowers in fear just at the sight of Ferrothorn. It is bulky enough to take repeated Hydro Pumps, even in rain, while also keeping dragons in control. Ferrothorn has been one of the most metagame-defining threats, as it does very well both on and against rain teams. Ferrothorn gives rain a huge helping hand and becomes a bit of a sponge to take all of the powerful moves being thrown around constantly over it. In a metagame where Dragonite, Garchomp, Latios, Starmie, and rain are so common, it is no wonder Ferrothorn stepped up to the task to handle all these threats at once. It has kept up its role as the dominant physical wall for the last several years and will remain so for the remainder of Generation 5 due to its ability to counter many dangerous Pokémon and retaliate with decent offenses of its own.

3. Politoed

Politoed takes the #3 spot in usage this month for an obvious reason: Drizzle. Not like it surprises anybody anyway, as rain is one of the most dominant (if not the most dominant) weather effects in the metagame. However, Politoed kick-starts the team with more than just setting up rain. It can also use a quick and decently powerful Choice Scarf set for revenge killing purposes, a strong Choice Specs set that basically 2HKOes the entire metagame, or a bulky defensive set that most physical attackers will be hard-pressed to KO. Politoed itself may not have too much power or immediate threat to it, but what follows it into play is what brings its usage to the #3 position. Tornadus suddenly becomes a threatening special sweeper that can tear apart teams with a Choic Specs Hurricane, and Thundurus-T turns into an incredibly powerful sweeper with a fully accurate Thunder. Water-type Pokémon like Rotom-W and Starmie can spam boosted Hydro Pumps that absolutely decimate anything not named specially defensive Celebi or Ferrothorn. While Politoed itself may not be the driving force behind rain's power, it definitely is the first to take the wheel and get things started. Nothing likes switching into a Hydro Pump boosted by Specs, and it only gets worse as time goes on with even stronger hits continuously being thrown at the enemy, thanks to Politoed's support. Because of this, rain is by far one of the easiest weathers to use, and that's why Politoed takes the #3 spot in usage.

4. Dragonite

Dragonite used to be the metagame's top sweeper due to its feared Dragon Dance set and was the biggest nightmare of offensive teams that didn't carry priority or a Steel-type. Slowly but surely, Dragonite beat out every other Dragon-type in the OU metagame and became a top-of-the-line threat. Nothing could reliably handle this thing due to the wide variety of moves it could be running. As time went on, Dragonite became more of a Choice Band user, but it still kept using its flagship Dragon Dance set. With access to ExtremeSpeed, Dragonite could revenge kill many weakened threats with a Choice Band. The added power gave it enough force to combat the likes of sun teams instantly. A Choice Band Outrage is nothing to fool around with, and it had the potential to 2HKO everything on your team you tried to wall it with. In rain, Dragonite could become a defensive tank or an offensive Hurricane user. Gen 5 was particularly kind to Dragonite, but the main reason we see it here at #4 is because of its ability, Multiscale. Not only does this allow Dragonite to take basically every move in the game aside from Choice Specs Draco Meteors and Choice Band-boosted Outrages at least once, but it almost guarantees a setup and provides a fail-safe if it really needs to take a move. Dragonite is one of the generation's biggest threats, and it's not slowing down any time soon.

5. Heatran

Heatran was in kind of an awkward position at first. Fire was a pretty bad typing to have in a completely rain-dominated metagame, and it only became worse when Dugtrio regained popularity and would trap basically anything it could see. Heatran's future looked rather grim as it fell out of popularity as a bulky Steel-type due to Jirachi's increase in popularity as a team supporter and Reuniclus check. Heatran fell into the shadows for a little while, having fallen from its previous role as top predator in Generation 4, but it eventually rose again to become a top OU threat. Heatran completely beats most sun teams, especially if they can't manage to trap it with Dugtrio. Heatran also found a great spot on teams looking for a counter to Volcarona, one of the game's biggest game-changing threats. Heatran eventually returned to its previous glory, but only on a smaller scale. It checked most dragons, including the standard Dragon Dance Dragonite, which usually only ran Fire Punch as its only defense against Steel-types because of Ferrothorn's prevalence. This allowed Heatran to check Dragonite rather well with its above-average defensive stats. As a specially-defensive wall, Heatran can set up Stealth Rock, cripple most of its switches with a Toxic or Will-O-Wisp, or just be annoying in general and sit and rack up hazard damage with Roar. On the offensive side, Heatran could be a problem to deal with, thanks to Flame Charge, which boosted its Speed above the normal threats that usually beat it, such as Dugtrio, Terrakion, and Starmie. Under sun, this could become a very menacing threat due to boosted Fire-type moves and a combination of decent coverage that could handle the majority of the metagame.

6. Latios

Latios was Uber for the past generations it had existed within. It was Latias's more offensive and powerful brother, which still was decently bulky on the special side, and it definitely still pulled its own weight defensively. This generation made Latios available for public use in OU, though as it managed to evade banning as a suspect many times. Latios found its home here in the OU metagame, and because of its amazing Speed and power, along with its all-powerful Dragon-type, it became an indicator of how powerful this generation really is. Latios is overall one of the best offensive nukes in the metagame. A Draco Meteor absolutely destroys teams Pokémon by Pokémon, and pairing it with hazards results in an even deadlier combination. With Life Orb or Choice Specs, it could tear apart slower teams and ultimately beat them down to the land of no return. To make it worse, Latios has access to Recover, allowing it to stay around for quite some time. Latios has become the face of DragMag all throughout Generation 5 and has shown just how powerful it really is.

7. Jirachi

Simply put, Jirachi has been amazing this generation. Although it may seem strange that a little steel pixie is in the Top 10 of the Overused metagame statistics, Jirachi definitely is one of the most versatile and overall useful Pokémon in the metagame. Jirachi has pretty solid typing and base stats, which definitely give it a large advantage over the rest of the competition. Its wide movepool allows it to perform a multitude of roles, including a bulky Stealth Rock user, an Expert Belt lure that can help its teammates sweep by eliminating key counters, and a bulky Choice Scarf set that has resulted in some of the most annoying losses in history. Jirachi can even run a bulky or offensive Calm Mind set to break down walls that the team has problems with. But of course, Jirachi's ubiquitous ultimate weapon is STAB Iron Head, which can flinch every Pokémon in the metagame, including Heatran, to death. Iron Head Jirachi is absolutely the most annoying thing to face in the entire metagame, a trait that has solidified Jirachi's spot not only in the Top 10, but also on the list of the most unpredictable and noobish (yet effective) Pokémon to use. This essentially makes about 14% of all ladder players scrubs, and that's only saying it lightly.

8. Tyranitar

Tyranitar is one of the two users of the second most popular weather, sand. However, Tyranitar itself does more than just set up weather. Tyranitar also sets up Stealth Rock, can Pursuit Latios and Latias as well as other Psychic- and Ghost-types, can be a fantastic user of Choice Band, and even run a very effective mixed set that can ultimately tear apart slower stall teams. Tyranitar recently has been using Focus Sash and Choice Scarf more than ever. With Keldeo being such an epidemic in the metagame, it's ludicrous that one could go without Tyranitar with it. As the metagame goes on, more and more people realized how amazing this combination truly was, and because of the old combination of Tyranitar + Landorus-I + Keldeo, some sand teams completely dominated every weather simply because of the effectiveness of this core. But aside from its abilities to set up weather, utilize Pursuit, and run a solid mixed set, Tyranitar is overall a very solid Pokémon. Not too many Pokémon have impacted a metagame as much as Tyranitar has. Politoed and Tyranitar seem to be locked in an everlasting battle for supremacy, but because of the efficacy of sand teams, it doesn't look like either one is going to give in. But for now, Politoed is at the top of the weather supremacy ladder and doesn't look like it will be letting up any time soon.

9. Breloom

As BW2 began, Breloom returned gloriously to the top threats of the metagame with its new ability Technician. Breloom has always been annoying to face with SubPunch and Leech Seed sets that never seemed to die. But now, it takes on a more fragile and upfront attempt at sweeping without a Substitute behind it. Breloom has the amazing gift of Spore, and it uses it to full effectiveness. Breloom is possibly the most powerful Fighting-type in the metagame, and nothing likes taking a +2 Mach Punch or Bullet Seed. Even without a boost, Breloom does a huge amount of damage. Focus Punch Life Orb is also another great set. The ability to cause an immediate switch and then back it up with a Life Orb boosted 150 Base Power STAB attack ultimately spells doom for your opponents no matter what their switch-in is. Only Celebi and Ghost-types can comfortably take this move, and because of that, Breloom can gain and rack up a huge amount of damage very quickly. Pair it with some hazards, and you really have no way of stopping it from taking out something. Breloom may be very fragile, but it definitely does do a lot of work offensively. Even though it cannot really switch into much attacks comfortably, that doesn't really concern it too often. A Life Orb Mach Punch is great for cleaning, and because of that, it absolutely can tear up a more fragile team.

10. Garchomp

As you can tell by the statistics, good ol' Garchomp is back in the metagame for BW OU. Although it tended to run the haxxy and ridiculous combination of Substitute and Sand Veil at the beginning of Generation 5, it has evolved into a healthier component of the metagame and now even serves as a key balancing factor for the tier. This is a big first for Garchomp, considering it was known in DP OU for being the most overpowered Pokémon around. Garchomp weighs in at #10, and although some of you may think it should be higher due to its history, it is stuck in this spot. Garchomp has many roles in the metagame, including an offensive Stealth Rock lead, a strong Choice Band user, or opportunistic Swords Dance sweeper. Overall, Garchomp is amazing at what it does. It has pretty good typing, solid offenses, and rather bulky stats. In fact, Garchomp can even turn Rough Skin into a platform for a bulky Rocky Helmet set, with which Garchomp can make any Scarf Jirachi or Scizor think twice before clicking U-turn or Iron Head. They'll be dead a lot sooner than a bulky Garchomp is, that's for sure.

11. Starmie

Starmie has always been named an "un-counterable force" by many. In fact, with Psyshock and Analytic, the pink blobs can barely hold their own against the voracious Starmie. Recently, Starmie found out it has another really cool role and ability. The amount of switches Starmie causes can be easily capitalized on by Analytic. Analytic boosts its moves' power on the switch, dealing 1.3x damage if the Pokémon moves last (or on a switch). This makes Starmie a formidable foe, and sometimes you don't even need prediction to deal major damage with a Hydro Pump, which becomes the next level of powerful. In rain, Starmie basically 2HKOes every single one of its typical counters with Analytic and a little prior damage. It does 45.17 - 53.12% with Hydro Pump to standard 252 / 168 Ferrothorn on the switch, so that extra damage boost is definitely worth it. There is a lot to gain from a simple change in ability. Although Starmie's rebound factor from status may fade away a little, it definitely still keeps its amazing Speed and ability to spin when it's most needed. Offensively, Starmie may just be the most versatile Pokémon in the metagame.

12. Rotom-W

Remember at the start of Generation 5 when we all thought that Rotom was now ruined forever because it was no longer a Ghost-type? If we saw the usage stats as they are now, it might have surprised many of us how wrong we really were. Rotom-W is probably the only Rotom forme seen in OU though, so I guess we were partially right. Rotom-W does quite a lot of key things in the metagame right now, including beating Starmie, Landorus-T, Keldeo, Jirachi, Scizor, and multiple other Pokémon. Because of this, Rotom-W quickly turned from a laughing stock to a extremely common Pokémon. Rotom-W also had quite a long-term running with VoltTurn combinations, which ultimately began the hyper offense VoltTurn craze halfway through BW1. Basically, Rotom-W was part of the most annoying core in the entire metagame at the time. Right now, however, Rotom-W sits solidly at the #12 position in usage; while it may have fluctuated a bit and changed over time, it doesn't look like Rotom-W will be leaving the Top 15 any time soon. Although, with the Landorus-I ban and the possible upcoming Keldeo ban, it could drop a bit lower, probably hovering around the 15 spot in a few months time.

13. Keldeo

Keldeo is the current superstar of Overused. It has great typing, great offensive stats, and rather solid bulk. It also handles some of the metagame's most common Pokémon like Scizor, Heatran, and Tyranitar very well. Overall, Keldeo is like a bundle of permanent anti-metagame material that seems to have become increasingly common. At the time of the Garchomp test, Keldeo hovered way below the Top 15. It all began as people started to realize how amazing Choice Scarf Keldeo was as a cleaner and how it could use its amazing Speed and typing to revenge kill basically anything it wanted. It wasn't for a while that people began to change it up a bit and switch to Expert Belt Keldeo, which ultimately is the most common set we see today. Keldeo can perform many roles, but Expert Belt and Choice Scarf are probably the best ones overall. For something that can basically fit on every team archetype except for sun, Keldeo may seem a little low in usage. Keldeo can get past most of its counters by itself anyway; all it needs is a little Stealth Rock support and Latias and Latios no longer can be treated as counters to the mighty horse. Icy Wind + Hidden Power Bug basically can derail almost all of its common counters, aside from Amoonguss and Jellicent. Amoonguss is probably the only surefire way to beat Keldeo, as Jellicent can be beaten handily with a Calm Mind set. Without a doubt, Keldeo has spiraled to the top in only a short time, and it surprised me, to be honest, how long it took for this little pony to catch on with the public.

14. Gengar

Gengar has always been a very solid offensive Pokémon in every metagame it has ever been in. It is faster than almost everything, and stronger too. While it may be fragile and has multiple weaknesses, Gengar definitely has some rather unique niches in the current metagame that can't be fulfilled by anything else. Although it may not look like it, Gengar was an excellent check to Landorus when it was still around. Breloom is also checked handily by Gengar, as it is immune to priority Mach Punch and resistant to Bullet Seed. Gengar overall is just an offensive powerhouse. It has pretty great coverage and can absolutely take over a game if given the chance. Gengar can use a Choice Scarf, Substitute + Disable, Pain Split, or Will-O-Wisp set to cripple its most common counters like Jirachi, Tyranitar, and Scizor. Simply put, Gengar is an amazing Pokémon which has great flexibility and offenses to boot. Gengar can be hard to kill sometimes, and it can easily get past its counters. Basically, this plush doll of a ghost is something that is feared by many, as Gengar, just like many Pokémon before it, boasts the "no real counters" title over its head.

15. Alakazam

Alakazam, like most Psychic-types, was the undisputed king of Generation 1. Unfortunately, it faded into obscurity after its time at the top within the following three Generations. However, Alakazam is back in Generation 5 as a prime revenge killer and finishes off our list of Top 15 Pokémon in usage. The bearded wizard has amazing Special Attack and Speed, outspeeding things like Scarf Tyranitar, Life Orb Starmie, Specs Tornadus, Latios, and Latias. Alakazam with Magic Guard is basically the ultimate revenge killer. Aside from Volcarona, Alakazam can basically take out every single setup sweeper in the entire metagame. Focus Sash allows it to keep alive and actually manage to take out things like Dragon Dance Dragonite, Chlorophyll sweepers, Breloom, Conkeldurr, Terrakion, and a multitude of others. Alakazam may not be able to set up and sweep by itself very successfully, but it doesn't really need to in order to actually be dangerous. Alakazam has all the coverage and power it needs in order to clean up or revenge kill everything it needs to. There is a reason why it is truly called the "ultimate revenge killer," and this one, although fragile, can remain untouchable and basically fulfill just about any role you want it to.


I hope you enjoyed this quick synopsis of the metagame, although we probably won't see too many large changes left, as time is running out for this generation. As it stands, this might be our last perfect portrait of this metagame. If Keldeo gets banned, or maybe even Kyurem-B later on, we may see some slight fluctuations, but until then, I don't think we'll be seeing anything new rise up to the challenge. Next generation, we'll hopefully be able to capture an early portrait of the metagame to see what it was like, and hopefully compare it to the final stages some years later.

« Previous Article Home Next Article »