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Theorymonning is the art of combining creativity with rationality to speculate what would happen if certain Pokémon possessed new traits. Highly popular amongst the Smogon Community, it was no surprise when OU also got its own thread to discuss these theories. So, join me on an exciting journey of some very interesting theories that will definitely leave you with food for thought!
With 120 base Attack and 125 base Speed, you might wonder why exactly isn't Weavile OU. A closer examination of its movepool unravels the mystery. With its best physical STAB moves being Ice Punch and Night Slash and coverage being fairly limited, Weavile simply doesn't have the tools to work well enough in OU.
Technician is a creative solution to the problem, boosting Weavile's STAB and coverage moves to acceptable levels and making it a fearsome sweeper. Technician Ice Shard is a scary thought, obliterating threats like Choice Scarf Garchomp before they can strike Weavile. Equally impressive is the thought of Technician Bite and Pursuit, which are far better than Night Slash as Weavile now nets the 2HKO on Cresselia with Bite.
With the addition of Weavile to the "Pursuit Gang", Pursuit-weak Pokémon such as Latios will have to think twice before locking themselves into Psyshock lest they be ambushed by the Sharp Claw Pokémon. One question that arises is whether Weavile would now outclass Mamoswine as "the anti-metagame Pokémon". While there are a variety of opinions, the consensus is that both would have their advantages, with Weavile having technician STAB Pursuit as a plus, while on the other hand Mamoswine has more bulk on account of Thick Fat as well as a better typing defensively. I'll leave it to you to make your own judgements on this heated matter!
At the same time, Weavile's new ability doesn't cover its large number of defensive weaknesses, which unfortunately also come with very poor defenses: any Pokémon that can tank a hit from Weavile can proceed to annihilate it with <insert move of choice here>. Prime examples include Scizor, Jirachi and yes, even Custap Skarmory. With a weakness to Stealth Rock, Weavile can't switch in and out as brazenly as other revenge killers can.
As such, a good partner in crime for Technician Weavile is Magnezone, which traps any Steel-types thinking about getting a free switch-in while also possessing a plethora of resistances. Jellicent can also take the Fighting- and Bug-type attacks Weavile despises and proceed to stall out.
Overall, while Technician Weavile isn't huge, it will definitely make it a threat to prepare for in the OU metagame.
Yet another offensive menace let down by its ability, Archeops languishes in the depths of RU because of Defeatist—an ability that halves the attacking output of the Pokémon in question when under 50% health. Coupled with Archeops's bad defensive typing (inclusive of a weakness to Stealth Rock) and terrible defenses, Defeatist makes Archeops fairly easy to deal with. But what if it got Rock Head?
The sheer removal of Defeatist would make Archeops a dreaded sweeper in OU. 140/112/110 offensive stats are what most Pokémon dream of; with a fairly expansive movepool, Archeops would be a major threat. Rock Head also grants it a terrorizing STAB in the form of recoil-less Head Smash. To give an example, Choice Band Archeops's Head Smash does more to Cresselia than Choice Band Kyurem-Black's Outrage.
Archeops would easily become one of the top Choice Scarf users of OU. Sitting at a nifty base 110 Speed tier, it has the ability to revenge kill most threats with Head Smash along with using U-turn to gain momentum. However, that's not to say that Rock Head Archeops would be broken. Hippowdon can easily tank any hit from CB Archeops and cleanly 2HKO with uninvested Ice Fang or phase it out with Roar until Stealth Rock wears it down. Ferrothorn and Bronzong can also take hits and proceed to OHKO with Gyro Ball. Likewise, Scarfed Magnezone can survive a Choice Band Head Smash and OHKO with Thunderbolt.
Rock Head Archeops would be far easier to check than counter though—priority users such as Scizor, Weavile, Mamoswine, and Feraligatr can easily stop Archeops in its tracks. Non-Scarfed Archeops is revenge killed by any Choice Scarf users on your team, while Scarfed Archeops, based on the locked move, can become setup bait. Lastly, Raikou and Jolteon both naturally outspeed non-Scarfed versions and can OHKO with Thunderbolt.
As such, Archeops can form some interesting cores. Just like Weavile, pesky Steel-types are easily dealt with by Magnezone, which also in return appreciates the Ground-type immunity. Kyurem-B partnered with Archeops can give nightmares to players unequipped with the tools to beat the core. SubCM Jirachi can also usually take on hits Archeops doesn't like and can set up and sweep.
Overall, Rock Head Archeops would become one of the top-tier threats in OU and would definitely cause ripples in the metagame.
Meloetta is a very unpredictable threat to deal with, thanks to Relic Song, which cripples incoming counters and sends them packing. However, one of the main reasons Meloetta is not yet in OU is Relic Song— switching to its more dangerous form takes crucial time which isn't always available in OU's fast-paced metagame.
Consider this: what if Meloetta could just start as Meloetta-P, thus bypassing the need to set up? With no need to set up and stellar offenses of 128 Attack and 128 Speed, Meloetta-P would provide stiff competition to Terrakion, Conkeldurr, and Breloom as the premier physical Fighting-type of OU. One thing that Meloetta-P has over all these threats is a 128 base Speed. With this Speed, Meloetta-P easily dances her way past almost every major threat in OU, including the speedy Alakazam. With two hard hitting STABs in Return and Close Combat along with Stone Edge, Drain Punch, all three elemental punches, and U-turn for coverage options, Meloetta-P could become a really good Choice Scarf user.
The mixed set becomes even more dangerous with this change. Take this scenario: as your opponent switches in Gyarados (who can wall Choice-locked Meloetta-P with Intimidate and take advantage of the defense drops with Close Combat to beat it out) to wall the usually Choiced Meloetta-P, Relic Song switches it to the Aria Forme, making short work of Gyarados with Thunderbolt or Thunder in the process. Meloetta-A is no slouch offensively either— with a base 128 Special Attack and amazing special bulk, it can easily force switches and switch formes, thus confounding the opponent time and again. Another key example is Breloom, who can tank hits from Meloetta-P and OHKO back: Meloetta-A still outspeeds Breloom, can tank a Mach Punch, and KO with Psychic. Meloetta also has the versatility to perform multiple roles on a team with its mixed set, thus freeing up team slots and improving the balance of the team.
While Meloetta-P is certainly a great option as a Fighting-type, one cannot ignore the shortcomings of Meloetta-P. Its Normal typing makes it vulnerable to other Fighting-types and further invites Ghost-types like Jellicent or SubDisable Gengar to set up on it when Choice-locked. In addition, unlike Conkeldurr, Meloetta-P is vulnerable to being burnt and thus beaten with status. Sets carrying Relic Song lose out on vital coverage and can be walled with good prediction.
Nevertheless, Meloetta-P would become a premier threat in OU as a Fighting-type with more than what meets the eye.
Choice items are an integral (possibly game-defining) part of the current OU metagame, adding crucial power to offensive threats at the price of being locked into one move. But what if there were no Choice items? How exactly would the OU metagame look without their presence? I'll discuss the impacts in the following sections.
With no Choice items to use, most offensive threats would turn to the second best choice, Life Orb. While these offensive threats now lack the power of Choice items, Life Orb sweepers have the distinctive advantage of not being Choice-locked. Another key option for sweepers is the Focus Sash, which allows them to take a hit at full health and retaliate back, making them effective revenge killers (an example being Alakazam considering most neutral hits WILL bring it to 1 HP). However, in a metagame where Stealth Rock is omnipresent, the Focus Sash has little utility. Another option is Expert Belt which can help net KOs while not having the nasty recoil of Life Orb but faces a loss in power. Berries will rise in popularity, with Lum Berry enabling sweepers to avoid status effects and the pinch berries to run effective Substitute attacker sets.
With the disappearance of the Choice Scarf, everything comes down to base Speeds, abilities, and EV investment. As such, almost every sweeper will be forced to run full Speed investment, and one will see more of the 4 / 252 / 252 spreads throughout the metagame. Chlorophyll (if not banned in combination with sun like Swift Swim was banned in combination with Drizzle) abusers like Venusaur now outrun the whole metagame, thus gaining a crucial advantage. Pokémon with naturally high base Speed such as Alakazam and Weavile also gain a crucial advantage over other sweepers as outspeeding now makes all the difference between a sweep and a quiet exit. Priority gains even more importance as it bypasses Speed, enabling even the slowest of threats to strike first, a prime example being Scizor's Bullet Punch.
While most offensive threats lose power with the transition to a Choice-less metagame, some offensive threats actually benefit from the reduction in power of the competition. A prime example is Alakazam, whose naturally high Speed stat means it easily outruns most of the non-sun boosted metagame. Alakazam also suffers little from the loss of Choice items because it never actually runs Choice items, as it prefers the revenge killing capabilities of a Focus Sash or the recoil-less power (Magic Guard) of a Life Orb. Venusaur gains perhaps the most from the loss of Choice items, as it now easily outruns the whole metagame in sun, thus making it a nightmare to face on the field.
On the defensive side, almost every wall benefits from the loss of Choice items but none more so than Cresselia, which can now easily stall out non-choiced attacks with Moonlight (particularly in sun) and can also set up with Calm Mind and possibly sweep. Other notable examples are Blissey and Chansey (also known as the pink blobs) who can now further elude special sweepers and stall them out. An honorable mention goes to SubRoost Kyurem, which becomes a nightmare to take down without Choice items and with 130 base Special Attack, can also hit very hard.
The large majority of offensive threats in OU will miss the power of Choice items. However, some threats whose defining sets were based on Choice items will miss them more than the others. A key example is Terrakion, who loses the immediate power of the Choice Band and the revenge killing capabilities of the Choice Scarf. There is a silver lining for Terrakion though— it outspeeds the whole metagame (inclusive of Venusaur in sun) with a Rock Polish boost and can run an effective Rock Polish set as well as a Double Dancer set.
Another casualty of the loss of Choice items is Latios, which misses the power of Choice Specs and the swiftness of Choice Scarf. Because of its reduced damage output, Latios is more vulnerable to Pursuit trapping by the likes of Scizor and Tyranitar. Other notable examples include Hydreigon, which no longer has the wallbreaking Choice Specs set, and Tyranitar, which loses the ability to KO bulky Psychic-types with Pursuit.
While most playstyles will suffer the loss of offensive power due to the loss of Choice items, two playstyles rise to the foreground: sun and stall. Sun teams now possess the highest Speed in the entire metagame and become far more dangerous than before, while stall enormously benefits from the removal of Choice items as the ability to wall threats rises. With more importance being given to Speed, Trick Room also gains viability, as it can turn the Speed equations around, thus playing havoc with the Speed tiers.
As always, there are a variety of opinions with regards to such hypothetical questions. OU is currently in a state of chaos with the Suspect Testing process on in full force, so feel free to let your imagination go wild in the OU Theorymon thread!
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