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The Ubers ladder is renowned for having a huge number of new players who have no idea what they are doing. Indeed, there are so many that we have previously needed to write a "Why the Ubers ladder sucks" article. While I can't say that people have gotten the message (they haven't really), there are also a large number of players, who while are not totally new to the game, use some Pokémon and sets that are just either mediocre or pointless. This is not to say that these are the totally awful sets mentioned in our previous article. These sets are relatively commonly seen on the ladder and appear decent, but if you look deeply, they do nothing better than sets that don't offer anything significant, as opposed to the sets that are already on-site. There are also a number of Pokémon that may appear to have a niche, but are just either bad or outclassed, that some people appear to have a intense, unjustifiable attraction to. Whatever the case, this article is here to show why these sets are not worth using. Creativity is something we endorse at Smogon, but we also encourage that if you've tried something and it sucks, that you stop using it.
We'll start off with Pokémon first, and the first Pokémon that we'll talk about is the infamous Shedinja. It's easy to see why a considerable amount of newer players can like this Pokémon. Hailed as a Pokémon who can totally and utterly wall virtually all Kyogre sets, it is the one-stop fix-all for every new Ubers player. However, it really doesn't take much playing experience to find out why this sad shell of a bug is just bad. Once Stealth Rock goes up (which it will), you can kiss your little bug goodbye. There are like a hundred things that stop Shedinja, all of which are pretty common in most Ubers teams. If you read the analysis, you'll realize how common those things really are. Even if you make your team to have two Rapid Spinners, a weather changer and a Magic Bounce user to stave off residual damage, and somehow miraculously have a functional team, you still have to deal with random Toxic users, Will-O-Wisp users, Darkrai, Leech Seed, or any other random sources of damage that kill Shedinja in one hit. Hell, people can just switch Ferrothorn into X-Scissor or something like that and make the bug kill itself. In short, Shedinja is worth too much effort for something that quite a number of Pokémon can do relatively efficiently already. Kyogre can be countered pretty reliably by Latias, Grass Arceus, Water Arceus, Gastrodon, and checked by Palkia, Ferrothorn, Blissey, and Chansey, none of which requires an entire team built around them.
Now this is a Pokémon that I completely do not understand the love for. Donphan should be in UU; it fits very well in there. I'm already at a loss on why Donphan is even OU. There are way better spinners out there, so why do people use Donphan? Seriously, if you want a spinner on an OU sun team to to check Terrakion, Claydol does that job better. Forretress can at least make up for its relative lack of offense by piling about 50 layers of hazards on the opposing team. Sandslash can use Swords Dance to get past Jellicent as well as pressure Sand teams. What the hell does Donphan have over them? Now that I've stopped ranting about Donphan in OU, you can probably extrapolate my reaction to seeing more than just a couple of randoms using it in Ubers. There is no reason to use Donphan as a hazard layer and Rapid Spinner over Excadrill, who has a better typing, more Speed and Attack, and Mold Breaker to get Stealth Rock past Magic Bounce as well as hitting Giratina-O hard with Earthquake. While it can't take Earthquake, it's not like Donphan can take Earthquake very well either, and in return, Excadrill can take Dragon-type attacks as well as a whole bunch of other attacks. Just stop using Donphan.
For some reason, I still see this on the ladder from time to time. I don't know why people are using this thing. Is it just that they are too lazy on the teambuilder to scroll down one or two more on the list and pick a better forme? There is virtually nothing that Deoxys-N can do than its more specialized formes cannot. If you want a fast hazard layer, look no further than Deoxys-S. If you want an attacker, use Deoxys-A. Even Deoxys-D has a niche over Deoxys-N if you want a bulkier hazard layer. The set on the analysis of an offensive dual screener was something we decided to put because there was literally nothing we can put on the analysis but we still needed an analysis. Just use another Deoxys forme if you want to use Deoxys at all.
This is something that's sparked quite a bit of heated debate over C&C lately. While Espeon isn't completely unviable like Charizard is, the amount of love it gets on the ladder would make you believe it's the second coming of Arceus or something. It's just a very mediocre Pokémon in general; all it does is bounce back hazards once or twice and then dies. It contributes nothing else to a team. It's frail, not that powerful, and offers virtually nothing in terms of synergy. I know supporters of this Pokémon LOVE to compare it to Xatu and other Rapid Spinners and point to its usage. I mean, Espeon was 37th on the usage lists, and lots of good players use it! Trickroom gets #1 on the ladder on a regular basis with the most ridiculous gimmicks ever (Stunfisk, anyone?). Blarajan stormed the ladder with a Little Cup team.
Anyway, what IS so good about Espeon? Let's compare it to its rival Magic Bounce user, Xatu, who we approved an analysis for. Those arguing for Espeon demonize Xatu for its lack of offensive presence, its Stealth Rock weakness, and its lower special bulk. I will concede that Espeon has a bigger offensive presence than Xatu. However, does that offensive presence even do anything in Ubers? Not much. How hard is an unboosted Psyshock hitting most of the Ubers Pokémon? Not very hard. I guess Grass Knot does deal a lot more damage to Groudon, and higher Speed does allow Espeon to beat suicide lead Terrakion (which are not common in Ubers at all). The Stealth Rock weakness is just irrelevant. If you've let Stealth Rock go up on Espeon or Xatu, they are useless automatically. An 87.5% Espeon is not going to survive any more hits than a 75% Xatu in Ubers. However, now that Xatu's typing and Stealth Rock weakness has been brought up, don't forget it has a Ground immunity and 4x Fighting resistance, which is better than what Espeon has. Sure, Xatu gets an Electric, Ice, and Rock weakness, but which of those attacks can Espeon take anyway? If we now look at actually keeping hazards off the field, which is Espeon's sole purpose of any use, we'll see that Xatu is generally better at that job too. It hard walls dedicated leads such as Skarmory, Forretress, and Ferrothorn, and unlike Espeon, it doesn't get 2HKOed by Fire Punch from Deoxys-S in the sun (which is what Espeon would be used with). I could go into a million other reasons why Xatu is better than Espeon, but this is getting too long and we have a number of other sets to go through.
Now, I'm not saying that Espeon is totally unviable, but really, there should not be so many people using it and defending it like this. It has some use on ridiculously offensive teams, but that's about it.
I guess it's time we went into specific sets and variants. I'll start off with Brave Bird Blaziken. Really, I don't see the appeal of this move. There really isn't anything specifically wrong with it, it's just it doesn't add anything to what Blaziken already has. I think the main reason is that people see how amazing Brave Bird Ho-Oh is, and then see that their starter from gen 3 is also pretty decent in Ubers, so they think "Hey why don't we combine the two?". Unfortunately, Blaziken doesn't have STAB on Brave Bird, making it considerably weaker than his other options. It doesn't hit anything that Flare Blitz and Hi Jump Kick doesn't hit already, apart from Giratina, which you aren't doing much to with Brave Bird anyway. It's interesting to note that a not very effective Flare Blitz in the sun hits harder than a neutral Brave Bird, so the only time you'd want to use Brave Bird is in the rain. Even then, if you wanted to hit Giratina(-O) in the rain, why not just use Shadow Claw? Hi Jump Kick is already hitting everything else for absurd damage, so you only need Shadow Claw to damage Latias, Latios, and Giratina-O. I guess Brave Bird Blaziken looks cool, but it's simply outclassed by better options.
Thunder Wave Palkia is another set which I question "what is this supposed to do?" While Thunder Wave Kyogre has utility due to its ability to lure in Latias and Palkia and paralyze them, most of Palkia's counters are not too fazed by Thunder Wave. Palkia's main counters include Ho-Oh, Grass Arceus, Blissey, and Chansey. Extreme Killer Arceus also tends to set up on Palkia. While paralysis does annoy Ho-Oh and Grass Arceus, it's probably the status condition that they hate the least. Now that you've paralyzed them, you can't Toxic them, put them to sleep with Darkrai, in Arceus's case, burn them, or freeze them. Wouldn't you be slapping yourself because your Darkrai cannot put its counter to sleep because you paralyzed Ho-Oh? Again, another set that sounds cool in theory, but Thunder Wave Palkia is a set that does very little apart from wasting a moveslot.
This set is a little less black and white in terms of good and bad. V-create is not a bad move to spam with Rayquaza in the early game if you don't want to lock yourself into Outrage. However, there are plenty of downsides to it. The glaringly obvious one is the fact that when you use V-create you can longer continue a sweep because you are now too slow. It's not bad for early game spamming, but it's horrible when attempting to sweep. When Rayquaza has moves like Fire Blast or Overheat to easily trounce its Steel-type switch-ins, V-create is pretty outclassed as a coverage when it's sweeping. Now, I know early game spamming is pretty good, but when you have a Pokémon that is weak to Stealth Rock and has trouble with longevity, you don't want it to switch in and out very much, which is what V-create makes it do. If Rayquaza had a resistance or even neutrality to Stealth Rock, maybe V-create might be more appealing, but as it stands, it's too much trouble for what it's worth.
This set frustrates me a lot when I see it. Offensive Giratina-A is, in general, outclassed by Giratina-O. The only set that isn't is ChestoRest Giratina-A, since Giratina-O can't hold a Chesto Berry. It's just like using max HP Latios, when you can run the same set on Latias and get better results. Giratina-O can actually hit hard with its attacks, and despite it not being able to hold Leftovers like Giratina-A can, Spikes and Toxic Spikes immunity tend to even out the Leftovers advantage pretty quickly. I guess Giratina-A is bulkier, but if you want to take full advantage of that, then Giratina-A won't be hitting anything very hard at all. When using sets, please learn to be able to evaluate the set you just created and make sure it's not outclassed by anything.
Calm Mind Lugia is cute. It is another one of those sets that sound really good in theory. I mean, if you EV it with a stack of physical defense and enough speed to outrun Zekrom or something, you theoretically can't kill it, right? Unfortunately, these sets generally fail because Lugia is so damn weak. You're easily forced out by phazing moves while hitting most things for like 25% even at +3. Otherwise, the opponent can just hit Toxic and make your Lugia absolutely useless. I guess you could say Substitute beats Toxic and Whirlwind prevents phazing, but Lugia only has four moves, three of which needs to be Calm Mind, Roost and an attack. On that topic, there aren't any powerful moves Lugia can use apart from Aeroblast, which runs out quickly due to Pressure being everywhere in the tier. Ice Beam is probably your best bet for overall coverage, but it's really weak. I'm not saying this set is bad, it's just really hard to use properly.
This again, is an option that is generally outclassed by other items that Rayquaza could be carrying. Yes, I appreciate that Rayquaza has rather middling longevity, but now your Rayquaza is weak as balls with Life Orb boosting its power, and it STILL isn't lasting very long. Basically, you ended up getting the bad end of both deals.
When people run Ice Beam on any Dragon-type that lacks STAB on it, it is the epitome of redundancy. Yes, I know Ice is an amazing attacking type in Ubers, but when you lack STAB on it, it's kind of weak. Since Ice Beam is mainly used for hitting Dragon-types, why not just use Dragon Pulse, or Spacial Rend, or Draco Meteor, which OHKOes Dragon-types just the same? A fun fact is that a STAB 2x effective Draco Meteor does more damage than a 4x effective Ice Beam, and this is not to mention that most Dragons aren't even 4x weak to Ice Beam anyway. The exception is obviously on Kyurem-W, where using Ice Beam is encouraged, since it has STAB on it. However, most uses for Ice Beam are very niche on Dragon-types that it's not worth using Ice Beam on it at all. The only real uses of Ice Beam may be say, on Specs Kingdra, as it 2HKOes Grass Arceus, but this is so niche that you may as well use another STAB attack over it.
Thunderbolt, in general, is a good move. In OU and below, Thunderbolt suffices as a good coverage move. However, in Ubers, where most Pokémon have 100/100 in their specially defensive stats, without STAB, even super effective Thunderbolts are tickling common Ubers. For example, Choice Scarf Genesect only does 36.14% - 43.07% to max HP Kyogre with Thunderbolt, which is only a 3HKO. Now, I know that people hate Thunder and its accuracy, but in Ubers, you NEED that power, and that 70% accuracy is just something you're going to have to accept and take a gamble on. Even then, it's not always a gamble, since with Kyogre in Ubers being like Rafael Nadal on clay courts, Thunder is the best choice overall.
I did note that there were a couple of exceptions to this rule. Basically, just like Ice Beam, anything with STAB on Thunderbolt are perfectly fine to use the move, since they have enough power on it. This would include the Thundurus formes, Electric Arceus, and to a certain extent, Magnezone. Another Pokémon that can also be accepted to use Thunderbolt is Fire Arceus. Even in Fire Arceus's case, it is a huge toss up between Thunderbolt and Thunder. It uses Thunderbolt because it requires the coverage in the sun to strike down Ho-Oh, although Thunder would allow it to defeat Kyogre more efficiently. In any case, it is generally accepted that Fire Arceus can use Thunderbolt because it is a designated sun sweeper. This does not mean you can extend this to say, Palkia in a sun team, because Palkia's main purpose is to check Kyogre, which would bring rain along, making Thunder the ideal choice.
This mediocre set is probably the epitome of overrated. The people who use it like to pretend that it's ExtremeKiller with a Ghost typing. While it may appear to be the exact same set, one very key thing is lost—STAB on ExtremeSpeed. It also loses any boosting item that it has on all of its moves that is not Shadow Claw. The main problem with SD Ghostceus is that, with the set that most people run (SD / Shadow Claw / Brick Break / ExtremeSpeed), it is so ridiculously weak. Shadow Claw being 70 base power is just laughable. People give Weavile crap because of how weak its attacks are. Well, shouldn't we give the same kind of crap to SD Ghostceus? Now, I know Ghost Arceus is a lot bulkier than Weavile and undisputedly a much better Pokémon. However, if we just purely look at their offenses, we can tell that SD Ghostceus doesn't even match up to the weakling known as Weavile. They have the same Attack stat, while Weavile has access to Life Orb, Low Kick, and a priority attack that actually kills relevant threats such as Rayquaza. Weavile also happens to be faster. So, purely offensively, Swords Dance Ghost Arceus, using the common set that most people on the ladder use, doesn't even stack up to common trash such as Swords Dance Weavile. Like I said, I know this is an extreme example, but it does show how damn weak Swords Dance Ghost Arceus is.
The second thing is why use Swords Dance Ghostceus when the Calm Mind set does everything better? You may think that Swords Dance makes you more powerful more quickly, but after a Calm Mind, Judgment hits harder than a +2 Shadow Claw anyway. The only thing you really miss out on is the ability to beat Blissey, which isn't too bad since Blissey is relatively rare these days anyway. Even then, if you really wanted to, you can always use SubCM to get past the pink blob. I guess you also miss ExtremeSpeed, too. However, how hard is ExtremeSpeed REALLY hitting? Imagine a Donphan hitting something for 2x effective with Ice Shard. We all know how strong that is... *cue the tumbleweed*. Guess what, that's how strong your Ghost Arceus's unboosted ExtremeSpeed is hitting, so if you were considering on using it to revenge kill anything, Deoxys-A is probably the only thing that you're going to kill.
So, does this mean Swords Dance Ghost Arceus is bad? For the most part, I'm inclined to say yes. It is generally outclassed by its Calm Mind counterpart. However, Ghost Arceus does still have another trick up its sleeve: Shadow Force. With Shadow Force, Ghost Arceus becomes a whole different animal, as it now deals close to double the amount of damage that it would have done with Shadow Claw. It now OHKOs Giratina and Lugia, instead of hitting them and then getting either burned or phazed out. However, with Shadow Force, it becomes a lot easier to play around. This can be circumvented somewhat by using both Shadow Force AND Shadow Claw. Pokémon attempting to use Substitute will take a bunch from Shadow Claw, while it is a lot harder to predict around. So all in all, Swords Dance Ghost Arceus is still salvageable, but not in the way that a lot of people think.
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