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In the original Pokemon Red/Blue, Psychic was the definition of a dominant metagame force. The only Ubers were of the Psychic-type, and Pokemon such as Alakazam, Exeggutor, and Starmie dominated the metagame. However, with such fame, Psychic had a long way to fall. When the Dark-type debuted in GSC, bringing with it the vicious Tyranitar, Psychic went from the defining offensive type to a liability for any Pokemon that possessed it. The final nail in the coffin came when Diamond/Pearl added the Special Defense boost for Rock-types in sandstorm, ensuring that Tyranitar could essentially switch into any offensive Psychic-type for free. However, that's not the end of Psychic's story. Over time, as more defensive Psychic-types were added, Psychic became known less as the vicious offensive force it was in RBY, and became the defensive type that it currently is in DPP.
Seeing as how Tyranitar exists, it's hard for Psychic-types to be especially successful offensively in OU. Still, a couple Pokemon stand out from the crowd. Azelf makes a fantastic lead, and with its base 125 Special Attack, 115 Speed and huge movepool, including the rare but powerful Nasty Plot, Azelf still has the potential to sweep in the OU metagame. Latias makes a fantastic offensive Psychic-type in OU, mainly due to its dual Dragon-typing and access to the powerful Draco Meteor. Starmie's 100/115 offenses and huge movepool combined with a resistance to Steel leave it more than capable of sweeping in OU. Metagross utilizes its fantastic physical stats and high defenses, combined with an expansive physical movepool, to either hit hard with Choice Band or sweep with Agility. It also has the potential to go mixed, utilizing Hidden Power Fire to deal with Forretress and Skarmory, Shadow Ball to deal with Rotom-A, or Grass Knot to dispatch Swampert.
Jirachi gets its own special mention here, as its insane versatility and balanced 100-all stat spread allow it to perform any task with ease. Offensively, it has access to the combination of Substitute and Calm Mind that can allow it to set up on opposing special attackers before sweeping hard. It also has a wide and varied physical movepool, utilizing its Serene Grace ability in tandem with Iron Head to achieve a 60% flinch rate. It also has access to the now-physical elemental punches for excellent coverage, and U-turn to tag opponents on its way out.
In terms of defense, Cresselia is the gold standard of OU Psychic-type defense. Its 120/120/130 defensive stats stand out far above the crowd, making it nigh impenetrable to anything that doesn't pack a powerful super effective move and a way to boost it. That said, Cresselia's use has fallen far due to its lack of reliable recovery, as well as the fact that it is the single largest piece of Tyranitar bait in the entire game. Still, Cresselia can be quite the tough nut to crack for teams unprepared for it.
Celebi is probably the most notable defensive Psychic-type in OU, and for good reason. 100-all stats are potent defensively, and Grass/Psychic is a very effective defensive type combination, boasting important resistances to Electric, Water, Fighting, and Ground, as well as less important resistances to Grass and Psychic. In addition to this, its support movepool is absolutely gargantuan, with Recover, Perish Song, Heal Bell, Thunder Wave, Stealth Rock, Leech Seed, and the ability to pass either Calm Mind or Swords Dance with Baton Pass. That said, it's not without weaknesses - Flying, Poison, Bug, Dark, Ghost, Fire, and Ice. Notably, weakness to Fire gives it a nasty vulnerability to Heatran, while Ice attacks are common due to the presence of threatening Dragon-types in the metagame. Still, between its solid stats, great resistances, and diverse movepool, Celebi makes a powerful defender, and oftentimes is the crux of a good stall team.
Latias' Dragon/Psychic typing, shared only with its brother, Latios, makes it a solid candidate for a defensive position on many teams. Dragon/Psychic with Levitate provides resistances to Fire, Grass, Water, Electric, Fighting, Psychic; at the same time, its immunity to Ground provides a defensive boost to any team. Latias' 80/90/130 defensive stats are also top-notch, and it can check or counter many top threats, such as Infernape, Salamence, Gyarados, and Heatran. It also possesses a solid support movepool, including Roar, Recover/Roost, Thunder Wave, and Refresh.
Jirachi got mentioned in the Offensive section, but it works just as well on the defensive. Like Celebi, Jirachi packs 100-all stats and an excellent typing. Steel-Psychic boasts a meager two weaknesses (Fire, Ground) to eight resistances (Normal, Flying, Ice, Grass, Psychic, Dragon, Rock, Steel), making it one of the best defensive typings in the game. Also like Celebi, Jirachi's support movepool is extremely wide. It packs Wish, Stealth Rock, Thunder Wave (or a 60% paralysis Body Slam for those Ground-types), the sometimes-useful Gravity (one of the few pre-HGSS users of it), and U-turn to prevent Magnezone from trapping and destroying it without requiring it to pack a Shed Shell.
Bronzong is in the same boat as Jirachi, but its special ability negates one of its only two weaknesses, allowing it to take either Earthquakes or Flamethrowers with ease. 67/116/116 defenses are solid, and Bronzong has support options that include Stealth Rock, Hypnosis, and a very slow Trick Room + Explosion.
UU's Psychic Offense doesn't have Tyranitar to contend with, but at the same time there exist effective options for shutting down Psychic-type attackers in the form of Houndoom and Drapion. However, there exist very few Psychic-type attackers in UU. Mesprit's 105/105/80 offenses and access to Calm Mind combine with its solid offensive movepool to threaten a sweep. It can also use a Choice item in tandem with Trick to cripple an opposing wall switching into it. Slowbro can utilize Calm Mind for a more offensive variant, statting up before sweeping hard. Alakazam has finally dropped to UU, where its excellent 135/120 offensive stats and access to Focus Blast give it awesome power and sweeping ability. However, its frail defenses makes it hard to switch in, and Focus Blast is shaky at best. Last, but certainly not least, Espeon has an excellent 130 base Special Attack and 110 base Speed with which to sweep using Choice items or Calm Mind.
Medicham may technically be NU, but it can't be forgotten here. Its massive Attack stat, decent Speed, and solid movepool make Medicham an extremely effective physical attacker, able to break down even some of the toughest physical walls with a Choice Band set, or strike with surprising Speed with a Choice Scarf set.
Defensive Psychic-types are rather sparse in UU, but they're still present. Uxie is like a miniature Cresselia, packing 75/130/130 defenses and a solid supporting movepool including Stealth Rock, Thunder Wave, and dual screens. Slowbro is a bulky Water- and Psychic-type rolled into one, packing 95/110/80 defenses and access to Slack Off and Thunder Wave. Claydol, with its unique Ground/Psychic typing, has access to Rapid Spin, and Levitate allows it to resist the potent QuakeEdge combination.
Like Medicham, Hypno may be NU, but it still has the potential to be useful. 85/70/115 defenses are solid, especially with a useful resistance to Fighting. Hypno also has the ability to pass Wish to Pokemon on its team or use it to recover its own HP.
Zen Headbutt - 80 Base Power - 90% Accuracy - 20% Chance to flinch target
One of two new physical-based Psychic moves in DPP, Zen Headbutt is a basic physical move with an added flinch chance. Decently powerful as well as reliable, Zen Headbutt is commonly used on Pokemon such as Uxie in UU and Metagross in OU that want to utilize their STAB on the physical side.
Psycho Cut - 70 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - Increased critical hit rate
The other new physical Psychic move, Psycho Cut is usually the weapon of choice for Medicham and Gallade, the two monstrously powerful Psychic/Fighting-types available. Absol also makes decent use of it, using the move to put down Fighting-type checks such as Hitmontop and Hariyama.
Psychic - 90 Base Power - 100% Accuracy - 10% chance to lower Special Defense one stage
The original, and still the best. Psychic provides solid bang for the buck with no downsides other than its typing.
Agility - --% Accuracy - Raises the User's Speed by two stages
One of the most solid stat up moves in the game, Agility provides a massive Speed boost to its user. It is often used in tandem with slower Pokemon such as Metagross or Empoleon to provide Speed for sweeping hard.
Calm Mind - --% Accuracy - Raises the User's Special Attack and Special Defense by one stage
Here's where it's really at. Calm Mind is one of the most fearsome stat up moves in the game, and for good reason. Used in tandem with a Pokemon packing fair amounts of physical bulk and a decent Special Attack stat, Calm Mind is used to great effect by Pokemon such as Jirachi and Suicune to stat up and perform a slow yet inevitable sweep.
Cosmic Power - --% Accuracy - Raises the User's Defense and Special Defense by one stage
A fantastic move, but terrible distribution kills it. Still, it can be of some use on Pokemon like Clefable and Jirachi to turn them into impenetrable stalling machines.
Gravity - --% Accuracy - Prevents immunity to Ground for five turns, as well as increasing the accuracy of all moves by 66%
Once again, a great move, but short duration and terrible distribution kills it. Use it in tandem with strong Earthquakes from Rhyperior and friends, or to sweep with low-accuracy moves like Blizzard and Thunder.
Hypnosis - 60% Accuracy - Puts the target to sleep
Hypnosis used to be a top-notch move for Pokemon such as Gengar, who love free turns, but the drop in accuracy from 70% to 60% in Platinum was just too much to bear. Still, it can be useful on bulkier Pokemon such as Bronzong and Milotic that can afford to play around with a move that is barely more reliable than Sing.
Light Screen - --% Accuracy - Cuts special damage in half for five turns, or eight if user is holding Light Clay
Reflect - --% Accuracy - Cuts physical damage in half for five turns, or eight if user is holding Light Clay
These two moves can transform even the frailest attacker into a bulky Pokemon that can set up with ease. Used together in the dual screening strategy, or even used alone to protect against specific assaults, the excellent distribution of these moves, combined with their pure utility, makes them two of the best support moves in the game.
Magic Coat - --% Accuracy - Reflects status attacks back at the user
Generally used on leads to prevent attempts to incapacitate them with status moves, Magic Coat can prove to be a nasty surprise against any status-based lead (or Pokemon in general).
Psycho Shift - 90% Accuracy - Transfers status from user to target
Psycho Shift is an interesting move. It can be used simply to ward off status from Pokemon such as Latias that hate to be paralyzed; or, it can be used in tandem with a Flame/Toxic Orb in order to create status to pass to opponents. However, its lack of reliability makes it a poor choice in many situations.
Rest - --% Accuracy - User is healed fully, but receives the sleep status for two turns
Rest is an excellent move for many Pokemon that have considerable bulk but lack a reliable healing option. Used in tandem with Sleep Talk, Rest can provide healing while bypassing the incapacitating effects of sleep. It is also used in a stand-alone fashion on Pokemon such as Snorlax and Swampert with Curse, which can afford to spend a few turns asleep due to their boosted defenses. Rest is also useful on Milotic, as the sleep will activate Marvel Scale and boost its Defense.
Trick - --% Accuracy - User swaps hold items with target
As one of the moves that gained ridiculous distribution in Platinum, Trick has become extremely wide-spread in the metagame. Generally held by Psychic- and Ghost-type Pokemon, it can be used in tandem with a Choice item to lock weak walls into a single attack, or it can be used with a debilitating item such as Toxic Orb or Flame Orb to cripple the opponent by removing its hold item and inflicting status that cannot be removed by a cleric.
Trick Room - --% Accuracy - For five turns, slower Pokemon move before faster Pokemon
Trick Room turns slow, powerful sweepers into ridiculously fast and formidable sweepers for five turns. However, it comes with some downsides. First, it has a priority of -7, meaning that it goes after ALL other moves, including Focus Punch, Roar/Whirlwind, and other low-priority moves. Second, it only lasts effectively three turns, since there is the turn that it is used and the turn that you switch to your sweeper, or four if your sweeper is also your Trick Room user. However, it is certainly a force to be reckoned with, as it can be used in tandem with Pokemon such as Marowak, Rampardos, and Machamp to turn their terrible Speed into an offensive advantage. It's the gimmick that few players are truly prepared for, and can definitely catch people off-guard as long as it is played well.
Psychic may not be on top of the world like it used to be, but it certainly isn't at rock bottom. Offensively, most Psychic-types still pack massive movepools to deal with their new counters, and defensively, Psychic provides an important resistance to Fighting that helps provide checks against powerful OU Fighting-types such as Machamp, Lucario, and Infernape. Just be sure to watch out for Tyranitar.
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