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As one of Generation 3's BST 600 powerhouses, Metagross has always been a force to be reckoned with. Being one of the most powerful attackers in the Advance metagame, Metagross was one of the major reasons that nearly no team went without a bulky Water-type to keep Metagross in check. The newly-added Choice Band item also gave Metagross a massive power boost, allowing it to hit incredibly hard right off the bat.
Generation 4 just made everything better. A now-physical ThunderPunch meant that Water-types such as Gyarados and Suicune were no longer nearly as effective as counters. Life Orb made Agiligross significantly more effective, as it provided Metagross with the punch that it needed to plow through offensive teams. Choice Scarf also allowed Metagross to function as a revenge killer, outspeeding many potent offensive threats and hitting them hard.
However, it wasn't all good. Platinum brought Rotom-A into the light, acting as an all-purpose counter to most common Metagross variants. In addition to that, the popularity of Scizor reduced the usage of the Choice Band set greatly, as the two sets' purposes overlap significantly. Still, Metagross has plenty of metagame presence, as both a lead and an attacker.
Metagross is easily one of the most well-rounded, all-around solid Pokémon in the entire metagame. Packing excellent stats, a solid movepool, one of the best defensive typings in the game, and a great ability to boot, Metagross has a set for every occasion.
Offensively, Metagross is outstanding. 135 base Attack lets Metagross deal massive damage to anything that doesn't resist its powerful attacks, which is difficult considering how varied its movepool is. STAB Meteor Mash is one of the most threatening attacks in the game, as its ability to boost the user's Attack can let it deal plenty of damage even to Pokémon that resist it. To complement it, Metagross also has a huge movepool that includes Earthquake, ThunderPunch, Ice Punch, Rock Slide, Zen Headbutt, Bullet Punch, Pursuit, and the always devastating Explosion. Its ability, Clear Body, only complements it, as it cannot be weakened by Intimidate from Salamence or Gyarados. By using Agility, combined with its base 70 Speed, it can boost its Speed enough to outspeed nearly anything on an offensive team and easily sweep such defensively weak teams. It also has the power to go mixed, as 95 Special Attack can allow it to KO Metagross's common counters such as Swampert (with Grass Knot), Rotom-A (with Shadow Ball), and Skarmory/Forretress (with HP Fire).
Defensively, Metagross can take hits for days. Its 80 / 130 / 90 defenses make it extremely effective at tanking hits on both the physical and special side, and these sturdy defenses are complemented by one of the best defensive typings in the entire game. The Steel/Psychic typing boasts a whopping 8 resistances (Normal, Flying, Psychic, Steel, Ice, Grass, Dragon, Rock) and an immunity to Poison. Furthermore, it only packs 2 weaknesses: Ground and Fire, both of which are easily resisted by notable other Pokémon, such as Gyarados and Salamence. Clear Body also kicks in here, as it prevents untimely hax in the way of Defense or Special Defense drops from moves such as Crunch or Shadow Ball.
Looking at its stats, it's obvious that the best way to use Metagross on a team is to utilize its massive 135 base Attack. There are a number of sets that can take advantage of this. The most obvious one is Choice Band. Metagross's Choice Band boosted Meteor Mash is one of the most powerful attacks in the entire game, and with Meteor Mash's 20% chance to boost Metagross's Attack by 1 stage, a lucky proc can allow Metagross to power directly through some of the more powerful physical walls. Earthquake and ThunderPunch round out Metagross's coverage, and Explosion packs enough force to OHKO pretty much anything that isn't immune to it.
Metagross is also more than capable of sweeping offensive teams with an Agility set. After an Agility, Adamant Metagross can reach up to 478 Speed, outspeeding anything slower than a +Speed base 100 Pokémon with a Choice Scarf. Combine that with 405 Attack, a 100 Base Power STAB Meteor Mash (with a chance to boost Attack!), and Clear Body to prevent Gyarados and Salamence from Intimidating away Metagross's Attack, and Agiligross can give offensive teams hell.
70 base Speed is also plenty to warrant a Choice Scarf set, as it is easy to run enough Speed to best common base 115+ Pokémon, such as Starmie, Azelf, Latias, Gengar, and Scarfed / Dragon Danced Tyranitar. This allows Metagross to act as an effective check to many faster Pokémon, as its 80 / 130 / 90 defenses allow it to switch into many attacks with ease, even neutral ones.
Metagross can also be an effective lure. With a mixed set, Metagross can lure in its common counters and destroy them with its effective special movepool. With Rotom-A switching freely into most Metagross sets, a powerful Shadow Ball off of Metagross's 95 Special Attack can give it a quick sendoff. Grass Knot can do the same for Swampert, while Hidden Power Fire can quickly dispose of Skarmory, Forretress, and Scizor switch-ins.
Metagross also makes an extremely effective lead. Access to Stealth Rock combined with its exceptional bulk makes it a great way to lay Stealth Rock early on. Occa Berry can allow Metagross to sponge a hit from Heatran and OHKO back with Earthquake, while Meteor Mash + Bullet Punch disposes of Azelf and Aerodactyl leads.
If there was ever a Pokémon that was meant to counter another Pokémon, Rotom-A would be that Pokémon. Resisting Steel and Electric while packing immunities to Ground and Normal, the standard Metagross is essentially incapable of dealing with Rotom-A. Add to this the fact that Rotom-A can either Reflect or Will-O-Wisp to further cut Metagross's power, and it's easy to see how Rotom-A has kept Metagross in check since Platinum.
Skarmory can also do well, as its massive 140 base Defense and access to Roost allows it to easily sponge ThunderPunch, the only move the standard Metagross packs that can damage Skarmory effectively. Forretress can do the same, as while it cannot Recover, Metagross's best option against it is a neutral Earthquake. Bronzong is even better, as the most powerful attack that Metagross can muster is a neutral ThunderPunch, while Bronzong can hit back with Earthquake or set up Screens. Suicune's huge 100 / 115 defenses and resistance to Meteor Mash makes it easy to switch in, though Explosion poses a much larger threat. Swampert can do the same, and also packs an immunity to ThunderPunch, which means that like Forretress, Metagross's best option is a neutral Earthquake. However, like Suicune, Explosion remains a large threat to it.
More offensive options require prediction. Heatran is faster than Metagross, 4x resists its Meteor Mash, and can retaliate with a powerful Fire Blast. Gyarados can switch into Earthquake or Meteor Mash and hit back with Earthquake. Scizor can switch into Meteor Mash or ThunderPunch and Superpower or U-turn out for a solid chunk of damage. Flygon can switch into Earthquake or ThunderPunch and hit back with its STAB Earthquake.
Agiligross can be a bit harder to handle for offensive teams. If it's running a set with maximum Speed and an Adamant nature, the only real way to hit it before it hits you is to use a Scarfed Base 100 or greater, such as Jirachi, Flygon, Salamence, Gengar, or Latias. Jirachi lacks the power needed to hit Metagross hard on its 130 base defense, but can still work in a pinch against a weakened Metagross. Flygon's powerful Earthquake can deal plenty of damage to Metagross, as can a Scarfed Salamence's. Latias can use Hidden Power Fire or Surf / Thunderbolt to hit Metagross's weaker defense hard, while Gengar packs a powerful Shadow Ball off of base 130 Special Attack.
Depending on the set, Metagross normally does more to support a team than it requires support. That said, there are many ways to make it easier for Metagross to do its job, especially when using an Agility set or any other set that requires sweeping.
Metagross has little to fear from most hazards, with a resistance to Stealth Rock, an immunity to Toxic Spikes, and an immunity to Sandstorm, Metagross is pretty well shielded from the elements. However, when using Choiced variants of Metagross, it is important to keep Spikes in mind. Skarmory and Forretress switch into Metagross easily, and once Spikes come up, it makes it much harder to switch Metagross in even on resisted attacks. Starmie can be an effective Rapid Spinner, especially given that it can threaten most Spikers and spin blockers. It also resists Fire, which allows it to also defensively complement Metagross.
Metagross's teammates should be able to handle any potential threats to Metagross's well-being that would come up. Latias is one of the best teammates for Metagross, as it resists Fire, is immune to Ground, and has excellent Special Defense to take attacks aimed at Metagross. Salamence also supports Metagross well, as it can break down walls that stand in Metagross's way, and vice versa. Gyarados can do the same, and has better Special Defense to take attacks aimed at Metagross's lower defensive stat. Heatran also does well, as while it may share a Ground weakness, it can absorb Will-O-Wisp or Fire attacks aimed at Metagross and use them to boost its own Fire-type attacks. Magnezone can trap Skarmory, Forretress, and Bronzong, which can allow Metagross to sweep with opposing Steel-types removed.
Metagross is an excellent choice for any team that needs a little more power behind its attacks. Try Metagross out, and see just how much punch he can add to your team!
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