Unexpected Threats in Anything Goes

By Megazard.
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Unexpected Threats in Anything Goes

Art by LifeisDANK.


Anything Goes has one of the most notoriously casual ladders on Pokémon Showdown. From the very bottom through the 1600s, it's possible to encounter people who simply want to have some fun, messing around with their team of all OHKO move users, or only Pokémon Ash caught in the fifth season of the anime, or 6 Klefki if you're particularly unlucky. And that's fine; eventually the ladder does get more serious, but Pokémon is just a fun game at heart, and there's nothing inherently wrong with messing around with that mostly RU team while others are running around with their Primal Groudon and Geomancy Xerneas. However, sometimes you'll run into a third group of people: ones running teams that appear to be simple casual fare but are actually much more thought out. Due to Anything Goes's incredibly unique (read: nonexistent) ruleset, there exists a small list of Pokémon that appear to be complete jokes at first glance but can be genuinely deadly in the right hands. These are Pokémon that may appear as far separated from Arceus as you can get—Pokémon that aren't even ranked at all in Ubers, but for one reason or another they justify their presence in Anything Goes. Think this is just a poor attempt at a clickbait article? Keep reading to find out why these random Pokémon can stand up to Mega Rayquaza better than many Pokémon in Ubers can.

Espeon Shell Bell

Espeon @ Shell Bell
Ability: Magic Bounce
EVs: 8 HP / 208 Def / 68 SpA / 224 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Baton Pass
- Stored Power
- Dazzling Gleam
- Substitute

Espeon may be cheating, since it's not necessarily viable on its own merits, but that doesn't change the fact that it's the face of standard Baton Pass teams in Anything Goes. Baton Pass itself props up a whole host of otherwise unthinkable Pokémon such as Scolipede, Mr. Mime, Vaporeon, and Drifblim, but Espeon has had a major role to play in keeping the playstyle alive. While there may be Stored Power users with much better raw stats, most notably Necrozma-DM, being able to Baton Pass in and out of Espeon before starting to sweep is critical for utilizing Magic Bounce. The ability to bounce back many status moves allows Espeon to help keep Pokémon such as Roar Primal Groudon, Whirlwind Skarmory, and Leech Seed Ferrothorn in check. Meanwhile, Espeon's Speed is good enough to carry a sweep even if Scolipede can't pass more than a couple of Speed boosts. While there's little merit to using any set remotely like this in any other high tiers, Espeon and the rest of its Baton Pass crew represent a group of otherwise worthless Pokémon turned into serious threats by the removal of a clause.

Pyukumuku Poisonium Z

Pyukumuku @ Poisonium Z
Ability: Unaware
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Recover
- Baton Pass
- Counter
- Purify

A hilariously unique addition to the Anything Goes metagame, Pyukumuku may be a one-trick pony, but it performs its role with extreme style. Baton Passing Z-Purify (which shares the effect of Z-Celebrate and raises every stat by one stage) can instantly break certain Pokémon like Mega Rayquaza and Primal Groudon to a hilarious extent, especially when Pyukumuku itself can be rather obnoxious to KO beforehand and may force the opposing team into a rather uncomfortable situation just trying to get rid of it. As an Unaware user, it isn't spectacular due to Counter being prediction reliant, the inability to do much in return besides spamming Toxic, and many strong setup sweepers pressuring Pyukumuku quite hard without any boosts, but, well, Purify. Baton Passing solely offensive boosts with Pokémon like Scolipede can be problematic if your receiver is somewhat frail, and sending Moody boosts with something like Smeargle can be somewhat unreliable, but it's hard to think of a Pokémon in Anything Goes that doesn't massively appreciate a +1 in all stats. And other than Baton Passing, at least Pyukumuku has some slight utility in maybe stopping a physical sweeper like Extreme Killer Arceus in an emergency. It should be mentioned that Unaware sets can be used on stall teams without resorting to Baton Pass sets, but Pyukumuku lacks the stats to stand out in that role and only really differentiates itself by how well it can counter Necrozma-DM without Photon Geyser. Baton Pass is most of what there is to Pyukumuku, and its one otherwise worthless signature move turned into a terrifying gimmick through Z-Moves. Pyukumuku is essentially proof that at least one person at Game Freak has a sick sense of humor.

Vivillon Leftovers

Vivillon @ Leftovers
Ability: Compound Eyes
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sleep Powder
- Substitute
- Quiver Dance
- Hurricane

Likely the most notorious Pokémon on this list, Vivillon has succeeded Darkrai's Generation 6 position of "biggest reason to never ever remove Sleep Clause." Few Pokémon are capable of instantly winning a match as quickly and decisively as Vivillon, completely irrespective of its poor stats and horrendous typing. The combination of a highly accurate sleep-inducing move due to its Compound Eyes ability and one of the best setup moves in the game means that if Vivillon can get off a Sleep Powder, things are about to get incredibly painful for its opponent. This often requires reliable Stealth Rock removers and a Sticky Web setter to ensure that Vivillon can outspeed the opposing team, meaning that Vivillon can most commonly be found on hyper offensive Sticky Web teams. If everything goes according to plan, all it has to do is simply spam Sleep Powder, Substitute, and Quiver Dance, rinsing and repeating as required, until this butterfly has +6 Special Attack and Speed and nothing can stand in the way of its Hurricane. Planning for Vivillon is where things get difficult. Packing a Pokémon with Sleep Talk, Lum Berry priority users, or certain Substitute users is ideal, but that's simply not that easy to do. Very few Pokémon can consistently and viably fit Sleep Talk onto their sets, such as a few Choice Scarf users and Primal Kyogre, and Lum Berry is generally outclassed by Life Orb on Extreme Killer Arceus and Dragon Dance Mega Rayquaza. Because of Vivillon's rarity, many teams will often fail to account for sleep inducers, hope that a few priority users are enough to handle it, and end up being 6-0ed due to a lack of preparation and the ability of Substitute to protect Vivillon from any stray Extreme Speeds. Vivillon thrives because the current state of the metagame makes it difficult to include sleep checks on many teams, and of all the Pokémon in this article, it is the one that players must consider while constructing their teams.

Clefable Leftovers

Clefable @ Leftovers
Ability: Unaware
EVs: 252 HP / 60 Def / 196 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock / Heal Bell / Encore
- Moonblast
- Moonlight
- Toxic

Clefable is somewhat unique even for this list in that it isn't made good directly due to the removing of a clause. Instead, Clefable is one of the few Pokémon where the differences between the Ubers and Anything Goes metagames grant it a niche it otherwise lacked. Clefable is one of the best counters to a number of setup sweepers, including Calm Mind variants of Arceus-Fairy and Arceus-Dark, Geomancy Xerneas, Extreme Killer Arceus, Bulk Up Marshadow, and Dragon Dance Zygarde, assuming Clefable is not caught off guard with a Z-Move from some of these sweepers. While this isn't a niche worth using most of the time in Ubers, and it's still somewhat shaky in Anything Goes given that Clefable struggles quite a bit with almost any offensive Pokémon not on that list, it is just enough to give Clefable a reason to be used. Chansey and Blissey aren't capable of taking on the physical threats on the list, Pyukumuku has no real offensive presence and lacks the team support options of Clefable, and Quagsire struggles heavily with most special attackers. While Clefable can mostly only fit on stall teams, which don't mind running a weaker Pokémon that provides a free switch for top threats such as Primal Groudon and Necrozma-DM, it does pair quite well with other stall staples such as Lugia and Primal Groudon. Clefable just barely makes it work, not for any one particular reason but rather because its combination of just enough mixed defenses, a good typing, a great support movepool, and a fairly unique ability in Unaware just barely pushes it over the edge from a Pokémon that's not worth using to a Pokémon that can end up holding stall teams together. Just keep it away from Gothitelle.

Eevee Eevium Z

Eevee @ Eevium Z
Ability: Run Away
EVs: 240 HP / 36 Def / 16 SpD / 216 Spe
Hardy Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Last Resort
- Baton Pass
- Sing
- Substitute

Eevee is a hard Pokémon to make work, arguably the hardest of any on this list. When looking at the set, it becomes immediately clear where Eevee's niche comes from: Baton Passing its ridiculous boosts from Extreme Evoboost to a sweeper of choice. However, Eevee's just so incredibly slow and frail, so it only ever has a chance of coming in on its own when given full team support. Tailwind and Gravity, most commonly set by a suicide lead Mew, allow Eevee to outspeed a good portion of the metagame and give it a good chance to hit Sing, allowing a free setup opportunity. Either dual screens or Memento is also highly recommended, as even after Evoboosting, Eevee's defenses are quite poor. A Stored Power or Power Trip sweeper like Espeon or Krookodile will need to round out the team as well. Requiring three teammates is a significant blow to Eevee's viability and makes teams wishing to use it fairly rigid, but there is still room for creativity in the last few slots with various choices such as Arceus-Steel, Gothitelle, and Ditto. While it's never seen a great deal of success in tournament play, Evopass has proved an effective ladder strategy when implemented properly. However, Eevee is frequently misused on the ladder and will most often appear as a gimmick lacking any kind of real support or strategy. Still, with the power of friendship and broken Z-Moves, Eevee is capable of leading teams to punishing victories.

Glalie Leftovers

Glalie @ Leftovers
Ability: Moody
EVs: 208 HP / 48 Def / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Protect
- Substitute
- Frost Breath
- Taunt

Sorry, Bibarel fans—even in the realm of unexpected low-tier threats, it's just outclassed. Glalie clocks in as the best non-Baton Passing Moody user, a somewhat unreliable but potentially game-ending threat that can break just about anything given the right boosts. Its movepool is just right for demonstrating why Moody is banned even in Ubers. Substitute and Protect help stall turns for more beneficial boosts, while the former also avoids status, and Taunt stops Glalie from being phazed, Hazed, and Taunted by anything looking to shut it down defensively. Frost Breath is a rare but nifty move that always lands a critical hit, ignoring the Special Defense boosts of any Calm Mind users looking to wall Glalie even if Moody grants it +6 Special Attack. Glalie's strategy mostly consists of hoping for early Speed and Evasion boosts in order to use Protect and Substitute for even more boosts until it has too many stat buffs to be stopped, and the lack of good perfectly accurate moves outside of Primal Kyogre's Thunder makes it fairly difficult for many teams to pack a reliable counter to Glalie. Pressuring Glalie with entry hazards and strong attackers is often the best one can hope for, although there is some other counterplay. Roar Primal Groudon can create a 50/50 with Glalie as to whether it ought to use Substitute or Taunt, Tyranitar's Sandstorm can prevent Glalie from using Leftovers to heal its Substitute recoil damage, and Marshadow's Spectral Thief can steal all of Glalie's stat boosts even if Glalie is protected by Substitute. Still, Moody's notorious property to stake the outcome of the match on whether or not Glalie gets the right boosts can be absolutely critical... if you're willing to risk it.

Solrock Rocky Helmet

Solrock @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Impish Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Will-O-Wisp
- Morning Sun
- Stealth Rock
- Toxic

Solrock may find little use as far down as PU, but its unique typing and ability combination give it the smallest of niches in Anything Goes. Simply put, being resistant or immune to Flying, Fire, and Ground all at once gives Solrock the ability to counter most Mega Rayquaza, Ho-Oh, and Primal Groudon sets, a highly useful attribute only shared by its counterpart Lunatone, whose worse Defense makes it a lesser check to threats such as Ho-Oh. While Solrock is susceptible to Waterfall from Choice Band Mega Rayquaza, can be stalled out by Toxic Ho-Oh, and can be broken through by Fire Blast or Swords Dance Primal Groudon, it still checks these threats more reliably than Arceus-Rock, which can be broken through by the much more common Dragon Dance + Earthquake variant of Mega Rayquaza and has similar issues with Toxic Ho-Oh. Of course, almost everything else about Solrock is fairly awful, as its typing leaves it vulnerable to just about everything else in the metagame, including Necrozma-DM and every Arceus forme, but this is not so insurmountable of an issue that Solrock should never see any use. Stealth Rock and Will-O-Wisp give it some extra utility as well, and Toxic can be rather useful to catch switch-ins, but Solrock's awful attacking stats mean that it shouldn't even bother running Stone Edge for Ho-Oh. It is also totally shut down by Gothitelle and Mega Gengar. Still, Solrock has niche uses on certain balance teams, and anyone struggling to handle Mega Rayquaza should consider praising the sun.


So these are many of the low-tier Pokémon worth considering in Anything Goes. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean your mono-Walrein team or SpongeBob-themed squad has hidden competitive merit, as most Pokémon don't secretly have some magical niche that turns them from jokes into threats. But, in some rare and specific cases, there is some potential in the most forgotten of Pokémon. That doesn't mean you should use as many low-tier Pokémon as you can at random and hope for a result; tiers are still an excellent guideline of viability. But they don't define everything, and you should almost never instantly reject a Pokémon as being completely worthless and not a threat at all. You might be surprised by their unexpected potential!

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