Bottom of the Barrel: The Stuff You Should Not be Using

By ScraftyIsTheBest.
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LifeisDANK's Arcanine

Art by LifeisDANK.


Hello folks! Without a doubt, you've seen that Pokémon here in the competitive scene have been divided into "tiers", such as OU, UU, RU, and NU. Generally, the idea is that the most powerful and effective Pokémon competitively are in higher tiers, while weaker Pokémon are in lower tiers. However, throughout the generations, there have been many Pokémon that were placed in tiers which they do not belong and are poor Pokémon by the standards of said metagames. The most notorious example of this is Electivire in DPP OU, which was ineffective as a wallbreaker and sweeper due to its middling Speed and reliance on weak moves. Other well-known cases over the years include Sandslash and Dusknoir in BW RU, Dusclops in BW UU, and Ambipom in XY/ORAS RU. So why do we have poor Pokémon badly misplaced in certain tiers, you ask? If they are so bad, why not just place them in a lower tier? The answer is, unfortunately, quite simple: our tiers are based on ladder usage statistics. And some ladder players are subpar and rely on Pokémon that look a lot better on paper than they are in practice. The USM tiers unfortunately have a large number of subpar Pokémon in certain tiers. Thankfully, OU has gotten rid of any sort of Electivire-like Pokémon in its own tier list due to the introduction of using weighted stats for tiering, but the lower tiers, such as UU, RU, and NU, have not been so fortunate. So, let us look now at some of the Electivires of the USM tiers.



UU Arcanine Fire-type Intimidate Flash Fire Justified HP 90 Atk 110 Def 80 SpA 100 SpD 80 Spe 95 BST 555

To start things off, we have everyone's favorite canine. While it's got a cool design and some pretty good stats all-around, Arcanine, unfortunately, is simply not fit to thrive in UU's current metagame, despite being good in previous generations. It might have had some use back when Weavile and Mega Gardevoir were rampant in the tier, but now, with those two gone, there is simply no niche for Arcanine to fulfill in this metagame.

Where did it go wrong?

Arcanine's main problem is that it's largely outclassed. From an offensive standpoint, even though it has a good offensive movepool and good stats to go with it, there is literally no reason you would ever want to use this thing over another Fire-type such as Infernape or Mega Houndoom, which have more coverage, power, or utility. It can run a defensive set, but the ubiquity of Hippowdon renders Morning Sun a relatively weak form of recovery. The low PP of such recovery isn't doing it any favors either, and its Stealth Rock weakness further undermines its ability to take on Scizor and Serperior. Not to mention, Will-O-Wisp has become much less effective since its residual damage was reduced, which means many of Arcanine's switch-ins such as Hydreigon and Latias don't care about it. Heck, even Infernape can pull off a defensive set better, since Slack Off is much more reliable form of recovery, and it's not weak to Stealth Rock. Granted, that's not a set you would want to use often, but you should get the point. Arcanine is major bait for a good deal of the metagame while it's hopelessly outclassed at everything it does, unfortunately. Is there hope? Maybe, but that would require Arcanine to fall down to RU, where it can hopefully shine as one of the best physical Fire-types there.


RU Forry Bug-typeSteel-type Sturdy Overcoat HP 75 Atk 90 Def 140 SpA 60 SpD 60 Spe 40 BST 465

This one is honestly a very hard one, because Forretress was such a solid Pokémon in OU for a long time and was pretty good in ORAS UU too, thanks to its ability to both set up and clear hazards and its strong set of resistances making it a decent wall. Unfortunately, the rise of Defog as well as new, better Spikes users such as Klefki has taken Forretress out of its niche, and its flaws have started taking their toll on it, truly marking its fall to mediocrity. Thankfully, the recent tier shifts have allowed Forretress to fall down to RU, where it belongs, so please UU players: allow this thing to continue being mediocre in its proper tier.

Where did it go wrong?

Forretress suffers mainly from the fact that it's just too passive to be used on a team. It's extremely weak, since its most powerful move is Gyro Ball; and Steel frankly isn't a good offensive type, which means that it becomes massive setup bait for a large number of common Pokémon in UU, such as Suicune, and lets a lot of other Pokémon in for pretty much free. The omnipresence of Scizor has ironically hurt Forretress, as more Pokémon these days run Fire coverage, making Forretress even more vulnerable to the metagame, which is only compounded by its poor special bulk. It falls short as a spinner, since it's massive setup fodder for Doublade and loses to a lot of hazard setters because it lacks offensive presence and is easy to wear down over time. These flaws have actually hurt Forretress since its inception, but its support movepool now no longer helps it, since Klefki serves as a much better Spikes user thanks to Prankster, a Fairy typing, and other utility such as dual screens and paralysis, while many Pokémon such as Starmie are much more effective as spinners in the long term. Unfortunately, Forretress has now become a Pokémon whose flaws outweigh its good points, and it's frankly a liability on most teams for its immense passivity. And funnily enough, with its recent drop to RU, it's not all that great there either, since all of its aforementioned flaws make it easy to pressure from a lot of common threats in that tier, so it's frankly a relatively niche Pokémon in RU as well.

Honorable Mentions: None



RU Donphan Ground-type Sturdy Sand Veil HP 90 Atk 120 Def 120 SpA 60 SpD 60 Spe 50 BST 500

Donphan is a follower of the RU ladder's inexplicable trend of excessively using poor bulky Ground-type spinners purely because they have both Stealth Rock and Rapid Spin. BW2 had Sandslash, XY and ORAS had Claydol (which thankfully dropped out by the end), and now in USM we have... Donphan. Despite being bulky and having good Attack and Defense, Donphan is just... not good. It's baffling why people in RU love using Ground-types with both Rapid Spin and Stealth Rock, because frankly it almost never works out well in practice.

Where did it go wrong?

Donphan is a Pokémon plagued with issues. Even though it has Rapid Spin and Stealth Rock, its poor Speed and special bulk, along with weaknesses to Ice, Water, and Grass, leave it immensely susceptible to being revenge killed or forced out by common threats in the metagame, such as Milotic, Shaymin, and to an extent Vanilluxe. Its typing doesn't exactly do it any favors on the physical end either, as while it makes for a situational check against, say, Tyrantrum, it fails to check much of anything due to its lack of recovery and vulnerability to being worn down, which also make it exceptionally easy to pressure. Because of this, it's largely outclassed in any role it tries to do, as other hazard removers such as Mega Blastoise, Mandibuzz, and Gligar are much more consistent and perform more consistently against RU's many hazard setters, while virtually all other hazard users are more effective against the common Defoggers such as Rotom-C and Flygon. Basically, Donphan struggles to perform in the RU metagame, and for frankly any role you'd want to use it for, there's likely something else out there that can accomplish it and perhaps even do it better.


RU Jolteon Electric-type Volt Absorb Quick Feet HP 65 Atk 65 Def 60 SpA 110 SpD 95 Spe 130 BST 525

Ah, yes, Jolteon. Though it's incredibly fast and has good power, it just struggles to shine in the RU metagame. Its frailty, lack of offensive coverage, and the fact that it's overall outclassed as a revenge killer and offensive Pokémon just leave it unable to perform well in most matches. Granted, it was good back in DPP OU and XY RU, but those are things of the past.

Where did it go wrong?

Poor Jolteon just isn't cut out to thrive effectively in the RU metagame. Even though it has blisteringly high Speed and good firepower, it's stuck in a metagame where Ground-types such as Mega Steelix, Nidoqueen, and Rhyperior run rampant. This means its niche as a fast Volt Switch user is largely ineffective, as it gets blocked by many of these Ground-types and lacks the coverage or power to muscle through these threats, making it a liability. It also fails to muscle through several specially bulky threats such as Cresselia, Porygon2, and Virizion, and due to its frailty, often gets killed off easily if it fails to muscle through a Pokémon, making it easy to play around. In general, Electric-types struggle to do well in RU for the aforementioned reasons, but Jolteon unfortunately has it the worst due to its lack of coverage or bulk to back itself up.

Honorable Mentions: Dhelmise, Ribombee, Quagsire



NU Hitmontop Fighting-type Intimidate Technician Steadfast HP 50 Atk 95 Def 95 SpA 35 SpD 110 Spe 70 BST 455

Hitmontop has always been a rather strange case of a Pokémon. Its main use over any Fighting-type available in the metagames it's been in is its access to Rapid Spin. Unfortunately, while it was a great Pokémon back in the days of DPP UU, its middling offensive power and lack of utility have relegated it to being an overall subpar Pokémon used solely for spinning. It was relatively subpar in BW2 UU and ORAS RU, but it's just straight up bad in USM NU.

Where did it go wrong?

Hitmontop is a Pokémon that has a number of issues that prevent it from being effective for the NU metagame. Its offensive capabilities are relatively limited, as it has very little coverage outside of Close Combat. Even as a support Pokémon, it offers little utility outside of Rapid Spin, and combined with its limited coverage and middling power, this makes Hitmontop a large momentum drain and a liability on most teams. It loses to a large portion of top-tier threats such as Medicham, Whimsicott, Vikavolt, and Slowbro and ultimately invites many of these Pokémon in for free. Even as a Rapid Spin user, Hitmontop falls short, since it is forced to use Foresight to successfully get a spin off, and in most games, it either is forced to try to force its opponent or plays on the defensive without accomplishing anything. This means as an offensive Pokémon, it's largely outclassed by other Fighting-types that have more power or bulk. It's also reliant on Toxic to pose much of a threat and is massively susceptible to Spikes while having a poor matchup against Garbodor. As such, Cryogonal and Hitmonlee are much better spinners, since they have more offensive synergy and utility to bring to a team than Hitmontop. Ultimately, Hitmontop becomes a major liability on a team due to its low firepower and lack of utility beyond Rapid Spin.

Honorable Mentions: Qwilfish


So hopefully, now that you've read this article, you now have a good idea of what to avoid using in the tiers, and for what reasons. Well, in any case, have fun and see you next time!

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