DOU Suspect Coverage: Azumarill

By Memoric and talkingtree. Art by Tikitik.
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DOU Suspect Coverage: Azumarill


Hare today, goon tomorrow?

The idea of suspecting something as small and cute as Azumarill might be out of left field for some—in truth, Azumarill is actually one of the most dangerous threats in Doubles OU. Even back in 2014, when XY was still the latest game, Azumarill was already dominating the competition as a main piece of the metagame-defining team Bunny Rampage; today, it still strikes fear into the hearts of players.

This is because of Azumarill's ability to possibly end games outright; boasting Belly Drum, Aqua Jet, and an Attack stat equivalent to base 149, Azumarill can easily punch holes on opposing teams if it gets a boost. That isn't exactly a hard task; Azumarill boasts solid bulk and nifty resistances thanks to its Water / Fairy typing, and, more importantly, redirection support exists, giving Azumarill the room to quickly set up and go ham. In particular, a Follow Me user that is a suspect-level Pokémon of its own in Jirachi, with its good bulk and defensive typing that lets partners last longer than they should, pushed the limit of Azumarill's stellar ability to quickly take advantage redirection with a rapid Attack boost. However, Jirachi was voted to stay in the last suspect test. The metagame was also featuring a lot of Mega Kangaskhan + Genies and Mega Gardevoir builds as of late, which are teams that Azumarill is effective against. With the result of the last suspect test and current state of the meta in mind, the DOU Council put Azumarill under the microscope.

Sample set

  • Azumarill @ Sitrus Berry
  • Ability: Huge Power
  • EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Aqua Jet
  • - Knock Off / Play Rough
  • - Belly Drum
  • - Protect

This set is the only relevant one that Azumarill has in its arsenal. Belly Drum allows Azumarill to maximize its Attack at the cost of half its HP. Aqua Jet pairs very nicely with Belly Drum, providing a STAB priority attack to take advantage of Azumarill's sky-high Attack stat. The coverage move is the only potential place for variation. Knock Off provides a way to get around Azumarill's would-be counters such as Ferrothorn, Volcanion, and Amoonguss, while Play Rough allows Azumarill to fully take advantage of its typing by letting it check Fighting- and Dragon-types such as Keldeo and Hydreigon even before a boost. Finally, Protect shields Azumarill from attacks to allow its partner to remove a threat and stalls out field conditions. A Sitrus Berry is required on these sets so that Belly Drum's costly side effect will be less detrimental, leaving Azumarill at 75% health instead of 50%. In general, the EV spread used is quite simple, maximizing Attack and bulk to make a sweep easier. Azumarill will sometimes run varying amounts of Speed depending on its teammates, but it always makes sure to have an even HP stat so that the Sitrus Berry will be activated after it uses Belly Drum.

Azumarill's Belly Drum set is so powerful and threatening that other potential sets pale in comparison, having only a small niche. Although this means that Azumarill is incredibly predictable and inflexible, the prowess of this set alone was deemed enough to be suspect worthy.

Pro-ban arguments

On one side of the debate, a group of people were concerned about the immediate pressure that Azumarill could apply simply by existing. What few flaws Azumarill did have could all be accounted for, as with a STAB priority move circumventing its low Speed, coverage moves to hit bulky Grass-types, a redirector to ease setup and take weak hits, and Fake Out support, Azumarill's job is far easier than it might seem. The few Pokémon that could withstand a hit from Azumarill were either walled by one of its most common partners in Jirachi or unable to deal much damage back. Thus, a +6 Azumarill with a decently healthy Jirachi as a partner often meant game over, which struck many users as uncompetitive. In order to prevent the opponent from getting up a Belly Drum, players often had to make suboptimal plays to salvage whatever resources they absolutely needed late-game, meaning they were practically playing handicapped until the Azumarill was removed. This made some wonder whether Azumarill's existence in the metagame was healthy. Despite the predictability of the Azumarill player's goal, that player was often still perceived to be at an advantage. Some also questioned the emergence of niche ways to counter Azumarill, with the most prevalent of such being Haze. These users postulated that a Pokémon that forces builders to stretch so far to keep it in check was broken and that the metagame would be better off without it.

Anti-ban arguments

The anti-ban side of the debate was a little bit more splintered in their reasoning. There were a large group of people who argued that neither Azumarill, nor Jirachi, nor the duo as a whole were banworthy. They suggested that getting Azumarill in the correct position where it "just wins" requires a huge amount of forethought, longterm plays, and positional management, all of which should be promoted in the metagame. Although there are situations in which Azumarill is able to set up and be threatening without Fake Out and/or redirection support, it typically functions as the centerpiece of a team, which is rather limiting for team composition and quite predictable. Although Knock Off is the far more common and arguably Azumarill's most effective coverage move of choice, sacrificing Play Rough causes Azumarill to be less useful before it gets off a Belly Drum, as then it can't fully take advantage of the favorable matchups it gets with its Fairy typing. In the eyes of those against a ban, the constant pressure applied by the fast-paced Doubles metagame prevented Azumarill from being as effective as it seemed on paper, thus making it non-banworthy.

However, a few others were convinced that the previous Jirachi suspect ended with the incorrect result, and an Azumarill ban would be a casualty of Jirachi's existance in the metagame, just as some believed was true of Mega Salamence. These users were of the opinion that the Jirachi + Azumarill duo was unhealthy for the metagame, but that banning Azumarill would be an unfair and inadequate solution to the problem.


With only 44.8% of active voters voting to ban Azumarill, it was hare in DOU for another day. DOU's banlist was unchanged, but it did shed to light some new thoughts on the metagame. In particular, the idea of Haze being used as a countermeasure to not only Belly Drum Azumarill but also other setup Pokémon such as Calm Mind Sylveon, Calm Mind Cresselia, and Dragon Dance Gyarados was thrown around, but it never actually has seen any notable usage whatsoever. The idea of a Jirachi retest was also brought up; however, whether this will actually happen is not guaranteed and is mostly up in the air, though it is very unlikely due to Sun & Moon's release approaching, how recently a suspect has been done, and how convincing the result of that suspect test was in the first place.

Azumarill leaving the tier would probably have had a decent effect on the metagame; Pokémon that were walled by Azumarill would likely rise in usage, but for the most part Azumarill didn't really check anything in particular and its power was mostly from its ability to overload threats with damage. There's not much use thinking about that further though; Azumarill stayed, and things will go on like they usually would. Wanna give DOU a try? Here's a sample team featuring Belly Drum Azumarill. Give it a go and stick around!

Kangaskhan-Mega @ Kangaskhanite
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Fake Out
- Return
- Power-Up Punch
- Sucker Punch

Azumarill @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Huge Power
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Aqua Jet
- Play Rough
- Belly Drum
- Protect

Jirachi @ Safety Goggles
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 92 Def / 164 SpD
Impish Nature
- Iron Head
- Icy Wind
- Follow Me
- Protect

Hydreigon @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Draco Meteor
- Dark Pulse
- Earth Power / Tailwind
- Protect

Thundurus @ Magnet
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Flash Cannon
- Thunder Wave
- Protect

Landorus-Therian @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- U-turn
- Superpower

The team was built around the idea of having two powerful threats being supported by Jirachi's redirection. Mega Kangaskhan and Azumarill are the team's two main offensive pieces, with the former also capable of giving Azumarill opportunities to Belly Drum with Fake Out. Jirachi is there to soak up attacks aimed for its partners and also provides some speed control with Icy Wind. Hydreigon deals with Fire-, Steel-, and Water-types such as Aegislash, Heatran, Mega Charizard Y, Jirachi, Volcanion, and Rotom-W; basically, it's there to supplement matchups against an assortment of threats. The choice between Earth Power and Tailwind depends on whether one prefers Heatran and Volcanion being dealt with quicker or speed control; either is fine. Thundurus and Landorus-T are there to hold the team together, helping the speed game with Prankster Thunder Wave and Choice Scarf, respectively, and checking a number of threats including Mega Diancie, Talonflame, and Latios. The team aims to give players the option of winning with either Mega Kangaskhan or Azumarill, but it does also have the flexibility through another way if needed.

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