Non-OU Pokémon in AAA

By Ryota Mitarai. Released: 2018/11/27.
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Art by DatHeatmor

Art by DatHeatmor.


Smogon's idea of having usage-based tiers has led to creations of many different tiers such as OU, UU and so on. Generally, the higher the tier, the stronger its Pokémon. However, OMs like AAA do not follow the same concept and instead twist something in order to create a fun metagame. Especially in AAA's case, with the ability to give almost any ability to almost any Pokémon, it is possible to make a top-tier, threat even from what would otherwise be a worthless in PU Pokémon. In this article, we will see some Pokémon that, despite not seeing usage in OU, are notable threats in AAA.

GolisopodBug-type Water-type Golisopod

Golisopod is one of those Pokémon you are not likely to see in a serious OU battle. This is mostly because of its signature ability Emergency Exit, which, albeit useful sometimes, mostly brings misfortune. However, in AAA, its main downfall is now fixed by giving it a much better ability. Golisopod possesses high bulk and a useful defensive typing, which allow it to switch on common physical Fighting- and Ground-type moves, making it easier for it to set up a Swords Dance. While its Speed stat is low, that's not a problem, because Triage allows Golisopod to constantly attack before its target when using Leech Life. In fact, Triage puts Leech Life in a higher priority bracket than even Extreme Speed. Golisopod can also function as Spikes setter due to its ability to force switches frequently. Additionally, if Spikes setting is not needed or is already covered, it can run Aqua Jet for another STAB priority move or Drill Run to hit Desolate Land Pokémon like Heatran and Victini on the switch. It is still vulnerable to Stealth Rock damage, but this shows us that a simple ability change can make a Pokémon significantly better.

Minior Rock-type Flying-type Minior

Minior is a prime example of a Pokémon that is deemed worthless in its given tier. However, in AAA, there's one particular set that makes Minior a notable threat, and that is its Dazzling set. The point behind this set is that Minior will try to set up with Shell Smash while the opponent will attempt to knock it out. When Focus Sash is triggered, Minior can start spamming Acrobatics and use its other moves in the event that a Flying-resistant Pokémon appears. As it is really important to trigger Focus Sash, Minior runs 0 IVs in HP, Defense, and Special Defense and runs a Defense-decreasing nature. Revenge killing it with priority moves is practically impossible without Mold Breaker due to its Dazzling ability, and after a Shell Smash boost, Minior will outspeed practically every relevant Pokémon, so it forgoes Speed EVs for more Special Attack, allowing it to run an accurate Rock STAB move. This Minior set tends to struggle with more bulky- and balance-oriented teams and stall, but it is a complete nightmare to hyper offense, especially with Stealth Rock support. However, Stealth Rock on Minior's side is a bane for the set, and thus one should always prepare reliable hazard control when considering using Minior.

Noivern Dragon-type flying-type Noivern

There's a common joke (that is actually true) among the OM community that Noivern is good in any metagame in which it gets STAB Boomburst, and AAA is not an exception. Boomburst is generally a high-power move with no real drawbacks. The only issue is that not many Pokémon learn it and even fewer get STAB on it. However, in AAA, you can give an -ate ability (either Aerilate, Pixilate, Refrigerate, or Galvanize) to your Pokémon and give them slightly better STAB moves. Noivern utilizes its high Speed and powerful STAB Boomburst to do one thing: destroy and wreak havoc against non-special walls. In fact, when it's played correctly, a lot of hyper offense teams will find themselves sacrificing a Pokémon to Noivern to keep momentum. Hyper offense teams tend to have more problems with dealing with Noivern because they have to rely on bulky Flying-resistant Pokémon like Diancie and Assault Vest Regenerator Pokémon like Magearna in order to handle its powerful Boomburst, as opposed to stall teams, which can still reliably keep all of their members healthy. Even then, stall team members do not like getting their item switched with a Choice item by Switcheroo. Noivern is also packed with Fire coverage in Flamethrower in order to deal with Steel-types more effectively and U-turn to pivot out of unfavorable matchups. However, Noivern is frail, weak to the two most common -ates, and not actually impossible to outspeed, thus Noivern should avoid fighting Pokémon that could potentially outspeed it.

buzzwole Bug-type Fighting-type Buzzwole
  • Buzzwole @ Life Orb
  • Ability: Triage
  • EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Drain Punch
  • - Leech Life
  • - Roost / Thunder Punch
  • - Bulk Up
  • Buzzwole @ Choice Band
  • Ability: Tinted Lens
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Superpower
  • - Leech Life
  • - Earthquake
  • - Ice Punch
  • Buzzwole @ Leftovers
  • Ability: Unaware / Flash Fire
  • EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
  • Impish Nature
  • - Drain Punch / Leech Life
  • - Toxic
  • - Roost
  • - Bulk Up

Although Buzzwole is UUBL and therefore its lowest legal tier is OU itself, it does not see much usage in the current OU metagame. This could be because of its really low Special Defense, its low Speed, and the fact that its strongest Fighting STAB is Superpower. However, Buzzwole is arguably one of the best Pokémon in AAA, ranking in the viability ranking's S rank along with Magearna. One of the reasons for its S rank placement is the large range of viable sets it can run; Buzzwole can run both offensive and defensive sets successfully. Not only does it have high Attack, it also has good physical bulk. One of Buzzwole's main and most well-known sets is the Triage set. Similar to Golisopod, this allows Buzzwole to be bulky and fast. What it has over Golisopod is that both of its STAB moves are affected by Triage, meaning it does not rely on solely one STAB to outspeed the opponent. Furthermore, Buzzwole too uses its high bulk and its typing defensively to switch in on common Ground- and Fighting-type moves; however, unlike Golisopod, its Fighting typing also gives it a Bug resistance. Due to Triage boosting the priority of the recovery moves, Buzzwole can beat many Pokémon 1v1 due to the fact that it can also use Roost before the opponent and thus heal off weak attacks. Additionally, Triage Buzzwole can run Thunder Punch over Roost to beat threats like Tapu Fini and Golisopod. Another set of Buzzwole is its Tinted Lens set. In normal play, one of the best actions to take in an unfavorable matchup is to switch in a resistant Pokémon. However, due to Tinted Lens effectively mitigating the 0.5x resistance modifier, switching in a Pokémon to resist its attacks is not quite effective. Most of the walls that resist its attacks, like Toxapex and Tapu Fini, are in fact 2HKOed by Superpower from this set. However, this set doesn't like fighting against 4x resistant Pokémon or ones that are immune to the move it's locked into, such as Magearna, Heatran, and Celesteela against Leech Life and Ghost-types like Gengar or Doublade against Superpower.

Additionally, Buzzwole can go more defensive and run an ability like Unaware, which puts a stop to any setup sweeper that does not have Mold Breaker. Due to its awesome physical bulk after these EVs, practically no physical attacker can muscle through it without using some absurdly powerful move. Buzzwole is quite useful on stall teams, mostly due to its useful resistance to Fighting-type moves. Its Special Defense is still low, however, so special moves are dangerous to it. One may opt to run Flash Fire instead to provide it an immunity to Fire-type moves. Additionally, Buzzwole can run Magic Bounce in order to annoy hazard setters or Pokémon that try to cripple it with status moves like Toxic or Taunt.

weavile Dark-type Ice-type Weavile

Weavile somewhat resembles an assassin from other (typically MOBA) games due to the fact that it tries to KO the enemy before they act thanks to its high Speed. However, it is also really frail and weak to many common types. One of Weavile's greatest attributes in standard play is its dual typing; offensively, it can be spammed rather easily and not many Pokémon resist both of its STAB types or are able to switch into its attacks. In AAA, this attribute is boosted even further thanks to the ability Adaptability. Now that its STAB moves are 2x more powerful, Weavile can continue spamming them, with even less fear! Even Pokémon like Magearna do not like switching into Knock Off, as they lose their precious item. Weavile's STAB moves and access to reliable priority moves are also quite handy; its Ice Shard OHKOes threats like Noivern and Landorus-T. Due to its high Speed, not many Pokémon can outspeed Weavile unboosted and even then, if they are weakened enough, they may still be finished off by Ice Shard. If the opposing Pokémon is slower for sure, Weavile can just click Icicle Crash or Knock Off, which, as mentioned earlier, is quite useful as it deals solid damage while removing the opponents' items. Another really valuable ability Weavile has is Pursuit trapping targets like Choice Scarf Victini after V-create and Noivern, which would generally try to switch out while against it. Another ability to consider for Weavile is Refrigerate, which would warrant running Return instead of Icicle Crash and a priority combination of Fake Out and Quick Attack, though it's far inferior and Adaptability, in general, is the better option due to allowing Weavile to efficiently trap threats. However, Weavile surviving neutral hits is usually a miracle, so make sure your Weavile KOes the opposing Pokémon before they act!

doublade Steel-type Ghost-type Doublade

Just like some aforementioned Pokémon, Doublade is an unusual Pokémon to encounter in an OU battle. However, in AAA, Doublade shines, especially appearing in every good stall team that is used. This is due to many factors; first off, its Steel typing gives it more than ten resistances, allowing it to easily tank hits from many types it resists. Secondly, its Ghost typing gives it a unique attribute that no other relevant Steel-type Pokémon has: it cannot be trapped by Magnet Pull, which is otherwise a good way of getting rid of Steel-type threats. The Ghost typing also gives it valuable immunity to Fighting-type moves. In fact, Doublade is one of the only Pokémon in stall teams that can reliably switch into Download Mega Medicham due to resisting or being immune to its STAB moves and its common coverage moves, and it is a consistent and blanket check to many Triage users, Tapu Koko, and Zeraora thanks to its high Defense that is boosted further by Eviolite. With Toxic, Doublade can further cripple Triage users that would just heal off any damage they take. Sacred Sword is mandatory move for Doublade, as that is its only way of beating Poison Heal Curse Snorlax, which otherwise uses it as setup bait. Finally, Doublade benefits a lot from AAA's mechanics; in standard play, Doublade's ability, No Guard, is practically useless, as Doublade doesn't have any useful inaccurate moves and only makes the other inaccurate moves used against it hit it no matter what. In AAA, however, Doublade can commonly be seen running Regenerator, which gives it reliable recovery and allows it to constantly switch in and out while pressuring the opposing Pokémon. Some other, but more underwhelming, abilities that it can be seen running are Flash Fire and Levitate. Flash Fire in particular makes it an excellent check to Desolate Land and Tinted Lens Victini, which is otherwise really hard to stop (in fact, Primordial Sea is not even a reliable check to the Desolate Land sets due to the fact Victini can just override it with its own weather). Levitate is also useful to switch into common Ground-type moves, and is now more beneficial with Zygarde banned. However, sets that utilize the type immunity abilities are ineffective against Mold Breaker users, as they can attack it with super effective moves regardless of the ability.

Get Out There!

Just because you're a truly loyal fan to OU and those Pokémon are not OU is not an excuse to not use them... at least in AAA, for sure! They may not excel in the standard play, but I can tell you that they do not suck at all in AAA. Give the metagame and these Pokémon a try!

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