w8 wut: Effective Lures in OU

By -Clone-. Art by Rocket Grunt.
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Gyarados art by Rocket Grunt


Imagine yourself challenging a friend to a Pokémon battle on Pokémon Showdown!. You select the OU tier, and you choose your favorite team. Your friend accepts the challenge, and you partake in a great battle; neither of you has an overwhelming matchup, and the two of you are of roughly equal skill.

It is now 30 turns in, and the match is all but over. You have a Mega Scizor and Hippowdon left against an Azumarill and Mega Altaria. You're in a great position—Mega Scizor is capable of beating both Pokémon quite easily, as you have already determined that Azumarill is not a Choice Band variant. Your Mega Scizor, which is at 50% HP, is in against the Azumarill. You make the safe play and go for Roost, knowing that you can outlast the Azumarill. Then, this happens:

Having lost your Scizor, you now have no way of winning the match. You concede defeat and say "gg" like a good sport.

But what happened? Surely Azumarill doesn't always carry Natural Gift, right? Well, your opponent just used a lure. A lure, by definition, is a Pokémon set that deviates from the norm to catch an opponent off-guard in order to benefit the rest of the team. While these sets deviate from the norm, they do not compromise the effectiveness of the Pokémon as a whole. Below I will go over good lures found in the OU Metagame and explain why they are effective.


Watmel Natural Gift Azumarill


Azumarill is a prominent threat in the OU metagame. Its strong attacks devastate many opposing Pokémon, which leaves it with few viable switch-ins. It also has great three-move coverage, which leaves it with an open moveslot to pick and choose what it wants to hit. Azumarill is normally checked by Steel-types such as Mega Scizor, Ferrothorn, and Skarmory. Normally, Azumarill is forced to switch out to a teammate, but when equipped with a Watmel Berry and Natural Gift, Azumarill is granted a 100 Base Power Fire-type attack that cleanly OHKOes both defensive Mega Scizor and Ferrothorn while also scoring a huge hit on Skarmory. Since Azumarill often has a free moveslot to work with, Natural Gift does not compromise the effectiveness of the Pokémon as a whole.

Watmel / Cheri Berry Natural Gift Gyarados


Gyarados is usually found holding its Mega Stone, which has very specific checks and counters. Normal Gyarados is capable of taking advantage of bulky Grass-types with its typing and STAB Bounce, but bulky Steel-types still wall it quite easily. However, Gyarados can make use of Natural Gift in tandem with a Cheri or Watmel Berry to break past normal Gyarados checks such as Ferrothorn and Skarmory with an 80 or 100 Base Power Fire-type attack. The choice between Berries is determined by whether power or utility is preferred; a Cheri Berry has a slightly weaker attack but has the advantage of curing paralysis, which can come in handy when facing priority Thunder Wave users such as Thundurus and Klefki.

Sludge Wave / Grass Knot Thundurus


Thundurus is revered for its wallbreaking capabilies, but it still has dedicated checks and counters. One such counter is standard Clefable, which is capable of walling Thundurus and repeatedly healing itself with Soft-Boiled, all while Life Orb stalling Thundurus in the process. However, Sludge Wave is capable of 2HKOing Clefable, which prevents it from stalling Thundurus out. However, Calm Mind Clefable is still capable of beating Sludge Wave Thundurus, so running a mixed attacking set with Iron Tail may be more appealing.

Hippowdon is another solid Thundurus check, as it is capable of surviving any attack Thundurus may throw at it when it has Special Defense investment. However, Life Orb-boosted Grass Knot easily changes this, as it does 89.7% to standard Hippowdon minimum and has a good chance to OHKO it after Stealth Rock damage.

Iron Tail Tornadus-T


Tornadus-T is a good Pokémon, but it is known for having a few hard stops, namely Electric-types and Fairies such as Mega Diancie and Clefable. While Tornadus-T is capable of U-turning out to a teammate, having a way of dealing with these two directly can prove beneficial, especially if it is unexpected. Iron Tail OHKOes Diancie and 2HKOes Clefable quite comfortably. It also has a chance to OHKO Clefable after it has been hit with a Hurricane (although both moves have to hit!).

Earthquake + Hidden Power Fire Latios


Latios is a powerful Pokémon and one of the most used in the metagame. It is renowned for being a top-tier special attacker and a very capable wallbreaker. Unfortunately, its standard sets are unable to break strong defensive Steel-types; Heatran, Ferrothorn, and Mega Scizor are all hard stops to this powerhouse. Latios is capable of using this to its advantage, however, by luring the aforementioned Pokémon and eliminating them with the correct move. Heatran is mauled by a 4x super effective Earthquake, while Ferrothorn and Mega Scizor take massive damage from a Hidden Power Fire.

Power Herb Solar Beam + Magma Storm Heatran


Heatran is mostly known for its defensive sets, but a solid movepool and good base 130 Special Attack stat make offensive sets plenty viable. However, Heatran usually lacks a sufficient way of getting past bulky Water-types (bar Toxic on defensive sets), which can turn it into a liability at times. If this proves problematic during teambuilding, then using Solar Beam in tandem with Power Herb can remedy this. Combined with Magma Storm, Heatran will be able to trap an incoming Water-type and then nail it with a super effective Solar Beam. Magma Storm + Solar Beam will always KO Slowbro, and Suicune falls to the same combination after Stealth Rock most of the time. Furthermore, with good prediction skills, Heatran can use Solar Beam to OHKO faster Water-types such as Starmie and Keldeo after Stealth Rock damage.

Hidden Power Fire Starmie


Starmie had a rough trip in the beginning of Gen VI, but it has secured a spot in the OU metagame as a fast user of Rapid Spin with access to many coverage moves backed by a good Special Attack stat. Despite its power, Starmie does have hard stops. One such stop is Ferrothorn, one of the most common Pokémon in the metagame. This makes Hidden Power Fire a good option on Starmie. After a bit of prior damage, an Analytic-boosted Ice Beam in combination with Hidden Power Fire is able to take out Ferrothorn before it can do anything. Running Hidden Power does mean that Starmie will have to give up a coverage move or Rapid Spin, so it may not always be the best move to run on every team.

Natural Gift Talonflame


The infamous Smogonbird™ is well known for its versatility and priority Brave Birds. However, no matter the set, it always seems to find itself walled by something. Common stops to it such as Tyranitar, Heatran, Rotom-W, and Raikou are everywhere in OU at the moment, which is something Talonflame can capitalize on thanks to Natural Gift. There is no one set Berry that Talonflame is forced to use, but the choice comes down to three: the Liechi Berry, the Salac Berry, and the Apicot Berry.

The Liechi Berry turns Natural Gift into a 100 Base Power Grass-type move that is able to OHKO Rotom-W and Choice Scarf Tyranitar after a Swords Dance boost and some prior damage. As an added bonus, it raises Talonflame's Attack stat by one stage if its health is reduced to 25% or lower, which is quite easy to do with its Stealth Rock weakness and reliance on recoil moves. The Salac Berry Berry turns Natural Gift into a 100 Base Power Fighting-type move that OHKOes Tyranitar and deals heavy damage to Heatran after a Swords Dance boost. Finally, the Apicot Berry turns Natural Gift into a 100 Base Power Ground-type move that OHKOes Heatran and lands a heavy hit on Tyranitar after a Swords Dance.

When choosing a Berry to use on this set, make sure the rest of the team is able to take on other potential Talonflame checks; with Smogonbird's popularity, many teams opt for two answers to it so as to not be overwhelmed if one is KOed. Furthermore, this Talonflame set lacks longevity, so it may only get one chance to get off its Natural Gift attack.


While standard sets are effective in their own right, deviating from the norm can be beneficial from time to time. Lures can be effective, but they must be used correctly. Reveal it too early, and your opponent may catch on to your ploy. Oftentimes, it is more beneficial to use a lure after your opponent has been lulled into a false sense of security. For example, using Hidden Power Fire on Latios the second a Ferrothorn switches in may end up biting you in the rear end if it ends up using Protect or double switches to scout for it. However, playing your Latios as if you do not have Hidden Power Fire can lure it in to a false sense of security, providing you with a perfect time to strike. Of course, every match is different, so play your lures accordingly. The ones listed in this article are only the tip of the iceberg; there are hundreds of different possibilities out there. Try to come up with your own!

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