Monotype Suspect Coverage: Mega Sableye

By iVid. Art by Tikitik.
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Art by Tikitik

Introduction and Common Sets

Mega Sableye is one of the most polarizing Pokémon in the Monotype metagame. It has already once been suspected in the past and has been suspected once again. The first time around, the community voted not to ban Sablenite by a significant margin, with a ban vote rate of only 38.36%. However, the prevailing Do Not Ban argument was that one type, Ghost, needed Mega Sableye to stay viable in the metagame. Even then, people were very unsure, with many voters abstaining and many voters later saying they wish they had voted to ban it. As time passed on, it became clear that the old argument that Ghost needs Mega Sableye was not in line or compatible with the Monotype tiering philosophy. For this reason, alongside the notion that Mega Sableye's presence significantly limits teambuilding for lower tier types and does not for the upper tier types, the Monotype council has voted to resuspect Sablenite.

First, let's take a look at the sets Mega Sableye employs in Monotype.

Calm Mind

Mega Sableye

Mega Sableye is an incredibly dangerous sweeper, as it packs incredibly high defensive stats and has an amazing defensive ability in Magic Bounce, making it very difficult to bring down. It has access to Will-O-Wisp to help it cripple physical attackers, and before its Mega Evolution, Sableye's Prankster gives Will-O-Wisp additional priority, allowing Sableye to render many of its physical checks incapable of significantly damaging it. It also has access to reliable recovery, which makes sure Mega Sableye's sweep cannot be stopped by slowly piling on chip damage. Snarl allows Mega Sableye to lower its foes' Special Attack, making it almost impossible to break with special attacks once it has one or two Calm Minds under its belt. With its ability to force switches easily, it finds many opportunities to set up and wreak havoc. On the other hand, Mega Sableye is susceptible to Fairy-type attacks, and physical attackers that are unaffected by Will-O-Wisp or special attackers that strike before Mega Sableye can boost are also effective checks to this set. The main problem is that some types may lack these options.


Mega Sableye

This utility set forgoes being a wincon in favor of supporting its team. Will-O-Wisp and Toxic allow Mega Sableye to improve its physical durability or put its foes on a timer, respectively. Though this set outputs less damage than the Calm Mind set, this set's utility provides its team immense power. Foul Play punishes setup sweepers, which can easily prey upon the slow Dark and Ghost teams. With Knock Off, Mega Sableye is able to remove important items such as Choice items and Eviolite. With Will-O-Wisp or Toxic, Mega Sableye spreads status easily, improving its ability to take physical attacks or put foes on a timer. While less of an individual threat than the Calm Mind set, this set is incredibly powerful due to just how much utility it provides to the team it's on. When beside other defensive Pokémon, Mega Sableye is usually the cornerstone of most defensive cores on Dark and Ghost teams.



In addition to its reputation of offensively pressuring teams, the Dark type has a dangerous defensive core capable of synergizing with Mega Sableye in particular ways. Tyranitar and Mandibuzz are the other common defensive Dark Pokémon. They synergize with Sableye well through their entry hazard control. Mega Sableye forces switches, which racks up entry hazard chip damage. In addition, Magic Bounce allows the Dark team to keep up the Stealth Rock that Tyranitar provides and keeps Mandibuzz healthy by denying opposing Stealth Rock, which is also a benefit to the rest of the team, as it helps it freely switch without entry hazard penalty. Magic Bounce also makes it more difficult for the opponent to use status moves such as Toxic and Will-O-Wisp against Mandibuzz and Tyranitar, respectively. In return, Tyranitar and Mandibuzz safely handle most threats that Mega Sableye cannot handle.

Umbreon is also another teammate that can make Mega Sableye almost unbeatable for some teams. Its access to Heal Bell support makes the likes of Nidoqueen, Mega Ampharos, and Heatran no longer able to cripple Mega Sableye permanently. With this team support, Mega Sableye becomes even more oppressive than it already was.


Similarly to how it functioned on Dark teams, Mega Sableye was the backbone of the Ghost defensive core, made up commonly of Mega Sableye itself, Jellicent, and Doublade. Ghost teams take advantage of Mega Sableye's Magic Bounce to keep entry hazards off the field and can support it in return. Jellicent can wall almost all special wallbreakers, most notably Choice Specs Keldeo, Mega Gardevoir, and Landorus. It further can use Acid Armor to make even physical attackers incapable of breaking it. With Mega Sableye's Magic Bounce, even status moves cannot reliably hinder Jellicent and Doublade because Magic Bounce bounces them back. There are a few physical attackers that can defeat Mega Sableye, such as Choice Band Azumarill and Dragonite. Doublade makes up the second physical wall, as its Steel typing provides key resistances to Fairy- and Dragon-type attacks. Doublade also has a key resistance to Grass, helpfully taking hits from Grass-types that try to beat Jellicent, while Jellicent easily switches into the Fire-type attacks aimed at Doublade. Mega Sableye made this core unbeatable, as it could Will-O-Wisp the setup physical attackers, bounce status moves, and eventually pose as a wincon to beat the opponent.

Ban Argument

The main problem that people see with Mega Sableye is in its Calm Mind set. Mega Sableye has a unique ability to reliably sweep without any team support at all, which sets it apart from other commonly seen sweepers such as Mega Scizor and Mega Gyarados. Mega Sableye preys on types that lack conventional answers to it and further exacerbates the matchup problem in Monotype. Some types will simply lose to Mega Sableye from the teambuilder, if they choose to prioritize winning other matchups. On the other hand, checking Mega Sableye could result in sacrificing their ability to have a functional team, which many that support banning Sablenite claim is a problematic dichotomy.

As it stands, a solid 12/18 types require teambuilding to centralize around checking Mega Sableye. And of those twelve, four are so lacking in checks to Mega Sableye that they use excessively specific sets. The likes of Toxic Mega Ampharos, Electro Ball Mega Manectric, Frost Breath Choice Specs Walrein and Lapras, Rivalry Poison Fang Dragon Tail Nidoqueen, and Acid Spray RestTalk Tentacruel are used to target Mega Sableye and Mega Sableye alone. This is another key difference that sets Mega Sableye apart from other sweepers. Most checks to sweepers are good for checking other threats, but that is simply not the case for these Mega Sableye checks. These checks have very viable sets that are pushed aside by the pressure of Mega Sableye. The most viable types in the metagame are those that do not need to resort unconventional means to primarily check Mega Sableye, which means the type naturally runs sets that are not intended to beat Mega Sableye, but it just happens to naturally check it already. For example, Water almost always runs an Azumarill, Psychic runs Mega Gardevoir, and Flying's two main Mega Evolutions in Mega Charizard Y and Substitute or Taunt Mega Gyarados naturally beat Mega Sableye as well.

One example the side voting to ban Sablenite brings up is Poison, which is a very good anti-metagame type that becomes a lot more viable. With access to Scolipede, Nidoking, and Mega Venusaur, Poison is very well equipped to defeat all of the main top-tier types, except for Dark. Mega Sableye has no conventional check on Poison, and the type must resort to the likes of RestTalk Acid Spray Tentacruel or Rivalry Poison Fang Dragon Tail Nidoqueen, both of which were mentioned earlier. Allowing Poison to have access to six fully viable Pokémon would bring its usage and viability up from near the bottom to at least being able to pressure the top types.

Mega Sableye doesn't just restrict teambuilding to opposing teams; Dark is pigeonholed into using Mega Sableye itself. Mega Sableye is simply too good against many of the lower types, and if Dark runs into an opposing Mega Sableye, they need to have their own to beat it. Further, in this Mega Sableye vs Mega Sableye matchup, it's an uncompetitive coin flip to see who gets the first critical hit to ignore the other's Special Defense boosts.

No Ban Argument

The no ban argument was multifaceted. It centered around 5 points:

  1. Mega Sableye definitely is an amazing Pokémon in the Monotype metagame, but banning Sablenite doesn't bring significant changes to the metagame. The current ORAS Monotype metagame is the most balanced metagame the Monotype community has ever experienced; if something is not broken, why should it be fixed? The current metagame is more playable and balanced than the previous Monotype metagame, which had Pokémon such as Talonflame and Mega Charizard X on Flying and Mega Mawile and Aegislash on Steel.
  2. A central premise of the ban argument is that banning Sablenite will improve the viability of lower-tier types. However, most of the types that struggle with Mega Sableye, such as Ice and Electric, struggle with the other common matchups. While banning Sablenite would help lower tier types, the change isn't significant enough to affect the overall type viability of lower tier types.
  3. The end of the ORAS Monotype metagame nears as Pokémon Sun and Moon inch closer. Tweaking a soon-to-be-past-generation metagame in a small way is pointless.
  4. At a glance, the top three most used types in Monotype are Flying, Water, and Psychic. Dark is not as common nor as threatening as other top-tier types. Banning an important member from one of the top-tier types would better balance the metagame.
  5. If Sablenite were to be banned, it would increase variety in top-tier types. While a similar argument was made by the ban side, the no ban side views this as a negative. Banning Sablenite would allow Flying, Water, and Psychic the ability to choose from a bigger pool of viable Pokémon. Pokémon Sablenite kept in check, such as as Mega Medicham on Psychic and Fighting, Mega Gyarados, and Mega Scizor, will have more freedom to reign free.
  6. The precedent set in the original Sablenite suspect should hold because it wasn't banned by a significant percentage, and only the pool of voters, not the metagame itself, has significantly changed.

Results and Impact on Metagame

Mega Sableye was banned with 60.5% of votes for the ban, which was above the supermajority of 60% needed.

The suspect results can be found here.

Without Sablenite, the metagame sees significant changes. Poison, a very good anti-metagame type, is significantly buffed. Poison teams in the Sablenite metagame ran dedicated checks to Mega Sableye. With Sablenite banned, Poison teams are less restricted in teambuilding, being able to pick and choose from a plethora of Pokémon that can run more effective sets, such as Nidoqueen, Weezing, and Tentacruel. Another prominent example of this relief on teambuilding for lower-tier types is Mega-Ampharos. Previously, it was required to run Toxic in order to status Mega Sableye, but it may now utilize more generally viable sets, such as RestTalk and Agility.

Dark teams will certainly see an increase in variety. Dark has a chance to use Mega Tyranitar, Mega Sharpedo, and Mega Houndoom, which were not used often because of Mega Sableye. Unlike Mega Sableye, the three replacement Sablenite options are all equally viable and all fulfill a different and important niche on Dark teams.

Ghost, the least used type, has become unviable, losing the only viable Mega it had access to. Sablenite granted Ghost teams the ability to sponge Knock Off from powerful Dark-type attackers and control hazards. It also gave Ghost teams a wincon in certain matchups.

Overall, the new Monotype metagame is more diverse with a mixture of new balanced and offensive builds.

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