NU Metagame Report: May-July

By erisia. Art by LifeisDANK.
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NU report may-july

Introduction

Although NeverUsed is generally a stable metagame, new tier shifts often introduce new threats and remove old staples, causing people to rethink how their teams work and consequently what Pokémon become better or worse. While the balance of power is rarely shifted completely, new additions can have more (or less) influence than predicted, and the result can be a wave of innovation as new sets become more popular and lesser-used Pokémon become more viable as they respond to changes in the metagame. This article will summarize the main changes that have occurred since the usage-based updates at the start of May, look at what Pok√©mon and movesets have increased or decreased in popularity, and make predictions on how the tier might look in another three months' time.

Tier Changes

While the tier has generally settled from the departure of Sawk, Gurdurr, and Sceptile, the introduction of many new threats and the departure of one of stall's classic choices have led to some interesting new strategies and cores. Meanwhile, a suspect test was declared on using Baton Pass to transfer Speed Boosts to other Pokémon: a long-time strategy that had generated a fair bit of contempt from frequent ladder players. This was then shortly followed by a suspect test on a long-time NU offense staple: Tauros.

+   Aggron Gastrodon Smeargle   Aggron, Gastrodon, and Smeargle from RU to NU:

In one of the biggest recent shakeups in NU history, three vastly different Pokémon dropped down from RU. Aggron had received a lot of competition from the faster and stronger Tyrantrum in the past and dropped down while Tyrantrum was still exerting its pressure in RU. Now, it terrorizes NU with its absurdly strong Rock Head Head Smash, powerful coverage moves in Heavy Slam, Superpower, Earthquake, and Fire Punch, and a rare Steel typing. While its Rock Polish set can make for a threatening late-game sweeper, its best set is a simple Choice Band set that capitalizes on the raw power of its Head Smash, not to mention Heavy Slam against lighter (read, most) targets. However, despite its immense power, it has remained balanced due to its lacking Speed tier, its 4x weaknesses combined with its abysmal special bulk, and the presence of Rhydon as a fierce rival. Good defensive Rock-resistant Pokémon already exist in the tier, such as Torterra and Poliwrath, which can switch into Aggron reliably (unless it carries Ice Punch in the former's case). Furthermore, another new drop has arrived that can reliably tank Head Smashes and heal off the damage with Recover; Gastrodon joined the tier after falling out of popularity compared to its rival Seismitoad, as well as other bulky RU Water-types such as Alomamola and Jellicent. Gastrodon's excellent defensive typing, bulk, and reliable recovery have made it an excellent, if somewhat passive choice for balance teams that require a little more defensive backbone, with excellent defensive stats compared to its rival Quagsire. Finally, last and definitely least, Smeargle dropped at the same time, boasting access to every move in the game and being the best Sticky Web user in the tier because of it. Smeargle's drop has most likely been caused by the ubiquity of Flygon in RU; an excellent Defog user that is immune to Sticky Web and Spikes and resists Stealth Rock, making life difficult for hazard stacking teams in general in that metagame. However, Smeargle still isn't able to do much in NU, as NU has several good responses to sleep (such as Magmortar and Xatu) and Sticky Web (Malamar and the plethora of threatening non-Grounded Pokémon). While Smeargle can make a decent hazard lead for dedicated Sticky Web teams, other hazard leads such as Garbodor and Omastar outclass it in general due to their defensive value and offensive presence.

-   Quagsire   Quagsire from NU to OU:

Meanwhile, a fairly unexpected change occurred where Quagsire rose all the way up to OU, due to the increased popularity of stall teams in a post-Hoopa-U metagame. While its popularity there seems to be slowly decreasing, it has effectively swapped places with Gastrodon over the last few months of NU. Stall teams sorely miss the presence of a decent Unaware user to dissuade powerful setup sweepers such as Swords Dance Samurott and Rhydon, but Gastrodon's increased bulk, Water-type immunity, and extra offensive presence make it more generally useful on balanced teams. While Quagsire would have been one of the best Aggron counters in this new metagame, Gastrodon also excels in this role and makes it difficult for Aggron to break through a lot of teams single-handedly, especially given its higher usage compared to Quagsire in the first place. Quagsire also fails to OHKO uninvested Aggron with either Scald or Earthquake, making it a less threatening Aggron response in general.

-   Combusken + Xatu + Malamar   Suspect Test on Speed + Baton Pass (BANNED):

Overall, the new metagame proved to be balanced without any outright broken threats, but one strategy started to receive a lot of attention: using Combusken to pass Speed to bulky Xatu and Malamar sets. With Xatu running a physically defensive Calm Mind set with Stored Power, Signal Beam, Roost, and a Kee Berry for extra Defense, it quickly became too much for a lot of teams to handle when combined with Combusken's Speed boosts and Magic Bounce preventing status moves such as Thunder Wave and Toxic shutting it down. Specially defensive Rest Talk Malamar similarly became a nuisance with Contrary Superpower when given enough Speed from Combusken to outspeed all relevant Pokémon. The ease with which Combusken (and others such as Ninjask) could pass their Speed to these targets, alongside the excellent coverage of these receivers, was deemed too powerful for NU, so the ability to pass Speed with a Baton Pass user was banned on July 5th. As this is a specific case relating to certain Pokémon that are not otherwise unhealthy for the tier, a complex ban was passed rather than banning individual Pokémon, and the ban does not apply to PU.

-   Tauros   Suspect Test on Tauros (NOT BANNED):

On July 10th, Tauros was also brought up as a potentially overwhelming influence within the tier. While it has happily resided as one of NU's best offensive threats for most of the tier's existence, it has only recently shot up in popularity with the departure of Sawk and Sceptile, two Pokémon that could check it pretty well on offense teams. Sporting base 110 Speed, Sheer Force, a strong (though inaccurate) STAB move in Rock Climb, and many viable coverage options including Earthquake, Zen Headbutt, Fire Blast, Iron Tail, and Rock Slide, it has a very strong matchup against most offensive Pokémon and can be quite difficult to wall depending on its moveset. However, despite much "Tan Bauros" sentiment, the final result on July 26th resulted in Tauros not being banned and remaining in the tier instead, a rare but welcome outcome for a suspect test. While Tauros is obviously a threatening presence, the community has decided that there are adequate defensive checks (such as Regirock, Carracosta, and Musharna) and offensive checks (such as Floatzel, Swellow, and most Choice Scarf users) to keep it balanced in the tier.

?   Trevenant Togetic   Predictions for August:

With Mega Steelix and Tyrantrum, Aggron's biggest check and competition, respectively, being banned from RU on June 7th, it is unclear as to whether Aggron will stay in NU for the time being or jump back up in popularity once people have adjusted to the new RU metagame. Furthermore, it is unlikely that many RU Pokémon will drop in usage further, as many Pokémon such as Ambipom and Cinccino have become slightly more viable with the removal of Mega Steelix and Tyrantrum, and other Pokémon will be used more in general to compensate for the void they leave behind. However, Trevenant is still a likely candidate for entering NU, as it has received consistently low usage for the last three months, separating itself from Gourgeist-XL with a more powerful Choice Band set with Wood Hammer and defensive annoyer sets using Harvest. Togetic has also dropped in usage and will fall back down to PU if it fails to meet the 3.41% usage criterion in August, boasting a decent defensive Defog set as well as an effective Nasty Plot + Baton Pass set. Outside of these roles, it is likely to face heavy competition from Mega Audino. There is also a good chance of Quagsire dropping back to NU, where it will now have to compete with Gastrodon for the team's Water / Ground type of choice. On the other hand, there is a possibility of Malamar and Garbodor rising to RU based on their popularity there; the departure of Malamar would result in many Pokémon removing Signal Beam from their movesets, while Garbodor would leave a significant gap in reliable Spikers that can only be partially filled but not completely by either Weezing, Omastar, or Roselia.

Popular Choices

Overall, while most of the staples of the tier still dominate usage, such as Lanturn, Hariyama, and Rotom, some Pokémon have become notably more common over the last few months as players adapt to the new, more offense-centered metagame caused by the absence of Quagsire and the introduction of another stellar wallbreaker in Aggron.

Mesprit   Mesprit:

Mesprit remains the most used Pokémon in the tier overall and has been taking full advantage of the absence of Sawk and Gurdurr by running offensive sets. While these threats left the tier long ago, innovation can take a while to catch up, making sets like Choice Specs Mesprit and offensive Healing Wish more popular now than ever. The power that Choice Specs Mesprit wields is staggering. It is able to 2HKO the likes of Steelix and Skuntank with Ice Beam and cripple responses to the defensive set with an unusually powerful Psychic. Meanwhile, Mesprit still maintains its niche as a defensive Stealth Rock user that resists Fighting-type attacks and can provide pivot support for wallbreakers, synergizing particularly well with Aggron. Additionally, its weather support sets have also seen a fair amount of use, especially during both of the suspect tests during this period, where Rain in particular has been a huge threat.

Hitmonchan   Hitmonchan:

While Primeape saw a fair increase in usage after the departure of Sawk and Gurdurr, Hariyama and Hitmonchan were the real victors of the squabble for "Best NU Fighting-type." Hitmonchan in particular has shot up in popularity as one of the most consistent and threatening Rapid Spin users in the tier, being able to inflict heavy damage to opponents with an Iron Fist Drain Punch while healing itself, using Close Combat to wallop switch-ins, or dealing with frail spinblockers such as Rotom and Mismagius via an Iron Fist Ice Punch. STAB Iron Fist Mach Punch also gives Hitmonchan powerful priority, especially with a Life Orb boost, helping it provide speed control for its team too. Additionally, it can run an Assault Vest to act as a decent response to special attackers on teams that are otherwise vulnerable to them. While Hitmonchan is easily countered by the likes of Mesprit and Garbodor (unless it runs the niche Earthquake in the latter's case), the overall utility it provides to a team is often too good to pass up if it needs to choose a spinner, a strong offensive Fighting-type, or both.

Xatu   Xatu:

Xatu is another hazard control Pokémon that has recently ascended past its niche into becoming one of the most popular choices in the metagame, in no small part due to the discovery of its potent Calm Mind + Stored Power set. With Speed Boost + Baton Pass now being banned, this set is less efficient than before, as it can be easier to overwhelm with faster attackers, and it requires more Calm Mind boosts for its Stored Power to be threatening; offensive variants with Psyshock have become more common now. Nevertheless, Xatu still maintains relevance with a number of other viable sets, such as a physically defensive pivot with Rocky Helmet, an offensive Life Orb set with coverage moves such as Heat Wave, Signal Beam, Air Slash, and Grass Knot, and even a rare Choice Specs set that can use Trick to throw foes off guard.

Garbodor   Garbodor:

Garbodor has always been one of the most consistent Spikes users in the tier due to its solid stats, excellent defensive typing, and ability to set up Toxic Spikes at the same time. Furthermore, Garbodor can combine its ability Aftermath with a Rocky Helmet to severely punish contact attackers such as Scyther and Primeape, and it maintains decent offensive presence with a powerful STAB Gunk Shot and a variety of coverage moves including Drain Punch, Seed Bomb, and Rock Blast. Mixed Life Orb sets can also be surprisingly effective, using Gunk Shot alongside special moves such as Focus Blast, Giga Drain, Thunderbolt, and Psychic, to hit specific targets such as Aggron, Rhydon, Pelipper, and opposing Garbodor for heavy damage. Garbodor's recent rise in popularity can be attributed in part to the rise of Normal-types after Sawk's depature; the residual damage from Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Garbodor's contact damage can wear down foes to be within range of Tauros's Rock Climb or Kangaskhan's Fake Out + Sucker Punch quite easily.

Liepard   Liepard:

A somewhat unexpectedly common threat in this metagame is Liepard, which boasts a good Speed tier, Prankster Encore and Thunder Wave to check setup sweepers, and a powerful STAB Knock Off. While a simple physically based pivot is the most common set, a Nasty Plot set can also be quite threatening once checks such as Mega Audino and Hariyama have been removed, using Copycat to gain priority on its boosted Dark Pulse, and a Choice Band set can use powerful coverage moves such as Gunk Shot and Play Rough to surprise usual counters (like the aforementioned Fairy- and Fighting-types). Liepard is also a staple of the weather teams that often infest suspect ladders due to its access to priority weather moves, letting it sacrifice itself to set up weather for teammates to sweep under. However, it should be noted that Liepard's popularity has increased by the same amount in the regular ladders as in the suspect ladders!

Winners and Losers

Some Pokémon have become more viable as the tier has changed, either by replacing previous members, by acting as good checks to new ones, or by their own checks leaving the tier. On the other hand, many Pokémon have become worse as their niches are lost with their key targets leaving the tier or declining in popularity, or if new threats have thoroughly outclassed them or placed too much pressure on them to remain effective.

+   Jynx   Jynx:

Jynx has always been one of the most dangerous Pokémon in the tier, but it has recently come into the limelight more due to the variety of sets it can run to throw off its checks. A Choice Scarf set became popular during the Sceptile metagame, boasting a powerful Ice Beam and Psychic alongside the utility of Trick against bulkier teams. The Focus Sash set remains an excellent lead and can break holes in a lot of teams from turn 1 using the combination of Lovely Kiss and Nasty Plot, and an all-out attacking Life Orb set can be incredibly difficult to wall without dedicated checks such as Metang and Grumpig due to access to great coverage moves including Focus Blast and Energy Ball. However, one set in particular that has become popular recently is Substitute + Nasty Plot with Leftovers, which can bypass Sucker Punch users and either threaten bulky teams with a mono-attacking variant with Lovely Kiss or a more offensive variant with Psyshock or Psychic for extra coverage. The sheer versatility of Jynx combined with its good Speed tier, offensive coverage, and decent specially defensive capabilities with Dry Skin (a godsend against rain teams) have made it one of offense's standout threats.

+   Malamar   Malamar:

Gaining considerable hype from the recent proliferation of ChickenPass as a winning strategy, Malamar is still a big threat to watch out for despite that strategy being banned and has become more popular with players in general due to all the publicity. Its signature set is a specially defensive RestTalk set with Contrary Superpower and Knock Off boosting both Malamar's power and defense and providing near-perfect offensive coverage. The absence of Quagsire in the tier also makes this a bigger threat for defensive teams in general, as it can no longer stop it with a Curse set of its own using Unaware to ignore Malamar's boosts. While Malamar often contributes little to the early-game due to its lack of resistances and lethal weakness to U-turn, it remains one of the better late-game wincons. Offensive sets with Psycho Cut and ChestoRest also occasionally see use and can surprise normal checks such as Taunt Weezing, which now almost always runs Speed EVs so it can deal with uninvested Malamar reliably.

+   Regirock   Regirock:

Regirock has become increasingly popular as a tank recently due to its ability to blanket check many dangerous foes at once, such as Magmortar, Pyroar, and Tauros, without being too passive with access to Thunder Wave. With Gastrodon becoming a popular choice as bulky Water-type for a lot of teams, the requirement of using a Stealth Rock user with an Electric immunity, such as Rhydon or Steelix, has diminished, giving Regirock more breathing room as a viable option. In particular, its good Special Defense stat and lack of 4x weaknesses make it less easy to exploit by running random coverage moves on attackers, and Leftovers + Drain Punch can also give it decent, if modest, recovery. Furthermore, the release of Sturdy has also made Custap Berry + Explosion sets possible, which can actually be a good choice for offensive teams, as they can score a surprise KO on Rapid Spin and Defog users such as Hitmonchan and Mantine, or at least prevent them from removing hazards by preventing their moves from hitting a target.

+   Poliwrath   Poliwrath:

Poliwrath has benefited significantly from Aggron entering the tier, as it's one of the best offensive checks to it available thanks to its solid bulk, Rock-type resistance, and good STAB moves such as Focus Blast and Scald that easily KO it. Poliwrath is also the only Pokémon around with access to good special priority in Vacuum Wave, which inflicts heavy damage to specially frail targets such as Tauros when used on an offensive set. Meanwhile, a defensive set with Rest + Sleep Talk, Scald, and Circle Throw has no problems with Aggron at all and can counter it for the whole game, punishing switch-ins with Scald burns or phazing into entry hazards. Water Absorb also makes it a hard counter to Kabutops, a prominent threat on rain teams, and most Barbaracle and Carracosta sets. While Poliwrath still lacks decent physical attacks, the metagame is sufficiently vulnerable to its special sets for them to be effective despite its low base 70 Special Attack stat.

+   Torterra   Torterra:

Another beneficiary from the arrival of Aggron, Torterra is an extremely sturdy Rock-resistant Pokémon that can check any Aggron set that doesn't run Ice Punch. The defensive set with Stealth Rock and Synthesis has become much more viable as a result of this, while the offensive Rock Polish and Choice Band sets can also still be threatening. Torterra also acts as a solid counter to Double Dance Rhydon, being one of the rare Pokémon to resist both Ground- and Rock-type attacks at once. This is notable, as Double Dance Rhydon has lost one of its greatest counters in Quagsire, and Torterra helps to fill that role excellently. Its Speed tier is also favorable for offensive sets, trumping other heavy hitters such as Golurk and Aggron and hitting them hard with its own STAB attacks and impressive coverage while still being able to withstand a Head Smash if required.

  Electivire   Electivire:

Many expected Electivire to drop significantly in viability and usage due to the arrival of Manectric, but after the initial hype, it actually seems to have stayed steady in this regard. Strong physical coverage in Earthquake is a huge niche over Manectric, which really struggles with Lanturn and specially defensive tanks such as Hariyama and Magmortar in particular. While some expected physically based Electivire to become the more common and useful set due the competition that Manectric provides, this hasn't proven to be the case, as the metagame has many more physical defenders such as Regirock and Weezing that don't overly care about Electivire's special coverage, and the pivoting utility of Volt Switch is too great to ignore. Both Electivire and Manectric fill similar roles, but Electivire maintains its niche by boasting greater utility against balanced teams with specially defensive tanks, while Manectric excels against more offensive teams that might omit these defensive checks to avoid loss of momentum. This town is big enough for the two of them!

-   Mawile   Mawile from NU to PU:

Mawile has received increasing competition over the last few months, with Aggron being a much more immediately threatening offensive Steel-type and the defensive set generally lacking the raw stats to be too effective, relying on Intimidate to tank hits and taking heavy damage from unimpeded attackers. However, the Sheer Force offensive sets can still be deadly with excellent STAB moves in Iron Head and Play Rough, as well as priority in Sucker Punch, and the disappearance of Quagsire as a hard counter has certainly been appreciated. While Mawile can still be a threat that fits on some teams well due to its excellent defensive typing and the uniqueness of its physical Fairy-type attacks, it is much less easy to fit on teams these days compared to its rivals and has thus dropped drastically in usage, entering PU in May.

-   Musharna   Musharna:

Although Musharna is still an excellent Psychic-type and one of the most physically bulky Pokémon in the tier, it has faced increasing competition from Mesprit due to its higher Speed stat and its general unpredictability. While Musharna's Calm Mind sets are very solid, counterplay against them is now well known, whereas a team might not preserve its Psychic-type checks if they predict the opposing Mesprit to be a defensive pivot, only to be swept by a surprise Calm Mind set or broken by the increasingly popular Choice Specs set. Mono-attacking Mesprit with Calm Mind, Psyshock, Rest, and Sleep Talk has also started to see use, boasting better Speed, Levitate, and less PP issues than Musharna's Moonlight + Heal Bell set in exchange for the randomness of Sleep Talk and the loss of Synchronize. Aggron also puts more pressure on Musharna due to outspeeding and threatening it with a Choice Band Head Smash, while Gastrodon can check Stored Power sets if it runs Clear Smog. These factors have led to Musharna becoming a more niche, yet still powerful, choice.

-   Pelipper   Pelipper:

While both Mantine and Pelipper have fallen somewhat in usage recently, with offensive teams preferring to use more offensive Defog users such as Shiftry or Skuntank (or just using Hitmonchan instead), Pelipper has been hit the hardest. Although it boasts Roost, U-turn, and even Hurricane over its rival Mantine, the latter's access to Water Absorb and an excellent Special Defense stat is generally more favorable in this metagame, especially during suspect tests where rain is rampant. Furthermore, the physical attackers that need walling have generally shifted away from threats that Pelipper can check (Sawk and Gurdurr) to threats that can beat Pelipper, such as Aggron. Pelipper is nevertheless still useful on teams that prefer the pivot support that Pelipper can provide and can compensate for its much lower Special Defense compared to Mantine and its type weaknesses compared to other physically defensive tanks such as Gastrodon.

-   Muk   Muk:

Muk has long been one of the least viable Pokémon in NU, but its Choice Band set had a useful niche in being able to reliably OHKO most Mega Audino sets with Gunk Shot and lure in and eliminate Steel- and Rock-types with a boosted Focus Punch with good prediction, alongside the utility of Shadow Sneak and Poison Touch. However, with the introduction of Aggron, a much more powerful wallbreaker with more opportunities to switch in and an extra STAB attack makes Muk much less appealing. Gastrodon also thoroughly walls it; even the rare Life Orb Giga Drain fails to deal any damage that Gastrodon can't recover off. Furthermore, Garbodor gives it more competition as a defensive Poison-type due to its ability to set up entry hazards against the opponents it walls, giving it more utility than just firing off easily walled attacks. While Muk's good overall stats will make it a prominent player in PU if it drops down, it is now thoroughly outclassed in NU at basically everything it does, save a passive Assault Vest set that invites dangerous setup sweepers such as Barbaracle and Samurott to take advantage of it.

-   Smeargle   Smeargle:

Despite only entering the tier in April, Smeargle has already proven to be an extremely underwhelming Pokémon that only warrants use on a specific team archetype that already has a poor matchup against NU: Sticky Web. The presence of Malamar as a common and dangerous threat that gets +1 Speed from switching into this entry hazard (need I remind you that Malamar + Speed boost was one of the main factors behind the June suspect test), in addition to many dangerous threats being outright immune to the move, makes Sticky Web a fairly unrewarding strategy. Furthermore, a Sticky Web team needs to cover the metagame with essentially five teamslots due to Smeargle's lack of offensive presence and the ubiquity of sleep checks in the tier due to Vivillon's and Lilligant's popularity. Xatu and Magmortar in particular make it very difficult for Smeargle to contribute to a game without being able to use sleep moves reliably. Unless someone discovers a new niche for Smeargle that somehow doesn't have to worry about Xatu's Magic Bounce, Smeargle is destined to be PU's problem.

?   Predictions for August:

While the tier is not expected to change much with the next tier shifts, it is also difficult to say what influence Trevenant and Togetic would exert on the metagame if they dropped, as both would be fairly niche Pokémon. Trevenant would struggle to compete with Gourgeist outside of gimmick Harvest sets, while Togetic would share a lot of competition with Mega Audino and Mantine; returning the tier it originally rose from in PU, it is not expected to receive a huge amount of usage, especially in a metagame where the Fighting-types it counters are much less generally threatening than Sawk and Gurdurr. If Garbodor ended up leaving the tier, then contact attackers such as Primeape and Scyther would become even more popular, and Omastar and Roselia would likely rise in usage to fill Garbodor's niche as a Spikes user. In the absence of Malamar, which could also rise to RU, Weezing may stop running Speed EVs, as it no longer has to worry about checking it, resulting in it being a bulkier physical wall in general. Finally, with Tauros remaining in the tier and gaining popularity in recent times, niche checks such as Solrock and Bronzor may become more prevalent, as their worth has been proven during the suspect test and they can now continue to fill their valuable defensive niches.

Where are they now?

Often when a new Pokémon enters a tier for the first time, it gets a lot of sometimes unwarranted usage, as people want to try it out for themselves and see what sets work, what don't, and what new innovations can be found. This section will look at how the previous new entries from February-April have fared in the tier since their arrival.

Charizard   Charizard:

Upon its arrival in the tier, Charizard was quickly hailed as one of the best offensive Fire-types around, but over time it has become more well known for its bulky Swords Dance set with Will-O-Wisp and Roost, which combines offensive presence with longevity and defensive utility with a solid defensive typing (outside of that Rock-type weakness). However, its usage has declined significantly since its early days from near the top ten to around mid tier, and its viability ranking has dropped from A+ to a still reasonable A. Overall, most balanced teams generally prefer to use Magmortar as their Fire-type due to its extra special bulk and lesser 2x Stealth Rock weakness, unless they specifically need a more physically based tank or the Ground-type immunity. Pyroar also gives it heavy competition with a higher Speed tier and more generally useful secondary STAB as a special attacker, although Air Slash notably hits Hariyama hard.

Omastar   Omastar:

Omastar has turned into a bit of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde over the last few months. On the one hand, it exerts its presence as one of the tier's most dangerous Swift Swim sweepers during suspect tests, but on the other hand, it has fallen drastically in usage on normal ladders, where rain is a less common archetype. The suicide lead set with Weak Armor and Focus Sash that was so popular initially has generally fallen out of favor, with the defensive Spikes set being more generally useful to provide a team's Normal-type resistance. Although it struggles to take on Tauros, being 2HKOed by LO Earthquake after some minor damage, its defensive utility still proves useful against other targets, and its different resistances set it apart from Garbodor on balanced teams. Meanwhile, Barbaracle is generally the Shell Smash user of choice due to its better Speed tier, although Omastar's specially offensive presence still gives it a niche. While still often a good choice, Omastar's competition has become much more apparent in recent times.

Manectric   Manectric:

Manectric received some hype for a very small period when it initially dropped, but people quickly realized it was essentially a more powerful variant of Electivire that lacked physical coverage options and tempered their expectations. While its power and Speed tier are both pretty good within the tier, base 105 Speed falls just short of key threats such as Tauros and Archeops, and the omnipresence of Assault Vest Lanturn constrains its usefulness as a general balance breaker, despite having a powerful Overheat to deal with Steelix and Grass-types that might want to block its Volt Switch. While Manectric is by no means bad, it has proven difficult to justify outside of dedicated VoltTurn teams that appreciate the raw power of its Volt Switch, when compared to more generally threatening offensive Pokémon such as Tauros and Swellow, or even Electivire, which has a better matchup against Lanturn, Hariyama, and Magmortar.

Conclusions

NU continues to evolve and change as always, with each of the three drops this month, Aggron, Gastrodon, and Smeargle, influencing the tier and popular playstyles in interesting ways. Meanwhile, the hype from other recent drops such as Charizard, Omastar, and Manectric, has faded away and revealed the general viability and best sets for these Pokémon. SpeedPass was also identified as an unhealthy, albeit not quite overcentralizing, influence within the tier and was banned accordingly, while Tauros was proven to be balanced enough to remain amongst its brethren. The next tier shift in August will surely have some interesting implications for the metagame as it starts to approach itself final configuration with the arrival of Sun & Moon. Stay tuned for the next installment of the NU Metagame Report in October!

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