OverUsed Suspect Coverage: Dugtrio

By Celica.
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Art by LifeisDANK.


Dugtrio's suspect test is the last chapter to date of a long-time debate. It all started when players brought up the Arena Trap question in the Policy Review subforum in order to nerf stall teams. The discussion ended with Sablenite's Suspect (and banishment) at the end of the sixth generation. However, with Sun & Moon release, Sablenite was available in-game and got unbanned, which recreated the situation of late ORAS. After stall's success in the first weeks of SPL, another thread was made about this issue and more specifically targeted Dugtrio. In the seventh generation, the already controversial Pokémon gained a 20 Attack boost and access to Z-Moves to increase its low power; as a result, the OverUsed council decided to suspect test Dugtrio. While the suspect thread is the main place for discussions concerning the suspect, this article will try to focus on the main points of the ban and do not ban arguments.

Ban Pls

One of the main problems with Dugtrio is the fact that it is, as defined by the OverUsed tiering framework, uncompetitive, an element that reduces the effect of player choice and/or interaction on the end result to an extreme degree, such that "more skillful play" is almost always rendered irrelevant. No matter if you have counters on your team, Arena Trap simply prevents you from switching out, similarly to Shadow Tag, which was banned during the sixth generation. While it does not trap as many Pokémon as Shadow Tag, it can still help Dugtrio to remove key threats, without giving your opponent any chance to save its Pokémon; sending Dugtrio on the field, clicking Earthquake, and killing the opposing Heatran is not a big deal. This ability is a huge advantage for many teams, especially stall teams. Indeed, Dugtrio can trap and KO many Pokémon that would be otherwise annoying for this playstyle (Heatran, Tyranitar, Hoopa-U, etc.), letting only unviable (Shed Shell started seeing usage on Heatran and Tapu Lele, which were potentially able to break stall teams but were otherwise trapped by Dugtrio) or prediction-reliant Pokémon not fear the trap. That allows teambuilders to create a five-Pokémon team that is only weak to a certain number of threats and use Dugtrio on the sixth slot to remove the aforementioned key threats, making stall teams extremely hard to overwhelm without specific Pokémon and matchups. This created a massive divide within the community because the Mega Sableye + Dugtrio core was considered broken, but people could not agree on which one should be banned. But Dugtrio does not only work in stall; it can also be helpful for offensive teams by removing Pokémon that would otherwise wall a sweeper (Heatran for Volcarona being the most known examples) and by pressuring the opponent and forcing them to play carefully in order not to see an useful Pokémon being trapped and revenge killed by Dugtrio. Dugtrio's high Speed means that it could outspeed most of the metagame without an item (it was also sometimes seen in offensive teams with a Choice Scarf to outspeed and trap threats such as Pheromosa and Mega Alakazam).

Do Not Ban

Dugtrio's ban is far from doing the unanimity. Most of its defenders claim that this suspect is being done because of the stall issue, which is the same as late ORAS, and that Sablenite is the main part of the problem. Others are asking themselves why Dugtrio is suspect before threats such as Mega Metagross, Pheromosa, Greninja..., turning the "restricts teambuilding" argument to their advantage, or are arguing that Arena Trap is the problem and that Diglett can do the same job. There are also a lot of questions about Dugtrio itself. First, its matchup reliance also means that it is situational: if there is nothing to trap on the opposing side, it becomes a dead weight for your team, and only gives you something to sac in what's essentially a 5v6 match. Dugtrio's poor bulk is also a disadvantage, since even defensive Pokémon can 2HKO it with ease, meaning that you can not switch recklessly out to trap and KO what you want (which explain that most Dugtrio are using the Focus Sash). Dugtrio's lack of utility against most of the metagame means it can be used by setup sweepers to gain momentum; it also means that Dugtrio cannot trap some "bulky" stallbreakers, such as Zygarde. Also, OverUsed players played with Dugtrio since ADV OU and did not have huge problems with it, meaning that it is not that broken on its own, since it would have been suspected before if so; that lead us to the stall issue, since it is what makes Dugtrio so good right now. Dugtrio's advocates plead that most of the people are biased against stall, mostly considering it as a boring style to play against, without considering if it is really broken, matchup reliant, or worth being nerfed, which would be a direct consequence of Dugtrio's ban. Stall is not impossible to beat, and the metagame did not have the time to adapt to it yet, which means that we don't know how it will evolve (for exemple, Metagrossite was suspect tested during ORAS when it was extremely dominant, but it decreased in usage after, since the metagame adapted itself).


Dugtrio's suspect test is at the moment the most controversial suspect test of the seventh generation. However, Dugtrio, and to another extent, Arena Trap, were not considered as broken by the community, and were allowed to stay in OverUsed (here are the results). Will it confirm the antiban argument and then see the metagame adapting itself to Dugtrio's presence? Or will it be the prelude to another suspect, this time on Arena Trap? Only time will tell us, but we are still at the beginning of Pokémon's seventh generation.

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