ORAS OU Round 6 Suspect Coverage: Hoopa-Unbound

By celticpride and p2. Art by LifeisDANK.
« Previous Article Home Next Article »
Hoopa U by LifeisDANK


Hoopa-U is an exciting mid-generation addition to the Pokémon fold. Initially, in XY, a Pokémon simply called Hoopa was unearthed to be hidden in the code. At the time, it appeared Hoopa only had one forme. However, upon the release of ORAS, it was discovered that Hoopa had received an alternate forme, and this one seemed absolutely overpowering at a glance. With a base Attack stat of 160 and a base Special Attack stat of 170, on top of an immense movepool with fantastic coverage, Hoopa-U has virtually unprecedented raw power levels, especially in terms of the OU metagame. This immediately made Hoopa-U a premier threat upon its release. Hoopa-U's impact on the metagame has become clear over the last couple of months, and it has culminated in this suspect test, as seen by the surge in usage of Choice Scarf Tyranitar and the rise of other Pursuit users, mainly Choice Band Weavile.

The Suspect

Hoopa-U was chosen as the next suspect primarily because its offenses formed such a constriction on the metagame. The main idea behind the suspect test is that by removing Hoopa-U, teams have more breathing space when it comes to covering threats in the metagame, as many teams can struggle to prepare for such a huge number of Pokémon. Hoopa-U's power ties in here, as it could shred defensive teams with its multiple viable sets, large movepool, and great offensive stats, putting a massive strain on balance and stall teams, forcing them to run Choice Scarf Tyranitar or Pursuit Weavile to revenge kill it. Offensive teams were also pressured by Hoopa-U's presence, as it could typically survive a hit from almost all special attackers, including Latios, Alakazam, Thundurus, Mega Manectric, Starmie, and even Keldeo Choice-locked into Scald or Hydro Pump. The strain Hoopa-U put on teambuilding and playing in in-game scenarios was enough to consider it suspect worthy and, afterwards, banworthy.

Hoopa-U had several different sets it could run effectively. The primary ones were a Choice Specs set, a Choice Band set, a Life Orb set, and a Choice Scarf set. The Choice Specs set is arguably Hoopa-U's most powerful one, and its discovery and popularity in the tour scene was the tipping point that led to this suspect. Sporting perfect coverage between Dark Pulse, Psyshock, and Focus Blast, it was capable of dealing large amounts of damage to most of the tier and could even 2HKO Chansey with Psyshock; this essentially meant that Choice Specs Hoopa-U had no reliable switch-in due to its insane power and solid coverage. The Choice Band set acted very similarly, although its coverage and STAB moves are a little less spammable than those of the Specs set, as the likes of Mandibuzz and physically defensive Skarmory could take it on. The Life Orb set was initially the most popular one, as it granted Hoopa-U the luxury of switching moves and took full advantage of both of Hoopa-U's incredible offensive stats. However, the recoil from Life Orb sets led to those sets having a shorter life span, and the Choice Specs and Band sets were more capable of surviving hits after hazard damage and getting more hits in. The Choice Scarf set was a niche option, allowing Hoopa-U to compensate for its lacking Speed tier, that let it apply heavy pressure to offensive teams because it could outspeed everything up to Mega Lopunny and Mega Manectric.

The pro-ban argument usually stems from a risk-reward evaluation, and this stems to a degree from Hoopa-U's power level. The mindlessness that comes associated with its sheer power creates an unhealthy dynamic that more often than not rewards the Hoopa-U user, to a higher degree than it should. Even theoretically well-prepared teams that pack multiple Dark-type switch-ins and specially defensive pivots aren't really safe from Hoopa-U busting holes into them, because with a few predictions, Hoopa-U can still beat teams that would seem to be prepared for it. This does reward skillful play by virtue of predicting correctly, but at the same time, the Hoopa-U user often gets a large amount of bang for their buck without playing perfectly, which does add to it taking skill out of the equation to a degree. Hoopa-U also plays into a larger issue of the sheer number of threats that exist in ORAS OU, and removing a few borderline threats would increase the ability of the metagame to handle the remaining ones. A team only has so many slots to work with to effectively respond to the rest of the metagame, and many threats in OU also require specific counterplay due to the nature of power creep. Removing a powerful threat, especially one that can more or less just click its Dark STAB move in many situations and guarantee significant damage such as Hoopa-U, makes it easier to respond to the rest of the metagame as a result.

The anti-ban argument stems from a few key points, the first of which is Hoopa-U's susceptibility to Pursuit trapping. Several common Pursuit trappers resist Dark and / or Psychic, such as Tyranitar, Bisharp, Weavile, and Mega Metagross. Tyranitar in particular had become a common Hoopa-U trapper. Hoopa-U also has a relatively low Speed tier, leaving it lacking against some offensive teams when it's not using a Choice Scarf. It also suffers from subpar Defense, leaving it vulnerable to even weak priority moves and faster physical attackers. Hoopa-U's 4x weakness to Bug similarly was a big pain for it, as using U-turn guaranteed either OHKOing Hoopa-U or gaining momentum. Psychic-types Hoopa-U could switch into such as Mega Alakazam and Starmie also had the option of running Signal Beam, which prevented it from switching in safely. Lastly, Hoopa-U only has an immunity to Psychic and no other resistances. This made it more difficult for Hoopa-U to get in safely compared to most previous suspects, most of which had decent resistances and immunities to use, and usually mandated some form of support via VoltTurn and Baton Pass when using Hoopa-U.


61.24% of the vote was pro ban, surpassing the 60% needed by a very narrow two votes. As a result, Hoopa-U was banned from OU. This leaves the tier with one fewer powerful wallbreaker, and as seen on the suspect ladder, stall and balance teams can be expected to become a little bit stronger because of this. While it can be hard to predict where the meta moves from here, a good guess would see some stronger stallbreakers such as Rain Dance Manaphy and Togekiss rise in popularity.

« Previous Article Home Next Article »