The Best of the Worst: PU in NU

By erisia and Eternally. Art by FellFromtheSky.
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Art by FellFromtheSky


In theory, if the viability of particular Pokémon decreases in higher tiers, this would be reflected through lower usage; however, this is not always the case. Some Pokémon thrive in higher metagames while not getting enough usage on the official ladder to gain an official rise into the tier, though their position in the metagame can be cemented through consistent success in high-level play such as tournaments and even RMTs. Some Pokémon gain fame for their ability to tackle common behemoths of the meta. This is particularly evident in the popularity boost Floatzel obtained during a time of slower base 110 Speed Pokémon such as Tauros and Archeops running wild in combination with a decline in Lanturn's usage. However, other Pokémon simply fly under the radar despite their very useful qualities, for example Gourgeist-XL, one of the tier's most reliable Fighting-type checks.

Unfortunately, certain usage trends are impossible to rationalize and lack any real reason or explanation. Regardless, here are some Pokémon that are PU by usage that perform effectively in the current NeverUsed metagame.



Floatzel shines in NU thanks to its excellent Speed tier that allows it to outspeed almost all relevant Pokémon bar Swellow, notably including offensive threats such as Tauros, Archeops, and Pyroar. It also has a decent enough movepool that allows it to hit most of the metagame hard, with options such as Hydro Pump, Ice Beam, and Focus Blast. Although its strong coverage moves mostly make up for it, Floatzel's Special Attack is somewhat average, which means it struggles to pressure Pokémon like Lanturn and Mega Audino, as well as Pokémon immune to Water such as Poliwrath. However, Floatzel thrives versus offensive teams, which are greatly pressured by its combination of high Speed and colorful coverage moves. Overall, Floatzel has established itself as a threatening Pokémon in the tier with enough tools to stand out and hold its own against its fellow Water-type brethren including Samurott, Poliwrath, and Omastar.


Gourgeist-XL is one of the physically bulkiest Pokémon in NU, which is further heightened by its defensive typing that helps it wall physical Fighting-, Ground-, Normal-, and Water-types of the tier. This lets Gourgeist-XL tackle top-tier threats such as Kangaskhan, Tauros, Hariyama, Rhydon, and physical Samurott. Furthermore, Gourgeist-XL's access to Will-O-Wisp and Synthesis also makes it very challenging to break for most physical attackers in general and gives it a viable spot on many stall and semi-stall teams. However, Gourgeist-XL does face competition from other Grass-types such as Vileplume, which can absorb Toxic Spikes, and Torterra, which provides Stealth Rock support. Overall, Gourgeist-XL finds many good opportunities to stand out in the tier and acts as one of the most consistent physical walls in the meta.



While Mantine is often the preferred Water / Flying-type Defog user in the NU metagame, Pelipper is also a good candidate for teams that prefer a more physically defensive method of hazard control. Access to reliable recovery in Roost as well as other useful moves such as STAB Hurricane and a slow U-turn also makes Pelipper an appealing option, with the former giving it more power against Grass-types such as Vileplume and Lilligant that would otherwise like to switch into it, and the latter letting it act as a pivot to allow slow wallbreakers such as Aggron and Aurorus to enter battle safely. In particular, Pelipper is also much better than Mantine at dealing with most Fighting-types due to its extra Defense and ability to use Roost to stall out Stone Edge from slower Hariyama variants, as well as potentially using Rocky Helmet to punish Knock Off users. While the loss of Water Absorb is troubling, Pelipper can still wall the likes of physical Samurott and most Poliwrath without too many issues.


Clefairy's main niche in the tier derives from its spectacular ability Magic Guard, which grants it an immunity to all forms of passive damage, making it stand out among other defensive Pokémon. Additionally, Clefairy sports great special bulk bolstered by Eviolite, which lets it soft check and cripple some of NU's most fearsome special attackers such as Magmortar, Pyroar, and Mesprit. Clefairy also boasts a unique set of support moves such as Stealth Rock, Knock Off, Thunder Wave, and Healing Wish, so it has a variety of options for the specific needs of different teams. Calm Mind is also a viable, albeit uncommon, option on Clefairy that can be very annoying for certain teams to deal with, especially with the threat of Thunder Wave. However, Clefairy does face competition from the premier Fairy-type of the tier, Mega Audino, which sports far superior bulk and isn't crippled by Knock Off. Overall, Clefairy is a unique Pokémon that finds itself used increasingly often on balanced teams in the metagame thanks to its special attributes and the impressive support options it provides to its team.


Grumpig's access to Thick Fat sets it apart from other bulky Psychic-types in the tier by allowing it to switch into threatening Fire- and Ice-type wallbreakers, such as Magmortar, Pyroar, and Aurorus. Its useful defensive niche for teams is highlighted by its variety of support moves, such as Heal Bell, Thunder Wave, Whirlwind, and Taunt, and its impressive special bulk. Grumpig can also effectively function as a wincon with Calm Mind and solid coverage in Psyshock, Focus Blast, and Signal Beam, as it finds a good number of setup opportunities. However, unfortunately the omnipresence of Pursuit Skuntank and Liepard makes it difficult for Grumpig to do too much without the risk of getting trapped and KOed. Grumpig can also struggle to maintain longevity throughout a match due to its lack of reliable recovery and frequent use of a Colbur Berry over Leftovers. Furthermore, Grumpig faces stiff competition for the Psychic-type slot of a team from more consistent choices such as Mesprit and Xatu. Despite this, Grumpig is still a very viable Pokémon in the tier with unique qualities that let it stand out in the meta.



Roselia distinguishes itself from its rival Vileplume through its much greater special bulk with Eviolite, which alongside Synthesis makes it an excellent check to most special Water-, Grass-, and Electric-types, such as Ludicolo, Omastar, Lilligant, Lanturn, and Rotom. It's also one of the best Scald absorbers due to its lack of vulnerability to Toxic and ability to easily remove burns throughout the match with Natural Cure. Furthermore, Roselia can use Spikes to make excellent use of the switches it forces; Toxic Spikes is another option, but Roselia must give up important coverage or recovery to use it, and Spikes is more useful on most teams overall. Roselia can also run offensive sets decently well due to its good Special Attack stat and powerful STAB move in Leaf Storm, which Vileplume lacks. However, Roselia's low Defense stat and vulnerability to Knock Off prevent it from effectively checking Fighting-types and give it heavy competition from Garbodor as the Poison-type Spikes user of choice.


Articuno's powerful STAB attacks, good offensive typing, and excellent overall stats make it a potent offensive threat in NU despite its Stealth Rock weakness. Many of NU's Ice-resistant Pokémon, such as Lanturn and Poliwrath, take heavy damage from a super effective Freeze-Dry, while Hurricane distinguishes Articuno from competing Ice-types like Aurorus and Lapras by hitting AV Hariyama, another common Ice check, extremely hard. This can make Articuno very difficult to wall. Furthermore, Articuno's good Speed stat and access to Roost, alongside great bulk, make it difficult for foes that can't it it hard to do any lasting damage. Although Articuno requires dedicated Defog or Rapid Spin support to not over-rely on Roost to be effective, its combination of attributes is often worth the hassle. A stalling set with Substitute, Roost, and Toxic is also very effective thanks to Articuno's excellent invested bulk and access to Pressure, which lets it stall out low-PP attacks such as Stone Edge and Fire Blast that are many team's only ways of dealing with Articuno, making it an excellent wincon in the late-game.


Overall, there are evidently many unique Pokémon in PU that have carved respectable niches in NU, so to finish off, here are some successful current sample teams that put these underrated Pokémon to great use.

Calm Mind Grumpig + Tauros Balance: by Eternally

Tauros Grumpig Steelix Hitmonchan Vileplume Lanturn

Tauros @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Rock Climb
- Iron Tail
- Fire Blast
- Earthquake

Grumpig @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Calm Mind
- Psyshock
- Signal Beam
- Focus Blast

Steelix @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 244 HP / 128 Atk / 128 SpD / 8 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Heavy Slam
- Earthquake
- Toxic

Hitmonchan @ Life Orb
Ability: Iron Fist
EVs: 4 Def / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Drain Punch
- Mach Punch
- Ice Punch
- Rapid Spin

Vileplume @ Black Sludge
Ability: Effect Spore
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 Spe
- Giga Drain
- Sludge Bomb
- Moonlight
- Hidden Power Fire

Lanturn @ Leftovers
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 40 HP / 152 SpA / 208 SpD / 108 Spe
Calm Nature
- Scald
- Volt Switch
- Signal Beam
- Heal Bell

The first team was made by Eternally and showcases Grumpig's popular Calm Mind set, which works as a great sweeper that can easily wear down many Steel-, Poison-, and Rock-types for a Tauros cleanup. Furthermore Grumpig can aid Lanturn in covering Freeze-Dry users such as Aurorus and Lapras thanks to its Thick Fat ability, which halves the damage of Ice-type attacks. Overall, Grumpig acts as a great glue for the team and brings qualities to the table that cannot be replicated by any other Psychic-type in the tier.

Specs Mesprit + Tauros Offense: by Shadowtags

Mesprit Pelipper Regirock Skuntank Tauros Hariyama

ROMANTIKA (Mesprit) @ Choice Specs
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Psychic
- Ice Beam
- Signal Beam
- Healing Wish

do do pi do (Pelipper) @ Leftovers
Ability: Keen Eye
EVs: 248 HP / 156 Def / 104 SpD
Bold Nature
- Scald
- Roost
- U-turn
- Defog

Eternity (Regirock) @ Leftovers
Ability: Clean Body
EVs: EVs: 252 HP / 184 Atk / 16 Def / 56 SpD
Impish Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Stone Edge
- Thunder Wave
- Earthquake

SUPERSTAR (Skuntank) @ Lum Berry
Ability: Aftermath
EVs: EVs: 232 Atk / 132 SpD / 144 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Sucker Punch
- Pursuit
- Poison Jab
- Taunt

PRISM BOY (Tauros) @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Rock Climb
- Fire Blast
- Zen Headbutt
- Earthqauke

more more more (Hariyama) @ Assault Vest
Ability: Guts
EVs: 252 Atk / 184 SpD / 72 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Close Combat
- Knock Off
- Bullet Punch
- Earthquake

This second team was made by Shadowtags and is a great example of how Pelipper fits on balance and bulky offense teams thanks to its very useful typing, access to Defog, and reliable recovery with Roost. Pelipper functions as the team's main answer to Fighting-types as well as most Water-types due to its mixed spread that lets it check special Samurott and Floatzel. Overall, Pelipper is a great glue to this team and works very well in conjunction with Regirock in handling a significant portion of the tier.

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