Teambuilding in PU: Offense

By Anty. Art by LifeisDANK.
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Offense in PU by LifeisDANK


For the past few months, PU has been dominated by offensive teams. This is mostly to do with the offensive Pokémon being much better than the defensive ones, as being the lowest tier, PU gets the weakest and most passive walls, many of which lack recovery, but plenty of decent offensive Pokémon that are just outclassed in the tiers above. There are many types of offense, most notably hyper offense, bulky offense, and regular offense. Hyper offense is all-out attacking, trying to overwhelm the opposing team with entry hazards and very strong Pokémon, bulky offense will mainly be offensive Pokémon with a defensive backbone aiming to check the most relevant offensive threats, and regular offense is a mix of the two, being mostly filled with offensive Pokémon along with some that don't mind taking a hit. There are a few other specific types of regular and hyper offense, namely Sticky Web, VoltTurn, and weather (sun, rain, and sand) teams, all of which are based around what their name suggests.


Entry Hazards

Entry hazards are a crucial part of any offensive team; offensive Pokémon will force a lot of switches, so hazards can quickly wear down the opposing team, aiding sweepers and wallbreakers. Stealth Rock is the most common hazard and pretty much every team will have a user due to the move's large distribution, whereas Spikes is equally good at wearing the opponent's team down but has a much smaller pool of users, and Toxic Spikes is very useful versus bulkier teams but has even fewer users and opposing Poison-types can easily remove them. Standard offensive teams only need Stealth Rock to be successful, but more aggressive offensive teams, particularly VoltTurn ones, will often also use Spikes to increase chip damage, as with multiple hazards up and U-turn and Volt Switch damage the opponent's team will be very weakened, especially because the user will get the preferred matchup and thus can prevent recovery.

Golem is the best Stealth Rock user, as access to Sturdy allows it to almost always set up Stealth Rock outside of against anti-leads like Bullet Seed Leafeon. Lead sets can run Weakness Policy to heavily damage any wall or cripple a faster Pokémon with Sucker Punch, whereas Custap Berry allows it to explode on something. It also has the ability to run a tank set, allowing it to wall most Electric-types along with certain Normal-types like Dodrio and Chatot. Relicanth is also fairly common, as even without boosting it hits very hard with STAB Head Smash and can also set up Rock Polish; Metang has a lot of bulk with Eviolite and has access to Pursuit to trap Psychic-types; Gabite is the fastest viable Stealth Rock user and has decent physical bulk; and Probopass has more special bulk and access to a slow Volt Switch, allowing it to easily gain momentum. Pawniard and Monferno are more niche setters, as they primarily function as attackers and will rarely run Stealth Rock. Roselia is the best Pokémon with access to Spikes and Toxic Spikes, though it will usually run only one, and its great special bulk allows it to check Water- and Electric-types even with offensive sets, whereas Quilladin is more of a physically bulky Spiker with useful support moves like Taunt and can run an effective offensive set to threaten Pokémon such as Pawniard to get up Spikes.


Tanks are the source of offensive teams' bulk; their role is to take a couple hits while also having a decent offensive presence to keep up offensive pressure. This is important in PU, as it is an offensive metagame, so every team needs Pokémon to deal with other offensive threats; otherwise they could easily get overwhelmed by fast threats and setup sweepers. Entry hazard users are often used as tanks as well; for example, Pokémon like Golem would be used over Stunfisk because Golem is much more offensively threatening and rarely grants free switches in or setup turns, whereas Stunfisk allows Rotom-F to use Substitute, Roselia to set up Spikes, etc. Offensive teams don't aim to have defensive answers to every threat in the tier, but they do try to cover big ones such as Floatzel and Rotom-F. Often, teams will have one general specially bulky Pokémon and one physically bulky Pokémon as a blanket check to the big threats.

Grumpig is a great example, as although it usually invests mostly in Special Attack and Speed, its natural bulk allows it to check Pokémon such as Zebstrika, and its typing and ability Thick Fat let it check others such as Rotom-F and Ninetales. Electabuzz has recently gained popularity due to its ability to reliably beat Rotom-F and other Electric-types, and Volt Switch means it can keep up momentum, while Assault Vest Bouffalant can avoid the 2HKO from pretty much every special attacker and can weaken them with Pursuit. Generally, Stealth Rock users fill the slot of physical tank, as Rock- and Steel-types usually have high Defense, and Misdreavus and offensive Tangela can take on Pokémon such as Monferno and Stoutland, respectively, while providing utility with moves such as Taunt and Sleep Powder. There are also more general catch-all Pokémon like Machoke and Dusknoir, which have decent defenses to avoid the 2HKO from weaker attackers, but they are only one-time answers due to their lack of recovery or even Leftovers.


As the name suggests, wallbreakers are designed to weaken the opposing team's bulkier Pokémon for setup sweepers and fast Pokémon to sweep late-game. Wallbreakers are the strongest Pokémon in the tier, usually equipped with boosting items or setup moves, and are usually used early- and mid-game when the opponent's Pokémon are at high health. Wallbreakers are often chosen specifically to lure specific checks to a teammate, particularly if said teammate is setup sweeper; for example, Stoutland lures in and almost 2HKOes Stunfisk and can Pursuit trap Psychic-types for Swords Dance Monferno. Additionally, 'type spam' cores are made for this purpose, as Water-types will lure in Water-type checks; for example, Choice Band Floatzel can bait in Roselia and Politoed for Rain Dance Golduck or Choice Scarf Simipour. Wallbreakers are crucial to offense's matchup vs stall and semi-stall, as the immense range of wallbreakers means those teams often have difficulty countering everything, and the wallbreakers' ability to KO multiple threats can open holes for teammates.

As mentioned earlier, Stoutland is an excellent wallbreaker due to its high Attack stat and access to Scrappy; it hits the entire tier neutrally with just Normal and Fighting coverage, meaning there is only one 100% counter to it in the tier, Tangela. Machoke is great at making use of the lack of solid Fighting-resistant Pokémon in PU while also crippling anything with Knock Off; Leafeon can utilize Swords Dance and its high Attack to 2HKO any switch-in or can choose to have immediate power with Choice Band, and, like Stoutland, Dodrio is a strong wallbreaker but with higher Speed and can hit Tangela at the cost of being walled by Rock-types. As for specially based wallbreakers, Chatot is excellent, as it has the strongest STAB move in the tier in Boomburst, which can 2HKO even resistant foes; Substitute Rotom-F has an almost unresisted dual STAB combination and utility in Will-O-Wisp; and Simisear has the ability to go mixed to hit special walls like Grumpig and Audino with Knock Off and Superpower. Floatzel can run special, physical, or even mixed sets with completely different counters, so it can be customized to bait in specific Pokémon. On the other hand, some of PU's strongest wallbreakers like Rampardos and Marowak tend not to be used much, as their subpar Speed and bulk mean they are easily overwhelmed by opposing offensive teams, and so they are less reliable compared to previously mentioned ones.

Revenge Killers

Revenge killers are fast Pokémon that come in after a teammate has fainted to threaten to KO the foe, and the role is another must-have for offensive teams. This offensive metagame really stresses the importance of Speed, as generally offensive Pokémon are frailer, so having a fast and strong Pokémon that can threaten to KO something every time it comes in can lead to easy victory. Speed is so important to the point Choice Scarf users are pretty much mandatory on offensive teams to check not only fast Pokémon and setup sweepers like Zebstrika and Gorebyss, but also other Choice Scarf users. Priority is another form of revenge killing, though it is much more unreliable, as priority moves other than Sucker Punch, which is somewhat unreliable, tend to be weak. Teams without a Choice Scarf user will often run something fast like Electrode along with plenty of priority to be safe against whatever Speed booster or random Choice Scarf user the opponent has.

The best Choice Scarf user, Rotom-F, is actually one of the slowest; however, it is amazing due to its excellent dual STAB combination, as mentioned earlier, along with Volt Switch meaning it can revenge kill and not leave itself vulnerable by locking itself into a move. Other good Choice Scarf users include Mr. Mime, which is the only viable offensive Fairy-type and Healing Wish user; Chatot, whose strong Boomburst makes it hit as hard as a wallbreaker; and Simipour and Simisage, which are the fastest common Choice Scarf users. Ninjask and Electrode have Speed parallel to some Choice Scarf users, though the former heavily dislikes switching in if Stealth Rock is on the field. As for priority, Sucker Punch Murkrow, Pawniard, and Mightyena are the strongest users, though they can be played around by setup sweepers, and other priority moves such as Monferno's Mach Punch, Floatzel's Aqua Jet, and Dodrio's Quick Attack also hit hard.

Setup Sweepers

Plenty of offensive teams will be built around a certain setup sweeper with the main aim for that Pokémon to sweep. They are usually paired with lures or even trappers to try to remove the Pokémon that could otherwise stop it from sweeping. Sweeping with standard setup Pokémon is slightly harder in this metagame, however, because Choice Scarf users are on the majority of teams, meaning that most Speed boosters can rarely get more than one KO a game; this is also why setup Pokémon with priority have become more popular. A common strategy a couple metagames ago was 'Setup Sweeper Spam', where two or even three setup Pokémon would be placed on the same team in order to overwhelm the opponent's defensive Pokémon and destroy offensive teams that would rely on Kadabra as a setup sweeper check. Although this strategy is less common now, it is still very dangerous with priority users such as Swords Dance Monferno paired with Shell Smash Huntail to weaken revenge killers.

Pawniard and Monferno are both decent Swords Dance users that rely on their priority moves, Sucker Punch and Mach Punch, respectively, to try to sweep. Pawniard can set up using its nice resistances, though Sucker Punch is unreliable, whereas Monferno has a very threatening dual STAB combination, but without a boosting item Mach Punch is fairly weak. Relicanth and Huntail are two of the best Speed boosters, the former having a very strong STAB move in Head Smash and amazing physical bulk, and the latter having Sucker Punch to KO weakened Choice Scarf users. Unburden Drifblim and Agility Kingler can both outspeed any Choice Scarf user and can hit fairly hard, though the former has poor coverage and the latter has difficulty setting up. PU also has a decent range of slow sweepers, Pokémon that will boost their defenses with the aim of tanking past the opposing team. Gogoat is the best one right now, as its nice special bulk allows it to check most common special attackers, and Duosion is also decent, as Magic Guard prevents it from being worn down by status.


Utility is a catch-all term for Pokémon that aim to support the team in different ways than mentioned above. Jumpluff provides support to setup sweepers with Sleep Powder and Memento, as many sweepers struggle to find opportunities to set up on their own normally, but halving the foe's attacking stats makes it significantly easier. Hazard removal is another important form of support, often being crucial in VoltTurn teams, as common members like Ninjask and Rotom-F can only switch in a few times with Stealth Rock up. Cryogonal is the most relevant offensive hazard remover, as it has access to Rapid Spin rather than Defog, meaning the hazards you set up won't get removed, and its STAB Freeze-Dry can OHKO or 2HKO most hazard setters. Swanna is the only offensive Defog user, though Vullaby can also be used on offense, as it checks plenty of attackers like Grumpig and Roselia and can keep up momentum with U-turn. Kadabra is a reliable method of stopping setup sweepers, as with Magic Guard its Focus Sash will stay intact throughout the game, meaning it can take any hit and use Thunder Wave or attack back. Pursuit trapping from Pokémon like Murkrow and Bouffalant can help Fighting-types and anything that struggles with Psychic-types like Grumpig. Specially defensive Trapinch is unique in that it can switch in and trap and KO most Electric- and Steel-types, helping Flying-type Pokémon like Drifblim and Dodrio.

Threats to Offense

Just like in any other tier, every team has to be prepared for every threat. The viability ranking is a good place to start in terms of what Pokémon to watch out for. The most notable are other Choice Scarf users, particularly if the team is running a slow Choice Scarf user or none at all, as revenge killing becomes a lot less simple. Rotom-F and Chatot tend to be the scariest Choice Scarf users against offense due to their typing and strength, respectively, so offensive teams need to have some kind of switch-in to their STAB moves or at least a Soundproof Pokémon to stop them. Strong priority users, most notably Murkrow, Dusknoir, and Pawniard, can easily disrupt offense, as most revenge killers will have to take a large amount of damage before KOing. Additionally, Normal- and Electric-types, along with Water- and Fighting-types, are the 'main' PU types, so having a resistance for them is crucial, even it if it only means they can no long spam their STAB moves. In terms of playstyles, VoltTurn can be very threatening, as those teams can easily wear even bulkier offensive teams down, meaning some sort of Electric immunity and enough offensive pressure to keep entry hazards up can be important. A well-built stall team can also be problematic for offensive teams, as even with wallbreakers, if the opponent has the right counters then it can be almost impossible to break; however, that is harder to prepare for outside of having one or two decent wallbreakers, and more something you have to play well against to get around.

Example Team

This RMT (monkey) by Megazard is an excellent example of an offensive team. It's built around a generally rare setup sweeper, SubSalac Nasty Plot Simisear, with Choice Band Leafeon as a wallbreaker specifically to lure in threats like Monferno and Bouffalant, putting them both in the KO range of +2 Simisear. Probopass was chosen as the Stealth Rock user for its ability to check threats like Rotom-F, Chatot, and Pawniard, and Passho Berry lets it lure and weaken or KO Water-types that can also threaten Simisear. Assault Vest Bouffalant provides additional bulk, improving the matchup with Water-types like Floatzel while also providing Pursuit support against Grumpig, one of Simisear's most common checks, and Kadabra, which can survive any hit and revenge kill Simisear. Grumpig's main job is to check Fighting-types that could otherwise run through the team, and it also provides a strong special attacker to be used throughout the game, which complements Simisear, a late-game cleaner. Lastly, Choice Scarf Gabite was added as a revenge killer and was chosen due to its Electric immunity, as although many Electric-types carry Ice coverage, an immunity stops them from spamming Volt Switch.


Offense is the most significant playstyle in PU right now, and recent teams in tournament matches have shown that they are mostly built with the same components, often using the same building blocks like Golem + Bouffalant + Leafeon. The metagame hasn't changed much since after the latest suspect test, but recently stall has had a surge of usage, which might put more stress on wallbreakers when teambuilding. It's hard to predict what future metagames will be like, but right now offense is the playstyle you should be trying if you want to start playing PU!

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