PU Suspect Coverage: Guzzlord

By TJ, gum, and HJAD. Released: 2019/08/09.
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Guzzlord Suspect Coverage art

Art by Kaiju Bunny.


Ever since it dropped from NU, Guzzlord was seen as a great asset on teams thanks to its typing, natural bulk, and movepool, which turned it into a fearsome wallbreaker that was able to check dangerous threats like Simisear and Alolan Raichu. However, discussions arose when people realized Guzzlord warped the tier around it and forced a lot of adaption, with sets such as specially defensive Gurdurr and Drain Punch Eelektross becoming popular. Guzzlord also made previously fantastic threats such as Alolan Persian unreliable choices. The biggest issues with Guzzlord were its bulk and lack of counters; it could even withstand powerful super effective attacks such as Primeape's Close Combat, and it could beat would-be switch-ins like Clefairy and Silvally-Fairy with a coverage move. In this article, we'll explain why the community ultimately chose to ban it.



This set made Guzzlord an extremely scary wallbreaker thanks to its expansive movepool, as would-be checks got blown back by its coverage moves or were very situational switch-ins at best. With Dragonium Z, Guzzlord had little to no difficulty beating walls like Regirock and Mudsdale and heavily denting traditional specially defensive pivots such as Lanturn, Hitmonchan, and Eelektross. If holding Choice Specs, Guzzlord became a little more prediction reliant, although the boost in power was extremely appreciated. This set was seen as unhealthy mostly due to the aforementioned reasons as well as its gigantic bulk, which allowed it to easily KO more than one foe as well as switch into and check and take advantage of others at the same time.


Assault Vest Guzzlord was the healthier set of the three, as it provided teams with a decent wallbreaker but mostly with a capable specially defensive tank. It could easily pivot into threats like Simisear, Alolan Raichu, Omastar, and Victreebel thanks to its immense bulk and take even super effective hits such as Froslass's Ice Beam with ease, as well as even stronger hits like Aurorus's Blizzard and Mesprit's Dazzling Gleam. The added bulk also made it significantly easier to take advantage of Beast Boost, allowing even fewer threats to effectively force this set out. For a specially defensive pivot, it was absurdly hard to switch into between its STAB moves and coverage options, as even typical switch-ins to Dragon- and Dark-types, such as Clefairy and Silvally-Fairy, hated taking a Heavy Slam.


Choice Band Guzzlord, albeit not as common as the two other sets, was a fearsome wallbreaker with almost no switch-ins. Physical walls like Regirock, Gurdurr, and Mudsdale heavily disliked losing their items, while special walls like Audino and Type: Null that would check the special sets were lured in and heavily crippled. This set also took advantage of its fantastic coverage to break through would-be switch-ins like Carbink, Silvally-Fairy, and Alolan Sandslash and of its surprise factor, as Pokémon that typically pivoted in on special sets, such as Hitmonchan, Articuno, Assault Vest Lanturn, and Eelektross, all failed to deal with this set.

Ban reasoning

Guzzlord's ban argument had three main sides to it. The first main reason why Guzzlord was considered broken by many was how noticeably hard it was to revenge kill. With exceptional all-round bulk thanks to its exemplary HP stat coupled with an Assault Vest, Guzzlord was noticeably harder to revenge kill than its wallbreaking brethren given that the super effective attacks that would be enough to check other wallbreakers in the tier weren't able to revenge kill Guzzlord. In addition to Guzzlord's Assault Vest-boosted Special Defense, its physical bulk was just as scary with investment, allowing Guzzlord to survive hits from common Fighting-types such as Primeape and Hitmonchan. The second main reason was physical vs special breaking opportunities. Towards the end of PUPL, it was clear Z-Move Guzzlord in general was getting a boom in usage because it no longer needed to be used defensively after Lilligant had left the tier. Physical Guzzlord, in particular, began to see use thanks to the utility given by moves like Knock Off and Drain Punch on top of the devastating power behind Z-Outrage. It should be added that the targets Z-Outrage and Z-Draco Meteor hit alternate depending on the set. This means that no matter what Pokémon you used in PU, whether it had huge special bulk or huge physical bulk with few to no options in the middle, the Z-Move set threatened every single composition of balance possible, making Guzzlord very difficult to wall. The last key issue was the metagame at the moment as a whole. With Mesprit leaving, the main utility Pokémon on balance and offense teams alike and a metagame-defining Pokémon in itself, the tier was left with a huge defensive void. The issue with Mesprit leaving was that it invalidated a lot of role compression that it was used for on PU archetypes and left it at the very top of the usage charts at the end of PUPL. The meta without it got slower, as it was the fastest Stealth Rock user and had key defensive utility, and archetypes changed to involve more defensive Pokémon to fill the gaps. The result was more breaking opportunities for Guzzlord's Z-Move sets. This effect was only amplified with Ferroseed dropping, another extremely slow Pokémon that any of Guzzlord's sets could beat hand over fist; even though it's seen by many as a fantastic Pokémon, it was clearly Guzzlord fodder, which only added to its breaking ability and effect on the metagame. As a result, Guzzlord got multiple breaks a game even versus good balance builds and managed to force sacks like nothing else in the tier. In conclusion, as Guzzlord was used more and more, it was felt more and more that its main defensive purpose in the tier was being foregone for a much more offensive approach. The offensive sets in turn were hard to revenge kill and impossibly difficult to prepare for, and received multiple breaking opportunities per game in PU. It was undeniably a strain on teambuilding, and given that it played even better in practice than on paper for these reasons, the reasons not to use it were essentially nonexistent.

No-ban reasoning

A fundamental argument of the anti-ban side was that Guzzlord's typing left it susceptible to a bunch of Pokémon like Silvally-Fairy, Rotom-F, and Hitmonchan and super effective coverage from the likes of Simisear, Alolan Raichu, Eelektross, Skuntank, and Jellicent, meaning that it could be checked rather easily through offensive pressure, especially in a Spikes-heavy metagame. Guzzlord's Speed tier was also very mediocre, which meant that it could be revenge killed by common Pokémon such as Primeape even if it ever got out of hand. With Pokémon like Eelektross, Oricorio-E, Skuntank, Simisear, and Victreebel heavily affecting the balance archetype, people argued that Guzzlord added something to the metagame and was able to solve this issue with its reliable Assault Vest set. People also argued that Guzzlord's three most common sets were Choice Specs, Dragonium Z, and Assault Vest, meaning that dealing with it became a lot less difficult once you scouted. Pokémon such as Carbink, Clefairy, Silvally-Fairy, Hitmonchan, Audino, and Articuno were also seen as situational switch-ins, as Guzzlord could not handle every Pokémon at once, meaning it had viable counterplay. Lastly, a point of argument was that Guzzlord felt similar to other potent wallbreakers like Drampa and Stoutland, which also have very few switch-ins but are still balanced.

Closing Words

Between its amazing offensive prowess, great typing, bulk, and versatility, a majority of the PU community decided that Guzzlord was too strong for PU. With Guzzlord being banned now, teambuilding is less restrictive, and Pokémon that were previously blanket checked by Guzzlord like Alolan Persian, Choice Specs Jellicent, Simisear, Alolan Raichu, and Lanturn are better.

HTML by Ryota Mitarai.
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