Revenge Killers in RU: They're a Priority!

By CryoGyro. Released: 2019/05/10.
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Art of RU R Killers

Art by Kaiju Bunny.

Introduction

When you play RU, you have to contend with meta-defining offensive threats such as Zygarde-10% and Salazzle, which use their great power and excellent Speed to ravage unprepared teams and pressure even the best of RU players. Deadly Speed-boosting sweepers such as Shell Smash Barbaracle and Z-Celebrate Shaymin are also present, outpacing many Choice Scarf users after just one boost and thus demanding other forms of counterplay. As if that wasn't enough to consider, plenty of Choice Scarf users are late-game monsters in their own rights, using their conventionally untouchable Speed tiers and spammable attacks to clean up once their checks are incapacitated. With all of these potential threats to account for, it's no wonder that newer players' bulky offense and balance teams often find themselves helpless against one, two, or a few of them. The goal of this article is to lay out the RU Pokémon one can use for revenge killing attackers of all kinds, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can best fit on a team. Pokémon that get a lot of usage largely or partially due to their revenge killing properties but aren't actually very viable will also be discussed. Now then, let's make like an Assault Vest Machamp against bulky offense and dive right in!


Good Options

These Pokemon are the first you should consider when looking for revenge killers. Any flaws they have tend to be easily accounted for or worth the trouble.

Choice Scarf Gardevoir

Gardevoir Choice Scarf

With spammable STAB Moonblast and excellent support moves only held back by mediocre base Speed, it's small wonder that Gardevoir makes for one of RU's best Choice Scarf users. Psyshock and Moonblast alone cover a ton of fast threats, including Virizion, Salazzle, Zygarde-10%, Noivern, Choice Scarf Tyrantrum, and +1 Feraligatr. Trace allows Gardevoir to also benefit from great abilities like Feraligatr's Sheer Force, Dragalge's Adaptability, and weather sweepers' Chlorophyll or Sand Rush. This typically obligates the opponent to send their Steel-type in, which Gardevoir can simply cripple with Will-O-Wisp or Trick. Will-O-Wisp is better for punishing Metagross while letting Gardevoir keep its Choice Scarf, though. As if that wasn't enough utility, Healing Wish allows a wallbreaking or sweeping teammate to let loose early on, then come back late-game to finish the job. Gardevoir isn't free of major faults, though; its base 80 Speed tier is good with Choice Scarf, yes, but it falls short of Mega Sceptile and many boosted sweepers, including Dragon Dance Zygarde-10%, Z-Celebrate Shaymin, and Shell Smash Barbaracle. Barbaracle can even set up on Gardevoir not locked into Will-O-Wisp! Most other Choice Scarf users are faster too, and Gardevoir is vulnerable to all sorts of priority, so it isn't immune to being revenge killed itself. As such, it can't handle a team's revenge killing needs all on its own; it needs to be paired with forms of priority or checks to the sweepers it gets outpaced by. It should serve you well in the majority of battles, though.

Golisopod

Golisopod Insect Plate

When it comes to revenge killing through priority, Golisopod is king! Insect Plate-boosted First Impression is capable of KOing almost any sweeper; if it's not going down immediately, it will as long as you don't let it set up for free. The move's +2 priority bracket is perfect against the likes of Honchkrow and Lycanroc-D, which try to circumvent revenge killers by using +1 priority attacks. It's also a guaranteed stop to threats such as +2 Barbaracle and weather sweepers, which are extremely difficult to outspeed. Golisopod's utility doesn't end there, as its Bug typing and good physical bulk allow it to comfortably take Thousand Arrows from the ever-annoying Choice Band Zygarde-10% to force it out, and it can run a ton of different moves to exploit forced switches, including Spikes to get an edge in the hazard game, Knock Off and Toxic to hinder various defensive checks, and Drill Run to surprise Toxicroak expecting a free switch. There's also Aqua Jet to check weakened Fire-types in a pinch, but it's weak and seldom that helpful. As you probably know, however, Golisopod has one big problem: Emergency Exit. This ability combined with Golisopod's vulnerability to entry hazards, lacking special bulk, and lame Speed makes it easy to pressure and force out. First Impression isn't a universal solution to setup, either; Extreme Speed from Dragon Dance Zygarde-10% and Linoone goes before it, allowing those two to easily activate Emergency Exit or outright KO Golisopod (though Golisopod can run Stirus Berry to still beat Zygarde). To make the most of Golisopod, address Extreme Speed, fit some solid hazard control, and ensure that it doesn't make your team too slow.

Choice Band Zygarde-10%

Zygarde-10% Choice Band

Zygarde-10%'s main job is to throw out Thousand Arrows, but its Extreme Speed gives it some merit in the revenge killing department. With decent neutral coverage and +2 priority, there's room for Extreme Speed to be useful in almost any battle. It's particularly notable for beating Extreme Speed from Linoone, which can be tough for offensive teams to stop once it sets up. However, Extreme Speed needs Choice Band's power boost to work well at picking foes off immediately; Dragon Dance sets also use Extreme Speed, but that's primarily so they can ensure a sweep. A Zygarde-10% locked into Extreme Speed is a momentum drain, and the damage boost doesn't help much against Normal-resistant sweepers like Barbaracle. Choice Band Extreme Speed is best used as a supplement for other, more dedicated revenge killers that fail to hit what Extreme Speed can.

Noivern

Noivern Flyinium Z

Noivern is notable for its high Speed alone; a Pokémon that naturally outspeeds Salazzle and Zygarde-10% is sure to turn heads in RU! Noivern also boasts a typing with many neat resistances such as Fire and Grass, the ability to run Z-Moves that safely OHKO offensive threats, Taunt to prevent setup and do some stallbreaking on the side, and plenty of room for customization in moves, items, and EVs. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try a Choice Scarf set with Hurricane, Draco Meteor, U-turn, and Switcheroo to outspeed every relevant boosted sweeper, including +2 Barbaracle! A Z-Crystal Noivern isn't much help against sweepers with Speed boosts or priority, however, and it's particularly scared of Barbaracle. A priority user of your own like Golisopod would likely be appreciated.

Choice Scarf Tyrantrum

Tyrantrum Choice Scarf

Tyrantrum is just fast enough to outpace the entire unboosted metagame with a Choice Scarf. Therefore, it makes for a solid general countermeasure to speedy offense, threatening out Pokémon like Virizion, Zygarde-10%, and Salazzle when given a free switch. It's also notable for being much less exploitable than other Choice Scarf users thanks to its sheer power, and it is the only one to not get OHKOed by +6 Linoone's Extreme Speed. However, its low base Speed is still a problem; it's slower than every other relevant Choice Scarf user and Speed booster, uniquely falling short of Dragon Dance Feraligatr. Though Head Smash is a great move when it hits, 80% accuracy means it will inevitably miss at a crucial moment. A team with Tyrantrum should avoid giving the opposition setup opportunities, have solid defensive checks to setup, or wield strong priority.


Niche but viable options

These revenge killers can get the job done and might offer unique advantages that specific teams benefit from but are too flawed or support reliant to be primary choices.

Choice Scarf Salazzle

Salazzle Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Salazzle has exactly two things going for it: Speed and element of surprise. It's faster than every relevant sweeper, making it a great blanket check. The prevalence and threat of Salazzle's Nasty Plot set can cause opponents to assume that their Choice Scarf Tyrantrum or Gardevoir is a safe response, only to get 2HKOed on the switch or picked off. Outside of revenge killing and luring, however, Choice Scarf Salazzle struggles to be very useful. Its STAB moves are great on the Nasty Plot set, but Choice Scarf's locking and lack of boosts make them weak and exploitable. Few sweepers are even threatened by them, requiring use of coverage to take down. If Salazzle wants to do anything meaningful against less offensive teams, the best it has is Corrosion Toxic, which is difficult to fit. It's best for teams with already solid offensive or defensive cores that don't mind its lack of value outside of revenge killing.

Ribombee, Swellow, and Aerodactyl

Ribombee Choice Specs Swellow Choice Specs Aerodactyl Life Orb
  • Ribombee @ Choice Specs
  • Ability: Shield Dust
  • EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • - Bug Buzz
  • - Moonblast
  • - U-turn
  • - Psychic
  • Swellow @ Choice Specs
  • Ability: Scrappy
  • EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • - Boomburst
  • - U-turn
  • - Heat Wave
  • - Air Slash
  • Aerodactyl @ Life Orb
  • Ability: Unnerve
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
  • Jolly Nature
  • - Stone Edge
  • - Earthquake
  • - Ice Fang
  • - Roost

These Pokémon are even faster than Noivern and easily KO it, giving them clear purpose even if they aren't as generally effective or versatile. Choice Specs Ribombee has the coverage and Speed to threaten most other quick Pokémon, U-turn to make the most of forced switches, a neat resistance to Sucker Punch, and potential to run Sticky Web. Choice Specs Swellow boasts an amazing STAB attack in Scrappy Boomburst and U-turn to retain momentum against the few Pokémon that can handle it. Aerodactyl is the second fastest viable Pokémon in RU that isn't a hyper offense lead and backs that trait up with useful coverage, cool utility options such as Pursuit and Taunt, a Fire resistance, and Roost to get away with switching in and taking Life Orb recoil. None of these Pokémon compare to Noivern's bulk and set of resistances, but their higher Speed and different typings mean they can fill gaps that Noivern cannot.

Extreme Speed Arcanine

Arcanine Life Orb

Extreme Speed on Arcanine works straightforwardly, picking off weakened offensive foes to compensate for Arcanine's average Speed. Its faults are moreso problems with Arcanine as a whole: vulnerability to faster Rock-types and limited staying power thanks to entry hazard vulnerability and massive recoil. Don't expect it to reliably be around or able to take out Barbaracle and Lycanroc-D. Extreme Speed is always a nice supplement to other revenge killing methods, though.

Choice Scarf Goodra

Goodra Choice Scarf

When you think of Goodra, its Choice Specs and Choice Band sets probably come to mind first, but it's recently been proving itself an effective Choice Scarf user as well! Sap Sipper, high special bulk, and the same Speed tier as Gardevoir give it solid reason to be used on bulky offense teams, which want revenge killers wherever they can fit and are often strained for solid switch-ins to Roserade and Shaymin. Fire Blast, Thunderbolt, and Ice Beam together provide super effective coverage on the majority of offensive Pokémon, and Earthquake makes Goodra a solid answer to Salazzle and Raikou. Draco Meteor isn't necessary because Goodra can already hit so many foes with appropriate coverage. The lack of STAB backing any of Goodra's attacks can be a problem, though, as many setup sweepers can exploit Goodra locked into specific moves. Goodra also suffers from the same issue as Gardevoir in that it's slower than many other Pokémon with elevated Speed. Help Goodra out by pairing it with priority or a solid defensive backbone to compensate for its setup weakness.

Mega Sceptile

Sceptile-Mega Sceptilite

Mega Sceptile's mediocre power but amazing Speed, which is just enough to outpace Choice Scarf Gardevoir, mean it can be considered a Choice Scarf user with total move freedom. It has a solid matchup against conventional offense teams as a result; Hidden Power Fire pressures offensive Steel-types that Sceptile forces in, while Protect stops Golisopod cold and scouts faster Choice Scarf users. However, Mega Sceptile is still on the slower end of revenge killers, so it fails to easily stop boosted sweepers like Barbaracle and Dragon Dance Zygarde-10%. It can also be difficult to fit on a team without building around it, as it takes the roles of Mega Evolution, Grass-type, and Dragon-type all at once without many of its competitors' defensive utility.

Ice Shard

Abomasnow-Mega Abomasite Vanilluxe Icicle Plate
  • Abomasnow-Mega @ Abomasite
  • Ability: Soundproof
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Swords Dance
  • - Wood Hammer
  • - Ice Shard
  • - Earthquake
  • Vanilluxe @ Icicle Plate
  • Ability: Snow Warning
  • EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Naive Nature
  • - Blizzard
  • - Freeze-Dry
  • - Ice Shard
  • - Taunt

STAB Ice Shard is always a solid priority move, and Mega Abomasnow and Vanilluxe show off its strengths in RU despite not being in the tier by usage. Its ability to hit RU's many threatening Grass-, Dragon- and Flying-types such as Roserade, Shaymin, Mega Sceptile, Virizion, Zygarde-10%, Flygon, Noiven, and Swellow gives these Ice-types plenty of utility against offensive teams despite their lacking Speed stats. Swords Dance Mega Abomasnow can even boost its Attack to clean late-game with the move! However, Ice-types must be built around due to their many weaknesses, so you can't just slot them onto a team as your revenge killers. Ice Shard is more of a bonus for deciding to focus your team on them. Also, Ice Shard isn't much of a problem for Water-type sweepers like Barbaracle and Feraligatr.

Lycanroc-D

Lycanroc-Dusk Life Orb

Many of RU's fastest Pokémon are vulnerable to Rock, and it just so happens that Lycanroc-D is a viable sweeper with access to a Rock-type priority move. Accelerock can take out Salazzle, Noivern, Ribombee, Swellow, and Aerodactyl with little issue, and if you want greater general power, Lycanroc-D can run Sucker Punch instead. Swords Dance allows these priority moves to double as cleaning tools! Unfortunately, Lycanroc-D's sweeping role and lack of bulk or novel resistances mean it usually has to be the focus of your team. However, you'll certainly be rewarded for it.

Choice Scarf Flygon

Flygon Choice Scarf

This classic set has seen better days, but it's still fairly usable. U-turn and base 100 Speed are the main draws of Choice Scarf Flygon, allowing it to exploit forced switches from the likes of Salazzle and escape Choice Scarf Gardevoir. Its last moveslot is pretty customizable too, with options such as Aerial Ace to safely KO Virizion and Defog for some emergency entry hazard control. Earthquake and Outrage are pretty bad moves for a Choice Scarf user thanks to the common types they can't threaten, though; the moment Flygon stops just pivoting with U-turn is the moment it's wide open to exploitation. It's best on teams that want as much momentum as they can get.

Bullet Punch

Metagross Shuca Berry Pangoro Choice Band Machamp Assault Vest
  • Metagross @ Shuca Berry
  • Ability: Clear Body
  • EVs: 76 HP / 252 Atk / 180 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Meteor Mash
  • - Bullet Punch
  • - Thunder Punch
  • Pangoro @ Choice Band
  • Ability: Iron Fist
  • EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Knock Off
  • - Hammer Arm
  • - Gunk Shot
  • - Bullet Punch
  • Machamp @ Assault Vest
  • Ability: Guts
  • EVs: 252 HP / 200 Atk / 56 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Close Combat
  • - Knock Off
  • - Ice Punch
  • - Bullet Punch

Bullet Punch isn't the greatest priority move around thanks to Steel's mediocre coverage, but a fair number of Pokémon put it to good use. Metagross is its most obvious user thanks to having STAB, fitting it on Stealth Rock and Choice Band sets alike for the same purpose: picking off weakened offensive threats and potentially cleaning up late-game. Choice Band Pangoro runs it for identical reasons, boosts it with Iron Fist, and loves having a way to effortlessly take out Choice Scarf Gardevoir. Bullet Punch makes Assault Vest Machamp's job as a blanket check much easier, taking out foes that barely withstand a previous attack and threatening Fairy-types. When using a Pokémon with this move, just make sure the team isn't left wide open to Fire- and Water-type sweepers.

Choice Scarf Shaymin

Shaymin Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Shaymin's claims to fame are a solid STAB move in Seed Flare, base 100 Speed, and Healing Wish, condensing the roles of typical Grass-types and Choice Scarf Gardevoir. Ground- and Ice-type coverage makes it competent at handling a wide variety of offensive threats as well. However, Grass is far from the best type to have as STAB thanks to the many types resistant to it, and Shaymin's coverage is weak if not hitting super effectively. This makes Choice Scarf Shaymin both extremely reliant on correct predictions to avoid losing a ton of momentum and almost effortless to force out after getting a KO. Seed Flare's 85% accuracy is sure to let you down at some point as well. Choice Scarf Shaymin tends to only be worthwhile on teams that really need a Grass-type, Healing Wish user, and revenge killer in the same team slot.


Poor Options

These Pokemon see use by inexperienced players for understandable reasons, but they typically underperform.

Jolteon

Jolteon

Jolteon is a favorite of casual RU ladder players, being a popular Pokémon in general and an appealing option with its base 130 Speed and spammable Volt Switch. Blazing Speed and pivoting capability are just about the only good things Jolteon has, though. Its coverage options are limited to Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, and Hidden Power, making it a non-issue to most Pokémon that don't care about Electric-type attacks and effortless to switch into. Without a boosting move like Raikou's Calm Mind, it has to rely on Choice Specs or Life Orb to threaten the opposition much; the former makes it even easier to take advantage of, while the latter renders it easily outlasted. Unlike many other revenge killers in this article, it lacks the bulk or resistances to switch into anything notable, further reducing how much it can help a team. It's outclassed by Raikou as an Electric-type and by Noivern, Ribombee, Swellow, and Aerodactyl as a generally fast attacker.

Ice Shard Donphan

Donphan

Ice Shard is indeed a valid move on Donphan, threatening Zygarde-10% with an OHKO and dealing major damage to Noivern, Flygon, Mega Sceptile, Roserade, and Virizion, but it should not be considered a primary means of revenge killing. If the target is not physically frail and weak to Ice, Ice Shard will not be doing much damage thanks to lack of STAB. Its utility is largely limited to picking off the aforementioned Dragon- and Grass-types, which certainly can be sufficient for some teams but isn't nearly as widely applicable for revenge killing as an Extreme Speed or Choice Scarf user.

Choice Scarf Roserade

Roserade

Choice Scarf Roserade doesn't sound all that bad; it has decently strong STAB attacks in Leaf Storm and Sludge Bomb, Technician-boosted Hidden Power to address gaps in its coverage, Spikes to exploit switches, and a Speed tier above Choice Scarf Gardevoir. The set's fatal flaw is Choice locking. Roserade's attacks are great when it can use them freely and boost them with Life Orb, but Choice Scarf lacks power and highlights their poor individual coverage. Every move Choice Scarf Roserade makes is just begging to be exploited; Choice Scarf Shaymin at least doesn't lose Special Attack for using its Grass-type attack. Not helping matters is how Roserade's lack of bulk keeps it from switching in on much of anything and how Leaf Storm can miss at any time. Roserade is simply much better in its typical Spikes setting role with Life Orb or Poisonium Z. If you feel that Choice Scarf Roserade is the best fit, reconsidering your team composition is strongly recommended.


Get out there!

The list of revenge killers presented here is far from exhaustive; plenty of other potential Choice Scarf and priority users exist in RU, but to go over them all would be a ridiculously massive task (if you'd like to look into some, check out Choice Scarf Toxicroak and users of Sucker Punch or Aqua Jet). Hopefully, you've just been given an idea of the options that exist and the traits you should look for when choosing a revenge killer. Next time you build an RU team, you'll have the knowledge necessary to keep yourself from getting swept on a constant basis. Why not go create a team featuring one of these Pokémon to see what works for you?

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