Time to Rock! Rock-types in PU

By gum. Released: 2019/05/03.
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Art by Cretacerus

Art by Cretacerus.

Introduction

While Rock-types had a rough start in PU's early days and certainly aren't as good as they used to be in RBY, they make for solid choices and greatly influence the PU metagame thanks to their numerous adventageous characteristics. The lack of viable sturdy answers to them outside of Mudsdale, Quagsire, Poliwrath, and Gurdurr makes offensive ones like Lycanroc and Aggron particularly threatening to face. More defensive ones such as Regirock provide a mandatory check to prevalent threats like Skuntank, Oricorio-E, Skuntank, Dodrio, and Kangaskhan. Their typing is useful in this metagame infested by numerous Flying- and Normal-types, which gives them many occasions to come in and further improves the defensive ones' niche.

Premier Rock-types

Regirock

Regirock is one of the tier's best Stealth Rock users and defensive Pokémon, as it provides a mandatory check to major threats like Stoutland and Oricorio-E, giving it a lot of chances to set up entry hazards. Due to its typing and decent coverage options, it can beat common Defog and Rapid Spin users like specially defensive Alolan Sandslash, Articuno, and Skuntank. However, Regirock has no recovery outside of Leftovers and Drain Punch, and while Rock is a decent defensive typing, it also causes Regirock to be weak to Pokémon such as Victreebel and Jellicent. Do not let this discourage you from using Regirock, however, as it is a rock-hard wall!

Lycanroc

Lycanroc was often overlooked and considered as a suboptimal option due to the number of checks and counters it had. As USM came out and Lycanroc gained some new moves as well as an exclusive Z-Move, Splintered Stormshards, it got some attention; however, it only got the chance to truly shine after some metagame shifts and bans, such as Palossand and Togedemaru rising to NU, the latter of which forced it to use Sucker Punch, which means that it can now run Accelerock. With a limited amount of checks, Lycanroc is a fearsome late-game cleaner thanks to its high Attack and blistering Speed. This is further bolstered by its extremely powerful exclusive Z-Move and nice movepool, with notably Sucker Punch or Accelerock to hit faster foes such as Choice Scarf Swanna. But wait, there's more! Due to its typing and speed, Lycanroc can also function as an offensive check to threats such as Dodrio, Skuntank and Simisear. As one may expect it, not all is well for Lycanroc, though. Its subpar bulk makes it hard to set up, so it relies on a forced switch to do so. It also struggles with Mudsdale and Alolan Persian, two Pokémon it can't beat, being so common. Even with that, Lycanroc has cemented itself as one of the best late-game cleaners thanks to its unique attributes. If you're searching for a late-game cleaner, Lycanroc totally rocks it!

Aurorus
  • Choice Specs Aurorus @ Choice Specs
  • Ability: Snow Warning
  • EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Modest / Timid Nature
  • - Blizzard
  • - Freeze-Dry
  • - Earth Power
  • - Hidden Power Rock
  • Choice Scarf Aurorus @ Choice Scarf
  • Ability: Snow Warning
  • EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • - Blizzard
  • - Freeze-Dry
  • - Earth Power
  • - Hidden Power Rock
  • Focus Sash Aurorus @ Focus Sash
  • Ability: Snow Warning
  • EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Hasty Nature
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Blizzard
  • - Encore
  • - Rock Tomb

Since Aurorus dropped, it has proven to be a meta-defining Pokémon with a variety of viable sets. The Choice Specs set is a fearsome wallbreaker that a limited number of Pokémon can switch into due to Aurorus's sheer firepower, hail's chip damage, a strong STAB attack in Blizzard, and decent coverage options in Earth Power and Freeze-Dry, with the latter hitting Water-types such as Lanturn and Poliwrath. While the Choice Scarf set isn't as a fearsome of a wallbreaker, it provides teams some speed while also having a better matchup against offense and an amazing one against rain, unlike its Choice Specs counterpart. As if this wasn't already enough, Aurorus can also viably run a suicide lead set. Its access to Stealth Rock, strong STAB attacks, and utility makes it a solid option for heavy offense teams and puts the team in an early advantage. Sadly, its poor Speed, weakness to Mach Punch, one of the most common priority moves, and weakness to Stealth Rock greatly hinder the Choice Specs set's wallbreaking potential. The Choice Scarf set, while not suffering as much from its Speed, suffers from the same issues and wishes it hit harder. While all Aurorus sets suffer from Alolan Sandslash's prominence, the suicide lead one is especially vulnerable to it, as it can remove Aurorus's Stealth Rock while easily disposing of it. This doesn't mean that Aurorus is a bad choice, quite the contrary. With some its checks such as Assault Vest Crabominable dropping in usage and Togedemaru rising to NU, Aurorus has proven to be a really good Pokémon. So good that if you do not have a solid Ice breaker, Aurorus will give you a rock-hard time!

Aggron
  • Choice Band Aggron @ Choice Band
  • Ability: Rock Head
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
  • Adamant / Jolly Nature
  • - Head Smash
  • - Heavy Slam
  • - Ice Punch
  • - Earthquake
  • Shuca Berry / Chople Berry / Rockium Z Aggron @ Shuca Berry / Chople Berry / Rockium Z
  • Ability: Rock Head
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Adamant / Jolly Nature
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Head Smash
  • - Heavy Slam
  • - Taunt

Just like Lycanroc, Aggron was often overlooked for other wallbreakers. However, numerous meta shifts and bans made it a huge threat some metagames ago. While it isn't as common or good as it used to be, it's still a dangerous force. The Choice Band set is particularly threatening due to Aggron's high Attack stat and has proven to be one of the best wallbreakers the tier has to offer. Thanks to Rock Head, Head Smash becomes excessively spammable and risk free, since few Pokémon are able to claim to be able to comfortably stomach such a hit. Along with this, Aggron has a nice secondary STAB move and decent coverage options in Ice Punch and Earthquake, with the former hitting Mudsdale and the latter taking on Metang and opposing Aggron. Aggron can also successfully run a Stealth Rock set due to its ability to force out threats like defensive Mesprit, its access to Taunt to prevent the use of Defog, and its typing giving it the edge in the entry hazards game. Aggron can also make use of its defensive typing to take advantage of Pokémon such as Choice-locked Stoutland and Skuntank to wreak havoc. However, Aggron suffers from its poor Speed, mediocre Special Defense, and only decent defensive typing. Do not let this discourage you from using Aggron, though, as even if it can be hard headed, it will definitely steel the show!

Omastar
  • Groundium Z / Waterium Z / White Herb Omastar @ Groundium Z / Waterium Z / White Herb
  • Ability: Weak Armor / Swift Swim
  • EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Modest / Timid Nature
  • - Shell Smash
  • - Hydro Pump
  • - Ice Beam
  • - Earth Power
  • Leftovers Omastar @ Leftovers
  • Ability: Shell Armor
  • EVs: 248 HP / 236 Def / 24 SpA
  • Bold Nature
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Spikes / Toxic Spikes
  • - Scald
  • - Ice Beam / Hidden Power Electric
  • Focus Sash Omastar @ Focus Sash
  • Ability: Weak Armor
  • EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
  • Timid Nature
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Spikes / Toxic Spikes
  • - Scald
  • - Ice Beam

Thanks to Omastar's large movepool and many sets, it made a huge splash when it dropped, just like a rock falling in water! The Shell Smash set is by far the scariest one to face due to its many variations and amazing coverage making it unpredictable and able to pick its own checks. The defensive set can bring any of Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes and a check to Normal-, Flying- and Poison-types like Stoutland, Scyther, and Skuntank to the table without being passive thanks to its decent, even when uninvested, offensive presence and Scald's chance to burn. Omastar can also run a suicide lead set on heavy offense teams thanks to its aforementioned access to entry hazards, nice offensive presence, and ability. Sadly, the Shell Smash set suffers from its poor Speed even after a boost, leaving it outsped by Choice Scarf users such as Manectric and Primeape. The defensive set lets dangerous threats like Lilligant in for free, which can make it a liability. As to the suicide lead set, it receives stiff competition from Froslass, which is faster, can block Rapid Spin due to its typing, and has Taunt to prevent the use of Defog. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't use Omastar. Be it the Shell Smash set, the defensive set, or the suicide lead set, Omastar totally rocks!

Carracosta
  • Rockium Z / Life Orb / White Herb Carracosta @ Rockium Z / Life Orb / White Herb
  • Ability: Solid Rock
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
  • Adamant / Naughty Nature
  • - Shell Smash
  • - Stone Edge
  • - Aqua Jet
  • - Hydro Pump / Hidden Power Grass
  • Leftovers Carracosta @ Leftovers
  • Ability: Solid Rock
  • EVs: 252 HP / 192 Def / 64 SpD
  • Relaxed Nature
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Scald
  • - Knock Off
  • - Toxic / Protect

Even if Carracosta has seen better days in the past, it still makes for a good option. Its access to Shell Smash, good typing, decent offensive stats, and many options make it a solid threat. This is further bolstered by a nice Defense stat and a good ability in Solid Rock, easing setup. However, if this doesn't interest you, Carracosta can also be used as a defensive Pokémon. A useful defensive typing and utility moves such as Stealth Rock make it a formidable check to threats like Stoutland and Kangaskhan, but this set isn't really good now. Sadly, the Shell Smash set suffers from its low Speed even after a boost, leaving it outsped by Alolan Persian and Choice Scarf Mesprit, which can easily dispose of it, although Aqua Jet can somewhat remedy this problem. It also receives stiff competition from Omastar, another Rock / Water type that learns Shell Smash but is faster and stronger and has a better offensive ability and a more diverse movepool. As for the defensive set, it's overall outclassed by Regirock, which sports better bulk, and it is extremely passive, letting threats like Victreebel in for free. However, Carracosta isn't completely outclassed, since its bulk and ability let it set up with Shell Smash more easily than Omastar while the defensive set has a better ability in Solid Rock and an arguably better typing over Regirock. Do not hesitate to give Carracosta a try, it's so solid you'll have the impression it's made of rock!

Kabutops
  • Choice Scarf Kabutops @ Choice Scarf
  • Ability: Swift Swim
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
  • Jolly Nature
  • - Liquidation
  • - Stone Edge
  • - Knock Off
  • - Rapid Spin
  • Rockium Z / Life Orb Kabutops @ Rockium Z / Life Orb
  • Ability: Swift Swim
  • EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
  • Adamant Nature
  • - Swords Dance
  • - Stone Edge
  • - Liquidation
  • - Superpower / Aqua Jet

While Kabutops was often overlooked for better options, it now is an offensive threat to account for when building. The Choice Scarf set is particularly threatening, since it offers great role compression. Kabutops's offensive typing, high Attack, access to utility moves such as Rapid Spin and Knock Off, and decent physical bulk all allow it to deal with many scary threats such as Lycanroc and Dodrio, freeing slots when teambuilding. It can also work as a dangerous sweeper under rain thanks to Swift Swim and access to Swords Dance to make it nigh unwallable. However, the Choice Scarf set wishes it were faster to revenge kill threats such as Timid Omastar, and once locked into a move, it can easily be taken advantage of by setup Pokémon such as Lilligant and Lycanroc. The Swords Dance set can't do much outside of rain if lacking Aqua Jet due to its poor Speed, leaving it susceptible to revenge killers like Choice Scarf Primeape, Aurorus, and Mesprit. Kabutops is still an amazing choice if you need a Pokémon to swiftly swim your team to victory!

Niche Rock-types

Cradily

An interesting defensive typing, good support movepool, reliable recovery move, and good ability allow Cradily to find its place on some teams. The aforementioned typing and recovery allows it to consistently check offensive behemoths like Choice Specs Jellicent and Kangaskhan. It can also reliably set up Stealth Rock due to its ability to pressure or hinder common Defog and Rapid Spin users like Skuntank and Hitmonchan. However, Cradily suffers from weaknesses to common offensive typings like Ice and Fighting and to status conditions such as Toxic, greatly hindering its defensive capabilities. It also faces competition from other Stealth Rock users like Regirock and Mesprit, which sport better bulk, higher offensive presence, and Healing Wish and U-turn in Mesprit's case. Nevertheless, Cradily still finds its place on teams that appreciate what it brings to the table, so don't let its flaws drain you!

Golem

Golem makes for a niche Stealth Rock user for offensive teams. It has an amazing ability for a suicide lead in Sturdy, allowing it to hold another item than Focus Sash. It also has a great offensive presence and movepool, with notable access to the EdgeQuake combo, Sucker Punch to help against faster threats like Lilligant, and Explosion to prevent the use of Defog and Rapid Spin while chunking everything that doesn't resist it. Its typing also helps it keep Stealth Rock on the field due to its ability to beat Defog and Rapid Spin users like Skuntank and Alolan Sandslash. However, Golem's awful defensive typing and Speed mean that it can only be used as a suicide lead, as other, bulkier Stealth Rock setters with a better typing and greater utility such as Mudsdale and Mesprit give it a lot of competition. It also competes for a team slot with other suicide leads like Aurorus and Lycanroc, which sport either better utility or Speed. Even with this, Golem is still a rock-sturdy choice!

Carbink
  • Mental Herb Carbink @ Mental Herb
  • Ability: Sturdy
  • EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
  • IVs: 0 Spe
  • Relaxed Nature
  • - Trick Room
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Explosion
  • - Magic Coat
  • Leftovers Carbink @ Leftovers
  • Ability: Sturdy
  • EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
  • Calm / Sassy Nature
  • - Stealth Rock
  • - Moonblast / Rock Slide
  • - Toxic
  • - Rest

Carbink's niche lies in its access to Trick Room, Stealth Rock, and Explosion, with the latter blocking both Rapid Spin and Defog while providing a teammate with a free switch, making it the best suicide lead the tier has to offer for Trick Room teams. While the specially defensive set was used in the past, it isn't as relevant now, though it fits on some stall builds due to its ability to deal with stallbreakers like Oricorio-E, non-Heavy Slam Guzzlord, and Simisear. Even with these nice perks, Carbink can struggle to find its place on some teams, as its passivity can allow a lot of dangerous Pokémon in for free, such as Aggron, Lilligant and Alolan Sandslash, with the latter being able to remove Carbink's Stealth Rock thanks to Rapid Spin. However, Carbink is a sturdy Trick Room lead and shouldn't be overlooked when building a Trick Room team!

Probopass

While Probopass's main niche, Magnet Pull, isn't as good as it was because of Ferroseed and Togedemaru's departure, it still allows it to find a place on some teams. Between its decent movepool, with Stealth Rock, Volt Switch, and Taunt being notable options, respectable bulk, and aforementioned access to Magnet Pull to trap threats such as Aggron not locked into Earthquake and Alolan Sandslash, Probopass makes for a decent utility Pokémon and user of Stealth Rock due to its ability to pressure common Rapid Spin and Defog users like Alolan Sandslash and Articuno. However, Probopass's typing is pretty bad defensively, and its poor offensive presence due to its low Special Attack and Speed hold it back. These downfalls make it pretty hard to fit on teams. However, Probopass still makes for a decent option on teams that appreciate the role compression it offers, making it an overall magnetizing choice!

Shuckle

Shuckle's access to both Sticky Web and Stealth Rock and nice ability in Sturdy give it a niche as a suicide lead on offensive teams. Its ability is especially notable, since it means Shuckle can use a Mental Herb, preventing the use of Taunt. This niche is further increased thanks to its access to Encore, allowing it to lock opposing leads into the moves they just used, notably Defog and Rapid Spin users, giving free momentum to Shuckle's team. However, Shuckle is extremely passive, as its only way to deal damage is with Toxic, leaving it susceptible to Substitute users such as Oricorio-G and setup sweepers like Lycanroc. It also struggles against Taunt users like Froslass once its Mental Herb has been used due to its lack of offensive moves and suffers from competition from Smeargle, which is faster and has access to Spore. Nevertheless, Shuckle still makes for a sturdy option as a suicide lead and will definitely make your opponent chuckle!

Rampardos

Rampardos's absurdly high Attack, nice movepool with Head Smash, and great ability make it rather hard to answer defensively. It can also make use of its typing to check and force out threats such as Oricorio-E and Simisear. Sadly, Rampardos is held back by its mediocre Speed and overreliance on Choice Scarf, making it unable to take full advantage of its movepool. It also has mediocre bulk, leaving it unable to switch into most attacks, while its typing gives it weakness to common offensive typings and Pokémon such as Choice Scarf Swanna and Gurdurr; Mudsdale and Quagsire's prevalence doesn't help it either. Head Smash, Rampardos's strongest attack, is a double-edged sword, as while it hits extremely hard, this comes at the cost of often huge recoil damage. It also suffers from competition from Aggron, another offensive Rock-type with access to Head Smash. However, it still has its own perks over Aggron, such as a better Speed and higher Attack, and its sheer force should never be underestimated!

Get Out There!

Rock-types are an essential part of PU and shouldn't be overlooked when building, as you may skip what would otherwise be a rock-solid addition to your team!

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