SM UU (Public) Suspect Recap

By Ark.
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Art by LifeisDANK.


With Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon releasing, several changes will be shaking up the UU tier. The biggest of these is probably the new Defog move tutor allowing several interesting new hazard removers to take the field, such as Poison Heal Gliscor, Mega Altaria, and Rotom. In this new metagame, several changes are to be expected, as Pokémon will leave for OU and some Pokémon in OU will drop to UU. New suspect tests will happen to either ban potentially broken elements or free Pokémon that may no longer be broken. However, in this article, we will focus on the public suspect tests that took place in the latter half of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon's life.

After several months of using the kokoloko System to bring the tier into a stable position, UU switched back to the public test system in July. While some council bans did happen to address new drops, some of which were given the benefit of the doubt at first, quite a few decisions were left up to the public, all with the same result: a ban.


Conkeldurr was the subject of the first public suspect test. At first, when people were exploring its old sets from Generation 6, Conkeldurr seemed like a strong if a bit average wallbreaker or pivot. This changed when a new set was discovered. With Generation 7, passive damage from a burn only dealt half as much damage as before, allowing a Flame Orb Guts set to shine. While it boasted Drain Punch to keep itself healthy, and its strong Mach Punch was useful in dealing with more offensive threats and allowed it to clean, picking coverage was still tricky, as there would always be something to wall it. Of course, it had access to a move stronger than even its Drain Punch that covered every threat bar Ghost-types: Facade.


With this set, Conkeldurr was able to punch significant holes into any type of team. Ghost-types had to be wary of Knock Off or a partner carrying Pursuit, a move with plenty of good users. Resisting Conkeldurr's STAB moves did not suffice to be a proper switch-in, as it didn't matter whether you were a Bug-, Fairy-, Flying-, Poison- or Psychic-type: you did not want to switch into Facade. While Steel- and Rock-types such as Cobalion and Mega Aerodactyl would resist the Normal-type Facade, they could not switch into Drain Punch, and there was a chance that the combination of Facade and Mach Punch KOed them. This effectively meant Conkeldurr could tear apart teams with minimal prediction required.

Of course, no Pokémon is perfect, and Conkeldurr had a giant flaw in its low Speed. This, however, did not keep it from excelling, as it boasted great natural bulk, and the passive recovery of Drain Punch made it incredibly hard to deal with. Unsurprisingly, Conkeldurr was banned from the UnderUsed tier by a 78.5% supermajority.



After Conkeldurr was gone, the next Pokémon on the list was Xurkitree. While it did boast slightly greater Speed than the previous suspect, it was still rather slow, and unlike the Fighting-type, it had disappointingly low defensive stats. It could still tear apart teams very well, and it could also function on another type of team due its access to a certain move: Volt Switch. VoltTurn teams are fearsome, and one of the usual ways of beating them includes blocking Volt Switch and punishing the Volt Switch user for attempting to use the move. But there was no Ground-type wanting to switch into Xurkitree due to its access to Grass Knot and its immense Special Attack. If this were the only thing that mattered, Rotom-C would be considered broken, too, but Xurkitree's power allowed it to chip down switch-ins meant to simply absorb the Volt Switch or a potential Grass Knot such as Latias in record time.

Its Volt Switch sets were of course not the main issue; they were simply a part of it. The main issue that was cited was Xurkitree's access to Tail Glow. While its coverage was far from stellar, a simple set running Tail Glow, Thunderbolt, Hidden Power Ice, and Grass Knot with Electrium Z could break any stall team with ease; Blissey and Amoonguss did not deal well with a +3 Gigavolt Havoc, and everything else either lost to Thunderbolt or its coverage. Kyurem was used in an attempt to take care of such sets, but Stealth Rock made this job difficult. It could also not KO Xurkitree back reliably without a boosting item and had trouble dealing with a boosted Thunderbolt, let alone a Gigavolt Havoc. On top of that, Xurkitree could opt to use Dazzling Gleam instead of another coverage option. While this would leave it more vulnerable to Gliscor or Mega Steelix depending on what it dropped, it could now deal massive damage to Kyurem on the switch.

So far, Xurkitree seems to break apart balance and stall teams while being mediocre against offense teams, but it also had access to Hypnosis. This meant it could run a Z-Hypnosis set, putting a foe to sleep while boosting its own Speed. Of course, there were ways of dealing with this; its mediocre Speed allowed faster Choice Scarf users such as Latias, Hydreigon, and Krookodile to revenge kill it, while Mega Aerodactyl naturally outsped even +1 Xurkitree. However, this effectively meant a Pokémon had to be sacrificed as sleep fodder first, and another Pokémon had to potentially be sacrificed to safely switch in these revenge killers. Mega Aerodactyl also needed to run Earthquake to safely KO Xurkitree, while Latias and Hydreigon needed Xurkitree to take a minor amount of chip damage, probably from Stealth Rock, or Draco Meteor would (likely) fail to OHKO.

Xurkitree's main flaw beyond its Speed was its bad bulk. A lot of teams tried exploiting this through Pursuit trapping. This was not failsafe, however, as every Pokémon capable of utilizing Pursuit had trouble taking a hit from Xurkitree. This led to the most common answer to the Electric-type being to have many faster Pokémon on the team simply to KO it with something faster, yet these kinds of teams were usually troubled by the Z-Hypnosis set due to the reasons lined up above. While counterplay to any and all sets did exist, and the debate over whether or not Xurkitree was broken or just very annoying to deal with was rather lively, it was banned by an 85% supermajority, sending it to rot amongst its many peers in BL.

Mega Gallade and Mega Heracross

Mega Gallade Mega Heracross

Shortly after the Xurkitree suspect test concluded, the September tier shifts arrived. With them, several strong Pokémon dropped, most notably Hoopa-U, Mega Gallade, and Mega Heracross. All three of them were quickbanned by the council. Jirachi, Mega Gardevoir, and Mega Altaria also dropped, but they survived the initial vote. While Hoopa-U was deemed too broken to even retest, Mega Gallade and Mega Heracross immediately entered one. Both had a lot of similarities in being extremely strong Fighting-types with useful secondary STAB moves, access to Swords Dance, and good coverage.

Mega Gallade excelled mostly due to its great Speed tier. With both of its STAB moves and Knock Off, nothing switched into it safely, and with a Swords Dance, it could rip through most teams with ease. While its bulk seemed mediocre at first glance, it was deceptively hard to OHKO for most revenge killers, giving it the ability to clean out many games. On top of that, it could forego coverage to punish offense teams with Substitute sets, making it borderline impossible to deal with properly.

On the other end of the spectrum was Mega Heracross. While it wasn't the fastest Pokémon of all time, its exceptional bulk more than made up for it. It couldn't clean as easily as Mega Gallade, but it was even harder to switch into. Running both STAB moves as well as Rock Blast to deal with some pesky Flying-types such as Togekiss and Crobat was all it needed, and after a Swords Dance, any and all bulky teams lost to it. Although its Speed tier was one of its drawbacks on standard teams, it enabled another archetype to an incredible degree. While full Trick Room teams were borderline unviable prior to Mega Heracross dropping, its presence made them fearsome to face due to its lack of switch-ins.

Not a lot of discussion was needed to reach a verdict on these Pokémon. Mega Heracross was left in BL by a 70% supermajority, whereas not a single person was in favor of unbanning Mega Gallade, resulting in a near-unprecedented unanimous ban vote.



Shortly after the Mega Gallade and Mega Heracross suspect test concluded, the council decided to hold an extraordinary vote to address the problem that was Jirachi; during its short tenure in the tier, it has proven to be extremely problematic mostly due to its Z-Happy Hour set, which had minimal counterplay. The few answers that existed had trouble dealing with specially defensive and Substitute + Toxic sets. Lastly, Jirachi also served as a great support and pivot in its Choice Scarf set.

Of course, the tier had more problems that needed to be addressed. Weavile was being retested next. After it was dropped during a metagame that was significantly unfriendlier to it, featuring Pokémon such as Buzzwole and Mega Swampert, a lot of its more reliable checks had left the tier. A strong resistance had already been formed before its drop, and after several shifts, the Dark-type was finally suspect tested.

Weavile had many qualities that made it problematic. First and foremost, it was hard to switch into. Most of its checks, such as Cobalion, could drop to coverage moves such as Low Kick. While its bad defenses made it hard to find opportunities to safely bring in Weavile, it often did not need to be brought in many times to do its job due to its immense strength and its Speed allowing it to force many switches. Worse yet, it had great priority in the form of Ice Shard, which helped it clean many teams late-game.

But there was one more job that really pushed it over the edge. Its access to Pursuit allowed it to greatly support its team by removing their checks. Many offense teams used Pokémon such as Latias as an answer to Fighting-types like Cobalion, but with Weavile around, this became significantly harder. Its role as a Pursuit trapper combined with its wallbreaking capabilities and cleaning potential made it hard to deal with Weavile reliably, and thus, it was banned by a 76% supermajority.

Mega Latias

Mega Latias

In another council vote, Mega Gardevoir was banned for its wallbreaking capabilities. It could carry Calm Mind or Taunt in addition to its coverage to completely tear apart balances, and while counterplay to it did exist, it was hard to incorporate into bulkier teams. Following this ban, the first Pokémon that didn't come under scrutiny for its wallbreaking capabilities started its suspect test.

Mega Latias boasted a great Speed tier, a good defensive typing, and a nice movepool. Its offensive stats were good, but its bulk was what really made it great: it could switch into many common threats and force a switch or set up on them. Bulky Calm Mind sets were common, allowing Mega Latias to boost up and break through teams. BoltBeam was the most commonly used coverage option, although other great sets such as Psyshock + Hidden Power Fire and Dragon Pulse + Hidden Power Fire existed. More offensive sets would run Psyshock, Draco Meteor, and either recovery or a third coverage option.

Its defensive sets allowed it to set up on many Pokémon. If Mega Latias Calm Minded as a cleric Sylveon switched in, for example, it could, barring a critical hit, proceed to boost up despite the Pixilate-boosted Hyper Voice. However, while setup was possible on many more passive Pokémon, these Pokémon often carried Toxic, allowing them to effectively put Mega Latias on a timer. Sets carrying Refresh could deal with teams that overly relied on Toxic to deal with Mega Latias, but they were often forced into carrying Stored Power for coverage, making them more susceptible to Dark-types and setting stalled out. Teams also carried more than just Pokémon with Toxic as an answer to Mega Latias, making Refresh sets a very niche experience.

A common workaround to deal with Mega Latias was pairing a Volt Switch user with an Alolan Muk to severely weaken or remove the Dragon-type. Sets carrying Reflect Type could make life hard if teams counted on this strategy to work and did not implement any other counterplay, or if said other counterplay only consisted of a Toxic that Mega Latias would become immune to, but these sets had a similar problem to Refresh sets in how they were forced to rely on a single coverage move. While some teams could be troubled by these sets, they were few, and Latias's other sets were generally better.

Last but not least, setting up with Mega Latias was very doable, but not as easy as it sounds. A good number of hurdles had to be cleared before any team would lose to it, and it often had to serve as a checks to Pokémon like Infernape. This could lose momentum due to potential U-turns, or simply to the fact it would have to recover to keep itself healthy. While it was undoubtedly a great Pokémon, a large number of counterplay options to Mega Latias did exist. In spite of this, it was banned by a 73% supermajority.


New Pokémon games mean a new metagame, and this new metagame will offer the opportunity for change. A lot of Pokémon have gained new egg and/or tutor moves, shifting the dynamic of the tier considerably. Many Pokémon were only narrowly banned by the council in the early stages of SM UU and will be looked into as the tier progresses and stabilizes. Scolipede, Serperior, and Azumarill have been released into the tier and are currently being evaluated, and whether or not they will stay has yet to be decided. Either way, a new tier is upon us and I wish all of you the best of luck exploring it. Do your best!

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