UU Spotlight - Serperior

By martha and Nuked.
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Art by Pyritie

Art by Pyritie.

Introduction

Since its introduction into UU last year, Serperior has been a top threat. Its access to the combination of Leaf Storm and Contrary allows it to boost its Special Attack by two stages while simultaneously using its strongest STAB move. Serperior puts its amazing Speed stat to great use in this way, as it can easily become a fast and powerful wallbreaker or late-game cleaner if given setup opportunities. Its Grass typing also allows it to easily force out common Pokémon such as Swampert, offensive Azumarill, and Krookodile, giving it a free turn of setup for a Substitute or just to fire off a Leaf Storm. Because of Serperior's large influence on the metagame, Pokémon such as Moltres, Crobat, and Choice Scarf Infernape are popular in part due to Serperior. Other Choice Scarf users like Latias and Hydreigon are also very handy to have on a team because of their resistance to Leaf Storm.

Serperior's main set is a Substitute + Leech Seed set that takes advantage of its high Speed stat to stall out would-be checks like Alolan Muk and Blissey. Alternatively, it can go full-out offensive with its Normalium Z set, which aims to boost and hit Serperior's foe with a +2 200-Base Power Normal-type move. Serperior also has several utility options like Defog, Taunt, and Glare.


Serperior

Snivy

Sets

Serperior [Substitute & Leech Seed]

Serperior's ability to force numerous switches against UU staples such as Gliscor allows it to set up a Substitute fairly reliably and as a result can force foes into uncomfortable positions where Leech Seed drains their HP each turn, they struggle to dent Serperior in return due to its access to a fast Substitute, and they cannot switch out, fearing a free turn in which Serperior can boost its Special Attack with Leaf Storm to become more offensively threatening. A boosted Serperior can even threaten some Steel-types, such as Scizor and Cobalion, with Hidden Power Fire.

Substitute + Leech Seed Serperior takes advantage of some of its most common answers in Assault Vest Alolan Muk, which resists Leaf Storm and takes negligible damage from Hidden Power Fire—especially when unboosted—and Blissey, which has extremely high HP and stellar Special Defense. Said answers to Serperior are often lured in to avoid a teammate taking damage from Leaf Storm and giving Serperior a free turn, but said free turn is instead used to set up a Substitute. Once Serperior is behind a Substitute, Leech Seed can be set up to drain the foe's HP and, with targets like Alolan Muk and Blissey, help Serperior recover a lot of damage in the process due to their high HP stats. Because Serperior has access to a strong Grass-type STAB move and can threaten foes that aren't forced out by it with Substitute + Leech Seed, it is very prominent at dismantling defensive teams; said teams often run a bulky Water-type like Alomomola or Quagsire, which can give Serperior free turns to exploit with its devastating combination.


Serperior [Normalium Z]

This set aims to use brute force to break past common Grass-resistant threats like Latias, Hydreigon, and Togekiss by hitting them with a +2 Breakneck Blitz and dealing major damage to them. Hidden Power Fire and Hyper Beam together with Leaf Storm give Serperior unresisted neutral coverage at worst. Like SubSeed, Serperior can gain free turns off of Swampert, among others, to set up for a sweep, but this set just goes full-out offensive. In the last moveslot, Glare, Synthesis, and Taunt are all viable options; Glare allows Serperior to cripple faster Pokémon like Choice Scarf Latias, Hydreigon, Mega Aerodactyl, and Infernape on the switch, Giga Drain gives Serperior staying power, and Taunt can cripple defensive Pokémon like Blissey.

With this set, it's best to just be as aggressive as possible. Ideally, Serperior should be boosted before using Breakneck Blitz, since an unboosted Breakneck Blitz deals pitiful damage to most targets. Outside of this, there's very little you can do aside from this to effectively use Serperior. Letting it take unnecessary entry hazard damage, however, is usually a bad idea, since it needs to use its bulk to take a neutral hit. Oftentimes, it's also better to Glare something on the switch rather than Leaf Storm it, because it can cripple the foe long term instead of dealing some damage to it in the short term.


Serperior [Miracle Seed]

For teams that already have a Z-Move user but still want to use fully offensive Serperior, this is the set to go with. This set isn't as strapped for moveslots, so running Giga Drain is possible, giving Serperior a form of recovery. Giga Drain also makes Serperior a more consistent Defog user, but if you already have a Defog user, Taunt and Glare are solid choices for this moveslot. The item of choice is Miracle Seed, because Serperior doesn't want to lose longevity but still wants to hit hard with its STAB moves.


Good Partners

Things Serperior Struggles With

Serperior dislikes special walls like Blissey and Alolan Muk, especially if it's running Normalium Z, but both Pokémon struggle against SubSeed. Faster Flying-types, like Mega Pidgeot and Mega Aerodactyl, can outspeed Serperior and OHKO or severely damage it with a super effective STAB move. Moltres isn't faster, but it 4x resists Serperior's STAB moves and can Roost off Breakneck Blitz. Also, Dragon-types like Choice Scarf Hydreigon and Latias can switch into Leaf Storm relatively comfortably and proceed to outspeed and heavily damage Serperior. Other Choice Scarf users such as Infernape can outspeed and KO Serperior, and Choice Scarf users paired with faster Flying-types is often how offensive teams deal with SubSeed Serperior. Also, Leaf Storm's low PP can be detrimental in certain games when facing Pokémon such as Moltres and Suicune, both of which have Pressure and thus can limit Serperior to four Leaf Storm usages.

In general, Serperior's biggest flaw is the fact that it struggles to gain free turns in certain games. It's annoyingly hard to switch it into anything because of its five weaknesses and vulnerability to entry hazards. This makes it almost a requirement to have a U-turn or Volt Switch user on your team, or you just have to play exceptionally well with double switches. Either way, this makes it a lot harder to use Serperior effectively.


U-turn and Volt Switch Users

Mega Manectric Infernape Hydreigon

Mega Manectric, Infernape, and Hydreigon pair excellently with Serperior, because they can bring it in safely so it doesn't have to take unnecessary damage. In particular, Mega Manectric and Serperior together heavily pressure Flying- and Dragon-types like Mega Pidgeot, Togekiss, and Latias, since Mega Manectric can hit Mega Pidgeot and Togekiss for massive damage and they can both wear down Latias for either to clean up late-game. Hydreigon also resists Fire and appreciates Serperior's ability to pressure Alomomola and Primarina. Infernape also can really benefit from Serperior's ability to pressure Water-types.

Entry Hazard Setters

Klefki Tentacruel Cobalion Krookodile

Serperior loves basically every hazard setter the tier has to offer. This is because hazards make it much easier for Serperior to clean up late-game, as they can weaken Pokémon such as Latias, Alolan Muk, Mega Manectric, and Infernape over time so that they can't switch into Serperior or pressure it eventually. Klefki can even set up dual screens if wanted to help Serperior with the initial setup, while Tentacruel offers the unique option of Toxic Spikes to wear down Blissey, but they don't help against Blissey in the long run and Alolan Muk. Basic Stealth Rock setters such as Cobalion and Krookodile are also appreciated.


Get Out There!

Serperior remains a big threat in the UnderUsed metagame with the ability to run several different viable options to pressure different checks and counters, so get out there and try one of these sets today!

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