UU Suspect Coverage: Thundurus

By Aqua Ring and avarice. Released: 2021/09/11.
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UU Suspect Coverage: Thundurus art

Art by Albatross.


Thundurus had been on the rise in SS UU for a while. While the departure of Zeraora in April gave Thundurus a more defined purpose and made its Speed tier more valuable, the following metagame stage saw Scizor and Mew take up the mantle as S-ranks; their prevalence led to a meta that still made it difficult for Thundurus to make consistent progress. Once they rose to OU as well and Aegislash took over UU, the metagame became significantly slower than in previous months. A once merely above-average base 111 Speed became significantly more threatening, only leaving Thundurus outpaced by niche Pokémon like Starmie and Noivern and enabling it to check common Pokémon such as Keldeo, Nihilego, and Mienshao and threaten them with coverage or simply pivot against them. With the freedom Thundurus often had in battle, the UnderUsed Council wished to test it before the first edition of SCL.



The main cause of Thundurus's wicked presence in the tier is the pivot set. The introduction of Heavy-Duty Boots and the removal of Pursuit this generation both allow Thundurus to make full use of its qualities as a pivot without fear of being worn down. Thundurus can even change up which pivoting move it uses depending on its team support. U-turn is safer and Thunderbolt's power allows it to check Pokémon like Keldeo more reliably, but Volt Switch gives it room to run Grass Knot and strengthen the matchup against Pokémon such as Rhyperior. Knock Off and U-turn can also be boosted by Defiant from stray Intimidate users like Krookodile and Salamence. Having a boosted U-turn is also great against the former, which is one of the more common Electric-immune Pokémon in the tier. Psychic rounds out Thundurus's coverage perfectly, as it can hit common Electric-resistant Pokémon like Amoonguss and Kommo-o. While Thundurus can actually struggle to get on the field, once in it can always make progress with Knock Off utility and decent coverage.

Nasty Plot

Using its excellent Special Attack, Nasty Plot turns Thundurus into a very potent wallbreaker and late-game cleaner. At +2, Thundurus can OHKO foes such as Amoonguss and Rocky Helmet Tangrowth, which would otherwise be decent pivots into U-turn variants, catching them off guard for free setup opportunities. Thunderbolt is a powerful, reliable STAB attack that hits foes such as Keldeo. Focus Blast is used in order to prevent Krookodile and Rhyperior from switching in while also dealing big damage to Tangrowth and Rotom-H. Lastly, Psychic allows Thundurus to hit foes such as Amoonguss and Kommo-o super effectively. Weather Ball is also an option on rain and hail teams, allowing it to hit foes such as Rotom-H and Tangrowth super effectively. Despite how dangerous it can be, this set isn't used as often as the pivot set due to the difficulty of finding free setup opportunities if its set is revealed and struggling with common defensive Pokémon such as Chansey and specially defensive Aegislash.

Sample Team

This is a standard bulky offense by Monky25 featuring Thundurus. It and Jirachi are able to pivot around with the defensive backbone of Rhyperior and Tangrowth until Salamence is in a position to wallbreak or Keldeo can sweep. Thundurus is particularly efficient at wearing down bulky Grass-types for Keldeo. Jirachi's Healing Wish gives players more flexibility to win the game with Keldeo while using its defensive utility earlier on and synergizes well with Thundurus, as it can stay at full health easily.

Keldeo Thundurus Tangrowth Rhyperior Salamence Jirachi

Keldeo @ Leftovers
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Substitute
- Calm Mind
- Scald
- Secret Sword

Thundurus (M) @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Psychic
- Knock Off
- U-turn

Tangrowth @ Assault Vest
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Sassy Nature
- Power Whip
- Knock Off
- Sludge Bomb
- Earthquake

Rhyperior @ Leftovers
Ability: Solid Rock
EVs: 252 HP / 16 Atk / 240 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake
- Swords Dance

Salamence @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hurricane
- Flamethrower
- Roost
- Defog / Draco Meteor

Jirachi @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- U-turn
- Trick
- Healing Wish


Ban Reasoning

The primary argument used by the community was that Thundurus has no viable long-term counters and can always force progress through unblockable momentum while utilizing Knock Off to prevent checks such as Amoonguss and Rocky Helmet Tangrowth from wearing it down and threaten a lot of special walls such as Chansey and Aegislash. Another argument used by the pro-ban side was that the pivot set and the Nasty Plot set have very different answers and require playing differently, making Thundurus difficult to deal with when teambuilding and on the battlefield. For example, Amoonguss can switch into and scout mixed Thundurus while pivoting out after taking a Psychic. However, Nasty Plot Thundurus can take advantage of this by setting up a free Nasty Plot as Amoonguss switches in and threatening to OHKO it. In addition, the metagame's low speed makes Thundurus hard to outspeed, limiting its offensive answers. It is also difficult to switch Choice Scarf users such as Krookodile into Thundurus due to Knock Off. Furthermore, even Pokémon that are faster than Thundurus have issues, such as Lycanroc-D being unable to guarantee an OHKO on Thundurus with Accelerock and Noivern and Starmie being unable to OHKO Thundurus without chip damage. Finally, most of Thundurus's checks like Diancie and Rhyperior are worn down easily by Knock Off and U-turn. All of these factors allow Thundurus to consistently force progress whenever it enters the field. It doesn't get worn down doing its job thanks in part to Heavy-Duty Boots blocking Stealth Rock damage and doesn't have any hard counters. This makes it incredibly hard for offense teams to deal with.

No Ban Reasoning

Arguments used by the anti-ban side include the fact that Thundurus cannot switch in often due to its frailty and lack of recovery. This leads it to being mostly used as a revenge killer that cannot outright win many games. When Nasty Plot is run, Thundurus must find the opportunity to come in and set up, which can be difficult when the opponent applies offensive pressure by using powerful Pokémon such as Zygarde-10%, Lycanroc-D, and Mamoswine. Furthermore, Thundurus struggles to break past walls such as Chansey and Aegislash.


Thundurus's fate ultimately did not turn out to be very controversial. It quickly reached the 23/45 majority with several voters left. This was the last suspect before SCL, and it will be interesting to see how people build without Thundurus's presence in the tier on the big stage. There are quite a few Pokémon that may be able to gain viability—like Zarude and Azelf.

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