Gen 8 500th Post RMT: Scizor Sand Balance [SS OU]

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I did not expect to reach 500 posts so quickly, but since I have, I thought this would be a great opportunity to show some love to my favourite Smogon metagame as well as express my appreciation to the people who have helped me along the way. This team would probably do nothing to fight against the stereotypes that the tier's detractors often try to enforce, but I believe that more open-minded people can appreciate how this team actively makes progress in a slow, steady way that metagames like SS OU empower, and how this team isn't some brilliant mind trying to reinvent the wheel with a mercurial team that only a select few can pilot to excellence, but an average poke bloke observing what has worked post-cg and trying to adopt those concepts into his own teambuilding.

Click on the sprites for the Pokepaste!

Instead of using a Calm Mind set that so many of these balance teams featuring Tapu Koko have opted for, the Alolan deity takes on more of a support role on this team with a Volt Switch / Dazzling Gleam / Toxic set. This sacrifices Tapu Koko's ability to be a late game sweeper in exchange for being one of the best progress makers in the game: it can either pivot out with a STAB Volt Switch boosted by Electric Terrain, poison Electric immunities that try to block its Volt Switch with Toxic, or use Dazzling Gleam to 1v1 two of the best Pokemon in the tier, Weavile and Modest Choice Specs Dragapult. While this is not to say that Calm Mind Tapu Koko has no place in the metagame, I think this set fits what this team wants to do the most: come in and out of the game while making slow but steady progress.

There's really not much to say about Hippowdon - it tanks hits, sets Stealth Rock, poisons switch-ins that do not fear Earthquake and uses Slack Off to last forever. 8 Attack EVs allow it to always OHKO Sand Rush Excadrill without any defensive investment, and the rest is dumped into HP and Special Defence so it can support the team as one of the best mixed walls in the game.

When there's Hippowdon, there's always its best friend - Skarmory. You can run a variety of sets with it according to your preferences: the Pokepaste runs a faster Skarmory so it can use Iron Defence as Magnezone switches in and outspeed the latter for a OHKO against structures that like to use Magnezone to pave the way for physical attackers like Rillaboom and Kartana. But slower variants with Shed Shell are also viable, and you can even run moves like Toxic and Whirlwind instead of Iron Defence too.

The queen of OU ever since the Fairy-type was introduced in generation 6, Clefable is a natural fit on this team with its immunity to all forms of passive damage on a team that sets up sand and wants to keep hazards on the field. The Kantonian pixie takes advantage of the fact that it has Hippowdon on Stealth Rock duty to run a similar to set to what BKC and peng have recently outlined in their videos about DPP and BW, but chooses to run a more sinister item: Sticky Barb. While losing the passive recovery of Leftovers (or the contact-punishing Rocky Helmet) is less than ideal, Sticky Barb is a medium-risk, high-reward option that takes full advantage of how Clefable systematically removes items from opposing Pokemon. By using Knock Off on Pokemon like Toxapex, Ferrothorn, Tornadus-T, Landorus-T and many more, Clefable can pass over Sticky Barb to them when they try to use an otherwise 'free' contact move like U-turn or their own Knock Off, wearing them down at a rapid pace when you account for how this team is designed to create winpaths with passive damage.

With one of the best defensive typings in the game that allows it to be a sturdy Water- and Fire-type check while absorbing Toxic Spikes in certain matchups, Toxapex was a no-brainer for this team to bolster an otherwise old-school defensive core. Light Screen gives this team more leeway to dance around the dangerous Future Sight, Scald annoys an incredible amount of switch-ins while Toxic rounds out the Crown-of-Thorns' status spreading toolkit. Haze can also be run in this moveslot if shoring up matchups against setup-heavy teams is desired.

If you're familiar with SS OU, all of this just sounds like a slightly different take on Reuniclus sand (many thanks to Empo for the original structure - it was enlightening to a newer player like me), but I believe that Scizor can be considered in this slot for a few reasons. Firstly, it is a better check to Tapu Lele, something that just clicks buttons against the Reuniclus variant due to nothing resisting both of its STAB moves. Secondly, Scizor is quite simply a more natural user of Knock Off - Swords Dance and Bullet Punch have fantastic synergy with the move as opposed to Reuniclus shoehorning the move into its moveset despite being a Calm Mind sweeper. Moreover, its ability to check threats like Weavile allow Toxapex to run a specially defensive spread, which gives the team more insurance against threats like Choice Specs Blacephalon and Dragapult. While losing access to Mega Evolution has certainly hurt Scizor, I think this team shows that it still has a place in the OU metagame.

People in the SwSh server. All of you are incredibly passionate about the metagame and are willing to put in the work to make it grow in spite of its reputation - I'll try my best going forward to help you guys channel your efforts into something tangible via improving tier resources. pulsar512b tofa Leavers cyberacc SetsuSetsuna NeonJolteonWasUsed Smashburn you guys are awesome :sphearical:.

All of the teams that gave me a chance in team tours. Special thanks to Larry and Dave for giving me my first team tour experience in BDSPPL as well as the incredible teammates who carried my incompetent behind to a finals run. MangoSteak Ina fable TyCarter AquaticCarlie Huargensy dex Potatochan 5Dots Staxi DiannieRatson MrSoup not only were you guys awesome enough players to get results, you were also great enough people to make the experience an incredibly fun one for me. Shoutout to the Goob Shamone Garganacls for letting me get a trophy while having a great time! Oculars Michael213 adem Nish the Great awyp spoo delemon R8 Alpha1013 themonkeydidit Big Chungus irl Glimmer Batzi I'm glad that we got this one for Mr.Bossaru, you guys are destined for great things.

Various jerks that were kind enough to let me in and enjoy the process while learning more about the game:

seth sealoo hidin Kayzn seroo peap Exotic64 Runo PRC x PRC.

Theia UT Lily Luigi a fairy abriel Nyx Rissoux Edgar SEA Happygate scionicle Mizuhime Taka maroon Aberforth col49 DugZa Floss Garay oak johnnyg2 ken Estarossa Kennedy kenn Kristyl Flying Beagle olivia zoe phoopes PZZ Siatam Scribble Skypenguin MANNAT teal6 TheShoddyStrawman Tjb145 TRowePrice667 ultraplayer corvere Vertigo Vileman vmnunes SolarBeam Monai Danny Hacker Merritt Marnie

The Chinese community who treated me as one of their own from the get go despite my Smogon origins. Big thank you to Nashrock hi.naming is hard Unowndragon Scalescale cscl AL wangyu dawn to the dusk SirinC&Kokomi Soul king0 xqiht yonmd and many more.

Finchinator thanks for always being available to dump teams, provide advice or give me opportunities to learn from high-level players. I wouldn't be here without you.

TPP I'm incredibly proud to know that I was slightly responsible for rekindling your passion for competitive singles. Thank you for being a great teacher and friend in the past few months :woop:.

Carkoala oui oui

Buhrito thanks for always being open to discuss Pokemon with me, I had a great time supporting you in OUPL and hope that we'll get to work together again someday.

CrashinBoomBang thanks for the ORAS crash course you gave me just before Masters despite you not having the faintest clue who I was. Congratulations on the trophy!
And many more (I'm sorry if I missed anyone :psysad:). I cannot thank the people who've been kind enough to respond to my queries about competitive singles in the past year and a half - none of you had any obligation to entertain such a novice (and plenty have understandably refused to do so), but so many of you have welcomed me into the community and gave me invaluable advice to grow as a player and builder. I hope this RMT was worth the read and wish everyone a wonderful day

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