5th Gen Guide to Sandstorm Article

This is a placeholder for the article to be written by Venser and I.
I created the thread because Venser said he would not have interent access for a few days.


Although sandstorm was not well received upon its introduction in the 2nd Generation, it has grown into a dominent playstyle in the 3rd and 4th Generations. In 5th Generation, sandstorm continues to be a popular strategy. This is much helped by the fact that unlike other weather effects like Hail and Sun, GameFreak has been extremely generous to sandstorm teams. With the advent of abilites like Sand Stream and Sand Throw, sweepers like Landlos and Doryuuzu, and defensive beasts like Gliscor and Hippowdon, sandstorm looks to continue the trend of dominance in the 5th Generation.

In this guide, the focus will be on utilizing the beneficial effects of sandstorm to your advantage. After reading this guide, you should have gained all the knowledge necessary on building and playing with a sandstorm team.

Sandstorm Basics

Sandstorm can be brought onto the field in two ways. The first is when a pokemon uses the move sandstorm, which conjures up a sandstorm that will last up to five turns, unless said pokemon is holding a Smooth Rock, which allows sandstorm to last up to eight turns. However, this option is obsoleted by the fact that you can also set up sandstorm if you bring a pokemon with the Sand Stream ability into play, which casts a permanent sandstorm upon the field until the opposing team changes the weather.

Sandstorm already caused a myriad of effects when it was in play during earlier generations; however, Generation 5 adds new tricks and treats to sandstorm teams. The following are the effects that will occur if sandstorm is the field effect:
The Special Defense of Rock-type Pokemon is increased by 50%
All non-Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokémon and Pokémon without the ability Magic Guard or Sand Veil take 1/16 damage at the end of every turn.
The evasion of a Pokémon with the Sand Veil ability is increased by 20%.
Solarbeam's Base Power is reduced from 120 to 60.
Synthesis, Moonlight, and Morning Sun only recover 25% of the user's HP, as opposed to the standard 50%.
Weather Ball's base power is doubled to 100, and becomes a Rock-type move.
All Pokémon with Sand Throw have their speed doubled in sandstorm. In addition, non-Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokémon do not take residual damage from sandstorm.
All Pokémon with the ability Sand Power have their Ground-type, Rock-type, and Steel-type moves boosted by 33%.

Sandstorm Playstyles

Unlike other weather effects, Sandstorm is not limited to pure offense the way both sun and rain commonly are. Sandstorm teams are highly regarded for their flexibility in being either offensive or defensive. This is in part due to the large variety of both abusers and sandstorm setters. While most weather teams have only one auto-weather user, sandstorm teams get to choose between the defensive Hippowdon and the offensive Tyranitar, or both for more chances to keep the Sandstorm flying.With the plethora of sand sweepers out there, sand-abusing teams are not to be easily dismissed on the offensive side. Offensive teams usually have Pokemon that have an ability, which boosts its stats in sand in order to sweep through the opposing team. These teams make use of the fact that walls which not immune to the residual effects of sandstorm have their leftovers recovery cancelled out. This is crucial for offense teams as walls have to rely on instant-recovery moves more often and are also more vulnerable without leftovers slowly regaining their health. However, due to the residual damage caused by sandstorm, stall teams also employ sand setters on their teams. Sand stall teams are in complete contrast to offense teams and work by abusing sandstorm’s residual damage and setting up entry hazards like a normal stall teams. This is complemented by the fact that many walls are Steel-types and Ground-types and these two types excel in the sandstorm setting. Stall teams also utilize the boost to Special Defense that Rock-types get in order to sponge attacks from many powerful Special attackers.

Sand Setters

In order for a sandstorm team to succeed, it needs to have a Sand Streamer to be the foundation of the team. Although only Hippowdon and Tyranitar possess this ability, both of them are great choices and can be easily incorporated into a team.


Hippowdon is a great option for a defensive team. With its great Hit Points and physical defensive stat, Hippowdon continues to be a premier physical wall in the Black and White metagame. It has a wealth of support options such as Stealth Rock, Roar, Toxic and a reliable recovery move in Slack Off. However, Hippowdon is no slacker in the offensive department. Possessing a hreatening base Attack of 112, its attack pack a punch. Its movepool gives it an abundance of attacks to run, which include Earthquake, Stone Edge, Superpower, Crunch, and Ice Fang. Hippowdon possesses a boosting option in Curse, which can sweep an opposing team and also has Stockpile to further boost its defenses.


Tyranitar is one of the keystones of a Sandstorm team if not only for his excellent bulk and attacking stats, but also for his ability. Sand Stream ensures that as long as Tyranitar doesn’t die to Spikes or Stealth Rocks upon switching in, sandstorm will remain on the field. However, due to the influx of sandstorm sweepers and a more widespread use of Fighting-type Pokémon, Tyranitar’s role on a sandstorm team has changed. Although having access to Dragon Dance makes Tyranitar a fearsome sweeper, it is the fact that Tyranitar can use Stealth Rock, which makes him so valuable. Having good stats across the board besides Speed does not hurt as Tyranitar can run a mixed set employing Fire Blast and Ice Beam or utilize Pursuit and Superpower.

Offensive Sandstorm

An offensive Sandstorm team usually focuses on setting up a sweep with some of the Pokemon with Sand Throw, such as Doryuuzu or Landlos. These Pokemon are fearsome sweepers in a sandstorm, given their plethora of boosting moves and bonuses, both inherent in their movepool and received from the sandstorm.


Several Pokemon are more than capable of using the Sandstorm to great effect, be it for an evasion boost, a speed boost, or simply residual damage. These Pokémon are almost guaranteed to be on a sandstorm team due to the sweeping threat that they immediately impose upon entering the battle. The follower are key abusers of sandstorm and are great choices to keep in mind when constructing a sandstorm team.


Garchomp was the much feared sweeper during the early DP metagame. In the Black and White metagame, it makes a return. Its speed stat coupled with its attack power and great attack STABs turns Garchomp into a truly fearsome sweeper. Access to Swords Dance allows to boost its attack very quickly. Its ability, Sand Veil also makes it unreliable to revenge kill Garchomp in a sandstorm as many users can attest to. It can also utilize a Choice Scarf set in order to clean up late game. With defenses that exceed those of Swampert’s, Garchomp can also double as a supporter by laying down Stealth Rock and phazing with Dragon Tail.


Excadril is one of the most threatening new Pokémon from Black and White. Its ability, Sand Throw, doubles its Speed, allowing it to reach a max of 604 Speed. As if this wasn’t enough, Excadrill boasts an Attack stat of 135. Swords Dance combined with a sufficient movepool containing Rock Slide, Earthquake, and several coverage moves means that Excadrill is able to take on the metagame. In addition to sweeping, Excadrill is an excellent Rapid Spinner, as its high attack causes spinblockers to think twice before switching in.





Due to its Fire- and Steel-typing, Heatran can be a very valuable player to a sandstorm team. It is immune to the hindering effects of sandstorm and its Fire STAB allows it to incinerate opposing Steel-types that are a hindrance to the plethora of physical sweepers commonly seen on a sandstorm team. However, Heatran possesses many other offensive options besides its STAB Fire Blast; it has Earth Power, Dragon Pulse, and a choice of Hidden Power as other coverage options. Its support moves include Roar, Taunt, Toxic as well as Stealth Rock. It can utilize a Choice Specs or Choice Scarf set along with a Substitute plus Three Attacks set along with other support sets.


Reuniclus can become a natural fit on Sandstorm teams, as its ability, Magic Guard, prevents it from taking residual damage. Reuniclus has Recover which has great synergy with Magic Guard. Since most Sandstorm sweepers are physical, Reuniclus can provide a nice balance to sandstorm teams. With access to Calm Mind and Trick Room along with its inate bulk, Reuniclus has no problem sweeping as it possesses very few counters. The Trick Room version does well against opposing offensive teams, while a bulky Calm Mind set is effective against stall teams.


Magnezone is a Pokemon commonly seen on Sandstorm teams as its ability, Magnet Pull, allows it to trap and knock out the Steel-typed walls which are commonly seen as checks to Sandstorm sweepers such as Excadrill. Ferrothorn, and Skarmory. Steel-types resist the Rock-type moves that sandstorm teams generally use so it is useful to have an Pokémon that can easily eliminate these troublesome obstacles.


Terakion, another new Pokemon from Black and White, has excellent coverage with its dual STABs of Fighting and Rock, and a wide enough movepool to run either a Choice, Swords Dance, or Rock Polish set or it can run a Double Dance set by utilizing both Swords Dance and Rock Polish. Its primary STAB moves, Close Combat and Stone Edge, are very hard-hitting and can effectively sweep an opposing team. The special defense boost Sandstorm grants to Rock-typed Pokemon is especially useful, as it allows Terakion to boost its excellent 129 Attack and 108 Speed in relative safety to prepare for a sweep.






Sandstorm Stall





could you at the end, make a sample team, with good explanations for the movesets etc?
Seconding this. Perhaps a RMT for each of the playstyles? It's not that hard because I'm sure lots of people would like to write RMTs for this article.
I've got a Sandstorm team in the RMT that got me into the higher levels of the OU ladder if you want to use that. It's almost a definition of 5th Gen sandstorm, seeing as it implies some of the strongest and newest threats. Just throwing it out there if you'd like it as an example. You can do whatever you want with it, but it's more of a semi-stall team.


Seeing as I'm keen to the uses of sandstorm since 4th gen, just thought I'd try to help...

Edit: Have you considered adding a common threat list for SS teams? It would most likely help people build a team capable of dealing with said threats.
Copy and pasted what I had on the google doc. Will do the html tags later once I get a chance.

Please comment and criticize what I have. Thanks.
does sandstorm have any secondary effects? like how hail makes blizzard more accurate? or is it pure damaging and ability enabling? also, with Sand Tomb's boosts in gen V, is it a viable combination? sorry for all the questions, ive been trying to build a good team on this for weeks and i want to do it right
You posted that question a while ago, sorry for not answering (I lurk in this article a lot), if you ever come back:


Battling in a sandstorm

This was copied from Bulbapedia I hope it is of great help.

PS. The weather articles should be updated from time to time as the metagame shifts. Just my two cents.
All Pokémon with Sand Throw
I don't think Sand Throw is the right name for it. I think you meant Sand Rush.

All Pokémon with the ability Sand Power have their Ground-type, Rock-type, and Steel-type moves boosted by 33%.
I think you mean Sand Force and its 30% not 33%.
I vote that all Magic guard users should be noted since they receive no damage from sandstorm. Notably Clefable and Sigilyph. IMO grass types are also good to have on a team for a few reasons beside various types. They also are immune to leech seed. Some are immune to sandstorm such as Torterra.


Forever the Recusant
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ok, this hasn't been touched in 5 months, if anyone wants to take it over go contact me, macle, or one of the other mods.
Taken over by amarillo here

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