One Active Dawg
There are 4 (5 if you count weatherless) types of weather that can be used in a team. These are as followed: Sandstorm, Rain, Sun, and Hail. Each has significantly different playstyles and partners so learning what basic strategies they tend to use will help you immensely. Each weather has a weather setter that gets the weather going from their abilities. These abilities are as followed: Sand Stream (Sandstorm), Drizzle (Rain), Drought (Sun), and Snow Warning (Hail). Something that should be noted is that its weather ability will not trigger if the Pokémon does not survive being switched in. If it faints to hazards on the switch in, its ability will fail. We will go over their users in order.
Sandstorm is arguably the most popular form of weather in OU and for good reason. It deals 1/16th passive damage every turn to all non-ground/rock/steel types while granting rock types a 150% boost to their special defense. The passive damage from sandstorm is very beneficial for stalling out threats that rely on non-leftovers items. The constant damage being dealt to opposing threats will also make it easier for you to sweep. Pokémon with the abilities Magic Guard, Regenerate and Toxic Heal are also exceptionally strong under sand due to their (semi) immunity to chip damage. Just including sand on your team to deny opposing weather teams access to their weather of choice is a viable strategy as well. BW OU has two sand setters in Tyranitar and Hippowdon. While both are able to set up sand effectively, they both functions differently and require different partners to function at their best.
This Pokémon has been the sand starter of choice for a while now. Its rock/dark typing allows it to take advantage of the special defense boost provided by sand while providing excellent offensive pressure with its massive move pool. It uses this to its advantage by being capable of checking threats like Latios and Starmie. However, its typing also brings some hefty downsides, making it weak to many common attacks such as U-Turn and Earthquake in the format. It also lacks reliable forms of recovery outside of leftovers. So, it appreciates teammates that can cover its defensive shortfalls. Some of these partners could be Landorus-Therian, Jellicent and Rotom-Wash. Partners like these can cover Tyranitar's shortfalls while reliably being able to keep themselves healthy.
Hippowdon is a Pokémon that has lost a lot of ground as the metagame developed. It lacks the special defense boost Tyranitar has which makes it harder to check massive threats that Tyranitar teams can naturally handle. However, it makes up for it with access to reliable recovery in Slack Off, which when paired with his excellent Health and Defense turns it into an excellent Physical wall. It does really well in teams that are stall oriented with hazard and status support. It does struggle more against special attackers and rain teams in general so it prefers resilient partners such as Ferrothorn, Gastrodon and Latias. Pokémon like these can sponge most damage heading its way while slowly gaining advantage with chip damage and hazards.
Rain teams are another weather type of team that is quite common in this format. While it loses out on the passive damage dealt by sand and hail, it gains in a 50% resistance to fire and a 150% buff to water type moves. Moves like Thunder and Hurricane are also turned into 100% accuracy moves under the rain. All of this makes rain very strong for offensively oriented teams. Politoed is the only drizzle setter in BW OU.
At first glance, you would expect Politoad to be a sub-par Pokémon but it has a large enough movepool and decent enough stats to run both offensive and defensive sets depending on what your team needs. It sometimes has issues hitting hard enough outside of its rain boosted attacks and it tends to get worn down easier compared to Tyranitar and Hippowdon. However, rain makes it more than worth it to run since it enables many pokemon in the format. Pokémon such as Tentacruel and Breloom can become extremely resilient with abilities like Rain Dish and Toxic Heal. Pokémon such as Keldeo, Thundurus-Therian, Starmie, Latios and Dragonite also benefit hugely by the rain for the extra power it provides.
Sun teams have taken a back seat as of late with the Arena Trap ban but it still maintains a place in today's metagame. Sun has the advantage of weakening opposing rain teams immensely by reducing the power of their water type attacks by 50% and cutting the accuracy of thunder and hurricane to 50% making them almost unusable. It also boosts the power of fire type moves by 150% which is huge against the many team cores that rely on steel types to cover weaknesses. Also, stat-boosting moves like Growth will increase the user's attack and special attack by two stages instead of one when used in the sun. Recovery moves such as Synthesis, Morning Sun and Moonlight are also benefited by the sun since it increases the amount of health recovered from 50% to 75%. Although healing moves like this do come with the drawback of only recovering 25% of their health when used under other forms of weather. Having access to a 1 turn Solar Beam for opposing sand and rain is also a huge boon for sun teams. However, caution must be taken when using solar beam if opposing weather setters are not taken out because if the weather changes during the charge up, it will return to being a 2 turn attack and only deal half damage. There is only one Drought setter in BW OU and that Pokémon is Ninetales.
Ninetales is a mixed bag when it comes to what it brings to the table. Being a fire type, it is plagued by stealth rocks and has a hard time switching into many Pokémon in the format. It does have the firepower to abuse its own sun with a powerful sun boosted Fire Blast and Solar Beam. However, removing other weather setters is crucial for Ninetales’s success since many Pokémon including both Tyranitar and Politoed can switch into it without much fear of its attacks outside of Will-o-Wisp. Sun teams are usually defensively oriented since its lack of chip damage allows certain Pokémon to shine. So, partners that like being paired with Ninetales consist of Pokémon such as Cresselia, Chansey and Dragonite since they benefit from the lack of chip damage and increased healing potential. Other options that take advantage of the sun are Victini, Volcarona and Darmanitan.
Hail is easily considered the black sheep of weather. Hail does not offer a ton of utility for the team outside of slightly better passive damage. It hits all Pokémon except ice types for 1/16th of their health every turn which can screw with steel types like Ferrothorn that rely on its leftovers for recovery. Hail also provides all Pokémon access to a perfect accuracy Blizzard, a powerful attack with few resistances. However, hail teams can struggle against hyper offensive teams. Stealth Rock is also the bane of most hail teams due to a shared weakness to it. Abilities such as Magic Guard is also arguably at its strongest here due to hail weakening a larger portion of the metagame. Abomasnow is the Snow Warning Pokémon of choice in BW OU.
Abomasnow is also a mixed bag of a Pokémon when it comes to its utility. It has access to powerful STAB attacks and Leech Seed but is heavily burdened by its poor typing. It is weak to almost every relevant offensive type but it does carry some relevant resistances against water and ground types. Being able to come in on many rain oriented Pokémon is a good feat on its own. Hail teams have a tendency of being more offensive due to its defensive shortfalls. So teammates such as Xatu, Reuniclus, Weavile and Nidoqueen make for excellent partners. These partners take advantage of hail's superior chip damage while punishing opponents for using hazards to stop it.
There are Pokémon with abilities that can take advantage of either its own or opposing weather that must be considered regardless of which weather you choose to build with. Some of these abilities can boost its speed to extreme heights, raise its power to sky-high levels or even help keep itself free of status indefinitely. Let us break down the different types of weather abusing abilities out there.
Speed Boosting Abilities
Speed enhancing abilities are some of the most powerful abilities in the game and for that reason, all speed boosting abilities cannot be placed in the same team as a weather setter that activates said ability. That is because when activated, users will gain a 200% boost to its speed which is enough to outspeed almost every other Pokémon in the metagame. However, that does not mean you cannot use a Pokémon with a speed-boosting ability to take advantage of opposing weather or to set up your own temporary weather with Sunny Day, Rain Dance and Sandstorm. It is a powerful way to reverse sweep opponents if they lack a proper response for these Pokémon. There are three abilities that fall under this category. The first is Swift Swim which boosts a Pokémon’s speed in rain. This is mainly a water type ability and encapsulates many Pokémon but the main abusers in BW OU are Ludicolo, Kingdra, Poliwrath and Kabutops. The next ability is Chlorophyll which boosts a Pokémon’s speed under sunny conditions. This ability is a grass type ability and also has many users. The main abusers in BW OU, however, are Venusaur, Lilligant, Sawsbuck and Victreebel. The final ability under this category is Sand Rush which boosts a Pokémon’s speed inside a Sandstorm. It also gives Pokémon with the ability immunity to passive damage caused by Sandstorm. Pokémon that performs well with this ability are Excadrill, Stoutland and Sandslash.
Sometimes you need just raw power to break through the bulkiest of walls. Utilizing weather for this purpose is an excellent strategy as there are a few options available for use. The first is Sand Force which boosts the power of Rock, Ground and Steel-type moves by 130% in a sandstorm. However, there is only one viable user available, Excadrill. The next move is Solar Power which boosts a Pokémon’s special attack by 150% under sunny conditions but seeing that Charizard and Houndoom are the only decent users of the ability, it is not recommended in OU. The last ability that falls under this category is Flower Gift which boosts the attack and special defense of itself and partners (applies in doubles/triples) by 150% under sunny weather. However, its sole user is Cherrim which is a poor Pokémon in this metagame and is also not recommended for use in OU.
Power Boosting Abilities
Power Boosting Abilities
Abilities that heal its user under certain weather conditions fall under two categories: HP Recovery abilities and Status Clearing abilities.
HP recovery abilities will allow the user to recover 1/16th of its health every turn which adds up quickly when paired up with Leftovers. The first of these abilities is Rain Dish which activates when it is raining. The only relevant user of the ability is Tentacruel since it allows it to become quite the resilient spinner and toxic spike setter. The next ability is Ice Body which unfortunately is never seen due to there not being any OU viable Pokémon with the ability outside of the barely usable Walrein. Now the ability, Dry Skin is a weird one where depending on the weather, the user will either recover or lose health. When it is raining, the Pokémon will recover 1/8th of their health every turn while losing 1/8th of their health when stuck under sunny weather. This also applies to attacks taken by the Pokémon. Pokémon with Dry Skin will heal 25% of their total HP when hit by any water attack while increasing damage taken by fire type attacks by 125%. The best users of this ability are Toxicroak and Jynx. The last ability I will mention is equally as weird since it relies on holding a berry and a bit of luck to work. The ability I am talking about is Harvest. It is essentially “recycle” on an ability since during non-sunny weather it allows the user to regain an eaten berry 50% of the time at the end of every turn. However, this is bumped up to 100% when the sun is out, allowing the user to eat its berry every turn. The best user of this ability is Exeggutor.
HP Recovery Abilities
HP Recovery Abilities
Status Clearing Abilities
Abilities that clear or prevent status under certain weather conditions allow certain Pokémon to instantly become difficult for Pokémon that rely on passive damage to break. The most popular of these abilities is Hydration. It is an ability that allows the user to remove all major status at the end of every turn if it is raining. Currently, the best user of the ability is none other than Vaporeon. It is a Pokémon that uses moves like Rest to recover fully every turn and allow hydration to wake it up. The other ability that falls under this is Leaf Guard although, like some of the other lesser-known abilities, there is a lack of viable users that want to use this ability. It is an ability that prevents it from receiving or inducing any form of major status on itself when under sunny conditions. This means that moves like rest will fail under the sun. Pokémon like Tangrowth and Liligant have access to this but would much rather use abilities like Regenerator and Own Tempo.
I will not go into much detail here since the Smogon evasion clause prevents you from using these abilities but felt they are still worth mentioning. There are two abilities that grant the user a 125% evasion boost when under the correct weather. It also gives the user immunity to residual damage from that weather as well. These abilities are Sand Veil and Snow Cloak. There are a fair number of users of these abilities, but they tend to be either ground or ice types.
Phew! If you made it to the end, Congrats! That is a lot to be aware of when you want to play a format as weather centric as this one, but you now have all the tools needed to build your own weather teams. Knowing your matchups with different weather teams can mean the difference between a win and a loss so good luck!
Just to recap, Rain and Sand based teams are by far the most popular teams. Both have a large arsenal of tools at their disposal to make a wide variety of teams with. Hail and Sun are more limited when it comes to its versatility. However, many teams can be ill-equipped to deal with these types of teams due to how easy it is to not take them into consideration during teambuilding.
Thanks to FNH for assisting me with this