AAA Almost Any Ability

Hi ! After that first livetour, I have gathered enough information to the point where my thoughts on the metagame are meaningfull. The meta isn't settled yet, but some problematic elements already stand out.

1- Magic Bounce (ban)

It's back, and it's still as good, and as unhealthy for the meta. We talked about it on discord, I'll clarify the thought process for the last time.

a) Both players don't have bounce, and it can't be a problem because it's not here.
b) One player has bounce and it works, while his opponent either doesn't have it or he has it but it doesn't work : massive edge for the first one.
c) Both player have a bouncer that works, making consistent progress remotely impossible on both sides (we're in a Regenerator / Poison Heal metagame), meaning matchup will inevitably decide the match.

The only fair scenario is when bounce isn't here, draw your conclusions.

2- Poison Heal :toxic orb: (ban)

Playing around bulky Poison Heal setup sweepers (Tapu Fini, Zygarde, Snorlax, Suicune, Garchomp, Landorus) is unreasonably hard right now. DLC has given us a TON of Poison Heal abusers, and very few things to deal with them. Being prepared for all of them can mean only one thing : ability manipulation, which can only be done by Mew, Ferrothorn and Toxapex. This ability has already been brought up, but it is right now more problematic than ever.

3- Buzzwole :buzzwole: (watch)

The first two I'm pretty sure about, this one is a bit harder to decide. Buzzwole is extremely splashable right now, with plenty of different sets from bulky Triage to Band Tinted Lens. The bulky version is probably the best physical wall right now, and the offensive versions (Life Orb Triage and Band Tinted) are amongst the biggest threats in the meta. This mon lacks utility, but it feels too good to me.

4- Tinted Lens (watch)

I'd recommend waiting for this one because it's quite big, but yeah Tinted Lens needs to be looked at closely. This ability allows a breaker to basically 2hko everything, and it often leads to situations where counterplay don't exist. Abusers are numerous, while the use of RegenVest and Dauntless Shield is decreasing a little compared to pre-DLC. This should be on the watchlist for sure.

5- Zeraora :zeraora: (watch)

The only thing that prevents Zeraora from destroying every team right now is Volt Absorb, which is being used a lot because of Regieleki + Xurkitree hype. Once this hype tones down, I can tell you Zeraora will be a big, big problem.

6- Blacephalon :blacephalon: (watch)

This one is a bit more controvertial, but yeah Blacephalon is banworthy in my eyes. It's horribly hard to play around because of how strong Mind Blown is, and you often have to guess between choice Trick and Calm Mind Taunt. If the opponent predicts correctly it often takes a kill because almost nothing resists its dual STAB.

7- Zygarde :zygarde: (watch)

Zygarde is, as it has always been, annoying to face and hard to play around. It doesn't look broken to me currently, but it needs to be on the watchlist for sure, because its actual checks can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
 
I think several of the arguments/reasoning made for banning (or even watching) certain elements of the meta are misleading or untrue in a lot of ways.

1. Magic Bounce

c) Both player have a bouncer that works, making consistent progress remotely impossible on both sides (we're in a Regenerator / Poison Heal metagame), meaning matchup will inevitably decide the match.

The claim that progress is "remotely impossible" on both sides of a match just because there's magic bounce is completely untrue. With the sheer quantity of offensive threats in the meta, there's more than enough opportunity to pressure opposing teams through the use of pivots, high base power moves, and prediction-based play. Framing competitive play as depending on hazards is an incomplete way to look at any meta--and if any individual finds themselves consistently struggling just because they can't get up hazards, that points more to a teambuilding/relative understanding of gameplay issue than there being something inherently wrong with the meta.


Next, I think it's utterly unreasonable to talk about "matchup inevitably [deciding a] match" as if matchups don't naturally play a major role in determining advantage/disadvantage states of literally any team in any match of any given meta. While it's always possible to either get lucky and/or attempt to outplay an opponent by predicting what they'll do next, it's not as if there's any reliable way to guarantee a win every single time--that simply isn't the nature of pokemon.

Something I do agree with is that while certain core abilities/elements (mbounce, regen, pheal) have stayed the same as they were one or even two generations ago in AAA play, something seems to have changed--especially with the latest round of DLC--that is making it more difficult to deal with the same common threats as we had before. Personally, I'm loathe to ban mbounce solely because in all of the thousands of AAA games I've played/watched this gen, I've seen nothing that has directly pointed to mbounce being such a glaring problem that it suffocates the meta. Certain playstyles/players/team archetypes struggle against magic bounce, but that's just how matchups work. Not being able to just blindly spam hazards is one of the things that makes this tier unique in comparison to standard ones like OU--things aren't meant to be the same. If a hazard-based playstyle wants to be empowered, then it needs to be backed up by hazard setters that can threaten bouncers in some way and/or means to deal with Heavy Duty Boots (which is pretty common right now, I might add).

Aside from all of that, it's also worth noting that more often than not, some of the pokemon that run mbounce are giving up a more defensive ability that potentially opens up holes in their team:

Buzzwole - Okay I think this mon is broken anyway so we won't go into it here

Mandibuzz - While mbounce mandibuzz is certainly powerful (and a bane of ferrothorns everywhere) it's not as if mandibuzz is 255/255/255 bulk. It can still be worn down by pivoting moves or hit with status through secondary effects like any other pokemon since it isn't poison heal; it's still susceptible to high base power neutral attacks; it's especially weak to setup sweepers because it isn't Unaware; it's still weak to supereffective moves because it isn't volt absorb or some other immunity ability <--all of these are some common and arguably viable ways to make progress against mandibuzz without setting up a single hazard

Mew - Running mbounce on your Mew straight up just means you're forgoing Dauntless Shield (dshield)--and I think I can safely say that anyone who regularly plays AAA knows how amazing the +1 defense from dshield is on any Mew. It makes a world of difference in checking would-be terrifying physical attackers, namely Terrakion, Zygarde, Zeraora, and Mamoswine. Running mbounce means it is no longer able to comfortably switchin to those pokemon's attacks, meaning that everytime it doubles in expecting rocks, it's risking a 2hko. As an example, There's a huge difference between what a burned/knocked off dshield mew can switch into and what a burned/knocked off mbounce mew can switch into

Corviknight/Hippowdon/Chansey - It's the same pattern--while mbounce is certainly viable on all of these mons, it's not as if they can't be taken advantage of for running that particular ability over other just as good ones. In Corviknight's case, it's giving up a chance to be volt absorb/flash fire/regenerator/literally anything bc corviknight does it all. In Hippowdon's case, it's giving up dshield, which similar to Mew makes it weaker to physical attackers. And when it comes to Chansey, I don't think much explanation is necessary on how good Unaware Chansey is.

What can be concluded from all of this is that there are plenty of ways to deal with mbounce once you run into it and are aware of its existence, even if only purely because of the way the information game works in matches. Like I said before, I don't think this meta has ever functioned in a setting where outside of mold breaker variants, people were just throwing up hazards willy-nilly without first gathering information about the opposing team--to me, that's part of how competitive games are supposed to go.

Does mbounce make it difficult to set up hazards? For sure
Does that make it broken? Not quite. You have to consider that Heavy Duty Boots are very common and deter hazards on their own, the reasoning above regarding the sacrifices necessary to run it in the first place, and the ability to apply pressure even without getting the hazards up for free.

2. Poison Heal (pheal)

Playing around bulky Poison Heal setup sweepers (Tapu Fini, Zygarde, Snorlax, Suicune, Garchomp, Landorus) is unreasonably hard right now. DLC has given us a TON of Poison Heal abusers, and very few things to deal with them. Being prepared for all of them can mean only one thing : ability manipulation, which can only be done by Mew, Ferrothorn and Toxapex. This ability has already been brought up, but it is right now more problematic than ever.
This is something that seems to be a recurring subject of grievances for people, and understandably so. Everyone can agree that more often than not, poison healers have a unique way of taking chip damage/heavy hits and slowly but steadily recovering their way back to full over the course of a game. I refuse to agree that it's "unreasonably hard" to incorporate counterplay to pheal into teams. Moves like skill swap, gastro acid, worry seed, are passive ways to deal with them--"ability manipulation" in action. If dealing with poison heal setup sweepers, things like Unaware and Haze help to curb their potential. With that in mind, it might seem as though there isn't anything that can be done outside of those options, but let's not forget that the methods to deal with the mons in question are neither new nor niche. Whenever a mon like Tapu Fini or Suicune is placed in a precarious enough position to warrant clicking protect, it creates situations where the opponent can take advantage of options like switching to another mon (either doubling or clicking a pivoting move), clicking an attacking move again, or simply just setting up expecting the reflexive protect. To some people, having to make that kind of prediction based on probabilities might seem "unfair" for the player who isn't utilizing poison heal, but surely any relatively competitive battle has those moments where you have to place your bets on a non-guarantee. With that in mind, it's not as if the switchins to pheal abusers change in any significant way--you still beat things like Snorlax, Garchomp, and Landorous with strong physical walls like Buzzwole, dshield Mew, and the occasional Hippowdon or Skarmory. If that isn't an option, then you can opt for offensive counterplay that outspeeds and kills/threatens them such as Weavile, Noivern, Mamoswine, etc. In the case of Tapu Fini and Suicune, they still get smashed by Haze Toxapex (same as they would in OU or anywhere, really) as well as powerful electric and grass type moves. It's not as if anyone has to build countermeasures into their teams that they wouldn't need to deal with the meta regardless, so I fail to see specifically how and/or why teambuilding would be totally suffocated. Refusing to incorporate easily accessible counters to a threat doesn't make the threat broken--it just makes the team in question lacking.


3. Buzzwole
I agree that this might be too much for the meta, and my reasoning isn't anything overly elaborate. To put it concisely, between trying to account for Triage, Dshield, Tinted Lens, Mbounce, and MGuard (what?! yeah, I know--but trust me, it works), more often than not teams find themselves having to resort to running their own Buzzwole as a means of countering it. Tinted Lens specifically manages to blow everything in its way to the shadow realm, barr some oddly specific counters (Runerigus? Palossand? Bruh, say it ain't so), and Triage offers speed control without necessitating a scarf or explicitly speedy mon. Let's also not forget that it still has bug stab, which makes it even more difficult to counter it with something like Mew, which blanket checks a lot of physical attackers singlehandedly. Buzzwole is a tough one to handle for sure.

4. Tinted Lens

Abusers are numerous
While it's true that tinted lens definitely enables certain breakers to overwhelm would-be counters, I feel it's definitely a bit much to say that there are numerous abusers. Who specifically does that refer to? In my experience, there have only been a few notably powerful tinted lens abusers, and one of them is Buzzwole the Broken and Busted who probably needs a ban for several other reasons anyway. Other than that, I can't honestly say that there is some unbeatable listing of tinted lens abusers that rip through teams unabated--if there is, then I'd be happy to discuss them.

5. Zeraora

We'll see.

6. Blacephalon

I have mixed feelings about Blacephalon, to be honest. On one hand it's certified canceraids because of how powerful fire/ghost stab + 150 bp Mind Blown is, coupled with potential trick, knock off, or explosion shenanigans. On the other, it's not the easiest mon in the world to build with, and more often than not it can find itself legitimately struggling to deal with common defensive mons like Tapu Fini, even with minimal investment. I'm open to discussion of blace as a powerful threat, but until further notice I'm hesitant to see it as potentially bannable.

7. Zygarde

In summation: Thousand Arrows + Dragon Tail is aids--let's not even go into cb adapt and pheal. That said, Zygarde's in a weird spot where It might be broken but also does have some reliable counterplay that generally keeps it in check.

I made this post mostly to clarify that exaggerating the severity of certain threats makes it really difficult to pinpoint exactly what's problematic, and generally misleads the less informed by painting a picture that might not all be representative of what the meta is actually like in practice. As always, everything is open to discussion--but we can't just ban every viable ability/mon on a whim outright, so keep that in mind.
 
I didn't dwell deeply with the ins and outs of Magic Bounce in my post, but it looks like I'll be forced to.

The claim that progress is "remotely impossible" on both sides of a match just because there's magic bounce is completely untrue. With the sheer quantity of offensive threats in the meta, there's more than enough opportunity to pressure opposing teams through the use of pivots, high base power moves, and prediction-based play. Framing competitive play as depending on hazards is an incomplete way to look at any meta
I don't know, in most games I've seen where both players can't get up hazards, the game came down to matchup for a very simple reason, that they can use their threats easily without needing to take damage (ie to calculate precisely when to use them and to position theirself). To me, the assertion that consistent progress can't be done without hazards is true, especially in a game between two good players where both have a solid defensive core. Just look at OU : building a team without hazards is unthinkable and having a solid removal option is even more important. AAA is no exception to me, and unless you have a breaker/sweeper that has an overwhelming matchup, you won't do progress without hazards. The role of hazards is to punish switches, and I can assure you pivoting without hazards won't get you any progress done, because momentum without the ability to make progress doesn't warrant anything (which is a reason why it's often used to get up hazards). Also don't forget we're in a metagame where Poison Heal and Regenerator are common ; how can you make consistent progress with that ? The "sheer quantity of offensive threats" is balanced by the sheer quantity of defensive walls ; and if one player does have a pokémon that the opponent's team doesn't handle well, the absence of hazards means only one thing : he can use it basically with 0 risk, removing skill and positionning from the equation.

Next, I think it's utterly unreasonable to talk about "matchup inevitably [deciding a] match" as if matchups don't naturally play a major role in determining advantage/disadvantage states of literally any team in any match of any given meta. While it's always possible to either get lucky and/or attempt to outplay an opponent by predicting what they'll do next, it's not as if there's any reliable way to guarantee a win every single time--that simply isn't the nature of pokemon.
Okay, but how can you attempt to outplay an opponent that has a good matchup against you without hazards ? You can't put pressure on his choices, you can't make him think. Winning a bad matchup by outplaying the opponent always implies hazards, and denying this is hypocritical. Hazards are such a good aspect of the game and they should be preserved, because they force actual decisions, ie the use of skill rather than matchup (which is also a skill, teambuilding plays a huge part and I agree with that).

Personally, I'm loathe to ban mbounce solely because in all of the thousands of AAA games I've played/watched this gen, I've seen nothing that has directly pointed to mbounce being such a glaring problem that it suffocates the meta.
I have, and many people have.

Certain playstyles/players/team archetypes struggle against magic bounce, but that's just how matchups work. Not being able to just blindly spam hazards is one of the things that makes this tier unique in comparison to standard ones like OU--things aren't meant to be the same.
Indeed, and the role of council is to warrant that this tier's uniqueness doesn't make it bad. Magic Bounce isn't about "not being able to just blindly spam hazards", it's about not being able to set up hazards at all, based on matchup.
If a hazard-based playstyle wants to be empowered, then it needs to be backed up by hazard setters that can threaten bouncers in some way and/or means to deal with Heavy Duty Boots (which is pretty common right now, I might add).
Magic Bounce users are defensive pokemon most of the time, so a hazards setter that can threaten them is a breaker. Setting hazards with a breaker (I said it before) isn't desirable at all : it's usually a big risk, it spends a turn where you would want to attack (you need to work to get in breakers), it creates the most annoying kind of 50/50s, the ones where either one of the players gets a big advantage whatever the outcome is.
About Heavy-duty Boots, OU is the prime example that shows hazards are still very viable, and that they work very well even with one or two pokemon taking them in the opposing team (which might go up during the course of the game).

Aside from all of that, it's also worth noting that more often than not, some of the pokemon that run mbounce are giving up a more defensive ability that potentially opens up holes in their team
This is obvious, because Magic Bouncers don't look to fill the same roles as Dauntless Shield/Unaware/whatever users. Magic Bouncers are used to come in freely on hazards setters mostly, but also passive mons in general, and take momentum with a pivoting move, or click a progress making move like Knock Off or Toxic. Usually (if they're not Buzzwole), they can also focus on beating specific threats (like I used full spdef Mew pre-DLC to deal with Gardevoir) but they shouldn't be considered as "walls". They are bouncers. Yes, you use a slot on your team for them, but look at any good builder's teambuilder and you'll see that it's more often than not worth the slot. Magic Bounce wins you the hazards game, waaay more easily than a good Defog user does (because Defog users are waaay more susceptible to being pressured and crippled).

Mandibuzz - While mbounce mandibuzz is certainly powerful (and a bane of ferrothorns everywhere) it's not as if mandibuzz is 255/255/255 bulk. It can still be worn down by pivoting moves or hit with status through secondary effects like any other pokemon since it isn't poison heal; it's still susceptible to high base power neutral attacks; it's especially weak to setup sweepers because it isn't Unaware; it's still weak to supereffective moves because it isn't volt absorb or some other immunity ability <--all of these are some common and arguably viable ways to make progress against mandibuzz without setting up a single hazard

Mew - Running mbounce on your Mew straight up just means you're forgoing Dauntless Shield (dshield)--and I think I can safely say that anyone who regularly plays AAA knows how amazing the +1 defense from dshield is on any Mew. It makes a world of difference in checking would-be terrifying physical attackers, namely Terrakion, Zygarde, Zeraora, and Mamoswine. Running mbounce means it is no longer able to comfortably switchin to those pokemon's attacks, meaning that everytime it doubles in expecting rocks, it's risking a 2hko. As an example, There's a huge difference between what a burned/knocked off dshield mew can switch into and what a burned/knocked off mbounce mew can switch into

Corviknight/Hippowdon/Chansey - It's the same pattern--while mbounce is certainly viable on all of these mons, it's not as if they can't be taken advantage of for running that particular ability over other just as good ones. In Corviknight's case, it's giving up a chance to be volt absorb/flash fire/regenerator/literally anything bc corviknight does it all. In Hippowdon's case, it's giving up dshield, which similar to Mew makes it weaker to physical attackers. And when it comes to Chansey, I don't think much explanation is necessary on how good Unaware Chansey is.
They don't mean to be walls. If you want a wall you use dshield indeed. It's not just removing dshield from your mew, it's using a slot to win the hazards game. The fact that they are susceptible to strong moves isn't a problem for them, because they don't get to take them.
What can be concluded from all of this is that there are plenty of ways to deal with mbounce once you run into it and are aware of its existence, even if only purely because of the way the information game works in matches. Like I said before, I don't think this meta has ever functioned in a setting where outside of mold breaker variants, people were just throwing up hazards willy-nilly without first gathering information about the opposing team--to me, that's part of how competitive games are supposed to go.
Gathering information has close to nothing to do with the matter, because if your rocker can't get up hazards, it won't get up hazards, given how free switching into your bouncer on passive mons is. It only matters if the opponent doesn't have Magic Bounce, in which case it's not a problem because it's not here.


I won't answer to the rest of your post because this one is already long enough, and I agree more with what you said after.
 
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Jrdn

Not a promise, I'm just gonna call it.
is a Pre-Contributor
Good Afternoon/Evening/Morning whenever you happen to be reading this.

Today marks the end of my leadership of the AAA metagame. It's been a fun time leading my favourite metagame for the last few years, but it's time for a fresh face to take the helm. This has been in discussion for a little while, and we decided to wait until after dlc2 for me to officially step down. I personally feel like with how busy I am, and my natural approach to enjoying mons, I haven't been able to contribute the appropriate amount to the development of AAA that's expected as a leader.

With that in mind, it's my pleasure to announce your new AAA leader: Thinkerino

He's a hard-working guy with a lot of love for AAA and I'm confident he'll push AAA in the right direction. Congrats man.

As for me, I'll still be around on, on the council, and on showdown! Thanks for sticking with me.
 
:( thanks for everything Jrdn. we will continue to depend on your knowledge and expertise moving forward.

Moving on unabated, the AAA council has unanimously concluded that it's time yet again to issue another ban. As of now, Buzzwole is banned from AAA.

:ss/Buzzwole:

Undeniably, Buzzwole's impressive 139 attack stat and immense 107/139 physical bulk makes it a powerhouse. To amplify that physical prowess, the addition of Close Combat to its movepool has increased the threat level of Tinted Lens sets exponentially, removing the drawback of Superpower being weakened after the first hit and no longer allowing mons like Tapu Fini and Hippowdon to recover/protect for free. Buzzwole finds itself singlehandedly reducing the viability of physical attackers like Weavile, Excadrill, Mamoswine, and Zarude, while seemingly sending others completely out of relevance through the use of Dauntless Shield (Whatever happened to the other offensive fighting and ground types?). Its middling 79 base speed is rectified by Triage giving +3 priority to Drain Punch and Leech Life, both of which are already stab-boosted. Access to coverage such as Thunder/Ice Punch Earthquake when put together with its already potent stab combo enables it to super-effectively hit would-be stab resists such as Tapu Fini and Zapdos, even dealing with ghost types like Blacephalon and Gengar on the switch. In terms of physical setup wars, the ability to Bulk Up and Roost in the face of offensive/defensive setup mons like Snorlax and Zygarde or even on forced predictive doubles due to fear of losing to Tinted Lens sets solidifies Buzzwole as a premier threat in the meta. As if all of that utility isn't enough, Buzzwole even boasts the ability to run Magic Bounce and potentially block out hazards against a large swathe of common should-be effective offensive rockers like Terrakion and Mamoswine, while completely shutting out defensive ones like Ferrothorn and Tyranitar. In essence, it's clear that Buzzwole's utility and limited set of reliable defensive answers [aside from itself] is too much for the meta at large.

The council will continue to monitor the metagame to determine if various potential threats prove overwhelming after the Buzzwole ban. Keep an eye out especially for Zygarde, which has already proved to be a tough task for teams to handle.

Tagging The Immortal and Kris for implementation.
 
After several DLCS and all kinds of meta-shifting bans, it's finally time for a VR AND SAMPLE TEAM UPDATE!

VR Update:



AAA Viability Rankings 2.0
[last updated November 19, 2020]

S Rank
:Tapu Fini: Tapu Fini (Poison Heal, Regenerator, Triage)
:Zygarde: Zygarde (Poison Heal, Adaptability, Pixilate, Aerilate)

A Rank

A+
:Blacephalon: Blacephalon (Magic Guard, Desolate Land, Sheer Force)
:Chansey: Chansey (Unaware, Sticky Hold, Magic Bounce, Regenerator)
:Kyurem: Kyurem (Sheer Force, Skill Link, Adaptability, Magic Guard)
:Mew: Mew (Dauntless Shield, Magic Bounce, Mold Breaker)
:Naganadel: Naganadel (Dragon’s Maw, Mold Breaker, Adaptability, Merciless)
:Noivern: Noivern (Aerilate)
:Swampert: Swampert (Regenerator, Poison Heal)
:Victini: Victini (Desolate Land, Sheer Force, Regenerator, Magnet Pull)
:Zapdos: Zapdos (Primordial Sea, Intimidate, Desolate Land, Magic Bounce, Delta Stream, Dauntless Shield)
:Zapdos-Galar: Zapdos-Galar (Magic Guard, Adaptability, Tinted Lens, Regenerator)

A
:Archeops: Archeops (Magic Guard)
:Alakazam: Alakazam (Psychic Surge, Tinted Lens)
:Barraskewda: Barraskewda (Primordial Sea)
:Blissey: Blissey (Magic Bounce, Regenerator)
:Garchomp: Garchomp (Adaptability, Dragon’s Maw, Poison Heal, Regenerator)
:Gengar: Gengar (Sheer Force, Adaptability, No Guard, Normalize, Water Absorb)
:Heatran: Heatran (Desolate Land, Regenerator)
:Landorus-Therian: Landorus-Therian (Regenerator, Aerilate, Poison Heal)
:Lucario: Lucario (Magic Guard, Sheer Force, Refrigerate, Galvanize)
:Mamoswine: Mamoswine (Adaptability)
:Moltres: Moltres (Desolate Land, Volt Absorb, Intimidate)
:Nihilego: Nihilego (Regenerator, Unburden)
:Spectrier: (Sheer Force, Mold Breaker, Poison Heal)
:Snorlax: Snorlax (Poison Heal, Regenerator)
:Talonflame: Talonflame (Magic Guard)
:Terrakion: Terrakion (Adaptability, Queenly Majesty, Regenerator)
:Togekiss: Togekiss (Triage)
:Toxapex: Toxapex (Prankster, Volt Absorb, Magic Bounce)
:Tyranitar: Tyranitar (Bulletproof, Regenerator)
:Volcarona: Volcarona (Desolate Land, Magic Guard, Sheer Force)
:Weavile: Weavile (Adaptability, Technician, Refrigerate, Galvanize)
:Zarude: Zarude (Poison Heal, Adaptability, Tough Claws)

A-
:Bisharp: Bisharp (Adaptability, Tinted)
:Celesteela: Celesteela (Flash Fire, Volt Absorb, Regenerator)
:Chandelure: Chandelure (Desolate Land, Sheer Force)
:Cinderace: Cinderace (Magic Guard, Desolate Land, Sheer Force)
:Clefable: Clefable (Poison Heal, Regenerator)
:Conkeldurr: Conkeldurr (Triage, Tinted Lens, Tough Claws)
:Dhelmise: Dhelmise (Grassy Surge, Tinted Lens, Adaptability)
:Doublade: Doublade (Regenerator, Levitate)
:Excadrill: Excadrill (Water Absorb, Refrigerate, Galvanize, Regenerator)
:Ferrothorn: Ferrothorn (Flash Fire, Mold Breaker, Magic Bounce)
:Golisopod: Golisopod (Poison Heal, Triage, Tinted Lens, Magic Bounce)
:Hatterene: Hatterene (Triage, Tinted Lens)
:Heracross: Heracross (Tinted Lens, Tough Claws, Adaptability)
:Hippowdon: Hippowdon (Dauntless Shield, Intimidate, Wandering Spirit, Water Absorb)
:Hydreigon: Hydreigon (Sheer Force, Queenly Majesty, Galvanize)
:Incineroar: Incineroar (Regenerator, Magic Guard)
:Jirachi: Jirachi (Regenerator, Magic Guard)
:Kommo-o: Kommo-o (Galvanize, Triage, Unburden, Poison Heal, Dauntless Shield)
:Krookodile: Krookodile (Adaptability, Flash Fire)
:Landorus: Landorus (Aerilate, Sheer Force)
:Latios: Latios (Dragon’s Maw, Tinted Lens, Psychic Surge)
:Mandibuzz: Mandibuzz (Magic Bounce, Unaware, Volt Absorb)
:Milotic: (Regenerator, Poison Heal)
:Palossand: Palossand (Dauntless Shield, Magic Bounce)
:Silvally-Electric: Silvally-Electric (Regenerator)
:Slowbro: Slowbro (Magic Bounce, Dauntless Shield, Regenerator)
:Skarmory: Skarmory (Flash Fire, Dauntless Shield, Volt Absorb, Water Absorb, Mold Breaker)
:Tapu Koko: (Primordial Sea, Adaptability, Magic Guard)
:Thundurus: Thundurus (Magic Guard)
:Volcanion: Volcanion (Adaptability, Sheer Force, Tinted Lens, Swift Swim)
:Zeraora: Zeraora (Tough Claws, Sheer Force, Regenerator)

B Rank

B+
:Corviknight: Corviknight (Volt Absorb, Drizzle, Regenerator, Flash Fire, Intimidate, Dauntless Shield)
:Dracozolt: Dracozolt (Adaptability, Surge Surfer)
:Haxorus: Haxorus (Dragon's Maw, Tough Claws)
:Mantine: Mantine (Volt Absorb, Delta Stream)
:Mienshao: Mienshao (Tough Claws, Tinted Lens, Merciless)
:Primarina: Primarina (Triage, Poison Heal, Regenerator, Tinted Lens, Swift Swim)
:Raikou: Raikou (Desolate Land, Primordial Sea, Regenerator)
:Rhydon: Rhydon (Regenerator)
:Rotom-Heat: Rotom-Heat (Magnet Pull, Regenerator, Desolate Land)
:Rotom-Wash: Rotom-Wash (Primordial Sea, Regenerator, Poison Heal, Swift Swim)
:Seismitoad: Seismitoad (Poison Heal, Regenerator)
:Slurpuff: Slurpuff (Mold Breaker)
:Suicune: Suicune (Poison Heal)
:Sylveon: Sylveon (Poison Heal, Regenerator, Triage)
:Tapu Bulu: Tapu Bulu (Poison Heal, Triage, Tough Claws)
:Tapu Lele: Tapu Lele (Tinted Lens, Triage, Poison Heal)
:Thundurus-Therian: Thundurus-Therian (Primordial Sea, Magic Guard, No Guard, Mold Breaker)
:Tornadus-Therian: Tornadus-Therian (No Guard, Tinted Lens)
:Virizion: Virizion (Tough Claws, Poison Heal, Magic Bounce)
:Xurkitree: Xurkitree (Transistor, Surge Surfer)


B
:Arcanine: Arcanine (Magic Guard, Pixilate)
:Blastoise: Blastoise (Regenerator, Poison Heal)
:Braviary: Braviary (Magic Guard, Tinted Lens, Guts)
:Celebi: Celebi (Triage, Poison Heal, Tinted Lens)
:Cofagrigus: Cofagrigus (Poison Heal)
:Cobalion: Cobalion (Magic Guard)
:Gardevoir: Gardevoir (Tinted Lens, Sheer Force, Adaptability)
:Glastrier: Glastrier (Tough Claws, Poison Heal)
:Goodra: Goodra (Regenerator, Sheer Force)
:Grimmsnarl: Grimmsnarl (Adaptability, Pixilate)
:Gyarados: Gyarados (Aerilate, Poison Heal)
:Metagross: Metagross (Regenerator, Unburden)
:Nidoqueen: Nidoqueen (Water Absorb, Regenerator)
:Obstagoon: Obstagoon (Poison Heal, Adaptability)
:Pangoro: Pangoro (Triage, Tinted Lens, Adaptability)
:Passimian: Passimian (Tough Claws, Merciless)
:Raichu-Alola: Raichu-Alola (Sheer Force)
:Regieleki: Regieleki (Electric Surge, Refrigerate)
:Rhyperior: Rhyperior (Regenerator)
:Runerigus: Runerigus (Poison Heal, Regenerator)
:Salamence: Salamence (Sheer Force, Aerilate, Dragon's Maw)
:Sirfetch’d: Sirfetch’d (Tough Claws, Super Luck, Tinted Lens, Scrappy)
:Stakataka: Stakataka (Tinted Lens, Regenerator)
:Starmie: Starmie (Sheer Force, Unburden, Regenerator)
:Tentacruel: Tentacruel (Volt Absorb, Regenerator)
:Toxtricity: Toxtricity (Sheer Force, Refrigerate, Galvanize, Regenerator, Magic Guard)
:Tyrantrum: Tyrantrum (Magic Guard, Tough Claws)

B-
:Corsola-Galar: Corsola-Galar (Prankster, Mold Breaker, Regenerator, Magic Bounce)
:Duraludon: Duraludon (Magic Guard)
:Mimikyu: Mimikyu (Prankster)
:Moltres-Galar: Moltres-Galar (Regenerator)
:Polteageist: Polteageist (Queenly Majesty, Psychic Surge)
:Registeel: Registeel (Regenerator)
:Ribombee: Ribombee (Mold Breaker, Tinted Lens)

Sample Teams:

AAA Sample Teams
[Last updated November 19, 2020]


:Victini: :Swampert: :Dhelmise: :Naganadel: :Blissey: :Zapdos:
Naganadel Bulky Offense by xavgb

:Zapdos: :Zarude: :Hippowdon: :Tapu Fini: :Blissey: :Blacephalon:
Zarude Balance by Thinkerino

:Slurpuff: :Zapdos-Galar: :Kyurem: :Barraskewda: :Heatran: :Blacephalon:
Permaweather Webs Hyper Offense by motherlove

:Swampert: :Tapu Koko: :Mew: :Naganadel: :Tapu Fini: :Zygarde:
Zygarde Bulky Offense by Thinkerino

:Cinderace: :Golisopod: :Chansey: :Tapu Fini: :Palossand: :Nihilego:
Hazard Stack Balance by xavgb

:Glastrier: :Conkeldurr: :Porygon2: :Slowbro: :Stakataka: :Tapu Bulu:
Trick Room by rozes
Feel free to post your thoughts on the viability rankings, whether you agree with them or not--every opinion is welcome!
Stay tuned for periodical updates to the VR as time passes, and thanks to motherlove for submitting a sample team!
 
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I’m gonna go straight to the point, here's my problem with tinted lens in Almost Any Ability: when you build a team that is NOT a hyper offense, you choose your mons according to their synergy of type. you verify that your bulkiest mons (if not your whole team if you build fat or stall) can check the biggest threats of the tier and 90% of the time, if you are not playing stall, it's going to be by your typing. you got issues with galar zapdos? Slap a kanto zapdos or a tapu koko on your team. buzzwole easily disrupts your team, no problem, tapu fini can handle it and lives thunder punch easily with correct investment.

BUT

with tinted lens, any and every idea of counter via type resistances collapses. Suddenly you kanto zapdos gets 2hko by thunderous kick. Oups your fini just got ohko by that close combat. so at that moment, you realize the opposing mon is tinted lens. That’s ok, its only one pokemon, its 5-6, you still can win this… but how will you do this? if you got something that outspeeds, the opponent just has to switch out and repeat the whole process the moment you’ll lose the smallest amount of momentum. if you got something bulky enough well congrats, you second mon just took severe damage just to kill (if it indeed killed) ONE SINGLE pokemon. The opponent just did 1.5 kill and they now know that your weakened mon won’t tank attacks as easily so the other threats that it used to check are now much much more dangerous. Oh and don’t forget the opponent still has the advantage.


So, how do you counter tinted lens? this is where the nastiest subtility comes into play:
Let’s you just got destroyed by tinted galar zapdos on your previous game. you enter another match and bam, there is another galar zapdos in the opposing team. But you start the match as usual, and after a few turns, the opponent sends out their galar zapdos. You don’t know what its ability is. Is it tough claw, adaptability or maybe is it tinted lens? Do you bring your bulky mon to handle tinted lens, or do you send out your kanto zapdos to check the tc/adapt set? in both case, your are risking to lose a pokemon if you guessed wrong, even tho its only like turn 6.

Expecting tinted lens forces risky plays because sending out the “classic” response means to potentially lose the exchange so you send out something with high sheer bulk, which might get destroyed by non-tinted sets. And not expecting tinted means that the most logic counter in your mind could be the most damaging overall for your team.
Tinted lens removes purely and simply the need to predict whether or not the opponent is going so switch onto a resist, which is a central part of the game as a whole.

But is there any counter to tinted? Yes, of course there is. With so many pokemons, moves and abilities, every strategy we can think of can be countered. But what determines whether or not something is broken isn’t the existence of a counter-strat, it is its viability. (an extreme example would be to say zacian is ok in OU because its standard set doesn’t touch shedinja. Indeed, but shedinja is bad in OU and lack of counter plays in the tier would still make zacian completely unbalanced). As i said before, sheer bulk can check tinted lens. Stuff like dauntless shield avalugg can check about any unboosted physical threat in the game. Regenvest pivots can be an ok solution; goodra regenvest can live just about any special blow and the eternal chansey/blissey will always be glad to shrug off some special nukes and heal it up on the next turn.
But there is one common point to every pokemon I just listed: they mostly fit on stall teams/super omega fat teams. Chanseys are a thing on some less defensive teams like some balance but chansey only checks special threats and, to my knowledge, tinted lens is much less popular on special attackers. dauntless shield mew can handle many dauntless shield abusers but, not only is it most ran on defensive teams, mew can still lose to some tinted abusers. Once again, galar zapdos comes first in my mind; mew won’t appreciate thunderous kicks one after the other since ds mew only run bodypress most of the time to counter attack; which will see its power decrease due to mew’s def being reduced every time it takes a hit.

So this is why, in my opinion, tinted lens is ban worthy. Too unpredictable and counter plays are rare and mostly reserved to defensive teams. I find it OP not because it’s meta centralizing or because almost every sweeper runs it, but because almost every sweeper CAN run it

I may be wrong on some aspects and after all, i’m still kinda new to AAA. I began to play AAA not long after USUL came out and i only acquired a good level after DLC #1 when I began to tryhard to get the highest possible in the ladder. The point is I don’t pretend to know the absolute truth nor to be the best in the world. I’m actually far from being close to the bests and I still have a lot to learn. I’m just sharing my opinion here. (Please don’t be too rough, it is my first post on smogon forums)
-emile red
 
I’m gonna go straight to the point, here's my problem with tinted lens in Almost Any Ability: when you build a team that is NOT a hyper offense, you choose your mons according to their synergy of type. you verify that your bulkiest mons (if not your whole team if you build fat or stall) can check the biggest threats of the tier and 90% of the time, if you are not playing stall, it's going to be by your typing. you got issues with galar zapdos? Slap a kanto zapdos or a tapu koko on your team. buzzwole easily disrupts your team, no problem, tapu fini can handle it and lives thunder punch easily with correct investment.

BUT

with tinted lens, any and every idea of counter via type resistances collapses. Suddenly you kanto zapdos gets 2hko by thunderous kick. Oups your fini just got ohko by that close combat. so at that moment, you realize the opposing mon is tinted lens. That’s ok, its only one pokemon, its 5-6, you still can win this… but how will you do this? if you got something that outspeeds, the opponent just has to switch out and repeat the whole process the moment you’ll lose the smallest amount of momentum. if you got something bulky enough well congrats, you second mon just took severe damage just to kill (if it indeed killed) ONE SINGLE pokemon. The opponent just did 1.5 kill and they now know that your weakened mon won’t tank attacks as easily so the other threats that it used to check are now much much more dangerous. Oh and don’t forget the opponent still has the advantage.


So, how do you counter tinted lens? this is where the nastiest subtility comes into play:
Let’s you just got destroyed by tinted galar zapdos on your previous game. you enter another match and bam, there is another galar zapdos in the opposing team. But you start the match as usual, and after a few turns, the opponent sends out their galar zapdos. You don’t know what its ability is. Is it tough claw, adaptability or maybe is it tinted lens? Do you bring your bulky mon to handle tinted lens, or do you send out your kanto zapdos to check the tc/adapt set? in both case, your are risking to lose a pokemon if you guessed wrong, even tho its only like turn 6.

Expecting tinted lens forces risky plays because sending out the “classic” response means to potentially lose the exchange so you send out something with high sheer bulk, which might get destroyed by non-tinted sets. And not expecting tinted means that the most logic counter in your mind could be the most damaging overall for your team.
Tinted lens removes purely and simply the need to predict whether or not the opponent is going so switch onto a resist, which is a central part of the game as a whole.

But is there any counter to tinted? Yes, of course there is. With so many pokemons, moves and abilities, every strategy we can think of can be countered. But what determines whether or not something is broken isn’t the existence of a counter-strat, it is its viability. (an extreme example would be to say zacian is ok in OU because its standard set doesn’t touch shedinja. Indeed, but shedinja is bad in OU and lack of counter plays in the tier would still make zacian completely unbalanced). As i said before, sheer bulk can check tinted lens. Stuff like dauntless shield avalugg can check about any unboosted physical threat in the game. Regenvest pivots can be an ok solution; goodra regenvest can live just about any special blow and the eternal chansey/blissey will always be glad to shrug off some special nukes and heal it up on the next turn.
But there is one common point to every pokemon I just listed: they mostly fit on stall teams/super omega fat teams. Chanseys are a thing on some less defensive teams like some balance but chansey only checks special threats and, to my knowledge, tinted lens is much less popular on special attackers. dauntless shield mew can handle many dauntless shield abusers but, not only is it most ran on defensive teams, mew can still lose to some tinted abusers. Once again, galar zapdos comes first in my mind; mew won’t appreciate thunderous kicks one after the other since ds mew only run bodypress most of the time to counter attack; which will see its power decrease due to mew’s def being reduced every time it takes a hit.

So this is why, in my opinion, tinted lens is ban worthy. Too unpredictable and counter plays are rare and mostly reserved to defensive teams. I find it OP not because it’s meta centralizing or because almost every sweeper runs it, but because almost every sweeper CAN run it

I may be wrong on some aspects and after all, i’m still kinda new to AAA. I began to play AAA not long after USUL came out and i only acquired a good level after DLC #1 when I began to tryhard to get the highest possible in the ladder. The point is I don’t pretend to know the absolute truth nor to be the best in the world. I’m actually far from being close to the bests and I still have a lot to learn. I’m just sharing my opinion here. (Please don’t be too rough, it is my first post on smogon forums)
-emile red
It is absolutely true that tinted lens boosts your pokemon's stab options through the roof, but only almost exclusively when encountering resists. When enabling your pokemon with tinted lens, you're giving up the across-the-board damage amp of things like adaptability, tough claws, and the like. This means that pokemon you would otherwise easily ohko or 2hko with stab options are able to eat at least one attack to scout the ability of the mon in question.

Following along with the Zapdos-Galar (zapg) example brought up, let's not pretend as though Zapdos doesn't have the means to deal with every zapg set relatively comfortably:

-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Adaptability Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 112-132 (29.1 - 34.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Adaptability Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 112-132 (29.1 - 34.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Adaptability Zapdos-Galar Thunderous Kick vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 84-99 (21.8 - 25.7%) -- guaranteed 4HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Tough Claws Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 108-128 (28.1 - 33.3%) -- 97.1% chance to 3HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Tough Claws Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 108-128 (28.1 - 33.3%) -- 97.1% chance to 3HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Tough Claws Zapdos-Galar Thunderous Kick vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 81-96 (21 - 25%) -- 98.8% chance to 4HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 168-198 (43.7 - 51.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 168-198 (43.7 - 51.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Thunderous Kick vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 126-148 (32.8 - 38.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
-1 252 Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 152-180 (39.5 - 46.8%) -- 36.3% chance to 2HKO
-1 252 Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 152-180 (39.5 - 46.8%) -- 36.3% chance to 2HKO
-1 252 Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Thunderous Kick vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 114-136 (29.6 - 35.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

Except for the adamant tinted calc (which arguably just means you're slower than other base 100s or higher), in most of the situations listed above, Zapdos is able to not only switch in, but also roost right after without a problem--all while giving the player enough information to

1. ascertain that the zapg is tinted lens
2. make the necessary value assessments of their team to figure out how to beat it

So the claim that zapdos-g is 2hkoing zapdos only applies if the zapdos in question isn't intimidate, or if zapg is adamant. But what if the zapdos isn't intimidate? Because I think a straightforward approach is best, I'll use the sample teams (barring HO/TR bc those aren't necessarily built for having defensive answers to things) as my examples.

-> The first sample team has an intimdate zapdos so that one is a no-brainer, but I think it's also worth nothing that the team enables you to offensively beat a potentially tinted lens zapg several other ways as well. Scouting for magic guard with rocky helmet from Swampert, outspeeding and ohkoing with Victini/Naganadel, or even potentially forcing a switchin with Dhelmise are all options you have to make progress against zapg and its team throughout the course of a game. There's no world in which a tinted lens zapg just steamrolls the team for free unless a combination of "good/bad (the definition of which are entirely subjective)" plays are made on both sides, which more or less qualifies for a regular game anyway.

^The above is an example of ways to VIABLY answer/counter a tinted lens zapdos-g without building an overly fat/stall-like team.


Next, the Zarude balance team. Before anything else, I'd just like to clarify that barring a crit, there's no world where a tinted lens zapg is ohkoing defensive tapu fini:

252 Atk Choice Band Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Tapu Fini: 187-222 (54.5 - 64.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Poison Heal
252 Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Tapu Fini: 186-222 (54.2 - 64.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Poison Heal
252+ Atk Choice Band Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Tapu Fini: 205-243 (59.7 - 70.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Poison Heal
252+ Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Tapu Fini: 204-242 (59.4 - 70.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Poison Heal

Admittedly, an adamant set does A TON of damage, but remember that poison heal recovery + protect means the real tinted lens calc on close combat is more like (34.4%-45%), which is more than bearable damage. As for other team members, Hippowdon absolutely wrecks the zapg with rocky helm chip + potential brave bird recoil, Zapdos eats one hit in a 1v1 and ohkos with discharge + recoil/spdef drops from close combat, and zarude gets free chip if zapg chooses to switchin. Other than that, the same opportunities to outplay exist as with the previous team.


-> Moving on to the Zygarde BO, which actually features a Dauntless Shield (dshield) Mew (also another example of dshield mew being viable on a team that isn't overly bulky/stall-like). Note that in this case the Mew is carrying Ice Beam, which hits a variety of physical attackers--namely Zygarde and Zapdos-Galar. While mono-body press Mew certainly still exists, it's not as if Mew doesn't possess room to just as easily run Ice Beam instead. In fact, the most recent usage stats show that Ice Beam and Body Press usage on Mew are:

1605858455115.png

As you can see, Ice Beam actually has more usage than Body Press on Mew, which is significant.

As for the calcs:
252+ Atk Choice Band Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. +1 252 HP / 252+ Def Mew: 151-178 (37.3 - 44%) -- 2% chance to 2HKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. +1 252 HP / 252+ Def Mew: 150-178 (37.1 - 44%) -- 2% chance to 2HKO
252+ Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Thunderous Kick vs. +1 252 HP / 252+ Def Mew: 114-134 (28.2 - 33.1%) -- 96.5% chance to 3HKO
252 Atk Choice Band Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. +1 252 HP / 252+ Def Mew: 138-163 (34.1 - 40.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252 Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Close Combat vs. +1 252 HP / 252+ Def Mew: 138-162 (34.1 - 40%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252 Atk Choice Band Tinted Lens Zapdos-Galar Thunderous Kick vs. +1 252 HP / 252+ Def Mew: 102-122 (25.2 - 30.1%) -- 8.1% chance to 3HKO

Come on now :/ 25%-30% from Thunderous Kick is laughable, and the other stabs do hardly any damage either. In return, Ice Beam does

0 SpA Mew Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Zapdos-Galar: 142-168 (44.2 - 52.3%) -- 80.1% chance to 2HKO
0 SpA Mew Ice Beam vs. -1 0 HP / 4 SpD Zapdos-Galar: 212-250 (66 - 77.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Thus, I'd hardly call dshield Mew an inadequate answer to cb tinted zapg.
Looking at the rest of the team, it's not as if zapg has a comfortable time switching into any of the other members, either. Zygarde has a chance to ohko with Thousand Arrows, Koko ohkos with Thunder, Swampert is often spamming flip turn and won't often stay in, and Tapu Fini eats any attack and blows it sideways with Moonblast.

-> Alright, last team--the Hazard Stack Balance. This one's pretty straightforward since there's a ghost type involved, so let's just check the calc:

252 Atk Choice Band Zapdos-Galar Brave Bird vs. +1 252 HP / 252+ Def Palossand: 129-153 (34.4 - 40.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

Yeah, so that's definitely bearable damage. Understandably, this balance is in fact a fatter style of team, but it still handles a tinted zapg at least relatively consistently, and due to the slower, bulkier nature of the team, zapg naturally has an advantageous matchup--which is by no means a bad thing since it's a breaker for a reason.


Now, I'm not ignorant of the fact that Zapdos-Galar isn't the only potential Tinted Lens abuser in existence, but I think the reasoning I applied above can be set up for virtually any other tinted lens user that comes to mind (Latios, Tapu Lele, Assorted Fighting Types, etc.). More often than not, the sweepers running Tinted Lens are giving up raw damage amp, and as shown in the example above, that lack of damage can actually make all the difference. With an overwhelming consistency, what can be observed is that certain Tinted Lens abusers are broken when enabled by it rather than the ability overall being unhealthy. Some perfect examples of this are Buzzwole and Pheromosa, both of whom became near-unstoppable forces when empowered with Tinted Lens + coverage moves--but it isn't as if they were only banned for that one ability. Their respective ban posts give several other just as threatening justifications, so it's not like a metagame without Tinted Lens would suddenly make those pokemon balanced.

I chose to make this post because I don't agree that it takes fat balance/stall to counter Tinted Lens abusers--if anything, you're even more screwed against them if your team is extremely defensive. Tinted Lens is certainly a challenge to deal with in a pinch, but at the point where even relatively straight forward [sample] teams have answers, I think it's fair to say that the demand for countermeasures hasn't yet reached an unreasonable level.
 
A COLLECTION OF BROKEN AND BUSTED THREATS THAT EVERY TEAM SHOULD BE PREPARED TO ANSWER
AKA "The List"​

Decided to make this because I've been getting a lot of messages asking me about what things I perceive to be notable threats right now. Before I go into the list, I'd like to explain something that I say several times:

"Fake switchin" - a pokemon that doesn't ACTUALLY wall whatever it's switching into, but in theory can be risked at least once to either soak up a hit or take advantage of a prediction
(Examples: Bringing in Ghost types on fighting types that could just click coverage moves and destroy them, switching noivern into every resisted hit even though it has miserable bulk, and doubling into Zapdos expecting an earthquake from Mamoswine even though icicle crash would cleanly ohko)

:ss/Kyurem:
Kyurem @ King's Rock / Heavy Duty Boots / Never-Melt Ice
Ability: Skill Link
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty / Lonely Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Icicle Spear
- Freeze-Dry
- Roost

Kyurem @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest / Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Ice Beam
- Freeze-Dry
- Earth Power
- Focus Blast / Roost

Why: What do you mean, "why"?! Given the chance, this thing will blast your entire team into oblivion, no questions asked. In a situation where you still haven't determined if it's physical or special (or mixed, as you can see from the above), a wrong guess can lead to devastation and destruction. Avoid giving it too many free turns to set up if it's physical, and pray that whatever pokemon you send out to scout is able to recuperate in the event that you misjudge the set. The addition of Freeze Dry this gen means that bulky waters like Tapu Fini/Primarina, Milotic, Swampert, and Slowbro--the whole shebang--are all fake switchins, because even regenvest sets don't want to get predicted and eat a freeze dry on the switch.

Who: Well in that case, what deals with it? Good question...
Realistically, the best way to deal with a Kyurem whose set hasn't been revealed is to limit its opportunities to be switched/pivoted in as much as possible. Hazards (Stealth Rock/Spikes/Tspikes(?)) do a decent job of this since non-HDB sets just get chipped over and over. Pivoting moves are especially good because they allow you to consistently position yourself in such a way that even if the opposing mon uses a pivot method of its own, Kyurem is unlikely to want to come out vs. whatever you bring in. Other than that, in theory regenvesters who resist at least one coverage move like Jirachi and Incineroar can risk switching in at least once just to scout the set--but avoid bringing in something like a Blissey or Chansey unless you're very positive that it isn't physical. In terms of beating a physical set, things like Knock Off/Haze Tapu Fini, Prankster Toxapex, and assorted priority coverage like Pixilate Extreme Speed can generally make the matchup survivable once you know the set--otherwise, it's usually a matter of scouting or applying enough pressure to prevent setup opportunities.

:ss/Victini:
Victini @ Choice Band / Choice Scarf
Ability: Desolate Land
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- V-create
- U-turn
- Bolt Strike
- Trick

Victini @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- V-create
- Bolt Strike
- Psychic
- Glaciate

Why: While there are certainly viable Regenerator and even Magnet Pull Victini sets, I really feel like Desolate Land and Sheer Force are the ones that are most likely to shred unprepared teams. A surprising number of resists like physically defensive Swampert and Tapu Fini find themselves rather unwilling to have to eat two desoland V-Creates in a row, and Intimidate/Dauntless Shield mons like Zapdos, Mew, Hippowdon, and Slowbro are narrowly avoiding 2hkos, getting tossed by Choice Banded sets, or getting tricked a scarf at inopportune times. As for Sheer Force, boosting stab options while opening the moveset up to switch moves is very appealing, and bolt strike + glaciate offers a form of boltbeam coverage, which is universally considered to be near-ideal.

Who: Countering Victini is a an interesting challenge. If it's Desolate Land, generally Poison Heal + resist will either deal with it just fine, or give you a relatively free chance to pivot. That could be Tapu Fini, Zygarde, Physdef Swampert, or any fat mon with Dshield/Intimidate, really. As for the special set, Tyranitar, Spdef Swampert and Chansey/Blissey are obvious, but other than that some thought would have to be put into it. Because of the boltbeam coverage and sheer force of even noninvested vcreates, one might find themselves being forced to take huge amounts of damage in order to chip the Victini or Knock it off with something Tapu Fini in order to reduce its damage output. Outside of finessing chip damage and trying to keep hazards though, it's honestly not easy to deal with Sheer Force if you don't have a super fat special wall.

:ss/Blacephalon:
Blacephalon @ Life Orb / Choice Scarf
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Mind Blown
- Shadow Ball
- Knock Off / Trick
- Psyshock

Why: I don't think Desolate Land takes full advantage of how much nastiness Blacephalon can dish out, so I'm not including it here. To begin with, part of what makes Blace so strong is that Magic Guard Life Orb (mglo) lets it negate two of its two biggest natural weaknesses: hazards and Mind Blown recoil. Next, access to knock off enables it to singlehandedly break down regenvesters like Milotic and Swampert that would otherwise consistently switch into it, and an eviolite-less Chansey is 2hkoed by Mind Blown. In essence, Blacephalon takes the already extremely powerful Fire/Ghost stab combo that Chandelure has and elevates it to the next level due to its higher base special attack and the raw power of Mind Blown. Psyshock really only hits Nihilego, but even that is significant since Nihilego would otherwise wall it rather comfortably. MGLO aside, scarfed trick allows Blace to neutralize a lot of bulky pokemon, more often than not forcing them to either recover or pivot instead of having freedom to choose, and in many situations that can lead to blace's teammates earning free turns. Some examples of this include tricking mons like Snorlax (which is a fake switchin to Mind Blown anyway), Chansey/Blissey, and regenvesters as a whole. Even something like pheal Tapu Fini wouldn't appreciate being locked one move everytime it comes in.

Who: Even though I noted that Tapu Fini gets rocked by scarf trick, it's still generally a decent switchin even with minimal spdef investment. Spdef pheal Zygarde can also bear to switch in and shrug off the damage with protect, while things like Regenvest Incineroar (while rare, still a switchin) and Swampert handle it pretty comfortably. Generally, the goal is to try to go into a spdef resist and pivot out before having to take too much damage.

1605946826940.png

Zapdos-Galar @ Life Orb / Choice Band
Ability: Magic Guard / Adaptability / Tinted
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Brave Bird
- Close Combat / Taunt
- U-turn / Bulk Up
- Thunderous Kick

Why/Who: I'm not going to go too much into this because I made a pretty extensive post here where I used Zapdos-Galar as an example and discussed it at length, but the TL;DR is that it benefits from two extremely high powered stab moves (Brave Bird, Close Combat) and an alternative stab move that creates breaking opportunities where they didn't exist before (Thunderous Kick). This setup makes zapg a very potent breaker that can easily overwhelm slower teams if given too many chances to attack unabated.

:ss/Kommo-o: - Global Representative for random belly drum/Unburdeners everywhere [especially those with unburden]

Why: Simple. If you don't have anti-belly drum/unburden on your team, random mons with the capability to run unburden like Meteor Beam Nihilego/Necrozma/Celesteela and the like will have a field day if they're allowed to setup.

Who: Haze is always ideal, whether it's Prankster [Toxapex] or just from regular users like Fini [or Zygarde, if you've ascended]. Other than that, Unaware + any decent physdef or spdef wall usually stops such strategies in their tracks.

:ss/Naganadel:
Naganadel @ Life Orb
Ability: Dragon's Maw / Mold Breaker
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot / Flamethrower
- Sludge Bomb
- Fire Blast / Spikes
- Draco Meteor

Why: Honestly, this mon at +2 special attack is the very embodiment of sarcastically saying "nice switchin" to things that try to do so. Rather than give a long explanation, I'll just let the calcs do most of the talking:

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Snorlax: 550-647 (104.9 - 123.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Corviknight: 325-383 (81.2 - 95.7%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Milotic: 335-395 (85 - 100.2%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Swampert: 419-493 (103.7 - 122%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Blissey: 625-737 (87.5 - 103.2%) -- 25% chance to OHKO
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Eviolite Chansey: 516-608 (73.3 - 86.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Ferrothorn: 264-311 (75 - 88.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Heatran: 281-331 (72.7 - 85.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 248 HP / 252+ SpD Nihilego: 485-571 (115.2 - 135.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO

...Yeah. It forces a ton of switchouts naturally because of its absurdly strong typing of Dragon/Poison, which gives it plenty of chances to either Nasty Plot or set up Spikes if it so wishes. Most of the premier spdef walls in the tier (even Blissey and Chansey!) are fake switchins because they can't exactly handle a Naganadel at +2, and even things like Unaware Chansey risk being poisoned by Sludge Bomb. That in combination with its comfortably high 375 speed stat makes it a premier threat in the tier. Don't sleep on this mon or it'll put your entire team to bed everytime you give it a turn.

Who: Well...there honestly isn't much in terms of defensive checks. Most of the ways to beat this mon are to either attack it if it's in so that you can limit the amount of attacks it gets off, or hope that your team applies enough pressure with hazards/pivoting to keep it from coming in and setting up. Chansey/Blissey are always options, but even they fear being poisoned by Sludge Bomb so it can be rough. Outside of that, regenvest steel types like Heatran, Corviknight, and Jirachi are certainly options, even if uncommon. Additionally, Nihilego can opt to wear an assault vest and run Clear Smog/Mirror Coat, and Diancie can run a spdef set with pheal to server as a decent switchin to both stabs. Other than that, it's a tough one for sure. A lot of the time the 10% chip from Life Orb will actually play a big part, since things like hazard damage over time as well as even decently powerful attacks from defensive mons can limit the amount of havoc that Naga's allowed to wreak, theoretically limiting its total number of kills. At some point in the future, I fully expect this mon to be considered unhealthy for the meta. We'll see, though.


:ss/Weavile:
Weavile @ Choice Band
Ability: Adaptability / Technician / Galvanize
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Knock Off
- Triple Axel
- Ice Shard
- Low Kick / Poison Jab / Double Edge

Why: Weavile's a weird one. Teams without resists or enough passive recovery to deal with knock off spam struggle to consistently come in vs this mon--especially when it starts chaining Triple Axels. Realistically Weavile is kind of a silent killer in that you can counter it without too much sacrifice, but if you choose to be lax, you'll get smashed.

Who: Fortunately, there are some common ways to beat Weavile. You've got Prankster Pex, Pheal/Regen Fini and Golisopod, Dauntless Shield Avalugg (if you've ascended to the point where you still use this a lot), Pheal Suicune, and pretty much anything else that doesn't mind eating a knock off and subsequent triple axels. Other than that, it's the classic story of offensive pressure through pivoting and hazards.

:ss/Terrakion:
Terrakion @ Life Orb / Choice Band
Ability: Adaptability
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance / Toxic
- Close Combat
- Stone Edge
- Stealth Rock

Why: I don't know either, it's not even that good anymore. While Terrakion certainly isn't picking up Swords Dances as easily as it was doing pre-dlc, the fact of the matter is that it still has access to a poweful 120 bp fighting stab move and 100 bp Stone Edge never hitting anything. Given the chance, it can actually blow huge holes into teams--especially if they're lacking a ghost type or good fighting resist.

Who: Doublade and Palossand are obvious answers as well as dshield Mew/Hippowdon--all are capable of switching in multiple times and recovering with relative ease. Things like pheal Fini/Golis can avoid 2hkos using protect scouting again banded sets, and Terrakion's bulk is decent but usually not sufficient against supereffective coverage moves like opposing close combats and earthquakes.

:ss/Mamoswine:
Mamoswine @ Life Orb
Ability: Adaptability
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Icicle Crash
- Ice Shard
- Stealth Rock / Knock Off / Freeze Dry

Why: Mamoswine, Weavile, and Kyurem are the Triple Threat ice types--even though they all have ice moves as their primary stab, there are few if any pokemon that can check all of them in one slot. Ice/Ground coverage as stab absolutely demolishes most physically defensive pokemon, and it's generally unlikely that blanket checks can deal with both stabs comfortably. Flying types tend to be disintegrated by Icicle Crash, and there aren't very many grounded pokemon that enjoy eating 394 att Adapt LO-boosted Earthquakes.

Who: Dealing with Mamoswine is hardly ever as simple as throwing a defensive mon on your team and calling it a day. If you're going to use Corviknight/Skarmory, Thick Fat/Delta Stream will be your best bet. Dshield Mew also generally switches into Mamoswine as well barring Icicle Crash flinches or crits. Another surprising check is Tapu Fini in a 1v1--even though Earthquake does over half, pheal recovery + protect puts it in a position to either fish for scald burn or make it out with a decent amount of hp.

:ss/Xurkitree: :ss/Zeraora: - Global Representatives of Rising Voltage mons/Electric types
Zeraora @ Life Orb
Ability: Tough Claws
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Plasma Fists
- Knock Off
- Close Combat
- Grass Knot

Xurkitree @ Choice Specs
Ability: Transistor / Surge Surfer
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Rising Voltage
- Volt Switch
- Dazzling Gleam
- Energy Ball

Why: Another straightforward one that's still definitely worth noting. Skimping on answers to these two electric-types in particular (but also any powerful electric-types in general) will lead to an irreparable level of regret and remorse.
Zeraora: As is, 143 base speed means that Zeraora is the fastest unboosted/scarfed mon in the tier, making it extremely daunting for any kind of offense [barring webs]. That blazing fast speed when coupled with great coverage means Zeraora can either hits most mons supereffectively, or 2hko blanket checks. Specifically, access to Knock Off and Grass Knot allow it to cripple defensive mons (no more HDB, Leftovers, etc.) and actually deal with pokemon like Swampert, which would otherwise be a reliable check.
Xurkitree: Although generally only seen while under the effects of terrain, this mon is more than capable of getting cheeky cheese wins against greedy teams that choose not to prep for electric types. Rising Voltage under Terrain (especially if Transistor-boosted) deals heavy damage even to fat resists:
252 SpA Choice Specs Transistor Xurkitree Rising Voltage (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Ferrothorn in Electric Terrain: 268-316 (76.1 - 89.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Transistor Xurkitree Rising Voltage (140 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Eviolite Chansey in Electric Terrain: 526-619 (74.8 - 88%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Transistor Xurkitree Rising Voltage (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Silvally-Electric in Electric Terrain: 308-363 (78.1 - 92.1%) -- 31.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Xurkitree Rising Voltage (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Ferrothorn in Electric Terrain: 179-211 (50.8 - 59.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Xurkitree Rising Voltage (140 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Eviolite Chansey in Electric Terrain: 351-414 (49.9 - 58.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
252 SpA Choice Specs Xurkitree Rising Voltage (140 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Silvally-Electric in Electric Terrain: 205-242 (52 - 61.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

Who:
In both cases, ground types like Swampert (although arguably more of a fake switchin than anything due to grass coverage), Landorus, and Zygarde are generally good choices since they're immune to the stab and can stand to eat one or two coverage hits if need be. Aside from that, Dauntless Shield Mew/Zapdos generally switch into physical Zeraora since they avoid the 2hko from Plasma Fist and Knock Off. Volt absorbers like Corviknight and Toxapex are also decent, but are hard pressed to run VA over their other abilities like Flash Fire and Prankster respectively. More often than not though, as long as you have some sort of immunity to electric, you'll be able to play around these just fine.

:ss/Noivern:
Noivern @ Choice Specs / Choice Scarf
Ability: Aerilate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Boomburst
- Boomburst / U-Turn
- Boomburst / Switcheroo
- Boomburst / Flamethrower

Why: Noivern is one of few mons that manages to run one set [without too much variation] that poses enough of a threat to warrant mandating answers to it or autolosing extremely quickly. There's no question about how devastating Choice Specs Boombursts can be to non-resists, and Noivern's 123 base speed actually enables it to outpace quite a few breakers who have midtier speed (base 95s-100s). Just about everything that either isn't a spdef resist or assault vest mon gets 2hkoed, so don't skimp on ways to deal with this mon. Something else that's kind of underrated is Noivern's access to Switcheroo, which in a pinch can cripple defensive pokemon like Chansey and put them in a tough spot--all the while, Noivern still threatens decently powerful [even if weakened] Boombursts. Typically however, Noivern would rather keep its specs for the damage amp.

Who: An obvious out against Noivern is priority. Carriers like Weavile and potential -ate speed mons (Genesect, Zygarde, Regieleki, Arcanine) with supereffective options can outright ohko or pick off a weakened Noivern, and generally faster mons (Weavile, Zeraora, Talonflame, Barraskewda, Tapu Koko, scarfers in general) can threaten ohkos or heavy damage as well. In terms of defensive answers, flying resists like regenvest Silvally-Electric, Tyranitar, and Nihilego are honestly pretty reliable and also don't tend to have a problem with being tricked a choice specs/scarf. That being said, Noivern is still a flying type, so even just having rocks up can deter it from coming and wreaking havoc on a team [unless it's a tech heavy duty boots set].

:ss/Snorlax: :ss/Tapu Fini: :ss/Zygarde: - Global Representatives of the Poison Heal (pheal) Brigade
Tapu Fini @ Toxic Orb
Ability: Poison Heal
EVs: 248 HP / 244 Def / 16 SpD
Bold Nature
- Moonblast
- Knock Off / Scald
- Defog / Calm Mind
- Protect / Taunt

Snorlax @ Toxic Orb
Ability: Poison Heal
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Protect
- Facade
- Darkest Lariat / Heat Crash / Earthquake
- Curse

(Zygarde) @ Toxic Orb
Ability: Poison Heal
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Thousand Arrows
- Coil
- Dragon Tail / Toxic / Glare / Haze
- Protect / Substitute

Why: Ah, them. To put it simply, if you allow any of these pokemon (or other unlisted poison healers) to marinate in a game for too long unanswered, you will lose, straight up. There is no excuse for not having ways to deal with poison heal (pheal) on any given team, period. It is extremely common and enables a wide array of pokemon (both offensive/defensive) to gain access to passive recovery that they wouldn't otherwise have. In the case of Snorlax, Tapu Fini, and Zygarde, it elevates their already impressive typings/bulk to another level by allowing them to consistently switch into offensive mons and wear them down. More often than not, pheal mons carry setup moves that allow them to boost until they can no longer be dealt with. Additionally, access to protect plays a bigger roll than just giving their respective users an extra 12.5% at the end of the turn: Protect scouting is a huge part of the aaa meta because poison heal makes it so consistent. All of this becomes a package that can be quite difficult for unprepared teams to deal with.

Who: Ability Manipulation is one of the most reliable ways to deal with poison heal. Some of those ways include Skill Swap Mew/Chansey/Blissey/Palossand, Gastro Acid on Toxapex, and Worry Seed on Ferrothorn. They can get rid of pheal as an ability and generally also run abilities like Dshield/Unaware/Prankster (except Ferro the anomaly) which enable them to counter setup moves as well. Offensively, pretty much any breaker or setup sweeper that can threaten a 2hko or just deal heavy/supereffective damage in general can get the job done. In fact, most of the mons in this collection are huge threats to common poison heal pokemon, pointing to the fact that strong electric/ice/fighting/ground/flying moves are especially helpful to alleviate some of the pressure exerted by pheal mons coming in and just sitting around.

:ss/Zygarde:

(Zygarde) @ Toxic Orb
Ability: Poison Heal
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Thousand Arrows
- Coil
- Dragon Tail / Toxic / Glare / Haze
- Protect / Substitute

Zygarde @ Choice Band
Ability: Adaptability
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Thousand Arrows
- Toxic / Glare
- Extreme Speed
- Earthquake

Why: No need to be longwinded here: Thousand Arrows is one of the best moves in the game for a reason. It hits grounded and flying/levitating pokemon without any discrimination, and almost singlehandedly explains Zygarde's status as a top-tier threat. CB Adapt-boosted tarrows 2hkos so many mons that the easiest way to interpret it is that if you aren't switching into either a ground resist or dshield mon, expect to take heavy damage or get neutralized by Toxic/Glare on the switch--also there are some rogue sets that run Dragon Dance +/ Coil on Adapt, which can be frightening in its own right. As for the pheal set, it mostly just takes advantage of Zygarde's impressive 108/121/95 bulk and defensively amazing Dragon/Ground typing to act as both a check to elemental special attackers and a defensive setup sweeper that can be hard to stop once it starts moving. It's also worth nothing that defensive Dragon Tail sets can find ways to annoy would-be switchins by forcing them to cycle out over and over without an opportunity to recovery.

Who: Offensively, strong fairy/ice moves are the way to go in terms of carrying coverage that can beat Zygarde (Duh, it's Dragon/Ground). Refrigerate Extreme Speed is an obvious one, coming from potential abusers like Regieleki and Genesect, both of who can ohko, but really anything with a decent attack stat and extreme speed can pull it off (kind of telegraphed, though). Kyurem can threaten it with Skill Link Icicle spears, outspeeding most sets and also breaking substitutes, and strong physical attackers like Barraskewda, Zarude, Mamoswine, Weavile, and Zapdos-Galar either ohko with supereffective attacks or deal quite a bit of damage when Zygarde's unboosted. You can also surprise it with Sheer Force Glaciate Victini, which doesn't ohko but can be clicked on a prediction where they expect a physical set. All of the above are infinitely better for checking zygarde when paired with some form of pivoting, usually regenerator or pheal mons. Defensively, Tapu Fini (regen/pheal) running Moonblast + Haze can scare out setup variants, and pheal Tapu Bulu is pretty much a full wall since it can't be statused or phased out by dtail. Other than that, you generally don't want to waste turns hitting it with weak, unboosted moves that barely 3hko (aka a Tapu Fini without Haze/Calm Mind) unless you have secondary switchins in the back. What qualifies as a secondary switchin? Well, Buzzwole dshield users like Mew and Hippowdon/Palossand can stand to switch in multiple times to offensive sets (Glare/Toxic turns them into fake switchins, though) and Mew and Palossand also offer skill swap as a way to potentially force out pheal sets if need be (unaware chansey does it too!)--this holds some significance as skill swap also goes through subs. Even though flying types tend to be fake switchins to Zygarde, it is certainly worth mentioning that things like Intimidate Zapdos can actually pivot in on most sets and then switch out to a secondary check. For example, Intimidate Zapdos + Haze Fini in order to prevent Fini from taking too much damage after a +1 attack boost.

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:ss/Conkeldurr: :ss/Tapu Lele: - Global Representatives of the Remnants of the Tinted Lens Bandwagon
Tapu Lele @ Choice Specs
Ability: Tinted Lens
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Psychic
- Psyshock
- Focus Blast

Zapdos-Galar @ Choice Band
Ability: Tinted Lens
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Brave Bird
- Close Combat
- U-turn
- Thunderous Kick

Conkeldurr @ Choice Band
Ability: Tinted Lens
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Close Combat
- Drain Punch
- Mach Punch
- Knock Off

Victini @ Choice Band
Ability: Tinted Lens
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- V-create
- Bolt Strike
- Uproar
- Trick

Why: Another case of something that's been discussed to some extent here, but still. Tinted Lens is an interesting ability that enables users to break past certain would-be resists/switchins. This carries an extent of signficance in especially good matchups where an opponent has resists that aren't necessarily bulky enough to withstand a tinted attack, because that turns them into fake switchins--sure, they might still eat an attack or two, but more often than not things like Tapu Fini, Swampert, and Zygarde won't appreciate tinted Vcreates, no fighting resist is especially interested in having to take tinted close combats, and steel types like Corviknight and Heatran don't enjoy having to eat tinted Moonblasts/Psychics. Obviously, the four I mentioned above aren't the only viable tinted lens pokemon, but they're a few notable ones that can give an idea of what to expect from mons running the ability.

Who: As I explained in a previous post, more often than not a pokemon running Tinted Lens is giving up raw damage amp abilities like Tough Claws, Adaptability, Sheer Force, etc. This creates an interesting situation where regenerator pokemon [whether they have a vest or not] are usually able to scout a set based on damage, giving a player ample opportunity to assess what their options are going forward. Additionally, in a lot of situations straightforward dshield/intimidate mons like Mew, Zapdos, and Hippowdon can come into
neutral attacks from tinted physical attackers without too much hassle. Regardless, always be wary of the potential a breaker has to be tinted.

:ss/Alakazam: :ss/Victini: :ss/Tapu Lele: :ss/Latios: - Global Representatives of the Psychic Type Society
Tapu Lele @ Choice Specs
Ability: Tinted Lens
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Moonblast
- Psychic
- Psyshock
- Focus Blast

Victini @ Life Orb
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- V-create
- Bolt Strike
- Psychic
- Glaciate

Alakazam @ Choice Specs
Ability: Psychic Surge
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Expanding Force
- Dazzling Gleam
- Focus Blast
- Trick

Latios (M) @ Choice Specs
Ability: Tinted Lens
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Draco Meteor
- Psychic
- Psyshock
- Trick

Why: Special Psychic types have a nasty habit of toasting greedy teams that forget to include ways to deal with the combination of psychic/psyshock. There isn't much to say here other than that especially in cases where psychic terrain is up, psychic moves can be deceptively powerful. Spdef regenvesters get absolutely obliterated by psyshock, and there aren't many physically defensive walls that appreciate having to eat psychics (especially if the psychics/psyshocks are tinted lens boosted).

Who: Having a steel or dark type is more or less recommended if you can help it--those are generally going to be the best bet for handling boosted psychic moves. Otherwise, it's really just a matter of understanding which specific psychic types/attacks your team is weak to and building in enough collective switchins (whether they're fake or not) to at least make the matchup bearable.

:ss/Togekiss: :ss/Kommo-o: - Global Representatives of the Triage Team
Togekiss @ Life Orb
Ability: Triage
EVs: 236 HP / 252 SpA / 20 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Draining Kiss
- Fire Blast
- Roost

Kommo-o @ Life Orb
Ability: Triage
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Atk / 16 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Drain Punch
- Swords Dance
- Toxic
- Earthquake

Kommo-o @ Sitrus Berry
Ability: Triage
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 16 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Belly Drum
- Earthquake
- Drain Punch
- Stealth Rock

Why: +3 priority is no joke, especially vs. various forms of offense. If you're looking for good examples, just scroll up and look at the rest of this list! The majority of offensive pokemon featured here would get mollywhopped by Triage Fairy/Fighting attacks; even the mons that resist each or are immune don't tend to have recovery and don't appreciate the chip damage. Aside from that, once Triage mons starting boosting, they can be extremely difficult to stop. The +3 priority granted to their stab moves means even Prankster Haze isn't enough to handle them right away--and coverage moves can deal with would-be switchins in general.

Who: Fatter mons/teams don't tend to have an issue with Triage as long as they have anti-setup measures like Haze or Unaware. Additionally, if a mon threatens strong enough stab, it can deter Triage setup all on its own. Decent examples of this are Tapu Fini eating up even +2 or +3 Drain Punches pretty easily and [Moon]blasting fighting types into oblivion, strong fire types like Blacephalon and Victini serving as fake switchins to Draining Kiss and hitting hard with the highpowered stab options of Mind Blown and V-Create,
and Naganadel/Nihilego threatening most fairy types with their stab Sludge Bombs. As for ability-based checks, Queenly Majesty
[Dazzling is inferior] on offensive mons weak to Triage like Hydreigon allow them to repeatedly come in when expecting moves like Draining Kiss and Drain Punch. The biggest thing to keep in mind when trying to build in checks to Triage is to make sure that you have either decent resists with threatening stab moves, fat mons like Blissey/Chansey, or just plain anti-setup like Unaware or Haze.

:ss/Mew: :ss/Slowbro: :ss/Zapdos: :ss/Mandibuzz::ss/Blissey: - Global Representatives of the "That could be Magic Bounce" Crew

Why: Pretty straightforward explanation here: mbounce stops non-mold breaker hazards, makes sure that taunt mons don't block off recovery/teleport attempts, and overall just rebounds status moves back to sender.

Who/How: Something that people tend to underrate is how relatively safe it actually is to click rocks before [and even after] you know if there's a bouncer on the opposing team or not, so my first piece of advice of this: Don't be afraid to put up hazards. With things like Gen 6 Tornadus-T Regenerator/Pheal Tapu Fini easily defogging in a variety of situations as well as Heavy Duty Boots significantly decreasing the urgency behind trying to defog immediately in the first place, it's arguably not that terribly disadvantageous to put up rocks and have them be bounced back in return. There will almost always be an opportunity to reset momentum by going into a pivot and eventually getting in your defogger. Next, hazards are not the only way to make progress in a match, anyway--if anything, this list alone should be MORE than enough proof of that. That aside, rockers such as Nihilego and Mamoswine especially offer examples of potential ways to force up rocks even against common mbouncers: the threat of strong attacks or status [Sludge Bomb] can sometimes be enough to deter mbouncers from trying to come too much as is. Some pokemon on this list like Naganadel are also capable of putting up hazards (spikes, tspikes) with relative ease as well due to how often they force switches just by existing. Also, because mbouncers tend to prioritize being healthy over pretty much all else, generally it's safe to throw out attacks expecting them to come in and try to wear them down. Most stealth rockers like Nihilego, Swampert, and Landorus-T can make use of regenerator to extend their longevity, all the while annoying opposing pokemon with Knock Off and pivoting moves (Flip Turn, U-Turn) so that their utility isn't limited to trying to put up hazards. Generally, if you know that you're using a hazard setter with extremely limited value against mbounce like Ferrothorn, the burden is going to be on you as the user to determine how team support can overwhelm that particularly bad matchup. Additionally, it's very important to note that mons who are naturally walled off by mbounce do have ways to increase their utility value--Mold Breaker Ferrothorn exists (even if it's not exactly a crowd favorite), and Wandering Spirit Hippowdon does a lot more than just try to get up rocks. Most importantly--it is significant to note once again that any pokemon running Magic Bouncer over abilities such as Unaware, Dauntless Shield, or whatever defensive ability might apply noticeably becomes inherently weaker to offensive attackers that it would otherwise handle. I've given some prime examples of this in the past here, but essentially, the most common options for mbounce tend to be pokemon that more often than not, would much rather have a defensive ability. Mew is a perfect example: Sure, Mbounce Mew might prevent your Swampert from getting up rocks easily, but now it no longer has access to Dauntless Shield, which means an opportunity now exists to perhaps go for Flip Turn into something like a Mamoswine, Zapdos-Galar, Zeraora, or Zygarde is grabbing a 2hko infinitely easier on a mon that can normally check all of them. Taking into account how you can build your hazard setters and breakers to take advantage of common mbouncers in ways other than simply trying to get them up is a more actionable solution than simply giving up just because it might be difficult to get up hazards.

TL;DR
There are quite a few pokemon/abilities that can dismantle teams if unprepared for, and these are just a few that I think are worth mentioning. A couple of honorable mentions are: Volcarona, which is sneaky enough to snatch setup opportunities against teams without unaware blobs or haze fini/pex; next, while I wouldn't exactly consider Regenerator to be a "threat' persay, lacking ways to break regenvesters and regen pivots as a whole can leave teams flailing for progress over the long-term of any given game.

Kyurem (DD Skill link, SFLO)
Victini (Sheer Force, CB/CS DesoLand)
Blacephalon (MG LO/CS, DesoLand)
Zapdos-G (MGLO, TINTED, ADAPT)
Random belly drum/unburden mons
Naganadel + dragons (DMAW)
Weavile (only to an extent)
Terrakion (ADAPT)
Mamoswine (ADAPT LO)
Zeraora/Electric Types/SNEAKY RISING VOLTAGE
Noivern (Aerilate)
PHEAL MONS (Snorlax, Fini, Zarude, Zygarde)
Zygarde (adapt/pheal)
Tinted Lens (Fairy/Fighting/Psychic)
Psychic Types/Expanding Force mons
Triage (Fairy/Fighting)
Magic Bounce

Q: "How likely is it that I'll actually run into any of these?"
A: Yes. I would hope that when building any kind of team, all of these threats are considered at least once. Some are certainly more common than others, but at the end of the day there should always be some kind of answer/check/gameplan for all of them, because I 100% believe that every single threat listed above is legitimately capable of winning games on its own against unprepared teams.

As always: no matter how I may have worded things above, this is all just my own opinion/interpretation of the metagame collected from observing/playing thousands of games and engaging in discourse with anyone who plays/builds AAA. I don't consider myself to be perfect at either teambuilding or playing, but I think in the big picture it doesn't take perfection to acknowledge what's viable and identify ways to deal with those things. Feel free to dispute anything you see and/or share your thoughts in a post of your own :]
 
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I always loved the idea of this metagame and I really doubt anyone would change anything based on my post but here we go.

This meta would be so much more fun if it just showed you what every mons ability is, like camomons does with types. It just feels like a random guessing game sometimes instead of actually testing cool unique theorymon ideas. I’m sure if you play the tier a ton you get used to what things generally run, but it feels like you need to do a whole lot of unnecessary scouting if you play it causally. In real mons, you already know all of the abilities and, because of this, AAA doesn’t really play like real mons at all imo.

Feel free to delete this or whatever, just wanted to talk about what I think would make the meta immensely more fun.
 
I always loved the idea of this metagame and I really doubt anyone would change anything based on my post but here we go.

This meta would be so much more fun if it just showed you what every mons ability is, like camomons does with types. It just feels like a random guessing game sometimes instead of actually testing cool unique theorymon ideas. I’m sure if you play the tier a ton you get used to what things generally run, but it feels like you need to do a whole lot of unnecessary scouting if you play it causally. In real mons, you already know all of the abilities and, because of this, AAA doesn’t really play like real mons at all imo.

Feel free to delete this or whatever, just wanted to talk about what I think would make the meta immensely more fun.
I personally think part of the fun of playing AAA casually is getting thrashed by an ability you don't expect and having it get added to your mental list of things to watch out for next time. To be fair, as an other meta AAA isn't meant to play like "real mons" to begin with, so the initial mystery behind different mons' abilities is just one of those things to adjust to, as I see it. That being said, I suppose it really just depends on what you're hoping to get out of the experience whenever you play, and it can be understandably overwhelming at times to feel like you're completely clueless about what you're likely to be facing. When it comes to that, there's always things like the Viability Rankings to give you a general idea of what's commonly used, and other than that there's nothing quite like experience from playing/watching the meta consistently to be correct on those predictions as often as possible.

Edit [moar]: There's also a certain degree of significance behind being able to innovate that only continues to exist if the surprise factor remains. If you already know that a Weavile is Galvanize, it becomes infinitely harder for the opponent to lure your Tapu Fini into trying to switch in. If you already know that a Victini is/isn't Desolate Land, then it completely gives away its set and ruins any edge it might have had in the information-gathering part of the matchup. In competitive play, this kind of exchange between players matters a lot more, but even in casual play it's not as if you can't ever try to win while having fun--telegraphed abilities eliminate the opportunities created by unorthodox sets almost entirely.
 
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Just in time for World Cup, the AAA Council has unanimously determined that Naganadel poses too much of an offensive threat to the metagame and as such is now banned from AAA.

MemberBanNo BanAbstain
ThinkerinoX
JrdnX
Xavgb (Stresh)X
The Number ManX
RozesX
:ss/Naganadel:
Naganadel is a beast. It is one of few wallbreakers in the tier capable of reducing even the bulkiest pokemon to rubble, but manages to do so to an overwhelming extent. Dragon/Poison is already an amazing offensive typing due to hitting common Fairy answers to dragon types like Tapu Fini while retaining the inherent nuking power of Dragon's Maw-boosted Draco Meteor, all backed by a relatively high 127 special attack stat and 121 speed, placing it among the fastest unboosted pokemon in the tier. Unlike most other pokemon that get banned, there isn't anything overly unpredictable about Naganadel (Dragon's Maw is far and away its best ability in practice)--it's just that strong. Access to Nasty Plot enables it to break past even the most well-known specially defensive walls like non-unaware Chansey/Blissey (both of which are susceptible to being poisoned by Sludge Bomb), Snorlax, and most regenvesters. In fact, here are some calcs against would-be switchins:

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Snorlax: 550-647 (104.9 - 123.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Corviknight: 325-383 (81.2 - 95.7%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Milotic: 335-395 (85 - 100.2%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Assault Vest Swampert: 419-493 (103.7 - 122%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Blissey: 625-737 (87.5 - 103.2%) -- 25% chance to OHKO

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Eviolite Chansey: 516-608 (73.3 - 86.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Ferrothorn: 264-311 (75 - 88.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Heatran: 281-331 (72.7 - 85.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery

+2 252 SpA Life Orb Dragon's Maw Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 248 HP / 252+ SpD Nihilego: 485-571 (115.2 - 135.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO

These calcs show that even if they were equipped with Assault Vests, most pokemon would be limited to at best a 1:1 trade with Naganadel, which certainly isn't ideal. The 1.5x damage amp from Dragon's Maw is no joke. Very few things are equipped to deal with Dragon/Poison coverage to begin with, and even something like Assault Vest Jirachi fears a +2 Naganadel, as any prior chip can be the difference between Fire Blast killing or not--and that's part of what makes it so overwhelming. Because of Naganadel's ability to threaten an OHKO on physically defensive pokemon like Mew and Hippowdon while deterring specially defensive mons from trying to switchin to begin with, opposing players are almost always inclined to try to switch out in order to try and limit its amount of kills. More often than not, this to lead to a series of questions regarding odds that tend to be favorable for the Naganadel player anyway. Do you switch out and risk a Nasty Plot/spikes going up for free? Do you stay in and risk getting ohkoed by +0 Draco on your slower non-spdef mon? Generally, neither option is a good one for the person facing the Naganadel, and both are likely to just result in it getting a kill.

It's also worth noting that Naganadel is by no means required to run a life orb. Dragon's Fang sets could potentially sacrifice those high-end damage rolls for no longer having to deal with the recoil from life orb, making it even more difficult to play around. Overall, the fact that Naganadel more or less mandates an extremely small group of checks/counters which often have to trade rather than actually beat it makes it too overwhelming for the meta, and more than warrants its ban.


Additionally, the council has voted to also ban Zygarde.

MemberBanNo BanAbstain
ThinkerinoX
JrdnX
Xavgb (Stresh)X
The Number ManX
RozesX

:ss/Zygarde:
Zygarde's main claim to fame is its access to Thousand Arrows, arguably one of the most broken-by-design moves in the game. With a move effect that allows it to ground flying types and target levitating pokemon directly despite being a ground type move, Thousand Arrows enables Zygarde to enjoy the privilege of comfortably fitting in options to beat its counters into its movesets. In particular, Choice Band Adaptability 2hkos most grounded defensive pokemon like Swampert, Tapu Fini, and Hippowdon, while making flying types like Zapdos, Corviknight, and Mandibuzz obsolete as effective switchins--it can even run Earthquake to hit even harder and Toxic or even Glare to deal with Dauntless Shield checks like Mew or Hippowdon--let's also not forget that Extreme Speed is +2 priority, ideal for picking off weakened threats. Hustle is an extremely threatening set that is able to 2hko even relatively hard counters like Tapu Bulu with Extreme Speed after a Coil, and is capable of ohkoing faster pokemon like Weavile with the benefit of +2 Priority. Poison Heal sets can run Dragon Dance/Coil to turn Zygarde into a formidable swetup sweeper, and because Thousand Arrows hits so many different pokemon, there's always plenty of room to run things like Glare/Toxic once again to neutralize would-be switchins, making use of Subsitute/Protect to take full advantage of the passive recovery and effective status immunity. Specially Defensive Sets in combination with either Poison Heal or Regenvest even work as answers to powerful special attackers like Blacephalon and Gengar, avoiding 2hkos and dealing supereffective damage in return. Dragon Tail--although not as blatantly problematic as Thousand Arrows--even allows it repeatedly force out would-be switchins like Poison Heal Golisopod/Zarude, Mew, and Hippowdon; basically, anything that isn't immune can end up getting cycled to death by Dragon Tails.

The reason that all of the above pushes Zygarde over the edge is because of the impact it has on teambuilding as a whole. Because Thousand Arrows eliminates flying types as blanket answers, teams are hard pressed--required, even--to either have ways to deal with all of the possible sets, or risk getting blown to smithereens by a rogue Toxic/Glare putting their dshield mon in a bodybag. This demand puts teams in a conundrum where they must give up several invaluable slots/abilities just to deal with a mon that has the potential to overpower all of its counters anyway; thus, Zygarde has more than proven itself as banworthy.

Side note: To ensure transparency, all quickbans from now on will show the votes from each council member.

Tagging The Immortal and Kris for implementation.
 
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berry

rock
is a Community Contributor Alumnus
I recently made a post in the BH thread summarizing the usage stats in the two BH livetours in the last couple weeks. I'm here to do the same thing in AAA, but unfortunately I can't offer any analysis because I know infinitely less about AAA than I do BH.

Tour 1: pre-buzz / naga / zyg ban

:tapu-fini: SWSH Almost Any Ability :tapu-fini:
Code:
+ ---- + ------------------ + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| Rank | Pokemon            | Use  | Usage % |  Win %  |
+ ---- + ------------------ + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| 1    | Tapu Fini          |   11 |  39.29% |  45.45% |
| 2    | Buzzwole           |   10 |  35.71% |  50.00% |
| 3    | Corviknight        |    9 |  32.14% |  55.56% |
| 4    | Landorus-Therian   |    8 |  28.57% |  62.50% |
| 4    | Heatran            |    8 |  28.57% |  25.00% |
| 6    | Zeraora            |    7 |  25.00% |  57.14% |
| 7    | Hippowdon          |    6 |  21.43% |  50.00% |
| 8    | Blacephalon        |    5 |  17.86% |  40.00% |
| 8    | Toxapex            |    5 |  17.86% |  40.00% |
| 8    | Zapdos             |    5 |  17.86% |  40.00% |
| 11   | Celesteela         |    4 |  14.29% |  75.00% |
| 11   | Ferrothorn         |    4 |  14.29% |  75.00% |
| 11   | Zygarde            |    4 |  14.29% |  50.00% |
| 14   | Nihilego           |    3 |  10.71% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Snorlax            |    3 |  10.71% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Barraskewda        |    3 |  10.71% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Primarina          |    3 |  10.71% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Garchomp           |    3 |  10.71% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Mandibuzz          |    3 |  10.71% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Archeops           |    3 |  10.71% |  33.33% |
| 14   | Mew                |    3 |  10.71% |  33.33% |
| 14   | Zapdos-Galar       |    3 |  10.71% |  33.33% |
| 14   | Noivern            |    3 |  10.71% |  33.33% |
| 14   | Gengar             |    3 |  10.71% |   0.00% |
| 14   | Genesect           |    3 |  10.71% |   0.00% |
| 26   | Xurkitree          |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Tapu Koko          |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Thundurus-Therian  |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Talonflame         |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Spectrier          |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Tyranitar          |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Rotom-Wash         |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Volcanion          |    2 |   7.14% | 100.00% |
| 26   | Weavile            |    2 |   7.14% |  50.00% |
| 26   | Terrakion          |    2 |   7.14% |  50.00% |
| 26   | Rotom-Heat         |    2 |   7.14% |  50.00% |
| 26   | Zarude             |    2 |   7.14% |  50.00% |
| 26   | Jirachi            |    2 |   7.14% |  50.00% |
| 26   | Victini            |    2 |   7.14% |  50.00% |
| 26   | Moltres            |    2 |   7.14% |   0.00% |
| 26   | Silvally           |    2 |   7.14% |   0.00% |
| 26   | Swampert           |    2 |   7.14% |   0.00% |
| 26   | Chansey            |    2 |   7.14% |   0.00% |
| 44   | Magnezone          |    1 |   3.57% | 100.00% |
| 44   | Kommo-o            |    1 |   3.57% | 100.00% |
| 44   | Tapu Bulu          |    1 |   3.57% | 100.00% |
| 44   | Rhydon             |    1 |   3.57% |   0.00% |
| 44   | Kyurem             |    1 |   3.57% |   0.00% |
| 44   | Scizor             |    1 |   3.57% |   0.00% |
| 44   | Toxtricity         |    1 |   3.57% |   0.00% |
| 44   | Cinderace          |    1 |   3.57% |   0.00% |
| 44   | Naganadel          |    1 |   3.57% |   0.00% |
| 44   | Blastoise          |    1 |   3.57% |   0.00% |
:buzzwole: Moves and Teammates :buzzwole:
:corviknight: Combos :corviknight:
:zeraora: Leads :zeraora:

Tour 2: pre-naga / zyg ban
Unfortunately we don't have any stats from the current meta, but I'm hoping that these stats can show some useful information to those who know more about this tier than me

:corviknight: SWSH Almost Any Ability :corviknight:
SM OU

Code:
+ ---- + ------------------ + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| Rank | Pokemon            | Use  | Usage % |  Win %  |
+ ---- + ------------------ + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| 1    | Corviknight        |    9 |  37.50% |  55.56% |
| 1    | Heatran            |    9 |  37.50% |  22.22% |
| 3    | Zapdos-Galar       |    8 |  33.33% |  37.50% |
| 4    | Golisopod          |    7 |  29.17% |  57.14% |
| 5    | Zygarde            |    6 |  25.00% |  83.33% |
| 5    | Tapu Fini          |    6 |  25.00% |  50.00% |
| 7    | Swampert           |    5 |  20.83% |  60.00% |
| 7    | Chansey            |    5 |  20.83% |  40.00% |
| 9    | Ferrothorn         |    4 |  16.67% |  75.00% |
| 9    | Toxapex            |    4 |  16.67% |  50.00% |
| 9    | Garchomp           |    4 |  16.67% |  50.00% |
| 9    | Raikou             |    4 |  16.67% |  50.00% |
| 9    | Hippowdon          |    4 |  16.67% |   0.00% |
| 14   | Blacephalon        |    3 |  12.50% | 100.00% |
| 14   | Tapu Bulu          |    3 |  12.50% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Mew                |    3 |  12.50% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Latios             |    3 |  12.50% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Zeraora            |    3 |  12.50% |  66.67% |
| 14   | Diancie            |    3 |  12.50% |  33.33% |
| 14   | Dhelmise           |    3 |  12.50% |   0.00% |
| 14   | Skarmory           |    3 |  12.50% |   0.00% |
| 22   | Moltres-Galar      |    2 |   8.33% | 100.00% |
| 22   | Rotom-Heat         |    2 |   8.33% | 100.00% |
| 22   | Terrakion          |    2 |   8.33% | 100.00% |
| 22   | Tapu Lele          |    2 |   8.33% | 100.00% |
| 22   | Naganadel          |    2 |   8.33% | 100.00% |
| 22   | Snorlax            |    2 |   8.33% |  50.00% |
| 22   | Landorus-Therian   |    2 |   8.33% |  50.00% |
| 22   | Zapdos             |    2 |   8.33% |  50.00% |
| 22   | Suicune            |    2 |   8.33% |   0.00% |
| 22   | Weavile            |    2 |   8.33% |   0.00% |
| 22   | Noivern            |    2 |   8.33% |   0.00% |
| 22   | Gengar             |    2 |   8.33% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Blaziken           |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Azelf              |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Genesect           |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Blissey            |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Archeops           |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Celesteela         |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Milotic            |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Metagross          |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Moltres            |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Hydreigon          |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Barraskewda        |    1 |   4.17% | 100.00% |
| 34   | Tapu Koko          |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Toxtricity         |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Cinderace          |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Mandibuzz          |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Nihilego           |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Kabutops           |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Tyranitar          |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Volcarona          |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Victini            |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
| 34   | Zarude             |    1 |   4.17% |   0.00% |
 
In the interest of making sure everyone doesn't think the council is just marinating without making anything happen, I figured I should share a few of the things that are currently in the works for AAA.

Set Compendium and VR Update

This is something that's been long-awaited this gen, and obviously effort has already been put into a [incomplete but still extremely useful] setpedia by the French community here, which on its own is a commendable contribution. As for the official compendium for the DLC II meta, the contributions of tournament players in developing and shaping the metagame are significant enough to warrant waiting until sometime after the World Cup of Other Metagames has concluded in order to release the setpedia and VR update simultaneously; thus, any and all meta-defining changes can be taken into account. Be on the lookout for those changes sometime in the winter!

Sample Teams

In addition to the release of an official setpedia and VR update, we (the council) are also looking to update sample teams in the coming weeks, so don't be mislead--there's [almost] always room for more samples! If you have a team you think is sample worthy, feel free to submit it by posting in this thread with a brief explanation that walks us through its contents :] we'll be sure to consider them all when the time comes.

Moving Forward

Feedback from the community is always welcome. If there's anything you observe is missing in terms of resources or just plain activity, don't hesitate to deposit your thoughts in this thread or in the discord: https://discord.gg/sQFqtb87Mz

Note: Anything stated above is intended to be taken as works in progress and not absolutes. It's impossible to predict with absolute certainty what will happen even over short durations of time, so if a change doesn't come as quickly as you might have expected, it doesn't mean that there aren't any attempts being made to get them done. The work of everyone who contributes to the tier is laudable--whether it's in the OM room, here on Smogon, or on Discord--and everything that's done is to ensure that the meta remains enjoyable and continues to grow, so let's encourage that trend :]
 
The two teams that I used in WcoOM. I think they're both solid overall, so this is a sample submission too.

:barraskewda: :blissey: :garchomp: :genesect: :mew: :tapu fini:
This team was built around Sheer Force Life Orb Genesect, which can very easily sweep teams, and which many people are unprepared for because Genesect sees low use for some reason. This pokémon's main strenght is that it's a coverage machine with Sheer Force boosted Bolt Beam, but it beats anti-coverage pokémon like Blissey, Snorlax, most Assault Vest users and Mew . As Genect just Leech Lifes those, the best counterplay against it is something offensive that lives any hit (like Flamethrower Genesect if you don't get crit :pikuh: ). Barraskewda felt like a naturally good partner, as it invites Water types, most of which Genesect will ohko or comfortably 2hko with Thunderbolt. The rest of the team is extremely mainstream, notice that so many teams currently rely on Ground + Water (or Swampert) + general physical wall (Mew, Doublade, Intimidate bird) + Blissey/Snorlax. Well that team is the perfect example of how the meta works defensively currently. Had to put Sludge Bomb on Mew for Tapu Bulu (which is extremely hard to prepare for) (Will-O-Wisp isn't enough).

:archeops: :blacephalon: :blissey: :corviknight: :swampert: :tapu bulu:
This double Trick core, wether it's double Scarf, Specs + Band, Scarf + Specs, or Band + Scarf, is great for a couple of reasons. It gives solid speed control with pokémon that don't lack power at all (good against offense particularly), Trick + Switcheroo is a pain to deal with, especially for fat teams, as well as giving flexibility, as you can choose which of them keeps its item and which of them tricks it. They also synergize well, as Archeops U-Turns on physical walls, which Blacephalon bombs. No team is really safe against this core really, it always finds its way in. I swear I tried to be original for the rest of the team, but couldn't find anything else than this extremely mainstream Blissey + Swampert + Corviknoght core. Bulu was put in last as a Zeraora answer, setup sweeper and additional speed control. Heatran is a giant threat to this team but it can't be helped, because Magic Bounce on Blissey would alter my Noivern and Blacephalon matchup too much.
 
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Double Trouble: After discussion and deliberation, the council has voted to BAN Zeraora and Spectrier

:ss/Zeraora:
MemberYesNoAbstain
ThinkerinoX
JrdnX
xavgb (stresh)X
rozesX
The Number ManX

The reasons for banning Zeraora aren't dissimilar to previous suspect reasoning here. Enabled by Tough Claws, its strong 100 BP STAB in Plasma Fist alongside its access to coverage moves like Knock Off, Grass Knot, Close Combat, and Play Rough make it difficult to consistently switch into, giving it the ability to cripple non Poison Heal pokemon extremely easily while dealing significant if not super effective damage to a large portion of the meta. Its incredible 143 base speed nearly monopolizes speed control, being outsped only by Regieleki, [Accelgor, and Ninjask] while enjoying the fact that most pokemon able to outspeed it with a Choice Scarf don't tend to run one. Would-be fast threats like Barrasewda, Weavile, Noivern, and Tapu Koko all face the threat of either an OHKO or 2HKO, with the latter two not even able to OHKO it. Additionally, Zeraora is able to Volt Switch on non-immune switchins to continue momentum while dealing decent damage. It can also negate hazard damage with Magic Guard Sets or negate chip entirely with Regenerator, making that form of counterplay obsolete. Volt Absorb candidates such as Corviknight, [Toxapex, who has largely fallen out of favor,] Moltres, and Mandibuzz are able to switch into Zeraora consistently, but without the utility of their other commonly ran abilities they struggle to be effective outside of that specific matchup. Even Garchomp and Landorus-Therian—the former of which is touted as one of the best Zeraora counters in the meta—are dismantled by Play Rough and weakened by Knock Off respectively. Tapu Bulu resists Electric-type STAB and the vast majority of Zeraora's coverage but struggles to actually make progress versus it because it's unable to repeatedly switch into Plasma Fist and Volt Switch. In summation, Zeraora constricts teambuilding by mandating the use of counterplay that it has the tools to overwhelm anyway, and prevents pokemon from being able to make use of their defensive utility.

:ss/Spectrier:
MemberYesNoAbstain
ThinkerinoX
JrdnX
xavgb (stresh)X
rozesX
The Number ManX
"But how can Spectrier be broken? It only learns like 3 useful moves, doesn't it?" <—Spectrier holds a unique position: a pokemon with arguably only three viable attacks (Shadow Ball, Hex, Dark Pulse) who still manages to be one of the most daunting special attackers in the tier. Equipped with Sheer Force Life Orb (SFLO), Adaptability, or even Poison Heal sets, it makes use of any combination of Taunt, Will-O-Wisp, and Nasty Plot to pressure the meta with offensive pressure. Its 130 base speed is only viably contested by Zeraora, Barraskewda and Tapu Koko, meaning that other than outspeeding the two other staple ghost types in Blacephalon and Gengar, its high 145 special attack in conjunction with that speed gives Spectrier the means to outspeed and 2HKO (if not OHKO) most pokemon slower than it using its STAB moves. Spectrier is also not as fragile as it seems: 100/60/80 base HP means it can afford to stay in versus most non-super-effective attacks such as Earthquakes from Swampert and Garchomp and set up for a sweep or get a kill. One of the worst negative effects Spectrier has had on the meta is almost singlehandedly contributing to Blissey tying for 1st in usage during the World Cup of Other Metagames. Because common pivots like Tapu Fini, Swampert, and Corviknight disintegrate to +2 Shadow Ball or Hex and can't do much in return, Spectrier's pool of viable checks is limited to Snorlax, Blissey, Chansey, and a few Unaware users like Mandibuzz. Regarding those Pokemon, Snorlax is able to consistently switch in and threaten a 2HKO with Darkest Lariat, but Blissey—even when equipped with Shadow Ball—still loses the 1v1 on switchin to +4 SFLO Dark Pulse and Chansey is forced to teleport if it's Magic Bounce while it loses to Taunt otherwise. As for Mandibuzz, it can be burned and rendered unable to deal significant damage or just Taunted into being unable to recover. Overall, Spectrier's impact on the meta is similar to Zeraora in that it demands limited counterplay in a way that suffocates teambuilding options.

With those two bans out of the way, the council will continue to observe the meta for any other potentially overwhelming threats that might subsequently rise.
Namely, the watchlist currently consists of:

:Tapu Bulu: Tapu Bulu
:Gengar: Gengar
:Blacephalon: Blacephalon
:Victini: Victini
:Kyurem: Kyurem

Feel free to give feedback on both the bans and the watchlist! If you have any other threats you think are of note, discussion is always welcome :]

PS: We're still looking for sample teams! If you have any to contribute, post them in this thread or in the AAA channel of the OM discord here: https://discord.gg/ddBVXDQMcJ
That being said, be on the lookout for updates to the resources in the coming weeks as WCoOM winds to an end!

Tagging Kris and The Immortal for implementation
 
Hi !
I completely agree with both bans, so I'm not going to come back on them. I just wanted to make an argument for this little boy :genesect: to be on the watchlist. The sheer amount of options it has combined with 120bst in both offenses and very respectable bulk and speed make it one of the scariest -probably the scariest- mons to face in aaa. After people realize how good it is (which they already have, as its usage rised during WcoOM), I'm pretty convinced it will be banworthy. Rather than giving a deep explanation, I'll just drop a close-to-exhaustive list of viable sets you can use with Genesect. Obviously some spreads or movesets might be inaccurate.

https://pokepast.es/e1c445893116d6ab - Here are 9 viable Shift Gear sets. Okay, 2 of them are memes (they can still work), but if you think about it (and even if you consider only 4 or 3 of them to be viable), it's a stunning amount.
https://pokepast.es/82827653d8aae09d - Here are 12 viable Choiced sets.
https://pokepast.es/3e2746afe118de59 - Here are 5 viable sets that didn't fit in the previous categories.

Considering this, what do you do when you're in front of a Genesect ? "Blablabla depends on context blabla team preview blabla going fini is safe" - Untrue. You flip a coin and pray, that's what you do. Unless you have a counter to those 26 sets (10 of which might be significantly worse than the 16 others, which are still 16).

e: forgot Steel Beam on the MG sets but you get it
 
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I'm sure the council probably has more important things on their mind right now, but is there any good reason Quick Draw shouldn't be banned? It has no competitive value whatsoever and just turns things into 44/56 when revenge killing something with both Draw and Claw. It's not broken or anything at all, just uncompetitive. I would also say the same thing about Serene Grace; there is practically no competitive value to keeping this ability allowed unless you just want to allow random trolls to scarf iron head flinch everything.
 
I'm sure the council probably has more important things on their mind right now, but is there any good reason Quick Draw shouldn't be banned? It has no competitive value whatsoever and just turns things into 44/56 when revenge killing something with both Draw and Claw. It's not broken or anything at all, just uncompetitive. I would also say the same thing about Serene Grace; there is practically no competitive value to keeping this ability allowed unless you just want to allow random trolls to scarf iron head flinch everything.
As of right now, Quick Draw and Serene Grace aren't negatively contributing to the meta in any significant way. The council also avoids banning abilities just because they're "uncompetitive" in a general sense; if they become a legitimate problem within the AAA meta itself (to the extent that they're centralizing or outright broken/unhealthy), then they'll be addressed. Otherwise, it's in our best interest to preserve as many abilities as possible in a format known as "Almost Any Ability".
 
Hey there guys, I remember seeing shuckle as B- tier with mold breaker in about 2018 (yeah i haven't played in a while).
Anyone know what it was supposed to do? I'm stumped.
 
Hey there guys, I remember seeing shuckle as B- tier with mold breaker in about 2018 (yeah i haven't played in a while).
Anyone know what it was supposed to do? I'm stumped.
Set Webs and possibly Rocks then die. It actually ended up getting banned in Gen 7. EDIT: Nope sorry lol, was thinking of Mix and Mega.
 
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