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Alolan Sandslash stands out as one of the only priority sweepers in the format, thanks to its access to Swords Dance and Ice Shard. Ice is a great offensive typing that allows it to hit prominent Pokemon such as Zapdos, Mega Venusaur, and Dragonite hard, while decent physical bulk and a wide array of resistances give it good chances to set up and allow it to function as one of the few Steel-type tanks in the game. However, Alolan Sandslash's Speed stat and special bulk force it to rely a lot on Ice Shard to sweep, forcing it to be mostly played late-game. Furthermore, Steel / Ice gives it a double weakness to Fire and Fighting and a weakness to Ground, making Alolan Sandslash very weak to common coverage moves.
name: Priority Sweeper
move 1: Swords Dance
move 2: Ice Shard
move 3: Earthquake
move 4: Ice Punch
item: No Item
Swords Dance gives Alolan Sandslash a much-needed boost in Attack to sweep. Ice Shard lets Alolan Sandslash sweep through weakened teams after a boost and makes it an excellent revenge killer against Dragonite. Earthquake offers some vital coverage, 2HKOing Melmetal after a boost and dealing massive damage to Alolan Muk before a boost. Ice Punch is Alolan Sandslash's most powerful viable attack, which is useful for hitting Gyarados on the switch, as well as OHKOing Sandslash and having a 68% chance to OHKO non-Impish Rhydon after Stealth Rock when boosted.
Since Alolan Sandslash is so reliant on Ice Shard to sweep, it's usually best to save sending out Alolan Sandslash until late-game, when sweeping with it becomes a feasible win condition. There are a few times where Alolan Sandslash can revenge kill certain Pokemon with Ice Shard, particularly Pokemon weak to it such as Dragonite. Switching Alolan Sandslash out early is acceptable in these cases, though setting up Swords Dance is risky. While Alolan Sandslash has an excellent range of resistances, keeping it as healthy as possible increases the chances of sweeping by allowing it to take one big hit without resorting to priority, such as Melmetal's Earthquake.
Stealth Rock setters are extremely important, since chip damage is key to setting up a sweep for Alolan Sandslash. Mew is an excellent example thanks to its Fighting-type resistance and ability to deal with Poliwrath. Other options like Aerodactyl, Rhydon, and Alolan Dugtrio still work, though you should note that the latter two share a lot of checks with Alolan Sandslash. Starmie and Mega Gyarados are particularly good options for covering the Fire-type weakness (and Fighting-type in Starmie's case). You'll want some checks to some of Alolan Sandslash's biggest threats if you want to sweep. Poliwrath is one of the most notable ones due to its Ice-type resistance and good defensive typing, but Water-types in general such as Starmie and Mega Gyarados can be problematic, and general defensive coverage against Fighting-, Fire-, and Ground-type attacks is recommended. This makes Zapdos an excellent teammate for its resistance to Fighting- and Ground- type attacks and ability to hit Water-types hard. Psychic-types such as Mew and Starmie often scare Poliwrath out, though they must watch out for Toxic, while a Poliwrath of your own will do fairly well against Mega Gyarados and Fire-types. While it shares a Fire-type weakness, Mega Venusaur does particularly well against Poliwrath and Mega Gyarados.
Alolan Sandslash happens to learn the valuable Stealth Rock, but it loses either coverage or the ability to sweep if forced in. Facade can be used to 2HKO Mew after a burn and a Swords Dance boost. Toxic is useful for crippling Mew on the switch.
Checks and Counters
**Poliwrath**: Poliwrath is one of Alolan Sandslash's worst matchups possible, as it resists its STAB attacks and easily OHKOes it with Superpower.
**Water-types**: A resistance to Alolan Sandslash's Ice-type STAB makes Water-types hard to pick off, even if Earthquake can deal decent damage. Starmie and Mega Gyarados are the most prominent examples.
**Fire-types**: Although less common, Fire-types can easily switch-in and OHKO Alolan Sandslash as long as they avoid Earthquake. Prominent examples include Mega Charizard X and Arcanine.
**Coverage Moves**: Alolan Sandslash's two prominent 4x weaknesses to Fighting- and Fire-type attacks make it fairly easy to OHKO for major users of these attacks.
**Special Attackers**: Alolan Sandslash's Special Defense is poor, so as long as opposing special attackers aren't weakened, they'll usually 2HKO or OHKO Alolan Sandslash with their STAB attacks.
- Written by: [[Theorymon, 29010]]
- Quality checked by: [[Eve, 375272]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216], [, ]]
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