Gen 2 An Analysis of Leads in GSC OU

wyc2333

A=X+Y+Z Y: Hard Work
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The Lead Cycle

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+ ---- + ----------------------- + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| Rank | Leads | Use | Usage % | Win % |
+ ---- + ----------------------- + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| 1 | Snorlax | 38 | 39.58% | 44.74% |
| 2 | Zapdos | 16 | 16.67% | 68.75% |
| 3 | Raikou | 12 | 12.50% | 50.00% |
| 4 | Nidoking | 8 | 8.33% | 62.50% |
| 4 | Exeggutor | 8 | 8.33% | 50.00% |
| 4 | Cloyster | 8 | 8.33% | 37.50% |
| 7 | Jynx | 2 | 2.08% | 50.00% |
| 8 | Porygon2 | 1 | 1.04% | 100.00% |
| 8 | Heracross | 1 | 1.04% | 0.00% |
| 8 | Articuno | 1 | 1.04% | 0.00% |
| 8 | Tyranitar | 1 | 1.04% | 0.00% |
+ ---- + ----------------------- + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| Rank | Leads | Use | Usage % | Win % |
+ ---- + ----------------------- + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| 1 | Snorlax | 25 | 32.89% | 52.00% |
| 2 | Zapdos | 15 | 19.74% | 53.33% |
| 2 | Raikou | 15 | 19.74% | 40.00% |
| 4 | Exeggutor | 6 | 7.89% | 16.67% |
| 5 | Nidoking | 5 | 6.58% | 60.00% |
| 6 | Jynx | 3 | 3.95% | 100.00% |
| 6 | Cloyster | 3 | 3.95% | 33.33% |
| 8 | Tyranitar | 2 | 2.63% | 100.00% |
| 9 | Blissey | 1 | 1.32% | 100.00% |
| 9 | Smeargle | 1 | 1.32% | 0.00% |

Electrics force Cloyster leads out and use Thunder (or Thunder Wave) to paralyze whatever (even if an opponent sends a Ground-type Pokemon, you will know early-game the Ground-type Pokemon you are facing), a phazing move to let an opponent reveal three mons in the first two turns, or double-switching to your Cloyster against expected Snorlax / Ground-type (unless Nidoking) switch-ins to give you early Spikes and a free turn to use Toxic or Hidden Power Electric against an opposing Cloyster when it is switched in and use Spikes. When it comes to Zapdos vs Raikou matchup, Raikou can either use Roar or try to force Rest on Zapdos, while Zapdos can try to paralyze Raikou with Thunder Wave, which can be game-changing.

Although Electrics on offensive teams can hit Snorlax with Thunder or use a phazing move, it is still a versatile Pokemon that can threaten an opposing team early-game in different ways: it can use Curse to scout two-third of opposing mons on offensive teams at most, sleep something with Lovely Kiss, lure Cloyster that wants early Spikes with Double-Edge + Thunder, spread paralysis with Body Slam, click Self-Destruct when it comes to Snorlax mirror, or use Toxic against Cloyster and maybe opposing Snorlax.

Cloyster gurantees Spikes vs Snorlax leads, but it is at a huge disadvantage if facing an Electric-type lead, Nidoking, and Jynx. When Cloyster teams have something like a cleric, they can stay in against Exeggutor to lay Spikes, otherwise it can be switched out. However, on offensive teams, Cloyster can use Miracle Berry against status.

Leads that try to get an advantage on Turn 1 via status or via removing Leftovers of an opposing Pokemon shouldn't be overlooked. Exeggutor is especially effective at this because Electrics are its most common counters and it can easily use Stun Spore, Sleep Powder, or Thief to help sweepers like Vaporeon, Machamp, and Marowak. Nidoking outspeeds Snorlax and capitalizes on leads like Raikou. On offensive teams, Jynx has an advantage against Zapdos and Cloyster. It can force leads without Sleep Talk such as Snorlax out and use Substitute to scout a Pokemon with Sleep Talk like Zapdos, thus threatening boom offense.

Other options are Tyranitar (that gives you an advantage against some common leads like Zapdos), Forretress (that sets up Spikes against Electrics, but it is scared of random Fire-type coverage moves as well as a possible paralysis that would make spinning harder), Smeargle (that can use Agility, set up Spikes, or surprise something since it can learn almost every move), and Porygon2 (mainly with Thunder Wave to paralyze something or sometimes Thunder to surprise Cloyster).


It's better late than never. Feel free to comment.
 

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M Dragon

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First of all I will explain what I call the "GSC lead cycle":
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>

>


I will group Zapdos and Raikou together and I will call them "electrics".

Historically in GSC, there have been 3 very common kind of leads: Electrics, Snorlax and Cloyster.

Electrics force Cloyster leads out, giving the electric user a big advantage, because he can choose between using Thunder to try to paralyze whatever (even if they send a ground user, you will know very early game what ground you are facing, and that will give you an advantage while planning the game strategy) or using Roar to start scouting the other team and hopefully revealing 3 mons in the first 2 turns giving a better idea of what you are facing, or double switching to your Cloyster in the expected Snorlax / Ground (unless Nidoking) switch to give you early free spikes, which also gives you a free turn to Toxic or to HP Electric their Cloyster (if they have one) while they also Spikes. In most of these scenarios, you will be at an advantage early game.
In the "worst MU" in the cycle vs lax, electrics can still hit a Thunder or Roaring the Snorlax out, so they can still do "something" even if the Snorlax user will nearly always be in the better situation.
And then there is the Zapdos vs Raikou MU, where Raikou can either Roar or try to para or force the rest on Zapdos while Zapdos can try to paralyze the Raikou. Paralyzing the electric can be very important.

You explained Snorlax well. Snorlax is a very versatile pokemon that can threaten the other team from start in different ways: it can sleep something, it can start cursing and threaten the other team, it can lure a Cloyster that wants early Spikes with D-E + Thunder, it can start cursing to threaten the other team and potentially kill something and/or damage several mons while allowing you to scout 2/3 of their mons from the start in the best case, it can start toxicing...
Basically, Snorlax has 2 main things: versatility and potential to break a team from the start.

Then you have Cloyster. Cloyster gurantees Spikes and therefore a good start vs Lax leads but is at a huge disadvantage if facing an electric lead, since you are forced to switch out.


The other big group of leads are the ones that try to get an advantage from the start via status or via removing the Leftovers of an opposing pokemon. Exeggutor, Nidoking and Jynx are the best examples.
Exeggutor is especially effective at this, because Zapdos is its most common counter, and it can easily do one of the 3 things (para, sleep or remove its lefties) to help a sweeper like Vaporeon, Marowak, Machamp, etc.
The basic idea is getting an advantage since the start by crippling something in turn 1.


Then you have other options such as Forry (who can take a hit from the electrics to set up spikes, but is scared of random Fire Blasts and HP Fires, as well as a possible para that would make spinning later in the game harder), Smeargle (who can set up spikes AND sleep something, or surprise something since it can learn every move) or Tyranitar (who gives you an advantage against some common leads like Zapdos)
 
I'll add some 2 cents to MDragon's comments on the lead cycle he describes.

Electrics end up being the most overall "safe" used leads, because in addition to not having nothing to do vs Snorlax as MDragon mentioned, they tend to be better equipped with resttalk sets to take on the "status leads". RestTalk Snorlax is a thing, but of the lead sets it's also one of the immediately less threatening, so not particularly common. For this reason Cloyster ends up being a rather high risk lead. Spikes is so meta shapingly strong, so leading electric to prevent spikes advantage on turn 1 also has utility in its own right.

Which brings us to another salient point about GSC OU electrics when it comes to their solidity. There are basically no counters to them outside of Snorlax (which would rather not take Thunder to the face, due to para chance and then having to rest), the obvious choice of grounds/rock types being hit hard by hidden power ice/water, especially from Zapdos, which can 2hko a lot of them with spikes. Jynx is a great check to Zapdos, but it obviously doesn't like taking Thunder.

Lax lead is almost never bad, because of its famous versatility, but there is opportunity cost in using it in the lead slot, especially if you end up running into status lead vs your non RestTalk Lax.

In summary, of the S mons of MDragons cycle Electrics>Snorlax> Spikers(inluding Forry), is the general take on the frequency you'll actually see them in.
 

wyc2333

A=X+Y+Z Y: Hard Work
is a Pre-Contributor
First of all I will explain what I call the "GSC lead cycle":
>

>

>


I will group Zapdos and Raikou together and I will call them "electrics".

Historically in GSC, there have been 3 very common kind of leads: Electrics, Snorlax and Cloyster.

Electrics force Cloyster leads out, giving the electric user a big advantage, because he can choose between using Thunder to try to paralyze whatever (even if they send a ground user, you will know very early game what ground you are facing, and that will give you an advantage while planning the game strategy) or using Roar to start scouting the other team and hopefully revealing 3 mons in the first 2 turns giving a better idea of what you are facing, or double switching to your Cloyster in the expected Snorlax / Ground (unless Nidoking) switch to give you early free spikes, which also gives you a free turn to Toxic or to HP Electric their Cloyster (if they have one) while they also Spikes. In most of these scenarios, you will be at an advantage early game.
In the "worst MU" in the cycle vs lax, electrics can still hit a Thunder or Roaring the Snorlax out, so they can still do "something" even if the Snorlax user will nearly always be in the better situation.
And then there is the Zapdos vs Raikou MU, where Raikou can either Roar or try to para or force the rest on Zapdos while Zapdos can try to paralyze the Raikou. Paralyzing the electric can be very important.

You explained Snorlax well. Snorlax is a very versatile pokemon that can threaten the other team from start in different ways: it can sleep something, it can start cursing and threaten the other team, it can lure a Cloyster that wants early Spikes with D-E + Thunder, it can start cursing to threaten the other team and potentially kill something and/or damage several mons while allowing you to scout 2/3 of their mons from the start in the best case, it can start toxicing...
Basically, Snorlax has 2 main things: versatility and potential to break a team from the start.

Then you have Cloyster. Cloyster gurantees Spikes and therefore a good start vs Lax leads but is at a huge disadvantage if facing an electric lead, since you are forced to switch out.


The other big group of leads are the ones that try to get an advantage from the start via status or via removing the Leftovers of an opposing pokemon. Exeggutor, Nidoking and Jynx are the best examples.
Exeggutor is especially effective at this, because Zapdos is its most common counter, and it can easily do one of the 3 things (para, sleep or remove its lefties) to help a sweeper like Vaporeon, Marowak, Machamp, etc.
The basic idea is getting an advantage since the start by crippling something in turn 1.


Then you have other options such as Forry (who can take a hit from the electrics to set up spikes, but is scared of random Fire Blasts and HP Fires, as well as a possible para that would make spinning later in the game harder), Smeargle (who can set up spikes AND sleep something, or surprise something since it can learn every move) or Tyranitar (who gives you an advantage against some common leads like Zapdos)
i agree gsc lead cycle should be laid more emphasis. thx for ur comments and this analysis has been updated
 
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