An Early Look into SM OU


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Hi everyone. I promised resources during our B101 break in order to prepare for our reopening this January, so we're going to deliver. Thanks to some of our OU friends, we're going to be posting brief summaries of Pokemon we've found to be great in SM OU, both old and new.

Today's featured Pokemon is Tapu Lele, thanks to Finchinator.

What makes Tapu Lele so good in today's metagame?
Tapu Lele is among the most threatening Pokemon in the early stages of the SM OU metagame due to it having the ability Psychic Surge, a unique offensive typing, and a solid movepool. The ability Psychic Surge activates Psychic Terrain for five turns upon entry and it makes Tapu Lele's Psychic STAB hit incredibly hard while also leaving it immune to priority. The Psychic/Fairy typing allows Tapu Lele to hit everything neutrally with its STABs barring Steel types while it neutralizes the Dark and Bug type weaknesses of the Psychic typing. Finally, the special movepool of Tapu Lele allows it to hit everything of note in the tier with neutral STAB or a super effective coverage move thanks to Focus Blast, Hidden Power Fire, and Thunderbolt being viable options.

What is your personal favorite set?
My personal favorite Tapu Lele set is the Choice Scarf variant. With base 95 Speed and a Choice Scarf equipped, Tapu Lele has the ability to outpace a plethora of noteworthy threats and pose as one of the metagame's best revenge killers. Additionally, priority such as Scizor's Bullet Punch does not effect Tapu Lele under Psychic Terrain, making offensive counterplay to Scarf Tapu Lele often a challenge. While Choice Scarf is common on Tapu Lele, it can also run Choice Specs or Expert Belt sets in order to hit even harder or bluff a choice item and abuse the diverse movepool it has to the fullest extent.

What are your favorite teammates?
Some of my favorite teammates for Tapu Lele range from Pokemon that are directly synergetic with Tapu Lele due to attributes it brings to the table that compliment the teammate to Pokemon that work well with it defensively or simply find themselves on builds often due to having a widespread, practical niche. Mega Alakazam, fulfilling the former, is a strong teammate for Tapu Lele due to it taking advantage of Psychic Terrain with its own strong Psychic STAB attacks; however, Mega Alakazam also appreciates the luring and wallbreaking capabilities of Expert Belt and Choice Specs variants of Tapu Lele as there is some overlap in defensive counterplay between the two and Tapu Lele can often open up holes for Mega Alakazam. Landorus-Therian, fulfilling the latter, is a generally solid Pokemon in the SM OU metagame, but it specifically synergizes well with Tapu Lele due to it setting up Stealth Rock, having U-turn, luring in many physically bulky Pokemon that are vulnerable to Tapu Lele, and working well against many Steel and Poison types that can hit Tapu Lele super effectively and generally pose as a threat to Tapu Lele.

Do you have any replays you'd like to share with us that feature this pokemon? - Circuit Live Tour Round 1 vs WcJay - Tapu Lele does well here and the core of it + Mega Alakazam that I mentioned in the teammates paragraph shines, but it's not a very close game overall. - Friendly game vs Marcop9923 - Tapu Lele does some late game work here, but my opponent played fairly sloppily, so I'm not sure if this game is worth showcasing. - Circuit Live Tour Round 1 vs Mazar - Tapu Lele does well here and the core of it + Mega Alakazam shines, again, but this time the game is fairly close. - Friendly game vs Dice - Tapu Lele pretty much singlehandedly wins the game, but it isn't an incredibly serious match and the opponent forfeits within the first 12 turns due to Tapu Lele surprise killing a few things, so I don't know how indicative this is of Tapu Lele's viability or how useful it is for the purpose of this section. - Friendly game vs Sacri - Tapu Lele does well here and the core of it + Mega Alakazam shines, once again, but the game isn't for anything important and it wasn't particularly close (16 turn 4-0), so I'm not sure if this is worth using either.

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Here's a familiar face in SM OU, thanks to Empo

What makes Mega-Pinsir so good in today's metagame?

Mega-Pinsir has always been one of the best megas in my opinion. Its offensive typing and stats are very unique and its ability allows it to hit even harder. Its speed, if max 252 Spe Jolly, lets it outspeed all the base 100 speed Pokemon such as Charizard X and Y, Manaphy, as well as slightly slower threats in Genesect and Hydreigon who both hit 98 base speed. Just like Tapu Bulu, this Pokemon hits nearly everything for significant damage, but one of its main selling points is that it has Aerilate-enhanced priority with Quick Attack. Even though Aerilate got nerfed in Gen 7 and the prevalence of Tapu Lele's Psychic Terrain can stop priority from working as well, Pinsir is still very much a threat like it was in ORAS.

What is your personal favorite set?

Pinsir-Mega @ Pinsirite
Ability: Hyper Cutter
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Return
- Close Combat / Earthquake
- Quick Attack

This is the standard set and honestly you don't really need deviate too much; you can't go wrong with this set. Swords Dance lets it boost its already insane attack and lets you destroy entire teams once certain threats such as Electric-types are weakened. Quick Attack helps in most of situations versus faster Pokemon in many offensive builds such as Pheromosa as it easily OHKOes without any prior boosts. Even with the Aerilate nerf from a 1.3x to 1.2x boost, Pinsir can still OHKO most of what it was able to last gen. Close Combat / Earthquake is used as coverage and they're both pretty decent moves, although Close Combat has more utility especially since Aegislash has been banned from OU.

Another thing to consider is that Mega Manectric is not currently available in SM OU, eliminating one of the most efficient responses to Mega Pinsir in offensive builds.

What are your favorite teammates?

Scarf Excadrill is a great partner especially in hyper offensive builds, and checks Electric-types that are the primary ways to check Mega Pinsir; the second being Flying-types. Excadrill checks the majority of them with Rock Slide pretty easily, and can also Rapid Spin away entry hazards that can hurt Pinsir's durability and stop opportunities to set up Swords Dance. With Mold Breaker, you can Earthquake Rotom-W as well as softer checks in the Latis.

As for something else to add to this offensive core, you can add something that covers a bit against Dark-types such as Bisharp or Weavile that like to threaten Pinsir with their priority moves and speed respectively, such as Keldeo.

Do you have any replays you'd like to share with us that feature this pokemon? - Alexander's team has both Pinsir and Excadrill, although he won against me with primarily because of Magearna. This might be a cool offensive core to consider in the future! - Another cool team used by me this time. Admittedly it's pretty weak to Greninja because my Thundurus Prankster Thunder Waves do not work on Dark-types. However, this showcases Mega Pinsir's outstanding sweeping potential, showing that there's little preparation to be made depending on what your opponents run.
Today's featured pokemon is Tapu Koko, thanks to ABR

What makes Tapu Koko so good in today's metagame?

Tapu Koko's main selling points are its speed, great offensive typing, and electric-type power. Sitting at 130 base speed, it is able to outpace almost the entirety of the unboosted metagame, including Tornadus-Therian, Greninja, and Weavile. Most other Electric types are either defensive (Rotom/Zapdos), niche (Magnezone) or Thundurus which is inferior to Koko in that Koko is not SR weak, is faster, and has stronger STAB. For these reasons, Tapu Koko is the clear best offensive electric, and electric STAB is very valuable in a metagame full of Water and Flying type pokemon. Additionally, any would be electric resists either get U-turned / Volt Switched on or are hit by coverage options.

What is your personal favorite set?

Tapu Koko @ Zap Plate / Life Orb
Ability: Electric Surge
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Volt Switch
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- U-turn / Grass Knot

This set allows Tapu Koko to spam Electric type attacks mostly, while also retaining great momentum. Very few pokemon can take neutral Electric moves, so the remaining moves are all based around dealing with Electric resists in some form. Types that resist Electric are: Ground, Dragon, Grass, and Electric itself. All of the aforementioned types bar Ground are easily worn down by Volt Switch. HP Ice is necessary to hit Grasses/Dragons/Grounds super effectively but also mainly to deter Landorus, Garchomp, and Zygarde. Grass Knot deals with the remaining Grounds like Hippowdon, Quagsire, and Gastrodon, but these pokemon are all uncommon in the metagame and the GKnot set is hard stopped by Alolan Marowak. For this reason, I usually prefer U-turn to enable momentum gain vs any opposing team at all times.

What are your favorite teammates?

Defensively, a very sturdy ground immunity/resist such as Landorus-Therian or Celesteela is appreciated for obvious reasons. Lando-T sets rocks and also forms a nice VoltTurn core which keeps the opponent on the back foot most of the time.

Offensively, pokemon that abuse Volt switchins such as Amoong/Ferro/Bulu/Venu/Wak are really nice to maintain adequate pressure. This can be anything from Genesect to Heatran to Mega Alakazam for the Grasses or something like Greninja to abuse Grounds/Wak. Genesect in particular (generally with Choice Band) can really threaten almost all Koko switchins, offers breaking power, and forms a VoltTurn core, and this has become one of the more common cores used in SM.

Do you have any replays you'd like to share with us that feature this pokemon? (it wasn't the superstar here but it certainly helped swing momentum back in my favor)
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Tapu Bulu from Empo

What makes Tapu Bulu so good in today's metagame?

This Pokemon is awesome in the metagame. It has a high base 130 attack, which coupled with a Choice Band lets it deal over 50% to Aegislash on a switch using Wood Hammer (note: Aegislash is banned, this is just to show how strong it can be). Its most common switchins are Steel-types like Metagross / Genesect / Jirachi on offensive teams while Steel-types like Celesteela and Skarmory are seen more often in balanced and defensive teams. Buzzwole and Amoonguss are also common switch-ins thanks to their defensive bulk.

What is your personal favorite set?

Tapu Bulu @ Choice Band
Ability: Grassy Surge
EVs: 252 Atk / 6 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Wood Hammer
- Horn Leech
- Superpower
- Megahorn

4 Attacks Choice Band is the best set, in my opinion. You will be doing over 50% to some of the aforementioned offensive Steel-type switch-ins. Rocky Helmet variants are also quite good, since you'll still get 6% recovery with Grassy Terrain and can get even more if you run Leech Seed. Grassy Terrain is also helpful for weakening your opponent's Earthquakes, as Magnezones will be able to tank them from Pokemon such as Mega Metagross and Hippowdon that would usually OHKO it otherwise.

What are your favorite teammates?

Mega Gyarados can check most of the Fire and Steel-types that like to switch in on Bulu, and acts as a win condition in many instances where CB Tapu Bulu will be breaking holes in the opponent's team. Mega Scizor is also a good teammate for Tapu Bulu as the U-turn chip damage complements its wall breaking capabilities. Pursuit is also very helpful so you can weaken some of the faster, frailer threats that can give Tapu Bulu some issues.

Do you have any replays you'd like to share with us that feature this pokemon? - I built this team with my friend Blightbringer. We used a combination of Pursuit Mega Scizor, Tapu Bulu, and Belly Drum Azumarill to form a potent offensive core. - This team uses a combination of Kartana, Tapu Bulu, and Magnezone where Magnezone helps trap Steels so Tapu Bulu and Kartana can sweep teams.
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Landorus-T, thanks to Finchinator

What makes Landorus-Therian so good in today's metagame?

Landorus-Therian has been one of OU's best Pokemon dating back to BW2. In SM, Landorus-Therian remains one of the tier's top dogs. With the ability Intimidate, Landorus-Therian functions as one of the best physically defensive pivots. However, it is far from being a one-dimensional, defensive Pokemon. Landorus-Therian is also an Offensive behemoth with base 145 Attack and base 91 Speed. With STAB Earthquake and a solid group of coverage and utility moves to compliment it such as Stone Edge, Knock Off, U-turn, and Hidden Power, Landorus-Therian poses as quite an offensive presence, too. Overall, Landorus-Therian is one of the best Stealth Rock setters and Choice Scarf users in the metagame.

What is your personal favorite set?

My favorite Landorus-Therian set has to be the Stealth Rock pivot variant. Although Landorus-Therian can run Choice Scarf, Double dance, offensive Stealth Rock, and Sub Toxic sets, I find myself using the Stealth Rock pivot set the most often. With Intimidate and 89/90/80 defenses, Landorus-Therian is one of the tier's premier physically defensive pivots, being able to switch into so many Pokemon and moves in a pinch. Additionally, it does not struggle to set Stealth Rock early in the game due to the aforementioned bulk and ability to switch-in to a plethora of opposing Pokemon. Finally, relatively slow U-turn is a godsend for any pivot and despite Stealth Rock, U-turn, and Earthquake being staples on this set, Landorus-Therian has some versatility in the last moveslot - it can run Stone Edge, Knock Off, Hidden Power, or Toxic - that allows it to fit your team's specific needs, which is always a nice touch.

What are your favorite teammates?

Although Landorus-Therian is often used as a supportive teammate itself, making a convenient Stealth Rock setter or Choice Scarf user that provides a team with momentum and a measure of defensive counterplay against various noteworthy Pokemon, it also appreciates the support of Pokemon that can deal with Water and Ice types as well as strong Special attackers. Moreover, Pokemon such as Rotom-W are often paired with Landorus-Therian as they form a solid defensive core and both generate momentum, but a more passive, defensive approach could be pairing Landorus-Therian with Ferrothorn, who poses as a wall that can set up Spikes, which Landorus-Therian and other teammates often appreciate. Alternatively, if Landorus-Therian is being used on a more offensive team or in a more aggressive fashion in general, it can be paired with Magnezone to trap problematic opposing Skarmory, Celesteela, Ferrothorn, etc. and stop opposing Spikers from setting up freely on Landorus-Therian or a strong special lure to Steel types in order to fulfill a similar purpose without going out of your way to dedicate a team slot towards trapping these Pokemon.

Do you have any replays you'd like to share with us that feature this pokemon?

Landorus-Therian isn't the most dynamic Pokemon out there in a sense that it's not sweeping or outright breaking teams from turn one, but it often demonstrates a strong supportive role and functions as a necessary component for a team to handle the opposing team, so look more for that than outright sweeping and overpowering in the following replays. - Friendly vs BBK - Although this is more of a late game Ash-Greninja showcase, Landorus-Therian is able to effectively set up Stealth Rock, function as a defensive pivot, and take advantage of its coverage move, Hidden power Ice, to weaken the opposing Landorus-Therian. - Friendly vs Sour Apples - Ironically enough, Landorus-Therian cleaned out my opponent here despite only being the Steath Rock pivot variant (or at least it would have had he not forfeited a few turns too early). Regardless of that, Landorus-Therian clearly fulfilled its role of setting up Stealth Rock multiple times while outlasting numerous opposing Pokemon and effectively pivoting in when called upon. - Friendly vs Tesung - Landorus-Therian doesn't do a ton here, but it does manage to pivot in successfully, set up Stealth Rock that stay up for the remainder of the game, and get a kill both times it gets in the game.


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Zygarde-10% from oscar proud himself

What makes Zygarde-10% so good in today's metagame?
Zygarde-10% has two traits that make it stand out: base 115 speed and access to the move Thousand Arrows. While the speed doesn't compare to other fast pokemon like Greninja or Tapu Koko, it's still fast enough to threaten OU staples like Latios, Garchomp, Metagross, and so on. Thousand Arrows is a blessing to any pokemon that gets it because it allows it to hit every single type for damage. The effect of the move makes it hit flying types and levitating pokemon for neutral damage while factoring in their secondary typing when calculating super effective damage. For example, a Landorus-T would be hit neutrally since Thousand Arrows invalidates the immunity and Ground is neutral to Ground while Rotom-Wash would be hit supereffectively since Levitate is invalidated and Electric is weak to Ground. To sum up, the good speed tier and the ability to damage the opposing team no matter what makes Zygarde-10% a very effective pokemon to use against offense and bulky offense.

What is your personal favorite set?

Zygarde-10% @ Choice Band
Ability: Aura Break
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Thousand Arrows
- Extreme Speed
- Outrage
- Iron Tail / Toxic

This is the only set worth using because you'll be clicking Thousand Arrows majority of the time. The EVs are standard to maximize speed and attack while a choice band makes it so that every time you click Thousand Arrows, you're getting the most out of your attacks. Extreme Speed is an incredibly useful tool for revenge killing pokemon that are low on health which enables Zygarde to function as a late game cleaner vs offensive teams. Outrage is just a secondary powerful stab that hits pokemon resistant to ground like Buzzwole. Iron tail really only hits Tapu Bulu which is a pretty good switch in. Toxic is an interesting and uncommon choice but I find it effective in luring and crippling common switch ins like Bulu, Buzzwole, and even physically defensive pokemon like Landorus-T.

What are your favorite teammates?
Zygarde's defensive stats consist of 54 HP / 71 Def / 85 Spdef which means it can switch into nothing. It really appreciates partners that can pivot into things that threaten it and generate momentum. This includes pokemon like Rotom-Wash and Mega Scizor. They both handle the things that come into to revenge Zygarde as well as bait in the things that Zygarde gets free attacks against. An example would be a scarf Latios coming in to revenge Zygarde, Scizor takes the hit easily and U-turns on the Heatran switch back into Zygarde for another attack. Teammates that have these kinds of interactions form excellent partners.

Do you have any replays you'd like to share with us that feature this pokemon? -
Zygarde-10% puts in a lot of work vs a team that wouldn't normally be weak to offensive ground types. But the high speed and ability to hit the ground 'immune' allows it to dismantle the defensive core of the team as well as pressure the offensive core.
Here's Mega Alakazam thanks to ABR

What makes Mega Alakazam so good in today's metagame?

Mega Alakazam still has all the amazing traits it used to, namely high Spatk, perfect neutral coverage, good ability pre / post mega, and insanely high speed. The speed in particular is crucial at the moment in such a fast paced and offensive metagame, as it outspeeds many notable pokemon like Greninja, Tapu Koko, and more. Additionally, the new mechanic of megas attaining their speed on the turn they evo makes Alakazam that much more threatening.

What is your personal favorite set?

Alakazam-Mega @ Alakazite
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest / Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Psychic
- Shadow Ball
- Focus Blast
- Taunt / Knock Off / Signal Beam

This set is mostly standard ORAS, as Psychic/Shadow/Focus are all seen on most Alakazam for perfect neutral coverage. The major difference with Mega Zam this gen, however, is that it can often afford Modest, and for multiple reasons. Firstly, the aforementioned mega mechanic change means Alakazam no longer has to worry about a Keldeo or Latios before it evolves as it attains the 150 base speed the turn it evos. Secondly, the absence of Mega Lopunny / Manectric means Modest misses out on essentially 0 relevant unboosted pokemon. The only reason why Timid would be used is to outpace boosted pokemon like scarf Hoopa-U / Tapu Bulu, which are relatively rare. As for the last move slot, each option has its uses. Taunt is good for preventing healing on walls, like taunting a Clefable Softboiled or Mega Scizor Roost. Knock Off permanently cripples relatively good switchins like Celesteela, Tornadus-Therian, and Chansey. Lastly, Signal Beam is a niche pick to OHKO Hoopa and also to hit Dark types like Weavile or weakened Tyranitar without having to risk Focus Blast.

What are your favorite teammates?

Defensively, a Rocky Helmet Ground type such as Landorus-Therian or Garchomp is an ideal partner. They both dissuade U-turn and cushion physical attacks very nicely, as Alakazam has poor physical defense.

Offensively, something to abuse steels like Celesteela / Scizor and sort of Magearna is generally appreciated, and this is why Magnezone in particular is such a good partner. Magnezone simply traps these aforementioned steels and deals massive damage to them if not outright OHKO'ing. With the prevalence of Genesect in particular, having a Rocky Helmet pokemon + Magnezone deals with every single choice set and thus makes Alakazam's job much easier.


Thanks ABR for the write up and here's a replay thanks to Sabella - Mega Zam is able to trace beast boost and clean up the opposing team pretty easily


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Mega Charizard-X from connect 4 champ obii

What makes Mega Charizard-X so good in today's metagame?

While Mega Charizard-X didn't receive any direct buffs, there were some changes that put metagame trends in its favor. The biggest example being the nerf to Thunder Wave which allows Zard to pose an even bigger threat to bulky teams that rely on the speed drop to check it. Besides that, Charizard's Dragon / Fire typing allows it to play a defensive role on teams in checking threats like Genesect. Furthermore, the main check to the Dragon Dance set that's being used is Defensive Landorus-T which is surprisingly easy to lure or wear down. Not much changed for this pokemon from ORAS but the metagame trends are definitely in its favor since it can dismantle bulky offense and balance teams with ease.

What is your personal favorite set?

harizard-Mega-X @ Charizardite X
Ability: Tough Claws
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Dragon Claw
- Flare Blitz
- Earthquake / Roost

Charizard-X has many options for different sets but I think Dragon Dance 3 attacks is the best one of the current meta. The set is pretty one dimensional: you set up and you sweep. Dragon Claw and Flare Blitz are reliable stabs and only a handful of pokemon can switch into both of those reliably. Tapu Fini and Heatran are the main ones that come to mind. Heatran is dealt with easily by Earthquake while Fini still doesn't like taking Earthquakes since it lacks recovery. Roost is nice to have a reliably form of recovery and further Zard-X's defensive role on a team but I think decreasing the amount of switch ins Zard-X has is the better choice in this offensive meta.

What are your favorite teammates?

Offensively, there are a lot of fun options. A favorite of mine is using Tapu Bulu since it has insane defensive synergy with Zard-X and can pressure common Zard-X switch ins like Landorus. Another cool one is HP Ice Landorus-T since it can lure opposing Landorus-T's for Zard-X. The gist of choosing a good partner for Zard-X is basically pairing it with something that can overwhelm it's checks or lure it.

Defensively, Landorus-T is still a good option since it can easily switch into Ground type attacks aimed at Zard and set rocks to slowly chip it's checks down. Jirachi is also a cool option for switching into Draco Meteors, U-turning to generate momentum, setting rocks, and even providing Healing Wish Support. Healing Wish Support is especially useful because often times you'll find that Zard-X can weaken its own checks early game at the cost of some health and then you can healing wish back up to clean up late game. Z-Memento Latios is especially useful as a partner since it can pivot into some Ground attacks, nuke the opposing team, remove stealth rock from the field, and simultaneously leave the opponent at -2 attack and special attack while healing Zard-X back up to full because of Z-Memento.

Do you have any replays you'd like to share with us that feature this pokemon? - Genesect lures the Lando-t and then zard sets up on a locked lele to win the game - Z-Memento lati creating set up opportunities for zardx as it cleans up late game since the only check (tapu fini) was killed off by a partner - Zardx heavily dents the skarm early game and then is healed back by Z-Memento lati to clean up late game

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