Metagame Anything Goes

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Welcome to Sword and Shield Anything Goes! This thread will be used for all things related to the new metagame - theorymonning, metagame observations, and set sharing are all encouraged! Since we're entering a generation with some pretty unprecedented differences, I'll clarify exactly how AG is going to work this generation:
  • No Megas or Z-moves: This should go without saying, but since both mechanics have been removed in Sword and Shield they will not be usable in the gen 8 metagame. Bye-bye Mega Rayquaza and Ultra Necrozma!
  • Galar Dex and Released Pokemon only: This is probably the most significant change from last generation. No more Arceus, no more Primal Groudon, no more Xerneas, etc. In addition, Pokemon or movesets that are coded into Sword and Shield but aren't yet available ingame will not be usable until Pokemon Home releases or said Pokemon are distributed via events. This gives us a pretty limited pool of Pokemon to work with right off the bat, the metagame will likely be extremely centralized around a certain cover legendary in the meantime.
  • In-game Restrictions only: As it's always been in Anything Goes, you're allowed to use whatever you want provided it's available via normal cartridge play. That means you can run OHKO moves and Evasion to your heart's content, but you still can't put Sheer Cold on a Yamper since it doesn't learn it normally.
New Pokemon / Early Metagame Observations:


Zacian
This dog looks like it'll be the defining offensive threat of the generation. Most sets will use the Crowned Form due to its stellar Fairy / Steel typing and phenomenal speed tier. Play Rough and Close Combat together hit most of the metagame neutrally, giving it plenty of flexibility in the last moveslot on a Swords Dance set. 4 attacks seems like a viable choice as well given how strong Zacian is even without a Swords Dance boost - additional coverage allows it to bypass potential checks like Toxapex and Aegislash.


Zamazenta
Unlike the other dog, this one looks terribly underwhelming. While it has superb stats in its Crowned Form and Base Form, Zamazenta lacks the tools it needs to take advantage of this. Without any noteworthy utility options, a defensive set seems underwhelming at best, while offensive sets pale in comparison to Zacian. It's possible a Howl set could act as a bulkier but slower boosting alternative to Zacian, but at the moment I'm not seeing much use for it.


Eternatus
Eternatus seems like it has some potential. Dragon / Poison / Fire coverage is phenomenal as we know from Naganadel, and Agility with its high SpA stat could make for a decent cleaner. It has some other interesting tools in its kit as well - a bulky attacking set with Toxic Spikes or Recover seem possible as well. Overall it's quite hard to say how Eternatus will fit into the metagame, so it's definitely worth exploring more!


Dynamaxing
Dynamaxing seems like a very interesting new mechanic. While the cover legendaries can't Dynamax, Pokemon like Excadrill or Ditto can take fantastic advantage of Dynamaxing's mechanics. It's still not clear how the meta will stabilize around Dynamaxing but it seems like it will require players to be adaptable and consider what the optimal Pokemon to Dynamax is and when to Dynamax it.


Ditto
Ditto looks like it will be incredibly powerful in the initial metagame, since it's one of the most reliable ways of checking Zacian and Ditto tends to thrive in offense-heavy metagames. Ditto can also abuse Dynamax, which causes it to lose the boost to its speed from Choice Scarf but also gain the ability to switch between max moves.


Excadrill
With Zacian dominating the metagame, Sand Rush Excadrill looks like a great option to revenge kill it, while also having access to hazar removal in a metagame with few viable removers. Excadrill also benefits from Rapid Spin's new mechanics - it can now boost its speed and remove hazards at the same time!

That's all - discuss away!
 
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Zekrom looks pretty decent - it has a Steel resistance, Dragon Dance, and potentially the bulk to survive stuff for a bulky DDance / Roost set. It can dynamax to set Eterrain (which also probably helps bulky sets).

And while Kyurem-B seems outclassed (imo) by Zekrom, Kyurem-White takes Zacian's place as a stupidly strong special attacker. It'd break what Zacian can't.

If it wasn't for Zacian, Eternatus would be a beast. Outspeeding most of the meta (barring Zacian itself and Barraskewda) AND with self boosting Max Sludge Bombs, it would make clean sweeps all the time. Eternatus webs?
Edit: Forgot Eternatus can't dynamax, whoops

Dugtrio feasts on all the ground weaknesses - but is it worth dynamaxing to OHKO Zacian with Scarf? It can't outspeed any of the new ubers without it.

It sucks that Zacian can't dynamax - its only ground move is Dig. Still, it can hit Aegislash with Crunch and the other steels with Close Combat.

Hippo is not only a sand setter for Excadrill, but also walls physical legendaries quite well and can phaze them.
 
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:Quagsire:
Quagsire seems to be a good pick as it walls all variants of Zacian and checks Zekrom (forgot about teravolt lol, thanks bigtalk) thanks to unaware.
252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Quagsire: 144-171 (36.5 - 43.4%) -- 99.1% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252+ Atk Teravolt Zekrom Outrage vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Quagsire: 192-226 (48.7 - 57.3%) -- 47.7% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

:Lunala:
Defensive Lunala seems to be a premier defogger and wall, thanks to Heavy Duty Boots allowing it to keep Shadow Shield intact even with Hazards, and being one of very few mons getting hazard clearing. It counters Zacians which don't carry crunch. It also doesn't have to fear pursuit from Marshadow or Tyranitar any longer and both are likely going to massively dip in usage anyway due to their weakness to Zacian.
+3 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Shadow Shield Lunala: 194-228 (40.5 - 47.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery (you wisp and spam roost)

:Reshiram:
A good scarfer also capable of tearing defensive cores (such as ferro-pex) down with dynamax and also beats Zacian and can carry defog.
252 SpA Turboblaze Reshiram Max Wyrmind (150BP, based of Draco Meteor) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 201-237 (66.1 - 77.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

:Ferrothorn:
One of the best defensive pokemon, as it soft checks variants of Zacian not carrying CC, and so with Toxapex can typically defeat most Zacian variants. Also one of few good SR and Spikes mons.

:Necrozma-Dusk-Mane:
Another good defensive pokemon, physical defensive spreads are probably more viable due to being able to check Zacian. Dragon Dance sets may be viable, as while the speed isn't extremely good for DDance, it does free a moveslot allowing it to carry Knock Off/Close Combat allowing it to much more easily defeat Lunala or Ferrothorn.

Overall, while the meta seems extremely HO at first, through ditto and other defensive mons, balance and stall would almost certainly be able to thrive (I lost two matches to stall)
 
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At first glance, it seems to me that this meta is going to be dominated by steel types. Obviously there is Zacian which is insanely busted and is probably going to get banned from ubers, if there even is an ubers tier in the first place. Dusk mane is back and should be pretty strong again, it will probably run a physically defensive set to better handle zacian, although it now has access to dragon dance so it can definitely go the offensive route. Zamazenta is extremely underwhelming, it doesn't have a boosting move to raise its attack so its probably just worse than zacian and not worth using (although the defense boost it gets from dauntless shield could help it check a boosted zacian). Aegislash could be decent to check zacian, the latter gets crunch though. Lots of stuff gets close combat so ferro might not be all that great, but given how offensive this meta is looking like, spike stacking will probably be very good to chip stuff and put them in ko range of zacian. Melmetal is pretty tanky on the physical side which is good, but weak to fighting coverage, slow and no has no reliable recovery so as a tanky steel type, it just seems worse than dusk-mane. Excadrill+sand could be good to just hit hard and fast with eq.

Eternatus looks really good at first, but it has some issues. T-spikes doesn't seem all that great if steels are going to dominate or if everyone has an eternatus on their team anyway. No way to boost its SpA on its own so it doesn't hit really hard. Cosmic power+recover+pressure seems like the best option for this, but cosmic power has always been kind of bad and you're just waiting to get critted. Zacian doesn't get recovery so you might be able to beat it with your coverage + recover before it gets the chance to sd and kill you.

Mewtwo now gets nasty plot which looks very scary. Steels are a problem for it though.

Baton pass is now a TR, so way more things get access to it. Baton passing a bunch of boosts to eternatus/zacian might be a very potent strategy.

Butterfree will be the new Vivillon with the broken sleep powder+sub+qd+hurricane combo. It also gets baton pass, so it might be better just to baton pass all those boosts to something stronger rather than trying to sweep with the butterfly itself.

Smeargle is gone (THANK GOD) but moody isn't sadly, glalie/octillery could be very annoying. Glalie is definitely better since it gets taunt, so it stops phazing and perish song (i don't even know if anything significant gets perish song anymore).

Sticky web is looking pretty good with how offensive this meta is shaping up to be, looks like the best setters will be shuckle, slurpuff and ribombee.

I think marshadow becomes pretty bad now, its slower than all the new guys and gets wrecked by them easily, but I'm sure this won't stop people from using sash marsh *sigh*.
 
Baton pass is now a TR, so way more things get access to it. Baton passing a bunch of boosts to eternatus/zacian might be a very potent strategy.
oh that reminds me
Poltageist gets SmashPass, and can even sweep with its own smash. It doesn't get Spore, but threatens stuff with OHKOs instead. Zacian scares off TTar, Marshadow, and anything else that would try and stop it. It (and its recipient) also could lose to dynamax, but if you're just using Zacian that's a no. However, Ditto will be common for reasons other than SmashPass and completely invalidates the strategy.

G-Maxes that I could see being used:
- Lapras looks cool with automatic A-Veil, but doesn't have any pivot moves.
- Butterfree can potentially cheese opponents with a 33% Sleep + attack, bypassing Taunt. If you're gonna dynamax Butterfree anyway, why not go for the G-Max?
- Copperajah is alright until Melmetal is released? Spikes and attacking is neat but is it worth using a dynamax?
- Melmetal's Torment complements its amazing Dynamax bulk, meaning Melmetal can often get 2 (or 4!) hits off foes with even super effective attacks. Its not THAT much of a benefit, though.

However, I feel like more people will use dynamax sweepers (like Zekrom, Excadrill) over specific G-Maxes.
 

bigtalk

greener pastures
is a Pre-Contributor
:Quagsire:
Quagsire seems to be a good pick as it walls all variants of Zacian and checks Zekrom (although it has trouble with dynamax Zekrom) thanks to unaware.
252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Quagsire: 144-171 (36.5 - 43.4%) -- 99.1% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252+ Atk Teravolt Zekrom Outrage vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Quagsire: 192-226 (48.7 - 57.3%) -- 47.7% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

:Lunala:
Defensive Lunala seems to be a premier defogger and wall, thanks to Heavy Duty Boots allowing it to keep Shadow Shield intact even with Hazards, and being one of very few mons getting hazard clearing. It counters Zacians which don't carry crunch. It also doesn't have to fear pursuit from Marshadow or Tyranitar any longer and both are likely going to massively dip in usage anyway due to their weakness to Zacian.
+3 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Shadow Shield Lunala: 194-228 (40.5 - 47.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery (you wisp and spam roost)

:Reshiram:
A good scarfer also capable of tearing defensive cores (such as ferro-pex) down with dynamax and also beats Zacian and can carry defog.
252 SpA Turboblaze Reshiram Max Wyrmind (150BP, based of Draco Meteor) vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 201-237 (66.1 - 77.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

:Ferrothorn:
One of the best defensive pokemon, as it soft checks variants of Zacian not carrying CC, and so with Toxapex can typically defeat most Zacian variants. Also one of few good SR and Spikes mons.

:Necrozma-Dusk-Mane:
Another good defensive pokemon, physical defensive spreads are probably more viable due to being able to check Zacian. Dragon Dance sets may be viable, as while the speed isn't extremely good for DDance, it does free a moveslot allowing it to carry Knock Off/Close Combat allowing it to much more easily defeat Lunala or Ferrothorn.

Overall, while the meta seems extremely HO at first, through ditto and other defensive mons, balance and stall would almost certainly be able to thrive (I lost two matches to stall)
Interesting thoughts. Just wanted to point out a couple of things
  • I don't think Quagsire will be able to function as a Zekrom check, unfortunately. Teravolt ignores Unaware, so it can DD up and probably bust right through Quag if it's holding LO.
  • I don't think Marshadow will necessarily be bad, its STAB combo is still kinda broken, but its probably going to be running Scarf if it sees usage in order to outspeed Zacian. I wouldn't be surprised if Marshadow + hazard stacking teams along the lines of this (from ubers) still see viability. Ditto obviously gives Marshadow competition but IMO, can be a bit easier to pivot around if you are prepared for it, whereas Ghost-type attacks have even fewer resists this gen.
  • Re the Reshiram calc: is pex going to end up running physdef or spdef? Most Zacian would want to carry Psychic Fangs I'd imagine, and pex gets OHKOed at +3 no matter how much defense you run, so shouldn't it just run spdef so it can scout stuff like Reshiram better?
  • Re Ferrothorn: I think most Zacian would want to run Fire Fang / CC anyways. Ferrothorn would only be a good switch-in if you know it's choiced.
 

bigtalk

greener pastures
is a Pre-Contributor
Zekrom looks pretty decent - it has a Steel resistance, Dragon Dance, and potentially the bulk to survive stuff for a bulky DDance / Roost set. It can dynamax to set Eterrain (which also probably helps bulky sets).

And while Kyurem-B seems outclassed (imo) by Zekrom, Kyurem-White takes Zacian's place as a stupidly strong special attacker. It'd break what Zacian can't.

If it wasn't for Zacian, Eternatus would be a beast. Outspeeding most of the meta (barring Zacian itself and Barraskewda) AND with self boosting Max Sludge Bombs, it would make clean sweeps all the time. Eternatus webs?
Edit: Forgot Eternatus can't dynamax, whoops

Dugtrio feasts on all the ground weaknesses - but is it worth dynamaxing to OHKO Zacian with Scarf? It can't outspeed any of the new ubers without it.

It sucks that Zacian can't dynamax - its only ground move is Dig. Still, it can hit Aegislash with Crunch and the other steels with Close Combat.

Hippo is not only a sand setter for Excadrill, but also walls physical legendaries quite well and can phaze them.

...

Sticky web is looking pretty good with how offensive this meta is shaping up to be, looks like the best setters will be shuckle, slurpuff and ribombee.
Zekrom lost access to Roost iirc, but there is another equally useful move it can use in the fourth slot, Substitute. This would let it set up safely on pex/ferro and scout for sacks.

I'm betting Scarf Dugtrio will definitely see some usage to revenge kill a lot of the threats you mentioned. An interesting strategy to explore would probably be Dugtrio + tspikes setter since Dugtrio is able to trap most of the poisons / steels that are immune to / absorb tspikes.

I'm thinking webs will definitely be super good, Zacian will be basically impossible to revenge kill under webs once boosted up since it outspeeds sand rush driller and every scarfer bar Ditto.
 
Zekrom lost access to Roost iirc, but there is another equally useful move it can use in the fourth slot, Substitute. This would let it set up safely on pex/ferro and scout for sacks.

I'm betting Scarf Dugtrio will definitely see some usage to revenge kill a lot of the threats you mentioned. An interesting strategy to explore would probably be Dugtrio + tspikes setter since Dugtrio is able to trap most of the poisons / steels that are immune to / absorb tspikes.

I'm thinking webs will definitely be super good, Zacian will be basically impossible to revenge kill under webs once boosted up since it outspeeds sand rush driller and every scarfer bar Ditto.
Zacian with webs is terrifying, unless your opponent has a ditto, in which case you’re kinda screwed. I’ve got a set I’d like to throw out here, and it’s literally only usable on zacianspam webs, as a niche way to improof your zacians.

Cursola @ Focus Sash
Ability: Perish Body
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Protect
- Rock Tomb
- Destiny Bond
- Disable

this exists to force out dittos using perish body, and stall them out with sash / protect and maybe even force them out with disable. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a one use mon, tho it’s pretty funny when it does manage to force something out with perish body. Yay for gimmicks. In other news, wild charge zacian Is potentially a cool option, since it’ll hit pex harder than psychic fangs, while also hitting ho-oh in an all mons meta (which this thread isn’t for).

e: yes, this is a joke.
 
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Corsola-Galar @ Eviolite
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Haze
- Scald
- Strength Sap
- Reflect

While we're on the topic of coral, I'd like to point out the amazing defensive capabilities of this little guy. Access to haze, as well as nearly 500 def makes this pokemon a fantastic wall to sweepers. Unfortunately it lacks the better ability perish body, but cursed body still has a good chance to disable a hard hitting move.

Here's a replay where corsala abuses strength sap and haze-- it can't die! https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8anythinggoes-1012768119

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Gengar now gets Nasty Plot, but I dont think it will need it, since Max Ooze increases special attack, leaving room for coverage. Energy ball can also be buffed by the grassy terrain effect of Max Overgrowth. A life orb on top of all that allows gengar to be incredibly powerful. You could also run choice scarf to outspeed every unboosted mon in the game, and even a few scarfed mons like darmanitan, while Dynamax will increase your power if you need to or you need to change up your attack strategy.
 
Gengar now gets Nasty Plot, but I dont think it will need it, since Max Ooze increases special attack, leaving room for coverage. Energy ball can also be buffed by the grassy terrain effect of Max Overgrowth. A life orb on top of all that allows gengar to be incredibly powerful. You could also run choice scarf to outspeed every unboosted mon in the game, and even a few scarfed mons like darmanitan, while Dynamax will increase your power if you need to or you need to change up your attack strategy.
Considering all the steel types, Max Ooze is relatively easy to block (also has reduced BP compared to sludge bomb). Nasty Plot lets Gengar set up on what the switchins it does have (maybe scarf NP, then dynamax to rid of choice lock).
 
Zacian with webs is terrifying, unless your opponent has a ditto, in which case you’re kinda screwed. I’ve got a set I’d like to throw out here, and it’s literally only usable on zacianspam webs, as a niche way to improof your zacians.

Cursola @ Focus Sash
Ability: Perish Body
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Protect
- Rock Tomb
- Destiny Bond
- Disable

this exists to force out dittos using perish body, and stall them out with sash / protect and maybe even force them out with disable. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a one use mon, tho it’s pretty funny when it does manage to force something out with perish body. Yay for gimmicks. In other news, wild charge zacian Is potentially a cool option, since it’ll hit pex harder than psychic fangs, while also hitting ho-oh in an all mons meta (which this thread isn’t for).

e: yes, this is a joke.
I have an idea for a similar set using sableye instead, since it has prankster and recover.

Sableye @ Focus Sash
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 252 HP / 4 DEF / 252 SpD
Impish Nature
- Protect
- Disable
- Recover
- Will-O-Wisp
 

Megazard

The turtle moves
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The gen 8 AG ladder is live on PS now! For now (possibly forever but we'll see), it's reduced dex. It's also without Pokemon home additions, which means that some extra Pokemon like Lunala and Dusk-Mane and Kyurem-Black haven't been added yet, plus reduced move pools for some Pokemon.

We also have real banner art now! Thanks a lot to Kaiju Bunny
Untitled289_20191119141623.png
 
hi i have sets

butters (Butterfree-Gmax) @ Leftovers
Ability: Compound Eyes
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sleep Powder
- Quiver Dance
- Substitute
- Hurricane

don't pay attention to it being gmax, it's the same as having it regular, it just looks cooler if you decide to gmax/dynamax it (its dynamax move is useless for what we're doing). this is just vivillon again but slower, since we don't have viv. the good thing about this is that no one is bothering preparing for viv now so this really puts in work. it really appreciates webs support and removal as does any butterfly, but this does to a much larger extent. you know what vivillon does i do not need to explain this to you.

Kommo-o @ Throat Spray
Ability: Soundproof
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid / Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Clangorous Soul
- Clanging Scales
- Flamethrower
- Boomburst

credit to London13 for helping craft this set. i was laddering with offensive builds and sick of losing to ditto, that's why i decided to run this. it's essentially imposterproof if you can force an opposing mon to dynamax before sending it in. it also beats zacian (guaranteed ohko timid with spikes / modest with webs) it really works well in the current meta, especially with every team running ditto zacian bs. the issue is dynamaxing, which kind of renders the soundproof useless. but if you can force the dynamax early with a different mon, you're really set.

disclaimer: clangorous soul is clangorous soulblaze z-move boosts but 33% health loss and doesn't require item (reusable to but you can't really afford to). since this is a sound move it activates throat spray which boosts special attack by 1 once you use a sound move. so essentially nasty plot + boost every other stat by 1.

other impressions:

busted
makes me hate the meta
very good support / sand teams are decent / scarfer is solid too / best spinner in meta
webs good, like very good, but scarf ditto is super annoying for any offense including webs
+ 1 252+ Atk Zacian-Crowned Play Rough vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Unaware Quagsire: 159-187 (40.3 - 47.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
best sand setter since it doesn't get ohkod by zacian +1 252 Atk Zacian-Crowned Behemoth Blade vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Hippowdon: 193-228 (45.9 - 54.2%) -- 50.8% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery
can run choice items / cool sets / worth a try but its not as good as zacian-crowned obv
decent at best, since zacian normally runs wild charge but it's decent / walls exca sorta / has a few cool things it can do, probably best fogger
bp is amazing, we can't just run psong arc now + better set up other than speed boosting (scoli is gone youre forced to run ninjask >_> or agility pass)
not zacian so it's useless // edit: nevermind! defensive is really solid
garbage until someone finds a set, which probably won't happen
stop using trash like this
this is also trash but not as trash, stop using it too!
 
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Hey, guys!

I hope you all are enjoying the Gen 8 AG ladder now that it's active! :) Very exciting, and it's awesome that we're getting to explore and learn about and develop this new meta together.

I just wanted to share a set I built today that's worked really well for me so far on ladder and in a few test battles.

https://pokepast.es/b5534aff91204fb9 There's a Pokepaste for my set, but I'll list it here as well:

Corsola-Galar @ Eviolite
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock
- Will-O-Wisp
- Hex
- Strength Sap

There have been a few sets close to this one, but this one has worked especially well for me. Especially with the Strength Sap to restore HP and Hex to inflict some damage after the opposing Pokémon has been burned. Here's a replay to demonstrate the power of this Corsola-Galar set at work to give you an idea:

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8anythinggoes-1012868476-l59ll98nnq47euwgu1kkoqc5ui7rg3gpw
 
Toxtricity @ Throat Spray
Ability: Punk Rock
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Shift Gear
- Overdrive
- Sludge Wave
- Boomburst

If Punk Rock increases damage of sound moves by half (I assume it does cuz it reduces opponent's sound moves by half) then Boomburst actually deals more damage than Overdrive. The three moves add incredible coverage against most typings, a few exceptions would be Ferrothorn, Duraludon, and especially Rhyperior. Dynamax can be used to increase special attack even further or set up electric terrain. At plus 2 speed, Toxtricity outspeeds most if not all unboosted mons.
 
After playing about 80 games here are my impressions of the meta:

888-c.png
This mon is really good of course (the best mon for sure) but I don't think it is as insanely broken as ppl think it is. Quagsire counters it, Ditto checks it and makes it think twice before setting up. A combination of ferro/pex or hippowdon and other bulky mons can generally deal with it, and Excadrill is extremely dangerous for it especially as it can set up on the predicted switch.


890.png
A very good mon, premier sets are Choice Specs and in particular Life Orb imo. Life Orb is exceptionally hard to switch in to as literally nothing resists the coverage, and it's special attack with Life Orb is decently high so the lack of a boosting move isn't so bad. Life Orb 3 attacks and recover just has insane longetivity. Agility is kinda suboptimal imo, because while it does beat Zacian, it suffers to Ditto and hazards/hazard stacking are very very huge in this meta, and toxic spikes isn't too good due to the massive usage of steels and poisons.

:Ditto: This mon is even better than expected, being able to copy Zacian-Sword, Eternatus and hazard setters. It is the best user of dynamax in the tier, period, as dynamax allows it to break free of choice lock while still maintaining the speed boost and just lets it abuse the coverage, and even when dynamax ends you get to choose another move.

:Excadrill: this mon is also insanely good, if there was a VR it would be in A rank probably. It stands to gain the 2nd most from dynamax as it lets it OHKO pretty much everything and can choose to forego SDance if Max Knuckle is preferred. More importantly, it gets to set its own sand with Max Rockfall which is just broken

:Pyukumuku: this is viable as a Zacian and Exca (not dynamaxed) check. You basically just recover stall them so they die from chip. While dynamax Excadrill does break through, you get to waste their dynamax if they choose to do that which is big

Dynamax itself seems very strong, but not as exceptionally broken as initially thought (probably cause zacian can't use it) , protect is really useful as 3 turns is really limiting, so often if it is used at the wrong time dynamax fails to do anything.

252 Atk Zacian Wild Charge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Pyukumuku: 146-172 (46.4 - 54.7%) -- 8.2% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

252+ Atk Life Orb Excadrill Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Pyukumuku: 144-172 (45.8 - 54.7%) -- 8.2% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
 
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hot take: zacian is overrated. its obviously the best mon in the metagame and probably just as good as mega rayquaza but its definitely not 'broken' imo. its just that most teams are straight up unprepared for it rn, but we're coming up with solid checks. soon enough we'll be able to consistently handle it and not get swept :blobthumbsup:.
heres a list of a few decent zacian checks. jbtw, zacian can beat all of these except the unaware mons if it has the perfect coverage. but hey, keep in mind that we're only running 4 moves on zacian too. its not like we've never used 2 checks for 1 mon before *cough* mega ray *cough* unecro *cough*

ditto
this is easily the best and most splashable zacian check but id personally never run this as the only check on my team because -
substitute is pretty common
ditto gets worn down pretty easily by hazards & cant safely switch into zacian anyway. if you copy a +1 zacian and they have a zacian check on their team, they can easily wall your ditto with it & bring in their own zacian later in the game.

ferrothorn
another very good pokemon, no mega rayquaza/pdon/hooh in the meta is a huge buff for it. also, theres no giratina/hooh tier defogger which also helps this a lot. spikes toxic is super good. i forgot to say this but it checks zacian without CC. Gyro ball + barbs damage (if it attacks you) beats zacian most of the time i think.

toxapex
another solid pokemon, toxic spikes + its typing make it super good in this meta. hard checks zacian without psychic fangs/wild charge and gets access to haze along with recover so its not as passive as ferrothorn. + you can fish for scald burns vs steels like ferrothorn, dusk mane, exca and zacian(!)

quagsire and pyukumuku
the ability which no one cared about last gen is viable again! gen8 is definitely not the worst ag generation where unaware mons are relevant though. jokes aside, quagsire is probably the most consistent zacian check rn but needs defogging support because hazard stack is extremely common and you cant take 2 play roughs after 2 layers of spikes which sucks. havent used pyuku but i think its a worse toxapex. could be wrong though.

shedinja
1 hp mon which takes 0 from every zacian attack (not crunch), except you dont have to run 200 defoggers on your team because they decided to add this broken item aka heavy duty boots, which gives you immunity to every hazard. obviously not a splashable mon bc it only checks a very few things but its definitely usable & much better than it was in gen7 tbh.

stuff that beats zacian and is usable on HO:

sand
excadrill + hippo beats zacian every time. something like lead ttar + exca could work well on HO

lunala?
heavy duty boots + tailwind/z moongeist beats zacian unless your lunala is not at max. cm tailwind is a very good set rn because its immune to ditto (for the 3 turns of tailwind) and dark types are less relevant.

scarfers
reshiram and eternatus are the only viable ones i can think of. dusk mane might beat it as well but im too lazy to calc x.x

other decent stuff

GOTHITELLE
we completely just forgot about this didnt we? most teams are zacian + zacian checks and gothitelle does a great job at beating zacian checks (ferrothorn, pex, quag, pyuku). THIS ALSO GETS NASTY PLOT STORED POWER NOW!!!!!!
missed me? <3 (Gothitelle) @ Leftovers
Ability: Shadow Tag
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Cosmic Power
- Nasty Plot
- Rest
- Stored Power
just gonna leave this here. do whatever you want to with this information.

mewtwo
addition of nasty plot to its moveset sounds great but its probably not gonna be good enough. unless youre facing a team without zacian/ditto. at that point you realize that you arent playing ag/ubers and mewtwo isnt usable either.

zekrom
mega underrated ddance user. sub lefties ddance is mad broken, you guys have to use this when it is released.

dusk mane
idk how the sd rp set is gonna do in this meta but defensive is pretty good. you can actually run max hp max def with eq to beat zacian. sr tox is just as good as before.

marshadow
doesnt 6-0 offense like it used to do but i feel like scarf could be a viable option. mainly because im probably never switching out my +3 zacian vs a marshadow. /could/ be usable on webs as well but im not gonna bother trying it out

eternatus
defensive set is pretty mediocre. i saw someone using weakness policy agility which honestly might not be horrible but i rlly dont like this in general.
i genuinely did not know that this got dynamax cannon. i thought that draco meteor was its best dragon move LOL. anyway, this thing is actually super super good, i havent found any reliable checks to this and im relying on revenge killing it with zacian, ditto or trapping it with goth and setting up cosmic powers. but yeah this is super broken, definitely gonna be A+

corviknight
skarmory but much more worse but tbf i think its a decent defogger. also, dont tell anyone but iron defense + body press is a broken set.

some usable playstyles:

trick room
doesnt get countered by your zacian or ditto so theres that. but then again, not very consistent because 4 turns isnt enough turns to win a game.

viable setters:
lunala and mew (and perhaps mewtwo and gengar too?)

viable abusers:
ICE DARMANITAN, lunala, hatterene (its horrible tbf but ive used cm + healing wish which is pretty ok) and gengar.

webs
not a fan of this honestly, it sounds good on paper but ditto is extremely common and addition of lunala in the metagame will give us another viable defogger. plus theres no mon which actually benefits from webs (something like yveltal or pogre last gen). that being said, its still not completely useless & has massive potential if ditto usage drops in future.

tailwind/screens
pretty mediocre but i felt i should mention it anyway. youre improofing your mons for 3 turns which is pretty huge but its pretty hard to set tailwind/make use of it which makes this very inconsistent. same with screens i guess.

stall
this has huge potential be a very good playstyle in future. ditto stall is definitely going to be a very solid playstyle but i cant say for sure bc wall breakers like kyuw/kyub/zekrom/reshiram are not introduced in the meta yet and that might change things.

edit:
baton pass
chloe talked about this already but its gonna be a much better playstyle because of less phasing/perish song. the tea kettle thing gets smashpass and stored power jbtw :3

also, why is everyone obsessed with cursola? is this tapu koko of gen8?
 
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Zacian is not the best move in the met a rn and I don't care how crazy you may think i am. Eternatus is.

let's examine: Zacian has true counters that can only be beaten by hazard stacking. In 1v1 scenarios, pyuku and quagsire will always win, and corviknight wins barring a crit. Not to mention aegi ferro pex ditto and exca which can all check it. That's a massive amount of mons and it helps that a lot of these Pokemon check other threats, too. Zacian is not good doubled up. Ik people will continue to do this, but it is not viable at all imo, you're just a liability vs quag.

Eternatus has nothing that resembles a consistent switchin. Spdef pex seems very suboptimal and still struggles to switch in with hazards up. Spdef ttar can work, but you're relying on rest and that's not good at all. Goth is 2hkoed. And so is everything else relevant. The only set worth running rn is 3 attacks life orb, recover is a fantastic move for a mon with a ridiculous 140 hp. Non lo eterna actually fails to ohko itself. Double eterna is legitimately viable, the amount of aggressive plays you have to make to avoid outright losing to one Eternatus is insane. This mon feels like picking your sack vs band mray except it's faster, you can't pursuit trap it, there's like no priority, and it doesn't suffer as much from hazards.

Give my boi Eternatus some more love, it's absolutely fantastic rn and far superior to Zacian as of this post.
 
Tired of seeing pesky quags and pyukumuku's making you puke? Well, have I got the pokemon for you! Boasting a moveset custom made to kill these bulky water types, I bring you Arctozolt!! Though it is slow, it certainly packs a punch (to very specific pokemon)!

ARCTOZOLT

Play-Doh Creation (Arctozolt) @ Life Orb
Ability: Static
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 SpA / 4 Spe
Naughty Nature
- Thunder Wave
- Freeze-Dry
- Substitute
- Bolt Beak

Some nice calcs

252- SpA Arctozolt Freeze-Dry vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Quagsire: 456-540 (115.7 - 137%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252+ Atk Arctozolt Bolt Break vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Pyukumuku: 306-360 (97.4 - 114.6%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO after Leftovers recovery (Pretty sure dynamaxing ohko's)
 
Without any metagame knowledge I made this super gimmicky but fun team if anyone feels like playing around with full support for smash pass Zacian. Far from amazing but it was pretty easy to ladder to top 15 with: https://pokepast.es/16ece589a51bab64

Imprison Zacian is a super good tech to let it shut down the omnipresent ditto as well as opposing Zacian. It is way more reliable than a sub which are a lot harder to set up/keep up than an imprison. On smash pass it goes even more crazy, but I'm convinced this thing is good enough to see Ubers play.

Also special shoutouts to Wonder Room support since almost everything is running phys bulk right now, notably Quag. Though tbh just Gothing the problems away is probably a better idea.



----
Edit: Here's a better version of the team with less smash pass and more "holy shit goth is broken" https://pokepast.es/112f4019634d9f70
 
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Fardin

Never won a tour.
so gen 8 been out for a couple days now in ag, so i just want to post some of the teams that have been working well

https://pastebin.com/LMgF5BjH

A goth semi-stall. Probably my best team so far. despite being a stall, it isnt bothered by goth one bit, except quag vs the taunt variants, but corvi allows to take some pressure off of it. nothing much to say about this team, just covers almost everything thats being used rn on ladder. handles bp too

https://pastebin.com/YLJJ7UJz

Mew HO

https://pastebin.com/Sfn5bqCC

Another goth balance but has much more offense to it

https://pastebin.com/zjsVVwSu

A different variant to the team above
 

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