Other Battling Tip of the Day

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Hello everyone. To ease newer users into the game, everyday I and few others will give out a tip every 3-4 days. Most of these tips aim to cover topics that normally are not covered in the usual discussion threads, such as in-battle scenarios. If you have a tip you would like to see posted, PM Subject 18, Doughboy, Nova or Halcyon.

Stay tuned!

Edit: Shoutout to anundeadboy for the logo. Thank you.


Tip #1: Using Entry Hazards
Tip #2: Hazard Control beyond Defog and Rapid Spin
Tip #3: Team Preview
Tip #4: Surprise Factor
Tip #5: 4 EV's in 252 / 252 / 4 spreads
Tip #6: Risks and Sacrifices:
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Tip #1: Using Entry hazards

In the lead position sometimes it isn't as obvious as to what hazards should be used. Take a look at the output of all the entry hazards:

SR: +12.5% damage / 6.25% (2x resisted) / 3.125% (4x resisted) / 25% (2x super-effective / 50% (4x S-E)
Spikes (layer 1): +12.5% damage (1/8)
Spikes (layer 2): +4.16% damage (1/6 - 1/8)
Spikes (layer 3): +8.33% damage (1/4 - 1/6)
Toxic Spikes (layer 1): 12% end turn
Toxic Spikes (layer 2): 6% end turn 1 and increasing 6% every turn

From this list there are a few things we can gather:
  • You should almost always use SR and Spikes instead of 2 layers of Spikes
    • Take note on how weak the second layer of Spikes is, it only adds an extra 4% of damage, which is less than the second layer of Toxic Spikes! Therefore, against a team entirely neutral to SR and Spikes, using Stealth Rock and Spikes will far out-damage two layers of Spikes (+8%).
    • Even against a team fully 2x resistant to SR, Stealth Rock + Spikes still out-damages two layers of Spikes by 2%.
    • The only scenario two layers of Spikes is better is against a team entirely 4x resistant to SR by +1%, which you will never comes across.
  • There are some scenarios where Spikes is better than Stealth Rock
    • If you can only get one hazard up, and the entirety of your opponent's team is resistant to SR, then Spikes is the better choice.
    • You will most likely come across this in a mid-game scenario, where neutral-SR weak Pokemon were eliminated.
  • 1 layer of Toxic Spikes can be better than 2 layers
    • The second layer of Toxic Spikes will only match the damage of the first layer of Toxic Spikes after 3 turns. If you are facing an offensive team, than one layer of Toxic Spikes is better since the pokemon switch out often and stay in for less than 3 turns. You should use 2 layers to break down defensive teams or cores.
  • What do you want to break down?
    • If you can only lay down one hazard, prioritize what pokemon you need to take down or neutralize. If you need to break down a bulky Steel-type, such as Ferrothorn, Spikes might be the better choice. If there are Flying-type / Levitators that need to be worn down, such as Rotom-W, SR might be the better choice.
- Written by Doughboy
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Tip #2: Hazard Control beyond Defog and Rapid Spin

People often include a Defogger or a Rapid Spinner on their teams in order to limit the effect of entry hazards on their side of the field. Keeping your side of the field hazard free is essential for some strategies such as bird offense and stall. Defog and Rapid Spin are not the only way to control entry hazards from being off your side of the field. To have a really solid plan against entry hazards, consider these two points:
  • Reliable Taunt users
    • Taunt stops all non-attacking moves, including entry hazards. A reliable Taunt user can delay the onset of entry hazards in the early game. With smart play, the opponent might not get his entry hazards up until the mid-game. This can buy you enough time to do work against your opponent's team with your entry hazard weak Pokemon. These taunt users should have decent speed stats in order to outspeed at least most defensive pokemon. Good examples include Gliscor, Mandibuzz, Gengar, Heatran, Thundurus-I, Terrakion, and Sableye. Skarmory (base 70) running 4 Spe EV's is an important benchmark to hit. Deoxys-D (base 90) running max speed and a positive speed nature is another important benchmark to hit, if it is possible for your pokemon to hit it and retain its attack / defense. These are the two of the most popular Spikes users in the tier.
  • Using moves that target common entry hazard users
    • Pokemon or moves that can easily force out or destroy common entry hazards users means they stopped your opponent from setting up his hazards. For example, outside of the Deoxys formes, all the common Spikes users in OU are weak to fire. So packing many Fire-type moves or a strong Fire-type will limit the chances the opponent will have for setting up Spikes. Tyranitar packing Fire Blast or defensive teams using Sp. Def Heatran is a good example of this idea. Keep in mind that Stealth Rock is most widely distributed among Steel, Rock, and Ground types. Water, Ice, Fighting, Ground, and Fire moves can hit those types super-effectively, so packing those may help prevent SR. Strong Dark, Bug, Ghost moves can stop the Deoxys formes from setting up SR and Spikes (eg. offensive Scolipede's Megahorn)
    • This same idea extends to keeping your entry hazards on the opponent's side of the field by targeting common Defog users.
- Written by Doughboy
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Tip #3: Team Preview
  • Win Condition
    • This defines how you will win a specific game. Identify which pokemon on your team your opponent is weakest to. Once you identify this weakness, you create a gameplan to set up your win condition. Often times your primary win condition will be the Pokemon that you built the team around. This pokemon should be what you think of trying to sweep the opponent with first and now it is your primary win condition.
    • Secondary win condition: No gameplan is ever perfect and throughout the battle things will change depending on your opponent's sets. Also, your matchup could be bad enough that your primary win condition will not work. Therefore you will need to adjust your gameplan and win conditions. For example, if you built a team around Dragon Dance Zard X and your opponent brings Hippowdon, Slowbro and Quagsire, it's safe to say that Charizard X will not be sweeping this game because setting up a Charizard sweep is going to be too difficult or fruitless. At this point you need to reassess, and find what your opponent is weak to based off the sets and the team he runs.
    • Gameplan: This is where you layout how you will set up your win condition. What pokemon needs to be weakened or eliminated? What can your sweeper setup on? How do you lure those Pokemon in? Do you need hazards on the opponent's side to ensure victory? Do hazards on your side eliminate your chance of winning? These are all questions you should have an answer to.
  • Analyzing the opposing team
    • Key Threats to my team: This is pretty self explanatory, identify what could potentially beat you and what you have a hard time switching into. Once you identify this, identify how it can beat you. What can it switch in on? Can it set up on multiple Pokemon on your team? How can you prevent it from either coming in safely or setting up? Let's say for example your opponent brought a Gliscor, and your team doesn't handle SubToxic Gliscor well. Now you ask yourself which Pokemon can Gliscor set up a Substitute on and which ones it can't. With this in mind you know that you have to be careful with certain Pokemon so as to not let Gliscor come in freely. On top of that, you can use that to your advantage by using those Pokemon as lures to get opportunities to setup with the Pokemon that do threaten Gliscor.
    • Stealth Rock user: Picking out the opposing Stealth Rocker, often overlooked, can be a big help winning a game. Preventing your opponent from setting up Rocks allows you to avoid chip damage, keep Focus Sashes, Multiscale, etc. You need to identify the Pokemon do learn SR on the opponent's team. If there is only one Pokemon that learns Stealth Rock, then that is the Stealth Rock user. If there are multiple Pokemon that learn Stealth Rock, you need to analyze for potential sets based off the team's structure. For example, my opponent's team is: Diggersby / Deoxys-Speed / Latios / Tyranitar / Excadrill / Keldeo-Resolute. You quickly notice there are three Pokemon that learn Stealth Rock on this team. Now which one fits the team in the role as an SR setter? First, my opponent has one potential Mega Pokemon, Tyranitar. Since most Mega Tyranitar run Dragon Dance it is unlikely that Tyranitar is his SR user. Now because his Excadrill is paired with Tyranitar, it like has Sand Rush. Since very few Excadrills run SR, especially with Sand Rush, it is highly unlikely this is the SR user. That leaves Deoxys-Speed as the most logical Stealth Rocker.
    • Opponent's win conditions: This last step is when you put yourself in your opponent's shoes and identify how he/she plans on winning the game. Because you don't know the exact sets your opponent has, you should make educated guesses based off your knowledge of the metagame and the opponent's team structure to identity the opponent's win condition. Identify the potential setup sweeper(s) / ways to kill your pokemon (eg. toxic stall walls) and determine under what conditions in the game could cause you to lose.
    • Leads: Lastly, you need to pick a lead. Depending on your team you may have a dedicated lead (Sash Garchomp, Sash Terrakion or Deoxys-D) and you will often just lead off with that Pokemon. It is important to note this is not always the case. More often than not you will need to pick a lead that 1) matches up well vs the majority of the opposing team and 2) Does not put you in a position where you could potentially lose a Pokemon or lose a ton health by having to tank a hit. Because you have a rough idea of what the opponent's gameplan is, you can make an educated guess as to what he could lead with.
With all that information, let's take look at an example of this being put to use.

  • From looking at the teams, I can win with the combination of Excadrill and DD Tyranitar. Tyranitar only needs Thundurus removed before I can set up and sweep. So removing Thundurus is going to be a priority to aid a Tyranitar sweep. Once I remove Thundurus, Tyranitar can setup on Heatran, his own Tyranitar depending on the set, and Latios. So if I can get Tyranitar in on any of those, preferably Latios, I win. Early game I want to use Diggersby to weaken his team since Diggersby does a number to his team. Meanwhile I don't want to give any room for that Gardevoir to come because if it does, I essentially lose a Pokemon. Mid-Game is when I want to use Tyranitar's Sand with Excadrill to weaken as much as possible and potentially take out the Thundurus if given the chance. Late Game, I just need to use Keldeo to bring in Latios, sack Keldeo, and then bring in Tyranitar to cleanup the opponent's team.

This may be a lot of information to have to process in a short amount of time but with repetition and more experience, this process can be completed in under one minute. Keep in mind that as the stakes of the match increase, team preview analysis becomes more important and has greater depth.

- Written by Subject 18
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Tip #4: Surprise Factor

In any sort of game where there are different options you can choose that your opponent doesn't know about, you will find that people try to use the element of surprise to gain an edge on the opponent. A good player will use this to lead their opponent in a specific direction based on their assumptions and then take advantage of those assumptions by revealing the unusual set/Pokemon at the exact right moment. However, there is a tendency among players to use things that, while they may lead the opponent in the direction you want, sacrifice overall viability and effectiveness to do so. These are referred to as gimmicks, and should generally be avoided.

Gimmick vs Innovative

It can be difficult to tell the difference between an effective surprise set and a gimmick set. People will often test something on, say, the ladder, and find that their gimmick was effective in what it was supposed to do against a specific opponent, so they believe that their gimmick is actually an effective and underrated set. Let's take the example of someone (let's call him Halcyon) using Scarf Lucario with Crunch. They go on the ladder, and are able to KO the opponent's Gengar with Crunch because the opponent did not expect Lucario to be faster than Gengar. Halcyon leaves the match thinking "aw yeah, my Scarf Lucario set worked! I knew it was an effective set! I'm gonna keep using it." However, this is false for a number of reasons. The first thing to consider when using an unusual set is "does this unusual set do what it is supposed to do?" For this, Halcyon can say yes if his team needs something to lure and beat Gengar. His Scarf Lucario did just that. But the next thing to ask is "does the benefit of using this set outweigh the viability of other options for this team slot?"

That's kind of a mouthful so I'll try to explain it in a way you all can understand. Essentially, you need to ask yourself if it's really worth running that set. By running a Scarf Lucario, you are giving up both the potential that Lucario as a whole can offer your team as well as the potential benefit that the slot in your team can provide. Scarf Lucario is a poor choice and is labeled a "gimmick" because there are Pokemon that can fulfill that same role while also providing other utility to the team. Assault Vest Conkeldurr, for example, can also check Gengar and can absorb status, something that Lucario could not do.

That was a pretty extreme example, but it was simply to illustrate the importance of asking yourself those two important questions to make sure your set is not a gimmick.

So what are some examples of effective unusual sets?


Just about ever sweeper has counters that must first be KOed or weakened before they can sweep the rest of the opponent's team. Dragonite needs Skarmory out of the way, Gyarados needs Ferrothorn weakened. Diggersby needs Gengar KOed. So how does one realistically beat these Pokemon. An easy thing to tell yourself is "well if I need Skarmory KOed, I'll just use Thundurus to beat it." The problem with that line of thought is that even though Thundurus can beat Skarmory 1v1, no competent player will keep a Skarmory in on a Thundurus. Instead, they will switch out and the counter to your Dragonite will remain healthy. A much more effective strategy is to use something that Skarmory will feel safe switching into, but will surprisingly KO it. An example of this would be SD Aegislash with Life Orb and Head Smash. As soon as Skarmory sees Swords Dance, it will most likely think Skarmory can come in and Whirlwind it out without fear. However, Head Smash can OHKO it after Stealth Rock, or at least bring it low enough to ensure Dragonite won't have to worry about Skarmory. Other such lures include Passho Volcarona for Keldeo, Wacan Manaphy for Thundurus, Earthquake Latios for Heatran, stuff like that. Essentially these things don't sacrifice much viability at all in order to lure in and KO a threat.

Anti-Meta Pokemon

Sometimes people are simply not prepared for a threat despite how effective it might be. One such Pokemon I myself have used is SD Lucario. If given the opportunity, it can set up a Swords Dance and sweep entire offensive teams from the mid-late game. It requires some support, but it has a wonderful matchup against Hyper Offense teams, so it is usually worth the support. Especially if a team is being built around it. However, just because you can use a Pokemon doesn't mean you should. Lucario has a wonderful matchup against offense and doesn't require that much support. On the other hand, building a team around Malamar might work, but its flaws greatly outweigh the value it can bring a team. This makes it a gimmick rather than an anti-meta set.

-Written by Halcyon.
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Tip #5: 4 EV's in 252 / 252 / 4 spreads

In order to maximize a stat, you need to use 252 EV's in that stat out your bank of 508 total EV's. So you can maximize two stats and still have 4 EV's leftover to put into one stat point. Don't make the mistake of thinking those 4 EV's are negligible. Surprisingly, that one stat point can make a huge difference! If you aren't careful you could end up making your pokemon worse.
  • 252 HP / 252 Def or 252 SpD spreads
    • For these defensive spreads, you should always put those last 4 EV's in speed. Speed is the stat which an increase of 1 point will be the most notable and make the largest difference. Consider how speed works much differently than other stats in that it is "absolute". 4 EV's into an attacking stat or defensive stat will only come into play on very, very few attacks or not at all. The large majority of the time those 4 EV's in an attacking or defensive stat will not change the scope of the damage rolls. In speed, however, a higher stat will always allow you to outspeed a certain target. There is only one "roll" with speed, I always win or I never win. The 4 EV's stats allow you to beat other uninvested pokemon in your speed tier.
    • I'll use Clefable for my example. Clefable has a 60 base stat. There are two prominent pokemon in OU that have base 60 speed, Aegislash and Clefable itself (S and A+ ranked respectively). Clefable commonly runs a Calm Mind set with Moonblast and Flamethrower. If your decided to put the 4 EV's into speed that means winning the Calm Mind war against opposing Clefable will be much easier. You can always strike first, meaning you get the jump on getting a crit. In addition, if the opponent decides to attack, you can always take the hit with an extra +1 in Special Defense with a Calm Mind. Similarly, against SubToxc Aegislash you can CM or Softboil before a Shadow Ball to set up more easily.
  • 252 Atk or SpA / 252 Spe spreads
    • For these offensive spreads, you should almost never put the last 4 EV's into HP. All default HP stats are odd numbers. Compare see the default HP of Aerodactyl (base 80 @ 301 HP) vs Nidoking (base 81 @ 303 HP). An odd HP allows you to take less residual damage because usually this will result in increased residual damage.
    • Let's take Thundurus-I as our example. Thundurus-I has 299 HP with no HP EV's. With 4 HP EV's, Thundurus-I now has exactly 300 HP. First now that Thundurus-I has an even amount of EV's, it can only switch into SR 4 times instead of 5. In addition, if it is using a Life Orb it will now take 30 HP for every use as opposed to 29. This is known as a Life Orb number but these types of numbers are a tip for another day. It also takes increased damage from Sandstorm. Offensive pokemon that run these spreads typically don't run leftovers, so minimizing the residual damage allows them to stick around further in a match.
    • Put the 4 EV's into a defensive stat instead, or the second attacking stat you are using if you have both physical and special attacks.
    • There are a few exceptions to this, mostly when you purposefully reduce your HP (subsalac and Belly Drum).
- Written By Doughboy
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Tip #6: Risks and Sacrifices:

An essential skill in battling is to be able to judge situations in order make decisions with the lowest Risk/Reward output. This means risks taken should often be worth it and should not potentially ruin your chances at victory unless absolutely necessary. Judging what sacrifice to make is also very important, particularly for offensive teams. The most basic implementation of sacrificing (or sacking) a Pokemon is using the Pokemon you least require (based on your current matchup) to take the fall so that something else can come in safely. The types beyond this along with some Risk/Reward situations will be covered below, with made-up names and examples included.

  • The Set-up Sack: This is when you identify the Pokemon that your sweeper can set up on, lure it out with something which it counters, sacrifice the bait and proceed to set up and sweep after bringing in your sweeper safely. Already illustrated in Subject 18's Tip #3, I'll repeat it for convenience.
Mega Tyranitar finds it easy to set up on Latios especially when brought in healthy. At the right time, Keldeo lures Latios out and is sacrificed after which Tyranitar comes in to set up. In this matchup Team 1 should avoid killing Latios early on (like using a proud predict with Lando-I's Knock Off) because it's likely to be Tyranitar's best ticket to a sweep and in some cases it's only ticket to any contribution whatsoever.

  • Pseudo-fainted Pokemon: A common mistake made is that players are not willing to sack the Pokemon that are highly weakened and faint to hazards or are outsped and defeated by every opposing Pokemon, on the assumption that they are as good as dead. These pseudo-fainted Pokemon can prove invaluable as pivot switches to avoid taking a hit and by helping teammates with switch-dependent abilities such as Regenerator and Natural Cure or for changing attacks on a Choice user.

  • The Heal Sack: Similar in concept to the Set-up Sack, here a Pokemon is sacrificed to a specific opposing Pokemon so that a wincon can safely heal itself.
(25%) vs.

(40%) vs.

Having been weakened, Charizard X and Mega Venusaur lose their ability to switch into the Pokemon they check. If a Pokemon is sacrificed to Bisharp or Scizor, Charizard can be sent in to Roost, renewing it's ability to switch into Knock Off and being able set up on them for a sweep. Similarly Mega Venusaur can be brought in to heal after a teammate is sacrificed to Choice Specs Keldeo on any attack other than HP Flying.

  • The Insurance Sack: This is when a certain play is made, with full knowledge that it is most likely going to lead to your Pokemon fainting, but is done purely because any other option can potentially lose you the game.
(75%) Aegislash knocks something out and then Pinsir is brought in. Now you notice that your whole team gets swept by a +2 Pinsir, so though it's likely to just KO you with Earthquake, you can't risk it using Swords Dance as you use King's Shield or switch out, so the best play would be to use Shadow Ball essentially sacking Aegislash as insurance.

  • The Safest Risk: The best risks taken are not merely judged based on what you think the other player is going to do, but based on the rewards and consequences of that play, not only for that particular turn but for the rest of the game.
Keldeo goes up against something it threatens with Scald and Latios comes in to take the hit. Now, I'm running Pursuit Aegislash so I could go for the obvious switch, but then he may double switch to Landorus and I really don't want Landorus to be matched against Aegislash because it's really hard to switch out of. So here I notice that he's running both Azumarill and Latios so my Keldeo doesn't put a great amount of work this game, making it worth predicting the likely double switch and just repeating Scald which would knock Landorus out. If that doesn't work and Latios KOes Keldeo, I just send in Aegislash and take it out with Pursuit. He sends out Landorus which is the same matchup except I've sacked my relatively less useful Keldeo to take out his Latios.

  • Identifying the Opponent's Concerns: A major factor in prediction is taking into account the risks which the opponent is running and making plays accordingly. It can be safely predicted that if the opponent has a wincon, he will be careful with it. In fact, the opponent's concern for his wincon can be exploited to develop a wincon of your own.
(88%) Now we're down to the last five mons and Specs Keldeo is up against my Mawile. Looking at it from the opponents point of view, Scald does not OHKO Mawile so he'll need to use Hydro Pump with which he can sweep my team entirely. To do this though, he needs to connect three consecutive Hydro Pumps which is presumably not something he's willing to risk. He would most likely want to go out to Aegislash and hit Mawile once and sack it so that Keldeo can sweep with Scald. Predicting this, I would choose to use Swords Dance. Aegislash comes in and is KOed with Sucker Punch followed by Keldeo at 82% after rocks being brought down by the combination of Sucker Punches from Mawile and Bisharp.

Pokemon is definitely a luck based game and some may even argue that prediction is entirely luck-based too, but the odds are always in favor of the one who makes his predictions wisely upon weighing the possible outcomes.

- Written by Rhaegar


Also shoutouts to anundeadboy for the awesome logo! Thank you man
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