OU GSC OU Discussion Thread

Earthworm

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Snorlax drawing by krukmeister, banner by cherryb0ng

Welcome to the GSC OU discussion thread! This thread is intended to be used to share insights into current trends, show off and help others with their teams, analyse and critique gameplay, and just about anything else related to the second generation's flagship metagame here on Smogon.

What not to post in this thread
  • Any basic questions can instead be directed to the Simple Question Simple Answer (SQSA) thread.
  • One-liners should generally be avoided. Try to give a bit of context for your thoughts.
  • Don't just post a team or replay with no explanatory context or analysis.
  • Avoid ruleset change-based what ifs and other meta (OM) discussion in this thread.
  • Don't post about anything other than GSC OU.
New to GSC OU? Check out the tier's Mods and Clauses as well as (mostly) up-to-date strategy analyses for each Pokemon on the GSC OU format page.

To get discussion started:
  • What do you find strong in the current metagame and what kinds of strategies are anti-meta?
  • Have you seen any unique strategies of interest while playing recently?
  • What are some of the cores you've had success with recently?
 
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To start discussion I'd like to address the elephant in the room when it comes to offence teams. This was something that had been pointed out to me by Blaine500 and I am happy to hear discussion on this topic.

Just because we have slowly shifted to a more offensive and "optimized" meta does not mean that, at least initially, some of our performances show a blindspot. As far as teambuilding is concerned, there is a trend that we are all aware of and it's that many offence teams seem relatively ill-equipped for 2 particular threats.
image_2021-07-30_130652.png

Me getting harassed by a grammar bot that automatically promotes BKC 's spelling propaganda.

The first one, players seem to have caught wind of in recent years and either, A) decided that building in a way that specifically counters it is too costly, or B) decided that we can just play around. The second pokemon isn't something you can't be "prepared" against, but rather is able to take advantage of 2-4 members of a team by virtue of its typing and attacks. (I am speaking on behalf of high level play since most inexperienced players try to change their teams to face anything and everything that makes them feel uncomfortable).

:gs/Jynx: :gs/starmie:

Jynx is a powerhouse of a pokemon and perhaps deservedly one of the most threatening special attackers in the tier of GSC OU. It may not be as effective in certain scenarios as Gengar or Zapdos, but you may find yourself wondering if it's worth not putting on a team when you find that you've made space for a sweeper-like mon. The moveset I have in mind is one that has become synonymous with the pokemon itself and it really says a lot on how the metagame is affected by this off beat meta pick.
item Leftovers
Move 1: Lovely Kiss
Move 2: Ice Beam
Move 3: Psychic
Move 4: Substitute
You could have argued once that this pick was an anti-meta pick in 2018 or something since it seemed to counter many staple pokemon that aren't seeing as much usage, like Exeggutor or Marowak. But to say that Jynx's insurgence triggered the downfall of these two threats may be a bit of a stretch, especially if we consider how many more pokemon out there that are weak to it are still being used. Let's look at some calcs:


Jynx Ice Beam vs. Zapdos: 245-288 (63.9 - 75.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Ice Beam
Jynx Ice Beam vs. Nidoking: 272-320 (74.5 - 87.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Ice Beam vs. Golem: 296-348 (81.5 - 95.8%) -- 56.4% chance to OHKO after Spikes
Jynx Ice Beam vs. Steelix: 148-174 (41.9 - 49.2%) -- 20.8% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery

Pscychic
Jynx Psychic vs. Gengar: 256-302 (79.2 - 93.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. Machamp: 239-282 (62.4 - 73.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. Cloyster: 169-199 (55.7 - 65.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. Heracross: 224-264 (61.7 - 72.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

Jynx Ice Beam vs. -1 Raikou: 171-202 (44.6 - 52.7%) -- 85.6% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Jynx Ice Beam vs. -1 Zapdos: 374-440 (97.6 - 114.8%) -- 87.2% chance to OHKO
Jynx Ice Beam vs. -1 Snorlax: 161-190 (30.7 - 36.3%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. -1 Vaporeon: 169-199 (36.5 - 42.9%) -- 98.7% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
...

The offensive metagame's general weakness to Jynx's Psychic and Ice typing enables it more than other special attackers to fish for RNG based effects (Freeze or Spdef drop) or setup a substitute, even causing in certain cases a shift of the momentum in a teams favor when they otherwise might have been losing. Whether or not this is considered a competitive matchup which offence teams have to take into account or not, I think it's interesting to point out. Unlike other special attackers, Jynx has a tendency to work well even in matchups where it shouldn't (it can reliably setup substitute and bombard a sleep talk lax or Raikou with the right sleep rolls, fish for freezes against it or Starmie or even put heal bell stall teams out of commision by using Lovely Kiss on Blissey). One of the other aspects that helps Jynx is that Dark types that should naturally counter Jynx, either can't find a place on a team due to competition or just don't work. Tyranitar being the obvious check to Jynx, fits on many teams, but I do not forsee the entire playerbase deciding to renounce Steelix or Golem or Rhydon there just to counter Jynx without first assessing the risk of Zapdos they are exposing themselves to. Tyranitar isn't immune to being frozen either and, often times due to the slow pace of many normal resisting mons, can be whittled down to a point where a 3HKO is likely. Houndoom on the other hand has the problem of being less splashable and Umbreon can't do enough damage.
Jynx is so centralizing in today's meta, not only for the fact that it's currently included in 4 of the recently updated sample teams, but it's moveset
is simply outstanding. There are other combinations of moves that work, including using Thief over Substitute, which 9/10 steals leftovers from two
of the most powerful pokemon in the tier (Snorlax or Raikou or even Zapdos).


Now onto Starmie.
This one you might not have expected (If you did, congratulations! You are cool) because you conceived this pokemon as a
"strictly stall" pick, with a few minor exceptions. Starmie is arguably one of the best spinners in the meta and has a really good matchup against
spikers and spinners of all shapes and sizes. I think when someone looks at GSC OU Starmie, they forget how much of a threat it was in RBY and how
it's still is among the higher eschelon of special attacking power (just not quite the highest). Like Jynx it is surprisingly strong against Boom offence teams, but it's more for its ability to disrupt and the speed control than for hax (it's also probably superior from a purely defensive standpoint). I noticed that out of the 12 offence sample teams, 9 have more than 2 pokemon that are either weak to its STAB or are walled by it. Starmie also has access to some of the best coverage this metagame has to offer, if not the absolute best in all of old gens. It can learn Blizzard, Thunder, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Psychic, Surf and Hydro Pump, a movepool not many other pokemon can compete with. By comparison Gengar doesn't learn Ice Beam and Jynx doesn't learn Thunder and neither of these learn Hydro Pump.
Furthermore, Starmie's Water and Psychic typing play a much more defensive role against certain staples, like Machamp, Vaporeon, and, yes..., even Jynx. There is no doubt about how good it is on defensive teams but I believe it being put and left on the shelf of stall teams is a great misuse of this wonderful toy!
With STAB water moves this Starmie acts as a check to Nidoking, Tyranitar, Golem, Steelix, Rhydon, Houndoom and Jynx and it just hits so many things neutrally. I found some moderate success with a team that was built on the GSC discord which included this particular set:

Item: leftovers
Move 1: Hydro Pump
Move 2: Thunder Wave
Move 3: Psychic/ Blizzard
Move 4: Recover



Hydro Pump is a key move in that it can deal significant amounts of damage by virtue of the elevated base power, when compared to Surf. It has a 99.1% chance to actually 3HKO Zapdos if that says anything and with it you will never be afraid of being targetted by a Steelix trying to explode on it to clear the way for Machamp, because Steelix will be OHKO'd. A special shoutout to Fear who innovatively inspired us with Nightmare substitute Starmie in SPL XI week 6. Personally I remembered Sulcata bringing it in GSC cup VI in 2020, which he won, but that wasn't until the milkman had been pestered by the inventor in that famous SPL game. I guess the best path to victory is learning from a loss.

Here are a few replays which showcase its latent and unexplored power. (I will update this with some SPL replays).

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen2ou-1382817869-sou50cf5dhyi86dqwjja3ig8k442r94pw Psychic Starmie
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen2ou-1383164112-mgrv9k1hjabgef76mgq46n40lgems0mpw Blizzard Starmie

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-474850 Fear vs Kratosmana SPL 11 week5 - tfw lastmon Zap is your Starmie
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-475829 Fear vs Sulcata SPL 11 week 6 - Sub Nightmare Starmie
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-545281 Fear vs Gorgie SPL 12 week 8 - TWO STARMIES

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-505883 2 gsc cup games of Sulcata vs Tony Flygon with Nightmare Starmie, Golem and Forry.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-505903
 
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Mr.E

unban me from Discord
is a Two-Time Past SPL Champion
Jynx is two things, mostly. (1) How powerful Psychic actually is as an offensive typing. Like Electric, it's a fairly neutral typing and thus difficult to defend against. Eggy makes very good use of its own Psychic typing, as well as the odd Espeon and Alakazam. (2) It's a sleeper that threatens the metagame's most ubiquitous Sleep Talker, Zapdos. Its Ice typing is also fairly complementary to its Psychic typing offensively. Now, I'm not convinced Substitute is particularly amazing on it, but that's kind of a free moveslot to play around with anyway.

Spin Starmie is a fine if somewhat overused role player. I particularly prefer it on teams with clerics because adding Miltank or Blissey to your standard Lax + Spiker team base tends to make you horribly weak to Machamp, especially considering most stall teams opt for Raikou, who doesn't resist Fighting, over Zapdos. I'm much more interested in Nightmare Sub Starmie as a unique offensive threat, though. Sub is frustrating to play against if you're using the more common Thunder on your Electric(s) and Nightmare breaks Snorlax (and to a lesser extent Raikou) in a way that no other special attacker is capable of short of Vaporeon. It is reasonably handled by Tbolt Electrics, but the more important bit is it's a special attacker that beats Snorlax.
 

Holly

you horrible cheating girl
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Overall really enjoying the metagame at the moment, tiers really fun to play and I’ve been experimenting with a lot of interesting stuff recently. I agree with cherryb0ng regarding Jynx and Starmie and how they affect the tier. Jynx especially is a big threat and forces a lot of offensive teams to run stuff like RestTalk Lax/Vaporeon to not be awful against it. The Spikes game is an especially big part of the metagame at the moment I feel, with a lot of games being decided off it. Anyway, on to two underrated sets I’ve been running recently.

:gs/Snorlax:
Snorlax @ Leftovers
Ability: None
- Double-Edge
- Earthquake
- Flamethrower
- Rest

This is a Lax set I’ve been running a bit recently. Its pretty hard to take down naturally, and with QuakeThrower+Double Edge it has great coverage and hits hard. Its pretty good vs a lot of offensive teams(Lead Egg TarGar stuff for example) and stall. RestTalk Raikou is a great partner since it can deal with Jynx, Zapdos etc because Lax is not running RestTalk and can’t handle them as well.

:gs/Meganium:
Meganium @ Leftovers
Ability: none
- Swords Dance
- Body Slam
- Earthquake
- Synthesis

SD Meganium is not anything new, but I feel its underrated in the current metagame and a solid anti metagame pick. While it definitely has flaws(Can’t hurt Skarm, lets in Cloy and Forre, hates every status), a lot of NidoGarTar stuff is really weak to this thing assuming you can weaken stuff like Snorlax. Its solid against Zapdos and favoured to beat it 1v1 unless it has Drill Peck(although Thunder para / TWave are annoying), and hard walls RestTalk Vaporeon. Speaking of Vaporeon, it pairs great with SD Meg as they both deal with a lot of each others weaknesses(Meganium can switch into Electrics and threaten them with Body Slam paralysis, and Vaporeon beats Skarmory and Fires etc). Using both is also good security against Ground and Rock types. Support Meganium with Reflect, Leech Seed, Razor Leaf, and Synthesis is another thing Meganium can do, and is a great support Pokemon thats a pain for CurseLax due to Leech Seed and Reflect often forcing it out. Overall, I’m a big fan of this mon and here’s a team I’ve been running it on :Zapdos: :meganium: :vaporeon: :snorlax: :Cloyster: :Golem:
 
To start discussion I'd like to address the elephant in the room when it comes to offence teams. This was something that had been pointed out to me by Blaine500 and I am happy to hear discussion on this topic.

Just because we have slowly shifted to a more offensive and "optimized" meta does not mean that, at least initially, some of our performances show a blindspot. As far as teambuilding is concerned, there is a trend that we are all aware of and it's that many offence teams seem relatively ill-equipped for 2 particular threats.
View attachment 361673

Me getting harassed by a grammar bot that automatically promotes BKC 's spelling propaganda.

The first one, players seem to have caught wind of in recent years and either, A) decided that building in a way that specifically counters it is too costly, or B) decided that we can just play around. The second pokemon isn't something you can't be "prepared" against, but rather is able to take advantage of 2-4 members of a team by virtue of its typing and attacks. (I am speaking on behalf of high level play since most inexperienced players try to change their teams to face anything and everything that makes them feel uncomfortable).

:gs/Jynx: :gs/starmie:

Jynx is a powerhouse of a pokemon and perhaps deservedly one of the most threatening special attackers in the tier of GSC OU. It may not be as effective in certain scenarios as Gengar or Zapdos, but you may find yourself wondering if it's worth not putting on a team when you find that you've made space for a sweeper-like mon. The moveset I have in mind is one that has become synonymous with the pokemon itself and it really says a lot on how the metagame is affected by this off beat meta pick.
item Leftovers
Move 1: Lovely Kiss
Move 2: Ice Beam
Move 3: Psychic
Move 4: Substitute
You could have argued once that this pick was an anti-meta pick in 2018 or something since it seemed to counter many staple pokemon that aren't seeing as much usage, like Exeggutor or Marowak. But to say that Jynx's insurgence triggered the downfall of these two threats may be a bit of a stretch, especially if we consider how many more pokemon out there that are weak to it are still being used. Let's look at some calcs:


Jynx Ice Beam vs. Zapdos: 245-288 (63.9 - 75.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Ice Beam
Jynx Ice Beam vs. Nidoking: 272-320 (74.5 - 87.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Ice Beam vs. Golem: 296-348 (81.5 - 95.8%) -- 56.4% chance to OHKO after Spikes
Jynx Ice Beam vs. Steelix: 148-174 (41.9 - 49.2%) -- 20.8% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery

Pscychic
Jynx Psychic vs. Gengar: 256-302 (79.2 - 93.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. Machamp: 239-282 (62.4 - 73.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. Cloyster: 169-199 (55.7 - 65.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. Heracross: 224-264 (61.7 - 72.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

Jynx Ice Beam vs. -1 Raikou: 171-202 (44.6 - 52.7%) -- 85.6% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Jynx Ice Beam vs. -1 Zapdos: 374-440 (97.6 - 114.8%) -- 87.2% chance to OHKO
Jynx Ice Beam vs. -1 Snorlax: 161-190 (30.7 - 36.3%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
Jynx Psychic vs. -1 Vaporeon: 169-199 (36.5 - 42.9%) -- 98.7% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
...

The offensive metagame's general weakness to Jynx's Psychic and Ice typing enables it more than other special attackers to fish for RNG based effects (Freeze or Spdef drop) or setup a substitute, even causing in certain cases a shift of the momentum in a teams favor when they otherwise might have been losing. Whether or not this is considered a competitive matchup which offence teams have to take into account or not, I think it's interesting to point out. Unlike other special attackers, Jynx has a tendency to work well even in matchups where it shouldn't (it can reliably setup substitute and bombard a sleep talk lax or Raikou with the right sleep rolls, fish for freezes against it or Starmie or even put heal bell stall teams out of commision by using Lovely Kiss on Blissey). One of the other aspects that helps Jynx is that Dark types that should naturally counter Jynx, either can't find a place on a team due to competition or just don't work. Tyranitar being the obvious check to Jynx, fits on many teams, but I do not forsee the entire playerbase deciding to renounce Steelix or Golem or Rhydon there just to counter Jynx without first assessing the risk of Zapdos they are exposing themselves to. Tyranitar isn't immune to being frozen either and, often times due to the slow pace of many normal resisting mons, can be whittled down to a point where a 3HKO is likely. Houndoom on the other hand has the problem of being less splashable and Umbreon can't do enough damage.
Jynx is so centralizing in today's meta, not only for the fact that it's currently included in 4 of the recently updated sample teams, but it's moveset
is simply outstanding. There are other combinations of moves that work, including using Thief over Substitute, which 9/10 steals leftovers from two
of the most powerful pokemon in the tier (Snorlax or Raikou or even Zapdos).


Now onto Starmie.
This one you might not have expected (If you did, congratulations! You are cool) because you conceived this pokemon as a
"strictly stall" pick, with a few minor exceptions. Starmie is arguably one of the best spinners in the meta and has a really good matchup against
spikers and spinners of all shapes and sizes. I think when someone looks at GSC OU Starmie, they forget how much of a threat it was in RBY and how
it's still is among the higher eschelon of special attacking power (just not quite the highest). Like Jynx it is surprisingly strong against Boom offence teams, but it's more for its ability to disrupt and the speed control than for hax (it's also probably superior from a purely defensive standpoint). I noticed that out of the 12 offence sample teams, 9 have more than 2 pokemon that are either weak to its STAB or are walled by it. Starmie also has access to some of the best coverage this metagame has to offer, if not the absolute best in all of old gens. It can learn Blizzard, Thunder, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, Psychic, Surf and Hydro Pump, a movepool not many other pokemon can compete with. By comparison Gengar doesn't learn Ice Beam and Jynx doesn't learn Thunder and neither of these learn Hydro Pump.
Furthermore, Starmie's Water and Psychic typing play a much more defensive role against certain staples, like Machamp, Vaporeon, and, yes..., even Jynx. There is no doubt about how good it is on defensive teams but I believe it being put and left on the shelf of stall teams is a great misuse of this wonderful toy!
With STAB water moves this Starmie acts as a check to Nidoking, Tyranitar, Golem, Steelix, Rhydon, Houndoom and Jynx and it just hits so many things neutrally. I found some moderate success with a team that was built on the GSC discord which included this particular set:

Item: leftovers
Move 1: Hydro Pump
Move 2: Thunder Wave
Move 3: Psychic/ Blizzard
Move 4: Recover



Hydro Pump is a key move in that it can deal significant amounts of damage by virtue of the elevated base power, when compared to Surf. It has a 99.1% chance to actually 3HKO Zapdos if that says anything and with it you will never be afraid of being targetted by a Steelix trying to explode on it to clear the way for Machamp, because Steelix will be OHKO'd. A special shoutout to Fear who innovatively inspired us with Nightmare substitute Starmie in SPL XI week 6. Personally I remembered Sulcata bringing it in GSC cup VI in 2020, which he won, but that wasn't until the milkman had been pestered by the inventor in that famous SPL game. I guess the best path to victory is learning from a loss.

Here are a few replays which showcase its latent and unexplored power. (I will update this with some SPL replays).

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen2ou-1382817869-sou50cf5dhyi86dqwjja3ig8k442r94pw Psychic Starmie
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen2ou-1383164112-mgrv9k1hjabgef76mgq46n40lgems0mpw Blizzard Starmie

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-475829 Fear vs Sulcata SPL 11 week 6 - Sub Nightmare Starmie
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-545281 Fear vs Gorgie SPL 12 week 8 - TWO STARMIES

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-505883 2 gsc cup games of Sulcata vs Tony Flygon with Nightmare Starmie, Golem and Forry.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen2ou-505903
Have you considered a type-boosting Item? At least on Starmie, since it isn't using Substitite and already knows Recover for healing.

It would also partner well with Hydro Pump, as Mystic Water gives it an 18 base power boost, which includes STAB, and if you are super effective that becomes 36 base power, which is about the difference in power between Surf and Hydro Pump after STAB (142.5 + 36 = 178.5 which is on par with 180 from Hydro Pump).

I think a Pokemon on the cusp of being just powerful enough, would appreciate a little boost to secure some hits, and could replace Thunder Wave for a pure offensive set.

Item: Mystic Water
Move 1: Hydro Pump
Move 2: Blizzard
Move 3: Psychic
Move 4: Recover
 
Overall really enjoying the metagame at the moment, tiers really fun to play and I’ve been experimenting with a lot of interesting stuff recently. I agree with cherryb0ng regarding Jynx and Starmie and how they affect the tier. Jynx especially is a big threat and forces a lot of offensive teams to run stuff like RestTalk Lax/Vaporeon to not be awful against it. The Spikes game is an especially big part of the metagame at the moment I feel, with a lot of games being decided off it. Anyway, on to two underrated sets I’ve been running recently.

:gs/Snorlax:
Snorlax @ Leftovers
Ability: None
- Double-Edge
- Earthquake
- Flamethrower
- Rest

This is a Lax set I’ve been running a bit recently. Its pretty hard to take down naturally, and with QuakeThrower+Double Edge it has great coverage and hits hard. Its pretty good vs a lot of offensive teams(Lead Egg TarGar stuff for example) and stall. RestTalk Raikou is a great partner since it can deal with Jynx, Zapdos etc because Lax is not running RestTalk and can’t handle them as well.

:gs/Meganium:
Meganium @ Leftovers
Ability: none
- Swords Dance
- Body Slam
- Earthquake
- Synthesis

SD Meganium is not anything new, but I feel its underrated in the current metagame and a solid anti metagame pick. While it definitely has flaws(Can’t hurt Skarm, lets in Cloy and Forre, hates every status), a lot of NidoGarTar stuff is really weak to this thing assuming you can weaken stuff like Snorlax. Its solid against Zapdos and favoured to beat it 1v1 unless it has Drill Peck(although Thunder para / TWave are annoying), and hard walls RestTalk Vaporeon. Speaking of Vaporeon, it pairs great with SD Meg as they both deal with a lot of each others weaknesses(Meganium can switch into Electrics and threaten them with Body Slam paralysis, and Vaporeon beats Skarmory and Fires etc). Using both is also good security against Ground and Rock types. Support Meganium with Reflect, Leech Seed, Razor Leaf, and Synthesis is another thing Meganium can do, and is a great support Pokemon thats a pain for CurseLax due to Leech Seed and Reflect often forcing it out. Overall, I’m a big fan of this mon and here’s a team I’ve been running it on :Zapdos: :meganium: :vaporeon: :snorlax: :Cloyster: :Golem:
The lax set I've only seen once actually and it was in a stall match between me and Earthworm. Really fun and underrated set but essentially patches all blindspots in snorlax coverage, leaving it with virtually nothing to resist it. I think it could fit decently well on a stall team, substituting the common flame toxic lax.

As for the Meganium. It's cool. It has a decent speed tier and paralysis support to boot. There are lots of things you can do with Meganium depending on the scenario. The ground resistance is helpful. I guess it could be Zapdos 1v1 but it does have to worry about status from other mons and coming in on a Zapdos can make the situation a little bit trickier. I think that this mon may have a harder time proving itself useful against stall.

Your Meganium team is extremely weak to Jynx and Machamp. Maybe forretress over Cloyster could at least give you a mon that resists Jynx's attacks and can threaten a boom.
 
Have you considered a type-boosting Item? At least on Starmie, since it isn't using Substitite and already knows Recover for healing.

It would also partner well with Hydro Pump, as Mystic Water gives it an 18 base power boost, which includes STAB, and if you are super effective that becomes 36 base power, which is about the difference in power between Surf and Hydro Pump after STAB (142.5 + 36 = 178.5 which is on par with 180 from Hydro Pump).

I think a Pokemon on the cusp of being just powerful enough, would appreciate a little boost to secure some hits, and could replace Thunder Wave for a pure offensive set.

Item: Mystic Water
Move 1: Hydro Pump
Move 2: Blizzard
Move 3: Psychic
Move 4: Recover
I didn't get around to this comment because I didn't check any calcs. I think that you don't want Psychic and Blizzard together because each move tends to have slightly better coverage with Hydro Pump.

I believe I've seen a mystic water Hydro Starmie on full Growth pass teams. The difference with Leftovers is that in Rain (or just at +1 without Rain), a Mystic Water boosted Hydro Pump is a guaranteed 3HKO on Snorlax. By comparison, the next best Starmie check that doesn't resist it is Raikou, who is 2HKOed under the same conditions and risks even losing the speed tie (but Starmie should be weary of increasing Thunder accuracy with Rain).


No Rain
+1 Starmie Hydro Pump vs. Snorlax: 182-214 (34.7 - 40.9%) -- 63.9% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
+1 Mystic Water Starmie Hydro Pump vs. Snorlax: 199-235 (38 - 44.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery


With Rain
Mystic Water Starmie Hydro Pump vs. Snorlax in Rain: 199-235 (38 - 44.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
Starmie Hydro Pump vs. Snorlax in Rain: 183-216 (34.9 - 41.3%) -- 75% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
 
" To start discussion I'd like to address the elephant in the room when it comes to offence teams. This was something that had been pointed out to me by Blaine500 and I am happy to hear discussion on this topic. Just because we have slowly shifted to a more offensive and "optimized" meta does not mean that, at least initially, some of our performances show a blindspot. As far as teambuilding is concerned, there is a trend that we are all aware of and it's that many offence teams seem relatively ill-equipped for 2 particular threats." - Cherryb0ng

Yes indeed, that is correct. In more recent years its been my observation that many offensively oriented teams seem to fall short from a team structure/weakness perspective to at least 1 of these 3 mons being: Starmie, Nidoking and Jynx (or as I've been calling them the "SNJ" trio).

:gs/starmie::gs/Nidoking::gs/jynx:

That is not to say that said teams aren't able to handle the pressure of these mons through offensive means in order to win (and a lot can be said about that), but from a strictly defensive typing perspective "the trio" does seem to come up on top quite often from their sheer coverage moves alone and this is something to be mindful of when team building.

While you may have the upperhand early on, crits/status add up thus making things shift quickly and having a team with stacked weaknesses to a single mon can make affairs grim for you in the endgame. If they play it smart and perserve said mon until the conditions are "just right" they can proceed to cleave through the opposition like butter once given the opportunity. The ever so popular: Gar, Nido, Jynx, Cloy, Lax and Dos team that so many players love comes to mind. While it is offensively very sound and gets the job done, it is somewhat starmie weak.

:gs/gengar:
Gengar gets outspeed and 2hko cleanly by Starmie's Psychic vs. Gengar: 234-276 (72.4 - 85.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery, or 1hko with some previous chip damage and spikes,

:gs/Nidoking:
Nidoking is weak to both of Starmie's stabs and gets ohko by Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. Nidoking: 311-366 (85.2 - 100.2%) -- 84.6% chance to OHKO after Spikes,

:gs/jynx:
while Jynx isn't weak to Starmie per say it does have both of its stabs resisted by Starmie while being cleanly 3hko by Starmie's Surf vs. Jynx: 107-126 (32.1 - 37.8%) -- 96.1% chance to 3HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery,

:gs/cloyster:
and then there's Cloyster who is ohkoed by thunder (assuming starmie is running that) Starmie's Thunder vs. Cloyster: 272-320 (89.7 - 105.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes or gets cleanly 2hkoed by Starmie's Psychic vs. Cloyster: 154-181 (50.8 - 59.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery.

:gs/snorlax: :gs/zapdos:
Snorlax and Zapdos are easily the main things standing in starmie's way for a well timed sweep against a team like this, however, even they can be defeated if they're put into Hydro pump range through team support or thanks to well placed crits/sp.def drops given that starmie outspeeds them both.

Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. Snorlax: 122-144 (23.3 - 27.5%) -- 4% chance to 4HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. -1 Snorlax: 184-217 (35.1 - 41.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. Snorlax on a critical hit: 242-285 (46.2 - 54.4%) -- 98.9% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. -1 Snorlax on a critical hit: 367-432 (70.1 - 82.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery

Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. Zapdos: 140-165 (36.5 - 43%) -- 99.1% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. -1 Zapdos: 212-250 (55.3 - 65.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. Zapdos on a critical hit: 278-327 (72.5 - 85.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Starmie's Hydro Pump vs. -1 Zapdos on a critical hit: 423-498 (110.4 - 130%) -- guaranteed OHKO


Similar defensive weaknesses can be observed even on the micro scale in many of our beloved pairings such as:

:gs/Skarmory: + :gs/Raikou: that ends ups Nido weak (Skarm -> thunder and Kou -> earthquake)

or

:gs/Machamp: + :gs/NidoKing: that is Jynx weak (Champ -> psychic and Nido-> ice beam).

The coverage of these 3 is very extensive and it can be hard to get the balancing act to where it needs to be while team building but they do serve as a great way of determining if you've got significant defensive flaws to address and are something to keep an eye out for while in the heat of battle.
 
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:gs/cloyster:
and then there's Cloyster who is ohkoed by thunder (assuming starmie is running that) Starmie's Thunder vs. Cloyster: 272-320 (89.7 - 105.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes or gets cleanly 2hkoed by Starmie's Psychic vs. Cloyster: 154-181 (50.8 - 59.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery.
I don't think Thunder is worth considering. Mentioning, perhaps, but in my experience, Starmie with Thunder leaves so much else to be desired against a plethora of other threats it would much rather be able to hit. There is one threat that a Thunder/bolt starmie can help threaten and that's Vaporeon.
The Vaporeon-Starmie matchup is a mixed bag but it generally favors Starmie 1v1 on the condition that it has Psychic or an electric move (light screen can be risky and Nightmare would mean that it has to expend 4+ Surfs to actually force it to Rest, something which becomes unviable once the Vaporeon reaches multiple growths). Vaporeon's only win condition is to some how muster the strength to withstand a barrage of Psychics while trying to setup and hope that Starmie doesn't get a Spdef drop. Starmies that lack the coverage only have the option of stalling out the Vaporeon of Surfs by spamming recover.

Starmie's main strengths are its immediate access to Rapid Spin and its high speed. Similarly to Golem, it can prove a little bit tricky to spin block, hence why it's so good. With the attacks mentioned, it's obviously a threat which is one of the things that enable it to spin in a way that Cloyster and Forretress (sometimes even Golem) cannot do because of how it forces switchouts.

My point is that if you give it Thunder, you aren't enabling it versus so many threats while still facing the chance of a miss while Cloyster Explodes or gets a toxic on you. Thunder threatens an OHKO on cloyster, but it's not that worth it in general since the Cloyster player is already going to try and be cautious. Furthermore, if Starmie gets poisoned, then as the Cloyster player, I may attempt to keep my spikes up and try and boom on Starmie after. If I lose Starmie and spikes are down that's worse.
 
I don't think Thunder is worth considering. Mentioning, perhaps, but in my experience, Starmie with Thunder leaves so much else to be desired against a plethora of other threats it would much rather be able to hit. There is one threat that a Thunder/bolt starmie can help threaten and that's Vaporeon.
The Vaporeon-Starmie matchup is a mixed bag but it generally favors Starmie 1v1 on the condition that it has Psychic or an electric move (light screen can be risky and Nightmare would mean that it has to expend 4+ Surfs to actually force it to Rest, something which becomes unviable once the Vaporeon reaches multiple growths). Vaporeon's only win condition is to some how muster the strength to withstand a barrage of Psychics while trying to setup and hope that Starmie doesn't get a Spdef drop. Starmies that lack the coverage only have the option of stalling out the Vaporeon of Surfs by spamming recover.

Starmie's main strengths are its immediate access to Rapid Spin and its high speed. Similarly to Golem, it can prove a little bit tricky to spin block, hence why it's so good. With the attacks mentioned, it's obviously a threat which is one of the things that enable it to spin in a way that Cloyster and Forretress (sometimes even Golem) cannot do because of how it forces switchouts.

My point is that if you give it Thunder, you aren't enabling it versus so many threats while still facing the chance of a miss while Cloyster Explodes or gets a toxic on you. Thunder threatens an OHKO on cloyster, but it's not that worth it in general since the Cloyster player is already going to try and be cautious. Furthermore, if Starmie gets poisoned, then as the Cloyster player, I may attempt to keep my spikes up and try and boom on Starmie after. If I lose Starmie and spikes are down that's worse.
Well thunder is certainly a bit of a gamble but so is hydro pump. Point made, however, starmie doesn't even need to make use of thunder if the paranoia of missing is too great. Magnet thunderbolt has a 1/3rd chance of OHKOing from full after spikes and lets be honest cloy is basically almost always carrying some kind of chip damage.

Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Cloyster: 236-278 (77.8 - 91.7%) -- 30.8% chance to OHKO after Spikes

With a moveset like this offensive starmie could really spread havoc:
:gs/starmie:
item: leftovers/magnet
-psychic
-surf/hydro pump
-recover/ice beam
-thunder/thunderbolt

Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Skarmory: 190-224 (57 - 67.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Skarmory on a critical hit: 377-444 (113.2 - 133.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Starmie: 166-196 (51.3 - 60.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Starmie on a critical hit: 331-390 (102.4 - 120.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO

Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Vaporeon: 156-184 (33.6 - 39.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. -1 Vaporeon: 236-278 (50.9 - 60%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. -1 Vaporeon on a critical hit: 471-554 (101.7 - 119.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Magnet Starmie Thunder vs. Vaporeon: 195-230 (42.1 - 49.6%) -- 28.2% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery

Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Suicune: 137-162 (33.9 - 40.1%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. -1 Suicune: 205-242 (50.8 - 60%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. -1 Suicune on a critical hit: 410-482 (101.7 - 119.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Magnet Starmie Thunder vs. Suicune: 171-202 (42.4 - 50.1%) -- 36.2% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery

Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Lapras: 156-184 (33.6 - 39.7%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunder vs. Lapras: 195-230 (42.1 - 49.6%) -- 28.2% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery

Magnet Starmie Thunderbolt vs. Articuno: 127-150 (33.1 - 39.1%) -- 12.8% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
Magnet Starmie Thunder vs. Articuno: 161-190 (42 - 49.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery

Starmie Ice Beam vs. Dragonite: 275-324 (71.4 - 84.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

Starmie Ice Beam vs. Exeggutor: 178-210 (45.2 - 53.4%) -- 93.2% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery

Starmie Ice Beam vs. Zapdos: 148-174 (38.6 - 45.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery


As for the lack of spin on mie you could easily pair it with forry that compresses spikes + spin onto one set or add golem as your "normal resist" as well as your spinner onto the team. Heal bell support from miltank or blissey would also help starmie out with status and pair up well with it anyways. The thing is that starmie is an underrated and underutilitizied offensive threat in the current meta because of how its proven it self to be so effective on stall teams as a spinner, but make no mistake, it can really pack a punch as well.
 
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phosphor

end of transmission
is a Tutor Alumnus
I'm normally very hesitant to post anything about a metagame that people have been playing for more than 20 years- either it's already been figured out and people were already using it (like a lot of sets I wanted to post here eg WaterGar or ThunderMie) or it's probably not as effective or consistent as one would think. These sets in particular should only be used if they fit the team perfectly and you can't make a change somewhere that allows you to use a standard set.

:jynx:
Jynx (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: none
- Ice Beam
- Lovely Kiss
- Nightmare
- Substitute


Has the potential to be a very scary late game threat, but also requires a lot of support (Thief, traded Explosions vs the stuff that would PP stall you).

:zapdos:
Zapdos @ Leftovers
Ability: none
IVs: 14 HP / 28 Atk / 26 Def
- Thunderbolt/ Thunder
- Hidden Power [Water]
- Whirlwind
- Reflect


For use on very offensive, low turn count teams that have strong spin prevention but will occasionally need to roadblock a CurseLax. I've seen some people use this already and I'll name them if they request it.

:forretress:
Forretress @ Miracle Berry
Ability: none
IVs: 6 HP / 28 Atk / 24 Def
- Spikes
- Toxic
- Explosion
- Hidden Power [Fire]

In this meta of NidoSpikes and Jynx, even imperfect Miracle Berry users buying an extra turn to get something done has become valuable. I've always used a lot of Miracle Berry on Cloy and this seemed like a natural extension. For use on teams where your Sleep Talker sucks vs Egg but your team also gets spun on by enemy Forry.

:Tyranitar:
-Ice Beam (Pursuit or all out attacker)

Hit Egg, Golem/Rhydon, and Nido in one slot. Harder to deal with Gengar, though.


HP Ghost on Machamp or Forry (alongside Gengar) has become a bit underused, in my opinion. Hitting Gengar and Starmie with one slot is still pretty useful.
 

gorgie

formerly Floppy, now Rock hard
I'm normally very hesitant to post anything about a metagame that people have been playing for more than 20 years- either it's already been figured out and people were already using it (like a lot of sets I wanted to post here eg WaterGar or ThunderMie) or it's probably not as effective or consistent as one would think. These sets in particular should only be used if they fit the team perfectly and you can't make a change somewhere that allows you to use a standard set.

:jynx:
Jynx (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: none
- Ice Beam
- Lovely Kiss
- Nightmare
- Substitute


Has the potential to be a very scary late game threat, but also requires a lot of support (Thief, traded Explosions vs the stuff that would PP stall you).
This Jynx is indeed a thumper late game as the hidden 6th on a balls out momentum-based offensive squad. Often times it needs only one free sub to start pissing on the opp.

the only "draw back" is... the team housing this guy will require almost picture-perfect play to set both itself up and the field. Similar to a drumzard setup line but with less leeway.

i recommend this set to the player whose balls no scale can contain.

The trainer who gets a kick from putting on a well-orchestrated show knowing at any wrong turn it can all turn to chaos and embarrassment. Classic high risk high reward stint.
 
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:gs/golem: :gs/tyranitar: :gs/quagsire:
Recently I've been thinking about ways to pressure stall teams without needing Spikes. The answer inevitably loops back to some combination of Earthquake + special coverage. Nidoking is iconic in the roll, but can struggle to break Sleep Talk users. Explosion and Curse boosts are frequent ways to get past Sleep Talk mons which opens up some interesting mixed attacking options, namely Fire Blast Golem and Curse Flamethrower Tyranitar.

Both of these sets have advantageous matchups against common Skarmory + Starmie + rock stall builds and synergize decently well with Explosion Cloyster. As an added benefit, both are functional sets in an offensive matchup, though more limited than their standard sets.

:golem:
- Earthquake
- Fire Blast
- Explosion
- Roar / Rapid Spin

The reasoning for this set is pretty simple: anything that takes an Explosion does not want to take Fire Blast or Earthquake. Once Fire Blast is revealed, Golem's defensive switch-ins are limited to Snorlax, Zapdos, Starmie, Suicune, and Umbreon. For this reason, it can serve as a decent bait Explosion with Lovely Kiss Nidoking.
More importantly, this set does not need Nidoking or another mixed attacker to succeed. It's main draw is how it can terrorize stall teams that are missing Starmie. If Cloyster sacrifices Spikes to explode on Starmie, a Fire Blast Golem team still has options to progress the game. Conversely, Golem can also explode on Starmie to help make Spikes stick.
This Golem set mostly belongs on offense and the fourth move option of Roar / Rapid Spin is based on rest of the team.

:tyranitar:
- Earthquake
- Flamethrower
- Curse
- Rock Slide / Rest

Discount Marowak with a little more mid-game utility due to Leftovers. The coverage is going to be excellent against any team, but excels against slower teams without a water type. Versus Starmie stalls, it will mostly rely on Cloyster/Forretress to trade before it can really harass the opponent. This set also prefers not to run into Suicune, but those teams rarely also run Starmie. Umbreon is also a subpar matchup and Tyranitar can be susceptible to status.
No STAB Rest Ttar is an unset, but fun to consider. It only fits on stall teams where trading Spikes for Starmie is a generally suboptimal play. Most of the time it is resigned to be a passive FireLax check. But if you want to hard counter :raikou::snorlax::tyranitar::forretress::skarmory::tentacruel: stall, this set is for you.
Non-Roar Curse Tyranitar has a sad matchup against CurseLax, so it is preferable to run it alongside a phazing normal resist. In fact mixed Tar and standard Golem synergize well together as does mixed Golem + standard Tyranitar.

:quagsire:
- Earthquake
- Curse
- Surf
- Rest

This set is pretty suspect, but thought it was worth including as an example that does not fit the role. Quagsire fits well only on specific Raikou-less defensive archetypes and this set loses to Curse Snorlax and is walled by Zapdos (ouch). It is mostly good outside these matchups (a tall order), but Belly Drum Quagsire has the same defensive role and easier time breaking stall even when considering Skarmory.

:piloswine: fails for a similar reason, a Curse + Rest set is worse than Quagsire on defensive teams. A Curse + Roar could snag wins against offense but lacks sustain vs. stall and Sleep Talk sets lack breaking power.

None of these sets are new. All are more niche options compared to standard sets. However, in this Spikes centric metagame, I believe constructing reliable win conditions on Spikes offense without relying on Spikes is an underutilized tactic.
Of course when using these sets you do not have to immediately resign yourself to playing without Spikes, but the option is always there if the opportunity arises. Just some food for thought.
 

Jorgen

World's Strongest Fairy
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Past SPL Champion
Getting Spikes offense to break a stall without spikes is a good idea, but I wonder if simply being scummy and playing for crits and freezes is good enough. You could even run 2 flying-types naturally enough to have a drawing resource in case the casino is stacked in favor of the house.
 

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