The goal of this threat list is to give newer players an idea of what common threats in the GSC OU metagame are capable of doing. By knowing what to prepare for when building a team and battling against these Pokemon, new players should have an easier time adjusting to this metagame.
Base Stats: 255 HP / 10 Atk / 10 Def / 75 SpA / 135 SpD / 55 Spe
Blissey is an interesting Pokemon to say the very least. It's the best wall in the game from the special side, with staggering 255 / 135 defenses, but lacks much in the way of offense—a trait that hardly any viable GSC Pokemon share. This will inevitably lead to it giving up some free switches to Pokemon like Snorlax, which is never a good thing. However, it does have some benefits that other special walls, such as Raikou, lack. First of all, Blissey is one of the two viable Pokemon in OU able to use the coveted Heal Bell, a move that clears one's entire team of status. This is an extremely important trait, giving Pokemon that would normally be forced to run RestTalk sets the freedom of one more move, plus Pokemon that would often be scared of status can now act more boldly. In addition, Blissey is one of the relatively few Pokemon to possess instant recovery in the form of Softboiled, meaning it doesn't have to rely on the shaky RestTalk combination in order to restore health. Blissey also has access to different types of status in the form of Sing and Toxic, meaning despite its subpar offensive stats, it can still threaten the opponent's team, albeit indirectly. For Steel-types such as Skarmory and Forretress, Flamethrower is also an option to catch them off their guard. Even moves such as Reflect and Thunder Wave are usable to fulfill particular roles—though not in conjunction with Heal Bell. These characteristics wouldn't mean too much individually, but combined they create an effective team player.
Type: Fire / Flying
Base Stats: 78 HP / 84 Atk / 78 Def / 109 SpA / 85 SpD / 100 Spe
Charizard is better in GSC than it is in any other generation. With good all-around base stats, high Speed, and access to Belly Drum, it has the ability to power through teams with ease. With access to the deadly combination of Rock Slide and Earthquake, at 999 Attack it can break through most Pokemon, though big defensive tanks like Suicune and Slowbro will need to be worn down a bit before it sets up Belly Drum—thus, Spikes support and a phazer really help this guy. In addition, Fire Blast coming off Charizard's base 109 Special Attack means Skarmory and Steelix won't be doing much of anything to Charizard either. Aside from the aforementioned sweep-stoppers, anything faster than Charizard that can kill it from 50% range will also cease its fun, including Raikou, Starmie, Jolteon, and Zapdos to an extent since it Speed ties with Charizard. Wing Attack is a possibility for STAB, but since Grass-types and Heracross already take a ton from Fire Blast, there isn't much point—especially seeing as without Rock Slide, Charizard is helpless against Zapdos. Swords Dance is also an option if Belly Drum is too high-risk, but +2 Charizard hits like a sissy. That said, Charizard is a uniquely potent metagame threat that only takes one turn to start wrecking things.
Type: Water / Ice
Base Stats: 50 HP / 95 Atk / 180 Def / 85 SpA / 45 SpD / 70 Spe
Spikes is an extremely useful move in GSC. They punish any switch to a non-Flying-type, and can turn would-be near misses into clean kills at the drop of a hat. Cloyster is one of only two Pokemon in OU that can effectively use Spikes, making it a valued member of any team. However, its capabilities extend farther than one move. Cloyster also serves as an excellent temporary check to many physically offensive threats, largely thanks to a massive base Defense of 180—second-highest in all of the tier. It has access to solid dual STABs in the form of Surf and Ice Beam, both of which can do decent chunks of damage coming off its respectable base 85 Special Attack. Another option for attacking is Hidden Power Electric, which can easily 3HKO other Cloyster and give Starmie a hard time. Cloyster also commonly carries Toxic, which can cripple Pokemon such as Starmie who would otherwise give Cloyster trouble. Cloyster's excellent movepool doesn't stop there; it also possesses both Rapid Spin—a move that clears Spikes from the field and is usable by only two others in the tier—and Explosion, an ace in the hole that can be pulled against any unwitting Raikou, Starmie, or Snorlax for huge chunks of damage, even scoring an OHKO on the former two. Clamp or Icy Wind can be used alongside Explosion, since the former prevents the opponent from switching out, and the latter decreases the opponent's Speed one stage, both qualities that make it much easier to effectively Explode. Unfortunately, Explosion cannot be used in conjunction with Rapid Spin, which is a bit of a letdown.
Base Stats: 65 HP / 65 Atk / 60 Def / 130 SpA / 95 SpD / 110 Spe
Espeon has low HP, low Defense, and a shallow movepool. It also has sky-high Special Attack and blistering Speed, and one of the strongest STAB attacks around. This makes it an interesting case indeed, one that has evolved to fulfill a certain role over time. This role is that of a Growth passer, and Espeon fulfills it quite well. With access to both Growth and Baton Pass, Espeon can boost up easily on things that are scared of it or can't do anything back, such as Machamp and Starmie, and then pass these boosts to a Pokemon that can wreak severe havoc from the special side, like Zapdos. With Espeon's great Speed aiding it, and the threat of a powerful boosted STAB Psychic looming over the opponent, getting boosts where you want them to be has never been easier. Espeon's last move is somewhat contentious: Substitute lets it dodge status, which is key to its longevity, but Morning Sun allows it to boost up while taking hits and recovering them off, also key to longevity. Either way, Espeon will be good against some things and bad against others. In addition, Espeon can run a special sweeper set, boosting up with Growth and combining Psychic and Hidden Power Water for pretty good coverage. Bite can also be used to hit other Psychics and potentially nab some flinches, but its pitiful Base Power deters most people from doing so. Espeon's always going to have trouble with Tyranitar, so Hidden Power Water tries to mitigate these troubles, and helps ward off Steelix and the like. It also can't break through common threats like Snorlax, which can spell trouble. Additionally, Skarmory pretty much hard walls Espeon lacking Hidden Power Fire, taking minor damage from Psychic and forcing it out or hitting it hard with Drill Peck. Both of the last two can not only take a hit from Espeon but can also Roar out whatever it passes its boosts to.
Type: Grass / Psychic
Base Stats: 95 HP / 95 Atk / 85 Def / 125 SpA / 65 SpD / 55 Spe
Sleep is a terror of a status in GSC. When a Pokemon is put to sleep, it's essentially crippled until it wakes up, even if it has Sleep Talk. Exeggutor is the most efficient inflicter of said status, and thanks to its excellent stats and movepool, its role extends far beyond that. Not only can Exeggutor inflict sleep with the 75% accurate Sleep Powder, it can spread paralysis as well with Stun Spore, making it much easier to set up Curse-reliant sweepers and apply more offensive pressure to the opponent in general. In addition, Leech Seed can keep its health up while forcing opponents to switch out. Exeggutor also boasts some key resistances to common offensive types such as Electric, Water, Ground, and Fighting, making it an excellent tank. However, that's not to say Exeggutor exists only to absorb common attacks and spread status. Far from it, in fact Exeggutor is one of the greatest offensive powerhouses in all of GSC. With access to dual STABs in the form of Psychic and Giga Drain coming off base 125 Special Attack, this coconut head can pack a real punch. By tossing Giga Drain aside in favor of Hidden Power Fire, it can also be a real threat to the Steel-types of the generation, namely Skarmory, Forretress, and Steelix. Last but not at all least, Exeggutor possesses the powerful Explosion, a move able to single-handedly turn games around by dealing massive damage to the opponent. With so many potent options available, it's no wonder Exeggutor is seen as a top tier GSC threat.
Type: Bug / Steel
Base Stats: 75 HP / 90 Atk / 140 Def / 60 SpA / 60 SpD / 40 Spe
Forretress is one of only two Pokemon in GSC OU that canlay Spikes, and also one of three that can use Rapid Spin.For those two reasons alone, it's extremely useful. Spikes are quite the asset in GSC, and Forretress arguably keeps them up better than its more offensive counterpart, Cloyster, seeing as Forretress has the option of spreading Toxic onto Cloyster, whereas it cannot return the favor against Forretress. Additionally, Hidden Power Bug smashes Starmie (a Pokemon that gives Cloyster fits), and being immune to Toxic is also quite an asset. Rapid Spin is as good as ever, clearing those nasty Spikes off the field, and Forretress is the Pokemon for the job, seeing as its defenses are through the roof. Forretress isn't all Spike-n-spin, however. It's also capable of functioning as quite the sturdy physical wall, with a whopping base Defense stat of 140 and nine—count 'em—<em>nine</em> resistances. Add that to the fact that it possesses only one weakness, and it becomes clear that Forretress is often quite a tough nut to crack, especially when it's running Reflect, which can function as excellent team support. However, aside from Pokemon weak to Hidden Power Bug, it can't usually do a whole lot back to the things it's trying to wall, leaving itself open to being set up on. That unfortunate fact is somewhat remedied by the following one: Forretress also gets Explosion, which, if you haven't figured out by now, is gold in GSC. Blowing up on Raikou, Zapdos, or Snorlax can irreversibly change the course of a battle. And unlike Cloyster, Forretress can run Rapid Spin and Explosion on the same set.
Type: Ghost / Poison
Base Stats: 60 HP / 65 Atk / 60 Def / 130 SpA / 75 SpD / 110 Spe
Versatility is the name of the game with Gengar. Its neutral damage is surprisingly low due to poor STAB options, despite a glorious Special Attack score, but its vast type coverage allows it to hit most things hard if it's packing the right attack. Common coverage moves include Thunderbolt and Ice Punch, which cover a lot of the metagame by themselves, as well as the less-used Fire Punch and DynamicPunch, which hit specific potential checks such as Steelix and Tyranitar, respectively, for 2HKOs. Still, it's really the repertoire of non-damaging moves that makes Gengar such a consistent threat. Hypnosis can disable potential counters, Mean Look + Perish Song can surprise standard defensive measures, and it has the choice of both Explosion and Destiny Bond that all but ensure Gengar never fails to kill something.
Type: Bug / Fighting
Base Stats: 80 HP / 125 Atk / 75 Def / 40 SpA / 95 SpD / 85 Spe
Heracross is quite a heavy hitter. It has a base Attack stat of 125 and access to Megahorn, which is effectively 180 Base Power (taking STAB into account), Bug / Fighting isn't a half bad typing, and Heracross's stats all-around are relatively solid, allowing it to take many more hits than one might assume upon first glance. In fact, it's one of the best checks to non-Fire Blast Nidoking and Curse Machamp. However, it does have two really big problems. Those problems are named Skarmory and Zapdos. Heracross simply has a hell of a time trying to break through these two. It can't do much to either, as they both resist Megahorn and have excellent Defense stats, whereas Skarmory's Drill Peck OHKOs it in return, and Zapdos takes minimal damage from absolutely anything Heracross tries to throw at it (aside from Hidden Power Rock, which can potentially 3HKO Zapdos but really limits Heracross's moveset). However, Heracross does have a couple things going for it. For one, it possesses Seismic Toss, a move that deals 100 HP of damage per hit and can potentially wear down common checks like Nidoking and Steelix over time. However, it's most commonly used for chipping away at Skarmory. It also has Earthquake, meaning with a couple Curses under its belt, Heracross can actually put a decent dent in Nidoking, Forretress, etc. Aside from Skarmory and Zapdos it's a free world for Heracross. Nothing (aside from the aforementioned) enjoys taking on the brute strength of Megahorn, and Heracross, like its beetle ancestors, can prove extremely difficult to exterminate with the combination of Rest and Sleep Talk aiding its survival efforts. There are a couple interesting gimmicks that it can pull off as well, including Endure + Reversal, but it's difficult to do because every faster Pokemon has to have been paralyzed or eliminated for it to work. Heracross can also try a Counter set, surprising unwary physical attackers; however, again, it's difficult to pull off and is often simply a wasted moveslot. All in all, Heracross isn't the best Pokemon out there, but if for some reason your team lacks one of its two hard counters, you had better be prepared for it to spring up at any time.
Base Stats: 65 HP / 65 Atk / 60 Def / 110 SpA / 95 SpD / 130 Spe
Jolteon is a fantastic team player for a variety of reasons. It's the fastest Pokemon in the GSC OU tier, boasts beefy stats on the special side, and has an excellent movepool that provides it with a variety of options. Thus, there are several different ways Jolteon can be used, but the preferred method is as a Baton Passer. It's able to pass Agility, a move that doubles the user's Speed, turning slow but powerful Pokemon such as Marowak into fast and deadly sweepers. At one point, this combination was so popular that it was dubbed JoltWak. Agility isn't all it can pass, though. Jolteon can also potentially pass Growth, which boosts the user's Special Attack by one stage. Growth works as a dual-pronged offense, since Jolteon has the option of either passing the boost to a teammate or utilizing the boost itself. +1 Thunderbolt coming off base 110 Special Attack is nothing to sneeze at, and despite Jolteon's relative frailty, it can make quite a threatening sweeper all by itself with Electric + Water- or Ice-type coverage in the form of Hidden Power. And with access to Substitute, Jolteon can set up a Substitute on a predicted switch, and on the following turn is able to pass said Substitute to another Pokemon who can take a hit from the opponent's most recent switch-in without the Substitute breaking. Dodging status is useful, too. With all these possibilities and more available to it, there's no telling what Jolteon will do next!
Type: Poison / Ground
Base Stats: 81 HP / 92 Atk / 77 Def / 85 SpA / 75 SpD / 85 Spe
Nidoking is the scariest mixed attacker in all of GSC. To start things off, it has exceedingly well-rounded stats, which gives it the capability to attack from both sides. In addition, Nidoking's rare typing grants it an important immunity to Electric-type attacks, making it (with a little prediction) one of the better switch-ins to the omnipresent Raikou. But what makes Nidoking truly fearsome is its superb movepool. First, it has access to a sleep-inducing move, instantly making it one of the more valuable Pokemon in the tier. Sleep is devastating in GSC, and Nidoking's above-average base 85 Speed and possession of Lovely Kiss allows it to pick and choose which one of the opponent's Pokemon will be forced to take a nap. Nidoking can then follow up with powerful STAB Earthquakes, which pack quite a punch when coming off a respectable base 92 Attack. In addition, Nidoking gets some nice special moves in the form of Ice Beam, Thunder, Thunderbolt, and Fire Blast. It picks two and goes to town on the opponent's team. The excellent type coverage means that not many Pokemon can freely switch into Nidoking without some nice prediction. Nidoking does have its downsides—it's weak to some common attacking types like Water and Ground, and it isn't especially bulky—but overall it's a pretty big threat to any team, and one of the defining forces of the GSC metagame.
Base Stats: 90 HP / 130 Atk / 80 Def / 65 SpA / 85 SpD / 55 Spe
Machamp is an interesting Pokemon with great potential. It has an extremely powerful STAB move, good stats, and solid coverage, but it takes hits about as hard as it gives 'em out, meaning longevity can be an issue. Machamp's Speed also really holds it back—to give you an idea, it's so slow that it Speed ties with Exeggutor. That said, Machamp's still one of the best offensive Pokemon in the game—the best at instantly scaring Snorlax—and can be an extremely threatening sweeper given the right support. Its main focus is the massive base 130 Attack that it sports, combined with Cross Chop, which (with STAB accounted for) is a 150 Base Power move with a 25% critical hit rate. It's also a Fighting-type move, a type that many common GSC teams sports up to three weaknesses to. Apart from Cross Chop, Machamp also gets some nice coverage moves in the form of Rock Slide, which nails Zapdos for big damage, and Hidden Power Bug or Ghost, which always hit Starmie super effectively and also hit either Exeggutor or Gengar really hard, depending on which Hidden Power is chosen. It can even opt for Earthquake to nail Nidoking and Raikou for tons of damage, as well as hit Gengar a lot harder than Hidden Power Ghost. However, this leaves it practically useless against Zapdos. Machamp also gets Curse, which allows it to boost its Attack to unholy levels, putting things in KO range that previously wouldn't care about anything it could be packing. Alternatively, Machamp can drop Curse and go with Fire Blast instead to nail Skarmory and Forretress at the expense of being able to set up and sweep through teams that have a sturdy utility check remaining. Machamp can even drop all semblance of diversity and run a mono-attacking Curse + RestTalk set, which is generally inferior to the standard Curse set due to Cross Chop's meager 8 PP, but can really run through teams hoping to stop Machamp by simply wearing it down over time. Machamp's raw power and stallbreaking capability make it a force to be reckoned with.
Base Stats: 60 HP / 80 Atk / 110 Def / 50 SpA / 80 SpD / 45 Spe
The combination of low Speed, mediocre defenses, and no Leftovers makes Marowak incredibly fragile and unappealing to use. Despite the downsides, nothing is more of a sheer offensive powerhouse. It reaches max Attack with one Swords Dance (remember to use a 13 Attack DV!), capable of OHKOing a majority of OU at that point and 2HKOing everything else but Skarmory, who can't do much back. Hidden Power Bug nails Exeggutor, or Hidden Power Flying can be used to pop Heracross instead. Rock Slide is for Zapdos, Skarmory, and other Flying-types. Earthquake hammers everything else. Support options, such as Light Screen and paralysis, give Marowak precious time to setup safely or it can use a Sleep Talk set to bolster its own survivability while still hitting hard enough to punch through Rest loops.
Base Stats: 95 HP / 80 Atk / 105 Def / 40 SpA / 70 SpD / 100 Spe
Miltank is arguably the best support Pokemon in GSC. It has a lot going for it that makes it incomparable to others in the OU tier. For example, it has above-average defensive bulk, but also base 100 Speed, making it one of the fastest defensively-oriented Pokemon in the game. Being a pure Normal-type, it also has only one weakness, Fighting, letting it act as a rather successful utility tank. However, its real distinguishing factor is its excellent movepool. First and foremost, Miltank has access to the coveted Heal Bell, which removes all status effects from the user's team, making it one of only two Pokemon in OU with this capability. Miltank also has instant recovery in the form of Milk Drink, so it doesn't have to trust in the unreliable RestTalk combination for health restoration purposes. Body Slam is a convenient STAB, which coming off base 80 Attack can pose a respectable threat, especially when coupled with a nice 30% paralysis chance. Miltank is also given Growl, a move that lowers the opponent's Attack one stage, meaning it's one of the few Pokemon that can switch in on CurseLax and check it without having to rely on Roar or Whirlwind to phaze it out. Sadly, it's destroyed by Belly Drum Snorlax, which doesn't much care about Growl—and unfortunately, Miltank's options beyond these four moves are rather limited, but frankly, the listed set is all it really needs to fulfill its role as an outstanding team player.
Base Stats: 60 HP / 60 Atk / 60 Def / 85 SpA / 85 SpD / 85 Spe
At first glance, Misdreavus doesn't look like much. It has mediocre stats and a shallow movepool. However, below the surface, Misdreavus is a devious little creature, fulfilling the incredibly niche role of a Perish trapper and spinblocker with its sweet pure Ghost typing. By using the deadly combination of Mean Look and Perish Song, Misdreavus is able to trap the opponent, put it on a three-turn timer, and then utilize various means of stalling the Pokemon out until it dies from Perish count. Protect is a must, essentially wasting a turn and bringing the opposing Pokemon that much closer to instant KO. The fourth move is somewhat of a user's choice: Thunder can be used to nail common phazers like Skarmory and Suicune that can prevent Misdreavus from Perish trapping, as well as Starmie attempting to Rapid Spin; Confuse Ray can provide that extra little bit of hax needed to occasionally finish Pokemon off; and Attract is a gimmicky but often highly successful option that can be infinitely frustrating for opponents that were careless enough to make all their Pokemon the same gender (but doesn't work against genderless phazers like Raikou and Suicune). Take note that Misdreavus isn't the bulkiest Pokemon in the world, meaning it does have to be somewhat wary of setup moves such as Swords Dance and Curse while attempting to Perish trap, and it does have to switch out on the last turn of Perish Song to avoid being KOed itself. Tyranitar can also be an issue, with both Rock Slide and Crunch doing big damage to Misdreavus, and Pursuit catching it if it tries to get cute and switch out. However, most teams' answers to Misdreavus are few and far between, and if it can manage to take out that one phazer or setup sweeper, it's often lights out for the opponent. Definitely a Pokemon worth taking caution against—one misplay, and a Pokemon is lost.
Base Stats: 85 HP / 80 Atk / 90 Def / 105 SpA / 95 SpD / 60 Spe
Porygon2 isn't a bad Pokemon by any means. It has excellent well-rounded base stats, few good checks, and a diverse movepool. Yet, for almost the entirety of GSC's existence, it has been overshadowed by the sheer dominance of Snorlax. There is good reason for this: Porygon2's trademark set is a Curse sweeper set, and, well, Snorlax frankly does Curse better than anything else that has ever existed. However, that doesn't mean Porygon2 is completely useless. With the diverse movepool referred to earlier, it has the potential to be an excellent team player, with the ability to stay alive for a fairly long time. Porygon2's access to Recover guarantees that it will last quite a while in most battles, though this is both a blessing and a curse, as it leaves itself open to status such as Toxic that will harm its longevity. In addition, Thunder Wave grants it the capability to greatly weaken the opponent's offensive threat level by spreading paralysis all over their team. Combined with Ice Beam, which hits Ground-types that are immune to Thunder Wave for super effective damage, this can make quite a threatening pair. Porygon2 also possesses Reflect, which is always an excellent team support move, whether it's being utilized for offensive or defensive purposes, though it's often best at neutralizing Explosions and allowing Porygon2 room to attack. Speaking of attacking, it's a little-known fact that Porygon2's Double-Edge 3HKOs Raikou. This alone can justify its use as a mixed utility attacker, using its unique movepool to open up holes for other things to take advantage of. Indeed, sweepers in general will appreciate Porygon2's presence.
Base Stats: 90 HP / 85 Atk / 75 Def / 115 SpA / 100 SpD / 115 Spe
Raikou is one of the defining Pokemon of the GSC OU metagame. With blistering base 115 Speed, brutal base 115 Special Attack, and respectable 90/75/100 defenses, it's no wonder that Raikou is seen on almost every competitive GSC team that doesn't have Zapdos instead. It has the potential to fill a variety of roles, all of which it does extremely well. The first niche for Raikou is that of a special Roar tank. Since it forces so many switches, with good prediction it may easily be the deadliest utilizer of Spikes support in the OU tier. Roar is also useful defensively, phazing out stuff like Jolteon and Misdreavus easily. Raikou can also run an effective Sleep Talk set. With a rare combination of resistance to Electric and neutrality to Ice, Water, and Grass, Raikou serves as one of the only effective checks to Zapdos and opposing Raikou. It can also threaten opponents offensively with STAB Thunder or Thunderbolt, and often runs a coverage attack in the form of Hidden Power Water or Ice (or the less common Grass). This set boasts both offensive and defensive capabilities, and can threaten teams from both attacking sides. Raikou can even run a more support-oriented set, since it possesses Reflect, which can make switching into powerful physical attackers like Snorlax and Marowak a lot easier on your team. All-in-all, Raikou's a top three threat in GSC, and it's easy to find it a role to play on virtually any team.
Type: Ground / Rock
Base Stats: 105 HP / 130 Atk / 120 Def / 45 SpA / 45 SpD / 40 Spe
Rhydon faces stiff competition from Tyranitar and Steelix. Tyranitar is faster and has Pursuit, and Steelix can Explode, which generally make both a better choice than Rhydon. However, the latter possesses some draws that the former lacks, which give it a niche in OU that Tyranitar can't replace. First, Rhydon has incredible defenses, with a base HP of 105 and base Defense of 120. This allows it to sponge physical hits quite nicely. However, the real reason to use Rhydon is that it has access to dual STABs in the form of Earthquake and Rock Slide—which, coming off base 130 Attack, can pack quite the punch against most teams. STAB Earthquake is particularly useful, smashing big holes in basically anything that isn't immune or resistant. Rhydon also boasts an Electric immunity, which is interesting on a Pokemon with such pitiful Special Defense, but due to its crippling weaknesses—4x to Water and Grass in particular—it makes it difficult to even safely switch in on Electrics like Zapdos and Raikou due to the constant threat of Hidden Power.
Type: Steel / Flying
Base Stats: 65 HP / 80 Atk / 140 Def / 40 SpA / 70 SpD / 70 Spe
Skarmory has a ton of different things going for it. First is its excellent typing, Steel / Flying, which grants it neutrality against Fighting and Rock; resistance against Bug, Flying, Normal, and Steel; and immunity against Ground. Yes, that's right: Skarmory has no physical weaknesses. Add that to an absurd base 140 Defense, and it already looks like one of the best Pokemon around. However, the fun doesn't stop there. Skarmory has access to Whirlwind, meaning it can stop sweeps cold by phazing the opponent out. This also allows it to rack up damage if it's being used alongside Spikes support, which is recommended. It also possesses Curse, letting it set up alongside Pokemon such as Snorlax, Tyranitar, and Machamp, which lets it avoid being broken by highly boosted attacks. In conjunction with Drill Peck, Skarmory can even serve as a last-ditch sweeper! Unfortunately, Skarmory lacks instant recovery, but it makes up for it with Rest and its excellent stats keeping it alive. Skarmory can also employ some tricky tactics, including holding no item and running Thief over Curse, allowing Skarmory to nab one of the opposing Pokemon's Leftovers, which can often make the difference between, say, Exeggutor's Psychic getting a 3HKO on Zapdos or not. Another option is Toxic, which can force common switch-ins to Skarmory, such as Zapdos and Raikou, to use Rest. Whatever you choose, it will be sure to do its job and do it well—just be sure to look out for stray Fire Blasts and Thunders! With the capability to wall non-Fire Blast Snorlax and many other physical threats besides, it's a guarantee that Skarmory will go down in history as the premier physical wall of GSC.
Base Stats: 160 HP / 110 Atk / 65 Def / 65 SpA / 110 SpD / 30 Spe
Far and away the best Pokemon in the game. You WILL see this. Its use is basically mandatory on any serious GSC team. Great defensive stats, including unreal special bulk, make it the premier special wall. It also gets a high Attack stat, a usable Special Attack stat, and a movepool that includes a painful STAB Double-Edge, the fantastic setup moves Curse and Belly Drum, great coverage in Earthquake and Fire Blast for hitting the Ghost-, Rock-, and Steel-types its STAB can't touch, and a couple of surprises in Lovely Kiss and Selfdestruct. With all this at its disposal, Snorlax is not only a defensive behemoth, it is also the most versatile and dangerous offensive threat in the game. Some of Snorlax's better counters include Skarmory, Steelix, Misdreavus, Growl Miltank, and Tyranitar. To a lesser extent, your own CurseLax, Machamp, and Pokemon with Explosion can also check Snorlax. However, no single one of these Pokemon can counter all possible Snorlax sets, so at least two Snorlax counters are required on a GSC team.
Type: Water / Psychic
Base Stats: 60 HP / 75 Atk / 85 Def / 100 SpA / 85 SpD / 115 Spe
Starmie has excellent all-around base stats, boasting a Speed of 115 and Special Attack of 100. This allows it to hit both fast and hard. In addition, Starmie's respectable defenses and interesting typing provide it a unique niche in the OU metagame. However, what really defines Starmie is its access to Rapid Spin, making it one of only three OU Pokemon which can use this move—and out of the three, Starmie does it best. Its aforementioned high Speed allows it to outspeed Gengar, and with STAB Psychic threatening a 2HKO, it's easy to deter Gengar from switching in and get that all-important spin off. Starmie's longevity is also unparalleled by the other two spinners, since it is the only one of the three with access to instant recovery in the form of Recover. It can even threaten common Pokemon such as Tyranitar, Nidoking, and Steelix with a powerful STAB Surf. Starmie's options don't end there—it can also provide extra team support with Reflect or Thunder Wave, or nab some alternate coverage by dropping a STAB move for Ice Beam or Thunderbolt. Starmie is strong, fast, and versatile—all good reasons that it's the top spinner in GSC.
Type: Steel / Ground
Base Stats: 75 HP / 85 Atk / 200 Def / 55 SpA / 65 SpD / 30 Spe
Steelix has the highest Defense stat of any Pokemon in the OU tier. This alone makes it an extremely capable physical wall, able to take on even the biggest offensive threats of the generation with its rock.... steel-solid defenses. It also boasts an Electric immunity, something that Skarmory can't say about itself—in fact, this is one of the main reasons that Steelix would be used over Skarmory. However, Steelix's usefulness extends far beyond that of a simple physical wall—with the right support, it can also become a threatening endgame sweeper. Curse + Roar is Steelix's bread and butter, allowing it to boost up alongside any physical threat lacking a Fire- or Water-type coverage move, then phaze the opponent out and start penetrating its defenses with boosted STAB Earthquakes. Its final moveslot is a subject of some contention. Steelix does have access to Explosion, which allows it to blow up on a boosting sweeper that can't be phazed safely, or one that simply can't be phazed, like last Pokemon CurseLax (which, without Explosion, Steelix would otherwise succumb to). Curse is truly excellent alongside such a move, allowing Steelix to increase Explosion's power dramatically in order to KO Pokemon that otherwise wouldn't even be fazed by Explosion. For example, a +1 Steelix's Explosion OHKOs Suicune, whereas +0 doesn't even come close. This makes Steelix one of the best users of Explosion in the game. Alternative coverage moves include Rock Slide, which can seriously threaten Zapdos and co., and Body Slam, which allows Steelix to still hit Flying-types but has the added benefit of spreading paralysis. Overall, Steelix is an interesting alternative to Skarmory that fulfills an excellent niche role in the GSC metagame.
Base Stats: 100 HP / 75 Atk / 115 Def / 90 SpA / 115 SpD / 85 Spe
Suicune is the archetype of a defensive tank. It sports the best all-around defenses in the GSC metagame, and with no physical weaknesses and only one truly relevant special weakness (Electric), it's able to switch in on a multitude of Pokemon and do what it does best. Its STAB Surf can frighten out Pokemon such as Tyranitar, Marowak, and Nidoking, all of which pose a threat to most teams, as well as put a decent dent in things like Skarmory and Forretress. It can also Toxic common switch-ins such as Zapdos, Raikou, and Exeggutor, putting them on a timer and often forcing the first two to use Rest. Though, what really makes Suicune shine is its access to Roar, allowing it to phaze out common setup sweepers such as Vaporeon (which most other phazers have a ton of trouble with!), and even hard hitters like Snorlax and Machamp in an emergency, which other common phazers can't do nearly as well due to their inability to sponge different types of hits. Suicune is also fantastic at capitalizing on Spikes support; since it does such a good job of forcing switches, with a little prediction this factor can be taken advantage of to rack up significant hazards damage on the opponent's team. Suicune sadly lacks instant recovery, but it can make good use of a RestTalk combination to prevent itself from being inactive for several turns. However, running RestTalk forces Suicune to forgo either Toxic or Roar, which can diminish its usefulness significantly. It is recommended to simply use Heal Bell support alongside this Pokemon to keep it at its full potential. Suicune can also run a coverage move such as Ice Beam in order to hit common switch-ins like Zapdos and Exeggutor for super effective damage.
Type: Rock / Dark
Base Stats: 100 HP / 134 Atk / 110 Def / 95 SpA / 100 SpD / 61 Spe
Tyranitar is one of the most powerful and versatile Pokemon in the GSC metagame. With truly exceptional all-around base stats, unique typing, and a very deep movepool, it can fill many different roles on many different types of teams. For example, Tyranitar runs an excellent defensive Curse set, using STAB Rock Slide to inflict significant damage on any Pokemon after a boost, and catching Pokemon switching out unawares with a STAB Pursuit, which can be a tremendous asset in taking out things like Exeggutor and Gengar. Curse + Roar is a great combination that Tyranitar pulls off well, racking up boosts and making use of GSC's Roar mechanics to prevent common phazers like Skarmory from blowing it out. It's one of the best existing Fire Blast Snorlax checks, boosting up while the opposing Snorlax lacks the coverage move to do anything about it. However, Tyranitar also runs a fearsome mixed offensive set. On the physical side, the one-two punch of Rock Slide and Earthquake can scare Zapdos and Nidoking alike, and the inaccurate but deadly DynamicPunch scores a 2HKO after Spikes on unboosted Snorlax, something that most Pokemon can't claim. On the special side, Fire Blast scares out Skarmory and Forretress, Pursuit catches common switches, and Thunderbolt 2HKOs Cloyster and Skarmory alike (though it fails to 3HKO Suicune, marking one of Tyranitar's greatest shortcomings as a mixed sweeper). It's clear that no matter what set Tyranitar is running, it's a Pokemon that warrants some very careful decision-making.
Base Stats: 95 HP / 65 Atk / 110 Def / 60 SpA / 130 SpD / 65 Spe
Umbreon is an interesting case. It has some of the best defensive base stats in GSC, making it an excellent pure wall, but its lack of any decent offensive move makes it struggle to actually do anything back to the opponent. However, it does have a few options. To stop non-Belly Drum physical attackers cold, it sports the move Charm, which drops the opponent's Attack by two stages—in comparison, Curse only raises it one stage, so there's not much CurseLax and Steelix can do about it. In addition, it has access to Toxic, allowing it to put opposing Pokemon on a timer and force Pokemon like Zapdos and Raikou to use Rest. Sadly, it can't do much to Skarmory, unless it chooses to run the inaccurate but hilariously effective Zap Cannon over Toxic, which can also enable it to act as a sort of paralysis-spreader. It also possesses Pursuit, which is nice against Pokemon like Starmie and Exeggutor that Umbreon can wall easily. However, the damage output is pitiful: even when switching out, Starmie takes only 52% maximum damage, and Exeggutor no more than 50%. The former can easily Recover off such damage. Speaking of recovery, Rest is Umbreon's preferred form, allowing it to drop any status that may be troubling it as well. Moonlight is an option, but the low PP is a problem due to Umbreon being an entirely stall-oriented Pokemon. A more immediately threatening option is Mean Look, which can allow Umbreon to trap an opposing Pokemon, then Baton Pass to a setup sweeper and begin doing work on the opposition. With these two moves, Confuse Ray or Sand-Attack is a good choice, both incapacitating the opponent while it's trapped to make setting up even easier. If the opponent doesn't switch directly into a phazer or something like Machamp that immediately thwarts Umbreon, the Mean Look set can be potentially devastating. Overall, Umbreon isn't the greatest Pokemon in GSC, but it does have some very interesting niche uses that make it something to keep an eye out for.
Base Stats: 130 HP / 65 Atk / 60 Def / 110 SpA / 95 SpD / 65 Spe
Before a certain user named Borat figured out that Growth on Vaporeon isn't completely useless, it was rarely seen in any GSC metagame. Now it's seen as one of the most threatening endgame sweepers available. This is due to Vaporeon's interesting combination of above-average defenses, high Special Attack, and access to a very limited, but highly effective movepool. The only really viable set is a Growth sweeper, but it's a scary one for sure. With the combination of RestTalk and Growth, Vaporeon can easily boost up while keeping its health at a reasonable level, and once it gets to +5, teams had better watch out. STAB Surf plows through anything that doesn't resist it—for example, a +2 Surf is a clean 3HKO on Snorlax and a 2HKO on both Zapdos and Raikou. Sleep Talk is an excellent asset, preventing powerful physical attackers like Marowak and Tyranitar from attempting to bust through Vaporeon while it's asleep. In addition, Vaporeon can choose to forgo Sleep Talk for Acid Armor, which boosts its Defense to massive levels and increases survivability at the expense of being able to still threaten the opponent in its sleep. Vaporeon can also choose to run Hydro Pump over Surf—though it isn't necessarily recommended due to its lower accuracy and scant 8 PP, it does allow those +2 3HKOs on Snorlax and Raikou to become easy 2HKOs, which is more important than it may seem. The added power boost is often worth the accuracy trade-off—it's more important for wallbreaking, but worse from a defensive standpoint. Remember, while Vaporeon's initial threat level isn't too huge, let it get a couple of boosts under its belt and you could be in for a real beating!
Type: Electric / Flying
Base Stats: 90 HP / 90 Atk / 85 Def / 125 SpA / 90 SpD / 100 Spe
Zapdos is a basic but very effective Pokemon. Its combination of typing and stats allow it to match up well against almost every Pokemon in the game when using a RestTalk set. It tanks neutral moves very well, and the only super effective moves against it (Ice and Rock) are usually not STAB boosted, so Zapdos generally isn't taking enough damage to stop its RestTalk routine, especially since, in GSC, it can heal with Rest when using it via Sleep Talk. In return, Zapdos fires off powerful Electric STAB moves and a Hidden Power (usually Ice, but sometimes Water) to hit the Ground-types its STAB cannot. STAB Thunder is usually seen over STAB Thunderbolt, as the former can 4HKO Snorlax, which is actually a lot for the big lug to deal with. Zapdos can also run sets outside of the standard RestTalk set. Usually, this entails using Thunder Wave or even Reflect or Light Screen to support its team. Furthermore, Drill Peck is occasionally seen as an attacking option. However, in general, you're going to see the RestTalk set, as that is the set that is least vulnerable to status and best able to shrug off hits and keep firing off attacks. Zapdos's best counters are Raikou, Snorlax, Blissey, and Quagsire, although Pokemon such as Steelix and Exeggutor can also take it on depending on what type Hidden Power Zapdos is using.