Gen 2 GSC OU Viability Rankings mk. 3


Banned deucer.
Viability Rankings

written by Lavos, choolio, and Earthworm - approved by undisputed

Welcome to the new GSC OU Viability Rankings thread. This thread contains a ranking of every viable Pokemon, separated in lettered tiers to indicate power gaps. Pokemon are also ranked in order within their respective tiers, so if Zapdos and Raikou are both S rank, but Zapdos is listed before Raikou, then Zapdos is the better Pokemon.

S1 Rank
S2 Rank

A Rank

B1 Rank
B2 Rank
B3 Rank
B4 Rank

C1 Rank
C2 Rank

D Rank

E1 Rank
E2 Rank

Updated per May 2020 slate. Players that took part are listed here.

Ok, go crazy :blobwizard:
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misdeavus up one spot ahead of miltank
- miltank is extremely limited in what it can do and the kind of team support it can provide. while it's very good at this job, this limits its ability to fit into teams to a significant degree, particularly when considering the inherent weakness to machamp a team with miltank and snorlax is, this itself all but forcing your team to run starmie and/or skarmory, forcing a very passive team - to say nothing of the propensity for teams with miltank to be passive by nature due to purring a lot of dry rests (i.e. drum lax/marowak) to take advantage of miltanks clericing. in contrast misdreavus's spinblocking role is much more consistently valuable and the recent meta development of more supportive misdreavus sets make it very difficult to actually spin through a misdreavus that is thiefing items, spreading toxic, resting off damage, and also carrying thunder to scare off any spinning starmies/cloysters. on top of this misdreavus can also reliably force said toxics and thiefs because of the threat of its perishtrap set which, while no longer an effective set in the current meta, all but requires a player to send in a phazer as their first response lest they lose a component of their team for free.

tl;dr missy is a good mon, miltank is also good but significantly more limited

tentacruel up behind blissey ahead of espy
- sd tenta is obv great but spin tenta is a legit set, biggest cloy cockblock in existence, plus your usual defensive poison/water resists, way more consistent than espy/p2/dnite. sludge bomb/surf/rapid spin/screech or giga drain or toxic is capable of filling a niche on less standard stall builds that help isolate a spikes game advantage by providing advantages that starmie cant among others and maintaining an offensive threat by checking grounds and spreading poisons through its decently strong sludge bombs, especially in connection with screech. giga drain is also a viable option for the player concerned about switching into cloyster taking repeated hp elecs. this tenta can even run sludge bomb for a late game sweeping option. this gives tenta a diversity factor in conjunction with its well known SD sweeper set, itself incredible dangerous with team support that grants it a consistency that espeon (frail with commonly used and heavily threatening checks), dragonite (either not quite strong enough on mixed sets or extremely limited on defensive sets) and p2 (heavy competition with snorlax) do not have

golem/doomer to top of C rank
- viable niches on teams, doomer as a pursuiter that can reliably answer jynx and beat rest missy, golem as an alternative to steelix on boom teams with a better offensive profile or as a bad spinner. they can see use in more than niche circumstances which can't be said for the rest of C, excepting perhaps piloswine and quagsire

meganium for B?
- good defensive mon with solid team support on certain builds with reflect and leech seed neutralizing physical threats, answers snorlax, rhydon, steelix, the electrics to an extent and vaporeon to an extent among others. needs some team support particularly as it can't manage status itself, but will consistently perform its role in a comparable way to the rest of B rank

qwilfish for C?
- decent spikes, usable in the meta. hydro and sludge hit kinda hard. comparable utility to sandslash, ampharos. spikes alone give it a greater utility than other one dimensional mons in D

great job

edit - also cloyster above egg i think, egg is good but cloy is nearly ubiquitous on teams with how valuable spikes are and it has enough tricks outside of its two standard sets (surf/tox and beam/hp elec) in icy wind, screech, and clamp to be able to press for advantage outside of doing its spiking job
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My opinion:

S: Snorlax (=1)

S-: Zapdos(=2)

A+: Raikou(=3) Exeggutor(=4) Cloyster(=5)
A: Skarmory(=6) Steelix(=7) Gengar(=8) Tyranitar(=9) Vaporeon(+10) Marowak(=11) Machamp(+12) Suicune(-13) Nidoking(=14)
A-: Forretress(=15) Starmie(=16) Misdreavus(+17) Rhydon(+18) Miltank(-19) Umbreon(-20) Heracross(=21) Charizard(=22)

B+: Jynx(+23) Dragonite(+24) Tentacruel (+25) Muk(-26)
B: Espeon(-27) Blissey(-28) Golem(+29) Porygon2(-30) Kangaskhan(-31) Jolteon(-32)
B-: Smeargle(-33) Alakazam Moltres Piloswine Houndoom Meganium Quagsire

C+: Sandslash Donphan Clefable Slowbro Venusaur
C: Ampharos Nidoqueen Poliwrath Qwilfish
C-: Jumpluff Typhlosion Slowking Tauros Articuno Mr. Mime Lapras

D+: Entei Ursaring Aerodactyl Scizor Pikachu
D: Gligar Raichu Kingdra Lanturn
D-: Omastar Shuckle

I think Zapdos belongs in a class of its own above Raikou due to more power and spikes/eq immunity. I'm not sure how much higher Raikou deserves to be over Exeggutor though so not sure which way is best to put it.

After that I agree up until Vap/Wak/Champ/Cune, I have shuffled it so that Cune is at the bottom of these 4 because I think offensive builds tend to be favoured at the moment in even skill matches. I also put Vaporeon above Marowak because I think that fewer boxes need to be checked for Vaporeon to sweep than Marowak (unless it has an Agility passed to it haha), however I do like Marowak over Machamp.

Misdreavus I have moved ahead of Miltank and Umbreon because the latter two I think are struggling to deal with the many paralysis-centric teams and/or the ubiquity of Thunder Zapdos. Misdreavus can at least Thief Zapdos, and often does not take any significant damage upon switching in (from Snorlax) meaning it doesn't have to waste a turn recovering unlike the latter two. It is also less predictable, even having Hypnosis potentially at its disposal. The only real problem is Tyranitar, but there are plenty of options available for dealing with it.

I also significantly moved Rhydon up because it is seeing far more usage than Miltank or Umbreon and is a big threat to many builds. It does require somewhat careful play to avoid Toxic and Pokemon with Earthquake/HP Ice, but tends to excel when it isn't forced to take these attacks early on.

I moved Heracross and Charizard to A- because Heracross has seen more play lately and Charizard has seen a high success rate, even if it doesn't get seen that often.

I moved Jynx to the top of B because I see it succeed very often and it is becoming very popular on offensive builds because of the popularity of Zapdos as teams' designated sleep taker. People's reluctance to switch Zapdos into Jynx can often lead to multiple Pokemon being taken out by it, and the Freeze/SpDef drop chances are also deadly, making even the idea of switching to Snorlax somewhat scary.

I moved Dragonite up because the targets it can hit with TWave are very valuable in setting up sweeps for Pokemon in the A ranks, and it also has some defensive utility and offensive power, albeit not at an A-level for either.

I also moved Tentacruel up (although from this point is where I think the viability/consistency in OU takes a sharp drop) because of its ability to excel in certain matchups, albeit inconsistently because of the speed tie with Zapdos. Tentacruel has some big, obvious flaws though (as does everything from this point onwards).

Muk is pretty good but really struggles to be threatening vs a few Pokemon (Tyranitar, Rhydon, Marowak, Gengar), similarly to Tentacruel. It is pretty good at trading if you get a decent matchup though. It ended up moving down mostly because of Jynx.

I moved Golem up quite a lot because of the Cloyster Golem teams that I've seen a fair amount. I don't think it's much worse than anything else here.

I moved a bunch of Pokemon that I think are more viable than the rest of the C tier into B-.

I attempted to order all the Pokemon in C and D, as well as adding some possibly forgotten dudes. From C onwards, everything is pretty bad though.

Royal Flush

in brazil rain
is a Past WCoP Champion
No love for Clefable? I like to believe she's on a similar boat of zard/cruel: hard to setup safely but really rewarding. Yeah sure they got better speed, but fable can afford to misplay because of recovery/ok bulkiness/no weakness besides crosschop/not weak to thunder LUL. If those are B rank, fable should be as well.

I also agree with Worms for the vap/cune positions.
Do we really need a D rank?
I mean, there really is no real viable pokemon in there. The only one I would even think about using is Scizor, for the simple fact that it's one of only 2 viable Pokemon that can pass both Agility and Swords Dance along with Smeargle. I would imagine it making a great partner with Machamp or Marowak. Everything else there is either outclassed or has too little of a niche to justify using.

Aerodactyl has no moves and horrid defenses.
Articuno is in much of the same place as Aero, but trade horrid defenses for one of the worst defensive typings in the game.
Entei's stats are distributed too crappily to do anything, and like the previous 2, has no moves. (besides Houndoom does SunnyBeam better imo)
Kingdra has no moves. If it got better stuff (Thunderbolt for that nice BoltBeam?), then it would actually be pretty good. Still outclassed by Vappy as a special attacker, however.
Nidoqueen is a worse Nidoking.
Omastar is decent in theory, but is torn apart by low speed and crappy defensive typing.
Poliwrath has shitty stats and is outclassed as a belly drummer by Zard and Clef.
Qwilfish is has no stats and is outclassed by Cloyster as a spiker (and an awful lot of people are running Electric leads now...).
Raichu gets Surf. Other than that, it's outclassed by Zapdos in just about every other aspect.
I already talked about Scizor above, but it also has no moves.
Slowbro is a worse Suicune with Thunder Wave. Also it can't phaze.
Tauros would be good if Skarm and Forry didn't exist. Either way, it's a frailer, slightly weaker, and faster Snorlax that doesn't use curse.
Typhlosion gets Thunder Punch.
Ursaring is completely outclassed by Snorlax as a curser, and its mixed attacking set is ehhh.
Venusaur is outclassed by Meganium in both the defensive and offensive categories.

I'm probably spewing a bunch of shit here, but idc.


Banned deucer.
Do we really need a D rank?
I mean, there really is no real viable pokemon in there. The only one I would even think about using is Scizor, for the simple fact that it's one of only 2 viable Pokemon that can pass both Agility and Swords Dance along with Smeargle. I would imagine it making a great partner with Machamp or Marowak. Everything else there is either outclassed or has too little of a niche to justify using.

Aerodactyl has no moves and horrid defenses.
Articuno is in much of the same place as Aero, but trade horrid defenses for one of the worst defensive typings in the game.
Entei's stats are distributed too crappily to do anything, and like the previous 2, has no moves. (besides Houndoom does SunnyBeam better imo)
Kingdra has no moves. If it got better stuff (Thunderbolt for that nice BoltBeam?), then it would actually be pretty good. Still outclassed by Vappy as a special attacker, however.
Nidoqueen is a worse Nidoking.
Omastar is decent in theory, but is torn apart by low speed and crappy defensive typing.
Poliwrath has shitty stats and is outclassed as a belly drummer by Zard and Clef.
Qwilfish is has no stats and is outclassed by Cloyster as a spiker (and an awful lot of people are running Electric leads now...).
Raichu gets Surf. Other than that, it's outclassed by Zapdos in just about every other aspect.
I already talked about Scizor above, but it also has no moves.
Slowbro is a worse Suicune with Thunder Wave. Also it can't phaze.
Tauros would be good if Skarm and Forry didn't exist. Either way, it's a frailer, slightly weaker, and faster Snorlax that doesn't use curse.
Typhlosion gets Thunder Punch.
Ursaring is completely outclassed by Snorlax as a curser, and its mixed attacking set is ehhh.
Venusaur is outclassed by Meganium in both the defensive and offensive categories.

I'm probably spewing a bunch of shit here, but idc.
Yes, we need a D rank.

Aerodactyl has an effective Curse/WW/Rest/HP Rock set that can sweep late if you eliminate its checks, it also walls CurseLax.
Articuno hard counters Egg (explosion doesn't even ohko), Nido, Steelix, etc. and constantly threatens freeze.
Entei is the only Sunny Day user that reliably beats Ttar 1v1 with HP Fighting and it has great bulk.
Kingdra walls Vap, can Haze, and spreads para with Dragonbreath. It's bulky and has no type weakness.
Nidoqueen has Charm and is bulky with good typing. It's not even remotely similar to Nidoking in OU - maybe in UU.
Omastar is physically bulky, can Haze and Sandstorm.
Poliwrath can use Lovely Kiss in conjunction with Belly Drum without sacrificing coverage.
Qwilfish is faster than Cloy, hits Forry harder, can spread Poison, and can Haze.
Raichu gets a fast Encore and has good coverage.
Scizor can pass boosts or run a standalone SD set.
Slowbro has Growl and checks Machamp better than Cune.
Tauros has the same coverage move access as Lax, but with better speed. It uses Fire Blast on every set so why are Steels a problem?
Typhlosion is fast with good offensive stats and great coverage including Dynamicpunch.
Ursaring runs a sleep-talking mono attacker set with Slash for high crit rate, wins most Curse wars and has enough bulk to take several hits.
Venusaur gets Sleep Powder and resists Fighting, filling a slightly different niche than Meganium.

This list is meant to show each and every Pokemon that is considered viable in the GSC OU metagame, and rank Pokemon according to how great of a niche they fill, in addition to how effective they are under varying circumstances. I'll concede that most of the Pokemon in D rank would not be a great pick to round out a team for SPL. However, NONE of the Pokemon on this list are strictly outclassed by another Pokemon in every sense and in every scenario. That makes them worth keeping, for the sake of being fastidious if nothing else.

Thanks to everyone who contributed so far. I've been considering the arguments presented, but there's no need to rush this process, so I'll probably hold off responding until after the weekend. I just wanted to answer this post in particular because I found it incredibly irksome. It's difficult to take a post about D-rank Pokemon seriously when it's glaringly obvious that the person behind the post has never experimented with any of the Pokemon that he deems a waste of time. From the OP:
Keep in mind that rankings are subjective and that your opinion is not a fact, but rather, you should use facts to support your opinions.
I should add to this that if you don't know the facts, you should refrain from stating your opinion.
I believe Zapdos should be the sole S rank, its effectiveness with only one set is unmatched. You could use it in every GSC match for the rest of your life and it'd be useful in every one. You could know with absolute 100% certainty your opponent would bring one and while you can definitely try to spin that to your advantage somehow you definitely cannot punish your opponent for bringing it (over-relying on it is another thing). Spikes/EQ immune is astounding. It can even be used to switch into Raikou early in the game to feel the opponent out - when there's a Zap + Lax it's assumed Lax (or a Ground) will switch into Kou so Cloyster can be doubled into, but Zap prevents that. It can even use other sets like Light Screen (has a million uses in every situation conceivable but most notably helps against Jynx/Vap/other electrics + still shuts down Nidoking (if you don't Thief/Explode Zap with Egg or something then LK Nido is going to thud against it every time)), TWave (burning PP against Raikou can really suck and crippling other Zap is amazing), and even Whirlwind (which has more PP than Raikou's Roar for those games you're shuffling against stall teams). However, even if every non-Thunder/HPIce/ResTalk Zap suddenly disappeared into a black hole, it'd still deserve this rank.

That said, Raikou is clearly quite a bit above everything below it and should thus be S-. You don't have to look far to see its crazy consistency thanks to its perfect blend of speed, typing and bulk. Spikes/EQ weak alongside worse physical bulk (Lax) and not Sleep Talking does kinda suck if your opponent's Thunder para rate is high and he knows how to play with Spikes down, especially if Thief gets involved but Kou is still a consistent terror (and ST is also very good). Reflect can also create lots of frustrating scenarios for offensive teams, Toxic is great, it's excellent at using HP Water which Steelix and Rhydon really do not care for... I won't re-write the analysis here but in short Raikou is absolutely still in a league of its own.

As for #4, I find Cloyster to be most appropriate there. Aside from its easily evident effectiveness, I would point to the usage statistics, which we have had for team tournaments featuring GSC since early 2014 with SPL 5. With the exception of SPL 7, where it was #3 behind Zapdos, it has held the #2 spot in usage in every single other tournament since then. This is SPL 5, 6, 8 and 9, and WCoP '15, '16 and '17. Seven out of the last eight team tournaments featuring the best players have Cloyster at #2. Again, the one tournament where it didn't do this, it dropped to #3. Furthermore, if you consult the Classic playoffs replay archive, there are five games out of 32 across 4 years where there is not at least one Cloyster.

This is not a knock against the traditional #4, Exeggutor. While he can often struggle against tough defensive combinations of Skarmory + Tyranitar/Umbreon (+ Suicune) and it's often unable to do much to Zapdos without Exploding (not that you wouldn't take that trade), it's still a terrifying playmaker with its coverage, status, Explosion of course and even Leech Seed. You can tweak its bag of tricks to serve you however you prefer. There are some games where it just goes crazy and rips open a huge hole that makes it hard for the opponent to bounce back. Combine this with defensive utility against major threats such as M&M, Rhydon and Vaporeon and you have one excellent Pokemon. It's just that Cloyster is, well, Cloyster.

While I adore Marowak and Suicune, I think Machamp and Vaporeon should be higher to reflect the greater consistency of both them and typical offensive teams. It's easy for them to be a huge threat throughout the game; nothing takes advantage of Resting shit like they do, especially Champ. Outside of the occasional ResTalk set, he straight up beats your face in, causing sizable gaps where important parts of teams' defense used to be (not that it can't sweep). Vap tends to be craftier; it sticks around, slowly eroding teams with its extremely spammable Surf, and it can pull some nasty surprises.

I also find Nidoking to be on the more consistent side; while sometimes his power is questionable, there's almost never a game where he won't be useful and of course when he's on he's terrifying, whereas Wak and Cune have bigger downsides. Thus, I think Nido should be higher. He's a "safe" pick whereas the latter two are more risky.

So I guess to summarize, my top 14 is:
Snorlax, S Zapdos S, S- Raikou, A Cloyster Exeggutor Skarmory Steelix Gengar Tyranitar Vaporeon Machamp Nidoking Marowak Suicune, then the other A ranks (I suppose everything below this, so Forry onward, would be A-).

Heracross and Rhydon have definitely shown themselves to be low A. Speaking of, I also think Miltank is terrific but it should be the second-to-last in A thanks to Misdreavus being really powerful, and Umbreon generally finds a way onto more teams thanks to Pursuit, although Tank is a cornerstone of a very popular, strong team and like I said I think it's great, just that the others are too. The last in A should be the terrible horrible no good very bad Starmie.

I find Jynx to be far too low in B, I think over the past year it's proved it's definitely worthy of sitting at the top alongside Charizard, Dragonite and Tentacruel. Just above Blissey and Espeon. I believe Golem and Donphan should move to B as well.

Meganium and Piloswine for the top of C, they're borderline B but this would be fine for now I think.
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I carry the strong belief that the top tier mon should have a definite line of how good it is in comparison with the pokemon below it (thus having a starting point in the Viability of what we define as S+, S, S-) I propose droping the whole Snorlax tier(which originates from Jorgen's original topic dated back on 2014) and renaming it S+ for a definite cut between Snorlax and the rest of the pokemon. Based on that, we can suggest more concrete ground between the 2 electrics and the pokemon below them then. The list suggests that Snorlax is actually residing in Uber category or at least a tier ahead of S+, and despite it's 'mandatory' status(Snorlax +5 pokemon for team archetypes) it shouldn't be a case in the viability list that provokes a suspect for it not belonging in the OU tier.
Thus for future reference, I prepared a Paint picture (excuse my skills)

This suggests some models which can be adressed to in order to define Snorlax's rank and the ordering of Zapdos + Raikou between Snorlax, themselves, and the top 4 and onwards pokemon.

With that said, I believe that Snorlax is clearly way ahead of any pokemon in GSC and that warrants it the S+ rank. Even by counting the strong Explosion users in A+, its 3 tiers ahead of them because it can also selfdestruct, or sleep or set up, or combine either without limitation. There shouldn't be any discussion or belief that categorises Snorlax in the S rank because of how better it is in contrast with the bulk of the A+ that warrants the extra jump to S+(aka models 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the picture should be listed out, but they are there as options if anyone wants to make a case on Snorlax)

On the matter of the electrics, Zapdos is clearly ahead of Raikou, because of the instant offence Zapdos carries with its package, especially with a spike down in correlation with its Flying typing granting it immunity to grounds and the 12% spike chip itself (this allows a status'ed Zapdos to be much more useful to the player than a status'ed Raikou almost at all cases,thus the prominence of its Rest Talk set). I am very skeptical when it comes of being a whole tier ahead of Raikou, as Snorlax is a whole tier ahead of it.
Raikou also has very powerful points going on its favor, the most important being the tier's premier special wall in OU(Kou Skarm in GSC is Skarmbliss of ADV) and the all powerful 115 speed asset, allowing the check on pokemon such as Charizard, Tentacruel, Zapdos itself, Gengar, Espeon and a tie with Starmie. Zapdos ties base 100 at best and doesnt offer concrete defensive utility as Raikou does despite the typing. Additionally, Raikou's Roar is much more threatening and pokemon defining than Zapdos' Whirlwind, because Raikou checks everything mentioned above which are slower than it and the electrics(including itself) and is thus allowed to create kill opportunities with spike shuffling, often been hailed as the best phaser in the tier. Despite his RestTalking set being as strong as Zapdos' (because of the 115 base speed allowing the Rest recovery to go first vs B level threats), often it carries the Roar moveset just because it does it so well, a case Zapdos can't replicate.
Despite Zapdos better instant offence and how splashable Zapdos is on offensive teams, this isnt the case for Zapdos on purely defensive teams. The instant you replace Raikou on such teams, you are weakening yourself to both Zapdos and Raikou because no ground can offer Raikou's control over Zapdos(and itself to a lesser extend, a case can be made about Steelix here but then we'd enter Hidden Power water scenarios).
For these reasons, I believe the tier's top 3 mons are best resembled by model 1 on the picture, where Snorlax is S+, Zapdos is better than Raikou and both are S, with a clear tier in between those 2 and the A+ mons.
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Century Express

we all have our own confusion
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a former Tournament Circuit Champion
I wouldn't rank Steelix /that/ high imo. Yes, it has great merits against Electrics and Snorlax, but besides pure role compression, i find myself losing a ton of momentum quite often. There are a ton of matchups where it invites free Cloy or Forry switch-ins to Spikes (or Spin), and even though it checks Zapdos, it's kinda annoying when your only form of scaring it is via an unreliable boom (mind) game, although pivoting Snorlax into a HP from Electrics is always welcome. I know, Lix is an amazing teambuilding pick because you can switch-in against the best threats of the metagame (and it's particularly useful for specific purposes like ML Umbreon / Missy!), but Lix lacks individual offensive pressure (think of something Skarm-esque when you don't have opportunities to phaze stuff with Spikes). Personally I would rank Lix below Ttar and Gengar.

Maybe Nidoking should be slightly higher (I would put in close to Suicune at least). If you play well around the opposing Zapdos, it could be a huge bitch against any non-RestTalk Lax, getting 4-6 Sleep-turns can be potentially gamebreaking. Nidoking (and Jynx) are two good examples why people shouldn't over rely on RestTalk Zapdos to play around Sleep inducers. It's a good team player as well, some offensive teams are lowkey weak against Raikou or Ttar without Nidoking, and it can act as an all-around in some defensive teams as well (solid firepower with Spikes, good typing and it can lure HP Ice from Electrics, forces Snorlax to Rest sometimes, invites Suicune or Umbreon sometimes) so you can capitalize with your own BD Lax, for example.


Banned deucer.
Ok, this thread is picking up pace, and for starters it's clear that most people here want sub-ranks to exist. We initially thought that it was a bad idea, since it's very difficult to delineate Pokemon power levels from one another in GSC, especially once you move below A rank. However, due to popular demand, I've implemented sub-ranks for S and A tier, and tentatively considering them for B tier, if we can come to a consensus on what that would look like. I also added numerical rankings for each Pokemon so it's easier for us to talk about them, thanks Earthworm for the idea.

I think Fear raises a good point that Snorlax-rank is somewhat misleading and we need Lax as a reference point to compare with other ranks instead of it being isolated in its own domain. For that reason I'm deleting Snorlax rank and moving Snorlax to S+ for what I assume are obvious reasons. As for the electrics, for now I'm keeping Zapdos and Raikou in the same positions. I'm not convinced that Raikou is significantly worse than Zapdos. Zapdos runs a stronger RestTalk set and is better on the physically defensive side, with more insurance against common metagame threats. However, at the same time it's reliant on RestTalk to stay effective while asleep, since it's often utilized as a catch-all sponge for attacks from a wide variety of Pokemon, limiting what roles it can fill. Raikou on the other hand isn't as good of a RestTalker and has defensive weakness that are more easily exploited, but at the same time its value is immeasurably high against the threats that Fear mentions in his post - imagine how dominant Pokemon like Zard, Tenta, and GGar could be if Raikou wasn't a consistent presence. Kou also fills potentially more roles than Zap, with Roar making it one of the scariest Pokemon for offense and stall alike to handle when Spikes are on the field, and Reflect providing great team support as well as making Raikou nigh-invincible. These moves come at the cost of being inactive during a few turns when Resting, and yes, that can be very exploitable. However, Kou's also really good at burning sleep turns, most notably against the elecs, which Zap can't claim. In addition, every point in Zap's favor is also a point for Kou, since it's the best Zap counter in the game. For these reasons I don't think it's necessary to separate the two with different sub-rankings.

The A+ rank will start with Cloyster up to 4, Exeggutor down to 5. Upon reflection, too much of the metagame revolves around Spikes to put Cloyster below anything besides the obvious top 3. Cloy is incredibly consistent and can always do what it needs to do. I won't move Egg down any more than #5, though. It's an absolute juggernaut threat with status, Leech, coverage, Thief, and Explosion, not to mention how it checks an absurd number of physical threats and even non-IB Vap. A+ rank is now 4. Cloyster through 9. Tyranitar.

Moving onto A rank, Vaporeon up to 10, Suicune down to 12. I agree with Earthworm's assessment that offensive teams are slightly stronger at the moment, and Vap in particular shines in a metagame where water resistances are neglected or only noticed offhandedly, and almost every Zap/Kou is running Thunder over Tbolt. Additionally, the variety of 4th moves it can use make at least one variant of it a threat to just about every team. Suicune is still annoying for many teams to break, but it doesn't provide much outside of being a damage sponge, and is difficult to fit on non-stall builds, where its lack of offensive pressure can make it a liability at times. As for the trio of Wak/Champ/Nido, sticking with my current order because while Wak is arguably least independent of the three, it benefits the most from para support, which is laughably easy to spread and turns Wak into the single biggest threat ever. Also Champ and Nido are checked considerably better by the dominant forces of the metagame. A rank is now 10. Vaporeon through 14. Nidoking.

For A- rank, Misdreavus up to 17, Miltank down to 18. Misdreavus runs a variety of sets and each of them can be nearly unbeatable if you're facing the right team. Thief can cripple a crucial target, Hypnosis is deadly, Toxic hits most of its switch-ins (notably, not Steelix), Thunder spreads para and chases off Cloy/Mie, Pain Split provides great longevity without having to waste turns asleep. Destiny Bond is a nice tech that lets it almost always trade up, usually at the low cost of dropping Thief or Hypnosis. The PerishTrap set has fallen off a bit, but as demonstrated in SPL can still run wild with a little luck. Miltank only does one thing, and it does that thing really well, but Ghosts have risen in prevalence, which the cow can't touch, and things like Thunder elecs threatening 2HKOs can make it a pain to switch in. Being constantly at risk of a crit ruining your day is also frustrating. However, Miltank's still the premier phazer and deserves her place in A-. I'm not at all swayed by the arguments made against Starmie, it's the best spinner in a generation where getting rid of Spikes can make or break an entire gameplan. Its poor winrate in recent tournaments, in my definitely subjective and biased opinion, is due to bad players not knowing how to use Mie as opposed to Mie actually being a bad Pokemon. It takes some finesse to pilot, you can't just throw it at Cloy and slowly die to Toxic as you click spin over and over. Its moveset is also fantastic, with everything from screens to status spreading, which is really nice if you aren't just using it as your hard Cloy switch every. single. time. A- rank is now 15. Forretress through 19. Umbreon.

Still thinking about sub-ranks for B tier and below, they'll probably be implemented eventually but I'm waiting for a greater wealth of opinions before making some of the hard calls.
Less important changes:

Added Gligar, Pikachu, and Shuckle to D rank. Not sold on Lanturn.
Clefable to B rank. Moonlight is great and its 4th move matters a lot. FB, Encore, even Sing are all threatening.
Golem to B rank. Not sold on Donphan. Encore is pretty good but it so often just sits there and slowly dies to chip. Golem can at least boom.
Jynx up to near the top of B rank, below Rhydon/Zard/Hera. I still think it's a fad but giving in to the unwashed masses for now.
Charizard over Heracross. Also I kept these guys and Rhydon in B rank because they all have massive, glaring weaknesses that are exposed by most of A rank. Occasionally they're very effective but most of the time they're more of a nuisance than anything, as opposed to guys like Wak/Champ/Nido which send a good portion of teams into panic mode (and due to this are often overprepared for).

Thanks to everyone who posted so far. This is a massive undertaking and I'm very grateful to see some of the best players of the era contributing to this effort. Each one of these edits takes a painful amount of time but I'll try to be active and make every change count.


World's Strongest Fairy
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I don't hate BKC's case for Zapdos & Raikou being in different ranks. At the upper tiers differences between pokes are more pronounced, and Zapdos' strengths (spikes immunity, difficulty in legitimately "forcing" it out, access to twave, surprisingly significantly stronger Thunder, less defensive redundancy alongside Snorlax) make it so much more splashable than Raikou is.

I'd say Skarm in the 5th slot over Egg myself. As you noted, Egg is rather matchup-dependent, and although it has "tricks" that could potentially get it past one of its stonewalls (e.g., hp fire for skarm), it often leaves it without recourse for other things that stonewall it (e.g., giving up giga drain for ttar). Not to mention that Umbreon walls it forever and Houndoom (an admittedly unorthodox pick) outright deletes it from the match. Also, I tend to find Egg is a poke that "complements" a team rather than being an essential part of it - it "complements" Gengar's ability to break defenses with Explosions; it "complements" Zapdos' ability to check Vaporeon; it "complements" a spiker-spinblocker pair by forcing switches with leech seed. As such, the things it does are generally luxuries moreso than necessities. Skarm, on the other hand, covers a lot of necessary threats - standard snorlax sets, egg sets, and marowak sets to be specific. Heracross and Machamp (defensive) coverages are also huge. Plus, it fills the necessary Phazer niche, and it's a Toxic-immune one to boot so that Umbreon can't cheese past you with Toxic. Given the severity of all these threats, Skarm is almost certain to be useful in just about every match, and even in the matches it isn't terribly useful (say everything on their side has a fire move for some reason), well A) you just forced them to make concessions with their movesets (see: Egg's hp fire dilemma), and B) you still needed something to do everything Skarm does going into this matchup, now you have an extra Pokemon slot to work with in this matchup because Skarm compressed it all into one Pokemon slot.

As for the rest of A+, Steelix feels a little out of place. It invites Cloyster in to spike up all day every day, doesn't exactly scare Forretress or Starmie away either, and in general it's quite easy to make it look like a clown with its mediocre Attack stat and limited recovery options, especially with the whole Thief Missy fad right now. Sure it gets Explosion, but between Cloyster / Skarm / Vap / Egg it's not a very targeted Explosion and is quite likely to whiff. It can also sweep with Curse + Eq & Rock Slide, but that's super matchup-dependent. And then there's the way it functions. Most of its fellow A+ers have ways to force themselves to be useful: Ttar gets Pursuit & loads of coverage to chip at walls; Cloyster gets Spikes; Egg/Gengar get status & coverage out the wazoo, respectively; and Skarm, while not offensive, does a lot of what Steelix does on defense, and then some, and it does it permanently (or in a way that forces the opponent to make moveset concessions or to actually converge on your Skarmory intelligently with multiple offensive threats, e.g. stun spore egg + cursechamp). Steelix puts a halt to monolax and withers & dies eventually to everything else it needs to check (spikes, hp ice, lk sleep turns, eating +1 psychics when phazing out espeons... that kinda chip damage kills the steelix). And apart from a risky Explosion that throws away your best Snorlax answer & Phazer (and doesn't really hit a specific target all that well), it gets... Body Slam paralysis? Maybe Dragonbreath is actually better if you forgo Curse for your paralysis move? Not sayin' Steelix is bad of course, just that it doesn't do defense as ridiculously well as Skarmory or have as many options to make itself relevant as the other offensive members of A+.
Remember Tauros from Gen 1? Well, Pikachu is a cheap version of him in Gen 2 (a very cheap version). To play it effectively you have to save it until the middle/end of the battle when its opponents are weakened and can´t endure its special attacks (easier said than done). I doubt someone can win a world tournament with Pikachu, but it can be very scary if you use it well.
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oh it's a new thing

Trying to quantify what's better between two extremely dissimilar pokemon, such as Skarm and Gengar, seems like a rather pointless exercise. I'm not really convinced of the idea of ranking pokemon within their tiers other than maybe Cloyster topping "best of the rest," so I'm none too concerned with minor tweaks up and down, but whatever. And who is "we" anyway?

Zapdos deserves to be separate from Raikou if you wanna nitpick. I've written pages of posts on this stuff in the distant past, so I'm not going to go to great pains to restate myself. Suffice to say that Ground/Spikes immunity and the extra power extremely mattering against Snorlax is enough to clearly separate the two. Albeit not to the soft counter degree of Acid Armor Vap, the fact that Zapdos can straight-up just beat Snorlax is a thought few other special attackers dare dream, and it goes about even with Ground-types who switch into it. Zapdos has few weaknesses that are barely exploitable, while Raikou is heavily abused by Grounds (unless you walk Rhydon into HP Water) and is better taken advantage of by Snorlax.

And while Raikou is a bit better general defender, Zapdos is not exactly outclassed. It has advantages being one of the few viable Flying-types in the metagame. Nevermind the Spikes immunity, Zapdos is one of a couple hard stops to Heracross, aggravates Earthquake users and Machamp is all but forced to run Rock Slide solely because of it. Though rarely seen in practice, Zapdos also does have a more versatile movepool.

I'm not convinced Suicune deserves to be nearly as high as #12, slotting between Marowak and Machamp. It's somewhat less offensively impotent than its defensive contemporaries, but it's still ultimately an annoying cockblock with limited aggressive potential. Notably, it does absolutely nothing unique (Starmie spins, Umbreon debuffs and traps, Miltank Bells, etc.) nor does it handle Snorlax well on its own. It's merely a big enough stat stick, reasonably spread with favorable typing, to occasionally muscle its way onto a team that already handles everything else and just needs an extra body to absorb hits (and possibly status). I'd slot it down closer to the bottom of the tier with Miltank and Umbreon, if not king of B Rank along with Heracross and Rhydon.

Lavos has an unhealthy obsession with Charizard and I'm unconvinced it's anything better than near the top of C rank. It's not even better than Alakazam. It is difficult to setup all for a payoff of... a solid, reliable 2HKO at moderate speed? :smogthink: Clefable can at least OHKO most shit with Spikes because of STAB. On that note, if you're gonna put all the "best of niche shit nobody actually uses but is kinda usable on paper" in B, might as well put Zam in there and maybe Quagsire/Meganium. More generally, I'd like to see the more commonly accepted good ones (namely Rhydon, Heracross, Jynx, Blissey, possibly P2 and Tentacruel) at least at the top of this tier... I mean, Muk ain't that good either man.

My B would look something like-
B+: (Suicune?), Rhydon, Heracross, Jynx
B: Blissey, Porygon2, Tentacruel, Dragonite (only all-out attackers, you are bad and should feel bad if you perpetuate defensive Drag sets), maybe Espeon/Jolteon
B-: The rest, plus move up Zam/Quagsire/Meganium/Venusaur/Houndoom

I would put Venusaur wherever Meganium is, since it's really not appreciably different from Meganium as far as defensive Eggy alternates. It retains Fighting resist instead of Ground and it has Sleep Powder instead of Counter, that's about all that separates them. Shame Venusaur doesn't get Sludge Bomb in Gen 2 or it'd be pretty clearly better for having a decent offense. :/

Jumpluff I've actually used before, unlike most of the noise, and deserves to be listed. It should be obvious why, fast Encore is extremely potent (especially on a Ground-immune) and it's got the usual assortment of Grass status effects. And I'd throw Blastoise in the ranks too. I considered using it once... then scrapped that team because I decided any team literally using Blastoise is probably pretty bad, nonetheless I did consider it. That's more than I can say for stuff like Articuno, Shuckle, or Raichu. In particular, it compares favorably to defensive Rapid Spin Tentacruel sets, as it isn't weak to Ground and can use Mirror Coat on Spin sets (similar to how Forry is mostly a bad Cloyster who has the privilege of pairing Explosion and Spin). Shame about that Toxic susceptibility.
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There's not really any point in doing so. If they're BL then they're banned from UU anyway. Making them OU doesn't change anything, except make retiering UU more difficult.

VRs don't really represent usage anyway, whereas tiering should. The so-called usage tiers have been set in stone with respect to usage for quite some time, but they still paint a more-or-less accurate image of what one should expect to see in an "average" GSC game.

Most of the mons listed are viable on at most three teams, so I really don't think they fit the criterion of OverUsed anyway. At best maybe you could say Charizard, Jynx, and Muk are used on enough teams, but a lot of their utility comes from the fact that they're not used a lot, e.g. people don't bring 5 ice-weak mons when their opponent is a known Jynx user. A small number of mons in OU suffer from this, but not to the same extent and they can usually bypass their checks with appropriate support.

It's a nice thought, but I just don't think it's justifiable for any of them.
I looked at the earlier versions of this thread and it seems like the 19 S- and A-rank Pokémon listed here have been the standout for quite some time. In the first thread, after Snorlax and the Electrics, the 16 A-ranks are listed alphabetically without subranks, so there's no clear ranking between them (though through an amusing coincidence, Cloyster and Exeggutor are listed first among the A-ranks there as well), whereas in the second, there are A+, A- and B+ subranks closely resembling the A+, A and A- subranks here. Does this imply that these 19 as a whole are a cut above the rest, regardless of cycles and fluctuations in the meta? Or as other people have phrased it, "set in stone"?


World's Strongest Fairy
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Pretty much, yeah. Anything A tier or above on this list is going to be a Pokemon you throw on a team "naturally". They are all critical Pokemon that define classic GSC teams and strategies, with the S tier pokes in particular transcending strategy to an extent - i.e., they're just so good on the face of it that no explicit synergy with the rest of the team is really required (well okay that's less true for Raikou than Zapdos & Snorlax but this is a tangent anyway).

Anything B or below you sort of have to go out of your way to justify putting on your team: Whether it be exploiting some common weakness in team construction in a given metagame (e.g., the way Jynx worked for some time in exploiting people's aversion to bulky waters; Curse Heracross and DruidCruel also fit into this mold in terms of punishing over-reliance on Zapdos), because you are building a team based on a high-risk high-reward gimmick strategy (e.g., Smeargle to make an agility-pass sweep possible, the use of Charizard in general), or because there's a nuanced strategic niche not currently filled by the other top Pokes that you're willing to fill at the expense of some obvious downside with that Pokemon (e.g., Tentacruel as a Toxic-immune spinner at the expense of Starmie's access to Twave and superior defensive coverage against Grounds). Those three need not be mutually exclusive, btw.


Banned deucer.
It's been a while since I checked this thread, but since we're almost halfway through SPL X and some of my opinions on the game are changing, I'd like to get things rolling again with a couple edits that I think are necessary given the way the current metagame is shaping up. I'm not going to touch anything in S-rank or A-rank yet, I still feel that the order we have is more or less accurate.

First off, Jynx up to 20, at the very top of B rank. I had thought Jynx was a fad, turns out it's here to stay. The amount of pressure it exerts on standard offensive teams is second to none. With Zapdos as the designated Sleep Talker, Cloyster and Steelix crumpling before Psychic and Ice Beam respectively, and assigned wallbreakers Machamp and Exeggutor shaking in their boots, boom teams are a Snorlax away from instant defeat when encountering Jynx, and that's incredibly important. I can't justify its ascent to A rank, as there are more than a few Pokemon that completely wall it to pieces, and it's more of a counterpick than anything, but certainly it will remain a fixture of the metagame for years to come. Next, Tentacruel up to 23, as Electrics show no sign of laying off Thunder anytime soon, and common checks like Gengar and Starmie are falling off in both success and usage as of late. I can see big things for Tentacruel in the future if the meta continues to shift toward bulkier offenses and teched-out stalls. However, some things never change in GSC, and the metagame revolving around Spikes is one of them, so Golem up to 24. The combination of Cloyster and Golem can be devastating, winning the Spikes game by surprise and taking favorable trades later while acting as yet another Snorlax check that can explode, and being able to OHKO Gengar is a niche bonus. Fire Blast has fallen off in favor of Roar for defensive support, allowing Golem teams to cram even more offense into the package. Unfortunately, where some rise, others must fall. Charizard down to 27 is a move that Mr.E and others will surely praise, as I admit I've been overrating the Pokemon due to my own success with it. It requires way too much setup in a relatively fast-paced meta to efficiently perform its sweeping duty, and offers little to nothing in the way of defensive support. Finally, Muk down to 30 as it begins to resemble a puddle of waste in more ways than one. Its depressing speed tier combined with barely not enough damage output and the hard time it has against Tyranitar make it a very weak pick for modern GSC. The sheer power of its movepool and particularly Explosion keep it rooted in B rank, though.

In addition, I've implemented sub-ranks for B, and considering them for C as well! Let me know what you think. I found the cutoff points to be fairly obvious, but some may disagree. Hopefully we can revive this thread and keep it somewhat lively through the conclusion of SPL and into Classic V!
Does kanga really deserve B- rank? It hasn't been used at all in the past 2 spls and the few games I've found it seems pretty underwhelming. It pretty much needs pursuit support, which unless you're running very specific Tyranitar sets or Houndoom, aren't surefire methods. Keeping it status free is a pain in the ass too since Egg psychics break sub, electrics throw around thunders, etc. Like on paper you status electrics, win/deny spikes, and keep kanga hidden until the absolute perfect time, but when does that actually happen? You could run a lax set that takes the same or less support, while also not folding to thunders. I'd honestly bump it down to C rank.

Speaking of C rank, I was going to say it should be ordered, but honestly I think Sandlash and Donphan being in there is throwing me off. Donphan sees usage, but iirc the results it's pulled in are average at best. I get that those two each have a niche, but it just doesn't seem as useful or good as others in C.

Or alternatively keep these guys in C and move some of the C mons to B. The B/C split just seems a little out of date with current metagame trends. Maybe I'm overrating doom, quag, pilo, tres, and meg, but in the current meta I think they can each really do a number to offensive builds (deny electrics, hit shit with fire, make them play -1 or -2 mons, etc).
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Agree with sulcata on Kanga. Maybe EVEN when you have the correct Lax (or Pursuit support, or both), it's pretty hard to ignore the fact that you stack too many weakness against Machamp, and it's a pain in the ass cover the remaining slots, since you're kinda forced to play with a passive / flawed build against miscellaneous threats. The Kanga set-up is not even likely, and it focus too much on passive targets (like Skarmory + Growler / Charmer builds with little offensive presence). Agree with Jynx / Golem / Tenta, all of them are super anti-meta (and Jynx is literally SATAN) if you know what you're doing.

Personally I'd rank Jolteon a bit higher (definitely over Clef and Kanga, probably around the P2 rank), and Dragonite a bit lower too (IMO it belongs to top B-, but it's personal bias). Although it's hard to rank all of them, Jolt at least has the perk of checking Zapdos and Vapo (offensively), while the pseudo-BoltBeam resistance gives it more relief against Gengar or random DNites. All of the other Normals share too many typing issues with Snorlax / Cloyster / common phazers, but at least, P2 can work as a super underrated para-spreader (low-key the most underrated, because it can 3HKO both Electrics, and break through Lax's Rest loops), a Nidoking / Gengar / Jynx backup + non-BS Lax answer if you run Curse (32 Recover PPs is a bless btw), while I see Clef and Kanga more like opportunistic set-up threats, instead of true team players.
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World's Strongest Fairy
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Sub-ranks for C seems tricky. I'd imagine something where Meganium/Donphan/Houndoom find the top and things like Sandslash/Alakazam find the bottom?

Also: I saw that replay. Was that a meme, Icarus, or do you genuinely see a niche for Ursaring?

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My personal take if we were to order C ranks:




Mostly based on how good their niches are against OU team archetypes.
Meganium is a very consistent wall, pretty good with spikes up and packs the rare ground resist, overall a more passive eggy that doesn't fall to pursuit or special attacks; Doom is the strongest pursuit user, can actually 1v1 waters ( and electrics with some luck dodging 50/50 thunders), hard-counters eggy, too bad it doesn't deal enough damage to Lax. Quag, while still being the worst drummer, has a good niche in bpass teams and can more often than not get +6 without thinking too much because thunder is free. These 3 are the closest to B material, especially Meganium.

I'm very bias with Pilo but he got surprisingly good stats and his stabs work wonders, being a slow nido of some sorts (that doesn't die to hp ice). Moltres is actually underrated as a late game cleaner but electric weakness hinders it too much, even in sun with thunder being at cointoss accurracy it's still risky enough.
Donphan niche is....... being pure ground I guess??? Other than that it's essentially a worse Golem (and Golem is not super good in first place). HP Ice is the norm nowadays so maybe it doesn't matter that much, and you should never stay against surf/giga drain anyway lol. I personally feel that Donphan is overrated but I digress.

The last 3 are just bad niches, Amphy being the closest to being not THAT bad. I mean, it's basically a slow Raikou, but having fire punch/dp and packing both screens is kinda good? idk.
Kazam is hard walled by too many things and encore runs out of pps too soon to be truly useful, anything MrE says about it is biased, prove me wrong.
Sandslash is............. a worse Wak that can spin?
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Honestly I think Quag is a better drummer than clef with its electric immunity. It won't really drum vs offense, but there it can completely block zapdos and bait egg, cloy, etc for houndoom.

I don't think you overrate piloswine. It can be really threatening if you get rid of cloyster early with something like an hp electric cloyster of your own. Agreed with Moltres, I think there's a lot of possibility for what you can pair it with.

Honestly I'd probably group Moltres and Piloswine with the mons in C+.

For the record I don't think C actually needs to be subgrouped. I just think that the current mons in C don't seem well grouped together anymore in that Donphan, Sandslash, and Amph are clearly worse than others in C.

I think zam might be alright, but I also have no idea how to build a proper team with it so I won't really make a point of arguing


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I agree with all the shifts Lavos made, for what it's worth. I would also like to suggest Jynx and Rhydon to the bottom of A-, and Miltank down to B+ rank. Jynx and Rhydon have both been seeing far more play than Miltank at high levels. Miltank has been used 0 times so far this SPL and was 1-3 last SPL. Rhydon was in the top 12 most used Pokemon last SPL and has a positive win rate this SPL.

Heracross can then be at the top of B+ rank. It has similar stats to Rhydon and is fairly popular in team tours. We could then move some of the better B rank Pokemon into B+ (Tenta and Golem).

I agree about Kangaskhan, it might even belong in C+. I am struggling to see how some of the B rank Pokemon are that much better than C rank Pokemon.

For D rank, I honestly think that Mr. Mime probably has a better niche than Poliwrath, Raichu, or Slowbro (whose removal I would support). Slowbro is probably the best one of those though. I would have also supported the removal of Ursaring but I am not in a great position to do that right now. There are a few Pokemon in there that could be considered for C- rank too, if we make a slight overall upward shift.

My preference is to attempt to rank everything in order. Maybe we can do a slate for the lower ranks if anyone is interested? I can assist with making it easy to update the VR if that is a concern.

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