Now that the UU tournament is over (even though I didn't win this time) I will post my thoughts about the UU metagame and the viability rankings. I have kind of basically tried to impart all of my knowledge about GSC UU in one post besides posting teams/compositions, so I hope it is useful to those experienced with GSC UU to provide additional perspective and encourage discussion, and to those who have never touched GSC UU before and are browsing through this thread out of curiosity. GSC UU will be a part of another tournament that Diophantine
will be hosting soon so hopefully people can enjoy the tier in that tournament too.
Also, I hope that people will disagree and debate with me about my proposed rankings. I have spent a lot of time considering and rearranging them over a period of several weeks, but I don't profess to be some kind of omniscient master of the tier, and I know that others with experience in the tier have their own opinions about what is strong that differ from mine.
If you can't be bothered to scroll through all of the below text, here is a link
to a spreadsheet in which my proposed rankings are listed in the "pirate 2" column.
Nidoqueen is clearly the best Pokemon in the tier. It is very tanky while also hitting nearly every relevant Pokemon for a 3HKO, and those it misses out on are often put into range with Spikes up. Its coverage with EQ Thunder and Fire Blast is unmatched in the metagame. Being this strong of course means that teams in the tier are usually built with Nidoqueen in mind, but this has not been enough to ever result in Nidoqueen falling from its number one rank at the top of the tier.
Its moveset is nearly always the same due to its sheer effectiveness, which is EQ/Thunder/Fire Blast/Moonlight. In the past, Ice Beam/LK were more popular than Fire Blast/Moonlight, but as the metagame has developed, keeping Nidoqueen healthy has proven to be an effective strategy and the popularity of Restalk Slowbro/Granbull has substantially reduced the number of Lovely Kiss Nidoqueen one sees, and Fire Blast is arguably better to have against key sweeper Scyther and sometimes somewhat-threatening Pinsir. It also hits most Grass types harder (except Jumpluff, notably). The biggest downside to dropping Ice Beam is that Gligar becomes a fairly reliable wall against it, but Gligar often struggles to do anything against the behemoth that is Slowbro and is therefore not seen a whole lot.
Nidoqueen being the best Pokemon in the tier has a huge effect on the metagame, including making Fighting and most other Poison types almost completely irrelevant, reducing the effectiveness of Toxic and Thunder Wave on many Pokemon, substantially decreasing the viability of Electric types, and defining the important speed tiers of the tier.
Nidoqueen is significantly better than anything else in the tier, so I am proposing to remove the S+ tier and bump Slowbro down into A+, leaving Nidoqueen as the lone S rank Pokemon.
Rank 2. Slowbro
Slowbro is also very clear in its position of rank 2. It is almost unbelievably tanky, with even attacks such as +6 Quagsire Earthquake usually failing to OHKO (86.2-101.5%, 10.3% chance). While it is very slow, that is just about the only problem it faces. Its Special Attack is as high as the special "sweepers" in the tier, and it has very strong reliable STABs with solid coverage in Surf and Psychic. Tack on Rest + Sleep Talk and it becomes a recovering, zero-downtime status absorbing super-tank. With both of its STAB attacks hitting Nidoqueen for a convincing 2HKO, and Thunder requiring high rolls and Spikes to 2HKO Slowbro in return, it is no wonder that Slowbro is a consistent presence on a large number of teams. At full health, it is generally a decent switch into the tier's prominent physical sweepers such as Granbull and Dodrio, and non-HP Bug Scyther (although Scyther has some potential tricks that can cause it problems). Its SpDef is also pretty decent, meaning Pokemon like Magmar, Arcanine, Feraligatr, etc cannot immediately force it out or make it think twice about switching in with their Super Effective attacks. These factors mean that some teams are forced to resort to forcing Slowbro to Rest or PP stalling it with their own tanky Psychic or Water type in order to handle it.
Strong Electric attacks do threaten Slowbro considerably, and Slowbro is often a key part of a team's defensive lineup against physical sweepers and Nidoqueen, so it does have to switch out of Pokemon like Thunder Mr. Mime, Thunder Gyarados, Magneton, Electabuzz, Ampharos, etc. However, while neither Ampharos nor Magneton have any problems finding opportunities to switch in, they really struggle to threaten the omnipresent Nidoqueen with anything in their learnset (for some perspective, I have seen Tri Attack Magneton as an attempt at doing something to the inevitable Nidoqueen switch). Slowbro can also typically hit these Pokemon for a fairly substantial amount when they switch in. Grass types that aren't part Poison can also force Slowbro out since they typically shrug off its attacks with relative ease and force it out one way or another.
In terms of move sets, Slowbro can stray from the plain Restalk STABs set by using Thunder Wave, which can make some of its counters think twice about switching in and potentially gain a large advantage. This comes at the cost of a substantial loss in coverage. Dropping Psychic means Qwilfish comes in and sets up Spikes at a lower cost, among other things. Dropping Surf gives Slowbro substantially lower PP to attack with, and allows potentially dangerous Psychic types in. Dropping either of these also gives Nidoqueen much better odds of taking you down while you are asleep. Dropping Sleep Talk and keeping Rest is not advisable in my opinion, however dropping both is okay if you have a good reason to do so (e.g. Zap Cannon is pretty strong). Losing the ability to sponge status attacks freely is a major downside, however.
While I have raved on about Slowbro, it has substantially more solid answers than Nidoqueen does, and if properly prepared for, can be taken advantage of much moreso than Nidoqueen can. For that reason, I am suggesting Slowbro be moved "down" to the top of A+.
Scyther is easily the most threatening sweeper in the tier, being very fast and having access to Swords Dance. It does not have powerful STAB attacks, but after a Swords Dance, there are few Pokemon it can't 2HKO. Its defenses are also better than one might expect, with Nidoqueen's probability to 2HKO it varying depending on whether it has Fire Blast, which hidden power Scyther is using, etc. Its standard coverage moves are Wing Attack and Hidden Power Ground, but it can also use Hidden Power Bug to hit some key Pokemon harder. In the fourth slot, the most popular option by far is Baton Pass, which can be used to make a reactive switch without boosts, or to pass its Swords Dance boosts to another Pokemon. What prevents this strategy from being completely broken is that there are no truly ideal receivers, with many of the options suffering from shared weaknesses with Scyther, coverage issues, or lack of speed or power to beat their regular counters, even with a +2 Attack boost. For this reason, Scyther is often more likely to sweep by itself than set up a sweep for a teammate.
A major factor that contributes to the power of Scyther is that most of the Pokemon that can withstand its attacks cannot hit it hard enough before it can set up. Electabuzz (33% of the time) and Ampharos can OHKO it with Thunder, but Electabuzz is OHKOed by +2 HP Ground and Ampharos takes around 70%, meaning it must be near full health to have a 70% chance at KOing. Having a Scyther in the back therefore often provides a decent chance at turning around a game regardless of what has happened before it sets up. The exception to this is when it faces a Haze Crobat, which is the closest thing to a hard counter in the tier.
BKC's Scyther setting up to sweep the last four of Bedschibaer's Pokemon in Week 2 of the UUPL.
In my opinion Scyther is a clear third rank Pokemon, the only reason for falling short of Rank 2 being the coverage issue it faces choosing between HP Ground and HP Bug (without which it can potentially have issues breaking through Slowbro).
Rank 4. Granbull
Granbull has a monstrous 120 base Attack, making its STAB Return one of the strongest physical attacks in the tier. This is usually coupled with Curse, boosting its damage to very high levels. Unfortunately, its SpDef stat is on the low side, which causes it to have issues when facing Slowbro, whose Surf 3HKOs it. However, its ability to use Restalk Curse effectively and its lack of weaknesses to Nidoqueen's attacks make it one of the favoured Nidoqueen responses.
There is also a lack of viable Normal resistant Pokemon in the tier, which helps cement its rank 4 status in the tier. Options are limited to Haunter, Magneton, Kabutops, Omastar, Shuckle, Sudowoodo, and Graveler. While none of these are unviable, Kabutops is not a reliable counter, Shuckle struggles to do anything against Nidoqueen and Qwilfish and can become set up fodder, Sudowoodo and Graveler are unpopular due to their very low SpDef and typing in a ground/water dominated tier, and Haunter/Magneton can be OHKOed by surprise HP Ground. Omastar and Shuckle are probably the most reliable counters.
Granbull's ability to switch into Nidoqueen with a degree of safety while also threatening to sweep unprepared or weakened teams are qualities that I believe make it worthy of Rank 4 in the tier.
Slowking is very similar to Slowbro but trades Defense for Special Defense. It still has many of the qualities that make Slowbro powerful in its powerful STAB attacks and access to Thunder Wave, plus its higher SpDef helps it combat Nidoqueen and other Psychic-types considerably better than Slowbro can. However, it is considerably worse at taking beatings from physical attackers.
Some people say that there is no reason to use Slowking over Slowbro and it should therefore be ranked in A- or elsewhere. However, not only does it fill a different niche due to its higher SpDef, it can also be used alongside Slowbro to give your team double super-tanks and have the best of both worlds. There are surprisingly few downsides to this thanks to Nidoqueen's ability to take on nearly all Electric-types and the amount of damage the Slow-twins can pump out against things that threaten them with their STAB attacks.
For this reason I suggest it be moved up to the bottom of A+.
Rank 6. Hypno
Hypno's typing, high SpDef stat, and movepool make it one of the best support Pokemon in the tier. It gets both Hypnosis and Thunder Wave, can run a Restalk Psychic Seismic Toss set that is very difficult to take down and puts out decent damage against virtually everything in the tier, and sports few weaknesses to the most relevant types in the tier. While it does not like to switch into Nidoqueen's Earthquake when Spikes are on the field, it otherwise makes a decent switch into most special attackers and can set up screens and spread status for other sweepers. The threat of status makes it very difficult to switch offensive Pokemon into, and the lack of Electric weakness makes it one of the most reliable answers to the numerous Psychic-type Special attackers in the tier.
It fails to reach A+ on this list because of its slightly lacking physical Defense stat and its slightly lacking Special Attack stat. However, it is still a very useful supporting Pokemon and a good choice when an answer to the many sweepers with Psychic + Electric coverage is needed.
Electabuzz is very fast, achieving a crucial speed tie with Scyther and sometimes (33% vs HP Ground) OHKOing it with Thunder. Whereas many Electric types are slower than and fail to hit for more than 33% against Nidoqueen, Electabuzz achieves a much more substantial 40% average with Psychic and lives the Earthquake in return, forcing Nidoqueen on the defensive. It also handily outspeeds and OHKOs Dodrio. Its high SpA, Speed, and coverage make it one of the biggest Special attacking threats in the tier. It can even use Pursuit to trap Haunter or damage a switching Slowbro, at the expense of having to drop Cross Chop.
One problem it faces is finding opportunities to switch in against Restalk Slowbro/Slowking, from which it takes fairly substantial damage. Another problem is that it cannot do any meaningful damage to Ampharos. It can steal its Leftovers with Thief however, which better enables potentially wearing it down with Spikes and switches to Nidoqueen. It also sometimes runs into coverage issues between trying to cover all of Chansey, Jumpluff, Quagsire, Gligar, Magneton, etc.
Overall it is not as dominant as the Pokemon in the A+ tier, but still deserves high A rank for its ability to break through the majority of the S/A+ rank Pokemon.
Rank 8. Ampharos
I originally ranked Ampharos as a top 3 Pokemon in my previous thread about GSC UU, but I have now realised that using Ampharos provides Nidoqueen with far too many openings. Ampharos doubles as a specially defensive wall and also hits very hard with Thunder. Its Defense is also not too bad, which would in theory make it a very useful Pokemon if it weren't for Nidoqueen being the best Pokemon in the tier. Nidoqueen completely dominates Ampharos. The most Ampharos can possibly hope to do is set up a screen for its teammates when Nidoqueen inevitably makes its entrance immediately following Ampharos's appearance on the field. This comes at the cost of using Hidden Power at all, or the ability to use Restalk, but it's a lot better than nothing - Scyther behind Light Screen is incredibly dangerous.
While using Ampharos can sometimes result in a loss of momentum due to the opportunity served up to Nidoqueen on a silver platter, it is still valuable for its ability to totally wall Electabuzz, and it also provides a solid answer to the majority of special attackers in the tier, although it doesn't really enjoy repeatedly taking powerful Water attacks. It also does serious damage to Granbull with Thunder.
Despite its flaws, I suggest leaving Ampharos in A rank because of its positive qualities and defensive synergy with Nidoqueen and Slowbro/Slowking.
Dodrio is quite fast and very powerful, but is a bit of a glass cannon, taking a lot of damage from most top tier Pokemon. Both Slowbro and Nidoqueen are capable of attempting a switch in, but if Dodrio lands a critical hit, they will be done for. Dodrio's coverage is very limited. There are few reasons to use Drill Peck (but on sets such as Thief, there aren't many better options), so Dodrio will mostly be spamming Normal attacks, with Hidden Power Ground for Haunter, Magneton, Kabutops, and Omastar. Double-Edge is the most powerful spammable attack and may be necessary for it to break through Slowbro and Nidoqueen, but the recoil can potentially turn 3HKOs into 2HKOs. Return also works fine, and is the preferred option alongside Endure Flail sets.
Due to its poor defenses and the fact that it is outsped by Scyther and Electabuzz, I think Dodrio deserves to be on the lower end of the A rank. It is a very powerful wall-breaker, but circumstances rarely grant it more than the ability to trade itself for something else.
Rank 10. Mr. Mime
Mr. Mime is one of the best leads in the metagame, outspeeding a lot of Pokemon and potentially getting a team off to a great start by landing Hypnosis on a Pokemon that doesn't want to take it and potentially stealing something else's Leftovers too. It has a lot of useful options such as Encore, Thunder Wave, and Barrier + Baton Pass, and hits reasonably hard with its STAB Psychic and Thunder against key Pokemon such as Nidoqueen, Slowbro, and Qwilfish. It can also add Fire Punch to cover Magneton. It also makes a solid choice for using Berserk Gene Baton Pass to Miracle Berry sweeper should that be your style of strategy, even having the option of Thiefing another item after the boost has been passed and utilised.
Lavos's Mr. Mime shutting down a sweep attempt in Week 4 of the UUPL, before later sweeping itself.
Although it was previously NU, Mr. Mime clearly did not belong there as it is a very effective UU Pokemon, effective enough to deserve the last slot in the A rank in my opinion.
Qwilfish plays a very major role in the UU metagame, easily being the best Spiker (ahead of Pineco and Delibird). Spikes are extremely useful in UU, and you will be disadvantaging yourself against certain team archetypes if you do not use them. However, against some teams, having a stronger Pokemon over Qwilfish will justify the lack of Spikes. Qwilfish typically can't do a lot of damage to enemy teams through its damaging moves, as it tends to want to get Spikes out and often will take a lot of damage in doing so, unless the opponent brings very passive Pokemon. In addition, Restalk Slowbro does not mind taking a Sludge Bomb or two. However, it speed ties with Pinsir and outspeeds Kabutops and can Haze away their Swords Dances, which means it can often fulfil the role of putting up Spikes and halting a sweep attempt simultaneously. Curse Qwilfish is also an option over Haze, as without Curse, Qwilfish will struggle to keep Spikes up against Restalk Rapid Spin Blastoise. Teams without Restalk Slowbro or Blastoise will likely need to take a decently powerful attack from Qwilfish before disposing of it. Importantly, Qwilfish outspeeds and can 2HKO Nidoqueen with Hydro Pump, which often leads to mindgames when the two face each other.
Generally, any Pokemon made ineffective by Qwilfish loses a lot of viability in the metagame, since people stick Qwilfish on their team without it necessarily synergising well, and look for any opportunity to send it in. This is a major contributing factor to the low viability of Pokemon such as Shuckle, Victreebel, Chansey, Politoed, Pinsir, etc.
However, as the Pokemon itself does not typically KO anything and is assigned low value other than for getting Spikes up (if Spikes are up it will be the first Pokemon sacrificed), I suggest moving it down to the top of A- rank.
Rank 12. Haunter
Haunter is the only viable Ghost type in the tier, and is particularly valuable for its ability to wall and threaten Granbull and other mono-Normal attackers. It has a high SpAtk stat and Psychic + Thunder coverage enables it to do enough damage to the top tier Pokemon that it can sometimes open up a game. It has further tools at its disposal as well, including Hypnosis, Explosion, Thief, Destiny Bond, and even Mean Look / Perish Song.
Unfortunately, aside from Mono-Normal attackers, it does not typically have many switch in opportunities, aside from perhaps Qwilfish. It is also walled (apart from Explosion) by Ampharos and Hypno, and does not match up favourably with other mono-Psychic types (unless it has Shadow Ball). So while it is capable of doing a lot of damage to teams, it can be hard to find the opportunity needed to do so.
I suggest keeping Haunter near the top of the A- rank.
Kabutops is a Pokemon with useful typing and speed and a decent movepool. It outspeeds Nidoqueen and 2HKOs with Hydro Pump or +2 Hidden Power Ground and OHKOs Scyther with STAB unboosted Ancient Power. Its Normal resistance gives it some useful switch in opportunities against Granbull and Dodrio, which some teams are often otherwise sorely lacking. If Kabutops comes out with the right timing, with a bit of luck it can pull off a sweep.
Bomber.'s Kabutops preparing to finish off Kaori in Week 4 of the UUPL.
However, it is fairly flimsy, needs Slowbro to be weakened before it can realistically attempt a sweep, and is outsped by numerous special attackers with Electric attacks. On top of that, Qwilfish loves to switch into Kabutops, Haze its Swords Dance, put up Spikes, and give it a parting Hydro Pump before going down.
Kabutops deserves to rise to the middle of A- from its current B rank in my opinion. Even if it can't always sweep, it tends to be able to put a solid dent in the enemy defenses that allows other sweepers to sweep in its stead.
Rank 14. Magneton
Magneton has unique typing in the metagame and a stellar Special Attack stat. Like several other A- Pokemon, it is mainly valuable for its Normal resistance, although in Magneton's case it doesn't really help against Dodrio due to the ubiquity of Hidden Power Ground. In a metagame with fewer HP Ground Scythers and Dodrios, it might even be close to A rank material, but being Nidoqueen fodder can only get you so far realistically. It is also handy to have against Mr. Mime and Kadabra, who often forgo Fire Punch. However, Electabuzz is more likely to cover it than not.
Being almost a hard counter to mono-Normal Granbull makes Magneton worthy of the middle of A-, despite its flaws.
Jumpluff is excellent in GSC UU, having plentiful switch in opportunities and being a very effective set-up preventer, status spreader, and switch-forcer. In particular, the fact that it outspeeds Scyther and can lock it into Swords Dance or hit it with Stun Spore is incredible for its usefulness levels. Along with Hypno, it is one of the premier supporting Pokemon in the metagame.
It does sometimes require prediction to use effectively, and loses pretty much all of its effectiveness if it ever takes Paralysis itself. However, Ice moves are getting rarer and rarer, with Electabuzz these days sometimes forgoing Ice Punch, and most Nidoqueen dropping Ice Beam for Fire Blast, which still hurts but can allow Jumpluff to trade the hit for status or regain its health with Leech Seed. It does allow Qwilfish in if it drops Sleep Powder for the arguably superior Reflect, with which it can switch into basically any of the physical set-up Pokemon bar Victreebel and prove to be an effective answer. It is also a pain in the ass for Baton Pass teams.
Earthworm's Jumpluff holding off Century Express's Scyther just long enough in the Semifinals of the GSC UU Tournament.
It certainly does not belong in C rank like the current listing says, and I believe it deserves the A- rank having both used it and seen it used extensively.
Rank 16. Gyarados
Gyarados is quite a solid Pokemon, having solid bulk across the board as well as decently high speed and Attack stats. It can either be a bulky attacker with highly threatening coverage (HPump/Thunder/D-E/HP Ground) or it can be a Roaring tank. It tanks Slowbro's attacks fairly effectively and 3HKOs with Thunder, 2HKOs Nidoqueen with its faster HPump and is not OHKOed by Thunder in return, and hits basically everything hard other than Grass-types with its coverage. HP Flying is another solid option on it, outright 2HKOing Scyther while +2 Wing Attack does not 2HKO in return, and threatening the grass types such as Jumpluff and Bellossom more effectively.
Unfortunately, it is outsped by Qwilfish and takes a hefty chunk from Sludge Bomb. It also hates risking Poison and other status. It also struggles to 3HKO Granbull, having only a 35% chance at KOing from full health before even factoring in accuracy. Apart from these flaws, Gyarados is often a useful addition to a team that needs a bulky wallbreaker.
I think Gyarados deserves to maintain its position in A-.
Bellossom's lack of Poison typing is a great boon for it, not only allowing it to take on Slowbro/king, but also letting it come in on Earthquakes from Nidoqueen. It is very useful in its ability to wall a lot of special attackers, and threatens Paralysis against anything that would try to take advantage of it. It has numerous viable set options available to it, including a Leech Seed set, a Sleeper set, or a SD Return set that lets it spread Stun Spore against a wider variety of Pokemon.
The main drawback that it has when compared to Victreebel or Vileplume is the weakness to Poison attacks, although apart from Qwilfish's Sludge Bomb, they aren't too common.
Bellossom competes with Jumpluff for its slot as status-spreading defensive Grass-type, and comes up slightly short, but still deserves the top of B+.
Rank 18. Sandslash
Sandslash is one of the tier's most powerful sweepers, with a high Attack stat and access to Swords Dance. It is another beneficiary of Nidoqueen's switch to Fire Blast, as it takes little from Earthquake. It will also benefit greatly if Ampharos remains common and stops using Hidden Power Ice in favour of Light Screen. Its +2 EQ 2HKOs Slowbro in exchange for most of its HP from Surf, which is crucial in enabling teammates to sweep. +2 Scyther also fails to 2HKO it, and it takes around 80% of Scyther's HP with Rock Slide.
Qwilfish outspeeds it and threatens to do a lot of damage with Hydro Pump, and Slowbro does up to 97% with Surf. In addition, it often struggles to find switch in opportunities due to its low base HP. Lastly, Bellossom will potentially wall it if it chooses to use Body Slam or Substitute over a Super Effective Hidden Power.
Overall, Sandslash should remain a high B+ Pokemon in my opinion.
Piloswine has a high attack stat and a solid STAB Earthquake with unique typing that gives it immunity to Electric without being weak to Ice. It was quite good when Nidoqueen didn't use Fire Blast much, but nowadays its niche is more limited. It is still useful as a Roarer, and can take a hit or two from some threatening Pokemon and either hit them back pretty hard or Roar them out, but it struggles to do lasting damage to Slowbro unless it can predict its entry and Roar it out with Spikes up first. Other popular Water-types also pose problems for it. A major issue it faces is that it cannot use a Restalk set without dropping something crucial to its effectiveness. It is therefore typically more effective to just use Toxic or Protect in the last slot. It can also use Body Slam.
I think Piloswine is a bit lacking and deserves to be dropped to B+. I suggest placing it in the middle of B+.
Rank 20. Politoed
Politoed is similar to Vaporeon in OU, utilising Growth to boost its Special Attack and then attempting to sweep with its STAB Surf. I thought this had great potential when I first started playing the tier, but it seems to be difficult to pull off in practice, largely due to Qwilfish being very common. Slowbro also does annoying chunks with Psychic and Nidoqueen hurts it considerably with Thunder. It can use more offensive sets with Hypnosis and Hidden Power Electric, which can sometimes blow holes in the opponent's team for other Pokemon to take advantage of. It can also attempt to run a similar set to AA Vap in OU by using Amnesia, but this leaves it a sitting duck against the tier's many physical sweepers when it is forced to Rest, so requires very particular circumstances to pull off. It can also use LK Belly Drum without having the Psychic weakness Poliwrath has.
Politoed's strong potential coupled with its practical flaws leads me to think it deserves to stay in B+.
Pinsir has one of the highest attack stats in the tier, and is certainly a threat to be fearful of. It is lacking in strong STAB attacks but can hit just about anything hard with Double-Edge (or another Normal attack)/HP Bug (or Ground)/Submission coverage. It speed ties Qwilfish, which is not ideal but is better than being outsped, which would severely hurt its viability. Unfortunately, many Nidoqueen are using Fire Blast, which Pinsir struggles a lot against. A common theme when using Pinsir is to pair it with Gligar, which tends to wall Ice Beamless Nidoqueen effectively, whereas Pinsir is one of the very few Pokemon that can use Ice Beam Nidoqueen as set-up bait. Another very major downside to Pinsir is that Scyther outspeeds it and does upward of 42% with Wing Attack. Pinsir has often already taken damage coming in (for example against Nidoqueen) so this often leads to it getting outsped and 2HKOed. Its +2 Body Slam is also not a reliable 2HKO on Scyther.
Given its flaws and potential, I suggest Pinsir remain at the bottom of B+.
Rank 22. Blastoise
Blastoise is often proclaimed by Jorgen
to be a very good UU Pokemon, but in reality it has a very limited subset of roles that it is effective at in my experience. It is indeed useful for its ability to outspeed and hammer Nidoqueen with a STAB SE Surf, but it lacks staying power unless it uses Restalk like the other bulky waters, and it lacks power compared to Slowbro. Should it choose to use Roar, it will most likely end up taking a powerful hit from Scyther or Girafarig as it uses it, and will not last much longer beyond that. It can use a somewhat decent Restalk Rapid Spin set which is useful on some defensive builds, but beyond that struggles to find a niche. The Restalk Rapid Spin set can be quite effective against the more common Haze Qwilfish, easily PP stalling Sludge Bomb and keeping Spikes off the field, but is not nearly as useful if facing the Curse variant.
I would suggest lowering Blastoise to the bottom of B+. While it has potential, it has a limited niche and is overshadowed by Slowbro/Slowking despite its useful speed tier.
Kadabra is quite a powerful Special Attacker, having the equal highest SpA stat in the tier. Its Psychics dish out a lot of damage to unprepared teams, and its high speed allows it to effectively utilise Encore against various set up threats. It speed ties Scyther, meaning it has a decent chance of switching into Swords Dance and nullifying the threat in a desperate situation. It can also create pressure against enemy Psychic types which it can force to lock into Psychic and then Recover off the damage. However, its best Electric attack is Thunderpunch which does not hit Slowbro/Slowking as hard as Mr. Mime's Thunder, and its physical Defense is among the worst in the tier, taking ridiculous amounts from attacks such as Granbull's Return should it mispredict. This also limits its effectiveness against Nidoqueen severely. Hypno, Ampharos, and sometimes Magneton are also fairly effective at walling it.
Due to its fairly large flaws, I recommend dropping Kadabra to the top of B rank.
Rank 24. Chansey
Chansey is another Pokemon with decent potential and utility in the tier, but the ubiquity of Qwilfish severely hurts its potential. If it wants to use Heal Bell, which is what it is often used for, it is essentially limited to using a set as ineffectual as Light Screen Toxic Softboiled or Curse Double-Edge Softboiled. It otherwise can use a variety of useful attacks such as Counter, Thunder Wave, and Seismic Toss, however it will not be able to cure status and is fairly predictable and can potentially be PP stalled. It is often an addition to teams attempting to use the most defensive and passive Pokemon in the tier, which tends to eventually get set up on and swept by Scyther or broken by Nidoqueen and Spikes. In some situations, teams have no answer to Curse Chansey and it becomes a realistic win condition, but there are plentiful answers to it on most teams such as Curse Granbull, various SDers, Qwilfish, etc.
Due to its numerous flaws I agree with the current B ranking.
Lanturn is quite viable in the tier, mostly by virtue of its usefulness against Slowbro while simultaneously threatening Nidoqueen. It takes surprisingly little from Nidoqueen's Earthquake and 2HKOs with Surf if Spikes are up (71% chance without), meaning that Nidoqueen is taking a risk by switching in. A Surf/Thunder/Restalk set is quite effective coverage, although its damage output against Hypno is limited, and it cannot do damage to Grass-types beyond paralysing them. Nidoqueen is also a lot less fearful of switching in while it is asleep, so it should be manoeuvred somewhat carefully to avoid it taking too much from Slowbro's Psychic + Spikes on the switch ideally. Lanturn does need to be paired with additional support for Normal-types, as its Defense stat is quite low, so many teams will simply opt to use Slowbro instead, even if it means having to PP stall the enemy Slowbro at times.
Lanturn deserves to maintain its solid B ranking due to its niche against the top Pokemon.
Rank 26. Gligar
Gligar has a decent niche in the tier with a few valuable traits and assets at its disposal. The most obvious useful trait is its immunity to the Ground+Electric combo Nidoqueen always has, although it is one-shot by Ice Beam. Luckily, most Nidoqueen are currently forgoing Ice Beam for better coverage against Pinsir, Bellossom, and Piloswine. It makes a great Counter user, being able to withstand a +6 Quagsire HP Rock and OHKO back, as well as +6 Scyther Wing Attack. It does need to be wary of Scyther passing its boosts to Dodrio or Granbull though, as they can OHKO it with boosted STAB Normal attacks. It can also use Thief to assist in taking down the obvious Slowbro switch in, since it doesn't do much with its Earthquake.
Sage's Gligar safely disposing of a very threatening looking Pinsir after blanking a Fire Blast Nidoqueen in the UUPL Finals.
Overall Gligar is a solid B rank Pokemon due to its niche in countering some top threats, even though it usually does not create much pressure itself.
Quagsire has unique and useful typing, including decent HP and Defense, and middling Attack. It is the usual Baton Pass recipient of choice due to its access to Belly Drum and a powerful STAB attack, meaning it can utilise the 999 Attack stat better than other potential receivers such as Poliwrath. It can also utilise a Curse set, which can work quite well if Slowbro, Granbull, and any Grass-types are out of the picture. However, it cannot effectively use Restalk and has no instant recovery, which are quite necessary to be effective as a slow Pokemon in the metagame. This severely limits its niches to being a BP recipient and attempting a sweep with screens or paralysis spreading. In addition, even if it has +2 Speed and +6 attack, its sweep can be cut short by Slowbro which usually survives from full health, Crobat which can outspeed and Haze all of its boosts, Electrode which can outspeed and Explode on it, and Gligar which can live any of its physical attacks and OHKO it with Counter.
Due to its effectiveness as a BP recipient, Quagsire deserves B rank.
Rank 28. Omastar
Omastar has a solid niche as a normal resistance with a high SpA stat. It is one of the few Granbull answers that not only safely beats the Cursetalk set, but also safely handles the HP Ground variant. It has a few different options for sets, ranging from Haze, to HP Electric Restalk, to Ice Beam or a Rock-type attack for Scyther and Grass types, and can even use Sandstorm. All of its variants are safely handled by Slowking, however, and if it wants to use Restalk it must sacrifice one of its coverage moves, which may lead to it being walled by Slowbro or failing to 2HKO Scyther.
HSA's Omastar taking on even a SD Recipient Granbull's attacks with a degree of comfort in the GSC UU Tournament Finals.
Overall Omastar is a very solid option and deserves B rank (it is currently not even listed). There are numerous replays in which players use it effectively from the GSC UU tournament, including the winner HSA
Girafarig is similar to Mr. Mime in terms of base stats, trading some Speed and SpAtk for slightly better physical Defense. However, its movepool is quite bare in comparison. The niche it excels in is Baton Passing Agility and Amnesia, which it is the clear best at in the tier. Its decent Speed and SpAtk allows it to threaten some of the top tier Pokemon with Psychic and Thunder, and it also a threat to most Hazers and Roarers, meaning it is quite difficult to handle for many teams. There are a few very solid BP recipients in Quagsire and Poliwrath/Politoed which can potentially sweep if provided an Agility boost. However, it is a fairly high risk strategy and if it backfires, it can result in an outright loss. Exploders and Pokemon with Encore pose a particularly major threat to these strategies, although they can be mitigated somewhat by using Lovely Kiss Poliwrath/Politoed.
Girafarig, being the premier Baton Passer in the tier, deserves the last spot in B rank.
Rank 30. Crobat
Crobat's main niche is hard countering Scyther. It does not pose much of a threat to anything, and the most effective set I've used on it has been Confuse Ray HP Flying Haze Screech. It also outspeeds Agility boosted Quagsire and walls Victreebel, which is helpful. I could also see it using Mean Look or Thief. It is pretty useless against most other Pokemon.
Due to the extremely high threat level of Scyther, I believe Crobat deserves to be at the top of the B- rank.
Victreebel is unfortunately outsped and 2HKOed by Fire Blast Nidoqueen, outsped and gets Hazed by Qwilfish, 2HKOed by Slowbro/Slowking, is outsped and takes a lot of damage by the many Psychic types in the tier, is outsped and 2HKOed by Scyther, hates getting paralysed by the Grass-types it would otherwise use as set up bait, and has moveslot issues where it wants to use all of SD Sludge Bomb Sleep Powder Giga Drain HP Ground and Synthesis. Otherwise, it could make a potentially threatening sweeper with its SD + Sleep Powder combination.
With sufficient support, good timing, and a favourable team matchup, Victreebel can potentially be effective and take out something with Sleep Powder and its SD boosted attacks, but its numerous flaws unfortunately leave me no choice but to recommend a B- ranking.
Rank 32. Arcanine
At 555 BST, Arcanine has the highest base stats in the tier. However, as usual Fire typing is not particularly good in the tier. Nevertheless, with high stats all around, a decently powerful STAB Fire Blast, and Crunch for Slowbro (which hits for 34-40%), Arcanine has a small niche in the tier. Its main niche is to use a Restalk set and take on medium strength Special attackers that aren't Water-types, such as Mr. Mime and Electabuzz. It also counters Pinsir and non-HP Ground Scyther, and its Fire Blasts are strong enough that Nidoqueen does not take them comfortably considering Arcanine outspeeds it. It is also capable of using a Roar set. Obviously it also takes on Grass-types easily.
Arcanine deserves a spot in the B- rank in my opinion.
Magmar is similar to Arcanine but less tanky and slightly slower. To compensate, it gets Thief, Cross Chop, and Counter, which make it slightly better positioned for wall-breaking than Arcanine, but otherwise it is inferior. It relies on ThunderPunch to hit Slowbro and Slowking, which is not as strong an option as Pokemon like Mr. Mime or Haunter get.
While arguably worse than Arcanine, it still deserves B- due to its decent damage output.
Rank 34. Shuckle
One of the very few Pokemon that can switch into anything Nidoqueen can muster is Shuckle. It has amazing defenses and typing, but struggles to do any damage and has an inconvenient weakness to Water, one of the most dominant types in the tier. If it manages to PP stall threats, it can eventually stall out opponents long enough to either allow teammates to take advantage, or set up a Rollout sweep, but this is difficult to achieve in practice where there are powerful set up sweepers like Scyther, Kabutops, and Sandslash patiently waiting for an opportunity.
It certainly has a niche but is hard to fit on teams without giving up momentum. For this reason I believe it should be a low B-.
Electrode is very one-dimensional. It makes a cursory attempt at spreading paralysis with Thunder Wave, sets up a screen or two, then explodes. If the explosion is not caught by a Normal-resist, it has usually effectively done its job, which due to its low Attack stat, can be as little as simply lowering Nidoqueen's HP by 70% to allow high pressure sweepers or Baton Pass users the opportunity they need to set up sweeps. It is a high-risk high-reward Pokemon but is effective at what it does. Unfortunately it is fairly predictable.
I think Electrode should remain at the bottom of B- rank.
Rank 36. Vileplume
Vileplume is very similar to Victreebel but with better defenses, however it doesn't do many things particularly well, being mostly outdone by Bellossom. It makes a decent paralysis spreader. It has numerous flaws but is 2HKOed by far fewer Pokemon than Victreebel.
I haven't really found a good niche for Vileplume that isn't better done by something else, so perhaps it should be a bit lower, but for now I am suggesting the bottom of B- by virtue of having decent options available to it.
Wigglytuff is largely outclassed by Granbull, which packs a much, much more powerful unboosted punch. It does have a marginally better ability to take special attacks though, which gives it a small niche. It can also be used alongside Granbull such that Granbull can be used to remove the opponent's Normal answers before it is revealed. It might work with either Cursetalk or Curse Thunder.
Wigglytuff requires specific circumstances and justification to be viable in UU, so deserves to be in C+ in my opinion.
Rank 38. Lickitung
Lickitung is a slightly worse Curser than Wigglytuff, and a much worse Curser than Granbull. However, it has access to SD, Body Slam, and Belly Drum. Belly Drum Lickitung is difficult to pull off effectively, but SD can potentially work pretty well. It is still weaker than +1 Curse Granbull, but Body Slam's paralysis infliction can arguably give it a small niche.
Lickitung is probably decent enough to deserve a C+ ranking.
Pikachu is very powerful but extremely flimsy and requires very specific circumstances to be effective. It is very hard to send in safely against competent players, especially since most Rest users have Sleep Talk. It has issues getting past enemy Electric types and is highly prediction reliant, especially if facing Grass-types. However, it is capable of sweeping under the right circumstances.
Pikachu deserves a C+ ranking in my opinion.
Rank 40. Poliwrath
Poliwrath is a worse Politoed. Fighting typing gives it annoying weaknesses to Psychic and Flying and contributes virtually nothing. It has access to STAB Submission or HP Fighting, but not only is Fighting STAB is incredibly bad in this tier, Submission's recoil is also very unwelcome on a Belly Drum set, and HP Fighting is barely stronger than EQ or Return. The only thing it has going for it is slightly stronger unboosted attacks and slightly higher Defense than Politoed.
I have (probably generously) chosen to recommend C+ for this.
Feraligatr has fairly high stats, but its movepool and typing fails to distinguish it from other superior Water-types. It does have Crunch and Surf, meaning it poses a threat to the combination of Slowbro and Nidoqueen, plus it has access to Earthquake, Rock Slide, Ice Beam, and Roar for various other top Pokemon. It obviously cannot use any recovery moves if it wishes to have sufficient coverage to be viable, so it operates similarly to Gyarados, however the lack of Thunder and Spikes immunity are very inconvenient, and it also struggles to deal enough damage to Psychic-types with high SpDef like Hypno and Mr. Mime. It does outspeed and 2HKO Nidoqueen, but is outsped by Qwilfish and will not last long should it fall victim to any form of status.
Feraligatr is not unusable and therefore deserves its spot at the bottom of C+.
Rank 42. Weezing
Weezing basically has one thing going for it in UU, which is its powerful Explosion. It really struggles to find switch-in opportunities against most of the tier, and once in it is basically forced to explode within a couple of turns. It only really has decent utility when facing Grass-types, where it might find itself with the ability to switch in a few times before having to pull the trigger. However, its Explosion will probably KO anything that doesn't resist it. It does at least have a fairly powerful Thunder up its sleeve to threaten Slowbro and Qwilfish.
I suggest making it the first Pokemon in the C rank.
Flareon has a single niche, which is Growth passing. It is absolute garbage at doing that without first receiving a speed boost from another Pokemon due to Qwilfish simply coming in and using Haze. If you can first weaken Qwilfish and then pass Flareon an Agility boost with Girafarig, it may then be able to pull off a Baton Pass to a powerful special attacker which could lead to a sweep. However, that is very hopeful in a metagame that is already somewhat fearful of Baton Pass.
Flareon should stay down in C rank.
Rank 44. Graveler
Graveler has a strong Explosion and fairly powerful STAB attacks. It also has access to Rapid Spin, but must drop Rock Slide to use it. Graveler's downfall is its absolutely awful SpDef stat, which is compounded by its very poor typing in terms of taking Special attacks. It fortunately does outspeed Slowbro though, so it can often pull off an impactful Explosion (84.2 - 98.9%). It also has access to Counter to potentially try to pull off a two-for-one, although it is again illegal with Rapid Spin.
Graveler has a decent enough niche that it deserves C rank, despite its glaring weakness to Special attacks and Earthquake.
Pineco is the second-best Spiker in GSC UU, having access to a decently strong Explosion as well as Rapid Spin. Virtually every viable Pokemon in the tier can 2HKO it and it is slower than even Slowbro, but it still poses a threat just by having Spikes and Explosion together, with Rapid Spin being a bonus for playing it particularly well. Qwilfish is much more valuable to a team all things considered though, being able to get Spikes off much more reliably and being a frustrating opponent for a considerable number of potential threats.
Pineco is viable enough to be included in C rank.
Rank 46. Raticate
Raticate is fairly quick and is not weak to Electric like Dodrio, plus it has access to Thunder for Slowbro. It makes a decent all-in Pokemon to pass SD to with Scyther with a Body Slam/Thunder/Hyper Beam/HP Ground or Super Fang set, mainly because it does not share the Electric weakness with Scyther.
Raticate is surprisingly decent (once it receives a Swords Dance) and probably deserves low C rank.
Raichu would probably be a decent C+ Pokemon but unfortunately Surf and Encore are incompatible. Without that combination, it does not pose nearly as much of a threat to Nidoqueen, and it already struggles to break (and is competing for a slot with) Pokemon like Ampharos, Electabuzz, Magneton, Bellossom, etc. It is also substantially worse at using a Restalk set than a more tanky Pokemon like Lanturn.
That said, Thunder and Surf is pretty good coverage in the tier in general, so it deserves a spot in C rank.
Rank 48. Poliwhirl
Poliwhirl has worse stats than Politoed and Poliwrath in all stats except Speed. However, Speed is a very important stat, so Poliwhirl actually does have a small niche in the tier with its LK Drum set.
Unfortunately, there are numerous threats it does not outspeed that can hit it fairly hard or otherwise incapacitate it, so it lands at the bottom of C rank.
Sudowoodo has pretty good physical defensive stats but fairly low SpDef. It is a decent answer to Normal-types in general, and can potentially Selfdestruct on something useful when the Normal-type is no longer deemed a threat, or that Pokemon is blocking a potential sweep from something else. However, it matches up awfully against many of the top Pokemon in the tier, with even Scyther being able to simply BP its Swords Dance boost to a Ground-type.
Sudowoodo is not that bad but is not better than the bottom of C rank.
Rank 50. Dunsparce
Dunsparce is almost strictly inferior to the other mono-Normal types in the tier. The only useful unique thing it has going for it seems to be Glare, which is a pretty strong move but does not fit on a Cursetalk set. It doesn't even get Body Slam. However, it is still fairly bulky and can attempt to spread paralysis.
While there's no very good reasons to choose it over another Normal-type, it is probably stronger than the rest of C- so it would be misleading to list it lower than this in my opinion.
Xatu's stats are fairly poor, and Flying-typing does not really help it much, meaning other Psychic-types are far superior. Its movepool is also quite lacking. It can be somewhat annoying with Thief and Psychic though, and it is fairly fast. It might actually be best off using Confuse Ray or Swagger and Night Shade.
Xatu is deserving at least of a slot in C- rank.
Rank 52. Persian
Persian is really fast and has Normal STAB, but has a fairly low Attack stat. It is probably decently effective at using Swagger + Psych Up. It also has Hypnosis. However, it is fairly flimsy and will need a lot of luck to get past the usual Normal counters.
Persian has enough of a niche to deserve the last spot in C-.
Primeape is fairly fast (not faster than Scyther or Dodrio) and can use Meditate and Reversal, but with Nidoqueen and Slowbro everywhere, it is probably not going to be very effective doing that. It is easily OHKOed by +2 Scyther Wing Attack. It can try to make something happen against Slowbro with Thunder, and it can potentially bait Nidoqueen into taking a Countered Earthquake, although it might not even be able to KO Nidoqueen after that. Any advantage that Primeape can muster is probably only going to come from its set not being that predictable.
Under very limited circumstances, Primeape may be able to land a crucial paralysis or something, so I suggest D+ rank.
Rank 54. Sneasel
Sneasel is very fast (quicker than Scyther), can steal items with Thief, actually counters some Psychic-types fairly well (although it will probably end up paralysed), and can try to cheese something with Counter or Screech or Swagger. Ice is not the worst attacking type, but it has an incredibly low base SpA. It really struggles to do anything against Water-types other than steal their Leftovers, which is a major flaw.
Sneasel's flaws leave it stuck in D+.
Stantler has a pretty high attack stat and a decent speed stat. It also has Hypnosis and Earthquake. However, its defenses are very bad and it doesn't get Body Slam, Hyper Beam, or anything at all to hurt Slowbro with, unlike other physical attackers that get Thunder. Its Earthquake is also not strong enough to 2HKO Nidoqueen. It might make a decent SD recipient from Scyther.
Stantler does not deserve higher than D+.
Rank 56. Ariados
Ariados is the only Pokemon that can trap pass in a tier that uses Haze moreso than Roar/Whirlwind to deal with Baton Pass. However, it's fairly likely that whatever is trapped will not allow the setting up of a sweeper than can sweep an entire team, and Ariados tends to take a lot of damage from most Pokemon so will probably require a screens slot as well.
Overall, while it is a viable strategy, the risk level is probably too high to justify classifying Ariados higher than D+.
This Pokemon is completely outclassed by Dodrio but if evaluated on its own merits of high Attack and Speed it is probably deserving of D+.
Rank 58. Octillery
This Pokemon is almost completely outclassed by Slowbro/Slowking, Politoed, etc. However, again it is probably deserving of D+ if evaluated on being a fairly powerful Water-type alone.
Rank 59. Rapidash
Rapidash speed ties Scyther and has Hypnosis, but is hard countered by just about any Water-type among other things.
Rank 60. Ninetales
Similar to Rapidash but with better SpDef and HP, Roar, and is slower than Scyther.
Rank 61. Murkrow
This might be able to steal an item and Pursuit some Psychic type before dying.
Rank 62. Dugtrio
Dugtrio is very fast so if it can survive the hit coming in, it might make a decent recipient of Swords Dances if Slowbro is dead or not present on the opposing team.
Rank 63. Parasect
Parasect has very bad stats and typing but can spread status and stuff.
Rank 64. Seadra
Seadra has a decent SpA stat and Agility, so there may be times it can pull off a sweep. Probably not, though.
Mantine (can wall some Pokemon), Dewgong (can wall Pokemon and go for freezes), Hitmontop (has Rapid Spin and Counter and is somewhat tanky), Golduck (Water type with Hypnosis and Cross Chop), Hitmonlee (high Attack and decent movepool), Charmeleon (Belly Drum and outspeeds Nidoqueen)
Please post your thoughts. I consider everything from S to C- to be important to rank at least somewhat accurately, if we are going to be using this VR for the purposes of tiering GSC NU in the near future. I would not really be opposed to simply not listing D rank in the OP, or restricting it to the Pokemon in D+, since it is quite the stretch to consider anything ranked D and under viable.