Marshadow is now banned from OU

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Welcome to the newest episode of the OU Council bans your favorite new pokemon. The council as a whole has come to the unanimous decision to ban Marshadow from the OU tier.

When you look at Marshadow, the first thing that stands out is its fantastic Ghost/Fighting typing. Both are excellent offensive types and together provided unresisted neutral coverage. On top of this, Marshadow boasts a stellar base 125 speed tier, outspeeding OU behemoths such as Greninja. While 125 base attack is not the cream of the crop, it is more than serviceable when resistances to its STAB combo are nowhere to be found. Furthermore, the ability Technician boosts Marshadow’s Shadow Sneak, and even Hidden Power Ice to threaten typical physically defensive catch-alls found on bulky offensive teams, such as Landorus-T and defensive Tangrowth.

While Marshadow can run sets such as Choice Band and Choice Scarf, which are viable and threatening to offensive teams, bulkier teams do not have much of a problem handling them. That is where Marshadow’s other sets come in. Bulk Up + Marshadium Z is the best set so far, with the ability to blow back pokemon such as Toxapex at +1 with a Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike. Furthermore, a boosted defense stat allows you to set up more easily against physical attackers, even taking less than 60% from Banded Zygarde’s Thousand Arrows at +1. The other sets which we believe are potentially rather broken are Swagger sets. Swagger + Spectral Thief is essentially an improved Swagger + Psych Up where you hit them with a 90 base power attack after stealing their boosts. This can also be used to BS past typical defensive answers, especially should they hit themselves in confusion while Marshadow boosts up. There is an opportunity to switch out and prevent this combination, but as long as hazards are up it’s difficult to switch forever.

Overall, we believe that the combination of three factors makes Marshadow too much for OU.

1. It is difficult to revenge kill
2. It lacks defensive counterplay
3. Spectral Thief makes it even harder to deal with

Revenge killing Marshadow is no easy task. Of all the relevant Choice Scarfers, only Tapu Lele can consistently OHKO Marshadow. It has quite respectable bulk with 90/80/90 defensive stats and few weaknesses. Scarfers such as Keldeo, Garchomp, and Greninja simply lack the power to KO Marshadow, with Garchomp’s Outrage coming the closest:

252 Atk Garchomp Outrage vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Marshadow: 237-279 (73.8 - 86.9%)

And outside of Choice Scarfers, it is rather difficult to revenge kill Marshadow as well. Mega Alakazam can net the OHKO, but is held in check by Shadow Sneak. Other fast pokemon such as Tapu Koko and Mega Manectric fail to OHKO Marshadow, while being susceptible to its powerful priority if they’ve taken prior damage.

In terms of defensive counters, generally speaking there are very few. Unaware Clefable, Toxapex, Skarmory, Defensive Tangrowth, Mega Scizor, Mega Venusaur, and Alomomola are generally the best switch-ins to Marshadow. However, each and every one of these pokemon can lose to Marshadow without it needing team support. Bulk Up + Marshadium Z sets blow back nearly all of these pokemon with hazards up. Life Orb HP Ice covers Tangrowth, which could otherwise eat the hit. While Clefable doesn’t care about boosts, Spectral Thief into Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike has the ability to net a KO, so Protect is needed to survive and is not enough if Stealth Rock is up and the Z move is timed correctly.

252 Atk Marshadow Spectral Thief vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Clefable: 127-150 (32.2 - 38%)

252 Atk Marshadow Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Clefable: 271-321 (68.7 - 81.4%)

+1 252 Atk Marshadow Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike vs. 252 HP / 192+ Def Toxapex: 258-304 (84.8 - 100%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

+1 252 Atk Marshadow Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Skarmory: 262-310 (78.6 - 93%) -- 37.5% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

0- SpA Life Orb Technician Marshadow Hidden Power Ice vs. 248 HP / 48 SpD Tangrowth: 221-263 (54.8 - 65.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

+1 252 Atk Marshadow Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Scizor-Mega: 262-310 (76.3 - 90.3%) -- 18.8% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

(note: it is easy to set up a 2nd Bulk Up against Mega Scizor)

+1 252 Atk Marshadow Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike vs. 248 HP / 88+ Def Venusaur-Mega: 328-387 (90.3 - 106.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock

+1 252 Atk Marshadow Soul-Stealing 7-Star Strike vs. 40 HP / 252+ Def Alomomola: 385-454 (80 - 94.3%) -- 50% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

You may notice that most of these pokemon are most vulnerable to Marshadow’s signature Z move. So why has the OU council decided to not ban this signature Z Crystal instead of the pokemon? There are two reasons. First of all is that these pokemon, outside of Unaware Clefable, are still rather vulnerable to sets such as Substitute + Swagger. And while they don’t pose the same threat, Never Ending Nightmare sets are still powerful enough to force 50 50s against Toxapex and so forth. The second reason is that if we ban the Z Crystal now and then still find Marshadow to be broken as a whole later, we’ve wasted time where metagame development would be hindered by having it in the tier.

Furthermore, Marshadow’s signature move, Spectral Thief, steals opposing stat boosts before attacking. Even without the Z move, this is really powerful. Imagine stealing a Garchomp’s Swords Dance and using that boost to revenge kill the same Garchomp from near full HP. This alone is crazy to deal with, because it forces you to play a certain way. Maybe your late-game plan is to set up a Swords Dance with your Garchomp to net a KO against an opposing defensive Landorus-T to prep a sweep for a sweeper. But after the KO, Marshadow comes out and threatens to steal your boosts and reverse sweep. Maybe in an ordinary circumstance you would sacrifice Garchomp since it outlived its usefulness, but in this scenario you probably can’t afford to do so. This entire avenue to victory is sealed off because of Spectral Thief. It also totally invalidates certain setup sweepers, such as Coil + DD Zygarde, which just feed it boosts if they aren’t strong enough to KO Marshadow first.

Generally, a pokemon can still be balanced when it is difficult to revenge kill, or if it has limited defensive counterplay. But when it has both these qualities, it can become too much very quickly. Ultimately, we believe Marshadow is broken due to the three points listed above. It boasts excellent speed with strong priority making it extremely difficult to revenge kill, it is nearly unwallable thanks to unresisted STAB coverage and a powerful Z move, and it has the ability to steal boosts while attacking to become even more threatening.

Thus, we have decided to Ban Marshadow from the OverUsed Tier.

Tagging The Immortal to implement this change when he sees this.
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