Metagame Middle Cup [closed]

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I was gonna write a post on how STag isn't busted but it's kinda wrong. The more I thought about it the more I realized how stupid it is in a meta like Middle Cup. The reason STag is such an issue is because of the way MC's meta works. Currently and even last gen the tier is filled to the brim with offensive threats and not enough defensive mons to check them. SuMo helped ease the issue by giving Gloom an amazing recovery move but at the same time we have Z-moves introduced making certain threats even harder to deal with.

What does this have to do with STag?

To break down the issue STag can be used in two ways, offensively, and defensively. No matter which way you use it you get the same result, your team kinda just wins. If you are using it for a more offensive team suddenly that one crucial defensive Pokemon your opponent need to beat you is gone and there is almost no counter play. Simply put the team facing STag in this situation can't risk ever knocking out a mon with anything that can be trapped and killed on the field. Chances are every Pokemon on a MC team, especially defensive ones are important and if the get eliminated before they can do their job the game is pretty much set and done. Given the right set Gothorita can trap and eliminate pretty much every fat mon (CM rest talk), anything else is either weak to it's STAB or can be taken care of after some hazard damage and a coverage move given it's running something like Scarf or Z-move. The few Pokemon it can't trap (ghosts) aren't even the biggest threats. Once Goth traps the Pokemon it needs to, chances are that one of your mons just kinda runs through their team or really puts in the hurt.

On the flip side Goth is very useful for defensive teams. Fighting-types are ever prevalent and ever so annoying to deal with. Thankfully Gothorita just kinda beats all of them. Guess what, that Chansey that walls half your team? Good luck beating it now. Even non-fighting-types need to be scared because just the presence of Goth in the back can force many doubles, given the right hazard support eventually Goth can come in on anything and just beat it.

Sure you can run Shed Shell but there goes your lefties and all that damage your Pokemon once could dish out.

At the end of the day the ability to trap everything except Ghosts and other STag users is far greater than trapping just Steel-types. And once you put it like that it seems a whole lot more unfair and uncompetitive.
 

Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
https://discord.gg/hdv8xGY < ----- DISCORD LINK :D (Now linked in the OP :3)

Also will be doing a revamp of the VR very soon, just am busy with school this week

With a Combusken ban, is there any possibility for unbanning baton pass? Being that Combusken was cited as the reason for the baton pass ban, I don't see any reason to keep it banned.
Yeah I can definitely see Baton Pass being unbanned with Combusken gone as there doesn't seem to be very many good users of the move now that the main abuser, Busken, is dead.
 
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Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
With Middle Cup becoming Leader's Choice for February, let's celebrate first off with the long-awaited update to the Viability Rankings!

Update:
Combusken Removed
Gothorita from B-High to A-High
Gloom from B-Low to B-High
Hakamo-o from C-High to B-High

  • Gothorita moved up an entire subrank because of Shadow Tag being busted, basically. Gothorita has the ability to trap and remove almost every fatter Pokémon (think stuff like Chansey or Togetic) with it's Calm Mind + RestTalk set unless they run the suboptimal Shed Shell, paving the way for very dangerous sweepers like Z-Conversion Porygon2 with these checks gone. I would also credit more offensive sets like Choice Scarf as they can trap more offensive Pokémon for fatter teams themselves. While Goth's main niche is Shadow Tag, it is such a strong niche that it warrants being in one of the top ranks.
  • Gloom went up because of increased usage due to the inclusion of Strength Sap in it's moveset, allowing it to become a better check to various physical attackers, while also having respectable damage output for a defensive Pokémon. It forms great defensive cores with Pokémon like Chansey, and I can see it moving up higher if Shadow Tag gets banned, as that is one of Gloom's only flaws, although that is shared with a lot of defensive Pokémon in Middle Cup, to be fair.
  • Hakamo-o was severely underrated in it's initial ranking, as it has proven itself to be a very capable sweeper with Dragon Dance, carving a niche out for itself with Close Combat (much more spammable than Outrage), better bulk than Dragonair or Fraxure, and a great ability in Bulletproof, giving it setup opportunities against mons like Roselia, Gloom lacking Moonblast, Lampent, Haunter lacking Dazzling Gleam, etc. Hakamo-o does suffer a tad from 4MSS, as it needs Earthquake to touch Doublade, leaving it's last moveslot to either Outrage to hit stuff like Gloom harder, or coverage for Fairy-types, which it also really wants, and it's damage output can be lacking at times, so I decided to only move it up to B-High for now.
This was a bit of a short update, but I felt as if those were the only changes that needed to happen, and I want to generate some more discussion with these discussion points for the next update anyways. As always, you can make your own nominations instead of the DP's if you feel as if it needs to happen.

Discussion Points:
Servine from A-High to S
Trumbeak from A-Low to A-High
Gabite from A-Low to A-High
Lampent from B-High to A-Low

Let's all have a great Leader's Choice month, everybody, and if you haven't already, check out the Middle Cup Discord listed in the OP! :D
 
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I think this mon deserves S rank. It's so good at defogging and it only really needs one attacking move to be threatening. The lack of TSpikes in the tier makes it's job so much easier than it would be. It has decent enough bulk and a very nice speed tier. It has a great match-up versus almost all rockers in the tier. Once it hits +2 there isn't much that can stomach it.

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Very good mon. I really like Darkium/Firium Z. CB Is another option but Doublade is pretty difficult to eliminate then, albeit you can chip it down pretty easily and eventually break through. Being immune to Doublade's priority is great too. Bullet Seed is a great gift since it allows it to 1v1 most rockers in the tier. One of the best U-turn abusers in the tier and in Combination with Electabuzz it forms an amazing core that can break down most defensive backbones.

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I haven't used Gabite much, but personally I don't think it's a great rocker. It can't really beat most common leads in the tier and being 4x weak to Ice greatly contributes to this. The scarf set is pretty good I think this is it's best set it's able to beat a lot of the tier and can be difficult to wall due to Stone Edge. Kinda on the fence for this one I think it should stay A-Low but I can see an argument for A-High being made.

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I'd rather use Haunter. Being weak to rocks and being grounded unlike Haunter SUCKS. It's also weaker than Haunter and slower. It kinda matches Haunter's damage output with Fire Blast but 80% accuracy hurts. It's one niche is that it can pretty much hard wall Monferno and with a Flash Fire boost it really starts pumping out insane damage. CM is neat and it can put in work. A +1 Lampent behind sub is very scary, nothing really appreciates eating that and anything that can doesn't have much to fire back with. Sub Wisp Hex is another option and it's pretty scary once the opponent doesn't have their Chansey/P2.

EDIT: I think Metang should rise to A-low, the AV set is actually really good and it's able to 1v1 a lot of the premier special attackers in the tier. It's also fairly difficult to switch into if it is out on the field. I think Mash/Zen/BP/Eq is its best set. BP is really useful for taking down Zam, Haunter, and other frail attackers. With hazards on the field Metang becomes even more of a menace since even with full investment it only hits 139 Atk, chip from rocks and spikes help patch this issue.

These are just some brief thoughts. I'm gonna try out Gabite and Lampent and see if my opinion changes on them.
 
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Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
I have some announcements to make regarding Shadow Tag and Baton Pass. As of now, Shadow Tag is banned from Middle Cup and Baton Pass is unbanned. Shadow Tag has been unhealthy for a while now, as with Shadow Tag, Gothorita could trap a variety of either bulky or offensive Pokémon to benefit both offensive and defensive teammates alike. This made the Shadow Tag user get an unfair advantage as they could just trap whatever they needed and with the offensive fast-paced nature of Middle Cup, sweep very easily. Gothorita will not be banned as it has other abilities it can use without being unhealthy, and it was the only Shadow Tag user available anyways.

The main user of Baton Pass when it got banned was Combusken, who could pass Speed Boosts to slower teammates to make them even faster and deadly, which was considered unhealthy at the time. However, Combusken is now banned, and unless more unhealthy strategies with Baton Pass pop up, it is safe to say that it isn't broken right now.

Tagging The Immortal to add Baton Pass back on the ladder
 

Graveler-Alola: C-Low to C-High
The fact this is on the same level as its Kantonian cousin is a travesty. While Kanto Graveler is basically just a worse Rhydon, Graveler actually has a niche of its own. Choice Band wipes the floor with a lot of standard teams and threats looming in the metagame, such as Doublade, Chansey, Golbat, Seadra, Trumbeak, etc. It also decimates bulkier teams, with most of the B ranks just dropping to Galvanize Return. Its coverage and movepool are really good, with the aforementioned Return, Stone Edge, Fire Punch, Brick Break, Earthquake and even possibly Explosion all dealing huge damage coming off of the 4th highest Attack stat in the format. That said, its speed really hinders it, and it falls to a lot of common Ground and Grass types. In spite of this, ranking it along with Graveler is really, REALLY underselling it. In fact, if this nom is rejected, here's a secondary nomination: Graveler: C-Low to somewhere in the D ranks.


Gothorita: A-High to C-Low
As tempting as it may seem to drop this to the D ranks, I still think Gothorita has a small niche over other Psychic types in Competitive, giving it a role on Swadloon Webs teams as a hazard removal deterrent. That said, I would be lying if I said Gothorita didn't lose a ton of viability with the Shadow Tag ban. However, it still has a niche, more than can be said for anything in D.


Frogadier: A-High to S
This mon is actually bonkers. It just hits so hard, is super fast, has amazing coverage, and can pivot on top of that, too. It can even set Toxic Spikes! I feel like you're at a legitimate disadvantage if you're not using it. It's just that great.

EDIT: extra nom


Gloom: B-High to A-Low
Gloom is quickly proving itself to be one of the best defensive Pokemon in the tier, and probably the best physical wall. To make a long story short, Strength Sap is amazing. It's stunning how one move has propelled Gloom from semi-obscurity into a defensive powerhouse. Few physical attackers can muscle past Gloom aside from, like, Dragonium Fraxure or something. And for a defensive Pokemon, it poses a surprisingly good offensive presence, with a nice base 85 special attack.
 
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After a few tries on the ladder, I wonder one thing: how do we concretely pass Porygon2 Z-Conversion?

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Porygon2 @ Normalium Z
Ability: Download
Level: 50
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Ice Beam
- Shadow Ball/Recover
- Conversion

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7middlecup-698538178 (admittedly my team is not very defensive but I am forced to weaken / lose half of my team to get rid of it (fortunately he did not have recover))
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7middlecup-698539892 (without much exaggeration, find the moment to place it is practically the insurance of sweep)

Most put Shadow Ball first in the moveset (too predictable for me, I put Thunderbolt instead for more surprise). Already this monster is more bulky than the average, boost all the stats in more is just stupid (but I can be wrong: if it is authorized in MC, it is that it has counters and checks, something that I do not know for now). I think for the moment that succeeding in placing Porygon2 is simply the victory. The parallel is obvious with its pre-evolution in Little Cup (which was quickban early SM especially because of Z-Conversion). The leaders of Little Cup have seen fit to completely ban Porygon (banning such moves as Conversion or Conversion 2 are in their eyes prohibitions too complex). But do not I know what you're thinking here
 
I feel like it's time to address some stuff.


Magneton isn't any less broken than it was in XY. In fact, I'm curious: What exactly changed in the transition between generations 6 and 7 that warranted an unban? All of the new mons introduced just fall over to its STABs, or are otherwise unviable. I'm actually wondering if it got more overpowered, seeing as it now has Z-moves to play around with while tier basically gained nothing new that threatens it back.


Ellicrum described it adequately enough, but Z-Conversion is just stupid. This Pokemon is extremely difficult to stop once it gets the ball rolling, and it's not like it's hard to get set up with 85/90/95 defenses (for comparison's sake, Gloom, one of the best walls in the tier, has 60/70/75).


Probably gonna be the most controversial of the bunch, but I think Kadabra, while not as blatantly broken as the two previous mons I listed, is a potentially unhealthy presence. First off, much like Magneton, checking this mon defensively is almost completely out of the question, for even AV Metang has a chance to be 2HKOed by Sash Kadabra's Shadow Ball, and it isn't like that's a hard mon to wear down. You may think Togetic, Chansey and Sliggoo might have a chance, but then you realize that Psyshock is a thing, reducing these options for possible defensive counterplay into checks at best. So you gotta counter it with offensive presence, right? Sounds like a plan, but THEN you realize that Kadabra is tied with Electabuzz for the highest Speed stat in the tier while having 25 more points in Special Attack, and if AV Metang can't consistently wall it, what are the chances something like Frogadier is gonna somehow tank a hit? So you gotta run a Scarfer or priority, right? Well, no dice, because Kadabra has Magic Guard with a Focus Sash, making hazard-based pressure obsolete, and forcing you to break it with direct attacks. So you gotta land two priority attacks or two Choice Scarf attacks in a row while tanking a hit. But Kadabra, as stated earlier, just kills everything, and just to show you how hopeless priority users have it, here's a list of them:

Mach Punch: Kadabra resists, KOes back Fighting types without breaking a sweat. Next.
Quick Attack: Electabuzz, Charmeleon, Quilava, Grovyle, Combusken, Frogadier, Fletchinder, Pidgeotto, Vibrava, Pikachu, Luxio, Tranquill, Staravia, Nuzleaf: All these fail to KO and die back to Psychic STAB/Dazzling Gleam.
Sucker Punch: Dusclops, Dartrix, Nidorina, Nidorino, Vigoroth, Pignite, Weepinbell, Graveler: All of them except for Dusclops fail to KO through sash while not dying back. Normal Graveler could also stand a chance, but it has to keep Sturdy intact, and besides, it's unviable garbage anyway.
Extreme Speed: Dragonair, Pikachu: Only one of these tanks a Psychic and gets off two Espeeds.
Bullet Punch: Metang, Machoke: Only one lives and gets off two BPs.


So, to recap, your options for countering Kadabra are:
AV Metang
Double priority
Double Choice Scarf

Not only is this obviously way too much of a strain on team-building, but this preparation is needed to take down just one set. NONE OF THIS takes into account potential sets like Life Orb, Choice Scarf or Z-move, or moves like Counter, Encore, Energy Ball, Taunt, Trick. Mark my words, maybe now you can restrict your teambuilding enough to deal with it, but once ladder players start getting more creative with their sets, that's when the real fiasco will begin.
 
A few noms:

Gloom: B-high to A-low
Gloom is easily one of the most important defensive Pokémon in the tier right now. It has just enough bulk to take some strong hits (Dragonim Fraxure without a DD doesn't OHKO it, neither does Scarf Monferno's Flare Blitz), and if you can't OHKO it chances are you're going to be forced out by Strength Sap, which is one of the best moves Pokémon has ever come up with. It's an important check to a lot of Pokémon in the tier, and can at least situationally switch into most physical attackers in the tier and force them out, including Scarf Monferno, Scarf Gabite, Rhydon, Krokorok, and more. It's also part of the best defensive core in the tier with Chansey, who together are able to check most of the metagame, and with Gothorita no longer around to be broken and trap all your fat mons Gloom can now do its job even more reliably than before. Get this thing to the A ranks.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7middlecup-698276047 - replay where Gloom saves me after a questionable early game. I did get lucky with the leaf storm miss but could've revenged with Electabuzz anyways. Gloom could've taken the entire half-team if I kept strength sapping Fraxure but it still did enough and I got impatient.


Togetic: A-low to B-high
Togetic has a lot of problems right now. Being a defogger that's weak to rocks is never appealing, especially one as passive as Togetic. Sure, Roost and good bulk mitigates this somewhat but it still means that it can be overpowered pretty easily, and makes it a much shakier check to a lot of the things it's supposed to check, if they don't already have ways around it (Such as Scarf Monferno packing Gunk Shot, or Scarf Gabite having Stone Edge, or Fraxure having Poison Jab). It also loses to every relevant setter bar Chansey, which it doesn't really threaten anyways. It's a huge momentum sink and should really only be used if you desperately need a remover, but even teams packing rock weak mons like Trumbeak or Lampent are seeming to forgo removal or pass up Togetic for Servine.


Porygon2: A-high to S
Elicrum beat me to it (Even if I really don't agree with him not running Shadow Ball), but Z-Conversion P2 is actually insane and probably the single scariest thing in the metagame now. With improvements to its bulk and speed, it's impossible to revenge kill by anything not carrying a choice scarf, and it has the bulk to tank through most scarfed attacks at +1 anyways. It's nearly impossible to prepare for outside of maybe Chansey, but that can be overwhelmed if it grabs an additional SpA boost from something else with download. Honestly might be banworthy.

I also want to disagree with the above post's opinion on Magneton and Kadabra. Magneton hits extremely hard and is difficult to check defensively, yes, but it lacks the speed to take advantage of that and is easily revenge killed by most faster mons, or scarfers, which every team should have and a lot of the best scarfers can take it out. You have to check if offensively, but fully defensive teams are bad in MC so your team should be geared towards offence anyways. Z-moves on Magneton are also not a good idea generally, since it lacks good coverage and most things that can take its regular STAB can probably take a Z-move from it. Scarf is cool but slow for a scarfer and it can't lock itself into either STAB without a faster one coming in to force it out. I'd honestly say Electabuzz's wider movepool (letting it actually make use of Z-moves) and better speed without a scarf make it a better choice for an electric than Magneton right now, and Electabuzz certainly isn't banworthy.

Sash Kadabra is the best revenge killer we have, but I wouldn't call it broken or unhealthy. For one, it can't switch in on any attack or its gimmick is ruined, and it really does need that Sash to take any hits, while it's not quite strong enough to KO everything from full that it might need to, and keeping your scarfer or doublade (who you didn't mention in Priority but is the biggest threat to Kadabra) alive isn't super hard. CounterSash is also very predictable and again, has to wait for something to die to come in, and trading 1 for 1 is pretty iffy. Z-move Kadabra is generally an unset since, while it definitely appreciates the nuke, it's a revenge killer and not a wallbreaker and you're missing out on Sash as a result. Scarf becomes the fastest scarfer in the tier, but like Magneton it doesn't appreciate being locked into anything as it always lets something in. Basically, smart play is your friend when fighting Kadabra and while it's also really good, I wouldn't call it banworthy.

tl;dr since this is more than I've written here in like a year: raise Gloom/P2, drop Togetic, maybe ban P2, don't ban Mag/Kadabra
 

Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
Just gonna bring my two cents on this topic on why Magneton was unbanned over the change from ORAS to Gen 7.

First of all, it was a whole new generation and the council decided to unban it to see if it had gotten any more manageable during the transition. Additionally, Magneton received a new counter in Chansey when it was unbanned, which walls even Specs sets very well, and we also have some other options at our disposal such as specially defensive Porygon2 (doesn't wall Specs nearly as well but can at least check it and Scarf), Electabuzz (resists the STAB combo and provides an emergency button check for offensive teams), and Magnet Pull Magnetons of our own (can trap opposing Magnets), to give a few examples. In fact, I believe some other decent checks, like Assault Vest Machoke/Gurdurr or Eelektrik, haven't really been used to their full potential yet, which of course limits the amount of Magneton checks we have because we aren't dabbling in other choices that might just be good! And, Magneton has to either sacrifice it's maximum power when using Scarf, or has to sacrifice it's speed tier when using Specs, so there is a tradeoff to using the mon. While I am open to the opinion that Magneton may be unhealthy for the meta because of how powerful and effective it's STABs are, I believe we as a community should try to test out other potential checks to give a full analysis into Magneton and what makes it unhealthy or not unhealthy for the meta.

PS: People, run Pursuit Metang or Doublade! Actually pretty decent checks to Kadabra as they put it into an unfavorable mindgame with Pursuit or their priority, and Doublade even avoids the potential Counter with the Ghost typing! I'd advise to run pretty heavy SpD investment on these sets though, as without it you aren't tanking Shadow Ball very well.
 
A few noms:


Porygon2: A-high to S
Elicrum beat me to it (Even if I really don't agree with him not running Shadow Ball), but Z-Conversion P2 is actually insane and probably the single scariest thing in the metagame now. With improvements to its bulk and speed, it's impossible to revenge kill by anything not carrying a choice scarf, and it has the bulk to tank through most scarfed attacks at +1 anyways. It's nearly impossible to prepare for outside of maybe Chansey, but that can be overwhelmed if it grabs an additional SpA boost from something else with download. Honestly might be banworthy.
I figured that since Electabuzz is the most common choice scarf user, having an electric Porygon2 greatly complicates the kill revenge of the first one. For me Shadow Ball brings nothing more to me (Doublade is OHKO by Thunderbolt and fighting types like Gurdurr anyway have a special foam defense). But hey, it can be discussed :)
 
Approved by Cheryl.

Middle Cup Tournament!
Now that we temporarily have a ladder and we have a dedicated playerbase, it's time for a tournament!

Rules:
- Standard single elimination tournament
- Replays must be posted. We're trying to grow a meta, so being able to analyze metagame trends through replays is a great help!
- Standard Middle Cup rules
- This tournament is Best of 3. This is to get more replays so we can analyze the meta better.

Just like this post to sign up!

The tournament will start on Saturday, february 10th.

Participants:
- Maysoon
- BloodAce0107
- Miyami~~
- Cheryl.
- Cofaiclus
- Randomnick
- aBlobfish
- Pqs
- Take Azelfie
- Exploudit
- Snorlax142857
- GoldCat
 
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A-Low -> A-High
Golbat is a god tier mon. I'm not even kidding. It's ability to check so many physical attackers in the tier makes it one of the more annoying Pokemon in the tier to deal with. Paired with things like Chansey it can make a very strong defensive core and with U-Turn it can get in threats like Kadabra or Electabuzz fairly easily. Not only that but it has reliable recovery in Roost and is able to defog pretty easily. It's also pretty fast usually hitting 112 speed since you don't run 252 HP EVs. Finally it can check things like Servine in a pinch. The only issue with this mon is it has some 4MSS. It has a pretty good support movepool in Taunt, Haze, Toxic, U-Turn, Defog, etc. It has to pick and choose what it wants for its team. Oh and switching into it's Brave Bird can be a bit difficult since even when resisted it does a decent amount to the more offensive mons in the tier that want to take advantage of it. Combine that chip with rocks and your opponents will find themselves being worn down quite quickly. Overall a very solid mon that I think has been overlooked a bit.

Oh yeah after fiddling around with scarf Gabite I think it is deserving of A-High. It can be a difficult mon to switch in on since it has enough coverage to hit everything in the tier. Defensive walls which don't take SE damage from any of it's attacks don't have any reliable recovery and will often find themselves fairly weakened after switching in a few times, especially after rocks damage. At end game it is very good at cleaning since at that point it really doesn't care what it locks itself into.
 
just reached top 10

Agree with Porygon2 to S
Once it sets up with Z-conversion it becomes extremely bulky, taking less than 50% from powerful attacks (252 SpA Life Orb Kadabra Psychic vs. +1 108 HP / 0 SpD Porygon2: 66-79 (37.9 - 45.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO), and can recover off the damage. Really, the only thing that can wall this set is chansey.

Porygon2 @ Normalium Z
Ability: Download
Level: 50
EVs: 108 HP / 252 SpA / 148 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Conversion
- Recover
- Ice Beam

148 Speed EVs are to outspeed non-scarf gabite once set up. You can move EVs from SpA to HP if more bulk is necessary.

Another pokemon that I have used with much success:

Doublade @ Spooky Plate / Leftovers
Ability: No Guard
Level: 50
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
IVs: 0 SpA
- Swords Dance
- Sacred Sword
- Iron Head
- Shadow Sneak

Attack is maximized for power, then HP for more bulk. Some EVs can be moved to SpD if necessary. Because of Doublade's low speed, it will usually be using Shadow Sneak. Spooky Plate boosts the power of Shadow Sneak, but Leftovers can be used to increase longevity. Due to its good defensive typing and high Def stat, Doublade can set up on weak physical attackers and passive pokemon (especially Chansey -- Doublade is immune to both toxic and seismic toss).

If you plan to use Doublade to sweep, do not switch it in to spacial attacks; even resisted ones such as Kadabra's Psychic can do a nontrivial amount:
252 SpA Kadabra Psychic vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Doublade: 63-74 (37.9 - 44.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

In contrast, it can sometimes survive SE physical attacks should it not have boosted enough to kill the opponent with Shadow Sneak:
252 Atk Monferno Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Doublade: 104-126 (62.6 - 75.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
4+ Atk Rhydon Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Doublade: 110-132 (66.2 - 79.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Once Doublade gets to +4, it can OHKO most offensive threats using Shadow Sneak only. +2 Spooky Plate with stealth rock / spikes support also works.
+4 252+ Atk Doublade Shadow Sneak vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Gabite: 141-166 (98.6 - 116%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO
+4 252+ Atk Doublade Shadow Sneak vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Electabuzz: 157-186 (111.3 - 131.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+4 252+ Atk Doublade Shadow Sneak vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Fraxure: 135-159 (95.7 - 112.7%) -- 75% chance to OHKO
+4 252+ Atk Doublade Shadow Sneak vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Servine: 126-148 (93.3 - 109.6%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO

Keep Doublade at A-high though, it doesn't quite deserve S
 
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Zweilous: B-Low ---> B-High
Until now, Zweilous was seen has a Pokemon that could hit hard and nothing more. But recently, I have seen a Choice Scarf set receiving more use that is extremely threatening, being able to outspeed the unboosted metagame and smack 'em with Crunch and Head Smash. Yes, it does poorly against other, faster Scarfers, but when those are gone, not much can stop Zweilous.

Also, enough beating around the bush, when the hell is Porygon2 getting banned? It's so blatantly obvious that it's broken, and I have seen no methods of counterplay come about aside from "Get in as much prior damage as you can, then send in your Kadabra or your Chansey and pray". One aspect of this Pokemon people haven't touched upon enough is its versatility. Aside from being able to pick and choose its (few) checks with Z-Conversion, it doesn't even need to run Z-Conversion at all. It can lure you into thinking it's Z-Conversion, so you try to play accordingly only to find out it's Life Orb, or Defensive, or freaking Z-Trick Room. You also have the best stats in the whole tier, along with not one, not two, but THREE great abilities to choose from. When you put it next to stuff like Electabuzz and Kadabra, it's on a whole different league.

If for some unfathomable reason this thing doesn't get the boot from the tier, I am nominating Porygon2 not for S, but for S+, because it's on its own level of power, versatility and bulk that NOTHING else in this tier can hope to match. Either that, or create an S- rank and put Electabuzz and Kadabra there. I mean tbf, P2 won't last long enough for that to happen, but just in case.
 
I don't think P2 should be banned completely as it's only the Z-Conversion sets that are broken. Z-Conversion should be banned instead of P2 it self becuase it's the only Mon who can learn it and losing a great Special Defensive wall (who isn't super passive like Chansey)sucks with strong Special Attackers like Kadabra, Seadra, Haunter and Frogadier running around.
 

Cheryl.

Celesteela is Life
Time for a new VR update, we got lots of changes this week! Link to VR for reference when reading this

Update:
Magneton from A-High to S
Porygon2 from A-High to S
Gothorita from A-High to D-High
Gabite from A-Low to A-High
Togetic from A-Low to B-High
Seadra from A-Low to B-High
Whirlipede from A-Low to B-High
Gloom from B-High to A-Low
Marill from B-High to A-Low
Grovyle from B-High to B-Low
Graveler-Alola from C-Low to C-High
Graveler (Regular) from C-Low to D-High
Torracat from C-Low to D-High
Pikachu from C-Low to D-High
Wartortle from D-High to C-Low

  • Alright, let's start off with the big boys. Magneton is unarguably the best offensive pivot in the metagame, proving to be a huge annoyance to offensive teams with it's Choice Scarf set, firing off strong Volt Switches left and right, while also threatening most Electric immunities with it's Steel STAB. Choice Specs trades the speed for incredibly strong power, especially when used with Analytic, which basically limits Specs Magnet's viable switchins to Chansey, who can be exploited through Volt Switch. Magneton's other useful ability, Magnet Pull, is also quite useful, as you can countertrap other Magnetons with HP Fire/Ground, giving Magneton a nice bit of utility alongside it's offensive prowess. All in all, Magneton is insane.
  • Porygon2 rose mostly because of it's Z-Conversion set, which is the most busted sweeper in the metagame because of the immense power and bulk that comes with Z-Conversion, and the unpredictability of the type of Conversion set Porygon2 will be using, as Electric, Ghost, and even Psychic with Psyshock to beat Chansey are all viable. Z-Conversion P2 is also immensely hard to revenge thanks to the bulk it gains from all the boosts. Not just that, but P2 also has a number of other viable sets it can run, including both physically and specially defensive wall sets that blanket check a lot of mons while not being too passive, offensive tank sets that are surprisingly hard to switch into with Porygon2's coverage, and Offensive Trick Room sets, that while not as good as Z-Conversion, do have their own niche on TR teams.
  • Gothorita lost Shadow Tag, which leaves it with practically no viable niche over other Psychic-types other than Competitive. However, that has not been tested yet, so I decided that it would be better to leave Goth as low as possible for now, because it is pretty terrible without STag.
  • Gabite is the best Choice Scarfer in the tier, being able to revenge kill Sash Kadabra with Dual Chop, and threatening pretty much everything with it's Dual STABs and Stone Edge. Outspeeding Scarf Monferno by 1 point is also hilarious and a very nice trait to have. I have also seen Offensive Rocks sets work as a faster alternative to Piloswine/Rhydon. The decrease in Togetic usage also helps Gabite a lot, as that mandated these Rocks sets to run Stone Edge, or else they would be walled forever.
  • Speaking of Togetic, it blows right now. Steel-types like Doublade and Metang are everywhere on teams now, and the things it used to check well, like Gurdurr and Fraxure, are just too powerful for Togetic to withstand hits from anymore, as Guts Façade from Gurdurr 2HKOes, as well as Ice Punch or Stone Edge, and boosted Poison Jabs from Fraxure nearly kill Togetic with Rocks damage. Also, being a Defogger that is weak to Rocks and also loses to most of the hazard setters, while also being a passive momentum sink, is pretty bad. Even the advent of NastyPass hasn't really helped this guy out. Togetic may continue to drop as it continues to become more and more of a niche option on slower defensive teams.
  • Seadra is still a pretty good sweeper with Agility, but the competition from fellow offensive Water Frogadier is quite big, as Frogadier is very fast right off the bat, and no one can underestimate the usefulness of U-turn to pivot out of Chansey and other checks, which Seadra cannot do. Also, Chansey stops Seadra cold in it's tracks, which really sucks as before Seadra didn't have too many reliable checks with a boost.
  • Whirlipede is still a decent option as a Spikes suicide lead for HO, but it's flaws are becoming more apparent as Ghost-types like Doublade and Haunter, which wall it's main set, are becoming really common, and Defog Golbat becoming more popular hurts it too. It also faces a bit of competition from other suicide leads, mainly Toxic Spikes Frogadier, who has a fast Taunt to block Defog and can run Dark Pulse to bypass Ghosts.
  • Strength Sap Gloom is probably the biggest defensive boon Middle Cup has received in Generation 7, making Gloom more adept at checking physical attackers and just being an annoyance in general. Gloom is rising for basically the same reasons why it rose last time, it's just become a lot more useful and is overall worthy of a rise because of it's defensive prowess.
  • While it hasn't been discussed in this thread, Marill has received quite a bit of hype in the MC Discord because of it's Choice Band set being an insanely hard-hitting wallbreaker that has a great, powerful priority move in Aqua Jet to pick off frailer teams with. Having decent defensive utility with it's Water/Fairy typing, most notably resisting Monferno's STABs, is also pretty nice. Overall a really great wallbreaker that can fit both on offense and TR teams. Also if you're real run Sap Sipper Perish trapper with Whirlpool
  • Grovyle hasn't received any notable usage this gen, and for good reason. It really only has one niche over Servine, in being faster and having some slightly better coverage options like Rock Slide. However, Servine is still mostly better because of the pure danger of Contrary Leaf Storm and access to Defog. SD Unburden sets just get walled by Doublade and other Steel-types (Metang), or get picked off by priority.
  • Alolan Graveler isn't the greatest mon ever, but it does have a notable niche in it's Rock/Electric/Ground coverage being really hard to wall safely, especially with the option of Galvanize Explosion to nuke anything that isn't immune to it. CB and Offensive Rocks sets both work for the thing, and it's seen notable use on TR as well. (Btw TR is a decently good playstyle, you should use it it's fun). It does suffer from a bad typing and sluggish Speed, but it's better than the rubbish in C-Low, that's for sure.
  • Graveler was originally ranked C-Low because I thought Custap Berry was still in, so Sturdy + Custap lead with SR would be cool. Custap Berry isn't in Generation 7. Goodbye niche.
  • Torracat just doesn't have any notable traits that make it a better choice than Monferno or even Magmar for any team; being slightly faster than Monferno doesn't excuse the lack of amazing Fighting STAB to go with your Fire STAB. Maybe with Intimidate this might be okay, but for now it's ass.
  • Pikachu is a worse EBuzz/Magneton.
  • Wartortle is mostly a worse Prinplup, but it does have a very small niche on hazard stacking teams that require the utility of Prinplup's hazard removal, but don't want to blow away their own hazards. It's small, but it's a niche.
  • Also, Metang did not rise because I felt that while it does have a lot of utility to provide to a team, it also has a severe case of 4MSS, as you want to run dual STAB, as well as Earthquake, as well as Bullet Punch, Pursuit, and if you run SR Metang it just exacerbates the issue even more. I think Metang is one of the better mons in B-High, but I believe it should stay there for the time being.
  • Trumbeak also didn't rise because I felt that with the rise of Electric-types, and the general viability ceiling of the mons in A+, Trumbeak felt more at home in A-Low, as it can be quite hard to bring in, although it is very wall to wall reliably with the amount of sets it can use.
Oof, that was a lot to write! As always, if you object to any of these changes, or have a change to propose, feel free to post in the thread or on our Discord! I will be back on Friday with details regarding Porygon2/Conversion, as that is something that needs to be addressed immediately considering the centralization Z-Conversion has on the meta.

Discussion Points:
Golbat from A-Low to A-High
Croconaw from A-Low to B-High
Zweilous from B-Low to B-High
Dragonair from B-High to B-Low
Staravia from B-Low to C-High
 
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I agree with Croconaw A-Low -> B-High.

I really like Crocs and I based my team around the DD set (Jolly DD/Waterfall/Ice Punch/Aqua Jet), however it rarely gets anything done if at all. It can't switch in without ruining its potential to set up later, and every scarfer checks it so you won't get more than one kill with it. It also needs Aqua Jet to combat faster threats but it often won't be enough unless the opposing scarfer is weak to Water or heavily chipped.

I might try a SD set or even an AoA set later.
 
Skiploom D-High -> C-Low
Skiploom is by far the best Mon in D-High as it actually has a niche. SD Skiploom can be a huge threat against Balance thanks to it being able to set up VS Common Mons like Prinplup, Rhydon and Gloom. Substitute allows Skiploom to deal with Offense and Sleep Powder gives it more set up opportunities. Skiploom niche over Grovyle is Skiploom's Typing. Being part Flying allows Skiploom to force out Grass Types like Servine and Roselia while Grovyle needs have used up its Item before it can really damage them. Also Skiploom is much faster then the other Grass/Flying Type Dartrix allowing it to work as a Sweeper. Also Skiploom has much bigger niche then Wartortle, if Wartortle rose to C-Low then Skiploom should too.

Golbat A-Low -> A-High: Agree
Golbat is the best Defensive Defogger in the tier as it can check so many threats. It beats common Hazard setters like Roselia, Whirlipede, Swadloon, Marshtomp and Prinplup. I think Golbat is almost a must on Balance or Bulkier teams just because how good of a Defensive core Golbat + Chansey/Porygon2 is.

Croconaw A-Low -> B-High: Agree

I agree with what Billy the Uncle said about Croconaw. It has a bad mashup vs all the common Choice Scarf users and it struggles to set up. Croconaw also faces huge competition as Water Wallbreaker in Marill and as a Dragon Dance user in Fraxure. Marill don't need a boost to be frightining and Fraxure is faster, stronger and has a better mashup vs Choice Scarfers like Electabuzz.

Dragonair B-High -> B-Low: Agree

At first I didn't know what had changed for Dragonair but after Miyami told why I changed my mind about Dragonair's ranking. Fraxure outclasses it now its Niche as a DD user who could break Doublade is gone. Dragonair is still good as it has Extreme Speed and can run sets like Resttalk DD but its not as good as the other B-High Pokemon without its main niche.

Staravia B-Low -> C-High: Agree

Rhydon, Doublade, Electabuzz and Magneton are everywhere. Trumbeak is just better in almost everyway. It only niche is Reckless boosted Flying and Normal STABs and in a tier where Rock, Electric, Steel and Ghost Types are common it really sucks.
 
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Skiploom D-High -> C-Low
Skiploom is by far the best Mon in D-High as it actually has a niche. SD Skiploom can be a huge threat against Balance thanks to it being able to set up VS Common Mons like Prinplup, Rhydon and Gloom. Substitute allows Skiploom to deal with Offense and Sleep Powder gives it more set up opportunities. Skiploom niche over Grovyle is Skiploom's Typing. Being part Flying allows Skiploom to force out Grass Types like Servine and Roselia while Grovyle needs have used up its Item before it can really damage them. Also Skiploom is much faster then the other Grass/Flying Type Dartrix allowing it to work as a Sweeper. Also Skiploom has much bigger niche then Wartortle, if Wartortle rose to C-Low then Skiploom should too.
I have a few problems with this nom:

First off, How is Skiploom forcing out anything you mentioned?

252 Atk Skiploom Seed Bomb vs. 248 HP / 0 Def Rhydon: 132-156 (62.5 - 73.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Skiploom Seed Bomb vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Eviolite Prinplup: 48-56 (28 - 32.7%) -- guaranteed 4HKO
252 Atk Skiploom Acrobatics (110 BP) vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Gloom: 92-110 (55.4 - 66.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Granted, that is some pretty impressive damage vs Rhydon and Gloom, but it can't come in and set up on any of them without possibly dying since Rhydon and Gloom have super-effective STABs (Switching in on strength sap also ruins Skiploom) and Prinplup commonly carries Ice Beam. Additionally, a lot of the more defensive mons in the tier can still hit it really hard on the switch, and its only real way to force out any of them is Sleep Powder. That'll work, but it can be played around and Skiploom really needs to set up a sub and an SD before it's really safe, since Skiploom's speed tier is surprisingly bad for this meta due to the prevalence of scarfers. This means Skiploom needs Sleep Powder/Sub/SD to be effective, and then it only has room for one attack (Probably Acro), meaning you basically have to choose what things you want Skiploom to never beat, since without Sub it's too easily revenge killed by just about everything (Grovyle, who you compare it to, outspeeds everything after an unburden, thus removing the need to have a sub up), and without sleep powder it never forces anything out, and then it obviously needs SD. That's some solid 4MSS. Dartrix's supposed niche additionally is being able to Baton Pass either Swords Dance or Nasty Plot, giving it a place on BP teams, so that comparison is moot. Wartortle's niche isn't usually needed on a team, but it does have a niche, whereas Skiploom has too many problems to even be worth using as an SD user. Its best set is probably Sleep Powder/U-Turn/Acro/Memento to annoy opposing teams and facilitate setup on Volt-turn teams, but I don't think that's worth a rise (although I'd like to test that out). Skiploom seems a lot better on paper than it actually is, since its stats and need for 5+ moves really lets it down.

Dragonair B-High -> B-Low: Disagree
I don't see why Dragonair should drop and what has changed for Dragonair. Mixed DD is still good as Togetic is really the only good counter to it. It has a great Special Movepool to abuse too. Resttalk DD can easly Sweep Balance lacking Togetic and even then it isn't that hard to get rid of Togetic.
Dragonair is being nommed down due to Z-Stomping Tantrum Fraxure accomplishing the same thing that Dragonair would (A DDer that's able to beat Doublade), while having a higher attack and speed stat making it better than Dragonair vs the rest of the meta, while also only losing to Togetic, something that's in a really bad place right now. It's not really Dragonair being worse, but moreso Fraxure outclassing it.

Staravia B-Low -> C-High: Agree

Rhydon, Doublade, Electabuzz and Magneton are everywhere. Trumbeak is just better in almost everyway. It only niche is Reckless boosted Flying and Normal STABs and in a tier where Rock, Electric, Steel and Ghost Types are common it really sucks.
This gives me the impression that you haven't used Staravia. Staravia's niche is as a somewhat bulky defogger with intimidate, letting it come in on a few physical attackers and then get rid of the hazards. That being said, after building with it I'm of the opinion that it shouldn't drop. Staravia is essentially Togetic that doesn't let everything in for free due to packing strong STAB, while also not being a complete momentum sink with U-turn. This gives it a notable enough Niche to find its way onto teams that really don't want to lose all their momentum with Togetic but still want a somewhat sturdy hazard remover. It can be really hit-or-miss, but Intimidate + U-Turn is also good on its own and a more offensive pivot could be explored. Keep it B- for now.
 
I have a few problems with this nom:

First off, How is Skiploom forcing out anything you mentioned?

252 Atk Skiploom Seed Bomb vs. 248 HP / 0 Def Rhydon: 132-156 (62.5 - 73.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 Atk Skiploom Seed Bomb vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Eviolite Prinplup: 48-56 (28 - 32.7%) -- guaranteed 4HKO
252 Atk Skiploom Acrobatics (110 BP) vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Gloom: 92-110 (55.4 - 66.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Granted, that is some pretty impressive damage vs Rhydon and Gloom, but it can't come in and set up on any of them without possibly dying since Rhydon and Gloom have super-effective STABs (Switching in on strength sap also ruins Skiploom) and Prinplup commonly carries Ice Beam. Additionally, a lot of the more defensive mons in the tier can still hit it really hard on the switch, and its only real way to force out any of them is Sleep Powder. That'll work, but it can be played around and Skiploom really needs to set up a sub and an SD before it's really safe, since Skiploom's speed tier is surprisingly bad for this meta due to the prevalence of scarfers. This means Skiploom needs Sleep Powder/Sub/SD to be effective, and then it only has room for one attack (Probably Acro), meaning you basically have to choose what things you want Skiploom to never beat, since without Sub it's too easily revenge killed by just about everything (Grovyle, who you compare it to, outspeeds everything after an unburden, thus removing the need to have a sub up), and without sleep powder it never forces anything out, and then it obviously needs SD. That's some solid 4MSS. Dartrix's supposed niche additionally is being able to Baton Pass either Swords Dance or Nasty Plot, giving it a place on BP teams, so that comparison is moot. Wartortle's niche isn't usually needed on a team, but it does have a niche, whereas Skiploom has too many problems to even be worth using as an SD user. Its best set is probably Sleep Powder/U-Turn/Acro/Memento to annoy opposing teams and facilitate setup on Volt-turn teams, but I don't think that's worth a rise (although I'd like to test that out). Skiploom seems a lot better on paper than it actually is, since its stats and need for 5+ moves really lets it down.
Skiploom forces switches by the fact that most people don't want their Rhydon, Gloom etc to take 50 - 70% (btw the Prinplup in the calc is holdning a Eviolite) especially when you have Skiploom paired with a Mon who needs Rhydon, Roselia, Gloom weakened to sweep. Skiploom doesn't need SD, Sub and Sleep Powder to be effective. Sleep Powder and Sub depends on what playstyle you want Skiploom to have a better mashup against, Sleep Powder is for Balance and Sub is for Offense. Skiploom only needs a Sub up against most Offense team as its Offensive Typing is enough to deal big damage. Skiploom has also a really good mashup against Sticky Web teams as it can safely set up a Sub against Swadloon and can start clicking Attacks. I agree that Skiploom has its flaws like having a 4MSS but I'm noming Skiploom to C-Low not to something like B-High or A-Low.

I also want to talk about Skiploom's best partner, Magnet Pull Magneton. Magneton can trap Doublade and opposing Magneton who are Skiploom's best counters. Magneton is also a reason why Skiploom don't need to run both Sub and Sleep Powder as normally Skiploom is forced to run Sleep Powder to not be set up bait for Doublade or giving Magneton free Attacks.

Magneton @ Electrium Z
Ability: Magnet Pull
Level: 50
EVs: 248 SpA / 8 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 1 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 SpD
- Thunderbolt
- Flash Cannon
- Volt Switch
- Hidden Power [Ground]

This is the set I use when I tested Skiploon. Gigavolt Havoc OHKOs Doublade if it's not max Sp.Def with a +Sp.Def Nature then you need Hazard damage to guaranteed OHKO. EDIT: Doublade can't be trapped thanks to its Ghost Typing but Magneton still helps Skiploom trap Magneton and it still OHKOs Doublade.

Dragonair is being nommed down due to Z-Stomping Tantrum Fraxure accomplishing the same thing that Dragonair would (A DDer that's able to beat Doublade), while having a higher attack and speed stat making it better than Dragonair vs the rest of the meta, while also only losing to Togetic, something that's in a really bad place right now. It's not really Dragonair being worse, but moreso Fraxure outclassing it.
Don't know why I didn't think about that, I even have used Stomping Tantrum Fraxure. B-Low feels like the right rank for Dragonair now with its main Niche being more or less gone.
This gives me the impression that you haven't used Staravia. Staravia's niche is as a somewhat bulky defogger with intimidate, letting it come in on a few physical attackers and then get rid of the hazards. That being said, after building with it I'm of the opinion that it shouldn't drop. Staravia is essentially Togetic that doesn't let everything in for free due to packing strong STAB, while also not being a complete momentum sink with U-turn. This gives it a notable enough Niche to find its way onto teams that really don't want to lose all their momentum with Togetic but still want a somewhat sturdy hazard remover. It can be really hit-or-miss, but Intimidate + U-Turn is also good on its own and a more offensive pivot could be explored. Keep it B- for now.
I didn't talk about Defog Staravia because I think it's completely outclassed by Golbat who is faster, stronger, bulkier, have more utillity, better Defensive Typing and have the same STAB (Staravia can only use one of its STABs and there is no reason to run Double-Edge as your only STAB). Intimidate is the only thing Staravia have over Golbat which tbh isn't enough to use it over Golbat.
 
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sin(pi)

lucky n bad
I also want to talk about Skiploom's best partner, Magnet Pull Magneton. Magneton can trap Doublade and opposing Magneton who are Skiploom's best counters. Magneton is also a reason why Skiploom don't need to run both Sub and Sleep Powder as normally Skiploom is forced to run Sleep Powder to not be set up bait for Doublade or giving Magneton free Attacks.

Magneton @ Electrium Z
Ability: Magnet Pull
Level: 50
EVs: 248 SpA / 8 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 1 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 SpD
- Thunderbolt
- Flash Cannon
- Volt Switch
- Hidden Power [Ground]

This is the set I use when I tested Skiploon. Gigavolt Havoc OHKOs Doublade if it's not max Sp.Def with a +Sp.Def Nature then you need Hazard damage to guaranteed OHKO.
Ghost types can't be trapped (except by pursuit).
/me runs
 
Ghost types can't be trapped (except by pursuit).
Oh, yeah how could I forget something like that lol. I guess all my opponents just let me kill their Doublade. I'll add a nom to keep the discussion going.

Machoke B-High -> B-Low

Gurdurr is really good right now and I think No Guard Dynamic Punch and being an Assault Vest user isn't wroth using it over Gurdurr. I even think Pignite is a better AV user then Machoke becuase it can better check Pokemon like Magneton, Servine, Haunter, Kadabra (Sash broken) and Magmar. Plus Pignite can use other sets too like CB and Defensive without being outclassed.
 
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