Well, that seems kind of silly considering the usage statistics. Consider the competitive pokemon that Focus Sash more often than any other item:Stealth Rock is what balances the game. Without it, we'd have to be much more prepared for switching constantly. I do support a test though, hopefully it will stop people from saying "but then salamence and gyarados and focus sash will be on liek all teams!1!"
Fact is, Salamence and Gyarados are ALREADY on every team. And nobody will use Sash, everybody knows they are crap and there is always a better item to choose.
| Aerodactyl | Item | Focus Sash | 71.4
| Roserade | Item | Focus Sash | 50.6
| Azelf | Item | Focus Sash | 46.0
| Yanmega | Item | Focus Sash | 35.5
| Weavile | Item | Focus Sash | 35.4
| Froslass | Item | Focus Sash | 28.1
Most of these are pokemon who are able to be OHKOd by most strong attacks (obviously). Usually these are leads, and Focus Sash makes sense on leads because SR isn't there to 'ruin' the trick.
Frosslass is an interesting exception, as it's used on mostly hail teams in OU (the stats are from the November OU usage) and not as a lead. It does continue with the theme that the Sash is best used when you're more likely to be free of residual damage, though.
| Infernape | Item | Focus Sash | 27.4
Infernape uses Focus Sash second only to Life Orb. The fact that such a powerful offensive pokemon is willing to give up the boost for a Sash fairly often does tell you something though.
| Lucario | Item | Focus Sash | 12.2
This is perhaps the most interesting of all. That's actually Lucario's second most used item (to Life Orb of course), beating out even Specs. What does that say about things?
So, you have a bunch of pokemon who are using Focus Sash quite often, usually in situations where SR is not in play... often in order to put SR in play. Keep in mind these are also some of the strongest offensive pokemon out there doing this, too. Some are even running Fake Out strictly to counter other sash leads. All in all, I'd say Focus Sash is a pretty strong item when it's not rendered useless by residual damage (which would certainly happen less often in a SR-free metagame).
Another thing I found interesting mentioned in this thread recently is that a SR-free metagame would benefit offensive teams even moreso now because of the decrease in residual damage. I tend to agree with that, actually. Generally stall teals use spikes and toxic spikes as well, but they're just not as exceptional. Levitators, flyers, steels that are immune to poison, pokemon who terrorize stall teams not caring about or benefitting from the poison (Heracross, Breloom, etc) are all over the place now. I've personally noticed that recently a couple of my teams don't even have a single pokemon who worries about toxic spikes.
However, the real losers in all of this are the balanced teams. Offensive teams put up SR to help them with 2HKOs and such, and they tend to lead with the suicide 'I will get stealth rock up at all costs' focus sash stealth rockers and go straight to attacking. Stall teams can afford to put up SR (and spikes) easily, because they usually have all standard pokemon covered to an extent and can afford to spend the turn. Balanced teams, though, usually rely on sketchy counters and often putting up SR means you're going to get Swampert frozen by an Ice Punch because the guy refuses to switch Weavile out, or something close to that. The real kicker is that balanced teams would also be screwed by the lack of SR, wherein they would likely be forced to actually do damage to break the sashes of offensive pokemon they can hardly wall in the first place.
This really leads into the main things I worry about when considering a SR-free metagame, which are:
- Flying types are already incredibly strong this gen, even when factoring in SR damage
- Focus Sash is already prevalent (and incredibly powerful) in a lot of the SR-free situations
- Offensive teams don't really need any more 'help' (though neither do stall teams, it's the balanced teams that are hurting right now)
You could say I don't take the 'SR isn't broken' stance as much as I take the 'a metagame with SR isn't any more broken than a metagame without'.