Announcement Naganadel is now banned from OU

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The OU Council has decided to ban Naganadel from the OU tier.

Naganadel is a pokemon that has all the right things going for it; a great dual stab combination, excellent offensive stats, the ability Beast Boost, and exactly what it needs in its movepool.

The set that we believe breaks this pokemon is the Nasty Plot + Dragonium Z set. With a moveset of Nasty Plot, Draco Meteor, Sludge Wave, and Fire Blast, Naganadel is practically unwallable outside of Heatran and AV Tyranitar, with very few other switch-ins. Devastating Drake is Naganadel’s nuke for netting easy KOs on non-resists and Sludge Wave beats Fairy types that can take its Dragon-type moves. Fire Blast is the perfect coverage move to defeat the remaining defensive stalwarts standing in the way of its STAB combination – Steel-types. Nasty Plot makes Naganadel a threatening breaker and an even more threatening sweeper in conjunction with Speed boosts from Beast Boost.

Here are some examples that show how devastating this pokemon can be in action:

+4 252 SpA Naganadel Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Eviolite Chansey: 595-702 (84.6 - 99.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

+4 252 SpA Naganadel Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 248 HP / 220+ SpD Heatran: 332-391 (86.2 - 101.5%) -- 12.5% chance to OHKO

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Draco Meteor vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tyranitar in Sand: 279-328 (81.8 - 96.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Fire Blast vs. 252 HP / 132+ SpD Celesteela: 374-440 (93.9 - 110.5%) -- 62.5% chance to OHKO

+2 252 SpA Naganadel Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Toxapex: 351-414 (115.4 - 136.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO

252 SpA Naganadel Devastating Drake (195 BP) vs. 252 HP / 24 SpD Landorus-Therian: 366-432 (95.8 - 113%) -- 75% chance to OHKO

252 SpA Naganadel Sludge Wave vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Lele: 270-320 (96 - 113.8%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO

252 SpA Naganadel Fire Blast vs. 252 HP / 168 SpD Ferrothorn: 360-428 (102.2 - 121.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO

With its near-perfect coverage and access to Nasty Plot, Naganadel is extremely difficult to switch into without offering a sacrifice. The best known defensive answers are Assault Vest Tyranitar, Specially Defensive Mega Tyranitar, Specially Defensive Heatran and Assault Vest Magearna. All of these pokemon are capable of switching into Naganadel as it boosts up to +2 and can subsequently take a hit. However, none of these pokemon have reliable recovery and are susceptible to being worn down into range of Naganadel’s attacks. A well-built Naganadel team can have ways to pressure these pokemon to switch in and take chip damage. Stakataka, Chansey, and Blissey can also be used to check Naganadel but are less reliable; Chansey and Blissey can weaken it but lose 1v1, while Stakataka can take +2 Fire Blast but not Devastating Drake. While there is a small pool of pokemon that can deal with Naganandel that we did not list, it is worth noting that these pokemon are not really viable in the SM OU metagame and, therefore, not relevant to our discussion as we focused on legitimate OU pokemon that pose as answers to Naganandel.

Generally when a pokemon is tough to switch into, it’s much easier to handle with offensive pressure and revenge killing tactics. In Naganadel’s case, this counterplay is actually also rather limited and sometimes unreliable. With a very good base 121 speed, it is fast, but outsped by many pokemon such as Greninja, Tapu Koko, Mega Lopunny, and all the relevant Choice Scarfers in the tier. However, if Naganadel is able to secure a KO and activate its ability Beast Boost, it gets +1 speed and subsequently outspeeds all relevant Choice Scarfers outside of Greninja. The other way to revenge kill Naganadel is through priority attacks. Unfortunately, no priority attack is capable of OHKOing Naganadel outright, with even Weavile and Mamoswine requiring Stealth Rock damage to guarantee the OHKO with Ice Shard. Perhaps the most common priority in the tier is Ash Greninja’s Water Shuriken, which Naganadel resists. Other priority users like Zygarde, Mega Lopunny, and Mega Scizor all require significant prior damage on Naganadel before their respective priority attacks can take it out. Other relevant revenge killers include Choice Scarf Ditto, Sand Rush Excadrill, and Electric Seed Hawlucha, but it should be noted that Hawlucha requires prior damage to net the KO. Rain sweepers don’t outspeed Naganadel at +1 unless you run Timid Kingdra, which quite frankly is bad.

Now that we’ve discussed the basics in terms of counterplay to Naganadel, let’s address some of the primary counter arguments as to why Naganadel shouldn’t be banned

• It doesn’t set up that easily, since it has common weaknesses and fairly poor bulk.

While the latter half of this statement is true, the former is not. Naganadel finds ample setup opportunities in one of two ways. The first is simply finding opportunities against pokemon that can’t damage it severely, enabling an easy Nasty Plot with limited drawbacks. This list includes Toxapex, Rotom-Wash, Mega Sableye, Scarf Keldeo (unless running Icy Wind), Mantine, and non-EQ Mega Venusaur. It has reasonable enough bulk and defensive typing that it isn’t OHKO’d by numerous other pokemon, allowing it to set up in a pinch but leaving it weakened and susceptible to revenge killing by priority. However the second way that Naganadel finds setup opportunities is the more common: it can outspeed many pokemon and threaten to KO them. This situation creates a 50 50 scenario – whether to stay in and attack, hoping to catch Naganadel trying to set up, or switching out to take the incoming attack, hoping to not see a Nasty Plot instead. The issue with this 50 50 scenario is that it almost always favors the Naganadel user. If the Naganadel user picks correctly, they will either net the KO, or set up a Nasty Plot on the switch which has the potential to end up in a sweep or multiple KOs. If they guess incorrectly, it’s possible that Naganadel may not even be KO’d while Nasty Plotting in the face of a slower pokemon, or that they accumulate some chip damage as the opponent switches into one of its limited checks. This “Beast Boost or setup” conundrum mirrors one of the primary issues we had with Pheromosa.

• It doesn’t restrict teambuilding that much because most of the counterplay includes pokemon that are already pretty good.

The issue with this is that even when you pack appropriate counterplay, Naganadel still applies immense pressure and usually an advantage to the user. All offensive counterplay assumes a free switch-in, meaning that Naganadel already got a KO. Several of the anti-ban arguments treat it like a victory when Naganadel is unable to sweep, but if you’re forced to make a sacrifice to prevent this, then it really isn’t a victory at all. Even the defensive checks aren’t surefire; Specially Defensive Heatran’s Earth Power fails to KO and it has the potential to drop to Devastating Drake after a second Nasty Plot, for example.

• It’s not an unstoppable sweeper.

This is true. But it’s also true that to prevent it from sweeping, you’ll usually end up losing a pokemon unless your team has AV Tyranitar. As mentioned above, you can choose to consider it a victory when you aren’t swept by Naganadel, but if it getting its 1 KO on average per match is an acceptable evil to you, then you aren’t considering how overpowered it is as a breaker.

• It’s predictable.

Quite frankly this may be one of the sillier arguments for keeping Naganadel in OU. Predictability doesn’t make something ineffective. It has literally all it needs in this one set – it doesn’t matter if its set doesn’t change, because it’s still extremely likely to nab a KO, if not more than one.

• It’s reliant on the Z move for KOs.

This isn’t entirely true, as Draco Meteor on its own is already pretty strong, while Sludge Wave and Fire Blast hit their intended targets very hard. Furthermore, attempting to bait the Z move only to switch out also has the possible consequence of allowing another Nasty Plot.

Overall, the council believes that Naganadel is simply broken in OU and there is no reason to let it stick around. It has all the coverage it needs and can become extremely powerful after a single turn of setup. Without the ability Beast Boost, it would already be an extremely potent breaker whose main counterplay would be revenge killing. But armed with a +1 speed boost after netting a KO, the revenge killing tactics become far more limited. With limited counterplay both offensively and defensively, to the point that prepping for it isn’t even always enough to prevent it from netting a KO or cleaning up late game, we believe it’s best to quick ban this pokemon from the tier instead of letting it stay any longer.

As of this post, Naganadel is banned from the OverUsed Tier.

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