Metagame National Dex Metagame Discussion v2

Jho

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NDPL Week 2 Observations

Week 2 just ended and we have some more interesting trends to talk about. As before, if you want to see the usage stats you can find them here.

:ss/toxapex:
Unlike last week, Toxapex was not the most used mon this week, however, it does support an absurd win rate of over 70% while still sitting at 2nd in usage. What stands out specifically is Baneful Bunker variants of Toxapex, which had a 100% win rate when revealed, which accounts for over half of the games in which Toxapex was used. We've seen Toxapex run this with a lot more frequency in response to the rising Dracovish usage in the metagame, as it allows it to check it a lot more effectively while whittling it down with Poison damage, while also allowing it to scout opposing Cinderace sets for Zen Headbutt. The fact that Toxapex is an effective check to 3 of the best Pokemon in the metagame in Cinderace, Dracovish, and Ash Greninja means its really a no-brainer that it is so highly used.

Some cool Toxapex teams from this week:
:lopunny-mega::toxapex::reuniclus::skarmory::blissey::gliscor: - Used by Finchinator
:ferrothorn::toxapex::tapu-koko::dracovish::garchomp::corviknight:- Used by Zneon
:excadrill::skarmory::tyranitar-mega::tangrowth::reuniclus::toxapex: - Used by Ruft
:kartana::magnezone::toxapex::gliscor::tyranitar-mega::clefable: - Used by Micaiah

:ss/dragapult:
A Pokemon which didn't see too much usage last week but has had a massive influence on this week was Dragapult. This comes from this week having much more offense and bulky offensive teams compared to last week which saw a lot of balanced builds. While the majority of Dragapult we saw were indeed the Dragon Dance set that has been a scourge for a while, we did in fact also see some specially orientated Dragapult sets, particularly on some the bulkier teams.

:mew::kommo-o::mawile-mega::cinderace::dragapult::rillaboom:- Used by Jordy
:medicham::dragapult::rotom-wash::magearna::heatran::landorus-therian:- Used by devwin
:cinderace::dracovish::ferrothorn::landorus-therian::slowbro::dragapult:- Used by Trade
:heatran::dracovish::ferrothorn::lopunny-mega::dragapult::landorus-therian: - Used by Chazm

:ss/landorus-therian:
Landorus-T claims the top spot for this week in terms of usage, however, it did not perform particularly well in terms of win rate. This may be because people are opting to use utility and scarfed sets which have really fallen off in effectiveness recently due to a lack of longevity and difficulty checking top threats like Cinderace long term. Of all the Landorus we saw this week, not a single one showed Swords Dance or a Z move, which was a surprise to me as it is widely regarded as the better option for it right now and something I hope we see more of in the following weeks. I do think there is a place for these less offensive Landorus-T variants and some of the teams which used them well in my opinion will be put below.

:kartana::garchomp::rotom-wash::magearna::cinderace::landorus-therian: - Used by Vaboh
:medicham::dragapult::rotom-wash::magearna::heatran::landorus-therian:- Used by devwin
:cinderace::dracovish::ferrothorn::landorus-therian::slowbro::dragapult:- Used by Trade

:ss/cinderace:
Cinderace has continued to have an incredible showing, maintaining the insane win ratio from last week. There isn't too much more to say about Cinderace that I didnt say last week, but the fact that its win rate has remained so high consistently is something definitely worth noting. A lot of the teams listed above are good examples of the sort of teams Cinderace was used on this week so I wont list any additional ones here.

General Observations
:sableye-mega:
We saw 0 Stall used this week, a small departure from last week which saw a decent amount of Stall showing. This week we saw much more offensive teams in general.
:hydreigon:
Over the course of the tournament, Hydreigon has only been used twice and has failed to pick up a win in either game which is incredibly surprising as it has been considered one of the best Pokemon in the format for a long time. Perhaps teams trending towards more offensive builds is what is hindering Hydreigon, as its ability as an incredibly strong wallbreaker becomes less of an important commodity in those matchups.
 

Zneon

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Gonna do Jho's job since he didn't do the weekly observations yet, so I will! The usage stats can be found here.

NDPL Week 3 Observations



Toxapex once again sees itself as the most used Pokemon this week. Hitting 40% usage and having a decent 50% winrate. It's been seeing using more than just Baneful Bunker this week as well, Toxic and Toxic Spikes have been seeing usage as well. Being such an excellent defensive pivot that fits on almost every team as well as being a great check to Cinderace and Dracovish, its not really surprising why Toxapex is so high in usage, I'm not going to expand on Toxapex that much because everything that could be said about it was said the previous weeks, but with the qualities Toxapex brings to the table, I cannot see it dropping in usage anytime soon.

Teams with Toxapex:
:latias-mega: :clefable: :kyurem: :toxapex: :gliscor: :heatran: - used by Micaiah
:reuniclus: :dragapult: :toxapex: :scizor-mega: :clefable: :gliscor: - used by xavgb
:latias-mega: :blacephalon: :landorus-therian: :ferrothorn: :clefable: :toxapex: - used by DNNP
:latias-mega: :clefable: :magnezone: :magearna: :toxapex: :gliscor: - used by zugubu royale





Mega Latias has been absolutely phenomenal this week, not only has it seen quite a lot of usage, being #6 in the usage stats, but what really stands out is its astronomical 100% winrate in all the games its been in. Calm Mind has proven to be an incredibly potent wincon, variants such as BoltBeam and Refresh and even Surf have been seeing usage on Mega Latias, while being able to sport incredibly valuable defensive utility in its bulk and Levitate which makes it a great check against stuff like Gliscor and Mega Lopunny.

Teams with Mega Latias:
:latias-mega: :blacephalon: :landorus-therian: :ferrothorn: :clefable: :toxapex: - used by DNNP
:latias-mega: :clefable: :magnezone: :magearna: :toxapex: :gliscor: - used by zugubu royale
:ditto: :latias-mega: :clefable: :heatran: :gastrodon: :skarmory: - used by Finchinator
:blissey: :gliscor: :melmetal: :moltres: :alomomola: :latias-mega: - used by Chazm



Gliscor has also shown to be doing incredibly well this week, skyrocketing from #21 in usage last week to #2 this week with a pretty good win rate of 57%. This week its been using Swords Dance the most by far, and its not hard to see why, being a fantastic and splashable defensive glue that fits on almost all bulky style of teams as a threatening wincon with Swords Dance, while also being able to check Pokemon like Cinderace, Mega Lopunny and Heatran is nothing to scoff at, and it shows in the games that its in, I'm not going to expand on what has already been said about Gliscor, but the significant increase in usage is definitely something I want to mention. Not going to include any Gliscor replays as the replays above already paint a good light on what Gliscor teams look like.



Cinderace has probably hit its lowest point in the NDPL so far. So far, Cinderace has consistently hit over an 80% win rate, this time though its hit a very mediocre 25% winrate, this could be because of how the metagame is adapting to Cinderace's presence, with Pokemon like Toxapex and Gliscor being incredibly high in usage, its becoming much easier for teams to handle it in practice, but who knows, Cinderace might jump back in its amazing win rate in Week 4, who knows.

So how do you guys feel about these? Are there any of these that surprised you? Or do you think that any of these that some of these are highly deserved or not deserved at all?

Have a nice day!
 
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First of all it is much better against stall as while mgallade really cant do much against msable, grapidash utterly destroys it and pastel veil allows it to switch in on toxic and set up.
Second,grapidash doesn't take up a mega slot. While it does use the z slot this allows it to be paired with other megas like mzor.
Uh, as a stall player, i think it's needed to specify that Mega Sableye almost never run toxic, and almost always run will-o-wisp, that cripple grapidash a lot.
+----------------------------------------+
| Moves |
| Recover 99.967% |
| Will-O-Wisp 99.081% |
| Knock Off 70.402% |
| Protect 56.073% |
| Calm Mind 27.918% |
| Hex 26.357% |
| Snarl 6.289% |
| Other 13.915% |
+----------------------------------------+
Toxic doesn't even show up xd
Also mega gallade isn't totally helpless against stall. It's maybe one of the nichiest sets in the meta, but leaf blade mega gallade under grassy terrain destroys mega sableye. (Sounds gimmick tbh but i heard some people are using that)
If you want a pyschic-fairy mon that beat stall, you're lucky because that exists, and it's named Tapu Lele. It's slower, but is way more of a threat, while grapidash is walled by almost every physical wall in the tier, inclunding the three viable (#pyukandquag4vr) unaware users, which make it pretty useless vs stall.
 
Gonna do Jho's job since he didn't do the weekly observations yet, so I will! The usage stats can be found here.

NDPL Week 3 Observations






Mega Latias has been absolutely phenomenal this week, not only has it seen quite a lot of usage, being #6 in the usage stats, but what really stands out is its astronomical 100% winrate in all the games its been in. Calm Mind has proven to be an incredibly potent wincon, variants such as BoltBeam and Refresh and even Surf have been seeing usage on Mega Latias, while being able to sport incredibly valuable defensive utility in its bulk and Levitate which makes it a great check against stuff like Gliscor and Mega Lopunny.

Teams with Mega Latias:
:latias-mega: :clefable: :kyurem: :toxapex: :gliscor: :heatran: - used by Micaiah
:latias-mega: :blacephalon: :landorus-therian: :ferrothorn: :clefable: :toxapex: - used by DNNP
:latias-mega: :clefable: :magnezone: :magearna: :toxapex: :gliscor: - used by zugubu royale
:ditto: :latias-mega: :clefable: :heatran: :gastrodon: :skarmory: - used by Finchinator
:blissey: :gliscor: :melmetal: :moltres: :alomomola: :latias-mega: - used by Chazm
Hey wasn't sure if this was an error or smth but the replay for micaiah's team was actually a mlatios
 

Zneon

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Okay with Dracovish gone, I could talk about what I feel could potentially more common or less common with Vish's departure.



Sand Teams

So first of all I feel Sand Teams were already pretty decent in the metagame, but I feel it didn't become amazing for a the reason that not only was Dracovish able to abuse both Mega Tyranitar and Hippowdon, especially the latter to get a kill, but it forcing a Water resist like Slowbro and Tangrowth, which are already good Sand answers, really hurt the potential of Sand teams. Now with it gone, I cannot see Sand Teams not rising up potentially because of the fact that I feel the Sand setters have become better Pokemon from its ban. Mega Tyranitar was already a great Pokemon that is going to be even greater with the lack of Dracovish in the metagame, and I feel Pursuit is going to be even better than it was before, and Pursuit was already amazing. Hippowdon looks incredibly good too, as it is one of the best Cinderace answers; the problem was that Cinderace was often paired with Dracovish almost all of the time, which made it more abusable that way, but now I feel its much better, being a great physical wall and can set up rocks against quite a lot of Pokemon, of course stuff like Zapdos and Corviknight are going to be constant pain for these teams, but I feel that they have gotten much better than they would be in the Dracovish meta.



Fat Balances

I feel Balance teams are far less pressured by Dracovish to bring a Water resist all the time, which I feel eases teambuilding with them significantly more than they did when it was still here, and I feel Heatran and Gliscor especially are much better and in my eyes are back to being at the very forefront of the metagame. When it was still here, I feel both Heatran and Gliscor were the worst Pokemon in S rank, and while they were easily one of the best and most important Pokemon in the metagame, I feel they struggled with being easily abused by it as it can take advantage of both of them and claim a kill unless they have an answer to it in the back, but with it gone, I feel the metagame is going to shift back to Fat Balance teams instead of being mainly Bulky offensive / offensive teams because they are not required to bring a Bulky water or a Tangrowth, which is super good for them.



Rotom-W

I expect Rotom-W to get much, much better from this. Since I feel Rotom-W is already a pretty good Pokemon, being able to threaten a ton of Pokemon with Nasty Plot Waterium Z, which nukes a ton of Pokemon and since it already naturally checks stuff like Heatran, Gliscor, Landorus-T, Corviknight and Mega Scizor incredibly well, I feel Rotom-W will able to fit onto many more teams. I feel the reason why it is much better than it was previously is how it didn't really get an opportunity to fit onto a team compared to Slowbro or Toxapex, because they tank Dracovish's Rend much better, whereas Rotom-W takes 80% on the switch, which made it in my opinion really hard to fit onto teams. But now I feel Rotom-W will get more opportunies to shine in the metagame this time, between offensive sets in Nasty Plot, or utility sets in Defog maybe, I feel Rotom-W looks great and I cannot wait to see what it can do in the future.
 
With the second DLC wave, it's clear that the metagame will remain quite similar to before (Tapus didn't get buffed as many expected, Regieleki has Electrode levels of coverage, Regidraco is eaten alive by Fairy types, Calyrex is budget Celebi, G-Moltres lacks Roost and so it's outclassed by Mandibuzz to say the least, and G-Articuno is simply meh out of its typing).

The only new viable addition is G-Zapdos, Fighting/Flying is unresisted by most of the meta, and its signature move allows it to weaken walls and easily OHKO with a Z-Move if they don't switch.

The most notable movepool additions include Lati@s getting Mystical Fire and Aura Sphere, and Diancie getting Mystical Fire, so i can see them rising in viability.

Overall, teambuilding and metagame trends didn't get affected much from this as some would otherwise expect, so many can use the teams they got customized to for a while until another suspect test happens, preferably while customizing to the new strategies that may arise from the few notable additions, of course.
 
Imo Spectrier and Glastrier are nice additions. Spectrier, despite horrible coverage and being extremely pursuit-weak, is still good due to its amazing speed and special attack. Shadow Ball is also pretty self-sufficient, with Ghost having some of the very best neutral coverage (it is hard-walled by Blissey and dark-types though, but it can cripple dark-types with Will-O-Wisp). Glastrier have horrible speed, which lets it to be an absolute meneance on TR teams. It also have nice coverage with CC and High Horsepower (it's a horse) as well as Swords Dance. Regieleki actually gives itself and Tapu Koko a niche, in which Koko sets Electric Terrain for Regieleki to fire off nuclear-powered Rising Voltages.
 
Oh yeah, Spectrier and Glastier are legal, so they are notable additions as well, although the former faces competition with Blacephalon, and the latter is slow and holds a bad typing defensively, as it has been mentioned, although the bulk mitigates that to a degree.

Regieleki faces heavy competition with Alolan Raichu for such a niche, yes, Regieleki hits harder, but Alolan Raichu at least isn't walled by every single viable Ground type around. A better niche to mention would be it having Rapid Spin, but it doesn't pressure most hazard setters anyways.
 
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I want to talk about an archetype in the metagame that hasn’t quite been the same since the Isle of Armor-Rain.
The Isle of Armor brought a number of new additions to the metagame, most notable of which being Urshifu-S. It was an incredibly powerful breaker that, alongside other powerful Pokémon in the metagame only benefitted from the presence of- Metagross-M just barely survived a suspect on a technicality, and also was a phenomenal offensive Pokémon in the metagame, Tornadus-T with incredible role compression and the ability to make constant pressure and progress, G-Darm that was extremely fast and ridiculously hard to check, and Ash-Greninja, a special cleaner that loved all of the defensive Pokémon that were forced to run PhysDef. They were collectively banned and the metagame was subsequently far healthier. However, rain had lost two major players that really helped out in Ash-Greninja and Tornadus-T. The archetype tanked. Eventually the readdition of Ash-Greninja helped rain out and kicked the niche and not very good Kingdra off of these squads. Dracovish was recently banned as well, which is arguably as beneficial as it is hindering to rain-facing a Banded Vish in your own rain is kind of an autolose without perfect play.
With the DLC, however, rain has gotten some major buffs.
-Mega Swampert, the Mega of choice on these squads, is arguably the most buffed. The movepool additions from CT are amazing- Jolly Liquidation hits with very nearly the power of Adamant Waterfall- allowing Swampert to run Jolly far more easily, but granting even greater power on Adamant sets. Additionally, Swampert gained access to several other moves-Darkest Lariat gives it a way to hit a few things slightly better though it is largely negligible, Body Press is a more reliable Fighting move but probably won’t see use, High Horsepower hits considerably harder than Earthquake under Grassy Terrain but is otherwise outclassed. However, there are two other highly notable additions- Flip Turn which grants Pert access to incredible momentum and surprising power in rain, and Bulk Up, which lets it punish switches in a new way and possibly sweep.
Also Zapdos got Hurriacane
 
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Jho

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Regieleki @ Light Clay
Ability: Transistor
EVs: 140 HP / 252 Atk / 116 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Light Screen
- Reflect
- Volt Switch / Rapid Spin
- Explosion

With all the Eleki talk above I thought I would post what I have been testing and I am pretty sure is its best set. Thanks to its insane speed and access to Explosion, Eleki is a decent sidegrade suicide lead for screen HOs. Having the niche over Grimmsnarl of access to boom to remove itself quickly so the sweepers can take full advantage of the screens effects for the trade off of not having Prankster Taunt. The speed lets it outpace Choice Scarf Landorus-T while max Attack and an Adamant nature maximizes the strength of its Explosions. Unfortunately, Eleki has literally 0 coverage to make other sets work as they end up completely walled by any Ground-type so I believe this is the best it can do - a sidegrade on an already extremely niche archetype unfortunately.
 
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Hmmmm..., there's another weather that wasn't too good before but will be better these days: sand. The thing with sand (and rain) is that it was pretty predictable - sand setter (most likely ttar), excadrill, bulky grass type, maybe another sand abuser, etc. But Sand Rush Dracozolt is getting released soon and I think it's gonna be good.

First and foremost, Zolt automatically gets double speed in sand, which allows it to spam nuclear-powered Bolt Beaks like a boss. There is also almost no opportunity cost of running Band over Scarf (something Vish had to decide between, although both were extremely good regardless). If ground-types are an issue there is always Life Orb. Electric+Dragon is a pretty good offensive typing that can hit most of the tier neutrally (and it isn't the worst defensive typing around), and it have Fire Fang and EQ for coverage. Excadrill gives it a bit of competition in its role, but I think that you can even pair them together, with Zolt taking care of stuff like Zapdos and Corviknight while Drill takes care of fairies. Too bad it doesn't get Swords Dance or Ice Fang. I think Dracozolt will be a great add on sand teams.

In other news... well, there really isn't any, besides Garchomp getting Scale Shot, which is... something, I guess (I don't know if it even have it before).
 
First and foremost, Zolt automatically gets double speed in sand, which allows it to spam nuclear-powered Bolt Beaks like a boss. There is also almost no opportunity cost of running Band over Scarf (something Vish had to decide between, although both were extremely good regardless). If ground-types are an issue there is always Life Orb. Electric+Dragon is a pretty good offensive typing that can hit most of the tier neutrally (and it isn't the worst defensive typing around), and it have Fire Fang and EQ for coverage. Excadrill gives it a bit of competition in its role, but I think that you can even pair them together, with Zolt taking care of stuff like Zapdos and Corviknight while Drill takes care of fairies. Too bad it doesn't get Swords Dance or Ice Fang. I think Dracozolt will be a great add on sand teams.
Of note, part of what made Vish's Rend hit so had was that Strong Jaw effectively gave it an extra Band. Sand Rush+Band is the same power boost as Strong Jaw+Scarf, and we all know Band Vish was the one that was dealing truly terrifying damage. Bolt Beak is also, obviously, less spammable because electric immunities (ground types) are much more common than water immunities. Not saying that Zolt on Sand will be bad, it definitely has potential now that its HA is released, but it's not going to be doing Vish level nuclear damage, and its non-Bolt Beak attacks will still be somewhat underwhelming.
In other news... well, there really isn't any, besides Garchomp getting Scale Shot, which is... something, I guess (I don't know if it even have it before).
Scale Shot was added in Isle of Armor and Garchomp wasn't in SwSh until now, so yes that's new. It's no Dragon Dance, but Chomp having a way to boost its speed could be interesting. Combine with Swords Dance for double setup? Could be something. Boosting speed is also nice for mega Chomp but I doubt it makes mega Chomp good.
 

Zneon

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In all honesty, I feel none of the Pokemon we got are gonna be good and for some, even viable. We got 2 broken Pokemon in Calyrex-Ice and Calyrex-Shadow but they were never staying, and nothing else I feel has been doing good for me. I have used Spectrier but it is disgustingly awful with its nonexistent coverage, so I decided to use the next best thing, Glastrier:


Glastrier @ Choice Band
Ability: Chilling Neigh
EVs: 144 HP / 252 Atk / 112 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Icicle Crash
- Close Combat
- High Horsepower
- Heavy Slam

So I've been using Glastrier a bit and simply put, I do not think it is that great of a Pokemon, but I do think it has a few nice things. Its ridiculous bulk is great as well as the fact that it has great coverage, unlike another horse, which makes for a pretty great offensive tank. For reference, at full health it can live a Ghostium Z at +1 from Dragapult with only a 6.3% chance to OHKO using this spread, which is pretty great considering how that move nukes almost everything else. This bulk is also a big boon because its able to 1v1 some of our best Pokemon, mainly the 3 Ground types of the tier and threaten a lot of bulky stuff like Clefable and Tangrowth cause it is disgustingly strong; Icicle Crash coming from 145 Attack is nothing to ignore, especially coming from a Pokemon as bulky as this thing. This spread allows it to outspeed Tangrowth, and I dumped the rest into HP so it can tank as many hits as possible. Overall, I do not think Glastrier will have that big of an impact on NatDex, but I do see it being a pretty good but niche choice.
 

Sevelon

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I largely agree with the points that Zneon has made, and to me, Glastrier feels very inconsistent. Against a slower, bulkier team, Glastrier will perform rather well. On the other side of the coin, Glastrier's poor typing, weakness to rocks, and lack of speed leave it dead in the water against a more offensive team. At best against offense, you can potentially trade one for one given the sheer bulk that Glastrier is packing. Being quite honest, I think Glastrier will have a niche, but will end up residing in the lower B ranks on the viability rankings because the cons largely outweigh the pros with this Pokemon. Sure, the calcs may look insane, but in practice this Pokemon nearly always underperforms due to the faster pace that the meta is currently at. Pokemon such as Cinderace, Lopunny, and Medicham prey heavily on slower victims, and Glastrier unfortunately will not be able to cut it unless the meta gets a drastic overhaul.

Also as an aside I prefer Megahorn over Heavy Slam since your STAB 2HKO's Clef regardless, and being walled by Slowbro is not ideal.
 
I feel like the reason ghost horse is underwhelming to some people is because of its lack luster coverage which is true however if you use groundiumZ with mud shot or normaliumZ with hyper beam it can break through its checks with ease and sweep most teams.
However it is underwhelming for one reason which impacts it way more then its non existence special movepool that is pult it can't snowball or wallbreak as easily however it doesn't get outsped by scarfers and can set up on more things because of sub.

Btw don't just pass mons by after all we're one week into dlc2.
 
Figured I'd share some thoughts on the Crown Tundra DLC and the metagame (will probably make a part two at some point because this is so long and I have no idea how to use hide tags. Sorry.) :

:tapu-koko: :tapu-lele: :tapu-fini: :tapu-bulu:

Kinda sucks that these guys ended up not getting ANYTHING useful outside of Bulu getting CC. Seriously, Koko and Lele don't even get Terrain Pulse for stronger "STAB" or their respective nukes, and Fini's literally the only one in the bunch that gets Play Rough for whatever reason lol (according to Serebii at least. I don't have SwSh). Fini and Lele will likely remain the only 2 non-niche Tapus in the meta, though I've been finding Lele to be a tad underwhelming at times given how popular and resilient the tier's defensive Steels are as well as Pursuit being a popular support. Not to mention the Lati twins and their Megas (especially Latios) are looking to be promising with their newfound coverage.

:Latios: :latios-mega: :latias-mega:

As I already mentioned, Latios, Mega Latios, and Mega Latias all look promising with Aura Sphere and Mystical Fire being part of their movepools now. I personally believe that Latios might end up being the premier Psychic-type over Lele because of it's overall superior bulk, speed, coverage, and utility, with its old ORAS Offensive Defog set (updated with better coverage of course) since it can naturally threaten out many of the tier's hazard setters, outspeed more Pokemon than Lele could dream, provides a Heatran switchin, etc. Mega Latios also has the benefit of no longer having to run mixed sets to beat TTar and Heatran because of Aura Sphere, though it will have some issues with the occasional Aegislash. And of course, Mega Latias has near perfect coverage for Calm Mind sets as Stored Power + Aura Sphere can beat anything not named Mega Sableye, though players tend to prefer Reuniclus as a Stored Power sweeper for obvious reasons.

Galarian Zapdos

Honestly, this is the only new Pokemon I think will have at least somewhat of a legitimate niche in the tier as a CB wallbreaker. Sure we've got other Fighting-types in the meta, but they either/both take up your Mega Slot or can't beat certain mons like the omnipresent Clefable and Slowbro. Galarian Zapdos doesn't have either of these issues, as Banded Brave Bird pretty much 2HKOES these common Fighting-type switchins, and as we've learned from Torn-T, we barely have any long-term switchins for Flying-types bar Zapdos, who can be forced by potential teammates like Ash Greninja. Plus, Defiant makes you downright deadly if you switchin on a predicted Defog, though that's pretty risky considering many Defoggers have SE coverage for this.
 

Jordy

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I was really hoping to see some significant shakeup of the metagame, as I frankly do not enjoy playing it much right now due to the state of the metagame and some Pokemon in it. I find a lot of the drops to be pretty mediocre, but ofcourse they cannot be discarded after less than 1 day of testing.

Galarian Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos have been pretty disappointing for a variety of reasons, though I can very well see Galarian Zapdos carve a niche for itself on some hyper offensive teams. Glastrier's damage output is definitely impressive, and it can trade with a lot of Pokemon thanks to its generally good bulk; that reminds me a bit of Choice Band Melmetal, but it's overall pretty unimpressive and inconsistent due to its horrible Speed tier and typing. Spectrier is a worse version of the abundance of other Ghost-types we have available, most notably Dragapult and Gengar. This is largely due to its shallow movepool. Regidrago and Regieleki are definitely threatening in their own right, but the fact that the former cannot get past Fairy-types, while the latter cannot get past Ground-types is incredibly annoying. Lastly, that onion rabbit isn't worth talking about.

I'm not very enthusiastic about the new Pokemon we got, but I've also been trying out some of the new tools we got on already available Pokemon, and there's a couple I'd like to talk about!

:sm/aerodactyl-mega:
Dragon Dance Mega Aerodactyl is perhaps my favorite addition to the metagame. It may not look the best on paper and it absolutely isn't, but being a naturally fast viable sweeper on hyper offensive teams is amazing. The ability to naturally outspeed Dragapult is crazy good, as is outspeeding Cinderace.

Aerodactyl-Mega @ Aerodactylite
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Dual Wingbeat
- Fire Fang
- Earthquake
- Dragon Dance

I've liked this set the most; Dual Wingbeat is a very strong STAB move when backed up by Tough Claws, and Fire Fang + Earthquake complement it very nicely. Not being able to run Aqua Tail or Ice Fang is a little annoying against Gliscor, but Mega Aerodactyl is generally able to set up against it pretty comfortably anyway.

Here's a team I've been enjoying with it!
:mew::aerodactyl-mega::rillaboom::dragapult::kommo-o::cinderace:

:sm/latias-mega:
Mega Latias gaining access to Aura Sphere and Mystical Fire is insanely powerful. Moreso the former than the latter, though. Being able to stay in against Pursuit users and dealing meaningful damage is great; Mega Tyranitar has to run Crunch to effectively Pursuit trap Mega Latias now, and it can take a lot more risks around Pursuit trappers now. The fact that Aura Sphere still hits Heatran for meaningful damage is very useful too. Mystical Fire is also very good to overwhelm Magearna and Corviknight, but not quite as good in my opinion.

One of my favorite intricacies around Aura Sphere Maga Latias is how well it can enable Dragapult; being able to wear Mega Tyranitar and Tyranitar down so heavily makes it very easy for Dragapult to overwhelm teams quickly.

I'd like to share a team I've found to be very enjoying to use! It could definitely use some tweaking and there's a couple bad matchups, but I think it shows off this synergy between Mega Latias and Dragapult very well.
:latias-mega::dragapult::heatran::gastrodon::clefable::zapdos:

:sm/zapdos:
Zapdos has finally gained access to Hurricane! To accompany that, it has also gained Weather Ball. This combination is pretty solid on Rain teams and can serve as a substitution for Corviknight; it is much better at offensively pressuring Grass-types, though running it trades a lot of the Kyurem matchup away in return.

Here's a rain team with it that I liked using.
:pelipper::swampert-mega::zapdos::ferrothorn::manaphy::greninja-ash:

(Swampert has Flip Turn now)
 

Chazm

Ch
is a Tiering Contributor
Here are some sets that I've been having fun with:

Galarian Zapdos

Zapdos-Galar @ Leftovers / Flyinium Z
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Thunderous Kick
- Brave Bird
- Blaze Kick / U-turn
- Taunt

This is what I believe to be Galarian Zapdos' best set. Whilst other people have been experimenting with CB and Bulk Up, I believe abusing Thunderous Kick and Taunt is the best way to go about playing with it. It does excellently at dismantling bulky cores, although it can be a bit slow at dealing with the likes of Toxapex & Slowbro. However I do feel like the buffs Zapdos gets pushes this into a more niche category. Good mon, but it seems like it's going to be tough to use properly.

Galarian Slowking

Slowking-Galar @ Black Sludge
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 212 HP / 252 SpA / 44 Spe
Modest Nature
- Sludge Bomb
- Psyshock
- Focus Blast / Flamethrower
- Nasty Plot

This is a brilliant balance breaker in the current metagame and heavily punishes Toxapex / Clefable type balances with its strong STAB combination + Focus Blast or Flamethrower. Its defensive utility is not bad either, as it can take miscellaneous hits from the likes of Kyurem and Mega Lopunny at full HP and force them out.

Replay of this in action: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8nationaldex-1208615466

Mega Garchomp

Garchomp @ Garchompite
Ability: Rough Skin
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Scale Shot
- Earthquake
- Fire Fang
- Swords Dance

Mega Garchomp now has the ability to increase its Speed which was one of the major complications when involving its inclusion on teams. Now that it has that ability, its ability to clean up bulky teams with Scale Shot carves it a much greater role in the National Dex metagame. I am hoping to see more from this mon - I think it could rise to greatness.

Replay of Megachomp messing with a weakened team: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8nationaldex-1208690797-d6wpbiisd04sd5qfao4t6kvmn3wmbewpw
 
Last edited:
:ss/clefable:

Clefable @ Leftovers
Bold Nature
Ability: Unaware
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
- Calm Mind
- Moonblast
- Soft-Boiled
- Heal Bell/Wish/Stealth Rock/Flamethrower

So this was brought up in the Discord earlier. With the introduction of the Ability Patch, Clefable is now able to run Unaware and Softboiled on the same set! While Wishtect is helpful with assisting teammates with more longevity, and racking up Leftovers recovery, Softboiled has the benefit of freeing up a move slot on Clef for other options. Double Heal Bell with Chansey gives you more of a safety net against status, Wish allows you to keep your team healthy when being forced to switch out, and Stealth Rock lets you pressure opposing stall teams since you force Mega Sableye out. Flamethrower might be more niche, but you do get to catch stuff like Kartana and Mega Scizor off guard if they try to switch in. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a super huge buff since Unaware Clefable only sees play on stall (which isn't that great rn because of stuff like Gliscor, Heatran, MMaw, etc), but it does give Unaware sets more flexibility for utility and I'm interested to see if it has even a bit of impact on the stall archetype.
 

Zneon

Freedom
is a Community Contributoris a Live Chat Contributor
Hi everyone! So in this post, I want to go over things you must account for when building a balance/bulky offensive team, I simply want to talk about what you should always think about and keep in mind when building a team, outside of very obvious stuff like having a Stealth Rocker or hazard remover. So with all of that out of the way, lets gooo! This is post inspired by this post by Jordy in USUM, and I thought it was a great idea so why not do that myself? Hopefully Anyway enough of that aside let's goo.



Ash-Greninja

This is no different from last gen, Ash-Greninja is easily one of the most important Pokemon in the metagame to account for, if not just flat out mandatory to have a team that deals with it. If you lack a good check to Ash-Greninja then you either need to add one or rebuild it to fit one onto your team. However luckily enough, Ash-Greninja counterplay is not only vast but very easy to come by as well. The most common Ash-Greninja answer, or at least the one I've been using the most is Blissey, and it's not hard to see why, it takes nothing from its moves, immune to Spikes unless its HDB is Knocked Off, uses it for momentum due to Teleport, and potentially Thunder Wave to cripple something anything else that switches into Ash-Greninja. Tapu Fini is also in a good spot in this metagame, it can remove Spikes, doesn't really take that much damage from its STAB moves and can threaten it with Moonblast. Offensive counterplay is harder to come by however, especially when its transformed already, however its not hard to prevent it from transforming especially when 2 of its best answers are common enough, however offensive counterplay in Mega Lopunny and Rillaboom are incredibly good in this metagame. This Pokemon may be a very important Pokemon to account for in teambuilding, however its a manageable threat that can easily be played around, especially when it isn't transformed.




Dragapult

Dragapult is, more tricky. I say this because unlike Ash-Greninja, Dragapult doesn't really have consistent checks or counters, at least to the same extent as Ash-Greninja, and I emphasis consistent here, because Pokemon like Clefable, Tangrowth, Toxapex, Mega Mawile, Sucker Punch Cinderace and more should be able to check/counter Dragapult on paper, but in practice, they all can easily lose because of the 50/50s between Ghostium Z and Substitute, most if not all of the mindgames can come to that, making it very hard to deal with. Regardless, I feel Dragapult is near mandatory to account for in building a team and most of the time you are going to have to sack multiple answers to this in order to minimise your chances of getting swept by it. All of those Pokemon I listed can soft check Dragapult in terms of breaking its Substitute so it cannot setup more than one Dragon Dance in Clefable, Tangrowth, and Knock Off Toxapex's case, Hazing it in Toxapex's case if it isn't in Ghostium Z range, priority in Mega Lopunny, Mega Mawile and Cinderace's case if it hasn't already set up a Substitute. I also want to point out that Mega Tyranitar is one of the best answers to Dragapult in the metagame because of how consistently it beats it, you are mostly guaranteed to beat it 1v1 unless its weakened to Dragon Darts range at +1.

Overall while Dragapult is incredibly hard to deal with overall, having multiple answers is still very important to ensure that you don't immediately lose to it and have a fighting chance in a game, similar to Ash-Greninja.



Ground-type checks

Ground-types are pretty much always needed on a team in my opinion, and the reason why will be in the next section of this post; that aside, Ground-types are universal on almost every single team and because of that you need a Ground-type check. These 3 Ground-types I listed here are easily the most prominent and metagame defining ones by far. Garchomp and Landorus-T especially are very threatening because of SD + Z-Move which can destroy almost everything at +2, but before we deal with those and Gliscor, the first thing I want to say is that you need a Ground immune or a Ground resist. Earthquake is easily one of the most spammable moves in the game and amazing coverage for just about anything, so a Ground resist/immune is mandatory in my opinion. Luckily there are so many of them, Mega Latias, Corviknight, Zapdos, Tangrowth and Gliscor are incredibly good, splashable Pokemon that you can not really go wrong with, and they do an excellent job of being a good Ground-type check. Now onto Landorus-T and Garchomp, they are most very threatening however they can be worn down throughout the course of the game, so offensive pressure from stuff like Ash-Greninja or Pokemon that can simple check them really well like Slowbro and Tangrowth are pretty great Pokemon to fit onto teams.


Volt Blockers

This was only brought to my attention recently, and I didn't really think much of it until everything on my team just got demolished by after Magnezone spammed Tbolt and Volt Switch freely because I had no Volt Blocker, then it hit me. Volt Blockers are absolutely needed on almost every team, if not every single team, reason being, VoltTurn. Without a Ground-type Pokemon, your team will essentially become a momentum punching bag, because you simply have nothing to deter Volt Switch users from clicking that move, and when that mon comes in, whether its Magnezone or Tapu Koko or Magearna, you lose almost all of your momentum and you will have your entire team chipped down by both hazards and pivoting until you simply cannot really deal with the offensive pressure anymore.


Cinderace

Cinderace is a very big deal, because its incredibly hard to really pivot around or punish, its very easy for it to just U-turn out of many Pokemon in the metagame and wear them down just like that until they are in range of one of Cinderace's moves, making it a very hard Pokemon to deal with. Luckily, Cinderace checks are of course, very prominent and good right now. Slowbro and Gliscor in particular are 2 great ways of dealing with this Pokemon, since they can remain healthy throughout the entire match, while Pokemon such as Garchomp and Baneful Bunker Toxapex can also chip it down fairly well, so while Cinderace is definitely something you need to account for on almost any team, it is a manageable threat that can be played around.



Stallbreakers

Even though I wouldn't call stall the most common archetype in the metagame, it still exists and its viable enough to where you should almost always carry a stallbreaker with you, if you don't you are most of the time going to lose to stall. These 4 are the best stallbreakers you can really come across in the metagame. The great thing about all of these Pokemon are that they all have a great spot in the metagame other than stallbreaking, other than arguably Reuniclus, however these Pokemon can definitely be prepped against by stall teams however.

_ _ _

Okay that's it for this post. I know I haven't gone over everything you need to think about when building a balance / bulky offense team, but I decided to go over the most important ones so that a newcomer to this metagame can get an idea of what you need to consider and account for when building and prepping in this metagame. For everyone else, I hope this post has helped you in some way or another.

Thanks for reading! :blobthumbsup:
 

Guard

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Moderator
NDPL Recap

Hello everyone! We have reached the conclusion of National Dex's inaugural premier league, and with that, here are some observations I have made throughout the tournament. Most of these are based on the overall usage stats, which you may find here.

Top Dogs

:sm/toxapex::sm/clefable:

Toxapex and Clefable once again prove to be the most splashable staples in the metagame, with both sporting a 32.35% usage percentage and a winrate over 50%. Both were metagame definers pre-NDPL, and have continued to establish themselves as such during NDPL.

It's not hard to see that many metagame trends can be tracked down to either Toxapex or Clefable's presence. NDPL has definitely had a fair share of these trends too. Perhaps the most notable trend Toxapex has given incentive to is the enormous rise in Future Sight Slowbro, which is often coupled with one of the metagame's best status absorbers in Blissey, to create what is arguably one of the most consistent playstyles in the current metagame. On the other end, Clefable's dominance is best exhibited through Hydreigon's meteoric fall from grace during NDPL; specially defensive Clefable usage (as well as Blissey's astronomical rise) is simply too much for Hydreigon to handle.

Other miscellaneous data can also be boiled down to either, or both, of these Pokemon. Notice, for example, how valued status absorbers are as a result of Toxapex; all of Clefable, Gliscor, Blissey, and Reuniclus have had very positive showings in NDPL. Also take a look at Volcarona and Mega Lopunny's abysmal output throughout the tournament. Just about any Toxapex set completely suffocates Volcarona, whether that be with Haze, Knock Off, Toxic, or a combination of these moves. Moreover, contrary to belief, Volcarona fails to take proper advantage of Clefable, since it is severely crippled by Knock Off and Thunder Wave, and has to get lucky to come out on top versus Calm Mind Clefable. Similarly, Mega Lopunny dislikes Toxapex and Clefable for obvious reasons.

It definitely seems like none of this dominance is about to stop anytime soon, since we didn't really get anything in DLC II that actively restrict Toxapex or Clefable (Galarian Slowking might actually be worth exploring more, though), so they will remain here to rule for now.

:sm/cinderace::sm/dragapult:

Prior to NDPL, the council specified that they'd keep a close eye on trends regarding Cinderace, Dragapult, and Dracovish. Out of these three, Dracovish turned out to be unhealthy to an extent where it ended up getting banned during the tournament, whereas Cinderace, and especially Dragapult, have cemented themselves as the most reliable offensive presences by some margin.

Cinderace started out with phenomenal winrates (as high as 80%) in the initial stages of the tournament, and while both usage and winrate took a dip in later stages, Cinderace still managed to wrap up NDPL with very convincing statistics. Perhaps the most notable development with regard to Cinderace was the change in item preference; Z-Move variants have fallen from the face of the earth, with Heavy-Duty Boots being the overwhelming favorite, both for pivot sets and Bulk Up sets. Furthermore, Cinderace has also started flourishing on hyper offense as a good wallbreaker and wincondition, albeit facing 4MSS.

On the other hand, Dragapult has become more and more prevalent as the weeks passed, and is definitely one of the most fearsome standalone threats in the current metagame. The amount of usage it got is nothing short of impressive: to no-one's surprise, it's the most-used offensively oriented Pokemon, with a usage stat that outweighs even that of defensive superglues such as Heatran and Ferrothorn. It has truly established itself as the best wincondition in the metagame bar none, profiting immensely from a list of checks that is as low as ever.

Surging Strikers

:sm/blissey::sm/latias-mega:

Blissey's rise in viability is probably one of the most jaw-dropping stories in National Dex history. After the Heavy-Duty Boots epiphany post-DLC I, Blissey has shot up from UR all the way to A+ in our Viability Rankings. Blissey's prowess definitely showed in NDPL, as it boasts among the highest winrates on top of being a commonly used Pokemon. With its huge special bulk and access to Teleport, Blissey has taken over, and amplified, what Assault Vest Magearna used to do for bulky offensive builds in USUM. This, along with Slowbro's prominence, has greatly increased the playstyle's prominence to a point where it's considered to be one of the standard ways of building a team in National Dex. Blissey's presence has also had a fair share of impacts on our metagame: Assault Vest Magearna and Tangrowth are very niche, Hydreigon dropped from S to A-, and a plethora of frail Pokemon are able to exhibit their full potential due to Blissey's pivoting prowess (e.g. Mega Medicham, Cinderace, and Weavile).

Mega Latias also managed to finish NDPL with a very high winrate of 81.82%, which goes to show that Mega Latias bulky balances are at their heights as well. Both Calm Mind and bulky Defog variants have made their presences known in the tournament, providing heaps of defensive utility, great Speed control, and a potent wincondition if desired. It was raised from A to A+ as a result. Significantly, although not relevant to NDPL, Mega Latias recently made the final jump to S, with its newfound toy in Aura Sphere letting it combat Pursuit trappers and turning it into a far deadlier wincondition than ever before.

:sm/tapu-koko::sm/hawlucha:

Tapu Koko has blossomed as a potent pivot throughout the past few weeks. Its Choice Specs set in particular has proven to be a legitimate threat in a metagame where common Volt Switch-immune Pokemon such as Gliscor and Landorus-T are one prediction away from being OHKOed by Hidden Power Ice. Once Tapu Koko manages to get rid of Ground-types, it turns into a fantastic and hard-hitting momentum generator with Volt Switch, often subjecting the opponent to a vicious vortex of progress-making that is hard to punish or contain. As an extension to Tapu Koko's showing in hyper offense, Hawlucha also saw significant usage as a very potent wincondition that is very hard to stop with the majority of Clefable running specially defensive spreads.

Disappointing Dwindlers

:sm/kartana::sm/tapu-fini::sm/hippowdon:

In addition to Mega Lopunny, Hydreigon, and Volcarona, these are some other Pokemon that had disappointing showings in NDPL. Kartana failed to impress due to Corviknight, Zapdos, Mega Latias, Mega Scizor, and Skarmory all being pretty common presences. Kartana's appeal is further lowered due to how much momentum it drains versus potent offensive threats such as Cinderace, and the annoying movepool issues it faces; Kartana really wants both Fightinium Z and Normalium Z to bust through all of its checks.

Tapu Fini simply has far less presence in a metagame where Slowbro and Toxapex offer a lot more as bulky Water-types, and Blissey as a specially defensive pivot that handles Ash-Greninja, Heatran, and Hydreigon very well too.

Hippowdon is an awful Stealth Rock setter, since it can't touch Corviknight at all. Hippowdon also suffers from Pokemon such as as Gliscor, Mega Scizor, and Landorus-T using it as setup bait if it forgoes Whirlwind for Toxic, and if it doesn't, it can't keep up entry hazards versus Zapdos either. The main issue, however, can be boiled down to the fact that Hippowdon struggles to offer a niche to teams that isn't outdone by more prevalent Pokemon such as Toxapex, Slowbro, or Mega Scizor.
 

Jordy

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OU Forum Leader
When you think of winconditions, you probably think of setup Pokemon like Calm Mind Clefable, Dragon Dance Dragapult, Calm Mind Mega Latias, and Swords Dance Gliscor. That's very understandable, considering just how often these Pokemon tend to seal games or otherwise have a massive hand in coasting towards a win. However, what about alternative winconditions? Alternative winconditions are things within the game that enable a winpath. I figured this'd be an interesting topic to talk about because there's quite a lot of them that I really don't think get enough credit as winconditions, despite how influential they tend to be.

1.1 Spikes

Spikes on its own is often not seen as a wincondition, but rather a tool that can support Pokemon like Reuniclus, Mega Latias, and Clefable to be so much more devastating. As such, I think it perfectly falls under the definition of being an alternative wincondition.

Many people realize the potency of Spikes, so I won't go on about it for too long, but I still figured it was worth pointing out as perhaps the strongest alternative wincondition. The ability to punish switches heavily with Spikes is great because it heavily limits the opponents options; Spikes can often pressure Pokemon like Heatran and Mega Scizor out of games if you pull a couple smart switches. Heavy-Duty Boots may be more common than ever, but that does not take away from the dominance of Spikes.

1.2 Toxic Spikes

Toxic Spikes falls into a pretty similar place to Spikes, but overall, its niche is much more narrow than that of Spikes. Spikes can punish any grounded Pokemon, meaning it is excellent at supporting many bulky Pokemon that can force a lot of switches. However, the thing with Toxic Spikes is that it can be absorbed by Poison-types and that Steel-types are immune to it. As such, this entry hazard is overall much less punishing and fills a more specific niche than Spikes.

That ofcourse isn't to say that Toxic Spikes in general isn't a good entry hazard, but it mostly enables bulky Pokemon that struggle with Dark-types, but can outlast them if they're poisoned. Reuniclus is a really good example of a potential wincondition that is enabled by Toxic Spikes.

1.3 Pursuit

At its core, Pursuit is a broken move. However, Ghost- and Psychic-types are so poorly balanced to the point where I think Pursuit is a pretty healthy addition. Pursuit has the ability to outright remove or heavily weaken Pokemon like Reuniclus, Zapdos, and Heatran. This in turn can enable many different winconditions, such as Mega Medicham, Mega Scizor, Kartana, etc.

1.4 Future Sight

Future Sight is another move that many people have realized the potency of. When a Future Sight is up, the opportunities of Pokemon like Toxapex, Tangrowth, and Zapdos are severely limited. This can easily be used in your advantage to quickly break through teams with Pokemon like Cinderace, Ash-Greninja, Kartana, and Magearna.

1.5 Paralysis

Paralysis is something that I have only recently started looking at like an alternative wincondition. It's pretty different from any of the other things I've mentioned so far, but it definitely still falls into a very similar category.

The main reason for this is because paralysis can enable a lot of Pokemon to win, where they otherwise couldn't. This mostly applies to slower winconditions like Clefable and Mega Mawile. Through paralyzing checks like Heatran, Melmetal, and Magearna, it becomes much easier for them to get past it, largely due to the Speed drop. Basically, paralysis enables winpaths that otherwise would be much harder to attain.

I hope this post made some sense and put these things into a different perspective for everyone!
 

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