Metagame NP: PU Stage 5: Bye Bye Birdie (April Tier Shifts)

Specs

Lost In The World
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April tier shifts are out! PU lost a couple very common pokemon in Talonflame and Vaporeon, along with some more niche but still solid options like Braviary and our most used hail setters + abusers. Talonflame is the biggest loss out of all of these. It was able to be fit on every team, and always did something for the team. Whether it was your defogger, or a general pivot with u turn, Talonflame was easily the most viable pokemon in PU. This felt like it deserved its own new NP thread, as the tier will be very different. It was discussed in the previous NP thread here but, to reiterate, talk with the council will be had regarding Virizions place in the tier without Talonflame.

Let us know your first impressions of what you think, what pokemon do you think will benefit from these changes?
 
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Winners
:virizion:
Everyone's been talking about it, Virizion is the clear standout here. With Talonflame gone, teams will be hard pressed to rely harder on Poison-types (Garbodor, Weezing, Golbat) and bulky Grass-types (Whimsicott, Gourgeist) to deal with it. It can justify running Zen Headbutt more often now that Talonflame isn't an issue, it can run Calm Mind sets more frequently now that it doesn't need to worry about Talonflame. Mixed sets will continue to go ham without a faster, common Pokemon holding it back. I'd definitely like to hear what the generally community thinks on whether Virizion is unhealthy, now that Talonflame has actually departed.

:tsareena::trevenant::flapple:
Without Flame Body Talonflame around, Tsareena has a lot less in the way of repercussions when spamming Power Whip. Choiced sets only get better now. If Virizion goes, this Pokemon will likely rise as a much more potent offensive Pokemon. Trevenant also benefits from being to spam Wood Hammer, Horn Leech, etc without worrying about Flame Body, albeit admittedly to a much lesser extent (Natural Cure and access to Poltergeist). It also appreciates Braviary leaving. Flapple doesn't have to worry about Flame Body anymore when using Sucker Punch or Outrage, or worry about Talonflame revenging, and can spam its attacks a whole lot easier.

:ribombee::whimsicott:
Without Talonflame being on every second team, these Pokemon will flourish. Other checks will of course rise in usage (assuming Charizard, specially defensive Togedemaru), but without Talonflame being so prevalent, one can only assume Ribombee and Choice Specs Whimsicott will benefit immensely.

:charizard:
Charizard will of course rise in usage now being the premier Fire/Flying of the metagame. The speed tier of course hinders it a lot as it can't revenge or situationally switch into Virizion. Having no Flame Body hurts a lot as well. But Charizard of course has other things going for it, its offensive presence and potential movepool, its ability to run far more viable set up offensive sets. It can slot into Talonflame's slot on a lot of new balance teams just due to its typing and stats alone.

:togedemaru::silvally-steel:
Defensive Steel-types like support Togedemaru and Steel Silvally will only get better as a means of checking Ribombee and Whimsicott. Yea.

:omastar::kingler::kabutops::clawitzer:
Vaporeon leaving helps Omastar immensely. One of its greatest checks beforehand, Omastar has one less Pokemon it has to worry about getting a 50/50 right against. Omastar however does dislike Talonflame leaving, as it was formerly one of its greatest opportunities to set up. Kingler benefits immensely as Vaporeon was formerly its greatest check. Offensive water-types in general appreciate Vaporeon leaving a ton.

:jellicent::tangela:
While this isn't a direct replacement by any means, Jellicent is a bulky Water Absorb Water-type that can sponge hits from offensive Water-types. Tangela also helps versus Kingler and Kabutops, who now lose a reliable check; however, it cannot adequately answer specially offensive threats.

Notable Loser
:jolteon:
Any potential niche this Pokemon had before is sufficiently depleted. Unlike Heliolisk, it outspeeds Archeops, but that would never be enough to justify usage over it. Please do not use Jolteon!
 

Bag of Trixx

Thoughts from a balcony
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Howdy!

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I wanted to provide some thoughts/input on how I think the new meta will progress now that the PU tier has gone through some considerably drastic changes thanks to the tier shift. Before I do that however, I just want to quickly reflect on the Talonflame meta and how losing Smogon Birb in the builder will significantly impact the tier in honestly a quite positive manner.

Talonflame was undoubtedly the tier's premier staple and provided the player with answers to just about any question in the builder. Needed some defensive utility? Use Talonflame. Needed a generic Fighting check? Use Talonflame. Needed a generic Fairy check? Use Talonflame. Birb also provided speed control, pivoting capabilities, a Defogger, an offensive check to some of the most common setup sweepers in the tier, Flame Body punishment for our other pivots like Togedemaru, and overall longevity that nothing else in PU could ultimately hold a candle to respectively whilst maintaining all of these other niches. It is, now was, and probably will always be remembered truthfully as Gen8 PU's best mon. So, seeing this mon rise to NU didn't come as a shock to me, but rather a disappointment because there simply is no mon that can do what Talonflame does. That isn't to say the tier will be left in shambles however, with its departure. As it has been commonly trending that Virizion has now become troublesome for the tier, or predictably so, with Talonflame gone this will ultimately lead to a hopeful suspect test / quick-ban for Virizion in the near future. I don't want to dwell on this subject too much, as that was discussed in the previous NP thread, however the reason I'd prefer a quick-ban is largely for the success and future involvement PU can have in future tournament scenes and ultimately because Virizion is just far too powerful a mon for the tier, especially with losing its most active check both offensively and defensively. Use a BW favorite of Unaware Swoobat for your Viriz answer since they have no reason for Stone Edge now kek.

So TL;DR, a Talonflame-less meta will actively push out such an offensive powerhouse and most definitely open up the builder in creative ways again, as the previous meta was largely cookie-cutter, almost identical, and to be quite honest, boring in terms of teams you'd commonly see at a competitive level.

As for Vaporeon, this was PU's go-to bulky Water and provided a defensive backbone that many other mons failed to compete with. It provided a solid defensive foundation with Virizion checks lacking in recovery thanks to its fat Wishes like Garbodor, but even more so a defensive check to pretty much most physical attackers in the tier not named Toxicroak, as well as provided a bulky check to common special attackers like Omastar. Similarly to Talonflame, Vaporeon was certainly an integral piece to the SS PU metagame, and will be quite missed as it could splash itself onto virtually all teamstyles thanks to its defensive success. However, with Vaporeon gone, this only opens a door for further experimentation in a brand new metagame and will enforce creativity in the builder, especially in teams lacking defensive checks to Omastar. At first glance, almost all offensive Water types received a massive buff with the departure of Vaporeon, and Omastar could perhaps become rather alarming.

One commonly suggested bulky Water replacement was Jellicent. However, it isn't as similar in design since Jellicent cannot contribute to teams with healing/cleric support. Instead, it can provide status support thanks to Will-O-Wisp as well as provide teams with additional immunities. However it is not as consistent as Vaporeon in terms of an overall defensive mon since it is more susceptible to status and being chipped down much more easily without Leftovers.

1v1 Scenario of Omastar vs Jellicent
+3 252+ SpA Omastar Meteor Beam vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Jellicent: 343-405 (84.9 - 100.2%) -- 6.3% chance to OHKO

0 SpA Jellicent Hex (65 BP) vs. -1 0 HP / 4 SpD Omastar: 123-145 (43.7 - 51.6%) -- 10.9% chance to 2HKO

This scenario is regarding Jellicent's most common moves and is under ideal scenarios, however Jellicent isn't a reliable defensive check to Omastar after a Shell Smash due to the possibility of being OHKOd with a +3 Meteor Beam. Although Meteor Beam can be played around and baited, this calc stills shows just how big the shoes are that Jellicent is trying to fill with taking Vaporeon's place. However, if the Meteor Beam can be predicted, Jellicent can 2HKO with Shadow Ball after a Shell Smash or surprise with a Giga Drain for an OHKO as well as some added recovery.



Now, onto the the new meta to see who I believe profited the most/least with these shifts.


Winners

Virizion



This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Virizion is for the most part universally accepted as being far too much for the current tier, and was limited to a certain degree from being too much before simply due to Talonflame being omnipresent. However, now with it gone, setup Virizion (as Chloe mentioned) has certainly gained popularity once again and can still go mixed 4atk or mixed 3atk + Synthesis in order to bypass its remaining defensive checks, especially since the only two left who are faster naturally are Ribombee and Whimsicott. Garbodor and Weezing have lost their beloved Wish partner in Vaporeon; who was a natural invitation for Virizion most of the time, so now their limited recovery means they are more susceptible to being worn down much more easily. Yes, there are still other defensive checks like Golbat, Charizard, and Shiinotic, but all of these can be easily pressured with proper prediction, Knock Off support, or simply beaten by Virizion itself. And as for offensive checks, such as Choice Scarf Mesprit, Choice Scarf Unfezant, Archeops, Ribombee, Whimsicott, and Froslass: offensively dancing around Virizion seems to be the most effective way of handling it. However, none of them can reliably switch into Virizion without proper prediction.

Setup Sweepers



Scyther has without a doubt received a massive boost with Talonflame gone and quite honestly has gone under the radar on people's lookout. I think this is one of the tier's most threatening up-and-coming offensive setup sweepers with a set revolving around Swords Dance and U-turn. Not only is it quite fast, but it is a notable offensive check to Virizion lacking Stone Edge/Air Slash and an offensive check to Toxicroak. It also can actively punish switch-ins trying to deter setup with Knock Off into U-turn (example being Knocking a Regirock/Gigalith/Gunfisk's Leftovers or Sandaconda's Rocky Helmet). And on top of this, just by having Knock Off as an option, it can deter its offensive checks like Choice Scarf Togedemaru or HDB Charizard from ever wanting to risk switching in on a Swords Dance or it can punish its frail offensive checks like Lycanroc, Archeops, Heliolisk, or Galvantula.

Truth be told, Scyther is easily one of the mons I am most excited for in the upcoming meta. A setup sweeper who can punish its switch-ins with item disruption or by gaining momentum versus them with STAB U-turn is something PU hasn't been able to reliably experience thanks to Talonflame on 99% of teams or Vaporeon being able to 50-50 the Wish vs Scald turns on the setup vs U-turn turns.



Similarly in the reasoning as Scyther for being a setup sweeper who appreciates the removal of a pesky Flame Body bird, Silvally forms are freed up a bit by not needing to carry Rock Slide as frequently (unless your name is Silvally-Fairy and you still need a way to hit Charizard). But overall Silvally has gotten a tad better, especially since Silvally-Ghost in particular is on the rise and can offensively threaten the tier's newest defensive Water in Jellicent.



As a setup sweeper, a Choice-locked wallbreaker, or a Sticky Web setter for offensive teams, this mon has received a significant buff with the loss of Talonflame and to a lesser extent Sandslash-Alola. As it was mandatory before, it is only even more required now that Ribombee must be accounted for when building teams. Silvally-Steel, Charizard, SpDef Togedemaru, and even some lesser common checks like Frosmoth or Golbat are all notable options.

Choice-Locked Grass-Type Wallbreakers



Trevenant, Tsareena, and Gourgeist in particular as being physically offensive Grass-types largely appreciate not having to risk Flame Body anymore and to the lesser extent, the removal of several key Ice-types being Vanilluxe and Aurorus, this simply frees them up for being some strong wallbreakers with excellent utility they provide teams. As for Whimsicott, its pretty much the exact same reasoning as Ribombee when it comes to being a Choice-locked wallbreaker. Has identical defensive checks, but must be accounted for when building teams. Eggy was already amazing, but now has even more freedom for spamming Leaf Storm instead of gambling Draco Meteors.

Physical Pivots



These guys now being freed up from having to risk Flame Body chances when U-turning just drastically increase their chances of being successful in the new meta. Additionally for Basculin, it has also lost a counter in Vaporeon, so this is a major buff to it as well, but still is faced with Jellicent and the Dry Skin users of Toxicroak and Heliolisk.

Offensive Water-Types


Short, sweet, and to the point, Vaporeon gone = these guys are freed up immensely. Both Kingler and Clawitzer have coverage for Jellicent whereas Omastar can dispose of it with minimal chip prior to nuking with Meteor Beam into Earth Power unless Jellicent is well-prepared with building adaptations such as Shadow Ball > Hex or teching Giga Drain.

Offensive Rock-Types



This mon didn't particularly get any better, however with how commonplace Ribombee will inevitably become, it is by no surprise Lycanroc will continue bringing teams an offensive check to handle Ribombee if it gets out of control.

Defensive Fire-Types



Although it may share a typing with Talonflame, these two aren't comparable in terms of everything they are needed to check. For example, Charizard isn't reliable as a Virizion check because the most notable feature about Talonflame was that it was not only faster than Virizion but it could even gain momentum with U-turn as they preserved Viriz. Unfortunately though, Charizard isn't faster naturally, meaning it is just simply Stone Edge food. However, Charizard is still reliable as a Ribombee, Whimsicott, and Toxicroak check as well as differentiates itself from Talonflame with Dragon Dance sets as a way to break through common counters such as Lanturn and Gigalith. It isn't by any means Talonflame, but it at least does the job.

Defoggers / Hazard Removal



Our hazard removal has just lost arguably one of its strongest competitors in Talonflame, meaning there is room to try out various forms of hazard removal. Imo, Lurantis is probably the best Defogger whereas Tsareena is the best Rapid Spinner since both of which threaten most of the hazard setters like Gigalith, Regirock, and Sandaconda but also provide Knock Off support and cleric capabilities or in Tsareena's case, pivoting capabilities versus counters like Weezing and Garbodor.

Some other notable hazard removal who also got inherently better with shifts include the lesser known Fighting-types in the tier, Gurdurr and Hitmontop. The former being able to provide Knock Off support and tank physical attackers whereas the latter can go a bit more offensive with Technician-boosted Triple Axels without being fearful of Flame Body anymore. And what's also nice about the two of these unlike Lurantis and Tsareena, Gurdurr and Hitmontop naturally invite defensive Ghosts like Palossand and Jellicent in freely; meaning they can easily cripple either Ghost with Toxic on the switch-in and both Fighting-types have excellent forms of priority for revenge-killing weakened threats like Omastar for example.

Unfezant

Honestly, this mon doesn't look too bad! A strong, offensive Flying-type who can run a Choice Scarf to check the powerful Grass-types on the rise as well as another form of Defog support if need be is certainly a unique role compression for the builder.

Losers

Hail Teams


Losing not only Aurorus and Vanilluxe as weather-setters is a major burden for the archetype, but with both Sandslash-Alola and Arctovish leaving, this simply means Hail teams will be completely nuked from having any competitive success in the upcoming SS PU metagame.

Defoggers

Defoggers themselves didn't get inherently worse, however with losing Talonflame and the not-so-popular Sandslash-Alola, this means we have simply less to choose from and our pickings before weren't entirely too stellar.
 
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NU just banned Snow Warning and unbanned Aurora Veil. Which means we cannot use Snow Warning, but can use Aurora Veil now! Having to set up hail manually to get veil isn't very effective, especially with Gigalith being common, stopping the use of the move in its tracks. Anyways yeah heads up, Abomasnow can no longer use the ability Snow Warning, and Aurora Veil is now legal!
I dont understand why this affect PU... i know NU is a higher tier but why Aboma cant use Snow Warding??

To not being a 1-liner, the hazzard meta has change a bit in favor of spikes (Garbo and Weezing) bc the most common hazzard control are weak to Stab + they are the most notorius Virizion "checks" rn.

Aromatisse love not competing with Vaporeon as a cleric/wish passer.. A good core can be Garbodor + Aromattisee + Jellicent as a Spike stack balance defensive backbone.. Not 100% swear in ivs, evs and set but can help someone thinking how to build in a non-TalonVapo meta
 

Specs

Lost In The World
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I dont understand why this affect PU... i know NU is a higher tier but why Aboma cant use Snow Warding??
Because bans on abilities affect the tiers below it. For example, NU banned drought back in May 2020. If PU hadn't already banned the ability ourselves, it would've made us not be able to use it either. In this case: Snow Warning is banned in NU, so it's also banned in PU, but is usable in RU and above
 
Well, since NU flat-out banned Snow Warning, chances are we'll be getting the Ice-types back next month (along with potentially Arctozolt). Thanks for nothing NU :fukyu:

Virizion loves not having the birds around for obvious reasons (It got banned lmao), and Charizard can rise up as the premier Fire-type without Talonflame around. On the flip side we can kiss any Abomasnow usage goodbye lol, which coupled with the loss of most of our Ice-types will benefit mons like Guzzlord and Eggy.

Also Frosmoth is more viable with Talonflame gone and less Ice-type competition, which is nice.
 
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2xTheTap

Seasickness in the ocean of wickedness
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:ss/Virizion:

As this post and this post alluded to, council held a vote this week regarding what to do with Virizion with three options on the table: (1) do nothing, (2) hold another suspect vote for Virizion, and (3) quickban Virizion. It was a very unusual voting slate, as there were only 3 days coming in between a tier shift and the start of a major PU tournament (Open). So, as a council, we did our best to gauge community opinion before and after this shift and to further discuss what Virizion's presence looks like in a Talonflame-less meta. Ultimately, this shift made it much more difficult for players to reliably answer Virizion in teambuilder, which is a point that has been sufficiently covered by players like termi and Ktütverde in their posts here and here. Virizion no longer has enough checks (both defensive and offensive) available to answer it, and so PU council has decided to ban Virizion. Thank you all for your input! Council reasoning can be found in this post.
 
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iceblazer

formerly sovietsympathizer
:ss/virizion:
Welp, it was fun using you, but no one could deny that anyone could see this coming from a mile away. Have fun in NU, and say hi to the other PUBL members for us!

Moving back on topic here... As everyone is theorymonning on what’ll improve and what won’t, I guess I’ll share my thoughts.

THE WINNERS

:ss/charizard:

Charizard may just be the biggest winner of these shifts and bans. With Talonflame gone, it no longer has to compete for a slot. Hail mons being gone is also a big boon for it, as while the playstyle and Vish were reduced to niche during the end of their days, they also completely cucked Zard and relegated it to a benchwarmer. Vape’s rise means that it doesn’t have to run T Punch anymore on DD and SD sets, freeing up a slot to run Roost or Dual Wingbeat or whatever. Offensive Defog sets are bound to get better, as PU is short on good hazard removal, and considering that we just lost two hazard removers in Talon and Alolaslash... Zard may not be a complete Talon replacement, but it sure is our best choice.

:ss/hitmontop: :ss/tsareena: :ss/claydol:

All of our spinners have enjoyed everything that has happened. Top appreciates Virirz getting the ban hammer and facing less competition as a Fighting-type, as well as Triple Axel being a bitch to switch into. Tsareena was already decent beforehand, but faced competition as a Grass from Virizion and Whimsicott, and with the former out of the way, it can now shine as the premier offensive Grass of PU without Talon’s omnipresence. And Claydol can actually do something without being complete setup fodder for SD/CM Virizion if it chooses to run Scorching Sands.

:ss/lycanroc: :ss/rhydon: :ss/omastar:

Rock-types too have benefited from these shifts, as well. Lycanroc has been rising in usage at the start of March, and for good reason too; it’s a scary wallbreaker that can punch holes in a team, or it can outright sweep with SD. Having a great speed tier is also one of Lycan’s more notable features, as it outspeeds many of our top offensive mons and can act as a reliable revenge killer. Oma has also been making waves (heh) due to how scary it is once it gets a Shell Smash up, being able to decimate unprepared teams that rely on Pokemon such as Lanturn as their Water checks. It has also been causing adaptations such as faster scarfers like Toge and Rotom to make bumps in usage to ensure that teams don’t autolose to it. Rhydon, while not as fast as either Lycanroc or Omastar, is still a force to be reckoned with, as it can find setup options surprisingly easy due to the amount of switches it forces, its great physical bulk that’s further bolstered by Eviolite, and EdgeQuake + Heat Crash being difficult to switch into. While the presence of Fightings will always put a damper on Rock-types, it would be unwise of one to underestimate them.

:ss/centiskorch: :ss/exeggutor-alola: :ss/kingler:

Slow breakers in general have gotten better due to a whole slew of fast(er) mons either leaving or getting banned (see a pattern?). Centiskorch already manhandles common defensive cores and goes ham against more defensive teams, so Talonflame leaving will no doubt improve it, and now Centi doesn’t have to worry about getting smacked by Talon and Virizion’s SE. Exeggutor is already very strong with PU’s lack of sturdy Grass and Dragon resists, and its OTR and Specs set were and still are strong enough to blow holes in unsuspecting teams, with OTR horrifying offense and Specs being mighty hard to switch into. And with one less Water Absorb and Grass mon leaving for NU, Kingler has less to worry about and more opportunities to setup & sweep.
 
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gum

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i've built a decent amount of teams since tier shifts and virizion quickban & played a ton of games, and i'd say im starting to realize just how much talonflame held the tier together. it compressed a ton of roles that no other pokémon even comes close to doing, and it rising to nu leaves teams obligated to actually delegate roles to multiple mons instead of just slapping one and calling it a day. for example, if i needed a grass, fighting, and fairy check, i could simply add a talonflame on my team and be fine. the pokémon closest to doing everything talonflame did is charizard, but it's considerably slower and also no flame body kinda sucks. ig what i'm trying to say is that talonflame kept a ton of threats at bay, and now we're stuck with a "metagame" where the huge amount of threats is considerably more apparent. vaporeon leaving obviously didn't help either, as now threats like omastar and kingler are even better

from what i've experienced this just leads to a very mu-fishy meta where u have to hope u don't run into a threat that 6-0es u on preview, or run hyper offense (which is also mu-fishy lol). it's kinda hard to pinpoint exactly what's wrong with the metagame; it's just the huge amount of threats. omastar seems like the main one, and it's probably the closest thing we have to an unhealthy mon. i thought it was meh pre-tier shifts but archeops also got considerably better & it's getting apparent how annoying fast boots mons that can actually hit hard are. archeops also loves talonflame leaving, as taking advantage of charizard is just so much easier. wouldn't call it broken or anything of the sort but yeah i'd say it's up there. ribombee, especially quiver dance sets, is sooo much more threatening now unless u run into like, spdef togedemaru or steelvally / gigalith + wish support. but yeah, i wouldn't really be surprised if any of these threats became too much as the meta develops, less so archeops and ribombee

anyway, more of a general meta post: xatu is amazing rn and it'll probably continue being good as long as people refuse to use rhydon. the pivot set is pretty good at what it does; deny entry hazards and teleport into a wallbreaker or whatever. passimian is also really good as it has a much easier time clicking close combat / u-turn without talonflame. talonflame leaving also makes rock slide less needed, so it can run gunk shot more freely. fighting-types in general are better, especially gallade as people seem to be gravitating towards bulky poisons to answer fighting-types. the same goes for grass-types, really, especially alolan eggy. kingler is extremely scary unless u run into a bulky grass or druddigon, and rotom is actually not that bad!! so yea, try out these mons they're pretty epic

thank u for reading!!
 

termi

the eye of the needle
is a Tiering Contributor
Council Minutes

Meta Discussion and Tiering
  • :talonflame::vaporeon::arctovish: The shifts shook up the tier quite a bit, as we lost the #1 used and possibly very best PU mon in Talonflame to NU, while also losing one of the best defensive Pokemon in Vaporeon. Braviary, a solid offensive threat and one of the few viable Ghost resists in the meta, also moved up. Moreover, Arctovish, Aurorus, and Vanilluxe all left as well, although with NU's recent Snow Warning ban we most likely haven't seen the last of them.
  • :virizion: After these shifts, it was clear to council that swift action was necessary to prevent the tier from becoming completely unbalanced, so Virizion was unanimously banned from PU by council vote as per this post.
  • So is everything well in the tier now? Regrettably, many council members still have concerns regarding the current state of the metagame, as even after the Virizion ban people have struggled to build reliable teams. The lack of Talonflame and Vaporeon to glue teams together have made the plethora of scary offensive threats in the tier feel really overwhelming, as trying to be well-prepped for one may leave you too vulnerable to the other. Moreover, the things that are meant to serve as glue on people's teams are often easily worn down (i.e. Scarf Togedemaru, Garbodor) and struggle not to succumb eventually to the things they're meant to check. Hence, there is a good chance we will have to return to quickban slates to deal with some of the more troublesome offensive threats in the tier. Several Pokemon were brought up in this context:
  • :omastar: Omastar is probably the #1 concern within the council as of right now thanks to its incredibly deadly Shell Smash sweeper set. While it has less opportunity to set up and sweep with Talonflame gone, it very much appreciates Vaporeon being gone, as defensive counterplay to Omastar after a Shell Smash is almost nonexistent and circumstantial at best - notable exception being AV Guzzlord, which eats a +2 Ice Beam if it's healthy. Meanwhile, offensively your options are limited to certain priority users (Vacuum Wave Toxicroak, Mach Punch Hitmontop/Lee/Gurdurr, CB Lycanroc, Prankster Whimsi with Encore or Stun Spore) and a set of Scarfers with a base Speed of 90 or over (e.g. Togedemaru, Rotom, Gourgeist-Small), but the latter aren't even reliable thanks to Weak Armor letting Omastar boost its way past them. Still, setup opportunity can be hard to get, so not everyone is convinced Omastar is too much. Do you think the meta can adapt to Omastar?
  • :kingler::clawitzer: On the topic of Water types, these two both really appreciate Vaporeon being gone as well, as they can fire off their high-powered moves with little worry. Kingler already was something of a rising star in the tier before the shifts happened, but with Vaporeon gone it has even less to worry about, as Liquidation smacks just about everything while the few Water immunities we have do not enjoy taking a Body Slam/Knock Off/High Horsepower. Maybe this will give rise to different counterplay like defensive Guzzlord, Ferroseed, bulky Gourgeist, or Tangela, but with its great offensive movepool Kingler seems to have the ability to adapt to such metagame trends. Meanwhile Clawitzer, while lacking the ability to boost its speed with Agility like Kingler, has found itself rocketing up to the status of a top tier breaker. Enjoying not only the absence of Vaporeon but also Virizion, which made for a good offensive check thanks to its resistances and fantastic Sdef stat, Clawitzer finds itself thriving with a Specs set with 4 "STABs" in Water Pulse/Dark Pulse/Aura Sphere/Dragon Pulse, hitting pretty much the whole tier bar Whimsicott for very high neutral damage (Whimsicott, by the way, still gets 2HKO'd because of its poor special bulk). The question is if its mediocre Speed and it being somewhat reliant on prediction is enough to hold it back, but in any case, it cannot be ignored in the builder.
  • :ribombee: Ribombee is another major presence in the current metagame. Enjoying Talonflame's departure, Ribombee finds its Quiver Dance sets doing a lot of work against teams with squishier Fairy resists such as Scarf Toge. Outspeeding everything after a QD and resisting Fighting priority, Ribombee is a scary sight in the lategame. Meanwhile, Specs and Webs sets have also gotten better with Talonflame's departure. At the same time, a lot of counterplay to it does exist - Charizard, Togedemaru, Silvally-Steel, and Gigalith, to name just a few top threats, are all capable of checking Ribombee. The problem might not be that the bee has no checks, then, as much as the fact that these checks find themselves overwhelmed by the other things they have to switch into. Is Ribombee the problem, or just a symptom of a different problem?
  • :passimian::toxicroak::scrafty: Fighting types have been a very dominant force in the tier for a long time, and unsurprisingly, Talonflame's departure was good news for them. Passimian, already a top tier mon, now finds it much easier to spam U-Turn, Knock Off, and CC without fearing Talonflame's Flame Body, while also not needing Rock Slide and instead being able to run Gunk Shot or Earthquake. DD Scrafty lost an offensive check, while all of its sets prey on any team that forgoes a Fairy type. Toxicroak also lost an offensive check (but also easy setup bait in Vaporeon) while lacking good defensive counterplay with its NP set beyond Stomping Tantrum Garbodor. Together, the Fighting types typically necessitate two or three different Fighting resists to ensure that one of them doesn't just steamroll through your team, which obviously is a big constraint on the builder. Of the three mentioned, only Toxicroak has been considered as a potential candidate for a QB slate, as it is probably the most awkward to check defensively (although manageable to check offensively), but one can see that all three are leaving a big mark on the meta. How do you deal with Fighting types in the teambuilder?
  • Other than these, other mons that have been mentioned to a lesser extent include :exeggutor-alola::magmortar::charizard::archeops: although council does not presently look too concerned about these. However, most of these do put a lot of pressure on the builder, and we may find that they become more problematic as the meta develops, so they're worth keeping an eye on.
  • Finally, a few Pokemon from past metas that might be making a return to relevance in the new meta. :lilligant: and :frosmoth: have seen more use as the former lost an offensive switchin while the latter an offensive check that could outspeed and OHKO even after a Quiver Dance. :altaria: and :poliwrath: have been mentioned as potentially decent in a meta where role compression is everything. :ferroseed: and :miltank: have been mentioned for similar reasons, setting hazards while providing some useful resistances that are hard to cover otherwise. Let us know if you have any experience with any of these, or if you have found success with other underrated Pokemon in the new meta.
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Hi guys -

I've made a few rough appearances on the ladder, but I think one of the main talking points on the ladder is the dragon types in the tier. Guzzlord / Drampa / Egg-A are some seriously impressive pokemon that enjoy switch ins on the majority of the tier with relatively no defensive presence. This is definitely worth discussing a bit further from a balanced pov.

I'm not too sure about the fighting types in the tier being problematic, i think they're decent but not overwhelming or broken because the tier is filled with a lot of decent good utility checks.

I'd also argue vikavolt is one of the best pokemon in the tier at the moment, which i really enjoy using.

Just adding my 2 cents and wanted to add to the discussion and say hello to the tier after a long hiatus :toast: I'm by no means a tier expert, but I'll be getting to know it just a little more recently where I've had a bit of time to ladder.
 

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Hey! Heads up, the Council will be holding a vote on Omastar, Kingler, Clawitzer, Toxicroak, and Ribombee. Each Council member sent 2xTheTap what mons they wanted on the slate, and all of these were sent by major of council members. So that's how these were chosen. The results should be out on Sunday.
 
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It's been exactly two weeks since shifts have happened. I usually give myself that amount of time to figure out the meta, what's dumb and needs to go, what's good, etc. Something I've been surprised to see is the general disdain for the meta right now, with a ton of threats apparently clashing with each other that makes it hard to build against one without leaving yourself open to the another. Mons like Kingler, Clawitzer, Magmortar, and others have risen up in viability once Talonflame and Vaporeon (and also Hail stuff) left. However, I personally have been enjoying the meta a lot, possibly even more than the previous meta. I found that actually having to dedicate teamslots to mons instead of slapping Talonflame on lead to much more creativity in the teambuilders. However, I think that PU is in a very awkward state right now, which is why I can understand the many calls for actions, although I personally disagree with most of them.

PU, for as long as I've been playing it, has been balanced in a very standard way. Offensive threats are checked by defensive threats, which are in turn checked by new offensive threats that capitalize on these defensive threats, which then are checked themselves by new defensive threats, and then the cycle continues. A good example of this would be rising Basculin usage, which is checked by Vaporeon, which is checked by Toxicroak, which is checked by Claydol, which is checked by Basculin, and on and on ad infinitum. It's basically a long way of saying offense checks defense and vice versa. This has been shown in past metas with balance being the most common and best playstyle to use for over a year (from October to November 2020 I think semi-stall seriously challenged its position but a lack of reliable win cons stopped it from being better). However, with a rise of offensive threats, something is changing. Defense no longer checks offense, but rather it is offense that checks offense. This leads to a different, more offensive, meta where counterplay to many offensive threats is offensive as well.

However, I don't see this to be a necessarily bad thing, but rather different. On paper, the idea that offense checks offense can easily lead to a constrained meta, but past tiers and metas have shown that offensive metas can still work and stay healthy without being too much (see: Gen 5 PU, Gen 6 OU, Gen 8 UU). I see no reason why many of the threats decried as broken or too much, such as Omastar, Kingler, and Ribombee, should be banned due to their adequate offensive counterplay, with priority being common and speed control that can beat these Pokémon being common as well. And in Ribombee's case, it has more than enough defensive counterplay that doesn't completely sap momentum, such as Gigalith, SpDef Toge, and Silvally-Steel. This is not me saying "lol just run HO" (although HO archetypes such as Screens and Webs are quite good right now), but me imploring people to try out offensive counterplay rather than defensive counterplay, as Pokémon can often be balanced through an abundance of offensive counterplay rather than defensive counterplay, especially in an offensive meta like this.

With that being said, there is one mon I would be completely fine with leaving immediately: Clawitzer. It is easily the dumbest mon in the tier right now, with a total of 0 switchins if given minimal support since Lanturn dies after Rocks unless it's Protect and gets flinched to death anyway. That might have been a lengthy sentence, but it shows the importance of how little Clawitzer actually needs to tear through a team. You need a Water immunity + a Dragon immunity + a Dark resist + an Ice resist to even begin to play the multiple 50/50s it requires everytime it's on the field. The offensive counterplay I stated above doesn't work as well because, as a pure Water-type with solid bulk even when uninvested, it lacks weaknesses and can come in on staples like Zard, Palossand, and Xatu with little drawback. I was somehow able to top ladder with the dumbest hazards stacking team I ever built, and all it took was one layer of Spikes (and sometimes a little luck) to render whatever wanted to switch into Claw useless. It's absurdly dumb and I think it should leave.

The other mons on the slate are less of a concern to me. Toxicroak is a mon I've been a vocal opponent about in the past and I was unsure what it was going to look like in a post-Flame meta, and I'm still not completely sure, but I'd rather see a suspect than a quickban. With so many new threats, I don't think the meta has given Toxicroak adequate time to actually be assessed. And I know that many people don't share my Talon meta opinion that it was very unhealthy and quite like a neutered Virizion in a way. Omastar has, in my eyes, been overrated since day 1 and I stand firmly in the position that it is absolutely fine. While it can drop Ice Beam for Earth Power because Virizion is gone and the other Grasses drop to a Meteor Beam or even a +3 Surf late game, it needs a decent amount of support to actually do anything and is crippled by metagame advancements such as Scarf Toge and Rotom, priority in Hitmontop and Toxicroak, and having to choose between Timid and Modest with both having substantial opportunity costs. While there are many games where Omastar sweeps, it only does so extremely late and isn't 6-0ing teams unless they don't prep for it, which many do. Unhealthy? Possibly, I wouldn't say yes yet but I can keep the possibility open since opinions change, but I genuinely cannot see why so many people think it's broken.

Kingler and Ribombee are both fine mons, not sure why they're being talked about at all. While Kingler is harder to deal with offensively compared to its main competition in Omastar, it is much easier to deal with defensively. It has massive 4MSS: after boosting move/Liquidation/Knock, what exactly do you choose? High Horsepower leaves you unable to touch Tangela and Guzzlord (although the favorable roll on Lanturn after Rocks is nice), Ice Beam means Naive and inability to deal Toxicroak, Body Slam is blanked by Druddigon and ScarfGeist, and another boosting move is just worse Tangela fodder. Most importantly, that turn it needs to actually setup can be hard to get considering it doesn't force out much, using Knock early game chips you down, and whatever it would like to setup on can usually do something to stop it in its tracks. It's a very high risk-reward mon, and so far, that reward hasn't outdone the risk. Ribombee is super not broken considering the amount of super splashable counters it has (SpDef Toge, Gigalith, bulky Zard, etc) means there are a surprising amount of matches where the best Ribombee does is chip damage then die. Specs sets on paper seem to solve this problem because you can Switcheroo your check, but these come at a high opportunity cost due to the Rocks weakness and general betterness of the QD set. Plus, a Specs Zard is surprisingly hard to switch into if it's 3 atks + Roost, which makes it backfire easily.

Overall, I've been quite satisfied with the way the meta is currently developing and would be fine if everything but Claw stayed. I think it's taking a new direction that hasn't been widely present in Gen 8, and rather than knee jerking 5 mons to be problematic, I'd much rather see the meta develop with them to see if anything changes. To end this off, I just want to talk about some mons I've been enjoying.

  • :thwackey: I was a hater pre-shifts, but post-shifts I have come to absolutely love the monke. I haven't tried Grassy Terrain teams so I can't say if they're viable or not, but as a stand-alone breaker, it loves a meta where all the Grass resists run Boots, and thus being able to KOff its own checks can go a long way. Water-Grass cores are especially potent right now, so I would try to take advantage of that.
  • :lycanroc: I think Lycan took a drop in viability because no Flame but I've been liking a Hard Stone set of Accel/STEdge/Crunch/CC. While no PFangs does kinda suck against Croak, the amount of chipped bulky Grounds that have switched into a STEdge and proceeded to heal up only to take a CC/Crunch to the face is quite big and outweighs that. Probably not the best set but fun regardless.
  • :miltank: A bit disappointing but I like it. I run Heal Bell over Rocks because I have another Rocker and it can't actually do much to the Ghosts it force out, but the utility and bulk it provides regardless is invaluable to a bunch of teams. Offensive also seems cool, with Scrappy, a high Attack stat, and a way to gain momentum via Eject Pack. A bit weird to fit on teams but often worth it.
Thanks for reading!
 
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