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It's time for the next suspect of SV DOU! Despite having not received the most suspect support in the latest survey, the weeks since in DPL have pushed Iron Hands to the forefront of the zeitgeist for suspect discussion.
Iron Hands drew attention early on for its similar statline to Melmetal, the behemoth banned in SS DOU, though in practice it was not a top-tier threat, at least initially. Flutter Mane dominated the initial metagame, and massively held Iron Hands back due to its weakness to Fairy and Flutter Mane's immunity to Fake Out and Close Combat. Tera Steel Heavy Slam was an option to help, but gained a weakness to the partnering Chi-Yu in the process. After Flutter Mane was banned, next came Annihilape dominating the meta, which as another Ghost-type was also unkind to Iron Hands defensively, and could freely Bulk Up against it. Since those two Pokemon were banned, Iron Hands has steadily climbed in the meta, and is now a dominating presence.
With excellent physical stats and HP, but patchy Special Defense, Assault Vest is a natural fit for Iron Hands, and is the set which has been used since the start of the generation. This allows it to spread Fake Out, and to tank hits before retaliating with one of its naturally powerful attacks such as Close Combat, and is one of the most splashable additions to a team in the tier. With Assault Vest, Iron Hands is near impossible to OHKO, yet can still accomplish feats such as OHKOing Hero Palafin with Wild Charge. However, it's the Swords Dance set which has increasingly appeared post-Annihilape that is the real reason behind this suspect. This set uses Iron Hands' natural bulk to facilitate setup opportunities, after which a boosted Drain Punch can be used to KO most targets, and heal back any damage taken in the process. Unlike Assault Vest sets, which after trading will usually be at low enough health to finish off, Swords Dance sets will typically stay healthy unless weakened by a Pokemon with low HP or resistant to Drain Punch. The challenge then is being able to knock out a high health Iron Hands, often requiring a double target into it, with even that sometimes not being enough. The challenge becomes even more difficult when Iron Hands has the likes of Psychic Seed, screens, redirection, and Terastillization on its side to ensure it survives to get that next Drain Punch off.
Iron Hands biggest weakness is its low Speed, letting the vast majority of the tier move before it, and provide many opportunities to double target it before it moves, though this can be mitigated with Tailwind or flipped into a strength with Trick Room. Amoonguss resists both of Iron Hands' STABs, and has Spore and Clear Smog to shut it down, but with Tera Grass or Safety Goggles defensively, and Fire Punch or Ice Punch offensively, there's plenty of options to cover it. Will-O-Wisp can limit Iron Hands' damage output, but Tera Fire can be used for immunity, and if otherwise unthreatened, then Iron Hands can simply Swords Dance another time and still dish out a lot of damage. Great Tusk, Chi-Yu, and Palafin are some of the hardest hitters against Iron Hands, though often require assistance to pick up the KO, and must also watch out for it Terastillizing to another type.
As usual, 60% of the vote must be in favor to ban Iron Hands.
Important: For this suspect, there will be two ways to qualify. The first is the typical laddering period, where players must reach the minimum GXE. The second is by winning a live suspect tournament, to be held in the Smogon Doubles Room. You may compete in the suspect tournament on any account, and will need to post proof of you winning the suspect tournament on the voter ID thread.
There will be two live suspect tournaments:
Suspect Tournament Times
Saturday, April 8th at 12:00 PM Eastern time (GMT-4)
Sunday, April 9th at 4:00 PM Eastern time (GMT-4)
The laddering period will last for a total of nine days.
Start: Friday, April 7th at 8:00 PM Eastern time (GMT-4)
End: Sunday, April 16th at 8:00 PM Eastern time (GMT-4)
All games must be played on the Pokemon Showdown! Doubles OU ladder on a fresh alt with a prefix of the form “DOUHA [Name]”. For example, I might use the account "DOUHA Yoda" to ladder.
To qualify to vote, you must achieve a minimum GXE of 80 with at least 50 games played. In addition, you may subtract 1 game for every 0.2 GXE you have above 80 GXE, down to a minimum of 30 games at a GXE of 84. As always, needing more than 50 games to reach 80 GXE is fine.
Iron Hands will be legal during this suspect.