no longer Harry’s house
Hey everyone, the OU tiering council has decided to test Walking Wake!
As of Pokemon Day -- February 27th, the Overused metagame received a dangerous toy while Suicune received a sure-to-be-awkward-at-parties, paradox sibling. Walking Wake has taken OU by storm since its release, spurring a renaissance of the Sun archetype. With a slew of appealing characteristics that we will delve into later, Walking Wake promptly altered the status quo of our metagame. Upon engaging in extensive discussion both externally and internally, the OU tiering council decided it was best to hold a multifaceted vote on Walking Wake! The vote consisted of two prompts with the former pertaining to quickbanning Walking Wake and the latter pertaining to suspecting Walking Wake. The results can be seen below:
|Ruft||Do not ban||Yes|
|ausma||Do not ban||Yes|
|FlamingVictini||Do not ban||Yes|
|Ox the Fox||Do not ban||Yes|
|ima||Do not ban||Yes|
Only four of the nine council members voted to ban Walking Wake from the metagame, falling short of the necessary threshold to enact a quickban (over 2/3, meaning at least 7/9). However, all nine members of the council voted to promptly suspect Walking Wake in the SV OU metagame if it were to not receive sufficient support, leading us to our third suspect of the ninth generation!
Walking Wake bursting out onto the scene is partially a testament to its unique signature move, Hydro Steam. Hydro Steam's power receives a boost under Sun despite being a Water type attack, which makes it one of the stronger moves in the game when you factor in for STAB, Protosynthesis, and other factors like the potential for Choice Specs. This creates a particularly explosive dynamic as counterplay to Sun teams is not used to accounting for boosted Water moves, but rather boosted Fire moves. There is a certain degree of strain on normal checks and counters to both Walking Wake that accompanies this. However, it is worth noting that Sun is an element of support and requires dedicating an entire team slot to Torkoal. While it is true Walking Wake is still very viable outside of Sun, it is not quite as strong of an option in that context.
In conjunction with Hydro Steam, Walking Wake also has access to the aforementioned ability, Protosynthesis, which can allow for a timely boost in an offensive stat under Sun or if Booster Energy is utilized. This can allow for Walking Wake to be even more problematic than initially perceived, but it does only come into play in certain contexts. Couple this with a Water-Dragon typing that is among the best in the game as well as a diverse movepool and it becomes clear as to why Walking Wake is already a top tier option. Water-Dragon allows for a number of resistances while only being weak to Dragon and Fairy types, which allows for Walking Wake to enter safely a sufficient amount of times despite not being geared to be defensive like Suicune. In terms of moves, Hydro Steam is the biggest talking point, but STAB Draco Meteor goes a long way as well. Throw in the option for Flamethrower, which could receive a Sun boost, or even Hurricane periodically when opting to utilize Rain and it has more than enough coverage. Hydro Pump can serve as a secondary, stronger STAB option outside of the Sun as well while Tera Blast can tie any loose ends together if specifically warranted. While it is true that Walking Wake receives no boosting moves of note outside of Agility, which makes it more of a breaker than a sweeper at its best, it does have superb coverage to pull off breaking opposing threats.
In terms of what variants we see, Choice Specs Walking Wake is the most common variant, which makes sense given the aforementioned coverage it receives and how spammable Hydro Steam is when utilized on Sun teams. With the right conditions, it is among the strongest members of the tier. Tera Water variants in particular are very hard to stop without an immunity! However, it can also run a Substitute set to ease prediction when people try to predict around Choice Specs. This can even opt to use Roar if paired with entry hazards as a means of wearing down would-be counterplay. This does trade-off considerable amounts of power, however, while Choice Specs does come with the burden of prediction if you are facing something that can stomach a Hydro Steam. We have also seen some stray all-out-attacking variants without Choice Specs, which can do quite a number to offensive teams, but oftentimes miss the extra muscle when facing more durable walls. Finally, a Booster Energy variant with Agility can function on hyper offense regardless of Sun being present, which capitalizes on the strength and coverage Walking Wake possesses.
Counterplay to Walking Wake is certainly limited and the extent to which it is limited will help determine if it is banworthy or not. This counterplay very much does exist, however. Offensively, revenge killing is very feasible. While it is a relatively fast Pokemon, teams oftentimes have one or multiple options that are quicker. Iron Valiant and Dragapult in particular can dispose of it through this method. With this said, they cannot enter safely with Dragapult only switching in once, assuming it is not both Tera Water and Sun boosted, and Iron Valiant being able to do so whatsoever, so you have to either fodder something before they come in or find a way to pivot around Walking Wake, which is not the most common practice.
This leads us to defensive counterplay, which is the biggest obstacle when it comes to handling Walking Wake. Some Pokemon can minimize it, even if they do not outright blank it, but this is not a particularly numerous group. Water Absorb Clodsire, specifically with Tera Fairy, does a great job against its STABs while being able to live two Choice Specs Flamethrowers, even if Sun is up. In addition, SDef Toxapex can minimize Walking Wake if it is not Tera Water boosted and around full health. Other, more fringe options such as Assault Vest Azumarill, SDef Slowking, and Blissey can also help do the trick, but their recent spike in usage is solely due to Walking Wake while they are otherwise middling (with Slowking at least seeing some decent use prior) and still susceptible to Tera Water as well. Overall, there is a lack of non-passive defensive counterplay to Walking Wake which is quite concerning. Many worry that Walking Wake's impact on the metagame will continue to polarize it, leaving bulky-offense and even balance less prevalent in the equation due to how limited they are while bulkier teams featuring the aforementioned walls or hyper offensive teams with revenge killing and constant pressure continue to surge.
Walking Wake is a unique and strong presence in the metagame. It has a practical set of tools that allow for it to provide a premium offensively in a tier that is arguably strapped for counterplay to it. With this said, it is still possible to defeat Walking Wake and we have seen a number of different methods mentioned above come into play to try and minimize it thus far. With Choice Specs being potent offensively, it is no surprise that Walking Wake has been deemed strong enough to be a prospect for tiering action. However, it does function best when receiving support from Sun, which is a particularly large ask on the teambuilding front. Overall, Walking Wake's place in the metagame is very significant and it has already been making large waves within less than a week. It will be interesting to see how this suspect test plays out. Keep in mind that any bans are likely to be voted on again when Pokemon Home drops and we are functioning under the premise that this will be released in Spring of 2023.
- Reading this is mandatory for participating in the suspect test!!! The voting requirements are a minimum GXE of 80 with at least 50 games played. In addition, you may play 1 less game for every 0.2 GXE you have above 80 GXE, down to a minimum of 30 games at a GXE of 84. Also, needing more than 50 games to reach 80 GXE will suffice.
- You must signup with a newly registered account on Pokemon Showdown! that begins with the appropriate prefix for the suspect test. For this suspect test, the prefix will be OUFR. For example, I might signup with the ladder account OUFR Finch.
- Laddering with an account that impersonates, mocks, or insults another Smogon user or breaks Pokemon Showdown! rules may be disqualified from voting and infracted. Moderator discretion will be applied here. If there is any doubt or hesitance when making the alt, just pick another name. There are infinite possibilities and we have had trouble for this repeatedly. If you wish to participate in the suspect, you should be able to exhibit decent enough judgement here. We will not be lenient.
- We will be using the regular OU ladder for this suspect test. We will not be creating a new Suspect Ladder. At the beginning of every battle, there will be an announcement denoting the ongoing suspect with a link to this thread.
- The suspect being tested, Walking Wake, will be allowed on the ladder.
- Any form of voting manipulation will result in swift and severe punishment. You are more than welcome to state your argument to as many people as you so please, but do not use any kind of underhanded tactics to get a result you desire. Bribery, blackmail, or any other type of tactic used to sway votes will be handled and sanctioned.
- Do not attempt to cheat the ladder. We will know if you did not actually achieve voting requisites, so don't do it. Harsh sanctions will be applied.
- Unlike previous tests, we will be posting the voting identification thread immediately after this thread. Your voting requisites will be confirmed by a Council member or OU moderator, to which we will edit in confirmation. Please avoid getting more games before getting confirmed.
- The suspect test will go on for roughly two weeks, lasting until March 17th at 11:59 pm (GMT-4 -- please note clocks change mid-suspect test), and then we will put up the voting thread in the Blind Voting subforum.
- No unhelpful one liners nor uninformed posts;
- No discussion on other potential suspects;
- No discussion on the suspect process -- this includes retesting Walking Wake vs other potential suspects;
- You are required to make respectful posts;
- You are required to read this thread before posting.
- Failure to follow these simple guidelines will result in your post being deleted and infracted without any prior warning.
- Please also take a moment to read over some suggestions from the OU Council and the OU Moderation team for posting in this thread; adhering these will help out our time moderating the thread and present your arguments better and more educated.
- Do not argue because it's your favorite Pokemon. This should be common sense, but please don't do this, because we will delete posts like this.
- You do not need a boatload of experience to have an informed opinion, but please try to minimize the theorymon aspect and use your experiences watching and playing. Playing some on the ladder before posting is plenty if you're concerned about this.
- Do not flame, belittle, or be disrespectful to users in this thread. While not everyone will read this post in its entirety nor will everyone have an informed opinion, please be sure not to be disrespectful. If there's an issue, bring it up to a moderator.
- Do not use the argument of broken checking broken. Should your argument rest on your opinion that banning the Pokemon or mechanic being tested in this suspect test will make a Pokemon or mechanic broken, overpowered, and/or uncompetitive; don't. If something needs to be banned because of the result this suspect, then so be it.
- This thread is not to voice complaints about the suspect process or decisions of the council. While we are more than open to hearing complaints that may arise, this isn't the place for it. I suggest you message the OU Council, PM our Tier Leaders, Finchinator and Ruft, or make a post in Senior Staff requests, should you have a badge.
Keep in mind that our suspect tests are decided by the community; anyone who rightfully achieves voting requisites is allowed to vote. The outcome is up to you.