Metagame NP: USUM PU Stage 5.5: At Doom's Gate (Houndoom Banned)

Just to condense my thoughts, which isnt plenty. I really like the idea of houndoom in the meta just because its typing felt healthy to me with it absorbing will o wisps and being a good way to deal with prankster. id like to see some teams try harder to outplay houndoom because ive just found it challenging to play against but not really something I prep for on account of it being so frail. Ive been finding new ways to rack up damage and altho I cant put a dent into dundies, I can hold my own against the teams ive seen so far just fine because priority and rocks is just something that can really ruin houndoom. I get the unhealthy ness of hax darkpulse flinches, and z whatever but that applies to too many mons for me to see it in the case of pyroar or magmorter. Once houndoom is gone, Im gonna hate switching into sableye and frosslass again lol. I doubt i'll vote but i go no ban.
 

Taskr

If this is a rom-com, kill the director!
is a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributor
PU Leader
A quick policy change is being implemented regarding suspect tests that is going to be immediately reflected in the current suspect: PU will no longer allow Pokemon currently being suspected into tournaments. If a Pokemon is currently being suspected, then it will be illegal for play in PU tournaments.

In practice, this means very little for the current suspect beyond some wording changes. Instead of being quickbanned and then resuspected, PU will instead just be suspecting Houndoom. The important difference will be made apparent going into the future, where a suspected Pokemon will be immediately banned from all tournaments.
Also thx Akir for writing this up.
 
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Megazard

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If anyone is still confused on the course correction- we quickbanned under the premise that that was necessary to remove Houndoom from tournaments. Since that's not the case, the support for the quickban was no longer there (I only voted to quickban because I wanted it out of tournaments) and it would've been unfair to leave Houndoom with a much lower voting threshold to leave the tier. Anyway, I also just wanted to briefly respond to this.
Just to condense my thoughts, which isnt plenty. I really like the idea of houndoom in the meta just because its typing felt healthy to me with it absorbing will o wisps and being a good way to deal with prankster. id like to see some teams try harder to outplay houndoom because ive just found it challenging to play against but not really something I prep for on account of it being so frail. Ive been finding new ways to rack up damage and altho I cant put a dent into dundies, I can hold my own against the teams ive seen so far just fine because priority and rocks is just something that can really ruin houndoom. I get the unhealthy ness of hax darkpulse flinches, and z whatever but that applies to too many mons for me to see it in the case of pyroar or magmorter. Once houndoom is gone, Im gonna hate switching into sableye and frosslass again lol. I doubt i'll vote but i go no ban.
Nobody is using "hax darkpulse flinches, and z whatever" as an argument for banning Houndoom. I highly recommend reading the suspect post if you want to know why we consider it an issue. I also don't think dealing with Prankster and Wisp is a great argument for keeping Houndoom because neither of these were overbearing or unfair before it dropped. Frankly the reasoning on display here does not make any kind of sense.

e: btw this is at nobody in particular, but I really hope people haven't made up their minds on Houndoom already. We've had it for a couple of days and this is a fairly complex case to consider. You've got two weeks to finalize an opinion on Houndoom, use them.
 
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Many

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So I've done a good amount of battles and I really like Houndoom's place in the meta so far. There's not doubt it's a strong mon, probably S-rank worthy and has a large influence on the meta, but I do think its positives outweigh the negatives. I think it's really cool that we can have a fairly fast special wallbreaker at the level of Houndoom that really shakes up common balance cores of pokemon like Alolaslash, Lilligant, Pom-Pom, etc (this is no different than Simisear was doing, just with a superior pokemon). The ability to serve as a check to Froslass and Mesprit, two of the most dominant pokemon in the meta, is also really useful for teambuilding, and as an elite Fire-type it forms great partnerships with our common Grass, Water, and Ice-type pokemon.

Houndoom is a great breaker. In terms of real strong checks, Houndoom has very few, just Lanturn, AV Chan, Poliwrath, and the most specially defensive of Regirock. The sheer breaking power with Nasty Plot + Z-moves is what makes it such a fun breaker to use and may push it to the edge of broken. But while it is super dangerous, Houndoom isn't the kind of pokemon that's gonna actually sweep teams in practice. Houndoom actually has quite a bit of offensive counterplay- it's not something that will just get kills left and right vs a well built team. There are plenty of viable pokemon that can easily revenge kill Houndoom, included but not limited to Scarf Primeape, Dodrio, Lycanroc, Swanna, Dugtrio-Alola, Scarf Kabutops, Manectric, Simis. Priority Mach Punch and Fake Out from Kangaskhan are everywhere, with a sprinkling of Aqua Jets from Carracosta or Kabutops as well. It also doesn't help that the meta mostly revolves around setting hazards and is incredibly offensive, giving the SR weak grounded Houndoom little breathing room. The meta just isn't comparable to where it was with Pyroar because we are so much better equipped to handle a pokemon of that type right now. I don't know if I will vote but if I do it will be NO BAN.
 

Ktütverde

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Hi again! I just got the suspect reqs by using several houndoom teams (made in 5 minutes each but I wasn't going to seriously build for the PU ladder). It didn't help me much, since ladder is completely off-meta: 80% teams have hitmonchan (+lanturn sometimes), regirock doesn't exist, and stuff like scyther, specs manectric and floatzel aren't rare. In a nutshell, using houndoom vs ladder dudes wasn't the greatest experience ever. However it did its job very well in most games, nastyplot doom allowing me to easily destroy audino/sableye/random wall teams, while allout attacker sets were useful vs "I use chan+clefairy+lanturn" dudes, since breaking such unlikely cores with doom is impossible, but having pursuit and strong stabs was still nice to trap the other teammembers or revengekill/ force switches into the obvious walls so as to double out.

I already talked a lot about doom here, so I will refrain from writing too much. Instead, here are my Doomer teams:


Houndoom @ Power Herb
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Solar Beam

Gurdurr @ Eviolite
Ability: Guts
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 212 Def
Adamant Nature
- Drain Punch
- Mach Punch
- Knock Off
- Toxic

Lanturn @ Leftovers
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 40 HP / 220 Def / 248 SpD
Calm Nature
- Volt Switch
- Scald
- Toxic
- Heal Bell

Sandslash-Alola @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Rapid Spin
- Icicle Crash
- Iron Head

Oricorio-Pom-Pom @ Flyinium Z
Ability: Dancer
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hurricane
- Revelation Dance
- Calm Mind
- Roost

Mesprit @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Psychic
- U-turn
- Healing Wish
- Ice Beam

I already had a similar team with the same 5 other mons, and never managed to make it good because I needed to compress a mesprit check+wallbreaker+speed control in my first slot, so I had skuntank usually there. I replaced it by doom bc doom is the new skuntank lol, froslass+mesprit check+speed control+wallbreaker all in one, kinda stupid. If you get a nastyplot boost vs fatter teams it's game over usually. I decided to keep Z corio and run powerherb solarbeam doom, still OHKOs lanturn and regirock at +2. Team isn't super good but I had a lot of fun using it.



Houndoom @ Life Orb
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 28 Atk / 228 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Pursuit
- Fire Blast
- Dark Pulse
- Sucker Punch

Lilligant @ Normalium Z
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Quiver Dance
- Giga Drain
- Hyper Beam
- Heal Bell

Sableye @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Prankster
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 Spe
Impish Nature
- Toxic
- Taunt
- Knock Off
- Recover

Metang @ Eviolite
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 HP / 176 Atk / 72 Def / 8 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Meteor Mash
- Earthquake
- Toxic

Poliwrath @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
- Circle Throw
- Toxic
- Rest
- Sleep Talk

Silvally-Dragon @ Dragon Memory
Ability: RKS System
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Draco Meteor
- Flamethrower
- Defog
- U-turn

Maybe you will recognize a building pattern here, I used several teams using Z-healbell+hyperbeam lilligant (busted set)+rocker that beats articuno/altaria and checks stoutland+sableye to block hitmonchans drainpunches (and other fightings)+dragonvally to check eelektross/lilligant and defog. So I added resttalk poli to this core mainly because doom is stupid and putting a lanturn or gastrodon here would mean "gg" vs Natsyplot+Z doom, and finally added my own doom ofc, no reason not to use it (froslass/mesprit trapper, speed control, breaker).



Houndoom @ Life Orb
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 28 Atk / 228 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Pursuit
- Fire Blast
- Dark Pulse
- Sucker Punch

Gurdurr @ Eviolite
Ability: Guts
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 212 Def
Adamant Nature
- Drain Punch
- Mach Punch
- Knock Off
- Toxic

Lilligant @ Normalium Z
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Quiver Dance
- Giga Drain
- Hyper Beam
- Heal Bell

Mesprit @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 240 Def / 16 Spe
Bold Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Psychic
- U-turn
- Healing Wish

Froslass @ Life Orb
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Ice Beam
- Spikes
- Will-O-Wisp
- Taunt

Primeape @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Close Combat
- U-turn
- Stone Edge
- Gunk Shot

Team made in 2 minutes literally, doom+fighting spam+lilligant+froslass+mesprit, ultra innovation I know thanks, I didn't bother checking my weaknesses, I just needed gurdurr+mesprit to stop opposing primeapes which are a pain for doom and lilligant, added my own ape cuz this mon is stupid in the current meta and gurdurr+ape+pursuit doom is wow no brain. Kinda struggled vs scarf scyther, but I guess we can forget this detail. That's just a dumb team with all the good shit we have in PU atm, fighting types were already good enough, but adding doom makes them completely crazy good. Team seems weak to pompom, but u got toxic gurdurr/doom faster/Z beam lilli/LO icebeam froslass/edge ape. Didn't use it much cuz I dont like spamming toptiers, but I think its pretty solid vs ladder dudes (gurdurr for rain/hail, lilli for sun).


Feel free to use these teams, I went 31-4, mainly with the poliwrath team. Also shoutouts Skipkan for the toxic idea on poli, this set is so good and 6-0s many ladder teams lol.


As a conclusion, I will just say that doom can literally run any moves/items without much risk, is totally unpredictable and more broken than I expected. I strongly disagree with people who think pyroar was worse, tbh pyroar would be quite fine atm since regirock is usable without risks, lanturn is good and jellicent walls it (Z solarbeam destroys them, but not using Z fire isnt that great cuz u miss on a lot of power. pyro would prolly be unhealthy imo, especially with lilligant being here and taking advantage of its checks, but otherwise it would be "manageable").

Doom's speed doesnt bother me, being faster than oricorios is all that matters imo, scyther swanna simisear are kinda rare and hard to use. The darktyping is insanely useful and makes it splashable in 100% of PU teams almost, go-to mesprit/froslass check+wallbreaker+pursuitter all in one, you can even run nastyplot+lifeorb+pursuit, it literally only needs 2 moves to work. Besides, Doom synergizes extremely well with the best mons in PU imo: froslass, gurdurr/ape, lilligant, making teambuilding quite limited when you can just spam doom+lilli+fightings, which is way better than skunk+fightings+lilli, since you are way weaker to froslass/oricorios with skunk.

Therefore I will be voting Ban, with much more conviction than when I decided to vote ban for pyroar. Thanks for reading!


PS: some houndoom sets that I used (there are too many options to post them all):

Houndoom @ Life Orb
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 28 Atk / 228 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
- Pursuit
- Fire Blast
- Dark Pulse
- Sucker Punch

The spread guarantees an Ohko on offensive froslass switching out (0 HP froslass).

Houndoom @ Power Herb
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Solar Beam

+2 solarbeam does minimum 99% to spdef lanturn, you don't need grassiumZ unlike pyroar since you can boost your spatk via NP on an obvious switch.

Houndoom @ Mago Berry
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Pursuit
- Fire Blast
- Dark Pulse
- Will-O-Wisp

Houndoom @ Firium Z
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sunny Day
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Solar Beam

Houndoom @ Choice Specs
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Overheat
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Hidden Power [Grass]

Houndoom @ King's Rock
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Beat Up
- Pursuit
- Overheat
- Will-O-Wisp

Houndoom @ King's Rock
Ability: Early Bird
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Will-O-Wisp
- Beat Up
- Super Fang
- Rest

Houndoom @ Leftovers
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Substitute
- Toxic
- Protect
- Dark Pulse / Flamethrower

1) pinch berry utility trapper, the berry mitigates rocks damage and uturn damage from mesprit, or random specs icebeams/Zicebeam from froslass.
2)Z-sunny day. Flash fire is better imo since it protects you from opposing houndooms trying to RK you with a sun-boosted specs overheat for example.
3)Specs doom. Hits insanely hard and darkpulse is super spammable (like hydreigon in UU, gren-ash in OU).
4) Beatup haxxdoom. Wow opposing lanturns/regirocks/whatever, and make them flinch with 6 beatup hits=47% flinch chance (5 hits=41%) (4 hits=mmh too risky). Tbh I just wanted to use physically based pursuit doom without lifeorb/glasses, so I put king's rock beatup instead of crunch, while overheat deals respectable damage.
5)CRODOOM. Or maybe not. Cro- means calmmind+resttalk as far as I know (crocune=cro suicune). However I've been memeing around with cro-pokémons, including crodrio (resttalk+early bird dodrio). So I brought the king's rock to the next level: beatuphaxx+wow+superfang+early bird rest. I defeated a regirock 1v1 with it, good shit xD
6)Subtecttoxic doom. Didn't really use it, but I guess that it can be annoying, even though offensive sets just seem better.
 
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Hey bros, well i complete the suspecs and i believe that Houndoom is very broken in PU. Why? He have a diferent sets and have a good speed and SPA (he is more fast than Oricorio, Stoutland, Skuntank, Mesprit and Qwilfish). I seen that houndoom is used with with ZGrass, Choice Specs, Choice Scarf, Z Fire and ZDark. Some ways of stop to Houndoom are Hitmonchan (with Assault Vest), Gastrodon (if the houndoom is ZGrass, gastrodon not is a good counter), Lanturn with Assault Vest (if the houndoom is Nasty Plot with ZSolarBeam is dificult choose the moment for use to Lanturn).
He have a bad defense but have good stats base and this the be good. If the Houndoom not is scarf, and you have a pokemon more fast that he (choice scarf Kabutops and Primeape, or others pokemon with good speed as Lycanroc and Dugtrio, Dodrio and Swanna, you can win to Houndoom).

I believe that i'll vote ban, because he have a different move sets and items, and he has a good stats as Magmortar but better.
Sorry for my english, but i wanted aport my opinion. :blobnom:
^^
 

Megazard

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This is looking like a decently split suspect, which I like a lot. The way I see it, pro-ban arguments centralize around Houndoom being completely impossible to reliably counter and too difficult to reliably check. Anti-ban simply centers around the idea that you can switch into Houndoom and can offensively pressure it. I have not yet begun laddering for suspect and have not made up my mind yet. For the pro-ban side, I completely agree that realistically, we don't have good switch-ins to doom, and we never will unless Guzzlord comes back or something. On the other hand, that isn't enough to make it broken. And, while I think anti-ban people who think Houndoom is about as good as Simisear, the pro-ban people who don't see Houndoom as noticeably worse than Magmortar or Pyroar catch me off-guard too. Perhaps it's simply a product of different metagames, but from what little I have played with doom it doesn't play out like the same reliable killing machine.

What would really help the pro-ban side is some replays of Houndoom's set unpredictability coming into play in a match, or its sheer overwhelming power being put on display versus good opponents with prepared teams. And, from the anti-ban side, replays where they're actually able to keep offensive pressure on Houndoom with a team that otherwise might be considered Houndoom-weak would really go a long way to convincing me that this Pokemon is worthwhile. While I'm not decided, I do have a hard time seeing why a metagame centralized around packing very specific Houndoom checks would be any fun at all, and I'm not convinced that the offensive pressure is there yet to alleviate the need for Hitmonchan/Lanturn/whatever on every team (plus a scarf ape or something once Doom breaks through those since that's not a tall order for it).

I encourage people to just go out and play others using Houndoom. The suspect ladder doesn't have enough users trying new teams and testing Houndoom? Get games in the room or on Discord against players you know can put up a fight. Simply playing against people who hold the opposing viewpoint might be enough to change their mind if they're willing to update their opinions based on playing more games with Houndoom. This suspect process of trying to preserve our circuit tour stability only functions if enough people bother basing their opinions on getting to play with Houndoom outside of tournaments, so I hope to see more people playing with Houndoom, and I'll try to accept challenges if you see me on PS.

Yes, I'm making one more post just to encourage people to get and post replays. It'd be that beneficial.
 

TONE

Get your bitch a cannon. Bitches love cannons.
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Moderator
Hello again. It's been a while since I posted anything of note in an NP thread, but after actually laddering and somehow managing to get reqs too, I wanted to share my opinions on Houndoom and some arguments in general. While laddering to get reqs, there weren't that many people utilizing Houndoom in general (I think I only saw like 4-5 Houndooms compared to like 14 Claydols or something), so I took it upon myself to try to use Houndoom for myself and utilize some teams to make it stand out. First up, counterplay.

Fighting-types



So I think it goes without saying here that these 3 have been the main ways of attempting to handle Houndoom as all resist Dark Pulse and AV Hitmonchan can easily take a Fire Blast and Drain Punch all its lost health back. Pretty simple right? Not so fast. On teams utilizing Houndoom, you'd often see it paired with solid Fighting checks like Mesprit, Qwilfish, and Jellicent which can mitigate Drain Punch recovery and weaken it further with Rocky Helmet damage or nullify recovery altogether due to typing, keeping them low.

Faster Pokemon



Another option is just go under the idea that as long as you have something that outspeeds Houndoom, it's no big deal. This concept is true as long as you don't hard switch these mons in, nothing much else to say in that regard.

Special Tanks/Walls



The third option is just having something that takes a hit from Houndoom. While it's again true that Houndoom struggles to break past some of these mons without a Nasty Plot boost, most become setup fodder if doom is NP + Taunt especially in the case of Audino and Clefairy somewhat as it negates it going for Soft-Boiled. Due note that some pokemon like Carbink can't fit on all variants, but Carbink is the only Dark resist that also resists Fire (unless you wanna go as far as saying Zweilous or Hakamo-o.)

Also while I'm here, I'll drop some Houndoom teams of my own, so feel free to try them out:

164715

Houndoom @ Darkinium Z
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Fire Blast
- Dark Pulse
- Taunt

Gurdurr @ Eviolite
Ability: Guts
EVs: 252 HP / 44 Atk / 212 Def
Adamant Nature
- Bulk Up
- Drain Punch
- Knock Off
- Mach Punch

Mesprit @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 240 Def / 16 Spe
Bold Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Psychic
- U-turn
- Healing Wish

Dodrio @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Early Bird
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Return
- Brave Bird
- Jump Kick
- Pursuit

Lanturn @ Assault Vest
Ability: Volt Absorb
EVs: 208 SpA / 100 SpD / 200 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Scald
- Volt Switch
- Ice Beam
- Hidden Power [Grass]

Silvally-Fairy @ Fairy Memory
Ability: RKS System
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 240 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Multi-Attack
- Defog
- Toxic
- Parting Shot


So this is a fairly standard bulky offense team based around Houndoom and Gurdurr. Houndoom was the first pick as it provides a solid Nasty Plot user with solid utility with Taunt to set up on slower, fatter teams alongside an extremely powerful Fire Blast and Dark Pulse, which helps break down threats to Gurdurr, like Mesprit. Gurdurr offers a good physical blanket check along with being a decent set up sweeper with Bulk Up, and has Mach Punch to help deal with weakened faster foes. Mesprit is great at role compression and gives the team a soft check to Dodrio, along with Stealth Rock and Healing Wish Support, and a slow U-turn. Lanturn fits on the team as the blanket check to special attackers and forms a slow Volt-Turn core with Mesprit. The Speed is enough to outspeed Modest Jellicent and the Special Attack is enough to 2HKO Gastrodon with HP Grass. Dodrio is the dedicated Speed control for the team, as it can outspeed +1 Lilligant, along with most common Choice Scarf Pokemon like Primeape. Finally Silvally-Fairy was chosen to act as another Fighting-type check while also providing Parting Shot support and being the team's way of removing hazards with Defog and cripple fatter mons with Toxic.


Sorry I couldn't get more replays with this team, but this is kinda what happens to teams where the Houndoom response is Audino: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-874301839

164716


Houndoom @ Choice Specs
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Fire Blast
- Dark Pulse
- Hidden Power [Grass]
- Overheat

Qwilfish @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Spikes
- Taunt
- Waterfall
- Explosion

Eelektross @ Assault Vest
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpA
Quiet Nature
- Volt Switch
- Flamethrower
- Giga Drain
- Knock Off

Primeape @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Close Combat
- U-turn
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake

Mesprit @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 156 Def / 100 Spe
Bold Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Psychic
- Hidden Power [Fighting]
- U-turn

Kangaskhan @ Normalium Z
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Power-Up Punch
- Double-Edge
- Sucker Punch
- Earthquake


So this team is just standard Hazard stack team which uses Spikes from Qwilfish + Stealth Rock Mesprit to make it easier to clean in the late game between Specs Doom + PUP Normalium Z Kangaskhan. Primeape is here for Speed Control and Eelektross provides the check to speclai attackers and slow Volt Switches for Houndoom and Kangaskhan. I know it's one of the rare hazard stack teams with no Ghost-type, so you could go Froslass > Qwilfish and make Mesprit Rocky Helmet.


Also one set of my own:

Houndoom @ Life Orb
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 208 Atk / 48 SpA / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
IVs: 29 HP
- Sucker Punch
- Pursuit
- Fire Blast
- Crunch

So similiar to what Ktütverde posted, this is mixed attacking Houndoom, but this variant is a physical version designed to lure in standard switchins to the Nasty Plot set such as Eelektross and Lanturn and catch both with a Crunch. The EVs aren't anything special, but the Attack investment is enoungh to OHKO offensive Jellicent with Crunch if it stays in or Pursuit if it switches out from full. Some calcs to note:

208 Atk Life Orb Houndoom Crunch vs. 252 HP / 240+ Def Mesprit: 179-213 (49.1 - 58.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

208 Atk Life Orb Houndoom Crunch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Jellicent: 343-406 (100.5 - 119%) -- guaranteed OHKO

208 Atk Life Orb Houndoom Crunch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Lanturn: 199-234 (50.8 - 59.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock

208 Atk Life Orb Houndoom Crunch vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Eelektross: 153-181 (40.9 - 48.3%) -- 67.2% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock

48 SpA Life Orb Houndoom Fire Blast vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Aggron: 265-312 (94.3 - 111%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Stealth Rock


So this is the first suspect i ever got reqs for, but after doing some testing, I feel that the breaking power of Nasty Plot combined with shutting down bulkier Pokemon with Taunt combined with the unpredictibility of its other sets makes me lean more towards voting BAN on Houndoom. Not saying that Houndoom can't be dealt with, but like Megazard brought up, I don't feel we have enough in the tier to justify keeping it around, but I wouldn't mind it being resuspected if the upcoming tier shift gives us something more managable.
 
hello fellads and fellasses, resident procrastinator and scyther hater here, and as many of you know i skew heavily to one side of this discussion on whether or not houndoom is broken or not. Spoiler alert; im heavily against keeping it in this tier, and now I will attempt to articulate my point of view in a more easily digestible form, rather than just shouting at people madly over discord or the ps server (sorry if u were one of those people, im not as easily restrained as other folk). Even though I had not laddered or played with it too much, I came in very skeptical of whether or not it should remain in the tier, its speed tier, power and dual stab combined made me think this was much more potent than a beefed up simisear, but rather more alongside the likes of magmortar and pyroar that were previously running about in this tier. The severe strain it puts on teambuilding off the get go was worrying, as i found it extremely difficult to fashion a team without being ridiculously and unforgivably weak to other threats in the tier that also require attention.

This now leads onto the first main argument that I have with respect to keeping houndoom in the tier or not. We simply do not have the defensive counterplay neccesary to keep a mon of houndooms speed or power under wraps. houndoom has 2 main sets, with several more niche but justifiable and effective sets, but we shall focus on nasty plot for the time being, and shift focus in the future towards these other sets. Now by defensive counterplay, i mean a Pokemon which can switch in safely into houndoom, given that it has a free turn, and then force it out by being capable of tanking a hit from it. Now the particular issue with doom is that once nasty plotted up (or in many cases, it doesnt need a nasty plot), it has far fewer walls than the likes of simisear, and even on a similar projection lilligant. Due to its Z-Move and ability to switch this Z-Move up on demand, its capable of running through the most common fire or dark tanks in the tier with relatively little issue. The most common things i've seen being wrongly spewed as defensive counterplay are Regirock / Lanturn / Poliwrath, all of which are average fire specific checks in the first place, given that only one switches into simisear effectively, so its very hard for me to understand why suddenly these mons are being leveraged as counterplay and especially defensive counterplay towards doom. Regirock struggles to take on houndoom is self explanatory, but it cant really resist dark pulse, darkiniumz pulse or the zsolar set (or even like sunny day solar set tbh), which are basically all the sets that nasty plot decide to use anyway and then dies; lanturn which is commonly core'd with mesprit (free houndoom nasty plot) dies to +2 darkz or +2 zsolar without question and poliwrath dies to +2 zsolar. Admittedly, the fact that poliwrath can take on a multitude of houndooms nasty plot sets (basically any nasty plot set which doesnt use solar or zsolar) is quite neat, however, when we talk about houndoom, and zsolar especially being an extremely viable set (i actually played against this set the most out of any of the sets versus others on ladder), and poliwrath being relied upon as a main form of defensive counterplay would require that something else on the team could take on zsolar, but the issue is zsolar isnt sacrificed for anything notable on nasty plot doom sets, so ur kinda stuck, if ur team has a few pokemon slower than 317 speed or uncapable of getting up rocks reliably, houndoom will become a real issue. There of course is one more defensive counterplay in the upper echelon of ranks on the PU VR, and that is hitmonchan. Many of you already know my thoughts on this mon in particular, but simply put, i think it would be only detrimental to the tier to kid ourselves that hitmonchan will switch in on houndoom and solve it as a problem. It isn't at all popular at the moment, which is a product of the meta at the moment im willing to admit, but my issue is that if we are pinning this up as the be all, end all defensive houndoom check which is viable and can also do other stuff, we must also have some other viable options, because certainly, people will not use hitmonchan on every team, especially given that, if houndoom ISNT pressured by stealth rocks, it doesnt last for very long at all. Its easily 3hkoed by fire blast, and then also pressured into going for mach punch if it doesn't want to fear taking further damage from a successive move, such as the afformentioned zsolar sets. firiumz sets also put hitmonchan in a world of hurt, with sunny day into firiumz fire blast doing on average 90%, or even just a specs overheat (ill get into this later) renders chan basically useless, so on top of being a defensive check which gets easily 3hkoed, there is no way in hell u can convince me we can use it as a main prominent stop to houndoom on the same level as lets say skunk for a mesprit. The usage isn't there, its ability to fundamentally check dooms most common sets arent there (more niche sets aside), and its so easily abused by some of the tiers most common mons like mesprit, like froslass and a ton of others that i can't see it being very effective. The result of having a few 1/4 houndoom checks and lets say a 3/4 or full houndoom check in our A ranks is that, now, there is a specific and real reward to just ignoring houndoom in the preperation phase, and therefore if the opponent brings a houndoom, you just get a game where if houndoom is faster than any of the opponents mons, it gets a clean break. This leads to the tier either becoming extremely stale (ur forced into using hitmonchan of all things) or coinflippy. This is where u actively decide not to prepare for houndoom, because then u can focus on the rest of the tier much better. If you play houndoom, ur fucked, but if u dont, ur much better angled to win the match. This isn't a true demonstration of skill, thus it makes me cringe when people say when houndooms effect on teambuilding is negligible. There is a clear advantage to teams building without it, as opposed to building with it in perspective.

Having discussed the proposed A rank checks to Houndoom (im not gonna discuss gurdurr, call it a check, but u cant call it counterplay), we need to now assess the Pokemon capable of checking / switching into it further down the VR and assessing if they can be depended upon to reliably check doom in the context of a game. I compiled a list with help of the PU room and the PU discord and Type: Null (being used as a pivot into a faster mon or prioity of course and not counterplay on its own) / Combusken / Alolarat / Carbink / Pignite / Monferno / Zweilous (and AV Regigigas lmao) can be considered as much more reliable defensive counterplay to the above as a doom checks, however notice that only the first 4 are ranked, of which 2 are still beaten by some doom sets and the other 2 aren't popular with the current network of the meta. The last 3 are E rank NFEs, but I mean, they gain huge amounts of viability by virtue of doom just existing, so im sure they will be ranked should doom stay. But if we are delving so deep into the trashcan that Pignite becomes a viable phenomenon, I wouldnt neccesarily call the tier healthy at that point in time given how bad it is in every other match up. I decided to explore AV Thickfat alolarat in my laddering session to get reqs, so I will discuss that. But in my experience against combusken, that cannot switch into houndoom effectively without an eviolite and then is obviously forced into protect so that doom doesnt straight up 2hko it relieving any momentum u gained by switching in. Unfortunately, given how bad these pokemon are individually (at checking houndoom individually, or otherwise), these cannot be relied upon to become tier mainstays if the dog is indeed unbanned. The reality of the situation is that its gonna be hitmonchan / a few of the A ranks + extra speed control / priority and stealth rock pressure which is going to be the most common way of dealing with doom. During my experience on the ladder, and in arguments / discussions ive had with others, its irked me how consistently they say that houndoom takes 25% from stealth rock and thus makes it "easy" to pressure by any scarfer and even if ur trading one of one with it, that doesnt make it broken. So be it, if stealth rocks were that difficult to remove (Say on a BW2 NU level for those of u familar with that or any BW lower tier meta tbh), id generally agree with this statement and say sure, its not that hard to check after all. But the reality of the situation is that we have several high tier level defoggers and rapid spinners, basically enough to fit on any style and every style of team, and, at least for a good amount of time, stop stealth rocks being settup by the majority of the tiers stealth rockers. My favourite in practice has been silvally-water for its ability to threaten regirock and pivot using parting shot to get doom in effectively, but any silvally, swanna, rotom-frost, lurantis, pompom, altaria, shiftry on top of the prominent rapid spinners in the tier like alolaslash / kabu (just adding here before i forget, support houndooms with pursuit will lead to a net decrease in usage amongst ghosts, making hazards control a bunch easier even with only a spinner if thats what ur team allows) amongst many will help houndoom keep hazards off the field on top of good ol' fashioned offensive pressure, generally relieve a situation where houndoom is always contending with stealth rock whenever it gets an opportunity to break. We had the same arguments going for Magmortar, but in my opinion, with the additional speed tier and dual stab which does the job of 3 coverage moves in only 2, its a far more viable breaker, in a meta where fire resists are generally forgotten (hence why simisear has seen such a spike in usage over recent weeks, not in any way because its good) its capable of doing magmortars job to a great extent, and is very similar to pyroar in the fact it can be a fast breaker, but also offense control. Given how much utility u get from a dual stab as effective as fire / dark, it means you often end up with a filler on nasty plot sets which u can use on literally anything if u wanted. One of my favourites being flame charge, but isnt limited to pursuit, sucker punch, wisp, taunt, destiny bond, sunny day, hidden powers (grass or fighting/steel for alolarat or carbink lmao), power herb solar beam, and a few others which im sure are around but im just forgetting. Flame charge makes the most prominent scarfer in the tier primeape slower than it, making houndoom decidedly harder to revenge kill than many people make out using the common scarfer + stealth rock revenge killing mechanism. Amongst the tiers most prominent scarfers being mesprit and kabutops, as well as primeape get frickin boned by this set in particular, but also zsunny day sets which are extremely effective at immitating the old firium zsunny day set on pyroars of past. Allowing you to sunny day into firiumz fire blast vs fatter teams or even a hitmonchan if you truely wanted, or zsunny day itself and really pressure the likes of primeape into winning a speed tie. The ernest to win the tie is much more on the primeape side, because if ur revenge killing method doesnt work, and the defensive counterplay doesnt exist, we lose the game right? right. So now, we are indeed limited to faster than 317 scarfers (of which majority suck, but i do like scarf dodrio a lot, so ill give you that one) or priority users such as lycanroc, gurdurr, the afformentioned hitmonchan and aqua jet mons (altho nobody has really named me oneother than carracosta but nothing else in the tier carries it tbh so yeah) also note that without stealth rocks up (easily removed as mentioned before) none of these so called revenge killing mechanisms work effectively, and if any pokemon on your team of 6 is slower than the 317 houndoom puts up, its essentially a great opportunity to break, courtesy of its zmove access and 110 spa (far higher than simisear, higher than pyroar). So again, to summarise our counterplay in its entireity, we have a solute main houndoom check which is 3hkoed by a stab run on every single houndoom set, a few quarter houndoom checks in the A ranks, a few E ranks, and the offensive pressure mechanism, which is entirely dictated by how the hazards war goes, and if u lose that, ur kinda fucked no lie. Besides that, even if you do get stealth rocks going, you have a grand choice of 5 pokemon capable of revenge killing houndoom in every scenario, and without them, you indeed get beat by some houndoom sets, all of which are just as likely as the other to appear.

Now moving onto the lower key houndoom sets, but in my opinion the more broken ones long term. Sure, the tier will adapt a bit, become a bit stale, and a bit more coinflippant but if thats your cup of tea then cool, whatever. The tier cannot adapt however to the support given by Unnerve Pursuit houndoom, which in itself is a broken concept, since every single ghost or psychic in this tier DEPENDS upon its colbur berry already to not be trapped by skunk. With Houndoom in the tier, its simply impossible to leave any of these on a team in fear of houndoom trapping it for free essentially. Its simply not viable to keep a mesprit in on a houndoom for example, unless you 100% know its pursuit, because if its dark pulse (pretty likely lmao) ur gonna be taking so much damage, useless mesprit. Therefore, ur forced to switch out due to its sets unpredictability, and boom, ur main gurdurr / primeape / fighting check is removed. The grand total of fighting type checks that don't get trapped are 2, victreebel, and pompom as for reliable fighting type resists, and as a result, do you truely want a meta truely in fear of pursuit houndoom or otherwise forced into 1 of 2 fighting resists on any team? Doesn't sound appetising to me. The afformentioned Z-Sunny Day and Flame Charge sets are super sauce and I enjoy them heavily, making it an extremely viable sweeper, amongst breaker as well, but it has several other niche sets, such as Specs (which i also tried out in my ladder session), Scarf and a few other ones. All of which are at a level which makes houndoom truely unique in the diversity of the offensive pressure it can put on a team, unlike anything we've seen in PU ever.

talking about my ladder session now and my review:
Houndoom @ Choice Specs
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 1 Atk
- Overheat
- Dark Pulse
- Fire Blast
- Hidden Power [Fighting]

Raticate-Alola @ Assault Vest
Ability: Thick Fat
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Knock Off
- Stomping Tantrum
- U-turn
- Super Fang

Tangela @ Eviolite
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 248 HP / 244 Def / 16 Spe
Bold Nature
- Giga Drain
- Knock Off
- Leech Seed
- Synthesis

Silvally-Water @ Water Memory
Ability: RKS System
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Surf
- Thunderbolt
- Parting Shot
- Defog

Sandslash-Alola @ Leftovers
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 248 HP / 204 Def / 56 Spe
Impish Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Icicle Crash
- Knock Off
- Rapid Spin

Mesprit @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Psychic
- U-turn
- Healing Wish
- Hidden Power [Ground]

My overall experience getting reqs this time was actually quite fun! This was for the first time in a while ive actually decided to build a dedicated team for reqs and for the first 25-30 games i was enjoying the hardships of trying to prove my perspective of houndoom is founded heavily in practice as well as in theory. This team is actually dogshit and has a few hardships vs some pokemon, so its far from refined, but it did the job so hey whatever. As you can see ive built around Specs, mainly because ive found it the most effective way to destroy hitmonchan. Given that specs overheat does something stupid like 60-70% to chan, one overheat vs any offense team onto the chan will allow to spam dark pulse for the rest of the game. The specific tech hp fighting is for alolarat and literally nothing else, i bopped one with it, which was quite funny, especially since mine was bopped earlier in the ladder sesh which was hella frustrating. But yeah, the main thing i learned in 40 or so games on ladder is that keeping stealth rocks up to pressure houndoom especially for offense is actually a way way way way harder task than what people have been trying to claim. Sivally-water being a main pivot as well as a defogger was so good for doom, to the extent that i hardly ever needed to use alolaslash as a hazards control in the first place, which is why ur not seeing toxic on the set at all, and rather a weird mishmash of shit needed to check clef and drampa simultaneously whilst trying a weird phys def set also. That and mesprit harding into chan and then clicking uturn is literally the free'est play ever, because they can never afford to stay in and potentially eat a psychic. Other then that, specs doom proved to me its literally a like for like replacement for pyroar, and actually much better than i remember specs pyroar being. Despite being a bit slower, its much harder to wall courtesy of its dual stab and gets just as many opportunities to break teams despite having a bit less speed, the amount of real opportunities is confined by only a few pokemon like swanna and non-scarfed manectrics, meaning the speed tier in real terms isnt that much worse than pyroar actually was.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873309009 cool looking offensive dependent on chan, didnt stand a chance
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873314652 more niche revenge killing mechs that failed to do work because doom gets too much impetus on shit slower than it
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873328892 even tho his team was bad, i should never have won the game because of how bad i played early game. I simply clean the fire check from play and put too much pressure on doom despite being in a handicapped position
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873346566 hp fighting tech looks to come clutch but i honestly didnt need it since i could offensively pressure the mesprit with doom in the first place and get essentially infinite breaking opportunities. reminded me of good ol bw this game did
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873351530 good example of doom breaking bulkier teams
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873354963 several defensive doom checks losing to it, even tho i got a key flinch, i coulda hwished it any point so it didnt matter long term
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873369234 chan + lycanroc, couldnt get a rk since he never got up sr, key theme here
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873371458 more chan dependance, have i made my point that this isnt reliable enough?
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen7pu-873381989 keeping doom for late game is just as scary as early game

Those are the bulk of my replays, I have a few more vs far worse teams, but these are the most passable i played on the ladder. Another experience is that doom played much better vs the far more well structured teams, since those were dependent on 1-2-3 mons to switch in or check doom, you can bop the switchin by clicking the appropriate stab then claim the rest using the other and by getting opportunitys by virtue of the team. Doom struggled much more vs teams that were more mon by mon focused on checking chan throughout the team, which i believe is a very unhealthy habit to get into. I believe i played against BloodAce0107 using a team with mudsdale / lanturn / chan / alolarat / combusken / silvally(poison) all on one team, which is just a stupid amount of prep for this mon, but really comes to prove its influence.

Thanks for reading, give me a :tympole: in pu discord if u read this through, and i hope u understand why i get so engrossed in arguments about houndoom and its brokeness a bit more. i cant even tldr this since i made so many points. yogi sucks and bye!
 
Hi,

After playing a few games, I'm still not entirely sure how I'd vote, but as Katy notes, Houndoom does get picked off by priority pretty easily. It also loses to a lot of faster mons due to its frailty. While its offensive pressure on the tier might not necessarily be the healthiest thing for PU, the multitude of counters and complete lack of defensive capabilities keeps me from wholeheartedly supporting a ban. I'll try to get reqs (probably won't get them) but those are my thoughts as of now.
 
Hi,

After playing a few games, I'm still not entirely sure how I'd vote, but as Katy notes, Houndoom does get picked off by priority pretty easily. It also loses to a lot of faster mons due to its frailty. While its offensive pressure on the tier might not necessarily be the healthiest thing for PU, the multitude of counters and complete lack of defensive capabilities keeps me from wholeheartedly supporting a ban. I'll try to get reqs (probably won't get them) but those are my thoughts as of now.
Hello,

my POV on Houndoom changed, since I played against it, used it myself and also watched a lot of replays. Houndoom is easily picked of via Mach Punch / Acceleroc thats true, but:

I think the versatility this mon offers is far too much, the amount of sets this mon can run pushes it in my opinion over the edge.
Ktutverde and many others already pointed out all the sets it can run and it is incredible, the range is so wide that I dont think there is a true counter for this mon and the checks are limited in my opinion. Houndoom is fast enough to pick off a decent chunk from the PU tier itself, slap a Scarf on it and you have one of the faster scarfers in this tier alongside Scyther and Dodrio and Primape. The Item slot is also incredible, it ranges from Specs, Scarf, many different Z Moves over to Life Orb and Plates. Unnerve is also a pretty sueful ability making it thatopposing mons can't consume their berry, that doesn't only count for the popular Colbur Berry but same with other weakness reducing berries.

I think Houndoom can easily function on so many teams ranging from Bulky offense, to Offense to even Hyper Offense. this proves Houndoom is not a mon which is hard to fit on teams, and it can partner up with any mon which checks the things it is weak to.

My conclusion is that Houndoom might be too much for the tier and should get BANNED!
 
I'm not that great with PU, but when Houndoom was in NU I found him pretty bad. It was insufficient of dealing enough damage and died to everything. I vote he STAYS IN PU. Houndoom's best stat is only around average, and to boost it, you would pretty much have to rely on a Focus Sash, to make it work, because of Houndoom's atrocious Defenses and weaknesses. Also, bulkier threats, such as Kangaskhan and Mesprit, pretty much destroy it one on one. Having weaknesses to the most popular Pokemon around, as well as a crippling weakness to Stealth Rock, along with bad stats make it a pretty alright in PU. I would say NO BAN.

EDIT

Houndoom also has a tendancy to being revenge killed, something very crippling if it wants to set up. Now granted, after a Nasty Plot boost, it can wreak havoc on some inexperienced players, and has a wide movepool of both attacking moves and support options; it's not horrible, but just not great. If you want to use it in NU, use it NU. Maybe you will get lucky.

Hello,

my POV on Houndoom changed, since I played against it, used it myself and also watched a lot of replays. Houndoom is easily picked of via Mach Punch / Acceleroc thats true, but:

I think the versatility this mon offers is far too much, the amount of sets this mon can run pushes it in my opinion over the edge.
Ktutverde and many others already pointed out all the sets it can run and it is incredible, the range is so wide that I dont think there is a true counter for this mon and the checks are limited in my opinion. Houndoom is fast enough to pick off a decent chunk from the PU tier itself, slap a Scarf on it and you have one of the faster scarfers in this tier alongside Scyther and Dodrio and Primape. The Item slot is also incredible, it ranges from Specs, Scarf, many different Z Moves over to Life Orb and Plates. Unnerve is also a pretty sueful ability making it thatopposing mons can't consume their berry, that doesn't only count for the popular Colbur Berry but same with other weakness reducing berries.

I think Houndoom can easily function on so many teams ranging from Bulky offense, to Offense to even Hyper Offense. this proves Houndoom is not a mon which is hard to fit on teams, and it can partner up with any mon which checks the things it is weak to.

My conclusion is that Houndoom might be too much for the tier and should get BANNED!
I agree that Houndoom is a terrific wallbreaker, and can outspeed a decent portion of non-scarfed mons in the game, however the best thing to do is to set up. Setting up while relying on a Z-Crystal or a Life Orb is probably the most hit-or-miss kind of strategy possible. Also, bulky neutral targets completely stuff Houndoom, and it requires a massive amount of team support to function. Even, when you are flaring with action, get revenge killed and no more sweeping for the hounds. You are not wrong, but the over exaggeration is tilting the point. Pretty much anything bulky, and neutral (which is quite a plenty) can stop Houndoom in it's tracks.
 

2xTheTap

Bloom Doom Houndoom Looms and Nyooms
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Simulator Driver Alumnus
Hey everyone, I've just gotten reqs and so now I'll present a few points for the DNB side, as well as a few replays showing that Houndoom can still be palatable with even minimal teambuilding preparation. Blatantly copying HBAN here because this idea was cute, but if you've earned reqs and have read this post in its entirety, show me some love by dropping me a phat
165639
on Discord.

https://play.pokemonshowdown.com/sprites/xyani/houndoom.gif

Houndoom-centric Meta: Yay or Nay?

Going into this suspect, I was nervous at the prospect of having yet another busted threat to dedicate 2-3 teamslots to (shoutouts Lilligant) and was pro-ban initially. I found however through exchanging ideas with people on Discord and testing a lot of teams, with and without Houndoom answers (without just to see if its effect on the meta would indeed be as pronounced as pro ban players like HJAD and Ktut have stated), that even outdated teams from Alolan Exeggutor meta without dedicated defensive answers can still fudge the match-up.
Even if Houndoom hadn't dropped, I'd still be using Pokemon like Poliwrath / Kangaskhan / Lycanroc / Hitmonchan / Gurdurr / Scarf Primeape / Kabutops / Carracosta / Lanturn / Regirock / Dodrio / Swanna, etc., and to say that these are not valid checks overstates Houndoom's threat level. Moreover, most workable team configurations have at least two of these Pokemon given you'll always have to prep for Pokemon like Lycanroc, Lilligant, Aggron, hail cores, etc. anyway, which decreases the likelihood that pressing that Nasty Plot button will lead to certain victory. There's also some room for meta adaptation with changing coverage on NP Alolan Persian (Power Gem is fine), using sets like AV Skuntank more often, or using stuff like Aqua Jet Qwilfish outside of rain as some quick examples. There's a myriad of faster Pokemon or Pokemon with a type advantage and priority to the point that it won't necessarily put a strain on teambuilding as you attempt to prep for PU's other top threats - check out some of the replays below to see what I mean if you're not convinced yet.

You don't need to go as far as using bottom-barrel stuff like Marill / Monferno / Pignite / Hakamo-o / AV Alolan Raticate / Zweilous, etc. to put down your opponent's team with Houndoom. Outside of checking each of Houndoom's Nasty Plot sets reliably, most of these Pokemon are unviable given they offer little to no utility in beating the rest of the meta (okay, AV Alolan Raticate with full HP investment beats Aurorus, but otherwise, minimal Attack investment seems far from optimal). If your idea going into this suspect is, 'I need a Pokemon that can switch into +2 (Z-)Dark Pulse, +2 (Z-)Fire Blast, AND a +2 HP Grass or Z-/Power Herb Solar Beam,' then you're probably going to come to the conclusion Houndoom has zero viable options for counterplay. I think people prone to this line of thinking are maybe too focused on switching into Houndoom safely and have forgotten to take its vulnerabilities into account; Houndoom is effectively a glass cannon and is extremely powerful, but its paltry 75 HP / 50 Def / 80 SpD bulk, its middling Speed tier (Base 95 works for outspeeding the defensive meta all the way up to and including the Oricorios, but it's not going to be as overwhelming as Pyroar was in this regard), and entry hazards being in play when it's either time to send Houndoom in or when it's forced out by one of its checks really undermine its ability to sweep anything faster than stall. Even stall can account for Houndoom with Carbink (and its other specially defensive walls to some extent), so I think examining only the power of its NP sets and using this to say Houndoom has no reliable counterplay in the tier without resorting to building with various unranked mons is an exaggeration of its threat level that borders on fear mongering. Yes, Houndoom is easily S rank, but it actually requires a fair amount of team support to do well with its Nasty Plot sets. It especially needs reliable options for entry hazard removal (this doesn't always play out perfectly in its favor) and slow pivoting moves from Pokemon like Mesprit, Lanturn, Eelektross, etc. to bring it in safely and create setup opportunities.

In my experience, Nasty Plot has not been its best set as a result of Houndoom's limited lifespan coming into play time and again. While still potent, Choice Specs and Pursuit sets were instead optimal because not thinking about producing this free turn of setup was simply more practical in light of its terrible bulk. Not only that, but sweeping or even breaking more than one Pokemon with Nasty Plot + Darkinium Z or Firium Z also hinged upon there not being more than a couple of Houndoom checks on the other side, which was inconsistent at best and extraordinarily match-up based.

I've theorized before that its STAB Unnerve Pursuit will be its most meta-changing set, displacing some of our current S Ranks and overall simply shifting the meta's centralization away from staples like Mesprit and Froslass. Instead, this new meta will be refocused around the synergy between our Fighting-types and Houndoom's Unnerve Pursuit. This element exists to some extent already as we already have the interplay between physically offensive Skuntank supporting Fighting-type wincons like Gurdurr, but Unnerve cutting into the Pokemon that rely on Colbur Berry to survive Skuntank's Pursuit places greater emphasis on these sorts of team configurations and will be extremely impactful in changing how we build. With Fighting-types becoming more effective, so too will Fighting checks like Oricorio-E, Claydol, Golurk, Victreebel, etc. for countering one of Gurdurr, Hitmonchan, Poliwrath, and Primeape. Froslass may also stop using its bulky Spikes set, and may instead stick to Destiny Bond or Electrium Z sets to check Houndoom lacking Sucker Punch. These developments won't necessarily be bad however, and I'm looking forward to the innovations that may happen down the road if Houndoom stays. There's even a chance that Guzzlord and Miltank may drop back down, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

https://play.pokemonshowdown.com/sprites/xyani/pyroar.gif
https://play.pokemonshowdown.com/sprites/xyani/magmortar.gif
https://play.pokemonshowdown.com/sprites/xyani/simisear.gif

Comparisons Between Houndoom and Other Fire-types

Let me address some of the concerns pro-ban people have shared going into this suspect; more than a few users have posted either here or in Discord that they'd fear 'returning to Pyroar meta' and they really didn't want to go back to using slow checks to Fire-types like AV Lanturn and SpDef Regirock to account for Houndoom like they had to do with Pyroar. I don't feel that comparing Houndoom to past Fire-type bans like Pyroar and Magmortar has much merit simply because these Pokemon were banned in completely different metas. This is really a small nitpick and is really secondary to my main points, but I think a lot of these comparisons between Houndoom and Simisear / Pyroar / Magmortar are half-baked and really serve no discernible purpose other than to overrate how problematic Houndoom is (the people who use Pyroar and Magmortar as points of comparison), or to underrate its potency (the anti-ban people who place too much emphasis on its parallels with Simisear). There are also a lot of other differentiating factors coming into play, which invalidate the notion that you can use these comparisons as justification for Ban/DNB verdicts, like Magmortar's defensive utility with AV sets, and Pyroar's superior Speed tier, etc. IMO, these sorts of comparisons to Fire-types used in previous metas should be avoided as platforms for both pro- and anti-ban arguments; instead, Houndoom should be examined separately in its own meta.

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Dodrio Comparison?

If you're going to bother making comparisons between Houndoom and other Pokemon at all, a more plausible one you could make to a Pokemon in its same meta would be one with Dodrio. I believe Houndoom has many similarities with Dodrio, and if allowed to stay, its place in the meta might develop very similarly to Dodrio's.
  • Both Dodrio and Houndoom are easily chipped by LO recoil (or BB recoil in Dodrio's case) or by SR, so general offensive pressure is effective in keeping them at bay;
  • Their use of Z-crystals is very similar: they can both use their Z-crystals to outplay potential counters, but in practice, they end up not using that move; for example, Dodrio can use +2 Z-Jump Kick to nuke Regirock and other Normal/Flying resists, but it instead sticks to Flyinium Z to avoid recoil from Brave Bird. Similarly, Houndoom's Z-Solar Beam is really uncommon, and Grassium Z is definitely not its best Z-crystal, but Bloom Doom Houndoom (lol) could potentially use this inferior option to bypass would-be counters like Poliwrath and Carbink;
  • Moreover, both Dodrio and Houndoom have to be extremely careful about when to use their Z nuke, and choice sets are prediction-reliant in most match-ups. If you predict incorrectly with Choice Band or Choice Specs, respectively, then you're forced out over SR, lending legitimacy to the idea that the skill of the player is in general more important than who is using Houndoom;
  • Both Pokemon face extreme difficulty in setting up without risk due to lackluster bulk;
  • Both are far from difficult to revenge kill given a reasonably prepared team;
  • Dodrio is incredibly powerful, but at the time it quickdropped, it wasn't so consistent at destroying teams that it became unfair or uncompetitive. In the end, council (apart from HJAD, LST, and Akir) decided not to quickban Dodrio. Houndoom is an eerily similar case now, and if it's allowed to stay, you may find in the future that it'll drop off a bit like Dodrio has (it's sitting in A rank now).
We Free Teams

You thought you made it through a 2x post without being able to snag a free team? Think again. I would've liked to post these in this thread before the suspect was almost over like Ktut did, but I still posted them in Discord early on so hopefully you had a chance to test them out. Or, if you're doing a last minute reqs run like I sometimes do, feel free to use them now:

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Houndoom @ Choice Specs
Ability: Unnerve / Flash Fire
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hidden Power [Grass]
- Overheat
- Fire Blast
- Dark Pulse

Victreebel @ Grassium Z
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sleep Powder
- Strength Sap
- Leaf Storm
- Sludge Bomb

Dodrio @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Early Bird
Happiness: 0
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Brave Bird
- Jump Kick
- Pursuit
- Frustration

Poliwrath @ Leftovers
Ability: Water Absorb
EVs: 248 HP / 160 SpA / 100 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Toxic
- Scald
- Ice Beam
- Vacuum Wave

Claydol @ Colbur Berry
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 112 HP / 252 Def / 144 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock
- Earth Power
- Toxic
- Psychic

Sandslash-Alola @ Aguav Berry
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 232 HP / 216 SpD / 60 Spe
Careful Nature
- Icicle Crash
- Earthquake
- Toxic
- Rapid Spin

Houndoom's and Poliwrath's 4th slots are negotiable, but I chose HP Grass for earning decent chip on Poliwrath and Carbink switch-ins. Unnerve and Flash Fire can both be used; Flash Fire paired with a Choice Specs-boosted Overheat OHKOes a ton of stuff, and Flash Fire can let you soft check other Houndoom sometimes. Poliwrath's Ice Beam could be Focus Blast, Protect, or Substitute, so that's really up to the user.
Why Claydol as a teammate? It's pretty effective in beating would-be Houndoom checks, especially Hitmonchan and Lycanroc. Using Claydol to take Lycanroc off of Poliwrath's plate means that Poliwrath won't be spread too thin to do what it needs to, so that it can more reliably check other prominent threats like Jolly Alolan Sandslash in hail, Shell Smashers (Omastar and Carracosta), Aggron, and more. It's a pretty good check to Houndoom, especially more physically oriented Pursuit sets. Dark-types that threaten Claydol are mostly beaten by some mixture of Victreebel, Houndoom, or Poliwrath.
Victreebel is another awesome Houndoom partner, as it soundly destroys all the stuff Houndoom hates trying to beat from full: Thunder Punch Hitmonchan, Gurdurr, Poliwrath, Mudsdale, Lanturn, Regirock, Carbink, and more. It can force out a Psychic from Pokemon like Scarf Mesprit, giving Houndoom some intiative to switch in, and it's a useful Toxic Spikes absorb so that Poliwrath and Houndoom can do their jobs without being too pressured. Sleep Powder also gives the team some breathing room, letting you sneak Houndoom in to blow something up. Victreebel is using a Timid nature to outspeed neutral natured base 80s like Shiftry and Stoutland so that they don't put too much pressure on the team (Z-Leaf Storm + SR OHKOes Stoutland).
Alolan Sandslash is there to plug up the remaining holes; whenever you use Alolan Sandslash as a potential HP Ice / Normalium Z Lilligant, Aurorus, Jynx, Mesprit, etc. stop, your teams will start looking weaker and weaker to offensive Normal-types like Stoutland, Dodrio, etc., which is where choices like Vacuum Wave on Poliwrath / Scarf Dodrio / Timid Victreebel come into play on the team.
Alolan Sandslash plus Claydol is pretty interesting, as the opponent won't know which is setting SR or removing - both bait in Ghost-types that try to spinblock you, opening up the potential for a couple of different plays: doubling to Houndoom as the spinblocker comes in, hitting said Ghost-type with Toxic, which allows Alolan Sandslash to more easily spin mid-game, or simply setting up Stealth Rock on a predicted switch with Claydol.
If annoying threats manage to make it past the defensive backbone that is supporting Houndoom, Scarf Dodrio is still there to RKO everything up to Timid Victreebel / Timid Ludicolo in sun / rain, respectively, which came into play often during this suspect with people spamming weather on the ladder. A lot of matches also came down to beating fat teams with triple Toxic spam, then breaking at key moments with either Houndoom or Z Victreebel. Be warned though, this is weak to Flying-types given that your Flying resist here is unable to take Fighting coverage, making Oricorio-E packing HP Fighting or Revelation Dance and Jump Kick Dodrio problematic for this team.

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Qwilfish @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Taunt
- Spikes
- Thunder Wave
- Waterfall

Stunfisk @ Leftovers
Ability: Static
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 Spe
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock
- Earth Power
- Protect
- Discharge

Houndoom @ King's Rock
Ability: Unnerve
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Hasty Nature
- Beat Up
- Pursuit
- Overheat
- Will-O-Wisp

Sawsbuck @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Substitute
- Headbutt
- Swords Dance
- Horn Leech

Toucannon @ King's Rock
Ability: Skill Link
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Bullet Seed
- Rock Blast
- Fury Attack

Sandslash-Alola @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Iron Head
- Icicle Crash
- Rapid Spin
- Earthquake

This team is a gimmick really; you'll notice that the team's switch-in to Houndoom is... Houndoom? I went into more than a few games against Houndoom with this team and didn't have a problem with it. The idea is to spread paralysis with Stunfisk and Qwilfish, then flinch through for a win with Beat Up Kings Rock Houndoom, Scarf Alolan Sandslash, Kings Rock Technician Toucannon, Waterfall Qwilfish, and Serene Grace Headbutt Sawsbuck. Qwilfish serves as the Fighting check that supports Houndoom, while also setting up the Spikes that allow Alolan Sandslash to clean effectively. Sidenote, but Scarf Icicle Spear is used for beating Oricorio behind Substitute. You would think only running 3 Pokemon slower than Houndoom (and with another two forcing the Speed tie) would make a match-up against a well-played Houndoom unwinnable, but as you can see below, I was okay and still managed the win.


Replays

The ladder wasn't really illuminating in showing me how a Houndoom meta would potentially develop, given most teams I fought didn't even carry Houndoom to start. So, I played a few friendlies in addition to earning reqs. There were also a few post-worthy games from ladder that confirmed my suspicion that teams lacking "true" Houndoom counterplay with the use of niche mons like Zweilous or AV Thick Fat Alolan Raticate are absolutely passable:

vs Dundies: I used this older team from Alolan Exeggutor meta with a pretty hefty Houndoom weakness (i.e. Quagsire + Alola Slash + Roselia + Alolan Raichu with only AV Kangaskhan and Scarf Dodrio standing in the way of a sweep) to test if a solid player like Dundies would be able to exploit that teambuilding flaw.

vs LST: Some janky Paraflinch spam, inspired by this Ktütverde post. My Houndoom defensive switch-in was... not really there. My "counter" was actually my own Houndoom lol. I ended up finishing it off with Scarf Alolan Sandslash in the end.

Ktut team vs Ladder: The team I used has a reasonably large weakness to Doom with 3 things it should abuse: Mesprit, Froslass, and Lilligant, with Gurdurr and Primeape waiting in the wings as offensive checks. It realistically doesn't have a Houndoom switch-in (again, the Houndoom answer was Houndoom?), but I still won with just offensive pressure provided by these Fighting-types. Pretty much, if you're building with any of these, you can consider this to be sufficient prep for Houndoom.

A team with heavy heavy Lilligant prep vs Ladder: There are some bad misplays on my end, but I didn't need to do anything special to check Houndoom. I purposefully chose a team with "reasonable" fire checks that Houndoom might've been able to muscle past with its boosted Dark Pulse, including bulky Pivot Lanturn and Silvally Dragon. I also chose Metang and Oricorio-G to see how much headway Houndoom could make against teams with multiple Pokemon weak to Houndoom. You don't need to build with Houndoom in mind to stay safe against it, and keeping just ONE check alive to beat it is fine, as is evidenced here by Gurdurr checking it at 4%. 4%! The extremely low margin of error needed to outpredict Houndoom and prevent it from setting up that pro-ban players like to cite when they tell you how careful you need to play around Houndoom in order to win is probably exaggerated for the sake of banning it.

Anyway, this was way longer than intended, but I felt there weren't enough DNB arguments in this thread. Thanks for reading!
 
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