Metagame NP: ZU Stage 2 - Turn It Again - Combusken Quick Banned @77

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5gen

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August tier shifts are here and ZU is practically a new metagame due to 22 drops and no rises.
Code:
Beheeyem moved from PU to ZU
Bellossom moved from PU to ZU
Dedenne moved from PU to ZU
Dunsparce moved from PU to ZU
Emolga moved from PU to ZU
Grapploct moved from PU to ZU
Leafeon moved from PU to ZU
Lopunny moved from PU to ZU
Musharna moved from PU to ZU
Raichu moved from PU to ZU
Seaking moved from PU to ZU
Stonjourner moved from PU to ZU
Stoutland moved from PU to ZU
Swoobat moved from PU to ZU
Trevenant moved from PU to ZU
Vespiquen moved from PU to ZU
Carkol moved from PU to NFE
Fraxure moved from PU to NFE
Pikachu moved from PU to NFE
Togetic moved from PU to NFE
Vibrava moved from PU to NFE
Whirlipede moved from PU to NFE
While ZU did receive some defensive Pokemon, it is clear that the power level in ZU immediately shot up with the advent of so many powerhouses. Because of this, the council will take the next few days to test and discuss things before there is any talk of potential quick bans. Keep in mind that with an increased power level and radically different metagame, we (the council) must analyze new threats differently than we would have in previous metagames. This means that problematic elements must be especially broken or unfair (not competitive) for us to consider them. I encourage everyone to take the next few days to think, test, and discuss before making a post here. Any one-liners or posts that do not contribute to healthy discussion will be deleted. Use the SQSA thread for questions.
 

5gen

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:Beartic::beheeyem::bellossom::Bronzor::carkol::Charjabug::corsola::Cufant::Dartrix::dedenne::Drakloak::dunsparce::Duosion::dusclops::dwebble::Eiscue::emolga::farfetch:fletchinder::fraxure::frillish::gastly::Glalie::Gloom::gothitelle::gourgeist::grapploct::Greedent::Hakamo-o::Hippopotas::Honedge::Ivysaur::jigglypuff::Klang::krokorok::Lampent::leafeon::lickitung::Linoone-Galar::lopunny::Lunatone::Machoke::magnemite::Maractus::marill::mienfoo::Morgrem::mr mime::mr mime-galar::Mudbray::munchlax::musharna::Natu::Octillery::Onix::Oranguru::palpitoad::persian::pikachu::pyukumuku::raichu::rufflet::sandygast::Scraggy::seadra::seaking::Shedinja::shiinotic::Silvally::Sliggoo::slowpoke::Solrock::Spritzee::stonjourner::stoutland::Sudowoodo::swirlix::swoobat::togetic::Torracat::trevenant::trubbish::vespiquen::vibrava::Vullaby::Vulpix_Alola::Wartortle::whirlipede::Whiscash::Zweilous:

Made a list of mons using the existing Pokemon on the previous VR and added in the drops. Nice little resource for building. Will probably edit it in the coming days to remove unviable Pokemon.
 
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Let's talk about some of the new drops. Some of them are broken, but others are pretty cool.

:raichu: :pikachu:
Finally, some good Electric-types. Raichu and Pikachu are far and away the best of our new electric rodents, with Raichu packing Nasty Plot, a fantastic Speed tier for ZU, and good coverage in Surf and Focus Blast. Pikachu meanwhile is frial but has ludicrous wallbreaking power with Light Ball, not to mention access to both Fake Out and Extreme Speed.

:emolga: :dedenne:
The other two rats are kinda duds but Emolga at least has a good support movepool, while Dedenne can do some interesting stuff with SubRecycle. Besides that Raichu overshadows both of them, but maybe if Raichu gets banned they could eke out some sort of niche.

:carkol: :whirlipede:
SPIKES HYPE. Carkol finally gives us a not only a decent bulky spinner, but also a Spikes/SR setter that can actually stand up to Mr. Mime-G (provided it isn't running Nasty Plot) and threaten back with its STABs. Whirlipede is a pretty damn good suicide lead that can get Spikes or Toxic Spikes up fast and quickly. I'm glad to have it back, but with Galar Mime running around and Carkol dropping alongside it I'm not sure the meta will be too kind to it.

:stoutland:
Good speed, decent bulk, virtually unresisted coverage... yeah, this thing is dangerous. It's nowhere near as threatening as last gen thanks to no Return (or Pursuit I guess, although it was never known for Pursuit trapping capabilities), but I still expect it to be a top-tier wallbreaker in the meta.

:musharna:
Pretty sure this was banned last gen, and last gen we had Pursuit and Z-moves to make it easier to kill. This time we have Linoone-G, but even that can only 3HKO Musharna at best without hazard damage (while Musharna 2HKOs with Moonblast). How long do you think this will last?

EDIT: It lasted two weeks. Honestly, that was a bit longer than I expected.

:fraxure:
Friendly reminder that this gets Scale Shot now. Yeah, not only can this thing wallbreak with ease after a DD (or an SD), but it can also pile on Speed boosts with Scale Shot to put in work against offense too. I'd give it two weeks at most before it gets the axe. get it axe ha ha ha feed me likes plz

TL;DR Musharna and Fraxure are broken, Raichu and Stoutland are excellent, Carkol and Pikachu are solid, Whirlipede is nice but might have a tough time in the current meta, and Emolga and Dedenne are totally outclassed by Raichu.
 
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Sputnik

Bono My Tires are Deceased
is a Pre-Contributor
Gonna talk about the Psychic revolution, as these three look to be extremely good in my eyes.

:ss/musharna: Musharna is back and looking to pick up right where it left off. Musharna's ability to take advantage of the meta looks to be quite threatening. The combination of Sychronoise and Moonlight allows Bulky Calm Mind sets to potentially at least really annoy bulky walls such as Dusclops and Palpitoed that are looking to take at least one hit and Toxic it. Offensive staples, meanwhile, will struggle to get past it, especially with Colbur to circumnavigate Galarian Linoone and other Knock Off users, (which incidentally will make it an excellent Machoke check)or potentially no item to get around Gourgeist and the new Trevenant. The best answers I can see are faster taunt users, like Torracat or Krokorok, neither of which want to switch in, and Toxic Specially Defensive Klang, which does decently well but we all know that just one surefire answer is often not enough to save a Pokemon. This could be day one jitters, and there are likely some things that I am forgetting about or that will be discovered, but this looks to be very good.

:ss/beheeyem: This thing is just dumb. Specs Beheeyem 2HKOs almost the entire metagame, and the things that can kind of dodge it, like Dusclops, Specially Defensive Klang, Vullaby, and Zweilous are Stealth Rock or Spikes weak (and hey look, we have new, potentially great Spikers in Carkol and sort of Whirlipede but I doubt Whirlipede will be finding its way onto Specs Beheeyem teams.), and Beheeyem gets Teleport, which is looking to be a very interesting fourth move on the Specs set. There's also the potential for Offensive Trick Room shenanigans, especially with Nasty Plot, which could work as an interesting cleaner or support for full Trick Room squads if you wanna go that direction. Overall very threatening Pokemon, potentially even better than Musharna but its wayyyyy to early for me to say that for sure.

:ss/swoobat: I don't think this will be anywhere near as bad as the other two. We had Swoobat last gen, and a lot of its defensive answers have stuck around, while new offensive and defensive counterplay has emerged. Bulky-ish Psychic resists such as Oranguru, Beheeyem, Klang, and Musharna are capable of taking one hit and hitting it hard. Even Nasty Plot variants fail to pick up some of the OHKOs they need. In addition, Zweilous was the hardest Swoobat counter available last gen, and it's significantly less gimmicky now. Offensively, Persian, Gourgeist-L, Farfetch'd, and the newly added Trevenant have priority that hits Swoobat hard. It should still be a good choice on Hyper Offense (Spikes looks to make this quite good at busting through its defensive checks) but not worth talking about for a Quick Ban in my very early opinion.
 
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Hi ZU:
Last meta was plagued by hazzard stack but now we have new hazzard control...

:vibrava:
Whit his new acces to Scorching Sand, reliable recover and momentum look nicely in the tier. Also check most electric, especialy Raichu.

:vespiquen:
Similar qualities to vibrava, offering Fighting check.

:togetic:
The flyng egg is back in the tier, offering both cleric support or a offensive mon with nasty plot.

:carkol:
People alredy talk about this charcoal pile.

About other drops:
:grapploct:
give us another Fighting type but has to compite with Machoke

:stonjourner:
Ston has the same spdef as Magikarp but is strong af. Offensive stealth rock, Choice Band/Scarf, Rock Polish, many good set.

:leafeon:
Look nice in the tier.. Having the power to break trought dusclops+pyuku cores.
 
First impressions on the new meta. Let's start with the new stuff.

:togetic::vibrava::vespiquen::emolga: - Defog is good again, which makes ghosts less useful and spinners more offensively oriented. This also frees slots on Wartortle and Mr.Mime-G for set up which makes them more splashable on teams, since it's easier to fit them with the several hazard removal options we have now. Vullaby and Dartrix are still viable as well but they have more competition.

:carkol::stonjourner::dunsparce::whirlipede::Vespiquen: - A few more hazard setters in a meta which already had several. This is interesting though because of rocker diversity, either defensive or offensive, like how we now have rockers that can 1v1 some grass types. I'm also happy Whirlipede got back because well, let's face it, Trubbish overstayed its welcome in viability.

:emolga::dedenne::raichu::pikachu::seaking: - We finally have some good electric types! Raichu, Emolga and Dedenne all function pretty similarly in their offensive sets, with Raichu being able to run Nasty Plot and Emolga being able to go on a more supportive route. Pikachu on the other hand, kinda broken. Pika's insane power is a burden for offense and its ability to Knock+Volt Switch makes it great in pretty much all matchups. This is probably the #1 concern right now, and something I'd like to keep an eye on. Finally, Seaking is back and this is THE meta for it. Lightningrod seems incredible right now.

:bellossom::swoobat::musharna: The #2 concern is here. These 3 are deadly setup sweepers which we have limited counterplay for. Some form of counterplay is starting to develop with things such as Scarf Glalie. Pikachu's splashability is probably helping keep those in check but I see them as super hard to prep for consistently.

:Leafeon::Grapploct::Fraxure::Stoutland::Beheeyem::Raichu::Stonjourner: - I'll group these together because I don't think they're too far apart. They all bring a lot of offensive and defensive utility while rising the power level of the tier considerably. I expect these mons to shape the metagame and be fierce competition to previous metagame staples in offensive and balanced builds. Stonjourner, Raichu and Leafeon specifically are looking like some of the strongest options at the moment.

:Lopunny::Trevenant: - These two are also kinda here but they seem inconsistent, kinda outclassed and hard to use. I don't know really what to add because to be honest i haven't really used them. Trevenant seems usable in Trick Room I guess and Lopunny has a cool movepool but its kinda weak.

Now back to the old stuff. Let's start with the winners. :baltoy::pancham::baltoy::pancham:

:Gourgeist-Large: - Still one of the best mons in the metagame, hard to answer but it seems healthier than ever now. It's offensive and defensive utility are almost unmatched and its presence is basically one of the few things making Vullaby viable.

:Krokorok::zweilous::scraggy::linoone-galar::morgrem::stunky: - Dark-types are in high demand due to the 3 new strong Psychics we got, and Zweilous and Krokorok specially aprecciate the rise of the Electric-types, giving them another very useful niche.

:Palpitoad::Whiscash: - These mons benefitted extremely from the shifts, they're some of the most consistent Stonjourner answers while stopping most Electrics from spamming Volt Switch (although they all have Grass coverage). They also have a very good matchup versus new spinner Carkol as well.

:Klang::Shiinotic: - Two defensive pokes that got virtually no new competition for their niches, while also gaining a few more things to answer. Both benefit considerably from Leafeon dropping, while Klang got Swoobat and the other Psychics, Vespiquen and Bellossom and Shiinotic got Fraxure, Pikachu, Seaking and Raichu.

:Solrock::Oranguru::Octillery::insert Trick Room mons here: - Trick Room got some neat toys to play with like Beheeyem, Musharna, Grapploct and Trevenant. They all seem very scary in this playstyle and I am really looking forward to hating everything about it.

:Mr. Mime: - Kinda want to mention this mon since it's been a sleeper over the last month and the fact that we got Grapploct, Fraxure and basically no new good Fairy-resists (looking at you Carkol) makes this even scarier.

Now onto the losers :wailord::wailord::wailord::wailord::wailord::wailord::wailord:

:Pyukumuku::Dusclops: - Stall doesn't really like the new toys the tier has at its disposal and it's like this shift was a big middle finger to Pyuku specifically since we got several Electric- and Grass- types. Dusclops on the other hand hates the new Knock Off abusers in Pikachu and Leafeon and is just less useful due to Defog being great again.

:Natu::Trubbish::Cufant: - Have fun bouncing Stonjourner lmao. Jokes aside though, Natu's bulk is obviously much worse now since the power level of the tier has risen and the new Electrics kinda dunk it. There's also a shift into offensive rockers now which makes Natu's job tougher. Trubbish and Cufant are on a similar boat in which their bulk just doesnt cut it anymore. The tier got a lot of pivoting and they're just inconsistent. Trubbish can go back at being garbage again haha. To be honest, most of the lower ranked mons seem to be on the same boat. Stuff like Sandygast, Slowpoke and Mudbray just seem hard to pilot in this metagame.

:Persian::Farfetch:Shedinja: - Carkol exists, Shiinotic is more splashable (punishes Persian specially), Stonjourner exists, Pikachu exists, several problems for these three. Farfertch'd also got competition from Fraxure in First Impression spam, which is worth a mention. Shedinja also is added here since it hates residual from Rocky Helmet, Flame Body and Effect Spore. It also gets a ton more pressured and is less useful since we have more Defoggers.

:Machoke::Hakamo-o: - Machoke is in a bit of a tough spot. Vespiquen, Togetic, Whirlipede, Shiinotic, Gourgeist, Psychics, it can't fit everything it wants to deal with everything and its speed is as crippling as ever. Hakamo-o was already in a tough spot but this is just the final nail on the coffin most likely.

TLDR; Defog good, Trick Room good, Pika busted, Electric good, Setup might be busted, Stall bad, Shitmons will likely get UR
:psyduck:
 
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5gen

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:ss/Ludicolo:

With a practically new meta on our hands, the ZU council is currently voting on whether or not to keep Ludicolo in ZUBL. At the time of its ban, Ludicolo had little offensive counterplay and even less defensive counterplay. While the recent tier shifts did not necessarily provide ZU with counters to Ludicolo, the power level is much greater and on paper there is significantly more offensive counterplay to Ludicolo. However, Seaking also dropped, giving rain an additional sweeper alongside Beartic and Ludicolo. So, the council will take the next few days to discuss things thoroughly and vote. Looking forward to your guys' thoughts, always helps to see people's opinions.

Keep in mind, one liners and posts that derail discussion will be deleted.
 
A DISSENTING OPINION AGAINST THE MAJORITY HERE::ludicolo: :ludicolo: :ludicolo: :ludicolo: :ludicolo: Unban: With great power level rises comes great responsibility, and to me it means to make the responsible choice to free our lord, Ludicolo. Right now, rain has more potential than ever to become a staple in a new metagame populated by many new fast setup sweepers. Beartic has found use in hail teams and is easily capable of bringing down Swoobat, but its true niche falls under a well-constructed rain team. Seaking is back, and while lightningrod’s usefulness cannot be denied, swift swim provides an unsuspecting amount of sweeping potential when you figure in megahorn and swords dance for the otherwise hard to beat musharnas and Bellossoms. But even with those two in the mix, rain as of now is lacking a special sweeper, crippling its overall versatility. And it’s not like Ludicolo is even broken anymore. With First Impression Fraxure being its biggest sweep stopper, bulk and speed currently defining the tier, and the meta having a larger than ever emphasis on priority attacks, Ludicolo should fit right in as a decent, even balanced option for many teams out there. Update: Pikachu handles Ludicolo very well as well, and is very common. Hippopotas with Sand Stream (beats rain and) also finds itself on many teams now due to its bulk and whirlwind/rocks/recovery, which is super important in a priority and set up tier, and fazes/beats mush and stonjourner.:ludicolo: :ludicolo: :ludicolo: :ludicolo: :ludicolo:

The morality of an unban and establishing a precedent for future MAJOR (only major) DLC ZU drops: Furthermore, as we look into a metagame that barely resembles what it once was, I am of the belief that unbanning Ludicolo is the best way to gain a full perspective on the state of our essentially new tier, in an unprecedented time of change in ZU’s history. It is not so much that there is a promise that Ludicolo won’t have a major impact on the tier, more so that I believe a liberal approach to the tier is necessary when such drastic changes shake the metagame so much. Every post advocating for Ludi to remain banned is a post that shuts down the possibility that there is a chance Ludicolo may not be broken, and without knowing for sure due to the drastic unprecedented metagame change of 22 relevant new dropped pokemon, I think the best way to go about this is unban, and to figure it out for ourselves.

Some relevant replays (more coming later):
Rain Team Ludicolo:
(Totodile) https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8pu-1164304428 8/6/2020
(Ho3n) https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8pu-1163741184 8/5/2020
(czim) https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8pu-1164299889 8/6/2020, rain ditto
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8pu-1164289250 8/6/2020
(Tuthur) https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8pu-1164814840 8/7/2020, ludi ditto
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8pu-1164839653 8/7/2020
(UC) https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8pu-1164809312 8/7/2020, hippo
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8zu-1164822720 8/7/2020, hippo
These UC replays are the same teams both times, and both times were games that hinged on one or two plays rather than ludicolo simply coming in and sweeping the entire team

Solo Rain Sweeper Ludi: (coming soon)
 
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kay

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While the new meta feels incredibly fresh and has drastically increased the overall power level of the tier, I still think we lack the needed counter play to introduce Ludicolo into the tier. The main issues of having little offensive counter play and still extremely limited defensive counter play hasn't changed with the newest shifts. And that's ignoring the other parts of rain also got buffed this tier shift.

Offensively we did get neat options like sand core of Stoutland + Hippo being a viable option to help combat the rain and Fraxure's First Impression does ohko it. So while limited, I think we do have viable counter play for it offensively which is a nice change to see. But, as I'll get more into below, the lack of defensive counter play would shift the meta into an extremely aggressive one as the only real ways to counter it are offensively which I think would warp the meta around it to an unhealthy extent.

Defensively we really only got Sliggoo which by its own right isn't the most amazing thing. And the walls we did already have like Sp.D Dusclops just straight up get murdered by it. This would leave the meta in a state where you either run extremely niche things like Sliggoo and Shedinja in place of your generic walls to deal with it, or just run offense and hope you pack enough tools such as sand or Fraxure to help deal with it and pressure it enough to not give it room to set up.

tldr: Keep it banned.
While having more offensive answers does help lesson its impact, I think the lack of defensive counter play would warp the meta too strictly to offense and burden balance and defensive teams too heavily by having to run extremely niche answers to it in order to have some counter play against it.
I don't think this would be a healthy addition to whats looking like an extremely open and diverse format.
 
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I think Ludicolo should stand banned. The drops didnt include any rain problema, however increase the power level tranks to Seaking. Also most electric types can be used in rain tranks to the boost of 100% acc Thunder...
The only offensive mon than can check Ludicolo in rain is Extreme Speed Pikachu bc priority like Firt Impresion can be bloqued by Protect.
I dont think unbanning Ludicolo isnt healthy for the tier and should in ZUBL
 

Sputnik

Bono My Tires are Deceased
is a Pre-Contributor
:ludicolo: Keep Banned

As much as I love Ludicolo, I just don't really see it being any less broken down here than it was. Like, yes, slightly less, with some more offensive counterplay in First Impression Fraxure and Espeed Pika as well as getting a bit of defensive counterplay, like Hippopotas, which changes the weather but proceeds to die in the process, or...well, some Grass-types that can at least tank one Ice Beam and then do...well, what, exactly? Yeah I don't really see it unfortunately. The defensive counterplay is just not there at the moment, and the offensive counterplay really isn't all that great either. Like its fine enough, but the options are rather limited to certain priority users, many of which can be played around.

People have spoken to how potent Rain teams would be with Ludicolo around, with Beartic and Seaking backing it up in the rain sweeper department. Finding a good check to those three looks to be extremely difficult, outside of constantly pivoting your priority users in and out and hoping your opponent really doesn't know how to predict. Or Hippopotas, which loses to all of them 1 on 1.

Even outside of full Rain teams Ludicolo looks good; standalone Rain Dance sets look to take advantage of how powerful our wallbreakers are right now. Imagine trying to check Ludicolo after Beheeyem, Gourgeist-L, Pikachu, or Farfetch'd has had their way with your defensive core early game. I would support a full suspect on ladder, however, I must assume this is unfortunately not in the cards, as it was not mentioned anywhere in the post and the meta is extremely volatile right now, so spending two weeks suspecting something is understandably a risky move. Therefore, I support Keeping Ludicolo Banned.
 
Woohoo! ZU finally gets to take a full sip from the glass of DLC, and it's sweet! A lot of these drops look to completely turn the tier on its head. This is going to end up being a pretty long post, but I wanted to make sure I was the first person with half-baked takes to go in-depth on the full extent of the drops.

Edit from futureangelic: dummy

PART ONE: HIGH SCHOOL ZUNION
:beheeyem: :bellossom: :leafeon: :raichu: :swoobat: :trevenant: :fraxure: :whirlipede:
Many of these new additions to ZU dropped from PU actually were ranked in ZU at the end of last gen, some of them high, but others VERY low. Many of them have been affected by the mechanical changes of the jump to Gen 8, and then further by the DLC, so now we get to see as they all mingle back together in the tier.
Beheeyem
image0.jpg
Beheeyem @ Colbur Berry / Life Orb
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpA
Quiet Nature
- Trick Room
- Nasty Plot
- Psychic / Psyshock
- Thunderbolt
This set was snatched up from the last generation, but Beheeym was dominant there too. Though it lacks Z-Moves to blow through its checks, Analytic punishes priority and turns Beheeyem into an absolute nuke, and it can flex between wallbreaker, anti-offense, and cleaner with just one set.
Beheeyem @ Choice Specs
Ability: Analytic
252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Modest Nature
- Psychic / Psyshock
- Shadow Ball
- Thunderbolt
- Teleport
Beheeyem can go nuclear with Choice Specs, and Teleport has given it a way to pivot around and out as well. It sorely misses the coverage of Signal Beam from USUM, but Psychic/Ghost/Electric is fine coverage, even if it makes Beheeyem somewhat exploitable.
Beheeyem @ Colbur Berry / Leftovers / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpA
Bold Nature
- Future Sight / Psychic
- Thunderbolt
- Recover
- Teleport
As before, Teleport gives Beheeyem the new opportunity to pivot, punishing both switches and weaker attacks with Analytic. I prefer running Future Sight to take advantage of Teleport (as higher tier Psychics do as well), and it pressures the few Dark types in the tier to switch in, opening doors for teammates to exploit them. Another fun benefit of opting for Colbur is taking a Knock and then punishing a thoughtless Poltergeist once you've had your item taken. A sometimes neglected option are the Chanel Boots, which are useful for pivots in a metagame facing a slew of new Spikers.

The UFO Pokemon returns to invade Planet ZU once more, and looks to contend for the A ranks. Competition for Psychics is fierce between the old guard of Mime-G, Mime, Goth, Monky, Moonrock, Sunrock, and Duosion. Beheeyem doesn't exactly differentiate itself in terms of power (Duosion matches it), cleaning (Gothitelle runs a mean Cosmic Stored Power set), wallbreaking ability (Mime), utility (Mime-G), or even Trick Room shenanigans (Oranguru), but it does have flexibility, and sharply raises the power level while doing so. The metal on this flying saucer has rusted a bit from its USUM foray: Beheeyem misses Signal beam as its coverage move of choice, HP as a bandaid to fill in any gaps, Z-Moves no longer let it bust through a check, and both Knock and Poltergeist have stronger presences on every team with formalized item control. This isn't to say that Beheeyem has been bereft of benefitting from buffs this generation, because Teleport and Boots let it get up to some brand new freaky space adventures as it pivots around.

Leafeon
image0-4.jpg
Leafeon @ Life Orb / Leftovers / Lum Berry
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Leaf Blade
- Knock Off / Double-Edge
- Synthesis
With SD, Leafeon fills the Grassvally shaped hole in our hearts since PU decided to commit mass Silvicide. Leafeon is a bit fussier than its predecessor in terms of both coverage and bulk, but it holds the same speed tier as Vally, giving it a leg up in the anticrept speed tiers. Leafeon also boasts a very impressive Atk stat, augmented further with an item to either give it more sustainability or extra power, something Grassvally lacked. As a bonus, Leafeon is able to really feast on Pyuklops stall cores that were popular last meta.
Leafeon @ Choice Band
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Knock Off
- Double-Edge
- Toxic / X-Scissor
Without many of its older checks like Alt, Bouff, or Sawsbuck to so easily slurp on Leafeon's moves, Leafeon has greater liberty to run choice sets. Band takes advantage of how great Knock is in this current meta against the myriad of Psychics and Ghosts while scouting sets. Leafeon's lack of options makes it somewhat one-dimensional, but Grass/Dark/Normal hits pretty much the entire metagame (save for Vullaby and Togetic). Toxic is a great option to punish the birdies for switching in, though neither of them appreciated losing their Eviolites in the first place.
Leafeon @ Choice Band
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Leaf Blade
- Knock Off
- Double-Edge / X-Scissor
- Toxic
While Scarfeon is almost completely identical to the Band, it takes advantage of Leafeon's great speed tier and the ability to hold an item to give teams a much needed fast Scarfer. ZU has had to get rather creative with speed control between priority spam, Ada Persian, Vallies, the Mimes, and Drakloak or Linoone-G. Having a reliable Scarfer gives teams more flexibility with their builds while still outputting offensive pressure and utility with Knock and Toxic.
Oh hey! It's another great Pokemon from USUM ZU! Leafeon, like most others joining us, won't be playing the same as last gen; Z-Celebrate is no longer an option, nor are Z-moves in general for blowing past some of Leafeon's checks with its weak coverage. However, Leafeon is a hot commodity right now for its mix of power, speed, and not insubstantial physical bulk. Leafeon now faces much less pressure from the disappearances of older checks like Monferno, Busken, Altaria, Bouffalant, Sawsbuck, and Rapidash. With a fresher tier with a lower power level to feast on, Leafeon finally has the opportunity to let its hair (leaves?) down and try out some Choiced or SD sets.

Raichu
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Raichu @ Life Orb
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Nasty Plot
- Thunderbolt
- Focus Blast
- Grass Knot / Surf
Raichu's NP set uses the rat's amazing coverage, defining speed tier, and more than workable Special Attack to blow back the tier. ZU evolved with a significant lack of fast and offensive electric types, and Raichu poses as a dangerous new wallbreaker + wincon with this set. Notably, it also resists Bullet Punch, meaning that a Machoke in the back won't be the end of its sweep in the same way it is for other sweepers like the Mimes, Icevally, or Eiscue. Grass Knot is slashed before Surf here, as coverage against Whiscash and Palp generally seems more beneficial than anything else that Surf would hit.
Raichu @ Choice Specs
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Focus Blast
- Grass Knot / Surf
- Volt Switch
While Raichu isn't one of the fiercest special attackers in the tier, it is definitely the fastest, milking its great offensive electric typing. Specs exploits Raichu's spot as one of the fastest unboosted threats in the meta to fire off powerful Tbolts. No longer faced with competition from either Electivire or Zebstrika, Raichu is now the star specially offensive pivot of ZU with Volt Switch and amazing coverage to let it blow holes in an opposing team. SS ZU tends to be a bit strapped for Ground types, and Raichu has the coverage to threaten the ones that might try to switch in on it.
Raichu @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Focus Blast
- Surf / Grass Knot
- Volt Switch
As with Leafeon, Raichu has the speed tier, offensive prowess, and item flexibility to breathe life into the role of "fast Scarfer" that was missing from the tier outside of Torracat and Mime. Volt Switch is generally a pretty free move to click too, as the Grounds that might try to block it do not take Raichu's coverage moves well. Surf is less exploitable than GK thanks to a lower number of resists and immunities.
Raichu drops to ZU as wish fulfillment for the fast, specially offensive Electric we have starved for ever since SS began. Elecvally and Elekumyuku were both unhealthy during their respective metas, and Raichu itself might test the power level of the tier similarly. However, Raichu differentiates itself from the previous two broke Electric types by not offering the same degree of team/archetype support or bulk. That's not to say that Raichu will be altogether easy for the meta to stomach. Nasty Plot and Choice sets give flexibility and unpredictability to Raichu, which has great offensive stats, speed, and coverage to boot. We've been getting a steady stream of PU's hand-me-down Electric checks over the past few months (Whiscash, Palp, Vibrava, Seaking), but Raichu may yet establish itself as top tier in ZU. Without much competition for its roles, Raichu is sure to become a fast staple of the August meta.

Bellossom
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Bellossom @ Leftovers / Lum Berry / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Quiver Dance
- Strength Sap
- Giga Drain
- Sludge Bomb / Moonblast / Sleep Powder
Bello takes advantage of the fewer full-on counters that were present in USUM with its classic QD set, now able to run a bit more amok than last gen. Bello's coverage is still lacking, but I find Sludge Bomb to be superior to Moonblast for not getting walled by Ivysaur, Toge, and Gloom. Moonblast is definitely better against Vullaby tho. I opt to go all out on speed and SpA with the EVs. I find it a bit counterproductive to run HP investment if you're running STR Sap, and Bellossom needs all the speed and power it can get. Investing in bulk may not be a bad idea, but with how Bello covers both sides with QD and SS, I don't find it a priority. Leftovers is obvious for longevity, and Lum is slashed because Bello just BEGS to be hit with Toxic. Dancing boots are a bit of a tech, but they make it so you won't have to deal with the threat of hazards. Noteworthy, as our best T-Spike absorbers stack Grass typing with Bello.
The USUM ZUnion party continues with our old friend, discount Lilligant! Though it probably won't wreak the same havoc that Lilli wrought in PU, last gen or this gen, Bello is still our first (viable) QDer. Interestingly, Bello has the liberty of setting up in the face of the dominant Largeist, something many of our older setup sweepers (minus Klang) could not boast. Bello looks to be a great addition to the tier as a bulky setup sweeper that is now less inhibited compared to last gen thanks to the absence its older checks (see above with Leafeon). Not to be a broken record, but Bello is different to play compared to USUM, no longer having the security of Grassium to blow something back. HP Fire was a nice option previously to fall back on, but Bello was strapped for moveslots anyway, and frankly still is.

Fraxure
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Fraxure @ Choice Band
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- First Impression
- Outrage
- Stomping Tantrum
- Poison Jab / Iron Tail
Frax can go whole hog in ZU with an atomic First Impression that puts Fetch'd to shame. If anti-offense is what you're looking for, Addy is the way to go in order to unperson (unmon?) opposing threats. Frax's Outrage hits like a truck, but even down here it still has to deal with Fairies and Steels that take advantage of it. Luckily, Tantrum takes care of the latter, and your choice of P-Jab or I-Tail works for the former. I prefer Jab to make Shiinotic an unpleasant memory, but it's up to you on whether or not you want to hit Toge harder (and miss trying lol).
Fraxure @ Eviolite
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Outrage / Dragon Claw / Scale Shot
- Stomping Tantrum
- Poison Jab
After one DD, Ada Fraxure outspeeds most of the unboosted ZU meta, only underspeeding Timid Raichu by one point. I don't find Scale Shot as necessary an option given the lower speed of the ZU meta, and Frax wants that extra power to break it apart. Dragon Claw frankly is better for not locking yourself into Outrage as a Dragon STAB. Tantrum and P-Jab are still there as great coverage options.
Fraxure @ Eviolite
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Scale Shot
- Stomping Tantrum
- Poison Jab
This set is on the funkier side and isn't exactly for the faint of heart, but after experimenting with it on Hakamo-o, I'm excited to try my hand at running it on Frax. SD boosts Fraxure's attack to stoopid levels, and Scale Shot zooms past pretty much everything once you've set up. There's nothing more fun than seeing Fraxure go ham. Coverage is coverage, try not to miss your Scale Shots or get blocked by a Fairy.
Pushing against ZU's straining power ceiling, Fraxure is here to finally serve as a consistent and immediately threatening Dragon. With Band, DD, and even a funky SD Scale Shot set I cooked up to act as a mini-Haxorus, Frax has the coverage, power, and set versatility to really put the heat on opponents. Running Steels and Fairies is now more of a necessity on teams than they were previously, and not just because we have newer options available for them. Frax is not one of the most broken drops, as its STAB and First Impression are exploitable, it has mediocre speed even for ZU, and its bulk with Eviolite is still substandard. However, Frax will definitely be one of the better setup mons, and hopefully fill the role of setup Dragon that the other NFE Psuedos were trying to do. Frax has a bonus perk of Mold Breaker going through Pyukumuku, Bronzor, and Shedinja, giving Stall more grief than you could ever want.

Swoobat
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Swoobat @ Salac Berry
Ability: Simple
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Calm Mind
- Substitute
- Stored Power / Psychic
- Heat Wave / Air Slash
Swoobat runs a nasty SubCM set with Simple to double its boosts, making Stored Power even more threatening. Psychic is an option if you'd like to forgo later power for more security in setting up and dealing immediate damage. I prefer H-Wave to deal with the specially defensive Steels of the tier, particularly Klang, as its Gear Grind can chew through Substitute. However, A-Slash is great for using that speed stat to antagonize Dark types while fishing for flinches.
Swoobat @ Heavy Duty Boots
Ability: Simple
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Nasty Plot
- Psychic / Psyshock / Stored Power
- Heat Wave / Air Slash
- Substitute
Running NP over CM makes nuclear set if you've played your endgame right and removed most of the checks to Swoobat, or if you just want to use it to completely blow apart a team. Going to +3 in SpA in 1 turn is no joke, and Swoobat has the coverage to make something like that work. Swoobat's speed tier and the lower speed tiers of ZU do enable this set to function more reliably without needing a speed boost, though priority is a major thorn in its side.
Swoobat is one of the most eyecatching and worrying drops we received. Previously terrorizing early PU with its SubCM antics, Swoobat has now drifted lower to stamp ZU. Personally, I don't see Swoobat being too much of an issue with proper teambuilding and management. Swoobat often struggles to fit all the moves it wants on one set with mandatory Sub and CM, having to choose between Stored Power, Psychic, H-Wave, A-Slash, and Roost. All options are nice for unpredictability factor (NP is there as well), but Swoobat struggles to get set up consistently depending on what it lacks. With all of that, the ZU meta is in a place right now that is equipped to deal with potent Psychic types. Priority is anathema to Swoobat's paper-thin bulk, and ZU is currenlty swimming in +1, +2, and +3 options. Goth, Duo, Monky, the Mimes, Lunatone, Mushy, and Beheeyem all give it severe competition as a Psychic type, though Swoobat is notable for how dumb Simple is and its Fire (haha) coverage. I think it will be mostly manageable, but it's only been a few days since drops.

Trevenant
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Trevenant @ Choice Band
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly / Adamant Nature
- Poltergeist
- Wood Hammer / Horn Leech
- Sucker Punch
- Rock Slide / Rest
With Band and a fearsome STAB combo that makes Largeist look like the warm-up, Trev has come to haunt ZU. I've slashed Horn Leech onto the set to make up some of the HP that Trevenant might lose by tending to move second, but Wood Hammer is still atomic if you're not here to just click Poltergeist. Sucker is fair for giving offensive checks the runaround, but it's a risky move to lock into. Slide is preferred to smack Vullaby, which is pretty much the only mon in the tier that resists Grass/Ghost (thanks for the test run, Gourg). Rest is actually a great filler, as with Nat Cure, it gives you a chance to go to full for free if you switch out.
Trevenant @ Spell Tag / Life Orb
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Brave Nature
- Trick Room
- Poltergeist
- Wood Hammer / Horn Leech
- Rock Slide / Sucker Punch
Trev can further take advantage of its amazing coverage while turning its middling speed on its head to run a dangerous OTR set. Hammer is better on a Spell Tag set, while Horn Leech is better if you're using LO, balancing between extra damage and healing. Slide is for that pesky vulture, but Sucker gives flexibility against offense and opposing priority.
Honestly, if Poltergeist did anything good for comp Pokemon, it made it so I don't have to deal with seeing that trash Harvest Trevenant on the most wack ladder teams. Jokes aside, Trev is actually a dangerous new addition given how contentious Gourg-L was. Trev it looks to be just as dominant as Largeist was between its higher Atk and the ability to run similar yet different techs to deal with checks. OTR and CB are just a few options PU has already experimented with, but I think there's still potential to see some weirder sets and moves, such as PuP, Sub, Hone Claws, Drain Punch, and D-Bond. None of those are exactly amazing compared to what Trev usually runs, but the tree is surely going to leave a dent on ZU. I can see it being a choice pick on Webs with Band, and OTR looks like a fun wincon or even pivot on Trick Room teams.

WHIRLIPEDE
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Whirlipede @ Focus Sash
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Spikes
- Toxic Spikes
- Protect
- Endeavor / Skitter Smack
So, we all kind of know what Whirlipede does at this point: set up your flavor of Spikes, die at the right moment, and then let your breakers/sweepers come in. Whirl is definitely the best T-Spiker we've had since the demon starfish left (sorry Trubbish, but you're still trashy). I see this as a great addition to HO, which has been a bit of an anemic playstyle. HO hasn't much team cohesion until now due to a lack of options, not to mention the general Eviolite bulk everywhere. It's not a point in Whirl's favor that Psychics have a firm grip on the tier while Ivysaur and Gloom will gladly suck up its Spikes, but there's a good number of Spinblockers and Defog-punishers present to take advantage of what it provides.

CHAPTER TWO: UNINVITED GUESTS
:musharna: :stoutland:
Like any reunion, there's usually one or two people who are there to cause problems. The following two mons fit that bill, having been banned at points in SM/USUM (but hey: at least we don't have that fridge anymore). How they got into this reunion is anyone's guess, but we can maybe piece it together, together!
Musharna
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Musharna @ Colbur Berry / Leftovers / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Synchronize
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
- Calm Mind
- Psyshock
- Moonblast
- Moonlight
Mush's bulky CM set is pretty much flagship after 4 generations, and that has not changed in SS. Though it does not have the liberties of the generations of old (Z-Moves, Signal Beam, HP), Musharna does have very good Psychic STAB and Fairy coverage to pretty much hit everything except for the Steels, which struggle to break through its substantial defenses. Synchronize helps deter status, Psyshock is for winning Calm Mind wars, and Mush really only has to worry about Taunt. Colbur is preferred thanks to the shenanigans you can pull with absorbing Knock and being immune to Polter afterwards. Leftovers aren't a bad second option, but I also recommend Boots in keeping Musharna at full when it comes in to set up, with added security of not being poisoned by T-Spikes.
Musharna @ Colbur Berry / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Synchronize
EVs: 248 HP / 252 SpA / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
- Future Sight
- Moonblast
- Moonlight
- Healing Wish / Yawn / Toxic / Thunder Wave / Heal Bell
Aside from stealing these sets almost wholesale from PU minis, my other hobby is being Heavy-Duty Boots' biggest advocate outside of those wack policy thread claims that they're broken. Future Sight pivots aren't revolutionary as of now in SS, and though Mushy lacks Teleport to truly abuse it, Mushy has the bulk to pull Future Sight off in a way Beheeyem does not. You can even customize your little elephant with a variety of utility moves. Though the PU set lists Hypnosis, Yawn interests me more for shuffling around the opposing team threatening 100% accurate sleep, which pairs fantastically with Future Sight and some form of hazard support or stacking.
Musharna @ Leftovers / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Synchronize
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
Bold Nature
- Calm Mind
- Barrier
- Rest
- Stored Power / Psyshock / Moonblast
This one's an oldie but a goodie, if you consider being a little freak who runs bulky boosting setup Psychic types to be good. Mushy's substantial bulk on both sides allows it to run a Stored Power set pretty much the same way as Duosion, but with the option to not just roll over when there's a Dark type. Boots are slashed in case you want insurance against T-Spikes or security during early setup. Stored Power plus setup on a Psychic isn't revolutionary (hi Swoobat, Goth, Oranguru, Duosion, and Lunatone), but Mushy is holistically one of the best to try it out on.
Musharna @ Life Orb
Ability: Synchronize
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Def / 252 SpA
Quiet Nature
- Trick Room
- Psychic / Psyshock
- Moonblast
- Moonlight / Healing Wish
This one actually goes even further back in time, all the way to ye olde BW. Mushy can run a shockingly powerful OTR set between its low speed, great bulk for setting TR, and high SpA to take advantage of the turns. While it doesn't have Signal Beam or HP Ground anymore to round out its coverage, this gives Mushy room to sustain itself, give a teammate a second wind, or open a teammate for TR sweeping opportunity.
So Mushy is here to flex on the other subpar Psychics that lack coverage, setup, or recovery. Mushy might be a bit more balanced this time around compared to its USUM run considering that it can't just blow checks out of orbit with Z-Moves (which also dampened Knock's utility against it), but Mushy still presents a major threat with bulk and flexibility. Mushy can run a variety of sets unhindered, between bulky pivot, OTR, bulky CM, and Stored Power, there's a lot to experiment with, and still a few techs you can try out on its expansive movepool. Its issues of low speed and mediocre defensive typing still remain, and some of the mechanical shifts of SS have not been kind to Mushy. I would keep an eye on the pink elephant, as it might not be entirely healthy for the meta at the moment, though competition with other Psychics might hold it back somewhat.

Stoutland
Stoutland @ Choice Band
Ability: Scrappy
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Strength
- Facade
- Superpower
- Crunch / Stomping Tauntrum / Play Rough
So. This set has seen some better days. Running Strength rather than Return/Frustration is a chip on the terrier terror, but Band Scrappy Normal STAB is still super spammable. Facade punishes status and makes Stout a nice status absorber against the Ghosts of the tier. Superpower dents Normal-resists (Klang, Cufant, Corsola) for attempting to switch in on it. The last move a toss-up, but I'd say Crunch might be a good one for its generally good neutral coverage, great spammability against popular Psychics and Ghosts, and to hit Shedinja. Stomping Tantrum and Play Rough don't hit much that Strength doesn'tt, aside from maybe not risking a burn on Carkol or more damage on Machoke. At that point though... just run Toxic.
Stoutland @ Choice Band / Life Orb
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Strength
- Superpower
- Stomping Tantrum
- Crunch
Hippopotas is present in SS ZU and is not altogether bad, meaning Sand Rush Stout might be something to try after a few drinks. LO is slashed, as I think the power level is generally low enough here that the extra power afforded by Band might be better in service of allowing Stout to not have to lock into a disadvantageous move. Then again, the doggy is one of very few mons to take advantage of sand in the tier, so not wearing it down might actually be a better idea.
After chewing apart SM ZU and being a dominant force in USUM PU on top of that, Stoutland has come back to ZU.... neutered. Without Return or Frustration, Stout now runs Strength as its STAB move, diminishing the wallbreaking presence it once had. This isn't to say Stout unusable, as it threatens the ZU meta's reliance on Ghosts and a handful of Steels to check Normal types, but Stout has seen better days. Perhaps this is a bit preemptive, but I think Stout will be completely healthy in the meta. Corsola is able to handle it pretty well between Regen, Rocky Helmet, and Recover, as well as the other ways to play around Stoutland's only slightly attractive speed tier while punishing its obligatory choice lock.

ACT THREE: NEW TOYS, NEW ME
:grapploct: :stonjourner: :carkol:
PU has finally given us fresh and fun things to play with that aren't just electric urchin, icy penguin, and creepy clown. All three of these actually look to be quite useful to the new meta, and having some previous experimentation with them definitely gives a better picture of how they could contribute to the meta.
Grapploct
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I couldn't find one of those terrible pictures of grotesquely muscular Pokemon that Poketubers use as bait thumbnails when they showcase a bad Pokemon being strong for Octillery, so I had to make my own. You're welcome.
Grapploct @ Leftovers
Ability: Technician
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Adamant Nature
- Bulk Up
- Drain Punch
- Brutal Swing
- Sucker Punch / Ice Punch
Though Grapp is similar to Machoke, it does have the niche of a more reliable Bulk Up set. With a mix of Lefties and Drain Punch, Grapploct can sustain itself as it sets up. I won't pretend I know what EV spread is best here, though I could claim to be big brain and say that I refuse to share the one I totally have in my builder. Maximizing bulk is generally a good idea though. Sucker Punch is preferable for the faster Psychics that infest the meta, but Ice Punch should be kept in mind for Toge.
Grapploct @ Choice Band
Ability: Technician
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Adamant Nature
- Close Combat
- Brutal Swing
- Sucker Punch
- Ice Punch / Drain Punch
Though Choke can run an AoA set with Guts + Flame Orb that has a greater degree of move flexibility and utility, Grapp distinguishes its own wallbreaking set with CB and more raw power. Sucker is a more powerful priority move than Machoke's Bullet Punch, though locking into it is risky. Drain Punch, no need for a burn to get started, and greater natural bulk give Grapploct a few perks over Machoke for its breaker set.
Grapploct finally gives us a viable Fighting type that is not the permanently domineering (don't analyze that) Machoke, and despite being the same sort of pure Fighting physical attacker, it has a few unique perks. BU Grapp is a degree above BU Machoke for its sustainability, and Grapp has better raw power without the need to wait a turn for the boost to kick in on its Band set. I don't expect it to be entirely amazing or broken, but do expect to see it, if at the very least for new players who keep trying to make Octolock work. If you're going to experiment with a unique(ish) move, I'd recommend Circle Throw on some sort of bulky set instead, with hazard support of course.

Carkol
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Carkol @ Eviolite
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpA
Bold Nature
- Spikes / Stealth Rock
- Flamethrower
- Body Press / Will-O-Wisp / Scorching Sands
- Rapid Spin
Carkol @ Eviolite
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 SpDef
Calm Nature
- Spikes / Stealth Rock
- Flamethrower
- Body Press / Stone Edge
- Rapid Spin
Carkol has been freed of the ladder curse of "unga bunga Rocks and Spin best mon ever", though mostly thanks to Sandslash now bearing its burden. Though Cark competes a bit with Mime-G as a rocks-weak prevo spinner, it has no hope at breaking through Clops or any Ghost not named Gourg/Trev. Instead, Cark's defensive typing is what stands out, and makes for a nice addition in a tier that is mostly lacking in good Fire types. Carkol looks to be amazing at punishing Klang, which was previously at the top of the meta. Cark also has the fun ability to punish physical attackers like Beartic, Silvally-Ice, and Farfetch'd for using their STABS, which means you don't have to run Corsola on like every balanced or defensive team. I look forward to using it, seeing it all over ladder, and then forgetting about it in a few metas once we get power crept again.

Stonjourner
Stonjourner @ Choice Band
Ability: Power Spot
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Heat Crash
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide / Self-Destruct
So you want me to just not steal mini-analyses? Ew. Anyway, CB Ston fittingly hits like if you put a bunch of rocks in a sack and bashed someone with it. Not only does Ston have the second highest Attack stat in the metagame, but its STAB has high power too, and also unlike Beartic, Stonjourner doesn't have a glacial speed in spite of being a pile of rocks. Ston's coverage is effectively perfect between Edgequake with Heat Crash. Rock Slide is there for consistency, but Self-Destruct is a nice way to generate momentum and go out with a bang.
Stonjourner @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Power Spot
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Heat Crash
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock / Self-Destruct
Stonjourner, while not the most amazing Scarfer in the world, is still great for its RKing potential and spammable moves, especially in a tier previously lacking good offensive scarfers. The set is almost identical as the one above and matches the PU mini for it, but why fix what isn't broken? Though, it is a broken pile of rocks, perhaps in more ways than one...
Stonjourner @ Life Orb / Focus Sash
Ability: Power Spot
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Heat Crash
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock / Rock Polish
Lastly, Stonjourner is also a great rocker for its ability to pressure some opposing hazard setters like Charjabug, Cufant, and Sudowoodo. However, its atrocious special bulk and sometimes shifty overall STAB can make it a bit of a riskier choice. LO allowing it to switch up its moves is quite nice, and makes surprise Rock Polish sets a menace, forcing the opponent to always respect it.
Stonjourner is definitely the biggest of the three new Galarian drops for its raw power, physically defensive utility, and decent speed. Between its coverage and how much offensive pressure it can apply, Ston seems a little broken. However, I think it's probably going to be generally fine for the meta, as it can't take a special hit for anything, and special attackers that beat its speed tier run the meta.

SECTION FOUR: HAVEN'T I SEEN YOU BEFORE?
:dedenne: :dunsparce: :emolga: :lopunny: :pikachu: :vespiquen:
So, for multiple reasons, all of the above Pokemon were completely unranked last gen, and yet had to detour or even stay long in PU before coming here. Some of them genuinely are bad DLC mons that needed to hit their heads on the last stair before being disgraced enough to flop down into the ZU basement, but others may yet provide some interesting additions to the tier.
DEDENNE
Dedenne @ Petaya Berry
Ability: Cheek Pouch
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Substitute
- Recycle
- Thunderbolt
- Dazzling Gleam / Grass Knot
Running a Subcycle set with poor bulk isn't exactly what I'd call a good look on any mon, and Dedenne certainly struggles to really differentiate itself from Raichu as competition. In fact, you're probably better off running Raichu instead, which has better coverage, more consistency, and better speed and power on top of that. To be fairer, or perhaps fairyer (haha) to Dedenne, Fairy STAB is pretty good in the tier at the moment, and it does have that over its distant Kantonian relative.
Dedenne @ Leftovers
Ability: Cheek Pouch
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Nuzzle
- Super Fang / Toxic
- Thunderbolt
- U-Turn / Volt Switch
Dedenne has so many neat little utility moves that it would be a shame to move on without bringing some of them up. Though Dedenne does have meager bulk, its speed and typing might let it get away with a fun little support set. Nuzzle and Toxic spread status while Super Fang and Thunderbolt can take chunks out of the opposition. U-Turn is there so you aren't blocked by Grounds, but Volt might be a better option to avoid contact punishment.
Dedenne is overshadowed by the descent of its fellow electric rodents into ZU during the August shift. While it does differentiate itself with its Fairy typing, Raichu and Pikachu are far more powerful than it, while Emolga can pull off superior utility sets. Electric/Fairy STAB is decent, but it's walled by both Ivysaur and Gloom. I don't see Dedenne making much of a splash, but it might nibble a niche in ZU for its funky typing and utility options.

DUNSPARCE
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Dunsparce @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 68 Atk / 188 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Glare
- Headbutt
- Roost
- Coil
Dunsparce can try a jank diet Jirachi set, Para'ing everything that's not Electric with broken Glare, and then 60%=100% Serene Grace Headbutt to make it so that everything that's not a Ghost can't move. Surprisingly, it can actually sustain itself against Corsola... at least until it takes a Toxic. ParaFlinch is a gamble, and Dunsparce isn't really what you want to bet on between its 45 Speed and 70 Attack. The EVs on this set are to maximize bulk while outspeeding other max EV neutral nature base 45s like Machoke before Para. You can probably change the EVs around as you see fit, but honestly, don't even bother trying with this thing.
Dunsparce @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Body Slam / Headbutt
- Magic Coat / Glare
- Roost
This thing gets Stealth Rock, something neglected a bit due to the allure of Serene Grace paraflinches. M-Coat is pretty great against some of the other hazard setters of the tier, giving a funny little "no u" to the hazards and status they might try to spread. Dunsparce is great at spreading paralysis between Serene Grace Body Slam and Glare, being the only notable user of the latter. Dunsparce can even sustain itself with Roost, though its piddling bulk might make that negligible. It's kind of in the same boat as Corsola, being a rocker with sustain that can spread status and come in a few times during the match.
Everyone saw this one coming. Sparce is always at the bottom of the barrel, no matter what generation it is, and nothing truly gets better for it. It could POSSIBLY try and eke out a niche with all the paralysis spreading and utility moves it has. Honestly though, Corsola already does what it wants to defensively, and the Ghosts that haunt the ZU meta make its ParaFlinch set pretty much obsolete.

EMOLGA
Emolga @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Motor Drive
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpDef / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Thunderbolt
- Volt Switch / U-Turn
- Encore / Taunt
- Roost / Knock Off / Toxic
This Emolga set was ripped from SM and exists to shut down setup sweepers while giving more defensive teams a hard time. Emolga can more reliably pivot around as well thanks to HDB, which are tough to Knock due to its high speed. I've slashed Volt before U-Turn, as Emolga can deal some better chip damage with it instead of worrying about contact punishment. Plus, any Ground that tries to switch in can't do anything back to Emolga (save for Whiscash), especially if they get hit by Taunt.
Emolga @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Motor Drive
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Defog
- Roost
- Volt Switch
- Air Slash
While it's unlikely we'll see our biggest fan (wacka wacka wacka) for some time considering all the buffs it got this gen, Emolga can fill that Rotom-shaped hole in our hearts with its own Boots Defog set, now with sustain! Emolga's stats are a little lacking, but this thing can get off a Defog while pivoting in and out. Emolga takes advantage of Corsola, who can hardly do anything to it, or the Grounds, of which only Whiscash can hope to seriously make a dent in it. Though the flying rat is a bit frail, its base 103 tier enables it in a speed starved meta that was previously defined base 95 + 100 benchmarks. Generally, having a Defogger that doesn't need to run Eviolite and/or take 25% coming in is very refreshing.
Emolga @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Motor Drive
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Substitute
- Toxic
- Roost
- Thunderbolt
Emolga can run a nasty SubToxic set that takes advantage of its defensive typing, high speed, and sustain to drive the tier insane. Probably one of the funniest developments of 2020 ZU aside from Stunky getting (allegedly) ranked. With Elec and Ground immunities, Emolga can come in on a few members of the tier and start wreaking havoc between Toxic damage and Thunderbolt, while just never dying thanks to Roost and Substitute.
Could this thing be the poster child for "it gets better"? I'm not sure, but Emolga actually might have quite the interesting niche in SS ZU. Emolga has been quietly accumulating buffs from its inception as a mediocre support mon with a weird typing. Roost, Knock, U-Turn, Encore, Taunt, Volt, Defog, and Nuzzle come together under the banner of HDB to make this rat probably one of the most aggravating additions to the meta. If anything, it can check Raichu, deny and/or remove hazards, and stallbreak all in one, which makes it a great role compressor. It's definitely something to keep in mind as you build, both as option and opponent.

LOPUNNY
Meme machine broke go look up Lopunny on google images yourself or whatever.
Lopunny @ Choice Scarf / Flame Orb / Assault Vest
Ability: Klutz
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Switcheroo
- Encore
- Healing Wish
- U-Turn
Lop plays similarly to Emolga, but without the same great typing that might grant it switch-ins. Instead, Lopunny irritates the Eviolite and Boots reliant mons of the tier by shuffling items. It's still not amazing and completely lacks any kind of offensive authority, but if you wanted a good offensive Normal type that contributes to item control, Persian is right there.
Lopunny @ Choice Band / Flame Orb / Assault Vest / Lagging Tail
Ability: Klutz
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Switcheroo
- Strength
- Close Combat
- Healing Wish
This set's similar to the one above, but has a greater degree of offensive capability. Lop no longer needs to worry as much about HJK misses with the addition of CC to its arsenal, which is welcome in a ghastly meta. Depending on its item, Lopunny can even punish Ghosts for switching in. Gourg and Trev hate burns, while Clops does not want to lose its Eviolite, be choice locked, or stuffed inside an AV. Between the two options for Klutz Lopunny, I prefer this one. TBH tho, it's kind of a "pick your poison".
Lopunny @ Silk Scarf / Life Orb
Ability: Limber
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Strength
- Close Combat
- Fake Out
- U-Turn
While Lopunny is attractive (don't take that out of context) to new players for its Klutz Switcheroo combo, I think it could actually pull off a somewhat decent offensive set between its great speed tier, STAB priority, and pivoting move. It's a notch down from Persian (who might now be a notch down from Pika), but it trades being walled by Corsola and Steels for Ghosts instead. Lop can still always threaten Switcheroo on them with its more popular Klutz sets though, so you have a surprise factor. Though, to be frank, "surprise factor" is pretty much Smogspeak for "sux".
We interrupt your electric rodent marathon with a quick Lopunny intermission. Quick intermission is probbaly the proper term for Lopunny, which is pretty much garbo in a tier that has Trubbish ranked above C. Maybe that's not an entirely fair assessment tho. Lop has one of the best speed tiers in SS ZU, standing at #4. Klutz Switcheroo sets will probably be the go-to for ladder, but I want to promote some other sets that Lopunny can pull off. Offensive Limber might just make it seem like a discount Persian, which it frankly is, but Lopunny has more than a leg up in the utility and coverage department. CC, H-Wish, U-Turn, Switcheroo, Circle Throw, Endeavor, Heal Bell, and T-Wave give it great coverage, pivoting, team support, or just weird little techs to use. I don't see Lop being great, let alone even good, but maybe worth some experimentation before being crept into oblivion.

PIKACHU
Pikachu @ Light Ball
Ability: Static
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Naughty Nature
- Fake Out
- Extreme Speed
- Volt Switch / Surf / Volt Tackle
- Knock Off / Surf / Volt Tackle
Why tf is Pikachu good now -_-
Just kidding! Pikachu is actually a ferocious wallbreaker and cleaner that blows the past priority meta out of the water with its doubleplusgood E-Speed and Fake Out combo. FakeSpeed and Spikes are time and time again to be a fantastic archetype up in PU, and I expect it to still be equally devastating down here. While PIkachu eats a lot of the fast and frail offensive threats of the meta for breakfast, it has to contend with its own miserable bulk in tandem with the nearly mandatory Ghost on every team for spinblocking or Psychic-checking. Gourg and Trev are actually very good checks to it if it neglects Knock Off. It might be a bit much for the meta right now, as base 90 Speed and FakeSpeed make it pretty much the best cleaner in the meta and allow it to outspeed or outprioritize anything that isn't Drakloak or First Impression Fraxure and Farfetch'd. I suppose we'll have to see how the meta adapts to it. Personally, Scarfjourner, Klang, PhysDef PolterClops, Eiscue, Icevally, Carkol, and Choke all seem like pretty good options against it, though it will definitely be a threat in the builder and on the field.

VESPIQUEN
Vespiquen @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
- Roost
- Defog
- U-turn
- Air Slash / Acrobatics
This set is identical to the main one in PU, but that's for a good reason: it works. The queen bee does a great job of Defogging and getting rid of hazards and stalling out setters. Bug/Flying, while previously a very compromising typing, is now quite fine for checking setters such as Corsola, Cufant, Hippo, Krok, Marac, and Palp. Air Slash is reliable special damage, but Acrobatics is an option for punishing mons like Choke for Knocking its Boots.
Vespiquen @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
- Roost
- Toxic Spikes
- U-turn
- Air Slash / Hex
This set functions similar to the one above, but is a setter rather than remover. Vespi works well on bulkier teams that want to keep T-Spikes up without relying on the mediocre Trubbish or HO Whirlipede. Air Slash is from the previous set, but Hex takes advantage of the status that tends to be spread by bulkier builds, coming off Vespi's not bad 80 SpA.
Vespiquen @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 248 HP / 176 Def / 84 Spe
Bold Nature
- Substitute
- Toxic
- Roost
- Air Slash
With Pressure, reliable recovery, and no fear of taking 50% from rocks on switch-in, Vespi can run a decent Pressure stall set. EVs maximize physical bulk while outspeeding neutral nature Klang with no speed investment. In contrast to Clops, Vespi's access to Roost give it the ability to fully take advantage of its, well, ability! SubToxic is a pretty annoying strategy too, and Vespiquen is great at abusing it with its great bulk and no reliance on Eviolite.
Vespiquen not plummeting to the depths of ZU upon the release of the SS Alpha would have been unthinkable the generation prior, but a limited Dex and HDB have helped the queen to hang in PU. Now, Vespi graces ZU with its great bulk, recovery, and no reliance on Evio to take hits. Vespiquen has a spread of utility moves between the Defog and Toxic Spikes (don't run both at once please), Roost, and U-Turn, though there are a few other things to play with as well. Aromatherapy and D-Bond are nice support options, but Ves is strapped for moveslots as is, and is more valuable for hazard control or defensive viability. I think Vespi will settle in nicely, though it wishes that it dropped earlier instead of coming down with a smattering of offensive Electrics and Stonjourner.

CANTO FIVE: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
:seaking: :togetic: :vibrava:
These three, though starting out their tiering in ZU, have ascended to PU in order to take care of threats in their ever evolving meta. Each of them has been missed in one way or another for what they provided between checking Electrics, Defog support, or offensive setup (funny that it's 2/3 for each of those points). All three of them also look to be welcome readditions to the tier, reprising some of their older roles, wielding new toys from the DLC update, and often having a better set of team support to work with to mitigate some of their flaws.
SEAKING
image0-14.jpg
Seaking @ Choice Band
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Waterfall
- Knock Off
- Megahorn
- Flip Turn
With the addition of Flip Turn to its moveset from the DLC, King has been promoted from a mostly passive Electric check to a not altogether bad Band user. Only Palp can block Flip Turn, and Knock punishes resists like Gourg, Trev, Ivysaur, and Gloom, which are all either hit super effectively and/or are item-reliant. Seaking's speed tier is still mediocre, and base 92 Attack doesn't hit necessarily as hard as some other wallbreakers in the tier, but the king's still got offensive presence reminiscent of the dearly departed Basculin. Megahorn is for that nasty shroom.
Seaking @ Mystic Water / Life Orb / Lum Berry
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Waterfall
- Scale Shot / Knock Off
- Megahorn / Poison Jab / Knock Off
King can run a fun double dance or just straight up SD set with the Gen 8 and DLC goodies it has. Base 92 +2 STAB Waterfall is nothing to sneeze at, esp when boosted by either Mystic Water or LO. Scale Shot gives King the means to overcome its base 68 Spe (Jolly outspeeds the entire unboosted metagame at +1). Choosing coverage is annoying, as Knock's good for breaking through Evio walls and the Grass/Ghosts, while Megahorn and Poison Jab are for Shii.
Seaking @ Leftovers
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Waterfall
- Knock Off
- Flip Turn
- Toxic / Drill Run
Seaking is a serviceable check to Electrics like Raichu (lacking GK), Emolga, and Dedenne, while also serving to provide worthwhile offensive utility with Knock + Toxic. Run Drill Run if you REALLY want to OHKO Raichu or smth, but Tox is better IMO for punishing switch-ins like Palp, Shii, and Corsola. Flip Turn lets Seaking pivot around the above Electrics once they're forced to hard switch out, helping the team gain some momentum with its slow switch.
After swimming up to PU to deal with their high voltage problems in June, Seaking returns to its familiar waters at just the right time to deal with a number of new Electrics. ZU has so far only really dealt with Magnemite and Charjabug for the past month, so King is much appreciated as an anti-electric option. With DLC moves and Gen 8 buffs, Seaking actually has a good amount of versatility outside of being a somewhat mediocre defensive utility Pokemon. Flip Turn, Knock, and SD open up a number of new roles that Seaking previously could not access. It's still got issues with frailty, somewhat middling power before a boost, and less than decent speed. Negatives aside, Seaking is a welcome readdition to the ZU meta in a moment where we could really use something a bit more grounded.

TOGETIC
Got you. There's no meme again this time. I just think Togetic is really cute so here's a gif of it from the anime that makes me want to cry.
image0.gif

^ ZU saying goodbye to Toge during July ;-;
Togetic @ Eviolite
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
- Defog
- Roost
- Dazzling Gleam
- Heal Bell / Flamethrower
Toge's defensive typing is still just as niche and beneficial as it was before for checking Fightings and Dragons. Defog, reliable recovery, cleric support, and great neutral STAB give Toge the ability to slot into defensive cores with other mons like Mushy and Klang. Not much needs to be said here, as Toge was already one of the better mons in the meta prior to its departure. I prefer Bell here for helping to wake up Rest users as well as getting status off of Synch Psychics that can absorb more status later on for the team, but Flamethrower is fine for catching Cufant, Ivysaur, Gloom, and Klang on the switch.
Togetic @ Eviolite
Ability: Super Luck
EVs: 248 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpA
IVs: 0 Atk
Modest Nature
- Nasty Plot
- Roost
- Flamethrower
- Dazzling Gleam
Like the Chao of Sonic Adventure 2, you can also opt to go down an evil route with this little egg, and cultivate it into a bulky but deadly special breaker. Toge has the coverage and typing to make a set like this work, no longer stunted by its nemesis, Mareanie. This set struggles with strong offensive pressure from new drops like Ston and Raichu as well as Steels, so pairing it with a Ground helps a lot.
Our allegedly best Defogger has returned after a brief hiatus, only to come back to a very much changed ZU. With new clerics, Defoggers, setup sweepers, and powerful offensive threats, Toge doesn't look to be the near top of the metagame it once was. However, being freed from the role of Defogging does give Togetic a lot more flexibility with its sets, and it can now rely on other mons to remove hazards for it instead of being a "rocks-weak premiere Defogger". Toge was a bit strained for how the meta relied on it to remove Rocks despite being weak to them, whilst also checking Machoke that ran coverage against it. Now, with its previous checks now more strapped, and a few companions to alleviate pressure from it, Togetic might have a bit more of a comfortable time playing team support instead of the face meant to take constant onslaughts of damage.

VIBRAVA
image0-15.jpg
Vibrava @ Eviolite
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
- Defog
- U-Turn
- Scorching Sands / Earthquake
- Roost
Vibrava's role is pretty clear given that it was present temporarily during ZU Alpha and has spent most of its time in PU generally doing three things: check Electrics and Stonjourner, keep hazards off with Defog, and pivot. Vib comes in handy given that ZU is beginning to resemble PU Alpha + Beta. Vib definitely has a bit more competition for the role of Defogger than it initially did in Alpha (Toge, Vull, and Vally mainly).

SCENE SIX: TOWNIES
:gourgeist: :dusclops: :klang: :machoke: :mr. mime-galar: :linoone-galar: :mr. mime: :persian:
I feel as though it's worth, like Czim does above, going over not just what's new, but how the new changes the old. Last month's meta was pretty stable between Gourg, Stall, and Ghost/Psychic/Dark cores being dominant, and this new tidal wave of mons is sure to either buoy up some old top picks or wash them under. I've already spoken a lot in this thread, so I won't discuss anything beyond previous top picks so that this doesn't turn into some sort of hybrid VR post.
Mr. Mime
Mime, as mentioned prior in this thread, was already an underlying sleeper threat in July for its great power, versatility, typing, and speed. However, it was previously held back by Mime-G existing and providing vital spin support and speed control for the tier, which meant that Mime really had to justify usage over one of the tier's only spinners. With Mime-G no longer an almost compulsory pick, Mime can truly flex its might.

Mr. Mime-Galar
While it might seem counterintuitive that Mime-G no longer being almost obligatory might make it better, Mime-G now has freedom to run sets aside from Spin + NP + Ice STAB + Psychic / Focus Blast. Specs and Scarf may yet see play, and the diminishing of Clops means that Spin Mime-G has an easier job getting hazards off the field.

Linoone-Galar
The goon still holds the title of one of the best dark types in the tier. Nothing in the shifts really gives it much competiton, and it previous rival Persian has taken a hit with the addition of Pikachu. Checking Psychics and Ghosts is even more valuable than ever, so Linoone-G stays on top.
Gourgeist-Large
The mildly fat pumpkin received a bit of competition this shift in Trev. Largeist is superior in terms of defensive prowess, but Trev has a more consistent STAB combo, higher Atk, and the ability to run an OTR set that Gourg does not have. It does not help Gourg that the general speed of the meta bumped up another notch, meaning some of the new offensive and utility threats pressure its middling speed. Large is still a great pick, but is no longer as dominant.

Dusclops
Clops was a menace last month, to the point where some advocated for putting it on a slate. While it was threatening, Clops was manageable with smart stallbreaking that as its teendency to suck momentum and force stall builds. Though, on Stall it paired mightily with Pyuk, and the two were the twin faces of ZU Stall. Now, more potent offensive threats, Defoggers, and utility mons, cause Clops no longer meet its old gold standard of immovable spinblocker. Clops also doesn't appreciate that its partner, Pyuk, struggles now with the presences of actual offensive Electrics.

Machoke
Choke, IMO, struggled a bit more in the last meta from the onslaught of Psychics and Ghosts in the tier. However, it now has to contend with even more potent Psychics like Musharna (which doesn't care that much about Knock), Beheeyem, and Swoobat that are not as vulnerable to its Bullet Punch as the Mimes were. Grapploct, though probably not as versatile or good, gives it some competition as a Fighting type tank. The meathead has fallen a peg or two from its past raw dominance (don't analyze that sentence).

Persian
Cat's out of the bag, and even more sadly, it's being beaten by the stupid little electric rat that gives its prevo so much grief in the anime. Persian's complete domination of usage and also high viability came from its defining speed tier, great pivoting and item control, as well as priority to round itself out. While it still holds the title of fastest unboosted mon in the meta, Adamant base 115 is no longer at the top with the introduction of Raichu, Swoobat, and Emolga. Without Adamant though, Persian misses out on a lot of the power it previously had. Between its rival Linoone-G offering just as much (if not more) utility and Pikachu now annihilating weakened mons with its FakeSpeed combo, Persian just sticks out as a mediocre compromise between the two. It's absolutely still got a strong niche, but it's not top cat in the same way it once was.

ADDENDUM/EPILOGUE: ON THE RAIN DUCK
:ludicolo:
So, despite probably having used most of the oxygen (and patience) in this thread, I'll give a little lip service to Ludicolo considering the council is taking another look at it.
As Procrastinasian pointed out earlier, there are new forms of offensive counterplay to Ludi that we simply did not have before. FI Frax joins Farfetch'd in priority that can OHKO, and Pika can chunk it for 75% with FakeSpeed. There's still the older checks that were experimented with before the ban, such as Shedinja, Sliggoo, or max SpDef Dusclops. Even Mime-G now has the liberty of running Scarf to outrun Ludi even with Rain up. Not to mention, there's still the brilliant strategy of "just don't let it set up rain".
HOWEVER, Ludicolo is still way too much for the tier to handle at the moment in time. The defensive checks listed above are all either huge momentum sucks that can't be slapped onto any team or relatively niche. Offensively, sure, you can use priority to check Ludi, but keeping Pikachu or Fraxure in the back throughout a game when they want to be in taking out threats is difficult, and Pika can't even net a KO if Ludi is healthy. And Ludi often IS healthy, because Giga can truly sustain it and mitigate LO recoil or hazard chip it took. Ludi would still be too overwhelming for the meta to deal with at the current moment in time.
On a more meta level, I'm kind of confused by the jump to consider liberating Ludi when so little offensive and defensive counterplay to it has been added, it was only just recently banned a month ago, and unbanning Ludi doesn't add much into the meta besides giving Rain another sweeper to play with. The meta we've been given is literally only days old, and I'd rather focus on that than peep our extensive banlist of 1 mon and debate on whether it should drop or not. "The power level is greater" just feels like really weak reasoning with everything considered. Musharna, Swoobat, Pikachu, Raichu, and Stonjourner deserve more attention right now in the new meta instead of this detour to something that was discussed only a few weeks back, and contributes so little to tier development.
Idk how much of that made sense, but tl;dr:
image0-16.jpg
Anyway, sorry for making the longest post ever.
 

Attachments

I'm not going to talk about any of the new stuff until people start wanting to ban things but I will talk about Ludicolo. While I do agree there is not much new in the way of defensive play, there are a lot more offensive checks as mentioned in some of the other posts plus probably some more that people don't realize yet. But because there are so many new threats that the tier is one step below completely different I think we should give Ludicolo a shot. It's not like if it doesn't work out we can't ban it again.
 

Ho3nConfirm3d

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Cliche post with sets underneath! Also check out my latest teambuilding post for other tips / observations of the meta.
Also, great post missangelic ! I agree with most of these sets and ideas there, and my suggestions either reinforce or slightly deviate from what was already posted.

The Good:

Beheeyem @ Choice Specs / Power Herb
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Psychic
- Thunderbolt / Meteor Beam
- Dark Pulse
- Teleport

Beheeyem @ Power Herb
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD
Quiet Nature
IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe
- Trick Room
- Meteor Beam
- Psybeam
- Shadow Ball / Thunderbolt

Beheeyem @ Heavy-Duty Boots / Colbur Berry / No Item
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Recover
- Teleport
- Psychic
- Thunderbolt

Now at the highest SpA in the tier, Beh is a monster with its coverage. Two new tricks it has this gen are Teleport and Meteor Beam. The former is great on specs and defensive sets as a slow pivot, and is a great way to perserve momentum. The latter works on TR as a means to boost offensively, and even regularly offensive sets can use it to nail Vullaby and obvi 1HKO specially defensive Vespiqueen; it also makes it Poltergeist-proof after its use, which of course is an added bonus. It still has some competition with the other Psychic-types this tier now has a ton of, but as a special wallbreaker it's one of the best.

Carkol @ Eviolite
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 248 HP / 60 SpA / 200 SpD
Sassy Nature
- Rapid Spin
- Spikes / Stealth Rock
- Flamethrower / Fire Spin
- Rock Blast / Will-O-Wisp / Rest

Carkol has decent defenses on top being what should be additional hazard removal / setting for the team. As a special wall, you're able to soft check some attackers like the Mimes and Gastly, and even some physical attackers, but its huge weaknesses to Water, Ground, and Fighting can't be ignored. This set also does well checking Grass-types, and with 60 SpA it always 2HKOs defensive Gourgeist; better than having it Toxic stall completely safely. Adding more hazards, especially Spikes when Hippopotas is there to support it further, isn't a bad niche. Rock Blast helps against Vespiqueen, as SpD sets would wall Carkol otherwise, and to a lesser extent Sub NP Swoobat and Natu. Lastly, straight from NFE, I bet a Fire Spin + Rest set could be pulled off, as that patches its lack of recovery.
Dunsparce @ Leftovers
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Roost
- Body Slam / Glare
- Toxic / Bite

A Stealth Rock user that isn't a Rock / Ground / Steel type sure is new and fun to build with! While this set suggests physdef, im betting SpD investment could work as well. Most of the tier is threatened by the Paralyses and Toxic, making Body Slam and Toxic great coverage, while Bite instead could patch the Ghost matchup. Headbutt and Bite also go along with the flinching shenanigans from Serene Grace, but I don't want to reccomend it too much; Dunsparce is still very weak, and even Coil sets don't make it worthwhile. Watch out for offensive Klang, Eiscue, and Dusclops, as this mon doesn't have mutch at all to deal with them.
Fraxure @ Eviolite / Choice Band
Ability: Mold Breaker
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- First Impression / Scale Shot
- Swords Dance / Poison Jab
- Outrage
- Superpower

Its a weird set I'm suggesting here I know but bare with me! Fraxure has a mix of wallbreaking, priority, and cleaning that the combonation of First Impresion, SD, and Scale Shot provide. This means it can pull off a lot of these roles with minor adjustments to the set, but in general my favorite is SD First Impression. This allows it to revenge kill frailer or weakened targets like Galarian Mr. Mime and Swoobat while still being a very scary SD wallbreaker when needed. Choice Band sets can afford more coverage like Poison Jab for Shiinotic, while SD sets with both Scale Shot and Outrage are still very good, as often Fraxure needs the secured power of Outrage to clean after the Speed boost.
Grapploct @ Assault Vest / Life Orb
Ability: Technician
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Drain Punch
- Sucker Punch
- Ice Punch
- Brutal Swing

Somewhat underwelming, and without Knock Off and Guts providing an incentive against status, Grapp has a lot of existing compititon with Machoke. I think its coverage is its best bet, with pretty much every viable move being different from what Machoke runs. Assualt Vest is proving to be its best item, as it takes on general special attackers better, whereas Life Orb is okay but nothing special. It also struggles with defensive Gourg-L and Shiitotic, but with Toxic Spikes support it makes most defensive walls unable to switch in on it. Brutal Swing and ice Punch are crucial coverage for it, but forgoing one of them for Power-Up Punch so its a bit better against Hippopotus and can clean better isn't the worst idea either.
Raichu @ Choice Specs
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Thunderbolt
- Volt Switch
- Surf
- Focus Blast

Raichu @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Thunderbolt
- Volt Switch
- Surf

Electic / Water coverage is very good in the tier, nailing pretty much everying but Palpitoad, Seaking, and Whiscash, and specs Focus Blast helps alleviate those match ups. Its Speed is awesome but also just short of Persian and Swoobat, meaning it isn't exactly the best Speed options for the team alone, and it ought to have some priority to back it up. I like that NP sets can run HDB to keep them healthy, even if all they're doing is firring off +2 Volt Switches mid-game, there's a lot of potential here.
Seaking @ Leftovers / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 HP / 220 Def / 32 SpD / 4 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Flip Turn
- Knock Off
- Toxic
- Protect

Physdef seaking is one of the better Electric coutners in the meta rn. This set walls Pikachu very well, taking minimal Knock Off damage and regains momentum with Flip Turn. Knock Off and Toxic are also great utility for the set, with Protect helping Toxic stall / recover with Leftovers / scout against Choice-locked attackers. In general I think a physdef Water-type wall can be super helpful on a lot of builds rn. This spread avoids a 2HKO from specs Raichu's Focus Blast, and 4 Spe with a Jolly Nature outspeeds Adament Machoke.
Stoutland @ Choice Band
Ability: Sand Rush / Scrappy
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- Strength
- Superpower
- Crunch
- Facade / Toxic

Even with the general power dip compared to last gen's ZU, Stoutland without a stronger Normal STAB attack to spam has been a little underwelming. On semi-sand teams, with the ever better Hippopotas as support, it can be a good sweeper, but it doesnt help that Normal has multiple relevant resistances and immunities in the meta, and Crunch + Superpower only does so much more. Facade can be helpful when its procced, while Toxic deals with defensive Gourgeist-L on the switch-in. Sand Rush sets are likely the best, but Scrappy sets on non-sand teams have merit as well.
Stonjourner @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Power Spot
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Heat Crash
- Earthquake
- Superpower

Stonjourner @ Rocky Helmet / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Power Spot
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake
- Heat Crash

Easily my favorite new mon in the meta!! Scarf sets are awesome cleaners and revenge killers, with Heat Crash as strong coverage that dents most of the meta. Offensive SR sets are something I've seen and played around with as well, but usally there's better support for this mon that can set hazards. That set would also rather run RH or HDB as items, with LO not having that many relevant calcs besides securing the 2HKO with Heat Crash on offensive Gourg.
Togetic @ Eviolite
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Defog
- Roost
- Dazzling Gleam
- Heal Bell

Same as before, we all know what Toge does. If anything I think it got a little worse with the influx of Defog users and sweepers that can potentially set up on it, but surely defensive teams can appreciate its typing, phenmoneal bulk, and cleric role.
Vespiquen (F) @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
- Toxic Spikes
- U-turn
- Roost
- Defog / Toxic / Dual Wingbeat

My second favorite mon, and wow this mon is fun to use! It helps being a fully evolved Toxic Spike user, which is awesome on BO with Fake Out users like Pikachu and Persian raking up damage and being offensive pivots to compliment Vespiqueen's slow pivoting. I find it can afford Defog on the same sets if need be, but Toxic and Dual Wingbeat help out on the walls and Grass-types that this mon can check. This thing is totally worth checking out if you haven't already!

The Bad:


Not that all these mons are "bad" persay, but they've got too much competition for their roles. I won't go into detail with there sets, but I see them all as B-/C rank mons. Leafeon is probably a mon I'll get flack for putting here, but its got some serious trouble with all the Grass-type checks and walls that it cannot break / gets revenge killed by. I cannot in good consiousness recommend its SD sets too seriously, and I think there are just better sweepers and physical attackers. This meta favors pivots, hazards, and status spreading, and Leafeon is hard to fit. The rest have direct competition in mons like Raichu, Stoutland, Gourgeist-L, and Vespiquen that I think makes them second hand.

The Ugly:




Defensive sweepers with Bell and Mush are very threatening, requiring phazers and stallbreakers on nearly every team to have a good shot on them. Pikachu is an incredible mon that is doing way too many things at once; its a mixed wallbreaker, priority sweeper / cleaner, and offensive pivot all in one set. Who cares about its glass bone bulk when nothing touches it between Extreme Speed, Volt Switch, and 1HKOs? Probably the worst offender here on this list, while the least imo is Swoobat. It can be scary to deal with but it also requires a lot of setup and support, with Grassy Seed sets having to use the liability that is Grookey for it to be pulled off. All of these mons should have good look at in these upincoming weeks.

As for Ludi, I'll have my post reasoning in the coming vote. Thanks all for reading! :)
 
Posting because Ho3n put my boy Leafeon in "The Bad" and I disagree. Otherwise agreed with the rest though, great post!

:dp/leafeon:
Leafeon @ Leftovers
Ability: Chlorophyll
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Impish Nature
- Heal Bell / Protect
- Synthesis / Wish
- Leaf Blade
- Knock Off

SD Leafeon sucks in this meta but Leafeon is a really neat utility mon and IMO our best cleric on offence, which is actually extremely valuable right now because status spam is everywhere and effective. It's also probably our best WishPasser on offence. In theory it could do both roles at once which would be a nice niche but choosing to give up Leaf Blade or Knock Off hurts as Knock Off is the amazing utility move it always has been and Leaf Blade has been powerful enough for me with a max defensive investment, but this spread could be optimised to get further use out of its STAB too. I see Leafeon up there with Gloom and Ivysaur as fairly evenly matched Grass-Type mons with different specific strengths and weaknesses that mean they fit on different teams and so all see use. And right now I think all 3 of these Grass mons are holding onto B+. I can see B though.

--------------------------------

With that said I wanted to post about Ludicolo anyway. Unbanning Ludicolo is completely fine if we're giving it a test before doing another suspect slate in the new meta that it's included on, imo. There's a chance it's manageable because our offensive counterplay for it has diversified and intensified, but I don't see what new defensive counterplay we have for it so I think it would still centralise the tier fairly significantly. It's not like stall should be expected to run a First Impression Fraxure or Farfetch'd in case they run into a Ludi. If the question is is Ludi probably still broken in the new meta, I think it probably is. But I also think it's worth a shot because it'd be a nice presence if it is manageable.
 

kay

The unlikely story of an unorthodox protagonist
is a Battle Simulator Driveris a Site Content Manager Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
Every post advocating for Ludi to remain banned is a post that shuts down the possibility that there is a chance Ludicolo may not be broken, and without knowing for sure due to the drastic unprecedented metagame change of 22 relevant new dropped pokemon, I think the best way to go about this is unban, and to figure it out for ourselves.
It's not like if it doesn't work out we can't ban it again.
If the question is is Ludi probably still broken in the new meta, I think it probably is. But I also think it's worth a shot because it'd be a nice presence if it is manageable.
Okay so this seems to be a common trend of thinking that we can just unban it for the sake of unbanning it and if its a problem we can just ban it again. Having to ban a pokemon, unban it, and then reban it all within a few weeks is the worse case scenario that should be avoided at all cost.
The idea that we should just unban it and see what happens totally misses the point of this entire process. Right now we're supposed to discuss and test in private games whether or not ludicolo is still ban worthy or not. If it is still broken then it should remained banned but if general consensus is that we now have enough counter play against it and it can be handled within the tier then it can be unbanned safely.

Right now not a single pro-unban post has touched on the lack of defensive counter play to ludicolo or touched on the fact that maybe Fraxure and Pikachu (and hope its below 75%) is enough counter play and I'd like to see the pro-unban people really touch on the metagame side of things rather then just say unban it and figure it out from there because thats not how tiering works.
 
The meta has drastically changed, and I personally think that giving Ludicolo a second chance is a great idea. Not only do I think this meta is more equipped for it, we can always reban it if it does turn out to be overwhelming, which I doubt will be the case (after reading kay's post, I get their gripe with this reasoning, but as long as this doesn't happen in the other direction, testing in case of reasonable doubt can never hurt, even if it does shake up the meta a bit. You can only do so much with theorizing before testing becomes a good idea). I'll try to keep this brief, since I don't have the guts to make a 6-mile long post like the people above me.

- First of all, the powerlevel in general has risen. More mons with simply higher base stats are now available in ZU, making the list of mons that can tank rain-boosted attacks or be powerful enough to ko it before it gets to do that bigger. On top of that, in this meta filled with new powerful special attackers, AV Ludicolo might be more useful, which takes away the element that a significant amount of people consider broken.

- We got some new offensive checks, including, but not being limited to, Trevenant, Fraxure and Pikachu, new fast mons that can outspeed it even in rain if scarfed, not to mention the old ones like Persian, Shedinja, Gourgeist, Sudowoodo and Farfetch'd.

- The tier shift didn't give us any new clear hard Ludicolo counters, but we did get some new good flying- and grass types which hinder it significantly. Something that I've seen repeated again and again is that "Ludicolo has only one counter, which is very niche". This statement is blatantly untrue.
- :Shedinja: Completely and utterly walls rain Ludicolo, as well as other mons and is a spinblocker on top.
- :Munchlax: Only loses to three consecutive hitting Life Orb Hydro Pumps, all of them in rain, and it had trouble setting up said rain even in the previous meta. Is a blanket special wall in general as well.
- :Lickitung: Cloud Nine lets it comfortably wall Ludicolo, keeping itself healthy with Wish while Ludicolo is forced out, allowing you to heal a team member with Wish, or stays in to waste its pp to no avail. Is yet again, useful outside of the Ludicolo mu.
- :Sliggoo: This mon got so much better this shift lol with a lot of the aforementioned powerful special attackers being prime setup bait, and Ludicolo adds to this list perfectly, using its own rain to get a free heal with Hydration. Leaving a Ludicolo on the field for a little too long could easily lead to Sliggoo sweeping the opponent's team. even without setup this mon can be good, dropping a draco on the switch, or clicking Skitter Smack to counter Musharna and Swoobat's setup strats, as well as hitting Ludicolo for SE damage
- :Ludicolo:/:Mantyke:/:Dewpider: AV Ludicolo does great but obviously doesn't count, Mantyke works but is very niche, and Dewpider still gets chipped by Giga Drain but works in a pinch due to Skitter, can also set up webs to allow other teammates to deal with Ludicolo better.

So yeah, higher powerlevel, more offensive checks, enough defensive counterplay. Unban :Ludicolo:

Some unrelated meta takes:
- :Leafeon: Agree that Leafeon is slept on.
- :Trevenant: Trevenant is criminally underrated, as an (arguably better) alternative to Gourgeist.
- :Bellossom: Bellossom isn't as threatening as I thought it would be, getting walled by more than you would think.
- :Pyukumuku: czim worded it perfectly.
- :Pikachu: Pikachu is better than Raichu lol.
- :Beheeyem: This thing might be lowkey busted, being able to viably run a myriad of threatening sets.
 
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:ludicolo: Ludicolo is being voted on being unbanned, and I personally do not think its a healthy addition to the tier. Despite the power level increasing, very few mons besides Fraxure and Pikachu offensively check it and absolutely nothing dropped to defensively check it. In rain, the only drops that are able to tank a hit are Musharna, Bellossom, and Vespiquen, and none of them are able to switch in, with Bell and Mush both likely to be voted on in the future. Besides Shedinja, all defensive counterplay is either niche or would have absolutely no niche at all except for counter Ludicolo (plus Shed is significantly worse now due to most drops being able to beat it and Hippo getting better). If the only reliable Pokemon able to check Ludicolo are itself, low tier Pokemon like Shed, Sliggoo, and Munchlax, and unmons like Dewpider, Mantyke, or Cloud Nine Lickitung, there is a clear lack of defensive options and as a result shouldn't be allowed back in the tier.
 

Tuthur

海贼王波波
is a Pre-Contributor
:ss/ludicolo:
My opinion on Ludicolo is not yet completely decided and I share some arguments for both sides.
Defensively, Ludicolo didn't really get any answers except AV Trevenant and AV Grapploct that are getting chipped very quickly. Even if Sliggoo has become better thanks to its ability to handle Raichu and Bellossom, it's still not a very strong Pokémon. Also, Shedinja is not as good as it used to be, so defensive answers to Ludicolo are still scarce.
Offensively, Pikachu and Fraxure offer new offensive measures with their powerful priority that can take out Ludicolo after some preliminary damage. But neither of them can come safely on Ludicolo making them not so reliable at handling it.
However, it should not be forgotten that rain is neither easy to set up nor eternal. The ZU lacks good rain setters other than Ludicolo, and if Ludicolo is the rain setter, it it exposes itself to chips damages that can knock it out of the various priorities.

:ss/pikachu:
I personally have no problem with Pikachu.
Imo the versatility and power of Pikachu is counterbalanced by its fragility. Pikachu is checked by many top tier like Shiinotic, Bellossom, Gourgeist-L, and Musharna. In ZU, Pikachu suffers from 4mss, in the sense that it needs Knock Off to cripple the NFE, ESpeed+Fake Out to revenge kill, Surf for Carkol and Ground types, Volt Switch to keep the momentum going, and Volt Tackle to break some walls. In the absence of any of these moves, the checks at Pikachu multiply, so it's actually not that difficult to manage. On the other hand, Pikachu is really difficult to bring on the field, ZU hasn't many slow pivots and Pikachu can't afford to take any hit, what limits a lot its switch-in opportunities.

:ss/musharna:
Little to change from the previous generation for Musharna, the loss of Barrier and Z-moves as well as the appearance of Poltergeist impact it of course but Musharna's CM sets are still far too complicated to manage and can easily pick their counters by choosing among Moonblast, Rest, and Heal Bell. Very few Pokémon can break Musharna, especially when boosted by CM or Grassy Seed, which makes it very centralizing.

:ss/bellossom:
Bellossom is a bit like Musharna, in the sense that it's bulky and has few answers. However, Bellossom is less versatile and has some very strong counters that always win the duel like Ivysaur and Shift Gear Klang. Bellossom limits teambuilding enormously since most of the usual Grass checks like Shiinotic, Gourgeist-L, or Silvally-Ice are totally ineffective against it.

:ss/swoobat:
This was PUBL for a reason, please ban. This thing has almost no defensive answers and is only outsped by Scarfer/Raichu which can't do anything if Swoobat ate its Salac Berry. Priority users are good versus it, but Sucker Punch can be blocked by Substitute and Grassy Seed sets don't care about them.
 

kay

The unlikely story of an unorthodox protagonist
is a Battle Simulator Driveris a Site Content Manager Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
So with the Ludicolo suspect wrapped up I figured I'd share my thoughts on what seem to me as the most potentially problematic both now and moving forward.


1596835677032.png
1596835694769.png


So here we have some of the more obviously apparent problem children in the metagame. Musharna and Swoobat take the same approach of set up psychic types but do it in totally different yet devastating ways. Musharna opting to utilize its insane bulk and recovery to just be an unkillable wall as it sets up past the point of being able to deal with and Swoobat utilizing more of its speed and access to either CM or NP to just blow past things with stored power or coverage options leaves little room in the metagame to deal with either of them once they get going. And add to that the fact you can support both of them with Grassy Seed + Grassy Surge or even kee berry + screens to instantly get them going and it becomes a nightmare to actually deal with. Both of them lack very solid answers and are extremely overwhelming in the current sate of the meta.


1596835654248.png
1596835629937.png


While they're currently not as oppressive as Musharna and Swoobat, I think their potential in the tier will only grow as the metagame settles down and cores/ sets get more standardized.
In Fraxures case its ability to adapt itself to whatever metagame it finds itself in is insane, being able to run either CB sets, scarf sets, stall breaking sets with taunt, and 2 different set up sets in DD and SD with enough coverage to blow past whatever defensive cores find themselves common in the future.
And Bellosom while it does suffer from wanting both Moonblast and Safeguard but only having room for one, it still finds itself to be a monster in the right match ups. If you have the correct 4th move for the match up this mon just snowballs into a win so quickly without much room for outplay against it.


1596835862098.png
-Stonjourner gets an honorable mention because while straight forward in its approach, its extremely threatening and in the absence of some other mons in the meta I could see this as a huge potential winner.
 
If we are going to start talking about problematic pokemon I would like to share my terrible opinions:




Obvious:

:swoobat: Swoobat (Problematic): At first I was saying Swoobat isn't that bad and in some cases it can underwhelming when the team it is facing has a lot of priority/scarfers but if not, this thing just wrecks. Even with scarfers and priority it set up a calm mind for special scarfers on the switch or use with grookey to get up a grassy seed for the physical side. Also swoobat can instead use an attacking move on the counter and then switch out and whittle it down that way and it starts forcing guesses that are heavily in Swoobat's favor of if it's going to attack or set up. Overall it's just too oppressive in my opinion.

Hot Takes:

:musharna: Musharna (Not Problematic): As often as I almost take this thing out just for it to moonlight and heal bell it's way back to full health, I don't think think this is problematic. It's strong for sure but it has enough about it that I feel it has counter play. It's mostly reliant on a lot of status moves so taunt kinda wrecks it. Clear Smog and Haze can stop it from setting up as well, tricking a choice item/assault vest from Lopunny can also hinder it badly too. Pyukumuku can stall out Moonblast only variants and Dark types wall the stored power only variants. So while I think this pokemon is stong, I don't think it's over powering.

:stonjourner: Stonjourner (Problematic): Just like Kay I think this thing is problematic but in a different way. You would think a pokemon with one of the worst special attack and special defense in the game with an ability that does nothing in singles would not be overwhelming but it is. It can set up stealth rocks and then can threaten almost all hazard removers in the game. The only ones that it doesn't outright destroy are wartortle and vibrava. Mime-g, emolga and Silvally-ice (special only) can threaten it with higher speed but they can't switch it. Everything else is weak to either stone edge or earthquake. Honestly this thing on a bolturn team will just absolutely shutdown almost any kind of hazard removal.

:pikachu: Pikachu (Problematic): This thing hits way too hard and has a ton of priority. Pikachu can do a lot of damage to most things and for stuff that can actually take a hit from pikachu it can just volt switch/switch out to something to take that thing out. Extremespeed outspeeds almost every kind of priority except fake out and first impression but those can only be used once. Even though Raichu is similar it wasn't anointed with the blessing of Game Freak in the form of light ball so Raichu doesn't hit nearly as hard. Overall Pikachu can just destroy some teams.

:bellossom: Bellosom (Not Problematic): Bellosom can definitely be scary but it can just get hard walled by some pokemon. Gloom, Shiinotic, Ivysaur, Sliggoo (mostly) All kinda wall it, maybe others. First impression doesn't One Shot but it does a lot and can take on a damaged Bellosom. Klang is also pretty good especially if it runs sub instead of sleep powder. Overall while Good, I don't see it as oppressive.
 

Tuthur

海贼王波波
is a Pre-Contributor
i cant see the zu banlist in the teambuilder. if you are going to delete this, could you give me an awnser to it?
:ludicolo: All of council has voted and Ludicolo remains banned with a 4-2 majority. Check out the voting sheet to see each member's reasoning for their vote. Thank you to Tuthur1 for joining us on rotating council and congratulations to czim who is now a council member. :ludicolo:
Also, when you select ZU in the teambuilder, Ludicolo is marked as banned. Also, this type of questions better fit this thread: https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/simple-questions-simple-answers-zu-edition.3663363/.
 
While my free :ludicolo: campaign died at the hands of 3 council members and a Tuthur, I hope this time we can all come to an agreement on the mons to be banned:

Ban: :musharna: -Musharna is a wincon that combines the best features of both Duosion and Gothitelle. As a fully evolved pokemon, it requires no item, allowing it to handle Poltergeist users and Knock users, making approaching the weaker defensive side of Musharna very difficult. The special side of Musharna is impenetrable after setup, and when combined with an amazing duo of moves in Stored Power and Moonblast, nothing really can survive after enough Calm Minds. With direct attacks incredibly difficult, stopping Musharna indirectly is the primary way to go. However, even in that regard, synchronize means that if you status it, you get statused too, and then Mush simply Heal Bells and wins. Just not enough counterplay at this level, with weak Dark Types, and Poltergeist being the only relevant physical non-priority move, meaning that Taunt, Haze, strong Bug type moves, and to an extent Swords Dance and Whirlwind are your only real options to defeat the monstrosity that is Musharna.

Ban: :swoobat: -Swoobat was banned in PU before, and now that its dropped, it's still the same thing: fast, with very limited ways to live a hit after setup with Simple Calm Mind. Outspeeding/Scarfers, Linoone, and Priority are your main ways to beat it, and while there are plenty of priority moves abound, grassy seed variants exist, giving +2 Def, and very few pokemon can realistically ohko with priority even without seed. Additionally, Linoone might be good for one or two checks, but if Linoone is sufficiently chipped, it could spell disaster for your team. Again, limited ability to wall Swoobat gives it a deserving ban vote in my opinion.

Do not ban (for sure): :bellossom: - Bellossom is a late game cleaner, or at least it tries to be, if it weren't for its ability to be walled completely by Klang and Vespiquen (and gloom/ivy), as well as easily revenge killed by Scarf Ston, Pikachu, and Band Fraxure, and additionally totally outsetup by Duosion and Musharna, as well as still destroyed by Silvally Ice. Too much counterplay is available to justify a ban right now.

Could ban: (least likely to most)
:Stonjourner:/:Pikachu:/:Fraxure: - I'll let others elaborate on this more but here's a quick rundown: there are a few pokemon that completely wall ston (Hippo and Palpitoad) making it an unlikely ban (20/80); Pika is powerful, with double priority and light ball making it threatening, but it's also quite frail, making it a 50/50 ban imo. Fraxure seems most banworthy (55/45) simply because its so versatile and unpredictable imo, but I haven't used it enough to justify a convincing argument for it right now.
 
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