Metagame NP: ZU Stage 5.1 - New Bans at Post #19 - Break The Ice

S1nn0hC0nfirm3d

aka Ho3nConfirm3d
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written by 5gen and I, song idea from czim, format from OU.




Ever since its arrival in January, Sneasel has been on the radar amongst the ZU council and playerbase. It was addressed in the first quickban slate, and although it did not receive enough ban votes at the time, it was clear that the council acknowledged its potential to become overpowered. Sneasel was granted some breathing room by being kept off the second voting slate, only to then be ultimately readdressed in the third slate as the candidate for ZU's first suspect test in generation 8.

Sneasel is the premier wallbreaker in ZU, one that is arguably too good to stick around. It's at a near untouchable speed tier, and little can reliably switch into its STAB attacks of Knock Off and Triple Axel, especially when boosted by Choice Band. For example, Knock Off is spammable and breaks down Sneasel's checks by removing crucial items like Colbur Berry and Heavy-Duty Boots, while Triple Axel has superb raw power–granted all three hits land. In addition to Choice Band, Swords Dance sets with Heavy-Duty Boots give Sneasel another dynamic to work with. Swords Dance turns Sneasel into a dangerous sweeper capable of cleaning through teams once revenge killers are removed or heavily weakened; Ice Shard also helps in the latter situation. Sneasel requires minimal support for it wallbreak or revenge kill, and it has ample pivoting support from teammates like Uxie, Wishiwashi, Silvally formes, and Rotom formes to get it in safely. This support circumvents some of Sneasel's limitations, and even with a Stealth Rock weakness granting only four switch-ins, that is still more than enough for Sneasel to outperform its competition.

Nevertheless, Sneasel is not without its weaknesses and flaws. Sneasel has pitiful bulk and lacks notable switch-in opportunities on its own. Its frailty combined with a vulnerability to all entry hazards if it opts for Choice Band means that Choice Scarf users and priority users are easily able to revenge kill it. As for defensive checks, teams run physically defensive walls like Miltank or Fighting-types such as Poliwrath, Gurdurr, and Throh. There are also shakier defensive checks in Persian-Alola, Carbink, and Silvally-Water, as well as Pokemon with adverse contact effects like Rocky Helmet Aftermath Garbodor. Both of its main sets have item dependent drawbacks; Choice Band can easily squander its momentum if it locks into the wrong attack or misses a Triple Axel, and Heavy-Duty Boots is significantly weaker while being likely for Sneasel to be OHKOed itself if it cannot OHKO its target. Being entirely offensive can also be a drawback for playstyles that would rather have a wallbreaker or revenge killer that can supplement the team defensively in more ways, which may leave Sneasel teams weak to sweepers that they can't fit checks for.




  • ***THIS IS NEW TO GEN 8 SUSPECTS*** Reading this is mandatory for participating in the suspect test. The voting requirements are a minimum GXE of 79 with at least 50 games played. In addition, you may play 1 less game for every 0.2 GXE you have above 79 GXE, down to a minimum of 30 games at a GXE of 83. Also, needing more than 50 games to reach 79 GXE will suffice.
GXEminimum games
7950
79.249
79.448
79.647
79.846
8045
80.244
80.443
80.642
80.841
8140
81.239
81.438
81.637
81.836
8235
82.234
82.433
82.632
82.831
8330


  • You must signup with a newly registered account on Pokemon Showdown! that begins with the appropriate prefix for the suspect test. For this suspect test, the prefix will be ZUPA. For example, I might signup with the ladder account ZUPA Ho3n.
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  • The aspect being tested, Sneasel, will be allowed on the ladder.
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  • Unlike previous tests, we will be posting the voting identification thread immediately after this thread. Please avoid getting more games before getting confirmed.
  • The suspect test will go on for two weeks, lasting until February 22 at 11:59 pm (GMT-5), and then we will put up the voting thread in the Blind Voting subforum.
This thread will be open to allow all users to share their thoughts on this suspect test and discuss with one another their thoughts. Should you have any questions about the suspect test, feel free to message me or anyone else on the ZU council. Keep in mind that our suspect tests are decided by the community; anyone who achieves voting requisites is allowed to vote. The outcome is up to you. Happy posting and laddering!
 
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kay

The unlikely story of an unorthodox protagonist
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So rather then give my thoughts on Sneasel (because I've been quite vocal about how problematic and restricting it is) I wanted to take the chance to talk about a meta trend that has exploded in popularity recently with stall absolutely taking over the ladder metagame right now. I've been saying how good stall is for awhile now and have been abusing its strengths for the past 2 weeks, and with each passing ban its only been getting better so I figured I'd do more of a guide type post on stall in todays metagame as well as a little how-to-beat at the end.

So a common mistake I see from a lot of stall teams they don't have win conditions. Players just using stall for the sake of being stall are going to have a much harder time winning games then stall teams with a clear focus on a win condition like ID cofa, CM spiritomb, or other defensive boosters that once the path is clear can secure a win in the late game. Your stall team is a means to that end with your win condition working along side your team as apart of its defensive core.
And while obvious, stall needs to be built as an anti meta approach. What that means is you're going to have to have an understanding of what the meta actually is, what's being played, and what options you have on hand to beat what people are running. That means the first thing you're going to have to do after putting on Audino + Pyukumuku is figure out with your remaining 4 slots how you're going to fit hazards, removal, a win condition, and wall off as much of the meta as physically possible. And some times that's going to lead you into some pretty niche options but that's okay because stall as a archetype rewards niche walls that can cover up very very specific weaknesses a team might have so don't be afraid to get a little creative. This goes for moves too because if you can run a specific tech on a pokemon and it stops you from losing to something (so for example rock slide on carbink to deal with frosmoth) then its going to be worth running because stalls entire goal is to remove your opponents win conditions while whittling them down to set up your own.

Now this all might sound easy but you also have to keep in mind the uncommon breakers can some times be even more deadly then the common ones because they'll catch you off guard so you need to be prepared for as many of those as possible. Its easier to see all this in action then to just read about it so I'll go ahead and breakdown some of my stall teams I've been using and show you exactly how I approach it. (click on the sprites for the import)

Hazards, hazard removal, win condition, Sneasel switch in, Magmortar switch in, Centiskorch switch in, sub Frosmoth answer, Silvally answer, oma answer, specs Basculin answer, fix weakness to tspikes, ID Cofagrigus answer, standard type resists.


:Audino: :Pyukumuku: :Carbink: :Spiritomb: :Altaria: :Poliwrath:
Win condition: CM tomb
Sneasel switch in: Pyuk + Poli
Magmortar switch in: Carbink + Altaria
Centiskorch switch in: Altaria
Sub Frosmoth answer: Rockslide Carbink
Silvally answers: Pyukumuku
Omastaranswer: Pyukumuku
ID Cofagrigus answer: CM Spiritomb
Specs Basculin answers: Audino to scout and pivot
fix weakness to tspikes: Boots/rest/Defog

:Audino: :Pyukumuku: :Stunfisk-Galar: :Cofagrigus: :Altaria: :Avalugg:
Win condition: ID Cofagrigus
Sneasel switch in: Pyukumuku + Avalugg
Magmortar switch in: Altaria
Centiskorch switch in: Altaria
Sub Frosmoth answer: Stunfisk-g
Silvally answers: Pyukumuku
Omastar answer: Pyukumuku
ID Cofagrigus answer: Spite Pyukumuku
Specs Basculin answers: Audino to scout into pivot
fix weakness to tspikes: Boots/Rest/Defog

:Audino: :Pyukumuku: :Carbink: :Qwilfish: :Cryogonal: :Tangela:
Win condition: Toxic Spikes + knock off spam to get rid of boots
Sneasel switch in:
mag switch in: Pyukumuku
Centiskorch switch in: Qwilfish
Sub Frosmoth answer: Rockslide Carbink
Silvally answers: Pyukumuku
Omastar answer: Pyukumuku
ID Cofagrigus answer: Spite Pyukumuku
Specs Basculin answers: Audino to scout into pivot
fix weakness to tspikes: grounded Poison + Spin

:Audino: :Pyukumuku: :Carbink: :Clefairy: :Eldegoss: :Golbat:
Win condition: CM Clefairy
Sneasel switch in: Pyukumuku
Magmortar switch in: Carbink
Centiskorch switch in: Golbat
Sub Frosmoth answer: Carbink
Silvally answers: Pyukumuku
Omastar answer: Pyukumuku
ID Cofagrigus answer: Spite Pyukumuku
Specs Basculin answers: Audino to scout into pivot to Eldegoss on the Hydro
fix weakness to tspikes: Spin + Boots + Magic guard


So no surprise you're seeing Audino + Pyukumuku on all of them as they make up the backbone of every single stall team. Carbink and Altaria both add an insane amount of compression so you'll see them very often on stall as staples. Toxic Spikes is just good enough to be a win condition on its own albeit very match up dependent so you can sometimes substitute a hard win condition for tspikes. Aside from that its really just about staying on top of the meta and adjusting your cores according to how the meta trends go and what common breakers/ set up sweepers start seeing play, so what you should or shouldn't be using or what is or isn't on the checklist is going to change constantly. Just try to add the biggest/ most common threats on there.



How to beat stall

Okay now for the fun part. I wouldn't just make a post about how to build/play stall without giving some key things to look out for when building to break stall too. So lets go over just some of my favorites (once again click the sprite for the sets)

:Trevenant: :Drampa: :Rotom: :Rotom-Frost: :Flapple: :Qwilfish: :Jellicent: :golbat:

On top of the above pokemon, things like Trick, Taunt, and Knock off +hazard stacking (such as Sneasel spike stack) all work wonders in improving your stall match up. Out of everything though Drampa is definitely the most slept on anti-stall tool due to its zero switch in answers. You'll generally just leave large holes where stall teams used to be when you use this and the fact its sets can range from specs, CM, and even just bulky 3 attacks it means you're extremely flexible where you can fit this on. Trevenant is also a huge pain for stall teams as the combination of Ghost + Grass stabs being awful to switch into and natural cure + horn leech recovery giving you the longevity you need to play vs stall which leaves the stall player in an endless battle of 50/50 loops of go to grass resist or go to ghost immunity.

Hopefully this helps some people in their pursuit of reqs either playing and building stall or just adjusting to having to prepare for stall.
 
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idk much about the tier but i was having success with :clefairy::altaria::audino::sableye::cryogonal::pyukumuku:

It got me some wins in open but also lost g3 in r3? i think as i caught a taunt np skuntank matchup. i also think this team would be nice for ladder if its infested with stall, like kay is saying, as trapper alt + trapper pyuku is a great antistall mu.

touching a bit on the suspect i think that sneasel is generally p stupid cause with spikes being so prevalent even if sneasel has a bad mu being able to spam knock with its HDB set makes it extremely annoying to play against, if in conjunction with some sort of offensive spikestack. take this with some salt though, as reiterating, i mostly played the meta in zu open and some tests during that time.
 
Alright, time for me to give my opinion on a mon I previously defended and suggested that it got worse, Sneasel! :Sneasel:

Alright, first of all, let's talk about what Sneasel has going for it conceptually as a mon to make it so powerful
-two powerful stabs, while Ice/Dark is a terrible defensive typing, it still gives it STAB to two extremely good offensive typings
-Stab on Ice Shard, we'll come back to this later
-Stab on the most spammable move in the game, Knock Off
-Tied for fourth fastest mon with Cincinno and the Perisans, and is only beaten speed-wise by Accelgor, Boltund, and Dugtrio and base 61+ scarfers, we'll get back to those three later.
-Base 95 Attack isn't unsalvageable
-Has two great sets between Choice Band and HDB-Sword Dance sets.

So what does this leave us with?
A mon who has access to not only two great STABS, but with a ridiculously good speed tier that allows it to run band or HDB without worrying about being outsped by non-scarfers.
Now for some basic arguments for why you shouldn't ban Sneasel that somewhat fall flat or are from inexperienced players

-It's frail!
Extremely true due to its honestly terrible defensive typing and stats, the most arguable point for non-banners for sure, however, every other argument leaves some to be desired due to general information.
-Revenge killing!
For one, it is extremely hard to switch in on Sneasel without either risking being knocked off, and with no knock-off absorbers other than Silvally(who can't revenge kill), there's also the basic problem that Sneasel can simply switch out if it feels like it's to be revenge killed, and if it stays in on a scarfer, then the Sneasel user KNOWS that the other mon is scarfed and can play around it and abuse it when it locks itself into a bad move for the situation, as for the few mons that outspeed, Dugtrio is flat out unviable and both Accelgor and Boltund can be played around with switching into mons that give those two a hard time if not just 2HKO'd by Ice-Shard if sufficiently chipped or heavily chunked if Sneasel is decided to be sacked.
-Fighting types!
Counter, switching out! Who in their right mind would keep a Sneasel in on a fighting type? Sure if Sneasels the last mon on the team and you have a healthy fighting type you win, but who keeps a Sneasel in on a Sawk or a Hitmonchan?
-It has checks!
Avalugg(whom has the second highest defense in the tier) is 3HKO'd by low kick on a physical defensive set, and thus is worn down extremely quickly if it comes in on a knock off and loses its boots, as for the rest of Sneasels checks, none of them enjoy knock off and being decently chipped while losing their item at the same time, not to mention the list of Sneasels checks are limited in number, namely Gurdurr, Miltank, Alcremie, Pyuk, rocky helmet Garbador, Throh, Piloswine, Colbur Berry Uxie and Cofargigus, and Poliwrath. The number of mons that check it are limited, none enjoy losing their term(especially the likes of Piloswine and Gurdurr), and the problem with most of those mons is they beat Sneasel in a vacuum, sure the likes of Uxie, Cofargigus, and Miltank are extremely good in the current setting, but the problem is that Sneasel can simply be built around to handle it checks and thus allow it to go rampage once those checks are gone, especially since it forces one of the previously listed mons onto the team to handle it's ridiculous raw power with band or after a swords dance and above-average speed.

While I am for certain not the best at ZU(especially since most of my teams are meme teams that are monotype), I am fairly certain that with my reassessment that Sneasel is Unhealthy, and while I myself am not going for Reqs, I do think that those who do vote should consider BANNING Sneasel.

EDIT: I have now noticed that Silvally water is a decent check, my only response to that is, you could be using Darkvally, Ghostvally or Dragonvally, all of which are A tier Silvallies, Watervally is considered a C rank Silvally, and other then checking Sneasel it doesn't really serve a purpose as a bulky water, also it lacks recovery to consistently check Sneasel over the game as Knock Off 2HKOs after stealth rock/any chip, the normal ZU set on the damage calculator, and it 3HKO's max physical defensive sets after stealth rocks/minimal chip, which may I remind you, are only there to check Sneasel. Which means it can't check it over the course of a game even with max defense.
 
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5gen

jumper
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:ss/sneasel:

Got reqs today and figured now is a good time to post. To preface, the main reason I wanted to suspect Sneasel over voting to council ban it in the last slate we had is because I wanted to see how Sneasel fares in a metagame without Gallade. That is, I didn't feel confident banning Sneasel while Gallade was around and was something that pressured pretty much all of Sneasel's checks. As such, while laddering for reqs I was testing Sneasel and building extensively to further establish my thoughts. To me, there are merits to both sides of the argument on Sneasel.

I recognize that Sneasel is a highly centralizing force and has limited counterplay (with defensive counterplay being more limited), and there's also the in-game dynamic and how Sneasel plays. I find that it is often overstated how well Sneasel comes in and how effectively it does its thing. For one, entry hazards limit Sneasel's ability to switch in, even with pivots. For me what's important here is that ZU's entry hazard setters are great and pressuring entry hazard removers such as Rotom-S, Altaria, Cramorant, Cryogonal, etc is fairly easy due to the amount of good offensive Pokemon available. As a result, pressuring Sneasel is usually manageable.

And before someone says "it can switch into rocks four times and can attack each time it's in", there are also games where Sneasel and/or its teammates are so pressured that Sneasel has minimal opportunities to switch in. I believe this is important to recognize because it is so easy to call Sneasel broken on paper, but from my experience using it and playing against it, it's easier said than done for Sneasel to come in repeatedly and to do its thing. In addition to that, having defensive Pokemon such as Poliwrath and Miltank (with some support) can be enough to manage Sneasel. That being said, this is where I started to lean on the ban side.

While I believe that having Pokemon like Poliwrath and Miltank (with some support) can be enough to manage Sneasel, I agree that Sneasel has an unhealthy presence on the metagame. For example, Sneasel cripples Dark-type switch-ins such as Gurdurr, Throh, Carbink, Persian-A, and Alcremie via Knock Off and can even muscle past them with CB Triple Axel. Conversely, it can usually do the same to Ice-type switch-ins with Knock Off. So, unless teams pack Poliwrath or Miltank (or Mawile, which is niche and currently unranked), they have to play 50/50s when switching into Sneasel. All in all, I do not feel this is necessarily competitive or healthy.

In terms of offensive checks and Pokemon that check Sneasel 1v1 when healthy, in my opinion there are enough of those around to deal with Sneasel. However, my issue is how teams in this metagame must also prepare for Cofagrigus, Silvally formes, Centiskorch, Drampa, and so forth. From what I have seen, it is quite difficult to prepare for all the threats we have without going full stall. For example, building balance teams feels like plugging one hole and not being able to cover others. I find that prepping for Sneasel is feasible in this meta, but in the bigger picture I feel that Sneasel is too much of a limiting factor and I agree that it is unhealthy as a result. And with Taunt as a legit option, Sneasel simply lacks adequate and consistent counterplay in my opinion.


Speaking on behalf of myself, for quick ban slates I tended to vote ban on things I felt were clearly broken. I voted no ban on things I wanted to take a closer look at. It's easy to think that Sneasel should have been quick banned, but honestly I still don't feel that it was or is on a level to just be quick banned. After playing over a hundred games easy, going through dozens of alts, and building numerous teams in an attempt to get reqs, my perspective on how I want to approach tiering changed somewhat. I think that the state of ZU can be improved further to make the metagame more balanced and fun to play.

Anyway, here are some of my fav teams I used to get reqs:

:uxie::liepard::shiftry::leafeon::magmortar::exeggutor:
Sun if a pretty decent play style currently and makes for quick games. Drampa, Altaria, and Kangaskhan are a pain though. Change Magmortar to Choice Specs to improve the stall matchup.

:vanilluxe::qwilfish::ferroseed::kangaskhan::silvally::sawk:
My attempt at Kanga spikes.

:magmortar::sneasel::rotom fan::uxie::poliwrath::dugtrio alola:
Older team with Specs Magmortar and HDB Sneasel. Updated to have Taunt>Ice Shard to help vs stall.

:audino::pyukumuku::stunfisk galar::spiritomb::altaria::avalugg:
Pretty much one of Kay's stall teams but with Spiritomb>Cofagrigus.

:musharna::lickilicky::sableye::pyukumuku::stunfisk galar::altaria:
Wack stall that has some anti-stall measures.

:carbink::musharna::gourgeist::perrserker::grapploct::glaceon: V1
:carbink::musharna::gourgeist::perrserker::grapploct::drampa: V2
Trick Room is also pretty decent and makes for quick games. Audino+Spiritomb stall is annoying, Kanga is too. Grapp is needed to beat Pyukumuku off the switch, really helps vs stall.

:mr mime::sawk::froslass::ferroseed::morpeko::basculin:
Got tired of facing Garbador teams so I wanted to use Specs Mime.

:manectric::marowak::wishiwashi::centiskorch::sawk::silvally:
Specs Mane for the teams that neglect Volt Switch stoppers.

:vanilluxe::mareanie::miltank::altaria::rotom::alcremie:
This is the last team I built and one that helped carry me. Copied the idea from an old hail+Tspikes team from SM ZU. HDB Vanilluxe and Mareanie are dirty when it comes to beating stall and fat teams. Premise is Vanilla does a good job pressuring entry hazard remover and Mareanie is super annoying with Knock Off. Also doubles as a strong check to Frosmoth because you can spam Haze+Recover, and if you manage to catch Frosmoth with Knock Off it is so satisfying. Scarf Rotom leaves something to be desired in terms of power and nothing else really fits as well, so I kept it. Also wanted Scarf/CB Sawk to have to predict each time it comes in because that mon is annoying to face.

GL to those still shooting for reqs.
 
I got reqs and played a good amount of games and used different types of teams and I'm super conflicted on Sneasel. On one hand, band knock off is such a threat and it's hard to account for when teambuilding, but on the other hand Sneasel is hard to get in, is weak to rocks, and band is somewhat prediction reliant. If you use knock off and hit something like a rocky helmet Qwilfish, for example, on the switch, you damage yourself a little and they get up a spike. If Stealth Rock is up is up you're getting even more chipped. I'm not crazy about the hazard control in this tier and HDB Sneasel doesn't have as much immediate power to threaten teams. If I decided to vote ban on Sneasel it'd be because it's an unhealthy force on teambuilding, as in-game sneasel really didn't impress in many games. If rocks are off the field, though, and you have sneasel out, doubling into a special wallbreaker is pretty free, too. I'm leaning on no ban but if someone wants to argue with me that'd be fine too, I don't actively teambuild or play ZU very much I'm just addicted to suspects haha
 

Tuthur

póg mo thóin
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Hey,

I've been vocal on what I think of Sneasel on Discord, PS!, and previous votes, but I think a post on this thread would be welcomed as well.

I'd like to start with the postulate that this metagame is unhealthy. It's impossible to cover every threat, even when using stall. A lot of players have been telling me that their teams are great versus the top tier threats but autolose to lower ranked threats such as Thievul, Swoobat, Magneton, or a random Swords Dance Silvally. This a feeling I share both when I use such breakers and when I face them.

:ss/sneasel:
Sneasel is one of the most restraining breakers in the tier. Due to its incredible Speed tier, you can't seriously rely on offensively pressure it and defensively the counterplay is very limited. Miltank, Poliwrath, Gurdurr, Silvally-Water and Mawile are the only counters as Throh, Alolan Persian, Carbink, and Qwilfish which are often stated as counters are 2HKOed if Sneasel clicks the right move with its Choice Band set. Pyukumuku which was considered as one of the most reliable counter handles the Choice Band set but loses to Taunt variants. Furthermore, Silvally-Water and Mawile are very whack Pokémon, the former being ranked in C on the VR and the later unranked. I'd like also to add that every variant of Poliwrath and Miltank doesn't reliably deal with Sneasel, as Poliwrath without RestTalk gets too easily worn down by chip damages once it lost its Leftovers to Sneasel's Knock Off and you don't want your Scarf user to be your switch-in to Knock Off. As for Miltank, specially defensive variant are 2HKOed by Knock Off after little chips.

Every balance team I've seen or used which didn't feature Miltank or RestTalk Poliwrath were demolished by Sneasel, because if they guess wrong Sneasel's move they lose a Pokémon. Bulky offense teams teams are also as pressured if they don't have Gurdurr or Rocky Helmet Garbodor to trade damages. It's not a question of Poliwrath, Miltank, and Gurdurr easing the Sneasel's matchup but rather them being necessary to deal with it. Hyper offense teams are often destroyed by Sneasel as they can't pack a switch-in and rely on taking advantage of taking advantage of one the move its locked into and therefore lose to Swords Dance variants. Stall can easily answer the Choice Band set with Pyukumuku, but Taunt sets are just 6-0ing most of these teams.

Forcing the same three Pokémon to be used in every team so you don't lose to a breaker which unlike Clawitzer, Drampa, or Magmortar which are similarly hard to answer outspeeds almost all your team is clearly unhealthy and explains why it's impossible to cover every threat in the tier as one of your teamslot is already taken by three very specific Pokemon that aren't amazing outside of the Sneasel matchup (especially Miltank).

Sneasel is just too restraining on the metagame, therefore unhealthy and should be banned from ZU asap.
 
Time to talk about the glass pokemon :sneasel:

It has great speed, attack, STABs in Dark and Ice, but also has some of the worst bulk, defensive typing, and gets chipped down by Stealth rock, and Spikes, and gets destroyed by priority, it does a lot of damage to other glass cannons, and there's not a lot of walls in ZU, but those walls could be annoying for the user and Sneasel. The issue comes with after Sneasel is gone, (no, I'm not talking about the ban) opposing teams could either be stable, or almost destroyed, and most of the time, it ends up slightly or greatly destroying teams, this sounds like a lot, but it's not as huge when the weaknesses sort of downplay the strengths; it does centralize the game quite a lot, but it almost doesn't fell banworthy, despite this, I said almost, because it feels just a little too broken for the tier, but not as broken as Spectrier in OU. So, considering that...

______________slightly
______________banworthy
l___l____l____l_____l______l_____l
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
I'm gonna vote: BAN
 

S1nn0hC0nfirm3d

aka Ho3nConfirm3d
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Hey everyone, great posts so far! There's a lot of discussion and activity in ZU with this suspect, and the community is figuring out what's working, what's not doing well, and what's broken–the discourse goes further than addressing the Sneasel question and we're learning a ton about ZU.

My personal, initial thoughts about this suspect could be summed up with what I wrote earlier in the OP. Now that I've had a week to let everything settle, I'm much more confident on how I feel about Sneasel. The main point I want to stress is what 5gen wrote here:

In terms of offensive checks and Pokemon that check Sneasel 1v1 when healthy, in my opinion there are enough of those around to deal with Sneasel. However, my issue is how teams in this metagame must also prepare for Cofagrigus, Silvally formes, Centiskorch, Drampa, and so forth. From what I have seen, it is quite difficult to prepare for all the threats we have without going full stall. For example, building balance teams feels like plugging one hole and not being able to cover others. I find that prepping for Sneasel is feasible in this meta, but in the bigger picture I feel that Sneasel is too much of a limiting factor and I agree that it is unhealthy as a result.
This part encapsulates my current conclusion on the meta. I don't think balance is impossible, as it's certainly doable, but the stress from the assortment of wallbreakers in ZU makes it very hard to pull off reliably. More so, there's a lack of diversity of Pokemon that fit these playstyles, and if you try to branch out you'll end up fishing for good matchups rather than having consistent cores and countermeasures.

A healthy metagame should have a diversity of viable playstyles, and Sneasel is one of the main reasons why diversity is struggling.

Take a look at ZUBL, separated by each slate:
:haunter: :scrafty: :toxicroak: | :exeggutor-alola: :vikavolt: | :gallade: :turtonator:
After the massive DLC2 wave that hit ZU, including over a 100 new Pokemon, currently only 7 were quickbanned over three slates. Relative to other low tiers, ZU has been conservative with our bans. This analytical yet slow approach to addressing threats like Sneasel gave players like myself room for a longer benefit of the doubt as we explore countermeasures to top mons. As for Sneasel, I don't see it as a Pokemon without flaws or healthy checks; that is to say that I'm not wholly convinced that Sneasel is inherently broken. However, circling back to my main point, the metagame has too many of these near-broken threats, and both consistency and diversity is suffering as a result. It is of my opinion and take on tiering philosophy that when a metagame has to rely on stall to have a fighting chance against the entirety of the tier's relevant wallbreakers, the metagame is unhealthy and thus needs a change. Let's again put this in perspective of the recent massive shift and the disproportionately small banlist, and it'll express the need to remove more for the sake of mellowing out the meta.

I'm not too worried about consequential suspects following the potential Sneasel ban, as I believe the metagame is so very close to becoming balanced. There are a ton of defensive cores and Pokemon that will do better and not be invalidated by Sneasel's existence, and in turn will provide more viable checks to other threats like Silvally-Dragon, Centiskorch, and Drampa. Another aspect is that balance and BO can have faster wallbreakers like Froslass, Lycanroc, and Sawk as answers to the aforementioned threats, respectively, if the team only has situational defensive checks to them. What makes Sneaesl different is its base 115 Speed, which of course limits it's offensive checks to priority and Choice Scarf users for the most part, and the lack of naturally faster revenge killers does put it in a league of its own compared to say Silvally-Ghost or Basculin.

So with all that in mind, I've decided to vote ban on Sneasel.

Check out the teamdump thread and my new post if you want teams! Good luck to everyone still making reqs, have fun :)
 

Jett

Rain without the \
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
How To Train Your Silvally-Dragon
(and why it should be quickbanned + sequel: How To Train Your Drampa)
how to train your silvally.png

During the previous suspect, there was one Pokemon that had similar levels of discussion to Sneasel; that Pokemon being Silvally-Dragon. I want to present some arguments on why I believe this Pokemon ought to be quickbanned, which is a sentiment which I personally believe is shared by the majority of the community. I will also cover my thoughts on why I also believe that Drampa, which is more divisive, should also go but it is definitely a step below Silvally-Dragon.

:ss/silvally-dragon:
Silvally-Dragon @ Dragon Memory
Ability: RKS System
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Multi-Attack
- Iron Head
- Flame Charge / Substitute

Swords Dance Silvally-Dragon is one of the best and more reliable physical wallbreakers and sweepers in the metagame, thanks to the combination of its great defensive typing and solid nautral bulk giving it ample opportunity to setup during the course of a game. Multi-Attack is an incredible spammable STAB attack will dent anything that isn't a Dragon-resistant/immune Pokemon, or have incredible physical bulk such as Cofagrigus, Miltank, Tangela, or Avalugg. However, physical Silvally-Dragon has access to perfect coverage moves that let it bypass Fairy- and Steel-types that a traditional Dragon-type may struggle with. The Fairy- and Steel-types in ZU simply lack the bulk and offenses to deal with Silvally-Dragon and are often geared to be specially defensive, making them even worse against physical Silvally-Dragon. Not only that but Flame Charge provides Silvally-Dragon with a Speed Boost that allows it to outspeed many of the common Choice Scarf users in the metagame like Rotom and Sawk. Not to mentioned one of its best offensive checks in Sneasel has just been banned. It also has the flexibility to opt for Substitute to bypass status moves and give it better setup opportunities way facing against more defensive teams with several passive Pokemon. While physical Silvally-Dragon is amazing on its own, this would not be enough to justify its immediate removal from ZU. However...

:silvally-dragon:
Silvally-Dragon @ Dragon Memory
Ability: RKS System
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
Timid Nature
- Draco Meteor
- Flamethrower
- U-turn / Parting Shot
- Defog

Silvally-Dragon can also be offensive Special Pivot that also offers amazing utility. The first move of this set outlines why I find Silvally-Dragon such a problem. Physically defensive walls that would check its Swords Dance set cannot afford to switch into Silvally-Dragon because Draco Meteor will threaten OHKOs or 2HKOs on them. Steel-types still aren't great into Silvally-Dragon because Flamethrower still does a solid amount of damage and lack reliable recovery to keep it in check over the course of a game. Additionally, U-turn or Parting Shot makes Silvally much harder to deal with because it can ignore the Special Attack drop that Draco Metoer has just induced and perform this hit and run playstyle to bring in adequate answers to its checks, since Special are less equipped with dealing with Dragon-resistant Pokemon like Alcremie, Clefairy, and Carbink. However, as previously mentioned, none of these Pokemon want to risk switching into Silvally-Dragon because they will drop to a physical set after as Swords Dance. This 50/50 makes Silvally-Dragon particularly difficult to maneuever around due to both these sets have a unique set of checks and counters, and while they lost their surprise factor after revealing the choice of STAB move, this will often result in Silvally-Dragon getting at least 1 KO early on due to a misprediction or the fact that is can break past a lot of the metagame so easily, and then be preserved for later to clean up teams if necessary.

:silvally-dragon:
Silvally-Dragon @ Dragon Memory
Ability: RKS System
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
IVs: 0 Atk
Hasty/Naive Nature
- Work Up
- Draco Meteor
- Flamethrower
- Iron Head

The last set for Silvally-Dragon that I believe pushes it over the top is its Work Up set. While it is a weaker setup set than Swords Dance in terms of raw power, and lacks the utility that its Special Pivot sets provides, it more than makes up for the surprise factor and how great of a mixed wallbreaker it is. Remember the specially defensive Fairy-types that can switch into the Special Pivot set with relative ease; well you can't even be certain when you see Draco Meteor that your specially defensive Fairy-type is an adequate check as they may be carrying Iron Head and Work Up. Steel-types absolutely hate that Flamethrower now gets a boost in power from Work Up and nothing wants to switch into a +1 Draco Meteor which Silvally-Dragon doesn't have covered already. Of the three sets, this is definitely the most vulnerable in terms of being revenge killed which is often the manner that Silvally-Dragon gets KOed but you're essentially forcing Scarf Pokemon to lock themselves into moves that your team will have immunities for such as to Sawk's CC or Rotom's Shadow Ball.

Overall, I believe that Silvally-Dragon would fall under broken in terms of tiering policy because of the lack of sufficient counterplay that is available to check all of its sets. Teambuilding feels quite restricting with Silvally-Dragon around, as you're forced to have 2 solid answers to Silvally-Dragon because of the sets it can use, and even then you still have to guess which set it is running or you get heavily punished. Since Defensive switch-ins to Silvally-Dragon are pretty limited most the time you're forced into preserving your Choice Scarf user or forms of priority to deal with it specifically. While I don't think the faster revenge killers are niche by any means, I think that they become very restricted on what they can do in a game due to the presence of this Pokemon alone. Relative to other Pokemon in the metagame, I believe it is definitely a cut above them and with the departure of Sneasel, it only helps it further since it was one of its more common answers which did not require a Choice Scarf.

"How To Train Your Drampa"

how to train your drampa.png


Again, due to how poor resists to Dragon-types are in ZU, Drampa has ended up as another point of contention with how amazing its unrivalled wallbreaking capabilities. It too benefits massively from Sneasel going.

:ss/Drampa:
Drampa @ Choice Specs
Ability: Sap Sipper / Berserk
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Draco Meteor
- Hyper Voice
- Fire Blast
- Surf / Energy Ball

I don't think I need to go into much detail on what Drampa does, but if it clicks Draco Meteor on a non-resist, that Pokemon will almost certainly drop. Fairy- and Steel-types cannot safely switch into Hyper Voice and Fire Blast respectively, with the exception of Carbink which loses to Surf or Energy Ball, and in the case Of Mr. Mime, it doesn't mind Drampa's STABs but Fire Blast has a chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock. Overall, this set create scenarios where you either need a resist to every single one of its moves, have a super offensive team that does not allow Drampa to get more than two hits off in a game, or have some sort of Pokemon like Audino which can scout it somewhat safely thanks to Regenerator, but in the long term is significantly limited in what else it can do.

:drampa:
Drampa @ Chople Berry / Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Berserk / Sap Sipper
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Draco Meteor
- Hyper Voice
- Fire Blast

Calm Mind Drampa takes advantage of unsuspecting foes, normally more passive Pokemon, as setup fodder which are expecting its Choice Specs set. Sacrificing immediate power isn't that bad when it has solid items that either lure in a Fighting-type and remove it from the game or avoids being worn down by hazards, as well as having the freedom to switch moves making it even more difficult to switch into, after a Calm Mind boost. Personally, not a massive fan of this set because it isn't nearly as braindead to use as Choice Specs and requires you to setup each time when you're inevitably forced out, but remains a relevant set which carries a surprise factor against unprepared teams, and can be equally as punishing to any mispredicts as Choice Specs is.

I'm currently leaning towards Drampa being too good for the metagame to handle, but for reasons that fall under the unhealthy section of the tiering policy. The main culprit its the Choice Specs set which forces a 50/50 every time it switches in. It has near perfect coverage to dent anything which attempts to switch into it. Even with teams that have a resist to both its STAB moves, it will gladly spam Fire Blast, and any mispredict that you make will almost guarantee that you lose one of your Pokemon, which I don't believe is particularly healthy. Of course its power is the only factor, but how easy it is to use Drampa and be effective with it is, is another factor that should be considered. I also believe the combination of how it limits both battling skill and teambuilding something that isn't desirable for a balanced metagame. I have heard several times of the argument that Drampa is manageable if it isn't able to switch-in because it isn't super bulky. When you look at Drampa in a vacuum this is true but the plethora of pivots such as Clefairy, Wishiwashi, Uxie, Rotom, etc. which can either switch it in safely or force switch-ins so that it gets a free turn to switch in, means that is much harder to do. I won't deny that it can be revenge killed, but it will most likely just switch out and do the same again sveral turns later when given a free switch-in which is inevitable in most games. It is extremely restrictive towards teams which rely on slower defensive cores, which is not healthy for the metagame.

Thanks for reading, I'll be back soon with my thoughts Omastar, Magmortar, and a few other Pokemon that Tuthur mentioned in the council chat.
 
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So even if my post will get completely overshadowed by Jett's (Very good one btw). I have the need to share my next thoughts on what we should look at after Sneasel ban. People might think that metagame has finally been balanced when imo we aren't close to that yet. I'm also going to talk about some discussion and further points apart from pure metagame concern after the brief analyses on mons. Which u may found interesting to hear.

So, let's go with the obvious:

One name sends chill down the spine of any SSZU player in the community who hears it. King Silvally-Dragon. When King Silvally-Dragon's darkness covers the world, the Brokeness Door will open...

.
"sure drago vally send its regards". -Jett.
(Current ZU player, wants to take Miss' spot)

I said a month ago that one of the mons I've found the most broken above all threats was Silvally-Dragon. My prayers weren't listened till lately. But seriously it should have been gone a while ago, prob alongside Turt and Gallade. Standard SD set is already stupid good as our Dragon-type switch-ins are very limited and passive. And now that skilled players have found this being the next broken things. More sets to cover its flaws had appeared. Mainly special or mixed sets which can bait blanket checks like Qwil or Garbodor. Or Sub over Flame-Charge to avoid status. Which was the best way to shut down it sweeping your team. Please ban this ASAP.

Issues:



"Drampa ain't green, how u guys are even guessing this?" -Czim. (Has never lost a battle, except when he loses)

Drampa following Dragonvally footsteps, I think is another mon that needs to go right now. Covering how stupidly hard is to switch into this. You basically have to bank on winning every 50/50 or double even when u have pseudo-answers against it. It's very frustrating to play against it as it basically forces u to not bring your defensive mons at all cuz they just give Drampa a free KO. Kinda the same as Eggy-A did, it gets a kill when its on the field. Just a little worse becuase its secondary STAB isnt as powerful, and typing is slightly worse. I don't think these flaws are enough to justify it staying in the tier. I think Drampa deserves a Ban as well.


"Do nothing, it can't hurt you" -ZU council. (Apparently they run Carbink or Appletun on every team)

Magmortar still the same monster it has been for a while in the metagame. And I do agree that it is manageable offensively kinda well as it has to rely on boots. Speed is not fast enough so it can be revenge killed. Defensively it has a super narrowed counterplay. Mainly the two I've mentioned before and Altaria which isn't a reliable answer for my experience.And in general is a bad mon because it doesnt do any of its role consistently.

This was a testing match-up showing how Altaria isnt a reliable answer to Mag in every sceneario: Mag 1v1 Alt. And before you said "yh your opp missed 2 Hurricane". It can happen in a game as well as those turns are full of 50/50 regarding Taunt vs Tox/Roost or attacking. Also eq Alt sucks even more. Overall the real problem is the pressure that this mon does + Centiskorch which I'll talk later. As none of the answers that checks one does well against the other, making you need to basically overprep for Fire-types, for that matter I think Magmortar should also get a Ban. As it has less flaws as Centiskorch has.

"Omaster is more thearteing than turt was, free turt" -Toto. (Can't spell a single word correctly, still great person)


Omastar is honestly the one I've seen the least. But it sounds very stupid and threatening. It has very little defensive counterplay in Ferroseed, Poliwrath and baiting Meteor Beam to then tank it with bulky water. But the thing is, even with screens up. The difference with Turt is that it lacks (or should lack at least) common opportunities to setup due to its meh typing. Also offensively it can be kinda manageable with Scarf options and priority. I would like to see more in action to have a final answer. Overall Imma skip this and say It should Stay for now

Keep an eye on 'em:
(spooky one)

"if u say centi I'm rioting" -Obb to me. (Formerly known for obnoxious NFE mons, flex on us doing reqs on last hours)

Centiskorch is a big issue on the current metagame but i agree that right now is a lot more manageable and is a step down for the ones you see up there. I totally agree that if Mag is gone Centiskorch will prevail as a top tier mon but won't touch the broken line. At least I hope so. Either way I have to mention this.

"Cofagrigus is undeniable the best mon in the tier" -Kay. (Doesn't face special attackers)

Cofagrigus for me is the mon that is the least problematic of the bunch. But I've seen people yelling the brokeness of ID set when it literally gets scared by every strong special attacker. Most ghosts scare him as well as unboosted shadow ball is very weak. I used this for get reqs, autowin against most ladder but skilled players should be able to handle without preparing for it. Completely ok.

"I think I have a crush on Silvally-Ghost" -Apagogie. (Still not a Chinese-Frenchie anime girl)

Silvally-Ghost ok I'm really against the majority here it seems as no one by Tuthur (aka best council) thinks this may be an issue in the future. When dragonvally gone, ghostvally will prevail as the best vally. So basically Im saying is not broken now. But it may be, and same with Dragonvally. Skilled players may test different sets which would bring more versatility to it. I would like to see opinion on this as well.


Final thoughts:

1. Suspect / QB: I know that when suspect starts, slates are used to decay. As first suspect would mean tier has been sort of stablish, therefore multiple slates aren't needed. But is def not the case now. I would like to see a next slate soon. Covering not all these guys but the top ones and most importantly Silvally-Dragon.

2. Survey: Different opinions from the community and the current council may wanna have a collide in a survey. When people can punctuate their feelings on the aforementioned mons. If this is done I would like to see all of the mons I mentioned on this post included :)-

3. "Discussion": Regarding what happened yesterday, I think that if things are bothering you in some sort of way. Things can definetly be discussed.
But always between respect to eachother. I don't find yelling and accusing people directly for their performance on certain stuff something that should be done. As again we all here in this community for fun and not as a job. Being nice should be the first motto on every community. And most of you are the nicest I've met. If there really was a need on taking the conversation to those levels. There was no need to do it publicly, as I'm aware that staff channels do exist. I do appreciate all the work that council provides everyday and the communication with community regarding metagame may be improved with time. We can all encourage this together.


Peace out n.n
 
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After being bullied into making a post by apa, tuthur and astil, I am here to give my thoughts of the recent discussions about potential bans. Out of the 7 pokemon that are being looked at, I think 4 of them deserved to be quick banned in a slate and one potential suspect. Silvally-Dragon and Drampa are a cut above the rest with Silvally-Dragon falling under both the categories of being unhealthy and broken and Drampa being in the unheathy section of the tiering policy. Just go read Jett's post if you wanna know more. Magmortar and Omastar are next up and both fall under the unhealthy category of the tiering policy. Whilst these two pokemon are not 100% banworthy like the dragons, that doesn't mean that they don't deserve to be banned. I've always disliked the notion that a pokemon has to be 100% banworthy and beyond busted in order to banned, especially in a young metagame like ours currently is. I think it does more harm than good to keep these two pokemon in the tier and will cause a delay in establishing a heathy and balanced metagame, which is the last thing we need right now. There is then a gap down to Centiskorch which I could see being suspect tested. This would only be after the aforementioned 4 pokemon have been banned. Centiskorch has very little defensively counterplay and is often compared to Magmortar, however what sets Centiskorch a step beneath Magmortar in my eyes in the offensive counterplay to it. It has much more offensive counterplay than Magmortar and when teambuilding you can often speed creep it in order to give yourself a much more favourbale matchup which you cannot do with Magmortar. There is then another gap down to Cofagrigus and Silvally-Ghost. Although both being very strong and top tier threats they do not resist teambuilding and have sufficient counterplay so should be left alone.

Next up I'm just going to share some replays of Omastar and people said they haven't seen it much and that its too hard to setup.
 

5gen

jumper
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Simulator Driver
Moderator
:centiskorch: :cofagrigus: :drampa: :magmortar: :omastar: :silvally:-Dragon :silvally:-Ghost

Hello all, got an announcement to make. There will be a council voting slate this week and it will end before round 1 of the Spring Seasonal goes up. Here is the voting sheet.

Ho3n and I talked about what our direction is for the meta and what we want to achieve. Ho3n put it succinctly: "The observation I'm making is that the meta is unbalanced still and a handful of overbearing Pokemon still need to be addressed in large and quickly rather than slowly waiting for the meta to adapt." As such, ZU is holding this voting slate as opposed to another suspect test.

Personally speaking, I will not be voting until I test these Pokemon more and make a post in this thread. The three posts before this one do a great job at providing commentary on the Pokemon that will be voted on and I encourage others to chime in as well. The more discussion the better. Remember not to post one-liners or make posts that derail discussion.
 
:altaria: I wanna show a set that has potencial for the best dd sweeper
Altaria (M) @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Natural Cure
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 120 HP / 252 Atk / 136 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Dual Wingbeat
- Roost
- Substitute
This set takes advantage of alt great resistances and bulk to set up, mono flying coverage can be lacking when it comes of hitting the rocks and steel, it can sweep and stall out stone edge. Look at this replay to find out more https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8zu-1292191348
 

Jett

Rain without the \
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
czim.jpg.png
Unfortunately for czim, I will not be doing this and instead I am here to present my thoughts on the other five Pokemon that the council are voting on which I did not cover in this post (aka the Pokemon that aren't Dragon-type). I will also discuss my thoughts on Lycanroc which was probably overlooked considering how commonly brought up it is in discussions.

:ss/magmortar:Part 1: The Hot Debate:ss/centiskorch:

:magmortar:
Magmortar is an incredible wallbreaker, with access to powerful moves and Taunt which shuts down common switch-ins. Magmortar differentiates itself from other special attackers with its nautrally high special Attack stat, especially if it's purely going for wallbreaking power with Choice Specs, meaning it doesn't need to setup beforehand to be a threat, and its coverage moves which complement its STAB attack incredibly well. Thunderbolt lets it bypass Water-types while Focus Blast hits anything which resists its Fire Blast and Thunderbolt such as Drampa and Rhydon. This doesn't mean it isn't without any answers, because Pokemon such as Appletun, Carbink, and Alcremie are able to tank several hits and either threaten it out with their own attacks or in the case of Alcremie it can setup on Magmortar since it doesn't care about Taunt, but these Pokemon are somewhat obscure/niche and can struggle to fit onto every archetype. Offensive physical attackers which outspeed Magmortar such as Lyncaroc and Sawk are often the go to method of dealing with Magmortar but can't risk switching into its attacks.

:centiskorch:
Access to Fire Lash makes Centiskorch very difficult to switch into during a game and an annoyance during teambuilder as any offensive checks can either be OHKOed or will take significant damage while switching in, while the only common reliable defensive answers are Qwilfish and to some extent Altaria. Similarly to Magmortar, Centiskorch has coverage such as Power Whip to destory in coming Rock- and Water-types which would be solid checks to typical Fire-types. Additionally, Centiskorch also has access to recovery in Leech Life which is extreme obnoxious for defensive archetypes, especially if it opts for a Coil set, however I find All-Out-Attacker to be far more reliable and already somewhat invalidates a lot of defensive Pokemon with its Fire Lash. Heavy-Duty Boots also means that Centiskorch mitigates one of its biggest weaknesses in Stealth Rock and its great natural special bulk means it can be a solid tank to any special attackers which attempt to revenge kill it.

:magmortar: :centiskorch:
So far both of these Pokemon just seem like very solid Pokemon or perhaps borderline unhealthy/broken and are not worthy of an immediate quickban but would be better suited to something like a suspect since they are so divisive. This leads me onto the last issue I've yet to address which is the fact that Magmortar is a special attacker while Centiskorch is a physical attacker meaning that for the most part you have to have two seperate Fire-type checks on your team in order to account for both of these Pokemon. For instance, Appletun is a valid Magmortar counter but Centiskorch can muscle past it with relative ease, but Qwilfish is a great answer to Centiskorch by stands no chance against Magmortar's Thunderbolt. There are a few Pokemon which can deal with both of these Pokemon defensively such as Toxic Earthquake Altaria, which makes it far more passive against pretty much anything else. The easiest way to deal with both of these Pokemon in many cases it using a faster Pokemon to revenge kill them after some prior chip. They both have a restrictive effect on teambuilding with how good they can counter more defensive arguments types with Taunt and Fire Lash respectively, and have powerful and spammable moves which make it hard for offense to switch into. That being said, I believe that Magmortar is the main culprit here, with the difference in Speed being a massive reason why I believe it's slightly too unhealthy for the metagame as its respectable amount of bulk on top of that means it isn't the easiest offensive threat to revenge kill. Despite Centiskorch being a specially defensive tank, its mediocre speed means there are several Water-types like Cramorant and Kingler which can easily revenge kill it, which Magmortar outspeeds. Additionally, Centiskorch is very reliant on Heavy-Duty Boots meaning it can be forced out or significantly weakened in the long term by anything with Knock Off that can't be OHKOed. I also do think there is a possibility that Centiskorch is manageable once Magmortar is gone since Fire-type checks can then be geared towards physical defense but this is speculation. Ban Magmortar, Do Not Ban Centiskorch.

:ss/silvally-ghost:Part 2: The Hidden Ghosts:ss/cofagrigus:


Now onto some Pokemon which have had slightly less discussion.

:silvally-ghost:
Silvally-Ghost functions as a solid Swords Dance wallbreaker with an amazing STAB move being a 120 Base Power Ghost-type attack. The main problem of Silvally-Ghost is how well its typing complements with some of its filler options since it can take advantage of passive Pokemon, especially normal-types such as Miltank and Audino, with Substitute and start setting up on them freely and break past them with X-Scissor. It can also carry Flame Charge like other Silvallies to punish offensive checks instead and be a better cleaner instead. However, it is far more matchup reliant on whether it is able to reliably use Swords Dance to setup because its typing doesn't offer too much outside of dealing with the normal-types. This makes it far more vulnerable to revenge killing because there are various Pokemon which can outspeed it and threaten it with a super effective attack like Alolan Persian, Froslass, Scarf Rotom and Scarf Sawk, with the former being able to switch in relatively easily. Additionally if it does run Flame Charge, it loses its arguably biggest niche as the passive Normal-types can cripple it with Toxic. It also is signififcantly behind Silvally-Dragon in terms of flexibility since it cannot opt for a special set and also answers to Ghost-types are far more splashable and more viable in comparison to Dragon-resistant Pokemon. You can also be certain that a physically defensive wall is able to check this, which is extremely important as the 50/50 of its filler slot isn't nearly as bad to deal with. Silvally-Ghost will likely rise up as the best Silvally once Silvally-Dragon likely departs from ZU (although Ground is also really good right now) but isn't anything banwrothy at the moment. Do Not Ban Silvally-Ghost.

:cofagrigus:
Cofagrigus is a physically defensive behemoth with a lot of offensive pressure with the combination of Iron Defense and Body Press making it impossible for majority of physical attackers to break past. There are a lot of common physical attackers it can take advantage of such all the physical Silvally sets, Kangaskhan, and Lycanroc, as well as turning any passive Pokemon into setup fodder. These are just traits of a really great Pokemon in the metagame but there are several flaws that keep Cofagrigus balanced in the metagame. Its low speed and middling Special Bulk without investment (and with investment Body Press become significantly weaker) which leave it super vulnerable to Special wallbreakers revenge killing it. Trick and Taunt users are an absolute nuisance to it as they stop it from performing both its defensive and offensive roles. Additionally, it has to rely on the Rest and Chesto Berry combination for immediate recovery, so it cannot afford to get Knocked Off and once it has used Rest once, it cannot use Rest again without leaving itself super vulnerable to setup fodder. In my opinion, it is the weakest of all the Pokemon that are being voted on. Do Not Ban Cofagrigus.

:ss/omastar:Part 3: More than Stepping Stones:ss/lycanroc:


:omastar:
Omastar is a potent Shell Smash sweeper which is finds many opportunities to setup due to its typing. Power Herb and Meteor Beam makes Omastar and immediate threat even without a Shell Smash. It can take advantage of weak/resisted physical attacks by switch into them to activate its Weak Armor which allows it to even outspeed the fastest of Choice Scarf users if it opts to Shell Smash. This boost in Speed can be used in conjunction with the Special Attack raise from Meteor Beam and pose a genuine threat to both defensive and offensive threats without the use of Shell Smash. There are check and counters to Omastar like Poliwrath, Gurdurr, Ferroseed, and Scarf Rotom, but aside from Poliwrath these can be worn down, need prior chip, or do not outspeed +4. Timid Omastar is actually a big reason why I've used Scarf Sawk less and less because it can't revenge kill Omastar as it is outsped at +2. Lastly, the Shell Smash and Meteor Beam 50/50 can be rather unhealthy at times because many teams have an answer to Omastar as long as it doesn't get hit by Meteor Beam so it needs to bait out the move beforehand. However, if Omastar manages to get two Shell Smashes off, it is almost a sure win for the Omastar player as long as the opponent does not have any solid priority move. I believe that Omastar is a little to restrcitive in teambuilder under all aforementioned the circumstances. Ban Omastar.

:lycanroc:
Lycanroc is a Pokemon which has been in recent discussions, with even some council members suggesting it is better than some of the Pokemon on this list, yet it isn't being voted on. Nethertheless I thought I'd chime in my thoughts on Lycanroc. I think this Pokemon is incredibly strong being able to pull off both a Swords Dance and Choice Band set. I generally prefer the former since I like the freedom of switching moves, and being able to use Accelerock more freely is often very important. There are very few Ground-types which can consider themselves checks to Lycanroc; Palossand and Runerigus being the only ones which can switch in safely. Foes with incredibly physical bulk such as Cofagrigus are generally able to handle it well, but some like Tangela must be careful not to have their Eviolite removed. Lycanroc is also very frail so it relies on setting up on passive Pokemon or when opponents make a switch to setup, while Choice Band has more immediate power but is easier to play around since there are many Pokemon which dont mind its Stone Edge but are weak to Close Combat and vice versa. The main problem for Lycanroc right now is Fighting-types which have dipped slightly in usage because of the Sneasel Ban but I believe that with Pokemon such as Scarf Sawk, Poliwrath and Mach Punch Gurdurr, Lycanroc will be kept in check for the time being. Do Not Ban Lyncaroc (even though it isn't on the slate but definitely deserves more exploration).

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to what council has to say about these Pokemon :).
 
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Heyo. Based on above posts I guess this is where u post about views on council ban slate. If it isn't then please inform me, I will cut paste the post.
Also my keyboard isn't working and am using the slow virtual keyboard so I will keep editing the post and finish it in fractions.

1) :ss/magmortar: magmortaRitual
The Ritual is: ban a mon; look at the next poteniaI ban; get attracted towards mag due to its humongous body and brilliant flame; give reason as amazing coverage, spa, utility; counter reason with effective balancing shortcomings; don't end up banning it; repeat
Overall its a healthy presence and nothing has changed for it. Continue the ritual. (DNB)

2) :ss/centiskorch: centiskorcHere???
I mean ok, mag often comes here because btwn hdb taunt, specs, scarf and all its worthy, but what's this hot mess doing here?? Did it sneakily crawl in?? Woah woah wait up..! Before you reply to this post explaining how great a breaker it is, lemme tell you that I am already aware about that and I completely agree that its an amazing breaker and can give u kind of problems, but its typing, defense, speed and strict hdb dependence keep it balanced. While I say this, I would like to mention that I have really liked this mon ever since it was released and so, have always tried to make it work over and over, with literally every set possible, but sadly, even though its a great breaker that shouldn't be slept on and needs to be prepared for, its really underwhelming to be even considered for a ban imo. (DNB)

3) :ss/cofagrigus: cofagriguSplendid
Yeah it's a splendid mon and a great tank in both id/bp/shadow ball and np/bp/shadow ball. Even its spd uninvested is not too shabby. However due to rest being the only form of recovery, it's a setup fodder. Not to mention, it is slow that near about any mon that learns taunt/encore can outspeed and shut it down. Overall alanced and benefitial for meta as def tank. (DNB)

4) :ss/silvally ghost: silvally ghosToss
It is a toss from a biased coin. Either it runs sub to sit on normal types and destroy them or flame charge to beat scarfers or fast mons in general, but in doing so becomes vulnerable to toxic bulky normal types. Main niche being imposter proof its pretty amazing. Howeve it has it has its own share of problems including the silvally syndrome of useless ability, lack of item access and for this particular vally no sp set. Overall not a threat but a great handy mon. (DNB)

5) :ss/drampa: drampAmazing
Amazing mon. hits hard as hell and specs set can still ko some mons after a dmeteor drop. TR specs and cm/roost or cm/3 attacks are noteworthy too. That being said, we have already banned quite a few hard hitting stall breakers and drampa ban might intead end up making stall kinda more troublesome. Besides dragon/normal(90bp) stab makes things harder for it than they did for eggy, so this and its remarkably slow speed make it a balanced mon and maybe a little unhealthy presence but not banworthy. (DNB)

6) :ss/silvally dragon: silvally dragoNuke
Yeah this guy’s literally a nuke as in nuclear weapon in zu rn. Sd variant absolutely sweeps even the most defensive fairies with the SD/Multi Attack/Iron Head/Flame Charge or substitute. The special set isn’t too far either. Sp can be a bulky pivot (dmeteor/pshot or u turn/flamethrower or flash cannon/defog) ,hit n run , or a worse than physical sweeper(work up/dmeteor/flash cannon/flame thrower or flame charge). Physical can also run a special move for physical walls. Overall its absolutely busted and needs to go. (BAN)

7) :ss/omastar: omastaRestricting
Ok this is a totally ridiculous mon and i wanted it to be gone for quite a while now. The reason behind this one isnt that its super hard to kill it or that it outspeeds and ohkos everything right from the start or that its super tough to switch against it, but that its SUPER restricting for the builder. I mean, lets look at its assets, support it can get from the team, its abilities, the mons that can check/counter it and the challenges that a team faces against it both in a match and on the builder.

ASSETS:
1) Ice/Water coverage. Now this is a pretty good coverage since only water types can actually resist both(bar jynx ofc).
2) Meteor beam. Kinda hard to call it an asset as it is a one time use move, but even still it gives it the boost in spa and helps it deal somewhat with most bulky water types or well jynx too.
3) There has been a mention to running reflect type on omastar to deal with bulky waters but tbh idt it helps it all that much. Even still i thought i might mention it atleast.
4) In practise omastar doesnt even need to smash in every game to have its overwhelming presence felt and does quite a good denting on any mon trying to switch in on it.

ABILITIES:
Now in reality, this chap's abilities are also an asset to it, but for the sake of systematic approach I have headed them seperately.
1) Swift swim means that it can swift smash the way to insane speeds that no scarfer or opposing abuser(in case there is one or in case you are abusing opposing rain :P) can outspeed and gets the boosted power on its water stab.
2) Weak armour is another great ability for its typing since you can always have it come out on an expected fake out or uxie like uturns to insta power your speed and pressure the opponent to the edge.

SUPPORT IT CAN GET FROM TEAM:
1) The biggest support any frail setup mons like omastar or kingler can get rn is double screens. Well yeah omastar sure has not so good typing for its base speed and so obviously finds trouble setting up, but not behind the screens no.
2) Tspikes support. Umm...well not like it needs to be mentioned seperately as it more or less helps any sweeper or for that matter any team even. but yeah tspikes help it somewhat to deal with its soft checks. Its counters however are either tspikes immune or run rest(tells you pressuring this mon can be) so doesnt matter in that respect. Still, deserves to be mentioned.
3) Finally, another common non specific support in wish passing or heal bell so that u can switch it out and start afresh in case something unexpected like hax or meme set appears. (what i am trying to stress over here is that just by running extremely tailored 1 mon specific meme sets, that I dont even know actually exist or not, you cant guarantee to be able to deal with this chap. This is because audino is like present on a lot many teams just because it can support any member of team as necessary. Besides if u actually have to use a meme set for just 1 mon, it just goes to show its a problem.)

CHECKS/COUNTERS:
A] Checks-
1) :thwackey: Thwackey: Definitely the best check to omastar because no matter how fast oma becomes, gglide will always get the better of it.
2) :rotom: Rotom: Scarftom outspeeds +2 omastar by just 1 point and kills it with its stab, but this isnt always the case because oma can be in rain or can sometimes even manage to reach +3 with executing 2 smashes, particularly behind the screens and with good reads.
3) Cant really call this one a check since it doesnt satisfy the definition properly but it is a way people end up dealing with it if they arent too prepared and oma has set up, so might as well add it. So basically the opponent double switches a bulky water to sack another mon of the team to meteor beam and then after the rock asset is gone, the bulky water (like water vally or wishiwashi) try to get the better of it. This method however, is very unreliable and prediction reliant,but accurately describes how much of a problem oma is.
4) Same as above, not a real check as such. Laying tspikes and then wish tect stalling with audino and stuff.
5) I have already listed the most noteworthy checks based on usage. All other checks are basically scarfers that are faster than rotom or like gurdurr if its at max health and there are no hazards on the opposite side and omastar is on +2 instead of +3. Then again, that isnt the case if omastar is modest or behind a screen.

B] Counters-
1) :pyukumuku: Pyukumuku aka Uhuhuhu: yes, the stall lord is unaware and aweary of the boosts of oma.
252 SpA Omastar Surf vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Unaware Pyukumuku: 41-48 (13 - 15.2%) -- possibly the worst move ever
252 SpA Omastar Meteor Beam vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Unaware Pyukumuku: 109-129 (34.7 - 41%)
Now those calcs easily go to explain the extent of ease to which it can counter oma. Not to mention it has reliable recovery and can rest or run hdb for tspikes so its basically an absolute counter.
2) :Poliwrath: Poliwrath: This guy is pretty dang great at countering oma cuz its typing makes it resist even the asset move meteor beam. Not to mention water absorb forces oma to run ice beam against it(which means the opponent is forced to switch out) and that poli can freely switch in on expected surf and revive any damage it had taken previously, helping it use rest or basically recovery less frequently. Oh and yeah, the rest ofc helps it take care of tspikes. That being said, one may think that poliwrath doesnt necessarily need to be a rest talk bulky set to be able to counter oma due to its typing, but its usually not the case(especially if it has its meteor beam safe and sound in the arsenal), since if the opponent reads switch in, it can spell doom for it.
PROOF: +2 252 SpA Omastar Meteor Beam vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Poliwrath: 196-231 (61 - 71.9%)
+2 252 SpA Omastar Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Poliwrath: 98-116 (30.5 - 36.1%)
+3 252 SpA Omastar Ice Beam vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Poliwrath: 122-144 (38 - 44.8%)
3) :ferroseed: Ferroseed: This guy at max hp max spd evio counters oma at +3 barely and at +2 pretty well. Then again, if oma is at +3 already, u r generally better off with using it as a check because this thing doesnt have recovery and oma can switch out.

So then, basically, there are only 3 counters, one of which doesnt generally prefer to act as a counter at +3, other needs to be the bulky rest talk set instead of other more offensive sets it could run, leaving behind only 1 real all round guaranteed counter that too fits best only on stall teams.
As for the checks, apart from thwackey all other checks are situation dependant.


CHALLENGES FACED IN A MATCH:
1) Oma faces a lot of trouble in smashing, contrary to turt that did comparitively easier. this trouble is somewhat take care of with screen support.
2) The opponent faces trouble in the fact that oma can use either meteor beam or smash first. The prediction between this is a definite problem during the game.

CHALLENGES FACED IN BUILDER:
1) The checks and counters are very situation reliant making it hard to prepare for it.
2) Because even with perfect conditions there arent many answers, one can face trouble in adding them to the team without making it semi stall/losing offensive power/repeating common weaknesses in the team.


CONCLUSION: While it isnt much of a challenge from stopping oma from setting up, it is also true that with good team support either it can smash more freely or can just keep denting the opponent's team without even using smash itself, saving it for end game. Besides, once it does set up, its a hell lotta trouble and insanely hard to answer, unless u have few of the above checks or counters and have succeeded in prepairing the right circumstances for them to execute their roles. (BAN)
 
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5gen

jumper
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Figured I'd post here to share my thoughts on the slate and explain my votes rather that on the sheet this time around. I wanted to test the Pokemon on the slate more and do some thinking/building, hence me posting/voting so late into the week.

:centiskorch: :cofagrigus: :silvally: Ghost Do not ban
In my opinion, these are the bottom three Pokemon on the slate and ones I feel do not deserve to be council banned. Centiskorch is a terrifying Pokemon to switch into because of its excellent coverage and ability to break through checks thanks to Fire Lash. While it is a pain to check defensively, Centiskorch's low Speed and Defense, exploitable typing, and vulnerability to Knock Off/Trick/Switcheroo limit it enough and make it manageable. In addition, there are various soft checks such as Qwilfish, Rocky Helmet Garbador, Altaria, and so on that give teams the ability to maneuver around Centiskorch. Not to mention that there are plenty of attackers from Basculin to Silvally-Ground to Lycanroc etc that threaten Centiskorch.

Cofagrigus is more of a great Pokemon than anything to me. Cofagrigus punishes teams that mostly rely on physical attackers and have walls like Altaria, Poliwrath, and Miltank that can't really touch it. Hence, teams really have to prepare for Cofagrigus and also pressure it in game. What holds Cofagrigus back the most imo are how it gets worn down and has to rely on Rest, and its vulnerability to strong special attackers such as Vanilluxe and Clawitzer.

Silvally-Ghost is not something that needs to banned at this point. It is a good Silvally forme and Swords Dance sweeper because of how good Ghost is offensively, but Silvally-Ghost has plenty of offensive checks and the meta has adequate checks to it defensively.

:drampa: :magmortar: :omastar: :silvally: Dragon Ban

Like others have said, Drampa is too good and the meta lacks answers to powerful Dragon-types that have coverage. Specs Drampa pretty much kills each game and requires minimal prediction to overwhelm teams/smash through soft checks. Nothing more needs to be said.

Silvally-Dragon is in the same boat for me. Swords Dance sets have few reliable answers and then special Silvally-Dragon takes care of those. Between those two sets, Silvally-Dragon is too good offensively and ZU simply can't manage it.

I am only leaning ban on Magmortar and Omastar. Magmortar is a fantastic breaker and has few checks defensively, and Taunt effectively allows Magmortar to ensure it can overwhelm those defensive checks over the course of a few turns or the game. That being said, I find that Magmortar's Speed leaves it susceptible to attackers like Sawk, Lycanroc, Basculin, Silvally-Ground, etc and that it can be difficult sometimes to find opportunities to switch in. However, pivots like Uxie, Persian-A, and Rotom help Magmortar switch in safely and it pairs well with many Pokemon defensively that can make up for its weaknesses. Ultimately I find that Magmortar's defensive counterplay is too limited and niche to stick around. Really want to see Magmortar re-tested though.

Omastar should be banned because of how dynamic it can be in play and is highly restrictive for teams. That being said, I usually do not find that Omastar measures up to how good it is on paper. Honestly, I don't know if this is because of how centralizing it is and consequently how the meta is so focused on prepping against Omastar, or if teams naturally pressure it well due to entry hazards as well as the popularity of Choice Scarf Rotom and faster attackers that threaten Omastar like Vanilluxe, Rotom-S, Cincinno, and Sawk to name some. However, what makes Omastar dynamic is Weak Armor and how physical attackers have to be extra careful around Omastar because of the risk of Shell Smash. Moreover, Omastar can opt to use Meteor Beam on expected switches against Choice Scarf users for example because of how big the risk of Shell Smash is sometimes. In addition, one thing I find that makes Omastar so tough to deal with is how it influences game plans. For example, Omastar tends to stay in the back until an opportunity to set up occurs. What tends to happen is that while Omastar is in the back doing nothing, the threat of a sweep is always there. This means that Rotom can't risk going for Trick (most of the time), Choice-items like Scarf Sawk must be wary of being locked into coverage (and Omastar getting an opportunity to activate Weak Armor and use Shell Smash), and that teams must keep their bulky Water-types healthy. All in all Omastar is pretty restricting in-game as well. It's interesting how often I played games where Omastar stayed in the back and partners like QD Frosmoth, SD Silvally-Ground, Froslass, Rotom, etc did their thing and broke down teams only for Omastar to clean in the end.
 

S1nn0hC0nfirm3d

aka Ho3nConfirm3d
is a Site Content Manageris a Forum Moderatoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Moderator
Drampa, Magmortar, Omastar, and Silvally-Dragon are banned from ZU!
Drampa: 6/6 ban
Magmortar: 4/6 ban
Omastar: 6/6 ban
Silvally-Dragon: 6/6 ban

-
Centiskorch: 0/6 ban

Cofagrigus: 0/6 ban
Silvally-Ghost: 0/6 ban


Tagging Kris to implement the four new bans of Drampa, Magmortar, Omastar, and Silvally-Dragon. Thank you in advance!

Slate with votes and council member's reasonings not already on the thread: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VX4OIOG1XiyZVL1Wa0ohKdMCL9af97Q3cLXUhrHazsQ/edit#gid=0

I was going to do this in the sheet but then I lost one of my paragraphs... f

Centiskorch: DNB. This one is borderline broken for me due to its insane coverage and how easy it is to gain traction against defensive teams. It falls short against some offensive builds, so I haven't really seen it become a problem in that matchup. Besides full stall, bulky offense and the sort still has a handful of decent checks and good pressure from glue mons like Rotom-S and Altaria to keep it at bay. Even tradding with it isn't the worst if you manage a Knock Off + Stealth Rock versus it. It's one of the best mons in the meta but it's manageable.

Cofagrirgus: DNB. Cofa at its best might just be Iron Defense + Body Press sets, but they're far from broken. They're still heavily pressured from special attackers even with SpD investment. Its status weakness and poor recovery is complicated with Rest sets doing ok, but are still deterred when Knock Off removes its Chesto Berry. It's hard to think of a playstyle that doesn't have a ton of options to muster through Cofa, and to me this was the easiest DNB on the slate.

Drampa: Ban. Pretty much everyone else mentioned Alolan Egg as a comparison, which is a valid point. Council new right away there was way too much power in Egg's hands and barely any switch-ins, if any reliable ones, and its presence allowed Drampa to go under the radar for a while. Now that it's been played with a ton, it's easy to see how destructive it is, and it's barely a downgrade from Alolan Egg. On top of lacking Dragon checks as it is, the ones we do have have to worry about Hyper Voice and Water / Grass coverage from it. Its powerlevel is also a step above pretty much everything else with its Modest Choice Specs Draco Meteors. Even its typing can check and switch into mons like Rotom and Gourgiest-Small. No reason to keep this monster in the tier any longer.

Magmortar: Ban. This was the only decisive vote on the entire slate, and I believe it was hard vote even for some of the pro-ban members. For me, its STAB Fire Blast, Taunt, and coverage is just too good. There's not really much comparable to Magmortar besides Vanniluexe and Skuntank, but the former has a much more manageable typing and the latter needs to boost with NP to reach Magmortar's raw damage output. These are limitations that are absent from Magmortar, and it really shows when teams have very few switch-ins. More over, Taunt pretty much can prevent any of its checks from recovering, so something like Altaria and Wishiwashi could be outplayed if they're Taunted on a turn they wanted to Roost / Rest. Magmortar is also a problem with teambuilding in general given it's the other half of the best Fire-types, and with both Mag + Centi in the tier, teambuilding answers for them both is convoluted. The meta would a lot healthier with at least one of these gone, and Mag is the pick for me due to it already being near-impossible to deal with and its better Speed.

Omastar: Ban. Only a couple of counters, situational checks, and tough 50/50s for threatening either Shell Smash or Meteor Beam. Oh, and may as well fit it on rain teams so that there's potentially even less counterplay. I think the most common situation is that Oma gets a KO and is revenge killed by a Scarfer, but that KO is often so free for it and in the Omastar player's favor. There was an idea earlier on in the community that even without counters, Oma was easy to offensively pressure and thus unlikely for it to sweep for free. However, its support in dual screens, rain, or even just immediate firepower with Meteor Beam means that offensive pressure isn't easy to pull off. For these reasons, ban omastar.

Silvally-Dragon: Ban. Unanimous, was discussed for a ban immediately after and even before the Sneasel ban. I don't need to tell you that its sweeping potential and fear it causes due to it potentially being specially based is broken; anyone who played the tier for the past few weeks can tell you that. The extreme limited, if any at all, DNB support for this mon speaks for itself.

Silvally-Ghost: DNB. Ghost / Bug coverage and having to chose between either Substitute and Flame Charge is very limited for SilvGhost. Unlike Silvally-Dragon, SilvGhost p much only has one set, as specially offensive sets are no where near the power potential of SD ones. Plus, special sets lack good coverage and a strong STAB attack compared to specially offensive Dragonvally, so the set diversity between the two isn't comparable. SilvGhost has its own handful of counters and is much more manageable by residual damage and offensive threats. In a tier with a ton of good Ghost-types, it's no problem at all teambuilding wise to fit a check for Ghostvally.

Going forward, we'll be working on sample teams, a VR update, and will be closely monitoring the following meta with the extra exposure from tomorrow's start to the ZU Spring Seasonal. I won't have anything definitive to say about the future of the meta as we're still in a volatile state. Plus, predictions and trends for next month's shifts show that ZU will likely lose even more mons then, so stability is likely not going to be obtained until post-shifts. Thanks for all the great metagame posts everyone, they were a pleasure to read!
 
Oh man how long has it been since the last post here?

Anyways, I thought I might as give my thoughts on the recent meta changes and the impact they might have.

Departures:

:Lycanroc: Was definitely one of the best offensive mons in the tier during its final month with us. Good coverage and speed for one, and STAB priority is always a bonus. Unlike the other major departure I'm betting this won't affect the viability of anything notably much. Things like Centiskorch get even better with less offensive counterplay to deal with. That's all I can come up with lol.

:Palossand: One of our best Rockers for sure, and it bundled several aspects into one (status spreading, recovery, good resistances/immunities to have). People will probably scramble to find suitable replacements. Maybe we'll just turn to Piloswine and Rhydon, maybe Runerigus can be more than just a very fringe mon? On what it checked, Electrics could become better. Someone tried to say even Electivire might become viable now with Palo gone which seems funny but he might have a point who knows. Other mons might also get better with it leaving, but listing them all with make me be here for a while.

Hail stuff: They're coming back in a few months anyway, I imagine Refrigerate Aurorus and non-Snow Warning Vanilluxe won't be very viable here, but maybe I'll be wrong? Who knows really. The Arcto fossils might be interesting here if they manage to drop though.

Gains:
:articuno: Has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. When it was close to dropping in previous months, I thought it'd just be on par with Cryogonal and that's it. But there are notable differences between the two. Articuno has much better physical bulk for one, and isn't weak to Fighting, and with Flying STAB at its disposal (people seem to prefer Brave Bird) it can cover mons like Frosmoth much better than Cryogonal can (and isn't ultra dead weight against Centiskorch). Its power is kind of underwhelming though, and coverage is decent but could be better. (If we're on the topic of Steels the only one it has a notably bad matchup against is Magneton and lesser viable ones like Mawile, Perrserker, and Klinklang, depending on the set you can 1v1 Alolan Duggy, Ferroseed, and Galarfisk) Regardless there's a lot of potential sets. Defensive Defog, more offensive sets, SubRoost, and Specs even (it gets U-turn for pivoting and I didn't even know the Kanto birds sans Zapdos even got a move like this until just recently). I don't think this thing is or will be super highly viable, but its at least VR ranking viable and that's good enough I suppose.

Maybe I didn't go into enough detail. But I did the best I could, and starting the discussion again is always neat.
 

BloodAce

Spin to Win
is a Tiering Contributor
I think this shift was very healthy overall and I'm looking forward to this new meta. Lycanroc and Vanilluxe were two very powerful wallbreakers with few checks so I feel like teambuilding is much less restrictive in their absence as well as our new drop...

Articuno | Pixel art pokemon, Pixel art, Pokemon cross stitch patterns


Articuno is a great addition to a metagame that is sorely lacking good defensive defoggers (or defog users in general really). Its bulk allows it to act as a blanket check to much of the meta including threatening mons like Frosmoth. This makes Articuno a solid option over Altaria as a defogger on both balance and stall teams. Aside from standard defensive defog sets, SubRoost sets are annoying to break and can PP stall passive mons like Audino and Clefairy but also PP stalling Ferroseed's Gyro Ball and Sawk's Stone Edge / Close Combat. Roost + 3 Attacks with U-turn allows Articuno to form a nice VoltTurn core with mons like Silvally-Ground that appreciate Articuno luring in Magneton while Silv Ground lures in Tangela for example. Beyond that, Articuno has other options like Heal Bell for additional utility or even Haze to prevent setup from the likes of Spiritomb.

I theorized the following spread in the days leading up to the shifts during room and discord discussion and it has proven to be effective both in my own testing and in addition to other users such as Ho3n's testing. This spread allows Articuno to both outspeed and guarantee a OHKO against standard Adamant Centiskorch with Brave Bird while still retaining its special bulk. Articuno having the ability to directly threaten Centiskorch in this manner is huge, since it has such few safe switch-ins in general and teams typically rely on mons like Qwilfish that tend to get worn down over the course of a game as checks.

Articuno @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 248 HP / 60 Atk / 104 SpD / 96 Spe
Careful Nature
- Roost
- Defog
- Brave Bird
- Freeze-Dry / Toxic

This spread retains its special bulk and is still able to avoid a 2HKO from Specs Clawitzer for example
252+ SpA Choice Specs Mega Launcher Clawitzer Water Pulse vs. 248 HP / 104+ SpD Articuno: 157-186 (40.9 - 48.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

Meta Trends

Outside of the obvious increased viability in stall and balance because of Articuno dropping and Vanilluxe / Lycanroc rising, here are few more meta trends

:magneton:
This was already on the magnet rise before Articuno but with :Vanilluxe: also leaving it has even less competition and is now the meta's premier Special breaker. Its extremely difficult come in against, as Ground-types outside of :stunfisk-galar: and :stunfisk: can't afford to switch into Analytic-boosted Flash Cannon and other resists such as :Ferroseed: risk giving up momentum to Volt Switch. Outside of specs, other sets like scarf and sub choice band with magnet rise are also solid.

:qwilfish:
I expect to see Qwilfish everywhere, even more so than it already was. It is such a good glue mon, with its utility options, defensive typing, and physical bulk giving great role compression for basically any team from offense to stall. Stall previously relied on :Altaria: as the check to Centiskorch but builds utilizing Articuno as the defogger instead may now opt for Qwil. Qwilfish appreciates the Wish support from Audino to keep it healthy and synergizes well with Articuno.

:stunfisk-galar: :stunfisk:
The fisk formes have been gaining usage on stall and balance squads as a response to the growing Magneton presence. There are merits to going with either, with galar fisk being immune to Toxic and being able to take a hit from :Frosmoth:. On the other hand regular fisk has been gaining consideration thanks to its access to Toxic and the fact it doesnt stack a Fire weakness when paired with Articuno (allowing it to better handle Ninetales and Fire Blast Skuntank for instance)

:tangela:
Tangela is great right now, definitely one of the most reliable checks to physical attackers such as Kangaskan, Sawk, Silvally-Ground, Cinccino, etc. Between Leaf Storm, Leech Seed, Toxic, Knock Off, etc Tangela can effectively wear down teams and is very annoying to switch into. Appreciates Vanilluxe gone and despite some shared weaknesses, this pairs really well with Cuno.

:rapidash: :ninetales:
These two seem like they could be better in this meta, filling the Fire-type void left ever since :Magmortar: was banned and they appreciate :Lycanroc: leaving. Rapidash competes with :Centiskorch: to an extent but it has a much better speed tier to better handle Articuno for instance and access to SD to boost past checks like :Qwilfish: once weakened. Ninetales on the other hand is a more direct replacement to Magmortar and while it lacks the same coverage and power, it does have Nasty Plot and outspeeds the Silvally Formes.
 
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I wanna talk about rain :ludicolo: :kabutops: :poliwrath: :qwilfish: . After some time, this playstyle is showing how good it can be, and with hail gone, there are less things that stopped it, not only that, it means one less slot to try to deal with hail. the sweeper we have are absolutely great, poliwrath founds its niche here and its so dangerous if it gets a drum, ludicolo just breaks team with LO and its good offensive/defensive typing, it has the last move slot for whatever it wants, maybe focus blast, t-punch for cramorant and rain dance it self. Now to one that is as good the afromentioned, kabutops, it helps with the flying types, and its the strongest by it self, it can provide rapid spin support. Qwilfish is probably the least powerful as a sweeper, but still dangerous, and should be always considered a threat. Check to this playstyle are thwakey, who is the biggest offensive threat to this style, tangela, who can check all except ludicolo or boosted qwil, even better when running leaf storm, that I think it should run more, protect heavily annoys too. Very fast scarfers like cinccino can be good too, and most importantly, playing well against this style. So how can we solve this issue, some might think banning damp rock, others banning certain sweepers or even swift swin as a whole. Lets go and see each option.
Damp might seem as an obvious one, but we have to see if this is the issue really, and the next can argue that
Certain sweepers like ludi and kabutops are the ones that are most oppresive, though I consider wrath as much as an issue as the mentoned one.
Banning swift swim can be a posibility, because it doest require the banning of mons, but the issue with these that only 2or3 make it good, if paired together.
So let me your thoughts.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8zu-1316968204
 
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gglrg

formerly 25oof
Hi, I want to talk about :ss/magneton:

With vanilluxe leaving and articuno dropping, magneton lost maybe it's best competion for special wallbreaking and is become a top tier pokemon, and articuno dropping means it's just another mon that it sits on. Specs is the best set that will 2ohko or drop anything that isn't a stunfisk form or ferroseed (which it volts out into a partner anyway, and consistently pressures audino with thunderbolt, threatenting to 2ohko on the switch with analytic. Pokemon thinking they can block a volt switch like manectric or silvally ground take alot of damage if they fall into the flash cannon trap. Alternative sets like bulky eviolite with subsitute are able to sit on one of it's best checks, ferroseed avoiding leech seed while subbing up and ferroseed needs multiple hits to even break the sub and eventually dies, has other options like magnet rise to beat the stunfisk forms, only needing to be careful of yawn. Choice scarf sets can come out of nowhere and do a very solid god of revenging mons like specs basculin nuking and cincinno. So what I'm saying is, magneton the best wallbreaker in the tier and can utilise other sets to bypass it's checks and I think It's a pokemon that the council should keep an eye on and maybe warrant a potential ban? Let me know your thoughts

Thanks for reading this shitty post and I hope you all have a good day!

download.png
 
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Hi, I want to talk about :ss/magneton:

With vanilluxe leaving and articuno dropping, magneton lost maybe it's best competion for special wallbreaking and is become a top tier pokemon, and articuno dropping means it's just another mon that it sits on. Specs is the best set that will 2ohko or drop anything that isn't a stunfisk form or ferroseed (which it volts out into a partner anyway, and consistently pressures audino with thunderbolt, threatenting to 2ohko on the switch with analytic. Pokemon thinking they can block a volt switch like manectric or silvally ground take alot of damage if they fall into the flash cannon trap. Alternative sets like bulky eviolite with subsitute are able to sit on one of it's best checks, ferroseed avoiding leech seed while subbing up and ferroseed needs multiple hits to even break the sub and eventually dies, has other options like magnet rise to beat the stunfisk forms, only needing to be careful of yawn. Choice scarf sets can come out of nowhere and do a very solid god of revenging mons like specs basculin nuking and cincinno. So what I'm saying is, magneton the best wallbreaker in the tier and can utilise other sets to bypass it's checks and I think It's a pokemon that the council should keep an eye on and maybe warrant a potential ban? Let me know your thoughts

Thanks for reading this shitty post and I hope you all have a good day!

I agree, and I would also like to add that while Magneton's defensive type has very exploitable holes, it gives it more resistances than any other Pokemon, most notably against Ice, Normal, Electric and Flying, so while it's team does need to patch up it's typing's flaws, it has a good deal of legitimate defensive utility.
 
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S1nn0hC0nfirm3d

aka Ho3nConfirm3d
is a Site Content Manageris a Forum Moderatoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
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Here’s an NP post where I cover some trends that I’ve personally experienced:

:qwilfish: :ferroseed: :kangaskhan:
The Hazard Meta:
Entry hazard teams are super centralizing. Articuno is a blessing for diversifying our small yet invaluable remover options, but it’s a far cry from fixing the issue. The limitations for removers made the meta start acknowledging options like Coalossal and Morepeko, which were priorly regarded as pretty niche. There’s more, intrinsic reasons why these three are doing well right now too, but it’s clear that hazard-centric teams still have the upper hand.

Spikes + abusers teams are potent. There’s three relevant Spikers, and all of them have phenomenal defensive merit + extra residual damage pressure to wear down teams. This makes abusers like Kangaskhan, Centiskorch, Silvally sweepers, Frosmoth, and more top tier threats all the more punishing. Better yet, a good offense is a good defense; czim’s Kanga Spikes sample team lacks removal but does fine with its own hazard pressure + HDB / Levitate Pokemon. The constant offensive pressure is also a proactive defense against most stray sweepers, so even if the defensive core can’t handle em, Spikes + Kanga usually can revenge kill at least. Hazard stack has all the tools it needs to handle pretty much every playstyles.

This isn’t as much of a call-out as much as it is an observation. I’m sure a lot of us are tired of using Rotom-C as the go-to Defogger (and for it to only be decent and noting too special), but I’m optimistic enough that the meta likely has more time + substance to adapt.

:magneton: :basculin: :thievul:
Special Wallbreakers: Value in Scarcity
ZU has been short on special wallbreakers for a while now, and Vanilluexe’s departure isn’t helping anything. Many have flocked now to Magneton, which not only is super strong and hard to wall, it also covers the coveted Steel-typing. This makes competition to Magneton often hard to justify; why use Clawitzer on a standard team when instead you can use: 1.) a defensive Water-type like Wishiwashi, or 2.) a faster one like Basculine? Sure Clawitzer works on terrain teams, but it’s clear why VoltTurn / BO have largely gravitated towards Magneton. In this case, Magneton is totally on my radar, and thank you to everyone above for documenting this and contributing towards the conversation.

Building around alternative Choice Specs options like Rotom, Basculin, and Thievul works too. They simply have more competition with popular types or alternative sets they can use. Regardless, using these can be very rewarding in the right matchup. For example, teams can’t afford to have Tangela as the sole defensive Water resist or specs Basculin will tear right through them (amongst other issues, obvi). There’s also Rotom beinghsrd to handle and forcing 50/50 reads against opposing Ground- and Normal-types. This is all to say that specially wallbreakers are doing pretty well for themselves atm. They’re not necessarily mandatory as there’s still a ton of merit in a special steallbreaker like Skuntank or a special sweeper like Frosmoth. I just highly advocate building around a good special breaker rn, personally.

:thwackey: :liepard: :ludicolo:
Alternative Playstyles:
The ladies love cool j and the ladder loves Grassy Terrain. Disregarding that cringe, I swear every other ladder match is vs Thwackey. I know that’s to be expected with a mid-viable auto-terrain setter, and I also think that Grassy Terrain teams are coming into their own now. The power level post-bans and -shifts makes the playstyle consistent enough for high level play. Choice Band is my fav item on Thwackey to double down on Grassy Glide wallbreakers. My go-to partner is usually Trevenant, as I actually would prefer my wallbreaker to hit once I go through the effort of bringing it in (gfdi Flapple I stg). Then there’s defensive pivots with good type synergy like Wishi and Rotom-S, as well as speciall attackers like Clawitzer and Thievul that work well here too. All in all, the playstyle is doable, and probably better now than in past metas. There are a lot of teambuilding pitfalls associated with the strat, so maybe one day soon one of us will build a teambuilding guide to help new players out. Here’s the team I’ve tried:https://pokepast.es/03fc65e4e9bd0b6e

I won’t speak too much on rain as I haven’t had a problem with it myself. That’s probably because I’ve been running a fair amount of anti-rain mons on my recent teams, and even my VoltTurn sample hasn’t had an issue with rain yet either. I’ll be open minded in the near future with rain’s potentially u healthiness and for right now I won’t give it a verdict.

-
Well those are my ramblings on the meta while I was working out x) I’ll reference this post in a VR nom I’m planning on finishing later. I’m enjoying ZU atm and we’ll see how more of it shapes up during UMPL and later rounds of the seasonal.
 
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