Metagame NP ZU Stage 8: Hoopa Gangnam Style - Articuno-Galar, Hitmonlee, Sceptile, and Tornadus banned #4

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In agreement with official tier leaders, ZU has been allowed to conduct full drops for this month, meaning we got a ton of new Pokemon
As a result the council has decided to free ZUBL, which was based on a much lower power level. Tagging Marty and dhelmise to please implement those.

:alcremie: Alcremie moved from PU to ZU
:articuno-galar: Articuno-Galar moved from PU to ZU
:bombirdier: Bombirdier moved from PU to ZU
:bruxish: Bruxish moved from PU to ZU
:charizard: Charizard moved from PU to ZU
:clawitzer: Clawitzer moved from PU to ZU
:cramorant: Cramorant moved from PU to ZU
:decidueye-hisui: Decidueye-Hisui moved from PU to ZU
:drifblim: Drifblim moved from PU to ZU
:dudunsparce: Dudunsparce moved from PU to ZU
:electrode-hisui: Electrode-Hisui moved from PU to ZU
:emboar: Emboar moved from PU to ZU
:exeggutor-alola: Exeggutor-Alola moved from PU to ZU
:floatzel: Floatzel moved from PU to ZU
:glastrier: Glastrier moved from PU to ZU
:hitmonchan: Hitmonchan moved from PU to ZU
:hitmonlee: Hitmonlee moved from PU to ZU
:hoopa: Hoopa moved from PU to ZU
:jolteon: Jolteon moved from PU to ZU
:kingdra: Kingdra moved from PU to ZU
:lanturn: Lanturn moved from PU to ZU
:mesprit: Mesprit moved from PU to ZU
:mismagius: Mismagius moved from PU to ZU
:oricorio-sensu: Oricorio-Sensu moved from PU to ZU
:palossand: Palossand moved from PU to ZU
:porygon2: Porygon2 moved from PU to ZU
:qwilfish: Qwilfish moved from PU to ZU
:qwilfish-hisui: Qwilfish-Hisui moved from PU to ZU
:regirock: Regirock moved from PU to ZU
:sandaconda: Sandaconda moved from PU to ZU
:sandslash: Sandslash moved from PU to ZU
:sceptile: Sceptile moved from PU to ZU
:smeargle: Smeargle moved from PU to ZU
:snorlax: Snorlax moved from PU to ZU
:thwackey: Thwackey moved from PU to ZU
:tornadus: Tornadus moved from PU to ZU
:typhlosion: Typhlosion moved from PU to ZU
:uxie: Uxie moved from PU to ZU
:vikavolt: Vikavolt moved from PU to ZU
:virizion: Virizion moved from PU to ZU
:weezing: Weezing moved from PU to ZU
:braviary: Braviary
:dodrio: Dodrio
:farigiraf: Farigiraf
:frosmoth: Frosmoth
:heat_rock: Heat Rock
:malamar: Malamar
:oricorio: Oricorio
:venomoth: Venomoth
So I went through all the tier changes and found out how many of them were High Tiers, Mid Tiers, Low Tiers or Unranked according to the recent PU Viability Rankings.
Articuno Galar
Decidueye Hisui
Electrode Hisui
Oricorio Sensu
Exeggutor Alola
Qwilfish Hisui

If we make the assumption that Mid tiers are worthy of being PU because they still are good in the tier, this means that 19 mons that didn't deserve to fall did out of 41 drops.
Now I'm going to bang my head into a wall because ladder makes no sense. Neary half of the drops should not have been good mons dropping.
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viet noa

eating neopronoun pizza at little xe/xyrs
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gm zu
it's crazy how much of a product gangnam style was of its time. i remember me and every other kid was going crazy for gangnam style, and how universally popular the song was. it's such a weird video that somehow perfectly captures the meme culture at the time, the music trends at the time (shoutout to when every artist was making an electronic dance song in the early 2010s), and the beginning of internet culture seeping into societal trends at large. gangnam style is super outdated and probably not that funny anymore, but the video is a crazy time capsule.

Here are some of my first impressions of this MASSIVE tier shift:

1. This tier is going to be in absolute pandemonium for a while. There are so many banworthy mons and strategies that have dropped, it's hard to know where to even begin. Embrace the chaos, because we're in for a million changes.

2. PLEASE ban Grassy Seed :Grassy Seed: as soon as possible. Grassy Terrain teams are absolutely broken. We all know that Thwackey :thwackey: is a reliable terrain setter, but Arboliva:arboliva: is also solid as a more defensive terrain setter. There's a variety of broken sweepers thanks to Grassy Terrain, Sceptile :sceptile: being the most broken of them all in my opinion. However, it's incredibly easy for Hitmonlee :hitmonlee:, Farigiraf :farigiraf:, Drifblim :drifblim:, Galarian Articuno :articuno-galar:, and more to get the snowball effect going. In a tier with so many broken threats, it speaks to the archetype's power level when it's almost impossible to lose with this type of team.

3. There are a seemingly endless amount of incredibly powerful wallbreakers that are entering the tier. Right off the bat, while it has limited Speed, I don't see how anything can switch into Emboar :emboar:. There are a few other slow titans like Alolan Exeggutor :exeggutor-alola:, Glastrier :glastrier:, and Clawitzer :clawitzer: which might struggle in the uber-fast early meta, but could become very scary once the meta slows down and certain mons get banned. For now though, I imagine the early meta will be defined by blisteringly fast wallbreakers like Virizion :virizion:, Typhlosion :typhlosion:, Tornadus :tornadus:, and MANY more.

4. Because there's so many insane wallbreakers right now, it's very hard to get a gauge on what new defensive mons will actually be great. That being said, Palossand :palossand: historically is solid due to its fantastic typing and reliable recovery. Other great hazard setters include the Qwilfish formes :qwilfish: :qwilfish-hisui:, Regirock :regirock:, Sandaconda :sandaconda:, and Uxie :uxie:. Porygon2 :porygon2: losing Toxic does severely limit what it can do, but it still switches into just about any non-Fighting-type attack. Some other exciting walls include Lanturn :lanturn: and Weezing :weezing:, which should provide lots of utility. The most notable drop to me is Snorlax :snorlax: though, as its massive bulk in tandem with Terastallization makes its almost unkillable. Out of all of these walls, I'm most interested in how powerful Snorlax could be, since it also has amazing Attack to go alongside its bulk.

5. We at least have interesting new hazard removal! There have been fairly solid Defog and Rapid Spin users over the past few months, but the limited variety has led to pretty linear defensive cores that can get exploited if you want a hazard remover. Now, we have several great removers in the tier. The best new Defog users are Cramorant :cramorant: and Hisuian Decidueye :decidueye-hisui:, which have pretty good utility thanks to their unique defensive types. Furthermore, although they haven't historically been the most viable in ZU, Terastallization should make the new Rapid Spinners in Hitmonchan :hitmonchan: and Sandslash :sandslash: more intriguing contenders for hazard removal.


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With over 50 new Pokemon in the tier, it was expected that we had to vote and ban some of them.

OutcomeDannyDrudfish anemometerLustfulLiceMonaiOranBerryBlissey10Tuthur
(Danny didnt have time to input his last vote, i'll edit them in later as they don't matter for final result.)

:articuno-galar: Galarian Articuno's power is pretty ridiculous for the tier and it abuses the lack of Steel-types in the tier. The standard STAB + CM + Recover offensive set has no consistent answers, while uncommun sets like Double Dance, Choice Specs, pivot, and bulkier CM variant are also options to not underestimate. With ZU lacking Steel-types, Galarian Articuno's STAB combination has perfect coverage, while Psyshock and Hurricane let it hit on both special and physical side depending on what it is facing. Its stats are just amazing all across the board, it is fast, bulky (with reliable recovery), and powerful. Competitive lets it take advantage of Qwilfish forms and Defog, while tera allows it to get rid off its underwhelming defensive typing, which is its only real flaw (though it is not totally terrible, giving it some switch-in on Psychic, Ground, and Fight attacks). Overall, Galarian Articuno is just the perfect Pokemon in SV ZU and there is no reason to not use it. It is completely broken.

:tornadus: Another broken Flying-type. If you didn't have a bulky Electric-type in your team, you surely couldn't do anything against it. Unboosted Bleakwind Storm is a 2HKO on almost everything, with Heat Wave and Focus Blast filling the gap with hitting Steel- and Rock-types like Orthworm and Regirock, as well as bulky foes like Articuno, Glastrier, and Snorlax. Last move was quite customizable between Nasty Plot, U-turn, and Knock Off, each giving its own way to play around its limited counterplay. Couple with that its 111 Speed tier, letting it outspeed most of the tier and you've got the perfect wallbreaker. The best counterplay to Tornadus was honestly to hope its misses on a crucial target.

:hitmonlee: There is almost nothing that can stop Hitmonlee after a Swords Dance and Unburden boost, while its high Special Defense and Grassy Seed boosted Defense mean it doesn't struggle to get that one free turn. Close Combat + Knock Off + Poison Jab is perfect coverage and lets it muscle pretty much anything that isn't a very bulky Poison-type that can hit it back (Weezing and Thunder Wave Qwilfish). The counterplay to Hitmonlee was deemed too unsufficient, and as a result it's been banned from SV ZU.

:sceptile: Sceptile is very similar to Hitmonlee as it uses the combination of Swords Dance and Unburden to tear throught teams. While it doesn't have Hitmonlee's Attack stat, Sceptile's natural Speed allows it to run much more bulk and as a result it can get multiple Swords Dance up more easily. It takes advantage of the lack of Steel-types, making Grassy Terrain boosted Leaf Blade + Acrobatics perfect coverage that can be combined with Rock Slide, Drain Punch, or even Terablast depending on what Sceptile wants to hit. Just like Hitmonlee, the counterplay to Sceptile is too limited.

:grassy-seed: There has been talked on the server and on the room on this item being too strong. However, it is better practice to start with Pokemon bans before going for non-Pokemon bans. With this in mind, we voted on Hitmonlee and Sceptile which were seen as the best Grassy Seed abusers (beside Galarian Articuno which was also broken without it). A PR thread will be open soon to talk about how to handle Grassy Seed in ZU, and see what actions to take further if the playstyle proves to be broken without these three abusers.

:emboar::glastrier: Those two were mentioned a bit in the council chat and while they didn't receive much votes this time, they could prove to become more dangerous after these bans.

With moving to the trimestrial shift system and no new DLC release being planed, SV ZU should be more stable than ever. As a result, we will have time to hold suspect tests between each shifts, meaning quickban slates like this one will become rarer and everyone will be able to speak their mind, should they get reqs from ladder. Tiering actions will become slower to let more time to players to develop new strategies and adapt to potential threats.

Tagging dhelmise and Marty to please ban Articuno-Galar, Hitmonlee, Sceptile, and Tornadus from SV ZU. Thank you.
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I got to play current generation ZU at a pretty crazy time, so I thought I'd share my initial thoughts:

:emboar:: A menace. The coverage is nutty and the set variety is just as nuts. I might try Bulk Up set-up sets tomorrow schedule-pending, but Choice Scarf has been putting in a lot of work. You do give up power from Expert Belt or Choice Band, but in exchange, you don't need to rely on Sucker Punch to take on would be faster "checks."

:hoopa:: I'd give them a High 6 to a Light 7. TranSITION.

:snorlax:: I'd be hesitant to call on a suspect/ban for this, but Curse with Tera Fairy is insane to keep in check. The bulk is ludicrous for ZU standards, and the offensive move pool is enough to handle random Ghost and Steel-types thanks to Crunch or Heat Crash (my preferred last). Fishing for the Body Slam paralysis is never a bad move.

:glastrier::virizion:: I'd have to give these some time to test, but I can see them snowball in some match-ups, especially with the absence of some tough-hitting Fighting and Flying-type checks out of the picture.

I'll drop some fun(ny) games here, here, some more over here, and one last one here.

Edit: OK, so I've been playing a bit more of this for roughly a week, so I'll give some additional/refined takes:

: Yeah, I'm not even gonna hide my contempt for this item. Grassy Terrain teams are awful to face. The sweepers they have only really need the defense boost to ensure they can get off a Calm Mind or Quiver Dance to start steamrolling teams. Not aiding things is the rather poor distribution of phasing and stat resetting moves. That tends to have teams resort to their own cheese to counter it like Critical Hit abusers or Paralysis. I don't think it promotes a healthy metagame.

:kingdra:: If this is not even considered for a QB slate, I would be shocked. Water and Dragon covers a vast amount of the tier for neutral coverage, which forces defensive Tera to mitigate its impact. It doesn't help that two of its primary sets, Dragon Dance or Agility + Focus Energy, can be pretty interchangeable on team builds, which adds an extra guessing game on discerning your team's actual counterplay. It's just not fun to queue up versus.

:emboar:: I've seen a lot more people voice their concern for Emboar the longer it sticks around, and I have to agree that it's a huge problem. Reckless boosted Flare Blitz just sucks to pivot into, on top of possibly losing your Leftovers or Heavy-Duty Boots if they predict the switch-out to go for Knock Off. Heavy-Duty Boots is my go-to on this guy to prevent hazard chip from being a factor, but Expert Belt, Choice Band, or Choice Scarf are definitely all solid options (I wouldn't bother with Bulk-Up variants, I gave it a try but you'd much rather just hit what's in front of you). I haven't seen or used mixed attacking sets yet, but you could lure in stuff like Weezing that blanks you otherwise. I can see this being banned or quick-banned.

:snorlax:: I will still advocate tiering action at some point. It just straight-up lives hits it has no business tanking. Curse + Tera Fairy invalidates a lot of initial counter-play that isn't Weezing, and you can spam your own Body Slam for the paralysis to help your team.

:virizion:: I've given this a try and it's... OK. Swords Dance is pretty nice, but we have plenty of Fighting-type resists like Weezing or Uxie as examples that give it a hard time getting a sweep going. That's not to say it doesn't have ways around those checks, but it has to choose to drop one of its STAB or coverage options to get around its usual counter-play. I haven't seen Calm Mind variants, but I'd imagine it's in a similar boat. I can see Virizion having a better time once the metagame settles, but I'm not impressed.

:glastrier:: I saw this a lot more often at the start of the week, and suddenly saw none halfway through. If I had to guess why: a slow Ice-type doesn't seem appealing on paper despite the crazy bulk and hard-hitting coverage at its disposal. It'll probably get a lot better once bans or tiering action take place.

I think that'll be it for my thoughts Week 1, so I'll probably post with my Week 2 thoughts and opinions sometime next week. Happy laddering!
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So I have been using a trick room team in ZU and it has been killing it, but I wanted to get my thoughts out.
:snorlax: Please ban this. Like, I was using the set that Charles A. Theist was using, and it obliterates everything in the tier. It needs a tiny bit of positioning, but that is really easy to do when most things don't like getting a body slam para. This is a really dumb mon, due to its special bulk being so high and even after one curse boost, it can eat physical hits for days.
:emboar: Another disgusting mon in the tier. I've been using a choice band set with tera rock head smash and this can basically decimate anything, even resists. Eviolite rhydon gets 4hit ko'd by it. Orthworm gets 3hit ko'd. Regirock gets 2hit ko'd. Other than head smash, unless you have an immunity, its stab moves will hurt anything. Please ban this as well.
:glastrier: Unsure about this mon. It is definetely powerful, but there are things in the meta that can handle it. Once they go, I could see it being destructive. It just sadly has a poor defensive typing, which is not good. Will see how this mon pans out, but rn this isn't a ban.
Replay of a match beating somebody who was way above my elo (haven't played ZU in a long time, so that's why I am like 1000s lmao):


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:grassy-seed: There has been talked on the server and on the room on this item being too strong. However, it is better practice to start with Pokemon bans before going for non-Pokemon bans. With this in mind, we voted on Hitmonlee and Sceptile which were seen as the best Grassy Seed abusers (beside Galarian Articuno which was also broken without it). A PR thread will be open soon to talk about how to handle Grassy Seed in ZU, and see what actions to take further if the playstyle proves to be broken without these three abusers.
As promised here is the Policy Review thread. If you don't have a badge and want to take part to the discussion, fill this form. Your opinion matters and this will be the platform where we will find a solution to the Grassy Seed issue.
Whoever created the :mesprit: set with nasty plot draining kiss is an absolute menace. It takes advantage of so many mons like Toedscruel and Lanturn that can't even sniff a 2hko.
In terms of defensive cores I think :qwilfish: + av :arboliva: is pretty good. Both have good means of recovery, and thanks to the fish's average speed it can flip turn out of a scary sanaconda/pallosand matchup, leaving the opponent to decide what wants to take a max SpA modest leaf storm under terrain.


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Quick post to say council voted on Emboar, but it didn't get banned. The majority of the council was still pro-ban, but it failed to reach the 2/3 threshold. Have fun laddering for ZULT, we'll keep you tune if other tiering actions happen.

OutcomeDannyDrudfish anemometerLustfulLiceMonaiOranBerryBlissey10Tuthur



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Going to post a couple thoughts on the massive tier shifts:
Not going to lie this is really strong. Emboar forces either a lot of offense based teams which is pretty commonplace in my experience, or a bunch of balance teams to run Qwilfish/bulky Ground not weak to CC (Sandaconda, Palossand). I've personally enjoyed running Band for the raw power, though I feel Scarf is the flagship set for outspeeding most of the unboosted metagame. Aside from Reckless Flare Blitz + CC + Knock Off, there's been customizability for its fourth move. Earthquake makes it more consistent against Qwilfish, likewise for Head Smash, and even Sucker Punch could be useful against faster Scarfers like Scarf Hoopa and Scarf Mismagius.

I actually haven't seen a lot of usage for it for such a great balance breaker. Since physical and special sets were too linear imo, why not run with mixed? Two high-powered moves STAB moves in Leaf Storm and Close Combat alongside solid coverage with Stone Edge (Oricorio formes, Venomoth) and Zen Headbutt (Poisons) alongside a great speed tier, it's been quite fun and scary to use up close. I've experimented with items like Life Orb and Lum Berry for the extra safety net against Qwilfish and Tera'd Sandaconda, but Boots just seems to be more consistent all-around (for a lot of Pokemon, anyways). Also helping is being a great check to Electrode-Hisui, arguably the best Volt Switch user in the meta at the moment.

I've actually had a harder time using this than I thought. Offensive sets like Choice Band tended to trade a lot at what's ahead of it at best, and Curse sets a good amount of times have been easy to overwhelm with raw offensive damage output from the many wallbreakers to nullifying its threat prowess with Trick, which forces it to run Tera Fairy a lot. It's been quite good most of the game as a catch-all special wall, but it can be a little cramped for fitting its last move after Curse + Body Slam + Rest. Fitting a second coverage move makes it even more passive after using Rest, but it gets completely walled by Ghosts/Rocks/Steels if running Body Slam. It's still pretty good in my experience, but it was shocking considering that I expected it to be banned early on and how it was a staple in higher-tiered generations.

Not the Hisuian one where it could use Eviolite, surprisingly. Regular Qwilfish is far more relevant thanks to Intimidate and a better typing for the meta - defensively, it resists both of Emboar's and Decidueye-Hisui's STABs, and even Pokemon like Regirock and physical Verizion, but the bountiful movepool is what skyrockets it to top-tier usage. Pain Split/Taunt makes it very annoying against bulky sweepers like Snorlax and Glasterier, Flip Turn makes it even more annoying as a pivot to enable other offensive powerhouses, Thunder Wave gives it some utility against offensive teams, Spikes makes it solid against balance teams, and even Toxic Spikes can be really annoying without Poison-types/Defoggers/Spinners. Even moves like Toxic can cripple Glasterier and Sandslash,while Barb Barrage is nice for Alcremie! You can't really go wrong with most Qwilfish sets and it pairs nicely with other defensive staples like Dudunsparce and Alcremie, with both of them being fine special walls and providing synergy with Qwilfish's typing.
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