Written by Blaine500
Yes. You read that title correctly. “Onix used in OU?? What kind of madness is this??” Is a question you would be justified to be asking yourself. And yes, this does come as quite of a shock, even for me, given that Onix is currently considered LC but please hear me out. For starters, it must first be acknowledged that the rock/ground archetype already exists in the current meta in the form of Goldon (a.k.a Golem & Rhydon). Fulfilling the ever so useful roles of a normal-resistant phazer and of electric immunity on a team making the typing it self critical in a generation ruled by Snorlax and the legendary Electrics (a.k.a Zapdos & Raikou). As its most direct competition these fellow boulder pokemon have cemented themselves as popluar picks for both ladder and tournaments alike for very good reasons. With access to the rare rapid spin and the ability to boom Golem provides great offensive utility for its teammates, while Rhydon brings with it a sky high attack stat that is backed up by powerful stab moves. So with that being said, what could Onix possibly bring to the table that they don't? The answer is actually a couple of key things, but they are game changing. These important but underestimated traits being its speed tier and movepool.
With a base speed of 70 Onix actually picks up many crucial outspeeds and speedties in the meta that Goldon simply doesn't. Those being: Tyranitar, Ursaring, Clefable, Exeggutor, Machamp, Marowak, Muk, Magneton, Sandslash, Victreebel, Vaporeon, Politoed, Poliwrath on offense and Blissey, Umbreon, Porygon2, Bellossom, Donphan, Piloswine, Omastar, Lapras, Dewgong, Mantine, Lanturn and Ampharos on stall. While its base attack stat of 45 might seem quite lackluster please consider the following facts. For one, it receives several different methods of patching that up in the form of curse, screech and even sharpen as an event move. With the latter being of particular interest for competitive use since it boosts Onix's attack stat without messing with its speed stat unlike curse. Secondly, stab and the base power of your moves actually matter more in the damage calculation than sheer stats alone. This can be exemplified by the fact that Onix's unboosted rock slide actually hits Zapdos harder than Steelix using the same move under the same conditions despite it having an attack stat almost twice as high at base 85.
Onix Rock Slide vs. Zapdos: 117-138 (30.5 - 36%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
Steelix Rock Slide vs. Zapdos: 110-130 (28.7 - 33.9%) -- 99.5% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
Now with all of that out of the way, it's time to finally get into the nitty gritty of its actual movesets.
The idea here is simple. Ideally come in on a sleeping threat such a cursed up Lax or an a predicted turn in order to set up a substitute thus bypassing crits, status and stats drop nonsense and proceed to phaze them out while collecting spikes damage. It is also noteworthy that Snorlax's unboosted Double-Edge doesn't break through sub, which leaves Onix favored against sets that lack curse.
Snorlax Double-Edge vs. Onix: 49-58 (17.9 - 21.2%) -- possible 5HKO
The beauty of sub is that it also prevents giga drain from working at all which is very much appreciated on a mon with an x4 weakness to grass. In fact, with this set Onix arguably becomes the most complete Muk counter in the entire game. Outspeeding it and getting its sub before Muk can even think about using giga drain. It also resists its fire blast, explosion and can fish for misses if it's packing dynamic punch, while utterly shrugging off it's stab sludge bomb.
Muk Fire Blast vs. Onix: 52-62 (19 - 22.7%) -- possible 5HKO
Muk Explosion vs. Onix: 132-156 (48.3 - 57.1%) -- 93.5% chance to 2HKO
Muk Sludge Bomb vs. Onix: 17-21 (6.2 - 7.6%) -- possibly the worst move ever
From there, Onix can proceed to continue phazing and collecting spikes damage or go on the offensive. Earthquaking things that have been put in range or even booming on things that it would normally not be able to from behind the safety of a sub. Alternatively, it can set up 1-2 sharpens on weakened targets that it phazes in and become a threat that way. At +1 attack Onix gets within 3% of the same damage output as Golem on neutral hits and in the same ballpark on super effective hits while also OHKOing almost all of the things that it naturally outspeeds with boom after hazards which can clear the path for its teammates.
Golem Earthquake vs. Snorlax: 150-177 (28.6 - 33.8%) -- 0.7% chance to 3HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Earthquake vs. Snorlax: 133-157 (25.4 - 30%) -- 96.9% chance to 4HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
Golem Earthquake vs. Tyranitar: 219-258 (54.3 - 64%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Earthquake vs. Tyranitar: 194-228 (48.1 - 56.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Snorlax: 448-527 (85.6 - 100.7%) -- 87.2% chance to OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Ursaring: 405-476 (105.7 - 124.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Clefable: 418-492 (106.3 - 125.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Exeggutor: 380-447 (96.6 - 113.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Machamp: 405-476 (105.7 - 124.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Marowak: 321-378 (99.3 - 117%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Earthquake vs. Muk: 245-288 (59.3 - 69.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Muk: 405-476 (98 - 115.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
Onix Earthquake vs. Magneton: 289-340 (100.6 - 118.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Sandslash: 321-378 (90.9 - 107%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Victreebel: 448-527 (123.4 - 145.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Vaporeon: 464-546 (100.2 - 117.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Politoed: 405-476 (105.7 - 124.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Poliwrath: 348-410 (90.8 - 107%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Zapdos: 380-447 (99.2 - 116.7%) -- 94.9% chance to OHKO
+1 Onix Earthquake vs. Raikou: 250-294 (65.2 - 76.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Raikou: 418-492 (109.1 - 128.4%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Blissey: 850-999 (119.2 - 140.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Umbreon: 321-378 (81.6 - 96.1%) -- 59% chance to OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Porygon2: 369-434 (98.9 - 116.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
Onix Explosion vs. Bellossom: 253-298 (76.8 - 90.5%) -- 23.1% chance to OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Bellossom: 380-447 (115.5 - 135.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Donphan: 306-360 (81.6 - 96%) -- 56.4% chance to OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Piloswine: 392-461 (97.2 - 114.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Earthquake vs. Omastar: 175-206 (51 - 60%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Lapras: 392-461 (84.6 - 99.5%) -- 79.5% chance to OHKO after Spikes
+1 Onix Rock Slide vs. Dewgong: 178-210 (46.4 - 54.8%) -- 99.6% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Dewgong: 392-461 (102.3 - 120.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Rock Slide vs. Mantine: 194-228 (58.2 - 68.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Mantine: 432-508 (129.7 - 152.5%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Earthquake vs. Lanturn: 285-336 (62.9 - 74.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Lanturn: 482-567 (106.4 - 125.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 Onix Earthquake vs. Ampharos: 245-288 (63.9 - 75.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Ampharos: 405-476 (105.7 - 124.2%) -- guaranteed OHKO
This set draws many parallels to clamp Cloyster but arguably achieves its intended goal more effectively thanks to the rock/ground typing. With access to bind and explosion Onix is actually in a very unique position to be able to trap potential threats, namely Snorlax, and forcibly take them out thanks to screech regardless if they have set up or not. The potential of setting up on something that you've trapped and going on a mini sweep is also there assuming its teammates support its efforts correctly.
Onix Explosion vs. -2 Snorlax: 590-694 (112.8 - 132.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Being the fastest user of the move rock slide in the entire game that actually gets stab on it (no, Lance's hacked Aerodactyl doesn't count lol) gives this set great potential for flinusion (flinch + confusion) abuse. As per usual, Onix can make use of the choas it creates thanks to confusion in order to set up and could be particularly difficult to deal with if supported with paraspam and spikes. But even without paraspam this set can find ways to bypass threats that Onix would normally never dare to. For instance, it actually speedties Cloyster and assuming its gotten 1-2 sharpens or 1 screech before hand on the switch it can make the risky play of going for rock slide flinches or booming right then and there (which is something that Goldon could never do).
+1 Onix Rock Slide vs. Cloyster: 102-120 (33.6 - 39.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+1 Onix Explosion vs. Cloyster: 220-259 (72.6 - 85.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+2 Onix Rock Slide vs. Cloyster: 134-158 (44.2 - 52.1%) -- 77.6% chance to 2HKO after Spikes and Leftovers recovery
+2 Onix Explosion vs. Cloyster: 296-348 (97.6 - 114.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO after Spikes
-Hidden Power Rock/Rock Slide
Lastly, Onix could be used to achieve extreme pp stall on a more defensive style of team with a set up like this. Rest to recover and shrugg off status. Screech as your way of undoing their defenses while using those 64 power points to stall for as long as possible. Harden for an extra 48 power points to boost your defenses through the roof and hp rock for once again more power points while having a means to attack. In the end, this set acheives a whopping 152 turns of attacks without ever running out of power points (not counting turns asleep or switches) when the stalliest of Snorlax sets a.k.a the classic: rest, curse, return & flamethrower caps at 88 turns. With this Onix successfully stalls out mono, fire and thunder Lax without much second thought. While on the topic of stall here's a fun fact, according to Bulbapedia Onix has the highest def stat of any unevolved pokemon even to this day with generation 8 having come out.
As a pokemon that relies quite a lot on spikes Forretress makes for a great partner. Being a fire resist Onix covers its only weakness and forry provides the spikes while also doubling as a spinner thus making a Golem on a team like this redundant. Umbreon is another great choice that deals with it's greatest enemy, that is Starmie. Being a fast water type that spins its precious spikes off the field, Onix is predictably not a fan. But with toxic, pursuit and no water weakness Umbreon makes quick work of it. On more offensive teams Zapdos, Exeggutor and even Starmie can address many of its weaknesses and provide the desired paraspam. Skarmory is another noteable partner that can stall out the earthquake and surf variants of lax on stall teams that Onix dislikes.
While an unboosted explosion from Onix might not always be a world ender consider the fact that Gengar only has 20 more base in attack than it does but makes use of boom on the regular. As for those that would argue that this is enough of a difference to make a difference, please be reminded that this discrepancy in power is exactly the same as comparing Golem's (110 base attack) earthquake to Rhydon's (130 base attack) earthquake. This is not to say that Onix could become OU or anything ambitious like that (tho I suppose that depends on the usage stats and the willingness of players to experiment), but it would be disingenuous to say that there isn't at least a few key things that Onix alone can pull off in the metagame. Who knows, maybe if enough players decide to use it the abbreviation could go from Goldon to -> Goldonix when referring to the boulder pokemon in OU, which sounds eerily like Gold Onix. I do suppose that is what a shiny Steelix is... now that's Onixpected ;)