Metagame PU Old Gens + Discussion

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MrSoup

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PUPL has concluded, and with it a lot of high level OldGens games were played. As this was ADV's first year included in the tour, I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with developing the tier and helping me get it to where it is today. I truly couldn't have done it without you all. I'm making this post because even though the tier has come a long way, we still have plenty of room for improvement. I have a short list of things that I want to accomplish over the next few weeks/months regarding the tier and today begins the first of those.
  1. Tiering Discussion:Now that PUPL has concluded, we have decided on a couple of things that we feel need to be discussed more before we take tiering action on them. We could have made potential bans and had votes on them but decided that we would like a little more community input before making decisions. The main two ticket items are;
    • Baton Pass: BP has been talked about before, and even now is limited to one user per team and limiting users to not be able to pass Speed with another stat. However, this is still a very dominant move and many teams function based on Pokemon like SD Mawile or Tail Glow Volbeat passing their boosts to stronger, faster Pokemon as cleaners that can potentially end games easily which can be very difficult for many teams to prepare for. There are ways around this such as aggressive switching and fast speed control like TWave Minun, but in the right setting these Baton Passers can devastate a team. However, the move also has some good merits, being the only switching move in the generation makes it extremely effective on pivots like Minun and Togetic, which while they are able to pass boosts, don't always have to. We are asking for more community feedback to decide what action to take. Is Baton Pass balanced? Is it outright broken? Is it just that a couple of the users are unbalanced and need a closer look?
    • Swalot: While not inherently broken at a glance, Swalot does provide some pretty hard teambuilding pressure. Not only does it have some pretty immense bulk for the tier with 100/83/83, but it also has an extremely wide array of coverage moves and set variability that it can use to pick apart potential threats. Switch in a Ground-type like Marshtomp or Vibrava and you might get OHKO'd by a Giga Drain/HP Grass or Ice Beam. Send in your Mawile expecting the Sludge Bomb and you might get 2HKO'd by Fire Punch. Defensive Duskull even gets 2HKO'd by CB Shadow Ball. Not to mention Explosion's ability to completely wipe out something that doesn't KO it first (which is likely since it is so bulky) makes Swalot a big threat to many teams. So what do we do with it? Is Swalot banworthy or does it just need some more time to settle in the meta? How do you deal with Swalot both in games and in the builder?
  2. Viability Rankings Update: Once we handle the matters above and decide whether or not tiering action needs to be taken, we'll be reassessing the VR. Obviously, the tiering action could greatly shake things up in the tier so we'll be taking our time when reworking the rankings.
  3. Analysis Writing: Once we have taken care of any necessary tiering action and redone the VR accordingly, we'll finally open up analyses for reservation. This will take place in the Past Generations PU Analyses of the C&C subforum and will only be mini-analyses at this point. While the VR may chance slightly, the overall standings will still likely be similar at least, so if you're interested in writing, start thinking about some ideas!
  4. New Art: A rather minor note, but I'm planning on getting some new art for the tier! While HotFuzzBall's design is great and has held up for a very long time, the tier has changed a lot and the art should reflect that (Mightyena and Dragonair aren't nearly as dominant as they once were and when was the last time someone used Beedrill?)
Hopefully these changes will improve the tier a bit and get us set up for success in the next big tour ADV is involved in, whether that ends up being PUWC or the next installment of the ADV PU TOURNAMENT. I've always been very proud of this community and can't wait to see PU Old Gens improve in the future.
Tagging Medeia Lunala Bouff Jisoo SuperEpicAmpharos Lily MrSoup LBN as people who played a lot of ADV during PUPL I'd love your feedback on the tiering discussion!
I don’t have a lot of time so I’ll keep this brief:

I really don’t like the idea of touching Swalot. It’s one of the few reliable minun switchins that isn’t incredibly passive like tuff or licki. It also has extreme risk of getting trapped with only a few outs, like sing or just exploding. It helps glue team building a lot and isn’t overly pressuring or constraining team building IMO. In fact, I think it relieves pressure.

Baton pass I’m more iffy on. I really do not like it’s presence and how it currently necessitates a complex ban (one that I find myself easily breaking on accident when building bc of how many mons just want to dry pass naturally). I think its current state makes the tier more inaccessible. I’d prefer to completely axe the move as my first choice. There’s a lot of untapped cheese out there rn with pinch berry passing and I think overall the mons who would lose the ability to dry pass are already incredibly strong rn. This would make trapinch better against mawile and minun but I think a little risk in using great mons might be a good thing. My second option would be to remove the team limit and completely disallow stat passing. This would gut thing like volbeat and sd pass mawile but I think removing that restriction would actually free the builder a lot. It would also keep arena trap more in check.

Fun meta and I think it honestly doesn’t need many changes. Thanks Sergio!
 
Agree with the previous stance of keeping Swalot and banning BP. I actually was leaning more towards keeping BP in previous weeks but I've been exploring some unexplored BP strategies (not pinch berry btw) that have netted some really cheap wins.

:swalot:
Regarding Swalot, it's one of the easiest Pokemon to slap on a team and instantly check basically 95% of special attackers. I actually find this to be a pretty good thing as it eases teambuilding a lot -- you don't have to waste slots or expend resources to try to check certain things. For example, Sealeo was a pretty difficult Pokemon to check in previous metas / years simply because of the lack of a bulky offensive Pokemon (you'd need to resort to a Wigglytuff, Sealeo of your own or other dubious options like Wartortle or Tentacool). It also gives you Explosion to make progress vs certain threats. I also do think there is plenty of offensive and defensive counterplay. Arbok and Vibrava, 2 top offensive threats in the meta, can situationally switch in and pressure it out. Trapinch is another obvious option that is very effective (not a mandatory bring but is always there if immediate removal is needed). Shuckle and Duskull are 2 top defensive threats that also give Swalot fits. The most annoying thing about Swalot is how easy and drawback free it is to spam Sludge Bomb to fish for poisons, but that does not make it overly broken in my eyes.


Regarding BP, I have a few thoughts about this. It's used on some of the meta-defining Pokemon: Minun, Mawile, Togetic. Dry-passing is obviously not broken, and in my opinion SD Pass from Mawile and TG Pass from Volbeat is also by and large not broken because it is easy to either the pressure/deny slower passers out via offense (Vibrava, Charmeleon and Seadra are all relatively safe switchins for example) and fast passing with Pokemon like Volbeat can be punished because many of the recipients actually either lose to Minun or get TWaved. And the 1 Baton Passer restriction + no speed w/ another stat has been fairly effective in reducing BS strategies for the most part.

However, there are plenty of other strategies out there that are just waiting to break the meta. Mrsoup mentioned pinch berries which is certain one style of strategy but I think we've all forgotten (not literally but you get the idea) about OG strategies like Ancient Power Pass Togetic. Against passive Pokemon, Togetic has plenty of opportunities to fish for boosts and pass to stuff like Seviper or Sealeo. Another strategy that is quite ridiculous is Spider Web + Baton Pass into wallbreakers or stallbreakers. (Here are 2 replays demonstrating how common defensive cores can actually literally be picked apart or taken advantage of: 1 2). There are plenty of other strategies that I have seen that really push certain Pokemon to be beating stuff it "shouldn't" be and is for the most part difficult to prepare for or predict. So this is what makes me think that a BP ban would make sense.

But I also want to play devil's advocate here. There is a certain charm of the tier as it currently stands. Many people like the tier because of Minun, or because they can Baton Pass around with their Minun. People like to pivot with their Mawile as well. Without BP, the viability of these Pokemon will obviously shift. Perhaps not dramatically, but there would be a signficant change. (Will Elekid take its place with its superior coverage options?) While "charm of a tier" is not a tangible tiering philosophy, it is worthwhile to think about whether we want to change the identity of the metagame once again. We've made significant changes in the past that were not taken too positively. We have a relatively small amount of players currently interested in the tier as is and I would hate to lose people out of disinterest or disdain, so I do not take this issue lightly.

***

While I'm here, I'd also like to take the time to share some additional meta thoughts and some viability opinions. I am aware that these thoughts are coming at a time where there is some potential volatility coming up but I still think it is worthwhile to share, following what I saw in PUPL. I won't touch on every Pokemon, but just the ones whose placements might be a surprise or had a significant meta change.

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  • :furret: I do think there should be a separation in the S rank, and Furret should be in the lower rank. Furret is great but not mandatory on every team and there's plenty of counterplay in the tier right now. Not as splashable as Minun or Swalot.
  • :vibrava: to A+: I know certain people have their reservations about this Pokemon, but being a Ground type is very valuable right now as it allows you to offensively pressure our top 3 Poisons. Immunity to Spikes is always fantastic, but this is one of those mons that compress a lot of roles in the builder if you want a CB mon, Ground mon, priority and a bit of speed. The prevalance and rise in Grounds have also allowed many other Pokemon to rise in viability as well (which I will touch on momentarily).
  • :tangela: to A: Tangela is arguably the best Grass in the tier due to its fantastic physical bulk and myriad support options. Being a Grass that actually switches into Grounds is very valuable, and it also does not get 2HKO'd by Furret, giving further role compression. (Pairing Tangela with a Duskull is a great alternative if you don't want to run a normal resist, for example.) Tangela could even be moved to A+ at this time, but issues with letting in Swalot for free is a bit troubling, but still a fantastic mon otherwise.
  • :duskull: Duskull is still a meta defining defensive Pokemon, with key immunities to Normal, Fighting, Ground and resistance to Poison. This mon warps a lot of Pokemon in the sense that Ghost/Dark coverage is mandatory. Immunity to Spikes and an easy slap on to team for checking Arbok, Swalot, Marshtomp, Vibrava and many defensive Pokemon that rely on status cannot be understated. Yes it can be taken advantage of, slightly passive, and is Pursuit weak, but this is why it's A and not higher.
  • :lickitung: There have been discussion about the healthiness of this Pokemon in the tier, with its immense bulk and great support options. It's definitely tough to kill, especially on stall teams, and Stoss is obviously incredible in this tier. The only reason why I don't see it as broken is that it allows set up opportunities for stuff like Mawile, Kingler and Tropius, and is vulnerable to Spikes pressure. Certain Pokemon run sets that are designed to severely weaken it as well, such as SubEndeavor Grovyle. So the options and ways to beat it are there, but I do certainly forsee a future where it may get out of hand.
  • :seviper: to A-: I really like Seviper's place in the tier right now. It's great at breaking down defensive cores (Omanyte, Duskull, Marshtomp, Mawile, Tangela, etc). My preferred set is Sludge Bomb / Earthquake / Crunch / Giga Drain, as I find Flamethrower to be unnecessary (Sbomb and EQ already can hit Mawile and Tangela, albeit a bit weaker.) But the option is certainly there. It also pressure Swalot, which is always good. Slightly hampered by its speed but any faster and it'd probably be broken tbh. A bit unfortunate it was not used more in PUPL.
  • :dragonair: to A-: Dragon Dance sets are pretty hard to pull off right now. Between Intimidate being everywhere, the commonness of Sealeo, Tangela, it's getting harder and harder to justify using Dragonair. Still good but really needs the support in order to sweep, can't just click DD and win turn 1 now.
  • :ivysaur: to A-: As a bulky specially defensive wall, Swalot definitely currently overshadows Ivysaur in the meta. Ivysaur is weak to Sealeo and Charmeleon, whereas Swalot can check both. Sleep Powder and Leech Seed are still nice options, but worth noting that Liquid Ooze is an effective punish in and of itself to Leech Seed, so it's harder to spam nowadays. SD sets are also usable, but have to deal with Mawile and Duskull still.
  • :chinchou: to B+: Not every team wants to run a Swalot so in the event that you still need a specially defensive mon that switches into all of Charmeleon/Minun/Sealeo, Chinchou is actually not a bad option and compresses a lot of roles. Minun immunity is always valuable and Twave support is good too. Definitely better than C rank like it was previously.
  • :kingler: to B+: I think this one may come as a suprise to many people. I read back in the thread when the Kingler dropped first happened and it seemed like it was touted as the best of the drops and even banworthy, but I think right now it couldn't be further than the case. Look no further at the PUPL usage stats where it was used a grand total of 0 times. And there's a reason for it -- CB sets are pretty much not worth using when Furret exists, it's too easily revenged by Minun, and it can be played around relatively easily. As a Water type, it offers no defensive qualities (can't pivot well into Sealeo / Charmeleon, for example). I think SubSD sets are quite bad because you drop coverage and end up walled by stuff that you should be able to beat or break through. I think the best set to take advantage of Kingler's niche is an SD 3 Attacks set with Swords Dance / Frustration / Mud Shot / HP Ghost. I actually run a bulkier spread with significantly less speed because you don't need the speed. You can afford to underspeed Vibrava and Seviper because they can't actually revenge you regardless and everything faster than 75 speed was already able to revenge anyways. In any case, Kingler is now a bit of a nicher option if you want an SD breaker, but it's definitely not S because it's not splashable at all.

    Kingler @ Leftovers
    Ability: Hyper Cutter
    Happiness: 0
    EVs: 212 HP / 164 Atk / 68 SpD / 64 Spe
    Adamant Nature
    - Swords Dance
    - Frustration
    - Mud Shot
    - Hidden Power [Ghost]

    This spread allows you to OHKO Phys Def Duskull at +2, as well as Ivysaur. Does ~66-77% to stuff like Mawile, Omanyte, Swalot as well. Speed to outpace Marshtomp, and rest in bulk.
  • :clamperl: to B: Still a good mon, takes advantage of Lickitung and other passive stuff. Much better than the stuff currently in C or D ranks. Can be deadweight in more offensive matches but typically the opponent will always have some kind of slower rock type or defensive mon to switch in on. Does over 50% to Spdef Swalot too, which is a great way to pressure and weaken it.
  • Stuff that I think should be explored more:
    • Graveler is obviously not as good as Marshtomp or Vibrava, but Normal resist + Electric immunity is not the worst thing. Spdef sets are usable (but require support). Explosion is nice as well.
    • Tropius is another Swords Dance mon that could eventually rise in viability, given its immunity to Ground. Sucks that it's easily revenged by Fires, Waters and Poisons though.

Thanks for reading and I hope the information and perspective was valuable!
 

Eve

hmm
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And the 1 Baton Passer restriction + no speed w/ another stat has been fairly effective in reducing BS strategies for the most part.

[...]but I think we've all forgotten (not literally but you get the idea) about OG strategies like Ancient Power Pass Togetic.
Ancient Power Pass is banned by our current BP Clause because it passes Speed with other stats.

I maintain that nothing BP has done in this tier is broken and that players have adapted very well overall, the most broken thing is probably GlowPass into Seadra but Minun pressure tends to easily prevent that. Also I'd probably blame Seadra for that if anything, literally nothing else uses the +2 to the same extent. Other BP strategies have potential but I think banning stuff off potentially viable strats that have never been used is a bit silly. Current meta is good, keep Swalot keep BP. Worst part of current meta is unironically trying to stop Duskull from just Resting forever but there's obvious methods to help with that.
 
Following on from a very successful PUPL, we'd like to take steps to improve our oldgen resources. With that in mind, we're putting a generational spotlight in place for the next few weeks, where every week we'll focus on a specific generation and look to focus discussion around it (I should note that this of course doesn't mean that discussion around a different oldgen to the one being spotlighted should be stopped, please continue those discussions as you normally would!). At the end of each spotlight, we'll also look to update the viability rankings and sample teams for that specific generation.

To help with this, we'll also be asking some of our top performers in their respective oldgens to help by submitting tiermaker lists which we'll aggregate to form a new, updated tier list. We'll be sharing the tiermaker link publicly though and would encourage anyone to post, and give explanations too if you'd like!

For the updated samples, anyone will be welcome to submit teams but remember, you need to include a description alongside it! The schedule is shown below, and the first week will be SM, which rien will kick off tomorrow.

24th September - 1st October SM
2nd-8th October BW
9th-15th October SS
16th-22nd October ORAS
23rd-30th October DPP
31st October - 5th November ADV (This will just be a pure spotlight and the emphasis won't be on updating resources)
 

rien

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GM, as shane outlined in his post, this week we will be focusing on updating the SM viability rankings and sample teams. the methodology is as detailed below:

:jellicent: viability rankings :drampa:

we have chosen a pool of qualified voters based on the following criteria/s:
  • have had notable results in one of this year's sm tours (pu classic - sm cup, smpl, pupl);
  • are currently part of the sm pu qc team;
  • are recognized as highly involved and influential on the tier in present day and don't fit either of the above criteria.
the list of qualified voters is as follows:
2xTheTap
asa
avarice
Chloe
DugZa
Estarossa
gum
Leni
Leru
MZ
rien
robjr
Santu
soulgazer
Xiri

some notes about the vr process:
  • we'll be using this tier maker list to vote. please post a screenshot of your tier list here in the thread once you're done voting. once the deadline is met i'll aggregate all votes and present the updated vr here. of course you can fill out your own tier list and share it here even if you're not a qualified voter, we'd love to hear everyone's opinions out!
  • we're doing away with D rank, so C- is going to be the lowest rank going forward.
  • we only added the currently tiered mons to the tier maker list, so if you'd like to vote for a currently unranked mon to get ranked then please write it down in your message.
  • reasonings are fully optional but very appreciated, i understand that this is a lot to ask given the volume of this vote.


:victreebel: sample teams :primeape:

this portion is more simple, simply submit any teams you think are sample-worthy before the week's deadline and we'll consider adding them to our current roster. please provide an importable as well as a description for your team for your submission to be eligible.

-----

to accomodate for next week's schedule as well as the time we need to process the vr votes and team submissions, this week's deadline for submissions is saturday, september 30th. happy sm week!
 

rien

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going to kick things off with my own vr vote:

smpuvr new.png


mons are ordered alphabetically within subranks. as for currently unranked mons, i'm voting Silvally-Fighting and Silvally-Grass to C- (niche but cool silvally types for offensive setup, although i don't feel too strongly about either of them).

not going to cover every change as there's frankly too many changes here, but feel free to ask here or reach out to me on discord if you have any questions regarding my vote.
 

MZ

And now for something completely different
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Don't have any new rank noms to add and have no opinion on Grassvally or Fightvally, they sound awful but idk I've never seen them. You could convince me to change my mind on a lot of these, only realized this after ranking but SM feels very fluid wrt how I feel about some of these mons compared to a week or a month or a year ago. Idm answering any questions about these.
 

avarice

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RUPL Champion

*not ordered within ranks
Would maybe have done eel as a S- but didn't want to deviate. Some obvious changes here like Gurdurr falling off and Oricorio not being that great. I do want to point out that Webs are really solid currently and Carracosta is an absolute menace though.
 

asa

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You could probably convince me that Jellicent is better than Mudsdale, I just think Mudsdale is incredibly consistent, offers slightly more to teams, and usually always gets to play its game even in bad matchups (even if it is pretty predictable compared to Jellicent and even stuff in the A ranks).

Other than that, I don't have a ton to say. The gaps between different Pokemon don't feel nearly as large as they do in SWSH and (to some extent) SV, though they definitely do exist. I also agree with MZ that there's a fair bit of fluidity within tiers (again, more so than in a lot of other PU metas imo), and I don't think my ranking is the end-all be-all whatsoever.

Thanks for allowing my input :)
 

gum

for the better
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s-rank is p weird, idt either are much better than the a+ mons but they feel much more splashable to me, so s-rank makes sense kinda. a lot of mons in the lower ranks (c+ and lower) kinda have a niche but just aren't used, if this vote happens again next year i could see stuff like ursaring alolan duggy pinsir muk etc get unranked too. shuckle in a- might seem to be a sneak but i think webs have proven to be rather consistent throughout pupls / classics since sm stopped being cg, ranking it anything lower than b seems kinda insane to me considering that. so yeah, that ranking reflects more the viability of webs than how good shuckle is as a mon rly - it's absolutely something u have to respect in the builder
 

Estarossa

moo?
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not ordered any of the subranks cause honestly theres an insane amount of mons to vote on here. Costa is absolute jesus these days tbh and most broken thing in tier 100% for me, stands out enough among the other a+'s to give it s- for me personally. was a bit lower on stuff like sear / eel than other people, a bit of a splashability and consistency angle for me in putting them in A instead, although i consider them high A absolutely.

Ape high A too absolutely but i find it to be very do nothing a lot of the time in practice outside of click u-turn, there's good punishes for it in general as speed control with sub users etc, webs picking up that punishes reliance on it a bit, it being ungood as costa counterplay etc, and i'm just never really impressed with it in practice, but it's absolutely one of the things you have to respect to a high degree in practice and really do want multiple checks to etc, so got a bit of a duality to me but i dont see it quite on other A+'s level.
 
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2xTheTap

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*unordered (mostly)

Like avarice and esta mentioned above, costa has been doing very well lately, and that was reflected in a higher placement relative to the majority of the other voters here. I also measured its quality against things sharing its typing and/or fighting for the same team slot and placed them in that general order, ex. costa (A+) > oma (A-) > kabu (B+).
In response to costa kind of just going off lately (remember that santu game this PUPL...), I think poliwrath is more usable and a more valuable team slot than before, just based on this meta trend - resttalk beats most of the physically offensive meta pretty competently, like lycanroc, aggron, primeape, mudsdale, etc., and you can watch it tank a kangaskhan in xiri vs chloe (PUPL); its vacuum wave answers offensive mons like boosted costa, kabu, oma, sandslash-a in hail, all of which get a lot of game time these days; toxic is an easy thing to click on an incoming jellicent, and at the same time, poliwrath is able to wall out jelli's specs water spout; and, while being vic food kind of sucks, ice beam is there for that too, potentially. For me, there's rarely been a test game where it hasn't done anything.
A lot of people voted UR for kecleon, and that's understandable if you haven't used it or seen it ever really, but I've got a spicy lure set that I've cooked a few people with recently in tests - C rank in this case is more a measure of its quality than its visibility for me.
The last thing is, I would probably rank hakamo-o and wishiwashi - there are a few more Pokemon that weren't added to the tier maker that aren't bad but are also pretty forgettable, but making a super list of those wasn't really something I wanted to do. Anyway, if you have a question about the rest, feel free to ask.
 
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rien

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hi everyone, the SM PU VR update is now ready. thank you so much to the 11 voters for putting your time into this! without further ado, here are the results:

rises
:mudsdale: Mudsdale A+ > S
:clefairy: Clefairy B+ > A-
:aggron: Aggron B > B+
:altaria: Altaria B > B+
:haunter: Haunter B > B+
:silvally-poison: Silvally-Poison B > B+
:silvally-ghost: SIlvally-Ghost D > B
:shiftry: Shiftry C+ > B-
:silvally-water: Silvally-Water C+ > B-
:sawsbuck: Sawsbuck C > B-
:simipour: Simipour C > B-
:shuckle: Shuckle D > B-
:camerupt: Camerupt C > C+
:servine: Servine C > C+
:mr-mime: Mr. Mime D > C+
:granbull: Granbull C- > C
:pyukumuku: Pyukumuku C- > C
:shiinotic: Shiinotic C- > C
:exeggutor: Exeggutor D > C
:bouffalant: Bouffalant D > C-
:ditto: Ditto D > C-
:electrode: Electrode D > C-
:pawniard: Pawniard D > C-
:probopass: Probopass D > C-
:smeargle: Smeargle D > C-

drops

:eelektross: Eelektross S > A+
:torterra: Torterra S > A
:regirock: Regirock A+ > A
:aurorus: Aurorus A > A-
:dodrio: Dodrio A > A-
:musharna: Musharna A > A-
:qwilfish: Qwilfish A > A-
:sandslash-alola: Sandslash-Alola A > A-
:stoutland: Stoutland A > A-
:gurdurr: Gurdurr A+ > B+
:oricorio-pom-pom: Oricorio-Pom-Pom A > B+
:abomasnow: Abomasnow A- > B+
:absol: Absol A- > B+
:omastar: Omastar A- > B+
:oricorio-sensu: Oricorio-Sensu A- > B+
:combusken: Combusken A- > B
:ludicolo: Ludicolo A- > B
:articuno: Articuno B+ > B
:golurk: Golurk B+ > B
:persian-alola: Persian-Alola B+ > B
:swanna: Swanna B+ > B
:jynx: Jynx B+ > B-
:bronzor: Bronzor B > B-
:carbink: Carbink B > B-
:hitmonchan: Hitmonchan B > B-
:kabutops: Kabutops B > B-
:claydol: Claydol B > C+
:floatzel: Floatzel B > C+
:metang: Metang B > C+
:poliwrath: Poliwrath B- > C+
:throh: Throh B- > C+
:pinsir: Pinsir B > C
:type-null: Type: Null B > C
:turtonator: Turtonator B- > C
:zangoose: Zangoose B- > C
:dugtrio-alola: Dugtrio-Alola C+ > C
:mawile: Mawile C+ > C
:ursaring: Ursaring C+ > C
:raticate-alola: Raticate-Alola C+ > C-
:regice: Regice C+ > C-
:bellossom: Bellossom C > C-
:golem: Golem C > C-
:muk: Muk C > C-
:stunfisk: Stunfisk C > C-
:kecleon: Kecleon B- > UR
:jumpluff: Jumpluff C+ > UR
:cradily: Cradily C- > UR
:munchlax: Munchlax C- > UR
:beheeyem: Beheeyem D > UR

the full updated vr may be viewed here!
additionally, for your convenience, i organized all individual votes in this spreadsheet as well. i will note that the voting on mudsdale and drampa has been extremely close and would've likely ended in a tie if not for the odd voter number. i put them as S and A+ respectively for now but there's also justification to move both to S- in the future if desired.

-----

as for sample teams, unfortunately there are no updates as of now as we received no submissions, so i'll keep submissions open for the foreseeable future. some of our current teams are quite outdated at this point so please submit any teams you think are worthy of being added :)

-----

that's it for this week's SM spotlight! stay tuned for an exciting week of BW resource updates and discussion starting tomorrow!
 
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Akir

A true villain!
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Community Leader Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Staff Alumnus
BW PU Survey Results

Hello everyone, and welcome to BW PU. After the PL season I asked everyone that could to please fill out a survey on BW PU and their thoughts on the matter and now I come to show you the results. As I report all of this, I will try to keep my own personal opinion out of it as I already did my own response. Here is a BW VR Maker if you want to make your own VR!
Capture1.PNG

The survey starts with the most important question: is the tier fun? If the tier is not fun to play, then everything else falls to the wayside. The data from this trends very positively, with most people stating that the tier is above average on the vague topic of "fun." With this in mind, let's delve deeper into how the tier's health looks like.

Capture2.PNG

Capture3.PNG

Taking both of these charts into account, we get an interesting picture of how teambuilding feels in the format. While teambuilding is mostly easier-than-average, the following chart explains why: there is not terribly much diversity in terms of team options. Teambuilding is easy when Stunfisk exists as the best rocker by far, as an example. Additionally, the existence of certain threats like Zebstrika mandate a counter of some variety on most teams and countering Zebstrika can be challenging. While the majority of people do say that there is reasonable diversity, the other side is significant enough that the most accurate way to describe it is "mixed".

Teambuilding strain has been an ongoing problem with BW PU, even as far back as the revival era in 2017. Teambuilding is somewhat strained due to a select number of extreme powerhouses haunting the format, but luckily there are splashable walls to counteract this. Back in 2017, it was things like Rotom-Frost and Vigoroth and Throh...and now it is things like Monferno, Zebstrika, and Stunfisk. At this point I'm willing to concede that this might simply be the nature of the format and I do not have much interest in counteracting this. As for why I don't want to counteract it immediately: the ever-so-slight positive lean is stronger than it has been in the past, so it feels like the general power level of the 'upper crust' of BW PU is slowly sliding down into acceptable levels.

Capture4.PNG

This piece of data is, in my opinion, a general success. While there is a significant portion of responders who view the tier as 'average' when it comes to competitiveness, there are no solidly negative responses. Most are even very positive. This is a notable departure from previous versions of the format, where the public consensus was that BW PU was determined mostly by chance. So I see this as proof that things have moved in a generally positive direction over the years.

Capture5.PNG

Now it is time to address the elephant in the room: is the tier balanced? While this might seem redundant with previous questions, asking it here provides insight on how to properly read this chart. The majority of responders believe that there are some choice threats that are stronger than the rest of the tier, however as we saw earlier the tier is still mostly viewed as competitive. The combination of these two aspects gives the more firm answer of "The tier does have some power disparity, however it is within reasonable scope and does not heavily impact the overall feel of the format".

Another big takeaway from this chart is that 88.2% of all respondents did not think that there are any bluntly broken Pokemon in BW PU. This can mean several things however, so that brings us to the next chart:

Capture6.PNG

Now THAT is a split opinion. 47.1% of the tier oppose further action in any capacity, whereas 52.9% wants more. This reminds me a lot of the tier trying to decide whether Beheeyem should stay, with an effective 50/50 split on the topic. As stated before, I am trying to avoid putting my own opinion any further into the results, so unfortunately for now I will leave it at that. The tier is in stalemate over what direction to take the tier. The next question pokes at what people had in mind when they answered.

For this next question, I will simply type out the tally of things people wrote about. This question was optional, so I did not get as many responses on this one.

:bw/swanna:
3 responses for Swanna

:bw/monferno:
2 responses for Monferno

:bw/zebstrika:
2 responses for Zebstrika

:bw/simipour: :bw/gothorita: :bw/beheeyem:
These three each got 1 response, either to re-add Simipour/Gothorita or to ban Beheeyem

There were also concerns raised for Spikes and 1 vote about Klang being annoying. Overall this list does not surprise me in the slightest. The top 3 voiced concerns are, coincidentally, the top 3 offensive threats in the format and 3 of the top 4 mons. Beheeyem has also been on the banning radar for literal years at this point. I also hear the Simipour/Gothorita resuspect people, and have talked to Shane about potential ideas to address you all further but nothing is set in stone quite yet. I would love to hear people's more drawn out opinions on the issue, and I will also post the raw responses here:
free simipour perhaps

Free Gothorita

zebstrika, spikes

Swanna, I have some mixed feeling about this mon all the time, the way it constricts building is the biggest concerning point about it, so much that many people just go for the outoffense route, Scarf is still a good set but SubRoost is an absurd coinflip machine, with Scald burns and Hurricane confusions it can even beat stuff it shouldn't be beating like Frillish, Zweilous, Tentacool, Bronzor, etc. Ofc it can get the other side of coinflip and suddenly it starts missing every Hurricane in a bad day but if you don't have insane ways to outoffense it, using Klang + faster threat or real unusual things like Chinchou (who) you rarely consider yourself safe. Idk if this line is gonna make it into the results post but I legit wanna hear about Swanna from the other players, idt its too much to the point of instant action but I do wanna hear what the playerbase thinks about it.

Monferno, Beheeyem are like borderline hard to deal with. Klang is annoying and isn't super fun but not in the same way.

Swanna is just on the cusp of broken imo, at times it can fully run away with games where it REALLY shouldnt thanks to hurricanes/scalds procing every single turn from subroost

swanna and zebstrika are the two most challenging mons to answer in the builder

Monferno is just very strong imo but that strong to ban it



So what does this all mean? Well, the survey paints a picture of a format that still suffers from an upper crust of Pokemon notably more powerful than the rest but the upper part of the format is much more controlled and palitible than previous versions. Generally the format is very competitive and fun to play but the teambuilding can prove to be challenging without relying on well-worn staples that check the list of Pokemon that absolutely must be checked. But overall, people have fun and the format has rebounded from the years where people playing the tier would make jokes about not knowing what mons are even legal. As the metagame shifts over the course of PLs and discovery, I am excited to see where things will go next.

As a final sendoff, I am posting a handy VR maker for people to make their own, courtesy of @Shaneghoul. Let me know what you think of the tier! I will be posting my own thoughts on the format later!
 

LpZ

capy
is a Tiering Contributor
UUPL Champion
:bw/swanna: IS SWANNA A PROBLEM? :bw/swanna:

I wanted to make this post for a while now I feel like this is the appropriate time to do it, as you can see in the post above Swanna got 3 mentions on the survey and it was the most discussed pokemon to be mentioned as a potential problem. Today I wanna talk about it further.
Swanna is a very potent pokemon with a solid base 97 Speed and a serviceable base 87 SpAtk and although it is far from the bulkiest thing in the world it has enough bulk to soft-check some stuff like Monferno and Scraggy.

1. Why would it be a problem?

The stats of this mon are completely fine for the tier`s standards, the most noteworthy aspect of this mon tho is its movepool and STAB combination. The combination of STAB Scald/Surf and Hurricane not only is unresisted by anything not named Chinchou but it also creates some very inconvenient effects in matches with Scald`s burn chance and Hurricane`s confusion, both having 30% chance to proc and both being VERY annoying to deal with, burn from gen 2 to gen 6 takes off 12% per turn so it can be a very disruptive secondary effect and to complement that you got the confusion from Hurricane, which has an annoying 50% chance to make the opposing mon hit itself in BW. The combination of these secondary effects make so checking Swanna is just never too reliable as it can get past some of its natural checks with luck. Beyond that it has a good amount of opportunities to sub up and start fishing for secondary effects because it is very threatening to anything remotely frail. Notice how I enfatized Scald meaning I only took the SubRoost set into perspective but it also has a very functional Scarf set, showing the versatility this mon got, I still rate the SubRoost as the potentially problematic set but the Scarf set option creates some guessing games here and there.

2. Things going against it.

Even the toughest mons got drawbacks ofc and this is no exception. Swanna is very competent offensively, so much to the point of cheesing its way through checks, however its defensive profile lets to be desired, it soft-checks Monferno and Scraggy decently as I mentioned but it is considerably frail otherwise, being threatened by basically every faster mon while being unable to switch into many other stuff, it doesn`t suffer as much with the latter fact as there are plenty of excellent pivots to help Swanna come in but it is a fact nonetheless. This is all obvious but the main factor going against it is the inconsistency of Hurricane, confusion is very annoying and can enable Swanna to get past defensive stuff but the same Hurricane it wants to click the most is also 70% accuracy, basically meaning that the exact same chance you have to bs your way through checks with 30% confusion rate you also have 30% chance to just not hit something you are supposed to beat, making this mon look like a real coinflippy mon many times.

3. Checks.

:bw/klang: This is the best Swanna defensive check imo, but it requires a partner faster than Swanna to take advantage of its Volt Switches otherwise Swanna just subs up on every Volt and remains fine on the field. Although it can be haxed by burns and confusions it is not as easy to do so due to sheer bulk, the biggest problem for it is that it doesn't really like being asleep in all honesty, it is quite passive and easy to threaten out with the best mons in the tier and if you switch out while asleep your sleep turns reset, even with this problem it is the sturdiest you can get of a Swanna check without doing anything crazy.
:bw/zweilous: From here onwards things become much less reliable, Zweilous has an outstanding special bulk making it eat even neutral special hits very well including Swanna's Hurricane, however you are basically running a coinflip mon for another coinflip mon, it is true that you get forced to click Rest often too but at least it doesn't deslike being asleep as much as Klang as it can be kinda annoying to switch into it as it can stack up hazard chip with Roar or Dragon Tail and chip things with Crunch, but one Hurricane confusion makes things a lot more awkward while Zweilous is asleep and it gotta hit Crunch or DTail or pull Roar at least while praying to not get Rest from the rolls and not hit itself, so there is a lot of rng involved on this interaction.
:bw/tentacool: One proof of Swanna's dominance in the tier is the fact Tentacool can't really run Scald/Knock/TSpikes/Spin set comfortably anymore as this set is completely fodder for SubRoost, so for this matchup Tentacool usually runs either Sludge Bomb or HP Electric. Needless to say that it is a very inconsistent check due to not having any type of recovery during a match outside of something passing it Wish so it is really a short term check and it is not too reliable of an answer.
:bw/bronzor: I barely consider this one a check cuz of how inconsistent it is in the role but a Resttalk set can TRY to do something, but it needs a lot of luck to both hit all the Psywaves (which me and you know it is not happening) and get all the good pulls from Stalk.
:bw/audino: I don't ever consider this too much as a check but if you run a very specific Wish/Tect/Encore/Heal Bell set you can get something done, at the very least you can either abuse Swanna being locked into a move or you can try to PP stall the Swanna locking it to a move. DEdge sets don`t really beat it cuz burn means ur doing 0 to it, if you run a status move it means ur not running Heal Bell which makes you permanently burned, if you do run Heall Bell instead it gets the Heal Bell PP stalled pretty easily and it doesn`t hit Swanna hard enough.
:bw/frillish: It is not a check lets be real, incredibly inconsistent as the best you can do is Night Shade + Wisp, you got get a BUNCH of 50/50s right and good luck not getting confused, btw if you hit yourself you are getting 3hkod so it is 1 self-hit away of being beaten completely.
:bw/chinchou: This one is in case you get desperate, this is the only Swanna counter in the tier as it takes 0 from its hits while healing up with Rest and Swanna can`t really break through it at all. The problem is that Chinchou is just bad, it is easy to exploit and it honestly hates being asleep and without a cleric its NEVER waking up, even with a cleric its usually not worth running.
:bw/zebstrika: I`m only gonna mention Zebra as the one offensive check cuz many teams rely on it to beat Swanna, as you might have noticed checking Swanna defensively is painfully hard so offensive teams tend to overwhelm it with momentum against it and bringing Zebra when needed to threaten it out, Zebra can even take a Scald and go from there but it really hopes it doesn`t get burned. It is reliable cuz offense doesn`t tend to give many Swanna openings and Zebra answering it is fine.

4. What if it gets banned?

If it got banned I can say that Monferno and Scraggy would heavily appreciate it, but I think it would open many cases to use :pelipper: as replacement, Pelipper is another Water/Flying mon but with quite different stats, a much higher physical bulk than Swanna, only 2 points weaker on the special side but much slower than Swanna hitting a max of 251 speed. I consider Pelipper an even more versatile mon than Swanna, the problem is that SubRoost Swanna is 500x better than any type of set Pelipper can run, the much lower speed on Pelipper would also mean that it gets overwhelmed by offensive stuff much more easily, and offensive stuff is the big thing of the tier.
We would also be out of naturally fast Water mons as the fastest viable one would be Golduck, which is not that fast. Altho Pelipper can theoretically run the same SubRoost set Swanna used to run it isn`t nearly as effective, the lower speed is a huge deal for the set effectiveness, Monferno is faster and can catch you with Thunder Punch or simply U-turn out and you are much less threatening as you have more offensive counterplay available. It is true that at least the defensive stuff would still struggle a little bit to check as they do with Swanna.
It is just hard for me to say that Pelipper would be a good replacement as the speed, bulk and versatility differences between both are big factors to compare the effectiveness

Pelipper @ Leftovers
Ability: Rain Dish
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Substitute
- Scald
- Hurricane
- Roost

Pelipper @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Rain Dish
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Hydro Pump / Roost
- Hurricane
- Surf / Roost
- U-turn

Pelipper @ Flying Gem / Water Gem / Life Orb
Ability: Rain Dish
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Agility
- Hydro Pump / Surf
- Hurricane
- Roost / Substitute

Pelipper @ Leftovers / Rocky Helmet
Ability: Rain Dish
EVs: 248 HP / 192 Def / 68 SpA
Bold Nature
- Scald
- Knock Off / U-turn
- Hurricane / U-turn
- Roost

5. Conclusion

I simply don`t know where to stand on it, this mon is by far the biggest issue on builder and the way it can bs its way past any check is just unhealthy, but if the coin lands on the other side it just refuses to hit Hurricanes to be anything close to a consistent threat, if a vote would have to be held I would be really uncertain about my vote but currently leaning slightly towards ban.

As for the tierlist to update the VR refer to my previous post below:

Gonna tag everyone that played BW PU in PUPL and BWPL so you can post your tierlist of the tier, refer to the link posted by Akir on his post, if you also wanna post about Swanna it would be very appreciated and helpful
Tack Feaniix ninjadog Alkione dunoks EviGaro gorex skrimps Togkey Drud Shaneghoul DugZa
 
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skrimps

cry bozo
is a Top Artist Alumnus
I did enjoy playing and building BW PU quite a bit in PUPL, but I agree that Swanna was by far the most restrictive element of the BW PU builder. Water/Flying is an insane STAB combo, especially with Scald + Hurricane. I'll chime in with thoughts about some of LpZ's points.

This is all obvious but the main factor going against it is the inconsistency of Hurricane, confusion is very annoying and can enable Swanna to get past defensive stuff but the same Hurricane it wants to click the most is also 70% accuracy, basically meaning that the exact same chance you have to bs your way through checks with 30% confusion rate you also have 30% chance to just not hit something you are supposed to beat, making this mon look like a real coinflippy mon many times.
Players still need to account for the STAB combo in the builder as if Hurricane is 100% accurate, and 70% is still better than a coin flip. The confusion or burn chance should probably be accounted for as well. This all together restricts teambuilding immensely and would be my main reason for action. In practice, you might get bailed out by a miss, but Swanna's presence in the builder is so limiting on paper.

When building, I always aimed for four ways to handle Swanna as a whole (both SubRoost and Scarf) — a) two Pokemon faster; b) something fat that resisted Water STAB; and c) something fat that resisted Hurricane. It's a lot, but it felt necessary as a buffer against the odds.

LpZ nailed most of these explanations. Klang is the most reliable answer, but everything else is reliant on BW Sleep or too passive (besides Zebstrika). Zebstrika is already a tough Pokemon to drop, but outspeeding and OHKOing Swanna makes it even more essential. It's the second best Pokemon.

...but it also has a very functional Scarf set... [and] as you might have noticed checking Swanna defensively is painfully hard so offensive teams tend to overwhelm it with momentum against it...
I think Scarf Swanna is very good too which adds another layer to the necessary counterplay. Offensive answers get cooked by the coverage options, and honestly the Hurricane + Brave Bird combo is rough for Tentacool and Frillish.

Here are calcs into Def Tentacool:
  • 252+ SpA Swanna Hurricane vs. 248 HP / 0 SpD Eviolite Tentacool: 109-130 (38.5 - 45.9%) -- 94.1% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock
  • 0 Atk Swanna Brave Bird vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Eviolite Tentacool: 99-117 (34.9 - 41.3%) -- 9.8% chance to 2HKO after Stealth Rock
And here are calcs into SpDef Tentacool:
  • 252+ SpA Swanna Hurricane vs. 248 HP / 252+ SpD Eviolite Tentacool: 79-94 (27.9 - 33.2%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock
  • 0 Atk Swanna Brave Bird vs. 248 HP / 0 Def Eviolite Tentacool: 171-202 (60.4 - 71.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock
There's no way to reasonably avoid a 2HKO from both Flying STABs. On paper, there's always a chance that your answer here loses. That sucks.

If it got banned I can say that Monferno and Scraggy would heavily appreciate it, but I think it would open many cases to use Pelipper as replacement...
I think Scraggy could become a genuine titan. Swanna's Hurricane is so crucial for checking Scraggy after a Bulk Up or two. Monferno gets better, but I'm uncertain that this would push it into banworthy conversations.

I do like that Swanna sits above the 80/81/82/85 Speed range. It helps to balance the metagame. The supposed replacement Pelipper is still weak to Stealth Rock and its middling Speed means that it can't capitalize on the Pokemon that it checks. Monferno's STAB + U-Turn after Stealth Rocks chips Pelipper enough to where you Roost more than you'd like to. Gabite and Shiftry outspeed max Speed Pelipper, but threats that Swanna could typically revenge like Torterra or Rampardos will outspeed a Def Pelipper too. Tentacool could even outspeed to Knock Off Pelipper's Leftovers, meaning that a Monferno can now do 50% with STAB + U-Turn after SR. Pelipper is then a one-time Monferno answer at best. Back to relying on Stunfisk's Static.

If a vote would have to be held I would be really uncertain about my vote but currently leaning slightly towards ban.
I do think Swanna serves as valuable glue to the BW PU metagame, but i fear that its restrictiveness in the builder outweighs the benefits of keeping it.

---

In other news, here's my personal VR (loosely ordered within tiers too) based on my experience in PUPL:

1696556204036.png


D-Rank -- Chinchou sucks, and Emolga is OHKO'd by a Zebstrika HP Ice.
 
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EviGaro

is a Member of Senior Staffis a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Battle Simulator Staff Alumnus
Super Moderator
1696719881403.png


- I think Monferno is pretty clearly the best mon in this meta, its very customizable, is a massive threat to virtually all playstyles that need to account for it unlike anything else in the tier.

- The psychics are still very good, despite Scraggy's relatively recent rise. Beheeyem still does many cringe things, and Duosion has a lot of qualities that force really awkward building options. Torterra is the best ground, one of the best setup mons, best rocker, top cb, honestly I could put it in S. Zebstrika is the less thought inducing mon in the meta and that's honestly valuable.

- I'm always a bit more down on Bronzor, but this is very favourable to it and its easily around A, most random knocks you see on teams are largely designed for it in mind first. Gabite is very flexible. Golduck is always the best anti weather, and probably the best water scarfer now that Simipour is rightly gone. Klang is an amazing pivot, so can be Mawile, but SD Mawile remains the tier's best stallbreaker by a mile. Stunfisk has been on a deserved rise recently, though I still doubt that Specs Stunfisk would go crazy here. Plume seems to be on a more down trajectory though, but I still believe, as its really good offensively and defensively, no matter what see you opt for. Rapidash is imo the best wielder of gems in the tier, and a really underappreciated wallbreaker on builds other than sun. It's extremely awkward to counter for most teams.

- As for Swanna... I kinda stopped playing the tier a bit last year, but coming back, to me it was the exact same thing it always was. It's a good mon for sure, and sub has been consistently ok since its peak during the pandemic, but... that's about it? Its defensive profile is very questionable, sub struggles with klang being so good volting into any of the faster mons that can threaten it - and that's a fairly long list, as with rocks up it doesn't adequately check any of them - which is just very awkward. The psychics abuse it, as it just doesn't hit hard enough and requires multiple hurricane hits to work. It's an okay scarfer, I have used it for sure... but it's hard to justify over Golduck when its weather matchup is so poor and is so widly inconsistent. If I wanted a flying type failsafe, I would always use Dodrio over it.

- Free Gothorita
 

Akir

A true villain!
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Community Leader Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Staff Alumnus
Well it's my turn, finally. I went 5-1 overall in my PL building, and probably would have gone higher but I was on the same team as LpZ and that guy can definitely build for himself. Even so, it was very nice to have somebody to discuss and debate the tier with so I had a great time anyway. PL season and building BW is something I look forward to every year. Here's my personal VR though:

BW PU Oct 2023.png

There is no specific order in the subranks. If they are in the same rank, then they are comparatively equal more often than not.

:bw/monferno:
For my first uncontroversial mention, Monferno is in my opinion the best mon in the format. Not because it is broken, but because the majority of teams want a Monferno and those that don't have one probably considered it. Its 60%+ usage over the past 2 years is not a fluke, Monferno is just a consistent and solid 8/10 in every role you could ask of it while providing it in a cozy package. Revenge killer, aoa glue, wallbreaker (you even have a choice of wallbreaker sets), and even hazard setter. The amount of options on this mon isn't enough to smash the tier but it is enough to be the glue that many builders are addicted to.

:bw/swanna:
As for my opinion of Swanna, I am not sold on it being broken yet. It is, however, very annoying when things falls into place. One thing that is in Swanna's favor though is that the metagame is actually slowing down and that plays really well into Subroost. The scarf set I think fits into the meta very well but the Sub set is annoying if you don't have the correct prep already in place. Hey, haven't I heard this before?

:bw/zebstrika:
The year is 2123 and Akir is still making the same Voltturn teams he always has. Zebstrika is probably my most used mon and easily slides into Top 3 in the tier for me, and with the Fire Gem set keeping relevance from last year I'm sorry Zeb can really just be a pain to properly prep for. Still have plenty of checks, but what is a ""good"" Ground is determined in my opinion entirely by how well the Zeb mu goes.

:bw/stunfisk:
The dude. Overall just about everything I want from a rocker at the moment. Stopped cold by Torterra and a couple other mons but Tort is such a handy way for dealing with so many high value targets (monferno, zeb, can even soft check swanna if you are really desperate) that it really binds teams together. Teams by the end of PUPL started moving away from Stunfisk in favor of bulkier Grass mons, but the allure of Stunfisk is still very strong. It was the #2 most used mon for several tournaments for a reason.

And now I will bounce around some.

:bw/torterra:
Still an excellent mon, really and truly, and I use it a lot even still. I genuinely think Torterra is a very strong pick for more offensive teams as a rocker that counters Stunfisk while still doing good damage. BUT. I have felt like a drop to A has been warranted for a while now. The rise of a lot of Pokemon that stop it, like Bronzor and Jumpluff usually, and the fall of other mons that Tort is good against means that it just isn't as consistently good as a lot of the other A+ mons. Honestly I think the Top 4 are just a step above. Still a great mon though, like all of the As.

:bw/beheeyem:
Making a stop of Beh just to say that it's still a menace and it can still obliterate you if you don't prep for it. But prepping for it has been consistently getting easier as time goes on. Still a strong mon, but I wouldn't vote to ban it. Also the Defensive NP set is the best set at the moment imo.

:bw/jumpluff:
Unironically my favorite mon in the tier to use. U-turn support with Encore and healing/good defensive typing is so handy for a glue mon. STAB Acro is also just stupid, but means Jumpluff is ironically walled by Rocks and Stunfisk. So not a hard mon to counter, but a hard mon to pin down.

:bw/klang:
I seem to have ranked Klang lower than a lot of people. It's still a great mon and I use it a ton, but the problem is that it's just so passive. Volt Switch also means that it invites in a lot of mons I would rather not bring in. Even so, it would not take a lot of convincing for me to throw it into A again.

:bw/simisear:
Try out Specs if you haven't, it hits like a truck. I have no doubt that we would take this away from ZU if the tiers were still moving. The accuracy is a huge pain though, and the difference between 2HKOing Stunfisk really is Flamethrower vs Fire Blast.

:bw/Natu: :bw/purugly:
So I mess with these two a lot and I feel like there is some mistiering going on. Natu does get forced out by Stunfisk/Rampardos/Marowak and that is very bad. However, walling Torterra/Maractus/Tentacool/defensive Mawile/Bronzor is really good! It is a double edged sword but putting it below things like Muk is just criminal. If Natu dies after winning the hazard war then it did its job. Realistically mainly for offense only. Purugly is also not quite as good as people make it out to be: excellent revenge killer, but walled by just about every single gluemon in the format. So as it turns out, Purugly just U-Turns the vast majority of the time and that is nice but I find myself wishing it was some better Voltturn mon a lot. I did test throwing Leftovers on Purugly though to make it last forever and it was good.

:bw/fraxure:
So much of Fraxure's viability is on paper. Fraxure is an incredibly rare sight, and rarer still to have it do anything. DD requires 2 uses to sweep, as it is just barely too slow otherwise. Fraxure is also just barely not bulky enough to get consistent setup opportunities, but the typing is good. Mainly my issue with the mon at the moment is the absolute lack of tournament presence. It has remained very high for a mon that nobody even thinks about in building. I have been working with a SD/Taunt set to stallbreak and it has promise but I need more tests. Mainly I just want to see this mon more before I humor it any longer.


For me, the tier effectively ends at B. B- is filled with mons that can squeeze in a niche when the sun shines right but I don't think about them terribly much. C is mons that have a niche but are either too difficult/too specific to flesh out consistently. D is ZU mons. That means you Korkorok and Relicanth, you will be first on the chopping block.

Overall I think this tier is in a very strong position overall and I have no want or intention of changing it in the near future. More than anything, I see that the tier is actually starting to slow down and nestle into a more defensive tone and I can't help but be incredibly curious where it goes. Building is definitely restricted but the presence of such strong gluemons like Stunfisk and Torterra allow for more team variety in terms of team purpose. So honestly a lot of the true character of the tier is in the play of it. Teams can sometimes look same-y but then play completely differently and every match comes down to how the player utilizes the tools they deemed to bring. If you want to see what I mean, just load a team up and give it a try. The gameplay of this format is unique and a blast to play and I cannot wait for RoA to make it into a ladder again so I can climb to the top once again. Probably with TR Beh.

As a final note, I have been slow on the VR update and I apologize for that, but it's because I'm planning my wedding. Yes, those are my johns. They are legitimate but they are my johns. I'm still going to aim to have that VR update done by tomorrow though, so if you haven't posted a VR yet please do so! I love reading every opinion that comes my way about this tier.
 

Akir

A true villain!
is a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Community Leader Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Staff Alumnus
lol double post

BW PU VR UPDATE
BW PU Oct 2023 Final.png


Rises:
Monferno A+ to S

Bronzor A- to A
Vileplume A- to A

Rampardos B+ to A-
Ursaring B to A-
Zweilous B+ to A-

Glalie B to B+
Rapidash B to B+
Sneasel B- to B+

Abra B- to B
Articuno B- to B
Glaceon C to B
Leafeon B- to B

Dragonair C to B-
Grumpig C to B-
Murkrow D to B-
Whiscash UR to B-

Bibarel UR to C
Clefairy UR to C
Lampent D to C
Raichu D to C
Slaking UR to C
Solrock UR to C
Staryu UR to C

Dustox UR to D
Eelektrik UR to D
Luxray UR to D
Mantine UR to D
Pikachu UR to D
Regigigas UR to D
Whirlipede UR to D

Falls:

Beheeyem A+ to A

Gabite A to A-
Maractus A to A-

Audino A- to B+
Dodrio A- to B+
Dwebble A- to B+
Frillish A- to B+
Swoobat A- to B+

Krokorok B to B-

Relicanth B- to C

Emolga B- to D

Thanks to everyone for their opinions! The BW PU VR has been updated, and many mons were added to the lower levels. This is looking good going into PUWC, so now I'm off to go write more of the smogdex. If you want to help with that, just come find me. BW PU is also looking for more samples, so if you have an easy-to-pilot team you have stashed away, send it my way as well. Hope to see you all next time, when I don't do my usual shadow update.
 
Thanks for a great job last week Akir, now it's SS PU's turn to shine!! Like with SM, we'll be looking to update the Viability Rankings and sample teams, as they've stayed largely unchanged since the Scrafty ban took place. We've chosen a list of qualified members to help out based on the following criteria:
  • PUPL - 3 wins or 5 games
  • SSPL - 3 wins or 5 games
  • SS PU Cup - Finalists
the list of qualified voters is as follows:
Shaneghoul
gum
mj
OranBerryBlissey10
Dj Breloominati♬
Meri Berry
DugZa
sensei axew
tier
Leni
TheFranklin
Staxi

Some notes about the vr process:
  • We'll be using this tier maker list to vote, please post a screenshot of your tier list here in the thread once you're done voting. You're also welcome and encouraged to discuss any of your placements or the tier as a whole. Once the deadline is met i'll aggregate all votes and present the updated vr here. Of course you can fill out your own tier list and share it here even if you're not a qualified voter, we'd love to hear everyone's opinions out!
  • We only added the currently tiered mons to the tier maker list, so if you'd like to vote for a currently unranked mon to get ranked then please write it down in your message.
  • Again, reasonings are fully optional but very appreciated!
  • Try to get your lists in before Saturday night so that I can compile and post them Sunday, thanks!
1696870766047.png
 
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Going to kick things off with my list:

1696854705561.png



I've ordered the subranks and will try and talk a little bit about some of my placements. As a general overview, I feel like SS PU is a metagame that's very much dominated by its top threats, which is why some of these sub-rankings may feel somewhat tight, especially A+ and A.

S-Rank
Placing Gigalith as the best Pokemon in the tier shouldn't be too controversial, as it dominates the metagame and it's hard to build consistent teams without it. I considered having S-Rank just be Gigalith but I decided to also place Sandslash here, as it provides so much for teams. The set versatility is incredible, with a customisable toolset due to its great moveable and stats + ability that allows it to go offensive or defensive, or somewhere in between which it often ends up being on my team. I think it holds the meta together to a certain degree and functions well on teams with or without Gigalith support, so I'm confident with it in S.


A-Rank
A+
This is a fair bit different to the current VR, which has Sandslash and Doublade in A+, but aside from the omission of Doublade, I don't think this placing should be too contentious to anyone who's kept up with the tier. Ribombee has fallen off its peg as an S-tier Pokemon slightly, despite still being incredible and topping A+ for me. QD sets don't pressure teams enough and I've found choiced sets to be the strongest right now, which, while great, struggle with hazards still. Eldegoss is super super splashable and always functions well in battles, Regenerator is just so strong and will always make it an impactful mon in games. Answering to Gigalith while also cleanly fitting alongside it is also a huge bonus. Archeops defines offensive builds for me, and it can fulfil a Gigalith-lite role on these builds, switching into Zard and maintaining pressure in the process. Physical and special sets are incredible and I think without it offense would barely exist as a playstyle. Weezing is my biggest riser up from A-, but it's just so consistent in what it does combined with tspikes being incredible. Levitate is one of the few defensive answers to Sandslash, notably pressuring Giga-Slash cores quite heavily by getting in easily and setting tspikes and Neutralising Gas sets are just a pain to kill while being incredibly disruptive (and absorbing tspikes, often set by opposing Weezings).

A
Another pretty tight grouping, Charizard keeps its peg in A as it's still super splashable and often a death sentence to offensive builds that can't afford Gigalith. Guno is a key riser for me as both specs and pivot future sight sets had a big showing this PUPL, doing a really good job of pressuring defensive builds with either sheer damage or future sight pivoting to force favourable matchups. Audino also jumps two places for me, as it has found its way nicely onto balance builds alongside Eldegoss, forming a regen core that's near impossible to kill. Shoutouts to gum for this one as I think he's made some fantastic Audino builds and has changed my opinion on it. Also, run encore. At the bottom of A, we have the ever-contentious Doublade, which has been performing worse and worse in-game in my opinion as the meta continues to develop. I've always said it's hard to justify Pokemon with no recovery options in SS PU, as it's a metagame based around longevity, and Doublade fails this check as it's forced to run Eviolite and only has rest if it wants to recover HP. Most teams can naturally fit multiple defensive options for it, such as Weezing, Sandslash, Eldegoss and Audino, all top-tier mons that find their way onto teams anyway, as well as slightly more niche options like Quagsire, Wishiwashi, Mareanie, Sableye and Tangela and there are also several soft checks available like Vikavolt, Shiftry and Magneton. Checking Doublade has never been easier in my eyes and I often find it hard to justify on teams because it will often do nothing in a matchup. Yes there are occasional games where you manage to weaken all its checks throughout a game and it cleans late game but that's sort of what you expect from any set-up sweeper and not something that makes Doublade especially potent. It's still a good mon for sure as its defensive toolset is quite strong, but I've liked it less and less as time has gone on.

A-
A- is where I see the tier start to open up a little bit, as you have some slightly flawed defensive options and some great breakers. Ferro, Jellicent and Quagsire were all previously A- and shouldn't be too surprising. I think Wishi has struggled a bit in an Eldegoss filled meta which is why it drops from A. And then I've bumped Magneton, Qwilfish and Vikavolt all up one from B+, mainly due to how potent they are offensively, as they all do a good job at breaking traditional GigaSlash builds. Finally, I've bumped Super-Geist up from C, as I think it has consistently performed excellently across SSPL and PUPL. It's another one of those mons that pressure GigaSlash structures, but it also has the added benefit of blocking Slash and Eldegoss from spinning and is one of the few offensive Slash answers available for offensive builds. My only gripe with it is that it's kind of awkward to build with due to Poltergeist restrictions, but I think it's worthy of an A- peg.


B-Rank
B+
I think there's a big drop off from the A to the B ranks, though all these Pokemon, B+ through B-, can be pretty good in the right setting and there's nothing here that I wouldn't be comfortable bringing to a tour game. Whimsicott in B+ is probably the only controversial look here. I think Whimsicott is fine, but I also feel like it's a Pokemon I actively look to avoid adding to teams as including it is usually a sign that there's something wrong with the team. The lack of longevity is huge and it often feels like a stop-gap Pokemon that tries to plug too many holes. Centi is cool for breaking fat, though the rise of Arhceops along with Zard still being great makes it a bit harder to run. I really like Shiftry right now and thought about slotting it into A-, it tears up Giga-balance and isn't deadweight into offense either, I just wish it did a bit more immediate damage. I could see this rising even higher next year though. I love Sneasel as an idea but it's hard to make work in practice and I don't think it can justify an A placement because of that. Aggron just competes too much with Gigalith and Slash, and Ferro to a lesser extent. I used to like it on more offensive builds but I've found more success having Slash or Archeops or even Gunfisk being the rocker and it has led to Aggron dropping for me. Ninjask was a big riser for me this PUPL and I find I'm adding it to more and more teams. The speed tier is just incredible and it beats offense in just one slot, huge fan of this right now. Gallade is the same as it ever was, while Gunfisk is a big riser up from C, being the centrepoint of some very interesting and generally successful BO builds which utilise Gunfisk as the rocker and usually Archeops + some water to deal with fires. Very fun builds and a nice alternative to Gigalith stuff that I find can be quite potent. Comfey I absolutely love as priority + set up in the one slot. The Life Orb sets are great and like Ninjask they basically prevent you from losing to offensive builds, on top of providing Heal Bell support in a pinch. Can be a fun mon to run over Ribombee when Bee isn't needed as much. Steelvally I like quite a lot for its Work Up set, whereas Ghostvally has fallen out of favour for me. I tried to make it work a lot this PUPL but it just doesn't break the way you want it to with mons like Audino and Quag hard walling it, loved the idea of this mon post-Scrafty ban but I've liked it less and less recently. Finally, rises from C alongside Gunfisk for its Meteor Beam set which is terrifying to face. Meteor Beam offense is still super strong and Aurorus is a major reason why as it kills most of the tier at +1 and we don't have the priority or speed to RK it at +2 speed.

B
I like Frosmoth quite a lot and thought about putting it in B+ but opted for top of B instead. Teams are getting better and better at pressuring Gigalith and Frosmoth loves that as Gigalith is sort of the one thing stopping this thing from being broken. Needs a very specific team style to support it though which is why I've kept it in B. Tangela fell off hard for me after I was in love with it towards the end of the gen, and I've basically stopped running it. It can't keep its item, struggles to play into hazards and most importantly competes with Eldegoss for a team slot, which usually does a better job as a defensive grass. Cincinno I like on the right build, but it's hard to make work and it can sometimes flop heavily in battle depending on what you load into (and it can also just take games too). Coal has seen a bit of a resurgence on grassy terrain teams and I think it's one of the playstyle's strongest attributes as it loves the passive recovery and weakened eq. Altaria in B is just giving it credit as a stall mon, as I think stall is a B-tier team style right now. Trevenant I like, and I think its place on grassy terrain teams is really interesting, but it's so hard to fit on teams normally and it has the same Poltergeist constraints as Super-geist, while not providing the defensive utility geist does. A solid mon on the right team but hard to make work. Conda on the other hand is a mon I've outlawed from my builder and I'd be tempted to drop it even lower if I didn't see others still using it a good amount. It doesn't provide the resistances you want right now in a rocker and both rocks and coil sets are Eldegoss food. If I wanted to run a defensive ground type I'd just use Slash which can at least pretend to pressure Goss. Super super low on Conda right now and I think people should stop using it.

B-
Absol is pretty cool and SD and CB are both fun to use, but it's a limited mon and doesn't have the resistances Shiftry has or the speed Sneasel has which gives them an easier time getting in. The damage output is nice though. Toge I dislike as a mon and it sort of gets the Conda treatment, but I could at least see myself using it as an occasional Magneton answer. My beloved Mareanie has failed me as of late as I tend to look to Qwilfish more often for the added offense it can provide teams with, and because defensive waters just aren't that great/useful in this tier. Grassvally I've had some fun with, and I like what it can do into GigaSlash builds, but it's just so bad into Weezing and to a lesser extent Doublade that it feels like a fish a lot of the time. Glastrier I played around with this PUPL and had some success with a Jolly taunt set that can take advantage of Weezing to boost freely. I think it's purely a mon for HO teams and think it's been miscast as a breaker on balance teams that may have lowered opinions on it. Next is the grassy terrain package minus Comfey, which has utility outside of these builds, and I ordered them in terms of how threatening they are. I think Lee is what makes grassy terrain semi-viable right now while Thievul and Swoobat have been sort of disappointing as they rarely seem to do much in practice. Haunter I admittedly haven't used a lot but I've seen it used enough to decent success that I'm happy having it in B-. Lycanroc I find very hard to justify as it's just so bad into Sandslash and Doublade, but it's mandatory on pure sand teams which I still think are somewhat viable. Mesprit has some fun stuff it can still run like NP Kasib or physical sets, and Healing Wish is very big for it. Jolteon I don't like and I've never really seen it do much at all, but I know some people swear by it so I've compromised by putting it at the bottom of B-.


C-Rank
Not going to go into full details about these. I still think all of these mons have some sort of niche in the tier though and they could all just about work if they're on the right build. There's nothing here that I wouldn't bring to a tour game on account of it being bad, but more so it's just quite difficult to make these work.


Samples
I've also got a team I'd like to submit for the sample teams. This is the team I used in the semi-finals of PUPL vs Tuthur and is a pretty good representation of what I think the meta looks like at the moment, as the goal for this build was to make something consistent that can handle itself into any match-up.

:weezing::sandslash::gigalith::shiftry::jellicent::ribombee:
This team is what I would consider as prototypical SS PU balance. The team revolves around Gigalith as the defensive centrepiece and Shiftry as the offensive centrepiece. The goal is usually going to be to use your defensive Pokemon to soak up damage and apply pressure with status and hazards, along with using Ribombee to cripple defensive cores either by clicking Moonblast or tricking away its Choice Specs, usually onto an opposing Gigalith. Shiftry and Sandslash both serve as excellent late-game cleaning options with Swords Dance, as Sandslash can boost its speed with sand set by Gigalith, or do so itself by clicking Rapid Spin, and Shiftry has priority Sucker Punch to prevent revenge killers. Sitrus berry on Weezing allows it to deal with Poltergeist Pokemon like Gourgeist and Trevenant, and the EVs on Jellicent allow it to 1v1 Eldegoss, preventing it from spinning by comfortably taking Grass-type moves and outspeeding and taunting it to prevent Sleep Powders. Eldegoss is also often taken advantage of by Shiftry, which can allow you to get a free Swords Dance, or just simply click Knock Off which will often be removing Heavy-Duty Boots.


Final Thoughts
I absolutely loved this past PUPL and I was able to pour my heart and soul into SS PU. I truly love it as a metagame with much more depth than people often give it credit for. The meta's in a far better state than it was 9 months ago and I think people often write it off for what the meta used to be as opposed to what it is right now. My only issues with it revolve around how strong some of our special attackers are but I think this can be accounted for with enough builder creativity and I really think it's a metagame that rewards meta-knowledge. We saw this PUPL that it was the players familiar with the tier that excelled and this defines SS PU for me. It's a metagame that rewards metagame knowledge and strategic play and you can usually be confident that the better play will win. The metagame is in a great state at the moment and I can't wait to play it again in the next team tour!
 
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