Lower Tiers RBY UU Discussion Thread

SBPC

stranded on an island
is a Forum Moderator Alumnus
uu_discussion.png

With the Dragonite suspect test concluded, I've been allowed to free the new RBY UU Discussion Thread! You can discuss anything related to the RBY UU Metagame here, such as teams, metagame trends, unique sets and more! Find the Viability Rankings here.

Rules

• Do not ask basic questions here, go to the Simple Question Simple Answer thread for that.
• No one-liners, contribute to the discussion at hand.
• If posting a replay, explain what makes it significant and the like.
• Posts should have a relation to RBY UU and not deviate from the standard ruleset.

Clauses
Species Clause - One Pokemon of its species per team.
Tradeback Clause - Moves obtained via the Time Capsule in GSC are banned.
Evasion Clause - Minimize and Double Team are banned.
OHKO Clause - Horn Drill, Guillotine, and Fissure are banned.
Invulnerability Clause - Dig and Fly are banned.
Cleric Clause - Pokemon are healed prior to a battle, so no pre-status, etc.
The following Pokemon are banned: Alakazam, Chansey, Cloyster, Exeggutor, Gengar, Jolteon, Jynx, Lapras, Mew, Mewtwo, Rhydon, Slowbro, Snorlax, Starmie, Tauros, Victreebel, Zapdos

Mods
These are mods implemented on Pokemon Showdown! for quality of life reasons.
Sleep Clause Mod - Only one Pokemon can be put to sleep by an opponent.
Freeze Clause Mod - Only one Pokemon can be frozen by an opponent.
Desync Clause Mod - Moves that would cause a desync on cartridge fail.


Some starter prompts:
- The results of the Dragonite suspect test
- Opinions on Wrap and its place in the RBY UU Metagame (Please read this post before commenting on this topic)
- Potential rises (Aerodactyl)
- Lapras and Victreebel's potential to drop to UU
 
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phoopes

I did it again
is a Community Leaderis a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
RoA Leader
already posted this in Discord but my reaction to Dragonite not being banned:



In all seriousness though, going off the starter prompts I think more than just Aerodactyl has the potential to rise to UU. I think at this point the vast majority of players already consider Aero a UU 'mon, but something that has been slowly gaining some traction over the past few months has been Clefable. To me it seemed like Clef could have possibly gone unranked a few months ago but then Hipmonlee was like "whoa, you're really underrating Clefable," and people experimented with it and... look at where we are now. Most people are ranking it C+ and I only see it getting more traction from there. It can sponge a few hits, dish out status, and deal some good damage to boot. Personally, I've been using EB0LA's Golem + Clef team a good bit recently and it's kind of challenging to run but really satisfying when you pull it off. Definitely give it a spin sometime:

https://pokepast.es/5912933187b1c964
 

Volk

Demonstrably alive.
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
I feel like talking about RBY UU right now, so I think I'll answer some of these fun prompts.

The Dragonite Suspect Test
I am evidently pretty cynical about this whole thing, so I'm not going to spend a whole bunch of time on this to make myself and others unhappy. I was really hoping that we would get to see an APT (Agility + Partial-Trapping) Ban, mainly because I think it would have added a lot more depth to the tier. While the numbers unambiguously indicate that APT is not this unstoppable strategy that always wins, one cannot deny the influence the strategy has on tier. I still find it disappointing how many Pokemon are forced to run Toxic (imagine how many times APT would succeed if Toxic didn't exist) just to keep this strategy at bay. Considering this fact and the numerous Pokemon that could have seen a real uptick in viability, I think we would have seen the meta diversify for the better. Alas, the votes are in and that's that. I do really hope we revisit this in the future, as I really think the "Ban Dragonite, Do Not Ban Dragonite" framing really did unfairly disadvantage the anti-APT cause and misrepresent the goals of the two largest sectors of the community. Maybe if in a year we still see complaints, we can go at this again, the right way this time. I don't know and it is beyond my power.

Opinions On Wrap
It's cool.

Potential Rises
My main concern with this is how and when we will go about doing this. With Dragonite locked into this tier and a bunch of VRs haven been just posted in the VR Thread, sooner is definitely looking better than later. Friendly reminder to post your VR if you are interested in the tier and haven't already! For me personally, I really enjoying looking at these, as they give some insight on how others think and might reveal some things you may have missed.

I would hope Aerodactyl would move up. I know some of the elders of the tier aren't in love with it, but I really do urge any doubters to mess around with it. I've been enjoying it a lot and have had a ton of success with it. It seems to be pretty common in Tournament too now. If you are curious about how to use it, I have numerous teams that I could share and explain. The short version is "use Aerodactyl when you need a Dugtrio check and additional Speed, but you only have one more slot available." Aerodactyl is really solid and very easy to add to teams.

Then you have the Fringe Five™: Poliwrath, Raichu, Dewgong, Clefable, and Raticate. Out of all of these, I think Poliwrath has the strongest case for UU right now. I haven't played with it in a while, but I feel it is the most consistent and easy to build with out of the bunch. It still suffers from an overall lack of enthusiasm; nobody seems to feel like using it. I do like Clefable quite a lot, and have been a pretty ardent defender of it along with Shellnuts. It can be a lot of fun and some team structures really do uniquely benefit from it. My main issue with it is that it doesn't really offer any major element of utility. RBY UU has a lot of roles that need to be filled: Wrapper, Sleeper, Sweeper, Bulky Water, Tentacruel Answer, Dugtrio Check, Articuno Check, and so on. Clefable doesn't really fit any of these, outside of Paralysis Spreader, if such a thing is in demand at all. This leads to Clefable feeling awkward in a lot of matches, unable to comfortably switch in (which is truly hampered by that Speed stat) and exert any influence on games. This all being said, I still firmly believe that Clefable is very much viable and can be really dangerous with smart play. I'm not opposed to it being UU, but I wouldn't personally push for it to be UU at this time. As far as the others go, I still like Dewgong from time to time, but I'm not really sure just how many niche Bulky Water Pokemon we need in this tier. Dewgong certainly is good and is the best choice for some teams, but I'm not sure if its frequency in matches is enough to justify a placement in UU. Yet again, however, I'm not totally opposed to it. Raichu and Raticate seem to have lost a ton of popularity right now. Both seem fine, but nobody seems to really be backing either of them. I see potential in both of them, and my love-hate relationship with Raichu continues (it could be so good but just never seems to work...).

Lapras and Victreebel
I think it might be too soon to make any meaningful comments about these two. I think Lapras will get sent to UUBL immediately, mainly because I think it would pretty fundamentally change the tier, even if it wasn't necessarily "broken." Victreebel will probably be allowed in (or allowed back, if you will), and we will probably see Venusaur take his leave and brighten the day of NU players everywhere (like a year later, unless we streamline that).

Some Other Stuff
As far as rises go, I think it is worth briefly considering NU for a moment. If UU steals Clefable, I think NU will sorely miss it, and I think stuff like Mr. Mime could potentially be banned. That would be a pretty huge change for the tier. Aerodactyl on the other hand, I don't think anyone will really miss. I think it is a bit underrated in NU right now, but I'd be lying if I said it should be staple. Weird how that works, huh?

I think the general trajectory of the metagame right now is Hyper Offense. Hyper Offense can trace its roots to mid-2020, but I really think it has finally begun being perfected. On the Physical side, we have Kangaskhan + Persian cores that can plow through just about anything; on the Special side, we have builds with Pokemon like Haunter, Venusaur, and/or Tangela that have been designed to wring every ounce of viability out of Articuno. I think offense teams are the teams to beat right now. There is definitely a time and a place for Omastar in today's game. Or maybe just use even stronger offense. Dragonite is also a really strong choice right now. And please, please, try other sets. Offensive Dragonite sets without Agility + Wrap are extremely good and highly consistent, being great for slowing down Normal-type Pokemon and snagging crucial Paralysis. This Pokemon can be so interesting if you just allow it to be!

Finally, Sleep is low key extremely broken and if OU banned it, I would not really be opposed to transitivity in any capacity. It makes offense extremely potent, defensive play a lot weaker (as Rest can always be punished), and adds a lot of unnecessary variance (especially when we still got APT floating around). I think teams without Sleep are largely not good.

Dragonair is dumb.

So that's it for now. I'll probably be periodically editing this to add a few thoughts and clean up my spelling and grammar, so keep an eye out for that, I guess. Cheers all and happy Wrapping!
 
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May

I need a cuppa...
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May as well give my thoughts on the prompts.

The results of the Dragonite suspect test
I'm surprised at the results, but also not. I don't know how to explain it in English, haha. Lusch, Hipmonlee, and phoopes really put in a good case for why AgiliWrap's inconsistency can balance things out, and I think that may have played a big part in Dragonite staying in the tier. It's a very interesting precedent for AgiliWrap staying in RBY, and I'm eager to see how it goes moving forward.

Opinions on Wrap and its place in the RBY UU Metagame
Fantastic. Love it. Good tier. Also putting in a shameless plug for the Wrap guide that's in progress right now, anyone reading it should check that out and give opinions!

Potential rises (Aerodactyl)
I'm pretty sure we're gonna see Aerodactyl rise, though I've seen some quiet gravitation towards Clefable after Hipmonlee started shilling it a few months ago. I tested it pretty extensively back in March and can see it going up to C, maybe higher. There are some teams and sets there for anyone interested. Another hidden gem that I think could head up is Dewgong, which has been rapidly becoming more important as Shellnuts continues his Articuno-fuelled rampage...

Lapras and Victreebel's potential to drop to UU
I think people need to explore Lap+Vic UU a bit more in accordance with that new drop policy. We have plenty of time, just need to see people dedicate themselves. I'm open to it myself, personally! Lapras will either settle in as a top tier or get banned, no inbetween, while Victreebel would settle back in like it did back in 2017ish and possibly make Venusaur drop back down to NU.

I may ramble a bit another day, but these are my general thoughts.
 

pac

Respect Kazuki Takahashi
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Think we need to act remember this is a thing haha, we've been used to posting in the VR thread. Gonna try and drive discussion here.

Since this has last been used, few things happened.
  1. Aerodactyl and Dewgong joined UU! Welcome!
  2. Lapras and Victreebel dropped to OU by Technicality, with potential to drop to UU in 2 years! Fear!
  3. The RBY UU VR got updated in general! We got a fleshed out D and E rank, and everything is much more accurate.
Now, as for things that can be discussed. RBYPL is coming up in October, which'll be the first big UU tour since UUFPL (and NU's first big tour!). Some meta trends i've noticed too:
  • Where the fuck is Haunter?
  • Kadabra Lead stonks are rising
  • Tentacruel Freeze Wars are spiking up over just like clicking Wrap a bunch lol
  • non AgiliWrap DNite sets are vastly more common after the suspect test, even tho AgiliWrap is still legal
  • Everything is so HO based it seems, whether it be Persian + Dug shit or Articuno having a field day (theres a reason Dewgong went to UU after all)
  • While I personally think Sleep is healthy for UU, others don't like it and think it should be banned. Discuss?
  • Any other cool notes y'all got? Butterfree has some weird potential as a lead, it has a oddly good MU spread outside of Tentacruel. Its still like mid D tier, but its pretty neat.
Curious to see what everyone says!
 
Haunter kind of sucks in most cases because it's weak to Kadabra and Dugtrio which are very dominant offensive staples. It's good to pull off sleep and Boom, which the latter is very underrated but few good users of it, but it has awkward synergy with lots of good things imo. Its more annoying for slower structures or stuff that can't really hurt it.

Going for the freezes with Tenta is normally a good play in those scenarios. Potential for your opp to be a down a mon is better than going through a Wrap war that might not be in your favor (even if Wrap is still lame). Freezing a Tenta is also huge, it makes things like Articuno kind of win on the spot barring any structure that has Dewgong or hax.

AgiliDnite is inconsistent, it's why I rated it like 11 in my VR or w/e number that wasnt 5 that most people did. PvKs non-Agili set is good for example. You have a Dugtrio check, can spread paras around to supplement other mons, and you're not relying on a Agility Sweeper that takes one miss to die to Blizzard. AgiliWrap is sometimes lame, but by the time you can pull it off you probably already won the game, your opp messed up somewhere, or you're just not pulling it off cause half the mons in the format run Blizzard or something to deter it.

Offense is the best playstyle I dont think it needs much elaboration when the top mons are mostly offensive threats. You can look at the VR to sort of see this and the defensive stuff is just things to check the offensive ones usually.

I think sleep is lame due to variance of turns and randomness. That being said Idk if it really needs to be looked at but truthfully it's not my decision and I would play and be fine with the metagame with or without it.
 

May

I need a cuppa...
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non AgiliWrap DNite sets are vastly more common after the suspect test, even tho AgiliWrap is still legal
I think this is because of AgiliWrap's mathematical improbability and Toxic's prevalence making it difficult to work with. It's easier to rely on the instant threat potential of Thunder Wave, Body Slam, etc rather than the two-turn requirement of AgiliWrap in my experience. There's also the fact that you have to prepare for the worst against Dragonite, and those preparations often get you nailed by those "instant" options. This isn't to say AgiliWrap isn't powerful, it's moreso that it's difficult to fit on teams without it feeling a bit "out of place". I adore the more flexible Dragonite sets and think there's way more you can do with them. I think "Mono Agility" sets will find their place eventually.


Where the fuck is Haunter?
In my builder! I love Haunter and I think that people overstate its weaknesses. In fact, I think Haunter has some of the most optimisation potential considering its place as an honorary Electric-type at times. Try PsyBolt and/or Rest sets on teams that use Gyarados, they're actually quite nice. It's quite good, just specific and people are sleeping on it.

While I personally think Sleep is healthy for UU, others don't like it and think it should be banned. Discuss?
I'd never go as far as to call sleep healthy, but I think it's the most balanced it gets in terms of RBY tiers. One of Tentacruel's lesser-known "problems" (I say this loosely) is that it tends to end up waking up Pokemon with its Wrap, as you can farm wake turns through it. Ergo, when it dominates the tier like this, well...you get that interplay a lot. However, these opportunities aren't always easy to find, and UU Teams often need all 6 team members active, so sleep can be a real bitch sometimes. I think there's a good argument to look at sleep further.
 

Shellnuts

Rustiest Player Around
is a Community Contributor
  • Where the fuck is Haunter?
I'm not sure to be honest, I've tried building teams with it a bunch but the problem with running Haunter is that running it in my experience puts teams in a very difficult position where your forced to cover Dugtrio and Electabuzz and Kadabra defensively given how easy it is to come in on Haunter for them, which is very hard to do while also bringing enough firepower to actually secure games. Whenever I try building with it, it always seems to lead to teams that feel unsound defensively without enough firepower to play around their weaknesses. I will agree that there is a lot of optimization that can be done with Haunter, but the problems I have with it are due to the effects running it has on your structures.

  • Kadabra Lead stonks are rising
  • Tentacruel Freeze Wars are spiking up over just like clicking Wrap a bunch lol
In addition to AM's points on Tentacruel freeze wars, I think both of these trends are byproducts of the metagame evolving into a more offensive phase where piece mobility is paramount to a team's success in-game. Offence structures generally aren't as defensively sound as more balanced structures with Dragonite and Vaporeon, and rely a lot on having initiative and safe switches, especially from Tentacruel's Wrap, so they can bring in their threats without getting hit, letting them conserve health for when they need to take an Articuno Blizzard or whatnot. This is part of why I believe that Kadabra leads are more common now; because it denies offence structures that lead with Tentacruel from taking early initiative and forces Hypno to eat Paralysis which makes it harder for them to respond to pressure without dropping Pokemon. This is also part of why I believe Tentacruel Freeze wars are becoming more common; because when so many offence teams rely on Tentacruel a ton for positioning (among its other strengths), losing it to a freeze can be very bad for their longevity since it becomes a lot harder for them to switch around and take initiative while conserving enough health to answer your own major threats.

  • Everything is so HO based it seems, whether it be Persian + Dug shit or Articuno having a field day (theres a reason Dewgong went to UU after all)
A lot of this in my eyes is due to the rise of Grasses on Offence structures. The rise of Grasses on Articuno Offence structures can be traced back to September 2020 IIRC, when players (such as myself) started to run Tangela and Venusaur on offence structures to help patch up the Dugtrio problems they have while also remaining defensively sound against other offence structures, pressuring Omastar a ton, and letting Offence reliably put stuff to sleep instead of relying on Hypno or Haunter's Hypnosis, allowing them to play more aggressively with Hypno by running Seismic Toss to more reliably answer opposing Hypno and Kadabra and force Rests/Recovers to let their team gain the initiative. I'm guessing this will change with innovations to defensive play bringing the tier to a more balanced-centric metagame, but I'm not smart enough to predict what those innovations would be.
 

pac

Respect Kazuki Takahashi
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Hey! Back to talk about my favorite tier again. Last time I asked people about some generic questions that like two people answered cause the questions were kinda boring and generic. Instead, I have a topic I've been thinking about for quite some time.

Poliwrath.png

Poliwrath!
Poliwrath has one of the oddest ratios of Usage to Perceived Viability, being commonly seen as either the best or second best Pokemon in UU that's not UU. This has striked me as weird, as while I found myself to agree, the thing just barely ever sees play outside of Sevi 7. It has obvious potential in the meta, acting as a Dugtrio check, sleeper, bulky water, potential Amnesia user, etc, but for some reason people don't seem to use it very often. What are y'all's thoughts on Poliwrath? Any teams y'all have cooked up, any notions that its better or worse than most people say, any good replays of it? Is Poliwrath truly the best non-UU mon in UU, or does a Pokemon like Raichu, Clefable, or Raticate take that spot in your opinion? I personally would like to see someone show a level of success with Amnesia Poliwrath, as well as see someone who's not Sevi 7 actually using the Pokemon in a high level replay. Perhaps the upcoming RBYPL II will show Poliwrath's worth?
 

May

I need a cuppa...
is a Site Content Manager Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Researcher Alumnusis a Top Contributor Alumnus
Hey! Back to talk about my favorite tier again. Last time I asked people about some generic questions that like two people answered cause the questions were kinda boring and generic. Instead, I have a topic I've been thinking about for quite some time.

Poliwrath.png

Poliwrath!
Poliwrath has one of the oddest ratios of Usage to Perceived Viability, being commonly seen as either the best or second best Pokemon in UU that's not UU. This has striked me as weird, as while I found myself to agree, the thing just barely ever sees play outside of Sevi 7. It has obvious potential in the meta, acting as a Dugtrio check, sleeper, bulky water, potential Amnesia user, etc, but for some reason people don't seem to use it very often. What are y'all's thoughts on Poliwrath? Any teams y'all have cooked up, any notions that its better or worse than most people say, any good replays of it? Is Poliwrath truly the best non-UU mon in UU, or does a Pokemon like Raichu, Clefable, or Raticate take that spot in your opinion? I personally would like to see someone show a level of success with Amnesia Poliwrath, as well as see someone who's not Sevi 7 actually using the Pokemon in a high level replay. Perhaps the upcoming RBYPL II will show Poliwrath's worth?
I've been using Poliwrath lately, as shown in my game against phoopes in RoAO earlier. The set I used was this;
Poliwrath
- Hypnosis
- Submission
- Blizzard
- Earthquake

I think I used it quite poorly, but at the same time, I have issues finding opportunities to actually bring it in. I think that in the end I was fighting with a Pokemon down, and even in my practice games with HSOWA, Poliwrath would end up choking in some fantastic fashion. Perhaps it's because the teams I've fought with that one keep it out, or maybe I'm just using it wrong, but it feels like it wants to come in on the early-game Hypno to land Hypnosis...but you can prolly guess why that's hard. I feel like it's very, very inconsistent and unwieldy at times. If the Hypnosis fails in any way it often takes massive damage and thus can't check Dugtrio effectively. I personally think Amnesia Poliwrath is just not very good in UU, there's too many Pokemon that can fend it off or delay its setup. It can work on paper but if someone manages to pull it off they should probably get the Nobel Prize or something.

I personally feel like the best non-UU Pokemon in UU would be a tossup between Raichu and Clefable. Maybe Raticate, but I don't use it enough. Raichu is a really fun Agility user and my old teams featuring it are still pretty fun to bring out sometimes, the only issue is that it literally cannot take any damage at all or it loses a lot of important matchups. I think it has the potential to be optimised, though. Clefable, on the other hand, is a solid mid-game Pokemon that can deal massive damage very quickly while having the bulk to take more than a couple of hits. Very scary Pokemon to fight, lots of potential.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

dragonite.png

You'll also notice that in the other replays, I've been using some different Dragonite sets, and I wanna talk about em a bit! Shoutouts to Volk for being a bit of a mad scientist with this beast!

The reason I've been moving into other Dragonite sets is because, well, I don't like AgiliWrap much. Teams that utilise it feel like a bit of a do-or-die thing these days: the occasions where it works are definitely incredible and very cheesy, but it feels too inconsistent for me. Even when Dragonite gets the Agility and initial Wrap off, sometimes the Wrap ticks don't go on that long or it even just misses early and dies. There are a lot of variables that add up when trying to succeed with it, and it loses potential immediate power, which is what has prompted me to diversify. There's the fact that you only have two slots to play with as well, which significantly limits what your Dragonite can do throughout a game; some only have Blizzard as an offensive move and that just sucks in my opinion. I also think that because players have to act as if all Dragonites are AgiliWrap Dragonites, you can profit off of these sets even more. I would love to see this information absorbed in RBY PL II.

Dragonite
- Blizzard
- Thunderbolt
- Hyper Beam
- Agility

In my second game against phoopes, I managed to succeed using this set. While the Agility never showed up, you see Dragonite clean house with constant surprises provided by this set. I initially only revealed Hyper Beam and Blizzard, as some AgiliWrap Dragonites carry those; then, I sprung out Thunderbolt! While it didn't really matter in the end, I like this aspect of those Dragonite sets, as people just assume two slots are already accounted for. Anyway, the grand aim of that team was to use a midground between stuff like Dodrio and Articuno while making use of the resistances that Dragonite provides; most notably, Water, Ground, and Grass, while not being too annoyed by Dugtrio's Rock Slide. This gives Dragonite a ton of opportunities to get in, force a Toxic, and try to clean up. It's really fun and I think the mixed sweeping potential that its competitors can't provide is a big point in its favour.

Dragonite
- Wrap
- Body Slam
- Blizzard
- Thunder Wave
(you can put Hyper Beam over Blizz, it's very good! tbolt is cool too!)

You've probably seen me use this set a lot, and it's because I think this is the most consistent Dragonite set you can use. It promotes the catch-22 factor of Dragonite: faster Pokemon are paralyzed, slower Pokemon are wrapped down. I think that this concept is an important thing to grasp, as it plays heavily into the predictive gameplay non-AgiliWrap Dragonite sets encourage; rather than use the linear cheese, you can instead use this type of gameplay for guaranteed progress. Because some Pokemon are forced to try and use Toxic, you can paralyze something like Persian, Kangaskhan, or Dugtrio with Thunder Wave or Body Slam for literally free. This set doesn't mind Toxic as paralysis takes away its momentum. This is all likely self-explanatory but I just really like it.

Dragonite
- Blizzard
- Body Slam
- Hyper Beam
- Thunder Wave

This is the "Classic PhysNite" set that Volk innovated, which I think still works. However, finding teams where it works are a mite bit difficult. The concept is to use a Gyarados-style set that fits on teams that appreciate Dragonite's typing more. I personally think Dewgong teams are among the better ways to use it, as it gives you the best Ice resist to fall back on, putting a cap on Articuno. They also work well together when keeping out Venusaur; Dragonite quad resists that terrifying Razor Leaf, Dewgong has the best Blizzard of the Water-types, so on. Plus, both are excellent on the offense, so I'd say build a team that focuses on setting these two up with further pressure. The team I used against phoopes was frankly not very good and I think I can optimise this further.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

tentacruel.png

I also wanna talk about SDCruel! Swords Dance is fun as hell and phoopes used it against me like the king he is. Give that lad a pat on the back.

This is my personal favourite set;
Tentacruel
- Swords Dance
- Surf
- Wrap
- Hyper Beam

To quote the WIP analysis set that I sent in for Shellnuts;
Swords Dance Tentacruel is a strong alternative to the standard Wrap Pivot set, aiming to beat over Pokemon it normally struggles to beat one-on-one, including but not limited to Vaporeon, Hypno, and opposing Tentacruel. While it eschews much of its liberal mid-game utility, it becomes a surprising, phenomenal late-game sweeper. Because of the lack of Rest, however, Swords Dance Tentacruel is often forced out by paralysis inducers such as Electabuzz and Kadabra; ergo, while it's still an important mid-game pivot, significantly more care has to be taken to succeed with the set.

It's important to note that this set's biggest strength is its surprise factor, as it's difficult to tell whether the set is using Swords Dance until it's actually used. As is the case with Tentacruel in general, it can be used in most game states, albeit with a much higher risk factor in exchange for offensive prowess; ergo, in the early to mid-game, Tentacruel's presence must be used to force the opponent into making predictable plays to gain an advantage. Where this set shines the most, however, is late-game: Swords Dance Tentacruel can get going as soon as its faster checks have been paralyzed—normally Kadabra, Persian, or Electabuzz—usually dealing severe damage to the opposing team through Wrap before going down. If Haunter is present, it's also recommended to ensure it has either Exploded or otherwise been taken out. When the stage is set for a sweep, it's best to bring this Tentacruel in on a predicted Rest from opposing Hypno, Vaporeon, or opposing Tentacruel, which allows it to set up with impunity and immediately begin dealing massive damage to the opposition. This is even easier if paired with a sleeper like Venusaur, which often encourages the opponent to bring in the victim on predicted Wrap uses to burn sleep turns.

+2 Wrap deals around 7% per tick to the UU metagame—slightly more than Dragonite—allowing Tentacruel to rapidly chip Pokemon into range of either Surf or Hyper Beam. +2 Hyper Beam notably OHKOes Kadabra, making it significantly less inclined to switch in to try and paralyze Tentacruel. +2 Hyper Beam also KOes Raichu, Raticate, and Electabuzz after one or two Wrap uses. Additionally, against Pokemon like Hypno, Kangaskhan, and Gyarados, they can be KOed from over half HP; around five Wrap uses is normally sufficient to score the KO. Combined with Surf, it is near-impossible to wall a +2 Tentacruel, requiring a faster paralysis inducer to reliably force it out.

Ideally, Swords Dance Tentacruel should be paired with Pokemon that can reliably put an opposing Pokemon to sleep; Venusaur is an excellent choice, dealing significant damage to Omastar and Vaporeon with Razor Leaf while outrunning Hypno. Tier-king Hypno also makes a solid partner, putting a firm stop to Kadabra and providing defensive utility in numerous situations where Tentacruel would be forced out. One of Omastar or Dewgong can also be useful partners, as Swords Dance Tentacruel tends to be weaker to Articuno as a result of no recovery. Paralysis support in Kadabra or Electabuzz is extremely helpful, being faster than opposing Tentacruel while consistently paralyzing checks to your own. These two Pokemon, in addition to Persian and Dugtrio, also make good partners for cleaning up the opposing team after Tentacruel as done its job or been crippled in the process. Dugtrio also notably deals with Haunter well, OHKOing it with Earthquake while pivoting in on Thunderbolt.
I personally use SDCruel on teams with Electabuzz or Kadabra as the lead, as bringing Tentacruel in can sometimes be difficult against more experienced players. Thus, you can often find endgame opportunities where your Tentacruel has taken little to no damage and just go off. Pairing it with the Wrap Pivot Dragonite set is absolutely class, as scoring that one Thunder Wave on something like Persian expecting AgiliWrap is ABSOLUTELY HUGE for this set, oh my god. I strongly recommend trying out this combination, they play out so well.
 

Sevi 7

Semi-retired
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So, Poliwrath. I don't play much anymore, but when I did, Poliwrath always got people saying, "Wow, Poli did something". Which is really surprising to me, because Poliwrath always does something for me. I'm not relying on match ups, looking to cheese by going for a surprise factor. I keep it as something in my arsenal as much as I would any of the other B rank mon. Poliwrath is a tank. It has stats that are just good enough to give it bulky water status, meaning that it switches in on Dug (especially Rock Slide) and Articuno. But it also has enough utility to where it can be customized and shine. I'll go over those options now.

Obviously Hypnosis is the first big one. This puts a lot of pressure on the opponent. Yes, it only has 60% accuracy, and Haunter knows how much that sucks. But that also means that your opponent must fear it. You can't ignore being put to sleep. So, you have ot use that pressure to your advantage. Simply switching Poli in against something slower, looking to sleep, isn't the right way to play it. Strategically placing Poli up against something that can't afford to be put to sleep is a better use of Hypnosis imo.

Next is Body Slam, which we all know how that works, but I think this is an attack that is really hard to overlook. Being able to paralyze Dug and Art (both of which Poli likes to check) is really big. Late game sweeps can die if Body Slam paralyzes. Tent and D Nite also have another attack they hate coming in against, and Gyara can't switch-in as comfortably either. To me, Body Slam really shouldn't be dropped, without good reason.

Unfortunately, with DNite in the tier, Poli needs something to handle it. So this is where Blizzard and/or Toxic comes in. I haven't really tested Toxic, but I guess it could have some merit. It ends up doing something similar to Toxic Wrap in NU. However, with Tent in the tier, we all know that's not an easy strat to get away with. Blizz doesn't KO DNite btw. So you have to rely on Poli's bulk to take a few wraps before Nite misses again, or pray for crit. This is the biggest reason to run, Toxic, imo. I always go with Blizz though, because Blizz also hits Dug and Tang, and ends up being the best way for Poli to deal with them.

From here, you have freedom. Earthquake is what I have been going with most of the time. This is pretty much exclusively for Tent. You can also use it to bait in flying mons, Tang or something else that feels comfortable and go for one of your other moves instead. This baiting can't be underestimated in serious games.
After that, I'd consider Rest. Sleep turns aren't too hard to burn off and Poli really appreciates the second chance at life. It's not easiest option to pull off and you end up thinking a lot more long term with Poli. However, if you're worth your salt, you should be doing that anyways.
Surf/Hydro is probably the next best option, doing good STAB damage. This makes Tent harder to fight, so you have to think about the pros and cons. I can't remember the calcs at all atm, so I can't remember what to choose, so you'll just have to play with it yourself and see what you like.
Something that I know nobody has considered is also Bubblebeam. This was something I toyed with in the calcs, and it may have been flat out unviable, I can't remember. But depending on damage, it may not be a waste of time to be able to have a safe option that does decent damage and can slow down opponents.
Amnesia has its moments and there have been times when I really wish I had it; however, it's not something I can use every game. However, I wouldn't drop it as an option.
Counter shouldn't be forgotten. Poli has good physical bulk and can make normal mons regret attacking. Counter also works well with Hypnosis, as your opponent may end up switching out, fearing being put to sleep, and then you get to counter for free and potentially KO, based off of the situation.
Lastly, there's Submission. This is probably the weakest, because it's got the most limited use. You're using it for basically a handful of mons, none of which may even be in the game. The recoil also really hurts, as Poli is mostly a tank. I think Submission is really just better suited for OU.

Poli isn't going to star in the show or be the cornerstone of the game. But it is a good defensive pivot with good utility and can apply pressure when used right. Don't use it as a sleeper or a sweeper. It's something that checks physical mons and Art, while having access to Hypnosis and a couple of other good tools.
Maybe I'll write more later, if I get the opportunity, but I wouldn't count on that soon. Try out Poli and really try to play to its strengths, because I really do like Poli more than some of the other UU mons, and consider it less niche than Dewgong, who has recently risen to proper UU status.
 

May

I need a cuppa...
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With my team now out in RBYPL, I wanna spark off a few discussion prompts as we approach the finale.

electabuzz.png
haunter.png

Electabuzz and Haunter appear to be the Marmite Pokemon at the minute. People either like em, or utterly despise em.

Electabuzz appears to be a bit overshadowed by Kadabra, and in the words of Amaranth, every time he sees it, "it does nothing and dies". I've definitely had those experiences, though I personally like its ability to trade with Psychic-types and its abundance of midground options compared to other Pokemon in the tier. However, it's most commonly used in the lead slot right now. Is that perhaps the problem?

Haunter's usage is at an all-time low, likely due to the decrease in AgiliWrap Dragonite usage as of late. With different options being picked and its very poor Dugtrio matchup, many are simply not confident in using it. However, its solid Speed tier, Hypnosis access, Normal + Toxic immunty, and coverage all appear to help it out. Do you think it's time for it to drop down the VR, or does it simply need to adapt and find a new team comp for it to succeed on? Perhaps it could be used alongside various Dragonite sets, or Pokemon that despise Body Slam?

venusaur.png

Me and Shellnuts seem to firmly be in the funny Leech Seed camp for Venusaur these days, with it being able to hit Tentacruel and neuter its Wrap compared to the more regularly used Toxic. Both have the same core aim of making Dragonite want to commit fork-plug, but the Tentacruel matchup and ability to stop Wrap progress entirely with Leech Seed seems enticing. What do you think?

golem.png

EB0LA used lead Golem on some cracked up offence team to swat Kadabra leads in the semi-finals. It unfortunately didn't get to see that dream matchup, but is this something to explore or the handiwork of a maniac?

That's all I have right now, but these seem to be some cool things to talk about, yeah?
 

phoopes

I did it again
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Buzz: yeah most of the time Buzz feels like "Kadabra but less good." But it's still a decent choice! As a lead it's good for anti-Tent plays but again Kadabra is kind of better at that. I like it better coming out from the back if you know your opponent is going to use some bulky Water types. Which makes it better as a counterpick 'mon than one you would see on a standard team but still, there's absolutely a place for it in the meta. A strong place which is why I had it as B+ in my viability rankings. I like that it has viability as both a lead and a back 'mon which is why it places as high as it does for me.

Haunter: Haunter was 12th on the last Viability Rankings which is definitely too high, but it's not as low as people think. I've said for a bit now especially in the Discord that y'all are underrating Haunter and I really believe it's a solid B mon as opposed to B- where I know some of y'all have it. AeroHaunt anti-Wrap is still a strong team even when the opponent doesn't have Dragonite, it's one of the only things that can switch in on Kang Body Slam without a worry, it has Hypnosis, Explosion (which might get dropped for Rest, the forgotten tech but I haven't seen anyone really use that recently)... yeah it's weak to Dugtrio and Kadabra which is somewhat of an issue, but if you build around it I like it. It doesn't have quite as much utility as Buzz though which is why it's lower for me.

Leech Seed Venu: Haven't tried it myself but it honestly doesn't seem appealing to me. I just looked and it has higher accuracy than Toxic which is certainly something that I didn't remember, but I think the anti-Tent play is still to fish for paralysis with Body Slam but that's just me. I don't see myself experimenting with it and the only tournament game I saw it in use was kind of a dud IIRC, but maybe I'll be proven wrong.

Lead Golem: If this was NU I'd be all over trying this out but for UU? Nah... I don't see the lead meta going too far beyond the big 3 of Tent, Hypno, and Kadabra, with Buzz being a distant 4th and the rest of your options being niche counterpicks (stuff we've seen like Venu, Persian, Dragonite, etc. ... Golem falls into this category IMO). With Tent (I think) still being the most common lead, Golem lead means you're switching out which means something else is just taking free Surf damage. Which isn't a huge deal if it's a bulky Water or your own Tent because then you an play the Tent vs. Tent game but yeah... not feeling lead Golem either, even less so than Leech Seed Venu.
 

pac

Respect Kazuki Takahashi
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Did some commentary on my set vs Torchic for UUSD Week 4 if anyone is interested, did step-by-step analysis of all the turns in the replays. Planning on doing this for more sets (next up will be NU, but after that I think I'll do more UU)
 

Hipmonlee

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Dont lead Tentacruel.

https://pastebin.com/fcEkNUf4
https://pastebin.com/Uwrgm76a

Look at these stats, there's a combined 5 times that Tenta could have had a winning matchup here, and everything but the one Golem is at least a little contentious. Pretty much any team that leads with Tent could swap it out for Hypno and would be a better team.

And Hypno has an advantageous match-up against every lead. So stop leading Kadabra and Electabuzz as well. You don't want to discourage Tentacruel leads against you.

Basically the lead ideal meta at the moment appears to be Hypno 100%. Obviously that is unstable, but for the time being it will be hard for people to lead Venu or Haunter with all the Kadabra leads. Against anyone but me at least, assuming I don't know whether my opponent has read this post or not. Fortunately the dust is likely to settle before I do too much more UUing.
 

phoopes

I did it again
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Want to get some discussion going on Electabuzz vs. Raichu, stemming from a Discord mini-discussion we had a few days ago. Amaranth brought up that they think Electabuzz is pretty bad and made some good points about it, so I thought... what if Raichu is actually better than Buzz and we just don't realize it? Here are my thoughts...

Electabuzz has 105 Speed vs. Raichu's 100, but the difference doesn't really matter.

The biggest difference I see here is against Tentacruel and Kadabra. Is it really nice to outspeed Tentacruel with Electabuzz? Absolutely. However, if you run into the Tent vs. Chu matchup as Tent, are you really staying in to Wrap and risk that speed tie? Probably not. Raichu does have a worse Kadabra matchup for sure, however Buzz isn't much better so... yeah. This might be the most contentious point I have to offer because people really like having that 105 Speed with Buzz, but I genuinely think because of the threat of Thunder Wave/bolt you're not going to see much of a difference if you run Chu > Buzz.

Electabuzz has better physical bulk, but the difference doesn't really matter.

This might be another contentious point, but hear me out. The difference here is pretty small. Now I know what you're about to say. "phoopes, in a tier where stuff gets chipped by Wrap pretty easily, every percentage point counts! A little here or a little there could put you into Hyper Beam range of something!" And my argument goes back to the previous point. You're not going to stay in and Wrap Electabuzz or Raichu as Tentacruel, you're going to switch out. With Dragonite, you're only going to Wrap if you've set up an Agility first, in which case you're kind of screwed with either Buzz or Chu. The final really notable Wrapper is Tangela, and unless it's at low health you're most likely going to switch out your Buzz/Chu to prevent them from being slept/paralyzed. So yeah, I'm not too worried about the difference in physical bulk when it comes to stuff like Hyper Beam.

The real move to "worry" about here is Earthquake. But if you look at the calcs, Dugtrio, Kangaskhan, and Poliwrath 2HKO both, so there's no real difference there. There is a difference with Golem, however, in that Raichu is a guaranteed OHKO where Buzz is not. But again, I don't really think this matters a whole lot because...

Raichu has (arguably) better coverage.

This basically comes down to Surf vs. Psychic. Both Raichu and Electabuzz have similar movepools, the one glaring exception being Surf vs. Psychic. I get that this is another contentious point, but again, hear me out. I'd say the "standard" Electabuzz runs Thunderbolt and Thunder Wave. No arguments there, right? From there, you have your pick between Body Slam, Seismic Toss, and Psychic. Personally, when I run Electabuzz, I usually end up going for Body Slam and Seismic Toss. Maybe I'm just wrong but that's how I play. But let's say you do opt for Psychic. What are you hitting? Just Venusaur and Haunter, both for 3HKOs. Maybe I'm being cynical here, but that's not that impressive to me. Both can put Buzz to sleep and hit back decently hard with Razor Leaf or Night Shade. Sure, Buzz wins these matchups if you run Psychic, but I think these are outweighed by Raichu's matchups with Golem and Dugtrio. Golem, though not seen as often as Venusaur and Haunter, stuffs Electabuzz hard. That's all there is to it. Meanwhile, Raichu gets Surf and a guaranteed OHKO on Golem. That's pretty neat. It also 2HKOs Dugtrio, something Electabuzz can't do without Hyper Beam, but that's a tech that no one is going to use (I think). Raichu can still paralyze Haunter and Venusaur, so it's not like the matchup is even too bad there either. But how does Raichu's damage output against Dugtrio matter if Dugtrio outspeeds and 2HKOs it. Well, I'll tell you.

Raichu has Agility.

This is a big difference. Once Electabuzz is paralyzed, it's practically useless. However, thanks to the RBY mechanics, Raichu with Agility can actually still make a difference when paralyzed, or just in general in order to become faster than stuff that could do a lot of damage to it, like Dugtrio, Persian, or Aerodactyl. To me, this makes Agility pretty much mandatory on Raichu along with its STAB Thunderbolt and Surf for coverage. From there, your fourth move is probably Thunder Wave to paralyze but you could even run Body Slam, Hyper Beam, or Seismic Toss to not be stuffed by Tangela. In this way, Raichu can actually sweep your opponent's team, as well as be a support 'mon that spreads paralysis like Electabuzz. And it's useful as a sweeper because...

Raichu is slightly stronger than Electabuzz.

I'm running out of time to get this post off before New Year's Eve festivities but look at these calcs.

Raichu Thunderbolt vs. Tentacruel: 170-200 (46.8 - 55%) -- 69.5% chance to 2HKO
Electabuzz Thunderbolt vs. Tentacruel: 165-194 (45.4 - 53.4%) -- 36.2% chance to 2HKO

That's a big enough difference to me to matter, especially when Tentacruel gets chipped so much from Blizzards/Wraps. I said earlier that Tent probably switches out when it faces Raichu, but if you use Raichu as a late-game cleaner this could really work out in your favor when you might not expect it.

---

As I was typing this post up, I came to a sort of conclusion in my own head. Raichu isn't thaaaat much better than Electabuzz like I initially thought. However, I definitely think it's worth exploring more. It was UU once for a reason. Let's rethink our thought process and see it as an Agility sweeper and maybe we can actually do some damage with Raichu. With Electabuzz's stocks going down in general if people follow Hipmonlee's previous post (because less Tent leads mean less reason to lead/use Electabuzz) I think now is the perfect time to give Raichu a shot.
 

May

I need a cuppa...
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What is up drama alert nation, it's time for your ladder stat report from grandma PvK.

So here I'm gonna be dumping the stats from the 1500 side of the ladder, with your usual sub-1% cutoff, also not doing it in snazzy format because it is currently 2 AM and I will not sleep until my work itch is satisfied. Oh, and movesets are >>here<<.
Code:
+ ---- + ------------------ + --------- + ------ + ------- + ------ + ------- +
 | Rank | Pokemon            | Usage %   | Raw    | %       | Real   | %       |
 + ---- + ------------------ + --------- + ------ + ------- + ------ + ------- +
 | 1    | Hypno              | 75.82756% | 2452   | 68.993% | 2257   | 74.797% |
 | 2    | Tentacruel         | 71.93846% | 2338   | 65.785% | 1977   | 65.518% |
 | 3    | Kadabra            | 60.16763% | 1979   | 55.684% | 1719   | 56.968% |
 | 4    | Persian            | 38.01079% | 1342   | 37.760% | 1070   | 35.460% |
 | 5    | Dugtrio            | 36.88109% | 1348   | 37.929% | 1124   | 37.249% |
 | 6    | Dragonite          | 36.05494% | 1368   | 38.492% | 1117   | 37.017% |
 | 7    | Kangaskhan         | 33.12967% | 1073   | 30.191% | 907    | 30.058% |
 | 8    | Haunter            | 29.79665% | 1017   | 28.616% | 924    | 30.621% |
 | 9    | Gyarados           | 28.98239% | 988    | 27.800% | 829    | 27.473% |
 | 10   | Articuno           | 26.84956% | 994    | 27.968% | 824    | 27.307% |
 | 11   | Venusaur           | 19.77822% | 762    | 21.441% | 628    | 20.812% |
 | 12   | Dodrio             | 17.32509% | 655    | 18.430% | 537    | 17.796% |
 | 13   | Electabuzz         | 15.51467% | 613    | 17.248% | 525    | 17.399% |
 | 14   | Vaporeon           | 11.74550% | 419    | 11.790% | 358    | 11.864% |
 | 15   | Aerodactyl         | 11.01437% | 405    | 11.396% | 335    | 11.102% |
 | 16   | Dewgong            |  7.99906% | 277    |  7.794% | 238    |  7.887% |
 | 17   | Golem              |  7.90067% | 290    |  8.160% | 242    |  8.020% |
 | 18   | Tangela            |  7.66642% | 322    |  9.060% | 273    |  9.047% |
 | 19   | Raichu             |  7.57024% | 297    |  8.357% | 259    |  8.583% |
 | 20   | Omastar            |  6.07594% | 233    |  6.556% | 206    |  6.827% |
 | 21   | Poliwrath          |  4.27194% | 178    |  5.008% | 137    |  4.540% |
 | 22   | Electrode          |  4.01031% | 143    |  4.024% | 115    |  3.811% |
 | 23   | Charizard          |  3.73477% | 169    |  4.755% | 138    |  4.573% |
 | 24   | Golduck            |  2.87741% | 112    |  3.151% | 98     |  3.248% |
 | 25   | Moltres            |  2.51049% | 100    |  2.814% | 83     |  2.751% |
 | 26   | Venomoth           |  2.07459% | 90     |  2.532% | 78     |  2.585% |
 | 27   | Nidoking           |  1.91998% | 70     |  1.970% | 60     |  1.988% |
 | 28   | Blastoise          |  1.71012% | 74     |  2.082% | 70     |  2.320% |
 | 29   | Mr. Mime           |  1.58869% | 52     |  1.463% | 50     |  1.657% |
 | 30   | Arcanine           |  1.56680% | 75     |  2.110% | 71     |  2.353% |
 | 31   | Clefable           |  1.49503% | 60     |  1.688% | 48     |  1.591% |
 | 32   | Pinsir             |  1.43686% | 65     |  1.829% | 56     |  1.856% |
 | 33   | Beedrill           |  1.10855% | 52     |  1.463% | 44     |  1.458% | what why im crying rn
 | 34   | Sandslash          |  1.07688% | 47     |  1.322% | 44     |  1.458% |
 | 35   | Machamp            |  1.06856% | 59     |  1.660% | 46     |  1.524% |
 | 36   | Flareon            |  1.02099% | 39     |  1.097% | 29     |  0.961% |
 | 37   | Kingler            |  1.00888% | 39     |  1.097% | 28     |  0.928% |
And your cute little leads;
Code:
 + ---- + ------------------ + --------- + ------ + ------- +
 | Rank | Pokemon            | Usage %   | Raw    | %       |
 + ---- + ------------------ + --------- + ------ + ------- +
 | 1    | Hypno              | 21.78497% | 683    | 19.218% |
 | 2    | Tentacruel         | 19.60920% | 645    | 18.149% |
 | 3    | Kadabra            | 16.39611% | 535    | 15.053% |
 | 4    | Haunter            |  9.63283% | 338    |  9.510% |
 | 5    | Electabuzz         |  4.70268% | 168    |  4.727% |
 | 6    | Venusaur           |  3.55791% | 148    |  4.164% |
 | 7    | Dodrio             |  3.55034% | 131    |  3.686% |
 | 8    | Dragonite          |  2.63745% | 121    |  3.405% |
 | 9    | Articuno           |  1.80936% | 77     |  2.167% |
 | 10   | Dugtrio            |  1.78600% | 71     |  1.998% |
 | 11   | Persian            |  1.71400% | 76     |  2.138% |
 | 12   | Raichu             |  1.46686% | 58     |  1.632% |
 | 13   | Mr. Mime           |  1.15268% | 36     |  1.013% | hi @pac
 | 14   | Gyarados           |  1.05280% | 46     |  1.294% |
So to get the big thing out of the way, in response to the Beedrill uses:
The sets aren't even like, anything revolutionary, you people are just insane for some reason. If someone can give me at least 3 reasons this is even remotely meant to work I will give them a cookie. I swear some of you people will use anything...

dragonite.png
dodrio.png

I'm most interested in the use of these Pokemon as leads. They've been theorised for quite a while, and it seems like at least a few people have used the ladder to testfire them. While the usage is low, you can see where the sweaty ladder people dropped off given they're the last in the triple-digits. I'd love to see people give their thoughts on these two.

raichu.png

Raichu has seen a spike in usage! But, the movesets aren't quite what I was expecting;
Code:
| Moves                                  |
 | Thunderbolt 90.805%                    |
 | Surf 85.757%                           |
 | Thunder Wave 79.396%                   |
 | Agility 28.339%                        |
 | Body Slam 23.361%                      |
 | Seismic Toss 22.021%                   |
 | Submission 17.427%                     |
 | Thunder 13.231%                        |
 | Hyper Beam 11.803%                     |
 | Light Screen  8.187%                   |
 | Other 19.673%                          |
I was surprised to see Agility and Hyper Beam so low; in fact, I often outright drop Thunder Wave to drop both when building with it. Here's a team I built a while back that got put out in my builder dump that may demonstrate what I mean. However, I do also see the merit in this approach, given how Electabuzz has been on a downward spiral in opinion; perhaps our friend phoopes unintentionally blew up the stonks.

vaporeon.png

Much like in its tournament representation, Vaporeon appears to be lagging behind in usage, dropping into the leagues of Electabuzz and Aerodactyl. Perhaps the infamous VapNite team's era is coming to a close, or maybe we're not using Vaporeon correctly. Or, alternatively, the explanation is that we're using less of the generic catch-all and more of the specialised-for-a-team bulky Water-types. I'd love to see arguments on Vaporeon's conundrum.

electrode.png

If we ran usage-based tiering for this generation, Electrode would have rose to UU this month, clocking in at just over 4%. From what I've heard from Lusch a while back, Take Down -> Explosion is actually a way to cleanly lure and take out Dugtrio, so maybe this is what's gaining popularity? It did hit over 40% usage in the movesets, so this isn't a far-fetched theory. What do you think?

kingler.png
machamp.png
flareon.png
sandslash.png
arcanine.png

A few intresting outliers reached my 1% cutoff here, and I'm not entirely sure on how you would use any of them. Out of these curious vagabounds, I can see the arguments for Sandslash and Kingler, given their explosive late-game potential on paraspam teams, but paraspam is notoriously difficult to the point even Golem struggles to make an impact. Perhaps someone has insight on these...

That's all I noticed from a quick once-over. Would love to see what people think!
 
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phoopes

I did it again
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Now that it's been a few weeks since Hipmonlee's post... Don't lead Tentacruel.

I've had some time to think about this and I think what's going to end up developing is sort of a rock/paper/scissors between leads. In the current/transitioning lead meta, lots of people are leading Hypno. This has led to the counterplay of leading a sleeper that's faster than Hypno (Venusaur or Haunter though I guess you could also choose Poliwrath if you were feeling super spicy). What do all of these anti-Hypno leads have in common? They all have a bad matchup with lead Kadabra. So Kadabra is still a helpful lead since you can counter your opponent's anti-Hypno lead with it. But then of course, Kadabra gets stuffed by Hypno so we're back to the beginning in our rock/paper/scissors scenario.

So where does Tentacruel fit into this? Not really cleanly anywhere...

vs. Kadabra you're outsped and take a Thunder Wave or a Psychic (def not ideal)

vs. Hypno you're kind of forced to hard switch out and start the game off on the back foot or you Wrap which has an 85% chance in you doing like 3% damage (big whoop) or a 15% chance of getting T-Waved.

vs. Venusaur/Haunter is okay I guess? I wouldn't Wrap because I think the risk/reward of hitting it vs. missing and having a chance to get slept is bad. So you attack instead. Venu is probably threatened out by Blizzard 2HKOing/OHKOing on the crit but if you Surf vs. Haunter it has two chances to sleep you barring crits.

So basically, you're in a bad spot against Hypno or Kadabra leads (which we knew already), it's a wash if you both lead Tentacruel (duh), and against the anti-Hypno leads, you're good against Venu but only kind of good against Haunter. If you want to be good against anti-Hypno leads, Kadabra is just objectively better since Kadabra's Psychic hits both targets harder than Tent's Blizzard vs. Venu/Surf vs. Haunter. So yeah, even thought Tent is the best mon in the tier, there's no real reason to use it as a lead anymore going forward IMO.

---

Warning: Intense Theorymon ahead

This is only tangentially related to the point above but I mentioned the spicy possibility of lead Poliwrath... I honestly think a Hypnosis/Amnesia/Surf/EQ might not be terrible? Assuming you hit your Hypnosis (big assumption I know lol) you can Amnesia on their switch-out and then your matchup spread doesn't really seem that bad to me?

vs. Tentacruel: it Wraps you. If it misses, great, you get off a free Earthquake. If it hits, you pivot out no big deal, you've only taken 3%. OR you could stay in and just wait for it to miss which it will eventually unless you get really unlucky. I probably do the stay in strats because even if your opponent pivots out you're still at +2 Special for whatever they bring in.

vs. Hypno: hopefully you hit their Hypno with Hypnosis but if not, you outspeed and 3HKO where their Hypno only gets two hits off, or a T-Wave and one hit (assuming no crits or special drops because they make math hard lol). And if you do get paralyzed by their Hypno, honestly I might switch out and use Poli as a status blocker so no biggie there IMO.

vs. Kadabra: this one's a little tough but Kadabra only 3HKOs Poli with Psychic in this scenario whereas Poli 2HKOs with Surf. Crits and special drops will kill you in this matchup though. I guess you could always prepare for this possibility by EQing on the switch instead and getting a free 50% on Kadabra though.

vs. Dugtrio: your opponent wouldn't do this because easy win for Poli

vs. Khan/Persian: your opponent also probably wouldn't do this because it's a good win for Poli

vs. Articuno: Poli wins this one though it takes some DEdge damage

vs. Dragonite/Gyarados/Vaporeon/Dewgong... yeah not looking great for Poli, but on the bright side they don't have anything that can really hurt your Poli too much?

vs. Dodrio: Dodrio threatens with a crit OHKO from Drill Peck, but if it doesn't crit then Poli does a shitton of damage back with Surf.

vs. Grasses: not great. Tangela sleeps you (not the worst thing to have poli as a sleep sac though), Venusaur does a ton of damage with Razor Leaf

vs. Haunter: you probs get put to sleep but again, not the worst thing to have poli as a sleep sac)

vs. Rocks: easy win against Omastar, even easier against Aero and Golem

vs. Electrics: this is actually a win for Poli believe it or not (barring crits from Buzz or Chu)

...

With all that said do I see myself bringing lead Poli to a tournament game anytime soon? Certainly not. But I think experimenting with it in friendlies as an anti-Hypno lead instead of the usual suspects in Venu or Haunter could be interesting. Would just need to heavily build around it... start out with leadPoli/Tent/Hypno/Kadabra and then the last two spot to cover weaknesses.

Maybe Electabuzz to cover the Dragonite/Gyarados/Vaporeon/Dewgong tier? It paras DNite and does a good chunk of damage to the others to force them out. And it also outspeeds Dodrio which could be a problem for you. More I think about it the more I like this PoliBuzz pairing (not a novel idea I know but I'm just going stream of consciousness here). I think from there you slap another bulky water on the team to take some of the pressure off of Poli from being your lead and answer to Dug/Persian/Khan/Cuno lol. My fav in this scenario is probably Vaporeon I guess. This decision certainly makes you a little weak to Venu but if you can play it right so that your Poli takes the sleep it could be fine.


Hmm. You know what, here's a Pokepaste if you want to try it out. I probably will, and I will go on to lose said games because I just revealed the team/strategy but oh well. I think generating discussion is more important than winning some friendlies haha.
 

pac

Respect Kazuki Takahashi
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
There will be an upcoming RBY UU Invitational, and for the last couple slots I will be running a Last Chance Qualifier.

Lusch, FriendOfMrGolem120, Torchic, Volk, Amaranth, Koalacance, Shellnuts, phoopes, Unowndragon, kjdaas, chuva de perereca, Holly, Sevi 7, Thor, Justamente, May, Khaetis, Sceptross, jyuux, Ice Yazu, and Lily are all pre-invited to this invitational event.

If anyone is interested, join this server to sign up for the LCQ! Dozens of high level matches, and a $90+ prize pool awaiting in the invitational bracket (not the LCQ) awaits!

https://discord.gg/QEx76bAvYR
 
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May

I need a cuppa...
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tentacruel.png
tentacruel.png

So, today I wanna talk about Rest Tentacruel and how I think it's extremely overrated. I did a short little study on its performance in UUSD up to the middle of Week 3 before getting bored why did I do this at like 4 AM, and I think that many of the lines gone down are deceptively easy to deal with. Many people chastise Haunter - especially the Rest sets - for folding to Dugtrio, and I agree, but why is Tentacruel treated differently despite being arguably harder to wake up? I genuinely do not see the difference in weaknesses; in fact, Haunter is arguably stronger here as it doesn't take Wrap chip for waking up.

So we know Haunter has problems, but what about Tentacruel?

So the issue I have is that Tentacruel, once asleep, is very vulnerable. The difference between it and Haunter is it can stomach many more hits, like, wow it can take some punishment before being forced to Rest. I think this is what has kept Rest favoured, as it can even wake up on Gyarados if no critical hits occur. Naturally, you carry a few Dugtrio checks, and you're mandated to use Tentacruel but not Haunter. Enough about the ghosty boi though, let's move on. In my opinion, Rest Tentacruel is best on teams that use Gyarados, Dragonite, Tangela, and other Dugtrio checks, which makes sense. Plus, on Articuno-weak teams, Rest is invaluable, and this is absolutely where Rest comes up the most. And, well, this is common sense, it's how we've been playing for the past couple of years.

But when we get to more offensive teams geared towards Persian, as well as slower teams, I think Rest is thoroughly unnecessary and arguably self-destructive. You see, slower teams struggle with Tentacruel, often putting extreme pressure on Kadabra or their bulky Water-types. Rest seems fitting for such a style, but I disagree: in fact, lure sets geared towards beating opposing Tentacruel seem like the way to make them successful. All Swords Dance Tentacruel sets are supremely good against Rest sets, as +2 Wrap rips apart any non-resist super quickly, and a stacked Hyper Beam quickly removes any Tentacruel while making your own a nightmare to switch into. This solves the "slow teams don't work" debacle, no? Removing Tentacruel without having to switch around Wrap is incredible. How does this apply to offensive teams featuring Persian? Well, you blast through all the defensive Pokemon because they're slow as balls and can't really scratch Tentacruel. This leaves Rest Tentacruel as optimal on balance, in my opinion.

Here's a team I worked on earlier that applies the aforementioned logic: :kadabra::tentacruel::hypno::persian::dragonite::omastar:
Dragonite + Omastar is not a new concept, in fact it's rather old, but oftentimes it's looked down on for being too slow. This is because both Pokemon have their Tenta-troubles, but if you lure the opposing one in with your own, you should be golden. Dragonite does this well. I think Persian may not quite be the wave, but I don't like relying on Tentacruel too much and Persian is just stupid good.

So you trade the slow nature of Rest for a more fast-paced set that can brutally lock down endgames. Like, if you run the Swords Dance + Hyper Beam set, while you lose Blizzard, you can checkmate your opponent incredibly early, because this metagame is almost begging for Tentacruel to set up and fire away. You see Tentacruel mirrors so often mid-game and I am not exaggerating when I say you can literally win right there. It doesn't matter if Kadabra paralyzes you when it dies for doing it and proceeds to open the game wide open: they've lost two of the best Pokemon available just to get a shot with their 3rd.

B-but Pwaguey, non-Rest Tentacruel folds to paralysis I-I-I can't cope with this--
Oh, bog off, Tentacruel being paralyzed is already quite rare in how the game is played, you have a Dugtrio, you have a Hypno, you have all sorts. You're keeping it away from paralysis at every corner because being forced to Rest is a fate worse than paralysis. Paralyzed Tentacruel can't Wrap but is still a disgusting offensive monster even when forced to take paralysis. Remember, that Surf 2HKOes a ton of non-resists. I see this argument as an "I don't play/watch enough" thing, I genuinely do not feel much difference between when and where I switch out Tentacruel. Sure, being minutely more expendable is nice, but you shouldn't be expending the best Pokemon in the tier in that manner unless you're in a serious pickle. Getting to Rest off paralysis is a negative situation, you're still vulnerable, it is a punishment.

Tentacruel has many other fourth move options I want to explore:
:tentacruel: Barrier sounds particularly nice as a Dugtrio lure set. Drop Blizzard, not Rest, though.
:tentacruel: Hydro Pump + Surf could be great as you can score the specific rolls (eg. 3HKO Hypno) while not losing out on Surf's consistency
:tentacruel: Bubble Beam has been experimented with by Lusch in the past, mainly to lure and beat Persian and opposing Tentacruel. For the latter, Swords Dance seems best.
:tentacruel: Mega Drain is the best option against Omastar and could be teched into the common Normal Spam teams, in my opinion. Maybe drop Blizzard, but Rest is probably better to take off.

So, erm, I guess my conclusion is: next time you open the builder, see what you can do to specialise your Tentacruel. Here's a paste with some sets I've experimented with, they're all very cool. I'll probably pull these out in pac's invitational tournament, but I want to see others do it too.
 
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May

I need a cuppa...
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148.png
Let's talk about Dragonair
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So I've dropped from pac's invitational upon realising that I won't have the greatest of time to spare, and thus won't be able to put on the show I set myself to. I want to discuss something that's been on my mind for a while. People have heard this from me on Discord before, but I want to talk about why I see Dragonair as a profoundly unviable Pokemon.

If there's an AgiliWrap discussion, Dragonair is never far behind. The theory is that Dragonair is capable of utilising AgiliWrap alongside Dragonite to potentially cheese a win. In practice, this has never occurred, and nary a replay has been able to show this can happen. This is partially why AgiliWrap didn't get suspected before, because the evidence at the time showed that Dragonite was what "broke" it. Anyway, this isn't really part of the discussion I want to have, and yes, it is unhealthy and not very competitive.

So what's wrong with Dragonair, and why does this theory not work?

Well, Dragonair sucks. Real bad. Let me show the tick damage you can expect, using the 80/83 Venusaur as a reference.
Dragonite Wrap vs. Venusaur: 16-19 (4.4 - 5.2%)
Dragonair Wrap vs. Venusaur: 11-14 (3 - 3.8%)
The damage drops off a cliff, and this is on a strategy already marred by inconsistency; not getting many hits, low damage rolls, missing and getting absolutely shat on for it, and team matchups. This is ignoring how you need to set up and then hit the first Wrap to not instantly lose the Pokemon. The mythical "Wrap sweep" never happens because of these variables that aren't stacked in their favour, Dragonite and Dragonair will always miss at some point and lose, what matters is how much damage happens beforehand, and Dragonair's stat decrease makes the reward poor.

The real problem, though, is with Articuno.
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Teams with Dragonite immediately have to use two, maybe three Articuno checks to not instantly lose to it when it comes out. With two Ice-weak setup AgiliWrappers on your team, you are instantly at risk of Articuno, which conveniently outruns both Pokemon at +2 even if they set up themselves. The stacked weaknesses here are terrible, even if Dragonair is technically better defensively, it's just not enough.

I feel like Articuno's very large and commanding presence in the tier, in addition to Tentacruel and other strong Blizzard users simply breathing, makes the NiteNair comp almost unviable. It's technically viable on account of potentially getting the greatest RNG known to mankind, but it's so mathematically improbable that I don't think it will happen in the near-future. It will eventually and people will have baby rage fits over it, but gosh lol why are you risking it???

~~~~

I think these issues are why Dragonair saw zero uses in UUSD or RBYPL II's UU division, which brings me to my next point: I feel like those who bring this core are people who want to make a point rather than actually win. Not even in the spotlight tours has Dragonair seen a single use, and these are kind of low-stakes experimental places in my experience. This is like that kid you always heard about in school but never saw once, it's a cryptid. My theory is that this Pokemon is genuinely unviable and people don't want to use it because it does more harm than good always.

I want to see teams where this Pokemon is inarguably useful and actually contributes something to a team, one that you would genuinely bring to a competitive tournament game. It's awful.
 
Re: Tentacruel because I haven't used Dragonair. Overrated might be the wrong term for Rest Tenta because the metagame changed, as expected, to a more offensive nature to acknowledge the strengths of staples of Persian, Kanga, Kadabra,etc. Barrier Tentacruel sucks I have tried it and you're banking on Dugtrio to not crit you with Earthquake, Persian will still break through, and in the majority of other situations you can Wrap everything else that would pose a threat minus Kadabra which doesn't care about Barrier. Barrier unfortunately also needs Rest, because it's still susceptible to paralysis.

The only experimentation I've done in recent times is Mega Kick Kanga, which is strong to muscle past things such as Hypno but its inaccuracy can make the move a shaky option.
 
Wanted to briefly point on something that I discussed in the discord with Juoean and I know has been mentioned here before about the three Electrics you'd see in UU, with Electabuzz and Raichu being the premier Electrics and Electrode being more niche and their respective power levels and how this impacts their effective damage. I am no real mathematician, so keep that in mind.

I'm going to kind of go through each of the major matchups and talk a bit about them. The below table is of course not 100% accurate since the way damage is calculated is slightly different than is displayed on Showdown where I pulled these numbers off, but it should suffice.

Category 1: Tentacruel

Below are the possible rolls of Thunderbolt vs. Tentacruel as well as the critical rolls:

Untitled.png

I've highlighted the table in three colours, the green being OHKOs, the yellow being 2HKOs assuming an equal roll and hitting the red part of the table requiring a critical or a higher roll in order to KO. Tentacruel is actually somewhat of an exception when it comes to Electrics vs. Waters which I shall talk about later when discussing the other waters.

Overall, when factoring in the individual critical rates, it results in the following

Raichu: 11.52% OHKO chance
Electabuzz: 8.41% OHKO chance
Electrode: 4.21% OHKO chance

When it comes to the OHKOs and 2HKOs combined

Raichu: 75.45% OHKO/2HKO chance
Electabuzz: 49.28% OHKO/2HKO chance
Electrode: 31.26% OHKO/2HKO chance

It is important to note here even though Raichu is the strongest in the pure Tentacruel 1v1 matchup, it is also speetying Tentacruel, so any OHKO/2HKO has the potential for Raichu to take damage first unless opposing Tentacruel is Paralysed.

Versus Tentacruel funnily enough, the average damage roll looks as follows:

Untitled.png

And this trend follows in general across all rolls, all three are actually similar in power. The difference is around the same as adding/taking away a single base stat point in Special. What you are giving up with Electrode vs. Raichu is non-crit damage for crit rate with Electabuzz being somewhere in the middle and hopefully I'm going to be able to explain the scenarios where this is more important.


Category 2: Aerodactyl, Articuno, Dodrio, Kangaskhan, Omastar, Persian, Poliwrath, Vaporeon

When it comes to the 1v1 scenarios versus these pokemon, the main factor in hitting benchmarks in fact is not base stat total but instead critical hit rate. Take Aerodactyl for example:

Untitled.png

When whether you critical is the only thing that matters (I'm discarding 1/256 miss here), then your OHKO rate is actually the critical rate. In these scenarios, Electrode packs more of a punch than either Raichu or Electabuzz. You can KO a few of these pokemon on very small rolls, like Raichu having a 1.2% chance to 2HKO Articuno but the most important factor is crit rate.

Turning guaranteed 2HKOs into OHKOs (Aerodactyl, Dodrio, Poliwrath)

Electrode: 27.34%
Electabuzz: 20.50%
Raichu: 19.53%

Turning guaranteed 3HKOs into 2HKOs (Articuno, Kangaskhan, Omastar, Persian, Vaporeon)

Electrode: 47.21%
Electabuzz: 36.80%
Raichu: 35.25%

It should be noted here as well that Persian and Aerodactyl outspeed two of the three Electrics and Dodrio speed ties with Raichu so these calculations do not factor in the possible hits taken. On top of this, I haven't looked into it beyond a brief glance, but there are likely to be scenarios where Raichu/Electabuzz would have better odds using Thunder than Thunderbolt for example Raichus Thunder vs. Aerodactyl which has around a 39.7% to OHKO when factoring Crit and Accuracy. Obviously you are risking the miss chance there too.


Category 3: Gyarados and Dewgong

Lastly we have Gyarados and Dewgong. They are similar to Tentacruel with slightly different odds matrix. I'll just summarise here

Vs. Gyarados OHKO Chances

Electrode: 62.73% Chance to OHKO
Electabuzz: 81.64% Chance to OHKO
Raichu: 93.80% Chance to OHKO

Vs. Dewgong OHKO Chances

Electrode: 26.89% Chance to OHKO
Electabuzz: 20.50% Chance to OHKO
Raichu: 19.53% Chance to OHKO

All these are due to rolls of various kinds, Electrode actually has a 6.8% chance to miss out on the 2HKO of Dewgong when factoring in Criticals.


Category 4: Other Pokemon

I'll probably eventually get to doing precise calcs vs. Hypno, Dragonite, Haunter, Tangela, Venusaur and other pokemon that are in the sometimes 3HKO but generally 4HKO range, but generally at this sort of range you are generally not clicking the electric moves unless it is yellow colour and switching. I think Electabuzz Seismic Toss on average nearly always outperforms vs. Tangela and Venusaur (or Psychic). You can 1v1 Haunter with Tbolt from all three electrics, but generally its just easier to switch into another pokemon. Vs. Dnite/Hypno you'd probably click tbolt if you had to stay in but most likely a switch.


Conclusion

Really there was no point of this other than I was just bored and having fun. Have a lovely day everyone :3.
 

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ty ika for your thorough post ~ esp with trode having a lot of success rn in the invitational.
i want to add a lil about trode on the defensive side, as its physical bulk (60/70) is quite a bit better than buzz’s (65/57) or raichu’s (60/55). here are the matchups to my knowledge where the physical bulk makes a clear difference:

electrode vs persian:
persian slash does 46-53% to trode, 2hkoing less than half the time. ofc persian may have hyper beam, tho slash into hbeam isnt quite guaranteed to 2hko either. since trode is faster and 3hkos, or 2hkos with one crit, simply clicking tbolt is at minimum an okay way to approach the matchup; while the other electrics really have to click twave, due to being slower and always 2hkoed with slash.

trode vs kang:
trode is almost never koed by body slam into earthquake, while electabuzz usually is and raichu always is. trode is also not always koed by body slam into hyper beam. since as ika noted trode is 47% to 2hko kang due to its crit rate, the matchup is not at all comfortable for kang. if kang doesnt get paraslam it has a significant chance to get 2hkod while trode is still at >60% hp, and even if kang does get a paraslam it still may just be a trade due to the low chance for slam into eq to ko, or alternatively kang has to make a hyper beam prediction.

electrode vs aerodactyl:
buzz/chu have a significant chance to be kod by a crit double edge + non crit double edge, trode almost never is. i have hard switched trode into aero before, since dedge only does 29-34% and trode ofc outspeeds, idk aero can be pretty rough to switch into at times and trode doesnt mind the damage or burn chance as much as other mons do.

electrode vs dugtrio:
this is hard to compare with buzz/chu but main thing id say here in terms of trode’s bulk is that even after 3 take downs (or 2 including one crit), trode will still usually survive dugtrio’s earthquake (3 recoils puts trode at ~82-85%, and dugtrio’s eq does 73-86%). so if for example dugtrio switches into one crit take down, trode can now usually win the 1v1 most of the time as it can take down again, survive eq, and then ko dug since take down is a 4hko most of the time. ofc given take down’s accuracy and other available responses to dug, this isnt typically rly worth going for, but it nonetheless has relevance if for example u stay in with electrode predicting dugtrio to click a move other than eq, but you guess wrong.

after the invitational concludes, i will probably separate out all the electrode replays for everyone’s discussion.
 

May

I need a cuppa...
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Well, UUFPL II is over, with my team coming second. My main aim in this tournament was to tie up some loose ends with Pokemon that frequently get discussed in theory but never quite stick the landing when they get played with. This is usually due to people not understanding what they're using, or myself not having fully developed my thoughts on a theory I've kept in the back.

With Unowndragon having one of the greatest RBY UU tournament runs thus far, I'm sure you're wondering where the crackpot teams came from. Well, as the observant types probably saw by the structures, a good few of them were by me. Unowndragon would tell me he wants to use a certain Pokemon, and I'd whip up the best team I could muster for them. Sometimes it was for some essays on bilibili, other times it was just wanting to try new things.

With all the above considered, I developed the following things;
  • Much of my perceptions of Pokemon that are solid by design, but have struggled in practice; these include Charizard, Raichu, Golduck, and more.
    • Charizard is probably going to rise to UU down the line, and you can read my VR Post for details on that one.
    • Raichu can probably come back to UU, but needs further development. The simple answer here is that people aren't seeing its identity over Electabuzz, while also underrating Electabuzz due to other misuses.
    • Golduck is really good when you know you can just stay in against HB-less Tentacruels and win.
  • When and where to spec Tentacruel, developing from this post.
    • I think Hydro Pump is one of the best ways for Articuno-weak teams to spec into the matchup more effectively, rather than leaving themselves vulnerable by resting in front of it. It's a near-guaranteed 3HKO, only requiring two to connect before Surf finishes it off. Any amount of chip and this becomes way more favourable, only needing one. This is definitely an arguable point, but I think people tunnel into the flat one-on-one without considering the consequences of leaving Tentacruel inactive.
    • Swords Dance + Hyper Beam remains underdeveloped, at least from what I can tell. This may be because people aren't spamming bulky Waters as much as last year, not sure. I guess people just think it's bad.
  • How to drop Rest on Hypno without being stupid!
    • I think people are being way too quick with dropping Rest. The recent Hypnosis spam makes sense, but is being used too liberally and misses the point of it by a tad. Missing Hypnosis is likely and it still has to contend with a 0-1 turn wake while often dropping Rest, so you should be using it on teams that can afford to lose it to RNG.
And more, but those are my big points. There may be a lot you disagree with here, and that's fine! It's obviously all my thoughts, opinions, and whatever else you wanna call it.

RaiZard
:raichu::charizard::kadabra::hypno::tentacruel::kangaskhan:
Replay: VS Bandaboro, Week 4
Torchic also used it here after Unowndragon piloted it, and just so happened to get put into the perfect matchup: Shellnuts the player. Harsh, but I essentially designed it specifically for him, and it worked as well as expected.

Raichu synergises excellently with Charizard, as it can't break Grass-types at all. No, Seismic Toss does not help and I'd argue it actively hurts Raichu in literally every other area, it's a dogshit move that tries to make Raichu do something that it cannot and should not attempt. Raichu is a Pokemon that makes a great lead, as it forces out Pokemon like Tentacruel, but should never actually attempt to paralyze them: switching out is great as now you have a sweeper in the back and likely a sleep blocker in paralysed Hypno. I think this is the best way to play Raichu. The Charizard set is built with Raichu in mind: Fire Blast toasts the Grass-types that wall Raichu, and Earthquake dispatches Tentacruel. Body Slam is a great option here for helping support the team's "just barely enough" average speed while taking advantage of the predictable plays Charizard forces out when positioned properly. Cleave open the defensive teams and let Raichu win! Kangaskhan is icing on the cake and partly why I eventually went with Thunder Wave on Raichu and Body Slam on Charizard: we needed a consistent Persian/Dugtrio check, and it fit the bill. If AgiliWrap is banned, give it Counter instead. Tentacruel-reliant teams often crumble to the pressure these Pokemon put on them together, as they goad Tentacruel into playing into speed ties it is not built to attempt.

I think Raichu could have Hyper Beam, but in the lead slot, it's nice to have Thunder Wave. The problem with the latter is that Hypno switching in is assured, so you can argue it's not really worth going for. Hyper Beam gives Raichu some fantastic end-games and a better Kadabra matchup than most. However, you would have to change Kangaskhan out for something else, and this usually means your paralysis spreading is just a bit short. Dropping Kangaskhan also means your defensive integrity hits the negative. Maybe Kangaskhan needs a different set. I think you could also try out something like Vaporeon alongside a Counter Charizard, but there are better teams for this. I feel like this core specifically is unfinished, but it still worked well.

Duckers
:hypno::golduck::kadabra::tentacruel::persian::dragonite:
Replay: VS 5Dots, Week 3
egalvanc used Golduck in the Dragonite Suspect Test and it lived rent-free in my head ever since. So here is my take on Golduck. Personally, I think Golduck is very good, just used wrong. Even in this replay, I think it's sold a little bit short and Unowndragon just barely managed to seal the game with it.

So as you'll see by my set, my way of "solving" Golduck was actually looking at the moves we're picking. Most will pick Surf / Blizzard / Amnesia / Rest or Body Slam without really thinking, but this is wrong and kind of a death sentence. That may work for Poliwrath, but not Golduck, Golduck wants raw damage output at all times; it even tells you this by having more Spc. +2 Hydro Pump is a thermonuclear bomb that 2HKOs even Hypno, giving you a clean win against it just by predicting a Rest. This is where it becomes your juicy mid-game wallbreaker because this usually forces Tentacruel in. DO. NOT. SWITCH. By this point, it's usually taken a modicum of damage, and +2 Confusion will 3HKO even a decent amount of the time if it's at full. Sit there, take the Wraps, and you should force a Rest out of it. This is why we don't Body Slam, as the real aim of beating Tentacruel is to force that Rest; I've seen arguments for Body Slam given the paralysis, which is an effective KO, but the chances of this happening after a Wrap miss is far less than what I'd like, and the consistent damage helps with a myriad of ranges. Sure, you may lose to Swords Dance variants by using Confusion, but that's why the rest of your team exists. It's really nice that Golduck outspeeds Dragonite as well, this is a massive flaw in Poliwrath; this was enough to make me want to use Body Slam Persian, which is a comically broken move on it that is solely kept at bay by the risk of AgiliWrap. We don't really care about that as we have Golduck which exists solely to wait for a Wrap miss anyway. Dragonite rounded out the team slots for a reason I honestly forgot, I think it was the need for paralysis.

This team may be a bit too aggressive for Golduck. I think Persian works well with it, but Dugtrio is arguably better for its Electric immunity. I think Dugtrio may be the overall better choice as there are a lot of lines where opposing Tentacruel are forced into range for Earthquake with this team style. It also helps a lot against the Electrodes that have been on the rise recently as well; they don't normally hard Take Down first. Dragonite was kind of slapped on for extra paralysis support, which functions well, but exposes the defensive integrity of the team a bit. I'm still not sure what the 6th should be, to be honest, I guess that's a testament to the strength of the initial core.

VenoNite
:kadabra::hypno::tentacruel::venomoth::dragonite::persian:
Replay: VS Koalacancee, Week 6
I think this team underperformed. It's an updated version of this RMT, with the rationale that leading Tentacruel is no longer optimal. Still, the core strategies remain the same with this iteration of the team, only you switch Venomoth in T1 to catch Hypnos. I think Venomoth is still good on AgiliWrap Dragonite teams, but this team was still flawed and not the best use for Venomoth.

I think this should be updated with a Rest Venomoth set with the idea that it's best used as a sleep sack post-use, like Jynx. With that in mind, Venomoth should probably be straight used as a lead. I went in with the belief that Mega Drain was the best coverage for Omastar and Golem, but they're quite rare, so Rest will be better most of the time.

So with that in mind, try this out: :venomoth::kadabra::tentacruel::hypno::dragonite::persian:
It fine-tunes the sets as well, with the team's aggressive, all-or-nothing playstyle in mind. Still, maybe Rest isn't quite right.

PerZard + Blastoise
:kadabra::charizard::persian::tentacruel::hypno::blastoise:
Replay: VS AM, Week 7
The product of a lot of months of stewing thoughts, this team uses Counter Charizard to the fullest, aiming to beat Grass + Sweeper and Normal Spam cores to let Persian go wild. Omastar is the perfect Water-type for this team, profiting from Charizard's Ground immunity. It really likes to fight the Dugtrios that drop Rock Slide, which so many people insist on doing despite it being suboptimal. Even when it does have it, this team is pretty solid against them anyway, and it's mainly thanks to our second Water-type of choice...

"P-P-PvK this is a theme team, right? Tell me it's a theme team! I-I-I can't handle the basedness this time...
JPEG_20200131_181336.png
"

Nope. Dead serious. I went through a ton of candidates when making this team and not one managed to satisfy the team's conditions.
  • Vaporeon can't switch into a crit to save its life and lacks Earthquake for opposing Omastar, which this team will struggle with a little bit, and tends to lose to Articuno if it crits too much. This is probably the best candidate after Blastoise. I also despise how easily it can let some Normal-types in, and AM likes Dodrio.
  • Omastar was the next in line. It handles Normal-types and stuff nicely, but it's also Ground-weak, making it extremely difficult to justify on a Dugtrio-weak team.
  • Dewgong looks good at first but it tends to get chipped a little too much to fight the late-game Articuno sometimes.
  • Poliwrath struggles to do anything against Psychic-types because it has issues fitting Body Slam.
  • Golduck is good but geared a bit too much towards set-up; Rest sets are also criminally vulnerable to pressure from Dugtrio and the Normals.
So we're out of options, right? Let's chuck this team in the bin and never look at it again. Well, LTG did a lot of research into Blastoise a while back, because this Pokemon has always seemed "ok" but never quite hit the ground running like the rest. In our case, it's just perfect.

While Poliwrath has the best defensiveness (HP*Def) of the Water-types in UU, every Dugtrio is accompanied by two Psychic-types, one of which it outspeeds while having Hypnosis. It's usually just barely enough to be a good candidate for teams that need the best Dugtrio-checking Water-type possible, but for this team, we lack resistances as-is, and we can't afford to pack a Psychic-weak Pokemon. We also wanted something that could hit Articuno just a bit harder, and Blastoise can 4HKO Articuno with Surf with either a single crit or if Articuno has taken quite literally 4%. So Blastoise has the Earthquake access of Poliwrath without the Psychic and vague Articuno weaknesses, making the stars quite literally align perfectly for it on this specific team.

This isn't suddenly going to make Blastoise some big UU staple, but it's nice to see that this paradox has finally been solved (at least to me) after well over a year of failed attempts. I have wanted PerZard to be a real team so badly, and this does it. Now if only people could solve Golem!

Lead Kangaskhan Normal Spam
Blue Version:
:kangaskhan::dodrio::persian::tentacruel::hypno::venusaur:
Red Version: :kangaskhan::charizard::persian::tentacruel::hypno::vaporeon:
Replay (Red Version): Finals VS TeamCharm
This team ended up having two versions, so I decided to make a reference to Torchic.

Blue Version
Kangaskhan is a pretty interesting lead, as STAB Hyper Beam will OHKO Kadabra. Thus, Kadabra is usually forced out, as losing it early, well...loses you the game. Even if you switch something like Hypno in to take it, it's forced to Rest MUCH earlier, so the damage it can deal immediately is significant. If it crits, that switch was for nought! So with that in mind, if you see a Kadabra spammer, bring this in, and just...click it. No thoughts, head empty, just do it.

That aside, Persian and Dodrio are great partners. Dodrio helps Persian's uncertain matchups against Grass-types and Haunter, while Persian is a nuclear bomb. Because I do not fear God or AgiliWrap, Persian has Body Slam, which does a ton if it crits and helps Dodrio's iffy Speed tie against Tentacruel. This is the one Speed tie I'd say is in Tentacruel's favour in this tier.

You'll notice this team is Kadless, and that's because we needed a sleeper and I wasn't feeling a Restless Hypno on a team like this, we needed a bit more backbone. So, we put Venusaur on for reliability and bulk, which gives a more convincing out in Normal Spam mirrors. Hydro Pump Tentacruel was chucked on for the calcs against Articuno, Hypno, and Persian, all of which can pile on the pain against this team. We didn't have space for a reliable check to Articuno, so speccing into it with Tentacruel was essential.

Red Version
Now, the Red version has Charizard, which was because the Grass matchup and Normal Spam mirrors can be made more consistent with it. Fire Blast torches the Grass-types and Counter lets it nuke opposing Normal-types without compromising your own. Because Kangaskhan is forced to use Toxic a lot of the time for Dragonite, Charizard is more than capable of nuking that, and Persian isn't exactly comfortable fighting it either. They all have some form of counterplay innately, and if someone plays around it, you're usually fine switching it in for the threat factor alone: do they stay in with their non-STAB and risk a burn, or switch out and risk having a Pokemon nuked? It's very strong here.

Now Charizard makes our limited Water/Ice resists more apparent than Dodrio, so I bit the bullet and replaced Venusaur with Vaporeon, which comes with the bonus of a better Kadabra matchup. With that, I swapped Rest for Hypnosis on Hypno, as there was less pressure on it for dealing with opposing Psychic-types, and we can compress the sleeper role.

This team went through several revisions; I originally used a TWaveless Hypno with Rest + Hypnosis, as well as Body Slam Charizard. These sets are fine but don't work that well in practice. You could try them though!

Pinsir Wrapspam
:tentacruel::pinsir::dragonite::vaporeon::hypno::kadabra:
Replay: Finals VS TeamCharm
I went into this with one thought: "what team can exploit a new player the best?". TeamCharm's RBY record is very limited, with them only really having a passing interest. I love those types of faces, but in tournaments, I take no prisoners! So, I decided to take the famous EB0LA VapNite team, as well as some past theory, and gear it up towards something more aggressive, but also more consistent.

The VapNite core is amazing at two things: consistency...and enabling random Pokemon. Pinsir is one of those Pokemon, which has an excellent Dugtrio matchup and comes with Bind, the latter of which makes for an amazing core alongside Dragonite and Tentacruel. With these three together, you end with a very suffocating advantage when you get it going, with a Vaporeon and Hypno in the back to make Kadabra uncomfortable when they lose their patience and try to force their way through. If they do this and get paralysed, they instantly lose: this is more than enough for Pinsir to set up and sweep immediately. It takes Tentacruel's Wrap well and nukes it if it's taken even minor damage at +2, and if they try to Surf it, well, it takes that just fine from full too. Vaporeon is a great anchor on a team like this that helps ensure Articuno doesn't run you over, but just to be in tip-top-condition against it, we're running Hydro Pump Tentacruel for good measure. Given the use of our Tentacruel and the rest of the team, I think it taking paralysis from a Wrap miss, while not ideal, is just fine.

Lead Tentacruel has been on a downturn as of late, particularly because of people putting it under a microscope (1, 2, these are good reads) but I also think that it's been dropped too quickly. You see, against a player you haven't fought before, fishing for a lead Tentacruel can Wrap in Game 1 is very effective. Get two Wrap ticks, see how they respond, and you can take this information and use it across the rest of your set to gain a better advantage later. This gives you some pretty neat set-play that you don't see often in other tiers, I learned it from when Shellnuts was analysing how EB0LA pilots the VapNite team before. It's all "old stuff", but it still works!

When you Wrap, you're looking for these typical habits which have the following implications;
  • Do they immediately switch Kadabra (or other faster Pokemon) in?
    • If so, they probably really hate Wrap and will get tilted by being constantly choked out by it. You should immediately pivot into Vaporeon or Hypno when anticipating this, which should give you a good matchup.
    • I personally recommend Vaporeon as people just do not understand how risky Thunder Wave-ing it is. You're taking a Body Slam, dumbass! If it's paralysed, you lose!
  • Do they stay in for more than a few turns?
    • If so, they're smart. Go to Hypno and use the threat of sleep to force them out.
There's a lot more to it and you will need to feel things out on your own, but this is the basic logic you should use to map out how you Wrap for the rest of the set. It's good to get this knowledge as early as possible so there's more time to think, which is partially why I value this so much.

Normally, VapNite runs Dugtrio as an Electric immunity for your Vaporeon, Dragonite, and Kadabra. I'd strongly recommend using that most of the time. But if you're fighting a standard VapNite spammer or uninformed player...this is the better variant. Pinsir gears the matchup just right to run away with the game, coming in on resisted Earthquakes and ruining their fun. Once it gets going, it doesn't stop.

--

Anyway, that's all I made. It's certainly a bit of a gimmick shed, but they're far from bad teams in my opinion! They're definitely the best ways to use quite a few of these Pokemon. Hope it helps people develop them, I think a few of these could even be UU down the line.
 
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