OU Rest Forretress and Role Compression (+2021 GSC Cup run review)


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In the months leading up to this year's Smogon Classic and as QC leader for GSC OU analyses, I spent considerable time trying to figure out how to get Pokemon like Kingdra and Venusaur to work in OU. These Pokemon are generally considered to be poor choices in the current metagame, with only a few fringe teams making use of them. While I don't disagree with this necessarily, in the course of team building experimentation I also discovered that it is quite possible to assemble a team that adequately* handles most mono-attacking and Earthquake variants of Snorlax long term without resorting to using Skarmory, while also maintaining presence in the Spikes war. This can be achieved by using a Forretress set with Toxic and Rest in combination with other supporting team members. While this is not a novel idea, it is extremely underutilised in the current metagame in my opinion.

Forretress @ Leftovers
- Spikes
- Toxic
- Rest
- Reflect / Explosion / Defense Curl

Whereas standard Forretress without Rest can easily be chipped down, even by foes such as Skarmory, Heracross, and all-physical Snorlax. Rest Forretress can be said to purely take advantage of these matchups. It can PP stall Jynx with its resistance to both STABs, it doesn't fear non-HP Fire Exeggutor, and whereas non-Giga Drain Forretress would usually be potentially afraid to trade Toxic for Surf against Cloyster, this set is much less afraid of using up its HP bar to achieve status spreading or Spikes laying. However, this set also has its weaknesses. It is worse off than Skarmory against Machamp (although still checks non-Fire Blast variants with some effectiveness, especially if it can avoid switching in on a critical hit Cross Chop), a lot worse off against Marowak, much more fearful of Belly Drum Snorlax, and very fearful of Fire Blast Snorlax (or Fire Blast anything, for that matter). Handily, it survives a single Flamethrower from Snorlax, and it performs reasonably well against other variants of Curselax, as long as there is a healthy phazer and Forretress manages to land Toxic before it uses Rest.

Unlike Skarmory, the Reflect version is unfortunately susceptible to critical hits from both Curse + Earthquake Snorlax and Curse mono-Double-Edge Snorlax. While in ideal conditions it can survive them (e.g. Reflect is up for another three turns and Snorlax has been poisoned), as we are all familiar with, critical hits can also occur when you don't want them to (which we will see later).

The most important teammate in most scenarios is Starmie. It offers Rapid Spin support, takes on Fire-types, Machamp, and checks Marowak and other Ground-types. Depending on your team, you can go with SubMie, PsychicMie, or whatever you want alongside Rapid Spin and Recover.

Kingdra has very good synergy with Forretress. The idea of using Kingdra is that it can go toe-to-toe with almost everything. Tricky foes such as Tyranitar, Steelix, Nidoking, and Gengar are pretty breezy for Kingdra. With Ice Beam, Zapdos can't really switch in safely, which means most offensive teams are forced to send in Snorlax or Cloyster. Snorlax is often a free switch for Forretress, which can lay Spikes or spread Toxic to help chip it down so that (e.g.) your own Snorlax can set up when it is forced to use Rest.

:gs/Gengar: :gs/Umbreon: :gs/Rhydon: :gs/Golem: :gs/Misdreavus: :gs/Miltank: :gs/Tyranitar:
If you are using Forretress, you obviously need something for Firelax. There are a lot of options here. Ghost-types are good picks for the HP Fire + Rapid Spin Forretress matchup. Rhydon helps as a secondary source of offensive power alongside Snorlax. You can even use Onix if you want, I heard it is pretty good alongside Curse Heracross.

:gs/Blissey: :gs/Raikou: :gs/Snorlax:
Zapdos is going to switch into your Forretress a lot of the time. Depending on the makeup of the rest of your team, you may need something like Blissey or Raikou. Blissey is pretty nice to have if you are running Venusaur, since it hates paralysis and handles Vaporeon. Raikou is probably better if you aren't running a Firelax check that is a phazer. If you have a really bulky team (like Venu + Umbreon + Snorlax), you might be able to get away without either of them, but it's still a bit risky.

:gs/Venusaur: :gs/Meganium:
Forretress appreciates Light Screen support, and these two really don't care what hits them in the process of setting it up. For example, they can tank Jynx Ice Beam, set up Light Screen, then recover it off. The concept I have been using is to lead with Venusaur, let it eat Thief or take sleep or whatever else the opponent has in store, set up Light Screen and Leech Seed, then go to Forretress. It's pretty tricky to stop this strategy from getting Spikes up first, which lets you take control of momentum from the start of the game. Venusaur is also an excellent Machamp and Vaporeon counter, forces switches easily with Leech Seed which can let you get in your Curselax for free and sometimes behind a Light Screen, and gives you insurance against last mons. Meganium doesn't help as much vs Machamp but still works against Vaporeon and does much better against Ground-types (aka Marowak, which can be really traumatic to face as a defensive team without Skarmory). However, it is susceptible to Toxic.

GSC Cup Round 2 vs Bughouse
Game 1

:gs/Snorlax: :gs/Tyranitar: :gs/Heracross: :gs/Blissey: :gs/Starmie: :gs/Skarmory:
:gs/Forretress: :gs/Kingdra: :gs/Starmie: :gs/Raikou: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Gengar:

I brought a team that is designed to beat the offensive meta here that has Ice Beam Kingdra. Double Waters with Spikes + Rest Forretress and Rapid Spin Starmie is pretty good against the standard offensive teams, though it doesn't have much hope of breaking stall. It basically just needs to play for a stalemate or win with Roar Raikou, which isn't likely to happen against Blissey stall unless Gengar can KO something with Dynamic Punch. The fact I don't have Explosion on Gengar also makes it even harder to touch Blissey stall. It was looking pretty decent for a stalemate (or possibly an eventual win by exhausting Heal Bell PP and poisoning Starmie) this game until my Forretress got caught being a bit greedy and got crit on the same turn. Then I had a last mon Snorlax sweep possibility (the chances of which were steeply reduced by it losing Leftovers) but it didn't happen unfortunately. It was probably around a 50/50 to avoid all the crits and drops necessary, if not worse.

Bughouse leads the series 1-0.

Game 2
:gs/Zapdos: :gs/Steelix: :gs/Cloyster: :gs/Jynx: :gs/Gengar: :gs/Snorlax:
:gs/Raikou: :gs/Forretress: :gs/Meganium: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Starmie: :gs/Miltank:

This game showcases the downsides of running Steelix and the upsides of running Forretress. Bughouse knows that my Forretress will have Toxic so does not send in his Cloyster, but the combination of Raikou + Forretress + Meganium covers a lot of threats while not giving Cloyster any entry point. This sets up a situation where RoarKou can go to town, though its rampage is eventually halted by Jynx. Spikes go up in a very aggressive turn 27 play (desperation I guess?), then I'm feeling pretty confident in a Snorlax sweep on turn 32, but the game had other ideas. Eventually Cloyster went down after taking Toxic and Snorlax didn't get the critical hits, FPs or Toxic misses it needed to overcome Forretress (even though Body Slam + Earthquake Snorlax is probably the scariest set for this Forretress). Jynx and Gengar had a tiny shot of breaking through but the team is just so bulky that it would be tough.

Series tied at 1-1.

Game 3
:gs/Nidoking: :gs/Zapdos: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Cloyster: :gs/Machamp: :gs/Tyranitar:
:gs/Venusaur: :gs/Forretress: :gs/Umbreon: :gs/Starmie: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Kangaskhan:

Venusaur does its job of getting Forretress in safely for first Spikes, but unfortunately gets paralysed and brought fairly low. However, it's still high enough to live Cloyster Surf, so decent shot at bringing it back into the battle if Cloyster isn't willing to trade for it. Snorlax gets in for free on a Thunder miss turn 14, giving it a great opportunity to start wrecking the enemy team. I probably should have used Body Slam on turn 19, although Bughouse doesn't punish it very effectively with his turn 20/21 moves (not sure what he was going for). I get to burn a sleep turn on turn 20 for just 12% on a Surf and then he decides to use Explosion (somewhat reasonable move I guess, maybe a bit impatient when he has a Machamp?). My turn 23-24-25 sequence is definitely very greedy. I haven't revealed whether I'm Psychic or Surf yet but Surf is a pretty good guess. He kind of wastes turn 24. A second Curse there would have put me in an awkward situation. Turn 25 could have been very poor if he crit Cross Chop. He does get a crit on turn 26 but it's less impactful thanks to Reflect, and once Toxic lands, his situation is getting increasingly dire. I decide that the safest way to deal with Machamp now that it is badly poisoned is to sac Venu (as Cloyster is now gone) and Sub down with Starmie. From here his only realistic out is breaking through Umbreon with Nido/Zap/Lax, which doesn't happen, as Zapdos runs out of Thunder PP after fighting Kanga and Umbreon with Curselax still around.

Earthworm advances to Round 3 with a 2-1 win over Bughouse.

GSC Cup Round 3 vs Hayburner
Game 1

:gs/Exeggutor: :gs/Cloyster: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Zapdos: :gs/Tyranitar: :gs/Nidoking:
:gs/Forretress: :gs/Kingdra: :gs/Raikou: :gs/Starmie: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Gengar:

I was almost certain that my opponent was bringing offense this game so I brought a Kingdra team. Kingdra put him in an awkward position early and Snorlax offered an easy opportunity to lay Spikes. Raikou's critical hit Thunder allowed me to be in a strong position to burn a lot of his Monolax's Sleep Talk PP with my own Curselax (I got through 7/16 quickly). This puts all of Gengar / Raikou / Snorlax in stronger positions for a sweep. Dynamic Punch landing on the Tyranitar switch followed by a Thunderbolt critical hit all but secured the game, as Kingdra takes on everything but Snorlax and he has no switch-ins to Gengar.

Earthworm leads the series 1-0.

Game 2
:gs/Jynx: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Cloyster: :gs/Zapdos: :gs/Gengar: :gs/Alakazam:
:gs/Venusaur: :gs/Forretress: :gs/Starmie: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Rhydon: :gs/Blissey:

Here the Venusaur + Forretress + Starmie combination gets me to a huge advantage by turn 10 with sleep absorbed, Spikes down, and Cloyster poisoned against a likely offensive team. Turn 26 is the first time I make a fairly significant error. It wasn't necessary to risk Snorlax at this point, although I felt pretty confident that I'd be able to close out the game with Rhydon. I decide to take a hit with Rhydon on turn 41 in exchange for KOing Alakazam, which might not have been the best play. In hindsight, I could have sent Blissey in and it is highly unlikely he would have had any set that significantly threatens me. However, I feel like Recover Alakazam + RestTalk Zapdos + Snorlax had potential to PP stall my Blissey, and I felt like getting a KO would cement my victory. Jynx takes Toxic on turn 43 and my Forretress set is then revealed soon afterwards. On turn 50, I get an opportunity to almost certainly close out the game but Rock Slide misses, unfortunately, and Rhydon is sent to uncomfortably low HP.

I start recovering Rhydon's health and Snorlax is revealed to be Mono. Forretress starts PP stalling and is revealed to be able to handle critical hits from max attack Snorlax with Reflect + Toxic + Rest, so Hayburner switches out. Zapdos exchanges PP with Blissey and Snorlax exchanges with Rhydon. By turn 120, Zapdos is down to 3 Sleep Talk PP and Snorlax has 9 Curse and 12 Double-Edge PP. I am not sure what I was thinking going to Forretress instead of Rhydon against 38% HP Snorlax on turn 123. That was probably another mistake, although I get Rhydon in behind Reflect for some Leftovers a couple turns later. Hayburner goes for the hail mary Ice Beam freeze against Blissey on turn 127 and gets KOed. I wasn't too worried about getting frozen there anyway, since I had fairly good odds of living through the rest of Zapdos's PP at that stage anyway unless Hayburner repeatedly made the perfect move selections and hit most of his Thunders. Hayburner basically goes all in by turn 143, as he no longer has enough Curse PP to get to max attack if he is forced out again and I therefore have no need to poison him and let him use Rest + Sleep Talk. On turn 147 I go for the win with Roar from behind Reflect. His Double-Edge does 23-27 to 47% Rhydon without a critical hit and 45.7 to 53.9% with a critical hit, so I have something like a 94% chance to win the game here, but unfortunately I get crit and Rhydon faints.

I am forced to go back to PP stalling with Forretress, which is only doable if I can keep Snorlax poisoned and Reflect up consistently. Unfortunately on turn 152 I am in a position where Reflect has three turns left and Snorlax cannot be poisoned. I know that if I don't use Rest here and Snorlax repeatedly uses Double-Edge, when Reflect runs out I will be on ~14% if Double-Edge doesn't crit, so I use Rest and hope that he does not land a crit. Unfortunately, it gets another crit on turn 153. It now has 7 Double-Edge PP left, which is enough to sweep the team. This is where I make an objective error--I stay in to burn another Rest turn for no reason on turn 154. Here I should have switched to Blissey, which takes 90% max from behind Reflect, and woken Forretress and Venusaur up with Heal Bell. I could then have PP stalled the remaining Double-Edge PP with Forretress and had a reasonable shot at PP stalling Zapdos's last 8 HP Ice PP with Light Screen + Leech Seed Venusaur with Forretress. Staying in to use Rest and sacrificing Venusaur leaves my only option as a hail mary freeze against Snorlax, which doesn't happen. I was pretty disappointed after I realised this error later, since I spent about two minutes considering my situation only the turn after I had already thrown a probably-still-won match.

This game also showcases the advantages of a potential DCurl Forretress over Reflect, as they can reach 999 Def instead of 744 and don't require the use of Reflect when awake, making it all but certain to Rest loop any non-Firelax. However, Reflect is more useful in other situations.

Series tied at 1-1.

Game 3
:gs/Nidoking: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Gengar: :gs/Tyranitar: :gs/Cloyster: :gs/Zapdos:
:gs/Venusaur: :gs/Forretress: :gs/Umbreon: :gs/Starmie: :gs/Snorlax: :gs/Kangaskhan:

This game starts off well yet again, with Venusaur absorbing sleep and Thief from Nidoking and Forretress getting free Spikes. However, I then get Umbreon's Leftovers stolen in exchange for Pursuit damage on turns 7 and 8. This is extremely bad. I do get Toxic off on Tyranitar on turn 9, which is potentially helpful to achieving a sweep with my Normal-types later. I trade Toxic with Cloyster on turn 11, which I also think was worth it. My situation is pretty good here still, since I have a Curse EQ Snorlax in the back and I've already poisoned both his checks and gotten Spikes up. Starmie removes his Spikes as well. His whole team is now revealed and I can start PP stalling Zapdos, which is part of the strategy of this team. However, with Umbreon's Leftovers gone, Curse Snorlax can now potentially cause me a lot of trouble if it manages to break through Forretress. While playing, I did not identify this as a problem as I thought that Forretress would be able to handle Snorlax. With Reflect up, my Curselax is in near perfect position on turn 22.

This is where the game starts going wrong. I make the unfortunate decision to use Curse and then absorb Toxic with Snorlax on turn 23. I don't get the para on turn 25, which is unfortunate, but then I should have used Rest and entirely waste the turn with Earthquake on turn 26. On turns 28 to 30, I fail to appreciate the danger of a mono Curselax as a +3 Body Slam Lax because I still have Reflect Forretress. Even so, I am still feeling pretty confident as of turn 32. But on turn 33, the game entirely falls to pieces with a Sleep Talk Double-Edge critical hit on my Forretress. Not only this, but it rolls 88% on a 76.7% to 90.3% roll when I need a ~83% or less roll to live through the potential follow up attack through Reflect. Technically I didn't really need to risk this situation as I could easily have switched to Forretress on turn 29, turn 30, or even turn 32. But I felt like it was probably okay to risk a ~2% chance outcome on a set I wasn't even sure about yet. Nevertheless, my position is still somewhat acceptable if he does not roll Sleep Talk Double-Edge the next turn. But he does, so I am now without a resistance to Normal.

I make a huge choke on turn 36, where I don't calc -1 Double-Edge from behind Reflect (I could have used Charm again). I then choke again on turn 37, where I should have switched to Kangaskhan. I think at this point I have unfortunately lost my focus due to the extremely unlikely events from the previous turns and previous game. After Umbreon faints, all of my eggs are basically in the Curselax basket, and I let it get boomed on on turn 54. This is essentially the end of the game. I still have a tiny chance if I can perfectly predict his switches to Gengar with Kangaskhan and Zapdos rolls terribly with Sleep Talk, but instead it gets frozen by Nidoking.

This series was pretty embarrassing and I feel like I could have easily won both the games I lost with better focus and more risk aversion, even if I was on the receiving end of unfortunate RNG a few times. As someone with a ridiculous amount of battle experience in major tournaments, it is extremely disappointing that I allowed myself to make such critical errors in hindsight.

Hayburner advances to Round 4 with a 2-1 series win.

Despite getting eliminated early, I feel that Rest Forretress has a lot of potential in the current metagame and could cause a metagame shift, and I encourage everyone to try building with it. Feel free to post any ideas about how best to take advantage of it or any comments on the replays.
:gs/Forretress: :gs/Forretress: :gs/Forretress:

Also, yes, I did get the idea from some ladder player who is probably Japanese.
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I have used the Kingdra team before and it's kind of nice. I especially like that Rest Forretress is a good switch in against most varieties of Nidoking as long as Lovely Kiss or Fire Blast aren't a threat, two very easily avoidable moves.
What I am never a fan of is how Forry kind of concedes lots of momentum to Cloyster in the 1v1 and without a spinner alongside it, things can be very tricky. I know that you like Starmie quite a lot so at least you have that. Sub starmie is probably a necessity if you expect to block any status coming your way (getting a lucky Thunder dodge against electrics means a free spin, most of the time).
The spikes play is pretty clearly thought out, but I suppose that doesn't change the fact that mons like Cloyster or Golem can always just wait to explode on Starmie to clear the way for common offence threats like Machamp, Wak or even Jynx.

Kangha is also quite nice to have. A fast normal that outspeeds a lot of offence means you can never be too safe bringing in Machamp or Marowak frequently. Each team seems to have its own special weakness though, and it can boil down to single pokemon movesets to full cores.


Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
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You’re pretty generous in your descriptions of my plays. Most any turn that was aggressive or confusing to you, just assume I didn’t know any better :)

very interesting to see your thought processes here.


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Forretress is a useless Spikes-laying lump and I don't think Rest makes it any less of one. Personally, I abhor all movesets that completely eschew direct attacks especially in GSC where you're just begging for something like a 10% Snorlax switching in to Rest for free, but that's beside the point. Forry's stall potential is very limited even with Rest because it ultimately still loses to Curselax and any other booster. About all it works against is Jynx and most Eggy sets, but you could just use HP Bug to directly beat them in addition to some Ttar sets plus threaten Starmie (and also not let 10% mons in for free). Doesn't even really do anything against Cloyster because once you Toxic it and Spike up, you're not staying in anyway and without Spin you don't even have a reason to switch Forry directly into Cloyster anymore. I think you're better off with Protect which stalls for Leftovers (since it's not like Forry can wake up against much anyway) + poison + PP and scouts Lax for Fire coverage. I guess it's cool you can stall Monolax with DCurl if you want to go that route, since Forry otherwise "beats" very few things with conventional movesets.

I like the idea of Reflect, because it gives Forry an indirect way to set up more threatening mons like Blissey does, but unfortunately it's most useful against Snorlax and switching Forry into Lax is always a huge risk before you reveal the full moveset simply because of Fire coverage.

I do not acknowledge the viability of Kingdra, but Venusaur is basically alt-Meganium which is niche but usable.

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