Sableye [QC: 2/3]

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Dark / Ghost
Pokedex #302
[Smogon BW2 OU| Serebii | Bulbapedia | OU Thread | Research Thread]

Overview
########
At first glance, Sableye has extremely underwhelming stats for a Pokemon viable OU;its strength is comparable to that of a marshmallow. As a matter of fact, one of the only reasons it’s useable in this tier is because of its ability Prankster, which gives non-attacking moves +1 priority. Prankster, in tandem with moves such as Will-o-Wisp, Recover, and Taunt, lets the little phantom become a force to be reckoned with. Because of the Knock Off buff this generation, Sableye can further fulfill its role as a utility Pokemon. The new move, Confide, was also added to Sableye’s arsenal, allowing for interesting possibilities. A Dark / Ghost typing not only leaves the purple monster with one weakness, but also gives it the capability of spinblocking. All in all, Sableye has a couple of tricks hidden under its gemstones that make it a stellar Pokemon to pick in the teambuilding process.

Standard
########
Name: Standard
Move 1: Will-O-Wisp
Move 2: Taunt
Move 3: Recover
Move 4: Foul Play / Knock Off
Ability: Prankster
Item: Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Nature: Calm / Careful

Moves
========
This is Sableye’s one and only trademark set. Will-o-Wisp, priority boosted by Prankster, causes residual damage by inflicting burn, which, in turn, halves the Attack stat of the opposing Pokemon. Will-o-Wisp not only disables Physical Attackers, but also takes its toll on defensive Pokemon by negating their Leftovers’ recovery. Taunt prevents pesky Hazard Leads, such as Ferrothorn or Deoxys-D, from spewing spikes and rocks all over the field, Phazers, notably Skarmory and Hippowdon, from using Whirlwind or Roar, and Defensive Pokemon that need to boost their attacking stat to make a dent in anything that isn’t Magikarp or Sunkern, such as CM Reunicleus and CM Latias. Taunt can also prevent other Taunts, giving Sableye a way to protect itself from becoming switch bait. Recover lets Sableye stick around longer is a reliable way of regaining HP. Foul play uses the the opposing Pokemons Attack and Defense stats when calculating damage, so more often than not, it can slice a hefty chunk of HP from a frail, Physical Attacker. Players trying to getting in Attack boosts in hope of hitting through burn are punished especially hard. Conveniently, some Special attackers, such as Alakazam and Gengar, are OHKO’d by this move. With the addition of STAB, Foul Play can lead to some clean 2HKOs or 3HKOs. Knock Off can be opted for over Foul Play becauses of the added utility. Almost every Pokemon sent into bettle has a held item that they depend on. For example, Sweepers love their Life Orbs while Walls eat their Leftovers;Knock Off can dispose of such objects and also gets a 50% power boost. Afterwards though, the move has a pitiful base power that leaves holes in Sableye’s attacking capabilities. Though it’s not listed, Confide can be used in the last slot as a way to with Special Attackers, but Sableye shouldn’t be in against them anyways.

Set Details
========

The given EVs help Sableye to tank hits to the best of its ability. The Defense EVs, along with the side-effect from a burn, allows Sableye to fare well in the midst of battle. A Calm nature is used to buffer Sableye’s Special Defense stat. keep in mind that the nature should be changed to Careful when using Knock Off. Leftovers is the most obvious choice for a defensive Pokemon, letting it get a stable amount of recovery each turn. The EV spread can also be changed so that Sableye can rest easier against Special Attacks.

Usage Tips
========

Sableye should be sent out near the beginning of the match so it has the ability to taunt common entry hazard leads, like Forretress and Ferrothorn, from spewing Spikes all over the place. Sableye can be used at the end to cripple Late-Game Sweepers such as Terrakion. When running Knock-Off, be careful not to spam it just to make the opposing Pokemon lose out on its item, such as Leftovers or Life Orb, when it is capable of boosting; use Taunt instead. Many fire-types anticipating Will-o-Wisp may switch in to soak up the burn; be prepared if you see one on the opposing team in team preview. Be aware of the opposing team's play style. Taunt can deal with Stall and Baton Pass, Will-O-Wisp with Physical HO, and Foul Play on Defensive attack boosters. The prime time for recover is after Will-o-Wisp / Taunt has been used. If a Foul Play / Knock Off can squeeze in a KO, be wary, as Sableye may get KO'd before attacking.

Team Options
========

Sableye fits well with teams that like to inflict status, for instance, stall. Unlike most Pokemon, Sableye has the ability to have priority burn, which gives it a rather large niche in OU. Blissey can help take Special Defense hits for Sableye, while Sableye can easily come in on a Fighting-Type attack aimed at Blissey. Blissey also gives Heal-Bell Support, allowing Sableye to go head-to-head with other Sableye or status inflictors with no worries about burns or poisons. Ferrothorn can be a great aid because it can set up Rocks and Spikes, which can make some 2HKOs with burn damage. It can also wall Latios, while Sableye can burn physical Dragons. Tyrantar can also lay down rocks and nail some KOs by pursuit trapping, while sponging special hits that Sableye can't akin to Blissey. Sableye can spinblock and and taunt a defogger to sustain the entry hazards on the field. Because of this, Sabeley fits nicely onto HO teams that employ entry hazards with suicide leads.


Other Options
########

If you're having trouble with Special Attackers, Snarl is always an option, though it's usually inferior to the Knock-Off in terms of utility. It should be noted that Confide does the same with priority, but without the pitiful damage. Priority Swagger can induce extreme rage in tandem with Foul Play, though other Prankster Pokemon do a better job, such as Klefki and Liepard, as they have access to Thunder-wave. Priority weather inducing moves can fit onto weather teams, especially after the weather nerf, and the Prankster Genies can take more of an advantage due to perfect accuracy Hurricane and Thunder. Toxic is usable to get Fire-Types that are immune to Will-o-Wisp, but Sableye suffers from major 4 move slot syndrome. Trick + Lagging Tail / Iron Ball can be used alongside WoW to not only cripple the target's attack, but also speed, though it's usually inferior to the set above. Calm Mind works pretty much the same as Confide, but affects the user instead.


Checks & Counters
########

**Taunt**: Taunt can be deterred by Sableye's own Taunt, but it requires prediction that may end up with Sableye ending up as a sitting duck.

**Fire-Types**:Heatran can easily switch in on WoW and get itself a free Flash Fire boost while also allowing Talonflame and Infernape to enter the battle unscathed.

**Magic-Bounce**:Magic-Bouncer users can switch in and bounce back a Will-o-Wisp or Taunt. Xatu, is the only one that takes more than 2 hits to KO, though. Mega-Absol can Threaten a OHKO if carrying Play Rough. Espeon can't hit Sableye for much unless it is carrying Dazzling Gleam though.

**Special Attackers**: Strong Special Attackers, like Keldeo, Magnezone, Thundurus-T, Hydreigon, Latios, Latias, Starmie, and Special Aegislash can send our little phantom cowering into the shadows.

**Fairies**: Fairies resist Foul Play / Knock Off and can hit back super effectively.

**Status Curing**: Pokemon with Natural cure or a Lum Berry can set up with no fret as Will-o-Wisp is rendered useless.
 
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CyclicCompound

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I'm not QC, but I think the first (and possibly only) set should be the standard gen V set with the addition of Knock Off.

Standard
########
Name: Standard
Move 1: Will-O-Wisp
Move 2: Taunt
Move 3: Recover
Move 4: Night Shade / Snarl / Foul Play / Knock Off
Ability: Prankster
Item: Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Nature: Calm

I know there's a lot of slashes in the fourth slot, but all of those moves have their merits.

SwagPlay is an ish set, but it faces a lot of competition from Klefki and Liepard, both of which have Thunder Wave as well (which makes the set a whole lot more successful). And Trick is usable, but I really think it belongs in OO for now, because Sableye's pretty strapped for moveslots as it is. It doesn't really want to give up any of the aforementioned moves, and it certainly doesn't want to run Choice Specs and be locked into something like Will-O-Wisp, or Trick a Choice Specs onto something that can actually use it (note that because Sableye carries WoW, most of the things that try to kill it will be special attackers). If you do mention Trick in OO, it should be with Lagging Tail or Iron Ball or something to that effect.
 

Minus

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I'm not QC, but I think the first (and possibly only) set should be the standard gen V set with the addition of Knock Off.

Standard
########
Name: SwagPlay
Move 1: Will-O-Wisp
Move 2: Taunt
Move 3: Recover
Move 4: Night Shade / Snarl / Foul Play / Knock Off
Ability: Prankster
Item: Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Nature: Calm

I know there's a lot of slashes in the fourth slot, but all of those moves have their merits.

SwagPlay is an ish set, but it faces a lot of competition from Klefki and Liepard, both of which have Thunder Wave as well (which makes the set a whole lot more successful). And Trick is usable, but I really think it belongs in OO for now, because Sableye's pretty strapped for moveslots as it is. It doesn't really want to give up any of the aforementioned moves, and it certainly doesn't want to run Choice Specs and be locked into something like Will-O-Wisp, or Trick a Choice Specs onto something that can actually use it (note that because Sableye carries WoW, most of the things that try to kill it will be special attackers). If you do mention Trick in OO, it should be with Lagging Tail or Iron Ball or something to that effect.
I was going to have that exact set as (except for Snarl) as my second set. But yeah, I should send SwagPlay to OO.
 

Colonel M

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No to SwagPlay. I'm not even QC and I will adamantly refuse it.

While Foul Play is good it is counterproductive with Will-O-Wisp.
 

CyclicCompound

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I added Confuse Ray too as a slash with WoW
Confuse Ray shouldn't be slashed with WoW, WoW is WAY too good to pass up. Priority burn is probably Sableye's greatest niche. Without it, Sableye loses the ability to permanently cripple just about every single physical attacking Pokemon. Confusion only works half of the time and can be fixed simply by switching out.
 

Minus

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Confuse Ray shouldn't be slashed with WoW, WoW is WAY too good to pass up. Priority burn is probably Sableye's greatest niche. Without it, Sableye loses the ability to permanently cripple just about every single physical attacking Pokemon. Confusion only works half of the time and can be fixed simply by switching out.
Ah, Alright
 
(obligatory "not QC" disclaimer)

There are way too many slashes in that last moveslot. Why is CHOICE SPECS slashed? You don't have trick on the main set, so it makes no sense slash it. And why max special defense?

IMO, this is what the set should look like:

Prankster
########
Name: Prankster
Move 1: Will-O-Wisp
Move 2: Taunt
Move 3: Recover
Move 4: Foul Play / Knock Off
Ability: Prankster
Item: Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Nature: Bold / Impish

Foul Play hits physical attackers hard, especially if they have attack boosts. Alternatively, Knock Off is useful for depriving switch-ins of their items. The utility of these moves, IMO, far outweighs the "consistency" of Night Shade. Snarl is OO material. I personally never understood the purpose of investing in Sableye's special defense. Sableye is not meant to deal with special attackers, and its stats are simply too low to take hits on both sides. Even with prankster Will-O-Wisp, the drop in physical bulk is quite noticeable if you don't invest in defense.
 

Minus

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(obligatory "not QC" disclaimer)

There are way too many slashes in that last moveslot. Why is CHOICE SPECS slashed? You don't have trick on the main set, so it makes no sense slash it. And why max special defense?

IMO, this is what the set should look like:

Prankster
########
Name: Prankster
Move 1: Will-O-Wisp
Move 2: Taunt
Move 3: Recover
Move 4: Foul Play / Knock Off
Ability: Prankster
Item: Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Nature: Bold / Impish

Foul Play hits physical attackers hard, especially if they have attack boosts. Alternatively, Knock Off is useful for depriving switch-ins of their items. The utility of these moves, IMO, far outweighs the "consistency" of Night Shade. Snarl is OO material. I personally never understood the purpose of investing in Sableye's special defense. Sableye is not meant to deal with special attackers, and its stats are simply too low to take hits on both sides. Even with prankster Will-O-Wisp, the drop in physical bulk is quite noticeable if you don't invest in defense.
I see both side of the argument for the EVs, so I'm gonna leave open and let the QC team help me on that. Other than that, I agree on everything you said. Choice Specs was a mistake by the way :P
 

Minus

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I see both side of the argument for the EVs, so I'm gonna leave open and let the QC team help me on that. Other than that, I agree on everything you said. Choice Specs was a mistake by the way :P
Ran some calcs. SpD gets pretty high (not Blissey high, mind you) and can be invaluable against, say, Alakazam. Alakazam can 3HKO W/Shadow Ball (the only move on 'Zam's regular move pool that Sableye isn't immune to) while Sableye can 2HKO with Foul Play (and OHKO's with Knock Off) and can recover (priority) for the next pokemon, and "Knock it Off" to hell (heh)
 
Just wanna say that the part in the overview about "many resistances" is wrong. It has exactly one resistance to a still not-commonly-used type: Poison. It has many good immunities, and a single unfortunate weakness, but not many resistances.

I also am leaning more towards a SpD EV spread being used, since the main reason it ran Defense was to be a full Kangaskhan stop, and that is no longer an issue. SpD also makes it a psuedo-check to Gengar. Without those EVs, Shadow Ball does way to much for it to effectively work. I have yet to run calcs and play with it since I'm letting the post-Bank meta start to settle, but that is my initial impression from what I've seen on the ladder thus far.
 
Knock Off technically isn't a new toy, as it's had it since 3rd Gen. Also, you should want to maximize your Defense, you're mainly using Sableye to weaken physical attackers, so you'd want to make sure Sableye can tank physical attacks easily while still being able to heal it off without a net loss of HP.
 

CyclicCompound

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Personally, I don't know how I stand on the whole physical/special investment debate. However, I played around on the damage calculator a bit, and I found some helpful split EV benchmarks in case anybody wants to consider them.

252 HP / 8 Def / 248 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye avoid a 2HKO from Timid Gengar's Shadow Ball (this is actually done more efficiently with an EV spread of 252 HP / 88 Def / 168 SpD with a Calm nature, but I used a Bold nature for sake of comparison).

252 HP / 56 Def / 200 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye switch into Aegislash on the SD, take a boosted Shadow Sneak, burn Aegislash, live another Shadow Sneak and Recover off the damage.

252 HP / 68 Def / 188 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye do the same thing with Choice Band Scizor.

252 HP / 88 Def / 168 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye avoid a 2HKO from Modest Mega Alakazam's Shadow Ball.

252 HP / 124 Def / 132 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye avoid a 2HKO from burnt +1 Adamant Tyranitar's Stone Edge.


Those were the only relevant split EV calcs I could find from the top 30 currently most used Pokemon in OU. Hope these helped!
 

Colonel M

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I'm not a huge fan of Snarl. In fact, you never even mentioned anything about Snarl in the analysis barring it being there as a move choice. In fact:
If you're having trouble with Special Attackers, Snarl is always an option, though it's usually inferior to the almighty Knock-Off
And then in the moveset:
Move 4: Night Shade / Snarl / Foul Play / Knock Off

You have Snarl before Knock Off. So what exactly is going on?
 

alexwolf

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Remove Night Shade, it's outclassed by options such as Confide, Foul Play, and Knock Off. Same goes for Snarl. Confide is priority Snarl but without the laughable damage, and the SpA drop is the reason you are using Snarl anyway. Here is how i would make the last slot:

Confide / Foul Play / Knock Off
 

Colonel M

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Personally I would put Confide after Foul Play and Knock Off. Foul Play still helps against Pokemon that can take advantage of burns (Conkeldurr) and Knock Off can annoy Heatran switch-ins too.

But yeah Confide should be used over Snarl.
 

Minus

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Personally, I don't know how I stand on the whole physical/special investment debate. However, I played around on the damage calculator a bit, and I found some helpful split EV benchmarks in case anybody wants to consider them.

252 HP / 8 Def / 248 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye avoid a 2HKO from Timid Gengar's Shadow Ball (this is actually done more efficiently with an EV spread of 252 HP / 88 Def / 168 SpD with a Calm nature, but I used a Bold nature for sake of comparison).

252 HP / 56 Def / 200 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye switch into Aegislash on the SD, take a boosted Shadow Sneak, burn Aegislash, live another Shadow Sneak and Recover off the damage.

252 HP / 68 Def / 188 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye do the same thing with Choice Band Scizor.

252 HP / 88 Def / 168 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye avoid a 2HKO from Modest Mega Alakazam's Shadow Ball.

252 HP / 124 Def / 132 SpD with a Bold nature lets Sableye avoid a 2HKO from burnt +1 Adamant Tyranitar's Stone Edge.


Those were the only relevant split EV calcs I could find from the top 30 currently most used Pokemon in OU. Hope these helped!
Wow! Thanks!
Knock Off technically isn't a new toy, as it's had it since 3rd Gen. Also, you should want to maximize your Defense, you're mainly using Sableye to weaken physical attackers, so you'd want to make sure Sableye can tank physical attacks easily while still being able to heal it off without a net loss of HP.
Yeah, I really don't know what to do about EVs and Natures, I'll ask QC. By "new" I meant Knock-Off is actually a viable choice because of BP boost
 

Minus

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I'm not a huge fan of Snarl. In fact, you never even mentioned anything about Snarl in the analysis barring it being there as a move choice. In fact:

And then in the moveset:

You have Snarl before Knock Off. So what exactly is going on?
Remove Night Shade, it's outclassed by options such as Confide, Foul Play, and Knock Off. Same goes for Snarl. Confide is priority Snarl but without the laughable damage, and the SpA drop is the reason you are using Snarl anyway. Here is how i would make the last slot:

Confide / Foul Play / Knock Off
Personally I would put Confide after Foul Play and Knock Off. Foul Play still helps against Pokemon that can take advantage of burns (Conkeldurr) and Knock Off can annoy Heatran switch-ins too.

But yeah Confide should be used over Snarl.
The edits I made on my phone didn't go through...I took out both Night Shade and Snarl. But I'll add confide to the end. Does the order of the moves really matter? This is my first analysis in case you didn't notice :P
 

CyclicCompound

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The edits I made on my phone didn't go through...I took out both Night Shade and Snarl. But I'll add confide to the end. Does the order of the moves really matter? This is my first analysis in case you didn't notice :P
It's really just a quick way of letting the reader know which moves are the most useful/common on a given Pokemon without having to read the full analysis. That's why it's such a big deal—we're basically trying to debate which of those very useful moves is the most useful. IMO, I think Confide definitely has its merits, but I'm a little uncomfortable making it the first option since it leaves Sableye without a real way of doing damage and no way of wearing down its "counters."
 

Minus

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It's really just a quick way of letting the reader know which moves are the most useful/common on a given Pokemon without having to read the full analysis. That's why it's such a big deal—we're basically trying to debate which of those very useful moves is the most useful. IMO, I think Confide definitely has its merits, but I'm a little uncomfortable making it the first option since it leaves Sableye without a real way of doing damage and no way of wearing down its "counters."
Thanks for the info!
On second thought, Foul Play seems to be the best option for the last slot, because otherwise you are helpless against Talonflame and Mega Char X switch-ins, which is really bad.
So..."Knock-Off / Confide / Foul Play"?
 
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