the pastor of disaster
For several months now, it has become apparent that the UU metagame has reached a fairly idyllic state of balance. The last major change was the re-test of Abomasnow, which resulted in Abomasnow sticking around in UU, without causing any serious balance repercussions. Considering the last few months' usage statistics, it does not seem like any more Pokemon will be dropping from OU in the near future. We almost certainly have several months before Pokemon X and Y are upon us and fully playable. We have time, we know that this metagame is a stable one.Pocket said:It has always been my belief that Stoutland was the main reason for Sand's banishment (alongside Sand Veil hax). With Sand Veil now tucked under Evasion Clause, I want to request your consideration for testing Sand without Stoutland - basically suspect test Sand with Stoutland banned.
Pocket has suggest to the Senate via PM that we re-test Hippopotas and ban Stoutland. Some preliminary discussion in #genvuu revealed that the Senate is quite divided on this issue, and further discussion would be helpful.
I personally feel that Sand is fairly unlikely to be overpowered without Stoutland--it encourages repetition of typing to an even greater degree than Hail, leading to rather extreme team weaknesses; it relies on Hippopotas, which is an extremely bad Pokemon (it is hard to overstate how bad Hippopotas actually is). The abusers that are left without Stoutland (or Sand Veil) are good, some of them excellent, but I am skeptical that they are gamebreaking enough to warrant leaving Sand banned. Let's overview them.
Sandslash is probably the Pokemon most people will think of first when discussing post-Stoutland Sand abusers. Base 100 Attack (the same as Stoutland) isn't bad at all, but it is far, far less efficient that Stoutland in terms of sweeping for exactly the reasons Pocket mentions:
CradilyPocket said:Unlike Stoutland, Sandslash must choose between power + bulk and speed + flexibility. For the reason stated in #1, Earthquake is a much suboptimal move to spam than Return. Thus it would often forego Choice Band for Life Orb, which sacrifices its bulk. Even more, it would have to choose Jolly Nature most of the time, lest it wants to be outrun by Scarf Jolly Darmanitan or Scarf Jolly Flygon / Victini. This is contrary to the case of Stoutland, who can afford to spam STAB Return and run Choice Band and Adamant Nature, thereby optimizing power and bulk. Sandslash can only choose one or the other. Not to mention it cannot break through most teams without a turn of Swords Dance, a turn of which it would most likely have to sacrifice its health to attain the boost.
Probably the most frustrating Pokemon in UU to kill when Sand is up. Specs Chandelure can 2HKO it with Fire Blast, barely. Not many other special attackers can say the same. Having Storm Drain means that Cradily can take on the Water attacks that are often the bane of Sand teams. Cradily's weaknesses include a lack of offensive presence, and weaknesses to Fighting and Ice. This is the Sand abuser I hate facing the most, but it is definitely not strong enough to break the metagame by itself.
Getting a SpD boost from Sand makes Rhyperior much more difficult to kill, letting it last a lot longer. However, Rhyperior shares weaknesses with every common Sand abuser, as well as Hippopotas itself.
Getting the SpD boost from Sand makes it significantly hard to KO Omastar even after a Shell Smash, making the attractiveness of Shell Smashing much greater. Very dangerous at +2/+2, but outsped by +Speed base 90 Choice Scarf users and up. Shares weaknesses to Grass and Fighting with a number of other Sand abusers.
Extremely high SpD in Sand allows Regirock to wall many of UUs most dangerous special attacks, such as Chandelure. Has to choose somewhat between high SpD investment or boosting it's acceptable Attack stat. Shares the Water and Grass weaknesses of Hippopotas and Sandslash, and is weak to Fighting as well. Allows an almost free switch-in to Rhyperior, especially if Attack investment is low.
There are other potential abusers, such as Aerodactyl, but these are the ones I would expect to be seen the most often. I think it unlikely that any of these would push Sand over the top, so I would personally be very interested in seeing Sand tested without Stoutland.
What do you think?