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With Swords Dance, high Attack, and STAB Earthquake, Sandslash is one of the most simple yet dangerous sweepers in GSC UU. Its +2 Earthquake is capable of 2HKOing almost everything in the tier, even bulky Pokemon such as Blastoise and Slowbro. Its Ground typing and great Defense also allow it to come into common Pokemon such as Ampharos and Scyther. Unfortunately, it is on the slow side, lacks reliable recovery, and doesn't have very good Special Defense, meaning it requires careful play or support from teammates.
name: Swords Dance
move 1: Earthquake
move 2: Rock Slide
move 3: Swords Dance
move 4: Substitute / Hidden Power Bug
Earthquake is Sandslash's best STAB move and can hit Pokemon such as Nidoqueen, Ampharos, and Haunter for super effective damage. Rock Slide is mandatory for hitting Flying-types, such as Scyther, Dodrio, Gyarados, and Jumpluff, while also hitting Pinsir. Swords Dance lets Sandslash 2HKO almost the entire metagame after a single boost, notably including Slowbro and Granbull. Lastly, Substitute works especially well with paralysis support, letting Sandslash fish for full paralysis. It also works well against foes that might try to pivot around Sandslash's attacks, as well as Counter Gligar and Toxic Crobat. Substitute also improves Sandslash's odds of breaking through Water-types using Sleep Talk. Alternatively, Hidden Power Bug hits Bellossom, which otherwise is a great answer to Sandslash, but it is limited beyond that.
Paralysis support is incredibly useful due to Sandslash's low Speed and benefit from a potential free setup turn, meaning Pokemon such as Jumpluff, Mr. Mime, and Hypno pair well with Sandslash. Jumpluff and Mr. Mime can both use Encore to let Sandslash switch in for free, and Hypno can support it with Light Screen and Reflect. Other setup sweepers such as Scyther, Pinsir, and Kabutops can be paired alongside Sandslash for an offensive assault that can be tough to wall for defensive teams, especially when supported by screens. Slowking, Chansey, and Hypno are useful teammates due to their good special bulk and ability to take Water-type attacks aimed at Sandslash. They also reinforce its strengths; Hypno and Slowking provide more consistency against Nidoqueen, and Chansey does the same against Electric-types. Scyther can support Sandslash by passing Swords Dance or Agility to it with Baton Pass. Electrode supports Sandslash well, as it can spread paralysis, set up screens, and use Explosion to provide Sandslash a free switch in. Bellossom can spread paralysis for Sandslash, sponge Water-type attacks, and notably lure in and paralyze Qwilfish. Ampharos can support Sandslash with screens or Thunder Wave and also switch into Water-types. Ampharos also lures in Nidoqueen, which can give Sandslash a setup opportunity if Nidoqueen lacks Lovely Kiss. Finally, Spikes support from Qwilfish maximizes the pressure that Sandslash exerts. Curse Qwilfish can also make progress against Blastoise if it tries to spin away Spikes.
If Sandslash wishes to spread its own paralysis, Body Slam is an option over Substitute, although generally teammates should provide paralysis support due to Body Slam's unreliability. Protect is an option over Substitute for maintaining health and avoiding certain KOs. Counter is an odd option that can be useful against Scyther and its Swords Dance + Baton Pass recipients, as well as Granbull. It should be noted that Sandslash has access to Rapid Spin, but its illegality with Swords Dance, combined with Sandslash generally being outclassed in this role by Blastoise and Graveler, makes it a mediocre option.
Checks and Counters
**Bellossom and Jumpluff**: Bellossom resists Earthquake and is bulky enough to avoid the 2HKO from Rock Slide while 2HKOing Sandslash with its STAB moves. However, it should watch out for Hidden Power Bug. Jumpluff can switch into Earthquake, Substitute, and Swords Dance and lock Sandslash into those undesirable moves with Encore or status it. A healthy Jumpluff especially is one of the best Sandslash answers.
**Water-types**: RestTalk Bulky Water-types, especially Blastoise and Slowbro, match up well against Sandslash due to their ability to threaten 2HKOs against it. Blastoise can also remove its boosts with Haze. However, Sandslash can break through them if they are paralyzed. Feraligatr and Gyarados also work as more offensive Sandslash checks, as Gyarados is immune to Earthquake and both threaten a 2HKO with Hydro Pump, but both have less longevity and have trouble fitting Rest.
**Gligar**: Gligar is one of the best Sandslash answers due to its Earthquake immunity and neutrality to Rock Slide, as well as good physical bulk and Counter to fend off boosted Rock Slides. Gligar also outspeeds Sandslash and almost always breaks its Substitute with Earthquake.
- Written by: [[Reeece, 508601]]
- Quality checked by: [[Century Express, 234737], [Earthworm, 15210]]
- Grammar checked by: [[Finland, 517429], [Muk, 33374]]
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