Champagne and Pools
Sandslash sets itself apart from other Pokemon in the ZU metagame thanks to its access to both Rapid Spin and Stealth Rock and its Ground typing that gives it a resistance to Stealth Rock. Its solid Defense stat lets it successfully check a handful of physical Pokemon such as Electivire, Golem, and Muk. Sandslash provides much-needed role compression for teams lacking entry hazards, hazard removal, and an Electric-type immunity. Unfortunately, Sandslash's poor Special Defense makes it easy prey for common special attackers such as a multitude of Silvally formes, Swanna, Kadabra, and mixed Shiftry. In addition, Sandslash lacks reliable recovery, which can be a problem when switching in to remove hazards. Sandslash faces competition as a spinner from Avalugg and Komala, both of which have access to reliable recovery.
name: Rapid Spin
move 1: Rapid Spin
move 2: Stealth Rock / Toxic
move 3: Earthquake
move 4: Knock Off / Toxic
ability: Sand Rush
evs: 252 HP / 160 Def / 96 Spe
Rapid Spin allows Sandslash to remove entry hazards from its side of the field. Earthquake allows Sandslash to threaten Pokemon such as Electivire, Golem, Rapidash, and Muk. Knock Off provides Sandslash with a way to chip switch-ins as well as threaten spinblockers such as Dusclops and Misdreavus. Additionally, it allows Sandslash to remove important items from Pokemon that check it such as Bronzor's Eviolite and Poliwrath's Leftovers. If the team already has a Stealth Rock user or Knock Off support, Toxic can be used to wear down common switch-ins such as Gourgeist-XL and several Silvally formes.
Leftovers provide Sandslash with passive recovery, which somewhat negates the damage it takes when switching into entry hazards in order to use Rapid Spin. It's also important to note that the passive recovery allows Sandslash to reliably switch into Electivire without fearing Ice Punch. Maximum HP investment is essential for allowing Sandslash to remove entry hazards as effectively as possible. In order to outspeed Golem, the most common Stealth Rock user in ZU, Sandslash requires 96 Speed EVs. Lastly, 160 Defense EVs grant Sandslash greater bulk so it can remain unthreatened by physical Pokemon that it's trying to check.
Sandslash's main role is to remove entry hazards, so it should come in on Pokemon that set them like Golem, Crustle, and Carbink. Sandslash should prioritize setting Stealth Rock on physical Pokemon it is able to wall such as Crustle, Electivire, and Mawile. Leftovers is Sandslash’s main form of recovery, so Sandslash should avoid being hit with Knock Off. In the same vein, Sandslash should not repeatedly switch into physical attackers such as Rapidash and Golem because of how easy it is to wear down. Sandslash should also be wary of special coverage moves such as Ice Beam on Kecleon and Silvally-Fighting due to its lackluster Special Defense. If using Toxic, Sandslash should try to cripple common switch-ins such as Gourgeist-XL, Poliwrath, and Silvally formes that may try to use Defog. Sandslash should avoid becoming crippled with status from Pokemon such as Golem, Mawile, Rapidash, and Bronzor, as this greatly reduces its ability to remove hazards.
Sandslash fits best on balance or bulky offense teams that lack entry hazard support or a dedicated remover. Thus, Pokemon that are weak to entry hazards such as Swanna, Combusken, and Pinsir all pair well with Sandslash, as do Pokemon that appreciate Stealth Rock support such as Exeggutor, Swanna, and Toucannon. These Pokemon also appreciate Sandslash's ability to check Rapidash, Electivire, and Muk. Due to Sandslash's poor Special Defense stat, it pairs well with Pokemon that wall special attackers, such as Lickilicky, Komala, Kecleon, Bronzor, and Muk. Lickilicky and Komala are worth a special mention because of their access to Wish. Pokemon that can absorb or remove status effects for Sandslash such as Komala, Heal Bell Lickilicky, and Guts Machoke make particularly effective partners. Ghost-type Pokemon such as Gourgeist-XL and Dusclops are able to block Sandslash from removing hazards; wallbreakers that can remove these Ghost-types include Exeggutor, Swanna, and Simipour. Sandslash is threatened by Grass-types such as Exeggutor, Shiftry, Leafeon, and Shiinotic, so Pokemon that check them such as Rapidash, Combusken, and Swanna make for great partners. Additionally, Sandslash appreciates Pokemon that can check prominent Water-types that threaten it such as Swanna and Silvally-Water. Electivire is the most notable, as it checks both of these Pokemon, while Sandslash is able to check Golem for Electivire.
Sandslash can run Stone Edge over Knock Off in order to hit Pokemon that it would otherwise have trouble dealing with such as Altaria, Rotom-S, and Pinsir. Lum Berry can be run over Leftovers in order to deter status, but Sandslash much appreciates the passive recovery that Leftovers grants. A more offensive set with an EV spread of 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe coupled with a Jolly nature can be used if your team is extremely reliant on removal or hazards. In addition, this set allows Sandslash to better deal with Pawniard and Combusken lacking Speed boosts. Sandslash can utilize a Swords Dance set running Life Orb or Rockium Z, which can run a multitude of coverage moves such as X-Scissor for Shiftry and Poison Jab for Granbull and Shiinotic.
Checks and Counters
**Grass-types**: Grass-types that resist Sandslash's Ground-type STAB attacks such as Leafeon, Shiftry, Sawsbuck, Gourgeist-XL, and Quilladin all threaten it. Quilladin is worth noting because it is primarily used as a Spikes setter and forces Sandslash, your entry hazard remover, out; however, it dislikes having its Eviolite removed. Gourgeist-XL excels as a Sandslash check thanks to its Ghost typing, which allows it to spinblock, and its access to Will-O-Wisp, which allows it to completely wall non-Toxic Sandslash.
**Ghost-types**: Ghost-type Pokemon such as Silvally-Ghost, Dusclops, Gourgeist-XL, and Drifblim are able to successfully stop Sandslash from removing entry hazards via Rapid Spin. However, Dusclops dislikes Knock Off, and Misdreavus hates being statused by Toxic. Additionally, several of these Pokemon tend to run Will-O-Wisp, bar Silvally-Ghost.
**Water-types**: Water-type Pokemon such as Silvally-Water, Swanna, and Poliwrath are all able to threaten Sandslash. Silvally-Water is worth mentioning due to its ability to remove entry hazards as well as utilize U-turn and Parting Shot to gain momentum. Additionally, Swanna is also able to remove hazards.
**Special Attackers**: Special attackers such as Exeggutor, Simipour, and Swanna all heavily threaten Sandslash. Kadabra is worth a special mention due to its ability Magic Guard and its common set running both Counter and Focus Sash.
- Written by: [[Broken Phobias, 272450]]
- Quality checked by: [[5gen, 296755], [[Bloodace, 435539], [Aaronboyer, 239454]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack , 232216], [Fireflame479, 231476]]