Sandslash is a decent Stealth Rock user, using its solid bulk and defensive typing to set up the entry hazard on Pokemon like Mega Beedrill, Mega Aerodactyl, and Zapdos. In addition, unlike its main competitors in Nidoqueen and Rhydon, Sandslash's Ground neutrality allows it to check threatening Pokemon like the aforementioned Ground-types and Alolan Dugtrio. However, Sandslash has very lacking special bulk, leaving it vulnerable to common Pokemon like Starmie, Mega Alakazam, and both Mega Charizard X and Mega Charizard Y. It's hard to justify Sandslash over Rhydon sometimes due to its lower Attack stat and lack of Rock typing, making it more passive overall. It also doesn't check Zapdos as well as Nidoqueen or Rhydon due to the former's Toxic immunity and the latter's super effective STAB Rock Slide.
name: Stealth Rock
move 1: Stealth Rock
move 2: Earthquake
move 3: Rock Slide
move 4: Toxic
Stealth Rock is important for every team, and Sandslash is a reliable setter of the entry hazard thanks to its great physical bulk. Earthquake is a reliable STAB move that hits Pokemon like Nidoqueen and Alolan Muk very hard. Rock Slide gives Sandslash great neutral coverage with its STAB Earthquake, hitting Pokemon like Dragonite, Zapdos, and Mega Charizard Y for super effective damage. Toxic allows Sandslash to cripple Pokemon that would otherwise take it on, like Starmie, Mew, and Reflect Zapdos. An Impish nature is chosen over Adamant to give Sandslash an easier time switching into the likes of Rhydon and Mega Beedrill.
Sandslash can come in on Pokemon like Mega Aerodactyl and Rhydon to try to find opportunities to set up Stealth Rock. Toxic should be used liberally early-game to cripple Sandslash's main checks like Mew and Starmie. Once Sandslash has managed to set up Stealth Rock, it can start throwing off attacks to weaken switch-ins like Poliwrath, Mega Gyarados, and Zapdos.
Pokemon that can deal with bulky Water-types and Mew are important teammates, as Sandslash can't get through them on its own. Zapdos is a good teammate that can easily muscle past Pokemon like Starmie, Poliwrath, and Mega Gyarados, and it appreciates the support Sandslash's Stealth Rock provides as well as its ability to check Mega Aerodactyl. Alolan Muk can check Psychic-types like Mega Alakazam, Starmie, and Mew for Sandslash, and it enjoys Sandslash's ability to handle Pokemon like Mega Aerodactyl and Alolan Dugtrio. Mew is a great teammate that can check many Pokemon Sandslash struggles with Pokemon like Mega Venusaur and Starmie; Mega Venusaur can also check Water-types, but it has trouble with Starmie and Mew. Melmetal can check Pokemon like Mega Alakazam for Sandslash and spread paralysis, giving Sandslash an easier time against fast Pokemon like both Mega Charizard X and Mega Charizard Y.
An Adamant nature can be used to give Sandslash more offensive presence, but it makes it harder to check foes like Mega Beedrill and Mega Aerodactyl. Swords Dance can be used over Toxic to allow Sandslash to break through Zapdos on its own, as well as making it a better answer to Melmetal, but it's generally inferior to the hit-and-run nature of Toxic and leaves Sandslash helpless against Mew. If running Swords Dance, Sandslash should use an Adamant nature to maximize its offensive presence, giving it better odds of KOing Melmetal at +2.
Checks and Counters
**Water-types**: Bulky Water-types like Poliwrath, Mega Gyarados, and Starmie can all cause issues for Sandslash, being able to take its attacks and threaten it out with their own. Starmie in particular is a problem, as its access to Recover allows it to heal off Earthquake damage, and it can OHKO Sandslash with Scald.
**Grass-types**: Grass-types like Mega Venusaur, Exeggutor, and Alolan Exeggutor take very little damage from any of Sandslash's attacks, and Mega Venusaur is also immune to Toxic. All three can threaten Sandslash out or just knock it out with Mega Drain.
**Mew**: Mew's bulk and neutrality to all of Sandslash's moves make it a good check to Sandslash, capable of switching in and healing off the damage from Earthquake. However, it must be wary of Toxic.
**Special Attackers**: While they cannot switch into Sandslash, Mega Charizard X, Mega Charizard Y, and Mega Alakazam can easily prey on Sandslash's mediocre special bulk by hitting it with their strong STAB moves.
- Written by: [[Lilburr, 481709]]
- Quality checked by: [[Eve, 375272], [McCoolDude, 469684], [Vengeance417, 198446]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216], [Rabia, 336073]]