Death Race for Love
Serperior's ability to spam Leaf Storm and receive a Special Attack boost due to Contrary makes it a fantastic cleaner for offensively inclined teams that require its ability to handle various threats such as Zygarde, Clefable, and Tapu Bulu. A good matchup against Sticky Web teams due to Contrary and the ability to overpower balance staples such as Clefable and Toxapex makes Serperior excellent against a good portion of the meta. Serperior is also able to take advantage of its switch-ins through the use of Substitute, allowing it to safely use Glare to cripple offensive threats, or Leech Seed to annoy passive Pokemon, limiting its defensive counterplay. Additionally, an amazing Speed tier lets Serperior outspeed many relevant offensive threats such as Mega Latios, Kartana, and Mega Medicham. However, its mediocre bulk means it's a Grass-type that is unable to check Ash-Greninja and switch into strong attacks, and a bad Special Attack stat also means Serperior struggles to deal damage right away.
name: Substitute Attacker
move 1: Leaf Storm
move 2: Hidden Power Fire
move 3: Substitute
move 4: Glare
evs: 56 HP / 200 SpA / 252 Spe
Hidden Power Fire allows Serperior to hit sturdy Grass-resistant Pokemon such as Ferrothorn, Celesteela, and Mega Scizor. Substitute takes advantage of passive threats that rely on status or are too weak to break it in one turn, such as Toxapex and Rotom-W. Glare is used to cripple switch-ins such as Tornadus-T and Heatran and also to paralyze offensive threats such as Mega Alakazam, Mega Latios, and Volcarona. Leech Seed can be used over Glare to allow Serperior to wear down and eventually beat its checks such as Heatran, Zapdos, and Assault Vest Magearna.
56 HP investment prevents Serperior's Substitute from being broken by Rotom-W's Hydro Pump and Ferrothorn's Power Whip, while the remaining EVs are placed into Speed and Special Attack.
Due to its mediocre bulk, avoid switching Serperior into strong attacks, as they will leave it heavily weakened. Thus, Serperior should attempt to safely get on the field against threats it has a good matchup against, such as Zygarde and Ferrothorn. Make sure to conserve Leaf Storm's limited PP. Attempt to use Glare against Serperior's checks as they switch in, as most of its targets such as Kyurem-B, Tornadus-T, and Heatran can either OHKO Serperior or deal heavy damage to it if they don't get fully paralyzed. Similarly to Glare, if using Leech Seed, predict switch-ins and use Leech Seed as they come in; afterwards, use Substitute repeatedly to let Leech Seed wear down the target while keeping Serperior safe from damage and status. Certain Pokemon that Serperior otherwise handles well can run status moves to cripple it, such as Zygarde with its own Glare and Clefable with Thunder Wave, so try to scout for those moves with Substitute and avoid status as a whole, since it prevents Serperior from properly wallbreaking. Serperior can be used early in the match to weaken defensive walls for teammates, but it can also be conserved to be an effective late-game cleaner, so make sure to use it wisely.
Offense staples such as Magearna, Zygarde, and Mega Medicham are prime partners for Serperior, as they pressure Heatran and help Serperior break down teams, especially in tandem with Glare support. Ribombee is also a good partner, as Serperior punishes Defog due to Contrary and can deal with Rapid Spin Excadrill by using Substitute to avoid Toxic. U-turn and Volt Switch users such as Tapu Koko, Choice Scarf Greninja, and Assault Vest Magearna can get Serperior on the field safely against passive walls such as Ferrothorn and Toxapex. All three examples also help against Ash-Greninja thanks to their Dark resistance. Wallbreakers such as Mega Mawile, Mega Medicham, and Ash-Greninja all enjoy their checks getting paralyzed in order to break through them more easily. In addition, both Greninja formes can utilize Spikes and also keep up the pressure against Tornadus-T and Heatran. Heatran itself is an ideal partner, as it's able to draw in Water-types that Serperior can take advantage of such as Gastrodon, Rotom-W, and Tapu Fini while being able to threaten Steel-types that Serperior struggles with like Celesteela and Magearna. Water-type teammates such as Toxapex and Gastrodon are appreciated, as they handle Ash-Greninja while easing the matchup versus certain Fire-types such as Heatran, Volcarona, and Mega Charizard Y.
Dropping Hidden Power Fire and running a Glare + Leech Seed set is a possible option, although it leaves Serperior incapable of dealing with sturdy Grass-resistant Pokemon such as Tangrowth, Ferrothorn, Celesteela, and Mega Scizor. It also comes with PP problems and reliance on Leech Seed for damage to save PP. A Defog + Synthesis set is able to remove hazards against the likes of Clefable, Ferrothorn, and Toxapex while keeping itself healthy. This set is unable to handle Heatran, however, which therefore is able to keep up its hazards.
Checks and Counters
**Pressure Users**: Moltres sports a positive type advantage versus Serperior and PP stalls its Leaf Storms. Zapdos is a shakier check, but Heat Wave does over half and Zapdos can spam Roost enough to use up all of Serperior's Leaf Storms, although Leech Seed variants can give it some trouble. Even Suicune behind a Substitute is able to PP stall Serperior by repeatedly using Protect and Substitute.
**Fire-types**: Although all of OU's viable Fire-types are annoyed by Glare or Leech Seed, they're all able to handle Serperior decently well. Heatran, Blacephalon, and Mega Charizard Y can throw off super effective attacks, while Volcarona, Victini, and Mega Charizard X can use Serperior as setup fodder.
**Dragon-types**: Kyurem-B, Mega Latios, Mega Latias, and Hydreigon can all pivot into Serperior and deal heavy damage with their respective STAB moves or Ice-type coverage while keeping themselves healthy with Roost, although none enjoy being hit by Glare.
**Grass-types**: Mega Venusaur, Amoonguss, and Assault Vest Tangrowth are all able to handle Serperior with their access to Sludge Bomb, as well as Clear Smog in Amoonguss's case. Mega Venusaur also has a neutrality to Hidden Power Fire due to Thick Fat, and Amoonguss and Tangrowth both utilize Regenerator, which makes them harder to chip down.
**Steel-types**: Celesteela and all Magearna sets have the potential to beat Serperior one-on-one, although Glare can help Serperior muscle past them in conjunction with boosted Hidden Power Fires.
**Chansey**: Massive special bulk, access to reliable recovery, and Natural Cure healing off status makes Chansey somewhat of an obstacle, although it dislikes Leech Seed + Substitute in tandem with boosted Leaf Storms.
**Faster Pokemon and Priority**: Faster offensive Pokemon such as Tornadus-T, Mega Alakazam, and Mega Lopunny can put a quick end to Serperior's sweep, although Glare can alleviate this problem. Serperior is also vulnerable to strong priority from the likes of Mega Mawile, Choice Band Zygarde, and Mega Pinsir.
- Written by: [[Felixx, 401973]]
- Quality checked by: [[lyd, 303291], [Jordy, 395754], [Indigo Plateau, 216712]]
- Grammar checked by: [[GMars, 273636], [The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216]]