Lower Tiers SM UU Discussion Thread

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Hello everyone, with SM UU being a year old now, I wanted to make a place for discussion on one of my favorite tiers to play. SM UU is notorious for it's insane power creep, with long OU staples in Scizor, Latias, and even at times Gliscor and Clefable making an appearance in it. While many people saw this as a negative and strain to building, Z-Moves and a wider Pokemon pool allowed for a variety of team compositions. The goal of this thread is to help people dip their toes in this gen and inspire new trends in an otherwise outdated tier. I also want this to a hub for different players' takes on the metagame, as many people have their own cool approaches to the tier. Most importantly, I don't want this tier to go down the ORAS UU path where 90% of teams used in unofficial tournaments are built by one man.

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Stall in SM UU

It might seem silly to discuss stall in a tier with Z-Moves and the strongest breakers UU has ever seen, but stall has cemented itself as arguably the strongest playstyle as the tier locked. There are countless games in which a player stalled another and mindlessly piloted the team to an easy win, and many games where the staller drew a "bad" matchup but still outlasted his opponent with the sturdy Alo/Blissey/Quagsire core. In this post, I will discuss why stall was so powerful in this gen, countermeasures to it, and why nothing was done about it.


The Stall Backbone

First, I want to share the two teams that most people think of when they envision SM UU stall - pif stall featuring Mega Altaria, and the infamous Pearl stall featuring Mega Aerodactyl and Articuno.

pif stall
Pearl stall

At first glance, the two teams look nearly identical. They both feature the flagship core of Alomomola + Blissey + Quagsire and use Gligar as a Defogger. These 4 alone wall a massive portion of the metagame. Blissey alone invalidates 90% of special attackers, with a few exceptions in NP Fighting-types. Alomomola and Quagsire come in to wall the majority of physical breakers that threaten Blissey, and Gligar hard stops any Voltturn styles that otherwise can overwhelm the team (Quagsire stops HP Grass variants of Mega Manectric). The last two Pokemon are to patch any weaknesses the first 4 might have, such as NP Togekiss being countered by the teams' respective Rock-types, or Articuno hard stopping Empoleon from getting rocks up.

While these are the most popular stall teams, I want to emphasize that stall is extremely malleable. Any good stall team will have AloBliss + Unaware, leaving the last 3 slots fairly open to many options. Doublade can be used to counter Z-Fight Terrakion better than Quagsire, Alolan Muk can be used to pursuit Celebi with ease, Slowbro can be added to handle NP Infernape, and so on. The point is trying to counterteam these two specific teams does not ensure that you are no longer stall weak. You might think a Choice Band Crawdaunt is enough to handle stall if you expect Pearl's team to be used, but if you run into bulky Mega Altaria your Crawdaunt is suddenly useless. You might try NP Togekiss with Alolan Muk to trap Nihilego, but a Mega Aerodactyl or Spdef Pyukumuku will ruin your day. There is not one strategy that can both break through the patented Alo/Bliss/Unaware core + any support mon the stall player might use. You are at the mercy of the team brought against you, making preparing for stall a nightmare.


The Solution

So you expect your opponent might stall you and you want to be strong against it. How do you do this without compromising your matchup against the rest of the metagame? You don't. Seriously, I cannot think of any surefire way to actively beat stall without opening up to anything else. When I build SM UU, I either ignore the stall matchup entirely or use a couple breakers that might have good matchup. The root problem is tier staples like Krookodile, Amoonguss, Rotom-Heat, Mega Aerodactyl, etc are great against the majority of Pokemon, but absolutely deadweight against stall. Alo/Bliss/Unaware just hard stops too much that you cannot beat stall without compromising any other matchup. Adding a couple of breakers might improve your odds, but the stall player just has to outlast the 1 or 2 threats you have, which is easy when most stall mons can live a hit and use Toxic.

In any case, it is unproductive to be all doom and gloom without offering any advice to handle stall. Here are some breakers that usually have good matchups:

Celebi @ Psychium Z/Grassium Z
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Nasty Plot
- Psychic
- Giga Drain/Leaf Storm
- Recover


Terrakion @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Stone Edge
- Close Combat
- Earthquake


Crawdaunt @ Choice Band
Ability: Adaptability
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Knock Off
- Crabhammer
- Aqua Jet
- Crunch


Altaria @ Altarianite
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 64 HP / 252 Atk / 192 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Dragon Dance
- Return
- Refresh
- Roost


Sharpedo @ Sharpedonite
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Crunch
- Ice Fang
- Psychic Fangs
- Protect


Infernape @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Nasty Plot
- Fire Blast
- Focus Blast
- Grass Knot


Azelf @ LifeOrb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Nasty Plot
- Psyshock
- Energy Ball
- Flamethrower


There are many other "stallbreakers," but the above are the most common (I probably missed a few others). Again, I want to emphasize none of these handle all stall variants. NP Azelf is stopped by Muk and Pyuku, Infernape struggles with Pyuku, Mega Altaria, and Slowbro. M-Altaria with Facade cannot break without drawing a burn, and Refresh can only PP Stall Quag and is hard stopped by Doublade/Scizor stalls. Celebi hilariously is walled by Pyukumuku without Z-Grass, in which case it is a lot worse against normal MUs featuring Scizor.

Why SM UU?

It might seem bizarre that stall is so good in SM UU, a tier that introduced Z-Moves and power creep, but not ORAS UU which has the same AloBliss + Quagsire core available. I think the reason why we saw stall grow so strong this generation is the new megas we got and the lack of Conkeldurr. Quite frankly, Conkeldurr destroys any stall in ORAS unless there is a Cresselia on it. If Conk were allowed in SM UU, nothing would stop it besides Mega Slowbro, which reduces the variability of stall. In addition, SM UU saw Mega Altaria, Mega Slowbro, Pyukumuku, and Alolan Muk all arrive, which forced players to account for many new stall variations. While Z-Moves might seem too much for stall to handle, Blissey still snuffs most special Z-moves, and they are a one time use. A poorly timed Z-move can be disastrous as you lose the one chance to break through.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, nothing was ever done about stall, and now it exists as a sore thumb where you are always afraid of the possibility of being stalled but can't be bothered to prep for such an uncommon style. In many team chats, players often use "stall" as a verb synonymous with a free win ("I will stall him cause he's new"). Reserving stall for one week in a team tour was a common strategy to force opponents to respect the possibility and also not be counter-teamed by an overzealous player. The result is that stall draws incredible MUs the majority of times and has all the tools to outlast bad ones.

Pif makes an excellent post last September showcasing many replays stall has gotten throughout the generation, and he elaborates as to how stall is and gotten so powerful. Stall is unique as a clearly powerful style, but with no obviously broken single Pokemon on it. The aforementioned core of AloBliss + Unaware just work so damn well together, yet neither of them are broken on their own. It made making a council decision against stall difficult, and while I wish we suspected either Alomomola or Blissey, I understand the difficulty in pulling the trigger. Especially with a lot of other common Pokemon like Scizor, Latias, and Altaria-Mega that deserved a look first
 
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Mega Houndoom Analysis / Team Structures
It might not come as a shock to those around me on a consistent basis way back, but Mega Houndoom and the types of teams it finds a home on were some of my favorites to use in all the metagame. They naturally have such a flexible style in-game, possessing some nice synergy both offensively and defensively, along with some nice and consistent ways of maintaining momentum. My big thing in SM was always trying to maximize the playable matchups in the builder, especially with bulky offenseish type stuff, since one of the better aspects of the tier is how much lies in the hands of the players above all else. There are a bunch of threats that you'll almost never feel 100% safe against without ending up with do-nothing garbage, and much of consistent success ties back to the players being able to position themselves around those mons appropriately. Mega Houndoom frameworks do a nice job of putting this notion on display.

Mega Houndoom itself is a really unique mon for a number of reasons. Its main selling point lies in the fact that it offensively checks what most would consider to be the two best mons in the tier, being Scizor and Latias. This comes mostly by virtue of its typing, and its Speed tier helps it out a lot in helping out against the latter. Speaking of, jesus fucking christ, the Mega Speed buff from gen 6 to gen 7 is absolutely crucial, especially in that specific interaction. While not one of the more crucial reasons, it definitely played into Houndoom being an underwhelming mon down in ORAS. Anyway, between its raw power, Speed, access to Nasty Plot, and really nice coverage between its STABs and Sludge Bomb, it has all the tools to be a solid sweeper option in the tier. Not every matchup will be perfect, but at the very least it'll throw out some strong attacks and take up the Scizor/Latias/other revenge killing needs the team may need on a regular basis. I'm generally not a fan of 'one-time sweepers' on these kinds of teams, but that revenge killing and defensive utility when needed really sets it apart from the others in that area.


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Mega Houndoom teams don't have a ton of approaches going for them, but in that general line of play, there is a decent amount of flexibility and trade off. Despite the Pokemon differences, they will pretty much always follow the same approach of doomer + Scarf Togekiss + Ground rocker w offensive presence + additional set up, usually from the Steel. If there was ever a perfect partner for Mega Houndoom, it would look a lot like Scarf Toge. Not entirely sure what these other dudes opted to use to fill out their movesets on it, but the main things that stuck out to me were the ability to cripple some key Houndoom checks like Mega Aero/Empoleon/Nihilego/etc. with either TWave or Trick. Beyond that, it's legimately one of the only true forms of speed control that fits next to the dog whether its due to typing, mega overlap, team slot constraints, whatever else. In return Mega Houndoom cooks the Steels that immediately threaten it p badly. The Ground rockers really just help Houndoom teams in maintaining offensive pressure, whether it is their own strong moves or simply getting up their reliable hazards. Despite their offensive prowess, they also play a crucial part in gluing things together defensively. Having some additional sweeping potential alongside Mega Houndoom's immediate presence is also appreciated. I opted for SD Scizor, Christo for Mimikyu, Adaam for a presumed CM Latias, and Doublade for viv. Much like Scarf Toge, all of those are really complemented by the dog's ability to immediately threaten bulky Steels, and Scizor goes the extra mile by getting Houndoom into free positions to do so. The various glues aren't a huge deal relative to the other members, as they are there to fill the necessary gaps and fulfill the right roles. There is a decent amount of give and take when choosing the remaining members. For example, due to Empoleon's presence, Christo and Adaam can pivot more safely into opposing Latias, whereas my version takes a looser, more offensive approach in dealing with it. For another example, Adaam's team has a bit more offensive fire power than a couple of the others via Z-move Lati, Houndoom, and CB Scizor, but that does come at the cost of the safer pivoting options presented by an Amoonguss or whatever else (because balanced regen haha). Anyway, Mega Houndoom and the teams utilizing it are just really cool and their various ways of applying pressure and putting the dog into positions to succeed are nice to see.
 

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HO in SM UU
Towards the end of SM UU, hyper offensive play styles had without question reached their peak of relevancy and potency within the meta. Things like stall and HO are generally labeled as nothing more than mu fishing in the vast majority of tiers, but the tail end of gen7uu saw both of these being uniquely and rather absurdly safe options across the board, as mentioned in the post above with stall. Unlike stall however, people labeled HO's consistency as strange or maybe even offputting but people rarely voiced these opinions to a large enough of an extent to where it had to be looked at seriously (directly as a play style). The consistency of these teams is rather straight forward though and can be boiled down to the fact that literally all of the most powerful mons in the tier pretty much fall into this archetype easily and fit like a glove at that, in this post I'll be talking about why that is, the effect certain tier changes had on the archetype, it's growth throughout the gen, key mons and people in this timeline, etc.

What the Standard HO Looks Like

Building HO with variety as a goal in mind is difficult, similar to stall, this archetype thrives so much because of a handful of mons that're just so so so safe. In this case it's the fact that the two mons that've had a stranglehold on the tier for as long as I can remember both fit onto every HO build with ease, but even moreso it's the existence of a mon that we got introduced to pretty late in the game, which is Mimikyu. I will go over a few popular HO builds below and then get into each mon and the role they fulfill, what makes them each important, etc.

Probably the most well-known HO team from this leg of the gen is Adaam's team from his UU open run, which ended up being used by pretty much everybody at some point in time. Even though this is the case, I wouldn't say this is the easiest and safest six you can go on HO, in fact I'd say it's more creative than the majority of HOs out there. The reason for this is simple, there is no Scizor, in fact there's no fairy resist at all, Adaam's fundamentals with HO specifically shine by not giving into the subconscious need that most others would have to just smack a Scizor on there for the sake of checking the "steel type" box in the imaginary "how to build gen7uu handbook" people think they have. Despite not having a traditional steel type that resists fairy and psychic, the tools this team has to deal with threats that fall under those typings such as Latias and Mega Altaria are more than apparent, Ice Shard from Mamoswine + Mimikyu stop them from every really being a threat, and more defensive options like Reuniclus and Sylveon are naturally not gonna get much breathing room vs something so focused on keeping the offensive pressure up at all times with so many rkilling options as well.

Christo's pert ho has had a lot of success being re-used by Christo himself many times throughout the past year and change. Main thing that stands out about this team is obviously the offensive Swampert being utilized as the rocker > other more standard options like Krookodile. While Krookodile has knock and a speedy taunt, Swampert is a lot more potent offensively with more defensive utility as well. Life Orb STABS + Ice Punch puts a dent in the tier and it's typing and better natural bulk gives it a lot more longevity despite the Life Orb chip. For example having this > Krookodile makes common Rotom-H frameworks have a much more difficult time dealing with hazards and pivoting around the team in general.

Another one is this team made by me, I used this team many times in my majors run last year and it did well in a lot of other people's hands as well with an overwhelmingly positive record. With HO in this tier, you can only change up the six mons so much before you start falling into the "gimmick" category, what makes this team stand out a bit more is the lati set and the fact that I chose nape as the rocker. 3 Atks LO Hwish Lati is pretty potent and just having Hwish support can make or break a game, giving your desired wincon a second setup opportunity. Rocks Infernape is really dope here as it solves a huge problem for HO vs other rocker options, which is being able to break fat steels. It is also a nice Scizor answer and being able to act as a wincon on it's own with hwish support in mind instead of pretty much only filling out that "keep the fuckin rocks up" role is really good. I also really wanted something that can better abuse a krook locked into knock/pursuit in general > other rocker options.

As I'm sure you've noticed from 2/3 teams above, the most "safe" six you can muster up to form the most default bog standard HO of gen7uu would be Froslass / Mimikyu / Scizor / Latias / Mega Sharpedo / Rocker. The "rocker" slot could be a few things, usually being Krookodile or Cobalion.
- Froslass: Most efficient suicide spiker, good speed tier with taunt + dbond/wisp, ghost type for spinblocking.
- Mimikyu: Obscene amount of utility on HO, great late game wincon with Disguise in tact but also a defensive emergency button bc of it's ability, great mu vs opposing HO as well, another spinblocker too.
- Scizor: The variety of viable SD sets make this thing next to impossible to consistently and reliably answer every game you play, best answer to lati/malt (steel type) you're gonna find on an archetype of this nature as well.
- Latias: Lati has been near the top of the tier for a while but what makes it almost 100% necessary on these builds is the fact that it's a ground immunity, this tier doesn't have better options in terms of ground immunities for HO, and you need one to make scarf krooks' days worse, best offensive answer to the tier's multitude of fighting types as well, speed tier, etc.
- Mega Sharpedo: This thing's ridiculous efficiency cleaning probably plays as much of a role as anything else in this archetype's prevalence, the shark looks like a valid wincon late game with spikes support in almost every matchup you're gonna come across, and it's sheer power means even if that's not what it's agenda is for that game... it can still break for it's teammates to fill that role. Speed Boost is busted.

If you search through old rmt/np/tour threads from this era of uu you will undoubtedly see a ton of this stuff copy and pasted over and over again. I personally tried pretty hard to think outside the box with HO and try new things and hope they had a similar level of efficiency, I wrote a post about it here when a squad I built with Glalie had some mild tour success albeit definitely being difficult to take seriously in comparison to the standard mega safe six I stated above.

Analyses of HO Mons

Mimikyu @ Life Orb
Ability: Disguise
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant/Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Shadow Sneak
- Play Rough
- Shadow Claw

HO was good and decent in UU before this thing was welcomed into our tier, but when this man made UU it's home it single handedly made HO viewed as a safe and consistent play style within the tier. The utility it offers as a glue mon on HO while simultaneously being able to clean late games at +2 if your Disguise survives that late is uncanny and valuable to a really ridiculous extent, Scizor is broken but you can make HOs that're still good without it, case in point: Adaam's RMT. But if you're running a HO with performance in mind and you're not using Mimikyu you're making a grave mistake. Too important not to use in this context.


Scizor @ Life Orb
Ability: Technician
EVs: 240 HP / 252 Atk / 16 Spe (really whatever fuckin evs as long as you're max atk adamant)
Adamant Nature
- Swords Dance
- Bullet Punch
- Quick Attack / Bug Bite
- Knock Off / Bug Bite / Superpower

By far the most consistently offensively threatening thing in the tier and on all these teams is Scizor, it's ruled the tier with a literal iron fist for the entirety of the gen and is a big reason a lot of people feel so safe leaning on these cookie cutter HOs to consistently get winnable matchups over and over and over and fuckin over again.

Fun fact tho, we all owe sparrow for popularizing the Quick Attack tech on Scizor, pretty much only used on teams revolving around spikes though, Quick Attack helps it muscle through a lot of it's faster checks with just a bit of chip at +2, Rotom-H, Infernape, Moltres, etc. all come to mind. You can run SD Scizor on spikes HO without it but I'd say confidently that you're in most cases making a mistake. Knock Off is the most consistent third option but it also requires more chip on neutral targets like Empoleon and shit like that, the most annoying thing about SD Scizor is the fact that it can run whatever variation of moves including z moves and checks will vary depending on that, on these HOs they're usually just LO SD though. The role this thing fills on these teams is speed control vs threats to HO like Mega Aerodactyl, Mega Altaria, and Latias, whilst being an extremely threatening wincon/breaker.


Latias (F) @ Dragonium Z / Electrium Z
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Calm Mind
- Draco Meteor
- Psyshock
- Hidden Power [Fire] / Thunder

Latias (F) @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Draco Meteor
- Hidden Power [Fire]
- Thunderbolt
- Healing Wish

Being really the only consistent ground immunity option on HO oriented builds is probably the biggest reason it's on literally every single one of them, that and the fact that it's just too good to not smack on there. There's zillions of CM sets you can run on lati but I think Dragonium Z is by far the most common on these teams as it's the most consistent with Hp Fire also in mind and isn't deadweight vs Blissey. It's speed tier and typing makes it a really great offensive blanket check to a ton of things within the tier as well, primarily fighting types. Too much utility and offensive potential in the right matchups to say no to on these builds, glue.


Sharpedo-Mega @ Sharpedonite
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Protect
- Ice Fang
- Crunch
- Psychic Fangs / Earthquake

This thing is extremely consistent to the point where at preview you can pretty much always say with at least a little confidence that "shark can win". If it doesn't end up cleaning it ends up getting a lot of chip at the bare minimum to support other offensive threats that might be the more viable winpath in that situation. We look down on anyone who uses Jolly shark, the damage output from Adamant is insane and in most scenarios it's not all that hard to get into a situation where you can get +2 w/ speed boost. The reason this thing is absolutely mandatory on all of the best HOs you're gonna see in this tier is because it is simply too consistent and powerful of a cleaner to not use. It's typing is also unique and it can muscle through pretty much anything to some extent w/ chip, meaning it especially thrives on these offense-minded teams that lean on hazards like spikes.


Froslass (F) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Cursed Body
EVs: 248 HP / 8 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Spikes
- Taunt
- Icy Wind
- Will-O-Wisp / Destiny Bond

I was recently told that I'm the only one that uses wisp > dbond, which I believe but I do like wisp a lot. Being able to catch a Scizor can be huge for HO since it's not like there're that many +0 life orb bp switch ins on most of these teams in the "late" game anyways. Dbond always felt like the way better option on ladder runs and stuff but I mean honestly both are fine. This mon fulfills the very simple role of getting a spike or two or maybe even three up, it's access to Taunt in conjunction with it's speed tier is what makes it so coveted as a suicide lead and Icy Wind is really good in lead scenarios as well vs scarfers and tricks with dbond and all that.


Bisharp @ Black Glasses / Darkinium Z
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Swords Dance
- Sucker Punch
- Iron Head
- Knock Off

I've yet to really show you a HO with this on it, but when this thing was given to us, HO definitely picked up a bit in viability. Although obviously not nearly to the extent of how mmq impacted it. Defiant is a huge ability on any team that's relying on hazards, I personally have gone out of my way to fit this onto HOs whenever I can because I believe it's very valuable and it is often shoved to the side bc there's not enough room for it. You can also make this your rocker if you're desperate enough, but yeah Defiant is the main selling point here, and a team I and others have used to success with this man on it is here, one of my fav HOs this gen utilizing rocks nihi for it's unique utility due to it's typing, special bulk, and consistency in keeping rocks up

And here is a HO made by Amane Misa that she used to success, it used to be daunt > sciz but I made her change it.


Krookodile @ Iapapa Berry / Focus Sash
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Knock Off
- Earthquake
- Taunt

Cobalion @ Shuca Berry
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Iron Head
- Close Combat
- Taunt / Swords Dance

Swampert @ Life Orb
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 128 HP / 252 Atk / 128 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Waterfall
- Earthquake
- Ice Punch

Infernape @ Fightinium Z
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock
- Fire Blast
- Focus Blast
- Nasty Plot

Azelf @ Focus Sash
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Explosion
- Taunt
- Knock Off / Fire Blast

Nihilego @ Life Orb
Ability: Beast Boost
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Stealth Rock
- Power Gem
- Sludge Wave
- Hidden Power [Ice]
(a lot of things you can edit w/ coverage for nihi)

Terrakion @ Focus Sash / Babiri Berry / Rockium Z / Shuca Berry / fuckin whatever
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Stone Edge
- Close Combat
- Swords Dance

Nidoking (M) @ Life Orb / Focus Sash
Ability: Sheer Force
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Ice Beam
- Sludge Wave
- Earth Power

These're just a handful of viable rockers on forms of HO, whatever one you choose, the main thing you want to focus on is keeping the rocks up reliably. To do that you need to have something going for you, whether it be a fast Taunt like in Krook and Cobalion's cases or an insane damage output like Swampert and Infernape's cases. What you choose is probably gonna differ depending on what your team looks like, what do you need? What do you want to let in the least when you set rocks? etc.


Suicide Leads

:Azelf: :froslass: :accelgor: :krookodile: :aurorus:
To touch briefly on the concept of suicide leads because I believe their existence exemplifies the thought process behind HO as a play style to a pretty decent extent. You're basically walking into a 5v6 for the sake of a hazard or two turn 1, with any other archetype this could easily be a very poor decision, throwing out a mon gives you one less sack, one less pivot, etc. You're willingly giving into the idea of a 5v6 from turn 1 for the sake of these hazards because that's just how important they are to the rest of your team, they only work on HO bc that's the only time the trade off is gonna be worth it, the damage from the hazards makes breaking that much easier.

What About Other Forms of HO?

HO in gen7uu is without question primarily in the form you see above, Froslass suicide lead with a similar handful of mons every time, and always a Mimikyu. While I don't think other forms of HO aren't viable, they are without question significantly more difficult to justify using in comparison to how ridiculously consistent the aforementioned route(s) is. Screens, webs, Azelf lead, other spikers, etc. I will show you some examples of these.

My screens from UUPL VII is probably the most recognizable example of a non-Froslass HO with some sort of success to it's name in SM UU. I built this when I played against Lycans and it won, and then I used it to get reqs in I believe the fastest time ever. This spawned a big screens wave with Amane Misa making her own rendition, thriving with it, and even rmting it here. Screens have a lot of solid options on it, many overlapping with everything I've already talked about (scizor, lati, etc), screens give options like malt, haxorus, feraligatr, etc. time to shine when they otherwise would have a harder time doing so.

FUMA HI-FI spammed a HO utilizing Accelgor (not the attractive user) as the suicide lead of choice throughout his majors run where he got top 4, one example replay here. His reasoning being "i'm honestly thinking accelgor is better than froslass right now when you have such a good other spin blocker in mimik and the utility in final gambit, t-spikes and encore is so valuable vs offense".

Cynde and FUMA HI-FI both utilized sash spam HOs at different points in the gen, focusing on supporting rocks weak wincons like Talonflame and just using the sash as an emergency button for frail mons to get into good positions when you otherwise wouldn't be able to.

Other examples are veil which Cynde and Pak killed the ladder with when Kommo's z move was allowed, and even afterwards they replaced it with Salazzle to similar success. Webs were spammed by pretty much only me all gen but I had some minor tour success with it and quite a lot of ladder success with it. Standard Azelf rocks lead type shit is always usable but definitely much less preferable than the standard Froslass lead. OTR Stakataka was making waves for an extremely short period of time, breathing new life into TR as a play style for a few seconds of the meta.

What Makes HO Strong and What're Common Weaknesses/Outs Against it? How Does Building HO Differ From Other Archetypes?

What makes HO strong?
- Most of the strong offensive threats naturally meshing together the way they do, Latias + Scizor being incredible as a two mon core alone is already huge for the viability of HO, when you throw in shark's consistency and Mimikyu's utility into the mix with reliable hazard setters, the tier doesn't have much at preview that can handle all of that.
- HO and stall are almost kind of two sides of the same coin in the sense that they're both considered pretty cheesy and matchup based in most metagames, and in gen7uu's case they're both safe to an almost brainless feeling extent depending on who you are or ask. One big difference between the two is that outs vs stall are a lot more concrete, common stallbreakers like Grassium Z Celebi exist, reliable hazards can completely cuck stall from functioning the way it wants to, Toxic and/or Taunt can cripple something for the foreseeable future in-game. Now you look at HO and the counter play is a lot less concrete but a lot more natural in the builder. First off, if you cover the common threats in the tier, chances are you're not gonna auto-lose to HO at preview unless you have something really slow and passive. Beating HO in an even matchup is a lot more about what's happening in practice.

How do you beat HO?
- To list off a few things in SM UU that shit down HO's throat, funnily enough, fat steels completely sit on HO. The vast majority of HOs you're gonna come across are gonna be built of primarily physical attackers with the guaranteed exception being lati, ofc this isn't always the case, but it is often. Curse + Rest Mega Aggron is the best example, most common HOs cannot deal with this at all and have no means of reliably breaking through this even if you take critting into account.
- Ofc, that is just one niche example and therefore not worth much of your time to read. The most blanket and consistent things I can think of is pretty much any form of speed control is gonna help you vs HO. Even just fast mons in general like maero and bumass zeraora are gonna force HOs into a sack game they're bound to lose, pretty much any scarfer also falls under this but some moreso than others, nape and kiss are good examples. Things like Rock Polish Cobalion also apply.
- In practice you keep what you're playing against in mind, deny free turns as much as possible. Often times you're gonna find yourself attacking what's directly in front of you to deny a free turn when in a different matchup you'd prioritize saving the mon you have and switching out, as an example.

How does HO differ in building?
- It differs quite a lot, while I think it dumbs down in-game planning to a pretty straight forward extent, in building you have to let go of a lot of things you wouldn't otherwise if you were building something even remotely bulkier. A perfect example is my description of Adaam's team near the top of this post.
- Offensive synergy is taking the bulk of your energy in trying to figure out while building, although you don't completely throw out the utility aspects of mons. If you did that, Mimikyu wouldn't be nearly as good as it is on these types of teams.
- The idea of "how do I deal with (insert boosted threat here)" is gonna drive you insane if you think about it too hard. The whole idea of HO is playing aggressively, you can't just let something in if you're not prepared to sack something or don't really know what to do after you let something in. Your "defensive" outs are gonna be a lot more specific to the most common threats in the tier and that's just something you're gonna have to understand and deal with while building and playing.

Why the Fuck is This so Long?

Idk I needed to kill time. I think one of the turning points for me as a player, or when things started to click at least a little bit... is when I started laddering a shit ton w/ HO for like the first time really tryharding the ladder with it. My brain is quite small and HO simplifies in-game planning at preview to like a rlly easy-to-understand extent. Most of the time it's gonna be chip/kill x mon(s) and then x mon wins... or whatever. I think it helped me understand building a lot better as well, making my theory crafting a lot stronger, it felt a lot easier to understand how any one team would perform in-game after playing around so much with HO because of how specific yet easy to identify it's outs would usually be, like if you fuck up and let something get +2, surely you have this 100% scizor in the back that can rkill it at the expense of most of it's hp bar, nahmean? Simple dumb shit like that helps you understand your outs a lot better and thus hones your fundamentals in general, because that shit applies to every archetype with tons of different matchups.

wu tang is for the children
 
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vivalospride

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The Oven in SM UU

:rotom-heat:
In a meta literally dominated by Scizor, it's no wonder a mon like Rotom-H found itself as a staple for the majority of post usum. I personally have been known to be an oven spammer, I think even at the peak of unpredictability in the builder the one thing people could count on if prepping against me was that there's a decent chance they see an oven. Why tho? Surely it's not just Scizor. No, it is not just Scizor, especially considering the fact that it's not even all that solid of a Scizor switch in to begin with. This mon's consistency in being a piece of shit although incredible at the same time is kinda nuts, in this post I will go over it's impact and place in the meta game in depth.




To begin the tale of how the oven came to be in SM UU, we have to start with it's far superior step brother the washing machine. In gen7uu we got a lot of shit all roughly around the same time when USUM dropped and for a decent chunk of time the meta was quite literally volt-turn and absolutely nothing else. This phase for the most part really kicked off when shifts gave us Mega Manectric, if I recall correctly we got a good handful of really broken shit in those drops, mostly megas. Mega Heracross, Mega Gallade, Mega Altaria, etc. Obviously the tier was not in a healthy spot, it was similar to the initial dlc + drops we got in SS where the tier completely changed, although definitely to a lesser extent. Of course as tiering works, the brokens were shaved off of the tier with time and it led to a metagame completely submerged in voltturn. Scizor + mane + glisc + rotom-w was the standard and a somewhat customizable standard at that. With Rotom-W getting defog in USUM, voltturn had never been better, the meta was overran by voltturn to the extent where seis rose the vr in next to no time at all.

Eventually the washing machine rose to OU, and time kept moving. Rotom-W was keeping the tier somewhat glued together, so much role compression in one slot. Pretty reliable Scizor answer + Pivot, hazard removal, ground immunity, pivot into birds like toge/glisc/tres, etc. Losing it was unfortunate but also encouraged a lot of people subconsciously to explore a bit more with their options in the builder. It took quite a while for the oven to catch on tho as anything more than a "much shittier version of Rotom-W".

The Rise of Defog Oven



Fast forward a bit of time and the tier seemed to be getting more and more clustered, I think we all just started fuckin thirsting for role compression however we could, the screenshot above is I believe when the defog oven spam really kicked off. As you can see most of these teams are rates, I believe in time Indigo Plateau would begin to make fun of me for literally just smacking the oven on fuckin every rate because it just felt so easy. Scizor, malt before it started running Refresh, Togekiss/Moltres, Mamoswine, Gliscor leaving, etc... as time went on people started to warm up to the oven.


Role Compression

Role compression is exactly what it sounds like, when a mon does numerous things/fills multiple roles that're needed in the context of the team/tier. This can be extremely valuable in the builder for obvious reasons, a lot of people keep a check-list at the back of their head while building that varies depending on the tier and what's in it. Naturally with only six slots per team, it is pretty much absolutely necessary for you to be able to check multiple of these boxes in one slot at times.

This is why the oven became so staple. Scizor, Mamoswine, Togekiss, Moltres, ground immunity, hazard removal, pivot, etc. The rocks weakness feels worth it for something so unique, it's a glue mon you find yourself needing pretty frequently.

Why You're a Pansy Ass Pussy Bitch if You Consistently Use Defog on the Oven in 2020

Role compression is sick and all but building primarily based on that leads to a lot of issues in practice. Defog oven is one very good example of that, scarf rocks krook is another, defog florges is probably the best example I can think of that's somewhat realistic in the building process. In practice these things don't work very well, since we're on the topic of oven I will only explain oven.

Oven is a glue mon, role compression is a rather large portion of rotom-h's value within the tier, doing so many things at once... one thing that throws a wrench in it's plans is the fact that rocks exist and oven is indeed a fire type unlike it's water type counterpart the washing machine, meaning it takes rocks chip way more seriously. This puts a huge damper on it's defensive capabilities. This does not limit it from being a viable defogger, even if it'd primarily be supporting itself... what stops it from being a consistent defogger is the fact that it is weak to rocks and it doesn't reliably come in on the vast majority of hazard setters in the tier. Mega Aggron w/o a rock move and Mega Steelix are the main ones it can consistently come in on but even then it's prone to getting toxiced and can be on a timer anyways. Most of the hazard setters hard sit on Rotom-H bar Toxic and/or don't let it onto the field safely in the first place. Rhyperior, Hippowdon, Nihilego, Krookodile, Nidoqueen, Terrakion, the list goes on.

For Rotom-H to perform it's role as a glue mon to a consistent extent in any not-overwhelmingly-amazing matchup, hazard removal support is greatly appreciated. Although it makes building a lot more depressing, it's easy as fuck to just smack defog on oven for the sake of your blood pressure... but following this check box format where everything is fine as long as you fill in all the boxes possible is not what people who are actually good at building do, it's looser, it's not that black and white.

What Teams Tend to Have Rotom-H?

A few examples:




If you're building a volt-turny BO you're more than likely gonna find yourself with an oven on it, honestly. Malt + oven BOs specifically are really my cup of tea, I've made dozens of them over the course of the gen. Breaker + oven is a nice start to one of these volt-turny BOs im talking about. Perfect example being Primarina, oven volts on dragons like lati/drei and shit like that for prima to click buttons. Pivot cores, loose defensive frameworks, hazard removal, blah blah... It's 6am and I'm tired of writing about this but tag me on discord and I'm always happy to discuss, ramble, and nerd out over building fundamentals and values in pocket monsters.

:)​
 
Ground-types and Why Every Team Needs One
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For those reading this thread, you've noticed vivalospride mention building through "checkboxes" multiple times. A lot of players try to fit as many "checkboxes" on their team as possible to handle as much as they can. This is flawed, but one checkbox that needs to be filled, whether you're using stall, balance, bulky offense, semi-stall, semi-bulky-offense-stall, balance-bulky-hyper-offense-stall, or hyper offense, a viable SM UU team needs a Ground-type.

If you haven't figured out why, the reason is because of one Pokemon: Mega Manectric. The momentum monarch himself. The vortex VIP. Mega Manectric is hands down the best Pokemon in SM for grabbing momentum with due its great speed, special attack, STAB Volt Switch, and Intimidate to further cripple whatever is facing it. Not only that, it serves as one of the best Scizor revenge killers in the tier, so it will always find ample opportunities to come in. Speaking of which, CB Scizor also pairs fantastically with it, and having no way to stop the vortex can quickly spiral a game out of control as you desperately try to stomach very strong Volt Switch after U-Turn after Volt Switch after U-Turn. If you're still not convinced, check out this replay of the vortex in action, easily dismantling a fat team with no Electric resist.

What are my options?

We established above why you absolutely need a Ground-type and don't even try being sneaky using none. This section will discuss some of the best ways to counter VoltTurn, specifically Mega Manectric. It is important to note that its speed, okay coverage, and power means that it can find ways around many of them, but the goal is having an option to come in on Volt Switch and subsequently force Manectric to hard switch, or force it to click a coverage move.

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I'd be dumb to not mention the best and most common Ground-type in UU. Scarf Krookodile is a staple on many times not just for Manectric, but to check a swathe of Pokemon in Mega Aerodactyl, Latias, Terrakion, all Ghost-types, and generic speed control. With a Choice Scarf, it outspeeds Manectric and threatens to KO with Earthquake. In addition, it is not OHKOd by any of its coverage, so it can always hard switch in at least once. Krookodile might thus seem like a fantastic Manectric answer, but towards the end of the generation, its gotten worse. Why? Because Manectric started to use Protect over Thunderbolt, allowing it to safely scout for Pursuit. Krookodile is thus always forced to click Earthquake, forcing very awkward scenarios where you feel compelled to double out after locking yourself in.

Here's a good replay showing what happens if you try to get greedy and Pursuit the Manectric. It doesn't work out well.


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Hippowdon is a beast. It is the only Ground-type that hard stops any and all Manectric sets barring weird Toxic variants. It's fat. It has recovery. It isn't 4x weak to any Hidden Powers. The only problem is Hippowdon is not nearly as splashable as other Ground-types since it doesn't fare well against Scizor or Latias. Both set up on it freely, although it can at least phase with Whirlwind. In addition, pure Ground-typing is not as good outside of checking Manectric and Mega Aerodactyl. Hippowdon finds itself a spot as a solid choice on balance/BO, but you won't see it on any stronger offenses.


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The father of Pak, Rhyperior hard stops Mega Manectrics lacking HP Grass, but the lack of recovery makes it a shaky long term answer. That said, HP Ice does not do too much due to Solid Rock, so it can come in multiple times. Rhyperior also cooly hard stops Rotom-Heat and is a nightmare for teams relying on the oven for Defog. It also is not passive as hell like Hippo or even Krookodile sometimes. It hits really hard and dissuades stuff like Scizor, Latias, and Hydreigon from just switching in and throwing moves out. However, the 4x Water-type weakness and weakness to Fighting and Ground make it much easier to break. Cobalion, Terrakion, opposing Krookodile, stray weak Scalds and Hidden Powers all do too much to it.


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Gligar sucks and here's why: it is a horrible Manectric check. Hidden Power Ice is the most common HP, and it cleanly 2HKOs Gligar and then some. Also, Gligar barely checks any of the Pokemon it's supposed to because of how damn weak it is. Cobalion can flinch and KO with Steelium Z, Terrak OHKOs with +2 Rock-Z, Krookodile knocks it off, Aero runs Ice Fang, Rotom-H smacks it with Overheat/Firium-Z, Infernape does 80 with +2 Fire Blast. It is fodder for Latias, Altaria, and Scizor. Gligar has a good niche on stall teams as a defogger to beat Aggron/Steelix, but it sucks outside of that. Seriously, don't use it.


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Mega Steelix distinguishes itself from Mega Aggron due to its Ground-typing, allowing it to not only block Manectric but hard counter Electrium-Z Latias. However, it takes a significant amount from Flamethrower, so it isn't as foolproof as Hippowdon at countering Mega Manectric. It also does not outspeed it like Krookodile, so the damage it takes is a lot tougher to stomach than in Krookodile's case. If using Mega Steelix, it needs to be paired with a secondary Electric type to avoid getting overrun after just one bad prediction.


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Swampert is another fantastic stop to Manectric barring HP Grass shenanigans. He brings the added bonus of a hard Aero counter and checking a whole lot of other stuff like Terrakion. However, defensive sets also struggle with Scizor, Latias, and Mega Altaria, but offensive sets are a cool tech that take advantage of its high attack stat and good coverage with Water/Ground/Ice to hit everything decently hard. HO has even seen LO Pert as an Electric stop with offensive presence.


If you took anything away from this, it should be that don't use Gligar. I will find out if you do.
 

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vivalospride

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BRODIE G WILLAKERS

:slowbro-mega:
With so many topics still left to cover on the tier, you may be wondering why I'm choosing mega bronchitis to write about. It's true that mega broham didn't have the impact or influence on the tier that things such as Scizor or Latias, and to say it's just as threatening would be quite the take and that is certainly not what I'm trying to say. However what I am trying to say is that mega brosif's value in the tier is under appreciated, under explored, and underrated... and honestly all for good reason. Mega bro hampton has an extremely safe matchup spread almost akin to HO and stall within the context of the tier but obviously not really comparable at all considering those're whole archetypes and the brodie is just one man. In this post I will explain in-depth my thoughts on mega broly's presence in the tier and why I feel so strongly about it.

Lack of Splashability; Being an Outlier Within the Tier

I suppose we should start with why this mon is understandably held back from being a literal top tier threat in sm uu. While this mon definitely and obviously has solid defensive properties and an extremely strong status as a wincon, and with this in mind it should find an easy time falling onto teams. On top of this, sm uu is filled with fighting types and mega broccoli at least somewhat reliably answers every single one of them, again this should lead to it being very splashable. Unfortunately the problem with the mon in this context is not even remotely the mon itself, while it has a lot of value defensively and as a wincon, the tier did not form around it to any extent and it had a very difficult time fitting in with the crowd. To explain further; getting a final 6 building around mega slowman is extremely frustrating and the teams it ends up falling into naturally are limited and specific to rhyp-bo type shit, most of the time. I will outline in bullet points:

- Complete deadweight vs stall w/o niche block sets
- A lot of other fighting resists in the tier with more role compression to offer, ie: Starmie, Tentacruel, Doublade, etc. (but especially the former two)
- Lack of compatibility with most common frameworks leading to awkward sciz or prim matchup and often dead stall matchup

- If you look at the vr here you will notice how many mons from A down to B+ have a much more literal presence within the tier, examples being; Rotom-H, Togekiss, Amoonguss, Tentacruel, Aggron-mega, Cobalion, Doublade, etc. This further indicates that bro's rank of A is primarily due to effectiveness in practice > presence as a glue mon/splashability.

So What Makes it Good Then?

As I said before, it's lack of splashability is not due to lack of a consistent niche defensively. Mega Bro is probably the most consistent catch all fighting resist, resisting the STABs from both Cobalion and Infernape while stomaching Stone Edges + coverage from Terrakion the best out of all the other defensive options. But it's true consistency as a mon in the tier comes from it's presence as a win condition in quite a lot of different matchups.

Brodie's insane physical bulk + Calm Mind + Shell Armor makes not giving it set up opportunities extremely difficult, and it's ability pre-evolution being Regenerator gives it a lot of practical defensive utility early game before you're willing to spam CM, which is extremely valuable when you look at how amazing that'd be for the most recognizable example of a CM water, Suicune. Scarf Hydreigons end up getting setup on, non scarf end up getting withered down through Ice Beams + burns and/or taken advantage of on Roost turns frequently, things like Toxic can be unreliable in the long run because of potential Rest sets or even just Heal Bell support. There's a lot of teams that hard-lose to Slowbro just because it embraced one of the wrong simple and popular trends within the tier, stuff like a team's dark type being Krookodile a lot of the time can roughly translate to difficulty breaking Slowbro. BO teams specifically fall into this trend quite a lot because it's not rare for a BO team to lack a status move or other completely normal shit that unfortunately plays directly into mega bro's hand. Other consistent checks like Celebi and CM Latias are thwarted by the presence of Pursuit within the tier and are forced to use momentum dropping moves like Recover by Ice Beam spam frequently.

All of this on top of the fact that it's physical bulk + pre-evo ability is just fuckin nuts is what makes it so good, people can frequently lean on Ice Beam bro to answer DD malt sets if they don't have the best mu with that as well, just as an example of it's defensive prowess. Slowbro's ability to naturally stumble into incredible matchups while still serving an incredibly strong defensive niche for any BO/balance or even potentially stall if you wanted is uncanny.

So What do Mega Slowbro Teams Look Like?






Here's painting the picture better with the issues of this mon more clearly, I can very easily nitpick a ton of issues with all of these. I believe heavily in the top one, but it's very inconsistent vs Scizor with the primary means of beating it being a) Fight z coba b) burns c) CB Scizor being faster and the opp not having roost d) opp throwing it out when they shouldnt. The second one's stall matchup completely and utterly relies on getting the Trick with Scarf Togekiss off on it which is extremely unlikely because most stalls have rock types, on top of that pivoting into Specs Primarina is somewhat of a nightmare but doable. The third one has fuckin defog oven + defog scarf Hydreigon... and a Florges as well. The fourth one has two rock weaks with one of them being the fogger, and a kind of awkward composition with block bro + hb np kiss + bug z sciz, not a lot of immediate breaking power and no Pursuit either which means some sets should be changed but this will inevitably lead to no z move user and a worse malt/lati matchup in general.

Conclusion

In conclusion, bro's presence within the tier is undeniable but I hope all of the people who still play this shit start exploring it more in practice and really test it's limits because it is an absolute monster without question. If stall wasn't as consistent as it is I think CM Psyshock/Ice Beam bro sets would carry it to A+ minimum, I'd argue it's more consistent in like every non stall matchup than Celebi already... although the fact that it needs a mega stone obviously plays a role in it's splashability and viability as well.

Slowbro often needs support for it's more non-autowin matchups, Pursuit being a pretty easy thing to check off if you can. It also requires a lot more finagling in the builder to get a final 6 compared to it's other water type competition. The examples I gave above are pretty offensive examples of mega bro teams and I'd love to see some people with some fat balances n shit dedicated to supporting it, blissey lure + hb + pursuit + etc.

wu tang is for the children
 

Pak

final flash
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Nuke VinCune

I just defended the shit out of Suicune in the ORAS thread, but it reminded me of how much I hate it in this gen. However, I'm not really referring to CroCune when I say that, aside from the limited counterplay it naturally possesses. In fact, bulky Water-type preparation is much less dedicated in SM UU than it is in ORAS, simply due to the lack of those kinds of dominant presences at the top. There is a reason for that though. SM UU often moves at a break-neck pace with a ridiculous amount of dudes that can spiral out of control fast as fuck. Some combination of VoltTurn's popularity, Z-moves, DD Mega Altaria, and CM Latias severely limit Suicune's sweeping potential on a game-to-game basis. Beyond that inconsistency, it's just flipping hard to make a team around this thing that doesn't end up clunky as shit or weak to xyz. Sure, you can provide the dog with all the support it could ever want and it could sweep in the right matchups pretty much 100% of the time, but in practice that isn't always the case and Cune teams seem to constantly find themselves on the back foot. In terms of fit, it also isn't the easiest thing to find team slots for, and that is mostly because there isn't a ton it does great against defensively. I just named 2 top 3 Pokemon that are big issues for it, and the other one only makes things harder more often than not. If you're one of those dudes who is fine with their main Scizor check being a faster Scald user, then more power to you, but the bug and the momentum it provides its team can be awfully awkward to deal with. Medium risk, ridiculously high reward pick. With all that side, it's a justifiable pick.

Okay now onto the real bitching point of this post. Holy fucking shit I hate VinCune. I hate it here, I hate it in ORAS, and I hate it everywhere. You could read this and assume I'm just mad I've lost to it here and there, which is not the reason but it is in fact the worst thing ever to lose to. However, it's all for the same set of reasons, but it's especially prominent in this tier for whatever reason. It pretty much all ties back to one big issue, and it also goes to show why CroCune is a superior option in almost all circumstances. VinCune takes all semblance of defensive utility and throws it all to the wayside in the name of hoping for the perfect matchup. You aren't switching this mon into anything that you would traditionally want out of that generic bulky Water-type slot, naturally because you would rather stay healthy to spam CM Protect Sub over and over without a real means of recovery beyond Leftovers. Christ. I just mentioned how CroCune, the one that can come into things and heal it off, has its troubles with finding places on non-ridiculously clunky teams. Take all those issues and bump them up a few more levels, along with needing even more support behind it as well. Aside from the additional defensive pressure (haha) on the mons around it, there is also this inherent need to run Toxic Spikes alongside it, which I don't entirely agree with but it's a thing. With that said, our TSpikers are pretty ass and on top of that, they aren't even that great themselves with the presence of Amoonguss, Tentacruel, Nihilego, and other shit. Speaking of, Tentacruel can very very rarely stray from running Scald, Haze, Spin, Sludge Bomb without just being suboptimal, bulky Nidoqueen wants 9 different moves, Nihilego wants like 7 moves, and the rest are either outright bad or don't fit on hypothetical VinCune team types. I don't see the appeal above its counterpart honestly.

Please, please stop throwing VinCune the literal matchup fish onto teams, thanks.
 
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The Not-So-Little Mermaid

My most defining personality trait is hating Primarina, and for good reason. It has fantastic offensive and defensive typing, good bulk, strong STABs, and great matchups against the tier's top threats. It is therefore extremely easy to build a team extremely weak to it without overtly preparing for it. The problem: there is no easy way of checking Prim without using a Blissey.

You, the reader, might think "But what about Amoonguss! It's so common and resists its STABs! And Empoleon is a pretty good defogger and walls it."
Me (SM UU chad): That's where you're wrong. In the early to mid days of SM UU, the 2 sets Primarina used were Specs and Defensive RestTalk. Specs was countered by Empoleon and Blissey, while Amoonguss could scout Psychic and switch out. Miscellaneous bulky resists could dissuade certain STABS, like Latias stopping Hydro Pump, or a bulky Steel-type stopping Moonblast. Defensive sets were tough to break while also offering could offensive presence, but it was never getting through Amoonguss. Emp could Knock Off its Leftovers and force it to Rest, making it a lot less effective. And it just wasn't strong enough to fully KO things like Latias and Mega Altaria, so you could often win a trade against it.

Things got a lot more dicy when Prim started running Sub + 3 Attacks. Suddenly, you could no longer play around its STABs. Amoonguss is 2HKOd by Psychic and you can no longer pivot into a Dark-type. Empoleon is freely subbed on and worn down by Scald. The number of counters is now 1: Blissey. Recover Celebi is an okay check, but Moonblast + Rocks does over half its health so you're forced to heal every time. Like other wallbreakers, you can try to limit its switch-in opportunities, but as mentioned before, its typing makes that nigh impossible. If you are running Mega Sharpedo, Hydreigon, Latias, Hippowdon, Krookodile, Empoleon, Slowbro, Steelix, Aero, etc etc it is going to find a free turn or 20 to attack.

To check it, you often have to force some sort of trade against it. Hitting it hard with a decent physical attack might be worth it (like a Krook EQ) if it means it stays at 30% the rest of the game. Trying to pivot around its attacks is often not worth it, since giving it a free Substitute is devastating. Teching moves on Pokemon it normally walls is also a nice way of handling Prim. My favorite Hydreigon set is Z-Belch because it OHKOs Prim and all other relevant Fairy-types. Ground Z Krookodile also smacks it. Other techs include Passho Berry Nihilego, Roar Empoleon, and idk I don't know anything else. The Steamer is also a fantastic check so long as rocks are off.
 

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vivalospride

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LATIAS and therefore PURSUIT in SM UU
With Latias currently being suspected in SS UU, I figured it only makes sense to talk about Latias's impact on SM UU considering it had quite the profound one. This post will be talking about Latias's impact on SM UU as mentioned in literally the last sentence, but as an extension of that it is pretty difficult not to talk about Pursuit and it's impact on Latias and more importantly the SM UU metagame.

Latias helped Scizor run the tier for a vast majority of the generation, the reason for this being pretty similar to why it's being looked at as broken in the current gen. Endless options in terms of coverage and an incredibly solid typing/bulk/speed tier to carve a niche as a revenge killer and switch in to a slew of offensive fighting/water/whatever types with reliable recovery and while being a threat offensively at the same time. Especially with z moves in mind, it is nearly impossible to reliably defensively answer every Lati set. CM Z Draco, CM Z Thunder, CM Hp Fire, Specs, CM Bolt Beam, when Muk was ballin people ran z-eq for a bit as a lure, some dickheads ran z-surf because they wanted Steelix to drown, Psyshock makes Blissey unreliable, etc etc etc.

Trying to answer everything above defensively is honestly possible but only realistic on builds that're at least fat enough to be considered balance, which as we know in SM UU if you wanna win and you're using something that isn't labeled offense or stall you're probably minimizing your chances at least to an extent. The big fatass steels like magg and mlix don't fit as well on BOs and take up a mega slot, the offensive steels like Scizor and Doublade can check a few sets but definitely not consistent defensive answers or even really offensive answers due to speed tiers and being unable to OHKO w/o heavy chip w/ unboosted prio. Defensively, you're either overprepping heavily or throwin together some soft checks most of the time when it comes to dealing with Latias.

Guaranteed Super Effective Damage

Pursuit literally throws half of everything above out the window it's fuckin hilarious. All of it still applies but when you have Latias and there is Pursuit on the opposing team you're gonna have to deal with the fact that the best case scenario might be getting one kill and then dying immediately after. This would be the case in most tiers where Pursuit is a move that exists but it's especially potent in SM UU where there's three extremely common Pursuit trappers in Scarf Krookodile, CB Scizor, and Mega Aerodactyl. Scarf Krookodile being the one that really stands out here as it's the thing you're gonna see the most actually carrying Pursuit and is the only one listed that is STAB. The occasional AV Bisharp will be seen but that's much more niche but obviously still completely dicks over poor Latias to even more of an extent than the ones above because it can reliably switch in.

This paragraph above applies to every frequently used Latias set bar random Colbur shit which can easily lack power in the first place due to lack of Z move/power boosting item like lo/specs. Pursuit is so easy in this meta to just end up with on a team because of how viable the mons carrying it are.

Trapping as a concept can be argued to be uncompetitive. I remember Christo wrote in a post somewhere that his line of thinking for building his dragmag was that it's not really something that can be prepared for. I know during 2019 uupl quite a lot of people were of the opinion that fighting breaker + pursuit was one of the most consistent archetypes in the tier, for obvious reasons; pursuit guarantees damage and there's not much anyone can do about it except play like a complete pussy with their psychic/ghost types, which very heavily limits their effectiveness or usefulness. This also isn't limited to ghosts/psychics of course, at the end of the day Pursuit is guaranteed damage on every pokemon in the game if it connects, the damage just varies obviously, but we've all played those bullshit stall games where you're playing around CB Scizor pursuiting Blissey n shit, or pursuiting maero/nihi with sciz/krook so your Togekiss can have a reasonable breaking path. And don't even get me fuckin started on Rotom-H/Manectric vs. Krookodile turns bro holy shit...

Latias in the Meta

Steering away from pursuit as the main focal point for now, I wanna talk about Lati in the meta in general a bit more. A lot of people believe Latias to be extremely toxic to the metagame and some believe it to be outright broken in the context of this tier. I do heavily disagree with these takes though, while it has undoubtedly been the princess of the tier for such a long time for a reason, Pursuit exists and we don't lack the means to rkill this thing consistently. On top of that, with z moves existing, forcing this thing to recover more often is very plausible and thus getting more free turns. Another thing is how much of Lati's weight as a threat relies on the unknown, the fact that you don't know if you can plausibly send a mon onto the field to deal with it defensively because it hasn't revealed enough information about it's set and if it's one specific set you might have a very real problem. This also applies vise versa as well though, every mu there'll be some lati set that prolly runs through but the chances of it being that set are only so high and you can often form an educated guess on what set it is based on the team composition anyways and play accordingly. Basically what I'm trying to say is that there's gonna be plenty of matchups where winning with lati seems out of the question, you brought cm z draco psyshock for a better stall matchup but you're facing some BO with magg + sciz, and the examples could go on forever, and while z moves make this concept a fair bit less reliable as an argument against Latias's consistency offensively, ultimately it still applies and even so this isn't the main driving force behind why I don't feel like Lati on it's own ever should be looked at as something that is too much for the tier... Pursuit is the obvious answer.

Steel Types

A big pet peeve I've had with this tier for a long time is the fact that when you put a steel type onto a team it is often expected to do quite a lot. This tier is filled with dragons and fairies so naturally steels are gonna be absolutely 10000% mandatory but checking both malt and lati defensively is a tall tall tall TALL order even if obviously in most games you're only gonna come across one max, in the builder this is a lot more difficult. The fact that I can't use Empoleon without literally forcing a second steel or Amoonguss because Empoleon isn't much of a malt check feels like shit. Same applies to Bisharp, and honestly you could convince yourself of a zillion other examples like this because of the obscene set variety between these two mons. This is the toxic thing about Latias imo but it's probably moreso on malt's shoulders. With building already so fuckin depressing it's nuts, this somewhat minor thing can feel really ass at times.

Conclusion

Ultimately Latias has a lot of potential in a lot of matchups due to it's unique combination of strengths (speed tier + typing/dece bulk + coverage, etc). It's almost always extremely threatening on paper and therefore conceivably threatening in practice. Scizor carrying the whole tier on it's back as well as the existence of Pursuit limits this mon in a large portion of matchups but a well played Latias has the potential to bust through teams with or without support quite frequently. It has a star on the SM UU walk of fame as the second in command to overlord sdbp man himself. This post was all over the place it's 9am and I haven't slept yet and I slept about 2 hours the night prior so I'm ballin ballin. I hope this accurately conveyed my feelings on the topic as it's something I've discussed with many people over the years of Lati's impact being a debate topic.

THE MICROSOFT WORD MEME IS MADE BY Pak
 
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Pak

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Post-UUPL SM UU Reaction / Thoughts

So I willingly played SM UU for 5 weeks in UUPL, much to my surprise after spending roughly 3 years despising it. My team is still technically in playoff contention, but it's looking pretty flooping bleak and chances are that I won't be playing SM for the remainder of the tour so might as well make this post now since I don't have anything better to do. Despite my history with the tier, I didn't want to play ORAS for a number of reasons, and the biggest one was that a decent amount of the time it feels like a lot of the battle takes place in prep, given the builder-restricted and slower-paced tier that it is. Naturally, that leads to a lot of headaches and it definitely isn't 90% due to one Pokemon that was never even looked at as an unhealthy presence haha. Anyway, ORAS ranting aside, I got bribed into playing SM cup in UU classic and begrudgingly had fun despite being in a super anti-mons mood. A lot of that had to do with the fact that unlike ORAS, the vast majority of SM success has to do with the battle itself rather than attempting to not lose at preview to something you can't really outplay (yeah yeah I'm ignoring stall here). Not to say in-game execution doesn't mean anything in ORAS, as its still Pokemon, but given the free-flowing offensive nature of SM with threats stacked on top of each other over and over along with looming Z-moves, the two aren't really comparable in that aspect. Building SM is still anus juice, but after seeing people like rob re-use stuff over and over to good success, I was kinda like fuck it why don't I do this since the games themselves can be really enjoyable and it would be a nice change of pace from my usual default to ORAS. Luckily Adaam picked me and let me SM and I was genuinely excited.

There was one factor that I didn't quite consider. As someone who enjoys building in this game more than anything else, I'm nearly incapable of just loading an old team and hoping for the best. SM is a tier well-known for being incredibly bogged down around a handful of threats at the top, often leaving me feeling like anything outside the usual standards is outright worse, making it near ideal for team recycling. Still, I legitimately could not bring myself to just load one of my own old teams on a week-to-week basis because it simply isn't enjoyable to me. With that said, I ended up building two of my five teams from scratch, tweaking two teams from other people with stuff that was kind of foreign to me in the past, and then the closest I came to re-using was revamping one of my old flagship teams in week 5, changing some sets to fit in a bit better in the current state of things. Aside from some expected teambuilding frustrations here and there, I actually did have fun and I would consider the move to SM a success. After all it was where I largely made my name as a player despite my current reputation for ORAS, and this tournament reminded me some of why I did love SM UU at one point. Building still makes me want to beat my head into a wall, but for the most part, if you bring a good team that makes sense in the given matchup, then you will almost certainly have a chance to win if you play well (assuming you aren't stalled). It was honestly so refreshing to be like okay I'm weak to x threat on paper, but I can mitigate its chances to do whatever by doing y, especially in comparison to Conk land where if you don't have one of the 'hard' answers to it (that also just force you into passive lines of play), you lose. I still think SM is ass because of how shit the broken stuff at the top makes building, but if there's any redeeming quality, it's definitely how intensive it is on the game itself as opposed to matchup, stressing things like positioning and long-term thinking in-game.

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I kinda knew this for a while, but it is crazy how good these two are together in the builder. Aside from hating to re-use teams, another thing I generally hate is spamming bog standard stuff, and these two seem to open a lot of doors in avoiding just that. The amount of utility between them is honestly pretty crazy, and much of that stems from both their synergy and flexibility to present for one another. Idk how much this applies to other people who may be reading this, but I generally have a super super hard time fitting a non-Scarf Hydreigon on pretty much anything. That isn't to say it's a bad scarfer by any means, but it has some other really cool sets and possibilities at its disposal, which rarely are able to come into play without making some sacrifices toward the greater good of the team. Enter Togekiss. There are a few key traits of Togekiss that really help out Hydra. One of which is its ability to run Scarf itself, which obviously presents immediate Speed, but also a means of crippling things like Empoleon or bulky Prim, two of the most annoying things for Hydreigon. It can also TWave shit like Aero too, etc. Aside from its Scarfer capabilities, it can also bust through some of Hydras usual counterplay like Blissey or the aformentioned Emp/Prim using something like Nasty Plot Fight Z. Additionally, it can provide a check Krookodile, something Hydra is usually relied on for, allowing the Dragon to run something like a Specs set, something I was always skeptical of due in large part to its lack of defensive utility, but Togekiss allowed for it in the context of my week 1 game, despite it not coming into play too much in the game itself. In return, Hydra can threaten Toge's traditional counterplay as well, whether it is Rotom-H, bulky Steels, etc. But yeah, these two are nice together and present the team as a whole with a lot of room to fuck around with cool sets since they both learn every move in the game and are incredibly versatile. Highly recommend.

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This one is a lot more self-explanatory, but it still felt worth mentioning. Everyone knows what Amoonguss does. It puts things to sleep. It sponges U-turn. It presents any team with a resilient answer to Dragon Dance Mega Altaria and to a lesser extent Primarina and shit. yata yata, no secrets here. However, as I've mentioned over and over in this post, or at least heavily implied, was the positioning-intensive nature of the tier. With that comes the natural desire for flexibility, as brought up with Togekiss + Hydreigon. Now, those two have a lot of flexibility in the builder, and it does carry over to the game to some extent, but there simply is not a better in-game flexibility generator than the Mushroom sitting above. I honestly think Sleep is kind of a broken mechanic, with Spore being the best possible option for it. The payoff some games is just ludicrous, swinging the momentum heavily in the user's favor if the opponent doesn't have an Amoonguss of their own or some whack dedicated sleep absorber. Of course I'm exaggerating to some extent when I say this, but you legit force your opponent to play 5-6 from the opening jump. Sure, they can jump through the hoops necessary to evening things up, especially with how admittedly passive Amoonguss can be after the initial Spore, but doing so requires burning some momentum in the process, allowing the Mushroom user to fully capitalize in the meantime. Regenerator's also broken as shit by the way so there's that. It can check what it's meant to--some of the tier's most prevalent threats--again and again without sacrificing loads loads of tempo to do so. The thing just offers so much utility and flexibility game after game and that's all there really is to say. If there's any knock on it, it would be that it can often be relied on to do too much, namely in being the primary check to Scizor, but that lies on the user. However, in the appropriate setting, I honestly think the shroom is the best defensive glue in the tier no question.
 

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