AAA SS AAA Suspect Test #6: Dog of Steel (Zamazenta-Crowned)

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UT

4th-Best AAA Council Member
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On a related note, I am one of those people who has continued to use Zama and become less sure it is balanced for the meta. Right this minute, I am still probably in the unban camp, but I'm a lot less certain about that than I was in my previous post.

Everything I said about it being hard to build with, having limited movepool, and being item/ability locked is still true, but I underestimated just how preposterous its base stats were.

In particular I would like to offer this replay. On turn 38, when the battle is still 6-6, Zama switches into Choice Band Zarude, proceeds to set up on a Talonflame, and then punches through the other team. Being able to set up fairly comfortably against an attacker that has a super effective STAB against you is pretty ridiculous, especially when you also have 130/128 offenses. The addition of sub to the set also neuters one of the best ways to handle Zama, which is using a bulky pivot to switch to something that threatens it, since none of the bulky pivots can break its sub with their pivoting move.

Obviously one replay does not prove Zama is broken, and I have still only seen a handful of teams that Zama is effective on. However, it's combination of bulk, speed and power is unrivaled, and I am curious to see as the week progresses and we have more experience building with it if we still find Zama to be balanced.
 
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The Number Man

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CAP 29 Playtest Winner
I'd like to echo mlove and ren here. I know it can be hard to get data on Zama solely by laddering. In fact, in my second ladder run I only faced a single one, so I go practically no data on it. However I eventually built a few teams around it to see it in action as well as played against it in friendlies so I am now able to make a more informed decision on it.

With that said; I'm probably voting ban.

Zama is a bit hard to evaluate on paper, as it's very unique. The closest comparison is probably Cobalion as both are fast and bulky Steel/Fighing types and thus at first glance share the same role on a team, but there's a few significant differences between them that make it easier to just evaluate Zama as a standalone mon, without really comparing it to anything. Here's its key characteristics:

1) stellar speed. at base 128 speed zama joins Barra, Koko, Talon and Weavile as one of the "natural" speed control options in the meta even outspeeding two of its competitors.
2) immense bulk. however, unlike its fellow fast mons, Zama posseses vastly higher bulk, which lets it perform the role of speed control even against mons who bypass speed tiers in the form of priority, such as grassy surge and triage mons. At 92 145(+1) 145, Zama is approx 3 times as bulky as Tapu Koko on the physical side and approx 2 times as bulky as Koko on the special side (calcs demonstrating this below).

252 Atk Garchomp Earthquake vs. +1 0 HP / 0 Def Zamazenta-Crowned: 158-188 (48.6 - 57.8%) -- 95.7% chance to 2HKO
252 Atk Garchomp Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 374-444 (133 - 158%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 252+ SpA Life Orb Togekiss Draining Kiss vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned: 160-188 (49.2 - 57.8%) -- 97.7% chance to 2HKO
+2 252+ SpA Life Orb Togekiss Draining Kiss vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Koko: 278-329 (98.9 - 117%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO

This means that Zama is probably the most self-sufficient speed control and anti-offense option in the tier as the only ("fast") setup sweepers it fails to cleanly answer are Volcarona, certain Unburden mons such as Kommo or seed Psychic types, Triage fighting types and perhaps some others that are slipping my mind atm. Additionally, this bulk lets substitute Zama bypass pivot-breaker cycles as a form of counterplay by setting up a sub and Howling up until it is able to meaningfully damage the supposed defensive check that is unable to break its sub in one hit.

3) immunity to knock off. the downside of not being able to run an item is in a way a blessing, as it makes zama an excellent knock off absorber in a tier where knock off is one of the main ways of making consistent progress.
4) ability to run rest sets. Due to Zama's shallow movepool, players are forced to use moves we wouldn't normally consider. One of these is rest. Usually not worth the slot unless you're running natural cure, Zama's bulk coupled with rest lets it sit on and PP stall weaker defensive mons such as Fini and Toxapex that usually rely on crippling opposing mons through Knock off and status. Note that these are mons you'd expect to check Zama under normal circumstances. Note that I think its more accurate to say that Zamazenta gets to run rest as opposed to has to run rest. Most mons have to run rest because you don't wanna run it. Zama on the other hand has the bulk (without any investment!) to sit on things with rest and is quite happy to spend turns waiting to wake up.
5) the combination of speed, power and bulk means that Zama will, either by default or by teching moves like Rest or Sub+Howl, win most matchups where the opposing pokemon doesn't resist both STABs while also being able to hit it back supereffectively in order to threaten at least a 2hko.

This last point is the most important one, in my opinion. It makes it a nightmare for offensive teams to prepare for as it usually straight up beats at least half the team while beating the rest of the mons with minimal chip. And unlike we thought initially, fatter teams aren't completely Zama-proof as Rest and/or Sub let it ppstall and pressure teams that way.

In short, Zama-C offers immense defensive role compression, too much for a supposedly offensive mon. That said, building a solid team around it has been kinda hard. It is very nice starting out with Zama and right off the bat being ok vs Fairy Triage, Weavile and Genesect tho, so if anyone has the opposie perspective on Zama and is willing to convince me im wrong, please do. Here's a team for anyone who cba to build their own but wants to try this mon out: https://pokepast.es/21d3847dd6811ab7

And some replays that hopefully illustrate my point

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8almostanyability-1405056950-mt6j4b3wbujqgaa10714d51wi7ns0p9pw
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8almostanyability-1405064091-2m7c9740mn1fqh0q8xof3ymquw92vm2pw
 
I'd like to echo mlove and ren here. I know it can be hard to get data on Zama solely by laddering. In fact, in my second ladder run I only faced a single one, so I go practically no data on it. However I eventually built a few teams around it to see it in action as well as played against it in friendlies so I am now able to make a more informed decision on it.

With that said; I'm probably voting ban.

Zama is a bit hard to evaluate on paper, as it's very unique. The closest comparison is probably Cobalion as both are fast and bulky Steel/Fighing types and thus at first glance share the same role on a team, but there's a few significant differences between them that make it easier to just evaluate Zama as a standalone mon, without really comparing it to anything. Here's its key characteristics:

1) stellar speed. at base 128 speed zama joins Barra, Koko, Talon and Weavile as one of the "natural" speed control options in the meta even outspeeding two of its competitors.
2) immense bulk. however, unlike its fellow fast mons, Zama posseses vastly higher bulk, which lets it perform the role of speed control even against mons who bypass speed tiers in the form of priority, such as grassy surge and triage mons. At 92 145(+1) 145, Zama is approx 3 times as bulky as Tapu Koko on the physical side and approx 2 times as bulky as Koko on the special side (calcs demonstrating this below).

252 Atk Garchomp Earthquake vs. +1 0 HP / 0 Def Zamazenta-Crowned: 158-188 (48.6 - 57.8%) -- 95.7% chance to 2HKO
252 Atk Garchomp Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Tapu Koko: 374-444 (133 - 158%) -- guaranteed OHKO

+2 252+ SpA Life Orb Togekiss Draining Kiss vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned: 160-188 (49.2 - 57.8%) -- 97.7% chance to 2HKO
+2 252+ SpA Life Orb Togekiss Draining Kiss vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Tapu Koko: 278-329 (98.9 - 117%) -- 93.8% chance to OHKO

This means that Zama is probably the most self-sufficient speed control and anti-offense option in the tier as the only setup sweepers it fails to cleanly answer are Volcarona, certain Unburden mons such as Kommo or seed Psychic types, Triage fighting types and perhaps some others that are slipping my mind atm. Additionally, this bulk lets substitute Zama bypass pivot-breaker cycles as a form of counterplay by setting up a sub and Howling up until it is able to meaningfully damage the supposed defensive check that is unable to break its sub in one hit.

3) immunity to knock off. the downside of not being able to run an item is in a way a blessing, as it makes zama an excellent knock off absorber in a tier where knock off is one of the main ways of making consistent progress.
4) ability to run rest sets. Due to Zama's shallow movepool, players are forced to use moves we wouldn't normally consider. One of these is rest. Usually not worth the slot unless you're running natural cure, Zama's bulk coupled with rest lets it sit on and PP stall weaker defensive mons such as Fini and Toxapex that usually rely on crippling opposing mons through Knock off and status. Note that these are mons you'd expect to check Zama under normal circumstances. Note that I think its more accurate to say that Zamazenta gets to run rest as opposed to has to run rest. Most mons have to run rest because you don't wanna run it. Zama on the other hand has the bulk (without any investment!) to sit on things with rest and is quite happy to spend turns waiting to wake up.
5) the combination of speed, power and bulk means that Zama will, either by default or by teching moves like Rest or Sub+Howl, win most matchups where the opposing pokemon doesn't resist both STABs while also being able to hit it back supereffectively in order to threaten at least a 2hko.

This last point is the most important one, in my opinion. It makes it a nightmare for offensive teams to prepare for as it usually straight up beats at least half the team while beating the rest of the mons with minimal chip. And unlike we thought initially, fatter teams aren't completely Zama-proof as Rest and/or Sub let it ppstall and pressure teams that way.

In short, Zama-C offers immense defensive role compression, too much for a supposedly offensive mon. That said, building a solid team around it has been kinda hard. It is very nice starting out with Zama and right off the bat being ok vs Fairy Triage, Weavile and Genesect tho, so if anyone has the opposie perspective on Zama and is willing to convince me im wrong, please do. Here's a team for anyone who cba to build their own but wants to try this mon out: https://pokepast.es/21d3847dd6811ab7

And some replays that hopefully illustrate my point

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8almostanyability-1405056950-mt6j4b3wbujqgaa10714d51wi7ns0p9pw
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8almostanyability-1405064091-2m7c9740mn1fqh0q8xof3ymquw92vm2pw
I've been trying to use Zamazenta myself, and I think your replays agree with my point - but not your interpretation of them. I can definitely understand a desire to not want Zamazenta-C in because it violates the spirit of the metagame, but I think diagnosing it as broken is just innacurate. Looking at these two replays where zamazenta put in work:
1. The team is just bad. Zama or no zamazenta, you shouldn't really struggle against this one.
2. They threw away their best zamazenta check before it came onto the field, and then ignored it for 4 turns with mons that didn't threaten it. There's no other setup sweeper you can do that to in the metagame and still expect to easily beat it, not just zamazenta.
 
I took the advice of Ren and motherlove to do some more research and actually observe zama in action. Initially when I was laddering for reqs, I didn't think zama was that good, as most teams I played weren't using zama well. After watching games and reading discussion here and in the AAA channel in discord, I have developed a bit more of an opinion on it. Basically I agree with what TNM said above about zama's stats enabling it to win a lot of matchups. Zama functions as a very good anti-offense mon with its high speed and great bulk and its offenses are good enough to deal with most offensive mons. For a while during my laddering, I was running a screens HO team that, although I didnt realize until too late, was beat pretty hard by zama because of its ability to deal with frailer offensive mons so effectively. SubHowl sets seem to be probably the most dangerous set because it offers a way to avoid a pivoting cycle and opportunities to setup and KO the would-be defensive switchins. All in all, I will probably be voting ban unless something is brought to light that invalidates zama. Thanks for reading and have a good day :)
 
While sub howl zama is better than I initially expected, there's still plenty of counterplay within the tier. It hates status unlike rest. It still cannot do much damage to walls like corv without multiple howls, letting you safely use it to pivot in and out. Combinations like corv/most pivot walls(especially w/helmet) and barra, can easily cycle chip it down as it only has a limited number of subs. In general barra teams with a bulky pivot shouldnt be losing ever tbh. Regen attackers like chomp,Lando,gapdos etc will lose the strict 1v1, but can pivot out and regen the damage off, even vs a setup sub it can really limit the amount of work it can do, and if they are scarfed they will always win over time. Sub variants only really have one maybe 2 chances to attempt it, as they only have 3 subs max and no longevity. Meanwhile rest (talk?) has recovery, it cannot harass standard pivot cores like sub can leaving it very exploitable by standard teams. And, it cannot sleep off the turns without talk to atleast threaten, (but still loses to everything that can take a hit and recover it off later), but will often be scared out. And a sleeping zama isn't as effective of a switchin to offensive mons without talk. A problem with both of these is that they lack coverage to win (doesn't have to be a strict 1v1, as many can hit it for a lot and switch out, potentially with not even enough left for a sub) vs mons like talon or blace and I'm sure some others that can take a hit. Esp since mons like talon can roost off the damage later while zama can't. Thus many of these mons scare you out. Most forms of zama also need heavy team support, with heal bell and/or wish both of which are hard to fit into a team and awkward to use in-game, being total momentum drains. Add to this there's just many mons which wall zama hard like Moltres, pex, Slowbro, Zapdos etc. (Rest can pp stall some of them but you can switch out while they are sleeping). Many things can soft check it especially in tandem with each other. In bulky offense teams, even if your weavile or something is checked you can bring it in a lot and for relatively little cost if your defensive core is strong and chip down the zama, something you can't do with fini as easily (needs to land a poison jab poison + hazards), and zama offers no utility (knock status taunt defog) whilst it's walled being a mon that generates no progress when walled. While sub howl can take advantage of some of the more passive pivots like corv, they can still very safely offer many pivots around zama especially if it's regen (slowbro etc). And many of these mons can change their sets to beat it, like raw Bpress corv, iron defense on anyone (fini etc). Sorry if this was a little disorganized, I'm on mobile and just wanted to put my thoughts on it. I now think it's much better than I initially thought (not total garbo), I think it would be a very manageable Mon in the tier especially if sets/teams adapt (Bpress corv, more regen scarf, fire move/zap cannon genesect , etc.) and a healthy addition. Sub is definitely a scarier set but it loses the advantages of rest and vice versa. Even if your team Is unprepared for it you can outplay it. And many of the sub howl sweeps I've seen/done myself were all vs very weak teams in general, or had a very specific defensive core of the few walls that loses to zama (like pert + cobal). Tnx for reading
 
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Ren

your empire for the taking
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Had a chance to write down why I'll vote ban specifically, so here I am.

I agree with Quantum in that it's not really obviously broken. My vote isn't based off of it being difficult or tough to answer, because there's not really a lack of answers in the metagame. It's a really good Pokemon on its own, and that's that. The metagame can adapt to it. I just don't like the way it influences the metagame, I don't think it's healthy.

To be more specific - Zamazenta-C isn't the absurdly powerful beast you get from other AAA Pokemon. You can definitely avoid 2HKOs from it. The issue is 2HKOing it back, and that's where balance as a playstyle excels because it's able to run checks that don't really need to 2HKO it back. Let's hold that thought for a moment, though. Stall has a worse matchup than balance, honestly, because I think the key to playing against Zamazenta-C is winning before the opponent can. And well, amazing thought, right? That's Pokemon, after all. Win first. But I feel like a lot of Zamazenta-C's games require you to force it out for a momentum grab and then stay on that momentum grab, which is easier said than done, because this Pokemon can claim a lot of momentum as well.

So, it's okay vs balance and stall. It's not absurdly broken in those matchups. What about offense? Anyone who's played offense vs Zamazenta-C will probably think it's a ridiculous matchup - and honestly, it is. It's a Pokemon that nigh kills offense as a playstyle if you're playing it with a modicum of correctness and caution, because of its bulk in the context of being an offensive Pokemon while also having just enough power to claim a ton of kills.

It does insanely well against offense, and while it isn't absurdly broken in a game against balance or stall, it can still put in a ton of work. That's where I feel this Pokemon is in the metagame, atm. I think that violates the integrity of the tier. I think that, if a Pokemon always puts in work in matchups while also pretty much winning against a large majority of a playstyle on preview, you have no reason to not run it. I can't speak for the building side of things, so I'm going to trust everyone else who says it's tough to build with and that it needs a lot of support. My experience lies in what happens when you get the right team for it, when you find the right support. And honestly, I feel like this Pokemon in general justifies needing support on a team. I don't think that it's a broken Pokemon, or that it's something you can just slap on a team and get success with. I just think it influences the metagame in an unhealthy and bland way when you can get it to work properly, and I feel like it's a pretty unfun Pokemon. Fun's subjective, of course, but if I don't vote to keep it banned here and if it doesn't stay banned, I don't think I can play this tier because Zamazenta-C isn't really a Pokemon that I feel promotes a dynamic and thoughtful metagame.

To conclude, this is the first time I'm voting ban on an element which I honestly don't feel is broken or unhealthy. I'm voting ban on it because I feel that it'd make the metagame unhealthy and I don't think it's a slope we want to start sliding down as a tier. Replies are welcome, not sure I'll get to them though :)
 

Think

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So I laddered exclusively with a Zamazenta-Crowned (which I'll be referring to as simply "zama" for most of this) team during my suspect run, and since then I've been building/playtesting several attempts at building decent support for it (mostly to no avail). With all of the experience I've managed to acquire in this short timeframe, I'm honestly very surprised that there seems to be any doubt as to whether or not zama's utility warrants the absolutely absurd support required in a given team. I've attempted building zama + offense, + balance, and even on exceptionally bulky teams and more often than not I find myself wondering if I shouldn't just run a Cobalion instead. As far as I can see, zama's limited movepool (lacking access to much variety or even at the very least immediate power in something like Swords Dance), inability to use an item/ability, and general lack of long-term sustainability makes it more of a drag to use than anything.

What does it even use?

:ss/Zamazenta-Crowned:
Zamazenta-Crowned @ Rusted Shield
Ability: Dauntless Shield
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Close Combat
- Behemoth Bash
- Rest / Howl
- Sleep Talk / Substitute / Wild Charge

This is the set I've found the most success with, personally. The principle is that Rest + Sleep Talk tries to minimize the amount of team support zama needs so you don't have to rely on things like wish support (which in a meta where Clefable isn't very good and Wish + Teleport are illegal together on Blissey/Chansey, is difficult to find). There are other sets that see use such as STABs + SubHowl, 3a + Howl, and even screen setter lead but those don't rank high in my preferences.

An argument for keeping zama banned that I've seen several times now is that it's "anti-offense", which is honestly something I'm at odds with:

This means that Zama is probably the most self-sufficient speed control and anti-offense option in the tier as the only ("fast") setup sweepers it fails to cleanly answer are Volcarona, certain Unburden mons such as Kommo or seed Psychic types, Triage fighting types and perhaps some others that are slipping my mind atm. Additionally, this bulk lets substitute Zama bypass pivot-breaker cycles as a form of counterplay by setting up a sub and Howling up until it is able to meaningfully damage the supposed defensive check that is unable to break its sub in one hit.
Volcarona, unburden Pokemon, and triage mons are basically all of if not the vast majority of "fast" setup sweepers we have in the tier. I genuinely have no idea which Pokemon zama is explicitly restricting the usage of that would cause problems. Things like Koko, Barraskewda, and Weavile can manuever around it just fine using either pivoting moves, coverage, or repeated pressure to wear zama down (admittedly, rest and/or wish makes this difficult) so it's not as if those are just autoloss matchups.

It does insanely well against offense, and while it isn't absurdly broken in a game against balance or stall, it can still put in a ton of work. That's where I feel this Pokemon is in the metagame, atm. I think that violates the integrity of the tier. I think that, if a Pokemon always puts in work in matchups while also pretty much winning against a large majority of a playstyle on preview, you have no reason to not run it. I can't speak for the building side of things, so I'm going to trust everyone else who says it's tough to build with and that it needs a lot of support. My experience lies in what happens when you get the right team for it, when you find the right support. And honestly, I feel like this Pokemon in general justifies needing support on a team. I don't think that it's a broken Pokemon, or that it's something you can just slap on a team and get success with. I just think it influences the metagame in an unhealthy and bland way when you can get it to work properly, and I feel like it's a pretty unfun Pokemon. Fun's subjective, of course, but if I don't vote to keep it banned here and if it doesn't stay banned, I don't think I can play this tier because Zamazenta-C isn't really a Pokemon that I feel promotes a dynamic and thoughtful metagame.
I can't think of any offensive builds that struggle to deal with a Zamazenta-Crowned. Screens offense for example just uses it as setup fodder for anything that doesn't mind the combination of CC + Behemoth Bash (Volcarona and Kommo-o are extremely common, relevant examples). I also wouldn't say it wins versus the "large majority of [the] playstyle" considering you seem to be discussing offense abstractly without any actual examples of things zama breaks down too easily. I consider this to be a somewhat dangerous mindset because as things currently stand, there are plenty of reasons not to use zama, one of which is in fact that it has a hard time actually breaking and oftentimes serves as a means to clean up weakened teams once enough work has been done to wear down its counterplay.

---

I won't rehash discussion/calcs on how strong or weak zama is or isn't, but I do think it's worth at least listing out the Pokemon that I think serve as counterplay. Notably, I won't be listing anything that I don't think serves much of a purpose outside of beating Zamazenta-Crowned (AKA niche picks).

The list:

Counters

:Zapdos: (Desolate Land, Primordial Sea) - nobody runs Ice Fang yet...
:Mew: (Unaware/Dauntless Shield) - with Will-O-Wisp and/or Body Press
:Landorus-Therian: (Regenerator - typically scarfed)
:Swampert: (Regenerator)
:Volcarona: (Desolate Land) - must be carrying Roost

Checks

:Skarmory: (Dauntless Shield - especially if carrying Iron Defense) - rocky helm
:Corviknight: (Dauntless Shield, Intimidate - especially if carrying Body Press) - rocky helm
:Toxapex: (Prankster)
:Zapdos-Galar: (Regenerator) - with a scarf
:Moltres: (Desolate Land, Volt Absorb) - if no Wild Charge
:Genesect: (Sheer Force, Regenerator) - with Flamethrower

To me, this preliminary list of ways to deal with zama is already more than enough to describe it as healthy--and these are all just things I thought of while writing this post. In practice, there are plenty of other ways to pressure it such as stacking hazards, using faster Pokemon like Tapu Koko and Barraskewda to chip it down, or even just annoying it with things like Scald + Moonblast Tapu Fini and the like. There's plenty of worthwhile offensive and defensive counterplay available with which one can build teams capable of dealing with Zamazenta-Crowned, so I can't really stand with the assessment that it's somehow too powerful to stop.

Since the remaining amount of time until the suspect test is over is arguably still plenty for some big discoveries to be made, I won't say that I will absolutely be voting a certain way, but as of right now I'm very strongly in favor of voting to unban. I encourage everyone to experiment on their own in the teambuilder and in as many test games as you can get :]
 
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Would like to make a quick post about the Dog. The mon is not bad, its just worse than its other options.
You want a defensive steel fighting, theres cobalion who gives momentum with volt switch, sets rocks, and can stop opposing rocks with taunt, it also gets an item slot and ability choice, you see where im getting at.

You might be saying "well zama outspeeds weavile and talonflame and outputs offensive pressure." While you might be right, its not the only mon who does this, Theres defensive scarf fini who can switch in dish out damage to them and just regen it back up while also giving you defog and being able to trick scarf to cripple something. Theres also Talonflame, Koko, and Barra and a good majority of scarfers(yes I realize ice shard picks a lot of these off at low HP but mglo has less immediate power and band doesnt lock into shard that much) which check it.

The only niche I can see it carve put for itself is the SubHowl set which can absolutely put in work with the right team(emphasis on right team, its so hard to build around this mon due to the support it requires to work).

Thats my take on the Dog, but... I still think it shouldnt be unbanned due to the fact that having a mon that cannot change it ability in a tier such as AAA goes against its whole premise, Yes I understand its due to the games mechanics but I still stand by this.
 
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I personally found one ZamaC on the ladd (that was an OU + ZamaC suspect team) and it died on a Low Kick crit from Weavile on the switch LOL (so ban Weavile?).

Thoughts on the mon:

I alsmost convinced that ZamaC is not broken in the AAA metagame. I will not discuss if that mon, with a restricted ability is in accordance with the tier itself because that's a different thing and if the AAA's council decided to test it, i think the debate has already been decided.

So what's ZamaC qualities and weaknesses?

Qualities:
  • Super fast. Its 128 BS in Spe makes it the third fastest viable mon in the metagame (without taking into account choice scarfer obviously). It's faster than things like Weavile or Talonflame (can rk it only with Wild Charge). Tapu Koko and Barraskewda are the only non-scarfer viable mon that can outspeed it (but can't rk it).

  • An amazing bulk (92/145/145) in combination with DS. Let's be clear, there's only few way to OHKO it even if ZamaC isn't invested in HP or defenses.

  • A high attack stat (130). With CC and Behemoh Bash, it can easily rk frail offensive mons.

  • A good typing which allows it to come on threats like Weavile, Zarude, Hydreigon, etc (globally the same things as Cobalion). A Fighting mon which not loses to Fairies which is not bad.

  • That's a default but also a quality... it can setup itself with Howl... Howl enables it to win enough power to get 2HKO or OHKO respecitively on defensive and offensive mon.

Defaults:

  • Item and ability lock. You can't run choice band to make it stronger or Leftovers to get more staying power. You can't abuse from TC to hit harder or from Regenerator to survive on the long run. Nevertheless note that is cool to be immune to Trick/Switcheroo and get a Knock Off absorber.

  • No recovery move to make the most of its bulk. Any chip dammages are permanent so it's easy to abuse from RH or Spikes to wear it down (we will talk about Rest and why I think it's a bad option later).

  • Can't break the usual physically defensive oriented mon like Skarm/Mew/Corvi with DS (particularly if they get Body Press). Due to its poor coverage (essentially Wild Charge because Crunch or Ice Fang are too specific and suboptimal in general) it's not very complicated to find good check like Zapdos, Volcarona, Regen/DS Kommo-o, Toxapex or Slowbro. If you choose to run a set without Wild Charge (for example Rest + Howl or Sub + Howl) there's also mon like Talonflame (note that Talon can be 2HKO by CC), Moltres or Golisopod to check it. You can also abuse from a Regecore with a RH (a combination of mon like Fini, phy def Pert, phy Def Kommo-o, Scarf LandoT, Scarf Garchomp, Scarf Genesect, Scarf Zapg, etc).

  • Considering Howl is its only way to setup, it's easy to prevent it to setup itself with an Intimidate + a slowpivot Regenerator core. The only way for ZamaC to beat that (considering it can break the Rege mon without setup) is Sub or a strong support from hazards to wear down the Intimidate mon.

  • The bad synergy between its STAB (CC and Behemoh Bash) and its staying power. I think this point has not been much emphasized while it's essential for me. Theses two moves get 8 pp which is clearly not perfect to break walls hit after hit. More particularly, CC drops ZamaC defenses which means it's easier to break its Sub or to rk it. Wild Charge is also a bad move for ZamaC considering any recoil dammage are permanent. Obviously, if you're 2 atk SubHowl, you will definitely not going to click CC until you sufficiently placed so my argument doesn't really work but well... Sub is also a bad move for ZamaC no? Considering that 25% are permanent too. Sub + Howl needs a lot of time to work in practise ; you need two turns to place a Sub and to get only +1 in Atk.

  • Not really a default but Scarfers seem particuarly viable in AAA at the moment which means Koko and Barra are not the only ones in pratice to outspeed ZamaC. Things like Lando, Chomp, Blace, Zapg, Azelf, Gene with a Choice Scarf can help to rk ZamaC (although it's hard to rk it without chip dammage).

What's about Rest as recovery move? Firstly let's be clear, Rest is a really bad move. Sleep Talker is absolutely trash considering you can't do anything expect from sleeping and take hits for a moment? Don't play that it's only a waste of your time. Rest can only work in combination with Howl. Rest + Howl is a way to abuse from its bulk and exploit its breaking capacities thanks to Howl. But again, that's not particularly easy to play.
  1. You have to run CC + Behemoh Bash (or Iron Head?) which means your coverage is limited.
  2. If CC has a bad synergy in general with ZamaC, that's particularly the case on the Rest variant which can try to stay as much as possible on the terrain.
  3. Imagine giving 2 free turns at your opponent? Just go on Terrakion lol (252 Atk Life Orb Adaptability Terrakion Close Combat vs. +1 0 HP / 0 Def Zamazenta-Crowned: 328-390 (100.9 - 120%) -- guaranteed OHKO). No seriously that obviously the greatest weakness of Rest. Considering we're not in a slow metagame (see pre dlc OU lol), get free turn at the opponent is the best way for him to put a strong breaker like Barra, Prima, Inteleon, Blace, Volcanion, Terrak, Zapg, setup Kommo-o, Azelf, Zam, etc).
  4. If you try a strat like Rest + an Heal Bell or Aromatherapy mon:
    1. You need a mon with Aroma or Heal Bell and a slot on this mon for the move.
    2. You have to click Heal Bell or Aroma.
    3. You can't heal and setup your ZamaC at the same time.
Considering that, I don't say Rest is absolutely bad on ZamaC but there's obviously many weaknesses to that set which means it's not broken. Support ZamaC with a Wisher is a similar case, that's not impossible but that's not easy and not broken imo.


Finally, I think ZamaC is not broken for the AAA metagame even if it will not be the healthiest mon. Like a good dog, I think it get a niche here! But i'm almost certain that mon will not change drastically the metagame (for example, all of my actual teams build without taking into account ZamaC doesn't lose against it at preview). It's a good thing against certain HO but it can struggle against balanced or fat teams. So yeah I will probably vote to unban it but tbh, I'm not really interested by that suspect. The only really good thing ZamaC provides to the AAA metagame is another Weavile check... Otherwise there are good and not so good.

Thanks for reading!
 
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I agree with Shiloh that Zamazenta will be a healthy part of the meta. A huge portion of why Zamazenta may be considered better than many of the defensive mons in the OU tier is that it is granted an instant defense boost when entering the battle thanks to its ability. However, in the AAA metagame, it is no longer limited to just Zamazenta on who can have the Dauntless Shield ability. There are so much better mons that can utilise this ability such as Corviknight and do a better job than Zama because it has other utility, such as hazard removal, recovery and pivoting, which Zamazenta severely lacks. It's steel typing can be outclassed by other defensive mons as well, because fighting is not the most amazing defensive typing... except when it comes to body press, and this shield dog can't even body press :pirate:. Though I will say, it is a box legendary, and it does have tremendous stats and move pool, so it will see some usage if unbanned.
 
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