Metagame SS OU Metagame Discussion Thread v5 (usage in post #547)

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Fwiw having Wicked Blow to hit Ghosts compensates for the lack of Scrappy and being able to go through Protect with Urshifu is honestly amazing. There is virtually 0 reason to use Sirfetch’d and even Pokemon like Conkeldurr/Heracross have fallen completely out of favor. This isn’t even a reason to ban or suspect Urshifu so much as it’s just a natural consequence of its current position in the metagame; it’s worth noting that there’s not a direct correlation there.
Good call Flinchinator. I would say that Heracross has a few notable niches which give it some relevance, particularly its niche as a fighting type resistant to Urshifu entirely and as an offensive spiker.

In other news, Rotom-Heat has had a notable resurgence in the meta. I don't have too much to say about it that hasn't already been said. The set I've attached below, which runs a bit of Sp.Def to deal with specs Mage is quite fantastic.

Rotom-Heat @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 164 HP / 96 SpD / 248 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Nasty Plot
- Volt Switch
- Overheat
- Pain Split

I've also been having a lot of success with CM Clef recently, since you should be running phys def clef anyway, it fits in nicely to many of my balance builds. Was very interesting seeing heat sets in the metagame thread.
 
I'm just coming back to Pokemon after not having played competitive for years. But I would just like to echo comments from Finchinator in his recent YouTube video on using Charizard Sun teams in OU (great video, btw). The raw power of specs Zard in the Sun is honestly ridiculous. I've been messing around on low ladder with it, and here's a replay that pretty effectively sums up just how powerful it is.

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8ou-1152156440

TDLW; It kills an Alolawak from 100%, and then proceeds to kill a Dragapult, again from 100%

Specs Overheat in the Sun, even when running Timid over Modest, basically kills everything, including resists. It's obviously not as risk-free as a mon like Dracovish was, because it requires sun to be up, and Zard has its fair share of weaknesses e.g. Rocks and not being able to run HDB (Specs has to be the way to go...). But it's a nuke unlike anything else I've seen in the game. It even makes a Hyper Beam from Specs Analytics P-Z look like a wet noodle.

I think Charizard is quite widely used in tournaments at the moment, but haven't seen too much of it in Sun teams on the ladder, even when I'm 1400 or 1500 plus. I think it's crazy that a Sun team wouldn't run this absolute threat - alongside Venu, it has to be one of the big reasons to even play the archetype. Having a god-like wallbreaker that doesn't care about resists is a massive boon for Sun teams and eases prediction. It also pairs extremely well with pivots like Teleport Clef and U-Turn Corv, which are becoming all the more standard on Sun.

One question I had is whether anybody had experimented with semi-Sun? E.g. only running Torkoal + Venu, or Torkoal + Specs Zard? And if not, could there be potential there? Running a mini sun core alongside 4 OP mons like Mag, Ursh, Toxapex etc. seems like it could work. You also see min-Sand cores with just Hippo and Drill all the time. So I'm surprised Sun teams tend to go all in on weather. Any thoughts from someone who has more experience than me?

For fun, here are some Zard calcs. Yep. These aren't fake.

252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Marowak-Alola in Sun: 378-446 (144.8 - 170.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Torkoal in Sun: 424-499 (123.2 - 145%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Clefable in Sun: 489-576 (124.1 - 146.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Azumarill in Sun: 381-448 (111.4 - 130.9%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Eviolite Chansey in Sun: 402-474 (57.1 - 67.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Hydreigon in Sun: 344-405 (105.8 - 124.6%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 248 HP / 0 SpD Rotom-Heat in Sun: 298-351 (98.3 - 115.8%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Solar Power Charizard Overheat vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Slowbro in Sun: 378-446 (95.9 - 113.1%) -- 75% chance to OHKO
 
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I've applied myself over the past few days to finding a hard counter to Urshifu. A mon that, in one slot, can switch in to Urshifu, take a hit, and threaten it with a KO or with another method, such as PP stall or hazard set up. This mon should be able to live anything Urshifu can throw at it, bar lucky crits and other gimmicky tactics.

Short Answer: There isn't any.

During this time, I have almost exclusively been doing calcs and seeing mons that surprisingly live a lot of Urshifu. As a by-product of this search, I have produced a list of every single pokemon that does not get 2HKOed by Urshifu's Close Combat or Wicked Blow. This is assuming they are max defense, max hp, plus defense nature and eviolite if applicable.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UUXQY9UtPwcJHhZHc3Uu8jEyHYkXgtUG1cNcdVjftG8/edit?usp=sharing

Some interesting facts:
Only 0.04% of non-ubers pokemon fit the criteria
Only 5 non-fairy types in the entire non-ubers meta fit the criteria
The tier with the highest amount of mons is not OU, but LC, with 4 and 6 mons respectively
Every pokemon on the list resists CC, only 2 don't resist Wicked Blow, but those mons are never crit by wicked blow

No pokemon have any chance of living 2 coverage moves from Urshifu. Shelmet and Togetic have a chance to live fire punch and poison jab respectively, but then urshifu can 2HKO with stone edge.

Most of these pokemon are not viable, but it was amusing for me to see which mons can live CC and WB.

On this note, I'd like to revisit my defensive Hawlucha set.

Hawlucha @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Limber
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
- Flying Press/Drain Punch
- Defog/Taunt/Drain Punch/U-turn
- Roost
- Defog/Taunt/Drain Punch/U-turn/Tailwind/Feather Dance

Looking at the moveset and strictly the movest, its literally mandibuzz with drain punch and Flying Press. Its great. Drain Puch provides recovery without letting up pressure, and Flying Press combines STAB, which is amazing if you want to OHKO Urshifu without investment. Heavy-Duty Boots is a must if you want to survive Urshifu while rocks are up. Feather Dance is a gimmick that can beat Bulk up Urshifus. It's not useless against other mons, either. Excadrill can't touch Hawlucha and gets 2HKOed by drain punch, and Adamant Rillaboom is outsped even without any investment. I think most booms run adamant. Jollyboom only has a 21.4% chance to 2HKO with banded wood hammer. Rillaboom is 2HKOed by flying press. Bisharp, although rare, can deal only max 40% with iron head. Scizor is hard walled.

Alright, lets not kid ourselves. The only reason you'd ever have Hawlucha is to counter Urshifu in 1 slot. Great for Offensive teams who want a small core to fall back on. It won't be useless in a matchup without Urshifu, though, as it can do what mandibuzz and corviknight do, but worse. Hawlucha can even put in some work pivoting against faster mons. Overall, though, there is no fast walls in the metagame, and Hawlucha fits that Brilliantly

EDIT: I've noticed that I may have been putting the heat on a bit to much for the OU forum standards, so I'll take a little break. Catch you back when I get another jackpot of heat sets
 
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If you may remember, I did a comparison between Corviknight’s Body Press vs Skarmory’s Body Press while the DLC released.
That post used older viability rankings and would have a scoring system that treated every Pokemon equally. It also excluded Pokemon where Brave Bird /Iron Head would do more damage.

Before I do, I would like to see what Pokemon should give a higher score by the community.
Obviously the damage vs Bisharp, Excadrill, and Urshifu would be greater than Shuckle, Seismitoad, and Talonflame.

Also feel free to exclude Ghost types for obvious reasons and Pokemon that virtually take no game from their Body Press.

The new Preliminary Viability Rankings:
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/ss-ou-preliminary-dlc-viability-ranking-thread.3666340/
 
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After looking at the new Preliminary Viability Rankings, and playing the new DLC meta game for a bit, I think we can all agree that the top 4 Mons in the meta: Magearna, Urshifu, Toxapex, and Cinderace are putting a lot of pressure on team building. Many people have been discussing a ban on them, so I wanted to offer an alternative that might be helpful - Melmetal.

Personally I didn't think that this Pokemon was a huge enough threat to be quick-banned when it was released, but now that the post-DLC meta has settled down a bit, I think it makes even more sense to at least suspect it back into the tier. It has very low speed, and now that some faster mons are back, I don't think it could get away with running max speed like pre-DLC Conkeldurr.

Here's a quick set I put together:

Melmetal @ Choice Band
Ability: Iron Fist
EVs: 252 HP / 152 Atk / 104 Def
Adamant Nature
- Double Iron Bash
- Earthquake
- Thunder Punch
- Superpower

Some quick calcs:

252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu Wicked Blow vs. 252 HP / 104 Def Melmetal on a critical hit: 199-235 (41.9 - 49.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
152+ Atk Choice Band Melmetal Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 192-228 (63.1 - 75%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery


So as you can see, Melmetal can come in on a Wicked Blow from Jolly-Urshifu if it runs a little defense. This could be paired with another defensive Mon that could come in on Close Combat. Mandibuzz is currently being used for this "Wicked Blow sponge" role, and today saw the highest usage in OU (36%) on babiri.net (similar to Seismitoad vs. Dracovish). I think having another check to Urshifu's signature move would be healthy for the meta, and give players another team-building option.

Another major threat in the meta right now is Toxapex. No explanation needed, possibly the greatest defensive Mon in modern history and forces things like Cinderace to run Zen Headbutt and others to run similar coverage moves. Melmetal is one of the few physical mons that can muscle past it, and with all of the recent Teleport support mons being added, I think Melmetal could come in safely and avoid being burned.

Melmetal can also switch in on any move from Specs Magearna, expect for Aura Sphere / Trick. I think Magearna is still ban-worthy in this scenario, but it's a cool thing nonetheless. Clefable would certainly see a decrease in usage as well.

Please share your thoughts and whether you think Melmetal should come back!
 
After looking at the new Preliminary Viability Rankings, and playing the new DLC meta game for a bit, I think we can all agree that the top 4 Mons in the meta: Magearna, Urshifu, Toxapex, and Cinderace are putting a lot of pressure on team building. Many people have been discussing a ban on them, so I wanted to offer an alternative that might be helpful - Melmetal.

Personally I didn't think that this Pokemon was a huge enough threat to be quick-banned when it was released, but now that the post-DLC meta has settled down a bit, I think it makes even more sense to at least suspect it back into the tier. It has very low speed, and now that some faster mons are back, I don't think it could get away with running max speed like pre-DLC Conkeldurr.

Here's a quick set I put together:

Melmetal @ Choice Band
Ability: Iron Fist
EVs: 252 HP / 152 Atk / 104 Def
Adamant Nature
- Double Iron Bash
- Earthquake
- Thunder Punch
- Superpower

Some quick calcs:

252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu Wicked Blow vs. 252 HP / 104 Def Melmetal on a critical hit: 199-235 (41.9 - 49.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
152+ Atk Choice Band Melmetal Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 192-228 (63.1 - 75%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery


So as you can see, Melmetal can come in on a Wicked Blow from Jolly-Urshifu if it runs a little defense. This could be paired with another defensive Mon that could come in on Close Combat. Mandibuzz is currently being used for this "Wicked Blow sponge" role, and today saw the highest usage in OU (36%) on babiri.net (similar to Seismitoad vs. Dracovish). I think having another check to Urshifu's signature move would be healthy for the meta, and give players another team-building option.

Another major threat in the meta right now is Toxapex. No explanation needed, possibly the greatest defensive Mon in modern history and forces things like Cinderace to run Zen Headbutt and others to run similar coverage moves. Melmetal is one of the few physical mons that can muscle past it, and with all of the recent Teleport support mons being added, I think Melmetal could come in safely and avoid being burned.

Melmetal can also switch in on any move from Specs Magearna, expect for Aura Sphere / Trick. I think Magearna is still ban-worthy in this scenario, but it's a cool thing nonetheless. Clefable would certainly see a decrease in usage as well.

Please share your thoughts and whether you think Melmetal should come back!
Umm, Melmetal was already suspect tested for unbanning IIRC and was voted to remain in the Banlist sometime afterward.
Just giving my 2 cents on the matter.
 

Monky25

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After looking at the new Preliminary Viability Rankings, and playing the new DLC meta game for a bit, I think we can all agree that the top 4 Mons in the meta: Magearna, Urshifu, Toxapex, and Cinderace are putting a lot of pressure on team building. Many people have been discussing a ban on them, so I wanted to offer an alternative that might be helpful - Melmetal.

Personally I didn't think that this Pokemon was a huge enough threat to be quick-banned when it was released, but now that the post-DLC meta has settled down a bit, I think it makes even more sense to at least suspect it back into the tier. It has very low speed, and now that some faster mons are back, I don't think it could get away with running max speed like pre-DLC Conkeldurr.

Here's a quick set I put together:

Melmetal @ Choice Band
Ability: Iron Fist
EVs: 252 HP / 152 Atk / 104 Def
Adamant Nature
- Double Iron Bash
- Earthquake
- Thunder Punch
- Superpower

Some quick calcs:

252 Atk Choice Band Urshifu Wicked Blow vs. 252 HP / 104 Def Melmetal on a critical hit: 199-235 (41.9 - 49.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
152+ Atk Choice Band Melmetal Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 192-228 (63.1 - 75%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery


So as you can see, Melmetal can come in on a Wicked Blow from Jolly-Urshifu if it runs a little defense. This could be paired with another defensive Mon that could come in on Close Combat. Mandibuzz is currently being used for this "Wicked Blow sponge" role, and today saw the highest usage in OU (36%) on babiri.net (similar to Seismitoad vs. Dracovish). I think having another check to Urshifu's signature move would be healthy for the meta, and give players another team-building option.

Another major threat in the meta right now is Toxapex. No explanation needed, possibly the greatest defensive Mon in modern history and forces things like Cinderace to run Zen Headbutt and others to run similar coverage moves. Melmetal is one of the few physical mons that can muscle past it, and with all of the recent Teleport support mons being added, I think Melmetal could come in safely and avoid being burned.

Melmetal can also switch in on any move from Specs Magearna, expect for Aura Sphere / Trick. I think Magearna is still ban-worthy in this scenario, but it's a cool thing nonetheless. Clefable would certainly see a decrease in usage as well.

Please share your thoughts and whether you think Melmetal should come back!
not much to say coming from my end, but keep in mind that the argument of bringing a potentially broken mom to check other top tier or potentially broken mons isn’t valid. Not to mini mod, but Smogon mentions that when it comes to unbanning or keeping a broken mon in a tier, using the argument “x should be allowed because it keeps x in check” isn’t valid. I personally haven’t thought about melmetal too much, I personally think either magearna or Urshifu should be banned before we retest melmetal.
 
not much to say coming from my end, but keep in mind that the argument of bringing a potentially broken mom to check other top tier or potentially broken mons isn’t valid. Not to mini mod, but Smogon mentions that when it comes to unbanning or keeping a broken mon in a tier, using the argument “x should be allowed because it keeps x in check” isn’t valid. I personally haven’t thought about melmetal too much, I personally think either magearna or Urshifu should be banned before we retest melmetal.
There's no reason why they can't bring it back for a week to test if it's still "broken". It makes no sense to just vote to keep it banned, instead of bringing it back to see what the player base does with it. IIRC this vote was also done right after the DLC dropped, before the meta had settled back down. The fact that it would be a healthy counter to a lot of the top Mons right now is just an added benefit that I wanted to highlight.
 

TPP

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I appreciate the thought, but please do not discuss unbanning Melmetal or any other mon from Ubers unless an actual suspect test for one has started. The council has a lot of things on their plate atm and it's best to wait to see how they act before suggesting unbans. I'll be deleting any posts that discuss Melmetal or any other Uber after this post.
 
Urshifu has got to go. Its on literally every team and nothing switches into this thing comfortably.

Cant burn it because it crits thru everything, cant toxic stall it because of unseen fist, choice band lets it 2HKO everything, bulky enough to survive most stray hits, a great speed tier for scarf, oppressive type coverage, the list goes on.

The closest I've got to something that can actually take more than 2 hits with urshifu is galarain weezing, but that is prone to getting worn down because it has no reliable recovery outside of black sludge and pain split.
 
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Virizion @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 60 Def / 4 SpD / 192 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Sacred Sword/ Close Combat
- Swords Dance
- Leaf Blade

Been using this girl, not bad at all. You can switch her in on the plethora of Dark types that are around rn, get the Justified boost, Swords Dance on the opponent' switch and have fun. The helmet makes it very fun to deal extra damage to Knock Off users, 1v1 sash users like Excadrill and Bisharp, and takes almost half HP from water Urshifu. Dark Urshifu is free Justified boost. Mandibuzz, Volcarona and Marowak have to eat a +2 Stone Edge, Azumarill can't sweep as long as you play it safe, and the natural super high special defense allows it to take one Moonblast or Sludge Bomb with ease.

Sacred Sword is reliable STAB that keeps her bulk intact and can take on anything that tries to buff it's defense, while Close Combat rounds up some nice OHKOs at +2. Very fun mon that I think can do a lot of work for a RUBL.
 

Virizion @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 60 Def / 4 SpD / 192 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Sacred Sword/ Close Combat
- Swords Dance
- Leaf Blade

Been using this girl, not bad at all. You can switch her in on the plethora of Dark types that are around rn, get the Justified boost, Swords Dance on the opponent' switch and have fun. The helmet makes it very fun to deal extra damage to Knock Off users, 1v1 sash users like Excadrill and Bisharp, and takes almost half HP from water Urshifu. Dark Urshifu is free Justified boost. Mandibuzz, Volcarona and Marowak have to eat a +2 Stone Edge, Azumarill can't sweep as long as you play it safe, and the natural super high special defense allows it to take one Moonblast or Sludge Bomb with ease.

Sacred Sword is reliable STAB that keeps her bulk intact and can take on anything that tries to buff it's defense, while Close Combat rounds up some nice OHKOs at +2. Very fun mon that I think can do a lot of work for a RUBL.
So what is the 60 EVs in Defense for?
The speed I can see as being a step above positive nature Base 100 and maybe you are just investing in its lower bulk some more, but I’m curious to if there is some more meaning to the extra EVs.
 

Virizion @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Justified
EVs: 252 Atk / 60 Def / 4 SpD / 192 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stone Edge
- Sacred Sword/ Close Combat
- Swords Dance
- Leaf Blade

Dark Urshifu is free Justified boost.
I wouldnt call it free. With that shaky defense, you're still taking half from banded urshifu. And thats assuming you predict right and switch into wicked blow. Predict wrong, and it dies to CC or poison jab.

If anything, it'd say beef up the DEF since you plan on getting boosts from justified and SD anyway.
 
Urshifu has got to go. Its on literally every team and nothing switches into this thing comfortably.

Cant burn it because it crits thru everything, cant toxic stall it because of unseen fist, choice band lets it 2HKO everything, bulky enough to survive most stray hits, a great speed tier for scarf, oppressive type coverage, the list goes on.

The closest I've got to something that can actually take more than 2 hits with urshifu is galarain weezing, but that is prone to getting worn down because it has no reliable recovery outside of black sludge and pain split.
Burns actually still affect Wicked Blow though as Burns affect the BP of moves.
But yeah, I fully expect there to be a suspect test for Urshifu soon with how restrictive it is to teambuilding.
For now, have a decent core on your teams and pivot.

Also, using Terrakion now is great because of Urshifu forcing so many Pokemon to drop Protect, making its Choice sets even better and Terrakion is a great revenge killer too.
 
So what is the 60 EVs in Defense for?
The speed I can see as being a step above positive nature Base 100 and maybe you are just investing in its lower bulk some more, but I’m curious to if there is some more meaning to the extra EVs.
That's basically it, patching it's frailer defense while keeping 330 Speed good enough for Base 100s.

I wouldnt call it free. With that shaky defense, you're still taking half from banded urshifu. And thats assuming you predict right and switch into wicked blow. Predict wrong, and it dies to CC or poison jab.

If anything, it'd say beef up the DEF since you plan on getting boosts from justified and SD anyway.
Yeah I think that was too much on my part, not free at all. But hey it's Urshifu, nothing can get in free anyway
 
This post is going to be a little different for me. I'd like to start periodically going over one of the most influential Pokemon in the current metagame, and then discussing some sort of strategy or core that can be used to defeat said Pokemon. Based on all the discussion in Policy Review I believe Mandibuzz would be a great starting point.


Since the release of DLC1 Mandibuzz has taken over as the best Defogger in the metagame. It fits on a variety of teams, and is extremely splashable in the current metagame. This is evidenced by it being the 2nd most used Pokemon in the first round of the WCOP (53% usage). Mandibuzz provides a lot for teams aside from Defog. It provides teams with a Ground-type immunity that can help check Excadrill, a Dark resist that can pivot into CB Urshifu's Wicked Blow, a Ghost resist to help with mons like Dragapult, and a Grass resist that can help vs Rillaboom. It also has enough natural bulk that with the right EVs and moves it can be used to help check other threats like Volcarona, Azumarill, and Cinderace. Overall Mandibuzz is a great blanket for teams helping keep a lot of top Pokemon in the metagame in check. Aside from checking a plethora of threats Mandibuzz is also able to help with momentum thanks to U-turn, and is able to look after its own longevity by way of Roost and Heavy Duty Boots allowing it to pivot around freely. Heavy Duty Boots have also been great this gen for a Rocks weak Pokemon like Mandibuzz as it now doesn't have to reliably avoid a 2hko from 75% at switch +lefties in order to be a reliable switch in. Overall it's just an amazing mon that really eases the team building process. A pretty common core you'll see using Mandibuzz is something like Mandibuzz / Toxapex / Clefable / SpDef Drill. It really is a solid core that works great in the current metagame, and I'd recommend anyone who hasn't used it yet give it a try. That said how to beat Mandibuzz on a team like this is what I want to discuss.


This is a pretty common core that I've been using a lot, that I like to call Mandibuzz overload. The entire point is that all three of these Pokemon are something Mandibuzz would normally pivot into and not have problems facing. However, when all three are combined Mandibuzz starts to spread itself to thin, and eventually you're able to break past it. The defensive core above really struggles to switch into Excadrill outside of Mandibuzz making it the obvious initial switch in as you don't mind EQ/Iron Head and can Defog if Drill sets up Stealth Rock. This gives you the opportunity to Toxic the Mandibuzz and put it on a timer for the remainder of the game, making it easier for Cinderace and Dragapult to break through the would be check. 4 attacks Cinderace is usually doing 40ish percent with Pyro Ball or Gunk Shot vs Mandibuzz, which means Mandibuzz can usually come in and Roost off the damage from Cinderace just fine, but with Toxic mixed in Mandibuzz has problems stay at or near 100% consistently. Excadrill helping spread status on to mons like Mandibuzz also aids Dragapult since it allows Hex sets to start going for damage on the switch in sooner, and physical sets can start factoring Toxic damage into rolls with Dragon Darts which means you need less initial chip damage to take on Mandibuzz. The dragapult on this team is pretty flexible, as you can realistically run Specs, Physical, and Status + Hex sets with success. Essentially the goal will be to Toxic the Mandibuzz with Excadrill, and then chip it by U-turning around with Cinderace (and sometimes Dragapult depending on the set) to the point it is going to be forced to come in at like 70% and you can break past it. Mandibuzz checks a lot of stuff at full health, which is why it has been great with Heavy Duty Boots this generation, but if you can find that consistent chip damage you can break past it and open a whole in the opposing teams defensive core.

vs

https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-511233
At this point I'd like to breakdown a game, so everyone can see this match up firsthand and really visualize how this core/strategy works. Since writing a paragraph about how this core works in theory is great and all, but nothing can quite match seeing how it works first-hand and breaking down the replay from team preview. The replay is a game between mncmt and Ace-11 that was part of the WCOP tiebreak to see if Greece or Brazil would make playoffs.

This is honestly the perfect replay for this post. Mncmt is using the offensive core we discussed in this post, while both players are also using the Mandi / Pex / Clef / SpDef Drill defensive backbone. This means we'll get to see how our core handles things, and how well a team that takes a bit of a bulkier route by throwing in a Skarmory is able to deal with things.

Based off team preview the match up looks fairly interesting. Ace is more than likely running Spikes on Skarmory which will be able to help pressure Toxapex on the switch in reducing the effective HP it gets back from Regenerator, chip down Drill on the switch as it doesn't have reliable recovery which will help Zam out, and Dragapult will have fewer switch ins if it's not using Boots. That said one of the perks of the defensive backbone in use with these teams is that Mandibuzz + Excadrill give teams lots of options for removing hazards, so being able to remove Spikes shouldn't be impossible for Mncmt. On Mncmt's side Cinderace looks like it will be a threat as Mandibuzz is the only solid defensive answer Ace has. Ace can pivot around with Toxapex and potentially hinder Mncmt if their Pex is a Baneful Bunker set, but they will still have to watch out for the Zen Headbutt on the switch. Alakazam also is able to outrun Cinderace which is nice for Ace being able to revenge kill Cinderace reliably outside of Sucker Punch variants. That said Dragapult looks to be the fastest Pokemon in the game since it's fairly doubtful either of these Excadrill are Scarfed. Also worth noting that Skarmory is a solid Excadrill answer, so Ace does have the tools to keep Toxic off of Mandibuzz if they recognize it incoming.

(Just a little note that I plan on breaking down a good helpful of turns, but it's a 75 turn game so I'll be grouping turns together often for efficiency's sake. Also I'll mainly be talking from Mncmt's POV as they're using the highlighted core).

Turn 1
The lead match up is Cinderace vs Toxapex. Cinderace has a few options here as it can either U-turn out and grab momentum, but you risk Baneful Bunker crippling Cinderace turn1. You can also go straight for the Zen Headbutt if you have it to pressure Toxpaex, but you once again risk Baneful Bunker or the switch to Mandibuzz which gives the opposition momentum. Or you can play it safe and go out to your own Toxapex or Clefable not risking Cinderace early. Mncmt decides to play it safe and go out to their own Pex, as Ace simply clicks the safe Knock Off removing the Rocky Helmet from Mncmt's Toxapex.

Turn 2-3
Ace decides to fish for a Scald burn with their Pex to hinder our Pex's longevity, while Mncmt clicks Knock Off removing the opposing Pex's Black Sludge. On turn 3 both players elect to Scald fishing for the burn, and Ace is able to get the burn hindering our Toxapex.

Turn 4
Now that Ace has burned our Toxapex they elect to switch out to Clefable who would happily soak up a scald burn. Predicting the switch out Mncmt clicks Knock Off removing Clefable's Leftovers.

Turn 5-6
Mncmt decides to bring in their Excadrill as the opposing Clefable clicks Moonblast. The Moonblast does 16% which shows that Mncmt's Excadrill is most likely Spdef while the opposing Clefable is uninvested in Spa, Mncmt also reveals Leftovers on their Excadrill. On the obvious switch out Mncmt sets up Stealth Rock as the opposing Skarmory comes in. This is good information to know as it means Mncmt's Mandibuzz is most likely the remover, which means it will be able to come in against Spikes and remove them much easier than Excadrill + Mncmt's Clefable is all but assured to not be a Rocks variant now.

Turn 7-8
Skarmory has nothing to fear from Excadrill so it takes the turn to set up a Spike, as Mncmt switches out to Clefable. Clefable might not be the best answer to Skarmory but it covers a potential Body Press or Toxic well. On turn 8 Ace decides to switch in their Excadrill perhaps looking for the chance to Spin against Clefable, or they are just on top of their scouting as Mncmt's Clefable reveals Thunder. this is important as it means Mncmt's Clefable, that we saw wasn't rocks earlier, is probably some CM set that will be able to pressure Skarmory and Toxapex greatly. That said unless the Clefable dropped Moonblast or Recovery, Ace's Excadrill will most likely serve as a great check to this set. Also as Ace's Excadrill did take some rocks damage on the switch in it is revealed to be Leftovers.

Turn 9-11
Mncmt brings in their Mandibuzz to take on the opposing Drill, as Ace sets up Stealth Rock. Showing both Excadrill are Stealth Rock variants. On turn 10 Mncmt elects to Foul Play as Ace makes the safe switch out to Clefable. On turn 11 Mandibuzz defogs away the hazards, as Clefable Moonblasts dealing 51%. This is a pretty key turn as it allows Ace to take a second and figure out how specially bulky the opposing Mandibuzz is, and likely provides you with a chance to force out a weakened Mandibuzz making it easier to break through later.

Turn 12-15
Staring down Clefable with a half health Mandibuzz Mncmt elects to swap out the weakened Mandi for Cinderace who takes a bit of chip (23%) as Ace fires off another Moonblast. Turn 13 Cinderace clicks Pyro Ball as Ace sends out their Mandibuzz to take 43%. This is pretty big since it allows Mncmt to see how physically bulky the opposing Mandi is, which is always great information given how flexible Mandi spreads tend to be. On turn 14 The Cinderace clicks Gunk Shot fishing for the poison, which it does not get, as Mandibuzz Roosts up. on turn 15 Cinderace elects to U-turn out into Excadrill as Mandibuzz Roosts again up to 88%. Given that the Pyro Ball did 43% and Gunk Shot did 44% it looks like Mandibuzz would be within a roll of getting 2hko'd by Cinderace if it tried to come in again.

Turn 16-17
Turn 16 is a pretty big one for Mncmt in terms of making progress. Maybe predicting Mncmt to go for Stealth Rock, or just really wanting to weaken Excadrill for Alakazam Ace elects to Knock of Excadrill's Leftovers as Mncmt's Excadrill hits their Toxic into Mandibuzz. On turn 17 Mncmt gets up their Rocks with Excadrill as Ace swaps out their 82% Mandibuzz for Skarmory. This is big as it means Ace's Mandibuzz is not currently a reliable Cinderace switch in fearing the 2hko from Pyro Ball or Gunk Shot.

Turn 18-19
On turn 18 Mncmt withdraws their Excadrill in order to bring in Mandibuzz as Skarmory gets up a layer of Spikes. On turn 19 Mandibuzz roosts back up to full as Skarmory clicks Toxic. This is pretty big since it means both Mandibuzz are now on a timer. It's also starting to become evident that even while Ace may not have as much offensive power as Mncmt in this match up the combination of Toxic Skarmory + the ability to set Spikes forcing Mandibuzz into the game to remove them will help wear down Mncmt's Mandi a fair bit throughout the game.

Turn 20-23
Mncmt elects to shift their Mandibuzz out for Toxapex, as Skarmory gets up another layer of Spikes. On turn 21 Ace switches out their Skarmory as Mncmt clicks Knock Off. Seeing as Clefable was already Knocked Off earlier in the game this was the safest play for Ace. On 22 Clefable and Toxapex trade attacks doing miniscule damage. It's a fairly uneventful turn, but Mncmt did get the Scald burn on Clefable which could prove helpful if Mncmt ends up being a Hex set on Dragapult. Following this on 23 Mncmt is able to bring in Cinderace safely as Clefable Soft-Boils off the damage it has accumulated up to this point in the match (only 21%).

Turn 24-26
Now seeing that Cinderace got in safely last turn Mncmt is in a really good position to turn up the heat. Knowing that the Mandibuzz is weakened they elect to Zen Headbutt predicting the incoming Pex and dealing 49%. Seeing as Pex was not at 100% coming in they are forced out as they'll be 2hko'd. This is where Ace makes a really nice, but risky, play bringing in their Alakazam on the second Zen Headbutt. It worked out great for them, but if they had gotten the play wrong and Cinderace clicked Pyro Ball it would have been bad for Zam as they would have either been Ohko'd or brought down to their sash. But they got the play right and are able to Recover up to full as Mncmt is forced out into their Clefable fearing the faster Zam.

Turn 27-29
Both players decide to switch out this turn as Ace Switches to their Excadrill and Mncmt brings out their Dragapult. Dragapult does take damage on the switch, showing that spikes will be a factor when it comes to Dragapults longevity. Next turn Dragapult sets up a sub as Excadrill swaps out to Mandibuzz, which after another round of Poison is at 76%. Now turn 29 is a big on as Dragapult clicks Dragon Darts doing 40% to the opposing Mandibuzz as it breaks the Dragapult's Substitute with Knock Off. This is big since Mandibuzz is within range of dying to another Dragon Darts, but it wouldn't be without both the Toxic and chip damage from its interaction with Cinderace earlier. It took all three of them to get Mandibuzz in a bad position.

Turn 30-36
This sequence doesn't deal with breaking down Mandibuzz very much so I'm going to gloss over the upcoming turns in some bigger chunks. On turn 30 Mncmt swaps out Dragapult for Cinderace predicting the Mandibuzz to be saved. I get the feeling they would have preferred for Clefable to be the switch of choice, but instead they got Toxapex. Cinderace U-turns out of the situation into Clefable as the opposing Toxapex decides to Knock Off, which removes Clefable's Life Orb. Both players switch on 32 and the game is rest to Cinderace vs Excadrill, on 33 Ace brings in Toxapex as Cinderace misses a Pyro Ball. Turn 34-35 where a solid sequence of turns for Ace as they bring in Skarmory on Zen Headbutt getting Rocky Helmet damage on Cinderace, and then they live a Pyro Ball and get off a Toxic + another round of helmet damage. Ace's team is a little short on Cinderace answers so getting off 34% in helmet damage + a Toxic is really nice as Mncmt now has a low Cinderace that is statused to work with. Cinderace clicks Pyro Ball again on 36 against the incoming Pex while taking another round of Poison.

Turn 37-50
This part of the game similarly doesn't deal with the point of this post very much. On turn 37 Mncmt swaps out Cinderace for Clefable as the opposing Toxapex clicks Recover. on turn 38 both players switch as Mncmt sends out Toxapex and Ace sends out Excadrill. On 39 Ace sends out Clefable and things get very repetitive. Ace's Clefable turns out to be a CM + Tbolt set, and it applies some pressure to Mncmt's Pex, but thanks to Haze it is able to keep the opposing Clef in check though it does lose a decent chunk of Recovers which could be problematic in the long game. Eventually on turn Mncmt is able to bring in their Excadrill on a Tbolt and break the cycle of Calm Minds, Hazes, Tbolts, and Recovers.

Turn 51-53
For the next three turns Mncmt's Excadrill just clicks Earthquake. With Ace's Mandibuzz weakened they are forced to bring in Toxapex who takes over half from the incoming EQ. Ace then pivots out to Mandibuzz who is immune to the EQ, but takes another round of Toxic damage. Mncmt then decides to just click EQ again as Ace swaps out to their Alakazam which is brought down to their sash. I'm not entirely if there is ever a scenario where Zam is a good play there as Iron Head similarly has a chance to bring Zam down to sash with Iron Head or at least put it in a position where it can't get it back with a single recover, but with the Mandibuzz weakened Ace is really left without other choice. Really showing the effect that weakening Mandibuzz has on the game as a whole.

Turn 54-57
Alakazam forces out Excadrill, but unfortunately misses Focus Blast on the incoming Mandibuzz. Now I don't think that miss greatly effected the game, but in a situation where Ace was really starting to fall behind in the game it's a miss you really don't want to see. Next turn Mncmt sends out their Clefable as Ace brings in their Mandibuzz. Both players elect to double switch this turn as the battle field is reset to Mncmt's Cinderace and Ace's Excadrill. Now Ace is forced to sack the Mandibuzz as Cinderace collects the kill with Pyro Ball. Here on turn 57 we have our first KO of the game, and now with Mandibuzz truly gone it's time to see how Ace's team holds up.

Turn 58
This is a little insult to injury as Ace brings in Alakazam to revenge kill, but misses a Focus Blast on the predicted switch and ends up dying to U-turn. At this point Mncmt decides they no longer need Cinderace to break through the opposing team, which I agree with as Mandi + Drill with sacks and a Dragapult to apply pressure and outpace Zam looks like a winning position to me. However, it's basically an unsuccessful sack and Ace's Alakazam ends up dying. Once again I don't think that miss drastically changed the game, but it really took away Ace's hope and helped speed things along at the ending. At the end of the turn the field would be reset to Mncmt's Toxapex and Ace's Clefable.

Turn 59-65
Here we see the same Clef vs Pex exchange that we saw on turns 37-50. Aside from wasting some PP no real progress of note was made these turns. On turn 65 Mncmt is able to get in Excadrill safely. Though it should be noted that the Drill is now at 37% and the Clef has one CM up.

Turn 66-70
Ace decides to sack their Skarmory and bring in their own Excadrill, as they're now in a position where they have to risk speed ties to have a chance. Mncmt is not in that position however and is able to send out their Mandibuzz on the incoming EQ. The next two turns Ace tries to flinch with Iron Head, but does not get it and is 2hko'd by Foul Play. On turn 70 Ace sends in their Clefable and Calm Minds as Mandibuzz Defogs away the hazards (there were 2 Spikes on their side of the field). as they die to poison, and Mncmt sends out their Excadrill.

Turn 71-75
Excadrill switches between EQ and Iron Head finishing the game off. It's also worth noting that Mncmt made a really nice call on when Pex was going to come in to stop any potential Regen shenanigans to open the door for Ace.

While the Focus Blast miss against Cinderace was unfortunate I still think this was a really good game, and one both players should be happy with. Overall I think Mncmt played a really great game and deserved the win. On top of that they also did a great job of showcasing how to use all three members of our core to break down Mandibuzz and force holes to develop in the other team.


In the end Mandibuzz is a really great Pokemon that will have staying power at the top of the tier due to how many threats in the current meta it helps handle. However, there are definitely ways to break it down, and the teams that use it. Hope this helped a little bit if you've been struggling with Mandibuzz at all. Sorry if the game breakdown went a little long, but it was a really good game so I got caught up enjoying myself as I was writing.
 
I've seen this Dragapult set used a lot recently. There have been various EV spreads and natures but always the same moves. What's up with it?

:ss/Dragapult:
Dragapult (M) @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Mild Nature
- Thunder Wave
- Hex
- Dragon Darts
- U-turn​

I assume it's just a post-DLC1 version of the previous Draco + Wisp + Hex + U-Turn set from previous months, but this time it's not helpless against the blobs. But is Thunder Wave really better than Wisp? Obviously both are good moves, but I've only ever seen the former used. Are there any other factors driving this set's high usage aside from being an updated version of a previously good set?

Also, notice the item: Heavy-Duty Boots. A couple months ago, Spell Tag or Leftovers were much more common. It seems people are catching on to making the most of its pivoting capability by making it ignore hazards. Timbs in general have seen very high use in WCoP, to the point that it's been discussed in Policy Review, and I expect this prevalence to increase. This relates to my next comment: item control is the meta.

To elaborate on what that means, ask yourself this: "What's the best move in the game?" Odds are that Knock Off will be one of the top picks, if not the top outright. Being able to remove Timbs and lefties (arguably the best items in the game rn), choice items, etc is such a game-changer it's absurd. Every mon with access to Knock Off usually uses it on a set, or at least considers it in the case of Alakazam. There's also Trick, which has similar capabilities. It's on tons of Magearna sets, further cementing its reign as the top mon in the tier, and has seen increased usage on Clefable, usually with a Choice Scarf or Sticky Barb.

In the interest of prompting discussion, I raise this question: Is there ever any reason not to have a team with users of Knock Off and/or Trick and/or Heavy-Duty Boots? Their impact on the tier is basically as centralizing as hazards, if not more so at times, and it's essentially been a consensus since GSC that hazard control is a necessity for every team. Has anyone built successful teams that don't feature any of these? Is spamming all of them a viable strategy these days? My answers are no, no, and yes, respectively.
 
I actually noticed something in a match - this is probably not the place to post it,but whatever.

I have noticed that the endless battle clause has one way to be broken,it was unpatched in Gen 8 apparently.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8ou-1153885697
Here,a slowbro is able to use the leppa recycle strat to kill this excadrill with stalling.
no heal pulse=not endless.

That's no different from meltan pp stalling ferroseed.
 

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I actually noticed something in a match - this is probably not the place to post it,but whatever.

I have noticed that the endless battle clause has one way to be broken,it was unpatched in Gen 8 apparently.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen8ou-1153885697
Here,a slowbro is able to use the leppa recycle strat to kill this excadrill with stalling.
PP stalling with Leppa+Recycle doesn’t count towards endless battle clause unless you try to actively stop your opponent fainting by using Heal Pulse. Simple PP stalling is very much legal.
 
I was just highlighting that point out,people may decide to use this strat for no reason
People have used it before.

Toxapex @ Black Sludge
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Block
- Spite
- Scald/Knock Off
- Recover

EVs aren't specific. Its pretty much a trap pex, which specializes in capturing non-uturn mandibuzz who try to defog on it and clefs who try to wish pass/ set up rocks on it. Its pretty much able to beat any defensive and sometimes offensive mons, really. Spite reduces the PP of the last move used, so the PP drain goes quite fast. The first time I saw this set was John W's channel, but it probably was invented before then.
 
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I've seen this Dragapult set used a lot recently. There have been various EV spreads and natures but always the same moves. What's up with it?

:ss/Dragapult:
Dragapult (M) @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Mild Nature
- Thunder Wave
- Hex
- Dragon Darts
- U-turn​

I assume it's just a post-DLC1 version of the previous Draco + Wisp + Hex + U-Turn set from previous months, but this time it's not helpless against the blobs. But is Thunder Wave really better than Wisp? Obviously both are good moves, but I've only ever seen the former used. Are there any other factors driving this set's high usage aside from being an updated version of a previously good set?
I think many people are opting for TW over WoW because it threatens/checks Ace, Volc, and Zam (also I note that it helps more against any SG Mage or scarf Togekiss), while teammate Excadrill is running more Toxic these days to affect Mandi anyways.

However on the other hand, a couple downsides of TW are that it lets in spDef drill more freely and also Zera (slash niche electrics out there). Also without WoW, you aren't helping to wear down things like Pex, Hippo, Tang that could otherwise get free Rocky Helmet dmg vs ur U-turn. You're not checking BD Azu as well either. And like let's say ur Pult is below 50 and you're facing down a Rilla or Ursh, then WoW would be a more effective swan song.

So perhaps for certain playstyles/players/teams , it may be actually worth it for them to run both statuses so they can access all their perks versus different opponents. In my opinion, U-Turn is good but not too good to give up.
 
I think many people are opting for TW over WoW because it threatens/checks Ace, Volc, and Zam (also I note that it helps more against any SG Mage or scarf Togekiss), while teammate Excadrill is running more Toxic these days to affect Mandi anyways.

However on the other hand, a couple downsides of TW are that it lets in spDef drill more freely and also Zera (slash niche electrics out there). Also without WoW, you aren't helping to wear down things like Pex, Hippo, Tang that could otherwise get free Rocky Helmet dmg vs ur U-turn. You're not checking BD Azu as well either. And like let's say ur Pult is below 50 and you're facing down a Rilla or Ursh, then WoW would be a more effective swan song.

So perhaps for certain playstyles/players/teams , it may be actually worth it for them to run both statuses so they can access all their perks versus different opponents. In my opinion, U-Turn is good but not too good to give up.
Also, Thunder Wave is better at luring in Clefable and Magearna specifically, which are common switch-ins to Pult. Boots is nice for pivots like Pult just for longevity purposes.
 
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