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

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Stallion

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Just giving my two cents here, but banning Libero would imply that its also broken on raboot or every mon who has it (which of course its not). The solution there would be a complex ban on Cinderace alone to ban Libero on Cinderace but it's doubtful that the Council will do that.
Agreed, it's not a situation where it's like Moody, which is broken even on Glaile. If it's only broken on one pokemon, that pokemon should go.

Having said that, while I think Cinderace is broken, at least there's some counterplay to it. Nothing restricts team building quite like Urshifu, you need to essentially dedicate 2 team slots to make sure you don't auto lose to it.
 
With all this info, I personally feel that Pex is at least centralizing for the tier. Sure, it has countermeasures such as Taunt and- Taunt, and a few select mons that can reliably break it, but a lot of what naturally works against it are options that are chosen specifically because of its presence rather than because they naturally suit the overall meta. Which raises the question: what do we do about it? What should we do or not do? I've seen some calls for a ban, and while I would not be opposed to it, I understand that it may be hard to get the community on board. The problem with suspecting a defensive mon as opposed to an offensive mon is that it's inherently harder to explain; with a broken offensive mon, the reason why it's too much tends to be fairly self-explanatory. With a defensive mon, assessing whether it's broken requires you to consider several factors. These being:
  1. Does counteracting this mon put an excessive strain on team building?
    1. Do you have to devote at least one team slot specifically to breaking this one mon?
  2. Are options that can counter this mon options that are naturally subpar in the tier?
    1. Does breaking the mon require options that aren't naturally part of this tier?
  3. Can counters to this mon naturally fit on various playstyles, or are they only good on certain playstyles?
    1. The latter answer specifically means that this mon's presence is influential enough on the tier that certain playstyles may become more or less viable simply because of the one mon. Certain options might also require specific mons to be run as teammates, thereby hurting the usage of other normally good mons.
  4. Do matches involving this mon tend to be decided or heavily influenced by mirror matches?
    1. How often do matchups gravitate towards scenarios of mon A vs mon A? How much do mirror matchups effect the match as a whole?
  5. Overall, is the meta better or worse off with this mon being present?
I think that asking the question of whether Pex is too much for OU will require at least moderate consideration of these factors. For now, all we can do is watch and see a). what the broader player base feels about this and b). whether Pex will continue its domination in the coming weeks. Crown Tundra may damper it a bit, but if it is deemed problematic, then it would be irresponsible to just let Pex have its way with the meta until then.
I think these are pretty good criteria for both defensive and offensive mons so these seem like pretty good places to start for overall discussion.

Pex has been a problem since it's inclusion really. Z-Moves + the overall power level of the USUM meta kept it in check somewhat but even there it was easily a top 5-10 mon at any given time and has always limited team building significantly. With how the USUM meta was handled in terms of bans on offensive mons Pex was basically a necessity to that tier to keep so many things in check so the argument of keeping it around for that reason sprung up but that speaks more to the meta than just Pex itself. However, with the decrease in overall meta power you really see just how constraining this mon is from invalidating cores and forcing sub optimal mons and moves to deal with it to the stall wars it facilitates. It's never seemed like a healthy mon for OU.

I was browsing through the ubers in USUM to see what comparisons I could draw to Pokemon that primarily would've been banned for their defensive nature as opposed to offensive but the only two that stuck out were Lugia and Giratina. Giratina has a lot more capable offensive sets so it still makes sense but idk, in comparison to Lugia, Pex actually seems like the defensive better mon for what it's worth. It might even be better offensively as well in terms of what it's moves like Toxic Spikes, Scald and Knock bring to the table so that's definitely some food for thought. I don't think I'd personally mind trading the two in this meta.
 
I was browsing through the ubers in USUM to see what comparisons I could draw to Pokemon that primarily would've been banned for their defensive nature as opposed to offensive but the only two that stuck out were Lugia and Giratina. Giratina has a lot more capable offensive sets so it still makes sense but idk, in comparison to Lugia, Pex actually seems like the defensive better mon for what it's worth. It might even be better offensively as well in terms of what it's moves like Toxic Spikes, Scald and Knock bring to the table so that's definitely some food for thought. I don't think I'd personally mind trading the two in this meta.

I can't really speak about toxapex since I'm undecided but unbanning lugia is something else. People like to meme that smogon is biased towards stall but lugia will legit make stall teams almost unbreakable. Its has much higher bulk than Pex due to its Hp stat and Multiscale means that it is basically impossible to Ohko from full health. Pex has some notable advantages over it: knock off, scald, regenerator, toxic spikes, stealth rock neutrality to name a few. But lugia also has some advantages of its own, namely much higher attacking stats so it can actually threaten pokemon and a higher speed stat, making it a great taunt user. Pex is probably a bit more splashable on more teams due to the utility it brings. However lugia doesn't need to be splashable if the one team style it fits perfectly on becomes super dominant. Plus with heavy duty boots, lugia will become even harder to wear down, limiting the one way to consistently deal with it.
 

chimp

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Honestly, Toxapex just feels limiting. There are so many Pokemon I want to try and experiment with using that just become invalidated due to Toxapex's exsistance. And yeah, every Pokemon has it's walls, but given Toxapex's inability to be worn down thanks to it's great recovery, being walled by Pex is pretty much a complete death sentence for any Pokemon that may want to try to squeeze its way into the OU metagame. Way more so than if you are walled by Mandibuzz or Ferrothorn or Clefable, or anything like that. At some point we need to assess just how suffocating a defensive Pokemon can be, and while Toxapex isn't necessarily broken in practice, I do certainly think it's effect on the teambuilder is significant.
 
Honestly, Toxapex just feels limiting. There are so many Pokemon I want to try and experiment with using that just become invalidated due to Toxapex's exsistance. And yeah, every Pokemon has it's walls, but given Toxapex's inability to be worn down thanks to it's great recovery, being walled by Pex is pretty much a complete death sentence for any Pokemon that may want to try to squeeze its way into the OU metagame.
Yeah, I think it's fair to say Pex can have that effect on the meta. In the case of Pex, we actually we have an obvious example of how Pex can restrict teambuilding: Keldeo. Looking at various data, one can see that Pex has almost single-handedly killed Keldeo's OU usage across 2 generations. A tier superstar in Gens 5 & 6, Keldeo experienced its first ever taste of UU in Gen 7, the same generation where Toxapex was first introduced. Sure, other new mons like Koko didn't give it an easy time either, but those mons didn't really want to switch into Keldeo, either; that was not the case for Toxapex (and Fini, but she was always a sleeper pick). Pex was easily one of the most prevalent defensive mons in USUM, to the point that it single-handedly made TSpikes a legitimate strategy in OU again; with that level of usage, it was easily the most common defensive answer to Keldeo.

Moving onto this gen, one would naturally expect Keldeo to have an easier time without many of the breakers that made USUM OU into mini-Ubers. And yet, despite being better in terms of viability compared to USUM (B vs. C rank), Keldeo still fell off the map and into UU before DLC dropped. The Pre and Post viability rankings also show off this dynamic; as Pex has actually gotten naturally better following the DLC drop (A+->S), Keldeo has dropped off further (B+->B-). Sure, Kel also has to deal with Slowbro, Amoonguss and Grassy Glide Rillaboom now, but Kel dropped off before those entered the picture. Clearly, the root of Keldeo's inability to keep up was in the pre-DLC meta, a meta where Pex was still a great mon for most teams. So, what's different for Keldeo now vs USUM? Simple. No Z moves. While they weren't an automatic solution to Pex, they did allow Keldeo to at least theoretically do damage against the bunker. Keldeo's only answer to Pex now is Taunt- which is notably not on its best OU set, as Substitute is overall more useful for it. Even with Taunt, it still can't do much without a bunch of CM boosts, which can easily leave Kel open to one of Pex's teammates coming in. Also, it still doesn't like losing its item or getting burned.

Now, I get that Keldeo was kind of already on the way out of OU in USUM, and was kept proper OU in spite of itself. I also know that there were a few new additions that could beat Kel; however, every mon has checks and counters they have to deal with, so the 1 or 2 new threats should not have been a death sentence. The removal of numerous key threats thanks to Dexit should have opened things up for it, even a little, and yet that didn't happen. The usage did not reflect Kel getting better. The steady rise of Pex that we've seen thus far, a mon that can shrug off virtually anything the unicorn could do to it, and one that is currently bigger in the meta than any other solid Keldeo answer, naturally looks to be a key reason as to why this happened. Other than Zeraora (which only managed UU in USUM), it is the only mon that completely screws Keldeo in OU present in both generations (thus far) and was not a factor before SM (after all, Keldeo's checks in BW & ORAS didn't keep it from OU stardom). Thus, it's not hard to see how Pex's domination has played a rather obvious role in Keldeo's decline.
 
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Reading all the discussion about Pex in these last couple days, I've started to realize it's very unhealthy for the tier. Imma give a list of the problems with pex, kinda a summary of the discussions that have happened with a few of my own points in there.
- Pex is very hard to switch into. Between knock off, toxic, and scald burns, very few pokemon want to switch in to avoid any of these consequences. Very few mons can 2HKO it, and theyre all easily exploitable. Drill, zera, and alolwak fear scald, while zam fears knock off and fairies can come in to block hydreigon. In addition, many pokemon are forced to run moves solely for the purpose of breaking pex. We all know about stuff like Zen headbutt cinderace, eq gyarados, psyhcic volcarona, thunderbolt gengar, the list goes on.
-Pex is very hard to wear down. Between black sludge (which it already has), immunity to toxic, great bulk, regenerator, and recover, it's very easy to keep pex healthy for the majority of the game.
- The lack of power level is limiting. the power de-creep from dexit means that it's harder to break through pex now that stronger mons like chomp and lando-t dont exist.

-Looking at somebody's post (i think okispokis) about pex, pex fits for all the questions in assessing whether a defensive mon is broken or not. It does strain teambuilding, many moveslots have to be dedicated to beating pex and can even make certain pokemon hard to use in OU (see the above post about keldeo) and options that can beat pex are subpar. Dracozolt and reuniculus are two ive heard discussion about, but question 3 indicates that counters to this mon (reuni and zolt) only fit on certain teams and often the team has to revolve around them due to their lack of splashibility. Finally, matches involving this mon heavily do involve mirror matches, as pex's best check is pex itself, trading scalds until one person outplays the other.

I do believe that pex is broken and should be looked into in the future. Referencing the survey's 5 pokemon (mag, cinderace, pex, urshifu, and volcarona), Ill give my thoughts on who should or shouldn't be tested as well. Mag is already tested and likely to get banned. Cinderace I feel is the next biggest issue, though I do feel Mag's ban will change this, as teams can better prepare for stuff like cinderace and urshifu (who i find to not be as broken as cindrace or pex). Volcarona is a very good mon, but checks and counters are very prevalent in this tier and it isnt an issue. same applies to urshifu, who isnt as broken as I once thought it was and I find it in a similar position to melmetal, very strong but checks and counters are very easy to use on a team. This would be my ranking on the remaining 4 from most suspect worthy to least suspect worthy.
1. Cinderace
2. Toxapex
3. Urhsifu-Single
4. Volcarona.

td;dr Pex is stupid and get rid of it, urshifu not that bad, volcarona is nowhere close to suspect worthy, whether cinderace or pex should be next depends of how the meta shifts from the likely ban of magearna.
 
I'm personally on board with discussion (emphasis on just discussion for the time being) about Toxapex.

I find it to be oppressive in a fashion that we are not accustom to, which makes it harder to address in a tiering context. The thing is that we should not shy away from things that are different from our norms. Toxapex is excruciatingly painful for just about any offensive Pokemon to pivot into -- the combined risks of Knock/Burn/Poison is frightening, but yet it comes in repeatedly, oftentimes without much punishment thanks to Regenerator and superb bulk. It virtually mandates a certain status absorber on balance builds (i.e: your own Toxapex, Teleport Slowbro, or Clefable, especially with Teleport) and can force stalemates very easily.

I do not know if I necessarily want to ban Toxapex, but in a metagame void of many common Toxapex abusers from last generation (Poison Heal Gliscor, Magma Storm Heatran, Trace Mega Alakazam, and the entire concept of Z moves to name some), it becomes increasingly evident that Toxapex is able to stunt progress many Pokemon and cores try to generate and forces specific conventions in both play and building that restrict us. We should be able to examine how it impacts the tier similarly to offensive Pokemon; that is not saying it IS the problem or broken, but it is saying that we should not ignore it simply because it is a defensive Pokemon. Defensive Pokemon can be broken.

I feel like right now Magearna (current suspect) and Cinderace (something I personally believe is broken and may need to be looked at in the future) are more pressing, but we should continue to examine Toxapex's impact on the metagame and accept the fact that we may have to act on a defensive Pokemon in the future if what we're currently seeing continues into the future.
I brought this up on your Youtube Channel. Do you think there's any way the council will make an exception and give Pex a complex ban? I think if Pex just couldn't use Haze it would do wonders since w/o Haze it would now have the same weakness that other passive sponges like it have, being a susceptibility to being set-up fodder. Imho the reason why Pex is so problematic is because the combo of Scald + Haze + Regen + toxic immunity makes it so there's never any risk to having it on the field, and in this current gen w/ no megas and z-moves (not to mention no more Tapu Lele + koko) this problem is exasperated. A passive mon like Pex shouldn't be so threatening w/ scald and knock-off AND be able to avoid being set up fodder at the same time. Take Haze away and while it's still really really good and does it's job as a sponge, it's manageable and there'd actually be strategy/risk involved when having it on the field.

Yeah, I think it's fair to say Pex can have that effect on the meta. In the case of Pex, we actually we have an explanatory example of how Pex can restrict teambuilding: Keldeo. Looking at various data, one can see that Pex has almost single-handedly killed Keldeo's OU usage across 2 generations. A tier superstar in Gens 5 & 6, Keldeo experienced its first ever taste of UU in Gen 7, the same generation where Toxapex was first introduced. Sure, other news mons like Koko didn't give it an easy time either, but those mons didn't really want to switch into Keldeo, either; that was not the case for Toxapex (and Fini, but she was always a sleeper pick). Pex was easily one of the most prevalent defensive mons in USUM, to the point that it single-handedly made TSpikes a legitimate strategy in OU again; with that level of usage, it was easily the most common defensive answer to Keldeo.
Another example is Urshifu Rapid strike. I don't play battle spot singles much but apparently Urshifu Rapid strike is one of the best offensive mons in the game mode, and it's supposedly better than Single strike overall (for that game mode specifically). It's probably no coincidence that you don't see Pex that much in battle spot singles. When the Urshifus first came out, I thought Rapid strike would be right up there w/ single strike. It gets access to a stab priority move that's guaranteed to hit unlike Sucker Punch, and I thought that the fact that it got access to a physical version of water shrukein (minus the priority) that crits every single hit would make it up there as one of the premier offensive threats in OU. Also I thought the fact that it wouldn't have that same Achilles heel to a Clefable Moonblast would be significant given the fact that Clef was probably the best mon pre-DLC. But mainly due to the fact that Pex resists both of it's STABs, Urshifu RS is relegated to C tier status in OU. It just really speaks to Pex because Urshifu Rapid Strike is a such an amazing mon on paper, and it's performance in other game modes like Battle spot singles really shows how good it can be when Pex is not prominent.
 
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Finchinator

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I brought this up on your Youtube Channel. Do you think there's any way the council will make an exception and give Pex a complex ban? I think if Pex just couldn't use Haze it would do wonders since w/o Haze it would now have the same weakness that other passive sponges like it have, being a susceptibility to being set-up fodder. Imho the reason why Pex is so problematic is because the combo of Scald + Haze + Regen + toxic immunity makes it so there's never any risk to having it on the field, and in this current gen w/ no megas and z-moves (not to mention no more Tapu Lele + koko) this problem is exasperated. A passive mon like Pex shouldn't be so threatening w/ scald and knock-off AND be able to avoid being set up fodder at the same time. Take Haze away and while it's still really really good and does it's job as a sponge, it's manageable and there'd actually be strategy/risk involved when having it on the field.
Hey, first off on a personal note thanks for checking out my channel!

Anyway, I cannot technically speak on behalf of the entire council, but complex bans tend to not be worthwhile and this one in particular I do not see happening under any circumstances. Banning any individual move from being used on any individual Pokemon creates a ridiculous slippery slope. If we ban Haze on Toxapex, then why not make it so that we can balance every Pokemon through banning groups of moves on the more broken ones until they are balanced? And then all of a sudden our entire tiering system is ruined and the ban list is convoluted with combinations, complexities, and it is impossible to follow. We do not really have an OU anymore so much as just an assortment of Pokemon fragments defined by the balanced parts of each Pokemon. Needless to say, that is a far cry from ideal and this is not something that we want to go towards.

Complex bans in general open up an ugly can of worms that can lead to various slippery slopes -- situational specific ones, anyway -- that tend to not be worthwhile. If we do look into Toxapex, it will be Toxapex as a whole as opposed to any specific element of it. I hope this clears things up!
 
But mainly due to the fact that Pex resists both of it's STABs, Urshifu RS is relegated to C tier status in OU.
252+ Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Zen Headbutt vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 154-182 (50.6 - 59.8%) -- 81.6% chance to 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery
Possible damage amounts: (154, 156, 158, 160, 160, 162, 164, 166, 168, 170, 172, 174, 176, 178, 180, 182)
252+ Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Thunder Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 146-172 (48 - 56.5%) -- 28.9% chance to 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery


:Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: can 2HKO easily toxapex with zen headbutt or (if you want more coverage for fat flying type) thunder punch
 
But running Adamant exposes you to a number of faster threats, so brings it's own risks, and you can't 2HKO without it.
 
I always felt skiddish to mention how broken pex is (even in gen 7), but I’m glad to see many are on board with discussing pex. The mon just actually makes me not want to play OU and I really question who the fuck enjoys seeing that thing in team preview.

Atm it feels like anything that wants to be OU has to have a way around pex to be viable or synergy with a pex counter via coverage or u-turn. There are so many sweepers that are gated by pex (hazes them if they try to wallbreak through setup, or ends their career with an unlucky burn.) that, to me at least, pex has the early xy aegislash effect where not only is the opportunity cost of not using it wintrading too high, but it’s presence impacts the entire tiers viability and what can be used/gate keeps shit from being banned by making them seem balanced. The only reason it doesn’t stand out is due to it have little offensive pressure making it less noticable, but the issue is walls can’t break it due to toxic resistance, physical sweepers hate burns, and special attackers hate knock off/still hate haze+recover spam.. making it a huge threat in more scenarios than some offensive mons wish they could be as threatening in. I’m convinced it’s broken as fuck in SM, but we’re now talking SWSH where half the roster went MIA, Z move power creep is gone, and valuable megas like medicham, garde, alakazam, and latios left the building. If ace wasn’t batshit crazy right now, I’d say pex should be next.

Also fuck no, leave Lugia where it is LOL..
 
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All the Pex hate right now feels kinda band-wagony to me tbh. No doubt it's top tier, but I just haven't seen many games where pex is walling the whole other team or halting progress entirely. Most top-tier hitters can put on the pressure, and many can cleanly 2HKO (every single offensive mon in A- or higher has a way to do this). People seem upset about haze the most, but maybe you just need to not rely on a single setup sweep wincon that Pex walls then.

I'm not saying I think there's no way Pex is broken, I'd just like to see some replays or evidence demonstrating it's broke-ness, instead of the same re-hashing of it's attributes over and over.
 
I can completely understand arguing that Pex is not broken, but

Most top-tier hitters can put on the pressure, and many can cleanly 2HKO (every single offensive mon in A- or higher has a way to do this).
I think that is symptomatic of how centralizing Pex is to the tier. With other top defensive mons, such as Mandibuzz and Hippowdon, there are offensive threats in those ranks which simply cannot touch them without team support. Pex is so good that it necessitates any offensive pokemon to be able to answer it. When other defensive pivots switch into something, they can be punished with status or pivot out which chips them away slowly. With Pex, there is no risk switching into threats that cannot touch it because it will immediately regenerate all the chip damage and cannot be toxic'd.

The two biggest mons forced to run a move solely for Pex are Cinder Zen Headbutt and Volc Psychic, but that is only b/c most of the other top offensive threats have super effective STAB to threaten it (Excadrill, Rotom-H, Alakazam, Zeraora). The remaining offensive threats can muscle through Pex alone by sheer power such as NP Hydriegon and Banded Urshifu.

Hope this explains how centralizing and restrictive I view it to be.
 
Wouldn't Pex be an example of a good defensive pokemon that helps keep offensive pokemon in check for the metagame? Offence can already be quite a handful to deal with and the presence of Pex helps balances out the imbalance between offensive and defensive pokemon.
 
I brought this up on your Youtube Channel. Do you think there's any way the council will make an exception and give Pex a complex ban? I think if Pex just couldn't use Haze it would do wonders since w/o Haze it would now have the same weakness that other passive sponges like it have, being a susceptibility to being set-up fodder. Imho the reason why Pex is so problematic is because the combo of Scald + Haze + Regen + toxic immunity makes it so there's never any risk to having it on the field, and in this current gen w/ no megas and z-moves (not to mention no more Tapu Lele + koko) this problem is exasperated. A passive mon like Pex shouldn't be so threatening w/ scald and knock-off AND be able to avoid being set up fodder at the same time. Take Haze away and while it's still really really good and does it's job as a sponge, it's manageable and there'd actually be strategy/risk involved when having it on the field.
Yeah, I think it's fair to say Pex can have that effect on the meta. In the case of Pex, we actually we have an explanatory example of how Pex can restrict teambuilding: Keldeo. Looking at various data, one can see that Pex has almost single-handedly killed Keldeo's OU usage across 2 generations. A tier superstar in Gens 5 & 6, Keldeo experienced its first ever taste of UU in Gen 7, the same generation where Toxapex was first introduced. Sure, other news mons like Koko didn't give it an easy time either, but those mons didn't really want to switch into Keldeo, either; that was not the case for Toxapex (and Fini, but she was always a sleeper pick). Pex was easily one of the most prevalent defensive mons in USUM, to the point that it single-handedly made TSpikes a legitimate strategy in OU again; with that level of usage, it was easily the most common defensive answer to Keldeo.

Moving onto this gen, one would naturally expect Keldeo to have an easier time without many of the breakers that made USUM OU into mini-Ubers. And yet, despite being better in terms of viability compared to USUM (B vs. C rank), Keldeo still fell off the map and into UU before DLC dropped. The Pre and Post viability rankings also show off this dynamic; as Pex has actually gotten naturally better following the DLC drop (A+->S), Keldeo has dropped off further (B+->B-). Sure, Kel also has to deal with Slowbro, Amoonguss and Grassy Glide Rillaboom now, but Kel dropped off before those entered the picture. Clearly, the root of Keldeo's inability to keep up was in the pre-DLC meta, a meta where Pex was still a great mon for most teams. So, what's different for Keldeo now vs USUM? Simple. No Z moves. While they weren't an easy solution to Pex, they did allow Keldeo to at least theoretically do damage against the bunker. Keldeo's only answer to Pex now is Taunt- which is notably not on its best OU set, as Substitute is overall more useful for it. Even with Taunt, it still can't do much without a bunch of CM boosts, which can easily leave Kel open to one of Pex's teammates coming in. Also, it still doesn't like losing its item or getting burned.

Now, I get that Keldeo was kind of already on the way out of OU in USUM, and was kept proper OU in spite of itself. I also know that there were a few new additions that could beat Kel; however, every mon has checks and counter they have to deal with, so the 1 or 2 new threats should not have been a death sentence. The removal of numerous key threats thanks to Dexit should have opened things up for it, even a little, and yet that didn't happen. The usage did not reflect Kel getting better. The steady rise of Pex that we've seen thus far, a mon that can shrug off virtually anything the unicorn could do to it, and one that is currently bigger in the meta than any other solid Keldeo answer, naturally looks to be a key reason as to why this happened. Other than Zeraora (which only managed UU in USUM), it is the only mon that completely screws Keldeo in OU present in both generations (thus far) and was not a factor before SM (after all, Keldeo's checks in BW & ORAS didn't keep it from OU stardom). Thus, it's not hard to see how Pex's domination has played a rather obvious role in Keldeo's decline.
252+ Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Zen Headbutt vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 154-182 (50.6 - 59.8%) -- 81.6% chance to 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery
Possible damage amounts: (154, 156, 158, 160, 160, 162, 164, 166, 168, 170, 172, 174, 176, 178, 180, 182)
252+ Atk Choice Band Urshifu-Rapid-Strike Thunder Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 146-172 (48 - 56.5%) -- 28.9% chance to 2HKO after Black Sludge recovery


:Urshifu-Rapid-Strike: can 2HKO easily toxapex with zen headbutt or (if you want more coverage for fat flying type) thunder punch
yeah I know but you have to risk getting scald burned, which it can easily do due since it can just regen off damage. Basically Pex will scald and live the first super effective hit from Urshifu and if theres no burn it'll just regen off the damage and then get another shot at burning later. And if it burns on the first hit (as it does a lot) it can just click recover and you can no longer 1v1 Pex.
On paper yes, due to Urshifu's access to thunderpunch and zen, one would think that it can 1v1 Pex. But in practice due to scald burns Pex ends up 1v1ing you, I know from experience after laddering w/ rain teams for a while when DLC first came out.
 

Finchinator

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Wouldn't Pex be an example of a good defensive pokemon that helps keep offensive pokemon in check for the metagame? Offence can already be quite a handful to deal with and the presence of Pex helps balances out the imbalance between offensive and defensive pokemon.
Yes, but we also do not exactly approach things like this. If something is banworthy -- be it broken, uncompetitive, unhealthy, or whatever else that may constitute being banworthy -- then we should ban it. If it leaves the metagame in a problematic state in the aftermath of a prospective ban, then we can simply ban the banworthy Pokemon from that future metagame. We do not tier for the sake of accomplishing a "broken checks broken" metagame, but rather to obtain an ultimate balance that may require numerous steps to achieve.

Please note this is not me necessarily saying that Toxapex is broken or banworthy, but rather that the discussion should be about its potential banworthiness rather than discussing the potential future metagame.
 
I haven't really played much Pokemon for the last few years but I've kept one eye on the metagame. I've always disliked Toxapex but having played a bit more recently I would definitely consider it somewhat banworthy in this current meta. It reminds me a bit of Gen 6 Mega Sableye in that it morphs the tier around it, any attacker that can't touch it becomes almost useless.

One big factor in Pex's favour is its 3 weaknesses all have immunities. In order to actually dent it, you'll often need Stab or a Choice Item. This can be very constraining on both team building and counterplay. Pex can easily be paired with say Mandibuzz or Hippo to make it almost unkillable, if the opponent predicts wrong they either lost momentum or let Pex come in and do its thing. And if you do manege to dent it Regenerator ruins all the fun.

Regenerator is by far the most problematic part of Toxapex. It has a dream combo of Scald Burn, Toxic Spikes, Knock Off to cripple pokemon for the rest of the game but Regenerator (+Recover and insane bulk) essentially lets it do it for free until the end of time. If you don't do 85%+ it will find some way to come back from the dead. Under normal circumstances 50-70% is a decent check but Pex can just switch out. For example, if neccesary it can come in on a neutral move, take 60ish from Zeraora, fire off a Knock Off/fish for a burn, dip out to be back at about half health. Last gen this might have been less of a problem with Z moves but now options are severly limited.

I've not mentioned Haze or Baneful Bunker, but Toxapex is definitely at least overly centralising right now. Maybe this will change when Game Freak let more Pokemon out of jail in the DLC but if I personally would put Pex ahead of Urshifu on the priority list to be looked at.
 

Martin

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I wrote this all late at night a day or two ago, so I have no idea how coherent it is (especially towards the end), but Im gonna post anyway bc I don’t want the writing time to go to waste.

Toxapex is a cancerous lump that's been slowly maturing for one-and-a-bit generations now, and I really do not see much reason for us to keep it around at this point. It's a defensive pivot and wall that doesn't really have any drawbacks attached to its use, and it is so extremely good at its job thanks to its colossal bulk and paradoxical lack of "real" consistent switch-ins. It's just really futile trying to make any meaningful slow-paced progress versus it between its immunity to being poisoned and access to reliable recovery and Regenerator, and yet at the same time, there isn't much in the way of adequate, consistent, long-term, non-passive counterplay to its beyond-absurd bulk and immense aptitude for spreading status and removing items. Toxapex also invalidates a large swathe of attackers that could be used to help better enforce progress versus balance and defence (just look at Pokemon like Keldeo, Gyarados, Rapid Strike Urshifu, and SubCM Primarina, whose main flaws that make them Not Worth™ can literally be summed up as "can't break Toxapex independently") thanks to how much it dominates the bulky Water-type meta and consequently goes a long way to defining what makes an offensive (especially Water-type) Pokemon remotely worth bothering with.

Toxapex is, frankly, oppressive. Even when factoring in my tendency towards playing more balance and defence-oriented teams, the number of games that go to stalemates or otherwise boil down to long, drawn-out sequences of neither player making any real progress for perhaps 100 turns, if not longer, exhausts me, and it is a problem that Toxapex only exasperates. And while I doubt such games they will vanish in their entirety anytime soon, especially given the presence of Heavy Duty Boots and other Regenerator Pokemon, I think it will all of a sudden become much more practical to create situations where you can realistically enforce progress versus balance teams if it was removed from the equation. While I agree with Finchinator's sentiment that we shouldn't "shy away from things that are different from our norms," I simply do not think that a Pokemon like Toxapex is a healthy divergence from said norms—nor has it been at any point since its introduction in generation 7. It suppresses options in the builder to an absurd degree; it actively contributes to the very drawn-out form of modern balance; and it is a broken defensive Pokemon.

As for other Pokemon that I feel are problematic, I think that we need to look into every Pokemon that was raised on the WCOP poll. Gears is obviously on the chopping block already, so I won't talk about that here.

Trying to build consistent offensive or defensive counterplay for Cinderace into teams is like trying to pull teeth. It is so fast that trying to prevent its vortexes by preventing its offence is just not a viable option; it forms pretty much flawless vortex cores with Pokemon like Zeraora, Dragapult, and Magearna, meaning that losing momentum versus it is effectively a death sentence short of carrying one of a few very specific Rocky Helmet users or otherwise taking a large risk. This combined with its ability to circumvent all entry hazard damage/Sticky Web when pivoting around (alongside the total impossibility of removing them outside of the Cinderace player acting like a moron) is just not fun or balanced. This is honestly a very straight forward case so I won't keep babbling on about it. We all know what Cinderace does.

As for Urshifu, while it is clearly very prepped for, I feel like people do kinda overstate how easily cores like MandiPex shut it down. Sure, in the short term it can prevent Urshifu making progress, in the long term I think that you need to make so many correct decisions throughout the game that it often ends up checkmating teams that, on paper, should not have difficulty taking it on. In the case of MandiPex, it's reasonably easy to open up these sorts of balance teams with Pokemon like Rotom-H, and I find that Mandibuzz often finds itself over-stretched, meaning that without a secondary Dark-type resist you will likely end up in a checkmate position where you need to sack something off to give Mandibuzz the breathing room to come in and check the next Wicked Blow safely (assuming you can even do that). This isn't to say there is a shortage of other Dark resists—Clefable and Magearna come to mind—but at that point, it becomes very clear that it's influencing defensive structures to an unreasonable degree. While there has historically been Pokemon that lack consistent defensive responses, I think that Urshifu's ability to enforce that brand of offensive pressure with comparatively less guesswork and risk-taking is just too much to be sustainable in the long term, and I think removing it to open up defensive structures and make room to prepare for other Pokemon is the direction we should move in.
 
I think the biggest issue in the current meta wrt Pex is that it's just too easy to wear another team down. As has been mentioned, Pex threatens its checks/counters with either a burn, toxic, or getting their item knocked off - it is then able to pivot out *for free*. It'll almost always be able to heal off the damage it took just by switching. So little by little your Pex answer gets worn down or just straight up completely crippled.

Not only does it live forever, it has really almost an ideal combination of stall compression. It's not just its checks and counters that can't switch in, it's basically everything except... Amoonguss, magic guard Clef, Ferro, and... idk Blissey (which is UU but still). Even a few Mag sets have a lot of trouble with it if it's got haze. None of those mons can match the late game utility of Pex, and if you don't have a real answer to it you're not killing it. It's pretty much infinite momentum. Not really fun to play against.

I have had a lot of fun with Galarian Weezing lately as some kind of counterplay against it, with the following set:
Weezing-Galar @ Life Orb
Modest Nature
Ability: Neutralizing Gas
EVs: 200 HP / 60 Def / 244 SpA
- Pain Split
- Strange Steam
- Thunder
- Flamethrower

This is mostly experimental thus far, but I do feel like he belongs in OU somehow. This set can bait in Pex and then:
244+ SpA Life Orb Weezing-Galar Thunder vs. 252 HP / 4 SpD Toxapex: 190-224 (62.5 - 73.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Stealth Rock and Black Sludge

Plus neutralizing gas cancels out regenerator so it has to keep that damage. It 2hkos Cinderace and Urshifu with it as well (although life orb damage means that it will be tough to live 2 pyro balls, so I think it needs some additional thought or tweaks). I go flamethrower instead of sludge bomb because it can really surprise Excadrill or Magnezone with prediction (once you've shown thunder to Pex), plus it means it can beat Ferrothorn and Amoonguss sometimes. Fire and electric actually basically overlaps all of poisons coverage (Clef is the only one exempt from this but Clef is not really the best matchup against this thing), so you can do fire blast too if you want to make it super risky.

Pain split is good for a nice mid-game surprise if you are low on health and are able to force a switch. If you don't feel like risking a predict this is usually a safe play to get some much needed healing. Funnily enough, I've had a few instances where my opponent has brought in Chansey late game to try to wall this thing (I guess they assume it's life orb 4 attacks?), and I've pain split up to full health causing the immediate forfeit.

This set allows it to switch in to a knock off and still 2 hit ko with thunder, and even with no investment it still isn't 3 hkoing. It's also still semi useful as a surprise against non-pex teams.

I know this is mostly gimmicky but like I said I think this mon can have a real role in OU.
 
Ok, so now that usage stats are now up, I’ll just give you what I think will become viable or more viable in OU.

1. Sun
Now that sun staples such as Torkoal and Venusaur are now back in OU, I feel like OU could once again be a viable team archetype. The reason for this is probably because of Magearna’s popularity in OU, since Venusaur is able to outspeed even +2 Magearna and OHKO with Weather Ball.

2. Terrain HO
This won’t come as a surprise to many, but Terrain HO is now one of the most common play styles out there, since Rillaboom being able to set up Grassy Terrain combined with Hawlucha being able to hold a Grassy Seed with Unburden will just be hard to stop. This type of playstyle will last even when the Crown Tundra DLC is released, when the Tapus come back, with the most common partner for Hawlucha probably being Tapu Koko or Tapu Bulu.
 

TPP

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July Usage stats are here!


Code:
Combined usage for OU (1695 stats)
+ ---- + ------------------ + ------- +
| Rank | Pokemon            | Percent |
+ ---- + ------------------ + ------- +
| 1    | Magearna           | 36.854% |
| 2    | Cinderace          | 35.520% |
| 3    | Mandibuzz          | 29.725% |
| 4    | Clefable           | 27.025% |
| 5    | Dragapult          | 24.944% |
| 6    | Toxapex            | 24.196% |
| 7    | Excadrill          | 23.772% |
| 8    | Rillaboom          | 23.478% |
| 9    | Urshifu            | 22.182% |
| 10   | Zeraora            | 17.673% |
| 11   | Volcarona          | 16.776% |
| 12   | Hippowdon          | 16.227% |
| 13   | Ferrothorn         | 12.597% |
| 14   | Azumarill          | 12.170% |
| 15   | Slowbro            | 10.297% |
| 16   | Togekiss           |  9.823% |
| 17   | Chansey            |  9.577% |
| 18   | Hawlucha           |  9.344% |
| 19   | Rotom-Heat         |  9.207% |
| 20   | Corviknight        |  9.038% |
| 21   | Amoonguss          |  8.983% |
| 22   | Kommo-o            |  8.149% |
| 23   | Hydreigon          |  7.189% |
| 24   | Pelipper           |  7.109% |
| 25   | Marowak-Alola      |  6.814% |
| 26   | Magnezone          |  6.681% |
| 27   | Tangrowth          |  6.542% |
| 28   | Blissey            |  6.315% |
| 29   | Urshifu-Rapid-Strike |  6.030% |
| 30   | Alakazam           |  5.985% |
| 31   | Crawdaunt          |  5.691% |
| 32   | Mew                |  5.206% |
| 33   | Venusaur           |  4.847% |
| 34   | Torkoal            |  4.650% |
| 35   | Kingdra            |  4.640% |
| 36   | Scizor             |  4.602% |
| 37   | Skarmory           |  3.954% |
| 38   | Hatterene          |  3.820% |
| 39   | Gengar             |  3.643% |
| 40   | Seismitoad         |  3.485% |
| 41   | Barraskewda        |  3.144% |
| 42   | Kyurem             |  3.142% |
| 43   | Quagsire           |  3.089% |
| 44   | Bisharp            |  3.071% |
| 45   | Weezing-Galar      |  3.028% |
| 46   | Aegislash          |  2.946% |
| 47   | Grimmsnarl         |  2.664% |
| 48   | Scolipede          |  2.550% |
| 49   | Mantine            |  2.517% |
| 50   | Lycanroc-Dusk      |  2.428% |
| 51   | Conkeldurr         |  2.397% |
| 52   | Rhyperior          |  2.383% |
| 53   | Toxtricity         |  2.382% |
| 54   | Terrakion          |  2.361% |
| 55   | Primarina          |  2.195% |
| 56   | Cloyster           |  2.106% |
| 57   | Rotom-Wash         |  2.017% |
| 58   | Diggersby          |  1.933% |
| 59   | Jirachi            |  1.872% |
| 60   | Weavile            |  1.747% |
| 61   | Talonflame         |  1.711% |
| 62   | Slowbro-Galar      |  1.622% |
| 63   | Tyranitar          |  1.610% |
| 64   | Ninetales-Alola    |  1.520% |
| 65   | Gyarados           |  1.492% |
| 66   | Mamoswine          |  1.431% |
| 67   | Shuckle            |  1.425% |
| 68   | Charizard          |  1.403% |
| 69   | Indeedee           |  1.370% |
| 70   | Ditto              |  1.311% |
| 71   | Keldeo             |  1.290% |
| 72   | Haxorus            |  1.284% |
| 73   | Reuniclus          |  1.263% |
| 74   | Dracozolt          |  1.240% |
| 75   | Necrozma           |  1.218% |
| 76   | Krookodile         |  1.094% |
| 77   | Darmanitan         |  1.033% |
| 78   | Druddigon          |  0.993% |
| 79   | Accelgor           |  0.980% |
| 80   | Heracross          |  0.963% |
| 81   | Porygon-Z          |  0.866% |
| 82   | Chandelure         |  0.860% |
| 83   | Ninetales          |  0.763% |
| 84   | Arcanine           |  0.737% |
| 85   | Pincurchin         |  0.712% |
| 86   | Ribombee           |  0.703% |
| 87   | Starmie            |  0.681% |
| 88   | Gastrodon          |  0.646% |
| 89   | Klefki             |  0.620% |
| 90   | Mimikyu            |  0.590% |
| 91   | Dragalge           |  0.589% |
| 92   | Raichu-Alola       |  0.580% |
| 93   | Xatu               |  0.557% |
| 94   | Porygon2           |  0.550% |
| 95   | Scyther            |  0.489% |
| 96   | Goodra             |  0.489% |
| 97   | Araquanid          |  0.437% |
| 98   | Tentacruel         |  0.427% |
| 99   | Golurk             |  0.425% |
| 100  | Jellicent          |  0.411% |
| 101  | Incineroar         |  0.409% |
| 102  | Exploud            |  0.398% |
| 103  | Salazzle           |  0.383% |
| 104  | Gardevoir          |  0.376% |
| 105  | Vaporeon           |  0.373% |
| 106  | Milotic            |  0.362% |
| 107  | Slowking           |  0.349% |
| 108  | Snorlax            |  0.336% |
| 109  | Poliwrath          |  0.331% |
| 110  | Sandslash-Alola    |  0.328% |
| 111  | Mienshao           |  0.317% |
| 112  | Shedinja           |  0.314% |
| 113  | Umbreon            |  0.307% |
| 114  | Slurpuff           |  0.292% |
| 115  | Comfey             |  0.280% |
| 116  | Shiftry            |  0.263% |
| 117  | Bronzong           |  0.252% |
| 118  | Palossand          |  0.243% |
| 119  | Noivern            |  0.237% |
| 120  | Flygon             |  0.234% |
| 121  | Blastoise          |  0.228% |
| 122  | Noctowl            |  0.228% |
| 123  | Vikavolt           |  0.224% |
| 124  | Centiskorch        |  0.216% |
| 125  | Polteageist        |  0.213% |
| 126  | Obstagoon          |  0.207% |
| 127  | Indeedee-F         |  0.205% |
| 128  | Sylveon            |  0.203% |
| 129  | Pyukumuku          |  0.203% |
| 130  | Galvantula         |  0.201% |
| 131  | Espeon             |  0.195% |
| 132  | Sirfetch’d         |  0.193% |
| 133  | Corsola-Galar      |  0.188% |
| 134  | Lucario            |  0.180% |
| 135  | Whimsicott         |  0.180% |
| 136  | Coalossal          |  0.172% |
| 137  | Inteleon           |  0.172% |
| 138  | Zoroark            |  0.169% |
| 139  | Golisopod          |  0.164% |
| 140  | Heliolisk          |  0.164% |
| 141  | Toxicroak          |  0.163% |
| 142  | Lycanroc           |  0.158% |
| 143  | Runerigus          |  0.157% |
| 144  | Abomasnow          |  0.155% |
| 145  | Steelix            |  0.154% |
| 146  | Claydol            |  0.153% |
| 147  | Sharpedo           |  0.152% |
| 148  | Exeggutor-Alola    |  0.151% |
| 149  | Froslass           |  0.139% |
| 150  | Vanilluxe          |  0.132% |
| 151  | Celebi             |  0.123% |
| 152  | Politoed           |  0.110% |
| 153  | Cobalion           |  0.108% |
| 154  | Pikachu            |  0.104% |
+ ---- + ------------------ + ------- +

I'll link the previous month's stats here in case you guys wanna compare and contrast both months. I'll talk about the big ones I saw and then leave the usual questions at the end. I'll also leave the cumulative world cup usage stats below in case anyone wants to compare those stats to the July usage stats.
Code:
+ ---- + ------------------ + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| Rank | Pokemon            | Use  | Usage % |  Win %  |
+ ---- + ------------------ + ---- + ------- + ------- +
| 1    | Clefable           |  283 |  62.61% |  47.70% |
| 2    | Mandibuzz          |  225 |  49.78% |  46.67% |
| 3    | Toxapex            |  199 |  44.03% |  53.27% |
| 4    | Excadrill          |  167 |  36.95% |  49.70% |
| 5    | Dragapult          |  150 |  33.19% |  40.67% |
| 6    | Cinderace          |  149 |  32.96% |  51.01% |
| 7    | Magearna           |  129 |  28.54% |  47.29% |
| 8    | Zeraora            |  125 |  27.65% |  54.40% |
| 9    | Rotom-Heat         |   88 |  19.47% |  43.18% |
| 10   | Hippowdon          |   83 |  18.36% |  42.17% |
| 11   | Urshifu-*          |   75 |  16.59% |  54.67% |
| 11   | Rillaboom          |   75 |  16.59% |  36.00% |
| 13   | Corviknight        |   66 |  14.60% |  57.58% |
| 14   | Slowbro            |   54 |  11.95% |  53.70% |
| 14   | Ferrothorn         |   54 |  11.95% |  46.30% |
| 16   | Hydreigon          |   53 |  11.73% |  54.72% |
| 17   | Blissey            |   51 |  11.28% |  62.75% |
| 18   | Amoonguss          |   46 |  10.18% |  47.83% |
| 19   | Volcarona          |   41 |   9.07% |  51.22% |
| 20   | Chansey            |   31 |   6.86% |  67.74% |
| 20   | Skarmory           |   31 |   6.86% |  51.61% |
| 22   | Kommo-o            |   30 |   6.64% |  66.67% |
| 23   | Kyurem             |   24 |   5.31% |  50.00% |
| 24   | Alakazam           |   22 |   4.87% |  50.00% |
| 25   | Tangrowth          |   21 |   4.65% |  80.95% |
| 25   | Togekiss           |   21 |   4.65% |  57.14% |
| 27   | Venusaur           |   18 |   3.98% |  55.56% |
| 28   | Mantine            |   17 |   3.76% |  70.59% |
| 28   | Azumarill          |   17 |   3.76% |  47.06% |
| 30   | Quagsire           |   16 |   3.54% |  87.50% |
| 30   | Torkoal            |   16 |   3.54% |  56.25% |
| 30   | Rhyperior          |   16 |   3.54% |  37.50% |
| 33   | Reuniclus          |   14 |   3.10% |  57.14% |
| 33   | Jirachi            |   14 |   3.10% |  42.86% |
| 35   | Crawdaunt          |   13 |   2.88% |  53.85% |
| 35   | Gengar             |   13 |   2.88% |  30.77% |
| 37   | Hatterene          |   12 |   2.65% |  58.33% |
| 37   | Pelipper           |   12 |   2.65% |  50.00% |
| 37   | Marowak-Alola      |   12 |   2.65% |  50.00% |
| 37   | Hawlucha           |   12 |   2.65% |  41.67% |
| 41   | Mew                |   11 |   2.43% |  81.82% |
| 42   | Talonflame         |   10 |   2.21% |  40.00% |
| 42   | Magnezone          |   10 |   2.21% |  30.00% |
| 42   | Gastrodon          |   10 |   2.21% |  30.00% |
| 45   | Scizor             |    9 |   1.99% |  77.78% |
| 45   | Kingdra            |    9 |   1.99% |  55.56% |
| 45   | Tyranitar          |    9 |   1.99% |  44.44% |
| 45   | Terrakion          |    9 |   1.99% |  33.33% |
| 49   | Conkeldurr         |    7 |   1.55% |  71.43% |
| 49   | Ditto              |    7 |   1.55% |  71.43% |
| 51   | Charizard          |    6 |   1.33% |  83.33% |
| 51   | Diggersby          |    6 |   1.33% |  50.00% |
| 51   | Keldeo             |    6 |   1.33% |  33.33% |
| 51   | Xatu               |    6 |   1.33% |  33.33% |
| 51   | Rotom-Wash         |    6 |   1.33% |  16.67% |
| 56   | Aegislash          |    5 |   1.11% |  60.00% |
| 56   | Toxtricity         |    5 |   1.11% |  60.00% |
| 56   | Barraskewda        |    5 |   1.11% |  60.00% |
| 56   | Slowbro-Galar      |    5 |   1.11% |  40.00% |
| 60   | Grimmsnarl         |    4 |   0.88% |  50.00% |
| 60   | Krookodile         |    4 |   0.88% |  50.00% |
| 60   | Ninetales-Alola    |    4 |   0.88% |  25.00% |
| 60   | Gyarados           |    4 |   0.88% |  25.00% |
| 60   | Seismitoad         |    4 |   0.88% |  25.00% |
| 60   | Shuckle            |    4 |   0.88% |   0.00% |
| 60   | Bisharp            |    4 |   0.88% |   0.00% |
| 67   | Mamoswine          |    3 |   0.66% | 100.00% |
| 67   | Weezing-Galar      |    3 |   0.66% |  66.67% |
| 67   | Ninetales          |    3 |   0.66% |  66.67% |
| 67   | Chandelure         |    3 |   0.66% |  66.67% |
| 67   | Salazzle           |    3 |   0.66% |  33.33% |
| 67   | Heracross          |    3 |   0.66% |  33.33% |
| 67   | Haxorus            |    3 |   0.66% |  33.33% |
| 74   | Arcanine           |    2 |   0.44% | 100.00% |
| 74   | Araquanid          |    2 |   0.44% | 100.00% |
| 74   | Indeedee           |    2 |   0.44% |  50.00% |
| 74   | Weavile            |    2 |   0.44% |  50.00% |
| 78   | Porygon2           |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Dracozolt          |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Golisopod          |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Darmanitan         |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Claydol            |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Umbreon            |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Mienshao           |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Cloyster           |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Obstagoon          |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Palossand          |    1 |   0.22% | 100.00% |
| 78   | Gigalith           |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Starmie            |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Primarina          |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Slowking           |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Heliolisk          |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Indeedee-F         |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Scolipede          |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Druddigon          |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
| 78   | Klefki             |    1 |   0.22% |   0.00% |
#4 (22.44%) > #2 (35.52%)
#24 (8.355%) > #10 (17.67%)

Cinderace has been on a tear all month long and had its usage jump up by 13%. It almost overtook Magearna for the #1 spot, and for a good reason too. Cinderace with only 4 moves is able to apply a ton of pressure due to having a small number of safe switch ins such as Hippowdon. This in conjunction with how Cinderace takes no damage from hazards thanks to Heavy-Duty Boots, keeps it at full health for a majority of the match. Zeraora, like Cinderace is a fast pivot that can abuse Heavy-Duty Boots and forms a strong volt-turn core with Cinderace that has reached an entirely new level thanks to both of them using Heavy-Duty Boots. This core in addition to Dragapult, another fast U-turn user that runs Heavy-Duty Boots, got out of hand enough to where a lot of world cup players voiced their displeasure about it in the recent survey.

#74
(1.270%) > #28 (6.315%)

Blissey was used a few times in world cup and has finally returned to OU. It can provide good defensive utility while not hating Knock Off as much as Chansey, and it's also able to make use of Teleport to safely bring in teammates.

#53 (2.685%) > #33 (4.487%)
#58 (2.177%) > #34 (4.650%)

Sun is officially back in OU and was seen a few times in World Cup with decent success (around a 55% win rate). Venusaur is as strong as ever and appreciates the small decrease in Kommo-o usage. There were several different variants used in world cup, so I'll try and list a handful below:

Here are the usual questions:

1. How do you feel about the new additions to the metagame now?
2. For both returning mons and new-dlc mons, whose usage surprised you the most?
3. What mons do you believe will continue to see high usage?
4. What mons do you believe will continue to see low/lower usage?
5. What mons do you think are underrated and may see higher usage in the future?
6. What mons do you think are overrated and may see less usage in the future?
7. How do you feel about team building? Does it feel like there are too many things to cover, or are there certain mons that restrict building?
8. Feel free to discuss anything I didn't cover above :)
 
1. Still not a fan of Urshifu, while I appreciate that it has had an impact on the meta, it's a restrictive one that forces people to run the same mons to deal with it. It can be dealt with, unlike some other problematic mons, but limiting teambuilding that much is not healthy, reminiscent of Dracovish. Even though the actual in-game ability to deal with it is different, the effect on building is the same, which is where the problem lies.

2. Blissey is still the big surprise for me, although its quite reasonable when looking at it in hindsight, the sheer presence that Knock Off provides has created an environment where people are just going to automatically assume that it's going to lose its item. That in itself is impressive, whether that's a good thing or bad thing is up to personal discretion. The utility it gained with Teleport making it less of a momentum drain is welcomed.

3. Dragapult I don't ever see coming down from its usage standpoint. It's not one of those problematic mons that have dominant usage and impact on the meta, but just the pure stats typing and movepool provides it the ability to offer something useful to most teams out there. Additionally, Toxapex's presence in the tier has been a foul stain for a very long time, and it's only gotten worse from gen 7 to 8. As a zero-risk answer that harasses and invalidates teams from preview that forces you to directly address it in the builder or forfeit immediately. Its ridiculous ease of use as a catch-all bandaid and pain-in-the-ass defensive core member will probably never see its usage drop until it's banned.

4. I don't have an answer for this at the time because all of the mons that would fit in this category have already dropped out of OU. The changes that have come with the DLC have already asserted their presence on the tier and forced out mons that have been invalidated as a result.

5. I am a personal fan of Porygon-Z as a wallbreaker, and can potentially be seen as a mini Specs Magearna, even if it lacks the bulk and typing to match. Many teams simply don't have an answer for this defensively, and lose a mon if it gets in safely. I feel like it will remain at a lower usage, but if Magearna is banned (which is looking likely) it may have its niche more to itself with its raw destructive power + access to Trick.

6. I think Azumarill is still overrated. Its role is very defined, you have a mon that can threaten to destroy entire teams if it gets a Belly Drum set up, or by forfeiting that right, just tear holes instead with a Choice Band. That said, it's extremely one-dimensional and lacks the outplay ability that other win conditions might have because of the 50% HP cost of Belly Drum. Its power still demands respect, but I think there are better and more reliable ways to win a game.

7. Teambuilding in OU is very annoying right now. There are several mons that extremely limit the kinds of builds you can play with if you don't just want to click X at preview. Toxapex and Urshifu are by far the two biggest offenders, but teams also have to be prepared for Rillaboom, Volcarona, Hawlucha, Zeraora, and rain. Alakazam gets an honorable mention. Cinderace can't really be built against, but its limited by the moves it chooses, so the counterplay is mostly done in-game, which I appreciate more. Magearna I think is going to be banned, but if it's not, it also goes on the list here.

8. You're cute. ;D
 
Should cinderace's libero be suspected? Really hard to counter when you can go so fast and change your type. You can then STAB 4 different types and use those types to your advantage defensively. Seems like a broken mechanic that undermines the balance of pokemon battling.
 
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