Metagame SS OU Metagame Discussion Thread v7 (Usage Stats in post #3539)

Goodbye & Thanks

Thrown in a fire?
I think it's highly unlikely that anything is ever done regarding Boots, although I think that it could be a good thing to explore further, so this is probably pointless, but would banning Boots in OU necessitate them being banned in all of the other tiers? I know that there are other examples of specific tiers having clauses that only apply to that tier, like the NFE Clause in ADV UU, so could there potentially be a Boots Clause where Boots were just banned from SS OU? I'm not sure if there is precedent for this or anything, although I guess that you could argue that the tiering of Mega Stones or Soul Dew shows that items have been tiered separately before, however that is clearly a different scenario than an item like Boots that any Pokemon can utilize. It does feel to me like the tiering of items is different than Pokemon because items like Boots are already allowed in every tier, so it's not like when a Pokemon gets banned from a tier it already can't be played in any of the lower tiers. Again though, I don't think that anything is going to ever be done about Boots, and I understand why Smogon would want to keep its tiering practices as uniform as possible, but it would be a shame if overly-scrupulous lines of thinking prevented at least discussing or testing ways to improve tiers. So as a genuine question, would it theoretically be possible for Boots to only be removed from OU and remain in the lower tiers where they aren't considered by as many players to be problematic? I guess as an extension of this, if Teleport was widely regarded by the knowledgeable portion of the playerbase to be an issue in SS OU, could Teleport just be banned from OU and remain in the other tiers if the players of those tiers don't have an issue with it? I want to reiterate one last time though that I really doubt that action will ever be taken against Boots or Teleport, so I hope that the discussion doesn't get sidetracked on that, but I was curious as to why people keep using the argument that banning Boots from OU would affect the other tiers. Does that necessarily need to be the case?
 
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astralydia

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Given everyone is posting their thoughts on the metagame I'd like to post mine in response.

:cinderace: 5 - I really don't understand why the current sentiment on the thread appears to only talk about one variant of Cinderace as being the issue. This monster has practically 0 reliable defensive counterplay between its standard Boots set, Bulk Up, Work Up and 4a U-turnless sets. The sheer versatility this rabbit has is what makes playing around it so dangerous - you'd think that Toxapex and Slowbro would be decent checks, but then Cinderace pulls out Electro Ball, taking down both of them in a single slot. A similar thing goes for Landorus-Therian and Garchomp - you'd think you'd check nicely, but then Cinderace pulls out Bulk Up, which messes around with how Garchomp and Landorus-Therian can check it, not to mention how easily Cinderace wears down these Pokemon without those options anyway. It doesn't make any of the four checks less splashable, but it does make it considerably easier for Cinderace to just muscle through teams depending on its moveset. This doesn't even account for other options in team slots - most notably, how easy it is for Cinderace to abuse Future Sight as a way for it to get guaranteed progress on practically every single check without messing around much with moveset options. The only real comparison I can make with regards to other broken threats is that Cinderace is at least somewhat revenge killable by the metagame's faster options like Dragapult and Tapu Koko, so it doesn't make it an absolutely unstoppable menace.

:magearna: 4 - Conversely, I feel like people are overblowing Magearna's set versatility in this thread. Whilst it does have a lot of different sets that it can run, the most notable of which being the Stored Power sets, the usage for these sets is not uniform, and it is clear that some sets are much worse than others. When generally talking about counterplay, I believe that it is fair enough to divide Magearna into three sets: Choice Specs, Double Dance and Shift Gear + 3 Attacks. The main issue here with Magearna is that very few Pokemon can take on every single set at once, and that a punish for getting the set wrong can potentially be devastating. Looking into checks and counters for each set, whilst there isn't exactly extreme reliability in checks, they are at least splashable enough to be barely effected by Magearna's departure, and they're also splashable enough to the point where having multiple of these checks on a team doesn't end up being a liability. Checks like Specially Defensive Toxapex, Slowking-Galar and Heatran make counterplay reliable enough to the point where you can usually figure out a Magearna's set on preview, minimizing the potential that it has to damage a team. In addition to this, there are also the checks that work well against Double Dance Magearna like Melmetal, Excadrill and Swords Dance Landorus-Therian that can easily force out Magearna and punish its teammates heavily. An issue arises however between these two sets - some of these Pokemon are lured by Shift Gear + 3 Attacks Magearna, which can easily take advantage of the lack of information that it gives off in comparison to Double Dance Magearna. This means it is for sure suspectable but I don't really have nearly as much of a grudge against it as I would Cinderace, given its more easily defined set boundaries, considerably lower Speed and less initial power besides Fleur Cannon compared to Cinderace. I believe this should either be the next suspect or next in line to Cinderace - I don't really mind either way, but I don't believe it to be broken enough to warrant a quickban like some people are suggesting.

:toxapex: 3 - Highly obnoxious threat that torments team structures. The amount of Pokemon that Toxapex invalidates is astounding; usually strong Pokemon like Flamethrower CM Clefable, Keldeo and Blaziken have generally fallen out of favour for Pokemon that can at least make progress vs Toxapex and I do feel like its effect on the metagame is unhealthy to a degree. However, the metagame has shown that it can quite easily cope with it, and to me, this makes it really difficult to judge Toxapex's actual effect on competitive play. I really think that aside from the inability for certain Pokemon to even harm Toxapex, the thing that really pushes Toxapex to a potentially suspect worthy position is the amount of punishes it can make towards every single check of its own. No check is capable of switching in without eating Knock Off, Toxic or potentially getting Scald burned, making chip from Toxapex considerably harder to stomach for some teams. This makes games quite stale in battles versus it, because the ways of getting around it offensively are often unreliable and are easily chipped. For example, Tapu Lele would be a fantastic answer to Toxapex, and it is, but it generally gets thrown around by Toxic chip to the point where it doesn't actually do enough damage to make up for Toxapex's influence on the game. Future Sight has been used to assist some breakers through the game, but not only has Toxapex shown adaptations to this (for example, the usage of Eject Button allows for Toxapex to not only escape a situation of Future Sight but also has the potential to turn momentum AGAINST the Future Sight user), it also doesn't break Toxapex alone at all, to the point where any variant of Toxapex, even physically defensive variants, can really stomach Future Sights and pivot out without much collateral damage. It's shown that despite the adaptations towards it, Toxapex is also capable of adapting back in return and making things more painful to deal with every time it does so. Definitely a threat to look out for in the near future, possibly after Cinderace and Magearna have been suspected.
Additional Note 1: I do not believe Toxapex's unhealthiness to be correlated with stall at all - stall often utilizes different methods of chip removal that often don't involve Regenerator, which weakens Toxapex's role on those teams, rather I believe it to be too good of a progress stopper for balance teams that can force games to be played much slower in order to get certain Pokemon in position so that Toxapex doesn't just recover off all of the damage it sustains within the game.

:tornadus-therian: 3 - Stop comparing National Dex OU's ban to this metagame - not only does OU lack Z-moves, it also lacked the huge slate that Tornadus-Therian ended up getting the axe in. Rant aside, I think Tornadus-Therian is actually quite dangerous atm and also deserves another look in the future. Substitute + NP sets really help mask the fact that Tornadus-Therian has to rely on 70% accurate moves a lot, and making the assumptions that these moves can and will hit, it really ends up making Tornadus-Therian's effect on the builder more prominent. The few counters that do exist (Tapu Koko, Assault Vest Magearna, Zapdos, and Regieleki to an extent) are all punished by one move of Tornadus-Therian's that it can indeed easily slot onto its various sets. Aside from this, the other variants that also mix in Nasty Plot with pivoting can be really obnoxious to deal with as getting the damage you'd want on Tornadus-Therian over the course of the game is practically impossible with Regenerator pivoting. The general inaccuracy of its moves makes this really difficult to prove, but I do believe that overall, Tornadus-Therian is somewhat troubling for the metagame's health and should be suspected at a later date.

Teleport (:slowbro: / :blissey: / :slowking: / :clefable:): 1 - Port's not broken. The abusers might be, but the entire move doesn't really give me much different of a feeling from U-turn, Flip Turn or Volt Switch on HDB pivots. Realistically I'd like to see Slowbro and Blissey looked at if Teleport ends up becoming so obnoxious that something has to be dealt with in some way.

Heavy-Duty Boots (:tapu koko: / :zeraora: / :dragapult:): 1 - Likewise with Teleport, I see this as more of a powerful item rather than something that should really be thrown out of SS. I actually happen to like its presence more than dislike it - despite the lack of influence of hazards on the metagame, it makes other sources of chip more important and dampens the effect that Stealth Rock has in determining viability of certain Pokemon. Heavy-Duty Boots usage has even started to decline in more recent games of SS OU - instead, to counteract its own existence, some pivots have been running Rocky Helmet as a countermeasure to other pivots like these, and I feel like with this adaptation in mind, Heavy-Duty Boots is more or so settling down in the metagame and cementing its place as an important item like Leftovers, rather than something that is actively toxic to the metagame. When talking about HDB's influence on game length, I do believe that HDB does increase its length but it doesn't really make the game feel any less bad to play - it rather gives another, longer game option that allows more balance based teams to adopt faster Pokemon to patch up some of their weaknesses.

:zamazenta-crowned: 1 - Controversially, I'm more in support of freeing Zamazenta-Hero than I am freeing Zamazenta-Crowned. Needless to say, I'd probably put both at a 1 right now, not only because I don't think an unban is necessary, but I also think that both would absolutely shred offense if they were placed into the current metagame. Zamazenta-Crowned can very easily muscle through things that would be considered "resists" due to its titanic bulk, making it shrug off even strong Earthquakes from the likes of Landorus-Therian. Just take a look at this:
Offensive 1v1s:

0 Atk Landorus-Therian Earthquake vs. +1 0 HP / 4 Def Zamazenta-Crowned: 144-170 (44.3 - 52.3%) -- 16.4% chance to 2HKO
252+ Atk Zamazenta-Crowned Behemoth Bash vs. 252 HP / 112+ Def Landorus-Therian: 159-187 (41.6 - 48.9%) -- guaranteed 3HKO (Under the assumption Zamazenta-C Howled on the switchin)
252 Atk Libero Cinderace High Jump Kick vs. +1 0 HP / 4 Def Zamazenta-Crowned: 188-224 (57.8 - 68.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252+ Atk Zamazenta-Crowned Close Combat vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Cinderace: 271-321 (90 - 106.6%) -- 43.8% chance to OHKO

Wallbreaking:

+1 252+ Atk Zamazenta-Crowned Wild Charge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Toxapex: 172-204 (56.5 - 67.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO (after Stealth Rock, Toxapex loses given Wild Charge is used again)
+1 252+ Atk Zamazenta-Crowned Wild Charge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Slowbro: 218-258 (55.3 - 65.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
+2 252+ Atk Zamazenta-Crowned Close Combat vs. 248 HP / 220 Def Zapdos: 195-229 (50.9 - 59.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO (Wild Charge does the same damage)
0 SpA Zapdos Heat Wave vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned: 122-144 (37.5 - 44.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

Defensive:

252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Lele Psychic vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned in Psychic Terrain: 208-246 (64 - 75.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
252 SpA Hydreigon Earth Power vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned: 138-164 (42.4 - 50.4%) -- 1.2% chance to 2HKO
252 SpA Life Orb Latios Mystical Fire vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned: 156-185 (48 - 56.9%) -- 88.3% chance to 2HKO
252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned in Electric Terrain: 168-198 (51.6 - 60.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
0 SpA Life Orb Clefable Moonblast vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zamazenta-Crowned: 94-110 (28.9 - 33.8%) -- 0.9% chance to 3HKO

The amount of defensive and offensive calcs that Zamazenta-Crowned has versus the metagame is pretty evident to me - most of its "counters" are based on RNG specific moves or abilities, and the few counters that aren't are very difficult to keep alive for a long time. This mon absolutely destroys offense and forces balance teams to run specific checks, which to me indicates a clearly bannable Pokemon. This mon is extremely unlikely to turn out healthy if it does get suspected.
:darmanitan-galar: 1 - Also broken. Scarf set has practically 1 good answer in Slowbro, and CB pretty much has 0 good answers altogether. Don't think I need much explanation for this one, the previous ban reasoning is already good enough.
:zygarde: 1 - Likewise to the Zamazenta-C, this mon is too bulky, and strong enough to take down most balance cores. SubToxic would absolutely ruin defensive cores right now and I am not prepared to see Zygarde cheese its way through teams again.

Some final notes:

:rillaboom: - I believe Rillaboom has some pretty solid arguments for being called uncompetitive in the current metagame. Glide is a monstrous move under terrain that makes revenge killing Rillaboom extremely difficult to the point where even some offensive resists do not check LO Rillaboom without a some bulk investment. CB also mashes through most Grass resists not named Heatran, Corviknight or Ferrothorn, two of three lose to a common moveslot option on Rillaboom's moveset. Rillaboom sets have also seen some hybrid Knock + U-turn + SD sets that are very difficult to get momentum from. However, its check list is fairly large and there are enough scouts like Rocky Helmet Toxapex to make Rillaboom a rather docile threat in comparison to the main brokens.

:garchomp: - I do believe Garchomp also has some arguments for a suspect test, but some reasons also point to a potential Sand Veil test in order to keep Garchomp legal in the current metagame. Whilst I believe LO Scale Shot + SD sets to currently be the most devastating, having very few good checks (Slowbro, Landorus-Therian and Rillaboom are the three that come to mind), it is at least dealable with and the constant LO recoil from its moves makes Garchomp a considerably easier Pokemon to check than might be expected. However, it doesn't make it uncompetitive, and the Substitute + SD BrightVeil set brings this to mind. These sets very easily cheese their counters (given that the chance to hit it 5 times under Sand is only 19.3%) and sweep without any player input to stop said sweep. Versus Slowbro it can very easily dodge an Ice Beam and force a 2HKO after a Swords Dance, can dodge a Rillaboom's Grassy Glide if Scale Shot has been used (and can even keep its Sub up versus it!) and can make Landorus-Therian miss U-turns, making it considerably harder to pivot around. Likewise, I also believe this to be a similar case to Rillaboom where its broken aspects may not be prevalent yet due to Cinderace and Magearna overshadowing them, and the scouts to these sets + revenge killers generally make Garchomp less of a threat than the top 3.
 
Transitivity of non-Pokémon bans wasn't a thing in gen 7 so yes it would be theoretically possible to ban teleport and HDB from OU only but by some posts in this thread transitivity of all bans was reinstated for this gen or at least an attempt is being made. Complaints about HDB and teleport feels very similar to complaints about scald and stealth rock when they were introduced, all of them made big changes in how the game is played but this don't make them broken or uncompetitive.
 
Some final notes:

:rillaboom: - I believe Rillaboom has some pretty solid arguments for being called uncompetitive in the current metagame. Glide is a monstrous move under terrain that makes revenge killing Rillaboom extremely difficult to the point where even some offensive resists do not check LO Rillaboom without a some bulk investment. CB also mashes through most Grass resists not named Heatran, Corviknight or Ferrothorn, two of three lose to a common moveslot option on Rillaboom's moveset. Rillaboom sets have also seen some hybrid Knock + U-turn + SD sets that are very difficult to get momentum from. However, its check list is fairly large and there are enough scouts like Rocky Helmet Toxapex to make Rillaboom a rather docile threat in comparison to the main brokens.

:garchomp: - I do believe Garchomp also has some arguments for a suspect test, but some reasons also point to a potential Sand Veil test in order to keep Garchomp legal in the current metagame. Whilst I believe LO Scale Shot + SD sets to currently be the most devastating, having very few good checks (Slowbro, Landorus-Therian and Rillaboom are the three that come to mind), it is at least dealable with and the constant LO recoil from its moves makes Garchomp a considerably easier Pokemon to check than might be expected. However, it doesn't make it uncompetitive, and the Substitute + SD BrightVeil set brings this to mind. These sets very easily cheese their counters (given that the chance to hit it 5 times under Sand is only 19.3%) and sweep without any player input to stop said sweep. Versus Slowbro it can very easily dodge an Ice Beam and force a 2HKO after a Swords Dance, can dodge a Rillaboom's Grassy Glide if Scale Shot has been used (and can even keep its Sub up versus it!) and can make Landorus-Therian miss U-turns, making it considerably harder to pivot around. Likewise, I also believe this to be a similar case to Rillaboom where its broken aspects may not be prevalent yet due to Cinderace and Magearna overshadowing them, and the scouts to these sets + revenge killers generally make Garchomp less of a threat than the top 3.
Good post but I have some counter arguments in regards to Rilla and Chomp.

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Rillaboom is great but it’s nowhere near banworthy like Ace or Mag. Despite how bonkers Grassy Glide is it is still a Grass move which is resisted by most of the metagame. Stuff like Ace couldn’t take a Banded or +2 Grassy Glide, but something like Hydrei, Kyurem, Scarf Mag or Zapdos can check it. I think the point of Rilla being difficult to safely switch into is valid, but Rilla also sometimes has difficulty switching in itself. Some of the mons it is meant to exploit like Lando, Chomp, or Slowbro can cripple it with status, U-Turn, or get momentum off of it. With Voltturn teams becoming more popular, this has become more apparent. We do have legit counters to Rilla like Corv, Skarm, Tang, and Mag if it isn’t carrying High Horsepower. In the last few weeks of SPL, Rilla hasn’t shown suspect worthy results like Ace, Mag, and the recently banned Spectrier have. Rilla currently has a 35.71% winrate from the 14 times it was used all throughout SPL. It mostly has to do with certain metagame trends that hinder Rilla than favoring it. Things like Torn, Magearna, Zapdos and Hydreigon are trending. Some players have even used Kart over Rilla due to it’s higher longevity vs Balance thanks to Synthesis and more damage output for the cost of less momentum and a worse mu vs HO which hasn’t been common in SPL as of now. Rilla is absolutely a strong pick due to its ability to force progress and rkill key threats, but banworthy is overestimating it.

E6874CC5-FD1F-467C-810C-DA27D8488E7E.png

It has less to do with Chomp being suspect worthy and more to do with Sand Veil, Snow Cloak, and Bright Powder being uncompetitive by definition. These two abilities and one item technically go against the evasion clause. Sand may last for only 5-8 turns, but it’s more than enough for something like Chomp or even something as bad as Sandacobra for example. You can have the advantage, but you lose can some random low ladder player decided to run double dance Lando with Bright Powder and win cause of RNG. Sand Veil and Bright Powder aren’t commonly used due to the lack of consistency, but it makes more sense to quick ban any move, ability, or item that raises your evasion than to suspect test Chomp.
 
Pokemon like Flamethrower CM Clefable, Keldeo and Blaziken have generally fallen out of favour for Pokemon that can at least make progress vs Toxapex and I do feel like its effect on the metagame is unhealthy to a degree.
I agree with much of your points but there are some problems here. Blaziken commonly (ran) earthquake, which is an OHKO on partially specially defensive pex.
+2 252 Atk Life Orb Blaziken Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 144+ Def Toxapex: 307-361 (100.9 - 118.7%) -- guaranteed OHKO
Cm Flame Clefable is also hard stopped by Heatran, which imo is a much bigger reason for why it isn't as viable. The Bulky Balance and Stall teams it likes to fit on don't want to give Heatran free switch-ins, especially if it's a toxic variant.
The Keldeo point is valid, but it's worth noting that Toxapex isn't the only thing stopping Keldeo's viability, or we'd see a lot more Keldeo and trap pex.

The main point here is that Toxapex isn't singlehandedly invalidating these pokemon, it's often a combination of factors of which Toxapex is the most pertinent.
 
Magearna gotta go. That shit is a whole menace. Maybe it’d be okay if it just ran Specs, Scarf, and AV, but the 750,000 variations of setup Mag are too much, especially on screens HO. Its movepool is absolutely ridiculous. It has a way to beat any potential check in the game, depending on which attacks it runs. It’s just too good.

On the other hand, I really don’t think Cinderace is broken. It’s a fantastic mon, clearly a meta-defining threat, but it’s checked by a lot of mons that are already great in OU. Garchomp, Landorus, Slowbro and Toxapex are all currently A+ rank on the VR, each of them having amazing utility outside of beating Cinderace. (EDIT: Slowbro is actually A rank, but will likely move up in the next VR update.) Others such as Dragapult, Hippo and Mandibuzz can also come in and force it out.

While it’s true that, like Magearna, Cinderace can tailor its set to beat certain answers, the difference is that you don’t just lose on the spot by guessing the wrong set. A cool tech that’s picked up in popularity is Electro Ball Cinderace, to deal with its water type answers. But while it hits hard, even Life Orb Ace under Electric Terrain fails to ohko PhysDef Toxapex from full, allowing the Pex to just switch out and heal up. Whereas if you go out to your Heatran on setup Mag and get Focus Blasted, the game is likely over from that point.

In theory, sure, Cinderace can just come in and out a million times over the course of a game and “beat everything.” But in practice, it will eventually get knocked, worn down with Rocky Helmet, or beaten by faster threats.

Having played a ton of games on the ladder since Crown Tundra dropped, I don’t believe that Ace is broken and I’m of the opinion that it can be dealt with by mons that are already going to be on a vast majority of teams.
 
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You know, I've watched this entire forum complain about Cinderace for the last 4 weeks and honestly, I think people would complain more if it didn't exist.

There are so many stupid fat, brainless regen pivot perma teleport cores running around and I cant help but feel like Cinderace is the offensive analog of Toxapex. A literal necessary evil against slogs of fatmons that slow the game down and turn matches into tepid switch-fests. I fucking love Cinderace in the tier because it punishes completely risk-averse playing and introduces risk reward back into what it otherwise a completely boring game. Its really not that bad IMO.
 
You know, I've watched this entire forum complain about Cinderace for the last 4 weeks and honestly, I think people would complain more if it didn't exist.

There are so many stupid fat, brainless regen pivot perma teleport cores running around and I cant help but feel like Cinderace is the offensive analog of Toxapex. A literal necessary evil against slogs of fatmons that slow the game down and turn matches into tepid switch-fests. I fucking love Cinderace in the tier because it punishes completely risk-averse playing and introduces risk reward back into what it otherwise a completely boring game. Its really not that bad IMO.
"Risk Averse Playing"
Cinderace spamming U-turn:
1613703923584.png
 
There are so many stupid fat, brainless regen pivot perma teleport cores running around and I cant help but feel like Cinderace is the offensive analog of Toxapex. A literal necessary evil against slogs of fatmons that slow the game down and turn matches into tepid switch-fests. I fucking love Cinderace in the tier because it punishes completely risk-averse playing and introduces risk reward back into what it otherwise a completely boring game. Its really not that bad IMO.


Cinderace is actually part of the list of mons that "slow the game down and turn matches into tepid switch-fests"
What is a Good Teamate for Cinderace?
Tapu Koko, Landorus-Therian, Slowbro, and other pivots work well.
The slow defensive pivots need some way of reliably chipping down the opponents because teleport and uninvested U-Turns and Volt Switches won't do much. That's where offensive pivots like Cinderace comes in. You're just countering the slow boring switch-fest with a more offensive version of it. The gen 8 meta is all about momentum because it is a very safe playstyle and whoever has the momentum can usually maintain it thanks to switch moves being so good right now.
 
My 2 cents:

Personally, I don't mind testing Zamazenta-C or even Darm-Galar for like 2 quick weeks, but only after we have looked at everything problematic in the tier first.

:Magearna: 5 I used to think this is not as broken as Cinderace, but recently Specs Magearna has been really getting on me nerves, especially coupled with the fact that literally everyone and their mom is spamming Magearna behind screens on every other team. Draining Kiss makes the Shift Gear set just so insanely broken and Specs is even more broken so yeah. I've even started to use max SpD Nidoqueen on some of my teams because of how annoying the specs set is.

:Cinderace: 5 I mean yeah it's not as broken as Magearna but it's broken enough. The pivoting is insane and if you don't have Toxapex or Hippowdon you never really have an actual counter. Everything else can be poisoned by Gunk Shot or just slowly chipped with STAB U-turn + Rocks + Future Sight. Court Change, Bulk Up + Zen Headbutt, and Electro Ball are just overkill utility options. This is embarassing to admit but I was laddering a new account the other day and I lost to Flame Charge + Electro Ball + Acrobatics Cinderace. I don't know what madman came up with this gimmick but it gets past Slowbro and Scarf Lando-T which are the most common glues for Ace rn.

:Heatran: 4 I really don't care what anyone says. I honestly from the bottom of my heart truly believe that Heatran is one of most broken mons in their tier right now. It always has been, it's just always overshadowed by other things, and people just choose to ignore it anyways because Heatran's insane stallbreaking abilities keeps stall in check. You don't even need to run Power Herb Solar Beam to kill defensive water types because how ridiculous this thing is. The reason I liked SpD Hydreigon more than Mandibuzz in Spectrier meta is because it also countered Heatran, but I still lost some games to Heatran due to Toxic + Magma Storm + Rocks wearing it down throughout the match. It's so insane how a well played Heatran can singe-handedly win games and break cores, and it's honestly been doing that for years. Your Swampert or Tapu fini can only last for so long. High ladder and tournament players have had a hard on for Heatran for 3 gens now, and even they end up using weird gimmicks like PP stalling magma storms with Kyurem/Suicune, teching EQ on Glowking, or using their own Heatran to deter the enemy Heatran from spamming Magma Storm.

I honestly don't have an opinion on HDB or Teleport spam, I think they bring new and interesting interactions that I find fun in the game. HDB Regenerator is getting annoying but at the same time it makes Balanced so versatile so that's cool. Just test Heatran for the love god pleeeease :)

:Zamazenta-Crowned: 3 Once we looked at everything properly, there's no harm in letting this down for 2 weeks and test it.
:Darmanitan-Galar: 2 Same thing, but I do think this will be banned regardless so IDK
:Zygarde: 1111111111111 Please don't let this come back. We've tested this 1,000 times and I'm tired of Glare + Thousand Arrows spam in every game for 2 weeks straight
 
My 2 cents:

Personally, I don't mind testing Zamazenta-C or even Darm-Galar for like 2 quick weeks, but only after we have looked at everything problematic in the tier first.

:Magearna: 5 I used to think this is not as broken as Cinderace, but recently Specs Magearna has been really getting on me nerves, especially coupled with the fact that literally everyone and their mom is spamming Magearna behind screens on every other team. Draining Kiss makes the Shift Gear set just so insanely broken and Specs is even more broken so yeah. I've even started to use max SpD Nidoqueen on some of my teams because of how annoying the specs set is.

:Cinderace: 5 I mean yeah it's not as broken as Magearna but it's broken enough. The pivoting is insane and if you don't have Toxapex or Hippowdon you never really have an actual counter. Everything else can be poisoned by Gunk Shot or just slowly chipped with STAB U-turn + Rocks + Future Sight. Court Change, Bulk Up + Zen Headbutt, and Electro Ball are just overkill utility options. This is embarassing to admit but I was laddering a new account the other day and I lost to Flame Charge + Electro Ball + Acrobatics Cinderace. I don't know what madman came up with this gimmick but it gets past Slowbro and Scarf Lando-T which are the most common glues for Ace rn.

:Heatran: 4 I really don't care what anyone says. I honestly from the bottom of my heart truly believe that Heatran is one of most broken mons in their tier right now. It always has been, it's just always overshadowed by other things, and people just choose to ignore it anyways because Heatran's insane stallbreaking abilities keeps stall in check. You don't even need to run Power Herb Solar Beam to kill defensive water types because how ridiculous this thing is. The reason I liked SpD Hydreigon more than Mandibuzz in Spectrier meta is because it also countered Heatran, but I still lost some games to Heatran due to Toxic + Magma Storm + Rocks wearing it down throughout the match. It's so insane how a well played Heatran can singe-handedly win games and break cores, and it's honestly been doing that for years. Your Swampert or Tapu fini can only last for so long. High ladder and tournament players have had a hard on for Heatran for 3 gens now, and even they end up using weird gimmicks like PP stalling magma storms with Kyurem/Suicune, teching EQ on Glowking, or using their own Heatran to deter the enemy Heatran from spamming Magma Storm.

I honestly don't have an opinion on HDB or Teleport spam, I think they bring new and interesting interactions that I find fun in the game. HDB Regenerator is getting annoying but at the same time it makes Balanced so versatile so that's cool. Just test Heatran for the love god pleeeease :)

:Zamazenta-Crowned: 3 Once we looked at everything properly, there's no harm in letting this down for 2 weeks and test it.
:Darmanitan-Galar: 2 Same thing, but I do think this will be banned regardless so IDK
:Zygarde: 1111111111111 Please don't let this come back. We've tested this 1,000 times and I'm tired of Glare + Thousand Arrows spam in every game for 2 weeks straight
heatran isnt even close to broken. heatran does heatran things. None of the things you've mentioned are worthy of making heatran a suspect. If you keep losing to heatran maybe make stronger cores. It's a great stall killer but that certainly doesn't push it over the edge.
 

Red Raven

I COULD BE BANNED!
:Heatran: 4 I really don't care what anyone says. I honestly from the bottom of my heart truly believe that Heatran is one of most broken mons in their tier right now. It always has been, it's just always overshadowed by other things, and people just choose to ignore it anyways because Heatran's insane stallbreaking abilities keeps stall in check. You don't even need to run Power Herb Solar Beam to kill defensive water types because how ridiculous this thing is. The reason I liked SpD Hydreigon more than Mandibuzz in Spectrier meta is because it also countered Heatran, but I still lost some games to Heatran due to Toxic + Magma Storm + Rocks wearing it down throughout the match. It's so insane how a well played Heatran can singe-handedly win games and break cores, and it's honestly been doing that for years. Your Swampert or Tapu fini can only last for so long. High ladder and tournament players have had a hard on for Heatran for 3 gens now, and even they end up using weird gimmicks like PP stalling magma storms with Kyurem/Suicune, teching EQ on Glowking, or using their own Heatran to deter the enemy Heatran from spamming Magma Storm.
How is it broken when it loses to Landorus Therian and Garchomp, arguably the two most common mons around? Not to mention that magma storm isn't even a reliable move in the first place? As mentioned in the above post, Heatran does Heatran things, and so does every pokemon in the tier, they do what they're supposed to. Just because a certain mon is that good at its job doesn't mean its banworthy. If that was the case then we might as well get rid of Garchomp, Landorus Therian, Rillaboom, Cinderace and whatever else that does their jobs perfectly because they're good at it

Also, suspects only happen when a certain pokemon is restrictive in the game, like how a team without Buzzwole was an auto lose to Urshifu or how a team that doesn't have Tyranitar or Hydreigon was an auto lose to Spectrier. Heatran doesn't restrict the game. It very vulnerable to ground types and you're not even using ground types with Heatran in mind. You put Lando or Chomp on your team because they're great pokemon. Sorry but we are not suspecting Heatran
 

Goodbye & Thanks

Thrown in a fire?
I don't mean any disrespect, but I feel like the past few posts are kind of missing the point with Heatran. I'm not sure why this happens, but I think that sometimes people just point out Pokemon that threaten a different Pokemon as checks to it when they don't consider if they can safely switch into it. Sure, Ground types can force Heatran out, but they don't like switching into Toxic, Lava Plume and risking getting Burned, or even just Magma Storm chip, especially when coupled with Protect. What makes Heatran so good is that Heatran can safely switch into many Pokemon in the tier, but very little can safely switch into Magma Storm/Lava Plume, Toxic, Protect/Taunt, and Earth Power. However, that's kind of always been the case with Heatran - it can switch into a lot but it's difficult to switch against - and it's why it's always been very good. I don't necessarily feel like Heatran is too overbearing though, primarily because of its lack of reliable recovery, limiting how often it can switch in throughout a game, but it's obviously a very good Pokemon. Also, RufflesPro is an accomplished builder and player with plenty of high-ladder experience, so I respect his thoughts on this; it's not like he's some random, newer player that doesn't understand the game. I don't really think that Heatran should be suspected, especially at this point, but I also think that his thoughts on the Pokemon shouldn't be so easily dismissed.
 
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Okay, long time lurker back with more hot-takes.
Reminder: I said a while back (don't waste time trying to find it) that Magearna and Cinderace never should have been unbannedwhen DLC-2 dropped.
I'm grateful that both of them are being considered again. Both 5s. Moving on.

For all the people discussing whether or not boots are the problem or teleport or this or that, the REAL problem is:

Stealth Rock.

This move is inherently broken and has warped the Pokemon metagame for YEARS. I mean, look at how we TALK about competitive pokemon now "guaranteed XHKO after stealth rock," "chip damage" (it's almost always stealth rock's damage), etc.
Stealth Rock is FAR more broken than the other hazards, and it FORCES teams to run a rapid spinner or defogger or use HDB. Otherwise? You lose. 12.5% HP off a neautral-to-ground-switch. that's 1/8th of your hp. Every switch. On every pokemon. No immunities. No way around it.
The reason HDB are so prevelant now is because Stealth Rock has had the metagame wrapped around its little rocky finger for 5 Generations.
This isn't accounting for a hazard that deals 50% of certain mon's health WITH ONE LAYER, or how its stranglehold forced people to use more fighting types, or ANY of that.

I think this move deals more damage in any match than anything else in the history of the game. It should've been suspected in Gen 4 (if it was, I don't know, I didn't play competitively back then). It should be suspected in every other generation. It is inherently format warping. It dictates what you can and can't use. If Stealth Rock didn't exist, HDB would be a nice item if it was used at all. And before people try to pretend like Spikes are comparable: Spikes takes two-three layers to really matter. Stealth Rock doesn't. One set. 12.5% to a neutral. 25% to a Cinderace or almost every defogger without boots. 50% to Volcarona (that's the only semi-viable OU Pokemon with a 4x Rock weakness. I wonder why?) EDIT: Also Moltres, thanks incorolla!

Other thoughts: Don't unban or waste our time re-suspecting anything previously banned until you get rid of Cinderace and/or Magearna. And when they're finally gone, don't bring them back immediately when the next game/dlc drops.
 
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It should've been suspected in Gen 4 (if it was, I don't know, I didn't play competitively back then).
You're completely right. At the time Smogon was new-ish (started in 2004 vs D/P 2007). Things like complex bans, or banning abilities / moves / altering game mechanics was a hard no. They've since changed to be a lot more open to alternative bans but yes absolutely Stealth Rocks should have been suspected. Rocks were so overwhelmingly efficient in D/P that to say 99% of teams ran rocks would likely be an understatement. The lead meta developed where an entire Pokémon slot was devoted to doing nothing except laying rocks, taunting / spinning, then dying. Pokémon like Moltres and Abomasnow who could have otherwise been OU viable on their own required tremendous team support to see any usage and generally were worse than teams that didn't run them.

I feel like if the current ban policy and playerbase time travelled back to 2007 Rocks would be tested and banned. Counterplay was minimal and ineffective, and the opportunity cost of one single moveslot on a single Pokemon was almost non existent. Now, in 2021, the ban ship has long since sailed. 4th gen is what it is and banning rocks would be unnecessary, and probably not be popular with the long time players of the tier who enjoy the lead meta / team building restrictions. In 6th gen onward Defog was buffed and now we have Boots to really negate hazards if needed. Nothing should be done about the missed opportunity in 4th gen but I guess sometimes it's interesting to look back at the past and see how the opinions of the community shift.
 
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Gomi

was fun
is a Community Contributoris a Live Chat Contributor
it sure is funny how people pinned rocks for making pokemon like Moltres unviable and then when they get an item to circumvent this weakness, it turns out they're still pretty mediocre and people just overlook that rocks weaks mons tend to have a host of other problems that make them not worth running/removing rocks for, which was already made very easy in gen 7 by the extreme boost in defog distribution. This gen literally gave us Corviknight, which is probably one of the best forms of hazard removal we've ever seen, capable of beating every rocker in the tier besides like Mixed Chomp, Trick Clef, or Heatran, and these rock weak mons still suck/are generally mediocre outside of the ones that are, yknow, genuinely good like Zapdos.

We are WAY past the point where you can pin SR as broken and overly limiting, chip is healthy for a game that lacks many ways to properly punish switches, even moreso with the removal or neutering of so many forms of it.

e: also its incredibly unfair to pin Spin/Boots/Defog as just for rocks when Spikes are just as integral to controlling the pace of the match, if not moreso due to its ability to limit Regen and common steels much more impactfully, even if there's only like 3-ish spikers in the tier rlly
 
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it sure is funny how people pinned rocks for making pokemon like Moltres unviable and then when they get an item to circumvent this weakness, it turns out they're still pretty mediocre and people just overlook that rocks weaks mons tend to have a host of other problems that make them not worth running/removing rocks for, which was already made very easy in gen 7 by the extreme boost in defog distribution. This gen literally gave us Corviknight, which is probably one of the best forms of hazard removal we've ever seen, capable of beating every rocker in the tier besides like Mixed Chomp, Trick Clef, or Heatran, and these rock weak mons still suck/are generally mediocre.

We are WAY past the point where you can pin SR as broken and overly limiting, chip is healthy for a game that lacks many ways to properly punish switches, even moreso with the removal or neutering of so many forms of it.
what are we talking about here, the reason moltres is considered not good is because the things it's supposed to counter like rilla and kartana just knock it off so it dies to rocks anyways, and that is mostly agreed to be the actual reason moltres use is falling off. If anything, it shows that even HDB are not good enough to save you from rocks(not even taking into account that giving up an item slot just not to get murdered by rocks still jumped moltres up a rank between gens).
Also how is a move that is 99.9% guaranteed to be on every team not overly limiting. Oh not only that, but a way to remove it is required on like 95% of all teams. Oh and on top of that, you STILL need 1 to 2 item slots to make sure some select mons on your team are not just deleted by them if you can't get rid of them. This is levels of team building restriction that make spectrier look like a sad joke.
Also rocks are absolutely braindead to use: can the opposing mon cripple you in one turn if you use rocks? if no, guess what, rocks are up! and even if they can sometimes it's worth it. A rocks user that is not in immediate danger of dying can have a move that is guaranteed to bring massive rewards with the opponent having 0 ways to stop you, since if they try to stay in you wall them and get rocks up, and if you switch, it doesn't matter; they don't even have to predict what you are switching into since they can just click rocks. Rocks used to put all the onus for outplaying on the guy that let someone click a very hard to punish move once in the game, and now with HDB the guy with rocks up at least has to try and get a knock off to reap all of its rewards.
I do agree that a way to punish constant switches is necessary and this gen shows it with regenerator shenanigans(which is a bit weird since regenerator mons at least can switch into rocks repeatedly), the problem is that rocks are an absolutely awful way to implement punishing switches, since they are broken, way too easy to use and punish a subset of pokemon extremely disproportionately thus shaping the metagame(why does excadrill take 3% from them, and volcarona 50%). Also did you ever hear things like "oof stealth rock garchomp shreds this team" in an RMT? No, you hear the words "stealth rocks shred this team", which shows that even if the stricter criteria for banning abilities and moves is applied, stealth rocks still fulfill them and then some, since they are broken on basically anything that can set them(which is a LOT of different mons) and isn't complete garbage of a mon. I don't think they will ever get considered for a ban since it would basically end competitive battling as we know it(which kinda says something about them being overcentralizing), but they are absolutely deserving of it by any metric.
In conclusion HDB to me seems like a middling solution to an absolute awful trainwreck of a solution(rocks) to a game design real problem(switchfests being kinda dumb)
 
I think the discussion around Heatran is completely valid - if I was forced to ban 3 mons in this meta immediately, Heatran would be #3 after Magearna and Cinderace. However, it's important to note that Heatran right now is being forced onto teams as a glue mon that's able to check many variants of the former two (as well as opposing Heatrans). Even if this gains traction, I'd advocate being patient on any kind of action.

Still, I think this is a discussion worth having. I think people are somewhat resistant to this because of its status as glue in the current meta, but it's very true that Heatran as an offensive presence itself is difficult to play around, and is in my opinion not exactly the healthiest for the meta. Heatran's status as a trapper is, to put it bluntly, very annoying. It essentially means that anything switching into it that can't pivot, stall it out, or kill it within the timeframe, is dead on the spot. This wouldn't be a problem, except that Heatran can in many cases prevent this from happening. Taunt (coupled with its passable speed tier) can shut down recovery attempts or teleports from Blissey or Slowtwins; Toxic can wear down most bulky switchins; Protect can often stretch 2HKOs into 4 or 5 turns (during which a lot of chip can add up); Earth Power hits opposing Heatrans who could normally ignore trapping attempts.

Obviously, Heatran can't run Magma Storm, Earth Power, Taunt, Toxic and Protect at the same time (and often forgoes one for Rocks), but it can be very difficult to predict exactly what its moveset is, and guessing incorrectly could lead to your Slowbro being trapped by Toxic/Taunt/Protect, or your own Heatran being speed crept and eating an Earth Power. Viewed in this way, the list of consistent checks, while not insignificant, isn't huge; and even things like Chomp, Swampert, Hippo and Hydreigon can be forced to eat a Toxic. With the loss of The only things that can really be called a completely easy switchin are Tapu Fini (who competes heavily with Slowbro or Pex), EQ Glowking (giving up an important moveslot) and SpDef Heal Bell EQ Dragonite (legit set btw), and even this leads to the other problem of trapping; it gives you a significant option advantage over your opponent by robbing them of the opportunity to double, providing free momentum in exchange for just 1 Magma Storm PP. The reason why Garchomp is such a consistent check is that nothing wants to be around it after a Swords Dance; for everything else, it's not a huge challenge to just switch to something that can wall out or majorly threaten what's in front of you, and they still have to take a non-insignificant amount of Magma Storm and probably hazard chip chip in the process.

Ultimately, even if Heatran's ability to trap significant portions of the metagame isn't broken in itself (it's not exactly hard to fit in a switchin that easily threatens it out, Magma Storm likes to miss, Garchomp exists), it still feels uncompetitive and overwhelming to me due to the nature of Magma Storm as a high power trapping move with the only immunity being another Heatran, and the dangerous unpredictability Heatran as a pokemon presents. I'm fully aware that I've simply described a lot of what makes Heatran a good pokemon rather than why it's broken; but I think the ease at which it can come in and create these very favourable situations/go fishing thanks to its monstrous bulk and easy access to Protect pushes it close to the edge. While I might be wrong on this, I can imagine it becoming more unhealthy if its necessary utility as blanket Magearna check/non-HJK Cinderace check is removed, and it can truly focus on being an offensive trapper.
 

Gomi

was fun
is a Community Contributoris a Live Chat Contributor
what are we talking about here, the reason moltres is considered not good is because the things it's supposed to counter like rilla and kartana just knock it off so it dies to rocks anyways, and that is mostly agreed to be the actual reason moltres use is falling off. If anything, it shows that even HDB are not good enough to save you from rocks(not even taking into account that giving up an item slot just not to get murdered by rocks still jumped moltres up a rank between gens).
Moltres is a status prone, mediocre defogger that loses to every form of hazard setting but non toxic Heatran and certain Ferro sets while failing to check that much of the metagame well beyond sd Kart at high health, Rillaboom, and the aforementioned non Tox Heatran. Its typing comes with a host of weaknesses that have nothing to do with SR. it's not as simplistic as knock off or else other rocks weak defoggers would be in the same position.
Also how is a move that is 99.9% guaranteed to be on every team not overly limiting. Oh not only that, but a way to remove it is required on like 95% of all teams. Oh and on top of that, you STILL need 1 to 2 item slots to make sure some select mons on your team are not just deleted by them if you can't get rid of them. This is levels of team building restriction that make spectrier look like a sad joke.
1. being on 99% of teams is not inherently unhealthy and simply speaks to the necessity of chip to close the margin of error vs defensive mons or limit the entry of offensive mons, especially when the chip at hand fits incredibly naturally due to its high distribution on a number of fantastic pokemon.

2. Hazard removal is for more than just Rocks and I'm very tired of people downplaying the impact of spikes because of their lower distribution,doing 25% to every grounded pokemon with 3 layers and ignoring resistances is absolutely huge and absolutely a huge reason why hazard removal is considered mandatory on most teams, and I don't take "you can build around spikes" as a valid response because the same thing applies to rocks and if anything, rocks are much easier to build around not being able to remove due to most flyings having consistent recovery and a number of great types resisting the move altogether.

3. Boots aren't only for rocks, implying such is reductive, really a lot of the same shit i've already said. Ignoring a popular form of chip is just an incredible benefit to have, it does not prove that chip is unhealthy.
I do agree that a way to punish constant switches is necessary and this gen shows it with regenerator shenanigans(which is a bit weird since regenerator mons at least can switch into rocks repeatedly), the problem is that rocks are an absolutely awful way to implement punishing switches, since they are broken, way too easy to use and punish a subset of pokemon extremely disproportionately thus shaping the metagame(why does excadrill take 3% from them, and volcarona 50%).
What pokemon are rocks holding back at this point then? just saying this mechanic is unfair to these types isn't substantial, a good chunk of the pokemon that aren't OU are not the fault of rocks primarily, if the fault of rocks at all. Why would I use the sea of bug flyings when its a bad typing with bad offensive coverage and common weaknesses?
Honestly tho its pretty hard to find examples without going REAL low and listing something obvious like Arcanine, most of the rock weaks you'll see going down from OU are immune to rocks, pretty obviously outclassed, or have a niche.

I respect your view on the matter but i fail to see how rocks are a net negative when they're really the only splashable way to punishes switches left in the game
 
in the interest of not going on an absolutely massive post derailing the topic, I'm going to say that I agree with the notion that punishing switches is a very important to the game and should absolutely be present in some form, and I agree rocks absolutely do that. I think we just disagree on whether stealth rocks are a healthy way of doing so, considering all the other things attached to them.
 
This Heatran sentiment is only for slow do nothing builds why is there so much emphasis on it in most recent posts in a format with much more volatile threats like Chomp, Ace, Mag, even Rillaboom, Dragapult, Torn-T as well as a multitude of Knock off users exist and things to deter it? Why is Heatran being called uncompetitive on the condition of a move that has 75% accuracy, where the term uncompetitive gets thrown around for anything trap related originating from Gen6 STAG suspect stigmas?
 
My 2 cents:

Personally, I don't mind testing Zamazenta-C or even Darm-Galar for like 2 quick weeks, but only after we have looked at everything problematic in the tier first.

:Magearna: 5 I used to think this is not as broken as Cinderace, but recently Specs Magearna has been really getting on me nerves, especially coupled with the fact that literally everyone and their mom is spamming Magearna behind screens on every other team. Draining Kiss makes the Shift Gear set just so insanely broken and Specs is even more broken so yeah. I've even started to use max SpD Nidoqueen on some of my teams because of how annoying the specs set is.

:Cinderace: 5 I mean yeah it's not as broken as Magearna but it's broken enough. The pivoting is insane and if you don't have Toxapex or Hippowdon you never really have an actual counter. Everything else can be poisoned by Gunk Shot or just slowly chipped with STAB U-turn + Rocks + Future Sight. Court Change, Bulk Up + Zen Headbutt, and Electro Ball are just overkill utility options. This is embarassing to admit but I was laddering a new account the other day and I lost to Flame Charge + Electro Ball + Acrobatics Cinderace. I don't know what madman came up with this gimmick but it gets past Slowbro and Scarf Lando-T which are the most common glues for Ace rn.

:Heatran: 4 I really don't care what anyone says. I honestly from the bottom of my heart truly believe that Heatran is one of most broken mons in their tier right now. It always has been, it's just always overshadowed by other things, and people just choose to ignore it anyways because Heatran's insane stallbreaking abilities keeps stall in check. You don't even need to run Power Herb Solar Beam to kill defensive water types because how ridiculous this thing is. The reason I liked SpD Hydreigon more than Mandibuzz in Spectrier meta is because it also countered Heatran, but I still lost some games to Heatran due to Toxic + Magma Storm + Rocks wearing it down throughout the match. It's so insane how a well played Heatran can singe-handedly win games and break cores, and it's honestly been doing that for years. Your Swampert or Tapu fini can only last for so long. High ladder and tournament players have had a hard on for Heatran for 3 gens now, and even they end up using weird gimmicks like PP stalling magma storms with Kyurem/Suicune, teching EQ on Glowking, or using their own Heatran to deter the enemy Heatran from spamming Magma Storm.

I honestly don't have an opinion on HDB or Teleport spam, I think they bring new and interesting interactions that I find fun in the game. HDB Regenerator is getting annoying but at the same time it makes Balanced so versatile so that's cool. Just test Heatran for the love god pleeeease :)

:Zamazenta-Crowned: 3 Once we looked at everything properly, there's no harm in letting this down for 2 weeks and test it.
:Darmanitan-Galar: 2 Same thing, but I do think this will be banned regardless so IDK
:Zygarde: 1111111111111 Please don't let this come back. We've tested this 1,000 times and I'm tired of Glare + Thousand Arrows spam in every game for 2 weeks straight
Heatran sometimes is annoying because even things like garchomp take to too much damage from defensive tran. But also this mon help to check so much of the meta that I think we need it.
 

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