Suspect SV AAA Suspect #3: gold rush (Gholdengo)

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With an unanimous 6-0 council vote, Gholdengo is up for a suspect test! With an amazing typing both defensively and offensively, good stats, and fantastic movepool, Gholdengo has all the tools to be a versatile and devastating threat with the right ability. More concerningly, "the right ability" can be Almost Any Ability, as it can run damage amp, defensive abilities, or immunity abilities to fit almost any need. The sheer unpredictability of Gholdengo adds to its threat level and is no small part of why it's up for a test; gussing the set wrong and giving it a free turn, or even worse a +2 boost from Well-Baked Body, can be game ending.

Gholdengo has a set for almost every need; it has the tools to go defensive, offensive, status spreader, TrickScarf, or even just plug a hole to a specific weakness. Shadow Ball (or Hex) + Make it Rain (or Steel Beam) have amazing coverage just between the two of them, giving it usually two moveslots to run Recover, Nasty Plot, Thunder Wave, Substitute, Trick, Dazzling Gleam, or Focus Blast as needed. On team preview, it can be very difficult to see what type of Gholdengo you are facing, and that's before even guessing the ability. Many of Gholdengo's weaknesses--Ground, Fire, Shadow Ball--can be patched up with an immunity ability, making it dangerous to attack before scouting; of course, not attacking it and letting it set up a Substitute or Nasty Plot isn't much better...

It also matches up exceedingly well into many common walls; Corviknight and Garganacl are powerless against Substitute variants, Dark-types like Kingambit and Roaring Moon risk dropping to coverage options, and passive walls like Blissey and Ting-Lu really aren't looking to put on a Choice Scarf. While each individual set has reliable counterplay, identifying the correct set in time and answering all of them on the same team is daunting, especially with the combination of sets + abilities. It's no surprise it has exceedingly high usage both on ladder and in tours, and the AAA money tour is full of replays showing off its sweeping potential.

Gholdengo is undeniably a large part of the meta, and in many ways, a healthy part. Its defensive sets, with the right ability, hard counter some of the most dangerous attackers in the tier like Baxcalibur and Cinderace. It is an important part of many reliable defensive cores and its offensive sets, while potent, are slow and still struggle with common walls like Ting-Lu. Given how large of a part of the existing metagame Gholdengo is, and how wide-reaching and debatably-unhealthy its controbutions are, the council unaminously agreed it's time to let The People (tm) vote!
How (Suspect Details):
During a Suspect test, each player must climb the ladder until they've acquired the GXE necessary to participate in the voting. Primarily, everyone that participates needs to make an alt account following these guidelines:

  • Every game must be played on the official Pokemon Showdown! site and on a new account (creation date no earlier than today, February 18th) with "AAAGJ [Nick]"--for example, I could create one called "AAAGJ UT" to ladder with. Having the prefix at the beginning of your alt name is mandatory, AKA not in the middle (e.g. The AAAGJ Man) and not at the end (e.g. The AAAGJ).​
  • To qualify for voting, your alt must play a minimum of 25 games, and you must have a minimum GXE of 78.
  • Gholdengo will be allowed on the ladder during the suspect.​
  • The suspect test will go for two weeks and end on Monday, March 6th at 10:00 AM GMT -5.
  • When posting proof of meeting reqs, feel free to use this thread as a means to disseminate topical opinions regarding whether or not Gholdengo should be banned (Optional)
  • It is mandatory to provide proof of ownership of the alt account as well. (Post a picture of your reqs with your smogon name featured)​
With that all of that being said, it's suspect time! As usual, the actual voting will take place in the Blind Voting Forum, so posting anything other than proof of reqs and discussion isn't necessary.

Tagging Kris for implementation
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Tea Guzzler

it's all gone pear shaped
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we love random dazzling (something like 4 of these losses were due to random dazzling polteageist or chien-pao)

idk what i'm voting tbh, and i'll likely end up changing my mind anyway. this mon has ungodly set versatility and does put a notable strain on the builder, whilst still excelling at basically everything it does. the main thing with it being banworthy is probably due to it doing both offensive and defensive stuff (sometimes at the same time), but idk, we'll just have to wait and see.

:corviknight::palafin::great tusk::dondozo::gholdengo::dragonite:
i used this the whole run, generally really good at applying offensive pressure but getting off the back foot can be difficult. desland moth (particularly specs) and shocks are tragic matchups and random dazzling can invalidate your rev-killing method being priority, but it's consistent into basically anything else and those 3 can be played around offensively (usually dnite or lead pala jet punch). something like a ting-lu can somewhat solve these issues at the cost of making the games slower. dnite and mguard ghold are broken, get them in as much as possible, use corv for pivoting and dondozo to solo basically every physical attacker bar meowscarada.
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It's sussing time. Anyway, i just spammed HO for free wins, losing only to a GaG Froslass of all things and a really unlucky Bullet Punch roll, but hey i still got reqs so no complaints. Team here if you're interested (I put 5 minutes of thought into it)

In terms of my thoughts on Gholdengos, on one side Gholdengo has an ungodly amount of set variety, from very powerful offensive sets (which I believe are honestly the worse side of the coin given the rest it can run) like Steelworker, Beads of Ruins and MGLO to great defensive sets like EE, WBB and Bulletproof and guessing what it's running can be real painful at times. Although, tbh I haven't found it that bad, when someone immediately switches into Ghold to my Bax, I wonder what it could possibly be and haven't gotten punished that much.

Now, on the other side.

Someone please help me.

Edit: My revised thoughts on Gholdengo here.
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flexing the 25 battle run

I'm relatively sure that I'll be voting No Ban. Joe undeniably needs to be counted for in the teambuilder, which can be a little restrictive due to different sets having different answers. I don't think any of it's current sets are broken, but it obviously has ungodly diversity and a great typing. It provides a great defensive answer to some of the most powerful threats in the meta, and can offensively break through many other things. I'm happy with it's place in the tier, and while I agree this suspect should've happened, I'm also confident in my vote. My mind might change though, we'll see. Joe is divisive.

The team I built for the suspect test, it's hardly the best team I've made, but it worked well enough and answered most of the teams I fought against. I think ScarfEater is my favorite Gholdengo set, being able to dismantle offensive and defensive team structures alike. Also Baxc is broken lol, this think should not be 2khoing corv at +0. Yoinked the Kingambit set from Codename C.A.T , like it quite a bit and it made the matchups vs Cinderace and other fires a lot easier and freed up eater for Gholdengo. This kind of team is why I think Gholdengo is healthy in the metagame; it still has answers, but none of them are unreasonable to put onto most team structures and it provides immense defensive utility.

EDIT: After some further consideration and play, I'm more likely to be voting BAN. While I like Gholdengo for it's ability to check some of the metagame's offensive threats, I've realized that banning Gholdengo along with potential threats like Baxcalibur and Dragonite is much better than banning none of those. While it may result in a shaky metagame for a time period, AAA will come out of it better.
What's even scarier is that I feel Gholdengo is still underexplored due to how large are the possibilities. I'm particularly scared about berry resist Gholdengo. Like you reveal a WBB Gholdengo meaning your opponent might try to get it with a Ground but then it's Shuca Berry, your Garchomp doesn't kill it with EQ and get OHKOed back by Make It Rain at +2. The simple existence of this type of scenario is frightening.
Siamato's post is a huge reason why I changed my vote. The sets we have aren't Gholdengo's limit by any means. I've been playing with WBB Shuca and OccaEater respectively and both have proven quite great-- potentially too great. Ban Gholdengo
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I used 2 teams on suspect ladder - Dumb shed tail offense. Not good qua good, but it wins against a lot and it wins really really fast, which works great to get you out of low ladder in a hurry. - Generic balance. About the least original AAA team you can use rn but for all of that it's crazy strong because it just uses good mons and good sets. Watch out for 3a Desoland offensive moth tho, if you get unlucky in the mirror matchup it can be a pain.


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reqs Gholdengo.png

Bad Win/Loss got some really bad MU's initially and then lost 2 more to random Triage mons.

Will maybe vote DNB maybe vote ban, dunno, for all the negative rep Gholdengo gets I find it to be a healthy part of AAA at the moment. Healthy in the sense that it keeps many threats at bay and though the ability lottery guessing game may be annoying at time it is generally fairly easy to guess what is what and it isn't as though this random aspect of ability immunities is solely something Gholdengo is guilty of. This being said it is also one of those broken balancing broken scenarios that Furscales had going for it and was banned, so such a mentality may be wrong of me to assume.

(team I used was my latest one in which I found to be the most consistent)
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Dubious W/L ratio because of early losses. I made a different team ( and didn't lose again, so I was able to get reqs.

I will vote DNB because I think Gholdengo keeps a lot of the top threats in check while being manageable itself. I never really found it too hard to tell what the opposing Gholdengo set was. It was difficult to tell at team preview but when they started actually playing with it I usually found it to be fairly obvious. There was no time where not knowing the set at team preview ended up being disastrous.

(btw 5 of those 6 losses were to baxcalibur teams lol that thing is a menace)


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s/o Quantum Tesseract for posting the stupid Shed Tail HO above I wanted to use for low ladd but just ended up using for my whole suspect run. It was really fun to click Shed Tail, switch on Bax and win the game (roughly 80% of my games).

Gonna vote BAN. Yes Gholdengo is a great defensive glue but it shouldn't overshadow it's broken in AAA. That's sad we have to get rid of such a great defensive element but, combined to its offensive potential, Gholdengo is just too much.

Immunity abilities are used both defensively and offensively because it removes what could be a counterplay. Best exemple is SpD Iron Moth being able to deal with pretty much every Gholdengo but is just a setup fodder for WBB one. Prankster/Unaware Clodwire could deal with many of them but just does nothing to Earth Eater Gholdengo. Even with Knock Off, Regenvest Iron Treads can become a setup fodder for Earth Eater Gholdengo.
This immunity abilities it can run create really dangerous situations where the outcome can rely on the fact you're able to predict Gholdengo's ability to deal with it (offensively mostly because it uses many common wall as setup fodder such as Corvi or Garganacl, top defensive mon). The situation is basically even worst when Gholdengo get rid of a move (Recover or Make It Rain most of the time) to Substitute making the guessing game even more deciding.

Offensives Gholdengo* still offer some defensive utility but are mainly immense threats to balanced or fat build. MGLO can freely spam Steel Beam which is powerful enough to just OHKO many things while being immune to any type of chip damages and keeping flexibility. Steel Worker and Adaptability Specs gets a 2HKO roll on full SpD AV Roaring Moon after Stealth Rock. Beads of Ruin Specs just OHKO Roaring Moon AV with Dazzling Gleam after rocks. Yeah this is gimmick but it just shows how crazy the mon is and how large are the options.
And yeah I'm talking about Roaring Moon because it's the closest mon from being a counter to Gholdengo without being bad. Every other defensive mon are likely going to lose to a set. Note that AV Roaring is losing to a WBB that managed to get +2 Def.
* This is relative because defensive ones are also offensive ones in fact meaning Gholdengo is always offensive.

Gholdengo also act as decent speed control with Choice Scarf and is able to help teammates making progress with Trick which is another tool in its arsenal. Mention to Bulletproof Gholdengo losing to offensive ones with a strong Steel move (yeah you get a 2HKO roll with MGLO Steel Beam or Adapta/BoR/Steel Worker).

What's even scarier is that I feel Gholdengo is still underexplored due to how large are the possibilities. I'm particularly scared about berry resist Gholdengo. Like you reveal a WBB Gholdengo meaning your opponent might try to get it with a Ground but then it's Shuca Berry, your Garchomp doesn't kill it with EQ and get OHKOed back by Make It Rain at +2. The simple existence of this type of scenario is frightening.
MZ played a WBB that got failbor g1 so this time they didn't even try to click a Fire move vs Gholdengo. Gholdengo managed to setup and beat Vessel of Ruin Iron Moth easily while getting Great Tusk just after meaning it was enough speed invested and basically ending the game.
No Gholdengo SI because yeah Tea's counterplay was Vessel of Ruin Corvi into revenge killer but in fact Ghold was too fast for Tusk and Levitate prevented Dragonite from clicking Earthquake. Gholdengo managed to make Corvi less useful by giving it the Choice Scarf.
Spitfire Arcanine threw this one but yeah QT bring a solid defensive core of GargaCorvTuskGhold but... yeah, it just loses to Ghold lol.
It's funny to see a Roaring Moon just getting OHKOed by Ghold's Make It Rain (yeah it wasn't AV and it was prob Steel Worker Ghold). Ghold just won the game taking advantage of Sub against Dragonillis's passive mon.
Losing the game but damn what a job Ghold did.
Bulletproof Gholdengo managing to own opposing Gholdengo but also AV Roaring Moon and Dland Iron Moth thanks to Thunder Wave and some yellow magic.
AV Roaring Moon got burned making it just losing to Ghold.
This game is just Ghold entering on a passive mon, clicking Sub and getting kills up to the end.
Ghold did just all the job against Jeran's team.
MGLO just obliterated a stall. Nice try Corrosion Pex but not your day and anw you lost to Sub.
CorviGargaTusk? Gholdengo'ed.

Overall, I really dislike the idea of "Oh this mon is fine because, looks, this Gholdengo checks it". A bordeline mon by itself like Gholdengo can't be the answer to every issue and prevent the metagame to move forward. If the current metagame holds just because of Gholdengo being able to check this or that, maybe there's an issue lol. I'm not expecting a balanced metagame to rely an a single mon, broken on its own, as THE element preventing things to potentially explode. These kind of arguments also tend to look at something else but Gholdengo itself which is not what we're interested in.
For those who knew this time, yeah, Magearna (in AAA or OU) had an amazing defensive utility. However, it didn't overshadowed how broken it was and although it was a big lose defensively, we had to get rid of it and move forward. We can't minimize offensive aspect with respect to defensive one.

To end on a high note, I'm quoting what BKC, legendary player to me, told me once:

the mindset of "we cant ban x because we will also have to ban y" is awful and damaging to the health of many tiers.
BKC, 2022
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AAAGJ Altaria (Good Job Altaria)

AAA Ghold Reqs.png


^ All I used was this team I made after promising UT I'd get reqs with Altaria. Now, you CAN use Corviknight in its place and infinitely improve the team, but where's the fun in that? :^)

On Ghold: definitely gives me Magearna vibes, in that its defensive sets serve as strong glue / role compression for many teams, and that its offensive sets can be incredibly annoying to answer due to the myriad of abilities it can abuse, and abuse well. However, I think the mon overall fits the mold of a top tier breaker / wall more than it being unhealthy for the meta itself, as there is legitimate opportunity cost in this metagame when forgoing certain abilities over others, and Ghold cannot readily get away with that in matchups vs a lot of the top offensive threats. Will try to play more / see more games, but going with DNB at present.
Screenshot 2023-02-21 at 6.28.10 pm.png

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edit: I’ll likely be voting DNB. Ghold is an extremely versatile mon, but I don’t think presents too much of an opportunity cost to account for its myriad potential sets in the builder. Its set can be determined without too much difficulty from how it’s played, and it suffers from 4MSS. I also think the meta wouldn’t be more competitive if the mons that ghold checks, namely corv, dnite, and bax, were buffed (the latter two being fairly one-dimensional). And this isn’t really valid reasoning for a tiering decision, but to me ghold’s versatility and the challenge of figuring out and playing around its set exemplify what makes AAA so interesting.
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Team: :tauros-paldea-blaze: :greninja: :avalugg: :blissey: :altaria: :gastrodon:
Commentary: I built this team around Tauros-Paldea-Blaze to get a better grasp on it for its analysis. What I realized though is its set and effectiveness depends too much on this suspect test result. Though what does set it apart from Cinderace is its EQ and STAB CC which make it fare better against WBB Corvi and Gholdengo. Its better bulk and typing also give it some extra defensive utility. The team itself is very weak to Hatterene (which caused the 2 losses) and Talonflame so there are definitely rooms to improve. Greninja is fairly normal, Crunch on Avalugg really catches low health Gholdengo off guard trying to Recover every single time it's pretty funny. Copycat is a funny tech that was very useful when I used it, copying pivot moves against Corviknight, RegenVest Roaring Moon, Sandy Shocks and more. I also got some funny sequences like keeping a low health Great Tusk from both setting and clearing Rock and eventually KOIng it with Spin or copying Calm Mind to prevent sweep. I initially had Shadow Ball but then faced 3 Hatterene in a row so I decided to add Skill Swap instead for some out against it. Altaria is unironically what I looked for and is the better addition to my team than Corviknight since I need a Fire and Fighting resist (shoutout to Blitz though, I took Dragon Breath from him). Gastrodon works as general anti setup against several mons (though more so for special mons, it needs physical attackers burned by Tauros and Altaria to comfortably handle them).

As for Gholdengo itself, I truly don't think it's broken. It's a good defensive glue that also has a lot of offensive potential. However, it needs an offensive ability to truly stand out among offensive threats, and even then there are still good enough offensive counterplays considering its mid Speed. So while being able to run myriad abilities to do many roles, it struggles to do everything. Which brings it to the next point, is its set versatility really dangerous enough that its unpredictable nature will ensure it can do massive amount of work every game? Not really. From team preview, I could already limit its set/ability to a low enough number, which can further be deduced as game passes (Seeing a team fairly weak to Fire with 2-3 Steel means it's likely to have WBB, especially if their Corvi also reveals Intimidate early on, or seeing how their Speed control works, if it's the only special attacker or if opposing team seems like hazard stack, etc). As such, I will likely vote DNB.


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confirming, will vote BAN, see Siamato's post for a longer explanation, but Gholdengo while not being broken on it's own has just too much set versatility, it reminds me of Genesect in some ways, obviously less threatening offensively but with a large diversity that you cannot really guess at preview but also a strong defensive utility that keeps broken stuff in check (i.e. tusk, bax, ace..) but it is a) not a way to handle a metagame, this was said during furscales suspect and at some point you gotta understand that a Pokemon checking another broken Pokemon doesn't mean it should stay in the tier, b) the guessing game shouldn't be easy vs any good player, and if you guess wrong you lose a mon/lose on the spot, c) as Siamato mentionned there are enough possibilities to deal w/ answers, paralyses, berry, other mon to pressure Roaring Moon which is 80% of the time the answer to ghold (whick takes 45% on Steel Beam btw so it's not even reliabe) (and obviously, if you're using SpD Unaware Gastrodon in your team, Ghold isn't a problem... but I don't think I have to explain why it's not a good reason?), anyway too much sets versatility, too many possibilities to win a game when it shouldn't, obviously it doesn't win on the spot, it is slow, it has a 4MSS but will ALWAYS manage to do work (unlike other mons with 4MSS that may just get hard walled if they use the wrong version) but it just forces the same mons again and again to check it + forces unhealthy ways of playing around in game, def deserves a BAN (also I forgot to mentionned that if you're facing WBB and click a fire move you might as well be never able to revenge kill it cuz now it takes 0 on every physical attacks)


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Used Blitz's team with Corv for a few games, but then I lost:
:Iron Moth::Blissey::Corviknight::Meowscarada::Gholdengo::Dondozo:

So I decided to LOCK IN and use Choice Scarf Air Lock Quaquaval + RestTalk Chi-Yu instead lmao:

:Quaquaval::Chi-Yu::Great Tusk::Gholdengo::Scream Tail::Corviknight:

Gholdengo should be BANned.

I was going to write an essay about why Gholdengo should be banned, but Siamato (; and LordBox ( beat me to it. I recommend giving those a read :]

Instead, I guess I'll just address some DNB stuff I don't agree with.

1. Gholdengo's ability is easy to deduce at team preview
Seeing this come up more than once in defense of Gholdengo has me flabbergasted. Maybe I haven't played enough AAA games yet or perhaps I'm just bad, but I highly doubt anyone is correctly deducing a Gholdengo's ability just from preview more than maybe half or just over half of the time. Take this EXTREMELY STANDARD team from Quantum Tesseract, which has Gholdengo + Garganacl + Great Tusk + Corviknight. At lead, Gholdengo can easily (and very viably) be one of multiple abilities:
> Earth Eater/Levitate since there are multiple Fire resists already
> Bulletproof (which it actually was on a now outdated version of the team lol)
> Well-Baked Body so that Corviknight can be Delta Stream to check Ice-types instead
And this isn't theorymon, either. Two of these are options that were actually used, and the last one is easily one of the most splashable in the entire metagame. This list is only of the most obvious options as well. Gholdengo could just as easily have been Magic Guard since in theory the Fire resists will handle Fire-types and Corviknight can check Ice-types in theory. Figuring out the set isn't always free of charge, either. Sometimes it can immediately cost you an entire Pokemon (Firing off a would-be super effective move into its immunity as it attacks and KOes), and other times you can "outplay" by choosing not to play the game (never clicking Earthquake with Great Tusk because you're scared that it might be EE Gholdengo). When you guess a Corviknight's ability wrong, most of the time your punishment is that it gets a free U-turn or Defog. When you guess a Gholdengo's ability wrong, the consequences aren't always so manageable. So on the subject of just correctly predicting its ability that often...I dunno man :/ I feel like people are being really overconfident here.

2. Gholdengo is healthy because it can keep other top threats at bay.
Which threats are those? Is it Baxcalibur, which is arguably already broken and has come up in ban discussion as such already? Iron Moth, which some people already regard as borderline banworthy? Or maybe it's Great Tusk, which is its own issue entirely? "This Pokemon that's probably broken actually checks these other probably broken Pokemon, so we should keep all of them" isn't much of an argument :/, especially when it includes using Gholdengo to check itself. There's a reason Gholdengo is on so many teams, and it's not because it's our only Defogger (see: Corviknight).

Come on, we don't need to rehash to sell the point. Just ban it :psycry:
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