SS OU Talonflame Balance

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Hi everyone! Thanks for opening this thread, I welcome you to this RMT featuring on the forgotten gods of OU, Talonflame. Back in gen 6 this thing used to terrorize the tier with its priority Brave Bird, but since the Gale Wings nerf (nerfed too much) it has struggled to make an impact on the meta. In this generation, however, it received one of the most influential items in the history of the game in Heavy Duty Boots, which istantly removed the need for excessive hazard control to make this bird a worthwhile pick for team building.

With the rise of Rillaboom and the existence of dangerous threats like Volcarona, Urshifu and Excadrill, Talonflame has an interesting niche in OU. With the mighty boots, Fire Flying becomes a very powerful defensive typing in OU, but Talonflame is unique due to its high speed, the ever infuriating ability Flame Body and access to key support moves like Taunt and Will-o-Wisp. This team is built around "Stallbreaker Talonflame", which is an unexpected threat that can cause a lot of switches, spread status and disrupt common antics on bulkier teams like status and recovery. This goes toe to toe with another common strategy, Spikes stacking. Another aspect unique to Talonflame is speed. Most balance teams only have two mons that reach the 300 mark, and definitely there isn't a defensive Pokémon faster than the bird. Talonflame is meant to leverage its speed against those builds and stallbreaking potential with fast taunting, status spread and reliable recovery, while checking common HO threats.

:talonflame: :ferrothorn: :gastrodon:
To go alongside the fiery bird, I've decided to double up un electric resistance, completing a water-fire-grass core with ferrothorn and gastrodon. The first has access to Spikes and leverages a great typing to better deal with rain teams. Steel type is paramount on every team. Also provides with a suito-switchin to banded rillaboom alongside Talonflame (if you don't have corviknight or skarmory, that thing is hella scary). Especially when the other member of the core is Gastrodon. This mofo is one of the hardest Zeraora and Rotom-Heat counters, but the main appeal is its ability to run the safest Heavy Duty Boots with Sticky Hold, which goes a long way since I don't plan on having a defogger on the team.

:talonflame: :ferrothorn: :gastrodon: :clefable:
The next addition is self explanatory. stealth rock, fairy type, urshifu switch in, dragapult and hawlucha check, status absorber, immunity to entry hazards. There's only one Pokémon able to do all of this, hence its presence on the team. Clefable is almost mandatory on every team and for good reasons. It can do everything.

:talonflame: :ferrothorn: :gastrodon: :clefable: :dragapult:
At this point, the defensive core is complete. I need something to go on the offense. Since Talonflame and Gastrodon spread status so well, I figured Hex Dragapult would be mandatory. With Talonflame checking Rillaboom, Dragapult's HP can be preserved for Belly Drum Azumarill, a massive threat to the team. Plus, access to U-turn and blistering speed, good typing and ability, it makes for an obvious choice. Furthermore, this is the third and final member of the team that turn Heavy Duty Boots.

:talonflame: :ferrothorn: :gastrodon: :clefable: :dragapult: :urshifu:
In the last slot I wanted a breaker, and I decided that the same life orb adamant Urshifu I was aware of could be of great importance here. Supports the team with unparalleled breaking power and a strong, non-choice locked priority in sucker punch. Extremely dangerous mon as always since its introduction. however, since I don't have draco meteor on dragapult, i decided to go for jolly because of kyurem.


Talonflame @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 248 HP / 12 Atk / 188 SpD / 60 Spe
Careful Nature
- Brave Bird
- Taunt
- Roost
- Will-O-Wisp

The star of the team. This set is lowkey threatening and is deadly against modern HO that always have Excadrill lead, Rillaboom and Volcarona. With just this one Pokémon, those three are taken care of. This mon is also phenomenal in the lead position, istantly gaining momentum against many slow, passive mons that plague the metagame. With Gastrodon backing it, anything that Talonflame draws in is hard countered. The biggest selling point of this set is the surprise factor. Not many people are used to see Talonflame and tend to assume it's offensive, so the combination of Taunt, Will-O-Wisp and Roost throws them off quite a lot. Extremely fun and rewarding to use, but requires attention. Speed EVs are to outspeed Jolly Excadrill (and also Adamant Urshifu). This is a double edged swords because smart players will EQ on Roost, so it's up to you if you want a fast taunt against HO Exca leads with EQ on roosts (even when burnt, it does more than you can heal) or a slower Talonflame. If you wish to be slower, I advise 224 SpD / 24 Spe for Adamant Urshifu. If you wish to be faster, then hit 323 for Jolly Urshifu but be aware that you'll notice the loss special bulk.

12 Atk Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Volcarona: 312-368 (100.3 - 118.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+1 252 SpA Volcarona Psychic vs. 248 HP / 188+ SpD Talonflame: 147-174 (40.9 - 48.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
+2 252 SpA Volcarona Psychic vs. 248 HP / 188+ SpD Talonflame on a critical hit: 294-346 (81.8 - 96.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

hax proof, always survives at +1 even without boots after rocks, always ohko's offensive variants.

12 Atk Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Rillaboom: 240-284 (70.3 - 83.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Grassy Terrain recovery
+2 252+ Atk Life Orb Rillaboom Grassy Glide vs. 248 HP / 0 Def Talonflame in Grassy Terrain: 136-160 (37.8 - 44.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO

Threatens burn with wisp and ability, always live without boots after rocks, can do massive damage to kill if already damage or for sucker punch range

252 Atk Excadrill Iron Head vs. 248 HP / 0 Def Talonflame: 89-105 (24.7 - 29.2%) -- 100% chance to 4HKO
threatens burn with wisp and ability

Ferrothorn @ Leftovers
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 248 HP / 108 Def / 152 SpD
Careful Nature
- Spikes
- Leech Seed
- Power Whip
- Knock Off

Ferrothorn has always been an OU staple and for good reason. Amazing, unique typing, access to a plethora of support moves, good defenses and enough offensive presence to not be completely passive. On this team, Ferrothorn has multiple roles, but the most important one is highlighted by the first move, Spikes. This makes switching for the opponent one hell of a choice, also because I have two Knock Off users to remove boots. Speaking of which, Knock Off is the other big role in terms of movepool, while Power Whip makes it beat those SubCM Primarina that still pop up and threatens many rain sweeper for big damage. Key resistances and overall annoyance is what Ferrothorn does best. One amazing matchup is opposing Amoonguss: nothing more than that invites in Ferrothorn to do its thing, Spikes, Leech Seed on the switch, Knock Off. Special defense is buffed to better handle threats like Kingdra, Toxtricity and HexPult.

Gastrodon @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Sticky Hold
EVs: 200 HP / 172 Def / 116 SpD
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Earth Power
- Toxic
- Recover
- Clear Smog

This mon is hell for Zeraora and Rotom-H and utilises its movepool to bring the pain on setup sweepers with the combination of toxic and clear smog. It may seem redundant, but is valuable against many bulky CM users like Hat or Clef and is a one-time Hawlucha stopper, since it survives +2 Adamant Close Combat and clears any non-unburden boost away. This is nice because many offensive team pressure Clefable a lot with many neutral attacks or steel/poison coverage. Gastrodon is very "all or nothing" when it comes to countering offensive threats, which makes itself kept healthy more easily. HDB + sticky hold makes him completely immune to hazards and blocks trick.

Clefable @ Leftovers
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 252 HP / 108 Def / 36 SpA / 112 SpD
Bold Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Moonblast
- Soft-Boiled
- Knock Off

The last component of the defensive core, this Pokémon has become even more of a staple due to its coveted niche of being a switch-in for Urshifu. This set utilizes Clefable's traits to the fullest: expansive movepool, amazing ability, great offensive and defensive typing with decent overall bulk. Stealth Rock is the mandatory entry hazard, because it can heavily punish Rotom-H and other Levitate / Flying types that makes use of HDB. Usually those are also the defoggers, so having the two hazard setter carry Knock Off has proven to be useful. The spread does 3 things: survive two STABs from Adamant CB Urshifu, maximizes chances to OHKO uninvested Hawlucha (99.6%) and minimizes the chances of being 2HKO'd by boosted Hex from Modest Dragapult.

Dragapult @ Heavy-Duty Boots
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Hex
- Thunder Wave
- U-turn
- Thunderbolt

Standard Hex Pult set with the mighty Boots to ignore entry hazards and switch around. Paralysis is by far the most useful status to inflict on Clefable, hence its presence on the set. This also slows the oppoent's team down and powers Hex up. The only odd move on the set is Thunderbolt, which is here to always KO Belly Drum Azumarill after one layer of hazards. If needed, Ferrothorn can be sacked to give the necessary chip. I don't like relying on 70% accuracy moves for these specific tasks, but I might try it if I feel the necessity.

Urshifu @ Life Orb
Ability: Unseen Fist
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Wicked Blow
- Close Combat
- Sucker Punch
- Poison Jab

Power. This mon clicks moves and claims bodies. Life Orb provides freedom and removes liabilty of banded Sucker Punch. Nothing else to say but I gotta write three lines. You already know what this does. I guess one thing worth mentioning is that SR or Knock Off on Clefable can be dropped for Wish or even Healing Wish to grant a second life to this beast, which can turn the tides of the game. I'm still debating, but I decided to share the team so I can receive your insight.


Spikes stacking as hazard control for Talonflame. As you've noticed, this team has a Talonflame with no hazard removal. This can be an issue when HDB is knocked off, you might think. It's definitely something to account for, hence the calcs for Rillaboom and Volcarona, because it has happened a lot. Just look at my clef and you may figure out a scenario when it can happen. What spikes stacking does ultimately is force out the defogger of the team to clear the hazards away, which also removes stealth rock from my side of the field. In short, using the opponent as your own hazard removal can be a useful strategy to circumvent the scenario when talonflame has lost its item. The opponent either has to take spikes, or allow me to freely use talonflame. Against other spikes stacking, hazard immune teams like mine, having two knock offs, a lot of status and 4 hazard immune pokèmons makes for great counterplay material.

Clefable's 4th slot. This is an interesting topic, as I've discussed in Urshifu's description. Having a second life emergency button for Urshifu can prove to be devastating and not every matchup is for Clef, but SR is hard to pass up as much as knock off. I'm really torn.

Play-style. This team plays stacking hazards and knock off spam early game. Catching clefable with thunder wave is key because it helps both Dragapult and Urshifu breaking through it. Even Gastrodon appreciates it because it can bring CM variants to a stalemate with clear smog, if needed. Clefable is your number one enemy because it's immune to hazards. Alongside hazard stacking, knock offs are needed to remove pesky boots or lefties to really rack up the damage. Status spread is useful to pressure eventual clerics into using their healing move or to stack damage on those that don't have a cleric. Against offense, Talonflame is a good lead with fast taunt and the threat of will-o-wisp. Most HO threats are physical and the most common special attacker is Volcarona, so you immediately have a strong start against them. Spikes are arguably more valuable against them due to more damage against grounded threats and less time to surgically remove the boots on the ones that have them. The only relevant mon hit by SR and not Spikes is Scarf Togekiss. If you see a Togekiss in general, immediately go for Rocks, that thing with choice scarf is a threat.

Thanks for your attention! Looking forward to receive constructive criticism and opinions! See ya

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